What About Immigration into the United States

When it comes to dealing with difficult social and political issues many times we are seemingly helpless to find workable solutions because of our own strongholds or long held beliefs. Our forefathers were able to come up with many solutions to problems which seemed to be impossible by looking at examples from the Old and New Testaments.

Currently we are overwhelmed with problems, many of which appear to have no solution. One, which is of grave concern, is immigration into the United States and the problems which are amassing almost daily. The church has a calling to be salt and light in every situation, and this issue is calling to us to participate in offering solutions. To begin with, I believe it is helpful that we look to the scriptures for solutions and look at the way the people of God have addressed similar situations in the past with the help of the Divine Ruler.

Often when addressing this issue I’ll hear the biblical mandate toward traveler, sojourners and aliens applied. In reality, no nation has been more open to sojourners from other nations than the United States. We still remain the largest recipient of legal immigration among all of the nations on the earth. One reason we are thought of as a welcoming destination for sojourners is the fact that we have embraced the biblical mandate to treat everyone with the same social justice regardless of nationality or origin.

Deuteronomy 10:17 – 19: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

No other nation has embraced this mandate like the USA. However, we in the church also have not been able to offer viable solutions to the problems we face. In part this is due to the “one size fits all” approach we have taken to the immigration problem. To say that we need to be gracious to the traveler, stranger or sojourner does not take into account the other categories of non-citizens which the Bible gives direction for management and remedy of issues. The fact that His people referred to in this verse were invited into Egypt legally is often ignored when applying this verse to all categories of non-citizens.

First, it must be made clear that this, and other similar, mandates are addressing how to deal with grace toward those who are traveling through your land or who may be there on legitimate business. This does not include all categories of people who might come into a nation, and, when it is used as a blanket principle for all non-citizens, it should not surprise us when we have problems rather than answers. For those who are traveling through, sojourning and visiting with legitimate purpose, we as a nation have almost always been hospitable and we should have every expectation that we will continue in this. Recently I was talking with family over lunch and the subject came up of a man we know who lives in our town. He was brought here as a prisoner of war during World War II. When he was released after the war, he did not want to return to his home country but was required to. However, he returned legally and has remained here all these years adopting our country as his and our ways as his own. How many American POWs were treated so well while interned that they would elect to remain in the nation where they had been interned? None that I can think of.

But we must also look at the other categories of alien or non-citizen categorized in scripture. First there is the category of refugee. Joshua chapter 9 contains the example of the Gibeonites who came to Joshua, presenting themselves as a needy people from a far place willing to do menial tasks in order to receive help and protection. Joshua was compassionate to them without first checking their history to validate what they were saying. His actions demonstrate the compassion which may be extended to those who for one reason or another may require asylum. Likewise we should recognize from this record the need to verify the back ground and legitimacy of claims requesting asylum, but there must be a legitimate understanding of the category of refugee. Most non-citizens are not in this category, but some are, and it is important that we recognize this as a legitimate category for some aliens and do not place these people into another category. Likewise it is important that once having verified a legitimate need for clemency it is also important to recognize the burden placed upon the government to set certain standards and requirements to be expected of the expatriate. We have policies for helping folks in need of asylum. We have helped individuals, and, at times, whole people groups who have needed asylum, such as the Hmong people. However, to apply this category to a traveling businessman, or vacationer, would not be biblical, and clearly no one is asking for that.

Next would be an immigrant. This is someone who legitimately wants to come to our nation and become part of our national family. Certainly there are some who originally came for other reasons, such as business or for refuge, and in time come to desire citizenship. There should be, and are, means by which this can be completed. Certainly we have a grave need in this nation to correct and simplify this process, but this will become a simpler task once we clarify what the citizens of this nation desire of those who wish to immigrate. Once again the bible gives us a standard which leads to clarity and accord when followed.

I think the best example in scripture of a clear and honest heart for an immigrant is found in the book of Ruth. Ruth was a citizen of the nation of Moab. The nation of Israel, and that of Moab, were so spiritually opposed that the Lord even placed extra restrictions upon a citizen of this nation becoming a citizen of Israel (Deuteronomy 23:3). Yet Ruth expressed her desire to immigrate and become part of the nation of Israel. I think her words best describe what we should, as a nation, expect from those who wish to immigrate to our shores.

“But Ruth said: ‘Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.’” (Ruth 1:16)

This is perhaps the best biblical example of an expression to assimilate that the Bible contains. In fact, this is one of the most important aspects of immigration that was an accepted fact in the past, which has been almost wholly removed from the current discourse in the church concerning immigration. It is legitimate, in fact necessary, that an immigrant assimilate into the host nation. It is to be expected that they would accept our ways, our language, our God, our heritage and our systems. While it may be debated about the extent to which government should legislate these things, I am primarily speaking to the standards which the church should expect to attain and help others achieve. Some of these may be expected culturally, and some legally, but it is important for the church to understand that this is to be expected on the part of one immigrating every bit as much as it is expected that we be gracious in our treatment of sojourners, refugees and immigrants.

There is a fourth category which we must recognize if we will honestly deal with the difficult issues we currently face. That is the category of intruder. An intruder is an invader or a trespasser and is not coming with good intention, and is not coming by invitation. He may come secretly, like a spy or a thief, or may come with force, but he comes to dominate in some fashion and take what is not legitimately his or destroy what legitimately belongs to another, intentionally or unintentionally.

Certainly we have experienced this in a tragic fashion with the attacks which we have received by terrorists. The Old Testament likewise gives examples of nations invading Israel to dominate them in one fashion or another. The book of Judges gives the examples of invasions occurring at times of moral decay and being repulsed when the people turned back to God. There are examples of military invasion, but there are also examples which were intended mainly for economic gain. When the Midianites descended upon the people of Israel, they came to steal their harvest. This is some of what we see today with the invasion of so many who come here for the economic benefits, but not for the benefit of our nation itself.

It has been said that “many who have come here illegally have come for economic benefits, but it could be worse, because many of these people are hardworking, pro-life, and pro-family. And while we have been flooded with folks from these categories, Europe is mostly being flooded by Islam, containing many extreme elements that pose a grave danger.” While this may contain some truth, it must also be remembered that, “There were two trees in the garden.” The first was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the second was the tree of life. This tree contained death and destruction. It is important to remember that the “good” part of this tree is just as deadly as the “evil” portion. It is important that we search for solutions which are rooted in the tree of life.

Certainly it is better to be invaded by good people, but it can destroy our nation just as surely as being invaded by evil people. We are experiencing a good example of this in my home state of Montana where we do not have a large illegal immigration problem at this time. Yet the problem with illegal aliens has affected us greatly and our liberty.

Our forefathers established a republic. Our constitution contains a set of balanced rules including how to choose representatives and the number of representatives to be included in the House of Representatives and the Senate. In deciding how to choose the number of representatives from the people they never foresaw a time when we would have so many non-citizens, and therefore they determined that the number of representatives for congress would be based on the population of the people, not thinking to count only citizens. This is an important inconsistency based upon the fact that they concluded that people who immigrated here would want to become part of the country, assimilating into our ways and supporting our system. We currently count all people, citizen and non-citizen alike, in order to calculate the number of representatives for the House of Representatives. Montana is a state with a very high proportion of US citizens, yet we lost half of our representation in the US House of Representatives because of the increasing population of non-voting, non-citizens in other states counted in the US Census. This is like taking an ax to the root of our form of government and our liberty tree. Our state is currently the most populated US House District in the nation, a million people with only one US Representative. Another way to view this situation is to say that we are the most under-represented people in the nation. We are having our birthright taken from us just as readily as if the Babylonians had descended upon us and taken away our right to participate in our own government.

