Saturday, May 30, 2009

Coming Soon...

I've begun thinking about the next installment in the Spiritual Warfare series. I think that it is going to be about grace. The trick is going to be figuring out how to unravel this very difficult concept. It is more abstract than the concepts that I have tackled so far and is something that I have been pondering for almost 20 years.

Yesterday I managed to write my first query letter and submit my first article for publication. I hope that I'll get a positive response to it. I should know something by the end of June.

I hope to head over to the garden for a little while this afternoon. I have some plants to set out and I will probably also tie up the tomatoes again. I don't think that I'll do any heavy work today because I am playing guitar tomorrow. I'm visiting a friend's church in the Charlotte area.

Now I am going to take a little time and practice guitar and figure out what I will be singing for tomorrow. I hope that you are all enjoying this beautiful Saturday!

Top Ten Things You Don't Want Jesus To Say To You

Here are 10 things you never want to hear Jesus say to you:

10.) Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

9.) I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.

8.) Get behind me, satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.

7.) Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in Heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!'

6.) You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

5.) You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town. And so upon you will come all the righteous blood that has been shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Berekiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. I tell you the truth, all this will come upon this generation. You who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.

4.) You wicked, lazy servant! Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

3.) Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

2.) I tell you the truth, I don't know you.

1.) Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.

These are some of the scariest verses in the Bible, and every one of these words was spoken by Jesus Himself. Do not deceive yourself by picking only the parts of the Bible that you like and that make you feel safe and happy. Partial truth isn't truth. It is the language of hell; for satan rarely ever tells a lie that doesn't contain some truth.

The Scriptures are truth, but they must be used correctly. The devil tried to convince Jesus to jump from the roof of the temple, using Psalm 91:11-12 to justify it, but because Jesus knew all of God's Word He was able to refute the devil's lie. Scripture interprets Scripture.

Do these verses sound like "gentle Jesus, meek and mild?" Of course not! We have tried to jam Jesus into a little box that treats Him like a glorified wimp. Nothing could be further from the truth as the aforementioned verses illustrate. Is Jesus loving? Sure He is! Nobody loves more passionately and deeply than He does, but Jesus is also a warrior who will destroy all the works of the devil. He is the King of all creation who will judge the nations with a rod of iron! I don't want to be working against Him when He comes back!

Our lives are so full of sin. Even if we get rid of all of the ones that are obvious, there are still plenty left to debase us. We must humble ourselves and submit to His rule in our lives. We have to stop arguing with Him about the things that He declares to be sin. He is King! He gets to make the rules! And whether we agree with those rules or not, they are still the laws by which we will be judged one day. Please submit to Jesus and His Word. I don't want you to face the terror of hearing Him speak any of this top ten list to you.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Garden Pictures

Hello everyone. Well, I was able to upload my pictures over at Mom and Dad's house today, and I thought I'd share them with you. To start out I thought I'd show you a picture of the garden from about this time last year.

Jonathan's Garden 2008

Here is this year's version:

Jonathan's Garden 2009
OK. Not only is the picture larger, the garden is too. In the top picture you will notice that the garden stops at that persimmon tree. This year the garden has engulfed the tree. Also last year's garden ended about where that soaker hose is cutting across the picture horizontally about ½ the way up the picture. I figure that I have probably added about 50% more area this year.

Jonathan's Garden 2009
I have rearranged things this year some. The row to the far left is where my okra is planted. Next to the okra are my tomatoes and my sweet peppers. Next to the tomatoes are my fordhook lima beans. And next to the fordhooks are baby lima beans. I also will be planting some jalapeƱo peppers next to the baby limas and may plant some Irish potatoes in that same row. I also hope to plant some white sweet potatoes on the other side of the persimmon tree in that row.

The section with horizontal rows is arranged as follows: in the section nearest to the camera are my various squash plants. I think I have 9 summer squash and 3 zucchini plants. Next to the squash are my cucumbers. I have six more cucumber plants to put out. Next to the cucumbers I have 5 rows of green beans. Next to the green beans are one section of my onions. There are two different varieties in that section. I really can't remember what they were though. (I think I had some Cherry and some Texas Gold and one other variety, but I really can't remember.) Next to the onions are my green peas. And beyond the green peas are my cantaloupe and watermelon plants. After that is my second section of onions (a third variety), which adjoin my broccoli, and finally 5 rows of purplehull peas (crowder peas.)

Everything seems to be coming up nicely.

Here are green beans a week ago verses where they are today:

Green beansGreen bean rows







I have a squash bloom now!

Squash plant with bloom.
Onions last week:

OnionsOnions















And now:

Onions
And peas:

Green Peas, not to be confused with the wacky environmental group of a similar name.
Broccoli then and now:

broccoli 1broccoli2

















And Purplehulls...


purplehullspurplehulls2

The first picture doesn't show the plants that well, but it does show how much the garden expanded this year. It began on the other side of that tree.

And this is one of the bigger problems that I have to contend with - leaky hoses. The soakers do a pretty good job overall, but they tend to need a good bit of repair through the course of the season.

takin a leak

There are tomatoes coming on and blooms on lots of the plants. Everything is looking good. If it will stop raining for a couple of days I'll re-spray everything because it needs it again. There are some hungry pests out there. I also need to tie the tomatoes again and weed the peas and finish making the trellises. It's always something!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Might As Well...

Well, it is extremely late, but I still have the energy so I might as well give an update on the garden while I am writing.

Today saw me finishing up some of the work in my garden. I managed to finish weeding the broccoli, hoed in between the last two rows of onions, put out some soaker hoses, and applied an insecticide to the plants that the bugs have been so enthusiastically eating. I also tied the tomatoes for the first time.

Things are going well in the garden. The green beans all appear to be up. The purplehulls are about up, the baby limas are up, and the okra is poking its way through. The fordhooks haven't shown themselves yet, but I think that if I can get some irrigation to them that they will spring forth as well. I about lost my watermelon plants and a couple squash plants to thirst, but I think that I got to them in time.

The big challenge so far this year is trying to figure out how to water this large garden. I don't have nearly enough soaker hoses. At this point the budget for such things is tight, so my only option may be to move the hoses from day to day as things need to be watered. All in all I don't guess that would be so bad - just a little inconvenient.

Yesterday (Thursday) was a hard day in the garden. All of my onions needed weeding and I have a LOT of onions. First I needed to get the weeds out and then I needed to pull all of the dirt back away from the bulb of each onion so that only the roots were left in the ground. From all reports, this is the way that they like to grow. The only way to do them effectively was to either get down on my knees or to bend over and work on them. Some of the onions are really starting to come along. I am anticipating them to do so more readily now that they have gotten some fertilizer, water, and the other attention that they need.

