If I Only Had A Heart – By Thomas Koester

A New Heart Means A New Life

It’s what’s in your heart that will change your family and not what’s in your wallet.

Proverbs 4:23

“Keep your heart with all diligence,
for out from it flows the wellspring of life.”

Notice it doesn’t say wallet!

It also doesn’t say Capital One either! …It says your heart.

In the original book by L. Frank Baum, Wizard of Oz, it is revealed that the Tin Woodman used to be a man of flesh and blood, but a Wicked Witch cursed his axe to cut off all his body parts, which ultimately caused him to lose his heart. Thus, loosing his love for a Munchkin maid named Nimmie Amee.

The tinsmith replaced the woodsman’s torso, but was unable to replace the heart. Now completely made of tin, but without a heart, the Tin Man became cold and indifferent to the girl and the marriage never occurred. He wants a heart so he can rekindle his love for the girl and marry her.

You see, sin cursed our hearts, deadening our souls and separating us from God. Without a good heart, we remain lost and loveless, with no way to God. We too become cold and indifferent, losing our desire for God. Religion is like the tinsmith that can give us a tin torso, but can’t replace the heart.

Rather than an all powerful Oz, we need an all powerful Savior.

For those who believe in God and are faithful Christ followers, we’ve received a new heart!

Ezekiel 36:26 puts it this way:

“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and I will take away the stony heart out of you, and I will give you a heart of flesh.”

Notice that God also says He will put a new Spirit within us. This is because our new heart becomes His dwelling place, and from our restored and cleansed heart flows new life for God and others. We become living temples for God.

Now we can obey God from the inside out. Something that the Old Covenant could not do.

Ezekiel 36:27

“…I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”

So God places his Spirit inside our new hearts so that we have the ability to do his will, keep his laws, and create a new relationship within us.

Romans 2:29 tells us that the Holy Spirit changes our hearts. This is not an act of our will or effort but an internal operation done by God’s Spirit to those that believe the Gospel.

So, do what you’ve been born again to do, live a changed life because of your changed heart, and so, become that wellspring of life for your family and friends and to the stranger you meet; to your neighbors and coworkers.

Be the best life-giver because the Giver of Life dwells in your new heart.

The Oyster & The Pearl – Living A Joy-filled Life – By Thomas Koester

It’s What happens Deep Within Us That Makes Us Valuable.

You cannot climb to the heights of joy unless you first plumbed the depths of despair.

I’m a pretty optimistic guy with a fairly even-keeled personality. I didn’t choose to be this way. I am fortunate to have been born with a sense of optimism. When I was younger, I used to have surges of optimism, but now in my sixties, not so much.

How about loved ones; family, friends, and acquaintances that have the opposite? Instead of optimism, they suffer from depression and anxiety, and because of this, they’ve become pessimistic. Trying to cope with periodic or ongoing bouts of depression and anxiety can be hell on earth. I have seen what it looks like in the faces of my loved ones.

So here is the thing, as fortunate as I am to be optimistic, upbeat, and positive, I must choose joy, just as much as one suffering from depression must choose joy. There is a problem with both polar opposites. Both depressive and optimistic personalities, in their extremes, are void of joy.

You see, being controlled, or mentally dominated by optimism or depression, leaves no room for joy. Joy, real joy, is a choice. The choice is not easy for the depressed and the optimist.

But far too many people bypass joy for a new lover, new home, or even a baby, hoping they’ll find happiness.

The scriptures, more or less, indicate that joy is a command from the heart and mind to the soul, or vice versa. Even a command to our bones! Yep, I can attest to that; being sixty-something, I have a lot of aches in my bones; my bones speak to me; no, they really do, they make all kinds of sounds when I walk!

“Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones You have broken may rejoice.” – Psalm 51:8

“The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, And a good report makes the bones healthy.” – Proverbs 15:30

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24

Joy is medicine to our body, heart, mind, and even our bones!

Like all medicines, many of us must be reminded to take it, perhaps even forced. Ah, but when you do follow the doctor’s orders, or your wife’s, the medicine helps with whatever ails you. And so, you must also choose joy to receive all of its benefits.

