Crowds of tourists gather under blue skies and sunshine. Such beautiful trees! The palast, majestic and grand as it is, is a monumental work of art by man; but the trees, the shrubs, the rich green grass, the flowers, the honeybees – created to perfection! The Creator's intricate detail of beauty may be admired and enjoyed by everyone – believer, atheist, follower, non-follower, religious or not – whosoever will. God is generous to all – the good, bad and ugly. Has anyone thanked Him lately? The onlookers pause, stand and gaze, as cameras click – and then the next zealous 'walking bomb' mingles with the crowd and, aiming for his share of virgins in the kingdom of Allah, takes a number of innocents along for a death ride.

And again, that stupid question: "Why does God allow such terrible things to happen?" Time and again God is blamed. Hold on a second, how was that in the Garden of Eden? Adam and Eve searched high and low for the Lord God but didn't find Him. Right? Wrong! They hid themselves in shame for disobeying God. The created Earthlings did not and still do not obey their Creator, and they still pass the buck, laying the blame on others. We left God, not the other way around. He has never left us, not yet anyway. After going my own way for some years, I thought He had forsaken me. Wrong! I had left off following the Lord, but He stuck around and watched over me – His mercy, not my merit.

We bring it upon ourselves – ruin, trouble, destruction. Those who ask how God can let this or that happen often have a warped way of thinking, like: "I manage just fine without God, if He even exists, which is doubtful." Let something bad occur and then comes: "Why did God allow this?!" So which is it now? Make up your mind! He's a part-time God of convenience for most people: Call on Him when He's needed, ditch Him when He's not. Bring on your wish list, like children writing to Santa. In keeping with fine Catholic tradition, people ask for help and favors from their favorite 'saints', including old Saint Nick. "Praying to saints" is not a good idea, by the way, it's a demonic practice. Careful, that demon just might answer.

Don't blame God for all the problems, it's not His fault. The human race has always brought trouble on itself as well as on the rest of creation. Same procedure down through the centuries, only it's getting worse. People living in luxury, in pursuit of fun and pleasure, buying and selling, consuming like there's no tomorrow, fighting over politics and a beer, and then World War II broke out. Difference between then and now? Life is faster, digitalized, intensified. Hatred is now passed along via Twitter. The propaganda machine of the last century is accompanied by fake news and lying mouths. 

There are nationalistic stumbling blocks in the so-called global community. Trump says it, others think it – for the Germans it's Germany first, France comes first for the French, and on it goes – the nations roam the globe in their own national interests, making friends with dictator regimes for financial advantages. Donald Trump has signed several statements of intent, (nothing real, just more shows) to sell billions of dollars worth of weapons, while Germany sells top technology, along with the companies, to the Chinese. Stupid and risky, with plenty of regrets on down the road.

Avoid that corner from now on, it's not pretty what's coming around it. Said it before, say it again: World War III is about to crash the all-is-well party and will leave the survivors stunned and shocked, at least for a short while. They'll get over it quickly, just like after 100,000 died from a tsunami in Indonesia: "How terrible! What will happen next! … Is the get-together at your place or mine this weekend?" The shock grows less as we grow numb with each new catastrophe. When 30 Westerners die at the hands of terrorists, you can count on the annual memorial services with a sea of sad eyes and long faces, complete with a minute of silence. Now, when exactly did those 100,000 [subhumans] perish in the gigantic tidal wave? I can't recall.

First come the adjectives [Awful! Dreadful!], followed by profanity or blasphemy [Oh God! Jesus!]; add a pinch of sympathy [Those poor devils!], with emphasis on "poor", and then it's back to "business as usual". The people sit down to eat, drink and be merry. Cheers to the gods of leisure! Life is well-organized, wellness assured, financial security sustained, physical and mental health ensured by weekend activities after the stressful working week. The sunny, peaceful life will soon cave in for billions, but we're not to blame God for what we do to ourselves.

The Lord gives us much more than we deserve. Most people lead their lives as if there is no God, neglecting to acknowledge Him in their decisions and failing to thank Him for all the good things. Forgotten, but not gone, the Lord is generous with His blessings, for believers and unbelievers alike:

"His sun rises on the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just as well as on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45).

Look out the window, take a stroll in the park. Believer and unbeliever alike may enjoy the fragrance and beauty of flowers, the concert of songbirds never out of tune, the serene lakes and green surroundings. Sad that these gifts from our Creator are being so abused. Our natural environment is coming to ruin with loads of trash, garbage, exhaust fumes, chemicals and the like. God's nature is included in our self-destruct mode. A news article reported that soon there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. Man, not God, is polluting the Earth. It's not God's fault!

