Category Archives: Spiritual

Broken Hearted by the Cold Hearted

Matthew 24:3-14 (NKJV) 3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will bethe sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”  And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these thingsmust come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.  All these arethe beginning of sorrows.  Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10  And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11  Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12  And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13  But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

The KJV version calls lawlessness “iniquity”.  Iniquity is a unique word that isn’t used much any more.  It means unrighteousness when measured against God’s righteousness.  In this scripture is also refers to a pervasive wickedness.  You can find it used in this manner 70 times in the Psalms.

Psalm 53:1 (NKJV)  The fool has said in his heart,”There isno God.”They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity;There isnone who does good.

Psalm 64:6 (NKJV)  They devise iniquities: “We have perfected a shrewd scheme.”Both the inward thought and the heart of man are deep.

The evil heart devises ways to sin and be unrighteous in God’s eyes.  It’s that sinful nature we are born with before becoming Born Again.  And, most of all, it’s satanic in nature.

Ezekiel 28:18 (NKJV) 18  “You defiled your sanctuaries By the multitude of your iniquities,By the iniquity of your trading;Therefore I brought fire from your midst;It devoured you,And I turned you to ashes upon the earthIn the sight of all who saw you.

There is also an inherent coldness of heart as a fruit of iniquity in mankind.

Isaiah 32:6 (NKJV)  For the foolish person will speak foolishness, And his heart will work iniquity:To practice ungodliness,To utter error against the LORD,To keep the hungry unsatisfied,And he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.

We are living in a day and age when the coldness of heart caused by this lawlessness mentioned in Matthew 24:12 has spread like a cloud over our society. Day after day we see stories on the news of the heartlessness of people against each other, against their loved ones, against the innocents – babies, children, animals – in such a manner as to shock you even when you think you’re beyond being shocked.

I read a story this morning that inspired this blog.  It’s a very difficult upsetting read if you chose to read it.  I cannot stop weeping for the pain and suffering of the 4-year-old girl in the story. My tears stain my cheeks as I type this. My grandson sleeps in the room across from me right now. When I look at him, I see the hand of God in his face and the love of God for him in my heart.  I would give my life for his if so required and protect him with the last breath in my body.

4 year old Gabby Barrett FoxOrlando.com

I wish someone had felt that way about 4-year-old Gabby Barrett and every child that will be abandoned, rejected, harmed or even murdered this day. Instead another statistic will be added to the long list of those who are the victims of the influence of the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition, that is coming.  My only hope is in the other Man that is coming, the Son of Man.  The Lord’s Return is our only hope for humanity.  It’s not by accident that the Lord follows this warning about lawlessness with the report of what will transpire when He judges the Nations.

Matthew 25:31-46 (NKJV) 31  “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.32  All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides hissheep from the goats.33  And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.34  Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:35  for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;36  I wa snaked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’37  Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You,or thirsty and give You drink?38  When did we see You a stranger and take Youin, or naked and clothe You?39  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’40  And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did itto one of the least of these My brethren, you did itto Me.’41  Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:42  for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;43  I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’44  Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’45  Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do itto one of the least of these, you did not do itto Me.’46  And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Until then I will weep, rail against the evil that the cold-hearted lawlessness creates and fall on my knees in prayer.  

And, from the depths of my heart I will I cry Maranatha, Come Lord.  

Come.

Changing the Mind

When I was a young man living in New York City we never had of the amount of gun violence you see now.  You might say that’s because there were not that many guns around.  I would have to disagree with you.  During the late 1960’s and early to mid 1970’s the proliferation of weapons on the street was substantial.  Almost everyone I knew carried a knife, myself included.  And, I had a number of friends who carried handguns for protection.  Some of my High School classmates carried guns even at school.  I went to a private Catholic High School where a number of students came from the Lower Manhattan/Little Italy section of the city.  You can fill in the blanks for yourself as to what “family” affiliations they had.  I still remember the moment while getting ready for gym class that a .45 caliber 1911 handgun slid out of one of my classmate’s pants pockets.  He gave me a quick look to see what I would do.  A simple nod of the head as I turned away was my way to telling him that I wouldn’t say anything.  I knew who he was, what his father did for a living and that having that gun was a necessity for him.  In the four years we went to school together he never pulled the gun on anybody and nor did anyone else who we knew that carried.  Neither had anyone of us who carried knives, some as early as grade school, gone on stabbing sprees or used it in a crime.  It was simply a way of life.

