Prophetic Sword Picture

Friday, June 22, 2018

PEACE, Is that possible for believers?

Dear friends and readers,

The subject of followers of Christ living through evil times in a beleaguered world has been much on my mind lately. The Bible is full of admonitions for us to be peaceful---to live in peace and promote peace. But I for one have long since noticed that achieving true peace in our lives is one of those "easier said than done's".

With age and experience I have discovered that peace in my own life is possible but that requires daily and sometimes minute by minute decisions on my part. I am sure you have heard the old expression "the mind is the devils playground". A truer word has never been spoken.

Have you ever had one of those days when you fight a mental battle ALL DAY LONG because you have been injured, insulted in some way or simply slighted---and all you can think about is telling that no good so and so off? You know, that rascal that hurt your feelings. Or hurt someone else's and you are simply enraged by it? Let's be honest here, I certainly have. And probably will all my life. The question is, do I have any control over it? And have you noticed that when you are in the very center of some kind of contention, it is not so easy to simply throw scripture at the problem and expect it to immediately go away?

I am a peaceful man. I value peace in my life. Whenever possible I CHOOSE to walk away from contentious people. Nor do I choose to fight or even argue with anyone. Have I always been able to do that well? No sadly I have not but I am learning. My desire not to fight or argue does not in any way infer that I am a "pacifist" because I am not. A pacifist is a person who is opposed to war and violence in any form. That's not me because I know that sometimes war---as evil as the reality may be, is unfortunately necessary. Had the United States and the Allied powers not taken decisive action during WWII, the Nazi's of Germany may well have conquered great swaths of the entire world. On the other hand, there are no winners of war! Oh, the Allies overcame evil at that time in history but at the battle of Normandy alone, 9000 Allied soldiers died in one single day. That is not what I would call "winning" anything.

On  a personal basis, I come from a violent background and have many scars on my body as testimony to a career in Law Enforcement and also some military background. I chose to do those kinds of jobs because I know that true peace between countries and within societies can only come through strength and the rule of law. And to this day I would never stand idly by and see my family or friends physically abused or anyone else for that matter. No I am not a pacifist but when I have a choice to make in the matter I choose to live a non violent lifestyle--in peace. Not just physically but also emotionally, spiritually and in every other aspect of life. Admittedly, sometimes that is easier said than done!

Biblically speaking much is expected of us where peace in concerned. Jesus gave us the tools; John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you, NOT AS THE WORLD GIVES YOU, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let if be afraid". So, we have a choice, we can try and find our peace through worldly ways or the way the Lord would have us do so.

I will tell you a story. One of my own because I don't like telling other peoples testimonies. In the area where I live, everyones houses are on septic systems. There are two houses on my property. One is equipped with it's own system and the other has always been in question. Since every thing is deep under ground it is difficult to discover for certain. The local authority over these public systems has always maintained that our second house is hooked to the community system. I have never believed that is the case and have expressed my opinion frequently. But I was basically forced to pay bills for 5 years that I never believed we owed. Recently the community system had to be worked on and guess what they discovered? My home was not hooked to it in any way. Never was!

Can you imagine my reaction to this news? "I WANT MY MONEY BACK!" But the answer I received back was basically "no way Jose". In the next 30 seconds, various scenarios went racing through my mind---I am sure you can imagine. 1). Make a huge ruckus in the community and cause my neighbors to take sides, thereby taking everyone's peace away. 2). Sue the creeps. But then that is a costly two year process during which time myself and my family would be embroiled in dispute and contention and our peace would be shattered. 3). Walk away!

Was it worth it to me to prove my point? To get that ounce of flesh that I rightly deserved? After all I was in the right. Was it not a matter of honor? Or did I just want to be proven right publicly?

At about the 29 second mark, the light came on for me and I CHOSE to walk away. Silly to think? Look at it this way. If I fought, the dollars I would have received back would get us to disneyland for about 2 days. But my peace would have been in tatters for months getting there. NOT WORTH IT TO ME! By the way, that was only a few days ago and guess what? I have lost no sleep. My peace is in tact, and I caused no ruckus in the neighborhood. Was the action taken by other people right? No it most certainly was not. But I have found out something very important in my life. I am not responsible for other people choosing to be jerks. And I have also discovered that I really don't need to prove myself right. Nor do I need to accept insult when it comes my way. That's a personal choice. I don't have to allow my feelings to be injured, that is a personal choice.

I don't have to be in unforgiveness toward any other human being no matter what. That is a personal choice. I do not have to be embroiled in other peoples problems unless it is to the extent of being able to help them in some small way. I don't have to be around people who are constantly living their lives from one drama issue to the next. I do not have to spend my time in fellowship with people who are contentious. In fact I have Biblical direction NOT to do so. Titus 3:9-10 "But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law. For they are unprofitable and useless. REJECT A DIVISIVE MAN after the first and send admonition". And I have a choice NOT to listen to bad mouth about other people. No No, I don't have to do that.

In the country there is an old expression; "Have you ever been around someone for a few minutes only to discover that their corn bread is not fully cooked in the middle"? That means don't eat of that guys verbal meal. You don't have to hang around people either talking or acting trash.

