Friday, July 27, 2007

I've been writing now for more than a year, and it seems like the days just fly by (I know I keep saying that but it's really true). I never thought that working on a book about the occult would be the experience of a lifetime, but that's exactly what it has been. I talked about it with Kurt Van Gorden (my co-author), and he felt exactly the same way. We lived this verse almost every day for the past year, "the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). In the middle of all the evil things that needed to be read and evaluated, the presence of the Holy Spirit constantly protected us. (I wish I could ask my father if he felt the same way when he was writing The Kingdom of the Cults.)

Every time I sat down to write I would pray for God's protection and every single time He would answer. I would research Witchcraft and demon possession, and find my heart so filled with joy that Jesus defeated Satan and every dark aspect of the occult on the cross. There was joy in the fact that He is greater than anything that might come against us, and joy in knowing that He loves me and called me to His work. The Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit strenghthened and encouraged me in a way I had never experienced before.

It has been a wonderful year, and I hope the sense of overwhelming joy and victory that I felt every day in writing this book shines through on every page of it. In the end, The Kingdom of the Occult is a book about the magnificent power of God, and its triumph over evil . . . just like my father always used to say--"Cheer up! I've got good news for you . . . I've read the end of the book and we win!"

Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the ancient powers and principalities . . . and it takes the ancient Word of God--His beloved Son--and His awesome power to defeat them.

Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world.
They resound with God's own heart.
O let the ancient words impart.
Words of life, words of hope,
Give us strength, help us cope.
In this world, where'er we roam,
Ancient words will guide us home.

Ancient words, ever true,
Changing me and changing you.
We have come with open hearts.
O let the ancient words impart.

Holy words of our faith
Handed down to this age
Came to us through sacrifice.
O heed the faithful words of Christ!
Holy words long preserved
For our walk in this world.
They resound with God's own heart.
O let the ancient words impart.

Ancient words, ever true,
Changing me and changing you.
We have come with open hearts.
O let the ancient words impart.*

*Lynn DeShazo

Friday, July 20, 2007

I wish I had at least 48 hours in a day. The pressure is on to finish this book and I have less than 2 months now to do it. If I seem a bit preoccupied over the next few weeks, you know why.

Someone recently posted a question on a favorite pagan topic: the Savior Myth. For those of you who might wonder, it goes something like this:

Many gods in cultures throughout the world (supposedly) have been born of a virgin, suffered a terrible death and eventually been resurrected. Since they predate Christ, this means the story of Jesus must have been copied from earlier pagan myths, making Christianity nothing more than a copycat religion.

First point: Polytheism does not predate Monotheism. Scholars have very recently arrived at the startling conclusion (for them) that early man was probably monotheistic. Monotheism degraded into polytheism, Messianic prophecies played a big role in Old Testament literature, and the geographical proximity of early cultures resulted in similiar figure/events developing in different cultures.

Second point: The pagan gods are not all they're cracked up to be . . .

Osiris & Jesus

The Osiris myth is completely different from the story of Jesus - Set killed his brother Osiris, cut him into pieces and scattered them. Osiris’s wife (and sister), Isis, gathered the pieces and brought them to Egyptian embalmers and Osiris was supposedly resurrected (some accounts—like Plutarch’s—disagree on the resurrection part). Historically, Osiris was a good daimon (demon)—a created being elevated to the rank of god; not born of a virgin; one of many gods, not God Incarnate; not sacrificed for the sins of the world; once resurrected, he becomes god of the Underworld, implying a spiritual resurrection, not a physical one; no offer of eternal salvation by Grace.

Horus & Jesus

Horus was not born of a virgin and historical sources do not agree on his resurrection - Horus was the son of Osiris and Isis, and a god of many identities. He was conceived by Isis after the death of Osiris. There is no historical evidence that Horus was born of a virgin or that he had twelve disciples. Accounts of his “resurrection” also differ—as do the circumstances of his “life.”

Attis & Jesus

Attis (Phrygian god) is nothing like Jesus - Born of a river/deity not a mortal virgin; killed himself by emasculation because of sexual betrayal, not sinless incarnate Deity sacrificed for the sins of the world; resurrected as a woman, not a man, to become daughter and lover to her mother; no offer of eternal salvation by Grace

So much for the pagan saviors.