It also has been said that those who are coming here illegally are only taking jobs that Americans do not want. This is inflammatory and derogatory towards those Americans who would love to compete for these jobs. This statement correlates to saying that the Midianites were only taking the harvest that Israel hadn’t eaten yet.

While there may be some truth in it, it is missing the point wholly. Many legitimate American businesses have had to close or alter their business practices because they cannot compete with those doing business illegally, using illegal and undocumented workers. The legitimate business must comply with all laws and taxes; local, state and national. This includes payroll taxes, insurance, workers compensation, social security and a host of other additional costs placed upon legitimate businesses. In many cases it is impossible to compete with those who are not submitting to the rules or “submitting to the higher authorities”, if you will. This is not to say that we can no expand our guest worker program to include more non-citizens who have knowledge abilities or are willing to fill positions which are vacant. But a legal system also fulfills all the requirements for taxes, laws, insurance etc.

In many cases local and state leaders are making it much more difficult for businesses that use illegal workers to do business. This trend is most likely only going to increase as the citizens put more pressure on their governments to solve these difficult economic issues. This is making it more difficult in some locations for undocumented workers to continue to work illegally. In many cases they have been doing so for years, hopefully this is changing. In one case I know of a pastor who looked to the scripture for a biblical solution for someone in this situation. The family had been in the USA illegally for many years, two of the children were born here and are therefore citizens, yet they are finding it very difficult to find work with the passage of more and more local and state laws which restrict illegal activity. He looked to the apostle Paul for an answer.

He found the case of Onesimus, someone who had left his previous place and circumstances to find a better life, and met Paul in Rome. It seems that Onesimus had left what we would consider, perhaps, the worst of all circumstances, that of being a slave. Yet Paul introduced him to the Lord Jesus, the author of Liberty. But Paul went so far as to send Onesimus back to his former place as an ambassador, although his economic, and perhaps political circumstances, would not be what we would desire for ourselves. Onesimus broke the law by running away. In the case just mentioned, the Pastor recommended to this family that they may need to put things right and go back to their country of origin as circumstances continue to change. God went with Onesimus, and he will likewise be with those who find themselves in this situation today.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr said, “The Church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.” If the church will not seek the Lord for biblical solutions to the difficult problems we face, we will have no one else to blame when the problems go unsolved and are replaced with worse and worse circumstances. On the other hand, if we will seek the Lord and look to scripture and to our Judeo-Christian heritage for answers, we should not be surprised if we find some.

It is not my purpose to get into the details of the politics involved in this issue in this article. It is my purpose to define what is scripturally expressed. There has been so much wrong information about what the scripture actually says about non-citizens, and how to relate to them, by both uninformed church leaders and politicians. If the church would look honestly and clearly at the scriptures, and not misapply what the scripture requires depending upon the various categories of non-citizen, the sojourner, the refugee, the immigrant and the intruder. I think we could at least remove much of the confusion surrounding this issue so that we may pray and act accordingly.

Defend Your Country from Your Government

Edward Abby was somewhat of a character. Certainly we didn’t agree on a lot of things, especially methods. He considered himself an eco-defender. But in our post 9-11 world he would probably be on some sort of a watch list. But I found some of his viewpoints interesting and I am glad I met him while he was still alive. Lots of people thought of him as extreme. Although no Dirty Harry, he would carry a .44 magnum with him to his speaking engagements and place it on the podium in front of him. “Just to keep order”. I like a bit of the old west and genuine Americana so I found that refreshing.

He considered himself Jeffersonian in his political view point and felt “we the people” were the source and hope for freedom in this country. While I never completed reading any of his books, I am familiar with a lot of his writings and quotes on numerous subjects. One quote of his that has come to my mind recently is “A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government”.

I think that is true. The people have the right to alter or even abolish their present government – as stated in the United States Declaration of Independence. Fortunately our forefathers thought enough of us, their posterity, to hand to us the means of being the guardians of our republic. If you are concerned about the direction things have turned, that’s understandable. But what to do about it, if anything?

I have been shocked by the number of self-labeled Christians who feel abdication of their civic duty – of trying to influence the shape of government, especially where voting is concerned – somehow makes them more “spiritual”. The longer efforts to turn things around seem to be delayed, the more this mind-set seems to spread. There is a fatalistic spirit that seems to be influencing many who feel if things are not going well, that somehow they should not go against the tide and should, instead, just let things continue to slide. I wonder if the prophet Jeremiah would be just as scorned in our day as he was in his own for “swimming against the tide” and trying to turn things around? Jeremiah wrote the words of the Lord to him, “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, Then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, In which you trusted, they wearied you, Then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan? ” Jer 12:5.

It was the Irish Statesman Edmund Burke who famously stated “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” These folks may be good men and women, but by doing nothing they are most certainly doing something. They are assisting evil by their chosen absence. I hear it said “the system is rigged”. So if it is, will God accept that as an excuse from those lacking action just because it seems the rules get changed retroactively every time the good guys make a goal? Personally I like people with persistence, it is an attribute of an apostolic people. As the Lord encouraged Jeremiah, it is the process of getting up and continuing even in spite of difficulties that prepares one for real victories when they are presented. The Apostle Paul said that persistence through difficulties proved your character, and if proven, it produced the hope that was needed for increased faith (Rom 5:1-4).

While our victory is already in Christ, we are in the proving grounds today. It’s been called “training for reigning.” And I am concerned that those who have made their excuses have really given up in their own hearts and thereby show their faith is small “… this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.” Matt 13:20-21.

I believe what the Bible says about stewards – “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” 1 Cor 4:2. It isn’t required that a steward always win or have it easy but that he or she remain faithful – never give up. If we cannot steward the natural before the spiritual (1 Cor 15:46) can we really be trusted with the spiritual which is greater than the natural? Jesus said if we cannot be faithful in the natural we will never be trusted with the true riches, which are spiritual (Luke 16:11-12).

For a Christian life is a proving ground and we are being refined through our own choices. When it comes to influencing the world around us I cannot believe abdication of duty is showing the character that Christ exhibited. As Christians if we look to worldly results for our encouragement we certainly will be like the grain of seed which fell in stony places and became unfruitful. I think it is important for faithful stewards to stay engaged in order to increase in faith. The revivalist Charles Finney, considered by many to be the voice of the Second Great Awakening, once said “The Church must take right ground in regard to politics … The time has come that Christians must vote for honest men, and take consistent ground in politics or the Lord will curse them … God cannot sustain this free and blessed country, which we love and pray for, unless the Church will take the right ground. Politics are a part of religion, in such a country as this, and Christians must do their duty to their country as a part of their duty to God.”

Those who stay engaged will have their reward.

Book of Revelation

There is naturally an increased interest in the book of Revelation. I have had numerous informal discussions on the meaning and application of the contents of the Book of Revelation. The name – from the Greek Word Apocalypse literally means to unveil or reveal. As we approach the end of the present age and come nearer to the age to come it is evident that the meanings within the book of Revelation will become more and more clear.

Yet I have been astounded over the years at the amount of unnecessary confusion which is allowed to accompany various attempts at interpreting the meanings of verses from the book. There are basic rules of interpretation of scripture which we must be adhere to so that we do not fall into “one’s own” interpretation rather than allowing the scriptures to reveal their own meaning.

2 Peter 1:20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.

As we know, one basic principle of interpreting scripture is to know the context of the scripture. “A text without a proper context is a pretext” as the saying goes. There may be both internal and external context.