I also drove all of the stakes for the tomatoes. It was a good shoulder workout!

Dad helped out by setting up trellises for my garden peas to run on. I really appreciated his help. We still need to do them for the purplehulls and the green beans. He also helped to get some of the soaker hoses put out, ran the hose from the wellhouse to the garden, and hooked everything up. He even patched a leak.

Speaking of leaks, one of the soakers that I put out today sprung a big one. Keeping them repaired is a constant process.

I believe that I should have some peas ready for picking soon, I have seen a couple small tomatoes on a few vines, and I noticed an itty-bitty head of broccoli forming in one of my plants.

Next week I need to finish tying the strings in the trellis for my peas, put up a trellis for my cucumbers, and finish my hoeing.

I took some pictures tonight of the garden and I'll try to post them here tomorrow. We'll have to see how it goes. I don't have that much memory on my computer, and I think that I took pretty high resolution photos. I may need to wait until I can download them at my parents' house. I should make it over there some time this weekend. I think that I got some interesting shots.

Hope you guys all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. In the midst of all of your recreation take the time to remember all of those who sacrificed their lives to protect our freedoms. God bless!

Lords and Ladies

If you would like a clear demonstration of where the policies of the Obama Administration and the Congress are taking our nation, you should read an article from the Associated Press about California. Here are some highlights interspersed with my running commentary (emphases mine):

The crisis is a sort of political comeuppance for Schwarzenegger, who took over a state with a projected $16 billion gap in 2003 and promised to end California's "crazy deficit spending." (I guess he didn't succeed.)

The gap has two primary causes: The state has been living beyond its means for years by spending generously on all sorts of programs that the voters, the politicians and the special interests wanted. (Hmmmm... where have I heard of this being done before? Oh yes, our Federal lawmakers have been doing this for the past 9 years, and from the looks of things they have finally figured out how to do it right!) And the recession has hammered California's economy....

...The governor's cutbacks could include ending the state's main welfare program for the poor, eliminating health coverage for about 1.5 million poor children, halting cash grants for about 77,000 college students, shortening the school year by seven days, (At least this one is likely to make someone happy and isn't likely to hurt the kids' education.) laying off thousands of state workers and teachers, slashing money for state parks and releasing thousands of prisoners before their sentences are finished. (Looks like the gravy train done left the station.) ...

...The drastic cuts that appear to lie ahead will, by accident, accomplish the stark reduction in state government that many Republicans have long advocated.

"We should have been limiting the growth of government for years," Villines said. (He's a Republican. Too bad they didn't do it. I wonder if anyone in Washington is taking notes? Not likely. Hey, isn't Nancy Pelosi from California?) ...

...A separate commission is expected to release a proposal to rework the state's tax structure, which is vulnerable to booms and busts in California's economy because it relies heavily on high-income earners. (But wait! I thought wealth redistribution was supposed to be a good thing. This must be a mistake! You mean the President was wrong about that too?) The state also has few limits on what state government can spend and a small rainy day fund that can easily be raided by the politicians. (You mean like Social Security?) ...

Let the hand wringing begin. And that is exactly where our nation is headed if the Federal Government doesn't reign its spending in HARD. You can't pass the largest stimulus bill the world has ever seen, add tons of pork to every bill, finance a war, and fly every senator, representative, staff member, and cabinet member everywhere they go and not see this happen on a national level. You want a warning? LOOK AT CALIFORNIA!!!! This is where we will be before the Obama administration has finished this term if something isn't done quickly to establish some restraint in our government.

Ask Zimbabwe, Argentina, and Brazil how much fun it is to face hyperinflation. Our nation could very well lose its influence in the world and its ability to project power if this is allowed to happen here. It scares me to think of what we may resort to as a nation to defend ourselves in that hour should it come.

The article also said that the state is approaching the Federal Government about a bailout. Great. Just what we need. (Crap, Nancy Pelosi IS from California. What are the chances she'll turn down the chance to throw some do re mi at her peeps?) And if one gets it, you can rest assured that every other state will have to line up for it. It won't matter anyway. All the states that try to exercise some fiscal restraint will likely be sucked down in the vortex created by the states that rush to grab the money first.

North Carolina is apparently in no better condition than California. We are about to close prisons, cut all state employees' salaries (except for our dear legislators and elected officials, bless their hearts), lay off teachers and a whole bunch of other stuff, and yet we have one of the higher tax rates in the nation. Ah, the utopia of the liberal agenda!

Am I the only one who is wondering where all the money is going? I mean we have a lottery that is apparently selling lots of tickets. (The powerball is up to 192 million dollars as of Wednesday night.) The roads aren't getting fixed. They've been bleeding the universities since Easley was governor. Where the crap is all the money going?! I think we need to get some IRS auditors in to audit the government. There's a hole in the boat somewhere.

I'm glad to hear that they have started investigating former governor, Mike Easley, for misappropriation of public money while in office and examining the audacious contract between his wife and my alma mater, NC State. Apparently they are paying her nearly $1,000,000 over the course of five years to arrange a few speakers to come and speak at the university. Bless her heart! I'd gladly do it for half that. Maybe even ¼ of that if I could telecommute. I'd be willing to bet she doesn't do $50,000 worth of work the entire five years. Well, the university need not send me any pleas for money while crap like this is going on.

I am so sick of people being payed far more than they or the job they are doing is worth because they are "connected." I am tired of the Mike Easleys and Nancy Pelosis of this world thinking that they deserve preferential treatment and perks on the public dollar when all they know how to do is serve themselves and run a nation or a state into the ground. I'm tired of CEOs making millions every year whose only skills are to take a viable, healthy company and bleed all of its assets off and know when to jump ship before the effects hit the balance sheet. This junk has to stop.

Our nation was never supposed to have an aristocracy. Where did we get all of these people who think that they are lords and ladies? I can assure you that not one of them works as hard as any of my grandparents did, and my grandparents probably never made as much in their lifetimes as these people make in a year - maybe even a month. I'm pretty sure that they aren't any smarter than my folks either. So why would these "aristos" be entitled to any more than my hard-working grandparents got?

And that is another thing. Why is it that when President Bush was in office his intelligence was constantly slandered, and yet when President Obama finds himself reversing what he promised in his campaign and doing and saying some of the exact same things that President Bush was doing that he is refreshingly intelligent? I am utterly sick of people who are not as smart as President Bush or Sarah Palin belittling their intelligence. Most of the people who are doing so are totally on board with all of the President's left wing policies and believe all of his, er, nuanced answers. How intelligent is that?