Close examination of individual myths reveals that their details are quite different from the story of Jesus. Some similarities are being exploited by people intent on proving Christianity a copycat religion. My source is the eminent Egyptologist William Petrie, from his Personal Religion in Egypt Before Christianity.

See also Bruce Metzger, Historical and Literary Studies: Pagan, Jewish, and Christian.

This article has some interesting ancient sources listed:

And here is a comparison of Horus to Hitler—to show the trick of sloppy comparisons:

Almost as ridiculous as the Savior Myth.

(For more info on this, checkout The Kingdom of the Occult, 2008) :)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Time is flying by here . . . I have two months and three days to finish The Kingdom of the Occult, and believe me, I'm going to need every last one of them. Things are going well, but it's always hard coming into the home stretch. I only have about 15,000 words left to write, but it's been a very long haul. As much as I love working on it, I will be glad when my reading repertoire does not include titles like, Worshiping Isis and Everyday Witchcraft. I would truly appreciate your prayers.

Time for another great commentary by Walter Martin:

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Romans 12:2

What does it mean to live in Christ so far as the world is concerned? We know as Christians that to live the Christian life is to allow the Spirit of God to workout His fruit and His gifts in our own lives. We know that we must put to death on a regular basis the things which pervert our witness, change our values, and which would lead us back into the old paths of sin. Every Christian knows that.

We are also told by Paul, in his Epistle to the Colossians, that we should seek the things which are above. In Romans he tells us not to be conformed to the world in which we find ourselves, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. So there is a spiritual change, a change of focus and a change of mind. The spiritual change is that I have died in Christ, been buried with him in baptism and raised with him in the newness of life. My focus now is on the things which are above, where Christ dwells at the right hand of God. This does not mean that you spend your time being so busy in spiritual pursuits that you forget the world in which you live. There are people who are homeless, cold and starving who must be cared for.

The change of mind comes when we recognize the fact that our lives have to undergo change. The question is not, “Are you born again?” The question is, “Are you transformed?” Do you think the things of God naturally or do you have to work at it? Does the fruit of the Holy Spirit grow out of your life naturally or are you striving—as a woman in labor—to produce fruit? That is not how fruit is produced. Fruit grows out of your life. It is produced naturally.

If you are bearing fruit, you are in God’s will; you are doing what He wants you to do. If you are bearing fruit in Christ, you have every right to ask what you will of Him and if you are in accordance with His will, He hears you.

If you are in the will of God you won’t be asking for outlandish things, you won’t be trying to get stuff for yourself, you won’t be on what I call the Gimmee Trip—in which you're always asking God to give you something. Instead, you can be asking God for more power to understand His Word, for more grace to reach out to the lives of other people, and for more opportunities to bear witness for Him. And you can be thanking and praising Him for all the benefits and blessings He has already given us.

We seek the things which are above for the purpose of caring about the things that are below. When we become dead to sin and alive to Christ, we should think the thoughts of God. To rise with Christ is to live in the newness of life in a transformation, and the power to do that is in the Holy Spirit and in the Word of God. The focus of our lives is resurrection and service; to walk with Him and to fulfill the righteousness of God, which is by faith, in our daily walk.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

When I first started this blog in September, 2006, I wrote about a very special place called Tapestries of Life Ministries Pastor Steve, his wife Cathy, and hundreds of volunteers (brought by the hand of God) are building an orphanage in Guadalupe, Mexico: brick by brick; tile by tile.

The story behind The House of Gems is truly amazing; it is a story of God's love and faithfulness. Pastor Steve and Cathy have been working for the Lord for 20 years in a barren desert, where poor families line up for hours to receive one orange (this is all Pastor Steve could afford to give away in the beginning). Missionaries have come and gone, but Pastor Steve and Cathy could not leave the children.

Shacks made of tires or just plain garbage are often built over generations here, and the people take so much pride in the fact that they have a home. It is a place so desperately poor that a little boy is afraid to take off his shoes for fear someone will steal them, and when at last he takes them off, his little toes are bent and curled from wearing his shoes for so long.