 "We give You thanks, Lord God Almighty, the One who is, who was and who is to come, for You have taken Your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were angry and Your wrath has come, as well as the time to judge the dead. You shall reward your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who revere Your name, both small and great, and destroy those who destroy the Earth." (Revelation 11:17-19)

FD


The Mission Statement of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) headquarters in Washington D.C. is carved in stone at the entrance:

"The Human Rights Campaign envisions a world where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people are ensured equality and embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community."

Human Rights are really being violated all over the world everyday, but the HRC seems largely concerned with Sodom and Gomorrah. Though the Bible condemns the gay lifestyle as sin and a perversion of God's order, those opposing it are said to have an "anxiety disorder", e.g. the arachnophobic fears spiders, the claustrophobic has a fear of confined places and the homophobic a fear of gays and their lifestyle. In any case my fear if godly, with a whole lot of respect for God's Word. It's all been turned around now, when it is seen as normal for two people of the same sex to live together and adopt children, as of course they can't reproduce their own. Speak out against it and society will say that you are the one with a problem and a phobia. In Isaiah 5:20 we read:

"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."

The gay lifestyle has been crammed down our throats by the media and propagated by Hollywood, or more accurately, "Hellywood". The sense of outrage and disgust people showed years ago has turned into acceptance. Leaving those dark rooms behind, gays are popping up all over the place and delighting in the warm welcome of society. Most people know it's wrong, thanks to the New Covenant God has made with mankind:

"This is the covenant that I will make with the people in those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts and in their minds I will write them" (Heb. 10:16).

God's laws are there in your heart and in your mind to know the difference between right and wrong, unless you meanwhile belong to those who have rejected God and His Word often enough and have passed the point of no return, no longer able to discern between the two. It's the sad condition of a godless generation, where "love" is no more than fleshly lust. What the cultured intellectuals and gays call "freedom", the Bible calls "corruption". Contrary to popular belief, people are not born as lesbians, gays or transgenders. God "created them male and female" (Genesis 5:2).

Once again the Earthlings have corrupted their ways, the same as in the days of Noah before the Flood came over the entire world and destroyed all life on Earth. The word "corrupt" not only refers to homosexuality, but also to other forms of depravity such as murder, violence, child abuse and pornography, perversion of every kind, greed for money, mutual hatred among ethnic groups and the list goes on. The lust of the flesh knows no boundaries, as it was in the ancient world:

"Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on Earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart were evil continually. God looked upon the Earth and saw that it was corrupt and filled with violence” (Genesis 6).

According to the covenant God made with Noah after the Flood, life on Earth will never again be wiped out by flood waters. God promised that whenever we see a rainbow in the sky, it will serve as a reminder of the covenant (Genesis 9:12-17). Interesting that gays and lesbians have chosen the rainbow as their symbol – like they are just daring the Lord to do something about it. The next time life on Earth is destroyed, in any case, it will be by fire (2 Peter 3:10).

The last letter of the Bible, before the apocalypse of Revelation, is Jude. His letter describes what life will be like shortly before destruction comes upon mankind. The condition of the world today is quickly turning into the way it was when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire. The homosexuality of Lot's time was "the last straw that broke the camel's back" (Jude 6-7). If you wonder what society will look like shortly before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, just switch on the news. The Earth is soon to be shaken and the increasing disasters and conflicts of these times are the warning "sorrows" of the last days as described in Mark 13:8. So, you think gay is okay? The Bible tells us point-blank what God thinks about it:

"Women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise the men, leaving the natural use of the woman and burning in their lust for one another. Men with men committing what's shameful and receiving the due penalty of their error" (Romans 1:26-27).

"Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).

Those who practised homosexuality in Old Testament times were put to death (Leviticus 20:13). In these New Testament times the "door of the ark" is open for whoever chooses to believe, repent and receive forgiveness of sins. In seeking refuge in Christ Jesus, who is the Ark of God, a new life begins, a lifestyle that does not include gay. Originally, the word "gay" meant "cheerful and happy", but there's nothing cheerful about a godless lifestyle and the end won't be a happy one. People have rebelled against their Creator from the beginning, and homosexuality is the ultimate rebellion. God created Adam and Eve, not "Adam and Steve".

In Genesis 1:28 we read that "God created man and woman, and told them to be fruitful and multiply."

