Struggle of Religious Leaders

ravi zacharias
Rev. Ravi Zacharias, RZIM

In the past five to ten years, we’ve seen some explosions in the church world across many denominations: from Evangelical, Protestant to Catholic. For many it was a shock and a let down, especially for those who followed the teachings of these religious/spiritual leaders.

A recent evangelical, Ravi Zacharias, was a well-known Christian apologist. Other ministers in the past were Mark Driscoll, CJ Mahaney, Jim Baker, Jimmy Swaggart. There are hundreds of pastors and priests who have faced allegations of misconduct of some sort. All these Christian men have had great ministries and have led many people into a deeper understanding of faith and knowledge of Christ.

It is easy to label them as fake, but doing so does not make sense. They got into ministry for all the right reasons. Their calling of God was very real—as real as anyone else’s. Their faith and ministry are real and it would not be fair to dismiss their prior ministry accomplishments.

What is also real is their struggle with sex, money, power. Some might even struggle with all three. This struggle is common to all persons in vocational ministry and people in all stations in life–regardless of spiritual calling.

The temptation that ministers and common people have is to hold up our religious leaders as spotless examples of “good Christians.” It is an impossible expectation to fulfill one-hundred percent.

Actually, the higher a spiritual standing one has in the church, the greater the expectation one has to be that “spotless Christian example.” This is especially true in evangelical and Catholic traditions that follow 1 Tim. 3:2 and 5:8. It’s a bizarre expectation of anyone because we have not truly understood the gospel. The gospel is about forgiveness of sins–not about moral perfection, but yet, we make it about moral perfection. The only expectation we can actually fulfill is to fall upon the grace of God and plead for his daily mercies.

New Dead Sea Scroll fragments found

Recently discovered fragments of Dead Sea Scrolls have been found (article here). Last found was over fifty years. Some date back to the third century B.C. to the second century C.E. These were found just 40 miles south of Jerusalem.

Amongst this find was even a single large scroll that included all the minor prophets. The largest scroll was of the Greek Bible called the Septuagint. A fragment was from Jeremiah 8:17.

This is a very significant find because it was spur on more biblical research for many years. However, it will likely not cause any major changes to any of our modern translations. Nevertheless, scholars of textual criticism will still be interested in finding if any textual variants exists.

History of the Bible series

Concordia Lutheran Seminary has recently hosted a series on the History of the Bible: From Manuscripts to Modern Translations, March 2-23. The speaker is Dr. Jeffrey Kloha, also Chief Curator at the Museum of the Bible, Washington, D.C. Thanks Concordia for putting this online.

Click links below for the nine parts:

Wang Fang spoke the truth relentlessly on Wuhan’s Coronavirus outbreak

Wang Fang, an accomplished author of novels, keeps an online diary and is followed by 4.2 million people in China on Weibo.  During the middle of Wuhan’s coronavirus lockdown, CCP authorities were repeatedly censoring her WeChat account.  As a response, she would repeatedly update her followers to her new accounts every few days.  Now, that’s dedication to speak the truth–true journalism and real news.

Chinese people have found solace in her voice that spoke truth to the devastating situation in Wuhan. Below, she courageously declared who the government is for and who its master is:

“The government is the people’s government; it exists to serve the people,” wrote Wang Fang, a Chinese writer better known by her pen name, Fang Fang, in a social-media post. “Please take back your arrogance and humbly show gratitude to your masters—the millions of Wuhan people.” (quote from WSJ).

Applause and thanks to Wang Fang.  Keep it up.  I pray that you will be safe from the government in Wuhan.  Fang Fang concludes: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”  May God bless you and watch over you as you keep fighting the good fight.

Links to articles: Alice Su, LA Times; and Chun Wong, Wall St Journal (paid).

A prayer for Portapique NS: 18 victims in killing rampage

My heart goes out to the innocent victims of a senseless and random shooting on Sunday that has killed at least 18 people in rural Nova Scotia, located in Atlantic Canada.  People are saddened, confused and shocked by this horrific incident.  Their lives have been trampled by senseless violence. My prayers go out to the people of Portapique, and to Nova Scotia:

“Dear God, be with the residents of Portapique, Nova Scotia.  Holy Spirit, sooth their hearts, old and young, men, women and children.  Calm their fears.  Give them healing from this horrific tragedy.  This I pray in your holy name.”

