“When You’re Burned Out, Wounded and Overwhelmed”
By Dr. Gregory R. Frizzell ©

When Paul Pickern so graciously asked me to write some articles for All Pro Pastors International, I was deeply humbled and honored. Having just written a research book on pastor’s prayer meetings, I have thoroughly studied today’s global ministries to pastors. There is absolutely no group as crucial as pastors and no ministry more powerful than All Pro Pastors International. They even have a ministry to pray for pastors which I strongly encourage pastors to use.
Because pastors are facing unprecedented pressures, I sense this introductory article should be a testimony of encouragement and practical help. It is the story of how God’s grace transformed my life and ministry at a time of devastating difficulty and impossibility. My earnest hope is that our experience of God’s grace and deliverance will be an encouragement to pastors today. Absolutely nothing is more important than encouraging and strengthening the Lord’s shepherds. Pastors are the enemy’s primary target and God’s primary means for spreading Christ’s kingdom. They and their churches are the spiritual soul and fate of our nation and world. Loving and uplifting pastors is a burning passion of my heart.
Having been blessed to work with persecuted underground pastors, I have witnessed how God gives incredible joy and power in even the darkest places. In today’s intense conditions, it is crucial for pastors to have a joy, passion and power that is truly of the Holy Spirit, not circumstances. We are now far past what academics, personality and programs alone can overcome. But while the early Church and Christian reformers faced even worse challenges than most today, they totally transformed their world for Christ. We too can trust in the risen Lord Who is “the same yesterday, today and forever!” (Hebrews 13:8) I pray this testimony brings glory to God and fresh hope to pastors and their churches.

A Story of God’s Grace in the Fire
“Be Careful What You Pray For”

We often hear the half-joking phrase, “be careful about praying for patience because you know how you get it.” While of course we definitely should pray for this important grace, it is among the more challenging of the spiritual fruits. Shortly after graduation from seminary in 1983, I unwittingly discovered another somewhat risky prayer. It was when I prayed “Lord give me some good experience for growth in ministry.” Well, the Lord definitely answered that prayer, though a lot different than I expected.
Just as I was considering a call to pastor a church with strong growth potential, I got a call from another church. It was to be the Associate Pastor/Minister of Evangelism in a church in a very high crime, declining area. Then shortly after they contacted me, the TV news erupted with a catastrophic scandal involving sex abuse allegations about their church run daycare. In that day, such a thing was virtually unheard of. There was devastating publicity on every TV station and newspaper for a six state radius. I thought “phew,” I am so glad I didn’t go there!
But surprisingly, the embattled church still wanted to proceed in trying to fill their staff position. They asked me if I would at least please pray about coming to be their Associate Pastor of Evangelism. Of course in my most spiritual voice, I told them, “Oh yes, I’ll pray about it.” Frankly, I thought to myself, that’s an easy one — I’m not going into a situation like that. No way! I just knew the Lord would surely have me to go to the much easier church where I could quickly reach more people. But when I actually prayed about it, the Lord definitely led me to go to the church in the intense battle. I wish I could say I was perfectly brave and noble, but I had some very deep concerns. I even told the Lord of many perfectly logical reasons why I shouldn’t go. But somehow, He just wasn’t buying my human reasoning. So, I told the church that I would come.
Ominously, even before I arrived on the church field more allegations erupted and soon brought additional arrests. Legal bills were exploding to shocking levels on top of a major church building debt. The surrounding community was hit with a shocking new crime wave and an even greater stream of people began moving away. But unbelievably, circumstances were about to get even much more intense. After just a few months as associate pastor, the responsibility to become their pastor suddenly fell to me. Though conditions seemed hopeless, the Lord was about to teach me that nothing is too hard for Him. But, it would require me to learn some lessons I really thought I already knew. It would also take five years of almost indescribable pain and battle.

Coming to the End of Our Own Strength

As the church entered into a continuous five year nightmare, the circumstances were far worse than I could ever describe in any article. In the first three years, the battles were so intense my life was actually threatened for trying to help “that” church. A seminary professor told me in forty years of teaching, he had never heard of anything so extreme. He said, it was essentially the “Chernobyl” of the church world. (Not exactly a title you desire.) Yet, the core people of the church truly loved their Lord, their church and their inexperienced young pastor. I owe those dear people an eternal debt of gratitude.
So for five years, we aggressively used the best evangelism, discipleship and growth programs in existence. I sought to faithfully preach the whole counsel of Scripture and we even had weekly church prayer meetings. Toward the end of the fifth year, church decline was bad enough that things were getting really desperate. As a last ditch effort we conducted a massive community-wide visitation campaign to over five thousand households. But with a rapidly declining community and constant negative news coverage, the church continued downward. Even after all of the intense efforts, we were seeing few people saved, rising disunity, very few visitors and continuing decline. Five years earlier we were four to five hundred in attendance, but had dropped to well less than two hundred and fifty.
The church was increasingly discouraged and so was their pastor. Though I could still preach and put on a fairly good face, I was seriously burned out, wounded and dry. I also began to deal with some painful ongoing health issues. Yet, I personally knew some persecuted believers who had incredible joy and evangelistic power in some of the darkest regions of earth. I also realized the early Church and Christian reformers had great joy and power even in the face of horrific torture and martyrdom. So I knew greater strength, joy and closeness with Jesus were definitely possible. Then what was wrong with me? I felt great condemnation and failure over my strong feelings of doubt, frustration and weakness. At that point, I seriously considered leaving the ministry. I actually took the air traffic controller test and passed with a high score. It was God’s grace alone that kept me from leaving. Once I committed to stay, the Lord gave me peace He would do something that would one day encourage other pastors in days of intense battles. With pandemics and growing persecutions, such days are now a reality for millions.

Three Life-Changing Revelations

As I sought the Lord for greater closeness, joy and power, He led me to do a very deep study of John 15:4-16, 1 Corinthians 2:1-4, 2 Corinthians 7:1, Acts 1:4-8, 4:29-34, 5:41 and James 5:16-18. In these texts, it became clear that abundant spiritual fruit and Spirit-empowerment flow only from deep closeness with Jesus, fervent prayer and full yieldedness of heart. As I further researched the leaders of great awakenings and persecuted believers, the Lord opened my eyes to three specific points of inadequacy in my walk with Christ. Though by today’s rushed patterns my prayer life might have seemed above average, it was definitely not sufficient by God’s standards in Scripture and historic awakenings. The Lord graciously helped me see three missing elements that ultimately made a vast difference in my life and church. I pray these insights will help fellow pastors as much as they transformed me.

First, I realized I was focusing so much on God’s love, I was neglecting the reverential fear of His holiness. As a result, I had settled for using some popular heart cleansing/surrender guides that were simply not complete enough to bring specific yielding in all key areas of sin and self. (Psalm 139:23-24; 2 Corinthians 7:1) The Lord helped me see that there were actually around seven areas I needed to yield fully and consistently. (Most cleansing/growth guides deal with only four or five general areas.) I also saw that full surrender to Jesus had to involve a continual yielding of “self, weights of hindrance and heart idols,” not just sin. (Matthew 16:24; Hebrews 12:1-2) I was discovering that Jesus wanted to be Lord of even our motives and secret thoughts. And while of course we are all very much a work in progress, we do have to at least be in serious, intentional progress.
I began to realize being “under grace” in no way meant I could marginalize ever-deeper growth and surrender. If the Apostle Paul needed to continually “press toward the mark” and “perfect holiness in the fear of God,” I surely needed it all the more! But I really didn’t have a clear enough handle on how to walk in that. The Lord was revealing that I needed to more fully revere His awesome holiness. After much prayer and study, the Lord led me to develop a seven category pattern of Scripture to pray through. There were twelve to fourteen Scriptures and issues for each major category. Bear in mind, this was to be a process prayed through over several days, not at one prayer time. It was to be a grace relationship of love and surrender, not a legalistic guilt trip.

Second, the Lord helped me recognize that my personal time in His word and prayer was stopping short of the relational abiding in Christ described in Scripture. (John 15:4-16) I realized many quiet time models either left out or marginalized two or three essential biblical elements of full surrender and empowerment in Christ. Many prayer patterns stopped at general confession (with little emphasis on specific repentance.) Most models further omitted any intentional time to meditate on God’s word and truly listen to His voice.
I also noticed many devotional patterns tended to focus more on personal desires and needs than God’s kingdom and righteousness. They were kind of a reverse of Matthew 6:33. More importantly, I sensed God wanted me to view time in His word and prayer more as truly experiencing a relationship than just doing my prayer and Bible reading. Though the changes did require some additional time, it wasn’t exorbitant, undoable or legalistic. Over the next several weeks I began to experience a major difference in closeness with Jesus.

Third, the Lord helped me more fully understand that all true growth and power flow solely from His grace and Holy Spirit-empowerment, not legalism or religious works. (Galatians 3:1-3, 5:16; Ephesians 2:8-9, 5:18) I knew as I embraced the deeper cleansing and yielding, I had to stay focused on my full acceptance by God’s grace in Christ. It was so freeing to realize God doesn’t convict His children to condemn, but to transform us by His grace and Spirit. So rather than dreading deeper cleansing and yielding, I knew I was to desire it out of love for Christ. (1 John 3:3, 5:3) So with these three biblical principles firmly in my mind, I began a twelve week focused journey of deeper surrender and more complete time in God’s word and prayer. It was the beginning of a relationship journey that would utterly transform my life, ministry and church!

A Wounded, Weary Pastor Renewed and Empowered

During the first few weeks, I slowly prayed through all seven key areas of cleansing and surrender. Those specific areas were: thoughts/heart focus, attitudes, words/social media, all relationships, sins of transgression, sins omission, yielding of self /weights and heart idols. Soon, a much greater revelation of God’s holiness gripped my heart. As the Lord brought deeper brokenness and godly sorrow, a reverential fear of the Lord became much more real. Over just those first weeks, the Lord revealed no less than eleven specific areas for confession, repentance and deeper surrender.
Several issues were things I had no idea were hindering God’s Spirit (i.e. confession without repentance, selfish motives, secret thoughts, people I had not fully forgiven, prideful ambition, desiring the praise of men, self-preservation, etc.) I found when I truly allowed the Lord to deeply search all areas, I saw things I would never have seen with the more brief, general patterns. But praise God, it was about grace, growth and empowerment, not condemnation and guilt! Above all, it was about embracing the life-long journey to ever-more fully know, love and revere the Lord. (John 17:3; Matthew 22:37; Ecclesiastes 12:13)
By the end of about nine weeks, I was becoming a very different person. Though many situations at the church were actually worse and my physical condition more painful, God gave me a joy and peace unlike anything I had ever known. He was teaching me that my peace, joy and love had to be in Jesus alone, not my personal, family or ministry circumstances. Though I have certainly had to re-learn and grow in that truth many times since, it was a huge turning point. My preaching was empowered like never before and God’s word came much more alive to me. Before long, the Lord was revealing some powerful new insights to help my beleaguered church.

Two Essential Principles of Spiritual Power

While I still had (and have) plenty of battles, pain and need for growth, God was opening my eyes to two key principles. First — it is impossible to experience full New Testament-type joy, power and intimacy with Christ without New Testament-type prayer and surrender to Christ’s Lordship. Second — we will never be any more full of the Holy Spirit, than we are willing to be daily emptied of both sin and self. While we experience it all by trusting in God’s grace and Spirit, we must nonetheless choose the continuous growth and yielding. There really isn’t a short cut and none of us ever outgrow the need to be perfecting holiness in both the love and reverence of God. (John 15:9-13; Philippians 2:12-13, 3:10-14) The Lord wants none of us to be in a spiritual coast mode.
As busy pastors, it can be easy to overlook this need and casually assume “oh yes, I’m already doing the cleansing and yielding.” Yet, we may unwittingly be doing a watered-down version rather than one of full biblical completeness and depth. That had definitely happened to me but I didn’t realize it. The truth is, the Lord wants to be taking all of us ever-deeper. No matter how long we’ve served God, there is always more to know of Jesus. (Philippians 3:10-14) In the many verses describing believers’ call to ever-deeper holiness and prayer, there is absolutely no hint that we can be casual or unintentional. (2 Corinthians 7:1; Philippians 2:12-13; Hebrews 12:14) But thank God, His grace and love are with us every step! Growing in Holiness is not a walk of condemnation, legalism or works that we have to endure. Rather, it is a relationship of grace we get to experience for God’s glory! (John 15:9; 1 John 5:3)

A Broken Church Revived and Empowered

As the Lord was transforming my own life, He then revealed the following two truths about my role as pastor. (1) It is impossible for believers to know, love and revere God fully if pastors do not clearly teach both His love and holiness. (2) It is impossible for churches to function in New Testament-type joy and power if pastors do not clearly teach and consistently call them to New Testament-type prayer and surrender. I realized that if I said (or implied) that a brief little devotion is all believers need, then that is all they will likely do. (And most won’t even do that.) In that moment, I knew what God wanted me to teach and preach for the next six months. So using the key Scriptures that had so transformed my life, I taught the more complete biblical patterns of abiding in Christ by His word, prayer and surrender.
First, I started by teaching my members to embrace more complete biblical times in daily prayer and Scripture. Though I was not asking that my peoples’ quiet times be unduly long, they would experience a pattern for deeper surrender, closer listening to God’s voice and prayer that was more Spirit-empowered. The goal was for their time in Scripture and prayer to be more a dialogue of talking and listening to God through His word. So for a few weeks, a core minority of my church transformed their patterns of personal prayer and Scripture. They would also seek to meditate, listen and apply God’s word, not just read it.
Second, I taught my people the seven element pattern for ongoing deep yielding of sin and self. While it was not some magic formula, it did provide a clearer biblical mark toward which we are all to be pressing continually. Indeed, how can people fully yield and daily “press toward the mark” if they really don’t have one that is clear and practical?
We also discovered that the seven elements of cleansings and growth were very practical for ongoing daily use (after the initial deeper focused cleansing.) By being seven categories, a believer could easily focus on one different life area each day. In that pattern, believers freshly surrender and grow in all key areas of life each week. Though it’s certainly not a magic formula, I have never found a better way to help believers continually “press toward the mark” and “perfect holiness in the fear of God.” And for sure, none of us will ever outgrow the seven biblical areas of cleansing and growth.