When this Administration and this Congress manage to put our nation in the situation in which California finds itself (for I have no hope that they will do otherwise) I am sure that there will be lots of blame casting between the Republicans and Democrats. I'm sure that this will all somehow become President George W. Bush's fault. But the bottom line is that it is "we the people's" fault because we failed to hold our elected officials, educators, and corporate leaders accountable for their malfeasance, self-serving attitudes, and incompetence. (I am not suggesting that all elected officials, educators and corporate leaders are guilty of these things. Certainly there are some who are doing a good job, but sadly the tide seems to be flowing hard against them.)

Regardless of what anyone thinks, all governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed. It would seem that as a people we have decided that it is OK to sell the freedoms and liberties and true prosperity that had been won and defended for generations, for a figurative bowl of stew - a little short term gain. Looks like there were lumps in the gravy.

I leave you with a selection from the Declaration of Independence:

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. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to 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. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. 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.

Look to your foundations, America. They are crumbling. Think on that this Memorial Day weekend, and remember the many people whose blood helped to establish and protect them. Don't let their sacrifices be squandered. They deserve more honor than that.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Choosing Your Ground

Part 2 In The Spiritual Warfare Series

Stirling CastleIt was a bad situation. His brother had parleyed an agreement that dictated the English surrender their garrison at Stirling Castle to them if they were not relieved by the English army by Midsummer's Day (June 24). Robert hadn't wanted to put his troops in a position where open battle against the English army was necessary. Slash and burn techniques and guerrilla warfare had proven the more effective strategy given the strengths and weaknesses of the Scottish and English armies. Yet what was done was done, and once again, as he had for the past 18 years, Robert was making the best of a bad situation.

That the English would come was without a doubt. Edward II had been humiliated by Robert and his men too many times for him to pass up a chance for one decisive victory to win back the lands that he had ineptly lost - lands that his father Edward Longshanks had so ably taken from the Scots. The setting was already chosen - Stirling Castle, and the time was relatively certain. He had just a few months to prepare for the coming battle.

The English would have heavy cavalry and archers. The Scots would have only light cavalry and a few archers. The English would likely have far better armor and would probably also outnumber the Scots heavily. It was unthinkable to attempt to fight the English in the open field. It would have been suicide. Their superior technology and numbers forbade it. So what could he do to mitigate the strengths of the English army and leverage the abilities of his own?

Schiltrom at the battle of FalkirkAt the Battle of Falkirk, William Wallace had demonstrated that it was possible to repulse heavy cavalry using a bristling formation of soldiers armed with long pikes. Unfortunately, the same battle demonstrated that these formations (schiltroms) were vulnerable to the attack of archers because they were not mobile.

Robert had developed a solution to this problem. He drilled his men, teaching them to be able to move and fight in perfect formation with the schiltroms. Now they were less vulnerable to archers. But that in itself would not be sufficient to give him victory against so large a force. He began to scout the land for a defensible position.

There was little doubt that Edward's army would follow the old Roman road to Stirling. It was the only way that would give his heavy cavalry firm enough ground to be able to operate. But, with the dense Tor Wood to either side of the road, it would be easy to force the English into a narrow formation that would negate their numerical superiority in battle. Robert set his men to the task of digging pits along either side of the road and hiding them under a thin layer of branches and earth. They also cut down trees to make easy passage through the woods impossible and blocked all paths. On the other side of Tor Wood the Bannock Burn flowed through a narrow, boggy floodplain, called the Carse, that created a natural funnel between Tor Wood and New Park - a heavily forested hunting preserve on the other side of the Carse. It was a perfect spot to pick a fight.

Robert the Bruce in battle against Henry de Bohun painting by Mark ChurmsHe didn't have to wait long. Edward arrived on the scene on June 23 and his cavalry made contact with Robert the Bruce's forces in a frontal assault that was easily repelled by the Scots. As expected, the English outnumbered Bruce's army nearly three to one, but Robert's preparations had borne fruit. Edward turned his forces off the Roman road and crossed the fords of Bannock Burn to camp on the Carse that first night. He had fallen into the Bruce's trap. The battle that followed the next day saw the English routed and Edward abandoning his army to flee for his life, leaving them to get home the best that they could. The victory was so decisive that Scottish independence from England was only a matter of time. Edward never ventured into Scotland again.

The victory that day belonged to the Scots because they picked their battleground wisely and forced their enemy to engage them on their terms. Had Edward been wise enough to recognize the trap that he was walking into, he may have refused to engage the Scots until he had a plan to counter their positional advantage.

The lesson that Robert the Bruce taught to Edward that day is one that we must learn if we are to be successful in our spiritual campaigns. A wise commander chooses his ground carefully and refuses to engage his enemy on a battlefield that does not play to the strengths of his force. How well we do this will determine our success or failure in spiritual warfare.

There is only one battlefield that the saints of the Lord should battle on - the battlefield of truth1. All other battlefields belong to the enemy. The battlefield of truth is defined by the Word of God. The enemy will do everything that he can to entice us to fight on his terms and on his battlefield. But we must not do this! We can rest assured that it is a trap every time.

Let's return to a story that most folks are very familiar with:

Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground."

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it — I give every green plant for food." And it was so. Genesis 1:26-30

Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. And the LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground — trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Genesis 2:8-9

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." Genesis 2:15-17

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'"

"You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Genesis 3:1-7

This story is a perfect example of the devil's tactic. God gave Adam and Eve a specific command, "you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil," and a specific consequence for disobeying that command, "for when you eat of it you will surely die." This was the truth. As long as they believed and acted on the reliability of God's truth they would be fine.

But then the devil showed up. And the serpent immediately began to question what God had said. He probed the defenses to see how firmly Eve knew the truth. He began very broadly, asking, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?"

Eve's answer was sound. She explained that they could eat from any tree but the one, and she even went further, saying that they couldn't even TOUCH it or they would die. It sounds good, right? She was making sure that she didn't eat any of that fruit, because if she didn't even touch the tree she couldn't eat the fruit, right?

Perhaps God had given them that additional instruction, but we have no record of it if He did. Is it possible that this deviation from the truth that was recorded provided the opening that the devil was looking for? Immediately upon hearing her reply the devil lied to her saying, "You will not surely die" and continued to convince her that she needed to eat that fruit to be like God.

At a recent spiritual warfare conference I attended, Steve Thompson2 taught that the enemy always tries to convince us that we have to do something to become what we already are. How true that was in this case! Both Adam and Eve were the very image of God, and yet the devil tried to convince Eve that she had to do something else to become like God. Unfortunately for all of creation, she and Adam took the bait, trading their lives and their dominion of the earth for a lousy piece of fruit. The rest, as they say, is history.