Noah, with his wife and children, found safety from destruction in the ark he built according to God's instructions. In these last days, God provides an ark for our safety, the Lord Jesus Christ. We would do well to follow these two pieces of advice:

"Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near" (Isaiah 55:6).

"Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep, for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand, let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts" (Romans 13:11-14).

FD      



That small screen you stare at in your hand is now the number one pastime, and TV holds a strong second place. A display that's lit up demands attention and passes hours of time. People while away their time on Earth till the grave opens its hungry jaws to snatch us from the living. They work, play, love, hate, laugh, cry, dream night and day, talk politics, tell jokes, drink caffeine in the morning and alcohol in the evening, build and plant, travel to and fro and then pass away, making way for the next generation. Hey, where'd your grandparents go? Hey, where'd your parents go? Hey, guess who's next?

Life is like an airport lounge for most people, where they distract themselves and kill time till their departure. They pass the time sitting around, chilling, loafing, hanging out, usually in front of a screen small or big. Starry-eyed and hypnotized, living in a dream world as real as the tooth fairy. Downtown they're walking back and forth, pausing at display windows to look and lust. They work for money to buy the latest fashion, with brand names patched on to be seen in. The zombies, the walking dead, will shop till they drop and their time comes to enter the so-called Great Unknown.

Idle time is passed with idle talk about this and that, pampering the physical while the spiritual is neglected in mindless activity and inactivity. At death, the outer shell is discarded but the spirit lives on. Should be doing something for the spirit being inside but no, people hang on to the physical for as long as possible. They place their hope in science to prolong life and give them more time. For what? More time to kill! Funny, sad, true. Passing the time with distractions and escape. The Bible is the Word of God and gives good advice:

“Be careful then how you live, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of our time because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is” (Ephesians 5: 15-17).

The many artificial realities offered nowadays only serve as temporary relief from reality. Life flies by as fast as lightning as we travel from the maternity ward in the hospital where we were born to the morgue, where our corpse will end up on a cold slab. The great speed usually goes unnoticed while living in one of the many alternative realities we've chosen within the matrix of this make-believe world. A person sees the light of day, begins the learning/brainwashing process at school about 6 years later, lives in various alternative realities throughout his life until the darkness of death engulfs him. How can you expect to enter a "light at the end of a tunnel" if you've gone through life not believing in that Light?

"I am the Light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the Light of life", Jesus said in John 8:12. 

Everyone encounters the true Light in some way and at some time while traveling through life. It's a pity that most people shake their heads in irritation or simply shrug their shoulders and move on. "No time for fairy tales", so they say, when actually they're living in one. Instead of the usual ending of "they lived happily ever after", their fairy tale will end in a rude awakening. It's preferable to wake up to the Light in the here & now than to darkness in the hereafter. The Light will endure, but so will the darkness. However:

"This is the condemnation, that the Light has come into the world but people loved darkness instead of Light, because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light and does not come to the Light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the Light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been done in God." (John 3:19-21).

So many people these days prefer the "entertainment" of a who-dunnit murder/crime thriller, a cheating husband or wife, domestic violence, a serial killer on the loose or the blood-and-guts action of a war movie. Why are the things that God hates so popular and entertaining? The answer is that old unregenerated heart:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, lies, slander” (Matthew 15:19).

The heart is like a volcano waiting to erupt and spit out the hot lava of anger, hatred and violence. And so the family gathers around the "altar" at home in the evening for more pastime in front of the gigantic home cinema. As if that's not enough, as a "nightcap" there's one last session with the mobile device in bed till the eyelids grow heavy. Kill time till time is no more and reality shatters the dream. When your spirit leaves the body, it won't matter "who dunnit", but what will matter is what you did with Jesus Christ, as He will either be your Savior or your Judge. Without Him, we're lost. It doesn't have to be that way, we can get real. Time is ticking away.

FD


 


The refugee flees life-threatening danger and seeks refuge, a place of safety and security. Escape seems next to impossible in light of the massive obstacles to overcome, getting the family out of the war-torn neighborhood, away from the exploding bombs, through the enemy lines of terrorists, over the border and thousands of miles over more borders. So many questions, doubts and fears. Will we be received and provided for if and when our destination is reached? Or will they see us as a threat to their well-being, just more mouths to feed? Will they be hostile, will they hurt us?