All God Needs is a Dedicated Remnant

(Judges 7:1-7)

As any pastor surely knows, it is usually just a small minority that will embrace deepest commitment to holiness and prayer. For my first few years of pastoring, I was much troubled that a majority of people seemed somewhat lukewarm about deeper prayer, repentance and soul winning. It was freeing when God revealed to me that He begins His deep working through a dedicated remnant, not the lukewarm majority. Leaders if we are not careful, it is easy to spend so much time catering to the majority, we fail to take the remnant to true New Testament depth and power.
While in my church it was only a remnant that responded to the call to deeper quiet times and surrender, I focused on deepening that remnant. And what God did through that small minority was phenomenal! Within about three months, some of my people were definitely praying both alone (and together) on a new level. The Lord was changing both our personal and corporate prayer patterns. And while answers to prayer often come quite slowly and gradually, in our particularly desperate need the Lord moved with merciful swiftness and power.
Though we had tried all the best growth programs and visited over 5,000 households in six weeks, the church was steadily declining. Yet as people began to pray on a deeper level, the Lord led several to pray specifically that He would “send laborers” into our church body. Some of us sensed God had given a promise from Matthew 9:37-38. Miraculously after a few weeks, several people just suddenly started visiting our church. And this was right in the middle of horrific publicity and a rapidly declining area.
The first Sunday when about seven walked the aisle to join our church, it was like a Red Sea miracle. In fact when the first ones came down the aisle to join, I almost felt like saying, “What do you want?” (I was so out of practice!) And as many more people joined in coming weeks, several literally said, “We want to go to work for God.” Just as He promised, the Lord was sending laborers and tithers into our struggling church! In truth, I think some of my people had more faith than their pastor. While answers to prayer definitely don’t always come fast, the effectual, fervent prayers of yielded hearts still avail much!

A New Passion and Power For Soul Winning

One crucial change was the difference that came to some marriages and family relationships. We also saw some remarkable healing in broken and strained relationships between church members. But an especially powerful change was a new passion to intercede and witness to lost people. Those who had gone deeper in prayer were definitely praying with greater effectiveness, fervency, faith and power. One particularly quiet shy woman began to fast and pray for thirty lost people. And though she had never before led anyone to Christ, she actually went to witness to most of the people on her list. Within six months, I baptized twenty-one of her thirty! For those months, the Lord probably used that unassuming little praying lady more than anyone. But the answers were just beginning.
Though our church had been praying for about sixty lost people for five years, only a very few had been saved. And as people began to pray with much greater power and faith, we saw forty-five of the sixty saved and baptized within nine months! One of our men began fasting and praying for a co-worker who was notoriously rough and violent. That rough co-worker was among those who were gloriously saved and became one of our most faithful witnesses for Jesus.
A Sunday School teacher had long been praying for a son who was drifting. For years there was no change except for the worse. But as her closeness and surrender went to another level, she said “my prayers are just different now. I truly believe God has shown me my son will be saved and become a minister.” A few weeks later, that young man gave his life to Christ. And you guessed it, for many years now he has been an ordained minister in Middle Tennessee.

Deeper Unity and Healed Relationships

As God’s moving increased, many church members at last saw wayward children restored, spouses saved and relationships healed. And though our people still didn’t all enjoy the same worship style or agree on all issues, God gave us a stronger love and unity anyway. And finally the legal and financial answers began to happen.
After five years of an intense legal battle, the Lord brought full court vindication and victory for the church and people acquitted. But then we needed another miracle. We faced over-whelming debt from over five years of legal fees. Once again through intense united prayer, God graciously moved and saved the church. The Lord led eight kind-hearted attorneys to forgive the church close to a million dollar debt. And one of those attorneys came to Jesus!
Dear pastors, while answers definitely don’t always come quick, God can yet move in even the darkest places and times. But, it still requires the effectual, fervent prayers of yielded hearts. (James 5:16) Regardless of new theories, programs, academics or strategies, these can never replace true heart-yieldedness and powerful united prayer. Yet if we are not careful, we can easily wind up placing greater focus and time on everything in the world except the one thing that brings full New Testament power. (Mark 11:17; Acts 1:8; James 5:16-18) And while it is certainly not the intent, a subtle form of spiritual inoculation creeps into our lives and churches. In “inoculation” we embrace a weakened version of something that keeps us from getting the real thing. There is little question this is a major unrecognized hindrance for countless busy leaders and churches.

Overcoming Today’s Spiritual Desensitization and Inoculation

Sadly, many well-meaning believers have unwittingly embraced prayer and surrender patterns that stop short of true biblical abiding in Christ’s fullness and power. Given society’s saturation with impurity and materialism, believers can also become “desensitized” to some common daily patterns that are seriously hindering God’s Spirit. And when the Spirit is hindered, believers are much more vulnerable to marriage and parenting failures. Because we live in a day when so few have seen true biblical revival and awakening, it is easy to become so accustomed to sub-normal patterns, we can begin to think that is all there is. We then fall into the unconscious trap of “measuring ourselves by ourselves” rather than God’s word and Spirit. (2 Corinthians 10:12) There is an important truth in a statement by late revivalist Manley Beasley. “We will generally have about as much of God as we’re willing to settle for.” (Jeremiah 29:13; Hebrews 11:6)
Though today is a sound-bite, cliffs-notes type society, fullest New Testament power and closeness just don’t come from sound-bite prayers and surface confession. Because of well-meaning efforts to give people something brief and simple, believers can quite easily get stuck in below average (or shallow) patterns. Thus with many, their spiritual life is a lot like trying to drive a car at Interstate speeds in first gear. No matter how hard someone might try, no one can travel seventy miles per hour in first gear.
Given the prevalence of overly-quick, surface devotions, it is a virtual certainly that many are experiencing an unintended form of “spiritual inoculation.” While believers will surely experience some joy and strength, it is often not the rivers of living water and powerful prayer Jesus intends for His people. (John 7:38; Mark 11:22-24; James 5:16) When people embrace weakened versions of prayer and surrender, they are hindered from experiencing the full reality of Christ’s fullness and power.
It is crucial for believers to realize there really is a major difference between a little devotional moment and God-seeking, heart yielding prayer times. And though believers may be filled with all kinds of intellectual Bible knowledge, doctrines and new methods, one thing is certain. None of us will ever rise spiritually above the height of our personal prayer life and depth of our heart surrender and closeness to Christ. (John 15:4-13; James 5:16) Yet by God’s great grace, deeper surrender and fullness are definitely not out of reach for even the busiest believers and pastors!

A Word of Grace and Hope for Pastors

In writing this testimony of my first church, I pray one thing is clear. All of the transformation was solely by the incredible grace, mercy and power of God. It certainly wasn’t some eloquent, impressive pastor because they didn’t have one. Though we aggressively tried all the programs and strategies of the day, they were not what turned the tide. And while we certainly “said” a lot of prayers, during the first five years, most were not quite the “effectual, fervent prayers of the righteous that avail much.” But in His marvelous grace, the Lord helped us see that James 5:16 has an opposite truth it is all-too easy to ignore.
Just as the “effectual, fervent prayers of the righteous avails much,” the ineffective, casual prayers of the unyielded avail little. This is almost surely a major reason so many have been “praying for revival” and so few churches have actually seen it. The Bible is clear that just “saying” voluminous prayers does not mean they are necessarily powerful. (Isaiah 58:1-6, 59:1-2) In His grace, the Lord was showing our church that prayers and surrender needed to go higher. Yet with some fairly simple and practical biblical adjustments, the Lord helped a broken, discouraged people move more into the flow of His grace and power. And though we were far from perfect, the Lord did a “surprising work of grace.” If He could move in a setting like ours, there is surely hope for those who now read these words.
More each day, my fervent prayer is to encourage and help pastors in the fiery assaults they now face from every angle. And I very much write as a fellow learner, not some exalted lecturer of others. In sharing my testimony of God’s grace in a broken church, I am mindful of the importance of accuracy and balance. So to be clear, I am definitely not suggesting God led us to some magic formula that guarantees quick answers and continuous growth. The precise timing and number of how God moves is always in His hands, not ours. Neither am I implying if we just pray and surrender enough, everything will be rosy and we’ll see miracles by the minute. That is definitely not the case. We still live in earthen vessels of flesh with persecutions and spiritual warfare ever-increasing. Yet as we cast ourselves on God’s grace, there is great hope in His mercy and strength. The Lord Jesus has not lost His power and can still do “surprising works of grace!”

Christ’s Great Desire to Strengthen Pastors

Above all else, I pray this article brings encouragement and hope to fellow soldiers of the cross. The last thing I desire is for any pastor to feel condemned or discouraged about their difficult settings or lack of growth numbers. Thank the Lord, He does not judge us by church size or growth patterns. In some cases, church members just will not respond to serious calls to deeper prayer and surrender. All we can do is faithfully seek to encourage and equip. The response is ultimately up to them. I am further convinced some of the greatest eternal rewards may well go to pastors who were never called to write a book or privileged to see explosive growth. God most rewards the faithfulness, humility and purity with which we serve in our own appointed places. In fact, among God’s greatest heroes of faith are some of our bi-vocational pastors. Though they may be called “part-time,” there is nothing part-time about the hearts and ministries of so many.
It is also true that some of God’s greatest pastors have at one time or another been viciously attacked, fired, falsely scandalized or abandoned. (Some examples are the Lord Jesus, the Apostle Paul, Jonathan Edwards, etc.) Obviously, none of these were failures! And sometimes, it is the next pastor that gets to see the church grow. Our call there was to plow and deal with hindrances. That too is surely no failure. In truth, plowing and sowing are often harder than reaping. But remember, our gracious Lord definitely notices and rewards “degree of difficulty and sacrifice.” (Mark 12:41-44)
And pastors, even when we have totally blown it and it is all our fault, remember the ignominious failures of several leaders in the Bible. Yet, the Lord still loved them and used many again! Even as I write these words, I have a sense some readers need the encouraging message of Psalm 24:16. “Though a righteous man fall seven times, he will get up.” If the Lord still loved and used Peter, there is hope for us. So please don’t stay down dear pastor! Great are the Lord’s compassions and His mercies are new each morning. (Lamentations 3:22-23) And for pastors who may think “I’m just too far along in my ministry for major changes, God can still restore years locusts have eaten. And think of the key “old men” God picked and used in Scripture. I have seen several ministers of advanced years, experience a remarkable new work of grace.
As shepherds, the most crucial thing any of us can do is make sure we are truly abiding in the fervent prayer and surrender the New Testament describes. Sadly, I must confess there have been times since those early ministry years when I drifted back into what I call the “Martha Syndrome.” (Luke 10:38) And it always negatively impacted my life, family and church. This happens to us when (like well-meaning Martha), we get so busy trying to work for Christ and people, we don’t spend enough time with Him in prayer and total heart surrender. And just like Martha, we inevitably end up frustrated, vulnerable and spiritually powerless. The Lord is always as much (or more) concerned with our relationship with Him and what we are than just going through the outward actions of ministry. All of our works will be judged by what “sort” they are. (1 Corinthians 3:13)

Avoiding the “Martha Syndrome”
Modern Pastors’ Most Subtle Risk

Pastors, whether we are contemporary or traditional, reform or non-reform, charismatic or non-charismatic, the foundations of biblical prayer and surrender are equally non-negotiable for us all. If we are not mindful, the ministry itself can become as something of a false idol and mistress we place above closeness and full surrender to Christ Himself. The Lord is a jealous God who is grieved by over-focus or reliance on anything more than closeness and first love passion for Jesus. For Abraham, the key turning point was when God asked Him to sacrifice Isaac, his greatest love and promise. Pastors if we let them, even “blessings, ministry and outward success” can become heart idols that come ahead of God Himself. But thank the Lord, He is willing to renew us afresh if were turn to Him with all our hearts. (Zechariah 1:3)
Another vital key is for pastors to pray together and be partners, not competitors. That is why ministries like AllProPastors are so crucial. Absolutely none of us are designed to function as lone rangers! (And it would be arrogant to think that we are.) Frankly, I don’t believe I would have made it without a few special pastors who truly be-friended me. I would likely not be alive except for the personal friendship and prayers of Henry Blackably and T. W. Hunt. So as important as are activities, education and innovative programs, they can never replace powerful personal and united prayer with others.
There is actually one sense in which today’s unpresented explosion of education, innovative methods, ready-made sermons and strategies can become a subtle risk. It is the risk of emphasizing and relying more on these than on deep surrender, prayer and Holy Spirit-empowerment. Many pastors are even tricked into thinking “it is alright if my prayer life is kind of average because my main strength is preaching, pastoring, administration, or vision casting.” This is surely among Satan’s most damaging deceptions for today’s shepherds.

