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COMFORTER

COMFORTER

Need comfort? Sure thing, at some time or other. A bit hard to admit, I know. A comforter is someone or something that comforts. Plenty of comforters are available, living and non-living. Practical items like a quilted bedcover or a woolen scarf are called comforters and provide comfort in the wintertime. You find comfort in the family? A fine thing not to be taken for granted.

Addictions provide temporary comfort. You pop pills? Find comfort in the bottle? A whisky called “Southern Comfort” can help you deaden the mind and kill off those brain cells southern style. All kinds of addictions are wreaking their havoc nowadays. Like the color draining from the face of the one who forgot the smartphone at home. Talk about addicted! Internet and television are top runners among modern comforters.

Watching TV, after a hard day at the office, is the most popular inactivity worldwide. How comforting the dream world can be! It often involves the entire family, but then, it is called the “family entertainment center”. Mom and dad are not the only ones who’ve been working hard all day long, those kiddies must be worn out from a tiring day at school. Poor darlings! They’ve also earned their right to a “fix”. Oh yeah, that’s more like it. What comfort! Gather around, make yourselves comfortable, switch on fantasy and shut out reality.

So we flop down on the couch with popcorn or chips and a bottle of beer to be comforted by that strange animal called “entertainment” and kill time, till time is no more. The population is flooded with an excess of information via TV and Internet, while starving for a lack of knowledge. Television is a comforter with a clear message:

This is good stuff, you’re going to love it. So sit back, put your feet up and relax, turn off what’s left of your brain and enjoy my own creation of reality! Come unto me, one and all, and find comfort for your weary souls. Let’s reshape this world together.

Talk shows are popular nowadays, as they can give the viewers a feeling of comfort and security that something is being done while the “experts” discuss the serious issues. Surfing the Internet can make you feel like you are a part of the solution, that you just might be doing something useful. A number of 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 for our walk through the valley of death.

A family of four loved everything you and I do – comfortable home, fine furniture, thick plush carpeting, cozy kitchen. The two children are absolutely beautiful, taking after their lovely parents. After enjoying a dinner together and playing a game or two, it’s late and the kids are tucked in with a bedtime story. Leave the night light on, so they’ll feel safe. Rest of the evening then belongs to mom and dad.

Surf the net for a bit, check e-mails, then fill their wine glasses and settle down on the couch or easy chair for a well-deserved session of TV. First up is the news about all the evil that’s going on in the world outside the cozy surroundings of the comfort and security of the home. There’s just enough time to take in a movie before heading to bed. Escape into other lives and distant places. Experience the emotions, perhaps some laughter but usually the crying and suffering of fellow humans – all in high-definition quality. Finally, settle down in bed under the warm comforter and enjoy, before it all comes tumbling down. The first air raid turned the neighborhood into debris and rubble.

Many Syrian families survived and found refuge in any one of the “promised lands” of the West, only to be met with everything from limited acceptance – "You can stay, but keep your fingers out of my pie!" – to outright hostility. One thing’s clear, the life they knew is no more and, for the most part, those refugee families have not found the comfort they had hoped for. In view of world events – lying politicians, hate between nations, looming war – you’ll find at some point in time that your preferred comforters aren’t working.  You’ve tried it all – 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)

“God shall send you the Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth, Whom the world cannot receive because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He is with you and shall be in you.”

JESUS promised:

“I will not leave you comfortless: I WILL COME TO YOU.” (John 14)

"I will never leave you nor forsake you." (Hebrew 13)

Finally, real promises you can rely on!

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

Jesus is the real Comforter, not some third person in a Catholic trinity. He is not a religion. Religion kills, while Jesus gives life and comforts all those who trust and believe in Him and call upon His name. He gives hope in this life and in the life to come.

FD

 



 

2017: WHAT’S THE WORLD COMING TO?


We just finished a heartbreaking year, as 2016 saw disaster at home and abroad. I don’t expect 2017 to be better. If you want a pretty picture, buy yourself a Reader’s Digest and add it to your list of distractions. Distractions from what? From the trouble coming upon this world. Everything but sanity will be on the increase from now on.  

The world’s steering to the right, as in right-wing radical. The right-wingers in Europe are fighting the flow of refugees and the 45th president of the U.S.A. happens to be a right-winger, among other things. We’ve heard their slogans countless of times: Preserve our fatherland! Prevent islamization! Safeguard our values! All in the name of the God of the Bible? No. In the name of patriotism? Yes. In the name of religion? Yes. Right-wing supremacists see an enemy on every corner.

