Tortured Lives

Featured Image:  Ellice Park, “Home Airing (Dirty) Laundry,” 2012

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. — 1 Peter 2:24

It has been a while since my spirit was humbled by a 20-something – Ellice Park did just that.  Her testimony of faith in the Holy Spirit’s leading and her willingness to sacrifice herself for Jesus left fresh wounds in the hard inner core of my soul – and I am grateful.  These are the stripes that heal and refocus…

Ellice’s Korean peninsula refugee stories are brutal and terrifying, reflecting the tyranny of total depravity.  She clearly expressed what happens when a culture eliminates the higher authority of God from entering the halls of governance.  The curses of Deuteronomy 28 are not a magic spell cast by an angry God upon humanity – they are the devastating consequences of humanity rejecting God.  The unthinkable has become reality for a whole ethnicity in the Far East, horrors beyond the imaginations of even the most vile gore flicks so popular with the youth of our culture.

When we silently sit by and accept the incremental assaults on our human liberties handed out by tyrannical governments, we can expect no less.  Agenda 21, Common Core Curriculum, Carbon Exchanges, the Patriot Act, Obamacare, the LGBT Agenda, Illegal Immigration, IRS Targeting, Federal Land Grabs – all these issues and more are enslaving our population just as surely as the evil in North Korea snuffs out every shred of good and truth that survives.  Out of control power murders without hesitation.

The corruption of US governmental authority is being systematically blurred by a complicit media and apathetic population.  Who even knows anymore that the ONLY job of any civil government is to protect the God-given rights of it’s citizens…?!

American citizens and Christians across the globe MUST stand against the darkness, or consign our progeny to the same tortures.  This era has the immense responsibility of upholding the foundations of the United States.  As Founding Father John Adams once cried,  “Posterity! you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom!  I hope you will make a good use of it.  If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it.” 

Praise the King of Kings for providing the way!  Praise Jesus for sending his disciples into the darkness!   Jesus was, indeed, pierced for our transgressions!  He died to set us free!  FREEDOM is calling the hearts and minds of every image bearer to action.  Resist the temptation to be silenced…

I will give them singleness of heart and action, so that they will always fear me and that all will then go well for them and for their children after them. — Jeremiah 32:39

Ellice Park on North Korean Refugees

Monday, April 7, 2014
7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

UALC – The Church at Mill Run, Room 2031 or 3002 (check lobby sign – room could change)   3500 Mill Run Drive, Hilliard, OH

One of our youngest FOOF members will be sharing her art ministry to North Korean refugees!  

Considering how our culture has shifted so much in the past 12 months towards open hostility for Christians, this is a must come event!!  

Ellice recently spent time in Asia ministering to refugees.  She will speak a bit and share a couple stories about life under the total tyranny of the brutal North Korean dictator, and the efforts of the Christian church there to flourish under oppression.  Maybe we can slip into the sanctuary so she can play the piano to do a small performance, and play a couple hymns and sing in Korean, while the rest of us sing in English !  

This summer, Ellice has been invited to minister to Korean-Chinese persons with displaced families and abandonment issues in China, as a visiting artist and art therapist.  

Ellice supports her ministry through donations and by selling art she designs, and asks that you consider supporting her.

She would love for us to visit her Facebook page to view her videos, where she has shared accounts of her grandmother’s escape.  Everything on her site is meant to be shared! Here are her links:

https://www.facebook.com/elliceparkonfb/media_set?set=a.1895431945798.1073741841.1241550651&type=3

http://freebeacon.com/documentary-shines-light-on-north-korean-defectors/

 

Persecution coming for American Christians?!

Aside

Congratulations to all the graduates of the IOTC U.S. Constitution course!!
Of the 61 people enrolled in the class, 27 of them completed the requirements to be awarded with the title of “United States Constitutionist”!
What an accomplishment!!

We look forward to the upcoming IOTC Leadership Training event on Saturday, March 29, 2014  – 10 AM-3 PM

WHERE:  Upper Arlington Lutheran Church, 2300 Lytham Road, Upper Arlington, Ohio 43220   (Link to map for UALC Lytham – http://www.ualc.org/campuses)

 You do not have to be IOTC graduates to attend.  It is easier to understand the materials if you have taken the course, but it is not required.  You will “get it” as we proceed through the lessons.   This leadership training is the road map for restoration of our Constitutional Republic! It will help us understand teaching principles we need to multiply the message of properly understanding the Constitution by exposing the Biblical Worldview of America’s Founders, namely that:

  • There is a God, the God of the Bible
  • Our rights come from Him, and
  • The purpose of civil government is to secure our God-given rights.

Please see this link for more information if you would like to join us:  https://foofohio.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/institute-on-the-constitution-iotc-leadership-training. (And follow the blog!)

