CSN Sunday Edition – Messages of Light – 5/3/2020
Dear Citizen Sentinels Network newsletter readers,
This is our new Sunday edition. If you consider the messages relevant or meaningful and know others who might as well, consider yourself a Light mail messenger, please pass this message on to those whom you feel could receive it. Otherwise, please receive it yourselves.
“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:17-18
In late March, one of the Messages of Light was shared from Apostle Tim Taylor, the Founder and overseer of Kingdom League International & the 1Church1Day strategy. The article was entitled, “Coronavirus? This should be the church’s finest hour,” which he had written in his blog earlier that month. The complete original article can be found here: https://www.1church1day.org/
In the article, Apostle Taylor explained that: “Mature love casts out all fear.” And, he prayed “for a remnant to rise up in love to lay hands upon the sick and to stretch forth their/our hands in love.” This was a serious challenge to the American churches, or Christian churches across the world that they could truly live up to the sincere commands of Jesus Christ. The message was initially written about a month before Easter, the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection and his victory over the claim of death. Tim Taylor’s message is essential not just for Christians, but also for people of all faiths.
Additionally, in early April, I shared about parallels between the Passover and the COVID-19 Pandemic in the CSN newsletter, and in the Messages of Light, I shared that I didn’t see our president as a Cyrus figure, like many other prominent Christians have claimed. In light of the present-day parallels in history, I shared that I see President Donald Trump more as a symbolic Moses figure. It may not be the mainstream “proclaimed” perspective, but as one looks around at what Donald Trump is doing, rather than getting hung up on his words, he seems to be leading the American citizens away from a culture of corruption and a civilization that has condoned the death of its future generations.
President Trump has a vision for a better United States of America, but it is highly doubtful that his vision belongs only to him. The real reason he was elected is that his vision resounded with millions of citizens all across the nation. They trusted him and still need to trust him to help all of us get to that “better place.” And, it is understandable that many Christians do not deeply or truly trust this political figure. He does not appear as if he understands the Bible, or even has a humble and reverent attitude towards certain other people. Yet, he is doing more than any recent presidents in the history of the United States to boldly lead us to that “better place.” Yet, it is not a certainty that Americans will get to see that “better place.”
Certainly, if a serious person of faith, does apply their faith, it is usually based upon following the dictates of what they hold to be true. However, it goes beyond that. Intellectual embrace of what is considered the truth does not always enable one to “rise up in love to lay hands upon the sick and to stretch forth their/our hands in love.” Intellectual embrace of what is considered the holy scriptures, does not always enable people with conviction and courage to do what they know is right. My message today deals with this conviction and this moral courage to not only hold onto what is considered holy scripture, but to act upon the faith that people proclaim to possess.
This week we are introducing a new feature of the Messages of Light: a Video Views segment, somewhat like our Citizen Sentinels Newsletter. This week we offer a couple of videos for those of you who are visually inspired or more visually oriented learners.
These words are being freely offered and are being sent to you as part of the “David Project.” Please receive this message as a gift from those who care. They are only words that are being offered, freely, but some contain a deep message of faith, or a deeper expression of heart that readers can hopefully receive into their hearts. As it was written: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18 – KJV
May we humble ourselves, seek His face in prayer, sincerely repent, and turn from wicked ways – even if that may mean doing it every day, day after day, for the rest of our days. It is not a recipe for baking a cake. It is a blueprint for redeeming our souls and for transforming one’s nation.