The devil didn't make it clear what was at stake. In fact, he flatly denied the truth. I can imagine the old serpent handling the fruit, polishing the fruit, perhaps even tasting the fruit before Eve and demonstrating that it was indeed quite tasty and non-lethal. How different things would have been if Eve (or even Adam) had stuck to their guns and remained firmly planted on the truth. "God is my friend. He loves me, and if He told me that it would kill me then it will. I don't care how pretty it is. I don't care how tasty it is. God doesn't want me to die, and He knows what is best!"

However, that is not what happened, and because Adam and Eve allowed themselves to be persuaded to move away from the truth that God had revealed to them, the enemy was able to defeat them and take everything that was theirs. This story is our example of what happens when the devil is allowed to choose the battlefield and define the terms of the battle.

Fortunately, we also have an example in the Bible of how to keep the enemy fighting in the realm of truth. The story takes place right after Jesus' cousin, John, had baptized Him.

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."

(The devil tried the same line on Jesus that he did on Eve. 'If you are the Son of God, you have to prove it!' From the very start he tried to get Jesus to doubt that He was the Son of God.)

Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'[a]"

(Jesus set the battlefield and the terms right there: Man lives on every word that comes from the mouth of God. He gave the enemy notice that this was where they would fight. He wasn't going to listen to the devil, and He wasn't going to listen to His body. He was going to listen to every word that came from God's mouth.)

Then the devil took Him to the holy city and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If You are the Son of God," he said, "throw Yourself down. For it is written:

" 'He will command His angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'[b]"

(Impressive. The devil knows some scripture. He pretended to comply with the terms that Jesus set, but he didn't change his premise. He was still trying to get Jesus to question who He is, and he was still trying to dictate what Jesus would have to do to prove it.)

Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'[c]"

(Jesus wasn't fooled by the devil's use of scripture. He recognized that the enemy's tactic hadn't changed at all; he had just wrapped it in a nice religious package. Jesus' thorough knowledge of the scriptures exposed the sin in the devil's enticement. This attack shows us the importance of studying and understanding the scriptures thoroughly - a job that we will never complete in this lifetime.)

Denying satan by Carl BlochAgain, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give You," he said, "if You will bow down and worship me."

(The enemy is persistent, and in this temptation he finally got around to what he was after all along. Please notice that he never left his premise that Jesus really isn't the Son of God. Inherent in this promise was the denial that everything in all of creation already belonged to Jesus as the Son of God. The audacity is staggering.)

Jesus said to him, "Away from me, satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.'[d]"

(End of discussion. This was the final word. Jesus was never moving off of it.)

Then the devil left Him, and angels came and attended Him.

Matthew 4:1-11
That is how you beat the devil. You take your stand upon the truth with the help of the Holy Spirit, and you refuse to be moved. Every time he opens his mouth, every time he brings a temptation, every time he attacks you, you must respond with the truth of the Word of God. To be able to stand you must know the truth and you must believe the truth.

To know the truth you must know the Word of God. The Bible tells us that God's Word is truth. It tells us that we shall know the truth and the truth shall make us free. And we also have the important admonition of Paul to Timothy to, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth."

Be diligent! To be able to accurately handle the word of truth we must be diligent in our study of the scriptures. The children of Israel were encouraged:

These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

That is constant marination in the truth! If only we were so diligent to do so! But it is what we must do if we are to know the truth and to believe the truth.

Belief goes far deeper than mere mental assent to the veracity of the Scriptures. Belief begins to kick in when you are willing to stake your life on the truth of the word of God. I know no one who is walking in perfect belief, but this is an area where we must begin to grow!

The trials that we suffer are opportunities to transform our knowledge and our mental assent into true belief; for it is in these trials that we find the enemy's assault on the truth that we claim to believe. How do you respond when sickness comes? Depression? Trouble? Persecution? Poverty? Do you still believe the truth of the scriptures in these situations? Do you still fight against the devil with the Word of God when these situations come against you? How long are you willing to fight? Are you willing to lean on the Word alone instead of running to other supports?

I am not suggesting that you run out and handle poisonous snakes to prove the truth of Mark 16:18, but if you should find yourself bitten one day, will you trust that verse for your life? (You might want to refer to Jesus' response to the devil when he suggested that Jesus jump off of the temple if you are tempted to handle them just to prove it. Don't fall into the devil's trap!)

I am also not suggesting that you must fight alone. God gave us brothers and sisters to stand with us and to multiply our strength when we fight together. I had an experience leading up to my trip to Japan that demonstrates what I am saying very clearly.

All winter I was around many people who were very sick. I was in close contact with people who had sicknesses that lasted for weeks and weeks, yet I stayed healthy. Every time I would begin to feel a twinge of something starting to attack, I would declare that it wouldn't take residence in my body and that I was well. I would stand on Isaiah 53:5, Psalm 103:4 and 1 Peter 2:24, and I was victorious in that fight all winter.

However, three days before I was to leave for my mission trip to Japan, I began to exhibit the symptoms of a cold. I fought them all day with the Word of God and with my declarations. I declared that I did not receive it and that I was well, but as the day wore on it was clear that I was losing the fight. I called two friends who are powerful in faith and asked them to pray for me. They did, but the battle still wasn't won. I had not shaken it yet. So, when I went to church that night for worship practice I asked the band members to lay hands on me and pray. They did, and the sickness broke. I got continually better from that moment, and by the time I landed in Japan there was no more sign of any sickness.

I'll make one comment here regarding battle that I expect I'll come back to before everything is said and done. It is easier to keep the devil out than it is to get him out once he has established a foothold. That is why it is so important to not let him get even one inch of ground upon which he can stand. Call in every resource that is at your disposal to defeat the enemy before he can get established.

I have heard that people trained to spot counterfeit money don't study counterfeit bills - they study real money. They become so familiar with the inscriptions, weight, feel, and smell of real money that when someone tries to hand them something that is fake they know it immediately. Similarly, we have to become so familiar with the truth of the Word of God that we recognize his counterfeits the instant that he tries to pass one.

One of the disciplines that I have developed over the past 10 years or so is the reading of the entire Bible over the course of a year. I use the One Year Bible. I have found that it is a good format for me.

When I first began, my stated goal was not to understand everything that I read, it was merely to make sure that I got the entire Bible entered into my brain. That way, if I were ever without a Bible for some reason, the Holy Spirit would already have the resources stored away in my memory that He could draw back out. I figured anything that God wanted to highlight to me was an added benefit.

