I wrote a short piece yesterday about the devil-worshipping statue unveiled in Detroit. I got some blowback from readers about how I was “downplaying” the significance of the statue, which led me to suggest there are far worse statues that people who say they’re believers not only tolerate but actually bow down to.
The crucifix, for instance.
Demon statues are made for unbelievers – that is, pagans or heathens – who don’t know any better and likely wouldn’t care even if they did.
The crucifix, on the other hand, is supposedly made for believers, even though believers, by definition, are supposed to adhere to the Ten Commandments, which explicitly forbids the making of and bowing down to graven images.
The crucifix is one honkin’ big graven image, especially the larger-than-life ones hanging over the altars in Catholic buildings.
GOD HATES CRUCIFIXES (he told me to capitalize and bold that, so no-one would miss it). Crucifixes are far more of an abomination to God than statues of demons because people who say they follow Jesus (Catholics) should know better than to make graven images. If Catholics knew their Ten Commandments as well as they knew their vain repetitions (like the “Hail Mary” and the “Our Father”), there would be no crucifixes, but they don’t, and so there are – billions of the horrid things.
Crosses are just as bad.
These things are idols, people – idols, plain and simple.
I’m not defending demon statues any more than I’m defending the worship of demons. I’m just contending that crucifixes and crosses are far worse, on a spiritual level, than statues of demons. This is a spiritual fact which you’re free to accept or not. My advice is that you accept it and adjust your living environment accordingly.
God doesn’t want us attributing power to inanimate objects or thinking that we need them to designate or demarcate. He wants us to need him and him only, by faith, and through our heart of hearts. Idols and graven images take on a life of their own (even though they’re inanimate) and people can easily start to depend on them and defer to them as “safe zones” or “holy ground”, or use them as lucky charms that have power in and of themselves. The truth is that crucifixes and crosses are demon symbols, not symbols of Jesus or God. Jesus doesn’t have or need a symbol, and certainly neither does God. God is the living God – we communicate with him spiritually, not through objects.
I could go on, but hopefully you get my drift. If people who don’t believe in God want to erect a gauche and gaudy statue to poke fun at believers and make some kind of argument about freedom of religion, it’s no big deal. We’re already surrounded by millions of signs and symbols of satanic religions (obelisks, anyone?), so adding one more to the pile is not worth worrying about. If, on the other hand, people who say they do believe in God erect a dead-Jesus-on-a-stick abomination and bow down to it, that IS a big deal. Trust me.
Jesus didn’t waste his time railing at the heathens because he knew it would be just that – a waste of time. He did, however, spend a good deal of his time railing at people who said they believed, but by their actions proved otherwise. These people, in Jesus’ eyes, were the real enemies of God, not the heathens. Jesus considered hypocrisy to be the worst possible offense. He still does.
The moral of the story is, as John once wrote: “Little children, keep yourself from idols.” True believers don’t need crucifixes or crosses, any more than heathens need statues of demons. And don’t get me started on the bumper sticker fish as a “Christian symbol”….
Little children – keep yourself from idols.
A satanic statue was unveiled in Detroit on the weekend. As hideous as the thing is to look at, it’s just a statue. As appalled as believers are by those who support the unveiling of such a thing, it’s still just a statue.
In and of itself, it has no power.
It’s just a thing.
The people who brought the statue to Detroit and lobbied for it to be unveiled are, on the other hand, not things. They’re people, and God loves them just as much as he loves believers. His invitation to repent and say “yes” to his way and join his spiritual family is as open to them as it is to everyone else.
We need to pray for the devil worshippers, not pray against the statue. Christians in Detroit have been protesting and praying against the statue, but they’re praying for the wrong thing. They need to stop protesting and instead start praying (in love) for the people who support the statue. They need to be lifting these people up to God (in love) and saying to him: “Forgive them, Father, they don’t know what they’re doing”, just like Jesus lifted up his killers as he was dying on the cross.
Whatever Jesus did, he did it to show us what we should be doing, and how we should react and respond to situations. If even at the point of death Jesus could ask God to forgive his killers, surely we can find it in our hearts to forgive the devil worshippers in Detroit and pray for them instead of cursing them.
