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I have recently finished reading a lovely story called That Printer of Udell’s: A Story of the Middle West by Harold Bell Wright.  Originally printed in 1903, Lamplighter Publishing reprinted it in 2005 as part of their Rare Collector’s Series. 

The publisher’s note says,

Among Harold Bell Wright’s many novels, That Printer of Udell’s is his first and most famous.  A notable seller in its day, the book attained to an even higher level of notoriety during the presidency of Ronald Reagan.  Of this very story that had a great impact of the life of the former President, he wrote:

“That book, That Printer of Udell’s, had an impact I shall always remember…The term ‘role model’ was not a familiar term in that time and place.  But I realize I found a role model in that traveling printer whom Harold Bell Wright had brought to life.  He set me on a course I’ve tried to follow even unto this day.  I shall always be grateful.”  –Ronald Reagan

There are a number of reason’s that I enjoyed this story; however, the most important aspect to me was the issue of ‘cultural Christianity’.  Wright tells of the same problems that we experience today in the postmodern church:  Christian business men who attend church for business reasons; women who use Sunday services to make fashion statements; young adults who go to youth programs to socialize. 

The main character, Dick Faulkner, comes to a mid-western town looking for work.  He is poor, hungry and in need of help.  Having no family or friends and looking like a vagrant, he is turned away by churches and Christian businessmen in his effort to find employment.  Not until he meet’s a kind printer named Udell does his situation change. 

From that point on, Dick’s life is described in wonderful detail.  We learn a bit of his past and watch as he growns in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.  His struggles are physical and spiritual and yet his resolve is stong.  It is fascinating to see how God uses this man to reflect humility, honesty and hard work.  Truly a delightful read!

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Hitler's Cross

I first heard of this book while listening to a radio talk show last year.  It was late in the Presidential campaign season and the talk show host was expressing concerns for a possible win by Barrack Obama.  He compared the economic, political and culture climate of this country to pre-Hitler Germany and found many disturbing similarities.  Intrigued, I quickly ordered a copy and began reading. 

Erwin Lutzer, the author, is senior pastor of Moody Church in Chicago.  I am familiar with Pastor Lutzer from the John Ankerberg Show that I used to watch.   He wrote this book in 1995 and states in the introduction that while visiting a museum in Berlin, that

“…pictures that caught my attention were those of Protestant pastors and Catholic priests giving the Nazi salute.  I was even more surprised at the pictures of swasticka banners that adorned the Christian churches–swastika banners with the cross of Christ in the center!”   pg. 12

Pastor Lutzer, then, determined to “..study how Hitler had captured the Christian church…” pg. 12.   In this book he examines the questions

“What clues were there in the history of Germany that prepared the country (and its churches) for such a mass seduction?  Could it happen again?  More to the point, is it happening now, even in America, albeit in a different way?  What signs should have alerted the church to Hitler’s real agenda?   pg. 12

Stepping back to 1920, Lutzer begins by setting the stage in Germany after the First World War for a new leader.   The proud, German people were devistated after the war and

“yearned for a leader who would do for them what democracy could not.” 

“Winston Churchill observed Hitler in 1937 and said that his accomplishments were “among the most remarkable in the whole history of the world.”  pg. 17

Hitler, apparently, was off to a positive start, however, the philosophies of the time strongly influenced him and his henchmen.  Georg Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ludwig Feuerbach, and Hinduism all had twisted ideas of God and man that swayed Hitler’s worldview and guided his decisions and policies.   In chapter three, ‘The Religion of the Third Reich: Then and Now’, Lutzer touches on spiritual mentors of Hitler who led him into occult practices which included sexual perversion and his desire to create a new religion that 

“would be “a joyous message that liberated men from the things that burdened their life.  We should no longer have any fear of death and a bad conscience.”  pg.62

Lutzer theorizes that these evil philosophies also influenced Christians and while being 

“Seduced by the Satanic majesty of The Fuhrer, church leaders throughout Germany allowed the Swastika a prominent place alongside the Christian cross in their sanctuaries.  Nationalistic pride replaced the call of God to purity, and with few exceptions the German church looked away while Adolph Hitler implemented his “Final Solution” to his Jewish problem.”  from the back cover

