Archive for the ‘Thoughts from John’ category

Notice to Readers

December 10, 2017

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed I haven’t posted any new content for quite some time. This site is slowly being phased out.

I invite you to follow me at JohnWesleySmith.com.

Thank you.

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You’re In For It Now, Buster!

December 6, 2015

When you’re watching or listening to the news, do you ever get the feeling you’re back in school, waiting for the hammer to come down on you for doing wrong? I’ve had that feeling often, and I don’t expect it to go away any time soon.

Paul Craig Roberts explains why that is in a brilliant article entitled The Punishment Society. Our country is punishing those within and without who don’t tow the line.

I want to try to tie several seemingly random things together to emphasize this point. First, a little personal thought to get the ball rolling.

Generally speaking, I liked school when I was a kid years ago. I’ve always enjoyed learning. But one thing I absolutely hated was that the wrong actions of one person screwed things up for all of us. If one person did something out of line, we were all guilty. No chance to prove innocence.

Forget about individual responsibilities and rights. Collectivist thinking is surely instilled when we’re treated as a group, not as human beings.

That’s the attitude exhibited in our country today. There are all kinds of reasons why you and I might be domestic terrorists. The bottom line is, if we take a viewpoint that’s out of synch with the government in any way, we’re in for trouble.

But most people don’t know or believe that. Do right, and all will be well. Only those who break the law or are terrorists deserve punishment, right?

How will they know what you and I are up to?

Because we’re being watched all the time. And we’re told to watch each other. You know, See something, say something.

“The Atlantic” for November 2015 includes an article entitled If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re crazy. The author warns of the dangers of the surveillance we’ve come to expect and accept in our everyday lives. There’s surprisingly very little of the anticonspiracy theory attitude in it, which one would expect from such an establishment publication.

I think I understand why young people have no sense of the loss of personal privacy in our modern day surveillance society. It’s something that has baffled me before now.

First, they’ve grown up with pervasive technology that I didn’t experience years back. Second, there’s no sense of punishment associated with being watched. At least none that’s perceptible.

In fact, it’s flat out pleasurable to engage in social media. Who cares about consequences? See Why Do We Expose Ourselves? for mor thoughts on this.

There’s another side to the punishment coin. It’s not only the authorities who wish to punish the masses. It’s the masses who want to punish as well.

An attitude of political correctness has been allowed to grow and run rampant. Nobody would dare to hurt somebody else’s feelings, would they? They deserve punishment if they do step out of line.

And yet look who wants to do the punishment. The same people who don’t think twice about putting everything on social media.

Look at the punishment attitude embedded within the turmoil this fall over alleged racism at the University of Missouri. It toppled top leaders. The contageon has spread in one form or other to other colleges.

Look at the example of the weatherman who was fired in France a few weeks ago for not agreeing with the party line on global warming. Read about it here.

Let’s go further.

If you don’t believe the U.S. government’s official story about 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, the attacks on Paris, the shootings in San Bernardino, CA, etc., you’re a conspiracy theorist and must be made to feel out of step with reality.

We now have so-called mass shootings and terrorist attacks of one sort or other at least once a week. It’s alleged by talk show hosts and many among us that Muslims are invading America. Yet anyone who speaks out against them in any way stands the risk of being prosecuted.

This is a deliberate attempt to intimidate and bully Americans into submission.

Can you honestly tell me this isn’t a punishment society?

Or are you one of those who claims to have nothing to hide. You’re coloring inside the lines.

And yet, with the excess of regulations these days, we’re all law breakers of one kind or another.

Ironically, the solution to everything that looks out of order is to make more rules and regulations.

So many little things happen that reinforce the punishment society attitude. For example, after a Russian airliner was shot down over Egypt, a picture emerged allegedly showing a soda pop can bomb. Or maybe it was a beer can.

Either way, it could be that from now on when you drink a can of Coke in public, you’ll be looked at suspiciously.

Here’s another angle to that. If you’re not really a terrorist, do you really need that soft drink or beer anyway? Obesity runs rampant, right? Haven’t voices been clamoring for us to do something about it?

So, you see, you’re now being punished for drinking a can of pop.

But how brilliant is it that making people scared to drink from a can in public is a way to fight terrorism and obesity at the same time?