As I continued the tradition, I began to read with an eye toward various themes. One year I read, paying special attention to all of the passages that I saw about healing. Another year I read paying special attention to the way that God describes Himself in the Bible. It hasn't been a fast process, but it has been a thorough one.

I would recommend such a discipline to anyone. Over the years I would say that the greatest benefit that I have derived from it is the increased understanding of who God is and what He is like. The better I know who He really is, the better I recognize the lies and counterfeits that the devil tries to float past me.

As we diligently input God's Word into our hearts and minds we will become more and more like Jesus and instantly recognize any attempt of the enemy to take us away from the truth. As we let it begin to change us, we will find that we have greater and greater authority. Then we will find it easier and easier to dictate the battlefield and the terms to the devil. If we stay firmly planted on the battlefield of truth the enemy won't be able to stand before us. Learn this battlefield and refuse to be moved from it.





1I am reasonably sure that I got this concept from Francis Frangipane's book, The Three Battlegrounds. I am not positive because I read the book almost 20 years ago, and I cannot find my copy to confirm it. I remember hearing the phrase "fight from the realm of truth" somewhere, and I think it was from Francis. After 21 years of walking with the Lord it is hard to remember where I picked up my information.

2I was attending the MorningStar Ministries Spiritual Warfare Conference that ran from April 16-18, 2009 and Steve Thompson made this comment on Saturday morning, April 18.

Why?

I read an article today about the mission to the Hubble Telescope. It turns out that this is the last time that they plan to service it. They figure it will run for another 5-10 years and then they will put a rocket on it and fire it back into the earth's atmosphere where it will be destroyed and probably end up on the bottom of the ocean.

My question is why? Why would they destroy an expensive piece of equipment like that instead of continuing to repair it? I would be willing to bet that the answer lies in some NASA budget - that continuing to use it would prevent them from being able to pad their budgets to build a bigger, newer one - one that would have budget overruns and would cost billions of dollars before it is finally put in place.

But why do we have to be so wasteful? I really am tired of this disposable mentality that we have here. It is like a rock star smashing a guitar during a show. (I haven't liked Garth Brooks since I saw him do that in one of his shows. Not that I liked him that much to begin with, but I really was looking for a reason not to like him after that.)

That offends me. It reminds me of the passage in the Bible where the sheep of Israel were rebuked for selfishly muddying the waters and trampling the grass so that the other sheep couldn't drink or eat. Why do we produce junk that has to be constantly replaced? Why have we allowed companies to get away with planned obsolescence? It is wasteful, and it is greedy, and it annoys me.

Anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time would probably not call me an environmentalist. The truth is that I do care about the environment, but I am tired of hysterical people running around jousting windmills when there are real monsters in the land!

This planet was created to be the home for people, and people need certain things to live. One of those things is heat. It is impossible for us to live on this earth without producing so called "greenhouse gases." We can't eat, work, or survive without that outcome. And apparently God planned for it to be that way. Not since the fall of man have we been able to live without fire. That is one of the reasons that I think that this whole global warming thing is a bunch of baloney.

Yet there are plenty of problems in our environment that can be solved. How many environmental problems would be fixed by merely abandoning this disposable economy that we have and beginning to produce products of high enough quality to be passed to our children's children? I believe that it is time to start thinking about such things. Why don't we work to make companies clean up their waste instead of dumping it into our rivers? Why don't we work to help re-establish habitats so that threatened plant and animal species can recover? These things are so much simpler and far more effective that the other green nonsense that is going on now.

The Next Installment

I have basically finished the second article in the warfare series, but it needs a little polish still. I'm going to let it sit over night and try to clean it up in the morning. However, if you can't wait and want to see it now it is available at my blog Conspiracy of Kindness.

Tomorrow I hope to go and do some work in the garden to do some of the things that still have to be done in the wake of planting. I'll try to remember to take the camera.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dave Matthews - Bartender

I've always liked this song...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sorry...

It has been quite a day. Have you ever had one of those days when you felt like you were dragging an anchor behind you all day? I'm not talking about one of those cute little anchors that they use on a bass boat either. I mean one of those big mugs that they drop off the side of an aircraft carrier! I suppose that I have made some forward progress, which is saying something, but nothing like I would have liked to - nothing like I felt like I needed to either.

Thus, the promised installment to the warfare series is delayed. I'm sorry. I really am. (No comments from the peanut gallery!) I did make some progress on it tonight, but I still have several hours' worth of writing to do to get it finished.

Thank you for your patience, and thanks for reading! I'll try really hard to get it finished tomorrow.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

God Is So Good

The rain this weekend has been fantastic. I couldn't have asked for better than what we got today. I was a little concerned when yesterday's rain only lasted for a little while, but today's should have my garden in good shape. For the past two years God has been so faithful to send me rain when I need it! That means that I have the time to do some writing tomorrow while I am waiting for things to dry out again in the garden. I also hope and am praying that things will dry out sufficiently where my Grandmother lives so that I can help her get her garden in at the end of the week.

Today has been a wonderful day of rest. I have listened to several really good sermons today (including my pastor's, one by Bill , and one by Ray Hughes), taken a nap, eaten some pretty tasty food, enjoyed the fellowship of some friends and generally just enjoyed the quietness of this day.

Yesterday was pretty good too. I got everything on my extensive to do list done with the exception of one small item. Not bad. I love it when a day comes together like that.

Tomorrow I hope to finish the new installment in my warfare series. I'm about 1/3 of the way done with it and should have the time to do some good work tomorrow. Hopefully you will have it here by supper time! Hope you all have a good week!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Garden Planted... Mostly

So today was planting day in my garden. Yesterday I was able to get everything limed and tilled (having a tiller that attaches to the tractor is a serious blessing!) and so all was ready for me to start planting when I got to the garden today.

When I first got there storms were all around. I had passed through a couple significant rain showers on the way to the garden. I was praying back the rain as hard as I could! God heard my prayers and had mercy on me and allowed me to get everything planted before the rain came back. He is so good to me! (My poor Grandmother still hasn't been able to beat the rain and get her garden planted. Mom and Dad went to help her yesterday but it rained all night. I'm going to have to do some prayer for her! Maybe if we link up we can get it dried out enough!) It was a long day, and I'm quite tired now.

The garden this year is quite expanded from last year's model. I have probably added about 50% more area to it. That has allowed me to plant more stuff! I'm not sure how I am going to keep up with all of it and process it all when harvest time comes, but that is beside the point.

