Category Archives: church

No hurry and nothing to fear!

By Heather Walton

In a day where fear abounds, and where Christians see certain persecution looming on the horizon of history, in a day where people seek manmade solutions and develop timelines and deadlines, the Lord encourages us to be steadfast and to trust Him, no matter how deceptive the narrative and how dark the winter.

There is but one man in whom we should place our ultimate trust. One man who sits on the throne. One who knows truth. One who ultimately orchestrates.

His name is Jesus, and He never fails, never disappoints, never abandons, never lies, and never surrenders. He is the only one worthy of our praise, our adoration, and our worship.

For to us a child is born,

    to us a son is given;

and the government shall be upon his shoulder,

    and his name shall be called

Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,

    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of his government and of peace

    there will be no end,

on the throne of David and over his kingdom,

    to establish it and to uphold it

with justice and with righteousness

    from this time forth and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Isaiah 9:6-7 ESV

When we place our hope in human governors and governments, or in media, or in authorities, we misplace our trust. Jesus rules over all, and someday that will be evident to all, but today, on this side of eternity, that is not yet apparent. For many, all appeared lost on Jan. 20. For others, all appeared gained. Yet only the King of Kings and Lord of Lords knows the full truth, and only He can redeem humanity from the curse brought on by sinful men who do the devil’s bidding.

There are some who await President Trump’s return on a white horse to set all things right. He is not going to. Whether he reappears in the pages of our human chronicle of history remains to be seen. Whether he will rescue our Constitution or rise up as the personification of evil also remains as yet history unwritten. The point is that too many have put too much hope in this man, and those who have need to repent and let God show Himself to be our only Savior. While Trump may yet return and do great things, he is not God. He can not ultimately rescue humanity from what ails us most — sin! It is not even fair to expect the things many have expected from this man.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, I believe we are coming into a time of intense, worldwide persecution of Christians. We need to be ready. We will be cancelled, demonized, misrepresented, falsely accused, imprisoned, and perhaps even killed. The church is currently being refined and many are walking away. Perhaps you think I’m going a little overboard, but did you ever think churches would close, here in America, as a result of government orders? Did you ever think Christians and Christian textbook publishers would be blamed for a Capitol “insurrection?” Worse is coming. But ultimately, this should not worry us.

“Nothing is hurried. There is no confusion, no disturbance. The enemy is at the door, yet God prepares a table, and the Christian sits and eats as if everything were in perfect peace. Oh the peace that Jehovah gives His people, even in the midst of the most trying circumstances.”

Charles Spurgeon, Treasury of David

When we know our eternity is settled, and we are right with our Creator, we can experience peace that passes all understanding, and even if we are called to face a martyr’s death, we can be at perfect peace. Take courage, redemption is just around the corner!

What is the true cost of liberty?

From thenation.com

By Heather Walton

What does liberty cost? And if you knew how to get it, what would you be willing to give for it?

Many today mistakenly put their trust in countries, governments, leaders, organizations, or other human entities. People all over the world have joined the ranks of Q-anon and other groups that believe President Trump has the solutions for the world’s problems. Many worry that if he is not in power, the whole world will cave in to the New World Order, democracy will be lost, that socialism will overtake us, and that all will be lost. I do believe we are headed for socialism, as well as the end times. I do believe that we are moving toward one world government and the rise of the antichrist and the beast system. While we are likely going to lose many freedoms, our republic, and perhaps even our lives, that doesn’t mean we will lose our liberty.

Does that sound ludicrous?

Look at it this way:

No matter who is in the White House, God is on His throne. No matter what goes on in Washington, heaven’s purposes will be fulfilled. Sometimes things seem really bad, and sometimes they truly are, but keep in mind that, for the Christ-follower, our heavenly citizenship overrides our national citizenship. Jesus is preparing a place for us that is so much better than anything here on earth. Our Savior has already come and will return one day. No mere man can save us. No mere man can save America or the world. No kingdom can rise or fall without God’s permission. If America falls, and I believe it will, it will be because God has allowed it, and perhaps even purposed it. Things are not always as they appear. If your hope has been in any man but Christ, perhaps today is the day for that to change. If you do not yet know Jesus as Lord, today could be the best day to become part of His family.


One thing 2020 did for me was to loosen my grip on this world and its grip on me. I am a patriot, but I have become deeply aware that my true citizenship is in heaven, and I have come to long for the day I arrive there.


There is much in this world to grieve us, but it’s time to let go, to go through the grief process, and to accept that no man can be our savior and that no country is invincible.


Without a personal relationship with Jesus, we have no hope. This life is but a blink of an eye compared to eternity, so we need to be sure our eternity is secure. Nothing matters otherwise.


For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his soul? Nothing — nothing is worth spending an eternity of regret.


None of us know what the future will hold or how much time we have on this earth. If you don’t know the Lord, please put your trust in Him today. If you do know Him, please spend every last breath and ounce of energy urging others to repent and put their trust in Christ. There is nothing more vital.


Persecution is coming to the church. Whether we have a week or ten years to openly worship and to share the Gospel, we need to use that time to the fullest.


And if you’re putting off a decision for Christ, you may find yourself suddenly standing before God and realizing that it’s too late. We all are sinners. Hell is real. Heaven is too. Jesus wants to forgive your sins and be in charge of your life, but you need to acknowledge your sinfulness, accept him as Lord (Master), agree that you want to change, and put all your trust in Him. Otherwise, you remain lost in your sins and on the road to hell.

True liberty comes from finding freedom in Christ. When your sins are forgiven, and you have a relationship with the living God, no matter what griefs come in this lifetime, the assurance of eternity with God in heaven is enough.

Perhaps America must fall in order for Christ to be lifted up in the world, or even in our lives. Perhaps men need to be brought down off their pedestals, that those who have put their hope in them may give up their idolatry and turn their eyes on Jesus, the author of liberty and our only true hope. If the “Land of the Free” must fall in order for us to understand true liberty, so be it.

Patrick Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Today perhaps we should say, “Give me death (to my hopes and desires), that I may understand and enjoy true liberty.”

Who Among Us Will Stand?

https://hebringsbeautyfromashes.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Who-Among-Us-Will-Stand.mp3
Audio version of this post

By Heather Walton

NEVER FORGET WHAT YOU SAW HERE

The Holocaust Museum stands as a testament that never again should we allow tyranny to intimidate us into submission to a government that seeks to destroy our fellow man, that seeks to take away our fundamental rights, that sinks headlong into atrocities and unfathomable crimes against humanity.

Imagine if you will that you had seen it coming. What would you have done? History stands as a witness that the German people — the German Christians — should have done more. Yet most did nothing as they witnessed an entire class of people become depersonified, demonized, dominated, and doomed to death.

This didn’t happen overnight, and it shouldn’t have happened at all.

And it mustn’t happen here.

Not on our watch.