The chapters of this book thoroughly examine the religion of the Third Reich, Anti-Semitism, the Church struggling to stand for Truth and ‘The Cost of Discipleship’ (with an interesting perspective on Dietrich Bonhoeffer).   Lutzer finishes his writings by suggesting that America has its own ‘hidden cross’.  He warns that

“Despite the differences, the American church, like that of Nazi Germany, is in danger of wrapping the cross of Christ in some alien flag.  There is evidence, I am sorry to say, that we evangelicals have lost our confidence in the gospel as “the power of God unto salvation.”  pg. 191

“…if the German church has taught us the dangers of blind obedience to government, we must eschew the mindless philosophy “My country, right or wrong.”  pg. 204

May I propose that in the fourteen years since this book was written, the American church has failed to heed these warnings.  With mainline denominations teaching another gospel, the Emergent Church leading the way into New Age thinking, ‘Christian’ leaders who aren’t willing to stand for or teach Truth, and many looking to America for their salvation, true believers today must be ever vigilant to discern the times. 

“And in the final conflict,…Christ will set the record straight.  Those who were faithful to Him and His cross will be rewarded with “joy unspeakable and full of glory.”  All rival crosses will be exposed and judged, and every knee shall bow and “every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”   pg. 207

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the-excellenct-wifeOn the heels of yesterday’s post, A Titus 2 Example, I would like to share with you a book that helped to shape my marriage into a more biblical one.  This particular book was introduced to me early in my Christian walk by a mentor who invited me to a women’s Bible study.  At the time, my marriage was on sandy soil and I didn’t even know it!

The Excellent Wife:  A Biblical Perspective, by Martha Peace, is worthy of serious examination by all Christian women.  She wrote this book…

“…to be a comprehensive resource for pastors, counselors, teachers, missionaries, and Christian women to use for themselves or to teach others what it really means to be a godly wife. “   (Introduction) 

Broken into four parts, Peace covers the following topics:

     A Wife’s Understanding–Foundational Truths for the Excellent Wife
     A Wife’s Responsibility–Faithful Commitments of the Excellent Wife
     A Wife’s Submission–Fulfillment of the Excellent Wife
     A Wife’s Special Concerns–Sin Problems of the Excellent Wife

Throughout the entire book Scripture is used as the foundation of her teaching.  Peace starts with God’s Word and uses it to show how God originally planned for women to be man’s helper.  Unlike what this world would teach, she correctly points women to a holy career as a godly wife.

One key excerpt from Chapter five, which speaks of God’s goal for marriage is,

“The goal of the Christian husband and wife in their marriage is to have a oneness that is characterized by a loving spiritual and physical bond that glorifies God and thereby enhances personal spiritual growth.  (Genesis 2:24; Ephesians 5:22-23; Galatians 6:1; Hebrews 13:4).  Oneness and spiritual growth are achieved as each partner helps the other become as much like the Lord Jesus Christ as possible.”   pg. 33

Another important aspect to her lessons, is her “Put Off” – “Put On” Dynamic that she develops throughout the book.  She helps us to understand how to ‘deal practically‘ with our sin.  While many times we are spurred on by the Holy Spirit to recognize  our sin, we must also confess it to God, repent, then not do it again.  Unfortunately, the hard part is not doing it again!  So, Peace gives us a method of  ‘establishing new habit patterns’ that, if we commit to, can aid in our victory over that sin.  I found this method to be quite helpful and even taught it to my children while we were studying the characteristic of  ‘willingness’. 

This powerful study was so instrumental in improving my marriage, that I have given copies to friends and family and recommended it to many others!  I hightly recommend this book to all women who are married or considering marriage. 

An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.
Proverbs 31:10

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seductionofchristianity2A few years ago I read an extremely powerful book that God used to open my eyes to much of the dangers that have crept into the American church.  This book was originally written over 20 years ago so what the authors spoke about back then has clearly come to pass today!  I hightly recommend that you read this book.