And here is the biggie, getting back to unforgiveness; If a Christian allows themselves to be in unforgiveness, they might as well take a high powered hand gun and blow a hole in their own foot. Either way they are only hurting themselves. Matthew 6:15 "If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your (heavenly) Father forgive your trespasses".

Now that is scary because without the forgiveness of sin, ask yourself---what is in my eternal future? Would I serve the Lord all my life and then allow myself hurt by hanging onto someone else's jerky actions or evil mouth?

For me the answer is no. It is simply not worth it nor is the lack of peace that comes as a close neighbor to unforgiveness.

So you say there is someone in your life who is mean spirited? Someone who takes your peace away? You know back in my law enforcement days we would often get complaints from ladies who had received lewd telephone calls. I would ask them how they reacted and nearly always they said something like "I screamed at that pervert and slammed the phone down". But he just keeps calling back, what should I do? My advice? Next time don't scream, don't call him any names, in fact don't react at all and above all don't slam the phone down. All that guy is doing is trying to get a reaction out of you and he is succeeding. Next time don't say a word and just silently press the button to hang up the call. Do you know what happened every single time with those ladies who followed that advice? The idiot making the calls stopped calling and chose another victim.

The very worst thing that can happen to a mean spirited, evil speaking person is to be ignored! Invariably what they really want is attention. They want their 15 minutes of fame. Don't give it to them. Keep your peace and walk away. That also applies to listening to evil speakers.  If you do that you are only becoming their audience without the price of admission. Walk away.

One of the most precious gifts the Lord provided for us is being able to walk upon this earth in peace. That does not mean that bad things don't happen because they most certainly do. And sometimes we are injured in the process. But absent some kind of sever accident or ailment, most issues in life, particularly involving other people, are within our own control. Or perhaps I should say, the WAY WE REACT is within our control.

We can CHOOSE to be at peace if we want to. I will leave you with a thought; When it comes to mean spirited people and those who want to cause contention, there can be no argument or fight if one person chooses not to engage in the issue.

Get your peace back and keep it.

God bless,
Pastor Rance.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

RED WAVE/BLUE WAVE??? The REAL wave is Believers voting!

Dear friends and readers,

Tired of speculation over the coming mid terms? Burned out on trying to figure out if we will see a RED WAVE or a BLUE WAVE?

The real wave will be Christians, followers of Christ going to the polls, We are millions and millions strong! Followers of the Lord can not only influence but turn any American election anyway we want. BUT ONLY IF WE VOTE!!!

Staying home and sitting on our collective hands will see defeat for the conservative cause. It will insure the continued advancement of political correctness, the squashing of free speech, the eventual demise of the second amendment, repeal of tax reforms, more regulations back in place, and a general degradation of our once great American society as it gives way to socialism.

Ask yourself some questions;

Do you like being a parent who has zero to say about your children's sex education classes in school?

Do you love high taxes?

Do you want to continue seeing our cities filled with homeless?

Are you sick and tired of seeing your tax money dolled out to people on welfare (at least to those who can actually work for a living but don't)?

Does it bother you that the United States gives money to (MULTIPLE) countries who hate us?

Are you concerned that country after country that we have trade agreements with are shafting the American tax payer---and past administrations have allowed that to continue---by the BILLIONS OF DOLLARS annually?

Do you suspect that big government is the reason that social security and Medicare are going broke?

Are you tired of hearing career politicians tell you how to vote?

Are you worried that ultra liberal values will continue degrading a once proud nation?

Are to sick and tired of hearing about honest Bible believing business people being told who they can make cakes for and who they cannot?

Do you want to live in a place that values mom, apple pie and Old Glory---and the BIBLE?

Me too and while we are at it, I am also sick and tired of politicians ridiculing my Bible and what it says, trying to tear down crosses and dictate who can display a Nativity scene on their front lawns.

We can change that---ALL of it, but ALL the millions and millions of us have to register and vote!

It is a God given right in our democracy. Let's ban together and use it!

Don't wait till the last minute to decide---the mid terms are a very short 5 months away.

Good bless,
Pastor Rance.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

WORLD WAR III---What really are the chances?

Dear friends and readers,

It's a good thing that I have three blogs because the news is coming at us so quickly that I cannot publish fast enough. Normally this blog is reserved for encouraging the church to GET BACK TO BASICS, but right now I feel it far more important to address headline news.

Unfortunately Israel and news from the Middle East is buried deep within daily news casts because the "talking heads" on most channels are far more interested in Russian collusion or speculation over who the President may have played "footsie" with years ago. The REAL stories are not often reported and frankly when they are, I am totally stunned by the naiveté of people who should know better.

The following headline news has been repeated on multiple occasions by several people on nightly news programs just this week;

"WE ARE ON THE BRINK OF WORLD WAR III!" This, by several retired generals, and in some cases even retired high ranking diplomats and a few heads of state---not to mention very many liberal left wing news commentators.

For the record at least Biblically speaking I do not see a war approaching the status of a WORLD WAR until Armageddon. I do see a large conflict written in Psalm 83 plus a someday invasion of Israel by Gog from the land of Magog---Ezekiel 38-39. And of course events must play out one way or another that will set the prophetic stage for the total and complete destruction of the ancient Syrian city of Damascus. I should note however that no specific Biblical texts dealt with the overall circumstances involved with either WWI or WWII. So who knows, perhaps more surprises are in store.

