Category Archives: Spiritual

After Halloween

Last night was Halloween and the sun has come up on a new day.

What now?

Some will ask, “what do you mean, what now?  It’s over.  Time to enjoy the 50% off sales on candy and on to the next holiday.”

As someone who came out of a lifelong bondage to the occult and participated in occult practices, I can tell that is not how the powers of darkness see it.

The denizens of the darkness understand the concept of contractual agreements better than most lawyers do.  They should.  They follow one of the greatest legal minds of all time, the devil.  The Adversary, sometimes known as Satan, knows God’s laws better than you do.  He knows how the things of the spirit work and will use that knowledge to his advantage. (more)

New blog posted on The Beacon’s Glare where we talk about the supernatural and paranormal. https://thebeaconsglare.com/2016/11/01/after-halloween/

 

Suicide Isn’t Painless by Richard J Grund

In 1970 a satirical black comedy was released in theaters called M*A*S*H. This Robert Altman directed film, based on a Richard Hooker novel, was a hit for 20th Century Fox. The film inspired the popular and critically acclaimed television series, by the same name, which ran from 1972 to 1983. The theme song for both the movie and the television series was called “Suicide is Painless”. There is a scene in the movie where the soldiers stage a fake suicide for a depressed doctor. The director, Robert Altman, had two stipulations for the composing of a song for a scene in the movie – it had to be called “Suicide Is Painless”; second, it had to be the “stupidest song ever written”. [1] It went on to become a hit and has been covered by many other artists since then. I remember hearing it in the movie and the TV series. The lyrics were on the surface satirical and, like many others, I would laugh at the fake suicide in the movie that was thwarted by a nocturnal visit from a sexy nurse. It would only be many years later that I would be appalled at the topic, the approach and the lyrics.

Through early morning fog I see
Visions of the things to be
The pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see…
[REFRAIN]:
That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make
All our little joys relate
Without that ever-present hate
But now I know that it’s too late, and…
[REFRAIN]
The game of life is hard to play
I’m gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I’ll someday lay
So this is all I have to say.
[REFRAIN]
The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I’m beat
And to another give my seat
For that’s the only painless feat.
[REFRAIN]
The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn’t hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows stronger…watch it grin, but…
[REFRAIN]
A brave man once requested me
To answer questions that are key
Is it to be or not to be
And I replied ‘oh why ask me?’
[REFRAIN]
‘Cause suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please.

…and you can do the same thing if you please.

Songwriters: MANDEL, JOHNNY / ALTMAN, MICHAEL B

Suicide Is Painless lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. [2]

While cleverly written and most definitely the stupidest song of all time it is also incredibly wrong.

The original inspiration for this commentary and blog was that a middle school and high school classmate of my son committed suicide recently. Somehow he had traveled so far down a darkened path that instead of looking for the Light he decided that his only solution to his personal problems was suicide. A 26-year-old life, a father of three, was ended based on the flawed logic that despondent, irrational thinking and demonic influence inspire. He wasn’t the first victim and he won’t be the last. In fact, I believe in the dark days to come many will lose sight of reality and choose this option of “checking out”. Society and the media glamorize suicide so much so that we are seeing our youth succumb to its dark allure on a regular basis.

That appeal has now been energized by the sad death of comedian and actor Robin Williams. When someone so recognized and well liked falls prey to the lie of suicide the wave of its influence spreads throughout society. In our zeal not to rush to judgment or be critical we fail to respond to the tragedy truthfully as what it is – a permanent solution to a temporary problem. As the story regarding Robin’s death become clearer the one that is already clear to me is that somehow he felt so alone and so broken that his wife, children, friends or loved ones were not enough to keep him here. Once whatever the trigger was that set out off the ticking time bomb in his mind and soul he sought out the only answer seemingly left to him for relief. Now, we are left with unanswered questions that no one wants to ask – why wasn’t the love of his wife, children and friends enough. Questions that will haunt them for a very long time as they are rocked back and forth in the wake of his decision.

I’ve experienced suicide peripherally in my life through the experiences of others but came face to face with it three times since I got saved. Shortly after moving to Tallahassee, Florida and being put in charge of the deliverance ministry at the church I had a number of people who contemplated suicide and were led by the love of the Lord, The Word and sincere professional counseling out of the darkness and into the Light. However, three people who I’ve either ministered to or known personally did not make it. Let me say that at no time did any of them exhibit or state that they wanted to end their life. More than 100 Americans commit suicide every day. It’s the tenth leading cause of death overall; third among 15 to 24-year-olds and fourth among 25 to 44-year-olds. “Many people who commit suicide do so without letting on they are thinking about it or planning it,” says Dr. Michael Miller, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. [3]

The ones I’ve had the misfortune to have my experiences fit this description. On closer examination there were telltale hints that were missed but for the most part everyone was caught off guard by their decision to end their life. Two people who came to us for help at the church didn’t come to us for suicidal intentions. They wanted help for either depression or an inability to control their thoughts – two instigators that if left unchecked can lead toward suicide. Drugs and counseling were not working and they wanted to know if there was something spiritual about their problem. One was a young woman who was overwhelmed by loneliness and rejection. Her rejection began in the womb with a cold, unaffectionate mother and her life followed a pattern that was both natural and supernatural. As is the case with women like this, men preyed on the need for attention and affection. She told us of the failed relationships and even of being raped.

Trying to minister to her was difficult as she was so closed off from interaction and so guarded that getting through her walls wasn’t easy. While she was tired of being alone she was also afraid of letting anyone get close to her. There was no breaking down the wall she had built so well. In talking to her she finally admitted that suicidal thoughts had plagued her since childhood. We referred her to a professional counselor affiliated with the church but I kept showering her in the love of the Lord and encouraged her every time I saw her. While I understand the place of professional counseling in the world I also understand that professional counselors cannot help if the problem has a supernatural component to it. She had a two-sided problem that needed both sides addressed. Slowly, she began to come out of her shell and began to smile more. There was a light in her eyes again and she seemed happier. Whenever I saw her at church services or Bible Studies I went out of my way to either sit with her or seek her out. I could see how she appreciated my efforts on her behalf. What I did not see was that it also accentuated the fact that no one else did it. And, this was what the enemy got a hold of in her mind. It twisted my concern and compassion into a recrimination against the rest of the church for ignoring her. Half full became half empty with no hope of increase.

One Wednesday night after a Bible Study she went home and committed suicide by overdosing on prescription drugs. She didn’t call anybody or reach out for help because, according to her note, she didn’t want to be talked out of it. She mentioned me in her note to thank me for caring and trying but that the loneliness was too great. She had believed the demonic lie that her only answer was to take her life. I was devastated when informed of her death the next morning. The fact was she felt so alone that her only desire was to be with The Lord no matter what it took to get there. I had no time to mourn or take a step back that day as we had another person in need of help. So, I sucked it up, buried the burning questions away and pressed on for the sake of someone else in need.