So this year I have broccoli, onions, green peas, purplehull peas, cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumbers, baby lima beans, fordhook lima beans, green beens, straight neck squash, zucchini, cilantro, basil, dill, okra, a least 10 varieties of tomatoes, sweet banana peppers, and bell peppers. I was thinking about getting some blackeye peas to plant, but I think I'm going to pass on it. Do I really want something else to have to pick and process? I also toyed with the idea of doing some potatoes or sweet potatoes, but I come back to the same thing. Is it really worth it? I don't know. The insanity may have not left me yet. If I can find some white sweet potatoes to start I may very well go over the edge. I am also planning to plant some corn a little later when my onions are closer to being done.

I need to do some fine weeding in the onions and also pull the dirt away from them so that they can grow. I figure that it will probably be a painful afternoon on my knees in and amongst the rocks. Not really looking forward to it to be honest. (I pulled a rock out today that was almost the size of a shoebox!) I also need to start getting trellises set up so that my peas, cucumbers and green beans have something to run on. Most everything needs fertilizer too. I need to stake the tomatoes, and I need to put the irrigation lines out. I'll probably need to buy more. We barely had enough last year. There will probably be repairs that need to be made too. I'm wondering if the sprinkler heads may not be more efficient this year than the soaker hoses. For the time involved and the expense it may well be cheaper. It may also make weeding easier.

Anyway it is late and I'm tired so I'm going to call it a night. I'll try to get you some pictures soon. It is starting to look pretty good!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sun And Red Dirt

Jonathan on his dad's John Deere tractorIt was another glorious day in the garden. I started out by putting out some pelletized lime - about 150 pounds of it. So that got the day started off with some exercise! Then I got the tractor out and tilled. It was great - it didn't break this time. It seems that we have finally gotten the problem with the drive shaft figured out.

I went through the garden and tilled, but the level was too high so I was only able to get a couple inches deep. While I was tilling the first pass, Dad asked me to get the really big rocks out of the garden before I tried to go any deeper. Picking up rocks! My FAVORITE... not.

So when I got done tilling I set about the task of getting the rocks out of the garden that grew there since last year when I hauled off three truck loads! Oh, you can say that rocks don't grow, but I know better.

There were also a couple low spots in the garden that I wanted to get raised up so that they were more level to make the tiller more effective. So I asked Dad to work on that while I got the rocks up. He hooked up the front-end loader and did a very fine job if I do say so myself. His job was a lot more fun than mine! After he finished that chore he took the tractor fixed it so that I could get the tiller a little lower and dig deeper. He finished that a little before I had finished picking up rocks. I figure I got over a ton of rocks for my wall today.

I doubt that anyone would say that I am fast at picking up rocks, but I'm pretty sure that I'm a lot faster than I was as a kid. Back then I pretty much stood there and whined about having to do that terrible job. Mom was usually the one out there with us when we were doing it, and since she hated doing it as much as we did I think that our approach generally got us out of having to do it very long. Today I managed to get the majority of the garden done in a couple hours.

Once I finished the rock collecting, (I really need to find a geologist who could tell me if there is anything valuable in these rocks that I am picking up. I have a feeling that there may be some hidden treasure there....) I got to do some more tractor driving, which brought the fun factor way back up again. I got the entire garden tilled. It looks pretty good.

I really wanted to get my stuff planted, but my afternoon in the hot sun (which was gratefully not nearly as hot as I would have expected for the middle of May) had me pretty worn out. I probably would have pushed on and at least gotten something planted, but the weatherman was pretty sure that I'd have a sunny day again tomorrow with showers in the evening. Perfect for planting! I love it when the Lord sends rain on my stuff just when I need it.

I think I have my layout for the garden pretty well figured out now. Dad and I surveyed it yesterday, and he had some really good suggestions that I plan to implement. So, that is the plan for tomorrow. I was starting to wonder if I was ever going to get it planted this year, but the Lord has finally given me a break from the rain. Soon as I have it in the ground He can bring it back!

I love the smell of freshly tilled dirt in the morning....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hoping The Rain Will Hold Off

Huzzah! If the Weather Channel is right, I may actually have another day to work in my garden this week. It is looking like Thursday should be clear and warm now. Was anyone else cold today? Wow. That caught me off guard.

I still plan to go to the garden tomorrow and see if it is dry enough to work. I hope it will be, but if not at least I should have one more day of sunshine to dry it out. That will also give me the time to get the last few plants that I need and allow me to soak my okra seed before I plant them.

Hopefully over the course of the next two days the majority of my garden will be put in. Then comes the weeding, hoeing, spraying, watering, staking and tying that are required to get ready for the harvest. Then the real work begins.

I hope my Grandmother will be able to get her garden in this week too. She has been fretting about it.

Today I worked on the article I mentioned yesterday and got about a third of the way done. It is funny; after 21 years of reading various books and listening to various people teach, I can't remember where I got some of the information that is in my head. Is it something that I learned directly from my own experience or the Lord's instruction, or is it something that I picked up from someone else? Oh well, I suppose I'll treat it as my own unless I come across the source of the information somewhere along the way, and then I'll go back and give credit where it is due.

I hope that the week is treating you well. I hope to write more tomorrow!

Monday, May 11, 2009

In Process...

Hello, friends. I've been working on the second installment in the warfare series that I have been writing that started with the post Total War the other day. The next part will have to do with picking your battlefield. I'm not going to give any spoilers just now, but this is a critical skill to develop in spiritual warfare - one that corresponds very well to many major historical battles such as the battle of Bannockburn and the battle of Agincourt.

The research for this one has slowed me down a little bit, but I hope to get this one written in the next couple of days. It has taken a lot of time to wade through the thousands of "hits" on keyword searches that I have done. Hopefully my day will facilitate me getting the rest of them done tomorrow so that I can begin writing.

I have also been trying to get into my garden to plant the remainder of my veggies for this year and have been thwarted repeatedly by the rain. I really had hoped to get in there today, but when I woke up at 4:30 this morning to the sound of a heavy rain shower, I knew that my plans had been changed. According to my weather report it is supposed to be fair tomorrow. If the Weather Channel is correct (and they rarely are on the local forecast) it should be nice through Wednesday and then the rain comes back through the rest of the week and into next week. I really hope that I can get my stuff done before it comes back. Hopefully it will be dry enough on Wednesday to work.

More to come soon!

I Miss Reagan

Want to hear a good speech? Want to hear about a great America? Want to have a dream that actually has a plan to go along with it - a plan that works? Watch this. President Obama, please take notes. This actually works - no theory, no pie in the sky. It was proven and ushered in the greatest period of prosperity that our nation has ever known.



It is amazing how far we have strayed in just a little over 20 years. I really miss Reagan.

Encouragement

After the sober word posted earlier, it only seemed appropriate to post this encouragement from God's Word.