The gunman, Mr. Gabriel Wortman, was shot dead by the RCMP police at a gas station in Enfield, NS, along Highway 102. I have personally driven along Hwy 102 and perhaps have even made a pit stop at the local Irving gas station years ago, which makes it a little eerie. 

What makes this killing rampage so horrifying is that he was not killing his enemies but his friends.  News reports say he was knocking on people’s doors with a rifle in hand.  A family inside a home was horrified as the gunman was pounding on their front door to get in. Undoubtedly, the people of community in Portapique will be reeling in shock.

How does this happen to a small community?  Stuff like this isn’t supposed to happen.  It makes me wonder if something in the killer had snapped.  Did he have mental illness? He is known to have run a local denture clinic.  He was also known to have given away dentures to people who needed it.  

Mr Wortman was also into police memorabilia.  He drove in a fake police cruiser and was wearing an RCMP uniform at the time of his killing rampage.  In his high school year book, he had written, “Gabe’s future may include being an RCMP officer.”

I will be very interested in knowing what happened in this man that would cause him to go on a killing rampage.

Victim: Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year member of the force and a mother-of-two was shot dead
Victim: Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year member of the force and a mother-of-two was shot dead 

A reason behind Nova Scotia killer’s rampage

This week, the massacre in Portapique, Nova Scotia, left a string of at least 22 dead along the killer’s route on Highway 102 / Rte. 2. It will leave a negative impact on the surrounding community for a very long time. The motive is yet to be determined.

A recent article in the Epoch Times points to a common factor that runs across numerous mass killings in recent past. There was a lack of a father in the family.

“Whether they were Adam Lanza who committed the Sandy Hook killings, Elliot Rodger at UC Santa Barbara, Dylann Roof in Charleston, Nikolas Cruz in Parkland, Stephen Paddock in Las Vegas, and on and on, they were all dad-deprived kids,” Warren Farrell, an American academic and author of “The Boy Crisis,” said in an interview.

Farrell, head of a White House commission to create a Council on Boys and Men during the Obama administration, says Wortman fits the same profile. “[Mass shooters] are almost always males as opposed to females, and they’re usually white, and there is dad-deprivation, which of course Gabriel Wortman’s father was absent for most of his life. He fits that category.”

Jason Unrau, April 23/20, Epoch Times article here

This is an interesting discovery. With the breakdown of marriage in the late 1970s to the present, we have created a Dad-deprived society where boys desperately lack a male role model.

In recent decades where liberal feminism has been on the rise, we notice that men have increasingly been feeling marginalized.

The role of the father is less appreciated. Have we lost the male role model in society?

The position in being a man has been tainted as “patriarchal” in a negative sense.

The tone espoused by radical and militant feminists feel accusatory when it comes to a man taking on the male leadership in the traditional family/household.

Is there still a place to restore a traditional male role model in a non-traditional society?

Canadian military helicopter crashed: Sadness ensues the military today

A tragic loss and a deep sadness ensues the Royal Canadian Navy. An unimaginably deep loss for their family members. Many hearts must have sank upon hearing and reading about this tragedy in the news. Thoughts and prayers go out for the military members and their families. May God be with you all.

A scripture on the facebook page of SLt A. Cowbrough reads, “If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” Romans 8:31. This was on her social media. It provides some encouragement for all. God will always be for us. No death can can ever deter us from standing on guard for thee.

“Stalker, come in. Over.” By: artist Michael de Adder. Deceased sailor, SLt Cowbrough played the bagpipes.

Below are what is already public knowledge from the news media.

__________

1. Four aviators onboard CH-148, along with two sailors from HMCS Fredericton, crashed off the coast of Greece. The helo was doing a routine training exercise yesterday afternoon when it crashed.

2. Facts known. Search and rescue is underway to find the remaining five crew members. Reports say that scattered debris have been found and might be difficult to locate those who are still missing. The flight voice and data recorders have been found. Operational pause in the navy is in place until the military knows more about why it happened.

3. Reason for ship/helo’s presence in the area. The ship and helicopter are a part of a NATO mission Operation REASSURANCE. Rear-Admiral Baines (CO, Maritime Atlantic) announced in the news that the helicopter was returning to the ship when it lost contact and crashed.

4. The helicopter was a brand new Sikorsky-built, CH-148 Cyclone. It is designed and fitted for Halifax-class Canadian frigates. As part of a procurement for the Canadian Armed Forces, these Cyclone helicopters are brand new. They were delivered to the Canadian military and have been deployed on board some of the frigates within the last 1.5 years.

