Monthly Archives: February 2012

Against All Odds: The American Revolution

The Lighter Side of Darkness

        

         When human beings are subjected to the full authority of the Lord Jesus, they treat other human beings with equal respect. They have long since gotten down off their high horse. They see by the light of the Gospel that they were formerly sinners destined to hell and realize they were saved from that hell by the sacrificial death of their Lord and Master. They consequently can no longer be critical of others as “sinners” since they themselves are former sinners saved only by the grace of God.

         Real Christians still commit sins, however. What changes is the lifestyle of sin. Those not subjected to the Lord have no true awareness of their sin and no true desire to cease from it. They exist in a fairy tale land of no recompense for their evil deeds. Indeed, the idea that they do “evil deeds” is ridiculous to them. In their reasoning, only vile criminals, murderers, etc, engage in “evil deeds.” But God has a different opinion. And when people come into contact with God for the first time through the hearing of the powerful Gospel message, which includes the cutting truth that one is a sinner in opposition to God, it causes them to bow before their Creator and seek His pardon.

         Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.

         And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” “A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

         Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?” And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” [Luke 7:36-50]

         Real repentance is often done with much emotion. For those who refuse to repent, they consider the Gospel message as inapplicable to themselves, in that they see themselves as righteous apart from God.

         These reject the Gospel message and continue on their journey toward hell.

         Those who repent, on the other hand, cease being sinners in that their previous sins are removed by the cleansing blood of the Lamb of God. They do an about face. They start walking in the opposite direction. They get off the train to hell and hop on board the train to heaven.

         They still sin from time to time, partly from ignorance, partly from not yet fully overcoming the dictates of their sinful nature, and partly from not continuing in their spiritual disciplines. An altar of repentance always awaits them for personal use when needed, and the blood of the Lord is once again invoked to cleanse them. In time, they grow more spiritually mature and their faults grow fewer.

         They learn to take it on the chin. They learn to not fight back against others who treat them with contempt. They see other people as those in need of salvation the same way they were. They become more accommodating and graceful. They learn the art of spiritual tact. They attempt to help others see the light that was shown to them. They do not consider themselves better, or holier, or a greater specimen of humanity, but someone who was saved from a life of sin and eventual hell by a loving Savior through no effort whatsoever of their own.

         They understand that their righteousness is a gift.

         They see clearly that the death of the Lord Jesus paid for all sins for all time.

         They see there is nothing to crow about, that though they are cleansed, they personally had nothing to do with it except merely saying yes to God and accepting His generous offer of salvation.

         Humility becomes their standard.

         Obedience to the Lord becomes their modus operandi.

         Loving the Lord and others becomes their purpose.

         Telling others about the Good News becomes their principle occupation.

         They want to see others saved from sin and set free the way they were.

         They want others to meet the Lord.

         “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30] [1]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

THANKS TO ALL FOR READING AND SPREADING THE WORD 

What is a Real Christian?

         Once again we have another controversy in the news about what it means to be a Christian. Who is a real Christian? What does a real Christian believe? What does a real Christian do? Are you a real Christian?

         Franklin Graham, Al Sharpton, and a few left-leaning television talking heads seem to have different ideas about the subject. What do I think?

         I think who cares what they think? It doesn’t matter what they think. It doesn’t matter what I think. What matters is what the Bible says. What matters is how closely one lines himself or herself up with the teachings of Jesus. The only thing that really matters is what He thinks.

         Now, of course, since we have roughly a billion different Christian denominations, sects, offshoots, strange individuals who believe things no one else does, and the vast majority who think they are Christians no matter what it is they believe, there must be a final appeal to authority. There must be someone who straightens out the whole mess and sets us all straight.

         That Someone is the Man who created Christianity.

         He didn’t call it that. He had no church boards or elder boards or denominational leaders trying to outdo each other in a funny hat contest. The apostles wore no backwards collars. They didn’t affect some high-minded holier-than-all-you-unwashed-bozos arrogant religious attitude. The Lord was not judgmental, condemning, or prejudiced during His sojourn on earth 2000 years ago. He went out of His way to help people. Simple people. Ordinary people. Everyday people. He never acted toward religious bigwigs with one attitude and toward the lower classes with another attitude. What you saw was what you got. If you didn’t like it, it was your problem. And if you have a problem with Jesus, YOU HAVE A VERY BIG PROBLEM.

         So what was the big controversy regarding Franklin Graham’s recent interview? The big thing, the main thing, was that the hosts could hardly believe Mr. Graham was questioning the president’s Christianity. “You don’t believe our president is a Christian?” they seemed to all think in unison.

         But Franklin Graham was not swayed. It’s difficult for Christians to be nice to everyone and also tell the truth. Well, here’s a news flash: The Lord did not instruct His people to be nice to everyone. He taught them to go forth and tell the truth. He commanded them to go out and tell everyone the Good News. If someone does not like the Good News, tell it anyway. If someone makes fun of you for telling the Good News, tell it anyway. If someone wants to destroy your life, your reputation, or kill you, tell the Good News anyway.