Distractions Bring Powerlessness and Vulnerability

Beyond question, too little time in prayer and surrender leaves pastors vulnerable to pornography, wrong relationships, and all other pitfalls. Fervent prayer also makes a huge difference in withstanding today’s unprecedented pressures upon marriage and parenting. The problem with the “prayer is not my main strength mindset” is that it is the exact opposite of the example and teaching of Jesus, the Apostles and virtually all leaders of historic awakenings. Since fervent prayer and surrender were definitely their priority practices, so too they must be ours! To do less is to do without God’s fullest anointing and power. Regardless of what some may think, we do not have a plan that is better than God’s.
After nearly four decades of researching historic awakenings and missions movements, it has never been more clear that fullest New Testament power and awakening must start with deeply cleansed, revived pastors. (Joel 2:17; Malachi 3:2-4; Acts 6:4; 2 Corinthians 7:1) As few before, our generation must re-learn the essential principle of the apostle Paul. Though he was a brilliant man of learning, he did not rely on high learning, leadership persona or persuasive words of men. His primary reliance was on the “demonstration of the Spirit and power.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-4) He summed it best when he wrote, “The kingdom of God is not in word (or talk), but in (spiritual) power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20) Regardless of the excellent new tools we are blessed to use, New Testament-type power still requires New Testament-type prayer, surrender and Spirit-empowerment. (Zechariah 4:6)

The Testimony From Then to Now

Though my first church never again saw quite the numbers of that initial strong move, God continued to do extraordinary things through deeper prayer and surrender. While we had little extra money, the Lord birthed a multi-state radio ministry and book distribution that ultimately went into many languages. Indeed, all that God has done in my life since, began from His grace in the faithful people of my first church. I will never forget their commitment. Then five years later in 1994, I contracted a devastating case of Lymes disease which was improperly diagnosed and treated. The illness did significant long-term damage. My doctor said I would likely need to go on disability as intense writing, preaching and missions travel would be difficult if not impossible.
As I prayed over this, I was begging God to heal me. And while in many cases He will heal, the Lord spoke through 2 Corinthians 12:9. It was where the Apostle Paul was begging God to deliver him from an incredibly painful thorn. But, the Lord told him “no.” He promised sufficient grace to give Him power in midst of pain and weakness. While I definitely did not want to hear that answer, I knew God could bring greater strength and fruit out of pain. So rather than healing, the Lord’s answer was to call me to still deeper levels of prayer and surrender. (And the truth is, we can always go deeper.) And though at that time I had never written an actual book, the Lord promised grace to write multiple books and spread them over key mission fields worldwide. In spite of many disappointments, battles, discouragements and struggles, God has been faithful to His word!
While, I have lived with pain and periodic bouts of extreme fatigue since 1994, there are now over forty books and resources on many mission fields. Solely by God’s hand, at least one book is printed in more than forty languages. And though doctors said extensive travel would be near impossible, the Lord has sent me nearly three million miles conducting over a thousand church and pastor renewal conferences.

God’s Strength in Our Impossibilities

Though better circumstances and healing can surely bring God glory, His grace can also be very real in our weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:10) If we walk in trust, His grace and joy are stronger than our circumstances. Though I have seen God’s gracious hand in forty years of ministry, I think the greatest joy is seeing the Lord work in prayer/renewal conferences in churches and pastors groups. The joy is actually seeing Christ’s shepherds and people face to face. For churches, our primary conference has been Going Deeper With God. With pastor groups, it is Principles of New Testament, Great Awakening-Type Ministry. And especially when ministering among persecuted underground pastors and churches, I have undoubtedly learned far more from them than they learned from me.
Because my heart passion is to help pastors and churches, I close this article with a mention of two practical books. The two Scripture-filled books are: How to Develop a Powerful Prayer Life and Returning to Holiness, or its later version, Return to Me Says the Lord. The book, Return to Me has appendices that are practical tools for effective daily prayer, full surrender and evangelistic intercession.
As readers might guess, these are the books God birthed from His gracious movement in my first church. The studies are specifically designed to raise believers’ level of prayer and deepen their surrender to Christ’s Lordship. They are about deeper intimacy, joy and power in Jesus. Above all, the studies are about glorifying God’s name and spreading Christ’s kingdom. The books are encouraging and practical for individual, small groups or church-wide growth and renewal. By God’s grace, people have donated nearly two million of these books in strategic mission fields.
In the US and Canada, we sell books for reasonable prices to make it easy for churches to use. The books can be obtained at www.frizzellministries.org for those in North America and Canada. Just go to our website and click on the “Ordering Resources” tab to find the particular books. For those outside North America, go to http://masterdesign.org/frizzellspecial.html. (Some of our other books are distributed only in the mission countries and are therefore not available on our website.)If I can help with information about a book or conference, it would be my deepest joy. Please feel free to contact me at info@frizzellministries.org.
As today’s darkness and persecution intensify, may God encourage, guide and protect all of His shepherds. It is and shall always be the most important calling on earth! As go pastors, so goes our churches. And as go our churches, so goes our cities, nations and the world. Let us determine to ever-abide in Christ and His word in us. In Him, we can “ask whatever we will, walk in joy and bear much fruit to the glory of God’s name!” (John 15:4-13)

To the Glory of God and Christ,

The most starling thing about Covid-19 since its beginning in 2020 is the disconnections between what we see on TV and a basic search for the facts.  Now before we continue to show how only Covid-19 lives, matter, I must first show that the total number of deaths, especially here in America, have been inflated and virtually manufactured.  These are bold claims, but honestly all we have to do is to look at two basic statements by the CDC, which is the Center for Disease Control here in America.  The CDC would certainly be most people’s go to source for actual facts on Covid, so listen closely.  The first piece of evidence came when the director of the CDC agrees that hospitals have a monetary incentive to inflate COVID-19 data or deaths.  He also went on to say that inflated numbers of certain diagnoses has already happened in the past with HIV / AIDS.  

 

Unfortunately, there are lots of reasons why this inflation has happened.  The first is that Covid shutdowns resulted in hospitals that were more than half empty.  On top of that, all elective procedures were canceled.  I have had two billing specialists for different hospitals that both confirmed that billing is down 70-80%.  Now imagine that your business is running on fumes, but there is the new diagnosis that pays at least $10,000 more than anything else.  Now imagine that there aren’t even enough tests to confirm this diagnosis, which makes a Covid-19 diagnosis less objective and more about subjective symptoms.  

 

Maybe this is why for a while it seemed that Covid was responsible for some new problem almost every day.  Almost like it had a literal mind of its own.  It should also be kept in mind that the validity of the testing itself has also been in question since day one, and that the current test we use was not the one we started with that took weeks to get results.  I had a nurse, who works in a contagious disease practice, say that they do not do Covid testing because the test is not accurate.  I have had nurses tell me that they have tested positive for two weeks, negative for the next week, and they go back to positive again a few weeks later. I have had several patients tell me that they received their Covid-19 test results when they were never even tested at all.  

 

All of these instances are why we have all heard how audits of Covid-19 deaths have revealed things like someone dying from a car accident, but still being listed as dying from Covid.  I have multiple patients report that the hospital specifically asked if they could diagnose the death of their loved one as Covid-19.  One patient says that their family was offered $5000 by the hospital to let them diagnose the patient with Covid.  These stories explain why routine audits of Covid deaths can have somewhere between 30-50% inaccuracy.  Here is one such article on the accuracy of Covid deaths, including deaths that had already been counted previously.

  • https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/coronavirus/article246326410.html

 

Let’s look at the next piece of information to consider that also corresponds with the financial incentive to diagnose someone with Covid.  The CDC released the fact that 94% of COVID-19 deaths had underlying health problems, while only 6% died of the virus alone.  My first question was, well then if there was something else going on, then why did they diagnose them with Covid at all?  Unfortunately, we already answered why.  Money.  What also becomes obvious is that unless we have some pre-existing conditions, most of us have very little risk of dying from Covid.  

 

So, why didn’t they say what they really died from?  This is important because it allows us to make a differential diagnosis of the risk rate of each individual based on their pre-existing conditions, which we will detail shortly.  Unfortunately, we have a one size fits all prognosis for Covid, which is 100% fear, 100% of the time, and for 100% of us.  But as we will see, this is just not true.  So, we should already be asking ourselves, why are they trying to scare everyone?  What do they have to gain, and what is the hidden agenda?

  • https://www.christianpost.com/news/94-of-covid-19-deaths-had-underlying-health-problems-6-died-of-virus-alone-cdc-238680/?fbclid=IwAR0LkPG-WoKNBkm0pFEiF0U5r9DwTT4TM_5PLqafJhqf2MzWbpN9lb9nekQ

 

Certainly, death is scary enough without someone giving 24 /7 coverage of it, but how exactly does Covid fit into the bigger picture of death as a whole.  Whose deaths are we not being told about?  Obviously, we all die, but what I was shocked to discover is that not all lives are valued the same.  In fact, the following statistics reveal a startling truth, “that Only Covid lives matter.” (See worldometers.com as of 10/28/20) 

 

  • 1,011,981 Deaths due to Corona virus. 
  • 6,750,000 have died of hunger. (Based on around 9 million people die of hunger, according to the international relief agency Mercy Corps. That’s more than the death toll of AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined) 
  • 300,000 – 650,000 – Flu typically kills – https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p1213-flu-death-estimate.html
  • 2.56 million people died from pneumonia in 2017 (Remember the best way to prevent pneumonia is to prevent the flu) – (source:  https://ourworldindata.org/pneumonia)
  • 629,427 – Deaths caused by contaminated water  
  • 31,807,452 – Abortions 
  • 733,156 – Deaths caused by malaria 
  • 801,522 – Suicides  
  • 1,008,976 – Road traffic accident fatalities 

 

These are the facts of what people are dying from and it is astonishing to think that suddenly, only “Covid-19 lives matter.” After all, there are much more significant killers that have shockingly simple and cost-effective solutions.  Now follow the money.  We have spent more than 6 trillion dollars just on a stimulus package to shut things down for 12 weeks.  Not to mention the economic impact of such a decision. This is a massive amount of money to spend just to delay the Covid-19 phenomenon.  When it comes to death, it is hard to talk about bang for the buck, but that certainly should be a part of the equation when it comes to helping people.  Let me give some examples of what I mean. For a few million dollars, we could eliminate anyone dying from Malaria, since there is already a cure that costs a few dollars per person.  

 

For hundreds of millions of dollars, we could have provided clean water to drink for every person on the planet.  For billions of dollars, we could have saved more than 6 times as many people from dying of hunger.  If we just stopped abortion, then 31 times as many lives could have been saved.  But what should be obvious at this point is that some lives don’t matter. In fact, some would say unborn babies aren’t even alive the day before their due date. Furthermore, if all lives matter, then why does no one care about the people that commit suicide?  The fact remains, that when we value one life over another in a general way, we are actually practicing some kind of hypocrisy or racism.

 

Now for the next bit of deception.  Remember, the flu and pneumonia are impossible to separate, so much so that the CDC now lumps them altogether with Covid-19. Of course, lots of people are jumping up and down and saying, “But Covid-19 is so much worse than the flu!”  This is true.  But this is all just word play, because the flu is the main reason someone gets pneumonia.  Pneumonia alone has killed 2.5 times as many people than Covid during the 2017-2018 pneumonia season.  So, between the two of them, (see the numbers above) they can easily kill close to 3 million people world-wide. This is almost three times as many people as Covid at the time this article was written.

 

So, these deaths are not unprecedented, then why does Covid take priority over every other disease we have seen in the modern era?  Why has no disease previously had 24/7 TV coverage, closed down the whole world, or caused us to alter our lives with masks and social distancing.  Yet, these same things can be argued to be appropriate for people who might catch the flu or pneumonia. This is clearly a double standard because it is saying that the only lives that matter are “Covid lives,” even though similar diseases kill more people.  These facts are why I am convinced that at worst, there is a dark deception being played upon the world. At best, hysteria has gotten completely out of control.  

 

Sadly, politicians, “never let a good crisis go to waste.”  It has not been a coincidence that all of the cities, counties, and states controlled by socialist leaders must be kept closed until after the election.  This is why when I mention these facts, I am usually met with the comment, “it is an election year.”  What this means is that America has become so divided that there is a group of people who would rather destroy America than to let the other party win. They are OK with lying, cheating and stealing to get what they want.  Unfortunately, they have succeeded at what their true goal is, which is dividing America.  Unfortunately, both parties are playing their part in the larger picture.

 

Why do I say that division is the main goal?  Because the old saying goes, “United we stand and divided we fall.”  As Christians, we hate to see America become divided, completely embroiled in bickering, and embracing hate or violence.  However, we still have the greatest freedoms and privileges of any citizens in world history.  Of course, we do have a host of problems, but division and hate are not how we move forward.  

 

Covid-19, like any other problem, must not be approached emotionally and irrationally.   Dividing us will only make things worse if not out-right destroy us.  This is the point where we have to fault the media.  They are the ones who need to be defunded for putting out a false message aimed at dividing us.  If there is anything that is negative or would destroy and divide America, they will cover it 24 / 7.  Unfortunately, the traditional media is not the only one that is involved.  

 

The movie, “The Social Dilemma,” provides us with a shocking possibility.  The movie perfectly portrays how individual tracking of everything we do is being collected by artificial intelligence, and used to control us.  AI’s continue to feed us only the polarizing things that we gravitate to and hold our attention. Determining what comes up in a search for each of us individually means that we are being manipulated without our knowledge. This is why the “fake news” has taken such a hold on America.  The final conclusion of the movie is that this kind of manipulation will eventually cause a civil war in America.  