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Please take a look at our revised winter 2014 schedule and share it – we have many interesting topics coming up!   Be aware, however, that I have several speakers on my “pop in any time” list, to give us updates on their ministries/work/discipleship.  The schedule may shift without notice, but I promise that I won’t waste your time!  BTW – we all may want to carry a few extra dollars in our pockets in case anyone shows up, for whom we need to take up a collection…

Now on to all the links and information I promised.

 *FIRST:  You all MUST listen to this message from Eric Waters
http://tech.ualc.org/mp3/audio/140209EWMRS.mp3
Hold on to Jesus!

And this one from G.Buba *
http://tech.ualc.org/mp3/audio/140209GBMRS.mp3
Persecution coming for American Christians! Be captured by the Holy Spirit!!

 We must:

  1. Practice Prayer as individuals, families and churches – be filled with the Holy Spirit
  2. Read our Bibles
  3. Be and make Disciples of Jesus

Following quickly on that, here is the link to the “Sin of Silence.”  Very powerful.  Click on “The Sin of Silence” (audio).  It may take a while to download.
http://www.osl.cc/index.php?pgid=8
Text is available at:  http://www.osl.cc/pdf/Silence.pdf

Here is the link to the Bob Burney broadcast.  The most interesting one is the 2/10 BBL Monday 3.
http://www.wrfd.com/BBLAudioArchive.aspx

The Darwinization of Law in America – Pastor Whitney’s lecture from our homework.
http://www.theamericanview.com/the-darwinization-of-law-in-america/

Here is an inspirational video that explains why civil governance is important to all of us.  Start at Minute 59 for the Inspirational conclusion that should get us all fired up!  Also see Trevor Louden’s book,  The Enemies Within: Communists, Socialists and Progressives in the U.S. Congress
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRFN5CfZuN0&feature=youtu.be

Christianity is unstoppable!  We are God’s army – we are God’s church!
The undying soul (Jesus) and power (Holy Spirit) has been released upon the earth!
Christianity is the future of the world!!
Jesus will never abandon us!!!

AMEN!

Speak the Truth in Love

speaking-truth-in-loveWhile our shame and insecurity make it hard to hear a reproof, it makes it just as hard to deliver one. Many Christians, rather than speak the truth about issues the Bible clearly addresses, fearing the discomfort of offending anyone, prefer to be non-confrontational and often elevate it to a near virtue. That wasn’t the example Jesus set. We are to speak the truth in love, sacrificing neither, but notice Jesus’ description of His own mission:

Matthew 10:34-38 (NIV)

34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’

37 “Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Jesus’ reference that he came to bring a sword is not saying that he came to bring violence; rather, he came to speak the truth – to confront where it was needed; and clearly spoken words can sometimes cut just as deeply as any sword. We must not be afraid to speak the truth when it is needed or to embrace the truth when those close to us may not. Jesus did not say he desired to divide; it’s just that the sword of truth may well do so.

Far too many Christians have wrongly believed that it is unChristian to offend others, and consequently a love of the truth has too frequently been sacrificed to a fear of hurting someone’s feelings. According to the Bible, both delivering and accepting reproof are virtues, and we would do well to practice both. If we remain silent, how will people come to know the truth? We need to be people of confidence and fearless love for God, people and truth. If the Bible speaks about an issue, so should we – with the same loving and eternal clarity the Bible uses.
(Taken from article in The Founders Bible by David Barton and Brad Cummings)

Kelly Monroe Kullberg – Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration

Kelly Monroe Kullberg will be speaking to us this coming Monday, September 9, 2013 concerning her work as the founder of Evangelicals for Biblical Immigration.

http://evangelicalsforbiblicalimmigration.com/read-the-letter/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Evangelicals-for-Biblical-Immigration-EBI/208457102639014

Kelly will share her journey of faith outside the relative safety of the ivory towers and into the battle for our nation. David, her novelist husband, is to blame for Kelly’s wake-up call. He will join her.

In 2000, David wrote the novel, The War Against God which, years later, catalyzed the Kullberg’s interest in the funding streams and rhetorical strategies of “evangelicals” behind the Obama administration and its policies. They’ll be telling this story of life imitating art. Of truth even stranger than fiction.

Conversation will include the whole counsel of Scripture in relation to the immigration bill and the “evangelical leaders” promoting it. While we all may agree that reform is necessary, we do not all agree that the 1,200-page Gang of Eight bill is the needed reform.

Kelly founded The Veritas Forum now in 130 universities around the world contending for the truth, Veritas, of Jesus Christ. She edited/co-authored bestseller Finding God at Harvard and authored the sequel, Finding God Beyond Harvard: The Quest for Veritas. Together the Kullbergs co-authored A Faith and Culture Devotional.

