Revelation: First Things First

When was the last time you perused the biblical book of Revelation? Have you taken a recent stroll back through your favorite and highlighted verses? Revisited the riveting imagery? The details? The inspiration?

It’s probably one of your favorite and oft-quoted books of the Bible, right?

Not.

At least not for me.

Seriously. I can’t read this apocalyptic book and keep a firm grasp on reality at the same time. It’s like getting lost in a foreign sci-fi movie without subtitles. I can’t figure out what’s going on here!

But because Revelation is the only book in the Bible that promises a blessing for those who regard it, I keep going back into the pages of heavenly and horrifying images. Though I don’t comprehend it all, I know the words were written on purpose, with purpose, and with a message our Maker desired we understand.

The Good News

I have encouraging news. I’ve found a source that has given me the needed fresh eyes with which to look at the important and culminating prophetic message of Revelation. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent years trying to decipher the prophecies or maybe it’s because the Holy Spirit is opening our eyes and minds to the depths of God in these troubling days. But either way, Robert J. Morgan’s The 50 Final Events in World History has unlocked for me some of the puzzling passages and timelines of this last book John the Apostle penned. I recommend The 50 Final Events in World History to all who are even mildly curious about the book of Revelation.

I want to give Mr. Morgan full credit for his excellent work, but I also want to share with you my thoughts as I’m learning. If you aren’t able to purchase the book or can’t wait to dive into some fresh revelation, I’ll be writing a few blogs about my own epiphanies.

My First Highlight was a Doozie

The first statement I highlighted in my e-version of Mr. Morgan’s book is this: “The Intelligent Creator is an Infallible Communicator, and He has packed His Word with remarkable predictions like a woman packing remnants into her quilting chest.”

Granted the metaphor of quilts in a chest doesn’t resonate with me, but the truth of the statement is something I needed to wrap my head around. Historically, I would study or read through Revelation expecting to be perplexed, and often exhausted by chapter eight and the seventh seal. I knew so darn little about these passages and it seemed the typical women’s Bible studies and Sunday preachers found it hard to tackle. There’s also a lot of historical debate on how to decipher the book—scholars argue between literal or figurative interpretations. My point is that I expected to not understand much so I’d go through the book satisfied with the few morsels I gleaned here and there (Jesus now has a full white beard, The Great Tribulation is going to be horrifying, Antichrist loses in the end … ). I never expected God to reveal boat loads of understanding into my heart and mind.

You get out of Scripture what you go in looking for. Enter into a passage expecting trouble and you’ll probably find it. Go into the Word expecting to be blessed and you’ll likely find the blessing you seek.

But Robert Morgan’s statement about the Infallible Communicator caught my attention.

Infallible Communicator.

This means everything that is written in the entire Bible, including the last book, is perfect and without blemish. Every word, every scene is communicating something of great importance to the reader and hearer. And because we are like sheep who know our Shepherd’s voice, we should be able to take in the Revelation with peace, trust, and even joy when we encounter the grace parts.

God’s angel did not instruct the Apostle John to write the book of Revelation to draw us into dark corners. The sent angel instructed John to write the book for the purpose of shedding new light onto Christ. At the time John was banished to Patmos, the complete revelation of Christ’s personage, deity, and future reign had yet to be revealed. All that changed on that fateful day on the prison isle.

What amazing moments or even hours this must have been for our brother John. In his early years, he’d not only seen Christ in flesh form, but he’d walked with him, eaten with him, shared hardships and joys with our Savior.

Now on the island, the other disciples martyred for their faith, John is given a look into holy heaven, the coming days of God’s wrath, and Christ’s victory over not just death, but all evil. God sent an angel to give the rest of the story to John so that we, the body of Christ, could know our king and coming groom fully.

That makes the digesting of the book of Revelation a must for every Believer.

The Reason is Stated

There’s no doubt about the reason for this final book of the Word. John’s opening statement is clear: This book is written for further revelation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Here is Revelation 1:1-2

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave Him to show His bondservants [you and me], the things which must shortly take place; and He sent and communicated it by His angel to His bond servant, John who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw.”

Got it? This book was not written to confound you or scare you. It was written to reveal more about our Christ.

And if you’re looking to learn more about what the Lord is currently doing in the world and why, try my new Bible Brief: God’s Will, Unraveling the Mystery.

Back to Infallible Communicator

Getting back to my first highlight in The 50 Final Events in World History, I realized that my ability to understand the book of Revelation was not dependent upon my own capabilities, but upon God’s ability to communicate. As Morgan referred to God as the Infallible Communicator, I realized I had every tool I needed to understand and accept the last words of the Bible. After all, there were many verses I’d used in teaching over the years that underscored this truth. These verses include one of my favorites: 1 Timothy 3:16-17: “All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work.”

The words “all Scripture” include the words of Revelation.

As well, I was quickened to remember that according to our scribe John, it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to teach and guide us. In John 14:26 we read, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you.” We can trust that God’s communications are perfect and that the Holy Spirit will guide the reader/hearer into understanding these perfect communications despite our human limitations. Our ability to experience revelation from God doesn’t therefore depend upon our education, our theological backgrounds, our ability to exposit, or our linguistic skills in Hebrew and Greek. Our hearing from God depends on His ability to speak and the Holy Spirit’s ability to reveal. The three-in-one trinity is able.

Now, instead of approaching the book with a heavy sigh, I approach Revelation with great expectation.

Who knew I’d get so much out of just one sentence in someone else’s book? Obvious, the Lord has chosen this time and this teacher, Robert J Morgan, to open my eyes to the fulfillment of Christ’s plans for mankind which includes you and me. I’m well into the book and well into my new study of Revelation and I am itching to share more. And I will. But after I have more time to digest, and support my conclusions with other Scripture.

But you go ahead—read through Revelation again expecting the Holy Spirit to illuminate truth and expecting to understand the message the Father has given you.

Until the next blog here … expect to experience God’s fresh revelation.