Photos above are the six members onboard the helicopter.
Sub-Lieutenant Abbigail Cowbrough (deceased)
Sub-Lieutenant Matthew Pyke (missing)
Master Corporal Matthew Cousins (missing)
Captain Brenden Ian MacDonald (missing)
Captain Kevin Hagen (missing)
Captain Maxime Miron-Morin (missing)

The FBI’s Flynn Outrage: a falsified crime

Gen. Mike Flynn is and has always been innocent. The Department of Justice is currently uncovering facts intentionally hidden by the FBI. It is now known that the FBI had the intent of framing him for a crime he did not commit, then laying a trap for him to admit to a crime created by the FBI.

Sounds complex? For regular people like myself, stories like this have never been easy to understand. The FBI and the left know this. They muddy-up the story using legal means and secrecy, making it too complicated for most people to understand.

Kimberley Strassel of the Wall Street Journal published an article yesterday, “The FBI’s Flynn Outrage: New documents shock the conscience and demonstrate the need for accountability“:

“Mr. Flynn in 2017 pleaded guilty to a single count of lying to FBI agents about conversations he had with Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. Thanks to new documents the feds belatedly turned over to his attorneys, we know the FBI engineered this “crime.” Handwritten notes from former FBI counterintelligence head Bill Priestap, made before the bureau’s interview of Mr. Flynn, ask the following: “What is our goal? Truth/Admission, or to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired?”

One of the frustrations of the Trump-Russia “collusion” narrative is that the evidence of law enforcement’s abuse of power keeps emerging in dribs and drabs. To grasp the outrageous conduct fully, the Flynn documents need to be added to what we already know. The overall evidence paints a scandalous picture: Having labored and abysmally failed in 2016 to build a case that Mr. Flynn was an agent of the Russians, the FBI and Justice Department changed gears—rifling through his communications, inventing a fake crime, and entrapping him on a “lying” charge.”

[ WSJ video here. Read full article here and here. ]

Evidence against FBI Director, James Comey is damning. Comey manufactured a lie, and Robert Mueller perpetuated the lie against Gen. Flynn. They intended to jail an innocent and honorable man who faithfully served his country for over 30 years. This is an outrage and injustice.

The left’s debacles are now starting to unreel, one after another. From accusations like fake dossiers, false accusations of Russian collusion, to relentless attempts to impeach President Trump.

The public has been observing these scandalous manoeuvre’s by the left-leaning political operatives, i.e., House Democrats and Obama Administration. Evidence is being gathered and documented.

It is undeniable that they have been out to “get Trump” from the very beginning. They have been cooking up fake dossiers by Clinton, telling lies, using cover-ups and slander to try to get their way.

Furthermore, the liberal mainstream media has enabled this. This is why Trump has labelled the media “fake news” and it will stick. The left-wing still hasn’t succeeded in getting what they want, and yet, they’re still cooking up new schemes to “get Trump” using the Coronavirus angle. Very sad indeed.

People’s faith in politicians on the left is depleting very quickly. The public will see it, and have been seeing this transpire before their eyes. It is becoming more clear by the day. Trust in government institutions is eroding. This is very unhealthy and extremely toxic for a supposedly free and democratic society.

Justice must be served. Restore the people’s trust in government institutions by holding responsible those who are guilty of their criminal misconduct and shameful misdeamenors.

I believe this is also a spiritual battle that Christian believers and spiritual people ought to pray about. The evil one is out to cause confusion and division using hate, lies and slander. In the end, may God’s will be done.

Coronavirus ignition to a spiritual awakening

What I’m about to say in this blogpost will sound very spiritual so you’ve got to hold on. I’ve been blogging lots on our current situation with this Coronavirus pandemic. It has affected every single person. As long as you haven’t been living under a rock, I’m sure it’s affected you in some way too. This virus has brought us to a new level, at least within my lifetime and possibly yours too.  I don’t remember having ever experienced such a devastating event.

[ In China, the real number of deaths due to Covid-19 is far higher than what’s been reported. People in China no longer trust the Communist CCP government to tell the truth. They have blatantly lied and covered up the real numbers of deaths to the people and the world. Countries suffering from this epidemic today are left to deal with China’s dishonesty. People can no longer trust their governments, nor their health care systems, nor their savings, economies, nor markets to save them. People are now questioning everything about society’s protectorates. They have now been awakened to seek for truth outside established sources. ]

The spiritual landscape today

Spiritually-speaking, there will be a spiritual awakening in the midst of the Coronavirus. It will not be the cause of it but a sort of triggering point. This event will cause many people to seek deeper to look for answers in their lives. I have had this feeling inside me during the last week that there will be a sort of renewal in faith, spirituality, and religion in general.