A meeting had been scheduled with a former Pastor and close friend of the church’s Pastor for that Friday morning. He was no longer in ministry due to an adulterous affair. His inability to control his lust, or his liquor, cost him his pastorate and his job as a local High School football coach. His marriage was still in place but severely strained by his moral failures. The guilt of his pastoral and marital failure led to a drinking problem where finding him drunk or incoherent in a local bar was not unusual. It was this very public bondage that finally pushed him to ask for help. He was going to AA, seeing a counselor and doing all the right things but his marriage was still floundering. He had agreed to come meet and pray with us with the hopes of being healed in his innermost being. He knew there were things beyond his control holding him in bondage and he wanted to be free. The prayer time with him was truly powerful. He confessed his sins to us, repented and cried out to the Lord to be restored in ministry and marriage. And, the Lord heard him.

When his wife came to pick him up he was literally a new man. A whole and radiant one had replaced the broken sallow man who showed up that day. His face literally glowed and his posture strong. Instead of being excited, as we thought she would be, we saw a hardness come over her face. She did not appreciate it when I questioned her on this response. Instead, she began the familiar accusations and recriminations of his past failures. Her words stung him deeply. As the venomous words left her mouth we watched the wind leave his sails and his shoulders sink. He would tell me later, when I called him to see how he was doing, that her attacks intensified when they got home. I could hear in his voice he was beginning to falter and prayed with him. He promised to call me in the morning. That was the last time I would speak to him.

On Saturday morning I tried to follow-up again and called to check on him. There was no answer each time I tried throughout the day. I always went to the church on Saturday night to pray for the Sunday service. I figured I would find get my answers then. I remember walking into the Pastor’s office as I did every Saturday night to report for duty. Instead of the usual cheerful greeting I saw an ashen look on his face. I was expecting him to tell me that his friend had fallen off the wagon and gotten drunk again. I expected him to tell me where he was so that I could go get him. Silence hung in the air and time stood still as I waited for him to speak. Instead, what he told me literally dropped me to my knees.

The struggles between the man and his wife following our session were worse than he had let on. While he wanted to rekindle their marriage, and was sincerely affectionate toward her, she only wanted to punish him for what he had done in the past. Her anger and unforgiveness was greater than her desire to see him, and their marriage, restored. His note revealed that the verbal abuse he endured that night culminated in her declaring that she had already made up her mind. It didn’t matter what happened at the deliverance session she didn’t want to be married to him anymore. This crushed his spirit and he fled their home. He went to a liquor store first, then checked into a nearby hotel and began to drink.

Somewhere during the night the booze filled haze of pain, rejection and accusations ringing in his ears inspired him to hang himself in the hotel closet. The next morning when he missed the checkout time, the manager went to his room and discovered the body. He called 911 and EMTs rushed to the scene. Sadly, one of the EMTs who had to cut down his dangling corpse was a former football player this man had coached. In cutting down his former coach, mentor and someone he looked up to the young man was devastated. The ripple effect of suicide was spreading. When someone tries to end their pain through suicide they only exponentially cause pain to all the family, friends and associates who will be shattered by it. Suicide is a pebble thrown into a pond that engulfs everyone in its wake. That young emergency technician immediately broke down and had to take a leave of absence from the job. He never did return to that job.

As my Pastor finished telling me this sad story about his long time friend taking his own life, I’d like to tell you I handled myself well. But, with this event on top of the young woman just a few days prior, I simply lost it. Looking back on this now as a mature Believer and experienced minister I failed miserably in his own moment of personal pain. What came out of was a bellow of rage, anger and confusion. Rage at the demonic powers who had inspired it; anger at us for falling to see the signs or sense their deep need; and confusion as to how their faith, and ours, had failed them. No excuse or explanations could mute my pain and outrage. I wanted to know what good were the spiritual gifts we talked of if two people so closer to us could take their lives and we didn’t see it coming. I know that the counseling professionals will tell you of how easy it is to miss the signs but it does not mitigate the pain. My heart was broken that in a large Charismatic church we were so caught up in their own lives, or in the business of church, that the admonition to love our neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31) had gone so horribly wrong. From that point on it became clear to me that it was the norm for people come to church anonymously and leave the same way. Pews are filled with faceless invisible people who never find the feeling of family or fellowship they seek.

I stormed out of his office to my prayer spot on the back of the property and began to rail at Heaven. I did not care who heard me. I was in spiritual turmoil and needed answers. I don’t remember what I said that night but sense there were many questions that began with “how” or “why”. In my limited understanding of His grace, mercy and providence I immediately assumed that these two people were lost to the punishment of Hell for taking their own life. At that time it seemed so black and white when in fact it’s a little more complicated than that. It would be many years later before the lesson that began that night would be concluded. There were still more lessons to learn in this classroom called “life”. There were still lessons in the School of the Spirit that I needed to learn.

In May of 2010 I was thrust back into the student’s chair when a close friend of mine, tormented by pain and confusion, put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. I had known him since 1980 in NYC. We met when I was working at a health club and he was a member. From the first time he strode up the stairs on to the gym floor we hit it off and became fast lifelong friends. We were both pursuing an acting a career but he was further along than I was. He had come to NYC from Alabama and was working on one of the soap operas. He then went to Atlanta on a short-lived Turner Broadcasting soap, which then led him off to Los Angeles where he landed a TV pilot. Even though we didn’t see each other much we stayed in touch by phone. When I visited him in Los Angeles during one TV pilot season it was as if we had never been apart.

We both got saved and dedicated our lives to the Lord in 1988. When my infant son came down with an adult form of spinal meningitis, he was the first person I called for prayer. He and a close friend of his hit their knees immediately and began to intercede. He stood by me in prayer until my son made a miraculous recovery from this illness. I know that I know that he was saved and loved the Lord. We would speak for hours on the phone about the Lord and comparing what we were studying. When The Passion of The Christ movie came out he sent me a picture book of the film as a way to thank me for being there for him over the years. Inside the book he inscribed “He did this for us”. He could never talk about the movie and the Crucifixion scenes without choking up. There is no doubt his heart belonged to the Lord. It was his mind that was the problem.

After leaving Hollywood to get away from its fleshly and demonic influence he began a spiral downhill of failed relationships, jobs and loneliness. I’ve always wondered if the powers of darkness had targeted him for being so proactive in the warfare for my son when the spinal meningitis failed to destroy him. It appeared that his life began to splinter after that moment. When the guilt from a one-night stand with the seductive daughter of a friend sent him on an alcohol fueled bender he wound up in jail overnight. This very public moral failure forced him to go home with this tail between his legs to endure the criticism and berating of “well meaning” loved ones. No amount of comfort, counsel or grace filled words could alleviate his guilt. He came from a successful family with high Southern standards and the reminders of his failure to meet them were breaking him down.