Oh, but it’s not, you might say. We aren’t like the Germans before WWII. We would never allow what they did. Not us! We are enlightened. We believe in liberty, justice, and equality!

Do we? How easily will we give it all up for a little peace and safety? For a little prosperity? For a little health?

It would be intellectually dishonest to refuse to consider the implications of our collective consent to the tyrannical measures imposed to mitigate this virus. Indeed, it would be utter denial.

If you read the mainstream media, especially exclusively, you are being deceived. It is nothing but a steady stream of editorials designed to sway you to believe their thesis — that man is both the problem and the solution to the world’s problems, that we can fix what ails us, that there is no God but Caesar, and that we need the government to save us.

My fellow Americans, we have subsisted on a steady diet of propaganda for decades, and we have lost the ability to reason. If we don’t watch out, we will submit to, consent to, and perhaps even commit, terrible atrocities. (In fact, we do already.)

So what should we do? I’m glad you asked!

  1. Read. Research. Reflect.
  2. Consider that the media has a bias and an objective, and ask yourself if it aligns with yours.
  3. Seek out scholarly, peer-reviewed research about things like masks, vaccines, isolation, pandemics, and more.
  4. Consider why the government cares so much about this virus as opposed to others, especially things that cause more harm.
  5. Consider why certain people and activities are targeted and others aren’t. Are there commonalities?
  6. Start conversations. See if others are thinking as you are.
  7. Do the math on the virus. Compare the math to other illnesses and activities.
  8. Read about those who have stood against injustice.
  9. Read the Bible.

Then, if you think something just doesn’t add up, consider engaging in activities that could turn the tide against tyranny.

It doesn’t take much time and effort to call or email your representatives and governing officials. If you want to go deeper, consider how you can educate others and how you might stand up against injustice.

Even though my governor has taken many liberties with our freedom, that doesn’t mean I should submit. Indeed, I have chosen the path of resistance in multiple small ways over the past few months.

What about Romans 13, you ask? I believe many Christians are being shamed into submission by the use of a few carefully chosen verses of Scripture. Yes, we do need to submit to the governing authorities; however, people preach this, assuming that civil government is the highest law. If that is the case, to which civil government, and to which part of civil government do we give the highest degree of submission? The mayor? The governor? The court? The legislators? The president? The U.N.?

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Preamble to the Declaration of Independence (Emphasis Added)

According to our founding fathers, a higher Governor gives us our rights.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego agreed:

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Daniel 3:16-18 ESV (Empahsis Added)

Not only did these courageous men refuse to comply with Nebuchadnezzar’s edict, but they chose to do so regardless of the consequences. Likewise, Peter and John, when admonished not to preach about Christ, appealed to the ultimate Lawgiver:

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name, yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and you intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

Acts 5:27-29 (ESV)

Brothers and sisters, do we have such courage? Do we not see that our liberties are sacred, and no matter the rightness or wrongness of the suggested measures to combat this virus, the mandated countermeasures by principle are immoral. For the civil government to interfere with our personal freedoms, and especially our religious freedoms, is unconscionable and the potential consequences are horrifying.

I’m not debating the morality of mask-wearing, though I have made, and continue to make, a case against their efficacy and necessity. However, I am openly challenging the idea that the government is requiring us to cover our faces with cloth. More than that, I’m proclaiming that the government should not interfere with the church, with free speech, and with individual families’ decisions of whom or how many people to have in their homes. The government also should not dictate when people get tested for infectious diseases or demand to know with whom they’ve associated (unless a crime has been committed). And the civil authorities definitely should not be able to forcibly or coercively vaccinate anyone, child or adult, period.

For the civil government to interfere with our personal freedoms, and especially our religious freedoms, is unconscionable and the potential consequences are horrifying.

So I’ll ask again: Do we have the courage of our forefathers and the great men and women of faith throughout the ages? Will we stand against oppression and tyranny? Will we do this for our fellow man? Will we do it for our posterity?

Consider these words from the Declaration of Independence:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness … But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

Declaration of Independence (Emphasis added)

Our founders duty-bound us not to accept what is going on in our government today. They call out to us across history, and tell us that, when government challenges our fundamental rights, we should not allow it. They take it a step further, and say that such government must be overthrown! Are we there yet?

We have given in to the lie that Jesus was weak, that the Gospel is emasculated, impotent niceness that doesn’t mess with our daily lives. We forget the Jesus who challenged the money changers and the Pharisees, the Jesus who told Pilate he would have no power unless God allowed it, the Jesus who told us to give what is Caesar’s to Caesar and to God what is God’s.

We have given in to the lie that Jesus was weak, that the Gospel is emasculated, impotent niceness that doesn’t mess with our daily lives.

Our highest allegiance is to God, not to Caesar, and when the two conflict, we can cower and acquiesce to governors and kings, or we can stand with that great cloud of witnesses and defend our rights as God’s image-bearers, not because we are entitled, but because we are morally obligated to stand up against evil for the sake of our fellow citizens and the coming generations.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said this:

Christianity stands or falls with its revolutionary protest against violence, arbitrariness and pride of power and with its plea for the weak. Christians are doing too little to make these points clear rather than too much. Christendom adjusts itself far too easily to the worship of power. Christians should give more offense, shock the world far more, than they are doing now. Christians should take a stronger stand in favor of the weak rather than considering first the possible right of the strong.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Sermon on II Corinthians 12:9

Consider also that great cloud of witnesses listed in Hebrews 11, men and women who “were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:16 ESV).

May we be worthy of that city by being the best caretakers of our God-given liberty as long as He gives us the strength to do so!

The Rise of Socialism and the Case for Civil Disobedience

from https://factfile.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Quotes.jpg

By Heather Walton

I have heard Christians say that we should stay completely out of “politics.” As I’ve prayerfully considered this stance, I’ve found it lacking. Instead, my dual citizenship compels me that, in order to truly be heavenly minded, I must also be of earthly good. Just because Jesus is coming, and hopefully coming soon, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be about His business until the very day the trumpet sounds or He takes me home.

My dual citizenship compels me that, in order to truly be heavenly minded, I must also be of earthly good.

Some have said that America is done, past the point of no return, and that we just need to let events play out. While I would agree that it appears that the sun is setting on our beloved republic, and that it is only a matter of time before we willingly submit to socialism, and subsequently join hands with the coming “new world order,” that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up.

Consider the parable of the talents: The master left three servants in charge of various amounts of his wealth. Two servants invested his money wisely and brought a return, and were therefore rewarded. The third, who feared his master, buried the talent apportioned to him, rather than making it work for his master until his return. As a result, he was disinherited and his talent given to another. Only recently did I realize that Jesus shared this parable in the context of end times prophecy. Church, we are not to bury our talents as we await our master’s return! We are to be about our Master’s business until the very last second.