If you’ve noticed that in the last ten years, the larger part of western society has turned away from established forms of religion (like the church). In doing so people and families have lost their religious traditions including their spiritual roots. We have become a very secular society, which irreligious society and it has removed and numbed our sense of spirituality.

In the east, namely China, the CCP has tried to control the Christian church. This will no longer be possible. God the Holy Spirit will start a sovereign move to breakout of its shell. Chinese people in the mainland have lost faith in the integrity of their once beloved CCP government. They will be seeking outside the regime to a higher power for salvation. The Christian church in China will begin to rise to become that Christian nation it is destined to become.

The spiritual landscape has been very dry, such that even a spark can ignite a fire. To use this analogy, it will be like a fire that cleanses and renews us–almost like a purification. To use another analogy like a dry parched land, rains will be coming down upon us.

I don’t believe this is merely coincidence. An opinion piece from the Wall Street Journal also spoke about such a spiritual revival: “A Coronavirus Great Awakening?” (article here). The author’s point was that sometimes the most important ingredient for spiritual renewal is a cataclysmic event. Another article I came across was from First Things. Pope Francis is calling for repentance (article here).

A coming awakening of spirituality

The heart of God has been hurting and saddened in our neglect of him. Can God feel hurt? I think so. Like the prodigal son who has run away from home, his parents are reaching out him to calling him to return home. God will be calling us to turn our hearts back home–even during this Coronovirus pandemic.

The Holy Spirit will begin moving to renew societies and cultures worldwide.  What is coming in the future will be a spiritual revival of hearts, minds and lives like we have never seen before. From God’s perspective, God can take a bad situation and turn it into something good.

Those whose hearts had been cold toward God will return to him again. People you might have never expected will begin to seek after spiritual things. There will be a big return back to God. The Holy Spirit will be calling people into repentance and return to God, to come to Jesus the Savior, and experience peace.

This pandemic has shown us that control over the events of the world does not rest in our own human power. It is not our call and it never was. We might be rich, powerful, strong, healthy, smart and intelligent, funny, beautiful, but ultimately we are all the same like everyone else who are not these things. Human power will not be enough to overcome the evils that have impacted our world today.  As peoples and nations, it will be a humbling thing to come to this realization. It is what God wants us to realize.

A spiritual revival or renewal is on the horizon. It will bring a spiritual peace to entire societies and cultures around the world. At last, people will be free to live for God again, so get ready.

Get ready for God’s sovereign move

1/ There is still hope. This hope will not be found in ourselves. This hope rests solely in the love of God.  The peace of God will be freely given.  The gifts of God will be poured out into your life and cover all your disgraces, all your poverty, your losses, and yes, even the sins you have been keeping disclosed.  That is the amazing love of God that Jesus came to give us. 

2/ Another thing we can do is to pray to God and ask Him for forgiveness and be reconciled with God again.  Christ the Lord will come into your life and give you His peace.  The Holy Spirit will live with your family and give your spouse and children a peace that cannot be found anywhere else. Jesus is about love, peace and joy. So pray.

3/ This is just the start, but God is moving in this world to change, renew, and align our hearts and minds to that of God’s heart and mind (God’s will) . A new wave of revival will cause our cold and hardened hearts to return to God. This will be a sovereign move of God’s Spirit to soften our hearts, renew us and ultimately, renew society and culture. Then we will have hope of liberty and freedom to live in unity with God.

4/ Each of us, each of our families, each of our places of worship, will do well by preparing our hearts for this future coming. Be open to what God is about to do in our lives. Jesus Christ may be looking at you and desiring to have your heart and spirit re-awakened and re-aligned to be in tune with God’s Holy Spirit. If so, get ready. It’s starting soon.

Marriage after Corona/Covid-19

Hi, I want to share a part of my life’s story in the blogosphere. It’ll be a longer read than usual.  I grew up seeing my parents suffer together.  When I was a young kid on the west coast, my father raised the family (my Mom, brother and me) by working two or three part-time jobs.  Life was tough in my younger years but I didn’t know the difference. 

Later on we moved to the plains. We worked hard together.  I grew up seeing my parents live a family-first model of marriage.  In this model, marriage is not so much about romance but it’s also about the kids, money, raising a family together.