Once he got home, he slowly overcame these failures and we were once again planning to get together and work on the projects we had discussed over the years. After more starts and stops in his life and more personal failure his mind began to unravel. He refused the offer of a plane ticket and an open-ended stay with my family and I. All efforts to fly up to see him and spend time with him were rejected. The condemnation of the enemy was weighting him down. Depression, that even he knew was demonic, began to overwhelm him. He began to retreat into isolation that became mournfully complete when his only life companion, his beloved dog, passed away. As he told me, for the first time in his life he felt completely and utterly alone.

I can only speculate what sent him down that final path to destruction. I had noticed his thinking was becoming erratic in our marathon phone calls. The pain from a broken back received while performing in a Wild West Show had gotten so bad prescription drugs did little to help. Even with the pain shots into his spine to numb the nerves taking their toll on him, he was still as exuberant about the Lord as he had always been. At least that is what he wanted me to think. However, his reading and research was taking him down a dangerous gnostic path away from the Truth. With his body failing him and his heart full of pain his mind took over the lead. Pain pills began to mix with alcohol to keep the spinal torment under control. His mind, something he had prided himself in as a University PhD, had become his worst enemy. And, when a brain tumor, and the subsequent operation, took that from him he lost his way completely.

I should have seen it in our talks. He was a larger than life strong, strapping cowboy type of man who you would never think would fall. I knew he was hurting but never thought he would plummet as he did. He’s always dusted himself off and kept going in the past. When he stopped answering or returning my calls I got concerned. In one of the last times we spoke he confessed that the only way he could sound coherent after the brain surgery was by being overly medicated, inebriated or both. The guilt and shame were overwhelming him. He was embarrassed by his failures and no amount of encouragement or prayer could break him out of it. As I told him how much he was loved by me, others and especially the Lord his voice would lighten and I would hear my old friend again, if only for a moment. When someone enters the darkness seeking solace it will seem the right choice at first. However, all they will find in that darkness will be more torment and inhabitants of that dark kingdom set on destroying them. Shadows creep and darkness grows in that world. They would envelope to destroy him. And, destroy they did.

I had not heard from him in weeks. Usually he would eventually call me back and we would always pray together. The last conversation we ever had seemed encouraging. He sounded more hopeful and excited about life. That’s why I was surprised when he wasn’t calling me back. I was concerned and left numerous voice mails begging him to call me. One day in May of 2011 I saw a phone call from a number that did not recognize. I let it go to voice mail so that I could screen the call. The voice mail was from his brother asking me to call him. My stomach sank. I knew something was horribly wrong. When his brother answered my call he confirmed my worst fears. Mental illness complicated by alcohol, prescription drugs and, in my opinion, demonic influence tricked my friend into thinking suicide was the only answer he had left. All alone, depressed and mired in despair he stepped outside the basement apartment he rented from a friend into the darkness of night to enter into the blackness of death. He was found the next morning lying on the ground with half of his face missing. Remembering my tall, handsome friend the inconceivable visual stunned me. I thanked his brother for letting me know. Hung up my cell phone. And, wept bitterly.

No, suicide isn’t painless. You can’t take it or leave it if you please. It’s a permanent decision that never stops causing pain to those who are left behind. It’s a tidal wave of ripples that never stop and never make sense. As I’ve been working on this piece the pain from his loss, as well as the others I’ve shared, have caused me to have to stop and take breaks. The tears still flow and the heart still aches. I miss my friend. So much so, it took me until just recently to reluctantly remove his phone number from my list of favorites. I wonder if there was more I could have done. From heartfelt prayer I believe that he is with the Lord. He was not in his right mind. If had been he never would have done what he did. He never would have given up or allowed those voices to convince him that death was the answer. But, knowing him, I knew how badly he wanted to be with the Lord, free from the pain and anguish. I also know that he never would have wanted to disappoint the Lord either. In that split second the finger pulled the trigger on that gun and the bullet exploded from the casing I wonder if time slowed down for him long enough to regret his choice?

I read a news story of a 19-year-old man who listened to the voices in his head to throw himself off of the Golden Gate Bridge on September 25, 2000. [4] In it he says, “I walked toward the traffic railing. As if nothing else mattered, I ran, channeling an Olympic hurdler, striding light, fast and determined. I used my arms to catapult myself over the rail. I did not get on the ledge to be talked down. I jumped quickly, without recourse, falling headfirst, fast and hard into the wind and empty space below me. I reached back for the rail. It wasn’t there. In the midst of my free fall, I said to myself these words, words I thought no one would ever hear me repeat: “What have I done? I don’t want to die. God, please save me!” [5] Even though he fell 220 feet at 75 mph he was one of the few who survived the plunge. He states that others who survived the jump immediately regretted their decision too once it was taken.

Did my friend? Were my friend’s first words to the Lord when he saw him “I’m sorry”? Did he even know what he was doing when he pulled that trigger? All of these questions still plaque me. Someday I know I will have those answers. For now, my faith in His love, grace and mercy are enough. I’ve reached a place where when I relive his story or think about my son’s former classmate that there is too much that we do not understand to simply coldly judge someone who takes his or her own life. When someone so seemingly on top of the world like Robin Williams reveals to us the depth of his despair and darkness we are shocked. More shocking is when we learn that celebrities are human and feel lonely at times.

“I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.” – Robin Williams, World’s Greatest Dad

Fame is not the blessing everyone believes it to be. Sometimes it’s a fatal virus that eats away at your soul until nothing is left. At that moment of complete misery and emptiness people make decisions that we cannot understand. No, I have to hope in a God who lives outside of time. He knows all the facts and He is the One who will judge them. He is all knowing and has all the pertinent details. All I know is that His Grace is still amazing. I know that I must love those who need love and care about those who need my concern and compassion even if they don’t want it. I have to do my part so that they don’t feel alone or unloved. I must tell them about a God and His Son, Jesus, who love them in a way no one else can. And, who knows, maybe that love with encourage them to not lose hope.

 Romans 8:31-39 (NLT) Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

As I close this out, the one thing I hope we learn from Robin Williams and others that choose suicide as an answer is that it is not an answer to anything. It creates more questions, does more harm and to romanticize it or legitimize it is wrong. We must not say that suicide is okay. It’s not okay that they felt so alone. It’s not okay that their choice has now hurt so many others. It’s not okay that they are gone forever. Suicide isn’t freedom. It’s an exchange that takes the burden from their life and puts it on the ones that loved them. We must not allow others to be inspired to make this choice. I sincerely hope we are encouraged to care more and to look past the façade they present us and take the time to look into their eyes. If we did we would see the truth. What is the truth? We were made to love and be loved first by our Creator and then by others. When that does not happen the effects are always devastating.

No, suicide isn’t painless. It’s painful and forever.