Title:  Seduction of Christianity: Spiritual Discernment in the Last Days
Authors:  Dave Hunt & T.A. McMahon
Published: 1985

I was originally introduced to Hunt and McMahon and their ministry, The Berean Call,  through their radio broadcasts called  ‘Search the Scriptures Daily.  At the time, they were discussing the topics from their book Seduction of Christianity, which I found to be fascinating.

From the back cover:

“The Bible clearly states that a great Apostasy must occur before Christ’s Second Coming.  Today Christians are being deceived by a new world view more subtle and more seductive than anything the world ever experienced.  What are the dangers in the growing acceptance and practice of–

  • positive and possibility thinking
    healing of memories
    self-help philosophies
    holistic medicine

The Seduction of Christianity will not appear as a frontal assault or oppression of our religious beliefs.  Instead, it will come as the latest “fashionable philosphies” offering to make us happier, healthier, better educated, even more spiritual. 

A compelling look at the times we live in.  A clear call to evey believer to choose between the Original and the counterfeit.  Only then can we hope to escape…The Seduction of Christianity.”

 

The fourteen chapters include topics such as:

  • Paganism in Modern Dress
    An Official World Religion
    Roots of Seduction
    Tomorrow the World

One particulary interesting portion in chapter four, ‘An Official World Religion’ speaks of  ‘The Coming World Government.’  Hunt and McMahon state, “[i]t is no longer a question of whether but when humanity will be united both economically and politically under a one-world government.”    (pg.49){emphasis in the original} 

Considering the current state of our world and while reflecting on this book review, I find their words eerily prophetic. 

They continue,

“Even Ronald Reagan, who was supposedly an outsider bringing new faces into government, immediately following his victory in 1979 appointed “a ‘transition team’ which would later select, screen and recommend appointees for major administration posts…of fifty-nine…[on] that team, twenty-eight were members of CFR, ten belonged to the secret and elite Bilderberg group, and no less than ten were Trilaterals.”  (pg. 50)

This quote was particulary interesting considering Judy’s recent post on the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) and the New World Order.  You can read that article here.

Here’s another fascinating excerpt from the last chapter of the book, ‘Tomorrow the World’:

“Two factions are now emerging within the church.  One side adheres to the belief that an apostasy is coming for the church in the last days, and with it a great tribulation and God’s judgment for the world.  We are to rescue as many as we can before it is too late, calling them to citizenship in heaven.  On the other side are those, equally sincere, who see the primary call of the church as solving social, economic, and political problems.  Although they are also concerned to see souls saved, the conversion of the masses provides the means for taking over the world for Christ, taking dominion back from Satan, and thereby establishing the kingdom in order that Christ might return as king to reign at last. 
      Within the latter group are two divergent factions whose goals are beginning to sound more and more alike.  Christian socialists hope for a redistribution that will share what the wealthy have with the poor, while the success-oriented Christians of the Positive Confession or Faith Movement hope to make everyone wealthy.   From their increasingly isolated corner, the fundamentalists warn that neither will succeed because the world is heading for a great tribulation climaxing in the Battle of Armageddon, which will involve the return of Christ to rescue Israel, to stop the destruction, and to set up His kingdom.  There is a growing rejection within the church of this fundamentalist scenario as negative, “gloom-and-doom” eschatology.”  (pg. 215-216)

Considering that this book was written over 20 years ago, this seems prophetic in light of current events.  Familiar words are heard in the news today, ‘transition team’, and ‘redistribution of wealth’, and ‘elitists’.    

Judy writes more about some of these ‘divergent factions’ in her post, ‘Introducing…Dominion Theology.’   Which you can read here.

This book opened my eyes.   Also, it forced me to look to the Scriptures to clarify my personal beliefs concerning eschatology.  Many churches today have leaders who avoid teaching this topic because it can be quite challenging.   However,  we should remember in Paul’s epistle to the Colossians, he admonishes, “[see] to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world rather than according to Christ.”  (Col. 2:8) 

We must be Bereans!  (Acts17:11)  I think this book will help. 