Wonderful miracles are happening in this desert, though. God is at work to bring the orphans home:

"The Biblical mandate to take care of the widows and orphans is in the process of being fulfilled in the orphanage that is being built in Guadalupe, MX. This orphanage will house over 250 children and the government promised to fill it within 24 hours of when it's doors open with a small percentage of the over 7000 children that are living on the street in this area alone. This orphanage is being built by churches in America, Canada, and all over the world. May God's name be praised. However there is a lot of work that still needs to be done." --Tapestries of Life Website

It is a story of hope; a place of promise in a land so empty of promise. To give a child a life, a future, and most of all, the chance to meet Jesus. I think the faces of the children will always be with me now. They've found a permanent home in my heart. Someday soon, I hope to be able to see The House of Gems and help Mercy Ministries as they distribute large bags of food to families that would surely starve without them.

Please keep them in your prayers and if you feel led, open your hearts to them, too. "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." James 1:27

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th!

We're celebrating the day with lots of great food (of course) and great company. I hope all of you have a very happy--and safe--holiday!

A few days ago, I woke up singing a sweet song I loved when I was in college . . . and still love today. We are so blessed in how we live--so rich in comparison to most of the world. On days like this, as I look at all the American flags waving in our little town, I thank God for the gift of being an American and living at this unique time, and in this unique place, in the history of the World.

Perspective . . . life is all about perspective. One person's glass is half empty--the other person's glass is half full.

Songs like this keep my eyes focused on the eternal perspective:

Why have you chosen me
out of millions your child to be?
You know all the wrong that I've done;
And how could you pardon me,
forgive my iniquity
To save me give Jesus your Son?

I am amazed to know
that a God so great
could love me so,
is willing and wanting
to forgive;
His grace is so marvelous
His mercy miraculous--
I can't understand it,
I confess.

Lord, Help me be
what you want me to be,
Your Word I will strive to obey;
My life I now give,
for you I will live,
and walk by your side
all the way.*

*Words & Music by Rodger Strader

Monday, July 02, 2007

Drudgereport had an interesting article posted over the weekend on--amazingly enough--God and the fact that He might not be too happy with the way things are going in the UK:

Floods are judgment on society, say bishops

The floods that have devastated swathes of the country are God's judgment on the immorality and greed of modern society, according to senior Church of England bishops.

One diocesan bishop has even claimed that laws that have undermined marriage, including the introduction of pro-gay legislation, have provoked God to act by sending the storms that have left thousands of people homeless.

While those who have been affected by the storms are innocent victims, the bishops argue controversially that the flooding is a result of Western civilisation's decision to ignore biblical teaching.

The Rt Rev Graham Dow, Bishop of Carlisle, argued that the floods are not just a result of a lack of respect for the planet, but also a judgment on society's moral decadence.

What makes this article particularly interesting is that it quotes not one but three Church of England bishops, and one of them is in line for a pretty big promotion:

"People no longer see natural disasters as an act of God," said the Rt Rev James Jones. "However, we are now reaping what we have sown. If we live in a profligate way then there are going to be consequences," said the bishop, who has previously been seen as a future Archbishop of Canterbury or York.

It is quite amazing to hear the Church of England speaking out publicly on such controversial issues--knowing they will certainly offend millions of people and refusing to let that stop them. I've been talking to people in the UK lately, and they say a revival is underway; the Holy Spirit is moving, and it is nothing short of miraculous.

How refreshing.

Can you see American Seeker-Sensitive pastors and their politically correct flocks following suit?


Here's another recent headline:

Obama Points to Rick Warren, T.D. Jakes as Models for Faith-Driven Action

Prominent Christian leaders such as Rick Warren and T.D. Jakes were praised by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) this weekend as role models of Christians who put their faith into action.,_T.D._Jakes_as_Models_for_Faith-Driven_Action.htm

Yes, prominent American pastors make nice with the Democratic party (remember partial-birth abortion?) and invite them to speak at their churches. But hey, it's good for business--biblical truth might cut into fundraising and besides, it's not nice.

America vs. Great Britain . . .

I have to admire the Brits.