         Why else did all the original apostles except John die a violent martyr’s death? Why was the Lord Himself killed by a bunch of sorry religious idiots? Because He was nice guy?

         The truth is not easy. It never has been.

         Do I think the president is a real Christian? My opinion does not matter. Only God knows our hearts. Only God will ultimately judge us. But I can say that the Bible teaches that murder is a sin. And I can say that anyone who advocates for abortion is advocating for murdering tiny defenseless babies. And I can say anyone who argues that abortion is an option in the realm of “women’s health” is dead wrong from a Biblical point of view.

         Unrepentant baby killers will not inherit the kingdom of God. There is absolutely no Scriptural backing anywhere in the teachings of Jesus that says murder is okay. In the Old Testament, murder was a stoning offense. For decades, the argument was repeatedly made that a “fetus” is not a life. It is a mere gob of tissue. We know now for a fact with no doubt whatsoever that the so-called “fetus” is definitely a life, and that life begins at conception. This has been scientifically proven. Ultrasound videos prove the little dudes and dudettes are alive and growing.

         Leave that baby alone and that baby will come to full term and be born in almost every case.

         The other big question posed to Franklin Graham was, “Are Mormon’s Christians?”

         How do I answer that? Well, again, since we have roughly a billion different Christian denominations, sects, offshoots, strange individuals who believe things no one else does, and the vast majority who think they are Christians no matter what it is they believe, one might ask the Lord if Mormons are real Christians. In lieu of that, one may simply study the teachings of the Lord Jesus.

         Shallow-minded believers must do some actual work for a change. Research the New Testament. May we all quit leaning on our stupid religious opinions and do what the Word of God says.

         Celebrities, media people, and others in the spot light have gained an inordinate amount of influence regarding their personal beliefs. But who cares what anyone believes if it violates Scripture? The only thing that matters is obeying the Lord. The only thing that matters is submitting oneself to Him as a real disciple, otherwise known as a real Christian.

         Real Christians practice Real Christianity to the best of their ability. There is a learning curve. Real Christians are not perfect. No one is except the Lord Himself. He is the only human being who has ever traversed His way through this earth without ever committing a single sin.

         Whoever does not believe that is going to hell, simply because they do not believe in the only Way of salvation.

         But what about all those people who are good people (etc etc etc etc etc) that never practiced Biblical Christianity? Uh, what about ‘em? Should we try to convince the Lord to let unrepentant sinners into heaven? Will one demand that God quit being such a jerk and let blatant sinners screw up heaven the same way they screwed up the earth?

         Right. Yeah, let’s do that. Sure.

         Rather than go around asking dumb questions with an attitude that all Christians are real Christians, wouldn’t it be better to become a real Christian and remove all doubt?

         But what IS a real Christian?

         “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.

         “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

         “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.

         “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. You are My friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

         “This I command you, that you love one another. If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.

         “If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘THEY HATED ME WITHOUT A CAUSE.’” [John 15:1-25] [1]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

10 or 2? The Greatest Commandments and You

        Some American Christians are metaphorically up in arms over a curious issue. Representations of the Ten Commandments have been removed from public places, court houses, etc, and removal of these icons is threatened elsewhere. A great fight has ensued with either side casting the other in a not too pleasant light.

        On one end of the spectrum, secularists claim the Ten Commandments is an ancient outdated list of dos and don’ts that has no place in a country in which church is divided from state. Christians counter that the nation was founded on the Ten Commandments and that our entire system of jurisprudence is based upon them. The latter consider the disagreement as an attack against the Christian moral code by anti-Christian government-first authoritative bigheads, atheists, statists, and secular humanists. Those against the posting of the TC consider its supporters as backwoods half-brained ninnies living in the past.

         Both parties might step back from the fight for a while to consider what the New Testament actually says. While the Ten Commandments have indeed been foundational in Christian circles, it is only because Christians have stopped at a place in their development and did not apply the actual teachings of Jesus:

         “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:17-20]

         Well, this statement certainly seems to support the traditional keeping of the Ten Commandments. For the record, though, the Lord is actually referring to the entire Torah, which is composed of 613 commandments. However, as did the Pharisees, so do many Christians. There is a higher mandatory standard that many in both camps fail to keep which keeps them out of the kingdom. That’s why the Lord continued His teaching on the subject by adding caveats:

         “You have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT MURDER’ and ‘Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.” [Matthew 5:21-22]

         “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” [Matthew 5:27-28]

         “It was said, ‘WHOEVER SENDS HIS WIFE AWAY, LET HIM GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE’; but I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except for the reason of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” [Matthew 5:31-32]

         “Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MAKE FALSE VOWS, BUT SHALL FULFILL YOUR VOWS TO THE LORD.’ But I say to you, make no oath at all…” [Matthew 5:33-34]

         “You have heard that it was said, ‘AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.” [Matthew 5:38-39]

         “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…” [Matthew 5:43-45]

         Only two of the preceding six statements refer to one of the Ten Commandments. The point here is that there is much more than the mere celebrated ten that so many people are willing to fight about. To add to the above caveat list wherein the Lord makes the proper amendments, we also have an even more curious teaching on the opposite end. Whereas the Lord got into fine detail regarding what the Torah actually states, He also pares down all of that detail into a prima facie foundation with reference to not only the Law of Moses but His own voluminous teachings:

         But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” [Matthew 22:34-40]

         Jesus said the remaining 611 commandments of the Torah and the entirety of all prophetic writings are suspended from the strong upper framework of the two greatest commandments of all. And guess what?