If, instead, we as the church, forfeit the culture war, the war for the very soul of our nation, and the very soul of the church itself, with the excuse that “our citizenship is in heaven,” we should be charged with spiritual treason. He has called us to “rescue those being led to the slaughter,” to hold back evil, to warn the sinner, to admonish the saint, to subdue the earth, to, like our Creator, in whose image we were formed, use our gifts and talents, not to bury them as we await His return. This does not mean our hope is in this world; rather, unless our faith is evidenced by these actions, how are we to draw all men to Him, and ultimately to that eternal reward He desires for them. If the ministers, missionaries, and apostles of old, would have had the attitude that the culture is lost and we simply need to submit to ungodly authority as we await our heavenly Savior’s return, where would the Kingdom of God be today? Would this country even exist?

If, instead, we as the church, forfeit the culture war, the war for the very soul of our nation, and the very soul of the church of itself, with the excuse that “our citizenship is in heaven,” we should be charged with spiritual treason.

Think of men like William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Patrick Henry, and George Washington. Think of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men were heroes because they refused to submit to tyranny, and because they instead stood against tyrants on behalf of those who could not stand up or who would not stand up for themselves. They were not necessarily considered heroes by their peers during that time, yet they risked their reputations, their livelihoods, and their very lives for the righteous causes to which they had been called.

“Well, these men were exemplary in their time,” you might say. “They were specially gifted and called by God for those tasks.” Yes and no. We are all plainly called to “love mercy, practice justice, and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8), “to rescue the orphan and widow in their distress and to live lives unstained by the world” (James 1:27), and to “rescue those being led away to the slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11). These admonitions are for all believers, not a select few. We consider these men to be extraordinary, but only because we have settled for mediocrity in the Kingdom of God. We now view ordinary Christianity as extraordinary, or perhaps even as sin.

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”

Isaiah 1:17 ESV

The American church has so watered down the Gospel that countless souls are deluded into the illusion of justification before a holy God; unless we sound the alarm boldly and unwaveringly, their blood will be on our hands.

Perhaps it is because of this watering down that we have bought into such heresies as the social justice gospel, which tells us that man can cure the world’s ills without requiring repentance, easy believism, which gives us Jesus as Savior while neglecting His Lordship, and “open and affirming” faith communities, which deny essential scriptural truths.

We now view ordinary Christianity as extraordinary, or perhaps even as sin.

Perhaps it is because of this watering down that we have believed the lie that we need to keep our faith private and not speak into the culture. That there are two realms — the sacred and the secular. Not at all! Either Jesus is our life and governs every aspect, or we are not alive in Christ at all!

If the Gospel hasn’t changed our lives, we haven’t accepted it, and are not beneficiaries of His grace. This is sobering, as it should be. We are called to examine ourselves in light of the Gospel, and judge ourselves, not by our peers’ actions and reactions, but by the Word of God. If we are not in line with it, if we are offended by it, if we are unwilling to live by it, we would be presumptuous to trust our eternal security.

Do we live our lives worthy of this very Gospel? Does our faith cost us anything? Should it perhaps cost us everything? In attempting to keep our lives, we lose them, but in losing our lives for Jesus’ sake and for His Gospel, we gain an eternal glory to which nothing in this world compares.

We have allowed a stunning degree of apostasy into the church. We have played the harlot with the gods of this world. We have trampled the grace of God with the foulest of sins, and we have failed to reprove — and worse, even given hearty approval to — those who prostitute themselves to an Americanized “grace.” In doing so, we have baptized converts into the very gates of hell. For this, we must give an account. From this, we must repent.

Christians, our country is falling fast into an evil that steals, kills, and destroys. That evil is socialism, an ideology devoid of God, an ideology that dictators have used to rise to power at the expense of the vulnerable. Do the names Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler bring up any hint of virtue? No, these men are considered an anathema in the rolls of history. These men were all socialists, communists, Marxists.

Socialism, a pretty name for Marxism, is purely evil. Today it may look like the government is doing some good things that fall in the realm of socialism, but don’t be deceived. Consider public education: isn’t it a good thing? How would our children learn to read and write and do math otherwise? How would they become responsible citizens otherwise? What about the poor who can’t afford private schools?

Don’t fall for it!

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.

Vladmir Lenin

“He alone, who owns the youth, gains the future.”

Adolf Hitler

John Dewey, father of modern public schools, believed that the best way to change the society for the better was through education. As a religious humanist, Dewey believed it was the duty of the schools and other social institutions to transform society, from what he saw as the antiquated traditional model embraced by theists, to a modern secular society ruled by pragmatism and a devotion to community ideals.

Public schools are a socialist construct. Before the state ran public schools, the church offered free education to those who were able to partake. Others were home educated in academics, practical skills, vocations, or a combination. The humanistic, socialistic takeover of schools was by design, and as a result, we have ridden the slippery slope into a pit of immorality and decadence, and our children can not understand the Bible or the Constitution, and they scoff at both. Government has no place in educating our children; it is our responsibility as the church and as the family.

The result of the slide into socialism is that we now are canceled as old-fashioned, homophobes, closed-minded, delusional bigots who are out of touch with reality. In many cases, our neighbors, family members, friends, and even our own children have developed animosity and bitterness toward us, but more importantly toward the God that created them. Yet, some still spout scripture to justify their attitudes and action, and they even use it against us.

For example, in my home state, our governor regularly cites his faith as reason to implement tyrannical measures to “fight the coronavirus,” yet this same man defies the God he cites allegiance to by celebrating homosexuality and abortion. This man who alleges to personally feel the pain of every loss to this virus has no problem severing the livelihoods of healthy people and shaming those who don’t agree. He tramples liberty and belittles those who disagree.

Submitting to unjust laws is not Biblical. Should the German Christians have submitted to Hitler? Of course not! But it was a gradual descent, one that they probably didn’t see because it started out subtle and continued subtly until they got to a point of no return. It likely would have been hard to recognize as it was happening, unless they were really paying attention. In saying that, I’m not likening any of our government officials to Hitler, but I’m simply saying that, if the German Christians would have seen the whole picture from the beginning, perhaps they would not have submitted to the gradual steps that got them to the horrific place they ended up.

I don’t believe this nation has much longer. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to hold back the darkness as long as we can. I don’t necessarily mean to take up arms. But I do mean that I will not submit to unjust mandates if it is in my power to resist, and I’m not doing it to “demand my rights,” but instead to demand your God-given, Constitutionally-affirmed, rights as His image-bearers. If that makes me unpopular, or if it brings me difficult consequences, so be it. Regardless of how one feels about liberty, it is an absolute, and I won’t give up our collective liberties without resistance.

Perspectives on the current crisis and coming cure

By Heather Walton

“I can’t believe this is America!” I’m not sure how many times I’ve said that in the past few weeks. This country is becoming decreasingly recognizable as the America I grew up in, as the America I committed to defend, as the America I once took great pride in.