- Jonathan

Psalm 27
Of David.

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

2 When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
when my enemies and my foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.

3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then will I be confident.

4 One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.

5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle
and set me high upon a rock.

6 Then my head will be exalted
above the enemies who surround me;
at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make music to the LORD.

7 Hear my voice when I call, O LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.

8 My heart says of you, "Seek his face!"
Your face, LORD, I will seek.

9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
O God my Savior.

10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.

11 Teach me your way, O LORD;
lead me in a straight path
because of my oppressors.

12 Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
for false witnesses rise up against me,
breathing out violence.

13 I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.

14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
 

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Interesting Day

Today has been an interesting day. I have spent some time working on projects that have been delayed for one reason or another (but mostly by procrastination) for weeks. I have completed some writing, and now I am trying to decide to do with the rest of my afternoon - not that there is that much left of it. The problem isn't with having something to do. It is more along the lines of which can of worms do I open next?

The temptation is certainly to open no cans, but sit on mine and watch a movie! But after my last post, I'm thinking that might not be the best use of my time. There are plenty of other things to write today. I have some topics in mind that will follow the post on Total War pretty well too. The question is do I want to plunge in that deeply this evening?

I could practice my guitar, and I could do some minor gardening - both of which need to be done. I'm leaning toward gardening first, getting cleaned up, and then seeing about the guitar. There you go. Problem solved. That is probably manageable and will leave me something concrete to work on next week - not that I need any help with that. There is always something to do.

Next week will hopefully involve major gardening if the weather will cooperate. I need to get my ground tilled, my plants set out and my seed in the ground. There is weeding/hoeing to be done, and I need to put up trellises for my peas to climb. Did I mention that there is always something to do? Any of the bored people out there want to tell me how they manage to have nothing to do? I'd be glad to share!

There have been interesting issues with the computer lately. The issue du jour is that I can't get into my email. At first I could see the email but couldn't open it. Now I can't even view the headers. I'm getting some sort of "unhandled error." It is the same problem that I had with it when I was in Japan.

I have written an article that I hope to get published soon. It is about fishing trips. I may publish it here until I can get a buyer. I'm exploring the world of freelance writing. There are many possible outlets for writing and many of them seem to pay pretty well. One of the things that I find most compelling about this possibility is that there are so many publications out there on so many different topics that I could concievably write about something different every day.

Yes, things are stirring here. I hope the change of the seasons is bringing about a good change for me too!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Tsunamis

Back around the time of the election I wrote a couple posts that were prophetic in nature. Some of the elements of those prophecies have come true and some have yet to come to pass, but based on the accuracy of the parts that have come true, I am convinced that the rest will eventually be manifested.

In that first post I wrote the following about prophecy:

I believe that God still speaks to His people. Down through the ages this communication has been called prophecy. And God often reveals his plans to His people through individuals called prophets. Many of you probably have real doubts about whether prophets even exist in the world today. I can assure you that they do. I have known quite a few and can testify that their words have proven true.

A group of prophets, that included one man that I know personally, accurately predicted (in 1999) the current war against radical Islam. (They also predicted that the war would involve China and that it could be averted by prayer. I am hoping that the China part was turned away.) Months ago another friend of mine predicted the stock market crash that we have been witnessing over the past weeks.

What is prophecy? Prophecy is merely accurately reporting what God says about a situation or a person. The real rub is in the "accurately" part. It is pretty serious business to claim to speak for the Almighty. However, it is clear through the Scriptures that God speaks to His people through prophets. It occurred in both the Old Testament and in the New: Jesus spoke to his disciples about the blessing of receiving prophets, Paul commented that he wished that all of the believers in Corinth would prophesy, we are even encouraged to ask for the gift of prophecy.


Modern prophecy is no substitute for the scriptures. It is by the Word of God that all prophecy is judged. Any prophecy that does not agree with the Bible is false. This premise is critical to grasp. This truth, however, does not change the fact that God also speaks to His people about the things that are going on in their lives beyond the written words of the Bible. He is eager to speak to those who are willing to pursue intimacy with Him.

On January 13, 2009 I believe that I had a conversation with God in my prayer time. In that conversation God spoke to me very clearly about judgments that are coming to our nation and about the church's lack of preparedness for what is coming. I have been pondering this message now for several months and feel that the time is right to share it. The message is alarming. There is a very real physical danger that we are facing. The events of this prophecy will be the most distressing that any of us who have only lived in the United States have ever seen.

The purpose of sharing this message is not to create fear though. I realize that such a statement seems rather counter to common sense. However, when there is danger coming, forewarned is forearmed. My prayer is that each person who reads this prophecy will become sober and vigilant and will begin to prepare in earnest for what is about to happen in our nation.

The best way to prepare is to get serious about knowing God. To that end I would recommend greatly reducing the amount of time spent on entertainment. 24 hours is such a short period of time. If eight hours are devoted to work, eight hours are devoted to sleep, three hours are devoted to meals, one hour is devoted to travel, and two hours are devoted to other necessary personal activities, each person only has about two hours' worth of time left for "leisure." A single 30-minute TV program that promotes the godless systems of our world uses ¼ of the time that is available to seek God. Most people watch far more TV than that.

How can we know God? One of the best ways to start is to begin practicing the disciplines that you have always heard about in church: daily Bible study, prayer (both corporate and individual), fasting, meditation on the scriptures, and scripture memorization. These things will not in themselves cause you to know God, but you won't know God without doing these things.

Quiet yourself and remove as many distractions as possible from your life. Part of the reason that we have so much trouble hearing God is that we have too much sensory input. We are so distracted we cannot be still enough to hear God. Get honest with God about the things that are going on in your life. Look at your life and confess every area of sin that you are aware of, and ask the Lord to help you to be free from these sins. Allow God to begin to speak to you about the areas of your life that the enemy has used to hold you back, and allow Him to begin to heal those areas. Most of all, don't give up. Stick to your pursuit of God like your life depends on it - it very well may.

Below is the text of the conversation between God and me from January 13, 2009. The text in bold font is what I believe the Lord was speaking to me and the normal font was what I said to Him.

My people are not ready. They have not been heeding the warnings. They need to dig down into Me. Be ready. The first waves will catch most of them by surprise. They will need for you and the others that I have prepared to show them where to go. They will need you to help them to get their feet back under them.

It is going to be a lot like the tsunamis that hit Asia a couple years ago. The judgments that are coming will come in just like that, but there will be multiple waves. If My people will respond properly when the first wave comes in many can be saved. Keep your head and direct people to safety.

(I keep seeing images of the tsunami. It will be destructive just like that. I sense that there is a military element to it, but I am not sure if it is terrorist or actual militaries.)