         Only one of the two greatest commandments is listed among the Ten Commandments.

         There is obviously then, much misunderstanding and misapplication of the Ten Commandments themselves and the true teaching regarding them. Can anyone find a single quote by the Lord Jesus in reference to the ten? How about among the apostles? The fact of the matter is that the Ten Commandments are not mentioned one time in the entire New Testament. Not even once.

         This means there was a different standard among the early believers than is among most of us. It means their Christianity was a completely different Christianity. They were not hung up on lists and they did not give but partial commitment. They knew that if they properly obeyed the two greatest commandments, they would also be fulfilling all the rest of the applicable commandments that had not already been fulfilled.

         Therefore, what we should be posting are the Two Commandments, not the Ten Commandments.

         In addition, the early believers knew that wearing one’s religion upon one’s proverbial sleeve was anathema to real Christianity, and that obeying the commandments did not mean posting a select few on the walls of buildings and the institutions of man, but on our hearts.

         We are the building. We are the wall. We are the medium the Lord has chosen to advertise Himself to the world.

         You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

         Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

         But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses it. For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory.

         Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

         Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. [2Corinthians 3:2-18]

         As stated here, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of our Lord Jesus whose love has been poured out within our hearts if we have indeed been filled with His Spirit. It is He to whom the greatest commandment is applied. And it is to each other that the second is applied. These two living commandments (not suggestions) make the entire curriculum of the Lord work properly and bring it to life. They are based on love for Him and love for one another.

         Obeying the Two supersedes obeying the Ten.

         “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” [John 14:15-18] [1]

            © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Keep Your Lamp Filled With Oil

           There is a constant theme in the teachings of our Lord Jesus. He is forever telling us to stay alert, stay awake, and fight against deception. He tells us to stay prayed up, fasted up, filled up, read up, and lit up. Not only must we stay in His written Word, we must always stay close to Him, the Living Word. Living for God is impossible otherwise.

         Any real believer can be deceived at any time. Our enemy is no slouch. He is a very powerful deceiver, and Christians who downplay this or do not take the Lord seriously will have no chance. The more one turns his or her Christianity into a kindergarten Sunday school class, the more likely he or she will never grow up.

         “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.

         Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’

         And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.” [Matthew 25:1-13]

         There are false doctrines within overall Christianity that make a mockery of such teachings. The idea that one can never be lost once being saved plays right into the devil’s hands. Why in the world is the Lord ever telling us to stay alert? Sleepy time Christianity has institutionalized spiritual laziness and the rejection of sound teaching regarding one’s fight against deception. One of the worst things a believer can do is act as if the enemy has no chance against us or that one’s sin is somehow always being removed as if by magic though there be no real repentance or aggressive attention to spiritual details.

         Most Christians trust their guy in the pulpit, and though there are many solid ministers, there are also many solid quacks and spiritual pansies who side with the devil more times than otherwise. Letting some hand-picked man or woman or whoever might come your way be the central arbiter of your spiritual life is not Biblical. Remaining a dunderhead while trusting a Christian guru without staying close to God is very foolish, but this is often the norm in Christian circles. Good shepherds are relatively rare and should be respected, but appeals to authority other than the Lord will not be allowed at the judgment: “But look at all I did, Lord! My pastor/priest/reverend told me to do it that way! All my friends said I was right!”

         When believers let their lamp go out it is because they are living today on yesterday’s oil. The Lord alluded to new wine skins being necessary on given occasions of new growth and new spiritual output. Doing things the way we did it yesterday does not necessarily work in the here and now. It never works in the future. God changes course a lot and does new and different things all the time. Without following Him and paying attention one can never keep up. It is always sad to see so many Christians living in the past and refusing to allow themselves the refreshing renewing and change for the better that comes with truly following God.

         Do the journeys of the Israelites mean anything at all? God was always doing different things. He wanted no one to come up with a formula or plan or doctrine or belief system that would somehow give all the answers and make Him predictable. As another example, when the Lord Jesus healed the blind He always did it differently.