As that Russian comedian used to say, “What a country!”

OK, do you truly want to be a good citizen?

All right then. Here’s how you can avoid being punished in society today.

  • Believe absolutely everything you’re told by the media, government and anyone in a position of authority.
  • Remember authority is always right.
  • Never ask questions about anything.
  • When a new idea or law is put forward, always accept it blindly and eagerly.
  • Never ever think outside the box.

There may be more rules to follow, but those should get you buy for now.

Are you satisfied with that? I’m not, and I never will be. And my punishment is a harsh one–attempting to maintain sanity in an insane world.

Revisiting the Thwarting of Prophetic Events

October 11, 2015

A few months ago I wrote a piece called How to Keep Prophecy from Coming True, featuring a fictionalized letter supposedly from a high ranking leader of a secret society describing its control of world affairs. Recently I shared the link with the pastor of our church. He read the post but wasn’t altogether clear on what I was trying to say. We had a good discussion about it.

No one has commented on that piece, so perhaps others felt confused as well. I admit, I did throw a lot of things out there. Apparently my attempt to put forth big ideas in a clever manner fell flat.

What I’d like to do in this piece is summarize and hopefully clarify the main points I was trying to make. But I’d also like to raise a few serious questions I have, particularly about Israel–always a point of controversy.

At the risk of sounding paranoid, if this blog ceases to exist, it will have been taken down bby someone other than me because of this post.

I begin with two premises. The first is that Zionism exerts a far greater influence than most Americans–especially Christians–realize or admit. Another premise is that nations have come together, knowingly or otherwise, to thwart prophetic events from coming to pass as outlined in Scripture.

Here’s how I see that unfolding.

America has gone the extra mile to support Israel, so much so that our foreign policy has been taken captive by those who seek to build a Greater Israel at any cost. Other nations, such as those in the EU, have been brought along to aid in this quest.

Forget any rhetoric or behavior from our current president regarding Israel. He’s a bit player. It’s our country’s actions which continue to indicate ongoing support for Israel.

I’ll address Christians and support of Israel below because it deserves attention. But permit more background for now.

Regarding my first premise about Zionism’s influence, The U.S. is in the Middle East and that general region of the world for two reasons–Israel and oil. Granted, that’s an oversimplification.

But it appears we’ve been working behind the scenes to destabilize countries Israel perceives as a threat. It’s part of the preemptive strike mentality exhibited since 9/11/’01.

Many Americans have been conditioned in recent years to fear radical Islam. Admittedly this isn’t something we should ignore. But are we over reacting?

There’s so much misinformation and disinformation in our land. Have we been persuaded by those with a proIsrael mindset that Islam is a greater threat than it is? Could it be that we face a still greater threat?

Is it wise to go merrily on our way as if Zionism didn’t exist or had no influence on our country, both in its internal and external doings?

Let’s look at the problem with ISIS, for example. The U.S. and a handful of other countries created them, or at least fostered their development, in part to oppose the government in Syria.

Destabilizing Syria is perhaps thought by some to be beneficial to Israel. It may be that the idea is to create chaos to stimy the enemy.

It should be clear we have not wanted to stop ISIS. If this were untrue, months ago we could have done what Russia has done (as I write this) to strangle ISIS in a matter of weeks.

Additionally, the so-called color revolutions of the Arab spring and beyond weren’t grassroots efforts. According to many reports I’ve read, the U.S. and some of its allies had a hand in fomenting unrest. Again, is there benefit to Israel? Is the objective once again to create chaos to squelch a perceived threat?

Whatever the case, in reality, the path has been cleared for the rise of radical Islam. That flies in the face of the so-called war on terrorism, doesn’t it?

One of the consequences of this engineered rise of radical Islam is the growing persecution of Christians. If indeed America has had a hand in this, I believe she stands to be judged for this as much, if not more so, than whether or not she supports Israel.

Why would anyone want to set up such a sinister scenario?

Let’s not be blind to the fact that some Jews hate Christ and Christianity. There are those who would love to see America–a once great Christian nation–fall from within.

I hasten to add, the ills of America–and the world as a whole–cannot be blamed entirely on Jews. All I’m saying is we shouldn’t assume Zionist Jews don’t exist or have no role as movers and shakers.