When interpreting scriptures the witness of the scripture about its self is paramount this is the internal evidence. External evidence is information from outside of the scriptures used to interpret scriptures may also sometimes be helpful, however, it should be considered only as circumstantial and not as conclusive it never should be given the weight of internal evidence of scripture. When external evidence seems contradictory to internal evidence it should be suspect or rejected, certainly not made primary or obligatory.

It seems the book of Revelation may have been the unfortunate recipient of more malpractice of private interpretation than perhaps any other book of the bible. This is terribly unfortunate as the information contained in it is extremely important for the well being of the saints at the end of the age. It is “The Revelation of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:1).

Revelation is the only book of the bible that has a special blessing associated with it for those who read it and keep the words contained in the book – and a special warning for those who would abuse it.

Rev 22:6 Then he said to me, “These words are faithful and true.” And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.
7 “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

Rev 22:18 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;
19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

So in my mind it is especially important and rewarding to get the proper understanding of what the Lord is communicating to us through the book.

Perhaps more than any other book in the bible the context of the book of Revelation is of paramount importance to understand what is being communicated.

An example of internal evidence contained in the book are John’s own words that the Lord said he would be a witness after the writing of the book of Revelation

Rev 10:11 And he said to me, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, tongues, and kings.”

John mentioned in his epistles that he intended to carry out these instructions.

2 John 12 Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.

3 John 14 but I hope to see you shortly, and we shall speak face to face. Peace to you. Our friends greet you. Greet the friends by name.

If external evidence would contradict this internal information or make it impossible to have occurred than it should be rejected and the internal record accepted as scripture.

For most of my Christian life I understood the book of Revelation to have been authored around 95 A.D. when the apostle John was quite old and reportedly by his disciple Jerome that in the year A.D. 96 that the apostle was so aged and weak and infirm that “he was with difficulty carried to the church, and could speak only a few words to the people”. Again this is external information and should only be given authority where it does not contradict the internal evidence.

The Syrian version of the book of Revelation first published by Deuteronomy Dieu, in 1627 is inscribed with the words “The Revelation which God made to John the evangelist, in the Island of Patmos, to which he was banished by Nero Caesar.” Now Nero was Caesar from 54-68 A.D. when John was probably in his 60s.

Clement of Alexandria wrote in his Account of the Apostle John “a narrative, handed down and committed to the custody of memory, about the Apostle John. For when, on the tyrant’s death, he returned to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos, he went away, being invited, to the contiguous territories of the nations, here to appoint bishops, there to set in order whole Churches, there to ordain such as were marked out by the Spirit.”

Again this external account from Clement does not contradict the scripture but confirms it. Some have written that because Clement described John as an “old man” at this time that he must have meant he was in his 90’s and not in his 60s. Certainly a person is older when in his 90s but would it be proper to described the apostle John as “old” if he were in his 60s – during a time in history when the average life expectancy was between 20-30 years old and someone living into his or her 40s was quite exceptional.

Clement also wrote that the apostle “called for a horse” letting us know that John was still able to ride. Yet when Jerome described the apostle, he certainly was beyond riding a horse at that time.

What we should be after in searching through this information is truth. Truth will make us free, and truth has nothing to fear from facts. However, because of what I was taught in my Christian training I was not aware that there was any other possibility for the context of the book of Revelation than that it was written in or around 95 A.D. Unfortunately for me, my understanding of the book was less clear than it might have been if I had been taught that there are alternative applications of the historical record.

Every student of the book of Revelation should at least be aware that there are basically two interpretations of the external evidence as to when the book was authored. These are either in the time period of 65-68 A.D. or around 95 A.D. By understanding this at the outset one can at least look at the evidence with an open mind and decide which fits with the scripture without contradicting it for one’s own self.

I consider that it may be wrong, perhaps even dangerous to close off the possibility of understanding of scripture because of a belief in the external historical record. As an example Rev11:8 speaks of “the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” I should think that the words “where also our Lord was crucified” would identify this city for us. But for centuries commentators have spiritualized this from a literal meaning to an allegorical one meaning “wherever the church is persecuted” and most often Rome is substituted for Jerusalem – but other cities have had their place in the commentaries. However, if one has the option of the possibility that the city of Jerusalem was still in existence at the time of this writing than one also has the option to interpret it literally. Since we are allowing external evidence to influence the interpretation of scripture, wouldn’t it be wise to at least consider all evidence keeping in mind that no external evidence carries the weight of scripture?

John was banished to the Isle of Patmos and wrote the book of Revelation either around 65-68 A.D. due to the persecution of Christians by Nero Caesar, which would be before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. or around 90-95 A.D. during the persecution under Domitian Caesar (Domitianikos).

Some tradition has it that John was banished to Patmos during the reign of Domitian. However the Syriac Version of the New Testament, also called the Peshitta, meaning simple, text is the oldest direct version of the New Testament, dating from the second century. This places the Revelation in the period of Domitius Nero with this title for the book of Revelation – “The Revelation which was made by God to John the evangelist in the island Patmos, into which he was thrown by Nero Caesar”. This clearly indicates that early church fathers accepted an early date for the writing of the book of Revelation.

The early Syriac Version of the book of Revelation concurs with the statement of Irenaeus in 175 A.D., who says it happened in the reign of Domitianou – who is Domitius (Nero). Later writers seemed to mistake Domitianou for Domitianikos and supposed Irenaeus was referring to Domitian around 95A.D. Most succeeding writers seem to have copied this error often enough that it is held by many today as fact.

Another important principle necessary for proper interpretation of scripture is to be clear on whom the scripture is being addressed. Knowing “to whom it is written” is paramount when understanding any scripture. The book of Revelation tells who it is addressed to in chapter 1 verse 4.

“John, to the seven churches which are in Asia …” Rev 1:4

In doing this he was clearly obeying his instructions received directly from the Lord Jesus Christ, recorded in Verse 11.

“… I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

While the richness of what was written to the seven churches is important for us beyond imagination, it can never be forgotten that it was originally, and primarily, addressed to them and for them. Scripture is prophetic (2 Pet 1:19) and the Lord specifically instructed that John not seal up the “words of the prophecy of this book” (Rev 22:10) so that future generations would also receive and learn from it. However, it is important not to deny the immediate necessity the words of the book of Revelation held for the people of these churches alive at the time of its writing and learn from the immediate application of the letters.


We are a divided nation to be sure. An uncivil war is being waged against what is true and just in our land. Those exact things which made America the envy of the world and allowed for more people to prosper and reach for their potential than any nation in the history of mankind are being attacked and uprooted.

We continue through a period of history described in the book of Isaiah chapter five.

Isaiah 5:20 – 23: “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight! Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink, Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away justice from the righteous man!”

Honestly, I thought we might have had a respite, if only temporarily, had the election gone differently. However, we did not see a change in direction and we will therefore continue to see justice delayed and godliness mocked and attacked. As Christians we must learn to remain in God’s peace regardless of circumstances and our situation, for, as we persevere, we will actually grow into the character of Christ.

Romans 5:1 – 4: “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.”

As evil exercises its power at the highest levels of government, Israel will be pressed even more to make concessions for “peace” with her enemies. As the US government pressures to divide Israel, more pressure will come upon America to be divided. Currently we are very divided in opinion, but pressure to divide the land will increase. By this I mean physically – pressure from the physical earth, as well as geo-politically.

It is no coincidence that the day after the election petitions from groups in various states began to be submitted to the Whitehouse to peacefully be allowed to leave the union and set up their own independent national government. The number of these petitions continued to increase and now there are petitions from all fifty states. To date no state legislature has petitioned to secede, but there will be increasing pressure from various places both within and without, from both the left and the right to divide the nation. But not in ways many now think.