I did a word study on Joy in the New King James Version of the Bible. Did you know that the word “joy” appears 192 times in both the Old and New Testaments? Just studying the word Joy, brings you joy!

But still, choosing joy in the midst of depression, worry, sickness, betrail, and even divorce seems almost impossible. Trying to reign in our emotions when our mind and body seem out of control is like trying to rope a bull elephant!

So many people suffering from depression, anxiety, and traumatic events, such as betrail, divorce, etc., show the signs of their condition in their bodies and even in their bones. Everything aches and most things lose their significance, such as food, relationships, and even life itself. But this is why joy is so important and why the Bible mentions it 192 times!

Sacrificial joy, that is, choosing to be joy-filled when things are not right, is real medicine. As I mentioned earlier, joy is a medicine that sometimes you must force yourself to take.

I had written an article a few weeks ago titled:

“My Allergic Reaction To Asking For Help.”

This is a story of my unintended flight down a set of stairs, whereby I had ruptured and shredded my quadriceps above my left knee. They snapped like a dried twig! Well, it wasn’t the painful surgery that gave me grief; it was nausea from the general aniestic!

I absolutely hate nausea. It began post-surgery and as soon as my wife took me home. The orthopedic surgeon hadn’t prescribed any anti-nausea meds. So there I am, writhing in nausea, dizziness, and fighting the urge to throw up. Toni saw how terrible I looked and felt. It was late, but I begged her to go to the pharmacy and bring home some anti-nausea meds.

While Toni was away, I was so desperate that I turned on a Christian Radio Station, K-LOVE, and listened to worship music while alone in my living room. I struggled initially, but I started to command my body, heart, and mind to be joyful. I began singing praises and thanksgiving to God, thanking him, even for the dreaded nausea. In a matter of few minutes, my nausea vanished, and my pain began to diminish.

Soon, Toni showed up with the anti-nausea meds, but when she handed me the bag, I said, “Oh, um, I’m feeling much better; the nausea is over.” She looked a little perturbed, only because I sent her on a wild goose chase for drugs that I didn’t need. I should’ve started with joy.

Early the following year, I contracted a form of the H1N1 virus. I had never been so sick. I reached a point where I got my inner house in order, so to speak, because I actually thought that I might die! While burning with fever, I again started to praise God and sing a joyful song to Him. It wasn’t at all easy or even natural to push through, but nonetheless, I did.

I lay there on my sickbed and began singing Psalms 100.

“(A Psalm of praise.) Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands…

…I will enter into His gates with thanksgiving in my heart, and into his courts with praise: I will say this is the day that the Lord hath made, I will rejoice in Him and be glad.”

Yeah, I actually thought I might be entering the Courts of Heaven that night, but God had other plans. Forcing myself to express joy helped me to triumph through that dreaded virus.

Actually, to “rejoice” is just that; it means giving joy to God until it is given back to you. To rejoice in the Lord is the worshipper becoming gladdened, exuberant, and jubilant by taking great delight in God. Heartfelt Joy is reciprocal. It is also contagious.

The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17

For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:12

God sometimes brings correction through the things we suffer because He knows that suffering can produce the precious commodity called joy. Just like an oyster and a grain of sand, which to the oyster is an irritant. From this irritant comes a pearl.

Probably one of the most impactful examples of this was on, of all places, America’s Got Talent TV show.

Jane Kristen Marczewski, known by many as Nightbird, (December 29, 1990 – February 19, 2022), on AGT, viewed by millions, and a recipient of the coveted “Golden Buzzer,” told the world the following after she sang her original song, “It’s OK”:

“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.”

The audience, and especially Simon Cowell, were stunned. I was too.

Really, Jane’s words were so powerful because they are true, not just her truth, but right from the Bible. They are God’s truth, and that night, they were spoken by a frail and tiny but courageous woman. I think the shock of it all was profound because it was spoken over the backdrop of her story; her battle with cancer.

Jane had learned the power of joy and happiness in spite of the cancer eating away at her future.