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CB064047In the fourth and fifth chapters of Ephesians, Paul describes the walk and service of the believer as dear children of God.  He “beseeches [us] to walk worthy of the calling with which [we] were called, with all lowliness and gentlenss, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  (ch.4 v. 1-3)

He continues in verse eleven to remind us that “He himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry…that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love…” 

Ladies, some of us are being ‘tossed to and fro!’ 

twilight-movie-posterThe book series known as The Twilight Saga, with its books and now a movie, is taking our families by storm and they are sinking to new depths!

Paul quotes the Old Testament in verse 26 saying, ” ‘Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,’  for we are members of one another.”  Then his quotes the Psalms, ” ‘Be angry, and do not sin…’ “

Well, I am angry! 

Christian ministries and women’s groups are not taking a stand against these books or the movie! 

This is outrageous!

Here is what one wise movie reviewer said:

  “Twilight takes occult darkness, introduced in Potter, to deeper, decadent fathoms: overt vampirism, acceptable blood-sucking (in this movie its only animal blood – later? Wait and see!) and sexual lust for the possessed soul (made appealing in its fictionalized form!). The books, akin to the Potter’s series, promote and familiarize their audience with magick, Wicca, supernatural powers and demon possession. 

But what is beyond alarming is that Christians are seduced by satanic deception and have succumbed to Twilight’s fascination of dark wisdom, a power Scripture warns against – loving evil more than good (Psalm 52:3), and placing what the world admires before what God requires. ”  Caryl Matriciana  @ Caryl Productions

You can read her complete movie review here

Returning to Scripture…

Paul exhorts us to “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”   He continues by reminding us that “all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light…see then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  (Eph.5:11-17)

Friends, it is my desire to ‘bear with you in love’  the  burden of exposing the ‘evils of this day’.  We must ‘be angry, but not sin’ while we ‘speak the truth to our neighbors’ concerning the dangers of these books and this movie.  

Please join me in ‘redeeming the time’ we have left on this earth!

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Over the past four or five years, I have read a number of books that have been extremely beneficial in timeofdeparting2nd1helping me understand what is going on in the visible church today.  In our efforts to be Bereans I think it is necessary to be discerning and these books have aided me in doing that. 

Today, I will review A Time of Departing.  I read this book three years ago, but is even more important today. 

Author: Ray Yungen http://www.atimeofdeparting.com/

Publisher: Lighthouse Trails Publishing Co. 

The subtitle of this book is ‘How Ancient Mystical Practices are Uniting Christians with the World’s Religions.’   The nine chapters that make up this book range from Yoga to Christian Mystics, but the most important aspect of this is that Mr. Yungen exposes subtle Eastern and demonic influences that have infiltrated the church in America. 

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.”   (1 Timothy 4:1)

Mr. Yungen takes this passage of Scripture and shows how Paul’s admonition to Timothy is happening today.  His first sentence in the book is,

“Christian yoga, spiritual disciplines, spiritual formation, the silence, sacred space, and contemplative prayer–do any of these sound familiar?” p.9

Then he goes on to show how these practices are NOT of God, but have been incorporated into our churches. 

Some of the buzz words in the book are: new age, labyrinth walks, meditation, breathing exercises, breath prayers, mantras, higher self, Christ consciousness, spirit guides, pantheism, panentheism, and channeling; just to name a few. 

Mr. Yungen also names some people who have helped to bring us these influences. Among them are:

 Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul), Ken Blanchard (The One-Minute Manager), Brian McLaren, Marianne Williamson, Alice Bailey, Ruth Haley Barton, Richard Foster (Celebration of Discipline), Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees), Henri Nouwen, and Rick Warren (Purpose Driven Life).

After many footnotes of examples showing how this ‘departing’ has begun, Mr. Yungen reminds us that “Scripture clearly teaches that it is only through the blood atonement of Jesus Christ that we can gain access to Him.”  p. 191 

Despite the fact that some are trying to have access to God by using one of the afore mentioned techniques or by following one of the teachers listed,  there is only ONE way to God….through Jesus.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  (Ephesians 6:13)

~~Grace and Peace~~

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