 

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_Is_Painless

[2]http://www.lyricsfreak.com/j/johnny+mandel/suicide+is+painless_20801409.html

[3] http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/suicide-often-not-preceded-by-warnings-201209245331

[4] http://nypost.com/2013/06/30/he-jumped-off-the-golden-gate-bridge-and-lived/

[5] Ibid

A Physicians view of The Crucifixion

I spent my formative Born Again years under my mentor and spiritual father Pastor Robert A. Shelley.  I listened when he spoke and took notes when he taught or preached.  He always gave us a banquet to feed from and I always ate as much as I could.  One of the things he did was to give a vivid, detailed decryption of the Crucifixion that always brought me to tears and still does.  The thought of what was suffered for me on The Cross by Him breaks my heart.

Here is a physicians description of what the Lord suffered that day from a medical perspective.

Read it.

Consider it.

Respond to it….either in tears, as I did, or by claiming the work done on The Cross for your own salvation.  He did it so that you would reconciled to your Heavenly Father.

Jesus_On_Cross

Crucifixion

A medical explanation of what Jesus endured on the day He died By Dr. C. Truman Davis*

A Physician Analyzes the Crucifixion. From New Wine Magazine, April 1982. Originally published in Arizona Medicine, March 1965, Arizona Medical Association.

Several years ago I became interested in the physical aspects of the passion, or suffering, of Jesus Christ when I read an account of the crucifixion in Jim Bishop’s book, The Day Christ Died. I suddenly realized that I had taken the crucifixion more or less for granted all these years – that I had grown callous to its horror by a too-easy familiarity with the grim details. It finally occurred to me that, as a physician, I did not even know the actual immediate cause of Christ’s death. The gospel writers do not help much on this point. Since crucifixion and scourging were so common during their lifetimes, they undoubtedly considered a detailed description superfluous. For that reason we have only the concise words of the evangelists: “Pilate, having scourged Jesus, delivered Him to them to be crucified … and they crucified Him.”

Despite the gospel accounts silence on the details of Christ’s crucifixion, many have looked into this subject in the past. In my personal study of the event from a medical viewpoint, I am indebted especially to Dr. Pierre Barbet, a French surgeon who did exhaustive historical and experimental research and wrote extensively on the topic.

An attempt to examine the infinite psychic and spiritual suffering of the Incarnate God in atonement for the sins of fallen man is beyond the scope of this article. However, the physiological and anatomical aspects of our Lord’s passion we can examine in some detail. What did the body of Jesus of Nazareth actually endure during those hours of torture?

Gethsemane

The physical passion of Christ began in Gethsemane. Of the many aspects of His initial suffering, the one which is of particular physiological interest is the bloody sweat. Interestingly enough, the physician, St. Luke, is the only evangelist to mention this occurrence. He says, “And being in an agony, he prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:44 KJV).

Every attempt imaginable has been used by modern scholars to explain away the phenomenon of bloody sweat, apparently under the mistaken impression that it simply does not occur. A great deal of effort could be saved by consulting the medical literature. Though very rare, the phenomenon of hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, is well documented. Under great emotional stress, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat. This process alone could have produced marked weakness and possible shock.

Although Jesus’ betrayal and arrest are important portions of the passion story, the next event in the account which is significant from a medical perspective is His trial before the Sanhedrin and Caiaphas, the High Priest. Here the first physical trauma was inflicted. A soldier struck Jesus across the face for remaining silent when questioned by Caiaphas. The palace guards then blindfolded Him, mockingly taunted Him to identify them as each passed by, spat on Him, and struck Him in the face.

Before Pilate

In the early morning, battered and bruised, dehydrated, and worn out from a sleepless night, Jesus was taken across Jerusalem to the Praetorium of the Fortress Antonia, the seat of government of the Procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate. We are familiar with Pilate’s action in attempting to shift responsibility to Herod Antipas, the Tetrarch of Judea. Jesus apparently suffered no physical mistreatment at the hands of Herod and was returned to Pilate. It was then, in response to the outcry of the mob, that Pilate ordered Barabbas released and condemned Jesus to scourging and crucifixion.

Preparations for Jesus’ scourging were carried out at Caesar’s orders. The prisoner was stripped of His clothing and His hands tied to a post above His head. The Roman legionnaire stepped forward with the flagrum, or flagellum, in his hand. This was a short whip consisting of several heavy, leather thongs with two small balls of lead attached near the ends of each. The heavy whip was brought down with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back, and legs. At first the weighted thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continued, they cut deeper into the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles.

The small balls of lead first produced large deep bruises that were broken open by subsequent blows. Finally, the skin of the back was hanging in long ribbons, and the entire area was an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue. When it was determined by the centurion in charge that the prisoner was near death, the beating was finally stopped.

Mockery

The half-fainting Jesus was then untied and allowed to slump to the stone pavement, wet with his own blood. The Roman soldiers saw a great joke in this provincial Jew claiming to be a king. They threw a robe across His shoulders and placed a stick in His hand for a scepter. They still needed a crown to make their travesty complete. Small flexible branches covered with long thorns, commonly used for kindling fires in the charcoal braziers in the courtyard, were plaited into the shape of a crude crown. The crown was pressed into his scalp and again there was copious bleeding as the thorns pierced the very vascular tissue. After mocking Him and striking Him across the face, the soldiers took the stick from His hand and struck Him across the head, driving the thorns deeper into His scalp. Finally, they tired of their sadistic sport and tore the robe from His back. The robe had already become adherent to the clots of blood and serum in the wounds, and its removal, just as in the careless removal of a surgical bandage, caused excruciating pain. The wounds again began to bleed.

Golgotha

In deference to Jewish custom, the Romans apparently returned His garments. The heavy patibulum of the cross was tied across His shoulders. The procession of the condemned Christ, two thieves, and the execution detail of Roman soldiers headed by a centurion began its slow journey along the route which we know today as the Via Dolorosa.

In spite of Jesus’ efforts to walk erect, the weight of the heavy wooden beam, together with the shock produced by copious loss of blood, was too much. He stumbled and fell. The rough wood of the beam gouged into the lacerated skin and muscles of the shoulders. He tried to rise, but human muscles had been pushed beyond their endurance. The centurion, anxious to proceed with the crucifixion, selected a stalwart North African onlooker, Simon of Cyrene, to carry the cross. Jesus followed, still bleeding and sweating the cold, clammy sweat of shock. The 650-yard journey from the Fortress Antonia to Golgotha was finally completed. The prisoner was again stripped of His clothing except for a loin cloth which was allowed the Jews.

The crucifixion began. Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh, a mild analgesic, pain-reliving mixture. He refused the drink. Simon was ordered to place the patibulum on the ground, and Jesus was quickly thrown backward, with His shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire felt for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drove a heavy, square wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. Quickly, he moved to the other side and repeated the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flexion and movement. The patibulum was then lifted into place at the top of the stipes, and the titulus reading “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” was nailed into place.

The left foot was pressed backward against the right foot. With both feet extended, toes down, a nail was driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The victim was now crucified.

