Knowing The Signs!

Knowing The Signs!

As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.  At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:3-14 NIV

Rumors that spread faster than a forest fire unchecked tend to cause more damage than the actual event. What’s a rumor? A story or statement circulated without any confirmation of truth or facts. And in this age of technological advances, we see rumors spread faster than the speed of light or rather at the speed of a person’s typing ability.

The problem with a rumor is that “the noise generated by the unsubstantiated story” causes irreparable harm to many in most cases. By the time truth is revealed about the rumor, people have already accepted the rumor as truth and are reluctant to rethink what they’ve heard–even the evidence is right in front of them.

We see this happen over and over again in the daily influx of opinions based on rumors and falsehoods made to appear as though they are truth.

Examples of rumors appearing to be true include all the uproar about a book written by a person with a grudge, Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash. It would appear that most of what the author alluded to in his book was based upon false information, but the innuendo led to a federal probe of the Clinton Foundation in which they have found nothing to substantiate the claims in the book. Of course, upon discovering the author’s connections to a network that includes backers of Trump, and other disgruntled Republicans, one can understand the motive behind the book.

Other rumors that appear to be designed to impact the current election include, “an indictment against Hillary Clinton based upon information found on Anthony Weiner’s laptop” that has since been debunked. If the FBI has not had an opportunity to review the information they found, how could a determination made about the material? And then, we recently discover that the announcement made about the continuing investigation was known days before by the Trump campaign and Rudy Giuliani admits to having access to what was being done before it was announced.

There are two things we should understand about Giuliani’s hatred of Hillary Clinton–he hates her because she won a seat to the Senate against him and that he is–Comey’s–the FBI Director’s former boss. I guess some ties are never broken even when they could cost a person their current position.

And then there are the so-called videos created and distributed by James O’Keefe (filmmaker) with the Veritas Project–a project that was given $10,000 by the Trump Foundation in May (according to public financial information disclosed). These supposed videos indicate conspiracy by the Clinton campaign to disrupt and create violence at the Trump rallies. Apparently, a payment was made to two people claiming to work for the Clinton campaign (who are no longer part of the campaign) and thus we have a rumor started that Hillary Clinton paid people to disrupt Trump Rallies. If we take the time to look at all the facts, critically analyze what is known and know how to draw rational conclusions,  it is easy to dispel some rumors, but unfortunately, many people would rather believe fiction over facts.

Now the noise we hear–without a foundation of truth to support such a plan is--the Republican leaders plan to “impeach” Clinton should she win the election and The Chairman of the Oversight Committee is guaranteeing that her presidency will accomplish nothing since he plans to keep her tied up with investigations for the first two years. Somehow, I guess I mistakenly thought the role of elected officials was to take care of business for all citizens in the United States, not incite animosity because of grudges. It would appear that the elected officials in Washington are nothing more than vengeful old men.

And yet–these same Republicans are supposed to be the party of “family values” and “beacons of Christianity.” Amazing how their actions do not align with the words they speak–apparently falsely. But then again, we are told in The Word, from the abundance of the heart (whatever is in there), the mouth speaks. So I guess we know, what’s in the hearts of a majority of the Republicans holding elected positions.

Are these the signs of the time–when people’s hearts grow cold and they turn from the faith in Jesus Christ and look to “mere mortals” for salvation? If people are looking to the Republican to do anything other than obstruct and impede forward movement, their words are the sign of what we can expect. Considering the nominee’s stance and continued encouragement of chants, “Lock her up,” we have nothing to look forward to other than more hatred, bigotry, and manipulation by a megalomaniac who does not understand the democratic process.

I’m grateful to Holy Spirit who always alerts me to those things that are rumored and leads me to seek truth. I’m also grateful for having the integrity instilled in me by the love of Holy Spirit, to not perpetuate the spreading of a rumor. When they get to me and I have researched the matter, I do not accept the perpetuation and will not promote hearsay. I ask for evidence of everything from those who are attempting to spread the rumor and I know how to determine if a source is credible or not. God is just good that way.

Lord, whatever Your plan, we accept as Your Will and will keep hope alive, waiting for Your return, knowing we will spend eternity with You.

Deceptive Storms (excerpt 2)

deceptive storm“I just got a call from the high school and it appears that more and more kids are involved in drug use.  They’re trying to pinpoint the distribution, but you know how difficult that can be.  This is especially true since they do not control the flow of traffic in and out of the building.  I suggested they put up security cameras in lieu of having someone man the doors.  At any rate, they said they would take my suggestion to the next board meeting.  I’d hate the thought that some of our kids are involved, but one never knows what kids will do when they are out of sight of authority.”

“Yes, I do know.  I’ve actually been a little concerned about Vernon Jenkins, lately.  He seems to be more resistant to the teachings at the church.  I’m not sure if it is just teen-age angst or if there is another problem.  I’ve tried to talk to him, but he always leaves as soon as church is over and I think he only attends the youth meetings because his dad makes him.”

“Both he and his dad are having a bad time.  I’ve offered to counsel him, but his father insists he can handle it.  I’m just not sure if he’s trying to handle things as his dad or as a minister.  Sometimes those lines can be blurred.  I hope that’s not the case here.”