Is a global dictator known as the Antichrist really coming? Sure, the Bible says so. Who will it be? Does it matter? Not really. The world is being prepped for his coming. Just like the coming Leader, many people meanwhile prefer a lie to the truth. Arrogance and hate are ever present. If someone does you wrong, the usual reaction is to "get even" or to "pay back" that person. Do you like mysteries? Here’s one for you:

“Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you and pray for those who spitefully use you. If someone smacks you on the cheek, offer the other cheek as well” (Luke 6:28-29).

The Old Testament Law of Moses stated "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth", which many like to quote to justify their lust for revenge. Jesus, by introducing God's New Testament for mankind, taught differently. However, people will normally not turn the other cheek and if they do, they're usually called cowards.

Now why in the world should we love our enemies? Because in truth, they are not. Our real adversary is of a spiritual nature. That person who seems to be your enemy is in fact not your enemy:

“Our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world and spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

The so-called “evil person” in your life – whether neighbor, colleague, family member or even the president, arch-conservative or bleeding-heart liberal – is made of flesh and blood and will have to stand alone on that Day to give account in front of the throne of God. Why do tempers flare so easily, often for no discernible reason? Whatever it is – anger or hate – get rid of it before it gets rid of you.

A person’s unbelief does not change the fact that God is our Creator and that He created us in His own image (Genesis 1:27), regardless of the so-called “facts” we are flooded with daily, as in the “wisdom of this world” via TV, Internet or people. Since God is our Creator, it stands to reason that His enemy is our enemy. That would be the devil, who once went by the name of Lucifer, who turned rebel and was kicked out of Heaven and is now called Satan, who rules this world together with his rebel angels, referred to as demons.

Having failed to overthrow the Kingdom of God, Satan has set up his own twisted kingdom on Earth, complete with priests and ritual ceremonies. As his global “super church” is taking form, where the religions of the world will unite, Satan’s ultimate goal is to establish a global government. He is the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2) as well as the author of the world religions, New Age philosophies and alternate realities. He is the orchestrating composer behind governments, educational institutions and corporate media. The news media “mush” he creates is confusing, deceptive and manipulative.

The TV and movie industry mostly promotes what God hates and forbids, such things as murder, adultery, homosexuality, theft, greed, hatred and just about everything else that’s contrary to the sound teachings of the Bible. And all of that in the name of entertainment! There is also plenty of religion in the media, where actors and athletes cross themselves in fine Catholic tradition. Another non-biblical practice from within the halls of the Vatican.

We know the expression HD Ready, as in high-definition associated with TVs. This world is practically AC Ready, as in anti-christ. I am one of those who believe that Mr. AC is already in the world. The topic needs to be dealt with separately, with all the scripture it involves. For now, here is a brief Bible description of the Antichrist as found in Daniel, Revelation and various other epistles in the New Testament:

The Antichrist (1) is a liar (2) is extremely arrogant (3) is able to persuade people to do what he wants (4) will rule the world’s economy (5) has a strong charisma (6) will be a ruthless leader and (8) the whole world will be amazed by him. His popularity will grow, as more and more people “jump on the bandwagon”. Sound like anyone you know? In any case, only working faith will help you recognize the deception when it comes.

Many people have that other special kind of faith that pops up only in times of need. They pray to God to win the game, to land the job, to get the girl or boy, to pass the test or for any number of favors. Santa Claus to the rescue! But whenever anything goes wrong, they give God the blame and blaspheme His name. For many, Heaven is nothing more than a convenience store.

Dead religion will not help you to discern evil when it's here. If you are only religious, without a living faith in the God of the Bible, the chances are good that you will also be fooled into following the Great Leader when he makes his appearance soon on the world’s stage. What do you put your faith in? In an institution? In a human being? A philosophy? A relic? Oh, this world’s full of relics and “holy” trinkets!

The cross, for example, is quite popular among religious as well as non-religious people. The cross actually dates back to ancient Babylon and was taken over by the Roman Empire as the worst kind of death and the most disgraceful form of punishment. The devil loves the crucifix, especially one that has a suffering, defeated Christ nailed to it. Jesus is no longer hanging on the cross, for He has risen. Neither is He a little baby in a manger, for He reigns in Heaven as the King of kings and Lord of lords. When Jesus said:  

“If anyone desires to be my disciple, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23),

He wasn’t talking about the cute little necklace around your pretty little neck, nor about the cross nailed to the wall or dangling from your car's rearview mirror. Contrary to popular belief, there is no godly power in relics, crosses, statues or any other such dead idols.

With ever more distractions coming our way this year, let’s not lose sight of what matters and what is real. It’s easy to drift away from God towards secular humanism in the strong current of this present world and much easier to go with the flow than to swim upstream. The fight of faith ceases when we float downstream with the crowd.