If I perish, I perish,

Laurie (L.G. Westlake)

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Are We Safe?

I recently wrote Amazon about a problem with a customer review. The pleasant response email from the customer-service rep ended with the closing salutation, “Stay Safe.”

I read the line a couple of times, brows burrowing into my forehead. Stay safe? Considering traditional salutations focus on sentiments of well wishing (Blessings, Best Regards) or pronouncements of sincerity (Truly Yours, Respectfully—and for the Christian: In Christ, For Christ, etc.), I found this closing acknowledgement to be more of a warning than a declaration of how the writer wished me to understand the authenticity of his/her email.

Perhaps my pause came about because I’d had another interesting encounter with the warning about safety. In a discussion about career goals with a young adult, this up-and-comer’s top concern about his career workspace was safety. He kept our hour-long conversation focused on the importance of employers keeping their employees safe. And this guy worked a cushy office gig.

Multiple times in the last few years, I’ve found myself in conversations with young adults expressing safety concerns and their fears that some in my generation do not take safety–at all levels and in all situations– seriously.

The Why

A quick search on google and you’ll find plenty of articles about millennials and their safety concerns. I found this quote from a blog on Columbia Southern University’s website to be enlightening: In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, millennials reported that personal safety is a leading cause of stress in the workplace, and they are more concerned about personal safety than any other generation in the workplace.  

Why?

Because, the blog goes on to explain, “While it might be a point of pride for a Gen Xer to remember the days of riding bicycles without helmets or spending entire days out of their parents’ sight, millennials had significantly less freedom during their formative years. To them, taking safety precautions is simply a fact of life, something they have done since they first learned to ride a bike while wearing a helmet.

You can read the entire article from the university here.

While I’m only quoting this single source in this blog, please trust that my research revealed that we Boomers and Gen Xers have culturally conditioned the younger generation to regard safety as a virtue.

Drop a worldwide pandemic into the mix, and we’ve created a generation of fear.

Add racial tensions, high crime rates, and wars and rumors of wars and we have potential for mass hysteria knocking at our proverbial doors.

Whoa.

Some Fear is Founded

Before I get into all the problems of allowing safety to become a cultural value and personal right, let me make a confession. I possess fear. I have a mild case of Acrophobia which is fear of heights. And after recent episodes with a homeless person setting several fires in my neighborhood (including a tree in our backyard), I’ve found myself less comfortable alone in my home. I take plenty of daily safety precautions, too. I wear a seatbelt when in the car, lock my home doors at night, and never cross the street without looking both ways.

I understand the strong instinct to survive. And I support a common-sense approach to physical and mental safety. But when fear mongering begins to shape society … Houston, we have a problem.

Fear vs Faith

Fear, my friends, is the opposite of faith. In the Word, we’re told it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6).

The biblical account of human history is the story of faith—faith in Yahweh God: His sovereignty, His love, and His truth. Because faith is the substance of our love-story with the Lord, the opposing emotion to faith–which is fear–is also addressed in the Bible. Some 365 times a version of “do not fear” is referenced in both the Old and New Testaments.

The Word of God clearly warns against excessive fear. The fourth chapter of 1 John discusses the connection between love and faith and explains that fear has no place within the perfect love of God.

1 John 4:18 -There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

Here are other biblical warnings against fear:

Proverbs 29:25 – The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.

Matthew 10:28 – And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

The Mentally Healthy Fear

There is one thing, however, that we are encouraged to fear: The Lord.

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Psalm 33:8 – Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!

Ecclesiastes 12:13 – The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

All else, pandemics, worldwide violence, opposing political parties, and the fear-mongering of food shortages and recession are tactics by the enemy to spread the opposite of what holds our world together: faith. In all times, but especially in dark times, we are called to be fearless:

Luke 12:7  – But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Job 11:13-15, 18 –  If you would direct your heart rightly and spread out your hands to Him, if wrongdoing is in your hand, put it far away, and do not let malice dwell in your tents; Then, indeed, you could lift up your face without moral blemish, and you would be firmly established and not fear … Then you would trust, because there is hope; and you would look around and rest securely.

Proverbs 1:33 – But he who listens to me shall live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil.

Safety Concerns

My husband, children, and I lived a short time in an underdeveloped country in Africa. We’ve also served in various countries through short-term missions. But when preparing for our family service, a consistent response from other family members and friends was, Is it safe? I have always found that an odd question for the Christian because when Christ sent out His disciples, He never asked them to double check an embassy’s travel warnings. He never encouraged them to stay away from the low-rent districts of the towns and villages He’d be sending them to. When Christ commanded His closest friends to go out, He said the opposite. He promised his eager followers that there’d be trouble.

John 15:20 – Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you as well …

Matthew 10: 16-18 Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be as wary as serpents, and as innocent as doves. But be on guard against people, for they will hand you over to the courts and flog you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings on My account, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.

We’ve Been Given a Picture

We are defenseless lambs living among vast packs of wolves—a very scary reality. But here’s where the faith comes in. Fear is the point of faith. Fear is the point of a trusting relationship with Christ. Our weaknesses demonstrate His strength. This brings Him glory.

This is why we are called to fear not.

I’d like to share my current, favorite faith-inducing Scriptures. These are the ones I hang onto when fear is tiptoeing into my mental files:

Joshua 1:9 – Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

Isaiah 41:13 – For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.

The verses in Ephesians 6:10 – 17 are the Apostle Paul’s instructions to put on the armor of God as this is what will protect us from the evil-invoking fears of our times. The metaphoric descriptions of this armor begin with the words, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.”

We’re not told to be safe. We’re told to be strong in the Lord.

If we are instructed to put on armor, then we know we will face battles. No soldier enters a battle field without understanding the risks. We are lambs, given the armor of faith, and sent out among the snarling, hungry wolves for this purpose: to glorify the Lord.

Fear has no place when on a battlefield. Fear leads us in the opposite direction of glorifying the Lord. Fear, it would seem, brings shame upon our watching king.