Happiness or joy is now, not later. It’s in the middle of your darkest nights, dreariest days, and deepest despairs. Joy and happiness are choices. Yes, hard choices. If they were easy, they’d have far less value with no real healing and no inner peace. That night, Jane Kristen Marczewski, became God’s pearl.

God allows irritants to enter our life too. He does this with intricate perfection and purpose.

“Thus says The Most High, The Exalted One who inhabits all eternity, and is holy, and holy is his dwelling with the humble, and with the weary of spirit to give life to the spirit of the humble, and to give life to the heart of the suffering ones.” Isaiah 57:15

When we are at our worst, choosing joy is most powerful. The Isaiah verse above tells us The Most High God, The Exalted One, who lives in all eternity while He dwells in a high and lofty place, He is near the humble, the sorrowful, and the sufferers.

When we command our body, heart, mind, and yes, even our bones to rejoice in God, He gives life. He refreshes. He restores, and He reciprocates our sacrificial joy. “He will quiet us with his love.” “He will rejoice over us with gladness” and even “rejoice over us with singing.” Because God is not a distant deity, He is your Heavenly Father, and he is much nearer than you can imagine.

Like the oyster, we can’t see the development of beauty inside our lives. Our struggles with depression, anxiety, worry, and overoptimism distract us from the work that God is doing. Instead, we feel abandoned by God, orphaned, and on our own. The truth is that God is there with us in the midst of our pain. It requires us to believe and to trust in God’s promises. The Bible says God would rather dwell with us than with kings and queens.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

He would have to be very close to you to heal your broken heart, bind up your wounds, and save your crushed spirit.

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

Then God sends us His Son, Jesus to rescue us…

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce that captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors, and that God is ready to give blessings to all who come to him.” Luke 4:18-19

Don’t live life without joy.

“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” Jane Kristen Marczewski, Nightbird

Choose joy, and in a very short while, you’ll understand. Maybe you’re becoming God’s Pearl!

Why We Have A Biden/Harris Administration – By Thomas Koester

Kings, Queens, and Presidents are not the people’s choice but God’s choice.

Historical events, like the Biden/Harris presidency, always begin on a spiritual level before we see these things in the physical.

Jesus, knowing the origin of divine governance, taught his disciples to pray in an orderly way:

“…thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it exists in Heaven.” Matthew 6:10

God’s will and purpose always begins in Heaven before it happens here, on earth.

God moves the hearts of Kings, Queens, and Presidents by his own will and counsel. Throughout history, especially biblical history, it was not unusual for God to allow evil rulers to discipline his people and to use them to drive his people back to himself.

Do you think God is pleased with over 34,000 denominations or fractures within Christianity?

The valid but unfortunate question is, why does the Kingdom of Darkness enjoy near-perfect unity while Christianity and conservatism are woefully fragmented?

Wickedness faithfully coalesces around the satanic. But in Christianity, we can’t even agree on the operation and ministry of the Holy Spirit. We are fractured about whether the Gifts of the Holy Spirit are relevant today. We are fractured over the importance of theological intellectualism vs. trusting in the Holy Spirit as Guide and Teacher. We are fractured because many churches have exchanged sound biblical truth for relativism and for wrongfully dividing Scripture into categories of negotiable and non-negotiable truths.

Shouldn’t godly righteousness coalesce around unity in faith, belief, and in sound biblical doctrine? We’re not all listening to and obeying the only Holy Spirit of Truth, if we were, we’d have perfect unity, surpassing that of the wicked.

Furthermore, mainstream Christianity believes that the Kingdom of God and the rule and reign of Jesus Christ are futuristic. What if they are wrong? What if all this time, we’ve rejected the reigning King Jesus within the hearts and minds of his people?

I think the Futurist’s, people that don’t believe in the present Kingdom of Heaven, are why there is such a lack of Christian unity and national righteousness. If you don’t believe in the rule and reign of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, then you’ll willingly subjugate the church to secular democratic rule, and allow the State to reign over the church.

So not only have we insulted the Holy Spirit, but we’ve also said, based on our actions and false beliefs, “This King shall not reign over us!”