On the Cross

As Jesus slowly sagged down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shot along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain. The nails in the wrists were putting pressure on the median nerve, large nerve trunks which traverse the mid-wrist and hand. As He pushed himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, He placed His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there was searing agony as the nail tore through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of this feet.

At this point, another phenomenon occurred. As the arms fatigued, great waves of cramps swept over the muscles, knotting them in deep relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps came the inability to push Himself upward. Hanging by the arm, the pectoral muscles, the large muscles of the chest, were paralyzed and the intercostal muscles, the small muscles between the ribs, were unable to act. Air could be drawn into the lungs, but could not be exhaled. Jesus fought to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally, the carbon dioxide level increased in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subsided.

The Last Words

Spasmodically, He was able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen. It was undoubtedly during these periods that He uttered the seven short sentences that are recorded.

The first – looking down at the Roman soldiers throwing dice6 for His seamless garment: “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.”

The second – to the penitent thief: “Today, thou shalt be with me in Paradise.”

The third – looking down at Mary His mother, He said: “Woman, behold your son.” Then turning to the terrified, grief-stricken adolescent John , the beloved apostle, He said: “Behold your mother.”

The fourth cry is from the beginning of Psalm 22: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

He suffered hours of limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, and searing pain as tissue was torn from His lacerated back from His movement up and down against the rough timbers of the cross. Then another agony began: a deep crushing pain in the chest as the pericardium, the sac surrounding the heart, slowly filled with serum and began to compress the heart.

The prophecy in Psalm 22:14 was being fulfilled: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint, my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.”

The end was rapidly approaching. The loss of tissue fluids had reached a critical level; the compressed heart was struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood to the tissues, and the tortured lungs were making a frantic effort to inhale small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues sent their flood of stimuli to the brain. Jesus gasped His fifth cry: “I thirst.” Again we read in the prophetic psalm: “My strength is dried up like a potsherd; my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou has brought me into the dust of death” (Psalm 22:15 KJV).

A sponge soaked in posca, the cheap, sour wine that was the staple drink of the Roman legionnaires, was lifted to Jesus’ lips. His body was now in extremis, and He could feel the chill of death creeping through His tissues. This realization brought forth His sixth word, possibly little more than a tortured whisper: “It is finished.” His mission of atonement had been completed. Finally, He could allow His body to die. With one last surge of strength, He once again pressed His torn feet against the nail, straightened His legs, took a deeper breath, and uttered His seventh and last cry: “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”

Death

The common method of ending a crucifixion was by crurifracture, the breaking of the bones of the leg. This prevented the victim from pushing himself upward; the tension could not be relieved from the muscles of the chest, and rapid suffocation occurred. The legs of the two thieves were broken, but when the soldiers approached Jesus, they saw that this was unnecessary.

Apparently, to make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. John 19:34 states, “And immediately there came out blood and water.” Thus there was an escape of watery fluid from the sac surrounding the heart and the blood of the interior of the heart. This is rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that Jesus died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium.

Resurrection

In these events, we have seen a glimpse of the epitome of evil that man can exhibit toward his fellow man and toward God. This is an ugly sight and is likely to leave us despondent and depressed.

But the crucifixion was not the end of the story. How grateful we can be that we have a sequel: a glimpse of the infinite mercy of God toward man–the gift of atonement, the miracle of the resurrection, and the expectation of Easter morning.

*Dr. C. Truman Davis is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. He is a practicing ophthalmologist, a pastor, and author of a book about medicine and the Bible.

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Romans 10:9-13 (NKJV)

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 

13 For“whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Richard J Grund Author, The Supernatural Battle http://supernaturalresponse.net/the-supernatural-battle.html Director & Team Leader http://supernaturalresponse.net Host of The Porch & Reflections in the Dark http://blogtalkradio.com/firefall-talk-radio

New Year New Choices

540_293_resize_20130701_3b9dc09f8218f9325f956558fe990f4c_jpgThis is the time of year people are making New Year’s resolutions hoping that they will keep them but knowing that they probably won’t.

Sadly, this is a ritual many go through year after year and the outcome is always the same – failure.

Let’s make this year different.

Make is a new year of new choices for your life.

The word resolution means: 1. Process of resolving 2. Decision 3. Determination

Where are you in the process of the decision that will take determination to achieve?

Now, to the deeper question.

Where are you spiritually and what new choices do you need to make in this New Year?

Patient: Doctor doctor.  It hurts when I do this!

Doctor: Don’t do it!

In 25 plus years of ministry I have met countless people who want the pain or torment to go away but do not want to change the decisions that led to the pain and torment.

Many Believers in Jesus of Nazareth as Lord and Savior see Him and His grace as a license to sin.  They know He will forgive them so they keep doing what they did before and getting the same outcome.  Yes, He loves you just as you are but He also loves you too much to let you stay that way.

The Holy Spirit is given to inspire, encourage and convict us of sin.  He walks with us to show us the way and to remind of The Word.  When we willfully sin we wander away from Him and His guidance.  Eventually, if it goes on long enough, we are lost in the darkness and shadows of this world where the wolves dwell.  It is then that the Shepherd seeks us out and leads us home.  Correction regarding our choices is a part of His love and done with His grace.

woman-caught-in-adulteryThe woman caught in adultery in John 8 was offered love, grace and no condemnation.  But, she was also offered a directive –  “go and sin no more”.  In other words, stop doing what you are doing or make better choices.  The Lord finalizes this directive with His closing statement in verse 12 – “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

If we are claim to follow Him our lives must show it.  If we are walking in darkness it means we are no longer in the Light.  And, that means we are no longer following Him.

It’s a New Year I pray that you will make New Choices that will keep in out of the darkness and into His Light.

Firefall Talk Radio – New Year New Choices

Richard J Grund
Director, Solomon’s Porch.
Director & Team Leader, SRT the Supernatural Response Team

Traveling Light Show

From The Porch, Perpetual Pentecost Pt 4, last night on Firefall Talk Radio:

John 8:12(NKJV) 12Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

As we are in a very dark and wicked world, what are we to do (Phil. 2:15)?

Philippians 2:14-15(NKJV) 14Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

We are like the moon whose light is not its own, but is reflected from a bright sun.

2 Corinthians 4:2-4(NKJV) 2But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, 4whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

Walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully.

1 Corinthians 12:7 (NKJV) But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:

Manifestation- Greek: phanerosis (GSN-<G5321>), making visible. Used here and in 1Cor. 12:7 where it speaks of the use of the spiritual gifts.

The gifts of the Sprit are the means God has chosen to make the truth of the Gospel visible to the world.

Paul confirmed and made visible his preaching by a demonstration of it in signs, wonders, different miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit.  In other words, he was a traveling Light show where ever he went.  And, because of that he went to the darkest places on purpose.