         From these simple truths we should know we can NEVER figure out God, but the reason why is not what you may think. A real living relationship with the Lord demands an ongoing newness and freshness, and such cannot be achieved or lived out by doing the same thing we did last year or last decade. Some Christians are so stuck in the mud they are still living in the wineskin of fifty years ago. As a result, they have little life. Their oil has long since run out. Their lamps serve no purpose. They give off no light. They missed the bridegroom long ago but act as if they are still waiting for Him.

         It will be a long wait.

         That’s why the answer is the non-answer. Living for God successfully means staying close to Him so one can hear His voice and thereby obey Him and do His will, whatever it may be. Therefore the answer is remaining in a state of real repentance, living by faith, praying always, fasting enough to get the job done, giving, and studying the Word. These are not answers so much as they are the means to the answer. These things help us to keep our lamps and oil flasks filled. We were made to be filled with the Spirit of God. We must always keep our oil supply fresh and our tanks topped off.

         And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. [Acts 13:52][1] 

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

IRAN IN THE CROSSHAIRS! (Part 5)

         There are upwards of 100,000 Christian believers in the nation of Iran by conservative estimates. The number could be considerably higher. There is a solid Christian underground that meets primarily in private homes. Evangelistic activity is strong but very risky. Witnessing for Christ is illegal. 

         The state religion of Iran is Shia Islam. All other faiths are essentially against the law, though Christians are singled out for extreme prejudice and hostility. They  undergo discrimination in all areas, including housing, employment, and education.  The government engages in the arrest, imprisonment, and torture of Muslim converts to Christianity who sometimes pay the ultimate price for their faith and obedience to the Lord Jesus. Under the strict Islamist regime, forsaking Islam is a crime punishable by death. 

         As in many other hostile nations, Christians cannot meet openly and are forever subjected to suspicion and betrayal, even by family members. Since Iran is over 98% Muslim, almost all new Christian believers are former Muslims and are routinely hounded by those of their former religion. Secrecy is often a must for survival’s sake, yet house churches are often raided. Due to the strong faith of Iranian Christians in light of such strong persecution, the suffering and scattering of believers spreads the embers of Christian light to more Muslims hungry for truth. Iran is ripe for revival and there is in fact a strong awakening taking place in the country. Many of the people have access to Western media and it is only a matter of time until a strong Christian presence is established.

         This dynamic must be considered in light of the probable attack from Israel and Western forces that is currently in the making. Iran is a great restrictor of personal freedom, has a government-sponsored radical Muslim ideology, and makes no bones about its intentions. Iran is a powerful nation and has powerful allies who are pledged to varying degrees to supporting it against economic and military attack. These allies also share a general hatred of real Christianity though it be burgeoning in Communist China and India, as well as beginning to make an impact in other Muslim nations.

         Muslims are coming to Christ in very large numbers, though this fact is rarely revealed in the major media. It is an unprecedented movement throughout Islamic countries and among Muslim immigrant populations and the pioneers are paying the price. Yet the Lord teaches us to outlast the enemy through constant victorious faith regardless of harsh conditions, suffering, and an apparent lack of progress. We also know that persecution always results in greater numbers and deeper faith of believers. Islam is doing itself no favors by attempting to stomp out Christianity, as it is only making it grow.

         I remember being involved in the very early house church movement in America. I recall that the chief persecutors of the growing movement were not government authorities but established Christian churches, even those in the more “understanding” nondenominational sphere. Many churches co-opted the process by breaking their congregations down into home groups, but this is the opposite of true cell division. Some Christians went flat crazy against the movement much as radical Muslims do now. And it is for the same purpose maintaining strict religious control to protect the organization, even if the battle is against the Spirit of the Lord.

         Due to obvious circumstances in hostile environments, there is no other reasonable method for meeting to share the Gospel. The vastly expanding house church movement in America is indicative of God’s hand regarding our future. The community of the Lord was born in a house in Jerusalem 2000 years ago. The movement was illegal then also, both in Judea and throughout the Roman Empire. But the Gospel spread rapidly through small groups of dedicated believers and this very process is currently taking place in Iran.

         Christians should therefore be careful of getting sucked into anti-Iran and anti-Muslim war rhetoric and propaganda since Iranian Muslims are the seed bed of Christianity in that country.

         Though persecuted, our Iranian brothers and sisters are without doubt praying for their government leaders and those associated with fomenting the coming war, and are showing the love of God. They know war well in that the spiritual war has been raging in the region for decades. Iranian believers want to save fellow Iranians and their country for the Lord.

         Let us remember that “Iran in the Crosshairs” also means Iranian Christians in the crosshairs. Would God use His “chosen people” in Israel against His sons and daughters in Iran? Such things are always more complicated than they appear on the surface. The Word of God has the correct answer on how to approach the conflict and the various people groups involved. The Lord has Iran in His own crosshairs for His own purposes.

         Those who revoke and shoot down “Love Thy Neighbor” do so at their own expense.