Violence and even death was also a way of life.  One of my classmates was killed by a rival gang in Chinatown for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  He was a slight, soft-spoken member of the group who didn’t carry a weapon.  He was protected by his cousins and friends.  On this particular afternoon he was by himself when he took a shortcut home through Chinatown.  The price of that mistake was a knife piercing his chest and bleeding out on a city street.  As we sat in a memorial service that week in the school gym most of us were stricken and distraught by the loss of one of our own.  Needless to say, his family dispensed justice on the gang of youths who murdered him.  In one event 5 teens were dead within a week – my friend and the gang members who killed him. 5 young lives snuffed out by bad choices and a hardened lifestyle.  But, that was the end of it.  No more retaliation and no further police involvement.  No copycat events or nonstop media coverage.  It barely garnered one paragraph in the newspaper and a brief report on the nightly TV news.  We never forgot about it but didn’t fixate on it either.  And, we knew it could happen again.  That was life in New York City during those days.

I don’t share that to justify it or condone it.  I share it to show that life was just as dangerous back then. What we didn’t have was a generation of youth with no sense of consequences for their actions.  We all knew that one action could, and would, create a ripple effect of subsequent actions that would not only destroy our lives but those of loved ones as well.  Television and films have indoctrinated our youth over the last 2 decades that the answer to everything is violence and that there are no consequences for their actions.  Violence now is stylized and those who can do it well are glorified.  Hollywood has also diminished the true nature of violence for ticket sales and television ratings. Video games have played their part as well into the desensitizing of our society.  First person shooting games as well as those filled with violent gore are best sellers.  Brains are being hardwired for violence and desensitized to it as well.

And, while I will agree with you that the majority of people know better than to act out what they see in real life there are a small percentage that don’t.  It’s that small percentage we see regularly in the news who have lost the reasoning ability needed to understand the consequences of their actions .  Instead of seeing honest and transparent discussions about the cause of such violence we see politically charged rhetoric about an inanimate object instead the hands that wield them.  The news headlines are filled with more calls for gun control but no calls for dealing with the people who use them in a constructive, proactive manner. Interestingly enough many of the voices crying out for change are the very ones who profit from promoting violence in their films, television shows or video games.  The do as I say don’t do as I do mindset of Hollywood is part of the problem in my opinion.

We need a long hard look at the cause of the violence we are seeing today. We need to examine the influence of media and the dysfunction of the home to find answers.  Monsters aren’t born they are formed.  Why is that happening so much these days?  As long as we fixate on the lifeless weapon of choice we will change nothing.  Evil will always find a way to manifest and anger will always find a way to fulfill its desires.  Will society stop the angry polarizing rhetoric to do that?  I do not think so.  That genie is out of the bottle.  Which is why many of us want the ability to protect ourselves and our families against such events.  We want more done by those who are qualified to protect us and our children.  We know that law enforcement is reactive to events after they happen.  We also know from the Parkland School Shooting in Florida that not all law enforcement can be trusted to protect our children.  Thankfully the majority of the first responders are trustworthy. However, all it takes is for a few to be derelict in their duties and we see the outcome of such blind dependency. From that same event we learned that laws and policies won’t protect our children and that gun free zones do more to endanger us than to protect us.  As long as our children and certain parts of our society are sitting ducks for violent, extremist behavior these events will continue.  And, I shudder to say, they will increase.

If terrorists, criminals and the criminally insane know that no one will stop their actions there is no deterrent against them from acting on them.  They know that they will receive be made famous by the media and politicians they will continue to make the choices for the twisted glory it gives them.    From the time that Cain killed Able with a rock nothing has changed.  Bad things happen to good people and evil acts out whenever it can sometimes for selfishly ridiculous reasons.  We need to change ourselves, our society and our focus on such matters.  We need to understand why these choices are being made with such frequency and do all that we can to be proactively prepared to stop them or respond to them.  Instead of soul-searching for legal or political answers we need the soul changing and a transformational mindset in our youth.  Stop the divisive rhetoric and start the real discussions for real emotional and spiritual change in our society.

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

Eternal Reality Check

Yesterday, April 30,2018, it was announced that Dr. Chuck Missler passed away at the age of 83. And while I am saddened at his passing I realize that he lived a long life, is reunited with his wife and sons and more importantly is with his Lord and Savior in Paradise.