Petitions to secede are nothing new, beginning early in the republic when New England considered secession in 1814 in opposition to the War of 1812. There is no doubt that the founders considered association in the Union voluntary and mutual, as a right of the States, freely entered into with other States and freely could leave. Daniel Webster said, “If the States were not left to leave the Union when their rights were interfered with, the government would have been National, but the Convention refused to baptize it by that name.”

More recently the Montana Legislature voted on a legal brief which was submitted to the Supreme Court of the United States concerning the District of Columbia V. Heller case. This was the landmark 2008 case which ruled on the argument over the second amendment being an individual right or a collective right. The Montana State constitution reads in part, “The right of any person to keep or bear arms in defense of his own home, person, and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question …” The brief stated that when Montana was accepted into the Union of States in 1889 it was clearly understood and agreed upon that his was an individual right and should the Supreme Court rule in any other fashion the compact with Montana and the United States would automatically be broken. Any constitutional crises was averted at that time as the Court ruled that the right to keep and bear arms was an individual right.

Almost everyone is aware of the tremendous pressure placed upon the nation to divide over ideology during the time of the American Civil War. There were great forces, both within and without, pressuring the nation to divide. Much of this pressure came from Europe and the great powers there. What few people realize is the effect Russia had upon protecting the union of the United Sates through threatening those very forces that desired the breakup of America.

European governmental powers and princes, especially in England and France in the banking industry, saw that the increasing power of the United States in America was increasingly a roadblock to their global agenda of consolidating power under a ruling elite.

Great Britain was working to divide the nation from across the border in Canada. The French were working through Mexico and even the Vatican was seeking to exercise authority in the mostly Protestant nation through the Pope’s center in Baltimore, Maryland, not far from the nation’s capitol.

Russian Tsar Alexander II understood that the division of America and the resultant power conglomerate would be a threat to the entire world. He actually sent the Russian naval fleet to America to support the Union forces in the blockade of weapons shipments from Britain to the Confederacy.

Due to what is today known as the Trent affair, America even considered war with Britain. This actually might have made the division of the United States more likely and president Lincoln defused the situation diplomatically. However, support again came from a most unlikely direction as Tsar Alexander II threatened war with either or both England and France should either nation attempt to influence the division of the United States. Not wanting to risk war with Russia, neither country openly did more than send “observers” to the field of battle.

Since Barack 0bama was elected to the office of president in 2008 many who immigrated to the US from the former Soviet Union have been speaking out about what is happening in America. The creeping socialism and tyranny being released is particularly disturbing to them. Since the recent election even more immigrants from the former Soviet bloc are speaking out, and, I believe, this will increase as the actions of this administration become more alarming. Some of these men and women may truly become watchmen in America sounding the alarm for the rest of the population, many of whom seem to be asleep to the dangers. In fact, much is made of immigrants coming to America for perceived handouts. I believe we are going to see a powerful force made up from first and second generation immigrants who want to save the Union and pressure a return to the roots and foundations which have made America so desirable to so many for so long.

For a number of years there have been warnings from Russian diplomats that the United States will certainly be divided into a number of different nations before too long. Some of this is “sour grapes” as the policies of the United States and Britain united most certainly hastened the breakup of the Soviet Union. But the Union of Soviet Socialist States was not a union of free and independent states willingly joined into a federal system whereby there were certain well defined rights retained by the states and the people and certain well defined duties to be exercised by the federal government. The USSR was an empire of conquest and held together while they could through forced compliance.

We are a divided nation, and as our Federal government pressures to divide Israel, more pressure will come upon America to be divided. As our government continues to promote social values which are divergent from the values of major parts of society, pressure will increase upon the nation to be divided. As the Federal government increases the burden upon many in the land to redistribute private property to others it will become increasingly possible that this country will be divided. God himself divided the land of Israel (2 Chronicles 11:4) because of the heavy burden of governmental abuses and high taxes of King Rehoboam.

However, in spite of all this, I do not think the United States will be divided. Ben Franklin’s adage is applicable today, if not literally as it was in his day, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

While those who are signing petitions to be allowed to succeed may be venting legitimate frustration, they certainly are misguided in their efforts. First, no individual or group of individuals have authority to speak on behalf of a State. The elected representatives must do that. How powerful is the authority of a group that must ask for permission to do anything? The simple act of asking for permission shows subordinate status. The Declaration of Independence called the States “Free and Independent States.” They did not ask for permission, they simply stated to the world what they were going to do and why. They let King George and the rest of the world know that they “absolved from all allegiance to, or dependence upon, the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain.” Asking for permission only shows the dependence upon government that too many Americans have come to accept.

While it was clear that Abraham Lincoln’s paramount goal was to preserve the Union, the secession of Southern States was not the official cause of the war. It officially began when Federal troops refused to be disarmed and leave the site of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor. As a similar note, the American Revolutionary War began when the citizens of Lexington and Concord refused to be disarmed. Things have changed since the end of the Civil War and, in 1868, the Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. White that States lacked the power to unilaterally secede from the Union. As recently as 2006 Alaska’s supreme court ruled that secession was illegal.

This is not to say that the question will not remain or even be discussed more openly as frustrations increase with the overbearing bureaucracy of the Federal government. It is even possible that the current round of secessionist petitions were begun, not by secessionists, but by those who want to increase the Federal government’s power. For, if those who are most concerned about the current direction of the government can be drawn away from constructive purposes into unproductive activities, then those whom they are opposing do in fact have more freedom to advance their agendas. In a worst case scenario, should such a secessionist movement get out of hand from their perspective, an overbearing government could consider the activities insurrection and declare martial law, something many have been suggesting is a district possibility.

Rather than engaging in talk of disuniting the States, we must unite to correct the problems currently facing the nation. The Federal government was created by the States and the States still have the power to alter, abolish or reign in the Federal Government. The U.S. Constitution 10th amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Many believe that there are no problems facing this nation today that cannot be corrected by simply returning to the checks, balances and limitations provided for us in the U.S. Constitution. We have gotten away from the Constitution by neglecting it, and in many cases that neglect has occurred through outright hostility to it. One effective means of abuse is the so called “living constitution” interpretation. This interpretation is that the constitution means what is agreed upon by those interpreting it with little regard to what is actually written, or what was meant by those who wrote it, understood by those who ratified it, or entered into compact with other States. Judge James Wilson, signer of the Declaration of Independence said, “The first and governing maxim in the interpretation of a statute is to discover the meaning of those who made it.” (Of the Study of Law in the United States, 1790). U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said, “The constitution is not a living document it is a legal document.” (University of Montana Lecture Sept 24, 2008).

If the legal documents were treated as “living” and changeable at will, contract law would be meaningless. If our constitution is “living” and changeable at all it is because of the wisdom of our forefathers who made the Constitution changeable by amendments agreed upon by the States.

U.S. Constitution Article. V. “The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress…”

There are different means contained here by which the Constitution may be amended. Both houses of the U.S. Congress by a two-thirds super majority vote may propose and amendment and send it to the States for ratification – three-fourths of the state legislatures must approve it, or ratifying conventions in three-fourths of the States must approve it. Amendments so approved bypass the President of the United States and do not require his signature. The other method is for two-thirds of the state legislatures to ask Congress to call a national convention to propose amendments. This is considered the “nuclear option” by many and this method has never been used.

However, the more abusive the Federal government becomes to the rights of the States and of the people the more this option is likely to be discussed. Certainly a “constitutional convention” would be a scary proposition today with all the various forces and pressures which would be brought to bear upon all participants. However, if a proposed amendment, perhaps a balanced budget amendment, a marriage amendment, or a repeal of the 16th amendment, were agreed to beforehand, two-thirds of the state legislatures could agree to this wording and the national convention could be limited only to this vote. Neither the president nor congress would have any conditional authority to protest.