Lockdowns, mandates, rioting, talk of a coming mandatory vaccine. Chaos around every corner.

Nothing is more shocking than the covert rise of socialism that has suddenly emerged into plain sight and that looms close on the horizon. How did this happen? Why do young people (and old) think this is okay?

We could analyze this from a historical perspective and trace the roots back to Darwin, Nietzsche, Marx, Dewey, and countless American Socialists/Humanists throughout the generations. The tentacles of this beast are pervasive and destructive.

We could analyze this from a political perspective and defend the free market economy from philosophical, economic, and biblical viewpoints, and we would see that socialism doesn’t work.

Instead, I would like to analyze this from a worldview perspective. How is it that our society has bought into the lie that we can create a Utopia where there is no poverty, no inequality, no difficulty? Where the government owes us peace, prosperity, and health? Where we allow a few to dictate to the majority of us that we are politically incorrect, homophobic, bigoted, privileged, and flat-out wrong if we have biblical values? Where trees and insects are more valuable than people? Where feelings dictate our perceived reality, and facts no longer matter? Where we fear the whims of children and ignore the wisdom of the elderly?

This is by design. The enemy masquerades as an angel of light and has deceived the whole world into thinking that humans can solve their own problems, that God is dead, that we evolved from primordial goo, that this life is all there is, and that we must therefore do everything we can to make it everything we can while we’re here. “You only live once! Follow your heart! Live your dreams! Live and let live! Love who you want!”

This year has been shocking to many, but it didn’t come out of nowhere. The world has been working toward this chaos for many years, and this chaos is part of the process of our evolution toward the grand finale, in which a cosmic battle will conclude.

There is a Satanic plot to steal, kill, and destroy, and that plot has been unfolding since the Garden of Eden. Today we see it manifested in so many ways, including blatant deception through the media and education, election fraud, division on every imaginable and created issue, and worldwide civil unrest. The devil and those he has deceived into working for his agenda are creating mass chaos so that they can be false saviors who bring order from chaos.

The Bible tells us that one day Jesus will return for his bride, the church. When He returns, we need to be ready. Church, be ready! He is coming soon. How soon? That’s a mystery. The Bible tells us we won’t know the day or the hour, that He will come like a thief in the night, that it will be sudden. However, we should recognize the season, but we have to be paying attention, and we have to guard our relationship with God as the day grows closer.

We are told to endure to the end, and we are warned a great falling away of believers in the last days. No matter what lies ahead — persecution, tribulation, martyrdom — we must be steadfast. There is nothing more precious or prized than our eternity, and nothing is worth missing the riches of an eternal home with our Savior.

There is one cure for what ails our nation — Jesus. That is all. Sound simplistic? Perhaps. It is a simple answer, yet not an easy one.

Many people believe that turning to Jesus is as simple as inviting Him into your life as your Savior. While this is part of it, this would be what Dietrich Bonhoeffer referred to as “cheap grace.”

According to Bonhoeffer, who was martyred for his stand against Hitler, grace is costly. It was costly to Christ, of course, but it also is costly to those of us who partake.

“The grace he (Martin Luther) had received was a costly grace. It was grace, for it was like water on parched ground, comfort in tribulation, freedom from bondage of a self-chosen way, and forgiveness of all his sins. And it was costly, for, so far from dispensing him from good works, it meant that he must take the call to discipleship more seriously than ever before. It was grace because it cost so much, and it cost so much because it was grace.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (italics mine)

The American church has cheapened the concept of grace by, whether purposefully or inadvertently, deluding people into believing that they can simply say a quick prayer, asking Jesus to be their Savior, and then continue business as usual. Brothers and sisters, may we never be guilty of this heresy!

We are told in Romans 10:9-10 (ESV), “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved” (emphasis mine). Lord means master, one who is in charge. Servants submit to their lord’s will and order their lives according to his wishes; they do not tell him what they will do or not do; they do not tell him what his orders mean or what he demands; they do not shape him according to their image and likeness. Their works don’t make them his servants; on the contrary, they do his work because he is their lord.

We are called to be disciples, which means students. We are to study our master and to emulate Him, and we are to teach the next generation to do the same. The Bible is clear about many matters of morality. If we choose to dismiss this divine instruction, we should not delude ourselves into thinking that Jesus is our Lord. And if He is not our Lord, then we serve the god of this age, the devil.

Make no mistake: Things in this world will get worse, and it will be increasingly difficult to live out the Christian life. The church must be steadfast. It may require everything we have, including our lives. Whether or not we are martyred in Christ’s name, we are to willingly die to ourselves daily, every day we have breath in our lungs.

The future of this nation and this world are bleak, yet we await a kingdom not of this world. In the meantime, we are called to shine forth as gold, to share the true Gospel, and to serve our fellow man. We are to worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth. And we are to “love mercy, practice justice, and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8).

The current and coming crisis are the result of man’s sinfulness, for which there is one and only cure: the costly grace of the risen Christ! If you don’t know Him, I urge you to repent and surrender to Him today. If you do know Him, yet aren’t following Him as fully as you ought, I urge you to repent and surrender to Him today. This is the cure to all crises, both temporal and eternal.

Trump Card: Are politicians and policies able to save America?

And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

Joshua 5:13b-15 ESV

When playing cards, it would be ideal to know the opposition’s hand. Skilled players attempt to discern this through examining behavior and keeping track of what’s been played. At times, they may miscalculate out of error or because the opponent outwits them. To win against a master card player, you’ve got to be alert.

Jesus wasn’t a card player, but He knew how to perfectly judge the heart, and to respond with wisdom and grace. He bucked the religious leaders and hung out with sinners, and boldly proclaimed to both that they needed to repent. Calling people to repentance is rarely received with accolades, yet Jesus boldly called out the Pharisees and spoke plainly to Pilate. The Master impartially showed grace as He commanded obedience, and He unapologetically shared truth, no matter the personal consequences. As Christians, we should be ready to do the same.

I know my prayerfully considered thoughts will not be popular, and I’m not Jesus, so I understand they likely aren’t perfect, yet I respectfully submit them for your consideration:

When I was 17 years old, and still a senior in high school, I took the Oath of Enlistment, which reads,

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” 

(Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

And I meant it. I found myself recently reaffirming this Oath when I joined a 3% militia group, this time with domestic, rather than foreign, enemies in mind. I reasoned that, as a Christian, it was my duty to do what I could to hold back the forces of evil in America, that this is a righteous nation, that I could contribute to the cause of Christ by doing my patriotic duty to help hold back lawlessness. It was important to me that I not unite with a racist organization, so I found a group that seemed to espouse my values.

I also joined a local group that was growing exponentially, a group of fellow patriots who wanted to restore order in our city.

It didn’t take me too long to decide that neither of these groups was the fit I sought. I ended up drifting out of both.