Please Don’t Get Me Wrong

Again, we are built with survival instincts. Because we are created by God, we know these instincts can serve a purpose. There is a spiritual responsibility in obeying the natural laws of our God-created universe. We don’t jump off cliffs expecting to fly, and we don’t drive our cars into oncoming traffic, and we do wear health masks when needed. Would we allow a surgeon to operate on us without one?

But we are not to fear the ever-encroaching evil.

And it is looking like we’ve raised up a generation that doesn’t understand this.

It’s time to teach and encourage acts of bravery! We must call each other to take risks for the Gospel. We must trust that our Lord is not only with us, but working through the battle. We are to be examples.

Christ never approached his ministry with safeguards intact.  

Neither should we.

We must understand the mystery of God’s will and move forward fearless, knowing He can be trusted.

Let me end this with my own favorite closing salutation, quoting one of the bravest women in the Bible.

If I perish, I perish,”

Laurie (L.G. Westlake)

What you were made for will change the people around you. What you were made for will change the world.

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Cold Hearts – Roe v Wade Evidence

I’m scratching my head while watching our world fall apart.

I’m confounded, confused, and constantly bewildered at the hateful rhetoric pouring through my news feeds. I’m aghast at the violence throughout the world. I am disheartened as some from our own Christian family allow their political passions to override Christ’s mandate to love our enemies.

We’ve come to hate those who think differently than ourselves and the best solutions for societal challenges, it seems, is to silence the opposition by persecution, discrimination, or by the alarming increase of calls … for death.

Civility is gone.

A Recent Example

The Supreme Court’s overruling of Roe vs Wade, June 24, 2022 is a recent example of how our nation and world have unbalanced reactions to legislation one may not agree with. Violent protests, threats of more destruction, and calls for harm against the people who support prolife legislation is dominating my FaceBook pages and favorite podcasts. Even European leaders condemn the US for removing this awful decision from the federal level.

What?

Abortion wasn’t demolished at the overturn of Roe v Wade but sent back to be determined by the people at state level. This is where we exercise our right to vote. This is where the people make the decision.

I know it is confusing these days, but we in the US do not live under a federal dictatorship.

We were founded as the United STATES of America, a government created by the people for the people. And the people speak through their freedom to vote.

I am prolife and relieved at this overturn by the court. But this does not mean abortion options are closed for all US citizens. Here in New Mexico, we are an abortion destination and will likely remain so for some time. As I stated, I am prolife and also support other conservative causes, but in the last few years, our state has leaned politically liberal. I don’t like it. But I realize the people of New Mexico have spoken through their votes.

As a US citizen, I have the option to move to another state.

But That’s Not the Point

But this blog isn’t a lesson on legislation or our voting rights. This blog is about the hearts of many growing colder by the day and how that fact ties into biblical prophecy. So let me get back on track:

If you read many of my blogs, you know that I quote Matthew 24 often. I love these verses because there, Christ’s disciples asked for insight into His world plans. Jesus, open-handed, shared the signs of his second coming and what world conditions would look like at that time.

I find the official sign stated in verse twelve very enlightening and very relevant today.

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. – Matthew 24:12

Sounding eerily familiar? Not eerily because our king returns soon, but eerily because we are eyewitnesses to this hate-filled phenomenon. I shouldn’t be scratching my head confounded, but rather calmly nodding, knowing our Lord is separating the wheat from the chaff (Matthew 3:12).

Consider these Scriptures:

2 Thess. 2:8-13 tells us: Then that lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will eliminate with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not accept the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

And in Isaiah 66:4, God says: “So I will choose their punishments and bring on them what they dread. Because I called, but no one answered; I spoke, but they did not listen. Instead, they did evil in My sight and chose that in which I did not delight.”

Truth Revealed

This is clear. We see that the sign Christ gave his disciples in Matthew 24:12 was not simply a marker for end times but a truth to be revealed. As men choose to move away from truth, God will allow them to have what they ask for: untruth. Untruth comes from a deluding influence—the activity of Satan.

The evil plans of the enemies of God are at work and the actions of men prove this. Those who do not heed messengers of peace listen for cries of war.

We are on one side or the other. The gray areas are gone. The fence riding is over. You are either passionate for Christ, or vehemently against Him.

His Spirit in Us

But those for Christ can take no credit in discernment. Our spiritual fortitude comes from God above, not our own wisdom.

Consider Ezekiel 36:26 and how the Lord explains He is the one to give us a heart of peace and love: Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

The Holy Spirit’s work is to guide us in all truth (John 16:13). If we hold truth in our minds and hearts, it is because the Spirit of Christ has placed them there. Because we have believed upon Christ, we are made new. We are creatures of light and not of darkness.

Therefore, we have no need to fear the hate or fear the future.

God gives the knowledge of his will. We are the agents of a loving Christ among hearts that are stone cold. We must continue to be messengers which point to the Prince of Peace.

Paul’s Prayer for You and Me

In Philippians 1:9-11 Paul prayed that his readers, and you and me also, would grow in love as the days grow spiritually difficult. I pray this for each of you:

And this I pray, that your love may overflow still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may discover the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, for the glory and praise of God.

Rest in Truth. We’ve been told and warned of these events and times. Our purpose is to shine in these dark hours. We are to continue in our truth discoveries and not be dismayed by the actions of those following untruth.

And finally, if we’ve been tempted to ride a fence for the sake of tolerance, let us climb down and stand for Christ.

If I perish, I perish,

L.G. Westlake

Get the latest news and updates from L.G. Her latest Bible Study, God’s Will … Unraveling the Mystery, releases late summer – stay tuned through email:

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Our Unique Moment

I love the picture above. But I would lift up a different sign at this “let’s make a difference” rally. My sign would say, Pray today for a better tomorrow–the new Kingdom.

We live in a unique period of time.