While I do not suspect this will happen any time soon, the likelihood of it occurring may increase as the situations being dealt with become more grave. This would be an act of unity and authority, not of disunity and weakness.

I do not think the danger today is one of dividing the nation so much as devaluing the rights and power of the States. I think there is more danger of a usurpation of State authority by the Federal government creating a regional government and thus usurping state government’s authority. United we have more power to stand than divided. It is very likely that there will be a clash of power between the States and the Federal government. Our battle is not one of left v. right but of tyranny v. liberty. Unfortunately, it may be the increasing threat to state authority that causes them to unite and correct the overreaching Federal government than was created by the States. But it is by the States and people uniting that this will be accomplished, not by division.

Galatians 5:1: “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”



In the days leading up to the 2012 presidential election I was repeatedly asked my thoughts on the election. I stated numerous times that in my prayer time the message I got was that Barack 0bama could win re-election. However, I pointed out that while I could not prove it, I felt there were more people praying and fasting for this election than at any other time in the history of the country. I felt with all the people seeking the Lord that He could not fail to hear our cries and act.

After a few months of intense prayer and fasting I am glad to say that I have lost about 20 pounds and feel great, physically that is. However, I was disappointed and dismayed at the results of the election. I could stand to lose those pounds and intend to keep them off. Truth be known, I’d been trying hard with exercise to lose that weight, to no avail, and my purpose for fasting was certainly not to lose weight, but I’ll take the blessings as they come.

So what about all the prayer and fasting? Did God miss our prayers, or hear them and just ignore them. Were atheists and nonbelievers praying harder than the children of God (of course I say that facetiously). Since I wrote the first part in this series pointing out the extent that fraud was a factor in this election I have been bombarded with information on extensive fraud in many strategic places confirming what I said from sources much more sophisticated than anything I have available.

But what’s the encouragement in that? Didn’t God know ahead of time that there was going to be corruption and the effect it would have on the course of our nation? In fact, I was not alone in encouraging people to specifically pray against corruption and fraud which could affect the election. God is not surprised by anything, nor is he worried about anything. He cares for us and the situation we are in and the direction we are heading. Yet He has plans for us, to cause us to prosper regardless of what man’s plans are.

Jeremiah 29:11-13: “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

God always hears our prayers, in fact He is aware of our needs before we ask (Matthew 6:8). His way of accomplishing what we ask are not always through the means or methods that we choose or envision.

Isaiah 55:8-9: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

I admit that I wanted a different outcome to the election, but that was not my end goal. I want our nation saved (Matt 25:33) and I want the republic restored. To be sure, I did not believe that was going to occur through this election. However I did believe a different outcome would buy us some more time before travail came upon the land. However, that was not to be. Had Romney been elected there are perhaps only a few major things which might have been different. First, I think Mitt Romney would be a problem solver, not a problem creator. He also has an understanding of business and economy so he most likely would have been able to navigate the national economy around some of the more dangerous ice burgs. However, the main issues regarding the debt, the currency and the economic war we are now waging would not have been solved by him alone. He also has the proven ability to work with others not of his own party and would have had a different attitude toward Israel, Russia, China and Iran. Lastly, I believe he would have chosen more originalist Supreme court justices than 0bama has chosen, and is likely to choose. Otherwise most of the issues would remain unchanged by whoever sits in the oval office.

My ultimate prayer continued to be through all my prayer and fasting, “Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.” And although I would love the president to have a line item veto like so many governors have, I always try to give God a line-item veto by imitating Jesus’ prayer “nevertheless not my will, but Yours, be done.” Certainly I wanted the cup we are about to drink to pass from us, but we are overcomers in Christ and we know there is nothing which He will allow us to face that He will not also give us the power to go through it, over it, under it or around it (1 Corinthians 10:13, Phil 4:13). There is no promise that victory will come easily, but we know it will come in Christ, so long as we are faithful and refuse to lose heart.

“You were tired out by the length of your road, Yet you did not say, ‘ It is hopeless.’ You found renewed strength, Therefore you did not faint.” Isaiah 57:10 NASU

Before the election I was listening to a pastor from Texas who is well known for his understanding of the nation of Israel in biblical prophecy. He was speaking about the election and all the churches and individuals who were involved in prayer and fasting. He said that if people pray and fast for forty days God will certainly hear, but if He chooses not to answer your prayers in the fashion you have requested or in the way you expected, you must know that it is because He has a broader view and what will come to pass will be in a greater plan. You will be strengthened for the days by your prayer and fasting.

I hope Garth Brooks won’t be offended if I borrow a line from one of his songs, “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.” In reality there are no unanswered prayers, just some of the answers are different than our requests. According to Revelation 5:8 prayers are like incense in bowls, and according to chapter 8 it is only a matter of time before these prayers are returned to the earth by God’s actions, but in His own time and according to his plan.

“So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

We have been given a unique nation among the nations. Founded upon the principles of God’s Word, and an understanding that Government is created by, and should be subject to, the people and the people are created by, and should be subject to God. We are “one nation under God” and where we cease to be under God we cease to be blessed as a nation.

Our constitution is the document that makes us a nation, it is a unique document and has created a unique nation. Italians are Italians regardless of the government they have. Spanish are Spanish regardless of the government they have, it’s the same for the Chinese or the Germans. But America is made up of people from every nation under heaven. What makes us a nation is not our ethnicity, but our heritage and constitution.

“Hold on, my friends, to the Constitution and to the Republic for which it stands. Miracles do not cluster and what has happened once in 6,000 years, may not happen again. Hold on to the Constitution, for if the American Constitution should fail, there will be anarchy throughout the world.” Daniel Webster

There are powers in the earth working through men who wish to bring anarchy as they know anarchy always prepares the way for tyranny. The unified United States has been the greatest road block to anarchy and therefore tyranny in the world for generations. Therefore there are powers and princes which want to see her authority removed. It was not without great sacrifice that our nation was birthed and it will not be without great sacrifice that she will be saved. “You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” (Hebrews 12:4) Who knows but that our resolve will cause God to answer our prayers “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

It is clear that securing the constitution will not happen without a resolve to press forward, no matter the cost, no matter the effort, no matter the time that it takes. Our constitution has been neglected, maligned, ignored and attacked. Yet it can be revived. It is the singular governmental document which was written with human nature in mind – limiting the defects of human weaknesses guile and encouraging the strengths of human aspiration and goodness is its genius and strength. Understanding that power corrupts, and therefore limiting the unrestrained exercise of power. This is the reason it is maligned and hated by power mongers and brutes. It is the levee which protects our freedoms from such schemers.

Keep your resolve, never ever give up, in fact strengthen your resolve in knowing that the greater the challenge the greater the victory, with such a great promise, we will have great challenge.

Galatians 6:9-10: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

On my wall I have a poem in a frame that was a gift from my church and students. They told me it reminded them of my ministry and service to others. I cherish that thought, the words are an encouragement to me, and perhaps they can encourage all of us.

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt

More to come.


After the election -

December 7, 1941, the day Pearl Harbor was attacked, is famously called a day of infamy. September 11, 2001, likewise has gone down in history as another day of infamy for America. For me November 6, 2012, is yet another day that will go down as a day of infamy for America. It was a bellwether day and, I believe, things after this day will be markedly different than those which preceded.

A short time ago I was so tired of the incessant political campaigning, and all that goes with it that, that I was looking forward to election day just to see it end. Now, if I could, I would extend the campaigning as long as it might take to have a different outcome. Pat Caddell, a Democratic pollster and former advisor to President Jimmy Carter, said that in the days leading up to the election it was “within the margin of corruption.” The press is not making news out of the many serious problems with voting in many areas which assisted the president in achieving his end total of electoral votes.

