We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine

Déjà vu

Did you have a déjà vu experience? Well that is what Moses must have had when he and the children of Israel were protected from the plagues and left Egypt with all their treasure. Hundreds of years earlier, Father Abraham was guided to Egypt because of a famine in his land. While sojourning there, the promised seed was put in jeopardy when pharaoh took Abraham’s wife Sarah into his house (Gen 12), no thanks to self serving Abraham. To protect the purity of Abraham’s wife, God brought great plagues upon pharaoh and Egypt (Genesis 12:17). But the plagues awakened the king to the recognition that God’s protection was upon this family (Genesis 12:18). So Pharaoh summoned Abraham and commanded him to leave Egypt (Genesis 12:19). Not only was Abraham and his family driven out, but he left Egypt with much treasure (Genesis 12). Five hundred years after Abraham entered Egypt, another famine would hit during the days of the 12 sons of Israel. During their sojourn in Egypt, the promised seed was again put in jeopardy by another pharaoh; but he too was reminded that this family was under the protection of God through 10 violent plagues. (Exodus 1ff) Commanded to leave Egypt, the children of Israel then left with much treasure. Are you presently experiencing a famine in your life? This may be your opportunity to experience God’s leading, protection and deliverance that ultimately leads to an exodus that leaves you with much treasure. We serve a great redeeming God who can be trusted, so don’t be afraid to go down to the Egypt’s of life; and when things get difficult there, remember, in the end, you will leave with an eternal treasure.

Published in: on October 31, 2009 at 8:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Halloween and Harry Potter

Mona Mikaël has undertaken extensive research into the symbolism of witchcraft, sorcery, and other occult movements, as well as the problem of manipulation of human consciousness in the modern era. In her voluminous study of the use of symbols in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter et L’ Ordre des Ténèbres (Harry Potter and the Order of Darkness), she states that the underlying narrative, which is nearly invisible to most readers, is a largely subliminal indoctrination in diabolic consciousness. She is not so much referring to the obvious level, the witches and wizards and flying broomsticks, but focusing on the deeper levels of narrative, the unveiling of symbols, and the spiritual meanings behind the symbols, which she believes conveys a parallel and highly esoteric message that gravely disfigures eternal values. This disfigurement is not only the distortion of values in young minds, she emphasizes, but a more profound disfigurement in the subconscious, and the soul. It is impossible for me to recite her copious research into this subject, but a sample may suffice. Regarding just one out of a plethora of examples, Mikaël writes: “On a Halloween night, Harry and his friends are invited to the Death-day party of Nearly-Headless Nick, the nearly decapitated ghost. At one end of the room, ghostly guests play ball with their own skulls. At the other end is laid a table covered in black velvet. Large rotten fish were laid on handsome silver platters, cakes burned charcoal black, were heaped on salvers; there was a green maggoty haggis, a slab of cheese covered in furry green mould and, in pride of place, an enormous grey cake in the shape of a tombstone, with the tar-like icing forming the words, Sir Nicholas de Minsey Porpington died 31st October, 1492. Harry watched, amazed, as a portly ghost approached the table, crouched low and walked through it, his mouth held wide so that it passed through one of the stinking salmons. “Can you taste it if you walk through it? I expect they’ve let it rot to give it a stronger flavour” said Hermione knowledgably, pinching her nose and leaning closer to look at the putrid haggis. Knowing that ghosts do not eat, one may ask, what is the purpose of this disgusting table? And why is the table covered in velvet when a worn-out rag would be more consistent with such a meal? The logic of symbols answers these questions by shedding light (partially at least) on the veiled meaning of this feast. In the context of the spirit of Halloween, which is the pagan Celtic solemnity of Samhain and the Devil’s New Year’s Day as some call it, this table is an altar, offering a sacrifice to the Prince of the day (Satan), and the sacrifice is the decomposing flesh of fish, symbol of Christ in the early Church.

Published in: on October 31, 2009 at 3:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Harry Potter and Abortion

By February we will be announcing a new book titled Harry Potter and the Paganization of Christian Culture, by Michael O’Brien. I thought I would give you some tid bits as I am reviewing the manuscript: Material you may not be aware of in Harry Potter: “In Potions class they make brews that can be used to control others. In Herbology they grow plants that are used in the potions; the roots of the mandrake plant, for example, are small human-like babies who scream when they are uprooted for transplanting, and are grown for the purpose of being cut into pieces and boiled in a magical potion.

Published in: on October 31, 2009 at 3:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

Death and Glory

In the last chapter of the book of John writes about what kind of death Peter would experience to glorify God. I then reread the text and it says this: “This he said to show what kind of death he was to glorify God.” As I read and reread this sentence, I began to realize that death is our final act of glorifying God. Maybe if we begin rethinking death, not as a final crushing blow, but our final act of our most important duty to glorify God.