But back to my main points.

If the U.S. can be used in some way, directly or otherwise, to facilitate the killing of Christians, so much the better.

Perverse, isn’t it?

Take note that Israel is not defenseless. It’s reported they have between 100 and 300 nuclear weapons. They have not signed the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, as has Iran, one of their alleged enemies. Does Israel really need all the money and military aid we’re giving them?

It appears to me Israel is operating out of fear. And they’re spreading it to those who would do their bidding.

Keep Americans afraid of Islam, and they’ll gladly give up freedoms for the promise of safety.

In fact, as some suggest, we should follow Israel’s example of keeping secure such places as schools and airports. After all, the thought is, nobody can face down threats like Israel.

Do I make too much of what motivates the nations shaping world events today? Perhaps my pastor is right to suggest their motivation doesn’t matter, since the root cause is ultimately Satanic influence.

But let me go on to my notion that nations are attempting to thwart prophetic events. Two items come to mind.

In Gulf War I in the early 1990’s, and with the sanctions on Iraq that followed, the U.S. and its allies stopped Saddam Hussein’s efforts to rebuild Babylon.

Why is that significant?

Somehow, sometime, literal Babylon will be rebuilt. We see it in Revelation 17-18. Remember, no one thought in times past there would be a nation state called Israel again. So why shouldn’t there be Babylon in the future?

I suggest it’s believed that if there’s no physical, literal Babylon, how can Babylon fall, as predicted? Babylon is a geographic place, not just a political, economic or religious system.

Next, consider the destruction of ancient sites. It happened in Iraq in what some call Gulf War II. It has happened most recently in Syria and other places with the advent of ISIS.

Jesus said in John 10:10 that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. The destruction of ancient sites and the preventing of Babylon’s rebuilding fits that pattern.

To bring my two main premises together, nations, largely influenzed by Zionism, have joined together to keep prophecy from happening as predicted in Scripture. Those who want a Greater Israel want it apart from God and without a Messiah.

After the discussion with our pastor, I came away feeling that my theory about nations working to keep prophetic events from happening isn’t as earth shattering as I had thought. But it does seem more evident to me in these times, and I don’t think people see it..

My pastor reminded me that Satan did what he could through Biblical history to prevent prophetic events, particularly the birth of Christ. King Herod’s slaughter of baby boys as described in Matthew 2 is but one example of that.

Did Herod know he was fulfilling prophecy, rather than stopping it by trying to scuttle the first advent of Christ? Not likely.

Do nations today know they’re fulfilling prophecy by trying to scuttle the second advent of Christ, rather than preventing it? Not likely.

The fact is, the nations who are deliberately fostering chaos aren’t thwarting prophecy, as I believe many in power behind the scenes wish to do. Instead, they are setting the stage for the AntiChrist. He is the one who will bring order out of chaos and peace–at least at first.

Looking at the big picture–as if we weren’t already–God is sovereign. Though Satan has a great deal of free reign in this world, God overrules. His Word is true, and His will will be accomplished, regardless of who or what tries to stand in the way.

Israel will go through many trials but will not be destroyed.

Now let’s come back to the subject of America, and Christians, supporting Israel.

As I expected, our pastor takes the standard view of most Christians and insists our country should support Israel, or America will fall. I have held this view in the past, but I have reservations and questions about it now. It’s not a matter of whether, but how we should uphold Israel.

There are enough reasons for God to bring the U.S. down already, regardless of her position on Israel. America is not in Bible prophecy, but it’s hard to say what will take her out. Could it be due to something other than whether we support Israel?

The principle of support for Israel is drawn from Genesis 12:1-3 which says:

1.Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
2.And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3.And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Many books have been written which have sought to unpack the truths in these verses. I can’t begin to do the subject justice here. Obviously, Christ is the greatest blessing to come from Abraham, and He has brought salvation to people throughout the world.

But how would God truly have us support Israel today? Does Genesis 12 mean America should unconditionally give money and missiles to the present nation-state of Israel? Right now they’re a secular nation which, whether they know it or not, is being used as an instrument of Satan.

Are those words too harsh?