Bus loads of Somalis were brought into polling places in Ohio and the participants were handed templates to help them vote the Democratic ticket since they spoke no English. Voting machines in states such as Nevada repeatedly brought up 0bama when the screen was touched for Romney – numerous complaints were filed. 0bama did not win one single state that fully requires photo IDs in order to vote. He lost in several states that do not traditionally vote Republican but do require photo identification. In Pennsylvania a law requiring photo ID to vote was passed but was challenged in court by the 0bama campaign and put on hold by a judge until after this election. In some places where photo ID is not required voter registration topped more than 100% of the county populations and up to 92% percent voter turnout when 48% is average. ACORN was famously uncovered for its voter fraud and it disbanded. But there were many who warned that ACORN did not disband, it just went underground. An evil version of John 12:24.

Anyone who watched the now infamous voting at the Democratic convention over whether to put the mention of “God” back into the Democratic platform recognizes how little the actual vote matters to the Democratic party. What is particularly concerning is how this is liable to affect our nation as we go forward, and how little this is being reported in the press.

The press is given particular discretion, protection, and authority in America through our constitution as our founders felt no government could be trusted for long unless there was a watchdog over the sheep, so to speak. Now we have the wolves among the sheep and the watchdogs in the press are not sounding the alarm, if they are indeed watching at all anymore. They seem to feel their job is to assist the wolves and keep the sheep as deceived as possible. Benjamin Franklin famously expressed his view when he wrote “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Freedom is a well-armed lamb contesting that vote.”

When the 2008 presidential election was settled there were those who warned we were going to see “Chicago politics and San Francisco values” becoming national. This has proven to be the case, and the disturbing thing about the 2012 election is the biblical principle that when a thing is repeated twice it becomes established (Gen 41:32). The evil released on our nation since the 2008 election now has been established. Look how damaging Chicago politics have been to the people of Chicago! Yet how many generations have they remained the norm there without anyone being able to alter them?

After the 2000 election and the Florida vote counting, billionaire Socialist George Soros began funding liberal politicians to get them into the office of Secretary of State because they oversee the electoral process necessary to the proper functioning of a republic. His plans have had great success in electing liberals and socialists to the office of Secretary of State in many states to oversee the electoral process. We are witnessing a revolution and few seem to be aware or able to report the extent of the effects. While celebrating President 0bama’s electoral victory in front of the White House election night they were heard chanting over and over “Karl Marx” and “socialism.” It’s notable that Joseph Stalin said, “It’s not who votes that counts, it’s who counts the votes.”

My how things have changed. I thought that, in a sense, we crossed the Rubicon after Tuesday’s election. The idiom “Cross the Rubicon” means passing a point of no return, a reference to Julius Caesar crossing of the river in 49 BC and refusing to step down as commander as was required by law. It marked the beginning of the end for the Roman republic. When he crossed the river and refused to give up his commission he spoke the words “alea iacta est” – the die is cast. It is interesting that when elected to the Continental Congress John Adams , the Father of American Independence wrote, “The die is now cast; I have passed the Rubicon. Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish with my country is my unalterable determination.” I am grateful for the wisdom and determination of a small remnant of men such as him. I pray God will raise up such wisdom and determination once again in our hour of need.

Many people are distraught for multiple reasons after the election. I think it very unwise to ignore these feelings, but they must be taken back to the Lord. He is not one bit distraught or worried. When David and his men came back from battle and found that they had been defrauded of their families and possessions, the first instinct of the men was to lash out at their leader, but deeper thought and restraint was able to lead to the restoration of all that was stolen.

“Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. … So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?”And He answered him, “Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all.” 1 Samuel 30:6, 8.

Many who have prayed so hard, hoped so much, and worked so diligently for a different outcome are feeling shocked, and no doubt some feel like giving up. Now is the time for true warriors like those whom David surrounded himself with to strengthen themselves before the Lord and gird up their loins. True spiritual warriors, while still drawing breath will serve the Lord.

If I might borrow some words from Thomas Paine, spoken in regard to the great conflict at the inception of our country, as they are so applicable today:

“These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like Hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. … Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country!”

I have never been one to relish politics, but I see our current situation not as political but as spiritual. Perhaps you do too? We are not wrestling against flesh and blood. And the eventual victory will not be a fleshly one but a spiritual one. In his second annual address president Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “There comes a time in the affairs of men when they must prepare to defend not their homes alone but the tenets of faith and humanity on which their churches, their governments, and their very civilization are founded. The defense of religion, of democracy, and of good faith among nations is all the same fight. To save one we must now make up our minds to save all.”

Freedom is not free, where the spirit of the Lord dwells there is freedom.

I’ll have more to add soon.


“Equipping the Saints for a World of Harvest”