People attracted to demons are spiritually sick, and most (if not all) have no idea what they’re doing when they “worship” demons. If they really knew what they were doing, I doubt they would be doing it. I myself was involved in devil worship when I was an atheist (as illogical as that sounds). To me, it was just a game, in the same way that séances and spirit-summoning were games. They were cheap thrills, usually indulged in while drunk or stoned or “looking for trouble”. As an atheist, I was miserably unhappy without even knowing it, and unhappy people gravitate towards anything that’s anti-God, in the same way that children stomp their feet and scream “I HATE YOU!” to their parents when they’re being punished.
Unhappiness is spiritual punishment, and demon worship is a way of saying “I HATE YOU” to God, without the visual foot stomping.
We need to remember that our job is to pray for people who do hateful things against God. Pray for them, not curse them.
Legally preventing them from erecting the statue in one city will only incite them to want to erect the statue in another.
To stop them, we need to get to the spiritual root of their demon-worshipping desire, and the only way to do that is to ask God’s help. But ask him in love, not in hate. Ask him to help the demon worshippers the same way you’d ask him to help your son or daughter, or brother or sister, or father or mother. Because demon worshippers, including the ones who unveiled that thing in Detroit, are all potentially our spiritual kin. Underneath the pain of sin, they’re just like us. And God loves them just as much as he loves us, and just as much as he loves Jesus.
Help those sad, misguided, angry, hurting souls.
Don’t curse them. Help them.
Pray for them.
I came across a video of a street preacher plying his trade at a “gay pride” festival. While it was difficult to make out what the preacher was saying and whether he was actually preaching or just yelling responses to his tormentors, the words spewing from the mouths of the hecklers rang loud and clear.
I’m not going to repeat them here.
As I watched (sound turned way down) the relentless onslaught of hate emanating from the crowd, I couldn’t help but wonder what the heck the preacher was doing there. The phrase “don’t throw your pearls before swine” sprang to mind. I tried to recall an instance in the gospels where Jesus preached to a crowd of rowdy and possibly drunken and/or stoned sodomites, but I could think of none. The best I could come up with was Lot and the angels admonishing rowdy drunken residents of Sodom the night before God destroyed their city.
But in this example, as in all examples of preaching in the Bible, the Sodomites came willingly to Lot. Certainly, they didn’t come to be preached to, but they did come to him. He didn’t seek them out.
This may seem a minor distinction, but it is actually very important. Jesus roamed the countryside as an itinerant preacher, but he only preached to those who came to him wanting to learn about the kingdom, and only healed those who sought his help. He didn’t impose his preaching or healing on anyone who didn’t want them and he avoided places where he knew he wasn’t welcome. Even God doesn’t impose himself on anyone: He respects our free will and waits for us to give him a clear signal before he rushes in to help.
This approach – waiting for a clear signal – is crucial to successful preaching. Whether done two thousand years ago or today, preaching must be done to those who want to be preached to. Otherwise, it’s a waste of time. When Jesus told his followers to go out into the world and preach the Good News, he didn’t mean to stand on street corners and rail at all and sundry. He meant to feed those who were spiritually hungry, wherever you encounter them. People who are hungry for the Word will come to you on their own volition; God will send them. What kind of message can possibly be conveyed when a preacher’s every word is drowned out by a mob shouting expletives and curses? That is not preaching.
The Word is a precious cargo: We carry it with us wherever we go, and our job is to share it with whoever wants some. We let them know it’s available, they come to us of their own free will, and we give it to them freely. The heckled preacher at the “pride” festival would have done better just to leave a few flyers around rather than try to force-feed God to people who clearly had no hunger for him.
As for targeting sodomites, Jesus stated that there are far worse sinners in need of repentance, and that Sodom’s judgment will be far less than that of hypocrites. If it’s sinners that preachers genuinely want to reach, they’d be better off heading to the top floor corner offices of banks or multinational headquarters, or to seats of government, or to the inner reaches of the Vatican or any commercialized church today because THAT’S where the super-mega-sinners park their arses and plot their dark deeds day in and day out. In the grand scheme of things, as Jesus pointed out, the “sin of Sodom” is small peas compared to people who pretend to be something they’re not in order to rip people off.
Bottom line? Just because you think someone needs to hear the Word doesn’t mean that they want to hear it. There are more than enough people who want to hear the Word. Preach to them. In the meantime, pray for those who have shunned God. It may be that they, like me, will one day turn.
To the world (non-believers), death is defeat. It means “game over”, battle lost, start crying. Non-believers use every means at their disposal to prolong their life, as their goal is to delay death and live as long as they can.