“…But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this king to reign over us!” Luke 19:14

Christianity, as much, if not more so than Republicanism, is overrun and overruled by elitism and infiltrated with secular minded progressives. This is not by accident but by satanic design.

The corruption of Christianity and our lack of unity can be boiled down to unfaithfulness to God and Scripture and to the ill-treatment of the person and role of the Holy Spirit.

Furthermore, our worship of the anointing rather than to whom the Anointer points, has caused many to fall into the worship of demons.

All of this is why our country, and for that matter, all free nations, fall under Marxist-Socialism.

Christianity has willingly abdicated most of its authority and mission to the State in exchange for a 501(c)(3), tax break.

Is it possible that God just might be allowing a Biden/Harris administration to expose the false Church and to accentuate the purity and honor of His true Church?

You can be sure that God’s plan is to restore, although he may tear down first.

As Jill Phillips, a singer-songwriter has penned in her song, “Wrecking Ball,”

“…God is both the builder and the wrecking ball.”

And this may be why we have a Biden/Harris administration.

When the Youth Rule the County – By Thomas Koester

Wake up, people or the Youth will rule America.

Jerusalem [America] on Its Last Legs – Isaiah 3: 1-7, 12 MSG

“The Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
is emptying Jerusalem [America] and Judah
Of all the necessities, plain bread and water to begin with.

He’s withdrawing police and protection,
judges and courts,
pastors and teachers,
captains and generals,
doctors and nurses,
and, yes, even the repairers and jacks-of-all-trades.

Neighbor against neighbor, young against old, the no-account against the well-respected.

He says, “I’ll put little kids in charge of the city. Schoolboys and schoolgirls will order everyone around.

People will be at each other’s throats,
stabbing one another in the back:

One brother will grab another and say,
‘You look like you’ve got a head on your shoulders.

Do something! — Get us out of this mess.’
And he’ll say, ‘Me? Not me! I don’t have a clue. Don’t put me in charge of anything…’

…“Skinny kids terrorize my people.
Silly girls bully them around.”

My dear people! Your leaders are taking you down a blind alley. They’re sending you off on a wild-goose chase.”’

I think the Prophet Isaiah got it right, not only during the ancient days of Jerusalem and Judah but also for America.

When the youth rise up, as they are today, it is not a blessing but a curse. We are a Constitutional Republic, not a mob-driven Democracy. Yet the youth wants to dismantle the Constitution and Bill of Rights and influence our elected officials through flash mobs, riots, threats, and protests. They want to defund and disband police agencies.

Voting is our opportunity to protest how our country is governed and not through mob rule, mob mentality, and the threats of rioting.

The youth wants to see our government take away our right to keep and bear arms. The youth do not understand and know America’s history that our Second Amendment protects the cornerstone of all rights, which is the First Amendment, that no government shall prohibit the free exercise thereof; or abridge the freedom of speech.

When the left sends out the youth, it initiates the beginning of the end for our liberty and fundamental rights. The Progressive Left has unleashed their most dangerous weapon, the youth. They have ensured over the past 60 years of socialist indoctrination and lack of teaching that today’s youth have become the most uninformed and uneducated force in their arsenal.

The next several months, leading up to the November 8, 2022, elections, will be known as the Youth Summer and Jane’s Revenge, which has already spread across America, destroying pregnancy crisis help centers and the Catholic Church.

Jane’s Revenge is an American militant, extremist, pro-abortion rights group that has claimed responsibility for several acts of firebombing, vandalism, and arson, targeting pregnancy crisis centers, congressional offices, and Catholic Churches. Source: Wikipedia

A recent photograph was circulated of a young girl at a protest, holding up a sign demanding gun confiscation. Ironically, and in direct conflict with her new gun-grabbing beliefs, she was wearing a sweatshirt with the quote from the movie 300, spoken by King Leonidas: For those of you not familiar with the phrase: “ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ” (or in Latin script “Molon Labe”), which means “Come and take them!” It is what the Spartans reportedly said to the Persians when they were told to surrender their weapons.