I’ve watched multiple patriot rallies, and they haven’t set well with me. It’s nagged at me that typically there tends to be a black speaker or two, but the audience generally is lily white. There are flags — American flags, Trump flags — and there are patriotic speeches and sometimes Pledges of Allegiance and anthem singing. These things literally make me want to weep, not because they stir up high feelings of patriotism, but because patriotism isn’t the solution. “Back to normal” isn’t the solution. Voting for the “right” candidates isn’t the solution. Upholding the Constitution isn’t the solution. I’m not saying the political process isn’t valuable, or that we shouldn’t participate; I’m simply positing that putting one’s hope in our great democracy is misguided to say the least.

America isn’t the world’s salvation or its only hope. Trump is not, as some seem to communicate, the second messiah. Militias can’t restore what America has lost. Extreme conspiracy groups, such as QAnon, can’t fix things like exposing the Deep State. None of these things are the answer, because none of them can change hearts.

Going to the other extreme, we have groups like Black Lives Matter (BLM), Antifa, and the NFAC. These groups have Satanic roots, and I won’t apologize for saying so. BLM is Marxist and their leaders are engaging in new age rituals, such as chanting the names of deceased people (#SayHisName “George Floyd” and #SayHerName “Breonna Taylor”), to receive power from them. Antifa is purely bent on destruction and disorder, which the Bible condemns. And NFAC leader Jay Johnson is a new ager, looking to books such as the Book of Enoch for power. None of these things espouses virtue.

Advocates of civil intervention don’t have the answers either. The government can’t save the world by prolonging life with masks and social distancing, and providing prosperity through endless stimulus and unemployment checks. Lawmakers can’t make rioters and looters conform and they can’t reform the police through funding or defunding.

As a Christ-follower, I have examined each of these alternatives and more, trying to make sense of how to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a way that effectively addresses the problems we face. Each of them has come up woefully short.

I think we need to start with a humble acknowledgement that, as the Church, we have not done what we should, that our ancestors have not done what they should, and that we need to repent right now, where we are. The church has abdicated its rightful place in the community as a restrainer of evil. This isn’t new — it’s been going on for centuries. In America’s history, there were anti-Biblical principles ingrained in the founders, and thus the society. For example, our founding fathers knew slavery and prejudice were wrong, yet they allowed it to be integral to the fabric of our nation. Pastors throughout the history of our free republic have allowed and at times encouraged slavery and segregation. They have caved in to a perceived need to foster economic security, rather than standing against the evils of such practices.

While I do not agree with Critical Theory, including Critical Race Theory, I do believe racism is a problem in our culture. If I compared my experience of America with that of a black person who grew up in the West End of Louisville, which is the primarily black area of town, I doubt we would agree on our assessment of this country. Likewise, I doubt that either of us would agree on this same assessment with someone who immigrated from Africa. Perspective is key. Racism is a problem, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the ONLY solution. According to the Bible, we are not to be divided by “race,” as that is a man-made construct.

“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”

1 John 4:21-20

According to this passage, one simply cannot be both racist and a Christian. One may have false conceptions and cultural biases, and that is often not good, but racism is hate-filled, and therefore not an option compatible with salvation.

Arrogance and grandiosity also are not compatible with Christian testimony. Recently John Piper was blasted by many evangelical leaders for his recent article in which he condemned President Trump’s character and posited that Christians should consider not voting for him. It has baffled me continually that Christians have so vehemently defended and supported the president, even holding him up as our only hope.

Jesus is our only hope and the Gospel is the only method. I’m not saying Christians shouldn’t be involved in the political process or in efforts to reform our nation; I believe we should. However, God often works in ways incompatible with our experience or expectation. Today I see many evangelicals looking for pragmatic solutions, such as voting policy over character, or even justifying clear anti-biblical behavior such as reviling and boasting, in their quest to solve the deep-rooted problems of our day. And while pragmatism is a good strategy in poker, the “game of life” has eternal consequences, and thus requires a different approach.

“And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.”

2 Corinthians 11:12-15 ESV

I believe that the political “right” and the “left” are ultimately two wings of the same bird. We must remember that our enemy, the devil, masquerades as an angel of light. He is the great deceiver (Revelation 12:9) and he holds the power of the kingdoms of the world (Matthew 4:9; Luke 4:6; John 12:31; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 5:19). This power is his to give, and though the enemy has no power except that which God grants (Job 1, Job 2, Luke 22:31-32) and no ruler as authority unless the Lord allows it (John 19:11), Satan has a strong hand in world affairs. That he uses that hand like a card deck should come as no surprise.

“For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”

Matthew 24:24 ESV

In the last days, Christians will be swayed by false messiahs. Whether we are there yet remains to be seen, but it seems evident that the last days are, at minimum, fast approaching. There is much deception. The art of deception is that it’s convincing. This last-days deception will be so confusing that even the elect may be led astray. What a sobering thought! Therefore we need to be alert, on guard, wise, discerning, and steadfast.

We need to know the Word of God so well that we will not be enamored by anyone, that we will not share with anyone the allegiance that belongs to God alone, that we will not fall away from the faith because we have found someone who offers a humanistic solution.

Some say this election will determine whether or not the soul of America remains or dies. I have news for you: America does not have a soul, but Americans do. Most Americans have not given proper care to their souls, even and especially within the Church. Most Americans are more concerned about the economy and their own comfort and convenience than they are about the state of their souls. Metaphorically speaking, America’s soul is already lost; if that wasn’t the case, we would have better candidates for political office. We would have statesmen. We would have candidates who cared about the unborn and the immigrant. We would have candidates who could be compassionate and controlled, yet unyielding regarding matters of deep conviction. We would have candidates who acknowledge the need to combat racism without giving in to domestic terrorists or dishonoring police. We would have candidates who practice and lead us to repentance rather than making arrogant claims and slanderous accusations on social media. Our candidates don’t shape the culture; they reflect it — this is why I believe America’s “soul” is already lost, and that it would take a miracle to reclaim it.

Like Piper, I will not be voting for either mainstream candidate. While many would say that I should not “throw away” my vote and that I should vote policy, I disagree. I am not asking you to vote as I do, but I am asking you to prayerfully consider your perspective. God is not a pragmatist; neither should His followers be. While I will vote my conscience, I also will leave the results in His hands, and I will not put too much hope in the political process. Why not? Because there’s only ONE who truly holds the trump card, and He has the final say. My trust is in Him and Him alone, my allegiance is primarily to a heavenly kingdom, and my eternity is secure. Ultimately, we can make plans, but the Lord’s will prevails.

Cure for The Fear Pandemic

By Heather Walton

About 20 years ago, shortly after I became a Christian, I was participating in some job training. One day we took a lunch break at a local outdoor food court. As we ate, a bee took an interest in my food and wouldn’t leave me alone. I was terrified of insects, especially the stinging type, so I began panicking like a 3-year-old. One of my fellow trainees, a middle-aged Jewish woman, looked at me pointedly and said, “You know, I’m really surprised that someone with your great faith would be so scared of a little bee.”