When I grew up, became a young adult, went off to college. I was taught to believe that the soul mate model of marriage was the only true way to live.  Life was about seeking happiness, and marriage was supposed to bring happiness.  From a secular view, marriage was actually seen as optional.  Marriage and children were a hindrance. These things can get in the way of achieving happiness and a comfortable lifestyle.  This is today’s current view of marriage. This will, however, change.

After college, I moved to the big city.  I believed that life was all about achieving success in one’s career.  It was about finding the love of your life; one could then live happily ever after.  I bought into society’s ideals hook-line-and-sinker.  Love and success were supposed to make a person happy.  If one doesn’t find success and happiness, you would then be settling for second place; and second place was a loser’s place.

In a recent essay in the Wall Street Journal, author W. Bradford Wilcox said this about the soul mate model of marriage:

“For those who are already married, the stresses and strains of marriage and family life in the time of Covid-19 will send thousands of couples to divorce court. Marital failure will be especially common for husbands and wives under the sway of what I call the “soul mate model” of marriage. The soul mate model—trumpeted in books like Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love,” not to mention countless songs and rom-coms—is the idea that marriage is primarily about an intense emotional and romantic connection between two people and should last only so long as that connection remains happy and fulfilling for both parties. This self-centered model gained in popularity for many Americans starting in the 1970s, the ‘Me Decade.’”

Later in my young adulthood life I realized this model to life and marriage was wrong-headed. I could see it taking me no where. I then realized that this was actually a mass deception created and perpetuated by the mainstream media and by Hollywood. A Me-First mentality.  I looked back and began to consider history and traditions, and why life seemed better in the golden olden days. Call it nostalgia if you wish.

I looked at myself and didn’t like what I had become.  Self-centered.  Selfish.  Prideful.  I knew that there had to be more to life than just seeking happiness for myself. I confessed and repented of my ways. I made a switch, slowly but surely.

Wilcox said of the family-first model of marriage: “in times of trial and tribulation, most people—and most spouses—don’t become more self-centered, they become more other-centered, more cognizant of how much they need their family members to navigate difficult and dark times.  He believes that in a post-Covid-19 society, the family-first model of marriage will gain ground against the soul mate model.  I agree with this.

Since the great depression of the 1930s, we haven’t had such a big downturn in job losses. During this Covid-19, experts and economists are saying that we will definitely have a recession, or even, a depression.  I have never seen communities as a whole pull together. Perhaps 9/11 in New York City was one instance but on a national and worldwide scale, I don’t think this generation has ever seen anything within our lifetime as during this pandemic. There may very well be or a soon-to-be economic collapse, but of course, I’m hoping there won’t be one. It’s safe to say that everyone is coming to realize the dangers and calamity the virus will inevitably cause. 

I believe that in the end, people will pull together as communities, for the good of the community.  Families will also pull together and stick together.  Why?  In togetherness, one becomes stronger than when one is alone. Friendships will be bound together based on teamwork, team spirit and camaraderie.

An opposing direction that a post-Covid-19 society might go is the prepper-survival mentality.  Every man (and woman) for himself.  Screw the rest.  Prepare your home as a fortress to hide out.  Fill it with food, bullets, and survival items in order to stave off collapse for months or even years.  And bear fire arms. Have your ammo ready.  Lock and load to protect your fortress.  If the situation ever gets so bad, it could come to this low level post-Armageddon mentality.  Perhaps I’m too optimistic but I don’t think it will come to this level.

In togetherness, one becomes stronger than when one is alone. Friendships will be bound together based on teamwork, team spirit and camaraderie.

Families will come together because as human beings, we know there is something more to life than just living life in order to seek happiness.  There is also happiness in seeking to live life together.  This latter approach to life is bigger than life itself.  It puts the pressure off of yourself, the individual.  The pressure to succeed now lays in the bigger group, the community, and the family.

“There is also happiness in seeking to live life together.  This latter approach to life is bigger than life itself.”

My parents taught me something about sticking it out for the long haul.  Suffering for a short time will pay off in the longer term.  After I took on this new view of life, things began to change.  God blessed me with a life partner (rather than a soul mate).  We began a family together.  We now have a daughter in middle school.  Life hasn’t always been easy but life has been good together.  So far, so good.

This has been a part of my life experience and I wish to share this with the community I’m a part of in the blogosphere. I hope it encourages a few people out there who might read this.