In 2001, NASA employees began meeting at lunch for devotion and prayer. While it cannot be verified how many governmental agencies hosted such things, it was a common thing for those working in the space program to read the Bible aloud. With all of the inconsequential news, we probably missed the fact that in 2016 the Johnson Space Center newsletter announced that the name of Jesus was not to be used on company grounds. Agency officials said, “Consistent with federal law, NASA attempts to balance employee’s rights to freely exercise religious beliefs with its obligation to ensure there is no government endorsement of religion.” Thus, the name of Jesus and the openly read scripture became a taboo.
Today there are bans on speaking the name of Jesus in some public forums. People are said to feel offended by hearing the name in prayer or in conversation. Most of our public colleges have sent written notices to all commencement speakers not to use the name or end prayers in the name as it is said to “cause anxiety in those who are non-religious or of a different belief.” In essence, America has outlawed the name, Jesus.
There is a caution in this report in that church members should not grow too angry. The American Christian has been silent for a long time. Many churchgoers have elected men and women to public office who do not believe in the Bible. Some have even endorsed the perversions of the world. Pulpits are silent and members are apathetic. Modesty sermons are rejected by the majority of congregations while boundary-less lifestyles are embraced. Outward holiness lessons have become offensive while subjectivism has become the norm.
The result? Jesus’ name is illegal. No one would have believed this 50 years ago. No one could have imagined our nation bent on a full out rejection of the name. Nevertheless, as the American Christian rejects spiritual accountability, godly authority, and the Bible, secularism has taken root. Pentecostals have feared exclusion leaving the door open for a carnal culture to dictate their lifestyle. Edmund Burke said it right…“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” You may have to stand alone, but do all you can to stand. If not, be prepared to whisper the name in private.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
In March of 2011 two writers, Steven A. Austin and Mark L. Strauss, decried the teaching of an increase in earthquakes as being a sign of the end time. They used data from the NGDC and NOAA to denounce a rise in seismic activity. However, that was 2011. Since then, earthquakes have risen 300% in frequency and there is more than enough data to substantiate the change. Earthquake Tracker offers the most recent details as of July 16, 2019: 307 earthquakes in the past 24 hours; 3,868 in the past 7 days; 11,220 in past 30 days: and 69,869 in the past year. These staggering occurrences are highlighted by California’s July 5th 7.1 magnitude earthquake that shut down most of the area. The ripple effect caused by the aftershocks was just as dangerous. Scientists tell us that an earthquake with a 9.0 magnitude is over 707 times greater than a 7.1 magnitude.
It might seem a little distant for most of us, but I offer a single thought launched from Mount Olivet. Among the many signs of the last days, Jesus said that there would be, Matthew 24:7, “ earthquakes in divers places.” Paul wrote of the end times when he said, Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. While there are many others signs; wars, pestilence, false doctrines, famines, sexual perverseness, the Bible points to the signs in the earth. The earth is trembling, moving in pain in response to the sins of mankind. The world is quaking in ways we have never seen. History can only point to the great flood of Noah to find another time when such occurred. We are living in unprecedented moments. Israel is a nation. The Middle East is rising against her. Germany has regained her footing. Godlessness has gripped America. The “perilous times” of 2 Timothy 3 is in full display and the earth is shaking.
Some of you will read this and move on to something else. Some will pass it by as just another entry in a blog. However, for those who can see with spiritual eyes and hear with spiritual ears, the things which God has spoken, then remember this: Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
In case you missed it, Puerto de San Lorenzo’s fighting bulls were running through the cobblestone streets of Pamplona, Spain last week. Multiple bulls with an average weight of 1300+ pounds were racing around bends and curves while revelers ran ahead and beside. On the second day of the running, several people were injured. Medics were on site to care for those left bleeding and wounded. The years of running with the bulls have left many gored; some suffered head injuries, broken bones and other issues not soon repaired.
Regardless of the warnings, thousands gather to feel the rush of adrenaline as they dodge the pointed horns of these monstrous beasts. Everyone who hops the barricade to enter this chaotic scene knows the danger they are facing. It’s not a mystery that a 180 pound man is no match for a massive bull running full speed.
The question is “why”? Tradition comes to mind. Thrill seekers could answer the question, I suppose. Why would people intentionally put themselves in the path of a running bull? Why take the chance of being impaled by the horns of an angry animal? The bull has no feelings. He has no sympathy for the fools who stand in his way. Regardless of how many are injured this year; regardless of the bloodstained streets and forever-injuries, next year will be no different.
Solomon wrote of a man who stood in the street and said that a lion was there to devour him. He knew the danger, but did nothing to change his location. He just stood there, waiting to die. Paul said that the “wages of sin is death.” There is no mystery that sin devours the soul. Sin separates us from God and creates lasting pain. Nevertheless, we hear little of it because no one wants to feel bad about their poor behavior. The 21st Century Christian has modernized the definition of sin in order to cope with guilt.
Still yet, I rise to say, “Walk in the Light as He is in the Light.” Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. You’ll never survive running in the way of danger. Jesus is calling for a separated Church. I pray we can hear the voice of the Spirit. Romans 8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole
In light of popular prosperity doctrines and preachers, I wonder how many are being led astray by their false narrative. While some post-modern pulpits promote gain and glory, could it be that God’s grace and goodness is even more profound in loss and suffering? I submit it to be so.
The Lord’s great desire is to save us. His purpose is for all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. He did not die so that we could have a better job or more vacation time. The Cross of Calvary was not intended to offer us a pain-free life. It was meant to rescue the soul from sin; an atonement through the Blood. Jesus came to give us Life and in the purview of the Almighty, our eternal salvation is far more important than any temporal thing.
Christianity was never meant to provide worldly success. The single focus is to be saved when the Trump of God sounds. All of which begs the question, “What will it take for you to be saved?” Because trouble and loss might be the vehicle to lift you out of this world. Tribulation and suffering might be the only thing that drives you toward Heaven. What difference would it make if you gained the whole world and lose your soul? What good would it do if you are comfortable here, but you miss the rapture?
Please don’t misunderstand: I’m happy if you are blessed in this temporal life. I rejoice at the testimonies of material blessings. Praise God for increase! I am thankful for the provisions that come from the Lord, even if they are temporal. However, none compare to that Great and Terrible Day of the Lord when He shall split the eastern sky with a heavenly host.
I want you to be blessed, but not at the expense of your eternity. I hope that your businesses grow and you are able to afford new things. I’m happy if you are equipped with knowledge and that your stewardship is sound. However, if you forfeit your prayer life, church attendance, and ultimately your salvation, then all of your accomplishments are a detriment to the eternity that awaits you. If gain comes at the cost of heaven, then your gain is a reproach to the Cross.
This is the temporal versus the eternal. This is the only thing that matters.
Pastor Jeffrey Harpole