There was a sign boldly displayed at a corner gas station here in my crazy city in California that proclaimed “We’re All in This Together! — We’ll pump your gas for you!” I thought, how profound that a gas station owner would understand the value of serving others in this time of pandemic. At first I thought, well he must be a Christian. But, then California is a place of incredible diversity of cultures from all over the world. Christians do not hold a monopoly on compassion for others, nor upon a willingness to serve others in times of great need. In fact, one may wonder what the Christians are doing in this time of the COVID-19 Pandemic. In mid-February, in the CSN news, a link was offered to an article on how Christians were serving “on the Streets of China’s Coronavirus Hot Zone…” https://www.faithwire.com/
Yet, that activity was originating in China. In the United States, around the same time COVID-19 was originating in Wuhan, China, Christians were demonstrating their divisiveness. Late in 2019, Christianity Today came out publicly in favor of President Trump’s impeachment. It created a firestorm in the Christian Evangelical realm. The article, written by Christianity Today Editor-in-Chief Mark Galli, was entitled, “Trump Should Be Removed From Office.” Within the article, Galli cited the magazine’s founder, the late pastor Billy Graham. His son, Rev. Franklin Graham promptly denounced Christianity Today for invoking his father’s name and their support of impeachment.
This represents just a tip of the destructive “spiritual iceberg” that the American Christian church is dealing with at this point in time. It is more reflective of a state of serious decline in the U.S. all the way back to the 1960s. It is undeniable that the church in America has fragmented and, it no longer has the spiritual energy or strength that it once had in previous decades. However, that is not a real indication of the spiritual strength of the people in America. The reality of the division in churches is much more apparent, but it is hard for Christian leaders to come to grips with this. Americans have become accustomed to freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and the freedom to pursue religious or spiritual meaning. The church has obviously become as divided as the American political landscape as evidenced by the Christianity Today example.
It is not surprising that the church would be divided politically as well as spiritually. These two realms have always been in tension or in some form of forced cooperation throughout the entire history of organized religious worship and the development of government guidance or control of people’s lives. But Apostle Taylor is calling the members of the churches to rise up and practice the teaching of Jesus the Christ in a time in which we are “all in this together.” Unfortunately, a mere intellectual embrace of the teachings of Jesus, does not always provide the people of faith with enough spiritual power to “rise up in love.” An intellectual grasp of the Ten Commandments did not always give the people of the Jewish faith the adequate spiritual strength to “rise up in love,” even though Jesus rightly proclaimed that the two greatest commandments were to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself…”
To me, the real reason that the American Christian churches are divided is because of the failure to live this. To me, the real reason that the American Christian churches are in decline is due to the failure of Christians to practice this. We are without excuse. In reality, it is what every single Christian is challenged to practice, but what most of the Christian world finds hard to do. Would there not be a revolution, the likes of which humanity had never witnessed, if all the Christians in the world would “rise up in love?” It is doubtful that many Christians can even wrap their heads around that concept, let alone wrap their hearts around that command. And was it really a true command? No one, not even God himself can command one to reciprocate love. Love by its very nature is freely given, or it is not love – it is forced obedience, or rape, or some other form of oppression.
So, those who seek God’s face, are we only seeking His face to receive His guidance? If that were the case, we have the Bible, we have the history of the religions that have come to accept the monotheistic conception of God and the myriad books of wisdom, and we have book after book of witnesses to the glory and grace of God, yet the world is in a sorry state of affairs. If the one Christian nation, that God helped to build, is now divided in such a way, what hope is there for the rest of the world? The answer to that question is that there is hope in the rest of the world. The examples of Christian fire and growth in countries like China, or Iran, or even in North Korea is an incredibly hopeful sign. Yet, do American Christians have eyes to see, or ears to hear? Or, do they even care?
To his credit, Franklin Graham through the Samaritan’s Purse and their ministries opened up at least two field hospitals that I am aware of to help with the COVID-19 Pandemic. One of those hospitals to treat coronavirus patients was in New York City’s Central Park, and another similar respiratory care unit was opened in Cremona, Italy. Other U.S. Christian organizations, as well as other faith-based non-profits, have made attempts of the degree they were able to help in the time of the pandemic. Many, many prayer efforts have been initiated to help in beseeching God for His mercy and guidance and protection in this time. However, after the “Angel of Death” has passed on, what then? If this Christian nation, that God helped to build, is now divided, and it is in such a state of corruption and moral decline, what hope is there at this time?