 

While the writers of that film believed this to be an accident, I don’t believe that for a minute.  Foreign powers are also at play.  It has also been well documented the sudden influx of world-wide input on social media regarding our election.  By now, the situation should seem obvious, someone or something is trying to destroy America.  Who would like to destroy or divide America?  Some obvious possibilities are China, Russia, or the New World Order.  With China being the new #1 in the world, current political trends are saying that America must join a united Europe to balance that kind of power.  Thus far it would seem that Covid-19 is playing its part by bringing about division and financial ruin wherever it goes in the free world.

 

So, how do we fight this deception?  We fight this deception by adding the perspective of the cross, which is that all lives matter and are precious to God.  Obviously, people are dying every day, but people don’t actually know why or how we can help.  We have the opportunity to save lives and to show God’s love.  We cannot save everyone, but we can make strategic decisions about how to save the most lives we can.  Only focusing on Covid-19 lives has caused us to lose sight of the bigger picture.  We need to break this deception by representing those who have no voice in the media.  This is what Jesus would do because “God so loved the whole world.”  So, what is the bigger picture of our reaction to Covid?

 

Recently, thousands of doctors have written a letter to Trump to end the lock downs.  This is because 150,000 people are diagnosed with cancer each month.  Not getting that timely diagnosis will lead to their death. I recently had to go on blood pressure meds because I could not go to the gym during Covid shutdowns.  Even skipping routine dental care can lead to increased strokes and heart attacks. Virtually no one is talking about depression, alcohol abuse, drug abuse as some of the negative effects of Covid shutdowns. Some people didn’t even go outside.  This deprived them of vitamin D, which is one of the best nutritional preventions for Covid.  While this is the tip of the iceberg, it starts to become easier to see that we may be killing more people in one month than Covid has killed in 8 months.

 

If you still think you have been hearing the truth about what other doctors besides Dr. Anthony Fauci think, then ask yourself why you haven’t heard of the “Great Barrington Declaration,” This document was initially authored by doctors and epidemiologists from Oxford, Harvard and Princeton.  Since its inception, tis declaration has been signed by more than 35,000 medical doctors and health scientists from around the world.  The petition is to end lockdowns because they are causing “irreparable damage.”  They have specifically listed some of their reasoning to include: “lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings, and deteriorating mental health.  

 

All of these are leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden.” They also went on to say that “Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice,” because “We know that vulnerability to death from COVID-19 is more than a thousand-fold higher in the old and infirm than the young.” What is also shocking is that they also maintain that, “For children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than many other harms, including influenza.”  I’m still speechless that no one knows this.  What they are recommending is an approach they call “Focused Protection” because they believe that eventually the populations will eventually reach herd immunity.  

 

They recommend allowing those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally so that immunity to the virus is developed as part of natural infection.  This will allow Covid to pass through a population in a shorter period of time, thereby lowering some of the risks to everyone.  Of course, we do need to take some significant protective measures for those who are at highest risk of dying from Covid-19.  So, the question is, “Why is it that these doctors’ opinions don’t matter?”  What am I really trying to say?  I am saying that the Covid cure is worse than the disease.  I am saying that only Fauci’s opinion matters, even though there are thousands of doctors that disagree with him. 

 

But keeping people from seeing their doctors is not the only way that we are killing more than we save.  Look at the increase in the cost of food since the onset of Covid.  Food prices have gone up at least 25-30%.  Now remember that 6-7 times as many people die of hunger than Covid-19.  Even the UN is not recommending more shutdowns for Covid because millions more are going to starve this year than usual.  Winning the battle against Covid is causing us to lose the war against world hunger. Currently, hunger is killing 7-9 times as many people than Covid-19.  Unfortunately, we are not allowed to talk about this.

 

Now think about how this verse, “My people perish for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)  This is clearly the case here with Covid-19.  The truth is that no one in America has heard there are other possibilities with how to respond to Covid.  For example, Sweden never did shut down, and they did better than we did with much less death and economic impact.  Of course, Sweden did not take away all of the business away from the hospitals or  give a lot more money for a Covid diagnosis either.  Everyone was too quick to take a stimulus, as if there is such a thing as free money.  Once the option of a stimulus was announced, 9 out of my 13 therapists in my office decided to stay home because they can make more money. So, even the stimulus has bought most of us off and kept us from making too much of a fuss about the plan.

 

Borrowing from our children has also delayed the financial consequences of shutting down, but like all debt, it will be a bitter pill to swallow for our children.  But much of the goal with the Covid deception is aimed at destroying the world economy and specifically America.  People are losing their jobs, their businesses, their houses, and their cars even though they have no risk of dying from Covid-19.  They are literally being forced into bankruptcy because they aren’t allowed to work.  But the facts are that that most people under 40 have virtually a zero percent risk of dying from Covid-19, while people over 65 comprise 80% of Covid deaths.  

  • https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/older-adults.html

 

This one size fits all is not the way medicine is usually practiced. Imagine if we had to treat all patients like we did our elderly patients? Yeah, I am sure you get the point. In fact, it is this differential diagnosis that keeps a doctor from being charged with malpractice.  Besides age, the other big risk factors are issues with breathing or auto-immune disorders.  Being overweight, having diabetes, or heart disease are also factors. Age considering, if you don’t have one of these risk factors, then you virtually have a zero percent chance of dying from Covid-19.  So, why would the media be making 100% of us afraid, when less than 1% of us are going to die?  

 

Why would we destroy America or borrow money from our children over something with such a small risk for most of us?  Why is there so much disinformation about Covid-19?  Why is the media lying to us and why are both political parties capitulating with it?  Why are we being blinded from both science and the facts? Why are most people completely wrong about what their personal risk level really is?  This deception is exactly what is addressed in the following article that people are needlessly living in fear. Of course, we also need to keep in mind that there really are some who are at risk, and they too must be informed about this risk because their lives also matter.

  • https://www.franklintempletonnordic.com/investor/article?contentPath=html%2Fftthinks%2Fcommon%2Fcio-views%2Fon-my-mind-they-blinded-us-from-science.html&fbclid=IwAR0FOF0ED1H600UkjTl5OHj8bIlqIrVRBBQoGWuRDaxQ_ugHRbYoyjoPRuY 

Not only are lies the source of this conspiracy, but this is exactly what the Bible means when it says, “they have traded the truth for a lie.”  (Romans 1:25)  Disinformation has always  been one of the key techniques used by everyone from communists to Satanists to destroy America.  This is exactly what the movie “Disinformation:  The Secret Strategy to Destroy the West” brought out back in the late 80’s.  Russia’s plan to destroy the west involved starting all kinds of non-profit world groups aimed at putting out false information to under mind freedom, faith, and capitalism.  

 

Currently, General H.R. McMaster, who is the former National Security Advisor, has written a book called Battlegrounds, in which he affirms that the US is actually at war.  Not a direct war, but an information or cyber war driven by social media /operatives, and the internet.  His final message: America needs to wake up, catch up, and stop being so narcissistic.   What is also notable is that while he is not a fan of Trump, he refuses to talk about it because he recognizes that this is exactly what is dividing and destroying America.  It doesn’t stop there either because division is also what is destroying the American church.  There is a spiritual war for the truth!  Most Christians in the world are already experiencing heavy persecution and tribulation.  Unfortunately, the doctrine of the rapture has been used to teach the idea that Christians will never see any tribulation, but recent events rule this possibility out.

 

Even though there is going to be an escape (Luke 21:36) or rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:17) because Christians were not appointed to wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9), it is time to realize that Americans are likely to experience some kind of tribulation.  We also have to face the fact that there is a growing population of Americans that actually hate their own country.  What is also obvious is that these complainers could easily go somewhere else where their ideal government already exists.  The reason they don’t is because none of these countries hold a candle to ours. Still, Americans at large are acting like we have no enemies, when we are actually the last of our kind. Unfortunately, no one in the free world has dared to even challenge the Covid narrative or even check the facts. 

 

Yet, with all of the deception, most of us still don’t actually believe it.  Just watch what happens when masks become optional.  Still, the financial damage has been done, and this alone is one of the best ways to destroy us.  As Christians who believe our Bibles, we have to know that America has to be severely hampered in order for the beast government to be formed at all.  In fact, the only reason the world is not fully communist right now is the United States of America.  Not one other country could stop Russia or China from invading them.  This is why the world as we know it is at total risk, and why Covid is a deception that is meant to keep us from focusing on what really matters.

 

How do you know that Covid-19 is a deception?  The first part of that answer is because the powers that be have engineered inflation of the Covid deaths by offering more money.  The second is that we are not being told about any other deaths except Covid-19.  The last is that 94% of the Covid deaths did not die of Covid.  But the greatest proof is how the average person has over estimated their risk of dying from Covid to a shocking extent. The following article shows how we are being blinded to the truth with regard to people understanding what their personal risk really is.  The study found that this deception is worse for democrats, partisanship (those who are biased for their own cause such as their dislike for the current president), and for people on social media. Read it.

 

  • On average, Americans believe that people aged 55 and older account for just over half of total COVID-19 deaths; the actual figure is 92%.
  • Americans believe that people aged 44 and younger account for about 30% of total deaths; the actual figure is 2.7%.
  • Americans overestimate the risk of death from COVID-19 for people aged 24 and younger by a factor of 50; and they think the risk for people aged 65 and older is half of what it actually is (40% vs 80%).

 

Source:  They Blinded Us from Science:  How Americans misperceive the risks of death from COVID-19 to a shocking extent.  

More Stunning Headlines

 

The 1% conundrum: How a simple but flawed math prediction by US Covid-19 experts caused the world to panic and order lockdowns.

 

Buried lead: New WHO estimate downgrades COVID-19 death rate by 3.8-7.7X

World Health Organization said Monday the agency’s “best estimates” indicate roughly 1 in 10 people worldwide may have been infected by the coronavirus — more than 20 times the number of confirmed cases, which is how they got to their 10% of the world population number.  

 

In America, 80,000 died of flu in winter of 2017-2018, but suddenly the number of flu deaths in the U.S. as of October 3, 2020 is only 6714. Why is that?  Did the flu suddenly stop killing people or were some of these Covid deaths actually due to the flu.

  • https://www.statista.com/statistics/1113051/number-reported-deaths-from-covid-pneumonia-and-flu-us/

 

Issues & Insights – The Big Surge in Coronavirus Deaths Is A Media-Fed Myth

“The grim milestones come quickly in the Sunshine State,” CNN reported. “The Florida Department of Health reported 156 new coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday, the most yet in a 24-hour period.”  Yet, Florida’s health department reports only 68 deaths that day. The most deaths occurring in a single day in the state is 101.  

 

Gateway Pundit – Coronavirus Study Confirms, with Exception of New York and New Jersey, Overall Mortality Not Much Different Than a Bad Flu Season.  

These two states accounted for up to 40% of the total deaths in the country.  This is because these other states aren’t sending COVID-19 patients into nursing homes.  Yet, if there was one thing we learned from Italy, since they are one of the oldest populations in the world, it was that old people are at risk of Covid.  So, who was responsible for making the decisions that led to this unprecedented loss of life?  The same people jumping up and down about how everything is the president’s fault.  I personally supported our president when he decided that Covid is not a one size fits all solution, which allowed for states, governors, cities, and counties to make their own decisions about how to respond based on their individual situations. The problem is that some states made their decisions, and then blamed it on the president.

 

‘Rather die from COVID than loneliness’: Seniors protest against coronavirus lockdowns

No one asked the senior what they wanted.  How many people died alone because someone wouldn’t let a loved one in to see them?

Masks

Masks are yet another part of the intrusion into our freedoms, and they too are dividing this country.  One of the first things I remember hearing about Covid-19 on TV was by a doctor who said, “There is nothing so silly as all these people wearing masks.”  Suddenly, everyone, including Fauci, changed their minds and gave in.  Of course, there are not enough medical grade masks to go around, so we are all just left wearing a piece of cloth.  Still, when I see someone wearing a mask out in the middle of nowhere or by themselves in a car, I cannot help but chuckle to myself because they are the “true believers.”  On the other hand, if you are the only person in the Wawa station not wearing a mask, you are going to get more dirty looks in 5 minutes then you will usually get all year. 

 

Unfortunately, trying to figure out how, when, and where to wear a mask is confusing because it changes everywhere, we go.  The sign on the gym says, “No Mask, No Entry, No Exceptions.”  Yet, once you scan your key card, everyone takes their mask off and works out like normal.  This is the same for restaurants that require you to wear the mask to the table, but then you can take it off.  One of the reasons we have enjoyed lots of water parks during Covid is because you can’t wear masks in the water.  However, the same dry theme park next door literally has hecklers throughout the park reminding everyone to pull their masks up over their nose. 

 

What is also interesting is that the actual laws requiring masks all seem to have clear exceptions, but that doesn’t seem to matter because most places do not allow for any exceptions.  This literally means many places are discriminating against people with health conditions.  Even more sinister is that we are quietly developing a Gestapo or “Secret Police” mentality.  Then there are the face shields, which are particularly useless because there is simply no filtration at all.  On the other hand, no one will give you a problem about a face shield because this is all part of the psychological warfare in making us become a faceless society.  A new world order is being imposed on us and our freedoms are being taken away.  I could have posted hundreds of articles about masks, but here are a few that speak to the situation.

 

Union says Ontario nurses can’t be forced to wear masks in flu season?

The question is, how did the nurses win this law suit? The answer is with overwhelming evidence.