My purpose today is to bring you up to speed on things that are currently underway that many news programs skip completely. First as you know, Israel and Iran (from within Syria) have begun trading rocket fire and this is the basis for many thinking that this could escalate into a world wide conflagration. And of course parts "B" and "C" of that scenario are the formal opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem this week. Then, very many politicians and heads of state seem to believe that President Trump canceling the JPOA agreement with Iran could grow into a firestorm not easily quenched. JPOA is the acronym for "JOINT COMPREHENSIVE PLAN OF ACTION" that was signed into being on July 14, 2015.

This agreement was just that---a simple non binding agreement because absolutely no one including the United State Senate ratified this as a formal treaty. But it was taken seriously by the signatories who are the United States, Russia, China, France, United Kingdom and Germany and of course the target of this deal being Iran and it's desire to field Ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. Of course Iran has insisted all along that they only wanted peaceful nuclear facilities to produce power for their electric grids. But that is a pill extremely difficult to swallow in view of Iran's 60 year track record of calling for the total destruction of Israel, the United States and virtually any and all democratic forms of government worldwide.

Next on the very troubling hit parade of impending violence is the fact that Hezbollah (proxy army for Iran (ancient Persia---and sworn enemy of Israel) just won big time in the Lebanese parliamentary elections. Like it or not some governments are now in the unenviable position of having to recognize Hezbollah as a government entity even though they are really a terrorist thug organization bent upon total and complete destruction of Israel. And that puts the United States in a real political "pickle" because Uncle Sam has been pumping mega military support and training into the LAF (Lebanese armed forces) for many years. In fact reports coming out of Israel declare that the LAF has received over 1 1/2 BILLION dollars worth of advanced weapons systems including the training of 32,000 LAF military forces. This has been happening since 2007 and according to a well know commentator, Caroline Glick of Breaking Israel news, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut reported that in 2017 alone, the U.S. provided 32 M1A2 Bradley fighting vehicles, 50 armored Humvees, small aircraft armed with hellfire missiles, 55 mortar systems, 50 Mark-19 automatic grenade launchers, 1100 machine guns including 800 50 caliber weapons, 4000 M4 rifles, over 1/2 million rounds on ammunition, 320 night vision thermal devices, and 360 secure communications radios.

So what you say? As it stands right now, Hezbollah through the latest parliamentary elections is clearly in charge of Lebanon and since Hezbollah is a puppet army of Iran, so is the entire country of Lebanon which is exactly on Israel's northern boarder. Did I neglect to mention that Hezbollah already has 150,000 rockets and missiles pointed at Israeli cities?

So, now because of inept U.S. foreign policy on the part of past Presidents, the current President Donald Trump faces an untenable situation; The U.S.A. stands solidly in support of Israel who will most likely be facing U.S. made and supplied weaponry in a war with Hezbollah that could break out at any minute---REALLY!

In the mean while Iran is doing all it can to build forward military bases in the war torn country of Syria which is also on Israel's boarder to the north east.

Hamas is in a full scale uprising in Gaza and have announced that they are planning to turn out hundreds of thousands of Palestinians during the next week to overwhelm Israel's security fences and Israel has now moved several brigades of troops to the Gaza fences to defend Israeli territory.

To make matters worse, the Turkish news paper YENI SAFEK says that they and many Arab and Muslim leaders are calling for a new global "army of Islam" to march against Israel and take Jerusalem.

Speaking of Turkey---a once democratic nation with secular values, the current President has succeeded in turning the entire nation into a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalist extremists all of whom hate Israel AND the United States and although still officially a NATO country, have now aligned themselves with Iran, Russia and to an extent China, all of whom are enemies of Israel and the U.S.A.

Syria itself has been engulfed in a deadly civil war which has now lasted 7 full years since 2011. Russia, Turkey, Iran and the United States are all on the ground in that country with armed forces. How long before mass conflict breaks out between these forces all of whom have divergent military and political goals?

And this very week the tinder box has become full. A box of events, any one of which could well begin a massive war that could draw in very many countries---and that is why so many are speculating about WWIII.

1). Today, May 13 is Jerusalem remembrance day. It commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem in Israeli hands after the six day war of 1967. This is a day thoroughly hated by Muslims who are the predominant population groups in 50 countries.

2). Ramadan begins on May 15 and signals the largest convergence of Muslims worldwide and that begins in Saudi Arabia and goes through June 14.

3). The move of the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem with be dedicated tomorrow May 14th which is also the 70th birthday of the New State of Israel from May 14, 1948. Interestingly, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion announced the new State of Israel at exactly 4 p.m. on that date. The dedication of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem is scheduled for precisely 4 p.m.

4). The Iran nuclear deal between several nations and Iran was canceled last week at least as far as the United States is concerned but this has caused yet another political firestorm, and more predictions of WWIII.  Standing with the United States in this decision are Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates. Standing in solidarity against the decision by the United States are Russia, China, The United Kingdom, France, Germany and of course Iran.

All of these things and more could ignite the firestorm of war with the slightest little spark either militarily or politically. Only time will tell.

But of further significance in the near future are 1). May 20th represents the day (on the Gregorian calendar) that the Holy Spirit came to the church, the day of PENTECOST in Acts chapter 2.