         “All those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword.” [Matthew 26:52][1]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 5 of 5]        


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

THANKS TO ALL FOR READING AND SPREADING THE WORD  

IRAN IN THE CROSSHAIRS! (Part 4)

PREPARING FOR WAR

         When the small financial-political elite known as neoconservatives had taken over American foreign policy and made their guiding principle the mainstream policy of the land, it did not matter that it grossly violated both the spirit and letter of the United States Constitution. The American people supported it, whether they knew what they were supporting or not. Most had no idea. Most Americans believed it was the patriotic thing to do.

         It is always a master stroke by the big boys to play the patriot card. They deceive Americans into thinking that not supporting the government and the military 100% means not being loyal to the nation. This group has thus attempted to make traitors of millions of solid US citizens. The rush to war and fake patriotic fervor that removed many Constitutional rights a decade ago caused most Americans to remain with the unseeing pack to avoid being thought of as disloyal, wrong, or nuts.

         But who are the real nuts? Who is taking away American freedom? Who caused the economy to implode? Who got off scot-free when almost everyone else has suffered as a result? A handful of people have taken control of the country and are running it into the ground while they rob Americans of their wealth to support their illicit efforts to rule the world. Even though the president railed against Bush foreign policy during the 2008 campaign, and many of his supporters believed him and hated Bush, he seamlessly embraced Bush’s foreign policy when he became president. Democrats kept quiet because they got their guy. Most are still quiet.

         Thus, the NeoCon imperial foreign policy has been brought to full force by the two administrations of George W. Bush and the current administration and has become synonymous in the minds of the majority of Americans as the only correct foreign policy to have. As a result, American citizens have become deceived regarding the true aims of this policy. It is not to benefit the country and never has been. It is to benefit the members of the small elite cabal in power. It is to support multinational corporate interests. It is to support greater government authority and less individual freedom. The reason why should be obvious—since it has been imposed, the elite has gained in riches and power while the United States has suffered terribly.

         The American news media has largely become the propaganda arm of this cabal. Left and Right duke it out on the surface but are buddies behind the scenes. It is a classic “good cop-bad cop” scenario. Regarding foreign policy and government philosophy, George W. Bush and the president are buddies. They are on the same team. They are brothers in arms. The president’s foreign policy is no different from Bush’s foreign policy. Differences are deceptively installed on the surface to make these guys look like mortal enemies, the mainstream media fans the flames, and the American people are fooled into thinking they are dealing with two competing camps. One side spends its time defending Bush and another side defends the president.

         But it’s all for show. It’s there to hide what’s really going on.

         The more things change, the more they stay the same.

         There is actually only one club at the very top which owns both political parties and almost every office holder in the Federal government. It is the money club. It is composed of the very rich elite and their bought and paid for spokesmen, whether they be corporate leaders, politicians, television personalities, or media members. It is all about the Golden Rule—whoever has the gold rules. The love of money has developed into a religion and those who subscribe to it are bound by it. Those who love their paychecks know what will happen if they tell the truth. They would rather serve themselves and their bosses and let the country go to hell.

            Why is this so difficult to grasp and keep in front of us? Why do the American people remain so apathetic in light of such truth? 

         Americans want a strong and powerful national defense. But there is a giant difference between defense spending and overall military spending. Much military spending is absolutely unnecessary, much is wasted, and a great percentage is unaccounted for. This has nothing to do with national defense. But Americans have been deceived into thinking all military spending is vitally necessary and that our enemies will get the jump on us without it. It’s a ruse. We are a nuclear powerhouse that can destroy the planet if we wanted to, and can certainly vaporize any nation stupid enough to attack us, unless we are talking about a death match between nuclear heavyweights.

         Yet Americans have been made to feel that little tiny non-nuclear Iran is gonna get us? The nuclear reason is a mere cover and surface excuse to go to war. There is no actual military threat against this country from Iran. If Iran did have nuclear weapons, would they really be so stupid to give up their nuclear threat by using it?

         Because nuclear weapons are so devastating, those countries who possess them know they must never use them. If they do they will destroy themselves through the response of another nuclear nation. Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) means nations use the nuclear weapons not as actual weapons but as an equalizing threat.

         If Iran ever builds a nuclear weapon, the odds are they will never use it in a first strike, but use the threat to balance power. And because such a balance will curtail Israel’s current position of nuclear strength against Iran, Israel must act to prevent not the proposed Iran nuclear bomb necessarily being used, but the future bomb being used as a threat to tie their hands, just as the US and Russia neutralized each other during the Cold War. Iran would then have greater ability to attack Israel through conventional means because Israel’s nuclear response would be neutralized.  

         In addition to the supposed nuclear weapons threat, it is the threat of Iranian state-sponsored terrorism that is put forth as the other main reason for attacking them, just as it was with Afghanistan and Iraq. To support the threat of the terrorism threat, hearings were recently conducted in Washington that upped the ante and put the idea on the public mind. It was also revealed that the head of Israel intelligence was recently in Washington and was involved in secret meetings. A news story was floated that Iran would be willing to attack America on its own turf. All of these elements are beginning to cook together in preparation for war.  

