Back to the Future After November 3
Just about everybody agrees the CCP COVID-19 challenge is unprecedented, fluid, and incrementally unfolding with diametrically opposed “experts” on its magnitude and duration.
That’s what just about everybody says…before telling you that they really know what it’s all about…after watching CNN or Fox or the View or the last infomercial from JB or interview with Miley Cyrus.
Not too long ago, I was talking to a very respectable denominational person that I really like on a personal level.
I asked what she/he thinks about it.
She/he said, “I’m following the science.”
I asked, “Which one.”
“The right one” came the response.
Anyway, here are two quick truths about this moment in our lives.
First, the CCP COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon; and when we get over it, another one will be manufactured by someone somewhere because our species has a thanatos libido or it may be just another one like every flu season.
Second, and this is the really important truth about this or any challenging moment in our lives, we need Jesus to endure, survive, and overcome the CCP COVID-19 and what will come after it; for anyone that knows anything about history knows it never ends until God says it does and we always need Jesus to keep keepin’ on.
Of course, we have a choice.
We can run around like so many are in fear, depression, anxiety, stress, frustration, and other synonymous pejorative emotions that we too often transfer to others because it’s human to want others to be miserable when we are miserable.
Or we can turn to God through Jesus and ask the Holy Spirit – Father and Son’s continuing presence in our lives – to fill us with His peace that enables us to endure, survive, and overcome any challenge.
We have a choice.
We can act like Chicken Little or…a Christian.
Let’s pray together about that right now: “Father God, I know my fears, anxieties, stresses, and frustrations expose my need for more of You in my head, heart, and gut. So I confess those negative emotions as signaling I am not as close to You as I need to be to live happily ever after. I am sorry for ignoring You which always hurts me and causes me to hurt others. Fill me right now with more of You! Fill my cup, Lord! Bread of heaven, feed me! Thank You for forgiving my sins by grace through faith in Jesus. Thank You for the confident living which is a by-product of You assuring my eternal life through Jesus in whose name I pray. Amen.”
My brother-in-law Larry likes to say, “We are responsible for the consequences of the choices that we make in life.”
The devil doesn’t make us do anything.
We yield to its temptations or defeat them.
Nobody makes us do anything or feel anything without our consent.
We can’t blame poor potty training or society or president or professor or parent or pastor or anyone else for our bad behaviors.
We own them.
Nobody forces us to do anything or feel anything or be anything without our consent.
The only people that quibble with that are people who don’t have the guts to admit they have made so many bad choices in their lives and want somebody to blame.
The white man, the black man, the yellow or brown or red man.
The coach, teacher, doctor, lawyer, mom, dad, president, governor, or anyone else.
I don’t think so.
As a corporate shrink for Farr Associates in Greensboro, North Carolina explained to me back in the mid 80s, “We are not responsible for anything anybody else says and does. We are only responsible for what we say and do and how we respond to what others say and do.
So what happens now…after November 3, 2020?
A choice has been made for better or worse, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health as long as we live; or at least until 2024.
Half the nation is psyched.
Their guy won.
Half the nation is sulking.
Their guy lost.
One side thinks it’s a brave new world and the other side thinks it’s the end of the world.
I’m reminded of the pastor that was criticized because he cut the grass on Sunday afternoon.
He said, “Jesus fed the poor on the Sabbath.”
She said, “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Yeah, I know lots of people said, “I’m voting for the lesser of two evils.”
We heard that from both sides.
A quip from Mae West comes to mind: “Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.”
Always remember your greener pasture was someone else’s brown field; and always remember the lesser of two evils remains evil and I don’t recall Jesus saying to vote for…evil.
Let’s cut to the quick.
The real enemy in this country isn’t a Democrat or Republican.
Back on October 11, Bev picked a hymn that sums up the challenge and solution quite neatly.
You know it well: Martin Luther’s A Mighty Fortress is Our God.
The challenge: “For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe. His craft and power are great and, armed with cruel hate, on earth is not his equal. Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing.”