In spite of the recent ruling by the Supreme Court, upholding the right to self-protection through concealed carry, States, such as New York, have just past new gun laws, circumventing the highest court in the land. Law-abiding citizens will be prevented to legally carry a gun, while the criminal are illegally armed to the teeth.

Public education is responsible for the indoctrination of our children. Our children have become the “useful idiots” of the Far Left.

Get your kids out of the public schools. Maybe the Coronavirus did us at least one favor in the closing down of schools. Train and teach your children yourself, enroll them into private schools, or they will increasingly become stooges of the Left and become the “Brown Shirts of Amerika.”

Wake up, people or the Youth will rule America.

The Great Un-Similarity – By Thomas Koester

Have we squandered the Gospel by preaching it only to the choir?

We are not making history; we are DISAPPOINTING IT! With one important distinction, the 21st Century Church is nothing like the 1st Century Church. At least, not yet!

The early Church existed during the time of the Roman Army’s occupation of Israel and Judah, and especially the City of Jerusalem. The Roman Empire was the most influential world power at the time, corrupting the subdued peoples and cultures with idolatry and immorality.

Sounds familiar?

Our great and mighty nation is doing the same thing and replacing the God of our Fathers with the Power of the State and inflicting upon us its immorality, cancel culture, and wokeisim.

In addition, the early Church suffered tremendous threats and persecution, as well as death by the religious zealots. These religious leaders and their disciples were the Early Church’s main archenemy in most of Asia Minor countries and cities, as well as the more significant Mediterranean areas.

They wanted to silence the preaching and testimony of Jesus Christ and keep his teachings from spreading and ruining their religious influence, power, and control of the people.

Sounds familiar?

The LGBT- XYZ community and its religious zealots and political activists are trying to silence the preaching and testimony of Jesus Christ and keep his teachings from spreading and ruining their influence and control over the people and culture. They are trying to destroy Christianity by infiltrating our churches, ministries, schools, and organizations, including our Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and all wholesome cultural institutions.

How about the Islamic Extremists-Jihadists’ insatiable appetite for the blood of Christians and infidels?

The tables are turned, and this group of fanatics is threatening to wipe out even the Jews and all of Israel. And now it appears an alliance between the far left, including the Socialists and Marxists are, forming an unholy alliance with the Jihadists against Christianity and the Jewish people. Now the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” has again become the mantra, whereby two evils join forces to destroy their common enemy, which is you and me!

Sounds familiar?

All of the Apostles, including many of the Early Church Fathers and their families, were arrested, tortured, and murdered, not just because of their faith but more so because of their outspoken proclamation of their dedication to the Gentile Nations and Jews in Israel and beyond.

And let me add this one thing:

THEY WERE NOT ARRESTED, TORTURED, OR MURDERED WHILE PREACHING IN THE COMFORTS OF THEIR CHURCHES BUT IN THE MARKET PLACES AND PLACES WHERE UNSAVED GENTILE PEOPLE GATHERED.

I agree with John Zaste; our proclamation needs to go way beyond the walls and doors of our Churches. It is not enough to invite unsaved people to visit our Churches to hear the Gospel. Too many Churches are not preaching the Gospel anyway. Also, the past century has shown us that indoor Church preaching has done little to impact our culture, cities, and country.

Our nation has thousands of Christian universities and colleges. Still, these have not persuaded our government, influenced our politics or culture, or provided us with preachers like the Apostle Paul or the Apostle Peter.

We’ve squandered the Gospel by preaching it only to the choir!

The early Church would not have had the impact it enjoyed if it did not invade its culture and challenged the prevailing philosophies of its time. The early Church’s message would’ve petered out (sorry, Peter) had it confined and limited its services within its sanctuaries and preaching to believers. Oh, wait, they had no palatial buildings, steeples, or chapels. They had each other, and they met in their homes, and yet it was they that changed the world!

Christians, along with Jews and the Unborn, are being dehumanized. But not to marginalize us, but to ultimately murder us. The Evil of our age is out to destroy all who hold to the testimony of Jesus Christ and those who obey His commands. All those that value life and God.

Revelations 12:7

“…Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring–those who keep God’s commands and hold fast their testimony about Jesus.”

We need just a little more similarity.