Hebrews 2:3-4 (NKJV) 3  how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, 4  God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

The Lord’s command to the Apostle Paul is to us –
Acts 26:18(NKJV) 18to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ (emphasis added)

Ephesians 5:8 (NKJV) 8 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. (emphasis added)

Romans 13:11-14(NKJV) 11And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.
12The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
13Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.   14But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (emphasis added)

How do we do that?

Being Born Again and Filled with the Spirit.

We must visit The Cross, The Empty Tomb, The Upper Room.

And then we become a traveling Light show by walking as children of The Light!

Shine, shine, shine!

Sizzling or smoldering

When it comes to our walk as Believers in Yeshua/Jesus we are either on fire (sizzling) or the fire is going out (smoldering).  There is no in between.

We are either passionately in love with Him or we are passive toward Him and in love with the world.

When we are passionately in love with Him we care about others, love others and want to help others.  Love is His essence and it invades our very being and makes us like Him.

John 15:5-12 (NKJV)
5 I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.
8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
9 “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11 These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

When we are in love with the world we are self-centered and selfish because the sway of the world is to lean to the dark side – the kingdom of darkness.  This leads to the coldness and lawless we see in the world today.

Matthew 24:12 (NKJV) 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

Lawlessness (sin) has led to an epidemic of coldness and callousness toward all living creatures except ourself.

Television commercials make you want more even if you can’t afford it.  Mainstream media glorifies selfish achievements that highlight an area of sin or rebellion.  Movies and TV shows make it appealing to be in outright rebellion against the rules and righteousness of a Living God.

These are the people sitting in the pews of so called churches today.  If there ever was a fire, it has gone out.  They are a smoldering ashen mess who cannot “go into all the world” as the Great Commission of Mark 16:15 commanded.  They are already in the world and have become of the world.

So, the question now remains – are you sizzling or smoldering?  Are you combustible enough to be set aflame?

Firefall Talk Radio – The Porch – Are You Combustible?

A New Year; A New You?

2011 A New Year  A New You?

By Richard J Grund

Every year we make a New Year’s Resolution (decree, decision, declaration or promise ) to do something and it never happens.

A new fitness regime, diet, hobby, behavior modification, etc. make January a busy month.

Health Clubs and fitness centers count on three things.  1 – They count on you over indulging for the holidays.  2- They count on you making getting into shape a New Year’s Resolution.  3 – They count on you plunking down your money, committing to a contract and then never coming.  The attrition rate for health club memberships is 80%.  If everyone who had a membership showed up at any given time every health, safety and fire code would be violated.

The fact is many people will make a declaration but never follow through.

Your Christian walk is the same.  And, the enemy is just like the health club owners, he hopes you don’t follow through.

2 Corinthians 5:17(NKJV) 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

It wasn’t so long ago that I asked the Lord if I was a new creation why was there still much of the “old me” around. I made the declaration, said the prayer but still seemed a lot like the “old me” in many ways.  Oh, don’t get me wrong.  There was a dramatic change.  You couldn’t be as demonically bound, even possessed, and not show a change once Yeshua/Jesus became Lord of my life.  Many who were present that day at church mentioned the immediate change in my appearance and even the increase in light around me.  What no one explained, and I learned the hard way, was that salvation was instantaneous and sanctification was a process.

Maybe I needed a different interpretation of the scripture from 2 Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 5:17(NLT) 17This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

There it is – a new LIFE had begun.  And, with any new life we must learn how to walk and do the things necessary to survive.  I needed, and received, guidance from a mentor who showed me by example and direction into The Word how to live this new life of mine.  Luckily for me both he and my passion for the Lord made me hunger the meat of the Word.  Yeshua/Jesus is the Bread of Life and I was partaking of that bread.  I hungered and thirsted for Him.

John 6:32-35(NKJV) 32Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven.
33For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
34Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”
35And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

The process of sanctification – consecrating and dedicating our life to the Lord – is just that…a process.  It takes time to develop and has to be allowed to grow.  It must be nurtured and cultivated.  It doesn’t just happen.  You must “go” to Him (v. 35) and receive from Him what you need.

Jeremiah 29:11-13(NKJV) 11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
12Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
13And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Hebrews 11:6(NKJV) 6But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

When you seek Him with all of your heart; holding nothing back, you will find Him.  That is a promise written in Blood.

What is the reward for those who diligently seek Him?

Revelation 3:20-21(NKJV) 20Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
21To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

That permanent intimacy you seek can only come when YOU seek HIM.  You cannot and will not be changed until you find Him.

The first step in the process of living this new life is to seek Him with all of your heart.  I do not care how long you’ve been saved or how long you think you’ve been saved.  If the old zombie you is still hanging around I suggest you seek Him with all of your heart and jump-start that sanctification process.

Psalms 42:1-2(NRSVA) 1 As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When shall I come and behold  the face of God?

There may be some who haven’t even begun the salvation process let alone the sanctification process.

May I suggest a New Year’s Resolution from The Bible for you?

Isaiah 55:6(NKJV) 6 Seek the Lord while He may be found,      Call upon Him while He is near.

Twice in Revelation 22 ( verses 7 & 12) He says, “Behold, I am coming quickly!”

Soon and very soon He will return and if you haven’t sought Him and found Him it will be too late.

Richard J Grund

The Porch on Solomon’s Porch
P.O. Box 713 Windermere, FL 34786-0713
http://www.onsolomonsporch.org
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-porch

Warfare? What Warfare?

If you follow The Porch you know we now have weekly online Bible Studies at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/the-porch. If you don’t then come join us every Wednesday night at 7:30 pm Eastern.

We also have weekly Sunday night show, Reflections In The Dark, 7 pm Eastern where go deeper into the supernatural shadows.

What I have found from both shows and those who attend them is that “Spiritual Warfare” is a lost concept on the church of today.  Even those churches that should be predisposed to this teaching (i.e. Charismatic, Pentecostal, Spirit Filled) are lack in the warning and preparing the flock for the prophesied End Times.

When I got saved in October of 1988 at the old Christian Heritage Church in Tallahassee, Florida under its former Pastor, Robert A. Shelley, we were spoiled by the knowledge and scriptural feedings given to us.  The spiritual food that Pastor Shelley fed us was a banquet that fed everyone from the newest to the oldest Believer.  How much food you had was up to you. Understanding the authority given to us in the Lord and how to use the weapons of our warfare was a regular part of that diet.  And, many fed willingly at the table.

This period of time was at the height of the spiritual warfare movement in the church.  Unfortunately, the enemy played off of our enthusiasm and intensity by inspiring error and excess.  By 1995, when I moved away from Tallahassee, the spiritual warfare movement had imploded on itself and lay in ruins.  Were mistakes made? Yes.  In the zeal to serve the Lord many misguided souls ran to a front line they had no business being on.  The had ignored the admonition of the scriptures of James 4:1-6 preceded the promise that the devil would flee from you indicating that the success of your resistance was equal to the success of your walking correctly with the Lord. That’s why to this day I do not recommend or encourage anyone to do what I do or what SRT does without considering the cost and knowing the personal requirements.