         Of course, most Americans are not aware of the facts behind the “facts” because they trust the news media. All too often, we simply go along with what we’re fed from television and major news sources, a media that is for-profit and corporate in nature and is in league with the international power players in Washington and Wall Street. In other words, the major media is not a free press in search of truth. It is corporate in nature with an economic bottom line and is controlled by wealthy top-of-the-pyramid guys. The inherent bias is directed toward their desired outcomes. They have mastered the art of duping the majority.

         A strike on Iran is only a matter of time, but the time grows ever closer.

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 4 of 5]

IRAN IN THE CROSSHAIRS! (Part 3)

PREPARING FOR WAR

         February 4, 2012: Nuclear heavyweights Russia and China have vetoed a Western and Arab-backed United Nations resolution demanding that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad surrender his office, thereby blocking UN efforts to stop what is becoming a Syrian civil war. The veto will only embolden al-Assad as his government continues a bloody crackdown that killed hundreds the previous night and injured many hundreds more. It was the most violent police action yet in the last eleven months of the internal uprising against his government by domestic opposition.  

         On the much larger front—the impending strike against Iran—the veto gives a clear indication of where the two superpowers stand in the latest Western buildup to war in the Middle East. Russia and China have refused to honor economic sanctions against Iran, their valued trading partner, and continue to defy the West and the other three permanent members of the UN Security Council. While the United States, on the surface, puts hope in a diplomatic breakthrough, it and other Western powers are slowly building up a strong military presence in the region. Israel is leading the initiative in a relentless drive to put an end to Iran’s nuclear program before it results in a nuclear weapon. That the entire world is being dragged into the conflict does not concern the Israelis.

         There are currently nine countries in the world with nuclear firepower. Five nuclear powers are against a likely military strike by Israel in the conflict—Russia, China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. The nuclear powers of the West demanding that Iran cease work toward a possible nuclear bomb are the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Israel.

         Shades of Gog and Magog?

         “Son of man, set your face toward Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you about and put hooks into your jaws, and I will bring you out, and all your army, horses and horsemen, all of them splendidly attired, a great company with buckler and shield, all of them wielding swords; Persia (Iran), Ethiopia and Put with them, all of them with shield and helmet; Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops—many peoples with you.’” [Ezekiel 38:2-6][1]   

         At present, there is a covert war going on inside Iranian borders, as nuclear scientists and others are being assassinated in an effort to not only stop the Iranian civilian (non-military) nuclear program but strike fear in the heart of the government. Haaretz has reported that the latest murder of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Iran was the work of Israeli Mossad agents.

         The Iranians know, however, that despite their trampling of human rights and the liberty of their own citizens, they own the moral high ground as a sovereign nation. They are merely pursuing what any nation may pursue regarding their civilian power needs. They do not have a nuclear weapon and are at least two years away. Leon Panetta, the US Secretary of Defense, clearly admitted this in December and recently stated they might possibly get there by the end of 2012, but the West has been crying wolf for several years now, continually repeating the same mantra.

         Israel supports Panetta’s timetable. On February 2, at the Herzliya Conference, Israeli Military Intelligence leader Aviv Kochavi said,

         “If Khamenei issues a command to achieve a first nuclear explosive device, we estimate it would take another year before that’s achieved,” and, “if he asks to translate that ability to obtain a nuclear warhead, that would take another year or two.” 

         Israel, on the other hand, has hundreds of nuclear weapons ready to go, some no doubt trained directly on Iran. The nation of Israel can take care of itself and usually does unless a broad conventional war breaks out. When Israel decides to bomb nuclear facilities under construction in the region, as they did in Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007, they just do it.

         There is satellite surveillance evidence that site destruction in Iran occurred last November. An Iran Revolutionary Guard missile base close to Tehran was destroyed, and Israel has acknowledged this, essentially taking credit. Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon claims missiles being built at the base had a 6,000 mile range, “thus threatening the United States.” The US has remained mute regarding the bombers of the site, but has denied that Iran had missiles with such an intercontinental range.[2] This is another case of Israel highly exaggerating the threat in a clear effort to scare Americans and keep them on point.

         Iranian long range missiles currently have a maximum range of about 1200 miles by latest estimates, which is long enough to reach all US military installations in the Middle East as well as Israel and beyond, but they represent no threat to American soil. This obviously does not lessen the threat in the region, but rather than war, and certainly rather than nuclear war, the West would rather contain the Iranian threat and exhaust every other possibility toward a solution. But the writing is on the wall. Israel wants to go to war immediately. Iran continues stalling in hopes of a fairer fight. Neither side will give in. War is inevitable.

         The ancient land of Persia (Iran—Aryan), is a great prize to control. It possesses the third largest known reserves of oil behind Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Getting Iran back would be a huge gain and would put the West on top to stay in the region, but an independent Iran would do the opposite, throwing the balance of power the other way in an alignment with Russia, China, India, et al, who receive the bulk of Iranian oil. Therefore, the Iran situation is a tug-of-war over the last domino to fall, and if it refuses to comply it will likely be bombed toward submission. Detailed plans for the attack have been in the works for several years, and military-corporate interests covet the considerable financial rewards of the war and ongoing influence in the region.