Acts 17:26 tells us that God has appointed the people of every nation’s time and geographical boundary. This means each of us has been born to be citizens of our collective nations in precise cultural eras. In other words, you were chosen to live where you live at this unprecedented hour when there are famines, multiple pestilences, deadly diseases, wars, rumors of more wars, and when the hearts of many grow colder by the minute. God has placed you and me smack-dab in the middle of chaos of all kinds (Matthew 24:5-28). Is there a reason?

From what I understand through Scripture, His motives have a grand and unique purpose.

What the Word Has To Say

In the book of Matthew we find a very compelling conversation between Christ and His disciples. In chapter 24, we’re told the disciples asked Christ two specific questions about the future: 1. When will these things [the destruction of the temple] come to be and 2. What will be the sign of Christ’s coming and the signs of end of the age? (My translation: When is it going to happen and what will be happening when it does?)

His answers outline imminent world conditions and give a clue about the timing of it all. Also, in Romans, Paul reveals a clue as to the timing of future events when he addresses the salvation of the Jews in chapter eleven.

Of great interest to me is that the two timing verses mentioned above (Matthew 24: 14 and Romans 11:25) are not just about the when and what of events, but are indicators to the ongoing purpose of the Christians living in the generations between the birth of the church and today. In the Matthew verse, Christ proclaims that before the end of the age comes, His Word will go into the whole world and be a witness of truth.

That, by the way, has not happened yet. Not every nation has access to God’s holy Word at this moment. There are still several thousands of language groups without Holy Scripture.

The Grafting of You and Me

In the Romans chapter, Paul explains that gentiles are being grafted to a tree whose roots and branches are Israel. At verse 25, he tells his audience that he doesn’t want them to be uninformed about a mystery—that the current and partial hardening of Israel’s hearts to the Gospel will continue until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. There seems to be a measurement associated with the “fullness of the Gentiles” taking place as we Gentiles are being brought into the family of God.

In essence, we’re told that in the space of time between Christ’s ascension and today, two distinct acts will take place: the Word will make its way into the entire world and the body of Christ will grow. That, I believe, is our purpose; our call. Kingdom Building has been and will be God’s purpose for the world He made. We’re His agents, called to prepare a thousand-year kingdom where Christ reigns.

He Warns Us

In the midst of these objectives, Christ reveals world conditions will deteriorate as we grow closer to the culmination of reaching into every nation. The world-condition list in Matthew 24 (and mentioned in the first paragraph here) is extensive and hard to wrap my head around. But it is also, currently, recognizable. Much of what Christ revealed then, is happening today. If I line up the indicators with other biblical prophecy not yet fulfilled, I get a sense that we are in the very moments Christ spoke of in Matthew 24. He tells us that the prophesied destruction, wars, and hatred must take place before the end. It seems God has ordained that we live through these trials while we persevere in sharing the good news of Christ with the world. In doing so, we have opportunity to point to Him and demonstrate our faith and trust.

No one knows the exact hour or specific day of Christ’s return, but He has given us great insight into the season we’ll find ourselves in when this long-awaited event happens. More than once, Christ and the New Testament writers warn us to be watchful and alert, not letting the foretold times catch us unaware of what takes place (1 Corinthians 16:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8; Luke 12:35-47).

I believe the Lord intends us to be fully engaged in accomplishing our Gospel-sharing purpose and not overwhelmed with the traumas happening around us.

My objective here is to raise this question: As a specifically selected generation, are we doing what we’ve been chosen to do? 

Great News

There are worldwide Christian alliances now working to give every nation God’s Word in their various heart languages and in multiple access formats to ensure cultural understanding. This is historic partnership in the works and the plans are to finish the Gospel-sharing task by the year 2033. You are living in the generation that will see the completion of the Great Commission in eleven short years when every tribe, nation, and tongue will have access to the Word of God. Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 24:14 will be fulfilled. And you and I may see it happen.

Chew on this revelation. We are witnesses to the climax of generations of God-fearing people seeking Him. For God so loved the world. We, the church, are sharing Him with the world He so loves.

As His own, selected to live during these uncertain days, we can be certain that God is using all of this, you and I included, to His glory. This does not mean we shouldn’t be riveted by the riots, the political battles, the famines, the deaths, the fires, the earthquakes in various places, and the hate raging in our streets today. Like the Apostle Paul, I am hard pressed on every side, but I am not crushed; I am perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but I am not destroyed.

Knowing we live in prophetic times, I press on.

From Scripture, I’ve come to understand that in this life, I will have many troubles. But I am to take heart, for He has overcome each and every one of them. The true King is coming back to hold the government on his own shoulders, ushering in a thousand years of blessed, earthly existence that will look quite different from what we know today.

I long for this radical change.

Until then, I work at sharing God’s Word with the world.

Let us look up for our redemption draws near!

Laurie

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Prepare … But for What?

I don’t know about you, but I hear the word “prepare” from not just the conspiracy theorists in bunkers out there, but also from the national main-stream media. News of rolling energy blackouts, food shortages, and record inflation are hitting the airways, and I find myself browsing freeze-dried foods and solar-powered lights on Amazon.

But after two years of Covid propaganda, I’m not sure what to believe anymore. Sure, I am experiencing the squeeze of inflated gas prices and foods, and I sense our already fragile economy is in trouble. But after media hype and the so-called health experts getting 99% of the facts wrong about Covid, it’s hard to buy what the political powers at hand are selling.

And yet.

When I turn to the Word for clarity, the call to be prepared is clear. The following “prepared” verses are just a few among many, but these treasures pack a powerful punch.

Luke 12:35-38 – Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

1 Corinthians 16:13 –  Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

1 Peter 3:15 – But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect …”

While these calls to readiness, I believe, are focused on our spiritual preparedness for all seasons, there is biblical merit to having our affairs in order and our courage intact.

The story of faithful Noah (Genesis 5:32 – 10:1) is an excellent example of resource preparedness for hard times. God instructs Noah to build a boat for a coming worldwide flood. The Lord also commands Noah to load the boat with supplies to sustain both his family and the animal kingdom (Genesis 6:21). Noah, obedient to God, prepared for the world’s biggest natural disaster to date. There are a myriad of ways the Lord could have destroyed the evilness in the world and placed righteous Noah in the position to repopulate. But for reasons we don’t completely understand yet, God wanted Noah demonstrating faith as he built the world’s first mega ship.