2). July 22 is the fast of the ninth of Av on the Jewish religious calendar. This particular day lives in infamy. Over the centuries very bad things have happened to Israel (and some times the world) exactly on the ninth of Av. Both Temples were destroyed on this day. Seminal events that kicked off both WWI and WWII happened on this day. Going back in time, when the Hebrew spies went into the promised land and became frightened, they were responsible for Israel NOT doing what God had commanded. Ninth of Av---resulted in the people of Israel wondering in the wilderness for 40 years.  During the Simon Bar Kockba revolt against Rome, The final battle was fought and the Jews defeated at Betar. Ninth of Av. The Jews were later expelled (all in different years) exactly on the ninth of Av from England and Spain.

Will anything happen this year? Only time will tell.

I will close with a Biblical admonition from Psalm 122:6-9 "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you. Peace be within your walls, prosperity within your palaces. For the sake of my brethren and companions, I will now say, peace be within you.  Because of the house of the Lord our God I will seek your good".

Did you happen to notice the part that says "MAY THEY PROSPER WHO LOVE YOU"! A Biblical promise to be sure.

God bless you all in this time of turmoil,
Pastor Rance.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

COUNTRY WISDOM---Its time to get a chuckle!

Dear friends and readers,

Tired of constant bad news? Me too so it's time to lighten the load, Ease up, chill out, sit back and put yer feet up. Take a deep breath, get on the bus Gus and set yourself free!


It's downright annoying to argue with a fella who knows what he is talking about!

If you run with hounds expect to get fleas!

Coffee is best when it's saucered and blowed!

A little tears absorbs big pains!

Lifes a funny thing. You have to bust some clods before ya can plant a crop!

Debt is like dragging a rock in a cotton sack!

Small minds and big mouths have a way of hookin up!

Don't smoke in the hay loft---er anytime else ifn yer smart!

A mule can't help it if his daddy is a jackass!

Don't stand behing a coughing cow!

Country folks know a lot of stuff that ain't wrote down nowhere!

Hunt every varmint from downwind except a polecat (skunk fer you city fellas)!

It's hard to plant a seedless grape!

An acorn don't fall far from the tree but some nuts roll a long way from their roots!

An ounce of doing is worth a pound of talk!

Don't name a critter you plan to eat!

A single day in the country is worth a month in the city!


Better to have loved and lost than to marry a dairy farmer!

Early to bed and early to rise makes fer healthy families!

Trouble is a private thing, don't lend it and don't borrow any!

A hatful of marital advice still won't buy a cup of coffee.
Ya got ta learn it one day at a time!

Country fences need to be horse high, pig tight, and bull strong.
Married folk need ta build their fences together!

Life is not about how fast you can run
or how high you can climb
but how well you can bounce back!

Happy folk walk side by side!

Keep yer home peaceful
don't let other folks problems through the door!

Always keep drama at the theater!

The first two years of marital bliss can be a rocky road
but don't give up and it smooths out!

Keep skunks, bankers and lawyers at a distance!

Don't let yer wife wear polyester to a weiner roast!

Lettin yer chickens roost over the well is a big mistake!

Life is simpler when you plow around the stumps!

Yellin don't fix nothin!

Ain't nothing better in the evenin than you and yer honey
getting some coffee and hanging out with the horses!

Don't "gobble" in the woods during huntin season!

Country folk will help a fella who is down and out
but they got no use fer free freeloaders!

All marriages have squabbles but don't use yer spurs!

Split the chores, but remember the only thing worse
than a lawn mower that won't start is one that will!

Going to bed mad ain't no fun but it's better than fightin all night.
Besides in the morning most folks don't remember why they was
fightin in the first place!

Don't sell yer mule to buy a plow!

Two can live as cheap as one, if one don't eat!

Yer lady is like fine crystal,
she makes sweet sounds but shatters easy.
Think before ya speak!

You ain't goin to change him so pick right
the first time. And remember he ain't crystal,
he's a tin cup full of dents!

The best way ta get around yer spouse is ta hug em!

The best marriage is about 50 years old,
sittin on the porch together
waitin fer the grandkids
and sharing the teeth!

Oh, and if ya want to be happy in yer marriage
dont fergit ta talk with the Lord everyday!

Pastor Rance
Born and raised country!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

To tell the truth, so help me God!

Dear friends and readers,

Does anyone agree that the world is currently in terrible shape and getting worse by the day? Everywhere I look good pastors and reputable authors are publishing articles with exactly the same theme; JESUS IS COMING SOON!

Admittedly, probably all past generations of believers either thought that or at least fervently hoped they would be part of the rapture of the church. So why would it be any different for our current generation? Well, the simple fact is that no other generation since the cross actually witnessed the ingathering of the Jews back to their ancient homeland of Israel in accordance with prophecy in Ezekiel chapter 37. Also no other generation witnessed Israel once again becoming a nation on May 14, 1948. SPECIAL NOTE! In case you are wondering, in the entire history of the world, no---I repeat no other culture was ever reinstated to their ancient national homeland after being dispersed worldwide. It has only happened one time and Israel is the one nation it has happened to. And yes, I do believe that Israel represents a Biblically prophetic time clock against which all else in the world will be measured.