Without God in your life, you as a Westener are like a refugee surrounded by trouble and living dangerously. If you seek refuge in God, there will surely be massive obstacles to overcome. Doubts and questions for sure, but the main obstacle is the fear of your fellow humans. What will others say? My friends, family, employer, partner – how will they react? In any case, reaching your destination will be altogether a wonderful experience. On the way there, the angels of Heaven will be cheering you on and when you finally reach your destination, you will be received with open arms in the midst of cheers and celebration. Refuge you can rely on:

A prayer for protection

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in the time of trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the Earth be removed [explosions] and mountains be carried into the midst of the sea [earthquakes], though the waters roar and be troubled [tsunamis], though the mountains shake with its swelling." (Psalm 46:1-3) 

Comfort, peace, nice and cosy where there is no fear. Safe and secure in His arms, refuge at last. "This Jesus thing is only an escape, an escape from reality!" says the foe who does not know. It is in fact escape, the Great Escape into God's reality, away from all the bombings, random shootings, murder, violence, fear and sorrow. Surveillance cameras and smartphones allow us to witness crime and disaster in the comfort of our own living room. Cheers to the gods of media! Jack up the fear! Ungodly fear can be your ruin, but the fear of God, the respect, awe and deep admiration for the Lord, has a very positive impact on life:

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding" (Proverbs 9:10).

Masses of people find comfort and escape in alcohol, if only for an evening. And drugs? A whole lot of people are walking medicine cabinets. They swallow pills for better performance at work, against depression, to keep the blood pressure in the safety zone, to stay calm, to sleep tight at night. Refuge and comfort among family members is good, as long as the family's not dysfunctional. In the comfy and cosy shelter of the Lord there is no fear, no depression, no binge drinking, no pills. Too bad that comfort is sought elsewhere, top runners being the Internet and television. A stressful day at work or school is behind young and old, and so they gather around the altar at home known as "the family entertainment center", just to come down and soothe their weary nerves. "What a day! This is just what we need." Grab some chips, a cold beer, whatever. Get all comfy on the couch or recliner, switch on fantasy and shut out reality. Popular talk shows give their viewers a feeling of security that something is getting done, as the "experts" discuss the serious issues facing mankind. Surfing the Internet makes you feel like you just might be doing something useful. So many alternative realities are offered, like never before. Could be they’re so popular because genuine reality is too hard to bear. Problem is, just as the rich man can’t take his money with him when he dies, neither can that alternative reality join us on our walk through the valley of death. 

A young married couple had two lovely little children and a beautiful home with fine furniture, plush carpeting, cozy living room – they had it all. After dinner and a game or two, the kids were tucked into bed with a night light on to make them feel safe. Mom and dad then filled their wine glasses and settled down for a well-earned evening of TV, where they escaped into the emotions and goings-on of their fellow humans in far-away places – some laughter, but mostly crying and suffering – all in HD quality. Afterwards, they snuggled up in bed under a warm comforter and slept – until the screech of sirens. The air raid left the neighborhood in debris and rubble ... and that young, beautiful family was blown to bits.

Many refugees who survived sought refuge in one of the "promised lands" of the West, where they were met with everything from a warm welcome to hesitant acceptance and even hostility. The life they had known is no more and many have not found the refuge they had hoped for. In view of lying politicians, hate between nations and looming war, those preferred daily comforters just aren't working. People try everything – from pills to religion – only to remain uncomforted in the end. Time to get a grip by grabbing hold of the real Comforter:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and all comfort, Who comforts us in all our affliction so that we may be able to comfort those who are afflicted, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Cor. 1)

JESUS promised:

“I will not leave you comfortless: I WILL COME TO YOU.” (John 14) and "I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrew 13). 

Promises to rely on, a Comfort that's a constant, not a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. Not like drinking with friends and getting high as a kite at night, only to come down to a horrific hangover the next morning. Such "comfort" takes its toll on your health and is nearly impossible to maintain as the body quickly grows older.

Those idols will neither comfort nor protect you in the end. Your god of steel offers no protection when it crashes with another car and that god of stone can fall and crush you during an earthquake. They're dead gods which can never offer you refuge:

“The Lord is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in Whom I will trust.” (Psalm 91:2)

Jesus is the real Comforter, He is not religion. Religion kills, but Jesus gives life and comforts all those who trust and believe in Him and call upon His name. As the storm grows worse, take refuge, snuggle down in comfort under the wings of the Almighty:

"Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers and under His wings you shall take refuge. His truth shall be your shield and safeguard. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the plague that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that devastates at midday" (Psalm 91:3-6).

FD