In contrast, to believers, death is when real life begins. It’s what we’re living for, so the less time we spend on Earth, the better.
The night before he died, Jesus told his disciples that if they loved him, they’d be happy for him because he was going home. His disciples were crying, but he told them they should instead be happy. He said that where he was going was infinitely better than where he was, and that if they really understood that, they’d be celebrating with him, not crying and trying to hold him back.
We’re trapped in our mortal bodies, and death is the only way out. It’s important that we see our body as something separate from who we really are. Paul called the body a vessel of the spirit, and so it is. We should look after our body (just as we would any vessel that we use daily), but we shouldn’t obsess over it. Our body is just a container. It’s what our body contains that we should be obsessing over.
A few days ago, I caught the tail-end of a film discussion. A woman was describing how the director had been forced by popular consent to change the film’s ending from the main character dying to the main character “riding off into the sunset”. She referred to the “riding off into the sunset” ending as a happy ending. Listening to the woman, I recalled how I viewed death when I was an atheist. I saw it as inescapable and inevitable, but I didn’t want to think about and I certainly didn’t want to talk about it. If someone got sick and died – well, that person “lost the battle”. Death was ugly and sad; the thought of it was like a funeral dirge overlaying the Happy Birthday song of life.
The dead relatives and friends I went to see at funeral homes looked odd to me. It was them, and it wasn’t them. I couldn’t quite place what made them look different (skin tone? prone position? set of the mouth?). The “life”, as they say, was gone out of them, but what was that life? As an atheist, I had no answer for that.
Now, as a believer, I have an answer. I know what the “life” is that leaves the body at death. And I see death as something to look forward to as long as I stay in God’s grace.
I’m not afraid of death and it doesn’t make me sad to think or talk about it. On the contrary, I’m looking forward to death the way an expectant mother looks forward to giving birth for the first time – slightly nervous about the pain that might accompany the event, but joyously excited about what comes afterwards.
What I dislike about death now is how it is misrepresented in mainstream so-called Christian religion. I hate the lies that are spouted at funerals (which I no longer attend). I hate the presumption that all Christians go to Heaven. It’s a flat-out lie. Jesus dealt with the same presumption with the Jews of his day, and he also hated that lie. The Jews hated him for telling them that their presumption was a lie. Instead of listening and accepting truth, they hated him. This same skewed mindset about death and Heaven pervades mainstream Christianity today.
Death is a happy ending for those who die in God’s grace. It’s their reward or “payment for services rendered”. We need to revise our view of death to see it not as a failure or ‘sad ending’, but as Jesus saw it. Heaven is everything we’ve ever wanted. It’s a place of no tears, no pain, no unhappiness, no dissatisfaction, no ugliness, no homelessness, no rot, no decay, no hunger and no sickness. If we make it to Heaven, we’ll be ‘perfected’ in every way. This is not something to cry over or be afraid of. We’d be crazy to cry over that. Our earthly bodies are but a pale shadow of what our glorious Heavenly bodies will be. It’s like our souls are now wrapped in a filthy rag (our Earthly bodies), but some day, if we stay close to God, our soul be wrapped in the finest of materials (our Heavenly bodies).
Despite how much we have to look forward to in Heaven, we are never to hasten our own death. Suicide (even doctor-assisted) is self-murder, and murder is contrary to the commandments. Those who knowingly and willingly violate the commandments and remain unrepentant will not be rewarded by a place in Heaven. God has written his laws in our hearts, so there is no excuse for doing what we know in our heart-of-hearts is wrong.
The best course is to live out your life to its natural conclusion and go willingly when your time has come. I have no doubt whatsoever that people know when their time has come. God tells them, one way or another, and then gives them time to repent. He also gives them strength to endure, if they align their wills with his. Even those who don’t have eyes to see or ears to hear will know when their time has come. God loves us all equally and doesn’t want any of us to go to Hell. But to Hell we’ll go, if, even on our death bed, we choose man’s laws over God’s.
Jesus infuriated the Jews of his day when he told them outright that they would likely go to Hell and that the people they looked down on (tax collectors, prostitutes, beggars, etc.) would likely go to Heaven. The religious Jews saw their Jewishness as a ticket to Heaven, but nothing could be further from the truth. The religious ‘Christians’ of today have the same arrogance and false expectations. And if you point that out to them, you’ll get the same response as Jesus got.