I have no idea if we are close enough to the rapture for me as an individual to experience what Christians worldwide have always longed for. But if I had to guess I would say that people of my generation---at least some of them will. I was born in 1944 which means that I was alive to witness May 14, 1948 and I actually have some dim memories of the actual occurrence. My grandparents had one of the very first round screen black and white T.V's. Of course then I also remember victrola's, horse drawn milk wagons, Levis with buttons and my very first car, a 1950 plymouth 4 door. 8 track cassettes, a drivers license at 14, 50 cent per gallon gas and being fortunate to earn $1.00 per hour.  And a bit later, transistor radios so my life has spanned some very interesting times. My father was an engineer on the very first moon shot and at 18 years old I was working as a hard rock miner 1600 feet under the ground on the very day JFK was assassinated. But I was making BIG money doing it. $2.12 an hour.

Back in those days, western movies featured good guys wearing white hats and bad guys wore black. The good guy always got the good girl and they didn't go to bed until after marriage. Drugs were around but only just and divorce (although it did happen) was socially frowned upon. There were NEVER any pregnant girls in high school (at least in the country) although you would never know it by all the lies the locker room guys were telling. I absolutely knew that they were lying because girls wore girdles in those days and those critters were undefeatable.

Then came the sexual revolution of the 1960's, Woodstock, huge rally's with women tearing their bras off and throwing them into bon fires to declare their independence. Next day the news papers were crowing about how large the crowds became. But I was in Law Enforcement at the time and can tell you for a fact that the next day "HUGE" crowds were mostly men gathered around the perimeters watching women tear off their bras. Funny the women never seemed to realize that!

Now here we are about 60 years later. Divorce is huge even within the church. I was doing some paperwork for our adopted son in a San Diego court a few months ago and there was sign advertising 1 day divorces??? Now men are becoming women and women becoming men? Makes me wonder who exactly is tearing off their bras these days? Drugs are epidemic. Politicians in most part are liars, Police are now the persecuted minority. In the past 40 years 1.72 BILLION aborted babies have happened worldwide. Nuclear proliferation is once again a threat to the entire planet. No one really knows these days who you are sharing a public toilet with. Children are given birth control devices at school without parental consent.

And those few things are only the tip of the iceberg.

Galatians 5:17-21 is now in full bloom. The works of the flesh. NOTE: Before going further this is no "goody goody two shoes" article. Christians make mistakes also and I fully realize that. My too!

But lets just list a few no-no's Biblically from Galatians and then you tell me if they sound accurate by todays news feeds? Lust, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery (including drug abuse), hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies (false doctrines), envy, murder, drunkenness and revelries.

Sound familiar?

If you want to see contentions simply look at the United States Congress. If you want to see murders simply look at most major U.S. cities. If you want to see adultery, lewdness, fornication and even more murder just look at our abortion rates. If you want to see liars just look at most of the large news agencies. By the way LIARS was not listed in Galatians 5. Want to know where it is listed? The very last book of the Bible, Revelation chapter 21:8 and 27. Scary!

In my day a man's hand shake meant something. And in a few cases today it still does. But not much any more. Today nothing is for certain. Absolutely nothing.

Well there is one thing that is certain; Jesus is on the Throne and coming back for His church--His Bride. But of one thing scripture makes absolutely clear. The Bride will not include liars or any of those other folks referred to in Galatians 5:17-21.

The good news is that Galatians also lists the fruits of the Spirit. LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONG-SUFFERING, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS, SELF CONTROL, and against such there is no law.

I ask myself frequently if my life reflects those standards? I sure hope so because if not, I and anyone else who's lives do not reflect them will be in a heap of trouble when the Lord does come.

It's time for us who believe in the Lord to begin looking up, for our redemption really does draw close.

Come quickly Lord Jesus.

God bless you all,
Pastor Rance.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Confused about politics in the USA? Well, join the crowd!

Dear friends and readers,

Is anyone but me scratching your heads in confusion over the latest spat of Republican/Democratic political antics?

I try diligently to keep my articles NON political and so please know that I am not blowing anyone in particulars trumpet. But wow. The question is, who is going to "get" who? I really do not like to be melodramatic or just another voice of doom and gloom in an already crowded forum.  But with every single day that passes, I do wonder just how much really creepy stuff is hidden in the hallowed halls of congress, the FBI and Justice Department?

Oh gosh, did I forget to mention the State Department and White House? Still I suppose it could be worse, after todays news at least the Military is funded. YEA! Of course there is that little matter of several hundred MILLIONS of dollars that seem to be missing from departments entrenched in the Pentagon, but then who is really counting? Uhhh, apparently no one!

So let me see if I can get this straight. The GOP has unearthed horrible evidence of everything from Democratic collusion between the Clintons, Russia, secret retired British agents, privately paid companies hired to do political hit jobs, Uranium 1 scandals, secret dossiers,  all the way to downright criminal activity within the FBI and DOJ.

At the very same time, the Democrats have unearthed horrible evidence regarding collusion between the White House and the Kremlin, evidence of a completely dysfunctional White House because one of it's young staffers beat up his wife (well er, ok it may have been two wives---hopefully not married to them both at once),  Wire taps,  staff infighting and a President who lacks mental prowess but at the same time managed to kick the Dems butts on a number of issues not the least of which was tax reform/relief, an attempted Government shutdown and a 2 year funding deal for the Military.