Such hope does reside in the world for the evidence of the practice of what Jesus commanded, or requested, of all of us. Yet, it is not the only hope. And, it may be that God has raised up such a leader as our president to help us leave, or reject, the culture of corruption and this civilization that condones the death of our future generations. President Trump does have a vision for the greatness returning to the United States of America. But, if the foundation for a better America is only rooted in the economic gains or financial success, it is not a complete measurement of the true greatness of America. The American citizens who voted for Trump have witnessed myriads of evil people coming against him and those in his Administration. That is primarily because the ones who are against Trump and his supporters are against a great America.
Yet, the real question is to ask is what that greatness is founded upon. It is obvious that the U.S. was founded upon principles rooted in the Judeo-Christian heritage. Those principles did not go away, and it is apparent that they still exist within millions of American citizens – especially many Christians. Nevertheless, with a divided foundation for our future, the old biblical expression that a “house divided cannot stand” represents truth. In fact, it was Jesus who said that. Jesus also said that “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32
For me, for the longest time, perhaps since the 1960s, America has been adrift due to many real factors – some substantial, and some spiritual. When the nation emerges from 2020, we will all .have survived a pandemic and we will have survived another contentious presidential election. It is definitely true that we are all in this together. Nevertheless, the events that transpire in this year will determine America’s future for a long time to come.
When the Hebrew people prepared to leave Egypt, not for three days as Moses had bargained for, but for good, they may not have realized they would never see their old way of life again. In like manner, when Jesus was brought before Pontious Pilate, he explained that his mission was to bear witness to the truth. He could not compromise his kingdom, which was not of this world. Pilate had a jaded, secularist view of “truth.” He had all the power of the government to take the precious life away Jesus,’ which to Pilate was a great deal of substantial power. But Jesus had no genuine regard for the tyrannical government of Rome.
When the Pilgrims departed from another tyrannical government, armed with their faith alone, they also were willing to risk their lives for the sake of theirs and their children’s future. It was a most dramatic time in their lives, yet they may not have realized they would never see their old way of life again. Yet, the love that they had within gave them the strength to do the things that history has recorded. They, like the Hebrews before them, were willing to cast off into unknown destinations. Their way of life would transform not only their lives but each of their futures for a long time. Each effort led to the creation of a new nation.
We are in such a transformational period in this period of time. Will history record that American people could not wrap their heads or their hearts around making America a better place, we may not see that better place. There is no more place on the planet to flee. We have reached “the ends of the earth.” In this time, the American people, specifically the ones who are called by His name could humble themselves, and seek not only His face, but His heart, they may be able to reflect in a genuine way — not just intellectually, theoretically, but in an open, honest and open-hearted way, we may be able to offer our love to our Heavenly Father.
Loving Him in an honest and sincere manner comes from knowing Him. But, like any productive and successful human relationship, it takes a willingness to make the effort. It takes humility to reach out. And, since God is the source of love on this planet, that love relationship could be the foundation for loving our families and our relatives (even the tough ones) and our neighbors. In reality, we are all in this together, but it is on a much greater scale than the coronavirus concern.
In this moment, when the world seemed to be on pause, have we used the time wisely? Have we truly sought His heart as well as His face? Sometimes when we look upon someone’s face, we can tell what they’re thinking, or what they’re feeling. But, that is usually because we have a relationship with such people.
In essence, we need to be concerned about the future of America from 2020, and we can make a better America only with God, and not by ignoring God, or by pretending He does not exist. It means every American, no matter where they come from to get here, can embrace the genuine Judeo-Christian principles at the cornerstone of our nation. Yet, that foundation has truly not been enough to bring America to a better place. It must be made upon a foundation of love and not of material wealth or well-being because all of that can disappear, as it has in the past few months. We have the knowledge, we need the heart to rise up in love to get to that better place.