The Under Reformed Church – By Thomas Koester

“…men don’t follow titles; they follow courage.”

The problem is the Reformation didn’t go far enough. It left too much Greco-Roman pagan ritual within the Church and its traditions. This decentralized the message of the cross and resurrection as the focal point of preaching, teaching, and evangelism.

The Cross of Christ, the Resurrection, and the birth of Christ have become nothing more than religious Holidays for Churches to put on shows to capture new parishioners. These religious holidays are no different for Hallmark, Target, and Best Buy; they spruce up their stores and adds to attract consumers, just like many churches do.

Most pastors and religious leaders are no longer wearing long flowing robes loaded with phylacteries or the priestly liturgical vestments with golden threaded sleeves. These religious garbs were used in their day to separate the clergy from the laity, to hold the learned in higher esteem than the unlearned, commoner, or laity class.

Today, the learned clergy rely on postnominals to separate themselves from the laity. Postnominals are letters placed following a person’s last name to indicate education qualifications, the title of office, decoration, or honor. White wigs, long flowing robes, and liturgical vestments may be passe among evangelicals and fundamentalists, but postnominals are not; these letters and titles grant them hierarchy.

“Your title gives you claim to the throne of our country, but men don’t follow titles; they follow courage.” William Wallace

Courage means action. It means to serve the interests of others. To risk. To venture. Titles separate us from one another, but courage, courage is contagious. It makes us all brave and inspired.

Real courage and bravery is sharing Christ in a world that hates him. Being a true disciple of Jesus Christ is loaded with risk, but only outside of chapels and steeples. In reality, the call to discipleship is more like Jesus saying, come die with me for the sake of the Gospel and the Kingdom. Heaven is where all things evil are vanquished and the real potluck begins.

“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” – Deitrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship

We must break free from the religious trappings of safety, comfort, and convenience.

Too much of this “tradition” of orbiting the pulpit, the building, and the alter, is to the detriment of local and world evangelism. To the equipping of the laity and the average believer. To the expansion of the Kingdom of Heaven. Frankly, the high expectation of the clergy doing all of the work of ministry leaves most parishioners disengaged with their faith, their calling, and the development of their spiritual gifts.

The offices gifted to the Church from Christ were not for the clergy to do all the ministry but would equip and train the laity (saints) to do the work of ministry so that all may reach maturity in Christ. Equipping the saints is for the maximum productivity in the body of Christ and the Gospel. (Eph. 4:11-16)

Being the audience once or twice a week does not forge men, women, and children into saints; but faith put into practice and action with one’s spiritual calling and giftedness does. Far too many well-seasoned believers are simply benchwarmers, an audience to a game they don’t play, in an arena where they’re not needed, and with no other purpose but to spectate.

Brothers, we don’t reach maturity in Christ Jesus as spectators or simply being faithful to a 90-minute program. Weekly services without the exercise of spiritual gifts create weak Christians.

In many churches, people run out as soon as they hear the final amen. In less than five minutes, the parking lot empties. Just like at the movie theaters, as soon as the screen fades to black and the credits roll, the theater and parking lot empties. What about fellowship, relationship, and koinonia? This proves that the service or show is more important than true fellowship and connectedness.

We believers must have a vital connection and role within the local fellowships, whether in commercial buildings or homes. This is why there are so many transients believers; they’re searching for belonging, meaning, and purpose.

The more risk and challenge for believers to exercise their faith and practice their spiritual gifts, the more spiritual growth and maturity, will be realized. And if this is allowed, improvement will become mutual among the laity and not exclusive among the clergy.

For example, I moved from the Bay Area to a lake community in the Sierra Foothills. There is a substantial lack of spiritual urgency up here. It was a culture shock and frankly still is. Spiritual complacency is a real danger, and the 21 Century Western Church structure is responsible for it — sadly, it is what they are producing, spiritual complacency.

I have the privilege to speak with pastors and evangelists in India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Do you know what they tell me?

They tell me they want to be like America’s big successful churches. This breaks my heart. We don’t risk our lives as they do, preaching the gospel or passing out bibles among Muslims and the Taliban. We aren’t threatened by Hindus, ISIS, or Boko Haram.