At that moment, I was stung with such conviction that I determined that I would no longer fear insects, and to this day, I have succeeded. My fear had ruined my ability to enjoy lunch, but more than that, it had marred my testimony to an unbelieving friend.

A pastor told a story of a family taking a car trip in which a bee decided to ride along. One of the children was shrieking in terror, when his father decided to intervene. The father caught the bee in his hand, took the sting, and then let the bee continue to fly around the car. He assured his child that there was nothing more to fear, since he had already taken the stinger. The pastor likened this father to our Lord, who took the sting of death for those who trust in Him, that we might not fear the sting of death.

How many of us are doing just that, though? We are living in fear of so many things today:

  • a microscopic virus that could make us sick and has less than 1% chance of killing us
  • violent crime
  • losing our livelihood
  • losing our savings
  • being shamed for wearing/not wearing a mask
  • losing our civil liberties
  • who will win the election
  • being forced to take a vaccine
  • what the next big development of 2020 will be

Add to the list any personal fears we each carry, and it can be really overwhelming.

I’ve been considering a few questions lately:

What’s more important — surviving or living?

First, what’s more important — surviving or living? If I have to live in a bubble in order to stay alive, is that really living? If I have to fear every little thing when I walk out of my house and every little thing that comes into my house, is that really living? If I am missing out on relationships, is that really living? Would I rather live long or would I rather live well?

I’ve also pondered why this particular illness is the ONE that has us all paralyzed and isolated. We’ve never done anything like this before, as far as shutting down so systematically and for so long. Other illnesses and activities have killed far more people, but went virtually unnoticed. What’s the difference?

Part of the problem today, I think, is that we are so entitled as Americans. We believe that we simply should live to be very old and that we should have our needs provided for us. We expect life to be safe and sterile, and current events don’t fit our expectations.

I look at America today and, technological advances aside, I doubt our ancestors would recognize us. Think about it: People boarded ships, risking illness, starvation, and death, to come to America. Pioneers trekked across the country on foot and in wagons, risking life and limb, to make a better life for themselves and their posterity. America has been known for its independent spirit. Americans have historically been leaders who took risks to advance and rise above circumstances. Yet, here we are, allowing our country to be brought to a screeching halt by a microscopic organism that is not nearly as likely to affect us as the dangers our patriot predecessors faced.

At the turn of the 20th century, the average life expectancy was mid-forties, meaning I personally probably would have gone onto glory by my age if I had lived during that time. Today, we expect — even demand — to live twice that long. The average coronavirus death happens to those over the average life expectancy, and though every death is sad, it seems presumptuous for us to expect to cheat death. With the exception of two people in history (Enoch and Elijah), every single person has died or will die, barring the rapture. God has determined every one of our days before even one of them came to be, so for us to think we can come up with a humanistic solution to the problem of death is utterly prideful and foolish.

We are creating a generation of germaphobes and hypochondriacs. We need to remember that we shouldn’t fear death so much as we should fear and revere the One who determines how we spend eternity.

Another area of fear relates to our liberty. There are people threatening America’s freedoms, people who violate the Constitution in the name of peace and safety and people who push a Marxist agenda. Many of us know we need to stand against this, yet we are afraid to do so. We fear legal penalties, social stigma, family safety, and more. We would do well to look at the example of our nation’s founders. They put it all on the line for their families and their descendants. They risked all of this for us, people who were not yet born, but would benefit from their willingness to sacrifice. How would they feel, knowing we have taken this freedom so for granted that we don’t mind giving it up?

Let’s take it a step further: How must God feel toward us, knowing that He created our bodies to be resilient and our brains to be wise, yet we are so fearful? How must He feel, knowing that He sent His precious Son to die for us, that we may have the abundant, eternal life, yet we are so caught up in the physical existence? How must he feel, knowing that He died to set us free, never again to be enslaved, yet we willingly submit ourselves to multiple yokes of slavery? How must He feel, seeing us shaking our fists, kicking our legs, writhing in anger and fear, and demanding long life, prosperity, and security, when He has all of those things laid up for us, just not in the form we demand?

There are at least 100 verses that tell us not to fear. Why?

  1. God is on His throne.
  2. He is never taken by surprise.
  3. He has promised never to leave or forsake us.
  4. He has our best interest in mind.
  5. He takes care of the lilies and the birds, and will certainly take care of us.
  6. He loves us.
  7. He is our father and we are His children.
  8. He determined our times and places, and knew all of our days before even one came to be.
  9. He gave us a spirit of power and a sound mind.
  10. He has promised us the abundant life.
  11. Our eternal life is secure if we trust in Him.
  12. He delights to take care of us.
  13. He will provide for us in the midst of our enemies.
  14. He will not allow evil to triumph.
  15. Nothing can separate us from His love.
  16. He is the One with the power over life and death.
  17. Greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world.
  18. He will uphold us with His righteous right hand.
  19. He has already told us how it ends. Spoiler: He wins and we get the spoils.
  20. He has prepared a place for us.
  21. We are already seated with Him in heaven.
  22. He has freed us from slavery.
  23. He has taken away the sting of death.
  24. He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear.
  25. He is in control!

I could go on forever …

If you’re a Christ follower and you’re fearful or anxious, this is understandable, especially given the uncertainty we currently face, yet the Lord has given us the remedy:

… do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7 ESV

This is the believer’s prescription for peace. It’s not necessarily easy, but it is attainable.

If you don’t yet know the Lord, then no wonder you are anxious or concerned; not only is this life precarious, but your eternity is unsettled. I have good news: That can change today!

Simply acknowledge that you are a sinner, meaning you agree with God that you’ve done bad things, and that you have offended Him with those actions. Because of this, you don’t deserve to spend eternity in His presence. However, God sent His Son, Jesus, to live as a man, to identify with our weaknesses, to live a perfect life, and to die an atoning death, not for His own sins, because He was sinless, but for our sins. Accept that payment for your sins and transfer your allegiance from this world and your flesh to Him. Commit to allowing Him to be in charge of your life from here on out. Confess Him as your Lord, knowing that He died for your sins and rose from the dead, confirming that He is God and that He has authority to forgive sins and power to give you eternal life. When you do, He will save you and begin the process of sanctifying you, which means making you a more Christlike person. Your eternity will be secure, and you will be reconciled to Him. This will give you peace, joy, and comfort, no matter what circumstances come your way. Out of response for what He has done, get plugged into a local congregation, get baptized, read the Bible, pray, and serve others, all in order to know Him better and to glorify God to others, all because you’re grateful for His free gift. We can’t earn any of this; we simply accept it and it’s ours.

A right relationship with God, one in which we believe His promises are true and that He has our best interest in mind, is the cure for the fear pandemic.