Sometimes, as Jesus showed us, it’s better to say nothing.
The world sees death as a medical failure and something to fear. Don’t be fooled by that lie. But also don’t be fooled by the lie that Heaven is a sure bet for believers. Rather, see death as Jesus saw it – a great reward and homecoming for those who freely do God’s will. There is no happier ending than what awaits those very, very, very few who die in God’s grace and in God’s time.
Aim for Heaven. Don’t proudly expect it – aim for it.
For born-agains, the goal is to leave the world’s ways behind but still live in the world. This can only be done with God’s help, and God isn’t going to help you until you’re ready.
But when God tells you it’s time, it’s time. You’ll know it, because God always makes himself as plain as day. He doesn’t give you hazy ‘signs’ or indirect signals; he tells you outright, like Jesus told Matthew.
When it was time for Jesus to go out in the world and preach the Good News, he gave up being a carpenter. Until his ‘time’, Jesus remained a carpenter. He didn’t preach during the day and do carpentry work at night to pay the bills; he remained a carpenter until God let him know it was time.
This is Jesus we’re talking about – Jesus, who had the fullness of God’s spirit in him and never sinned. Even Jesus knew to keep his mouth shut until God had clearly called him. When he was 12, he so badly wanted to do his “father’s business” that he ran away from home and hung out at the synagogue in Jerusalem, preaching to the Jewish elders. But it wasn’t his time, so his parents came and took him home again. He remained in Nazareth, lips firmly sealed, until he was in his 30s.
God’s timing is perfect. When he tells you you’re ready, you’re ready. Don’t jump the gun, or you’ll do more harm than good.
Until that time, keep doing your day job, but do it as if unto God. That means, do your job as if you’re working for God, as if your day job is actually kingdom work. Do it to the best of your ability and treat everyone – EVERYONE – equally, kindly, honestly, and with respect.
Once you learn how to do that (and God will test you – trust me, God will test you, and test you again and again and again), then it will be your time to go out into the world and preach the Good News.
Then you’ll be ready to do some real work for the kingdom.
Until then, keep your head down, your mouth shut, and your spiritual eyes and ears wide open, patiently learning from God’s spirit, like Jesus did.
We’ve been hearing a lot of news stories lately about “Christian bakeries” and “Christian pizzerias” and “Christian florists” who are being sued for not wanting to cater certain weddings. People have rallied behind the “Christians” to prevent them from losing their businesses, but is this really what God wants?
The terms “Christian” and “business” do not belong together.
Jesus didn’t tell us to go out in the world and start a business, call it “Christian”, and refuse to serve people whose behavior offends us in some way. He said to go out in the world and preach the Good News. Calling your business “Christian” and then adopting a holier-than-thou attitude about some potential customers is just plain wrong. In a word, it’s anti-Christ.
If you have a business, you serve whoever comes to you. If you find you can no longer do that, you get out of the business. You don’t use your belief system as an excuse to discriminate against people – because that’s what it is: DISCRIMINATION.
Shame on those Christians who refuse to serve people because they’re not Christian!
Shame on them.
That kind of discrimination is no better than corralling black people to the back of the bus. That was wrong, and so is refusing to cater a ‘wedding’ for people whose values you don’t share. I can only wonder how many ‘weddings’ of divorced people these same so-called Christian businesses have catered without a murmur.
It’s not the atheists that are the problem, it’s the religious hypocrites.
If you’re working in the world, you serve all people – without discrimination – just like God does.
If you can’t do that, stop working in the world. But don’t hide behind a “Christian” label and attribute your small-mindedness to God or Jesus, because it has nothing to do with them.
Paul preached to believers knowing that most of them would not make it to Heaven. That’s why he was so hard-hitting; he wanted to press home how perfect and priceless the reward of Heaven was, and how difficult it was to get there. His job was to motivate and energize the few lovers of truth who heard his words; and if, in the process, he alienated most of those he encountered, that was justifiable collateral damage. He wasn’t running a daycare or feel-good religious retreat. His mission, like that of all believers before and since him, was to get the information out about salvation so that people could make up their own minds about whether to say “yay” or “nay” to God.
That’s all it’s ever been about, folks – making an informed choice for or against God, and sustaining that choice to the end.