Then there are the leakers (of high level government secrets) and the news media in general who have earned the lowest popularity ratings in all of history from the American public. Lets not leave out battles royal nearly daily by and between such august organizations as Planned Parenthood, Right to Life Advocates, the NRA, ACLU, Civil liberties groups on every front---none of whom agree on anything???

Well let's see, does that cover it? Not by a long shot. It does beg the question, who exactly will pay the 20 Trillion dollar national debt? Who will finally get some workable plan going for people to obtain decent medical insurance? Who Will be able to finally overhaul a badly broken immigration system? Oh and just so you know? In my opinion the Stock Market is headed for a massive correction---no let's reword that to massive total and complete failure in which your green backs will be worth exactly zilch!

I wonder if anyone has considered selling the book and movie rights for this non fiction thriller to Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler or Daniel Silva. After all there is a real life spy involved even though he is not an Israeli named Gabriel Allon. Golly the book sales alone could help pay off the national debt!

Uh, oh and I forgot to mention that congress will fix it all. After all, that's what the granpoobahs of both parties are telling us daily, right? Right? Well maybe not!

So many people ask guys like me, "why is not the United States mentioned in end times Biblical prophecy"? Surely nothing could EVER EVER happen to the greatest nation the world has ever seen. Of course we must remind ourselves that in their historical times all of the following nations were the greatest the world had ever seen; 1). Egyptian Empire 2). Ancient Philistine Empire 3). Assyrian Empire 4). Babylonian Empire 5). Persian Empire 6). Greek Empire 7). Roman Empire 8). Byzantine Empire 9). Spanish Empire 10). Nazi Germany (well at least Hitler thought so), not to mention 11). The Soviet Union. Not one of whom by the way ever approached a one trillion dollar national debt let alone one of 20 trillion!

All of these and more spanned thousands and thousands of years and where are they now? All of them, every single one? In the dust bin of destroyed societies, all of whom thought they had it wired forever!

Friends we are witnessing the dying throes of the United States as a world power. Sad to say but true. There is absolutely no way back for a country who has turned against itself, turned against God and turned against all moral authority in a quest for self righteous fulfillment. How will the mighty USA finally fall from grace and power? Sorry, but I don't have an answer for that. Not even specific timing. Perhaps the fall will not be tomorrow but it is coming.

When the United States does fall---and fall it will, a vacuum of immense proportions will engulf the world and there will be a man who steps into that vacuum and at the time he will seem like a savior, A good guy with all the answers. But he won't be, and he won't have. No he will be the antichrist in all his horrible glory. Helped along by the False Prophet who will force earths population to its knees in worship of a false god.

He will literally enslave the world and its entire population. Mass murder, rape and mayhem will ensue over the next 7 years and such a catatonic catastrophe will be created that the final battle of Armageddon will force its way upon the world stage and engulf nearly all living beings.

But there is good news, at least for some. Jesus Christ will come back for His church---long before Armageddon. Yes, the rapture will take place first. Somewhat over 7 years later, near the end of the war of Armageddon, Christ will appear in His second coming. Peace will be restored and eventually He will be enthroned in Jerusalem for a physical reign of 1000 years.

But in the meantime there are troubled waters ahead. Christians should not be fooled or surprised because much of this end time scenario is written in scripture.

If you are a follower of Christ please pray diligently for your families, for your neighbors and yes for your country no matter where in the world you reside, and for your leaders.

If you are not a follower of Christ, making a decision to change that NOW will be your only salvation from eternal catastrophe. Romans chapter 10 verse 9 is your way, literally your pathway to safety. Not that everything will be perfect in your lives by making this decision because it won't. You will still have problems. But you will also know for certain what your future holds for you, an eternity with God.

But this decision will also have to be accompanied by soul wrenching, sincere repentance. These are the requirements; Heartfelt prayer to God including 1). Repentance 2). If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ 3). Believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.


But don't do this as a form of escape. That will not work for you. You must do so because you do truly love Jesus Christ with all your heart.


God bless,
Pastor Rance.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

FEAR NOT! REALLY? Did the Lord really expect that of human beings?

Dear friends and readers,

Are you a follower of Christ who is constantly bothered by your unwanted companion, FEAR?

Have you ever known someone who was so incapacitated by fear that they were nearly unable to make it through life? Unfortunately that is an all too often problem for lot's of folks including among some believers.

In it's worst form fear is called "AGORAPHOBIA". It is so debilitating that people inflicted with this particular PHOBIA, often cannot go outside of their own homes. They are near paralyzed with such dread that they are subject to panic attacks, fear of even the smallest crowds of people, and positively distraught over the mere thought of travel, open and wide spaces, strangers and any type of social interaction.

Fear takes many forms and fortunately is far less traumatizing for most people than those who suffer from Agoraphobia. Fear is an emotional response and is common in one form or another to all mankind. Even the most well trained and fearsome soldier, policeman or other first responders such as fire fighters are subject to fear. That is only natural. For those kinds of "front line" folks, training, education, team work and safety issues normally help them push past the fear factor and get the job done. But that does not mean the fear is not there. But for the rest of mankind, regular folks with 8 to 5's, families, bills and little league, fear can also be debilitating. For some folks more than others of course.

