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OUTRAGED? PRAY!

CAMPBELLTON, New Brunswick, May 26, 2023 – Every day, it seems, globalized corporations are releasing more and more explicit ad campaigns promoting degeneracy. The videos and images are meant to shock, not sell, as the aim of the campaigns is not to win customers but souls. They do that by trading in the currency of outrage.

Have you been outraged lately? Have you seen the images of the all-but-naked men parading around in high heels in libraries (of all places), thrusting their bikinied groin just inches from a child’s face? Have you seen the lite beer ads? How about the ad campaign for children’s “rainbow clothes” for “rainbow season”?

Christians, according to Christian forums, are in a constant state of outrage these days about what is happening all around them. But if an ad is obviously aimed to shock and promote outrage, Christians need to step back and take the high road.

Outrage will get you nowhere good spiritually. Outrage fuels the devil and makes him stronger. Jesus told us to be offended in nothing, and that includes satanically inspired ads meant to shock you into outrage. We’re not to be outraged. We’re to pray, not denigrate; bless, not curse; do good, not evil. That’s what Jesus taught us.

Prayer, as I’ve said many times here on this blog, is the most powerful force in the universe. When you bypass outrage and go straight to prayer, you give God permission to intervene in the situation. When God intervenes, he knows exactly what to do. He knows all the sweet spots of every soul on Earth; he knows exactly what to whisper in the ears of the lost at exactly the right time. We, on the other hand, don’t know the sweet spots or what or when to whisper, which is why we need to react with prayer, not outrage.

Jesus never protested. Scripture prophesied that the Messiah would not raise his voice in the streets like a rabble-rouser or an insurrectionist, and so he didn’t. The only time we see Jesus visibly angered is in the temple, when he overturned tables and whipped the money changers, which he did in accordance with prophecy.

Outrage is not a valid Christian response to worldly provocations. Outrage is not righteous anger. What Jesus did in the temple is righteous anger. Getting mad at men who wobble around in high heels is not righteous anger. If something or someone provokes you, put aside your outrage and start praying. Ask God to intervene and to help and heal all those involved. That’s how you fight against the current tidal wave of degeneracy. That’s how you don’t sell your soul. If the devil wants you to be outraged because it makes him stronger and God’s Kingdom weaker, call his bluff.

Default directly to prayer.

That’s how you win this game.

THE DEMONS IN THE BASEMENT

CAMPBELLTON, New Brunswick, May 24, 2023 – Years ago, when I was much younger and even more foolish than I am today, I used to hitchhike back and forth between Halifax and Vancouver in the summertime. I did it so often, it became like an annual pilgrimage to the west coast. During one of those pilgrimages, I got picked up by a young man, probably in his mid-20s, who took me to his basement apartment just outside Calgary. I spent the night there.

The apartment was filthy and had a strange stench that I could not identify. What looked like leftover meat was rotting on plates here and there around the kitchen and living room. I don’t remember much beyond the filth and mess and strange, strange smell. The place was very dim and the only functioning light was the hall light. Shortly after we arrived, I remember telling the guy I was tired and wanted to get to sleep early so I could leave first thing in the morning and try to make it to Vancouver by nightfall.

The guy led me to a small bedroom with a single bed and left me there alone. I laid down with my clothes still on and fell into a restless sleep that was punctuated every so often by the guy standing at the bedroom door, silhouetted by the hall light, asking if he could come into the room and ‘sleep’ with me (for decorum’s sake, I won’t use his exact words here). Every time he asked, I told him “No”, and he went away. This bizarre ritual went on all night, too many times to count.

At daybreak, groggy but determined to get the heck out of that apartment, I got up and gathered my few things together to leave. The guy was already up and sitting at the kitchen table waiting for me. I think he’d been sitting there all night. Without saying a word to each other, we left the apartment, got into his car, and drove to the closest highway onramp, where he pulled over and let me out.

I thanked him for the lift and for letting me spend the night at his place. He stared straight ahead as if he didn’t hear me and then drove off without saying a word.

I never saw him again.

Years later, for what I thought was the first time in my life, I was exposed to a dead human body that had begun to putrefy. The smell of the rotting corpse immediately took me back to that basement apartment all those years ago and the strange smell that I could not at the time identify. I finally knew what it was.

My hitchhiking as a teenager and young adult had exposed me to many dangerous scenarios that I was too naïve and foolish to understand were dangerous. But that man constantly asking my permission to come into the room to rape me was among the strangest of all the bizarre situations I’d ever found myself in. Until I was born-again, I didn’t understand why he didn’t just come into the bedroom and rape me, why he kept asking my permission to enter the room. Now I understand that he needed me to say “Yes” in order to break through the spiritual safety net that even as an unbeliever was all around me. I didn’t put the net there; God did, on behalf of the few people in my life who were praying for me.

The demons in the guy could not get past that spiritual barrier without my permission, which even in my youthful atheistic foolishness I wasn’t about to give.

I recalled this incident today after reading about a young man in Lethbridge, not far from Calgary, who’d held a woman captive in his basement for days, repeatedly raping her. I thought: There was a woman who had no safety net of prayers around her, not from her own prayers or the prayers of those who love her. I had no idea at the time that I was being protected by the prayers of my loved ones, but I know now that I was. God honored their prayers and protected me, even when I didn’t believe in him, even when I persecuted those who were praying for me.

We need to be reminded every now and then about the power of the prayers of God’s children. These prayers are the most powerful force in the universe because they allow God to directly intervene. I experienced that power as an unbeliever, when I was rescued on umpteen occasions from being raped and abducted or otherwise molested during my hitchhiking days. The strangeness of the protection, at the time, and how I escaped in ways that to me and to those who witnessed it defied logic, puzzled me for years until my rebirth. When I was born-again, I finally understood.