Lives were destroyed, churches were destroyed and this allowed those who had no heart or stomach for the warfare in the first place to gloat and write books that held an even greater error then the mistakes made by misguided spiritual emphasis and ignorance of the enemy we faced.

That error?  That there was no warfare, that we could stop warring at all and that the enemy had no power.

1 Peter 5:8-10 ( NKJV )8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  9Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.  10But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.

Roaring lion?

Devour (gulp entire (literally or figuratively):—devour, drown, swallow up)?

Resist (to stand against, that is, oppose:—resist, withstand)?

The same sufferings are experienced by others and you will suffer for a while?

Sounds like warfare to me.

Ephesians 6:10-12 (Amplified Bible) 10In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [be empowered through your union with Him]; draw your strength from Him [that strength which His boundless might provides].  11Put on God’s whole armor [the armor of a heavy-armed soldier which God supplies], that you may be able successfully to stand up against [all] the strategies and the deceits of the devil.  12For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.

The “wrestling” of the Apostles Paul’s day was Greek style of Olympics wrestling from his era.  It was up close, physical and rough.  There were no pads or coverings.  There was nothing pretty or comfortable about it.

Who are we wrestling with?  The four levels of power pertaining to the fallen angels (Genesis Chapter 6) and the demonic spirits of their hybrid offspring wiped out in the Flood.

No warfare?!

Ephesians 6:13-18 (Amplified Bible) 13Therefore put on God’s complete armor, that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day [of danger], and, having done all [the crisis demands], to stand [firmly in your place].  14Stand therefore [hold your ground], having tightened the belt of truth around your loins and having put on the breastplate of integrity and of moral rectitude and right standing with God, 15And having shod your feet in preparation [to face the enemy with the firm-footed stability, the promptness, and the readiness produced by the good news] of the Gospel of peace. 16Lift up over all the [covering] shield of saving faith, upon which you can quench all the flaming missiles of the wicked [one].  17And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.  18Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).

Does any of that scriptural exposition indicate peaceful inactivity?

NO!

We were warned by the Lord Himself of the turbulent times we are in and the fact that they would replicate the Days of Noah (Matthew 24:37) and although there are many who diminish the meaning of this warning it indicates a time of violent demonic activity.  If you watch the news, spend time on the Internet or just pay attention to what is going on around you the signs of the times are all around us.

Finally, I will leave you with the warnings of the Prophet Isaiah ( a real one not just someone with a name tag and a 501c3 business):

Isaiah 60:1-3 ( NKJV )
1 Arise, shine;
For your light has come!
And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
And deep darkness the people;
But the Lord will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
3 The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.

We are in those dark times and the “deep darkness” is really the same Hebrew word twice (H6205 עֲרָפֶל  ʽărâphel ar-aw-fel’ ; gloom (as of a lowering sky):—gross, thick dark cloud).  That’s a darkness that is twice as bad, twice as powerful and worse then what had been experienced before.  If that is not a description of 2010 and the years ahead I do not know what is.

But then again, if you are one of those people who believe everything is all right, there is no enemy out there and that roaring lion Peter warned you about has no teeth, keep doing what you are doing – nothing.  You can continue to follow the writings and opinions of men & women who have not seen the outside of a sanctuary or conference room in years; who have no clue of the current war or the current enemy we are being threatened by.  Let me know how that works out for you.

If you are awakening from your slumber and tired of watching the destruction of loved ones, friends, families, children and all things good come to the upcoming online Bible Studies at The Porch.  We are going to examine spiritual warfare as the Book of Acts church taught it, experienced it and lived it.

Either way, the Word of the Lord is clear.  The teachings of His Apostles on point.  And, the orders given by the Captain of the Hosts without question.

It’s your choice.

In His Service,
Richard J Grund
The Porch On Solomon’s Porch

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Beware the Wolves

Beware the Wolves

Matthew 7:15-20(NKJV)
15“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
16You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
17Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Normally, I would piece the entire section of scripture together but we need to see this 6-line warning (6 is the number of man and this is a warning about men/false teachers) in its entirety.

Yes, it does say beware of false prophets not false teachers. However, in this day and age everyone is suddenly a prophet/prophetess or moved themselves into some other office of their own accord.

The Greek word used for “prophets” here means a spurious prophet, that is, pretended foreteller or religious impostor. The people who have inspired this blog definitely fit into that category and therefore fit into this section of scripture.
What’s so amazing about Matthew Chapter 7 is that it flows from one warning to another with clarity and harmony.

We are first warned (verses 1-5) about those who attempt to sit in the Judgment Seat of God only find to find out that the Light of Judgment shines on them as well. There is only One who can sit in that Seat without being burned by the Holy Fire it produces.

Verse 6 warns that if you attempt to share what is holy with “dogs” (a symbol of the demonic) or share the pearls of the Lord’s Wisdom with pigs in a pen (possibly a foreshadowing of the seeker friendly unbiblical church of today) be forewarned that they will attack the wisdom. They will also attack and disrespect you in the process.

Verses 7-12 give us the guidelines of our Heavenly Father’s behavior to show us how He will treat us and that we are to treat others as we want to be treated which conversely is the same manner in which He treats us.

Verses 13 and 14 show us that to walk in the manner pleasing to the Lord and the Father will take effort and at time be uncomfortable. Because of that very few will find it or walk in it.

Verses 15 through 20 are the spiritual parameters we must use to evaluate the purpose and spirituality of those who set themselves up to be teachers/prophets.

Verses 21 through 23 should be the most frightening part of scripture, especially for those of us in the Charismatic/Pentecostal world because the people whom He rejects and refutes claim to move in the Gifts of the Spirit. He never says that they are lying or that the Gifts are not of Him but their eternal rejection comes from their disobedient, sinful fleshly natures based on the internal “heart” of the matter and not their external actions.

Verses 24 and 25 show us the strength and soundness that comes from following these guidelines/warnings.

Verse 26 and 27 conversely show is the end result of disregarding these warnings.

Now that I have set the stage it’s time to open the “curtain”.

Matthew 7:15-20 is our warning regarding those who are causing dissension and agitation among the flock. Wolves will try to scare and scatter the sheep from a distance hoping that the less experienced or younger ones will run. That way they can separate them from the flock and get them away from the watchful eyes of the Shepherd or His sheepdogs. A Good Shepherd and well trained, loyal sheepdogs will not allow this to happen and, more often than not, will go after the wolves in a preemptive strike to drive them off or destroy them.

Wolves are predators and their nature is to find the weakest or slowest of the flock that wanders away from the protection or covering. Wolves in sheep’s clothing, as verse 15, refers to are “ravenous” in that they are looking to pluck or steal away the sheep by force if they have to. They appear outwardly as to being like the other sheep but it’s inwardly that their true nature is found. We cannot assume anyone is what they are simply because of appearance. Their actions produce a result that lets us know if they are sheep or wolf. Hence, it’s by their “fruit” that we know them.