Let me put this another way. If you’ve raised children, did you give them candy and soda pop every time they asked for it? Did you let them stay up until all hours of the night and do anything they wanted? Would that have been the way to bless them? Wouldn’t you in a sense be cursing them by letting them have their way?

With that illustration in mind, shouldn’t America be more reserved in its support of Israel? Or shouldn’t we take a different approach? Why should that be considered as cursing Abraham’s descendants?

Some will say I’m overlooking the threats Israel has faced since its modern day creation in 1948. Nothing in that part of the world is clear cut or black and white. And Israel isn’t as innocent and pure as the driven snow.

One of the key reasons Christians believe in supporting Israel is because of the teaching that Israel’s presence today is the fulfillment of prophecy. Others say it is not because it is a U.N. construct–of man and not of God.

But what of the idea God uses such instruments as the U.N. to do His will? I can’t rule that out.

On the other hand, what if the establishment of modern day Israel is comparable to the birth of Ishmael? In other words, did Zionists and others get ahead of God’s plan?

My late friend Gerald Franz thought Isaiah 11:10-14 indicated Israel will be dispersed again at a time in the future before God accomplishes His final plan for the nation. Even if this somehow does happen, God is not done with Israel and will not allow her to be destroyed. The Bible makes that clear.

God’s plan will come to pass as He wills. Thankfully the Zionists will be dealt with. Israel will be judged during the time of the seven year Tribulation. But ultimately the Lord will finish what He started with Israel and raise the nation to prominence in His own way.

From a human standpoint, it’s hard to see that in the midst of so much darkness.

With all of that said, here’s my message to Christians and churches, regardless of what America does or doesn’t do pertaining to Israel. If you get nothing else from this post, please take note here.

Our response to the Genesis 12 passage should be that we each show lovingkindness toward Jewish individuals. Give them the gospel whenever possible and let God’s Holy Spirit win them to Christ, the Messiah.

Churches should do more to support the spread of the gospel to Jews, including in Israel, as difficult as that may be.

Wouldn’t that be the better way to bless the physical seed of Abraham?

Better Than a Stripper

September 13, 2015

I heard the account of a disabled man in a wheelchair who visited strip clubs occasionally and was acquainted with amateur porn stars. He said the women at strip clubs treated him better than anyone else. They dealt with him like a human being and weren’t patronizing or condescending.

What an odd thing. Yet there are those times when it seems the world behaves more uprightly than those of us who claim to know Christ as savior. I find a lesson in this. Shouldn’t we show compassion–not pity or avoidance–to those who are disabled or different from us? Shouldn’t we behave better than a stripper?

Romans 12, selected verses–
3.For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith…
9.Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
10.Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;…
15.Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16.Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Galatians 6, selected verses–
2.Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.
3.For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself…
10.As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Don’t Give in to Shock and Awe

July 26, 2015

Lately I’ve been hearing Christians express fear and shock over recent events, which include the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalization of homosexual marriage and the deal with Iran on nuclear materials. I find the reactions disturbing and frustrating.

It’s disturbing because many are both uninformed about the nature of these events and about what God says in His word. It’s frustrating because I’m not sure I know the way to communicate with fellow believers on a level they can relate to without alienating them. Nonetheless, I shall try below.

He who is meant to receive it will. I can only leave the rest to God.

There’s a fear that Christians in America have lost–or are losing–religious freedom and will be persecuted because of the same sex marriage decision. We’ve suffered so little in this country, we don’t know what real persecution is. It’s normal throughout history in many places, and it’s happening now in many other countries.

While I don’t relish the thought of experiencing persecution myself or seeing others go through it, it may be just what we need to separate the wheat from the chaff in the body of Christ at large.

As for the deal with Iran, many fear for Israel. They fear if we don’t stand up for Israel, we’ll risk judgment.

First, Israel has plenty of nukes. If anyone doubts it, search it out. Israel is quite capable of taking care of itself. That may become necessary as America declines.

As for America being judged, forget about its relationship with Israel for a minute. Do you think the U.S. won’t be judged for killing tens of millions of babies? That alone should do it. But now there’s same sex marriage to tack onto that.

You can no doubt think of other things for which America deserves God’s judgment. We should thank God He has been so merciful up to now.