How long do we have?

Not enough time.

Can it be averted?

No.

How do I pray, Lord? What do I pray for?

Pray for their eyes to be opened.

Father God! Open their eyes! Help them to see the truth!

"As in the days of Noah..." life will be going on just as normal and suddenly calamity will come.

Open our eyes Lord! Open our ears that the alarm may register!

Your nation has grown complacent. They do not believe that they are vulnerable to attack, but attack is coming. Their sin has caused Me to remove My protection from them. How I would love to protect them, but they have refused.

You must begin to pray protection over those that you love. Be ready at a moment's notice to pray for your brothers and sisters around the country. For I will arrest you at different times to pray for them. Be ready even in the middle of the night.

Father, will You not help your prophets to warn the people? Will You not help them to uncover the enemy's schemes?

Son, I will tell the prophets, but those in authority won't listen. My message to the prophets will end up saving the lives of the elect.

Father, this is a fearful word.

Remember it is for good. This will end in the liberation of your nation. Your nation will be liberated from the bonds that the enemy has used to enslave it and to derail its destiny. I am rescuing Your nation through My love and mercy, but sin is costly. Its wages are death. They have sown wind, but they will reap the whirlwind.

How do I guard my heart, Lord? How do I prevent the despair and the sorrow from being too much?

You must press in to Me. You must give it to Me. You must come to Me for perspective. I promise that I will be here when you come. I promise that I will comfort you.

Defend my family, Lord. Defend my friends. Defend my brothers and sisters. Defend the helpless and the widows and the orphans. Defend the poor. Protect them from this wave. Let it wake them up. Let it drive them to action.
Later that night there was more:

Much of the damage intended against your nation can be mitigated, but it will not be averted. Even mitigated the damage will be severe.

Father, I pray that the damage done by the attacks will be minimal. Please spare us - especially in the first wave. Give people time to recognize that the prophetic words are true and give them the chance to repent and seek Your face.

There will be loss of life. The degree to which that happens will be determined largely by how effectively and diligently the intercessors stand in the gap.

God, help us to stand mightily.

Many of you will, son. Many will, but there will not be enough to avert the judgment. My people in America largely do not know how to seek My face. They have not been instructed. They have allowed themselves to be distracted by entertainment and by the worries and cares of life and by the desire for things. This initial shaking will wake many of them up from their slumber. Shake as many as you can before the time comes. Wake them up!

Father, anoint my words. Grant them the power to wake them up. Help them to understand the urgency of the hour. Help me to be a faithful watchman. Give me the courage to tell them the truth. Father, break the teeth of the enemy and smash his hands and fingers. Cause him to loose Your people. Force him to uncover their ears. Send Your angels forth to enforce this. Teach me how to pray. Teach me how to unleash Your wrath against the enemy. Teach me how to unlock the passion of the hearts of Your people. Call Your people to action. Uncover their ears so that they can hear the call of the trumpet. Break off of them the spirit of slumber - the spirit of slothfulness - and cause them to respond to the call.

With the inauguration of President Obama my protection will be lifted. It has remained because President Bush has loved Me and fears Me. You and the other intercessors will help to replace that covering, but it will not remain over the entire nation until the nation again returns to Me with a whole heart. The intercession will produce covering in different regions. Some will be as large as entire states and others will be as small as even individual households. Still, you can accomplish much through prayer and even more through prayers of agreement with other saints.

Father, I ask that prayer become a foundational pillar of our new vision at (my church). Please put in the people's heart a desire to pray. Please put a burden in their hearts to pray. Help us, Lord, to spare this county. Help us to join with the other believers around our county to spare us. Help us to desire intimacy with You and not just deliverance from the calamity that is all around us. Help us to seek Your face and the joy of Your presence and pleasure. Forgive me for not seeking this place more often. Captivate my heart - captivate the hearts of Your saints and show them that You are more precious and fascinating than anything that has held their attention before. Help us to connect to Your heart so deeply that we tremble from the joy and passion that we find there....

Who is like You, O God? There is none like You at all. You are glorious and beautiful beyond comprehension. Your love is amazing and overflows to Your creation. Who are we that You have loved us? You are merciful and gracious. Thank You for the treasures of Your mercy and grace.

This is the end of what I believe that I received from the Lord. A friend of mine had some specifics about where some of the attacks may come. This revelation was received on November 10, 2008.

You will see cities burning....

It will be a terrible time for Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Detroit, Minneapolis, Atlanta, Wyoming, and Raleigh. “They” will go after the capital cities in every state, trying to bring down the governments. Austin will be ready because of My prophets there (in TX). Alabama will be ready. Detroit will suffer greatly, as there are many poor people there....

It will not come severely in the first year, but it will crescendo toward 3 years from now. This process will take longer than you would like, but stay faithful. You will see the Great New Awakening that I AM bringing to America, and indeed to the whole world. This is the last great harvest before the end time events are loosed.

Things are no longer “business as usual.” They never will be again. They will first be much worse, then much better. You will rejoice to see it....
Because of the personal nature of other parts of this revelation I left them out, but one of the things included the failure of a major bank. It also talked about the dark times that some have suffered in recent times and how that is part of their preparation for the coming darkness. The struggles that many of God's people have faced will have prepared them to rescue many during these extreme times.

It is beyond time to get ready. If you are reading this and are a Christian, then make your preparation for these events as urgent as if you already saw them happening in your city. There is not time to completely prepare yourself, but you will be happy if you start now instead of waiting for later.

If you are reading this and are not a Christian, then you really should become one. I have explained how to do that many times on this blog. God is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. This is not to say that your life will get easier if you become a Christian - it very likely will not. I will tell you that it will make your life far better in the long run - you will be eternally happy you submitted your life to Jesus Christ. The good news is that those who call upon the Name of the Lord will be saved. Well, actually that is just the beginning of the Good News.

God is good and His lovingkindness endures forever. God loves His children, and He cares for them. Even when we suffer loss and when we suffer hardship, the Lord uses it to bring us to maturity and to bring us to greater trust in Him and His goodness. During these times God will expose your fears. He will expose everything that you lean on besides Him, and sadly, as Americans we lean on many things besides God - even though we claim that we do not. Our fears are proof that our trust is not fully on God and prove that we do not know and love Him as we should, for perfect love casts out fear. Brothers and sisters, trust in the promise that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Finally, take heart that the judgments that are coming against this nation are not for its destruction but instead for its salvation. God has promised to remove everything that hinders love for Him. The shaking that is coming will help to accomplish this purpose and will usher in a Great Awakening in our nation that all who love the Lord will rejoice to see.