Joseph’s preparation for a time of great famine is another example of stewarding resources for future calamity. A man of God, Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream of the seven good and seven hard years. He advised Pharaoh to store a fifth (20%) of the crops in the first seven abundant years. Because of this, Egypt survived the seven years of famine. Through this preparation, Joseph gained royalty and was reunited with his blood family. God used the famine and Joseph’s stored foods to further His purposes for the Jewish people.

There are at least a half-dozen Proverbs instructing the wise to be prudent and prepared, as well.

People and Their Points

Working in full-time ministry for more than twenty-five years, I’ve encountered Christians who are hard-core preppers with an army-sized ammo stock. I have also met Christians who shrug off the calls to beef up their battery inventories claiming God will provide.

I’m going to try and take a balanced approach to prepping, neither building bunkers nor sticking my head in the sand. And God’s glory—the reason we exist—is the reason why (Isaiah 43:7; Romans 11:36).

Here’s my take on bringing God glory by not only trusting His promises to provide, but also by demonstrating belief in His prophecies of hard times.

  • The Lord tells His children what is going to happen (Isaiah 46:10). Preparing is a physical demonstration of our belief in His Word.
  • Exhibiting a calm spirit shows the world our God is faithful. (Isaiah 43:2; 2 Timothy 1:7) Preparedness allows us to be ready in our spiritual boats when the floods come.
  • Our God tells us to be ready to give an answer for our Hope (1 Peter 3:15). If we’re in a panicked rush to find food, water, or shelter, we’ll blend in with the world. We must exhibit hopeful confidence so people will see our Hope and inquire of it.
  • We are commanded to share (Hebrews 13:16; Proverbs 19:17; Luke 6:38). If we are without the resources to meet other’s physical needs in a time of crisis, we miss the opportunity to be generous.

What’s Next

I encourage everyone to pray, read the Word (Matthew 24; Acts 2:17; 2 Peter 3:3; 2 Timothy 3:1), and pray some more. Seek the counsel of God when it comes to preparedness and your specific role(s) in these interesting times. Be watchful, alert, and expecting to see God at work as the enemy seeks dominion.

And keep building the kingdom. Having served in Crisis Pregnancy ministry for several years, I learned that when people face uncertainties, they are ripe for change. Many times I had the opportunity to lead a young woman in crisis to the Lord. It will be no different during food and energy shortages. God will use the horrors of the world to bring in His sheep. We must be prepared, ready at any given moment to share the Gospel, the Hope of Christ.

Watch for L.G.’s New Bible Study

Bible Brief — GOD’S WILL: Unraveling the Mystery

Releases in July

A Note of Advice

While living in the Congolese Rain Forest in Africa, we were trained to be prepared for political crisis and/or natural disasters. Taught how to survive in the jungle, evacuation could happen at any time. Preparedness also meant keeping a contingency box packed with water filters and three-days of food, medicines, and clean clothes. Living in rough terrain under an unstable government, we had to be equipped for the unexpected. I’ve continued with contingency prepping over the years and believe that this is being prudent with the Lord’s resources. I suggest everyone have at least a three-day supply of basic needs on hand. Should disaster happen, seventy two hours of food and water gives opportunity for calm prayer and wise assessment. Having family live through the power outages in Texas a couple of winters ago confirmed my sense that we need to expect the unexpected.

We need to be the stable port in the storm; the refreshment for the weary. Spiritual and physical preparation is building that port–the lighthouse for those battling in the squall.

I’ll leave you to pray and ponder.

If I perish, I perish,

Laurie

Inspire courage–read L. G.’s latest fiction

Book 2 of the Calculated Series

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Christ Wore a Tattered Suit

I hadn’t washed my face for three days. I hadn’t had a proper bath in three weeks. The African red dirt and the sticky sweat were welcomed though … keeping the crisis real and at hand. To bathe, to wash my hair, to change my clothes would be normal things.

And normal was as far from me as the east is to the west during those days.

My daughter lay unconscious in a mission hospital bed in Cameroon, malaria ravaging her small, eight-year old body.

The Story

During African Orientation training in preparation for Bible translation work in Equatorial Guinea, the assignment for our group of trainees was to live in African villagers’ homes so we would assimilate to the culture. We’d been through two months training so far, and village living was the climax of the orientation course. It was in that last week of village phase that our daughter Mesa became ill with malaria.

We started chloroquine and Mesa had a slight rebound. Malaria can present in this way—similar to Covid. One day you’re sick in bed and feeling like death and the next, you’re swinging from jungle vines and humming Phil Collins’s You’ll Be In My Heart Tarzan tune.

But for Mesa, the malaria wanted another round.

For two more days, our daughter couldn’t hold down food or liquids. My husband and I decided I would catch a bush taxi to the nearest town where our group’s team leaders camped out. They were the contact points for the multiple Bible translators and their families staying in the rural, mountainside villages. The leaders had a satellite phone and we hoped they could call a nurse back at headquarters in Yaounde two days’ drive away.

Once a day a cab that by American standards would have resided in a junk yard would wind through the tiny villages in our area and carry consumers up and down the mountain to buy goods in town. On this day, me and six Africans piled into the car and on top of one another, made our way down the winding roads.

Checking in at our team leaders’ hotel, I discovered they’d taken a day trip to another village. In a foreign town not knowing anyone, I didn’t have a lot of options. Land lines and cell phones were nonexistent. But through a series of miracles that are another story to be written, that night, after I’d managed to find a ride back up the mountain, the team leaders appeared in our village!

Back down the mountain we went to stay overnight in a hotel so we could get Mesa a malaria test the next day.

That night, in the hotel with no running water or electricity, Mesa took a turn for the worse. She was unable to tolerate even tiny sips of bottled water and by 5:00 am I was banging on our team leaders’ hotel door. Through a series of satellite phone calls with headquarters, it was decided that we would drive to the mission hospital two hours away.