 

New CDC Study Finds Majority of Those Infected with COVID-19 ‘Always’ Wore Masks

People diagnosed with Covid-19 were asked about their use of masks 14 days prior to catching Covid.  Here are their answers:  Never – 3.9%, Rarely – 3.9%, Always – 70.6% 

  • https://californiaglobe.com/section-2/new-cdc-study-finds-majority-of-those-infected-with-covid-19-always-wore-masks/

 

Mask Facts – By the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons

COVID-19 is as politically-charged as it is infectious. Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the WHO, the CDC and NIH’s Dr. Anthony Fauci discouraged wearing masks as not useful for non-health care workers. Now they recommend wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are hard to do (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies). The recommendation was published without a single scientific paper or other information provided to support that cloth masks actually provide any respiratory protection. Let’s look at the data, and their conclusions?  

  • The preponderance of scientific evidence supports that aerosols play a critical role in the transmission of Covid 19.  If anything gets through, you will become infected.  Therefore, a mask must provide a high level of filtration and fit to be highly effective.  
  • A COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) particle is 0.125 micrometers/microns (μm); influenza virus size is 0.08 – 0.12 μm; a human hair is about 150 μm.  
  • All of this means that this virus is too small.  Surgical masks are loose-fitting devices and they aren’t effective at blocking particles smaller than 100 μm. 
  • Even a properly fitted N95 will only block particles down to 0.3 μm, but this thing is 0.125 μm. 
  • Consequently, there is virtually no mask on the market that can filter Covid-19.
  • Public health authorities define a significant exposure to COVID-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic COVID-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes).
  • The chance of catching COVID-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal.
  • Source:  https://aapsonline.org/mask-facts/

 

A cluster randomized trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers.

Conclusion:  cloth or non-medical masks increase risk of infection, which is what we are all wearing.

 

These 12 Graphs Show Masks Do Nothing to Stop Covid

  • https://thefederalist.com/2020/10/29/these-12-graphs-show-mask-mandates-do-nothing-to-stop-covid/

 

The Real Reason for Covid-19?

If Covid-19 is not worse than the flu / pneumonia was in the 20`7-2018 flu season, then what is really going on here?  If we really could save more lives by opening up and encouraging people to see their doctors, then why are we closed down?  If 94% of people who died of Covid didn’t die of only Covid, then why isn’t the main dialog here about what else did most of those people have?  If we are really interested in just saving lives, then why don’t we save the lives that we easily save for just a few million dollars? The answer to all of these questions is because Covid is not about saving lives, it is about creating fear and chaos. The question then becomes, why chaos?  This is where I would like to introduce the idea of “Order out of Chaos” or as it is said in Latin, “Ordo ab Chao.”  

 

This is a motto directly attributed to the Masons, who also happen to call themselves an order.  Specifically, the Thirty-third Degree of the supreme council of the Scottish Rite of Free Masons. Whether it is the Masons, the Bilderberg’s, the Illuminati, or the New World Order, most people have to accept the fact that there is a group of people in the world that believe humanity is going to destroy itself if they don’t intervene.  There is too much global warming, weapons of mass destruction, and tampering with mother earth, so we must all be controlled.  These are the same 62 people in the world that Bernie Sanders referred to in the 2016 election as having more money than 3.6 million of us.  

 

What Bernie forgot to mention is that he works for those people.  In fact, the only people that these super rich people actually fear is the American middle and upper class.  That is why wiping out classes of people is exactly what socialism and communism are all about.  The Hegelian Dialectic is another form of manipulation that can be used to accomplish an agenda.  In its simplest form, the Hegelian Dialectic simply says, “if you want to do something, create a problem where the natural solution to the problem is exactly what you wanted to do in the first place.” 

 

If we are a Christian, looking for signs of the return of Jesus, then we should all be looking for the development of a one world government.  The Bible calls this government the Beast in Revelation and the Divided Kingdom in Daniel.  In each case, this government has ten horns or ten toes. Curiously, the United Nations has divided the world into ten regions.  This New World Order appears to be developing around ancient Europe in the form of the EU.  This is also important because according to Daniel, the last Kingdom is supposed to have iron, which was thought to be some type of revival of the old Roman Empire.  However, what should be obvious is that the biggest obstacle to a one world government is the United States of America.  

 

One must admit, after looking at this final beast government, that it is very similar to communism, with the exception of a deep state religion.  Again, the only reason the world is not communist right now is the USA.  No other countries can actually defend themselves against Russia or China.  Sadly, millennials and now generation Z are quite open to socialism, which is a form of communism.  Yet, the reality is that communism is the greatest evil the world has ever seen because it has killed over 100 million people that we know of.  (A good movie to watch about the dangers of the socialist agenda is by Dinesh D’Souza called Trump Card)  So, why do we not hear of this evil?  Why do we hear more about the Holocaust, slavery, or how we wiped out the Native American’s?  

 

While America has tried to spread freedom and capitalism around the world, it really hasn’t worked.  We really are one of a kind. Yet, the biggest delusion of most Americans is that we do not know we are not number one in the world anymore. Who did we borrow money from when we needed money? It was China. Beijing has 21 times as many skyscrapers as New York City. How much longer are the entitled people of America going to continue to say, “in the richest country in the world, why can’t we afford to do _____?”  Yet, no country can spend more than it makes. No country can continue to have massive trade deficits forever.  No, one day, the Prodigal child will run out of their fathers’ money, and this is what is going to happen to America.  

 

The only great hope that we have is that when this happens, America will remember its’ spiritual Father.  Unfortunately, the idea of nationalism or loving our country has turned into an insult, when it used to be a cry to arms.  Yet, the entire world is dependent upon us for its freedoms. Think about how rich America would be if we didn’t have to defend ourselves.  Think about what the world would be like if China played by the rules, and didn’t steal everyone’s technology.

 

A Recipe for Destruction

There are two main ways to destroy any country without ever going to war. The first is to divide the people within it, and the second is to destroy it financially. Both of these can be accomplished with chaos, and that is why they are both happening simultaneously as we speak. We have never seen a more intense and violent divide between Americans. We have never seen such large-scale riots and destruction of whole cities in America. They are using the same strategy as the communists who divided the people based on the “haves versus the have nots.” The only difference is that now they are using racism as well.  They have 24/7 coverage by 95% of the media all saying the same thing.  

 

Even the police have become a target. Not only is our society being divided, but our national debt is out of control.  What most people do not know is that our national deficit is held by the Federal Reserve, which is actually privately owned.  This is extremely disturbing because I have never told myself that I owned my house until I paid it off.  So, we don’t own our country anymore. In fact, the more debt we have, the less of it we own.  These same people own the IMF or International Monetary Fund.  They are also the same people that own the mortgages on our houses or our cars.  The other great uncertainty is who are these people, and what do they want in return?

Chaos and Control 

It is very clear that we are in chaos, and now we can see the new level of control that our government now requires.  We have been forced to borrow 6-7 trillion dollars, shut down our businesses, stay home, wear masks, can’t go to church, can’t sing in church, keep away from everyone, and for sure don’t touch anyone.  This is the tip of the iceberg with what the New World Order wants.  The next level of control involves being penetrated and marked.  They want access to our bodies so that they can monitor and control everything we do:  what we can buy or sell, how much currency is in our accounts, and even what our DNA looks like.  

You heard that last one right. I have been saying now for over 12 years, that the Mark of the Beast is not just going to be a computer chip or tattoo, but a genetic marker that changes our DNA.  I first got this idea after listening to a Bible prophecy series by Thomas Horn.  The scariest thing about changing our DNA is that it would change the image in which we were created, and the dimensions of God’s temple. What must be obvious to all of us is that God was the one who wrote our DNA, and then He called it good.  Changing what God wrote is blasphemy according to our Bibles.  Changing our DNA is changing whos’ son we are and who our Father is.  It changes our seed, our very identity, and who we are related to.  

PART 2 COMING Thanksgiving Day November 26th !

 

 

Every so often, someone asks why I spend so much time studying the giants mentioned in the Bible. The implication is that the giants, variously called Anakim, Rephaim, and Nephilim, are “fringe,” and thus irrelevant. Isn’t Jesus enough?

Yes, of course he is. But contrary to what’s being taught in seminaries, the “mighty men who were of old” are not “fringe”; they are, in fact, woven through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. The prophets and apostles knew about them, and texts from pagan kingdoms around ancient Israel, some of which have only been translated within the last forty years, are helping us put these characters into their proper context.

In the Canaanite Rephaim Texts, “Travelers” are spirits who “travel” or “cross over” from one plane of existence to another, from the realm of the dead to the land of the living—in other words, demons, the spirits of the Nephilim destroyed in the days of Noah. It’s significant because “Traveler” can be interpreted as a divine name in Ezekiel’s prophecy of the Gog-Magog war.

On that day I will give to Gog a place for burial in Israel, the Valley of the Travelers, east of the sea. It will block the travelers, for there Gog and all his multitude will be buried. It will be called the Valley of Hamon-gog.

Ezekiel 39:11, ESV (emphasis added)

These Travelers, the Rephaim, were also called “warriors of Baal” in the Rephaim Texts. The reference to the Travelers in Ezekiel 39 is not just significant, it’s critical. The pagan Amorites of Canaan venerated spirits of the dead for centuries before Israel arrived. That’s why God prohibited consulting with mediums and necromancers, and why He sent a plague against Israel, before the people crossed the Jordan to march around Jericho, for eating sacrifices offered to the dead.

Ezekiel places the Valley of the Travelers east of the Dead Sea, an area where the veil between the worlds was believed to be thin. Place names along the Exodus route in Moab include Oboth (“Spirits of the Dead”), Peor (“cleft” or “gap,” which in this context refers to the entrance to the netherworld), and Iye-Abarim (“Ruins of the Travelers”). Mount Nebo, across the Jordan from Jericho, is called the “mountain of the Abarim (Travelers).”

Archaeologists working at Tall el-Hammam, a site about seven and a half miles northeast of the Dead Sea, have uncovered physical evidence that strongly suggests it was the site of Sodom. A thriving city with massive defensive walls appears to have been leveled around 1700 BC in a single, cataclysmic event that left it and the fertile plain around it uninhabited for the next six to seven hundred years, about the time of Saul, David, and Solomon. Just southeast of the city is a cluster of about five hundred dolmens, megalithic funerary monuments that scholars date to the Early Bronze Age, possibly as old as 3300 BC. It’s estimated that as many as fifteen hundred once stood there, along with menhirs (standing stones), henges, and stone circles, the largest such collection of megalithic structures in the Levant.

The site rises 75 to 150 feet above the plain. So, the stone monuments and the ruined, still-deserted city would have been easily visible to the Israelites who camped on the plains of Moab. It’s even possible that their stop at Iye-Abarim, “Ruins of the Travelers,” was among the rubble of the city that God destroyed with fire from the sky.

Dr. Phillip Silvia, the director of scientific analysis for the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project, told me in a 2019 interview that the dolmens, unlike some others in the Jordan valley, don’t appear to be aligned with any astronomical features. Instead, they appear to be oriented toward what project archaeologists believe was the temple of Tall el-Hammam.

We’re eagerly waiting to see what the ongoing dig turns up, but this is a tantalizing bit of information. Consider: The east side of the Jordan valley is where the Bible places the Rephaim tribes in the days of Abraham. Some twenty-five thousand dolmens have been found along the Jordan from the Golan Heights (ancient Bashan) to the Dead Sea, with the largest concentration of them just outside the walls of Sodom—the largest and most influential city in the Transjordan until the time of Abraham and Lot. Scholars date the construction of the dolmens to time of the Rephaim, the Early and Middle Bronze Ages (roughly 3300–1800 BC), which coincides almost exactly with the period that Sodom dominated the region. Those dolmens apparently faced the city’s temple.

That begs the question: Who or what was worshiped in that temple? Why was God compelled to destroy the city and those around it? In my view, His judgment was about more than just the Sodomites’ choice of lifestyle.

The Hebrew prophets, especially Isaiah and Ezekiel, were clearly familiar with the pagan cult of the dead. References to the Rephaim are there in the original Hebrew, but they’ve been obscured by translators who may not have understood the historical and religious milieu of the ancient Near East.

Let’s start with Ezekiel, who prophesied the return of the Nephilim at Armageddon. The spirits of the Rephaim are the Travelers, the demon warriors of Baal (Satan) who make up the army of Gog (Antichrist) at the final battle for Zion.

That may sound crazy, but consider: Since this happens on the Day of the Lord, the day of His terrible judgment on the world, the church won’t be here. We are not destined to suffer His wrath. With Christians gone, those still on the earth will not be protected by the Holy Spirit from this demonic army. What the people of Jerusalem face in that final battle is an attacking force possessed by the Travelers—demonic spirits of the “mighty men who were of old,” the Nephilim, following their spirit fathers into battle for one final assault on the holy mountain of God.

It will quite literally be an army of the evil dead.

This brings us to Isaiah 14, where we find the Rephaim, translated into English as “shades,” welcoming the divine rebel upon his fall from Eden.

Sheol beneath is stirred up 

to meet you when you come; 

it rouses the shades [Rephaim] to greet you, 

all who were leaders of the earth; 

it raises from their thrones 

all who were kings of the nations. (Isaiah 14:9, ESV)

The description by Isaiah matches the sense of the term in the pagan Rephaim Texts from five hundred years earlier: The Rephaim were dead kings of old who now inhabit the netherworld. The main difference is that the Amorites believed those spirits of the dead would bless and protect their kings, while Isaiah described them as “weak,” sleeping beneath worms on a bed of maggots. 

Isaiah 14 is, without a doubt, one of the most important chapters in the Bible for understanding this long supernatural war in which you and I are deployed. It tells us about the divine rebel, Day Star (Lucifer), son of Dawn, and his fall from Eden. The five “I wills” that illustrate his destructive pride and ambition. But Isaiah’s report on Lucifer’s fall is even more fascinating that we’ve been taught.