As we like to say on the corner of Lincoln and Main, the answer to every question is Jesus: “A mighty fortress is our God…Our helper He amid the flood of mortal ills prevailing…Our striving would be losing were not the right man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing. Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He!...He must win the battle…And though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us, we will not fear for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us. The prince of darkness grim, we tremble not for him. His rage we can endure for, lo, his doom is sure. One little word shall fell him…”
Our real enemy is not a Democrat or Republican or even the CCP, BLM, KKK, CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, Packers, Bears, Fox or anybody else.
Our real enemy is the force behind the spiritually oppressed even possessed people up to no good in our lives.
“Our battle,” wrote Paul in Ephesians 6:12-13, “is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil…This is why you must take up the full armor of God.”
Specifically, our battle is against the unholy trinity of satanos, Antichrist, and false prophecy with satanos being the head of the snake empowering Antichrist and false prophecy.
We will get to our battle gear to win the war in a few moments; but, for now, let’s provide some context.
The battle began in the garden with the bad choices of the Adamsons.
Adam and Eve were given paradise with just one restriction in God’s words as recorded in Genesis 2:16-17, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”
Eve understood that restriction when tempted initially by satanos, “We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, ‘You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die’” (Genesis 3:2-3).
It doesn’t matter what satanos came up with to tempt Adam and Eve. In this case, the promise/temptation was that eating the fruit of the forbidden tree would elevate them to divine status: “You will not die…Your eyes will be opened and you will be like God” (Genesis 3:4-5).
Don’t miss the forest for the trees.
The original sin was rebelling against God’s explicit instructions on how to live in harmony with Him.
She chose to take a bite.
Adam chose to take a bite; and before anybody pretends Eve seduced Adam like a dumb man that has a libido without a conscience, Adam just like Eve and just like you and me and everybody else own our decisions, can’t blame anybody else for our own decisions, and it’s a lie to say, “The devil made me do it.”
Adam and Eve made the choice to defy God and rebel against His will for them and suffered the consequences of that decision.
Paradise was lost.
There’s been nothing original about sin ever since.
Every day of creation ended with God saying, “It’s good!”
Every day since that original sin, it’s been clear that it’s in our genes/DNA to mess it all up.
It’s like a favorite limerick:
God’s plan made a hopeful beginning.
But man ruined his chances by sinning.
We trust that the story
will end in God’s glory.
But, at present, the other side’s winning.
The other side was winning until Emmanual as noted in John’s prologue: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…[and]…the Word became flesh…full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-18).
Praise God that His gracious, sacrificial, conspicuous, and limitless love never lets up, gives up, or abandons us!
That why we never tire of celebrating the gospel of Jesus in John 3:16-17.
As we approach the real enemy that will keep the world aflame and threatens to turn the United States of America into the Divided States of America as has happened to so many churches that have not remained in the Word enfleshed in Jesus and explained in Holy Scripture as enlightened by the Holy Spirit who never contradicts Jesus by the book, it’s important to know the character of this real enemy; for as every coach knows, know your opponent and never underestimate him.
The fingerprints of satanos are all over the darkness birthing lies and producing divisions to destroy marriages, families, churches, communites, and countries in time and steal souls for eternity.
It’s easy to distinguish the light of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit from the darkness of satanos, Antichrist, and false prophecy.
It’s easy to distinguish the Church’s radiance generated by increasing intimacy with God from the darkness of people that are oppressed to possessed by the evil one.
God and the Godly build bridges, relationships, friendships, and families; forgiving, reconciling, healing, helping, inviting, welcoming, including, elevating, and encouraging.
God says, “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Satanos and its dark-cellar-dwellers tear down, pick apart, burn bridges, fracture families, slander, separate, segregate, distance, degrade, denigrate, devastate, dictate, and seek to destroy.
Satanos says, “You’re no good. You’re bad. You’re useless. You’re hopeless. Not even God can help you; so don’t bother waking up and looking up and getting cloer to Jesus. You’re a lost cause. You’re not invited, welcomed, included, or loved.
