Many readers have become accustomed to seeing almost daily blogs at this website. In the future, blogs will still be posted but at a more occasional rate. There are two reasons for this decision.
The first, and most important one, is that a friend whose judgment I greatly value has told me flatly that I am “burned out” and that I need a Sabbatical from writing. This person is right, and I needed to hear that fact stated to me. I will still post occasional blogs, but I may also sometimes simply post important current links, and those who are long-time readers of this blogsite will be able to understand them in a biblical context. Secondly, I need a limited Sabbatical from writing due to health reasons. Not everyone knows that I suffer chronic pains from three serious injuries (any one of which could have killed me), and these chronic pains have made it steadily harder to devote so much time to writing. I have also suffered the last three months from the sudden onset of a strong case of constant tinnitus which makes it hard to focus and write. I need time to heal. There will be some additions placed on the website before too long though. A new free text sample from one of my books, two speeches and a new, full-length article that is almost finished will be added (hopefully) soon. As stated above, there will be periodic new blogs as well.
Now I’ll offer some comments from the heart. Many of you will find some of these comments surprising. I am on a full-time disability from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), and I’m going to speak about this a bit as it has greatly affected the course of my life. It is also another reason why I need some rest at this time. The PTSD resulted from a number of factors, but the primary reason is the consequences of a night of unspeakable trauma that I experienced when I was 20 years old. The trauma was done to me by two “ministers” from the now defunct Worldwide Church of God. It could give many of you nightmares to even know what I experienced, and I suffered for many years before specialists even gave it a diagnosis. A Licensed Counselor, after finding out about it, referred the two “ministers” to the legal authorities, but we found out the statute of limitations for prosecution had passed. This PTSD has been a major cross to bear, but it has caused me to go through some experiences that most “happy Christians” will never have, and these experiences have given me insights into how badly the afflicted people of this world need compassion. I’ll give you just a brief glimpse into a few of them (I have previously spoken about some of these in a Feast of Tabernacles message in 2003).
Once in the 1980s, during a break in a support group meeting that only the broken and shattered people know about, a Vietnam Vet told me he couldn’t bear his PTSD memories any longer and that he was going to kill himself during the break. He asked if I wanted to see the gun he was going to use, and I said sure and we walked to his car. He showed me his loaded .44 Magnum and said good-bye. I blandly observed that “You sure won’t need a second shot.” At that point my unintended comic relief caused him to laugh so hard for so long that he decided to go on with life and he forgot about suicide (Proverbs 17:22 really is true).
On another occasion, I was among good upstanding citizens when a Native American male with an obviously bad hangover came and waiting by a locked office door where the “rest of us” were meeting. Recognizing the symptoms of inner brokenness, I skipped the meeting and asked the Native American who he was waiting for at the locked office door. That office was his counselor’s off-site location and I learned from staff at the building that his Counselor would not be back for two days. I asked the Native American man if there was anything I could do to help. He poured out his anguish to me and I let him cry on the shoulder of my suitcoat for as long as he needed. Amidst his projectile tears (this can really happen!), he told me that he had two family members that were in a morgue due to dying in a car accident and that he had no money to bury them. I found his counselor in the phone book and arranged for immediate help for the man.
In another meeting one time where broken people go, I heard the story of a traumatized homosexual prostitute who told me his life story amidst sobbing. I can assure all you good Christians “out there” that not all homosexuals choose their orientation. This man could not help what he was, given his upbringing. I prayed that in the coming Kingdom of God/Messianic Age or the resurrection, God would not let any risen saint eager to wield his righteous “rod of iron” near that man, but would let me help him with truckloads of mercy.
I’ll relate one more account. You have no idea how great it can feel to do “random acts of kindness” to others who are at the end of their rope and are without hope. I once overheard the conversation between a stranger and a checkout clerk in a grocery store check-out line as the clerk told him all his credit cards were “maxed out” and he had no money to buy the baby food for an infant he obviously had at home. The man hung his head in utter despondency. I walked to the head of the line and said I’d pay for the man’s groceries. I blessed him in the name of Jesus as I did so and assured him God would make things better for him in the future. The clerk was in tears herself as she said she’d never witnessed anything like that before. The warmth in my heart at that moment was “priceless.” I urge you to do things like this when the opportunity arises. It really is “more blessed to give than to receive.” And when you do such actions of kindness to strangers (Matthew 25:38), you are doing them to Jesus as well (Matthew 25:40), and he will remember when you come before his judgment seat.
My writing career has been dedicated to over twenty years of writing about abstract matters of biblical history, prophetic and doctrinal knowledge, etc. While these are all important matters, especially in the latter days we live in, I Corinthians 13 tells us that showing love to others is even more important. Jesus also tells us in Matthew 25:31-46 that when we are judged, he will be evaluating us based on whether we have ever shown love to those we regarded as “the least” worthy of our love and help. I find it revealing that in Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus didn’t mention that anyone’s level of doctrinal understanding will even be a factor in how he will judge people. In light of that fact, I have decided to write less and do more of what Jesus says he wants us to do in Matthew 25:31-46. I’ve volunteered to help deliver “meals on wheels.” Many some of you may want to consider similar actions.
A final word and then this blog will come to an end. As I’ve written about the future fall of Babylon the Great, the rise of the beast and the fulfillment of end-time prophecies, I realize there are some readers who think they will be spared from having to experience any hardships or inconveniences because they expect to be “raptured off” very early in the latter-day process and watch it all from a heavenly seat while pampered by five-star catering service by God’s angels. Are you ever in for a shock. I will tell you frankly that as I have blogged about the events that are leading to the gradual but relentless decline of our nation, I feel like I am watching my nation die. There have been times during the writing of blogs when I have been unable to write because I am crying so hard about the suffering to come that I can no longer see through the tears and I plead with God in prayer to hold back his judgments or at least limit them. Does this sound maudlin to you? Jeremiah wept for his people in the book of Lamentations. God tells us in Ezekiel 22:30 that he wants to find people who will intercede with him for his people so he will hold back his punishments on nations (I did a blog on this topic some time ago). Amos twice averted plagues on the ancient kingdom of Israel by intercessory prayer (Amos 7:1-6). All the people of all the nations of all the tribes of Israel throughout history (and today) owe their lives to the intercessory prayer of one man, Moses, who prayed for their/our forefathers in Exodus 32 and asked a very angry and visibly-present Creator to spare them. You can be sure Moses had an immense amount of emotion as he “besought God” to avert the Divine wrath that would have annihilated all the tribes of Israel from then on!
If you have not ever anguished about the prophesied sufferings to come and have never cried as you asked God to spare his people and avert national plagues, I question your spiritual temperature. God has a word for all the smug and complacent Christians who think they will either be raptured to heaven early enough to avoid all future suffering or that they will be spared in some “place of safety” on earth so they don’t have to “suffer with the other people.” Amos 6:6-7 warns that “those who are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph” (the modern USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, as my books and articles make clear) “shall…go captive with the first that go captive.” This judgment of God applies to Believers who knew what was coming, but they were not all that bothered about the impending sufferings to come because they thought none of the suffering would apply to them. For your own good, I urge you to be “grieved for the affliction of Joseph” and pray for God’s mercy on our nations.