Are We in the End Times? (Part 2)

By Heather Walton

This is the second article in a series about the End Times. I highly recommend reading this article first.

I enjoy studying prophesy because I love to see God’s plan unfold, and it’s exciting to think that Jesus Christ could come for the church in my lifetime, that I may not actually have to die in order to go to heaven. To think the God may have chosen me to live in this particular time in history is thrilling. In Acts 17:26, we learn that God determines when and where each of us fits into His eternal tapestry. I trust that He has placed me exactly in this time and place for a purpose, and I’ll consider it a bonus if I get to be one of the ones who gets to be taken to heaven while still alive.

Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 ESV

I have long wondered if I might be part of the generation that gets to be on the earth when the Rapture takes place, but recent world events have brought me to a greater degree of anticipation. Signs of the times have been appearing a long time, and we have been in the “last days,” since Jesus ascended into heaven. But I’m specifically referring to the very last days, the end times.

In Matthew 24, we are told that many people will be taken by surprise, simply living life, marrying, eating, drinking, working, going on with business as usual. And suddenly two people will be working together or lying down together and one will suddenly be gone. Jesus says that the hour he comes will be unexpected, but, like in the Jewish wedding custom, we should be able to tell when the time is getting close for the groom, Jesus, to come get His bride, the church.

Many people are looking hard for certain signs that will only be fully revealed after the rapture takes place, such as the identity of the antichrist or the mark of the beast. While there are some people and things that strongly appear to have the potential to fulfill these prophesies, I don’t believe we will be able to know for sure before the one who holds the man of lawlessness back, the Holy Spirit, is taken out of the world via the church’s disappearance from the earth in the rapture (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7).

The spirit of the antichrist has been at work since the Garden of Eden, when Satan said to Eve, “Did God really say that you can’t eat from any tree in the garden” (Genesis 3:1)? There are some noteworthy elements of this question. First, he got her to question God. Second, he subtly twisted God’s words, so that there was an element of truth, yet it was mixed with a lie. A truth mixed with a lie is a lie, because partial truth is no truth at all. Third, he took his question to Eve, rather than Adam, probably in part because she hadn’t heard directly from God; this was a way to get her to question God, as well as her husband. Fourth, this question was designed to get Eve to doubt God’s goodness, and to make her feel oppressed.

Satan followed up with, “He knows if you eat of it, you won’t surely die, but you will become like Him, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4). In other words, Eve, honey, He’s holding out on you. He’s oppressing you. In fact, he’s lying to you. He wants to keep all the power for Himself. But you deserve better, don’t you? You know, I have a solution: if you eat this fruit, you won’t die; on the contrary, you’ll be like God, and you can get out from under His oppressive yoke and get what’s due you. Doesn’t that sound good? Come on, darling, just one bite and you can be your own god.

He appealed to her emotions, he lied to her, and he created discontent in her, in order to compel her to action. He created a false gospel that we see alive and well today; he tempted her to believe that she could solve her own problems, in her own power, that she didn’t need God, and that she would not only escape the consequences God had laid out, but would instead be rewarded for going against God’s design. Not all who buy into these humanistic lies are atheists, but they operate in various degrees of functional atheism, depending on human solutions and achievements to solve the world’s problems. This, I believe, is the spirit of the antichrist that is in the world.

The mark of the beast is symbolized by the number 666 (Revelation 13:18). Since perfection in Scripture is symbolized by the number seven, six falls just short of that. Notice that Satan’s lies in the garden were close to the truth, but had a subtle difference, one you would have to be very attentive to notice. The devil is clever, “masquerading as an angel of light” (2 Thessalonians 11:14), and his tactics have an appearance of godliness, yet deny its power (2 Timothy 3:5). The doctrine of humanism fits this description well.

While humanism fits the principles of the spirit of the antichrist and the mark of the beast, I also believe there will be a literal man who culminates history by embodying the spirit of the antichrist, being possessed by Satan himself (Daniel 7:25; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; 1 John 2:18). I also believe that there will be a literal mark of the beast, which people will be required to have in order to buy and sell (Revelation 13:16-18; Revelation 19:20). I believe the antichrist is alive today and ready to step onto the world stage, and the technology to implement the mark of the beast is in development. I don’t know exactly who the antichrist is, or what the mark will be, but I can see several players emerging and multiple technological possibilities.

The books of Daniel and Revelation (Daniel 7:24; Revelation 13:1-18) tell us of 10 kingdoms, with 3 dominant kingdoms, and 1 leader emerging. People have long thought these 10 kingdoms are 10 countries, but I would like to propose a different possibility. I believe these 10 kingdoms may be 10 global organizations, committed to bringing about a unified governing body that will solve the world’s problems. There are multiple global organizations working toward a common goal of ushering in world peace, ending hunger and poverty, bringing about health reforms, lowering the population, creating imposed equality, reversing climate change, and creating a united human community. While these may sound like excellent goals, they propose humanistic means to meet humanistic ends.

The United Nations’ 2030 sustainable development goals, the pope’s Human Fraternity initiative, the World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset,” the World Health Organization’s Constitution, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s core beliefs, Babylon Health’s “accessible and affordable health care,” the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, the World Bank, the Open Society Foundation and the World Trade Organization are among the global players with a humanistic agenda. Many, if not all, see needs for global unity and collaboration in order to usher in an era of peace, equity, and health for all people.

The current worldwide health crisis provides an opportunity to advance the agenda of these and other likeminded organizations. The World Economic Forum published an article this week that detailed how the COVID-19 crisis can facilitate a “global reset.”

“We set up a new world order after World War II. We’re now in a different world than we were then. We need to ask, what can we be doing differently? The World Economic Forum has a big responsibility in that as well – to be pushing the reset button and looking at how to create well-being for people and for the Earth.”

Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director of Greenpeace International https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/covid19-great-reset-gita-gopinath-jennifer-morgan-sharan-burrow-climate/

The global health situation has not actually changed the world, but has revealed what was already going on behind the scenes. Many refuse to see what’s taking place, or they see these initiatives as good. Again, there is an appearance of godliness. The problem is that humanistic solutions provide a false gospel, one that says we can save ourselves. They don’t require that we denounce faith in the god of our choice, even the true God, as long as that faith leaves room for us to also bow down to the gods of human achievement, personal entitlement, and political correctness, to name a few. The problem is that God refuses to share His glory with another. He is a jealous God, requiring our complete allegiance. Just as a loving parent doesn’t consider partial obedience to be true obedience, neither does our Creator consider partial allegiance to be acceptable worship.