UALC – The Church at Mill Run, Room 2031 or 3002 (check lobby sign – room could change)
3500 Mill Run Drive, Hilliard, OH

Calling the Nation to Prayer and Fasting

(Portions taken from “The Founders Bible” Calling the Nation to Prayer and Fasting, pp 711-715)

In Ezra 7, Babylonian King Artaxerxes commissioned the priest Ezra to gather Jewish captives, return to their ancient homeland, rebuild the holy temple in Jerusalem, which had lain in ruins for decades, and also set up a separate civil government.  In chapter 8, Ezra assembled the people, but before they set out on their trek:

 21 There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. 22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.

He called for a time of fasting and prayer so the group could beseech the Lord’s intervention and assistance; and as Ezra attested, God answered their prayers.  They journeyed safely to Jerusalem and successfully restored both the temple and civil government in their homeland.

The practice of calling the nation to a time of corporate prayer and fasting is repeated frequently throughout the Scriptures. I want to focus on two of those occasions.

In late 1860, it appeared that a national conflict was soon to begin, so President James Buchanan called the nation to a time of prayer and fasting, reminding the country:

 “In this the hour of our calamity and peril, to whom shall we resort for relief but to the God of our fathers? His omnipotent arm only can save us from the awful effects of our own crimes and follies — our own ingratitude and guilt towards our Heavenly Father.

 

Let us, then, with deep contrition and penitent sorrow, unite in humbling ourselves before the Most High, in confessing our individual and national sins, and in acknowledging the injustice of our punishment. Let us implore Him to remove from our hearts that false pride of opinion which would impel us to persevere in wrong for the sake of consistency, rather than yield a just submission to the unforeseen exigencies by which we are now surrounded. Let us with deep reverence beseech him to restore the friendship and good will which prevailed in former days among the people of the several States; and, above all, to save us from the horrors of civil war and “blood-guiltiness.” Let our fervent prayers ascend to His Throne that He would not desert us in this hour of extreme peril, but remember us as he did our fathers in the darkest days of the revolution; and preserve our Constitution and our Union, the work of their hands, for ages yet to come.

 

An Omnipotent Providence may overrule existing evils for permanent good. He can make the wrath of man to praise Him, and the remainder of wrath he can restrain. — Let me invoke every individual, in whatever sphere of like he may be placed, to feel a personal responsibility to God and his country for keeping this day holy, and for contributing all in his power to remove our actual and impending calamities.” 1

President Abraham Lincoln, while in the midst of the bloody Civil War, called the nation to a day of humiliation, fasting, and prayer, explaining in most profound terms:

 “Whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God, to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon, and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord;

 

And, insomuch as we know that by His divine law nations, like individuals, are subjected to punishments and chastisements in this world, may we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be but a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins, to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people? We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of Heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth, and power as no other nation has ever grown. But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.

 

It behooves us, then, to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins, and to pray for clemency and forgiveness…..   ….All this being done in sincerity and truth, let us then rest humbly in the hope authorized by the divine teachings that the united cry of the nation will be heard on high and answered with blessings no less than the pardon of our national sins and the restoration of our now divided and suffering country to its former happy condition of unity and peace.”2

Times of corporate humiliation and prayer were called in time of national danger and also in times of national tragedy.  America has a long history of following the Biblical precedent of observing times of spiritual discipline that every Christian would do well to personally develop (Matthew 9:15).  Jesus noted that some situations in our lives change only through prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21), and it allows us to spend time in concentrated prayer in our relationship with the Lord.

Now, therefore, in compliance with ancient tradition and in light of the speech given today by President Obama seeking approval to bomb Syria –  I do by this proclamation, call all citizens to national humiliation, repentance, fasting and prayer.  And I do hereby request all people to abstain from ordinary pursuits, and to unite at their places of public worship and respective homes, in keeping themselves holy to the Lord and devoted to the humble discharge of the religious duties proper to solemn occasions.

May God save us…

1 – http://www.wallbuilders.com/LIBissuesArticles.asp?id=3587 
2 – http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=69891

Will We Succeed?

When I first accepted Jesus as LORD of my life at 25, I was grateful for his merciful forgiveness.  My walk was full of passionate glee at the fresh start!  I was discipled by mature Christians to focus on the Cross of Christ and meditate on the Resurrection.  In prayer, I stood among the crowd in front of Pilate until realizing that I was among those screaming, “Crucify him!”  The terror of my selfish demand that the Author of Life die in my place was sickening. I had to get a closer look at Jesus.