First, because Isaiah identified Lucifer’s mount of assembly as Mount Zaphon, the mountain sacred to Baal (whom Jesus identified as Satan), we can be pretty sure that Satan is in view here.

Second, the prophet, who is known for his love of wordplay, employed an Egyptian loanword to reveal more about the final destiny of the rebel god.

All the kings of the nations lie in glory,

each in his own tomb;

but you are cast out, away from your grave,

like a loathed branch,

clothed with the slain, those pierced by the sword,

who go down to the stones of the pit,

like a dead body trampled underfoot.

Isaiah 14:18–19, ESV (emphasis added)

What did Isaiah mean by calling Satan “a loathed branch?”

Most English translations agree that the Hebrew word netser means “branch.” The range of adjectives chosen by translators includes “loathed,” “repulsive,” “rejected,” “worthless,” and “abominable,” but they convey the same sense—something utterly detestable. The adjective translated “abhorred” or “abominable,” Hebrew taʿab, is significant. It modifies the noun netser, which would normally have a positive connotation. In this context, taʿab means something like “unclean” or “ritually impure.”

Still, even allowing for differences in cultures over the last twenty-seven hundred years, calling someone an “unclean branch” is puzzling. But there is an explanation: Isaiah meant something other than “branch” because the Hebrew netser wasn’t the word he used at all.

[The] term is best explained as a loanword from the common Egyptian noun nṯr. Nṯr is generally translated “god,” but is commonly used of the divinized dead and their physical remains. It originally came into Hebrew as a noun referring to the putatively divinized corpse of a dead king, which is closely related to the Egyptian usage. (Emphasis added)

“Divinized dead” describes perfectly the Rephaim, the Nephilim spirits venerated by the Amorites of Canaan, whom the prophet mentioned above, in verse 9. Isaiah used an Egyptian word that sounds like the Hebrew word for “branch” to connect the rebel from Eden to the Rephaim by calling Satan an abhorrent dead god.

This definition fits. Satan was thrown down from Eden to the netherworld and demoted from “an anointed guardian cherub” to become the unclean, repugnant, eternally cursed lord of the dead.

What humiliation.


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Chapter 14 of the Book of Isaiah is absolutely fascinating. It’s long been interpreted as a condemnation of the rebel in the Garden of Eden. It certainly is that; Jerome’s Hebrew-to-Latin translation of the rebel’s name, Helel ben Shachar (literally, “Day Star, son of Dawn”), is the origin of the name “Lucifer.” But this chapter goes much deeper; it probably reveals more about the rebellion of the Fallen, and God’s response to it, than any other single chapter in the Bible.

On the surface, it’s a biting criticism of the king of Babylon. From our perspective, it seems natural that a Hebrew prophet would write such a thing, but we’re looking at these matters with 2,700 years of hindsight. When Isaiah lived and wrote, Babylon was a vassal state of Assyria. It was more than eight centuries after the Amorite founding dynasty of Babylon had been ended by the Kassites, a tribal people from the mountains of what is now western Iran. The Kassites continued many of the religious traditions of the Amorites, but they changed the name of the city to Karduniash. They ruled for more than four hundred years, which means the Kassites controlled Babylonia longer than any other people in history.

By the time of the Judges in Israel, about four hundred years before Isaiah, the Kassite kingdom had fallen to the Chaldeans, a Semitic people probably descended from the Amorites. But the Chaldeans never extended their control as far west as the Holy Land in the years leading up to Isaiah. Israel and Judah had more trouble with the Aramaeans, Ammonites, Moabites, Edomites, Midianites, and Philistines.

The Assyrians, based in what is now northern Iraq, emerged after the time of David and Solomon in the tenth century BC as the scourge of the Near East. Assyria destroyed the kingdom of Israel around 722 BC, flattening its capital city, Samaria, and scattering the northern tribes throughout Assyrian territory.

The Assyrians ravaged the southern kingdom, too. In the days of Isaiah and Hezekiah, Sennacherib sent his army to conquer Judah. The invaders overran most of the country, and it was only divine intervention that stopped the Assyrian army outside the walls of Jerusalem. Sennacherib withdrew to his home country, where he was assassinated by his sons. Sometimes it’s not so good to be the king.

At the time of Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah, the rise of Babylon was still more than a century in the future, in the days of Josiah, grandson of Hezekiah. So, Isaiah’s polemic against the king of Babylon, which begins in the thirteenth chapter of Isaiah, appears to be an anachronism, out of sync with the political events of the time.

When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: “How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased! The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers, that struck the peoples in wrath with unceasing blows, that ruled the nations in anger with unrelenting persecution.” (Isaiah 14:3–6, ESV)

This text was unquestionably a prophecy of the future Babylon, an oracle of the destruction of the oppressor before Babylon became Judah’s oppressor. But clues in the chapter, mainly overlooked by Bible teachers, point to other targets of the prophet’s oracle—not just the divine rebel from Eden, but also his colleagues and their minions.

Sheol beneath is stirred up 

to meet you when you come; 

it rouses the shades to greet you, 

all who were leaders of the earth; 

it raises from their thrones 

all who were kings of the nations. (Isaiah 14:9, ESV)

The Hebrew word translated “shades” is rephaim. That’s the mysterious group named in Genesis, Deuteronomy, and Joshua as the tribes who lived east of the Jordan River in the lands of Bashan, Ammon, Moab, and Edom. By the time of the judges in Israel, the Rephaim were considered the spirits of the “mighty men who were of old”—in other words, “leaders of the earth” and “kings of the nations.” Isaiah’s description is consistent with the depiction of the Rephaim in texts found at the Amorite kingdom of Ugarit. Whether the Amorite neighbors of ancient Israel knew it or not, they venerated the spirits of the half-breed giants created by the supernatural sons of God, the Watchers. This means that the role of the rebel from Eden takes on new significance.

First, we need to identify this character. Who is Helel ben Shachar? It would be easy to say “Lucifer,” and leave it at that. But, as we noted above, Lucifer is just an Anglicized version of the Latin words lux (“light”) and ferre (“to carry”). In other words, “Lucifer” is English for the Latin translation of the original Hebrew name. But who is he, really? Isaiah gives us the information we need.

How you are fallen from heaven, 

O Day Star, son of Dawn! 

How you are cut down to the ground, 

you who laid the nations low! 

You said in your heart, 

“I will ascend to heaven; 

above the stars of God 

I will set my throne on high; 

I will sit on the mount of assembly 

in the far reaches of the north; 

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; 

I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:12–14, ESV)

“Day Star” is a reference to Venus, from a Hebrew word based on a root that means “to shine.” Scholars who’ve tried to find a similar story in the religions of the ancient Near East have come up empty so far. The closest parallel is the Ugaritic myth of the war-god Attar, the male aspect of Astarte (Ishtar), who found that he was too small for the throne of the king of the gods, the storm-god Baal, who was temporarily dead. (It’s a pagan myth. It doesn’t have to make sense.) The point is that Attar was represented by Venus in the morning; Venus in the evening was believed to represent the goddess of “love,” Astarte.

Well, that doesn’t quite work. The key bit of evidence is in verse 13. The Hebrew phrase “far reaches of the north,” variously rendered in other English translations as “sides of the north,” “recesses of the north,” “remotest parts of the north,” and simply “the far north,” is yarkete tsaphon. This appears only three times in the Bible, which makes it weird. And if it’s weird, it’s important.

The other verses where we find yarkete tsaphon are in Psalm 48, where the psalmist compares God’s holy mountain, Zion, with another mountain (Zaphon—although it’s rendered “far north,” which means you have to read between the lines to grasp the wordplay of the verse: har-tziyon, yarkete tsaphon), and Ezekiel 38 and 39, the prophecy of Gog of Magog.

Why is this significant? Because Zaphon (or Saphon, or tsaphon) was the name of the mountain sacred to the storm-god Baal.

Then Valiant Baal said,

“Depart, Kothar-and-Hasis!

Hasten! Build a house indeed;

hasten! Construct a palace!

Hasten! Let them build a house;

Hasten! Let them construct a palace,

in the midst of the uttermost parts of Saphon.”

So, if the mount of assembly of the rebel in Eden is the mountain sacred to Baal, the text of Isaiah 14 can’t have been borrowed from a myth about Baal’s would-be replacement.

Why does this matter? Because Jesus specifically identified Baal the storm-god as Satan. When He was confronted by Pharisees who accused Him of casting out demons by the power of Beelzebul (“Baal the Prince”), Jesus replied, “If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?” And in the Book of Revelation, Jesus told the church at Pergamum, “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is.” That was a reference to the altar of Zeus, who was the Greek incarnation of the storm-god.

That gives us a simple equation: Lucifer = Baal = Satan. And since Gog (the Antichrist) is Satan’s commander-in-chief, it makes sense that he comes from yarkete tsaphon—Mount Zaphon. (That’s in Turkey, by the way. Contrary to what you’ve probably been taught, Gog and Magog have nothing to do with Russia.)

But there is more here than just a polemic against the Accuser, Satan. Isaiah gives us enough information to confirm what the Israelites’ pagan neighbors knew about Baal—that the king of their pantheon was also lord of the dead.

Note: Derek’s book Last Clash of the Titans digs into Ezekiel’s prophecy of the Gog-Magog war, and explains in depth why all of the nations mentioned by Ezekiel aside from Persia, Cush (Ethiopia), and Put (Libya) were located in Anatolia, modern-day Turkey.

The pagan gods of the ancient world did not humbly submit after the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Instead, they’ve continued in their rebellion. Maybe they figure they’ve got nothing to lose. Like Inanna in the Epic of Gilgamesh, who tried to destroy Uruk because she’d been rejected by the hero of the tale, they’re willing to destroy everything rather than let the Messiah return to establish His throne over a world restored to its intended glory.

But they’re also arrogant enough to think they can win. The entities conspiring against God are playing multidimensional chess. We humans are playing checkers, so I won’t pretend to have all of the answers. This book will only cover one of the most significant aspects of the rebellion, a front opened by the small-g gods after they realized they’d been outplayed.

Their first response to the Resurrection was to inspire the Roman government and Jewish religious authorities to try to crush the growing body of believers. By the fourth century AD, when it was clear that Christianity was not going away, the Fallen tried a different tactic. The empire of the storm-god first legalized the faith with Constantine’s Edict of Milan in AD 313. Then in 380, Christianity became the official state religion when Theodosius issued the Edict of Thessalonica. Once the Church became a path to wealth and political power, there was no shortage of men and women who chose the clergy as a career—but it wasn’t because they were interested in saving sinners from the fires of hell.

Making Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire was a brilliant move. Corruption in the Church persists to this day and it infects all denominations. But that has only weakened the body of believers, not killed it; as of this writing, the followers of Jesus Christ still outnumber all other religions on the earth.

But the Enemy employed another stratagem, one that’s exploited the Church’s weakness and the dilution of the gospel since the Renaissance and Enlightenment. Let’s begin by tracking the activity of the pagan gods in the years after the Resurrection.

Looking at the ebb and flow of history from high above the page, as it were, we can sometimes see patterns that are hidden when we zoom in too close, sort of like trying to make out an image in an old newspaper by looking at it under a microscope. All we see are blobs of ink—the pixels, to use a more modern reference. The picture only comes into focus when you look at it from farther away.

In the same way, trying to see into the spirit realm is a good way to drive yourself crazy. We aren’t designed to do that, and God has warned us not to try. But we can make out some of the shapes and patterns, the actions of the principalities and powers, if we step back and look at how history has progressed through the ages.

A rough outline of the spiritual history of the ancient Near East shows that there were at least two transfers of power in the pantheon. First, a primordial god of heaven was overthrown by his son, who was considered “the” god between about 3000 and 2000 BC.

Around the time that the Amorites emerged as the dominant people group in the Near East, “the” god was replaced as king of the pantheon by the storm-god—except in Akkad and Sumer, where the city-god of Babylon, Marduk, occupied that place of honor.

However, the personal god of the founding dynasty of Babylon was the moon-god. As we noted earlier, some scholars now believe that the Sumerian god Amurru was actually an epithet of the lunar deity, “god of the Amurru (Amorite) land.” A text only translated within the last ten years reveals that the moon-god, Sîn, was believed to preside over the Mesopotamian divine council at least some of the time. 

The nations led by these various deities fought with one another throughout the period of history covered by the Bible. Beginning around 1800 BC, the time of Abraham and Isaac, Marduk and his followers ruled Babylonia and Sumer, while Baal worshipers dominated western Mesopotamia (Canaan), followers of the sun-god controlled most of Egypt, and the moon-god was the chief deity of the nomadic tribes of the steppe and deserts of Syria and Arabia.

The fall of the Neo-Babylonian Empire to the Medes and Persians in 539 BC was probably another rebuke of the moon-god by Yahweh, who revealed to the prophet Isaiah, about a hundred and fifty years earlier, His plan to use Cyrus to return the Jewish exiles to Jerusalem.

Oddly, if scholars are correct about the Persian god Ahura Mazda, this replaced one empire subject to Marduk with another that worshiped the same god under a different name.

So, was Marduk/Ahura Mazda the “prince of Persia” who fought against the angelic messenger who came to the prophet Daniel? It’s impossible to know, and wondering about the prince’s identity leads to other questions we can’t answer. For example, did the prince of Persia resist the angel because he didn’t want Cyrus to free the Jews of Babylon?