Back to Israel for a second. God isn’t going to let Israel be destroyed. Israel takes center stage in the Great Tribulation. Judgment will take place, but not destruction.

God will raise up His kingdom in his way and time, and His word is true. He will bring about prophetic events, and He will do it as only He can.

So don’t let the bloviators in today’s noisy media get to you. Don’t let your faith be shaken. Don’t give into shock and awe from the world or even other Christian sources.

As I was thinking on all of this the other day, 1 Peter4:12-19 came to mind. Look at it below. Remember, we have not yet begun to go through fiery trials. Keep Peter’s advice in mind for now and for the time ahead when we do go through such trials.

Look at it this way. If those of us who are Christians are persecuted, will we be able to say we’re persecuted for being righteous? Isn’t that far better than being persecuted for the things the rest of the world does?

Rejoice, Christian, if you’re counted righteous enough to be tagged for it.

Finally, remember 1 Peter 4:19. If you’re truly righteous, commit your soul to the only One who can truly keep it.

1 Peter 4:12-19–
12. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
14. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.
16. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
17. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18. And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
19. Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

Not indispensable

July 19, 2015

Perhaps you’ve heard Christians say, “The battle is the Lord’s.” So many examples in the Old Testament point to the truth of that. Israel wouldn’t have accomplished mighty victories if it weren’t for God’s direct intervention.

And what about prophecy? Do we think we can do anything to change God’s prophetic plan? While we don’t know from our vantage point now how things will work out, one day we’ll look back and say, “So that’s how God did it.”

Frankly, I think we don’t hear enough about what God will do and has already done. We are so self preoccupied–as if God couldn’t run the world without us.

I’ve heard so much through the years about how we need to be available to be God’s instruments. Let Him use us.

Well, maybe He will, and maybe He won’t. He certainly doesn’t have to. It’s an honor and privilege when He does, but often I don’t know He has until after the fact.

While I do indeed want to be used of God, I also know I’m not indispensable. Knowing that makes His grace and mercy toward me all the more humbling and precious.

Come to the New World

July 5, 2015

A conversation I had with my wife this morning brought to mind a novel I finished reading the other day. We had a discussion we have all too often about how things aren’t going to be OK.

I despise a glib attitude exhibited by too many Christians. The ideas are: Everything will be all right. All will be well with the world. God is in control.

OK, it’s true that God is in control. But he has given Satan plenty of latitude in this present world. And God allows things to happen that surely must not please Him.

For example, take the Old Testament account of Israel splitting into two nations–Israel in the north and Judah in the south. God said this would happen if His rulers and people did not follow Him. He couldn’t have been happy with what Israel did. Yet He allowed it to happen.

Today you and I are beset with tragedies of all kinds. Financial, health and family problems plague us in our everyday lives. They’re difficult burdens to bear. We’re deluded if we think things are OK. Yet God allows bad things to happen.

The U. S. has now legalized same sex marriage. Other gross immoralities will follow, and they’ll have consequences that will astound the average person.

Does this sound like things will be OK? Do we really think God is pleased? Nonetheless, it happens, and it is happening.

Yes, God is sovereign. But things will not be OK. They’re going to get worse and worse. That’s how the world operates.

So what’s the answer for you and me?

We must realize two things. We live in a sin-sick, cursed world. And America is dead.

The sooner we get over things like patriotism and confidence in this world, the better off we’ll be. Our allegiance and confidence are to be in the Lord.

The sooner we become unattached from this rotten world, the better. How can God fully use us if we’re centered on idealism about the human condition or the status of our once great nation?

Now, what does this have to do with the novel I mentioned above? Broadly speaking, it was about colonists who came to America. They came looking for new opportunities in a new world.

Shouldn’t we be thinking about the heavenly world we’ll be living in one day? It’s clear we don’t love that new world enough. If we did, we would be telling others how to get there. Shouldn’t we be inviting others to come to Christ and the new world He promises us?

Many of the old Negro spirituals had heaven in view. Do we have to become oppressed slaves before we get sick of this present world? That’s how it seems to me.

2 Timothy 2:3-4–
3. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
4. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

Philippians 3:7-9, 13-15, 20-21–
7. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
8. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
9. And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:…
13. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you…
20. For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21. Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.