Jesus said “when you fast” and “when you pray” indicating that these were presumed activities for his people. I don’t know where the word “fast” had its original application but it seems misapplied when it comes to fasting, as I have never fasted when I felt the time went by quickly. Never the less, fasting is not about comfort; it is a type of sacrifice which inspires faith and moves heaven. The purpose of praying and fasting is not about who knows or does not know you are fasting; the Lord will know. It is about obtaining results from heaven which may be beyond your own ability to receive or obtain without heaven’s help.
A great example of the power of prayer and fasting is found in Mark 9 where the father brings the afflicted son to the disciples who cannot heal him, and then to Jesus who does heal him. Later when the disciples question Jesus on why they could not cast the spirit out, he answered, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9:29).
People often quote this verse in light of deliverance, but I ask my students the question “is this what Jesus did?” Did he pray and fast before he cast out the spirit? Of course he didn’t, there wasn’t time for fasting and praying – he had to act fast when he saw the people coming on the run. He only time for a fast prayer – not prayer and fasting!
So what is the answer to this situation? It is clear what Jesus said, and it is clear that he did something very different. The answer to the question lies in the time of prayer and fasting Jesus had just accomplished previous to the incident. Fasting and prayer were a regular part of Jesus’ ministry. He had just come off the mountain from a time of prayer and fasting with the three apostles. It is very likely that during his time of fasting that something was taught to him or given to him to prepare him for the incident just ahead of him.
The disciples were having great results in ministering to people while Jesus was away. Many people were being healed and demons were being driven out. Yet none of them could help this boy. Jesus ministered a bit differently than they did in this situation. When he saw there was a problem he did not address the demon, or the boy, instead he addressed the father with a question, “how long has this been happening to him?” The father replied “from a infant …” This does not show up in the English translation, but the father said the child (boy) had this problem since he was an infant. At that point Jesus clearly exhorted the father to have faith – not the boy. God always requires faith to receive anything from Him. There are times when a person in need of healing cannot supply the faith they need. Someone who is dead, for instance, or someone in a coma cannot supply faith, it must be supplied on their behalf. In this case the boy had been demonized when he was an infant, before he would have been of age for his own faith. It would have done the disciples no good to address the boy all day long, the key to deliverance was with the father who had spiritual authority over the child. In order to connect this with Jesus’ answer to the disciples “this kind comes out only through prayer and fasting”, the disciples knew he did not fast when the child was brought to him, they knew this was something he had done before and in his time of prayer and fasting preceding the incident he was prepared by the Spirit of God for what lay ahead and what he was going to need to do to have the victory.
Fasting is like that. It is a way to bring grace into the picture. By grace I mean God’s ability to do for you, in you, among you, or to you something that is beyond your human ability to accomplish. There are things we can do to receive or increase God’s grace (see 2 Cor 9:6-8; 2 Pet 3:18; 2 Tim 2:1), prayer and fasting is one of these things. We cannot underestimate the need for fasting and prayer on behalf of our nation if we expect God to act on our behalf.
I for one believe we as a nation are already past the point of man’s redemption from the problems we face. We are seriously in need of God’s intervention if we are to receive a transformation from the grave danger we are in and the disasters we are heading toward. Our God is able, but He acts in answer to our requests and He is moved, or not moved, depending upon us, our actions or lack of actions and requests. It takes faith to please God.
In 2000 due to the upcoming presidential election I felt the need to fast and pray, I had a sense of urgency about the two very different directions being offered to us through the presidential choices. I was at a minister’s retreat with the MorningStar Fellowship when I began a three day total fast. I did not intend to fast any more than those three days when I began, but some time during those days I decided to continue the fast for 21 days like Daniel prayed. He also was praying for his nation and people and the fulfillment of her destiny. Then at some point near the end of my 21 days I looked at the calendar. The Holy Spirit pointed out to me that from the day I began my fast to election day was 40 days! I had not planned this, but when I saw it I felt energized to fast and pray for the nation all the way until election day.
And what an election day it was! It was not only Americans who took note but millions of people around the world watched as the election was called for one candidate, then for the other. For the first time in our history a candidate conceded the election, then changed his word and released his legal team. Everyone can recall the events of the rest of that day (and those to follow). This became a constitutional crisis that resulted in the best U.S. civics lesson in history. It seemed the whole nation was stirred. I was up until 3:00 am watching the TV and praying for the nation. I was getting more worked up when the Lord spoke to me clearly in my spirit. His words to me were “Lloyd, you have been praying and fasting through a time when not many were praying. Right now millions of people are praying! Will you go to bed?” So I did and I slept very peacefully.
Again we are at a critical time and the election is a pivotal point in this time. We cannot expect someone else to do our praying for us, we must stir up an army of pray-ers and fast-ers. There are many ways you can get involved. You can pray and fast for 40 days. You can be part of a team that takes a portion of time that adds up to 40 days, churches can easily accomplish this. You can fast for 3 days or do a Daniel fast for 21 days with less of some main ingredient that you usually enjoy daily. Consider fasting for at least 3 days – I have usually found day 2 to be the toughest and after that things become very clear, so it’s worth going past day 2. Food is not the only thing that may be eliminated for a time of consecration, perhaps a certain type of drink, soda for instance could be avoided. Maybe you could give up TV or a sport that you generally participate in, and dedicate that time specifically to the Lord for prayer for our nation and the election. Don’t do this alone, find others to stir up or wake up. I think you may find more interest than in any other time in recent history for people willing to pray and fast with you for God’s mercy upon our nation. People know we need His help, and can be shown this one way to can get involved beyond voting to influence the outcome.
People who have gotten engaged with the national crisis we face in the past few years have had their share of both ups and downs. Many have seen candidates elected as a concerted effort of those motivated to see our country brought back to our national and spiritual roots. Yet there has been the sense of betrayal and deep disappointment from those in authority such as the Supreme Court. Jesus warned against losing heart in the last days because of false ministries that cause disappointment and poor fruit. Hope deferred does make the heart sick. Fasting and prayer can change all that because God never disappoints when He is moved to act on behalf of His people. God is willing to act, we need Him to take action – are you willing to take action?

Pursue God

Recently, while meeting with fellow Christian ministers, a subject came up
which at one time or another affects all intercessors and servants of God.
The subject was those times when it seems more difficult to enter into the
presence of the Lord. We all elevate those times in our prayer lives when
the voice of God seems so loud. When His direction for our lives is so clear
that there is not a shadow of a doubt as to His will and direction for our
lives. These are the times that we live for and look toward. These are the
times that carry us through those other times which can only be described as
“dry times.”

But we all experience the dry times when it seems as though our Lord is not
as close as we would like. Those times when it seems like a struggle to
enter into His presence. There may be something that is keeping us from His
presence. Something which He will reveal in time if we are persistent. But
many times these are the times which the Lord allows us the chance to prove
our desire to be near Him. Even when it doesn’t “feel” like it, He is always
near. He died for us and will never ever leave or forsake us. So, when He
seems distant it gives us an opportunity to strive to be where He is, to
pursue Him.

Is our love for Him a “good time” feeling? Is our love conditional upon easy
access into His presence? It shouldn’t be, and if it is then ours is not a
mature love. Jesus said, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am,
my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (John
12:26). We say that we will never leave Him even to the death. Are we
willing to follow after our Lord even when it seems that He is traveling a
little ahead of us, or a little too fast for us to keep up. Will we be like
Peter and say that we will serve Him until the end, but deny Him as soon as
we are not in His presence? Instead, use those times to show your love for
Him by your dogged determination to find Him no matter the cost. Remember
Jesus said that we could not give up anything in this life for Him that we
would not be given back a hundred times more both now and in eternity. (Mark
10:29,30). Are we willing to pay the price in time and effort to follow
after Him until we find Him?

Recently, while going through one of these dry seasons, I went to a solitary
place to seek the Lord. As I was praying I was tempted to feel alone or
forsaken by Him. But I knew this was not the truth. As I continued in
prayer, I had a realization that He was hearing every word even though I was
not aware of His presence. I laughed and said, “I know you are there and you
are hearing every word I am saying. If you think I am going to stop praising
you for the love you have shown just because you are silent, you are wrong.
Because I will commit my love to you even if I never hear your voice again.”
At that point I saw an open vision of the Lord standing with his back to me.
Just at that moment He looked back over His right shoulder at me and smiled.
As He smiled, and just as our eyes would have met, the room was filled with
the glory of the Lord. It seemed to go on and on, but I’m sure it lasted
only a short time. I could in no wise lift myself up while this occurred,
nor did I have any inclination to move from the presence of the Lord. Still
He did not speak, but His love was over powering and well worth pursuit.

The People’s Right to Choose and Change Government

The Declaration of Independence was a magnificent presentation of the grievances of the American Colonies against an over reaching and overbearing government. It also laid out in spectacular wording for the first time the basic principles of freedom and liberty.

The preamble says in part “… to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.”

Later when our fore fathers created the U.S. Constitution they referred to these principles in the opening line, which is “We the People of the United States … do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Understanding the principles set forth in the Declaration of Independence the constitution they provided had within it the means by which the people could change, alter and amend the Constitution as they saw the need. In fact in order to get the document passed by the two thirds majority of states required to adopt the Constitution the Federalists had to promise the Anti Federalists that they would immediately amend a Bill of Rights to the constitution. Without this promise it is doubtful that the Constitution would have ever received the votes necessary to become the law of the land. These first ten amendments are our cherished “Bill of Rights”.

All state constitutions within the United States, likewise present for legal purposes how the government will function and the limits on that government. Each also contains within it the means by which the People of that state may amend their constitution. The idea that constitutions are “living documents” rather than legal documents stems from Europe, it is based in the idea of “rule of men” rather than “rule of law”. Every successful businessman knows that without clear and firm laws which can be counted upon it would be impossible to conduct successful business. If the laws to do business were subject to the whim of judge or magistrate it would not be possible to make clear plans, investments and therefore the businesses, and economy would suffer. This system always leads to corruption, confusion, and the advancement of poverty rather than the increase of prosperity for the majority of people. Our system is a legal system, not an evolving so called “living” system based upon the whim of judges and magistrates.

However we are experiencing dangerous encroachments upon the rights of the people and their right to self government, including the right to choose their own form of governance and the ability to amend or abolish such laws and governance.