         The coming war has a higher stakes dynamic than the preliminary Iraq and Afghanistan wars, because it directly involves at least five extra-regional nuclear powers. Pakistan, also a nuclear nation and closely allied with China, has been developing closer ties with Iran as of late and is moving away from the US, citing the need for closer economic links with their Muslim neighbor. The ongoing revolutions in Muslim countries are part of this newly opened Pandora’s box, in that the greater region is in a state of political flux. All signs are pointing to a conflagration in the making.

         In the biggest picture, the war on Iran is the final push to force the country under the complete control of the international banking interests currently fighting a strong sanctions war. Like the former Libya under Muammar Gaddafi, it is one of the few remaining holdout nations on the world scene, and certainly the most prized and powerful, that is battling against surrendering to the dictates of the globalist economic union.   

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 3 of 5]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

[2] Since Iran has put satellites into orbit, it technically has the ability to fire its rockets on a horizontal trajectory, meaning such can possess intercontinental range.

IRAN IN THE CROSSHAIRS! (Part 2)

         You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” [Matthew 24:6-8][1]   

         Remember the UN-US Iraq no-fly zones and economic sanctions of the 1990’s? These had no effect against Saddam Hussein or his rule, but only punished the Iraqi people. The problem with setting up such dictators through our flawed foreign policy is that they become entrenched. They surround themselves with wealth and layers of internal protection.

         We saw by what recently happened to former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi that the only remaining option to remove such a guy from power is open warfare, in this case with the assistance of a national rebellion, and his eventual execution. Dictators and kings never go down easy. Saddam didn’t go down easy but he did go down.  

         The 9/11 attacks of 2001 formed the perfect raison d’être to go to war in the wider region centered on Iraq, not simply to fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Rumors were floated that Saddam Hussein had nuclear weapons or would soon be in possession of them, and that he had weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration insisted that Saddam possessed deadly WMD’s and they represented a dire threat to America. The same fear being sold to America about Iran’s nuclear weapons program at present was sold to us then as well, and was bought completely by a deceived public.

         Afterwards, of course, the central reasons for going to war proved to be false, regardless of our highly capable and resourced intelligence service. Despite all the lies, excuses, and hyper-spin since, the fact remains that America was conned. We went to war on false pretenses fighting an enemy that never attacked us. Iraq was busted for other reasons, the same way repeat criminals are often convicted on their priors.

         The Bush administration claimed no such WMD’s were ever found, though independent sources suggest otherwise.[2] Could it be because some of them were manufactured in the West? Saddam certainly did not have nuclear weapons. He never attacked us on 9/11 or had anything to do with it, though it was claimed he was somehow in cahoots with Al Qaeda. What he did do was defy the powerful people in the West that made him what he was.

         He was originally set up by us as our ally but later established his own independent authority, as leaders of sovereign nations are wont to do. He strayed from the leash and appropriated his own way in the world according to the perspective of US interests, which essentially amounted to an open betrayal. By moving from the dollar to the euro, and thereby incensing the money boys and their international plans, he effectively declared war on them and had to be removed. It’s usually suicide when a puppet cuts his strings.

         Much of what has taken place in the region to date is part of an overall plan toward eventual war with Iran. Economic sanctions against Iran are currently not working so well, though they be severe, and certainly not as intended. As a result the pressure is building and the hot war is coming forth. On February 2, to increase economic pressure, the European Union added to the current sanctions by banning all purchases of Iranian oil by its 27 member states. Those with current contracts may honor them for six months. This coincides with the six month grace period the US has imposed on all other countries in the world who buy Iranian oil.

         Iran is being portrayed as isolated in the world but in truth is allied economically with Venezuela, Turkey, and the major nuclear powers of Russia, China, and India, the latter of which has recently considered purchasing their Iranian oil imports with either gold or rupees, further lessening the clout of the dollar in the area. These three powers refuse to participate in economic sanctions against Iran, and consider the country a good and necessary trading partner, especially since they import such great amounts of Iranian oil.

         Russia and China just happen to be two of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council with a veto vote, along with the US, the UK, and France. What will happen when economic sanctions are placed upon them and the other trading partners of Iran by the West this summer? The world is being cut in half by the Israel-Iran dogfight and nations are taking sides. Does anyone really expect Russia and China to back down? 

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 2 of 5]


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

[2] Despite later Bush administration pronouncements that no WMD’s actually existed, including claims by high-ranking officials David Kay, Bush’s top weapons expert in Iraq, chief U.S. investigator Charles Duelfer, and former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, this view is contested by former Iraqi Air Force General and fighter pilot Georges Sada in his book, Saddam’s Secrets, © 2006 Integrity Publishers.