In 2017, I'm keeping an eye on what the world is coming to. The so-called war on terrorism and the increased surveillance and control it entails, the global political scene and high-risk situations – all of the above screams of a change coming and a new world order. Not sure exactly when the NWO train will get in, but it’s headed our way. At the speed it’s traveling, it can’t be much longer.

For 2017 – while like-minded people find mutual comfort worldwide via social platforms, too busy “capturing the moment” for even a moment of truth, partying right into the apocalypse – let’s choose to go with the Lord of all creation, the living God of the Bible. In truth our only hope.

FD




TIMES A-CHANGIN


What Bob Dylan once sang in another era goes for ours as well: “The times they are a-changin”. World’s takin’ a beatin’ as the People beat up each other. Old rules, laws, morals – don’t mean much anymore. Just can’t break free of the self-destruct mode we’re in. Social platforms are turning out to be a place for people to “let it all hang out”. The ugly side of humanity is revealed in hatred, jealousy, envy, slander and the like.

How things have changed! When we were children, we played outdoors even after dark and often slept out under the stars. The unlocked backdoor was not far away, in case any of us “had to go”. Nowadays you’d better get the kids indoors by nightfall, before the nocturnal perverts come around in search of fresh victims. Triple lock the doors and double check whatever security system you have, as organized gangs are breaking into homes throughout the land.

These are what we call the biblical end times. The Bible tells us in 2 Timothy 3 that the love of many will grow cold. The partygoers lust after pleasure and love being the “life of the party”, not aware that they are mutating into zombies, the spiritual walking dead. Expecting to party right through into a New Age, their jolly folly will come to an abrupt end.

While scientists, evolutionists and New Agers are waiting in vain for this world to improve,  the Bible is full of end-time prophecies written between 2,000 and 3,500 years ago and unfolding before our eyes! To name a few:

Money-hungry, smooth talking false teachers will arise and enjoy a great following. These deceivers will twist the Word of God to their advantage, with the bank accounts of their followers in mind (2 Peter 2 / 2 Timothy 6).

The Gospel of Jesus Christ will be made known to all nations before the end (Matthew 24 / Revelation 14). Today the Bible has been translated into 554 languages, and 2,932 languages have at least some portion of the Bible.

There will be global communications. Events, news or otherwise, will be viewed from anywhere on the planet (Revelation 11 & 17). The 20th century saw the inventions of television and the Internet as well as global satellite networks, allowing news to travel around the globe at the speed of light. In the days of the apostles, news traveled at the speed of horseback.

Mankind will be capable of destroying all life on Earth (Matthew 24). When Jesus made this prophecy, the weapons of His day were swords and spears. The nuclear, biological and chemical weaponry of our day makes it possible to wipe out all those living on this planet. The nuclear bomb melts – dissolves – its victims just like God warned in His Word 2,500 years ago:

“Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths” (Zechariah 14). Quite unimaginable back in those days.

Damascus, Syria, will be destroyed (Isaiah 17, Jeremiah 49, Zechariah 9). At this present time, Damascus is a ruinous heap.

Famines will be common (Luke 21 / Revelation 6). According to the United Nations, nearly one billion people are undernourished today.

Chaotic weather patterns will be prevalent and increase in intensity (Luke 21). Jesus foresaw tsunamis and earthquakes (Matthew 24).

Many wars will erupt worldwide (Mark 13). According to Project Ploughshares, there were 29 armed conflicts in 26 countries in 2015.

The Earth will be filled with violence (Luke 17 / Genesis 6). In the USA alone, violent crime has increased by 500% since 1960. Fifty years ago, abortion was considered to be murder and illegal in most countries. Today it is legal in most countries and around 50 million children are cut off from life each year.

Multitudes will travel to and fro (Daniel 12). Prior to the Industrial Revolution, few individuals traveled beyond their own communities,  the only modes of transport being the horse, on foot or by boat. In our modern times, cars, buses, subways, planes and trains transport millions of people to and fro, just like Daniel prophesied 2,500 years ago!

Knowledge will increase (Daniel 12). With the Internet, we have a world of “knowledge” at our fingertips. The amount of information available now is mind-boggling. “Man is forever learning, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3).

There will be a move towards global government and a global economic system (Daniel 2 / Revelation 13).

The religions of the world will unite to form a one world church, under the banner of “we serve the same god” (Revelation 17). The process is going on as I write these words.

There will be a global cry for peace and a one world leader will arise and offer his (pseudo) peace, with sinister things in mind (1 Thessalonians 5, Daniel 8).