Before we go deeper into defining that darkness, let’s make something absolutely clear.
The greatest trick of satanos is to convince us that it doesn’t exist; and people that say satanos doesn’t exist are usually the most vulnerable to it and most often used by it to tear down, pick apart, burn bridges, fracture families, slander, separate, segregate, distance, degrade, denigrate, devastate, dictate, and seek to destroy.
Let’s go deeper as the war for souls increases with our real enemy.
Luther cautioned satanos is a “clever trickster” and its accomplices are sneaky, secretive, slimy, and slithering among the faithful like sleeper cells to steal souls.
Luther said, “It/they come as angels of light.”
Jesus said, “They are wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15).
Denise Frangipane: “Satan is a master of illusions. He plays upon our weaknesses and exaggerates our problems.”
That’s sounds familiar.
It/they come when we are most vulnerable.
Enough of it!
Let’s get to the good news!
John 1:5: “The light shines in the darkness. Darkness cannot overcome the light.”
1 John 4:1-4: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see if they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you know the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come int the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming; even now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and you have conquered them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
James 4:7-8: “Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”
Victory is guaranteed for people that really believe in Jesus and are intimate with Him.
Francis Frangipane: “How do we defeat the enemy? Victory begins with the name of Jesus on our lips. It is consummated by the nature of Jesus in our hearts.”
Paul used the metaphor of a Roman soldier preparing for battle to remind us of how to live victoriously (Ephesians 6:10-20).
Because we must enter the battle or surrender the republic and souls throughout the world, let us pray right now as we put on God’s armor that guarantees victory:
“Lord, I thank You for providing all I need to live victoriously. You are all I need to live victoriously.
Aware of the dark influences conspiring to move my mind from You, I close the psychic door; barricading it with the cross of Christ and sealing it with His blood. Knowing You have granted volition to me, I only open my mind for You.
I wear the helmet of salvation which is lined with the promises of Your affection and protection. Making all thoughts captive to You and protecting my mind which is a battleground for spiritual warfare, this helmet covers my ears, eyes, and mouth so I do not hear, see, or speak in unGodly ways. I will not entertain anyone or anything that distracts me from Your holiness.
I place the breastplate of righteousness over my heart which is the wellspring of my life. This is not my goodness. It is Your great graciousness that protects me.
I wear Your belt of truth. Your truth protects me.
I wear Your gospel shoes of peace; therefore, I can stand firm, balanced, and always ready to follow You. Firmly footed, I am awake to look up, stand up, speak up, and act up for You with salt, light, and heavenating leaven.
I take the shield of faith, my trust and confidence in You as saving Lord, to protect me from the fiery darts, deceptions, lies, assaults, accusations, and all other dark strategies. With the hinges of this shield, I am linked to all of the saints for protection of family, home, possessions, and church.
I wield the Sword of the Spirit which is the Bible. The Bible contains Your pure prescriptions for living victoriously. Defensively, I can distinguish Your light from darkness because of the Bible. Offensively, I can bring Your love, light, salt, and heavenating good leaven into the world because of the Bible.
I wrap myself in the mantle of praise because you ‘inhabit’ the praises of Your people. As my praises go up, Your blessings come down.
I place your cross before me as a banner and guide. I have decidec to follow You! No turning back! The cross before me! The world behind me! No turning back! Though none go with me, yet I will follow You! No turning back!
Thank You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, for protecting and preserving me from here to eternity as I pray in Your holy, holy, holy name. Amen.”
In short, as Luther taught us to sing victoriously, “One little word shall fell him! Does ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He!..and He must win the battle!”
Or as I tell children when they are afraid of the dark, “When you fear anything or anyone knocking at the door of your life, just say, ‘Jesus, please get that for me. Thank You!’”
We go back to Jesus and into the future after November 3 and always.
Start with Jesus!
Stay with Jesus!
That’s how we are sustained and saved by Jesus!
Blessings & Love!