Here in America, we’re too scared to share the gospel with strangers, neighbors, or anyone shopping at Walmart. Our greatest threat here in America is getting jailed by Face_book, canceled by Twitter, and de-platformed or demonetized by Youtube. Our Americanized, homogenized, and pasteurized form of Christianity has been genetically modified to produce seedless fruit. We should not be in the exporting business.

I encourage them not to mimic Western Christianity and not to model their Churches and ministries after American mega-churches, TV evangelists, our wretched prosperity gospel pontificators, or the NAR movement.

I suggest they follow the authentic biblical model of Christian practice and the ecclesiastic men of Scripture. Christianity needs Indian, Pakistani, and Filipino believers and pastors to be themselves, not an Americanized version. I encourage them to study what the Holy Scriptures instruct and to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to their Churches. Follow Christ Jesus, not American pastors.

Perhaps the First World Churches need a Bible lesson from our brothers and sisters in the Third World.

The Temptation of Self Sufficiency – By Thomas Koester

It matters which voice you listen to when you are weak and weary.

It struck me recently that many times throughout my life, I’ve opted to turn stones into bread rather than to wait for the word-by-word nourishment from the mouth of my Heavenly Father.

So much of my ego and masculinity is wrapped up in being independent and only asking and waiting for help as a last resort.

This is all about Sonship and resting and relying on the Father-heart of God. Anything short of this is living as an orphan and not as a true adopted son.

It can also be construed as one listening to the Father of Lies, succumbing to his temptation of denying my relationship and dependence on God, and therefore, turning stones into whatever I need.

So, when life, love, and the necessities of food, shelter, and clothing are exhausted, don’t turn your stones into bread and become self-sufficient. It is a test, and if you remain steadfast in your dependence on God and his Father-heart, you’ll not be disappointed nor dissatisfied. Our God is no deadbeat dad but a Faithful Father.

And the Devil, well, he is the Father of Lies and selfishness. Nothing good can come from him.

The Devil would have you become so self-sufficient that you wouldn’t need or want God; he’ll keep tricking you until you’re emotionally drained, spiritually dried up, and drifting in loneliness.

The reward is waiting and suffering through the loss or the lack until God comes through, as God is always faithful.

“I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging for bread.” Psalms 37:25

“Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and he will come and save you! Be brave, stouthearted, and courageous. Yes, wait, and he will help you.” Psalms 27:14

Too much self-sufficiency can wreck your soul. Listen to the Father of Life and not the Father of Lies.

My Allergic Reaction To Asking For Help – By Thomas Koester

Don’t Be A Macho Idiot!

Isn’t it true that there are a ton of things that people are allergic to? Wheat, nuts, milk, eggs, bees, cats, dogs, etc. How about being allergic to asking for help?

You see, that’s my problem, I may not have food allergies, but I am allergic to asking for help. I have a terrible time asking for it, and this can cause a lot of pain in my life; you know, like backaches, neck pain, and all kinds of body aches and anxieties.

Therefore I amass too much for my shoulders to bear. We are to share one another’s burdens; this is true, but the burdens we do take on must be within the boundaries of God’s will. And this is where I get into trouble. I resist God’s will for lack of patients and a sense of urgency.

In Fall 2013, I loaded myself up like a pack mule. I can’t count how many times my wife, Toni, would be frustrated seeing me loaded down with stuff. Like a macho man – okay, like a macho idiot, I try to move or carry everything in one trip.

Well, I was off on a business trip, with my loaded backpack, luggage in my left hand, and several shirts and a coat in my right hand, headed downstairs in a hurry.

Suddenly, my left foot scuffed the carpet enough at the midpoint landing, causing my left foot to skip a few steps. My 255 pound body, backpack, and luggage caused my left quadriceps to snap like a dried twig and shred apart. The momentum flung me like Superman the rest of the way to the first floor! I nearly cleared the entry way, landing half my body into the dining room! The entry and dining room floor was solid oak.

Being allergic to asking for help nearly killed me. After the surgery, it laid me up for three months. Which, by the way, gave me ample time to learn an important lesson…

…Go for lighter burdens!