By the time we arrived at the hospital, Mesa was unconscious. A local aviation missionary with JAARS met us as we drove in. He pulled my girl from the truck, gathered her into his arms, and rushed past the lines of Africans waiting to see doctors. I ran behind, my backpack bouncing as we made our way past wards of sick African children. “There’s been a cholera outbreak,” he explained dashing across a courtyard and into a small building. “I’ve secured you a private space so you’re not exposed.”

The little building hosted empty hospital rooms because African families can’t afford private hospital accommodations. Mesa was the only patient in that small adjacent building.

A local doctor arrived at our room in minutes and with IVs administering fluids and stronger medicine, the doctor returned to the wards packed with sick children after explaining that we would wait and see if the medicine would take effect.

With only my daughter and me in the room, my emotions morphed from crisis mode to reality mode. My husband and other child had no idea we’d been evacuated—no idea where we were. I had one change of clothes for both Mesa and I and as I alluded earlier, we’d been taking bucket baths in our African village home for three weeks. No phones, no internet, no gift shop for snacks, no nurse to summon with my questions.

My brain wouldn’t wrap around the circumstance in a logical manner. Shock set in.

Fragmented, my prayers seemed to litter the floor instead of lift to the heavens.

What were we doing here, Lord? Why?

Why would you let this happen, Lord?

And then the knock came.

Expecting a doctor at our door, I opened it to find a large man in a worn, dusty suit—like he’d come in from a desert sand storm. Oddly, I remember his shoes—they were without laces, sole pulling away at the toe.

In broken English, he asked to come in.

I stepped back unsure of what he wanted but unsure of all things at that moment.

“I heard of the white child,” he said, opening the thick dog-eared Bible in his hands. “And I have come to pray.”

He read a passage in French, then he bowed his head.

And in his mother tongue, he prayed.

It wasn’t one of those big demanding prayers that call on angel armies, no. It was the quiet prayer of a son talking with his attentive father.

I didn’t understand a word with my ears, but my heart grasped every syllable. I clung to those sounds, knowing, trusting, this visitor said the words I couldn’t find.

Tears stung.

The African man nodded knowingly then closed his Bible.

I couldn’t move.

Quietly, he left the room.

In a hospital room in Africa, I experienced a sacred moment.

Do angels wear suits?

This one did.

And Mesa, still unconscious in the bed, stirred. I unglued my feet from the floor and rushed to her side.

Her eyelids fluttered. I grasped her hand.

Halleluiah! She pressed her fingers into mine.

Within a few hours, Mesa sat up and ate the tuna fish salad the aviator’s wife had made for us. My husband and son showed up two days later, having gotten word of our evacuation through the African mode of messaging—word of mouth. It took weeks, but Mesa fully recovered from the battle with malaria.

For years I’ve pondered the unusual visit considering that we might have experienced an angelic encounter. Whether angel or a godly African obedient to the whispers of Our Maker, this man with the worn shoes was Christ to me. When I couldn’t pray, a priest met me where I was.

What are we doing here, Lord? I had asked.

And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” – Luke 9:23

If we were not sick, we would not need a healer. If we were not lost, we would have no need of a savior. If we were not poor in spirit, we would not need our Christ.

I was poor in spirit in that hospital room. I needed Christ.

Thank God for my need.

Laurie

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God-Made Products

God made man; God made woman. Male and female, in His image, He created them.

There’s no better time to be reminded of this than today.

It is hard to believe that in developed countries with advanced education systems and material resources available to all—a large portion of the population has found itself dissatisfied with a generous lot in life. Large parts of society have determined that to be truly happy, to live in freedom, to find the ultimate experience of life, fate must lie in the hands of not God, but man.

I think back to that original sin some six-thousand years ago. In a well-kept garden with all the needed amenities, there slipped in a serpent, a lie, and the course of mankind changed forever.

Purchasing Expensive Lies

I believe we’re buying the serpent’s lies again. Attempting to shed the holy image we were made in and shape an image of our own, we’ve again purchased the lie that we can be like God.

Right down to gender choices.

Which starts to look more like the image of Satan than the Holy Trinity, desiring to put man-made thrones in the high places of God (Isaiah 14:12-14).

The Truth

In his sermon on Mars Hill, the Apostle Paul throws down a dramatic truth to the listeners gathered, and I keep thinking this is a message we church-age believers need to hear again and again.

Paul said:

“The God who made the world and everything that is in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made by hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might feel around for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist …” Acts 17:24-28

God not only gives us life, but he also decides in what geographical area and in what era or age we shall live.

This means—and this is the truth we’ve lost sight of—God is sovereign.

But the nonbelievers in our society don’t want to have anything to do with a sovereign God. They want to be God, not obey Him. Again, we’re mirroring the wrong entity these days.

In Colossians 1:76-18, Paul writes of Christ:

“… by Him all thigs were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or rulers, or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

“All Things” Includes Intimacy

His supremacy over all things includes our intimate relationships.

A myriad of God-denying practices have cropped up in our culture. But when I look back at the garden incident, should I be surprised?

Probably not.

Satan will do anything in his power to discredit God and turn our heads, eyes blind, to his (Satan’s) delusional glory. This is what gender preference selection, and sexual immorality is about. The enemies of God seek to convince the objects of God’s affection to not just turn from God, but to mock Him.

Sexual Immorality Mocks God

I believe sexual indiscretions strike at the very heart of our Maker. When you consider that in the Old Testament, God refers to himself as the husband of Israel (Jeremiah 31:32) and in the New Testament Christ is referenced as the groom of the church (John 3:29; 2 Corinthians 11:2), truly the relationship of husband and wife is a shadow or metaphor of the relationship between our God and his people.

If we humans had not perverted the picture of the healthy physical act between a married man and woman, then what I said wouldn’t have initiated a wince.