Dr. Missler was a unique man who I had the pleasure of speaking to on a podcast many years ago.  He helped fill in the blanks in areas of Biblical knowledge and never ceased in his search of the scriptures.  In his final years I was disappointed in his choice of speaking engagements and the people he shared those stages with.  Be that as it may, I realize those things no longer have meaning to him.  There is only one reality I believe that interests him and that is the reality of Heaven.

The Apostle Paul was a student of the great teacher Gamaliel, the Pharisee of all Pharisees, and a man knowledgable in the Word.  However, after many years of arguing and causing riots in synagogues and cities he came to the conclusion that he resolved to know nothing more than Yeshua as crucified Messiah and the only thing saving him from being the wretched man his flesh desired him to be was Messiah Yeshua as Lord.  He knew that knowledge puffs up and the only great thing we can offer is the Love of God in Yeshua His Son.

Nowadays, it seems that the Church is looking for the next rabbit hole to dive down for the latest and greatest exciting new teaching.  There is only one eternal reality worthy of such effort – the Blessed Hope and eternity with Him.  Eternity itself is the greatest reality check we could ever experience.  As knowledgeable and brilliant as Dr. Missler was I believe that standing in the presence of the Lord gave him all the answers he needed.

Knowledge and intellect is what people are seeking in these end times when in truth they should be seeking the One who has all the answers.  Everything else is worthless in my opinion.  And, as stated, is my opinion.  I have a “no rabbit hole” rule these days.  My mind, heart and spirit is fixated on eternity and the One I will spend it with.

Eternal Value

As I begin my withdrawal from social media I’ve discovered that many of the thoughts/topics that filled my mind no longer seem interesting to me.  Of course, much of the time was consumed with obtaining information for topics on a regular podcast I did for almost 8 years.  Now that I no longer do that particular podcast I’ve come to realize that the time consumed in research no longer appeals to me.  The revelation has been that although my efforts to inform and reveal insights to the listeners were sincere, the information itself had no eternal value.  It changed minds, gave knowledge, may have touched a heart but didn’t change, heal or repair a soul.  It had no eternal value.  My desire now is to focus on things that have eternal value.

Philippians 4:8  And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Colossians 3:2  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.

Beautiful sunshine

RJ Grund

Anti-Social Media

SocialMedia

As we see the exposure of social media for the trojan horse it was always meant to be we have to decide what to do.  Do we sever all ties and shut down all of our accounts?  Do we ignore the information flooding out about the deceptive practices of the social media giants?  What do we do?

I don’t have an answer for you.  I can only answer for myself.  And, after prayerful consideration, I am moving away from the social media giants.  Is that too little too late?  It probably is.  What we are learning now about Facebook’s data collection practices of all Facebook members and even non-members, we have to realize that the horses are out of the barn.  Even so, we must close the barn door anyways so as not to keep the predators out.  To do nothing at all is as foolish as entering the quagmire to begin with.  Once you realize you’ve stepped into quicksand you don’t just sink to the bottom and die.  You fight with all your might to extricate yourself and get free.

You have to ask yourself the question – has social media helped you, hurt you or do nothing at all?  All the time spent on social media acting “social” really is deceptive.  All of the people you are connected to on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. aren’t really your friends.  Some may be but most are total strangers that you’ve now given access to your personal and family life.  In fact, you don’t really know if they are who they say they are.  Maybe, like me, you’ve reconnected with friends or family you lost touch with. That seems to make this all worthwhile but truthfully all it did was make it easier.  A little more effort expended in finding a home or email address, mutual friends/family or a simple Google search (which brings another set of questions too) may have done the same thing.

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As you see, there really is no simple answer to this quandary.  What is simple is the fact that all of the social media giants have sold our data to third parties.  It’s how they offer their sites for “free”.  Aldous Huxley and George Orwell had visions of this type of society.  They just didn’t think it would be this easy.  And, they most certainly didn’t think their fiction would become a blueprint for these events.

What do you think?

Share your thoughts and comments.  All comments will be monitored.  Any profanity, abuse or off-topic interaction will be deleted.