The political scene today is getting scary. As tempers flare, this globe has become a powder keg, ready to explode. News companies are suffering from a shortage of field staff because an assassination, a terrorist attack and a killing spree in different parts of the world have to be covered simultaneously and in time for the Evening News, to give the viewers a front-row seat of the disaster in the comfort of their own homes.

Politicians offer theories rather than solutions, so-called experts are a dime a dozen and governments call for peace while selling weapons. Western nations put special emphasis on their “values”, whatever that means. The message to foreigners and refugees is clear: “You come to live in our country, you accept our idols and customs. We Westerners are pleasure seekers and don’t you forget it. And don’t you dare speak out against our beloved gay community!” At the risk of ruffling the feathers of the think-it-don’t-say-it folk, history reveals that the homosexualization of society has always been the last straw that broke the camel’s back. Humankind has a long history of perverting the ways of their Creator. Whenever rebellion against God is at a peak, the tendency is to replace “Eve” with “Steve”.

Some of those refugees flooding the western hemisphere might suffer cultural shock in the face of the decadence and moral decay of our free democratic society. Well, at least there are no bombs falling on our heads – not yet anyway. For the time being, we can offer them a relatively safe haven. But for how long? They will have to watch their backs, of course, as white supremacists are on the march, waving their flags in nationalistic pride and singing the fatherland blues.

It’s the same old song and blah-blah: “Our country’s better than yours, our race is superior to yours, our god is greater than yours.” There is also the problem of religion and that spells trouble. Unregenerated religious hearts of the East clash with unregenerated religious hearts of the West. There are enough religions and bloated egos to go around, but Jesus Himself wondered if He would find FAITH when He comes back to Earth (Luke 18). Contrary to popular belief, there’s a big difference between religion and faith, just like there's a big difference between Catholic and Christian. The world puts them in the same box, but that’s not correct. Religion can kill. Religion requires doing things that God never demanded, in many cases contrary to the Word of God. Faith gives life and desires to do those things that please God. Faith lives by His Word. This world has plenty of religion, but not much faith. Religious leaders are calling for the religions of the world to unite, claiming to serve the same god.

Man's real god must be money, as people stop at nothing to get as much of it as possible. Lying, cheating, stealing, killing – no problem when it comes to money. Money is the god of capitalism. We’re to get and spend as much of it as we can to prevent economic collapse. We’re to shop till we drop to ensure a healthy economy and are offered virtually unlimited credit to do so. This leads to excessive debt, which should be no problem as our leaders are good role models. Crime – from beating up the neighbor to molesting his kid – will get you a probationary slap on the wrist, a recuperating vacation in a State institution or a stay at the funny farm. If you rob the State of its money, however, they will lock you up and throw away the key. Unless, of course, you are a “soccer god”. Get used to it, all you immigrants! Our values are at work here. Feelings of shame have forsaken humanity, and decency has become a foreign word. Ever more men and women are entering same-sex relationships. Traditional family structures are breaking down as families grow more dysfunctional. Partnerships don’t last, breach of trust, infidelity and betrayal are the order of the day.

I would really like to be positive, but under the present circumstances it would do neither you, dear reader, nor me, any good. Far be it from me to paint you a nice make-believe world, in which you can feel halfway comfortable till the day you fall over dead. You’ve got TV, Internet and video games for that purpose. The Bible tells us in Luke 17 that the curtains of mankind’s final act will soon close when conditions are as they were in the days of Noah, when the world was destroyed by water. That would be right about now, actually. This time, annihilation will come by fire:

“The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the Earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we who believe, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new Earth in which righteousness dwells.” (2 Peter 3)

Sounds like a nuclear blast, doesn’t it? Frightening, when you think about the mentally unstable politicians who have authority over that red button. Those are big boys with dangerous toys.

It’s time for us to make the Great Escape – not to an alternative reality, but to reality as an alternative. This world is changing, and not for the better. The calamity headed our way is not going to be pretty. Now’s the time to look for God while He may be found. Once you find Him, hang on tight and don’t let go! There’s a rough ride up ahead.  

“For He says: In an acceptable time I will hear you, and in the day of salvation I will help you. Behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6).

As in the days of Noah, so also in our present days:

“God looked upon the Earth and saw that it was corrupt and filled with violence …” (Genesis 6).