IRAN IN THE CROSSHAIRS! (Part 1)

         February 2, 2012: Israel says the West has the ability to make a successful military strike on all of Iran’s nuclear facilities, though the Pentagon claims we do not have conventional weapons strong enough to do the job.

           “The West has the ability to strike, but as long as Iran isn’t convinced that there’s a determination to follow through with it, they’ll continue with their manipulations,” said Vice Prime Minister, Strategic Affairs Minister, and former IDF chief Moshe Ya’alon. “The Iranians believe that a determination isn’t still there, both in regards to military action and in regards to sanctions,” and that “any facility protected by humans can be infiltrated by humans. It’s possible to strike all Iran’s facilities, and I say that out of my experience as IDF chief of staff.”

         This contradicts a Wall Street Journal report last week in which Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was quoted as saying the United States does not have a bunker buster bomb big enough to penetrate and destroy the underground Iranian facilities where suspected nuclear programs are in the works. “We’re still trying to develop them,” said Panetta.

         Later today Leon Panetta said he feared Israel would strike Iran this spring.

         Who is actually driving US foreign policy in the Middle East?

         The following series is an attempt to set the record straight, reveal less-known information, and expose the truth regarding the current crisis regarding the United States and the nation of Iran. There is an ongoing globalist agenda covered up by a false agenda. America has been hoodwinked regarding its foreign policy in the Middle East.

         Critics of presidential candidate Ron Paul, for example, who might like him otherwise, usually cite his foreign policy views as the reason they choose not to support him. His views, however mischaracterized and in the minority they may seem to be, are generally the correct ones. They are based on the vision and wisdom of our founding fathers and Constitution of the United States. It must be noted that members of our active duty military support Ron Paul more than any other announced 2012 presidential candidate. What do they know that most Americans don’t know?

         It should be shocking that our national creed is treated with such indifference and lack of respect, especially by our duly elected representatives, but Americans have become too apathetic to be rightfully concerned. We are motivated more by fear of perceived enemies than honor of the law of the land. Military strength means we must always be strongly prepared, but never against our rights as American citizens or disrespect of the law. Spreading ourselves too thin has actually weakened us, and has taken us down the road of all empires: Continual expansion means eventual inability to maintain control. Contraction has always been the inevitable outcome of all historical empires.

         The dominant foreign policy of America that most people continue to support is one of aggression, war, incredible spending, nation-building, and most of all, the unbridled and ongoing expansion of the American Global Military Empire. It is geographic in that we have military personnel stationed in over 150 countries of the world, which accounts for almost 80% of the nations on the planet. Total US military bases on foreign soil total approximately 750. According to anyone’s definition, this is a massive presence which clearly denotes empire, and it is the maintenance of this empire that is actually subverting our military strength.

         And the United States can no longer afford it. Our national debt is currently 15.3 TRILLION dollars. It is rising exponentially. Our foreign wars have assisted in bankrupting the country. We don’t have the money. The money we do have is mere paper with no backing, and is becoming worth less by the minute through rising inflation since we keep the printing presses humming. The currency itself is also becoming devalued but retains relative strength due mainly to our wildly out of balance trade deficit. We are buying many more foreign goods than others are buying from us and this is keeping the dollar in decent shape, though the world cannot do as much with the dollars they possess. The Federal Reserve has set interest rates at the bottom for the foreseeable future, below the rate of inflation of course, in part to make the dollar attractive to foreign investors. But this is done at the expense of our own recovery and is only putting off the inevitable collapse of the US economy. The Dollar Index has lost 3.5% in the last two weeks since its highs in mid-January and war pressure is ratcheting up to stop the slide.

         There is currently a war on between the dollar and the euro. Many countries are making a move to alternative currencies. The prospective war in Iran is actually about (1) the petrodollar-euro war, (2) the Russia-China-Iran economic oil alliance, which also includes India and Pakistan, and (3) the move by the US to gain the strategic and geographical high ground by securing Iran once again as a national ally and bring the nation under the full control of the West.

         There is no doubt that the Iranian government has been hostile to the US ever since the 1979 Iranian revolution that ousted the Shah, when an independent Islamic Republic was formed. But their hostility began when we overthrew their government in a 1953 coup and set up the Shah as our own guy in charge. Iran has always been coveted not only due to its location and vast resources, but currently because it represents the last puzzle piece toward dominance in the region.

         This is what the long-term Iraq and Afghanistan wars are actually about, in that they served as opening salvos and precursors to eventual regional hegemony. Iraq became our ally after we lost Iran. These two countries fought an eight year proxy war to a stalemate in the 1980’s. The breaking point with Iraq came when Saddam Hussein attacked Kuwait. The 1991 war against him was a lesson he failed to learn. Some thought he should have been removed at that time.

         A decade later Saddam defied the United States by switching from American petrodollars to the euro in November of 2000. This was the largely unknown watershed moment when the decision was made to take him out.

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved. [Part 1 of 5]