If getting to Heaven meant a hard life on Earth filled with persecution, poverty, pain, homelessness, suffering, tests and trials, so be it. Paul was clear that whatever the cost, it was worth it. When I read about Paul’s journeys and “adventures” (i.e., shipwrecks, imprisonments, death sentences, etc.) and how against all odds he just kept going with a smile on his face and a song in his heart, I can only shake my head in awe. Now THERE was a man who put his money where his mouth was. I can’t even fast for 24 hours without grumbling along with my stomach and sneaking a Snickers (praying that God’s looking the other way).
Paul took his cue from Jesus and the prophets. They likewise kept going against all odds, and they likewise pressed their followers hard to set their sights above (not below), to think as God thinks (not as man thinks), and to endure to the end. They were not hosting a popularity contest, and good thing, too, considering how unpopular most of them were and how unwelcome their message. They expected most people to walk away, but they persevered in their mission solely for the few who would not.
Nothing has changed in that regard. Jesus said: Wherever two are gathered in my name, there am I among them. He didn’t say you needed a quorum of 12 or 70 – just two. I think, in part, he said this because he knew that getting even two true believers in the same room at the same time would be a monumental task in itself, seeing that true believers are so few and far between. A megachurch filled with true believers every Sunday? Not bloody likely.
Over a million Hebrews were ‘sprung’ from Egypt during the Exodus. That was a supernatural event, orchestrated by God. Of those million+ souls who left Egypt that miraculous day, only two eventually made it to the Promised Land.
Two out of a million+.
That fact should give you pause.
God’s very specific about it in the scriptures, though I’m not surprised that no sermons are preached on it in the satanic churches that pass for “Christianity” these days. Wouldn’t want the congregation to start asking questions about whether or not they were actually going to make it to the Promised Land. After all, if you listen to mainstream Christianity, you’ll think that everyone gets to go to Heaven, as long as they have some kind of vaguely defined ‘belief’ in Jesus.
God wants us to know how hard it is to get into Heaven. As much as he wants us to know how much he loves us, he also wants us to know how very very very profoundly difficult – almost impossible – it is to get into Heaven. It’s hard to get into heaven because heaven is so amazing and wonderful, and because sin has no place there. Heaven is the greatest of rewards and the only one worth striving for. All of the Earth’s combined wealth and beauty is not even fit to form the dirt on the ground in Heaven, that’s how amazing and wonderful Heaven is. Many have been told that Heaven is their birthright, but Heaven is not anyone’s birthright: it’s a reward for services rendered by doing God’s will. If you’re not rendering those services by doing God’s will, then you won’t be rewarded. It’s that simple.
Just two of the original million+ Hebrews who left Egypt made it to the Promised Land. In case you missed it, that’s a metaphor, a guide, and a warning for us born-agains. The Hebrews were sprung from a geo-political prison; born-agains are sprung from demonic prisons, but both Hebrews and born-agains have God’s miraculous intervention to thank for their freedom. Born-agains are meant to see the Hebrews’ 2:1,000,000+ ratio and then understand that God means business when it comes to getting into the Promised Land. You can argue against this all you want and twist scripture to say otherwise, but the truth is: getting into Heaven is impossible without God’s help, and God only helps those who sincerely do his will.
If you’re reading this, it’s not too late to fully align your will with God’s and live your life accordingly. However, it will be too late some day. Now’s the time for you to do this. If doing God’s will isn’t the number one priority in your life, make it the number one priority now and keep it number one for the rest of your days. Live your life as Jesus lived his. It’s not brain surgery; just follow the commandments, treat ALL PEOPLE as you would want to be treated (no matter how nasty they are to you), and spread the Good Word. God will show you how and support you – mind, body and soul – every step of the way.
God’s entire purpose for creating the universe and putting us on Earth is to persuade us to come home to Heaven. That’s his plan. He doesn’t want to keep us out of Heaven, but he needs us to be sincere in our commitment to following Jesus and choosing his way. Lip servers and lukewarm fence-sitting Christians don’t get into heaven. People with unrepentant sin on their souls don’t get into heaven, and neither do those who actively, consciously and persistently choose what they know is not God’s will.
Be wary of those who’ve relabeled sin as “love”. This is the latest trick of the devil, and a temptation and test for true believers.
Jesus clearly showed us God’s way. Our job is to choose it, live it, and show it to others, just like Jesus did. Then maybe – MAYBE – we’ll get to go home.