An Apple Tree is not an Apple Tree because we call it an Apple Tree. It’s an Apple Tree because it produces apples. When we see an Apple Tree we expect to find apples. If we see someone who claims to be a Christian we should expect to see “Christ-like” behavior or choices. If we see things like back stabbing criticism, haughtiness, arrogance, promotion of dissension and, at worse, attempting to defame or destroy others we should realize that this is not of the Lord and therefore “wolf” in nature.

Wolves are easy to spot if you know the signs. They tend to inspire petty arguments over meaningless things or theories that have no bearing on someone’s eternity. They take stands against others that have no scriptural merit and when confronted offer no Biblical defense. They are the “clouds” that Jude refer to in verse 12 and clearly indicate their inspiration is demonic and from the fallen angels. It makes perfect sense to me that the origins of this effort began in Genesis Chapter 3 and 6 because many of the wolves I see are trying to scatter the flock to cover up the actions of the angelic participants of Chapters 3 & 6. The winds of dissension and criticism they create attempts cause the flock to scatter or separate.

Some of these “wolves” come as Matthew 7 indicates in the form of religious or spiritual leaders. When exposed they will point the finger and claim you have a “religious spirit”. The fact is the religious spirit is theirs and it has a name. I call it the Spirit of Caiaphas. The Spirit of the Great Shepherd inspires us to leave the many to save the one. The Spirit of Caiaphas claims to destroy the one person/sheep for the sake of the others but really has a self-serving interest in the outcome.

As a sheepdog for the Great Shepherd I have an intense dislike for wolves and what they do to the flock; especially the baby lambs who know no better and are easily fooled. They do not know enough scripture or have enough experience in the church to know how to confront or call out these wolves and, worse, don’t have enough sense to run away from them the minute the sheep mouth opens and instead of a “bah” they get a “growl”.

How do you know who these wolves are that I am warning you about? You will have to seek the Lord and ask Him to reveal them to you. Or, examine the fruit of their efforts and actions to see for yourself who they are.

I fully intended to name names and call them out in this blog. However, as I said, I am a sheepdog not The Shepherd. I must heed His commands and wait for the eventual command that releases me to pounce on these wolves. His love is so great that He wants to save the foolish sheep that are following these wolves before destruction comes. Stop following so blindly and take a good “look” at their fruit. Are their teachings, choices or leadership bringing you sweet fruit or thorns & bristles? Remember, where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. In His Presence is the fullness of joy. If there is no liberty or joy the Lord is not in it.

He will allow me to say this – I know who these wolves are, I know who the foolish sheep are and I know who the lead wolf is that stays hidden in the bushes. I know of the false sheep whose job it was to distract the sheepdog with false friendship and “treats”. I know your intentions and know whom you are targeting to attack and destroy. And, I know why. Your failed efforts have brought you out into the open and the specificity of the attack has given away the demonic inspiration behind it. Truly by your “fruit” you have been exposed.

If I know who you are the Great Shepherd knows too.

And, for that I say, woe unto you!
Richard J Grund

Sheepdog for the Great Shepherd

An Open Letter to the Fallen – Heaven Serves Notice

Lately I keep hearing the song Bad Boys from Inner Circle in my spirit. You know it. They use it as the theme for the reality TV Show “Cops”:

Bad boys bad boys
Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do
when they come for you
Bad boys, bad boys
Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do
when they come for you

And, while it’s not meant to be a “spiritual” song it has inspired this blog.

At first, I thought the song was about the recent UFO sightings and current view that some sort of alien deception is upon us. I was going to write this from the perspective of trying to get you to wonder what you would do if “they” came for you. Would you go with them? Would you run? Would you stand and fight back in the Name of the Lord? (As a point of reference I fall into the last category)

However, as I sat here this morning I realize that it’s not a song being sung to the Body of Christ but a song being sung to Satan, the fallen angels and their demonic offspring. While some people would be too religious to believe the Spirit can sing Reggae I believe He can use anything and everything in the Universe to make His point. And, making a point He is!

So, I guess this blog becomes an “open letter” to the fallen:

John 1:1-3 ( NKJV ) 1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

Psalms 33:6 ( NKJV ) 6 By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

Nehemiah 9:5-6 ( NKJV )
“Stand up and bless the LORD your God
Forever and ever!
“Blessed be Your glorious name,
Which is exalted above all blessing and praise!
6 You alone are the LORD;
You have made heaven,
The heaven of heavens, with all their host,
The earth and everything on it,
The seas and all that is in them,
And You preserve them all.
The host of heaven worships You.

You worshiped the One who spoke you into existence on the 6th day at the beginning of time. He called you by name. The first thing you saw in creation was Him, your Creator. The first voice you heard was His. And, yet you forgot what He had done for you and instead of worshiping Him you desired to be Him.

You lied to and deceived His children in your desire to strike back at Him. You tricked them into worshiping you and giving you His children as a blood sacrifice (Zephaniah 1:5). He alone is worthy of worship and adoration.

You lie, steal and destroy what is His and think you will get away with it.

You blaspheme His Holy Name and shake your immortal fists toward the Throne Room as if you have the power to back up the threats.

Play your tricks in the sky with the blinking lights and tales of another gospel. Make foolish men believe you are something more then you are. Portray yourselves as angels of light and your demonic offspring as ministers of righteousness but your words and deeds give you away. There is no life in you or what you offer. The dead cannot give life and darkness cannot overcome the Light of the Holy One.

You left your Holy Habitation, fooled yourselves into thinking you were “gods”, chose a lesser, darker existence and the Lord of Hosts says “So be it”. All of the wooden idols, icons and foolishness men have offered to you shall sink into the Lake of Fire with you (Matt. 24:41).

Do you hear the rattling of the chains of judgment that shall enwrap around you (2 Pet 2:4; Jude 1:6)? Do you hear snorting of the Heavenly stallions and the rustle of the armies of Heaven awaiting the Father’s command (Rev. 12:7-9) notify you that your time is short? The Word of the Lord is clear.

Zephaniah 1:7 ( NKJV )
7 Be silent in the presence of the Lord GOD;
For the day of the LORD is at hand,
For the LORD has prepared a sacrifice;
He has invited (consecrated; set apart) His guests.

And, His guests have been given a Great Gift. A Promise has been fulfilled and the same Spirit that pulled your particles together is inside of them. The same Word that spoke you into existence has been given to them for their use against you. Truly, in both Heaven & Earth, the Word of the Lord is against you this day and the days to come.

Whether it is your Heavenly brethren or the newly empowered children of Mine that have ALL of My Authority at their disposal, the only question remains…

Bad boys bad boys
Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do
when they come for you
Bad boys, bad boys
Whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do
when they come for you

And, from the North, South, East, West and Heaven itself…
THEY ARE COMING FOR YOU!

Richard J Grund, in service to The King

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