The most dangerous threat against a major population of Americans is currently in play in the State of California over the rights to define marriage and dictate what the Government may and may not do to the people of that state. The people of California seem to know instinctively the dangers of redefining & destroying traditional marriage. They also know that they have the right according to their Constitution and the U.S. Constitution to change laws and amend their constitution. In short they know they have the right to choose own government – or do they?

A short review of events is in order – in the year 2000 California voters overwhelmingly approved (61% of the voters to 39%) the passage of Proposition 22 which defined legal marriage in the State of California as between one man and one woman. This was done in response to judicial activism which was (and is) currently promoting marriage as between two people regardless of gender. While this strong showing of the electorate surprised many, it meant nothing to the courts of California who overruled the change to the California Family Code saying it was unconstitutional.

So the good citizens of California complied with the ruling of the courts and passed an amendment to their constitution through the passage of Proposition 8 in 2008. This amended the California Constitution to read “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” This also passed by a strong margin of the electorate. However, in a double jeopardy ruling United States District Court, Judge Vaughn R. Walker overturned the amendment on grounds that it would be unconstitutional with a scathing anti-Christian rant as a ruling. His ruling has been upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel, the panel also affirmed that they believed Judge Walker was not obligated to recuse himself from the case because he is a homo sexual. This decision is being appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

The supreme court case Marbury v. Madison is considered by many jurists and legal scholars to be the most important ruling ever from the Supreme court. In part the ruling stated “That the people have an original right to establish, for their future government, such principles as, in their opinion, shall most conduce to their own happiness, is the basis, on which the whole American fabric has been erected…. The principles, therefore, so established, are deemed fundamental. And as the authority, from which they proceed, is supreme … they are designed to be permanent…. The powers of the legislature are defined, and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken, or forgotten, the constitution is written.”

To sum it up, due to concern over judicial activism, the citizens of California acted to clarify for their state that marriage is between one man and one woman. Once legally placed into the family code it was ruled unconstitutional. Therefore the citizens of California amended their constitution to constitutionally define marriage as between one man and one women. This amendment to their constitution has now also been ruled unconstitutional. Is there any irony in a ruling that says an amendment to a constitution is unconstitutional?

The actions of the judges has made this issue one much greater than one concerning the right of the people to define legal marriage, it has not become an issue of the right of the people to choose, to alter or to abolish their form of government. Our founders were no strangers to the abuse of a ruling class when they placed this in the Deceleration of Independence.

In a democracy the majority rules. In a republic the majority rules under a constitution and through representatives elected by rules set forth in that constitution. If a small group of judges is allowed to overrule the will of the people expressed through their votes and enshrined in their constitution, then there is no longer a republic but an oligarchy, a small group of people, not laws, ruling (not governing) over the majority.

Concerning this issue Thomas Jefferson wrote: “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. … The constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots.”

Jefferson’s warning has become frighteningly prophetic. The foundations of the republic and the people’s right to choose and change their government are at stake. When the vote of seven million citizens is considered null by one judge – self government has been dealt a blow from which she must at all costs recover. If a citizenry has been robbed of its God-given right to amend its constitution than liberty by law is in grave peril.

Jefferson also warned of the federal Judiciary overruling the state constitutions as we see occurring in this case “the Federal Judiciary; … working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States, and the government of all be consolidated into one. When all government… in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated.”

Ours is a unique nation. The only nation in history to declare in its laws – beginning with its foundational documents – that man is sovereign over government and God is sovereign over man. These rulings are no less than a clear attack upon all religious freedom and Christianity in particular as well as the fundamental right of the people to choose their government. What is at stake is liberty itself and the right to choose our government. It matters not what your opinion is on redefining marriage, there is something much more fundamental at stake here – freedom. If these rulings are allowed to remain, all citizens, regardless of sexual preference, will have been placed under a judicial tyranny which our forefathers would never have accepted. It needs to be corrected at any cost.

If I may paraphrase John F. Kennedy “Those who make peaceful change impossible will make change by other means inevitable.” In my mind I can see the patriots flag of 1776 with the liberty tree upon it and the words emblazoned across it “Appeal to God”.

Absent Without Leave

I hope you are all doing well and had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Over the Thanksgiving weekend I used my travel time to be with family and to catch up on a few phone calls. I was inspired by a word from a good friend, Jack Tyner, who told me of his visit to Battleship Cove in Massachusetts which is the largest Navy ship exhibit in the world. There are decommissioned US Navy ships there – large and small – that can be visited. You are free to wander at will on any of the ships or boats. What struck him was how inspiring it was to see the representation of the massive power available, and the openness with which the public could freely wander at will. But also what struck him was how few people were there taking advantage of this opportunity. He had sacrificed, if you will, to travel one hundred and fifty miles just for a visit, yet there were very few people other than him taking advantage of the opportunity. It was in this situation that he had a prophetic impression that, in the current battle, there are comparisons for the Church in the USA. He felt that spiritually speaking we have been given unprecedented access to spiritual armaments. In the natural realm we have unprecedented opportunity to speak and make known the situation and to use our spiritual authority to bring about much needed change. But there are comparatively few who are heeding the call and showing up for duty, so to speak.

As we are all aware this year Veteran’s Day fell on Nov 11th (11-11-11). While there were festivities and celebrations across the nation there was a little known, but perhaps very important gathering of Veterans and other supporters, at the Washington Monument in Washington DC. called Restore the Constitution Rally. This gathering was hosted by the group Veteran Defenders of America, a group which was begun by top ranking retired US military officers in response to what they believe is the extreme urgency in our nation. They believe we are beyond political solutions alone, and are definitely not trying to be politically correct. Some find their candor refreshing. The seriousness of the alarm they are calling includes accusations of treason and calls for impeachment. They are not alone in what they are observing, but they are among the very few crying such an alarm so clearly. Yet they have been nearly ignored by the press and mostly unknown to the American public. I had to search for an update on their rally when I returned home from Thanksgiving and could get back on my computer. What I found I thought was alarming – and I felt it tied in nicely with the prophetic word that Jack had shared with me.

One of the first things that struck me from one of the articles was the description of the event – “word about the rally had been slow in getting out, and the venues promoting it were few, that I should not be surprised by a relatively sparse attendance…” This stood out to me in light of what Jack had shared about the word he received while on his visit to Battleship Cove. If one judges an event according to its attendance than this was not an important event, yet one generally cannot judge the importance of an event simply by numbers in attendance. Recall there were only 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, only about 70 minutemen who stood before the British on Lexington Green, and only 120 gathered to change the world on the first Pentecost.

A gathering of modern day patriots at the Washington Monument on Veterans Day 11-11-11 led by US Generals (Ret) and other “top brass” is historically significant in its own right, but perhaps more significant than we know.

One other thing which stood out to me from the article was the photo of the top of the 555 foot tall Washington Monument with a one-inch wide, four-foot long crack sustained in the August 2011 East coast earthquake. This can serve as a sobering wake up call, for sickness is first revealed in the leaves of a tree, but it is usually first sustained unseen in the roots of the tree. The signs are there for those “who have ears to hear and eyes to see.” There is still time, but more need to hear the call and heed the call.

One of the speakers at the event, and the author of the article I have referenced, wrote about his speech: “I pointed up at the cracked, damaged, but still standing Washington Monument rising above our heads. Engraved on an aluminum capstone on the top of the obelisk’s pyramidion are the words “ Laus Deo” — “Praise be to God.” Those words are the first thing that the morning sun strikes each day in our nation’s capital.”

May it always be so, and may we His people and the people of this nation who call upon His name not be Absent Without Leave in the hour we are most needed.

“And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God hath willed his truth to triumph through us. The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him; his rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure; one little word shall fell him.”

From A Mighty Fortress is Our God, Martin Luther