Christians are no less susceptible to fear than anyone else---but we should be. After all, we are the only persons on planet earth who's God and King says to us regularly, FEAR NOT!

True confession? Easier said than done. But there is help if we will but look. I had a young missionary on my staff many years ago who was subject to great fear. While on an outreach  near a desert town, I later discovered that she was near paralyzed in fear an entire night while sleeping in a tent. All night long, a terrifying huge mountain lion was scratching on the outside of her tent fabric trying to get in. Sound silly? Well it wasn't for her, it was very real and very traumatic. Of course it was only wind and branches scratching at the tent but our human minds, particularly in the middle of the night can dredge up the most horrible circumstances and while we are involved in those mental gymnastics, nothing and I mean nothing can make the reality go away, frequently even prayer.

Have you ever noticed that the middle of the night often brings with it the worst possible kinds of worry? The light of day and a good cup of coffee often dulls the worry but of course some worry and fear is truly rooted in reality. Illness particularly when suffered by a loved one, loss of a family member, divorce,  wandering children, unending bills that threaten to bury us in a veritable mountain of debt, all these things and more can take their toll and the fear that accompanies those kinds of circumstances is not easily shed. In fact I learned as a very young pastor, that although ALL the answers to mankind's problems are contained within the pages of our Bibles, still you cannot simply "throw scripture" at people and expect their problems to go away and their fear to dissipate.

A small confession; I learned something extremely valuable early on while performing fear counseling sessions as well as other types of counseling.  Often, it was better for me to simply keep my mouth shut and listen. Folks in many cases did not need advice, they needed someone to walk along side them or sit with them and patiently listen while they worked through the problem on their own. In many cases they left my office thinking their pastor was a genius while in fact they had the answers all along themselves. Not always of course, some people really do need council including scriptural reminders to work their way through what ever it is that is bothering them.

NOTE OF ADVICE TO HUSBANDS; Something else I learned early on in life. Gents, don't be in a rush to try and fix your wife's problems. Often she just needs to vent and have an understanding ear. She will generally come up with the answers all by herself and if she really wants your advice, she will ask for it. (-:

Ladies as a husband myself I would not think of trying to give you advice about communications with your husband. I would just get myself into trouble )-:

But back to fear. You know as a believer we really do have some protection and guidance available to us. First really is the power of prayer. I myself have found myself worrying about something and only after working myself into a dither did I finally slow down and realize I had not prayed about the issue FIRST! As a pastor one of my first questions is "have you prayed about this"? Frankly in a very large number of cases the answer is NO! So let's talk about a very real scripture that some folks in the church try and explain away. John 10:27 (As you know the Lord refers to His followers as sheep), "My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me". Yes, yes, I know somewhere along the line someone has taught you that the Lord only speaks to us through His written word. Ah, well could someone please find that scripture in the Bible and send it to me because I have read the whole thing and cannot find it anywhere. You can also send a note to both Daniel and John who had visions and dreams.

Yes, the word of God does speak to us as we read or hear it. In fact "faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God", Romans 10:17. But is that the ONLY way God communicates with us? God "spoke" to Adam and Eve, to Cain, to Moses through a burning bush. He spoke to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob (Israel). He spoke to Elijah in 1 Kings 19:9. and in fact God spoke to the prophet Elijah more than once. And how did He do that? First, God had to get Elijah's attention and when He had it He spoke to the prophet in a "still small voice". Was that an outside voice or an inside voice? Who knows. But of one thing I can absolutely assure you; If you want to hear that "still small voice" you have to slow down. Chill out, get by yourself and pray and then listen. Shed the hecticity of daily life. No guarantees of course because it is up to Him how He chooses to communicate with you.

To clarify, I am not speaking of the gifts of the Spirit as reflected in either 1 Corinthians chapter 12 or Romans chapter 12. I am not speaking of gifts of knowledge, wisdom, prophecy or tongues. I am not speaking of a gift of discernment. For the record I believe in all those gifts but also believe according to 1 Corinthians chapter 14 verse 40 (in speaking of the various gifts) "Let all things be done decently and in order". NO WEIRD STUFF with the gifts of the Spirit!

But yes, I also believe in scripture when it says "My sheep will HEAR my voice". Did you notice that did not say "READ MY VOICE"? It says hear My voice. The problem with most people is that they are far too busy to hear the Lord speak to them even if He was trying to beat a brass drum in their ear.  We are commanded to pray. That means speaking To God. But honestly some folks spend so much time speaking that they don't take the time to listen. Once again, slow down, get by yourself, spend time with the Lord, certainly pray but then be quiet and listen. And then if He chooses to speak to you keep your own counsel. It seems in this day in age that the church is over run by the "GOD TOLD ME" crowd. If God is really speaking to you regardless of how He chooses to do so, you are far better off simply acting upon what He has said to you. But before you act, seek confirmation with the word of God because He will never ever tell you something that is in conflict with His written word.