Published in: on October 31, 2009 at 3:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

Raw Foods and the Reward

I was at a health food store this week in London and they talked me into raw foods diet for 30 days. There I learned why many Europeans are so slender. You see, during the world wars they didn’t have a lot of food so they learned to ration. It was found that the generations after the wars not only lived the longest but were the most robust and healthiest people that lived in modern times. The body apparently uses the most essential vitamins and minerals when there is less to eat. This generation though they ate less, they ate foods that were good for them, mostly raw. The abundance of food and it’s readily accessibility in the west may be the downfall of American health and the cause of the increase in obesity especially among children. There is an obvious lack of discipline and moderation. Maybe there is a connection to what Paul writes in the Scriptures: “whatever you do whether you eat, or you drink, do all to the glory of God.” Today is not a time for feasting, but for fortitude. It is a time for self discipline not self indulgence; for training, not channel surfing. I think one of the reasons we have become a self-indulgent culture is because we have lost sight of the reward. When you have something you long for, there is motivation and a willingness to endure hardship. Becoming self-disciplined in our self-indulgent culture is no easy task. So what is the reward? It is the abundant life that God has planned for us. It is God giving us the desires of our hearts. It is experiencing the exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think! Growing in self-discipline and godliness requires war time sacrifice that will lead to the most robust, physically and spiritually healthy generation in recorded history.

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 3:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Teen Vampires

I would presume that most of my readers don’t have children who are reading or watching the teen vampire phenomenon. But it is here and they are wreaking havoc upon our children’s lives. These grotesque characters have now entered the classic culture where both classic books and movies are being adapted to the vampire world. Children and teens love them and if something isn’t done soon a large portion of this generation will be significantly influenced. I am reminded that Lot’s righteous soul, in seeing and hearing was vexed from day to day by their unlawful deeds. He did do those evil deeds, he just saw and heard them and it tore his soul apart. Below is a letter I received from a friend about this new phenomenon.
-Mark, I was re-confirmed in my impressions of the Vampire stories watching the preview for the second one filmed at the movies yesterday afternoon. These are teenagers, making massive life-affecting decisions, with very little parental support. And I know they’re written to appeal to teenagers’ sense of autonomy, but…it is cringe-making on that level. And yes, they are compelling, action-packed stories–hence Hollywood has picked them up to film and mass-market, but….there’s a poignancy to it all which reflects on our times/culture

Published in: on October 29, 2009 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hedge of Thorns

Sometimes discerning God’s will is no easy task. There have been times when it has taken several years to discern whether to move on what appeared to be His leading. Sometimes God puts up roadblocks and detours to help us reach our final destination. I found that to be the case when I was trying to decide which seminary to attend. I was a young Christian and had my heart set on either Master’s Seminary with John MacArthur, Dallas Seminary with many reputable theologians, or Grace in Indiana, where Larry Crab taught. During this decision-making time, roadblocks and unexpected alternatives helped the process of elimination. That same week I received a letter from John MacArthur titled, “How to Discern God’s Will.” I smiled, thinking God was nudging me in this direction. The one decision I was certain about was where I would to Baptist Bible Theological Seminary. Having been spiritually nurtured in a Baptist church, I felt I needed a little more diversity in my training. So at least that was settled. After receiving the letter and listening to John MacArthur on discerning God’s will, plans began for our big move to CA. Certainly God was opening doors. My wife and I visited Grace church and one of the elders and his wife took us under their wing. It all looked like a go. Then I received a phone call. “Hello Mark, this is Dr. Richard Engle from Baptist Bible Seminary.” He began to explain why I should consider attending his seminary. His daughter had been a student teacher under my administration, which had given him the connection to call me. Dr. Engle is a very gentle and godly man one whom I admire. But I thanked him and told him that Baptist Bible Seminary was not a possibility. He asked if I would be willing to pray about it (I hate when they do that!). I said I would, and I did. Through a series of what I call “hedges,” God began to show me why moving to Dallas or CA just wasn’t responsible or reasonable with my young family, three preschool children and a wife who needed family support. Baptist Bible Seminary was only three and a half hours from home, so if we needed to see family they would not be far away. So, to Baptist Bible Seminary we came. As I look back I realize it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. What an incredible theological education I had, and what a great place to raise my family. There is a significant story that has been most helpful in discerning God’s will for my life, titled The Hedge of Thorns. This story has taught me that God might use a hedge of thorns to keep me on the right path. When I push to have my way, or as in the case of this story, push through the hedge of thorns, I can bring harm to myself or those I love. When I draw back and wait patiently, the hedge acts as my safety net of protection. It is when I allow the hedges to actually guide me, even if not in the direction I preferred, that I experience unexpected blessings. In the book of Hosea God teaches that he uses a hedge of thorns to keep a wayward wife from finding her desired path of lust and luxury. Therefore I will hedge up her way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. Discerning the hedges in our lives will keep us from path of sin and the memories of regret. When we flee from the fleeting pleasures of sin, we will find the reward that lies on the other side of the hedge.