Richard

Lessons Learned from Irma

Hurricane Irma, which formed on August 30th and dissipated on September 13th, was the most powerful hurricane since Hurricane Dean in 2007. It was the most intense storm since Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  It had sustained 185 mph winds for 37 hours.  That makes it the strongest and the longest sustained intensity on record.  Hurricane Irma spent more time as a CAT 5 hurricane than any other storm in recorded history with as much cyclone energy as an entire Hurricane season.  It inflicted catastrophic damage in the Caribbean, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina.  The death toll has risen to 82 with an estimated 62 Billion Dollars in damages.  Millions are without electricity in Florida and the Caribbean.  I was without power for a sweltering 7 days and 8 nights. Some may be without power for weeks or even months.  And, in the midst of it all, there were lessons to be learned from Irma.

When you strip away the “toys” and wealth and the perks of society, we are all the same.  Whether you spent your time in a home, hotel, or shelter we were all people in need.  Some of the worst destruction was seen by those who supposedly live the “good life” with a home on the water.  Movie and music stars saw their Million Dollar vacation homes on Caribbean Islands treated just as disrespectfully by Hurricane Irma as every other home in its path.  Who you were or how much money you had meant nothing to those pounding winds and waves.

I was raised to believe that no one was better than anyone else.  We all put our shoes on one foot at a time and until I hear of someone being able to jump into their pants both legs at once, that goes for pants too.  What makes us different is the lies of this world and the manipulation of society.  Children don’t see skin color as a difference until someone tells them it is.  Societal status is inflicted up us to keep us “in our place”.  And, none of that comes from God.  if we measured ourselves by Him and His Word we would know that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made in His image.  We would also treat each other accordingly.

Not having the electricity to keep the TV on or my laptop charged forced me to limit time on my devices to listen to Him more.  Sometimes it takes being still to know that He is God and that we need Him.  I suspect some people prayed during Hurricane Irma that had not prayed in a while.  Events like Hurricane Irma force us to be plugged into Him and not into an outlet.  Was it uncomfortable?  My mind told me it was but in truth, it was no less uncomfortable than life before technological comforts.  We talk about the “end times” but do we consider that the fear, trials, and stress of Hurricane Irma (and those that come afterward) could just be a prelude and preview to the end of days.  I have considered all of the above and more.

What have you learned about yourself and this world during the last week?  Whatever it was, hold on to it and keep it close at hand.  The power is flowing once again to distract you away from the simplicity of a life whose heart, mind and soul are set on God.  He rewards those who diligently seek Him and want to be with Him.  And, all I truly want, is just to be in His presence.  That to me is my reward.  And, when I am doing that it causes me to appreciate the things of value in my life – family, friends, and pets.  Everything else is replaceable.

Thank you, Hurricane Irma, for reminding us of what really matters.

 

Exposure

 Ephesians 5:11-14 11  Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. 12  It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. 13  But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, 14  for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Messiah will give you light.”

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The Apostle Paul was referring to the depraved practices going on in the Ephesus caves.  Bacchanalian orgies and rituals were being done in secret and some in the church either knew about it or were still participating in them.  The new Believers in Ephesus had come out of that darkness (Ephesians 5:8)

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Notice that he doesn’t say anything about the workers of darkness but instead focuses on the darkness itself.  Darkness is the absence of Light and is exposed when the Light of Truth is shined on them.  

Expose (Greek: elengcho) means to reprove, rebuke and testify against.  It’s a verb and therefore indicates action.  And the Light in question is the fiery Light of the Holy Spirit:  John 16:8 (NKJV) 8  And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

The Spirit of Truth is one of the greatest weapons against the powers of darkness.  And, again, that means we must act to do so.  Do not be fooled though and think there will be no reaction from the enemy.  No, the enemy will be fierce in its reaction and we should be ready for it.  It HATES being exposed.

John 3:20-21 (NKJV) 20  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21  But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

We are seeing this now in the world as the battle between Light and darkness rages on every level from politics, media, religion and societal values.  And, as verse 14 of Ephesians 5 mandate WE MUST WAKE UP!

triumph-of-evilSilence and inaction is implied consent. And, that cannot continue.  As those who live in the Light we must shine that Light into the darkness and expose it.  Confront it.  Rebuke it.  Or, allow it to triumph and become defeated by it.

So, my closing thought here is this, Ephesians 6:13 (NKJV) 13  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand firmly in place.

Dig those heels in and SHINE!

Richard J Grund