But we have perverted the physical image of marriage and the meaning of sex. Just drive down the highway and glance at a billboard. Watch an “R” rated movie. “Listen to outlets speak of five-year olds getting sex education.

Looking Deep

If human brides and grooms are metaphors of Christ and his church, then what we have to learn is that the physical act of love represents the vulnerable connection between a holy God and his people in covenant. It’s not about the physical pleasure, although that’s the bonus part for man and wife, but it’s about the connection. God willingly wants an intimate relationship with you and he shows this to you and me through the spiritual bond of marriage.

No wonder Satan strikes hardest at the sexual gift given to men and women. In matrimony, husbands and wives are living metaphors to the unbelieving world around us.

Here’s the Deal

In John 10:10, we’re given the true motives of the old lie-selling serpent, the Devil. He comes to the pinnacles of God’s creation in order to steal and destroy life. Christ came for the opposite. He came to restore life and dwell among men and women in loving covenant.

All that is going terribly wrong around us is the work of a spiritual enemy. We wrestle not against our own humankind, but against the spiritual enemies lurking in the dark and unseen (Ephesians 6:12).

It is through turning to the Lord in passion and prayer that we will snatch our loved ones out of the snares that lie like mine fields all over our world today. There is always hope of redemption through our Lord, Jesus Christ.

There’s Work to Do

We can be like God, but we cannot be God. The efforts to control our gender or our destinies are futile and lead to a dead end. But, being made in his image, believers in Christ can reflect God to the world, overcoming the lies with truth, the hate with love.

Go forth friends and warriors. We’ve work to do and truth to proclaim!

If I perish, I perish,

Laurie

Read a chapter of Laurie’s novel, Calculated Encounters, for free here.

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FREE CHAPTER

Read First Chapter Free

L. G. WESTLAKE


CHAPTER 1


Hidden in the alley’s shadows, she waited.
Right on time, he appeared—the ex-member of the now
defunct 96 Cartel glided under the streetlamp at the crosssection of the alley and Central Avenue.
This wasn’t her first time to stalk prey. Wouldn’t be the
last, either.
His sluggish gate and downcast eyes let her know he
was in no hurry to get to his deluxe accommodations at the
Motel 66 with its half-lit, blinking neon sign at the wrong
end of Central. She slipped from her hiding spot and fell
in step behind him.
He didn’t have a clue.
She’d come a long way from her days at a desk.
The telltale bump of a gun grip protruded from the back
of his shirt, the bulk of the weapon crammed in his sagging
jeans. If her target did exactly what he’d done for the last
four nights, she’d have that gun in her hand and this guy
wetting his pants in less than five minutes.
She wasn’t the most skillful stalker, but she was an
expert in the human behavioral science of scum suckers.
She was also an expert in ratios.
Current percentages favored her stepping out of the
upcoming altercation unscathed.


Just a few short months ago, she’d lived inside a cartel
compound for several days, learning what made drug lords
tick and what kept their rank and file loyal. Not many cops
got the opportunity she’d had at an insider’s view, and she’d
walked away from the ordeal knowing one big weakness all
96 Cartel members possessed—constant insecurity.
This one had a double dose. He’d been one of the lucky
ones to be released from jail because of overcrowding
conditions during a worldwide pandemic called COVID-19.
The five-foot-five or six-inch gangster had reentered freedom
without the refuge of his old cartel and their maniac leader,
El Padrino. Taking into consideration that he did not have
a safety-net brotherhood to call upon, and that he probably
suffered from short-man syndrome, she would use his lack
of self-confidence and the element of surprise against him.
For this event, she’d chosen to wear an oversized black
slicker, a wool cap, her retired black COVID-19 protection
mask, and the steel-toed boots she’d bought the day she
called Sergeant Caba and told him she wouldn’t be returning
to the Houston Police Department’s white-collar crimes
unit. Another lesson she’d gained from her short-term cartel
life—footwear made a difference. Standard accountant navy
pumps by day, and flip flops by night, were not appropriate
jiujitsu footgear when fighting on the streets.
The ex-gangster turned into the unlit parking lot of his
motel. Stopped. Straightened.
She pulled in the cool, dry air of the dark Albuquerque
night.
Time to fly. She closed the distance. Sprang off her right
foot. Aimed for his back.

5-STAR AVERAGE REVIEW ON AMAZON

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Heart Matters

HEART MATTERS —

Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life. – Proverbs 4:23 (NASB)

The debacle between Will Smith and Chris Rock at the recent Academy Awards drove home a point that’s been needling at my heart for a couple of years now. The pricking happens when I turn on the TV or scan the latest Hollywood movie releases. A nettling jab also comes when I watch main-stream news. If I’m not turning my face away from sex scenes or covering my ears to raunchy language, then I am slapping my forehead at the confounding lies pouring forth from the national news anchor who has been in my living room every night for years–until 2020.

Where is Our Culture Going?

The truth is, we have not watched our culture slip slide into a bad angle here. No. Mouths agape, we’ve clinched our sofa arms watching this out-of-control freight train called force-feed the sheep head straight for hell.

No longer are the gutter-worthy script lines and sex scenes left for the late-night or R-rated movies we don’t let our children near. We are dished up perverse, and, quite frankly, evil images and stories on prime time these days.

Even though ABC edited out the nasty word Will Smith used after he took the stage and slapped comedian Chris Rock, there’s not a preteen in our country that couldn’t lipread Smith’s word choice. And just in case anyone missed the award show and got curious about the disaster, an unedited version of the live and onstage altercation went viral.

I mean, what happened to family prime time?

It’s called woke time now.

The Good Old Days — You Mean a Year Ago?

I remember a time when dignified souls got up and walked out when the vulgar and unimaginable happened in movies, plays, or presentations. Had Will Smith been so offended with the AA’s lenient boundaries and the host’s crude jokes, then why didn’t he boycott the rest of the show?

Wait. That’s right. He had an Oscar to collect.

I believe he would have made a more positive, long-standing impression if he’d stood up, said no thank you to the Oscar, and left to get a burger.