These questions can only be answered with speculation. It’s curious that Marduk doesn’t fit the pattern of succession among the gods. Across the ancient Near East, and even as far away as Scandinavia and India, the storm-god rose to the top of the pantheon, but at Babylon, a city-god about whom we know nothing prior to that city’s rise to power, claimed the throne of the gods. We can only ask, “Why?”

Is it possible that the rise of the Zoroastrian religion in Persia, which emerged just before the Medes and Persians conquered the lands of the Bible as far west as Greece, was part of a civil war among the rebel angels? Given that the moon-god, Sîn/Yarikh, was the patron deity of the founders of Babylon (and of most Amorites in the days of Abraham), then maybe Marduk was a figurehead who was head of the infernal council in name only. There isn’t a single event in the Bible that appears to be specifically directed at Marduk, except maybe the reference to the size of Og’s bed.

Continuing with our speculation, the rise of the Persian Empire and its devotion to Ahura Mazda, possibly another aspect of Marduk, may have been that entity’s play to go solo by rebelling against the rebels. Of course, God used it for His purposes, to free His people from Babylon and humble the moon-god (Belshazzar’s feast was held for the fall akitu festival for Sîn).

But Marduk’s shot at glory didn’t last long; within two centuries, people of the storm-god, first Greek and then Roman, pushed the Persian Empire back to Mesopotamia. And with the rise of Islam in the seventh century AD, Zoroastrianism faded into the background. Today, it’s estimated that there are fewer than three million Zoroastrians in the world; in the 1990s, the Guiness Book of World Records began labeling Zoroastrianism as the “major religion nearest extinction.”

There are hints in pagan texts of other rifts between the Fallen. Two letters to the king of Mari from the ambassador of Yamkhad, a powerful kingdom based at Aleppo, mention the delivery of the clubs used by the storm-god “with which the deity boasts to have struck his enemy, the sea” to the temple of “the” god, Dagan, in the city of Terqa.

Scholars don’t know exactly what the letters mean, but there are two probable messages: First, they implied that Mari was subordinate to Yamkhad, just as Dagan (El, Enlil, etc.) had been replaced at the top of the pantheon by the storm-god, Adad (Baal). Second, in a backhanded way, it claims a victory for Adad/Baal that had been credited to Marduk.

Thus says Adad.… I brought you back to the throne of your father, I brought you back. The weapons with which I fought the Sea [Têmtum] I gave to you. With the oil of my bitter victory I anointed you, and no one before you could stand. My one word hear!

Têmtum is the Akkadian word for Tiamat, the chaos dragon defeated by Marduk in the Enuma Elish. Now, this may be political posturing, sort of like saying, “Our gods are better than your gods, nyaah nyaah nyaah,” but it may have been inspired in the spirit realm as members of the infernal council plotted and schemed against one another.

Another example of this comes from the western Amorite kingdom of Ugarit in a myth about a drunken feast at the house of the creator-god El.

Yarikh [the moon-god] arched his back like a d[o]g;

he gathered up crumbs beneath the tables.

(Any) god who recognized him

threw him meat from the joint.

But (any god) who did not recognize him

hit him with a stick beneath the table.

At the call of Athtart [Astarte/Ishtar] and Anat [the Canaanite war-goddess] he approached.

Athtart threw him a haunch,

and Anat a shoulder of meat.

The porter of El’s house shouted:

“Look!

Why have you thrown a haunch to the dog,

(why) to the cur have you thrown a shoulder?”

This is a great example of a text that drives scholars crazy. The meaning is unclear; it could refer to ritual drinking to reach an altered state of consciousness, or it could simply be a long and convoluted cure for a hangover. Either way, the moon-god, bearing his Amorite name, Yarikh, is depicted as a dog, and canines were not man’s best friend in the ancient Near East. This text comes from the final years of Ugarit in the thirteenth century BC. That was the time of the judges in Israel, after the conquest—in other words, after the moon-god had been humiliated at the Wilderness of Sîn, Mount Sinai, Jericho, and the Valley of Aijalon.

Does this text reflect a demotion in the infernal council? The moon-god was at or near the top of the pantheon in Mesopotamia until Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan. After the Long Day, the moon-god faded into the background until his devotee Nabonidus took the crown of Babylon nearly a thousand years later.

Then the Medes and Persians destroyed Babylon as an independent kingdom, and a couple of centuries later, the Greeks and Romans came. Quick, now: How many myths about the Greco-Roman moon-goddess, Selene/Luna, do you know? Probably not many, if any. In the pantheon of Greece and Rome, the moon-deity was strictly supporting cast, a back-bencher.

Again, this is speculation, an attempt to discern the history of the unseen realm from evidence in the natural. We have limited ability to see into the spirit world, but it fits recorded history. Before Christ, the Fallen fought amongst themselves as well as with God. After the Resurrection, it appears that they put aside some of their mutual distrust.

We’ll explore that in more depth in future columns.

From Bad Moon Rising: Islam, Armageddon, and the Most Diabolical Double-cross in
History by Derek P. Gilbert

There is only one remedy for covenant-breaking; that is – repentance.  The offended party must be entreated to forgive the breach, to restore the good relationship that existed before the offense was given, to set aside what forms of retribution the offense must bring forth in the absence of heartfelt contrition.  Without repentance, contrition, humility, shame, and abject beseeching of the offended party to again honor the covenant, there can be no healing.

A tribe that broke covenant with a neighboring one could expect swift retribution from them – usually in the form of that tribe coming against the offenders and slaughtering every one of them, with particular attention to their chief.  The offended parties prevailed because, in a way, notwithstanding the violence of their acts, they had justice on their side and they somehow knew that they would prevail and they made war in the strength of that knowledge.

It is the same with God.  Hear the thunder of His Word – “In flaming fire taking vengeance upon them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thess 1:8).  This is the ultimate violence, yet God commands it because those who come before Him in their sins have rejected the New Covenant that is in Christ.

Repentance on behalf of our nation must be on a scale commensurate with the offense.  Scholars and archaeologists have estimated that there were at least 10,000 residents of the cities Sodom and Gomorrah.  God sought 10 righteous people out of that group and could not find them.  The result is recorded in Genesis 19:24-28.  All 10,000 or more perished for the lack of 10 who were faithful to God.  For a nation of 325 million such as ours, the same scale would call for no less than 325,000 Christians in this country to repent for our covenant-breaking and the tsunami of sin and depravity that have followed.  The strong suggestion of Scripture is that unless at least that many faithful Christians can be found who will take this critical step – to set aside a season of prayer, fasting, and weeping before the Lord for our arrogance and wickedness as a nation – His justice may demand that He do to us as he did to Sodom.

But to repent with knowledge and understanding, we as Americans must take to heart the event that caused us to break God’s Covenant. What could we as a people have done to cause such a catastrophic breach?  How, after all the nearly 200 years of blessing that a loving God had showered upon us, could we pour contempt upon His Name and by extension upon His Person?  If we cannot understand this, then we cannot repent as God would have us do if we are to be saved as a nation and again be what we once were, “a shining city on a hill.”

The gods of Greek mythology are real. They’re angry, and they’re coming back.

Wait, you’re thinking. I thought this guy was a Christian.

Exactly.

The Greek tales of their deities and demigods are bastardized versions of true history. Zeus is Satan. The Titans are the “sons of god [who] came in to the daughters of man.” The heroes of the Golden Age were “the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.”

Now, let’s be clear: We Christians do not seek truth in the myths of Greece and Rome. We can, however, gain a deeper understanding of the Bible by viewing the world through the eyes of the prophets and apostles, and they knew very well what their pagan neighbors believed. Much of what they wrote was directed at the pagan gods.

If you were brought up in church, there’s a good chance that, like me, you were taught that the idols of the pagans were lifeless blocks of wood and stone. That’s true, to a point. The pagans didn’t worship those carved images. An idol was like an antenna, a spiritual receiver that gave a god locality—a place to appear when the faithful called.

Those gods, though—they’re real.

That’s not the default teaching of most Christian churches. Sadly, most are out of step with the God they serve. God called the idols gods, so I’m on solid theological ground here. He’s judged them, found them wanting, and proclaimed a sentence of death on these rebels.

But they’re not dead yet. And just as you and I have free will to choose between right and wrong, so do they. God, who has seen the end from the beginning, has revealed enough about their plans through prophecy in the Bible to tell us that the ride on earth will get rough before Christ returns. Reading those prophecies with a better understanding of what the Hebrew prophets knew about the pagan gods reveals some startling insights about what lies ahead.

In my 2018 book Last Clash of the Titans, I presented evidence for a number of claims, many of which haven’t been made before to the best of my knowledge:

  • The Amorites of the ancient world are far more important to history than we’ve been taught.
  • The Titans, the old gods of the Greeks, are the biblical Watchers, the sons of God who took daughters of man as wives as described in Genesis 6:1–4.
  • Their offspring, the Nephilim (later called Rephaim), were the heroes and demigods of the Greeks.
  • The Amorites summoned the spirits of the Rephaim through necromancy rituals and believed they were the ancestors of their kings.
  • Balaam’s prophecy over Israel foretold the final destruction of the Nephilim by the Messiah.
  • Ezekiel’s prophecy of Gog and Magog tells us when and where they’ll be destroyed.
  • Gog won’t be human, and Magog is not Russia.
  • The spirit of primordial chaos, Leviathan, returns from the abyss as the Antichrist.
  • The Titans and their seed, the spirits of the Rephaim, return in the last days to fight at Armageddon.

As you may have noticed, the book focuses on the supernatural players of the end times. We spend too much time debating whether Vladimir Putin is Gog and not enough trying to discern the principalities and powers behind the scenes.

Now, I could be wrong about much of this. However, my analysis is backed by peer-reviewed, academic research. Most of it comes from secular scholars with no dog in the eschatological hunt. They’ve found many of the pieces of the puzzle, but they don’t see the whole picture because the missing pieces are in the Bible—and most of those scholars just won’t look there.

Likewise, many learned students and scholars of the Bible don’t look to secular academia for information. We Christians do see the big picture, but much of the background image is missing. There is no context for the crossing of the Red Sea, the march around the walls of Jericho, or the confrontation between Elijah and the priests of Baal. Why did God ask such things of His people? There are answers to those questions rooted in the history, culture, and religion of the people who lived in the lands of the Bible during the age of the prophets and apostles.

Is understanding that context essential to your eternal salvation? No. If you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your future is secure.

But understanding how the pagan gods of the ancient world have successfully rebranded themselves as action heroes for major motion pictures might be useful to reaching the lost. As Baudelaire wrote, “The finest trick of the devil is to persuade you that he does not exist.” Recent research shows that nearly 60 percent of American Christians have fallen for that lie.[1] God’s statement is as true today as it was 2,700 years ago: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”[2] How do you resist an enemy you think is make-believe?

Zeus, Hercules, the Olympians, and the Titans are real. They hate us, they want to kill us, and they’re coming back.

Get ready.

[1] Barna Group (2009). “Most American Christians Do Not Believe that Satan or the Holy Spirit Exist,” https://www.barna.com/research/most-american-christians-do-not-believe-that-satan-or-the-holy-spirit-exist/, retrieved 4/29/18.

[2] Hosea 4:6.

Baal (properly spelled Baʿal) was the main enemy of Yahweh in the Old Testament. One could argue that he was even more of a villain in the Bible than Satan, whos only mentioned in fourteen Old Testament verses, in the books of 1 Chronicles, Job, and Zechariah. Baal, on the other hand, appears 106 times in 88 verses (including personal and place names, like Baal-zephon).

Baal is first mentioned in the Bible in Exodus and he was still around 3,400 years later in the New Testament. Jesus discussed him with the Pharisees (see Matthew 12:22-28; Beelzebul means “Baal the prince”).

Stela at the Louvre from the ancient city of Ugarit depicting Baal in characteristic “smiting” pose, holding mace and thunderbolt

Baal isn’t a name, its a title. It means “lord,in the same way we Christians usually say Lord (and our Bibles read Lord) instead of saying Yahweh or spelling out YHWH. It’s rather arrogant, when you think about it. And Baal wasnt the only one; over time, Babylons chief god Marduk came to be known as Bel, which likewise means “lord.

Baal has had a long career. Hes not recognized as an active deity in our world today, at least not by the secular scholars who have researched the people who worshiped him. It’s safe to say most American Christians think of Baal as a sort of cosmic imaginary friend of the pagan nations around ancient Israel—but surveys show that most American Christians don’t believe in Satan or the Holy Spirit, either.

There may be a few neopagans here and there trying to recreate the old religion of the ancient Canaanites, but like aging pop divas, the old gods reinvented themselves as time and people moved on. Weve already seen how Sumerian Inanna became Babylons Ishtar, the Semitic Astarte, Aphrodite of Greece, and Venus of Rome. Today, the old gods condemned by Yahweh in Psalm 82, Isaiah 24:21-23, and elsewhere, are viewed as characters in ancient literature, if they’re considered at all.

Over time, Baal replaced the original name of the West Semitic storm-god Hadad (or Haddu), who was also called Adad/Addu by the Akkadians. Baal has also been identified with the Hurrian god Teššub, the Hittite god Tarhunt, the Urartian god Teisheba, the Sumerian god Iškur, the Amorite god Amurru (incorrectly, as it happens), and others.

Of course, Baal is best known as Zeus to the Greeks and Jupiter to the Romans.

The earliest of these storm-god manifestations was Iškur (note: the š sounds like “sh”). However, Iškur was a minor deity in the Sumerian pantheon. Thats logical; in a land thats mostly desert, a god of storms and life-bringing rain wasnt as important as Enki, who controlled the fresh waters of the Tigris and Euphrates. Irrigation was far more important than rainfall for growing crops in southern Mesopotamia. Farther north, where rain was key to agriculture, Iškur played a larger role in the pantheon.