Jesus said we are either for Him or against Him (Matthew 12:30). Those who are with Him, who truly follow Him, will spend eternity with Him, but those who deny Him or are lukewarm in their devotion will spend eternity separated from Him (Matthew 7:21; Matthew 10:33; John 3:16-18; Revelation 3:14-22). In light of this, we should examine ourselves. The time is short. Even if the rapture doesn’t take place anytime soon, though I believe it will, any of us could die at any time. That’s why those of us who know the Lord need to be intentional and passionate about sharing the Gospel and discipling others (Matthew 28:16-20; Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5) and who those who don’t yet know Him need to confess their sin, turn from their wicked ways (even though they may seem like “good” people), confess Jesus as Lord, and allow Him to guide their thoughts and decisions from now on (Acts 2:38; Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Acts 16:31; Titus 3:5; Romans 3:23; Romans 10:9-10).

Whether you’re reading this before or after the rapture of the church, it’s important to recognize that humanism doesn’t solve our problems because we don’t have the control we think we do. If there’s anything these times should teach us, it’s that we are not as powerful as we think we are. The only wise way to deal with this truth is to humbly accept it, and then to accept the grace God freely gives, to worship Him, and to serve others for their good and His glory.

The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.

Revelation 22:17 ESV

Is Gov. Beshear violating the Constitution?

By Heather Walton

Sadly, though I’ve lived here for most of my life, I hadn’t read Kentucky’s Constitution until this week. I suspect I wasn’t alone when it comes to constitutional illiteracy, but I have begun to be enlightened. I would encourage everyone to become familiar with their state constitution, and with the U.S. Constitution, because these are the highest laws of our land, and when our governing officials break the laws that give them their authority, we should consider whether it’s wise to submit.

While I’m not a constitutional law expert, an ordinary citizen should be able to analyze officials’ actions in light of national and state foundational documents. Therefore, I’ve evaluated recent executive orders by Gov. Andy Beshear in light of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, as well as Kentucky Revised Statute 39A, which gives him the authority to declare a state of emergency and outlines his functions.

According to Ky. Rev. Stat. § 39A.090, “The Governor may make, amend, and rescind any executive orders as deemed necessary to carry out the provisions of KRS Chapters 39A to 39F.” I do not think this gives the state’s chief executive carte blanche. Ky. Rev. Stat. § 39A.100 states, “Except as prohibited by this section or other law, to perform and exercise other functions, powers, and duties deemed necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population.” Since the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the highest law of our Commonwealth, it serves as the highest law in our state, and is in keeping with and subordinate to the United States Constitution.

Section 1 of Kentucky’s Constitution guarantees rights of life, liberty, worship, pursuit of safety and happiness, free speech, acquiring and protecting property, peaceable assembly, redress of grievances, bearing arms. All men are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned:

First: The right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties. The Governor’s edicts have kept and continue to keep many from being able to work, and thereby enjoying their lives and liberties. We do not have the freedom to live our lives and to practice liberty of movement or fulfillment of our God-given calling to provide for our families, move about freely, attend church, sing and participate in sacraments, decide how many people to have in our homes, go places without a mask or temperature check, or keep our associations with others private. At first, these precautions seemed necessary, but they still would have violated the Constitution; now that the curve has been flattened, our rights certainly should be returned to us.

Second: The right of worshipping Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences. We have not been able to worship according to the dictates of our consciences. While I’m glad we have been able to use online worship services, we have not been able to meet, and now that we are, we still are not able to do so according to our consciences. We are told not to get too close to one another, not to sing corporately, and not to participate in Sacraments. These things go against Scripture. If a person is sick, he should stay home from church, but that’s common sense and should be exercised at all times, but if he is well, there is not a substantial reason to comply. (He also should theoretically be able to be anointed and prayed over by the elders of the church.) If a person is at-risk, she also should consider staying home, but also should have the freedom to make that choice. For those who are healthy, there is no compelling reason to celebrate faith differently than at any other time.

Third: The right of seeking and pursuing their safety and happiness. This is an individual right of each Kentuckian to seek and pursue safety and happiness, not a mandate for the government to impose corporate safety on all citizenry. Our governor and other authorities have decided to potentially compromise financial, religious, and informational safety for supposed health safety. And many have been forced to trade happiness for a supposed safety.

Fourth: The right of freely communicating their thoughts and opinions. While I can’t specifically fault the government for this, I see the media inhibiting and overruling the right to free speech and communication.

Fifth: The right of acquiring and protecting property. How can people acquire and protect property when commerce is mostly shut down and nearly half of the state population is unemployed? Granted, many are receiving unemployment, but not all, and there will likely be a future price to pay for today’s temporary provision.

Sixth: The right of assembling together in a peaceable manner for their common good, and of applying to those invested with the power of government for redress of grievances or other proper purposes, by petition, address or remonstrance. People have been allowed to protest; yet they have been demonized for doing so. Have their petitions been acknowledged or addressed? It doesn’t appear so.

So far, we have only looked at Section 1. In Section 2, absolute and arbitrary power is denied.

Absolute and arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority. It seems to me that there has been much absolute and arbitrary power in the republic and in the commonwealth. Gov. Beshear made many executive orders which were presented as law and did so while the legislature was out of session. He was partially checked by the courts, but many of his edicts have been made without anyone being able to do anything about it. Not only has he exercised absolute power, but his decisions have appeared arbitrary. A large store could be open and lots of people could be inside, while a small business had to be closed. People couldn’t get cancer screenings and “elective” surgeries, but they could get an abortion. People could pack the hardware store or go to a liquor store, but could not go to church. Kids can now participate in contact sports, but nobody can go to a public pool.

Section 15 says that the General Assembly is the only one with the right to suspend laws, but it seems that the governor has done so time after time during this “crisis.”

Section 26 sums it all up well by stating, To guard against transgression of the high powers which we have delegated, We Declare that every thing in this Bill of Rights is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate; and all laws contrary thereto, or contrary to this Constitution, shall be void. I understand this to mean that several of Gov. Beshear’s executive orders are essentially void.

This brings me to my last point, in Section 4, which states that power is inherent in the people. Right to alter, reform, or abolish government. All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their peace, safety, happiness and the protection of property. For the advancement of these ends, they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish their government in such manner as they may deem proper.

We have a governor whom I believe to be well-intentioned, yet in many ways wrong. He may be a nice guy, but nice is not a leadership qualification. Gov. Beshear has, in the name of saving “the most vulnerable,” neglected many vulnerable taxpayers, small business owners, people with health conditions other than COVID-19, school children, unborn children, and newly born children. Our Constitution gives us the right to alter, reform, or abolish our government as we deem proper. Is it time to exercise this right? We have petitioned Gov. Beshear. He has refused to listen, and in many cases, even to acknowledge our grievances; perhaps it is time we consider requiring him to step down from leadership, and restructure the government to provide greater checks and balances, that we may not be subject to absolute and arbitrary leadership from any future governor.

Author’s Note: I am not condoning violence in any way. Those who have threatened the Governor do not represent the best interests of Kentuckians, and should be held accountable for their actions.