We all have choices.

I believe Smith’s reaction is a microcosm of our current society’s reactions to things that offend. That reaction? Get down on their level.

Instead of holding to our moral values, we’ve let the dark side overtake our society with talk of—originally—tolerance, but now full-blown acceptance.

I hope it’s not too late to take our Judeo Christian culture back.

Is it Prophesied?

It’s true that the Word of God tells us that in the latter days cultures will morph into some pretty evil stuff. For a full list of the coming atrocities, read Matthew 24. And I do believe that we’re entering into these times now. But because these days have been prophesied, we are by no means to pack up our morality and head for the hills, or bury ourselves in a fox hole, waiting for a rapture removal.

The Bible is clear, evil exists, and we’re to take action, keeping our hearts and minds pure and on point. We are to be image bearers, witnesses, and sharers of God’s Word. And to fulfill this calling, we must not  have one foot in the muck and slime and one foot on the rock. We have to put both feet on the rock, and close our culturally tolerant doors—lock ‘em shut!

Romans 12:12 says: And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

We’re not suppose to look like the world. We’re not supposed to think like the world.

I believe, we must fill our minds and hearts with godly things, refusing personal entertainment that doesn’t support our biblical morals. Or, as I wish Will Smith had done, we have to sacrifice our Oscars.

Look at Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

To maintain thoughts of excellence, we should be willing to keep the thoughts of evil out of our heads. For me, this means choosing my entertainment wisely.

In Matthew 6:22-23, we read: The eye is the lamp of the body; so then, if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. So if the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

I must keep my eyes on what is lovely from God’s holy perspective. I cannot compromise. I cannot wade around in the mirey clay waiting for my Oscar.

I have choices.

If I perish, I perish,

Laurie

Chapter 1 of Laurie’s suspense Calculated Encounters Free to Read

A Biblical View of the Russia/Ukraine Conflict

I’ve hesitated to write about the caution I sense as I watch the whole world wave their blue and yellow flags in support of Ukraine from the safety of social media thousands of miles away from the conflict.

Is It Me, Or Is There More to the Story?

I experienced confusion when I watched the recent State of the Union address and witnessed American congress men and women wearing Ukrainian colors and pins—jumping to their feet in applause as our government made bold proclamations from televised, albeit safe, platforms.

I’ve heard water-cooler speak of the heroic Ukrainian president that reminds me of a we-want-a-human-king-not-God-as-our-leader biblical account found in 1Samuel, chapter 8.

While I, too, have searched through my news channels to follow the travesties of the distressed people of Ukraine, I continue to wonder if what I’m being fed isn’t sometimes propaganda at its best. And to be honest, I guiltily feel l am watching the Hunger Games, cheering from the sidelines as people destroy each other in a reality internet show.

Considering that the last two years, the main-stream source of our news has not just willingly, but passionately, heartily, vehemently shared changing and misinformation about the recent virus, I have doubts when it comes to trusting all of the information coming from the American media. Those guys will jump on a headline faster than a duck on a June bug. We forget that they are not reporting for the good of the people but the good of their dollars—these commerce outlets have ratings to reach and salaries to pay, after all.

A Nightly Check

I’ve received that check in the spirit that keeps me up at night wondering about the bigger picture of all the chaos. What am I missing here and why am I uneasy? Why am I not creating hate posts against Putin and Russia?

The Lord reminds me that I, as a wee, little human on His planet earth am not seeing the reality of the situation. The reality, He tells me, is unseen. We truly receive only a glimpse of the truth because our earthly manner of sharing information is stunted. There is a reality that is unseen.

            Ephesians 6:12 – For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

In this passage of Scripture, I’m told that the real war is in the heavenlies and not in Central Europe. In searching through the Word to scratch my itch of unrest, I found this jewel:

            2 Corinthian 4:18 – …as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Whoa. I am told not to seek truth in the short-sighted, agenda-filled media, but in the plans of my God. Then I found this verse concerning His plans:

            Zephania 1:17 – I will bring distress on mankind, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the Lord; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung.

Walking like the blind appears to be an earthly curse. There are those among us who cannot or will not discern the truth—they are blind to spiritual matters. Here’s the proof of that truth:

1 Corinthians 2:14 -The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  

Jesus affirms this reality in this Scripture:

John 9:29 – Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.”

The Truth of the Matter

In light of God’s Word, should it be maddening to me that untruths, false prophets, and propaganda abound in current world chaos?

No. As a believer, through the Truth found in the Word, I’ve been made aware, warned really, that the blind of the world will not discern the plans of Almighty God. But I am not as the blind. I have a discerning Holy Spirit that guides me.

John 16:13 — When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

And this brings me back to some of the Scriptures I’ve written about, made videos about, and continually point to: Matthew 24:3-8

As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. 5For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. 6And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.

God’s plans are underway, my friends. And if these times and troubles are by His design, then we, as His children, have work to do beyond the flag-waving and thundering applause surrounding our propaganda-spewing national leaders.

Isaiah 55:6-11 – Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your way, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

From these Scriptures I can confirm that what my work in all of this worldly chaos is to pray the Word and share the Word with those within my influence. Working for an international ministry which shares God’s audible Word in the languages of the world, I’ve witnessed, firsthand, the thirst for truth.

Spreading salvation hits the real but unseen enemy where it hurts.

We must pray truth. We must share truth.

If you want to do more than stand in solidarity with those fighting to keep their country, then do something dramatic—send God’s Word. Kingdom build. Find a ministry working on the inside and encourage; buoy their confidence with your support.

Last Words of Encouragement

I’ll wrap up with these encouraging Scriptures:

Isaiah 35:4 – Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution, he will come to save you.

Hebrews 11:1 – Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Yes, I pray for the people of Ukraine. I also pray for the people in Russia, China, Afghanistan, and North Korea, and even America. I pray for the great harvest. This world will not last, and it is not where my hope lies.

My hope is in Christ alone.

Love to all,

Laurie

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