The chief god Enlil and his son, the war-god Ninurta, also had storm-god characteristics. This left Iškur looking like a pale imitation of the others, a third-tier superhero in a comic book universe. He was believed to be the son of Anu, although some traditions claimed that Enlil was his father. This could mean that Iškur wasnt a native Sumerian deity but an import from Sumers Semitic-speaking neighbors. As the patron god of Karkara, a minor city near Uruk in southern Mesopotamia, Iškur’s cult center didnt have enough political clout to elevate him into the upper rank of the pantheon, as Babylon later did for Marduk.

The first written evidence of the cult of Iškur comes from the cities Lagash and Adab in the middle of the 3rd millennium BC Adab was near Karkara, site of Iškur’s temple, the House of the Big Storms. Unfortunately, the ruins of Karkara havent been discovered yet, so we dont know much about the cult of kur or local traditions about him. But based on prayers and rituals that have been preserved, it appears Iškur, like most of the Mesopotamian gods and goddesses, could be good or bad depending on his mood. The storm-god brought necessary rain for the crops needed to survive but he could also destroy fields with wind, hail, and flood.

He first appeared under the name Hadda at Ebla around 2500 BC, and as Adad in Old Akkadian texts, the period of history that began with the empire of Sargon the Great around 2330 BC We know theyre the same because the Sumerian logogram for Hadda/Adad was the same used for Iškur (dIM). As god of the heavenly waters, Iškur was sometimes praised as the twin brother of Enki. This may be an early example of the twin godsmotif in ancient mythology. Sometimes theyre brother-sister twins, such as Apollo and Artemis; sometimes divine-mortal twins, like Castor and Pollux; and sometimes, as in this case, a pair of brothers, one more important than the other, at least in the early days. Until the early 2nd millennium BC, it wouldnt have been a compliment for Enki, the god responsible for the fresh water of the abzu and the fundamental laws of civilization, the mes, to be compared with a minor deity like Iškur.

kur-Adad, later Baal, played a key role in the cosmology of Mesopotamia for the next 2,500 years. His importance to the cultures of the region grew with the political influence of the Amorites, who may have introduced Iškur into Sumer, reaching its peak in the 2nd millennium BC and lasting through the time of Jesus.

At Mari, which was on the Euphrates about 75 miles southeast of the modern city of Deir ez-Zor, a powerful but short-lived Amorite kingdom grew from the ashes of an older state that had been smashed by Sargon the Great. The name Haddu often appears in texts found at Mari alongside Dagan, a grain god (contrary to common belief, Dagan/Dagon was never a fish god), and Itūr-Mēr, the patron god of the city of Mari, as one of the three great gods of the kingdom.

As political control of Mesopotamia shifted from Akkad to Ur and then to Babylon between 2150 BC and 1900 BC, powerful Amorite kingdoms in Assyria, Mari, and Yamad (modern Aleppo, Syria) emerged alongside the old Babylonian empire. At the same time, the storm-gods identity gradually shifted from Sumerian Iškur to Akkadian Adad and his importance in the pantheon grew.

By the time Hammurabi brought Babylon to the greatest extent of its power, around 1750 BC, Adad—Baal—was firmly established among the great gods of Mesopotamia.

Ask your core leaders these seven questions. If they answer no or show hesitation you are overdue for a vision checkup.

If your core leaders show any doubt rest assured the team members on the outer edge don’t have a clue. It’s the “outer-edge” team members that have the initial and most frequent contact with those you serve or are trying to reach.

1. IMAGINABLE: Does our vision convey a compelling picture of our future?
2. DESIRABLE: Does our vision appeal and grab the attention of at least two generations?
3. FEASIBLE: Is our vision built on reasonable, stretchable and achievable goals?
4. FOCUSED: Does our vision guide and dominate our decision making process?
5. FLEXIBLE: Does our vision allow for individual creativity and changing conditions?
6. COMMUNICABLE: Can all of our core leaders “Tell our story” and describe our vision in 100 words or less?
7. EXECUTABLE: Is our strategy (action plan) well-conceived, understood and embraced by all team members?

You get the best results when your team members feel they can be brutally honest, especially with their leader. Great leaders keep drilling down until they discover what every team member really thinks, not just what they think the leader wants to hear.

Until you have that degree of openness and honesty by everyone on the team you have not taped into the full potential of your team. Until you ask your team for just a little more than they think they can give, you won’t get all they can give. That takes commitment, trust and honest answers to these seven questions.

When’s the last time you and your team had a vision checkup? Poor attitudes, low energy and lack of engagement may indicate its time.

Pastors we need each other and our families need us to be strong.

Watch this short video and be encouraged!


A mountain in Arabia is responsible for what statisticians say will be the world’s largest religion by about 2070 unless something drastic happens. In that regard, we must give credit where it’s due—this mountain was, without question, the site of the most successful supernatural PSYOP in history.

The Arabic name of this peak means “Mountain of Enlightenment.” Jabal al-Nour is near Mecca in western Saudi Arabia. It’s the site of the cave where Muhammad was visited by an angel calling itself Jibril, or Gabriel.

There is no way to sugarcoat this: The message was not from God. Yahweh does not contradict Himself, but the Quran clearly does. Muhammad saw something, of that we have no doubt. But it was not a messenger from Yahweh.

Islam has a role to play in the future war for God’s holy mountain. Sadly for Muslims, the part the Fallen wants them to play is very simple—to die.

Allah is the name used for the god of Islam, but it’s also the name used by Arab Christians for the God of the Bible. This is somewhat confusing, which is, of course, intentional. Just as El was the name of the chief god of the Canaanites and a generic name for God in Hebrew, “Allah” is another PSYOP by the Fallen to muddy the water.

Many Christians assume that Muslims worship the same god they do, and so they aren’t surprised to learn that Arab Christians apply the same proper name to the God of the Bible. This is the same mistake as assuming a pagan Amorite in the 15th century B.C. who prayed to El was calling on the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Muslims, who believe that Allah has no son, have put their faith in something they think is the God of the Book (the Bible). How can that be, when there are fundamental differences between Allah and Yahweh?

Some Christian scholars draw a link between Allah and older deities worshiped in Arabia prior to Muhammad. This isn’t universally accepted, but it doesn’t have to be to make a case for the god of Islam being something other than Yahweh.

Etymologically, the explanation that seems to make the most sense, and the one accepted by most scholars, suggests that Allah is a contract of al-lāh, “the god.” That’s like the old Semitic use of El, a proper name that grew out of the generic Proto-Semitic word ʾil-, meaning “deity” or “god.” Variant forms show up in Akkadian (ilu), Ugaritic (il), and Hebrew (eloah, the singular form of elohim).

Still, differences in the fundamental characteristics of Allah and Yahweh force us to conclude that one of two things must be true: Either, 1) Allah and Yahweh are one and the same, and the Bible doesn’t accurately record the way Yahweh revealed Himself to the prophets and apostles; or, 2) some thing lied to Muhammad in that cave on Jabal al-Nour, and Allah is not the God of the Bible.

Given that we have Old Testament texts that can be reliably dated to at least two centuries before Jesus (the Septuagint translation from Hebrew into Greek), and most scholars would accept earlier dates for the authorship of those books, and that the books of the New Testament are the best attested documents from the classical period, there is compelling evidence that the Bible has not been corrupted or substantially changed since it was written by the apostles and prophets. While there are minor differences between some texts, the sheer number of manuscripts and documents that quote scripture, like letters from the early church fathers, provide plenty of material to cross-check the books of the Bible and confirm its reliability.

In contrast, the Quran was compiled into its final form about twenty years after the death of Muhammad from several competing versions. By the time of the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, Islam had spread from Arabia into Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Iran, cultures that were different from one another and from the origin point of the faith. Uthman was reportedly motivated to take on the project by disputes between some of the new followers over the correct way to pray. So, to prevent Muslims from fighting over the book, texts were collected from around the caliphate and compiled into an “official” version, and variant copies were destroyed.

Even Muslim scholars—mainly Shia, who believe that Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law was the rightful heir to the prophet’s growing empire—admit that Uthman corrupted the Islamic holy book by his action.

There is more to the story, of course. Scholars spend entire careers studying the Quran just as others do the Bible. But the fundamental difference between the Quran and the Bible is that there is no comparison between the two when it comes to the quantity and quality of the source material.

We take no joy in saying so. Literally billions of humans will pay the ultimate price for the supernatural deception worked on a charismatic Arab trader fourteen centuries ago. And billions more will be destroyed in the cataclysmic final battle for the holy mountain of Yahweh. The bloodthirsty gods are preparing for war.

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Here is where another brief review of history may be helpful. We’ll get a little speculative, and because we’re dealing with the spirit realm there is only so much we can say with one hundred percent confidence.

What happened to the Amorites? Scholars have been exploring that question ever since their existence was confirmed by sources outside the Bible in the 19th century. They were pushed out of Mesopotamia by the Kassites, who took Babylon in the 16th century B.C., and native rulers near the Persian Gulf called the Sealand Dynasty. We’ve already discussed how the Amorite Hyksos rulers of Lower Egypt were evicted by native Eygptians around the same time.

They Amorites disappear from history around the time of the Sea Peoples invasion of the Levant and Egypt in the late 13th and early 12th centuries B.C. This coincides with what scholars call the Late Bronze Age collapse. Over a period of about fifty years, between about 1200 and 1150 B.C., the major states of the eastern Mediterranean from Mycenaean Greece and Hatti to the Amorite and Canaanite states of the Levant were destroyed.

This was the event that ended the kingdom of Ugarit during the reign of the ill-fated Ammurapi we mentioned in an earlier chapter. A small kingdom southeast of Ugarit called Amurru, named for the Amorites, was also wiped out around this time.

This was the period of the later Judges, a time that set the stage for the emergence of the kingdom of Israel. Barak and Deborah’s destruction of Hazor, which some scholars think may have belonged to the kingdom of Amurru, may be dated to this time.

The bottom line is that only Egypt and a few small kingdoms in northern Syria appear to have survived this wave of destruction. The Philistines settled in what we call today the Gaza Strip, and they may have been part of the Sea Peoples coalition. Emerging from the ashes of this turmoil alongside the kingdom of Israel were several Aramean kingdoms, with Damascus and Hamath being the largest.

Because they came out of the same area formerly associated with the Amorites, it’s easy to assume that the Aramean people were just descendants of the Amorites who carried on as best they could after the disasters of the Late Bronze Age collapse. But we can’t make that assumption any more than we could assume that the Israelites were just Canaanites with a repackaged religion because of where David came to power.

By analyzing texts that have been found from the Neo-Assyrian, Neo-Babylonian, and later Egyptian kingdoms, we can piece together a history that seems solid. While the name “Amorite” fell out of use after the conquest of Canaan, there are a couple of tribal names that bridge the period between the disappearance of the Amorites and the emergence of the Arameans. Specifically, the Aḫlamū, sometimes called Aḫlamū-Aramayū (Aḫlamū-Arameans) by the Assyrians, and our old friends the Suteans.

Together, these two tribal names appear to be used, at least sometimes, interchangeably with both Amorite and Aramean nomads, mainly in the steppes of Syria and the Transjordan. After the conquests of the Assyrian empire through the 7th century B.C., even the Arameans fade from history, although the Aramaic language, because it was adopted as the lingua franca by Assyria, became the language of trade and cultural exchange in the Near East from about 600 B.C. to around the time of Jesus before giving way to Greek.

In short, scholars can document a “geographical, historical and linguistic continuity” between the Amorites of the Old Babylonian period and the Arameans of the Middle Babylonian era.

Recent history in the old Amorite homeland, which includes Iraq, Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon, points to a troubled future for the Holy Land. We mentioned earlier the existence of territorial spirits, the main biblical example being the Prince of Persia that tied up the messenger to Daniel for several weeks. We can’t know for certain, but it’s worth mentioning because, as you’ve noticed by now, this author doesn’t put much stock in coincidence, especially where it concerns the Bible and the ongoing spiritual war.

Here are the relevant questions: Can it be just a weird coincidence that the hot spots in the Middle East, especially since the emergence of the Islamic State since the summer of 2014, are a match for the areas defined as the homeland of the Amorites four thousand years ago? Is it just a cosmic accident that the land of the Amorites, especially central and northern Syria, are far more important in the eschatology of Islam than Arabia, the land of Islam’s birth?

Consider the otherwise inexplicable atrocities in the Islamic State’s capital, Raqqa, which lies on the west bank of the Euphrates close by Jebel Bishri, the ancient mountain of the Amorites; or the destruction in Aleppo, called the City of Hadad when it was ruled by Amorite kings in the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The prophecies that guide the leadership of the Islamic State focus on lands where the old gods of the Amorites once reigned supreme.

In Iraq, where ISIS is hard pressed at this writing by Iraqi, Kurdish, Turkish, and American forces in the city of Mosul, analysts at the Combating Terrorism Center at the U.S. Military Training Academy at West Point suggest that ISIS has already prepared a fallback plan in Diyala province if they can’t hang on in Mosul. The analysts feel the terrain and the demographic makeup of Diyala is especially well suited for an ongoing insurgency.2 That’s the area northeast of Baghdad along the Diyala River toward the Hamrin mountain range, where more than four thousand years ago the doomed Sumerian kings of Ur built their futile Amorite-wall-which-keeps-the-Tidnum-at-bay.All of this begs the question: What foul spirit is at work in MAR.TUki, the ancient land of the Amorites?