“Pastor Cal…I …uh.  I was trying not to say anything until I could prove my suspicions but I think Vernon is using.  He’s distant and his eyes are always glassy-looking.  I know the symptoms.  The pulling away from people who know you well, trying to fit in with all the wrong folks.  I hope he’s not, but all the signs are there.”

“Before you draw any conclusions, see if you can get him to open up and talk to you.  I’m sure if we can get him to talk, we’ll be able to help him, but if he’s not willing, the only thing we can do is to alert his dad.  You want me to do it?”

“No sir.  At least, not yet.  Let me try talking to him.  His dad has quite a temper and I would not want to be responsible for anything that happens to Vernon because of his dad’s uncontrolled anger.  I’ll make it my business to talk to him tonight and let you know what happened.  Was there anything else?”

“No, not at all.  I’m sure you have things to prepare for your meeting.  Call me tomorrow when you get a chance.  And…by the way, Pastor Dee and I are expecting a new baby…”

“Congratulations!” Reverend Anderson interrupted, surprised by the news.

“Thanks, but we want to keep this quiet for a while.  Because this pregnancy puts her at risk, she’s not going to be around the church much and I’m going to need every minister on board to fill in the gap.  Can I count on you?”

“Absolutely.  And please let Pastor Dee I’m praying for her and the baby.”

“I’m sure she’ll appreciate your prayers.  I’ll talk to you later.”

After Reverend Anderson hung up the phone, he smiled to himself.  He knew that Pastor Dee and Pastor Cal were relatively newlyweds, but he didn’t think that a baby would ever be part of the equation.  “How about that?” he thought.  “They still got it going on.” He pulled out his bible and began writing some notes for the youth meeting.  Before long, stumped as to how to approach the subjects he wanted to discuss, he got on the Internet to see if there any websites with good suggestions. As he searched, he remembered.  He remembered his own involvement with drugs and how it could have cost him his life.

Paul Anderson, the greatest athlete known at Community High School, had many offers from various colleges and had been awarded all sorts of scholarships.  It was the spring just before he graduated high school that things fell apart.  He and some of his buddies had been out celebrating their impending graduation and all of their accomplishments in high school.  When someone had pulled out a joint, at first Paul refused—thinking about all he had ahead of him—he didn’t want to ruin his chances to be successful.  After a while, someone dared him to take a drag.  Never one to resist a dare, he accepted the joint and inhaled deeply, sputtering like crazy as he coughed violently.  The other guys laughed at him, but since his eyes were smarting and his lungs burning, he didn’t see anything funny.  The longer he sat, watching them pass the joint, the calmer he became until he finally took another hit.  This time, he didn’t sputter or cough; he just sat back and grinned stupidly.  By the time he got ready to go home, he couldn’t focus.  The world seemed to be moving faster than he was and he was trying to catch up.  He heard laughter faintly as though it was far away, but he couldn’t see who was laughing.  His buddies all appeared to be far away. Finally, he heard someone say, “we gotta take him home.  He can’t drive like that.”

Unfortunately, they didn’t move fast enough. By the time someone thought about getting his car keys from him, Paul had walked out the door, keys in-hand.  He struggled trying to open the door when he couldn’t get the keys to slide into the lock and then almost fell getting into the car, but he finally got the keys into the ignition and started the car to head home.  That was the last thing he remembered of that fateful night.

Deceptive Storm available on amazon.com and smashwords.com Enjoy!

Love, Pray, and Move Forward!

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5:44,45 NIV)

One of the reasons many of us never reach the heights of success that God has planned for us is because we get stuck–stuck in disappointments, by those who create problems for us, by inner-feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem. We get stuck on getting revenge trying to avenge those situations over which we have no control and end up moving backward instead of forward. We get stuck trying to “make” people like us or pay attention to us, when they don’t have to like us. We get stuck trying to control situations that are totally out of our control.

The solution to being “unstuck” in any situation–love those who love you, but love the ones who hate you as well. Pray for all–those you love and those you may not like, but you love. Keep loving and keep praying and all the while you’re praying, keep moving forward. We have no control over people and what they do, but we do control what we do. We do not have to allow what others think of us– to stop us. We do not have to allow what others do to us to hinder us. Pray–for wisdom and discernment–understand that your success is not contingent upon others liking you, but whether or not your plans are aligned with God’s plans.

When people hate you–pray and smile at them. When they talk about you–pray and pray some more. When people attempt to misuse you–back away and pray for them and self. And all the while you’re praying–keep moving forward, without holding onto the hurts and disappointments–keep going. Life happens and sometimes we just have to deal with it where we are. Cry, scream, get angry, but get over it quickly and move forward.

If you really want to make the enemy upset–keep smiling, keep loving, keep moving forward and never let set-backs cause you to stop moving in the direction that God has destined for you. Bless others when you need a blessing. Love others when you need to be loved. Encourage others when you need to be encouraged. Pray for others when you need someone to pray for you. And through it all–never lose sight of God’s love or His plans for your life.

God knows and sees all–He will take care of us and those who have attempted to destroy us as well. He rains on the  just and unjust, the righteous and the unrighteous–and all is accomplished by His design. Remember this–it takes a lot less effort and time to love than it does to hate. It is so easy to love others and so time-consuming to hate!