Published in: on October 27, 2009 at 3:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

You’ll like this: Home schooled vs. Home schoolers

Published in: on October 25, 2009 at 3:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Advice for preventing H1N1

The following note about the H1N1 preventative measures seem like common sense, so I thought I would pass them on. Some people could be sensitive and even allergic to what could appear as harmless prevention, so please consult your physician. We at Lamplighter do not endorse the following article and recommend, before following any of this advice, that you contact your physician. Dr. Vinay Goyal is an MBBS, DRM, DNB (Intensivist and Thyroid specialist) having clinical experience of over 20 years. He has worked in institutions like Hinduja Hospital, Bombay Hospital, Saifee Hospital, and Tata Memorialetc. Presently, he is heading our Nuclear Medicine Department and Thyroid clinic at Riddhivinayak Cardiac and Critical Centre, Malad (W). The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it’s almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is. While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1 infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some very simple steps, not fully highlighted in most official communications, can be practiced (instead of focusing on how to stock N95 or Tami flu): 1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications 2. “Hands-off-the-face” approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat or bathe). 3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don’t trust salt). H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tami flu has on an infected one. Don’t underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method. 4. Similar to 3 above, clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population. 5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amlaand other citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc to boost absorption. 6. Drink as much of warm liquids (tea, coffee, etc) as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm. Neti pots and sinus rinse kits are available at the drug store and relatively inexpensive….under $15.

Published in: on October 23, 2009 at 3:49 pm  Comments (1)  

The Ram is on its Way

“So Abraham called that place the LORD will provide. And to this day it is; On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” Genesis 22(NIV) Have you ever been in a situation so desperate that it looked hopeless? Have you ever sat at the kitchen table wondering how you were going to pay the electric bill? Have you ever stood at a door that’s been slammed in your face by an angry teenager and despaired at ever having a relationship with him again? Have you ever had your heart broken so deeply that you wondered if you would ever feel whole again? Sadly, we live in a broken world where desperate situations happen everyday. I know someone reading this devotion is wondering how she will make it through the day because her situation looks hopeless. If that is you, I encourage you to keep reading. I believe God has a message of hope for you today. That message is found in the Bible, in the story of a man who was dealing with his own desperate situation. His name was Abraham and he faced the greatest testing of his life. After longing for a son for many years, God finally gave Abraham a boy, whom he named Isaac. Abraham never imagined God would test his faith by asking him to sacrifice his son. But it happened. It had to have been the darkest day of Abraham’s life as he trudged up the mountain, with firewood strapped to his son‘s back. Every step took Abraham closer to what he believed to be the sad ending of a hopeless situation – the death of his son. Yet in spite of his sorrow, Abraham trusted God. His heart wasn’t soaring with joy. He wasn’t dancing up the mountain. But he put one foot in front of the other. Walking through the darkness of the situation; obeying His God’s commands. Unbeknownst to Abraham, something else was walking up that mountain. Out of sight, on the other side of the mountain; something else was putting one foot in front of the other. Only Abraham couldn’t see it. For every step Abraham took, a ram on the other side of the mountain took a step. All Abraham saw that day was his solitary journey of pain. As he got closer to the top of the mountain, his dread must have increased. I wonder if he asked himself any questions. I would have. I would have wondered why God hadn’t intervened. Why hadn’t God stopped this testing? Couldn’t God see that Abraham was a man of faith? Why test him in this way? But there was no answer. There was no voice from heaven. And so Abraham kept obeying his God’s command. He put Isaac on an altar and prepared to sacrifice his one and only son. And just at that very moment, at the very last second, when it looked like the end had come, God spoke, stopping the sacrifice. Abraham looked up and there caught in the thicket was a ram. Abraham took his son off the altar, replaced him with the ram, and offered the sacrifice to God. Abraham named that place “Yahweh-Yireh” “The Lord Will Provide” And the story was written down for generations of God-followers to read. It was written so that you and I today would read it as we face our own hopeless situations. It was captured in print so that you and I would know that God is already planning for our provision. We don’t see it. We don’t hear it. But we can trust that our God is at work, on your behalf, and on mine. I choose to trust God today. A ram is on the way.

Published in: on October 21, 2009 at 3:56 pm  Leave a Comment