Also, many of you reading this were estranged from the organized church for some past hurt. Yes, individual Christians can be mean spirited at times. Entire church boards can become so tied up in the work of the church that they loose track of the fact that the work of the church is PEOPLE! But you cannot paint the entire church with the broad brush of "hurtful". Look for a small fellowship with a pastor who is full gospel and who is vested in his congregation. They are out there and pastors are given by Christ to the church for a very specific reason, (Please look up Ephesians chapter 4 verses 11-16). Having a pastor to speak with in times of worry and strife is a very comforting thing.

When people come up to me and say "God told me", I generally tune them out. The same holds true when folks hand me business cards labeling themselves as PROPHETS or APOSTLES! Those cards go directly into my round file (garbage can). If you are ever in the genuine presence of a Prophet of God or an Apostle, you will know it. They do not need to beat their own drum so the world knows. The signs of verification of either of those offices is clearly found in the Bible. If God speaks to you, consider yourself blessed but don't be in a hurry to announce it to the world. Now a word of clarification so no one misunderstands; I read my Bible and count on it for the answers to life's problems and recommend that you do the same. It is invaluable to followers of Christ.

In that Bible, the word fear is listed over 500 times in one form or another. It is a very real human emotion and no one should ever feel ashamed because they are having problems with fear. But there is great value in scripture so we do need to rely on it for advice in the important issues of life. One caution however; When praying if we do receive some kind of answer from God, please know that inwardly God's voice and our own voice can sound exactly the same. That is why we need to confirm what we think we are hearing with the printed word of God. I cannot stress that enough. And don't forget, counsel with your pastor.

Worry and fear can recede into the background of our minds after prayer. Notice I did not say that the problem would disappear. Sometimes problems simply have to work themselves out and we need to be proactive in caring for our own responsibilities. Also, some illnesses and other human problems are beyond our power to fix. We don't always get what we want. But the Lord is always there and listening to the cry of our hearts.

Someone once said "the Lord often misses golden opportunities to be early but He is never late". In my experience God does His best work at what we would call the very last moment. That is what builds our faith.

Proverbs 9:10 gives us the basics for trusting God with our problems; "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding". I am not speaking of the kind of fear in which we are in dread of God Himself. After all, we are saved by the blood of the Lamb of God because God loves us and desires our fellowship. No, I am speaking of a kind of fear in which we really do respect our God and want our lives to reflect as closely as possible, HIS LIFE! Jesus clearly states in Luke 6:46 "But why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and not do the things that I say?" The things that the Lord says are pretty well boiled down to the proverbial nutshell in Galatians chapter 5 (22-26) while speaking of the things of the Spirit. On the other hand the same could be said to be true about those who are NOT walking in the spirit but rather in the flesh because Galatians also spells those out in verses 17-21. Decisions leading to a "flesh ruled" life style can end up disastrous as is seen in Matthew chapter 7 (21-23) in which folks who think they belong to God are told "Not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord shall enter the Kingdom of heaven". Reading further we discover that these people are "PRACTICING LAWLESSNESS (evil)". We are not speaking here of honest mistakes repented for. We are speaking of people who say they are believers but have never really changed from evil lifestyles.

In times of worry and fear the very first step is repentance and prayer. Making certain our lives are playing themselves out in Godly ways. Also worthy (more than worthy) of mention is James 4:8 "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you". And verse 10 "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up". A sincerely humble heart yearning after God will get His attention.

Fear and worry are a natural part of human existence but there is help. Scripture tells us (Ephesians 2:14) "For He Himself (Jesus) is our peace". And He further says in John 14:27 "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give you; Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid".

Someone once said "most worries never become reality". Basically that can be said for most of our human middle of the night sweat sessions. Not that bad stuff does not occasionally happen because it most assuredly does. The question is, are you as a believer and follower of Christ walking through what ever issue is bothering you, BY YOURSELF? Here is something for you to think about;

We look at our lives differently than God looks at our lives. Picture in your minds eye a standard 12 inch long ruler. It begins with one inch and ends with 12.  That ruler figuratively represents your life. You are holding it horizontally to you so you see the entire thing at one time. BUT, you can only understand the particular mark upon which you currently stand. The number 1 inch mark represents your first birthday, Perhaps number 6 represents your marriage date. Now here you are at 2 a.m. on a particularly worrisome night and you are at the number 9 inch mark of your life. You are worried sick and in fear because you do not know what the number 10 mark will be like when you get there. Sound familiar?

God on the other hand is Omnipresent. He is everywhere at the same time and knows the beginning from the end. Surprise, even of your life. The prophet Jeremiah was spoken to by the Lord in Jeremiah 1:4-5. "Then the word of the Lord came to me saying": " Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you-----"! And the word of God also says that He is no respecter of persons, Romans 2:11 (note: Some versions say "For there is no partiality with God"). One way or another the message is the same. God knows about your tomorrows. Just like the prophet Jeremiah, no matter what happens in your life, it is no surprise to Him. In short, He looks at your 12 inch ruler not horizontally but from end to end. He sees the date of your birth and at the very same time He sees the date of your passing from this earth. He knows exactly what will happen in your life at the number 10 mark.

Try asking Him and even if He chooses not to reveal the exact future to you, He will bring that peace that passes all understanding into your heart. You are not alone.

Matthew 28:20 "----And lo, I Am with you always, even to the end of the age. AMEN"!

Have a great sleep tonight and be at peace.
God bless,
Pastor Rance.