Please pray for those you know who need your prayers. They may not be believers and they may hate your guts but please pray for them. The safety net of my loved one’s prayers played a critical role in keeping me alive long enough to realize the error of my ways and turn back to God. I might not still be here – even worse, I might not be born-again – had it not been for those prayers.

Please pray for your loved ones, especially for the naïve and foolish ones who’ve lost their way. Your prayers may be the only thing standing between them and the demons.

GETTING THE MIRACLE YOU NEED

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, August 18, 2022 – So many people praying for a miracle, praying for healing, praying for the cancer to go away or at least to go into remission. Praying for relationships to be healed. Praying for enough money to pay the bills or maybe a lottery win.

Praying for a miracle.

And then, when the requested miracle doesn’t come, so many people crying to God: “Why are you doing this to me? What have I done to deserve this?” and cursing him, or worse, swearing he doesn’t exist.

But God answers all prayers, including those made in the agony of the soul. You might not get the exact miracle you requested, but you will get a miracle. God will intervene, if you ask him to. Through divine intervention, he’ll give you the strength to endure whatever it is you’re going through, whatever it is you’ve brought on yourself, whatever it is you have to suffer. There’s your miracle. The miracle is in the power of your strength to endure, which you wouldn’t have had if you hadn’t prayed to God for help. Your strength to endure is God working through you. There’s your miracle.

People ask me if God works miracles in my life, and I say yes, every minute of every day. Every minute of every day God works through me. Every day I witness his intervention, because I constantly ask for it and thank God for it. Every day I see his miracles.

I may not get precisely what I ask for, but I do get what God knows I need to stay on the path Home. And sometimes he’ll throw in a little something extra, something he knows I’ll know could only have come from him, just to make me laugh. God loves it when he can make us laugh.

The night before Jesus was crucified, he prayed to God that there would be some other way for him to complete his mission without his having to be crucified. He didn’t want to be crucified. He didn’t want the agony and very public humiliation of that kind of death. But note that he qualified his prayer with “not what I want, but you want”, and he prayed the same prayer three times in succession, showing us that we need to be persistent in prayer, so that God knows we mean what we say and that it’s not just a passing fancy.

Jesus didn’t get specifically what he asked for; he was crucified. But immediately after Jesus prayed, God sent an angel to strengthen him. There was the miracle he needed – not the miracle he wanted, but the miracle he needed to get through what he had to get through in order to get Home.

Our strength to endure whatever we have to endure is not our strength; it doesn’t come from us, no matter how strong we think we are. That strength to endure comes from God. That is divine intervention. That is a miracle.

So whatever you pray for, pray like Jesus – qualify your prayers by telling God not to give you what you want, but what he wants. God loves you even more than you love yourself, so if you give God leave to give you what he wants rather than what you want, you’ll always come out ahead. Yes, Jesus had to deal with being crucified, but he was crucified while also strengthened by God to endure it. Imagine how much worse it would have been for Jesus without God’s help.

I know how bad things can get when you don’t pray for God’s help, because I lived the first 36 years of my life on Earth without praying to God, and I stumbled from one disaster to the next. I was constantly an emotional basket case, constantly flailing in pain, and constantly casting blame like an AK-47 spraying bullets.

But on that day when I finally called out for help, not even knowing who I was calling to, God heard, and he answered immediately. He offered me the option of choosing to forgive or choosing not to forgive, showing me the outcome of each choice and shining a bright light on the choice to forgive as the right one and the one that would stop all my pain. Thank God I cried out for help that day. Thank God God heard me, and thank God he answered.

God always hears our prayers and always answers them. Always. There is never a time when he doesn’t. When you give God leave to intervene, he might not do exactly what you want him to do, but he will do what’s best for you. That’s his job description as your Heavenly Father.

So pray to God like Jesus prayed – not demanding, not expecting, not threatening or negotiating, but humbly giving into God’s will for you, whatever that may be.

That’s how you pray, and that’s how you get the miracle you need.

DEVIL WORSHIPPERS

Pray

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.

LOVE

more than enough

People who are hurting hurt people.

 

Happy people don’t hurt people. Happy people want to help people, not hurt them.

 

We need to remember this when people are mean or rude or cruel to us.

 

Jesus said that it’s the sick who need help, not those who are well.

 

Scratch the surface of anyone who is mean or cruel or hurtful in any way, and you’ll find a painful festering sore below.

 

The greater the pain gets, the more people deflect it to other people and blame other people.

 

People who are in pain will growl and bite you if you get too close, the way animals will growl and bite you when you reach to help them.

 

People in pain need prayers, not curses. They need a gentle presence (from a safe distance, if necessary).

 

Those people who treat you like dirt – PRAY FOR THEM. Don’t tell them you’re praying for them, just PRAY FOR THEM.

 

And choose to forgive them.

 

Don’t dwell on their cruelty; dwell on how miserable they must be, not to know God’s love.

 

That’s a horrible cold dark wretched place to live, where God isn’t welcome.

 

We are blessed to know God’s love, to live in his brightness and joy and warmth. Each of us who is born again has enough of God’s love to share with all the world and still have love to spare, just like Jesus had enough loaves and fishes to feed the hungry masses and still have leftovers. Each of us has that much love – enough for every human in the world, and then some – if we let go of any lingering resentment, and let God love fully through us.

 

That’s your job, as a born-again, to love like God loves, to love like Jesus loved, fully and without reserve.

 

Only people who are hurting hurt people.

 

Don’t make their pain worse: help them.