As my prayers changed to remorse, I caught glimpses of Jesus carrying his cross and presumptuously offered myself in place of Simon of Cyrene.  What personal folly that revealed!  My own tragic immaturity and hunger for significance assaulted me.  I was unworthy.  Not only was I a master at concealing sin (even from myself), I discovered that I wasted much life actually NURTURING my offenses.  Shame turned to shock when I realized Jesus was helping ME carry my own cross…

at-the-foot-of-the-cross-01How many lifetimes have I lingered in the mud below the Cross of Christ?  How often have I begged that His shed blood would cleanse me?  My petty opinions and creative evils torment my soul.  “Save me, Lord, from my corrupt mind and heart!  Crucify me instead!”

Love for Jesus.  Willingness to embrace the horror of the Cross.  Acceptance of guilt and the overwhelming realization that Jesus completes all creation…  Total forgiveness.  Transforming joy.

Then the whisper, “Stand up, learn from me.”

Galatians is a cannonball shot over the bow, exclaiming Christian freedom.  We face an epic battle against rulers, powers, increasing world darkness, and spiritual wickedness (Ephesians 6).  We must learn to stand.  We will succeed in our struggle – if we fear God and repent of our sins.

Galatians 2:20 (NASB)  I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Reflection and Response

SOME REFLECTIONS ON OUR TIMES AND OUR RESPONSES TO THEM

Source: Rev. Arthur J. Fox, Calvary Orthodox Presbyterian Church, Middletown, PA

I have been reading and thinking about the responses of brothers and sisters in Christ, on Facebook and in blogs, to the (re-) election and policies of the administration and members of congress. For a while I wondered why those responses troubled me. They appear to range from dismay and fear to a sense of impending doom and coming conflict (perhaps armed). What I have seen very little of, save from those who serve as pastors and theologians, is a realization of how all of this is spoken to by Scripture. As a result, much of what is written is emotional and of very little use at best. At worst it speaks of a lack of trust in what the Bible has to say to God’s people at this particular point in history.

In the HBO mini-series, Band of Brothers, there is a scene where the 101st Airborne is beginning to march into position in the forest of Bastogne. As they march someone warns then Captain Richard Winters that he and his men were about to be surrounded. His response was memorable: “We Are Paratroopers Lieutenant ….. We Are Supposed To Be Surrounded.” I believe this is the correct assessment of the Church in any age.

The world consists of two broad groups of men and women: those who are in Christ and those who are not. Those in Christ are supposed to be seeking first the Kingdom of God in all they do. They are in the world but not of it. Those outside of Christ hate, seek to oppose and even destroy the Kingdom of God (see Psalm 2:1). These two groups are in fact in a state of war with one another, as Genesis 3:15 said they would be. Christians are loyal to the seed of the woman, Jesus Christ, while non-Christians are loyal to the Serpent. It has ever been thus and remains so to this day. Furthermore, those who do not believe in Christ outnumber those who do.

Why then do we find it surprising that we who live in the 21st Century are surrounded by unbelief and being affected by the policies of those who oppose Christ and his Kingdom? Why do we find it so surprising that laws seem more and more aimed at marginalizing the Church, limiting our ability to express our faith, and making us conform to the perverted lifestyles of those who hate Christ? It is called persecution, and we have brothers and sisters throughout the world who would give anything to have things only as bad as we have it right now!

It could be worse, and perhaps one day will be. For now, however, in America we are still free to worship on Sundays and pray and carry our Bibles with us wherever we go. We are free to appeal to our representatives to change laws we do not agree with or that we believe are threatening our constitutional rights. We are free to support businesses that are having their freedoms curtailed by legislation requiring them to do things they cannot in good conscience do and still call themselves Christians. But do we recognize that these rights are the gift of our God? That he is free to remove these from us for his own good purposes?

My point is simply this: We are Christians, we are supposed to be surrounded. Christ said we would be: “In this world you will have trouble.” As Christians who are feeling overwhelmed by the changes that have taken place in the last 4 years we need to stop and take a breath. We need to remember that God is still in heaven, that there is no authority except that which is set in place by God (Romans 13:1) and respond biblically to what we think they are doing wrong—and that means showing respect and honor to our leaders as we exercise our constitutional rights. Above all else we need to trust our Father in Heaven and our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the rule over Presidents, Congresses and Courts, to do what will bring them the most glory. In the end Jesus shall reign over all and destroy all of his and our enemies. It is way above our pay grade to try to do this for him!

In the meantime, beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, stop, take a breath, pray more and whine less. Spend more time in your Bible and in books that teach you about Christ and how to follow him. Don’t post things that are disrespectful to those in authority, especially if it involves unedifying/foul language, don’t act as though Christ has vacated the throne, and stop being surprised when things are going against your wishes or you are placed outside your comfort zone. Remember what Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble, but fear not, I have overcome the world.”

Your servant for Christ’s sake—Arthur J. Fox

Rev. Fox pastors Calvary Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Middletown, Pennsylvania.