FD

   

 




THESE TIMES


Busy these days? Well, you’re not the only one, welcome to the club! Young, old, single, married, employed, retired – the endless to-do list, the constant buzz of activity. No need to explain how busy you are, as everybody is, but why  you are busy. The honeybee sucks nectar from the flower and is admired, the mosquito sucks blood from your arm and is swatted. Both of them keep busy. And what about you? These times keep us preoccupied, in permanent stress. Can’t bother with spiritual matters, no time for eternal times. Seeking the “best life” in the here and now, the hereafter’s not only out of sight but out of mind. “There is no God,” says the intellectual with a smirk. “Only a fool says there is no God,” declares the Bible. Funny how people either don’t believe in or want nothing to do with God, but when it comes to dying, they wish to meet their ”kindred spirits” and loved ones in Heaven, God’s home.

Are you a Christian? Yes? No? Don’t know? Don’t care? The word “Christian” is abused these days. By modern definition, I’m not. Nowadays, the word describes some non-Muslim religion, usually Catholic, which I’m not. I don’t pay my dues to the Man in White. You believe in God? Yes? Good! It’s a start, but no big deal, a lot of people do. Even the demons believe and shake in their shoes (James 2:19). Don’t want to think about it? Just tuck that question away, nice and cosy. Your comfort zone is a buffer zone, safe and sound in the shelter of your fake reality.

Not a single thought is wasted on God – until trouble hits home. Then it’s there, that flaky shaky little prayer on trembling lips, spoken by the same tongue that will surely curse the name of God if help’s not instant. Even the atheist is a believer when it comes to blaming God. The System is to blame, no doubt, but we bring trouble upon ourselves as well. Same old story. People long to be free and in their freedom become slaves of sin. Free to destroy and self-destruct. So what’s new? Nothing, says King Solomon:

“That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun”  (Ecclesiastes 1:9). 

You think our “enlightened” generation’s an exception? Think again! It isn’t. With all the conflicts among nations, the clashes between rioters and the police, the dangerous toys the big boys have on standby, as nationalistic & patriotic tempers flare, the next world war is only a nudge, push and shove away. Nothing’s changed. The unregenerated heart of man is corrupt and evil as it’s always been, and the Prince of Darkness is stirring up trouble as he always has.

The people play, eat, drink and are merry, lusting in prosperity. Cheers to the gods of pleasure! Life is well-organized, overall wellness and financial security are ensured, physical and mental health is sustained by weekend activities with family & friends. Hustle and bustle of the week is rewarded by recreation on the weekend. The sunny, peaceful life of well-being will in fact come tumbling down. Politicians, so-called experts and religious leaders have sunken into a sea of confusion and helplessness. Peace in the Middle East is unobtainable, natural disasters are unstoppable, waves of refugees are uncontrollable and war is inevitable. If you don’t believe it, that’s regrettable.

"In the last days there will be on Earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring, men's hearts failing them for fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the Earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Lord coming in a cloud with power and great glory" (Luke 21).

Religious fanatics are not God-centered, they are self-centered and have caused many sorrows down through history. They instigated the crucifixion of Jesus and martyred those who dared defy the Roman papacy of medieval Europe. There is a wide variety of such fanatics in these times. ISIS extremists wipe out whole villages, white supremacists worship their flag and (white) country while right-wing radicals, driven be their bloated racist egos, attack immigrants.

These times are dreadful, but I’m not worried. The Word of God reveals His help in the time of need for those who believe. 

Lots of disease going around:

“The Lord will take away from you all sickness and will not allow you to be afflicted with any of the terrible diseases of Egypt”  (Deuteronomy 7:15). 

In the Bible, “Egypt” symbolizes the world, and God makes a difference between believers and non-believers. The non-believers hang on tight to their doctors in a desperate attempt to hang on to life.

If it’s all ya got, ya ain’t got much. Life is but a vapor. Like a high-speed autobahn.  Full of laughter, full of sorrow – here today, gone tomorrow.

Natural disasters: 

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the Earth be shaken, and though the mountains fall into the midst of the sea"  (Psalm 46: 1-2).

Tsunamis, earthquakes, tornados, floods – no fear if you’re safe and sound under the shelter of the Almighty. The Lord knows and takes care of His own. If we take comfort in anything else, it’s more than likely an idol and we will be in deep water when trouble comes. 

War and terror:

"The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold"  (Psalm 18:2). 

"Our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places"  (Ephesians 6:12).

The Bible forbids to kill. No discussion, no excuse, end of story. Our weapons are of a spiritual nature and are much more powerful than any conventional weapons this world has to offer.

In face of the lies and hypocrisy we are surrounded by on a daily basis, how refreshing is the Word of God! Truth to grab hold of and hang on to. Just can’t stand religion. It lays heavy burdens on many a weary shoulder, burdens that our Creator never placed there.

FD