Jesus said: “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt 11:30

“Are you tired? Worn and burned red out on religion? Come to me. Get away with,h me, and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matt 11:28-30

So, I take this time to reflect and reset my attitude and train myself to trust the will and purpose of God, and taking on the easy yoke of Christ. I desperately need the lighter burdens of his call on my life. I need the freedom to be a child of God once again, and not the “big independent guy” that looks like he’s got it all together.

To be more than what I am called to be as a son, brother, husband, and father is where pride will gain the upper hand, and ignoring actual shouts of “no” or “too much” from within. If I refuse, the false self and poser will lead to my destruction. Any person in ministry and in life, must live and act within the constraints of true and genuine humility or become a destructive force against their community, family, and their own life.

Jesus preaches to the crowd…

“Say only yes if you mean yes, and no if you mean no. If you say more than yes or no, it is from the Evil One.” Matt 5:37

Nothing but the Cross

“Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. It would help if you had forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.” Gal. 6: 1-3.

It’s all about burden sharing, a little of mine, for a little of yours.

Oh, and by the way, take care of your allergies, especially your allergy, asking for help!

The Secret Psychological Weapon – By Thomas Koester

Reverse Blockade

This may be one of the most important articles that I’ve written. Copy and paste, or print while you can.

Political Psy-war:

This is the weapon our government and the alphabet media organizations use to inflict fraud after fraud on the American people. Inflation, presidential elections, wokeism, cancel culture, January 6th, green energy, the border crisis, etc., just to name a few.

Through their “psy-war,” they’re also responsible for creating a two-class society of the jabbed and non-jabbed – the unmasked and the masked.

“Psychological warfare involves the planned use of propaganda and other psychological operations to influence the opinions, emotions, attitudes, and behavior of opposition groups. RAND has studied military information support operations (MISO) in many countries and war zones and has provided objective and supportable recommendations to policymakers on methods and tactics to employ or defend against these operations.”

The Secret Weapon:

“Reversive Blockade”

Here’s how they do it…

This mechanism is called “reversive blockade.” The secret psychological weapon of psychopaths in power. Hitler revealed it bluntly because he knew it would work anywhere and on any people.

“Reversive blockade: Emphatically insisting upon something which is the opposite of the truth blocks the average person’s mind from perceiving the truth. By the dictates of healthy common sense, he starts searching for meaning in the “golden mean” between the truth and its opposite, winding up with some satisfactory counterfeit.

People who think like this do not realize that this effect is precisely the intent of the person who subjects them to this method. If the counterfeit of the truth is the opposite of moral truth, at the same time, it simultaneously represents an extreme paramoralism and bears its peculiar suggestiveness.”

Source: Andrzej Łobaczewski, “Political Ponerology: A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes,” page no. 151

Does it now make sense to you now, why the government and the news media tells you what you see with your eyes and what you hear with your ears are lies? They do this to control and shape information and ideologies. They want to control all sources of information, including what you see and hear over social media. Their agenda must succeed at all cost. They’ll lie about, deceive, and character assassinate their opponents, or worse.

We must reject their psychological warfare and their usurpation of our right to free speech, freedom of thought, and our God-given use of common sense.

Usurpation: “to seize or exercise authority or possession wrongfully, to seize and hold (office, place, functions, powers, etc.) in possession by force or without right.” Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster

Don’t fall for the secret weapons of psychological warfare. They’re after our minds!

Prodigal Fathers & Lost Sons – By Thomas Koester

“Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.”

Did you know that the prime role of a father is to create within their sons the ability to father?

If we are to become a good and healthy culture, we will make a society of self-governing men and responsible sons to become faithful fathers. But alas, most fathers are emotionally detached from their sons or leave them altogether. We are living in a time of prodigal fathers and detached sons, whereby the sons and fathers are both lost.

While growing up, I lived through this as a detached and lost son, and tragically, later in my life, I also became a prodigal father, emotionally detached from my children. When I became a father, it was difficult for me to become bonded attached to my sons and daughter. I abandoned my children’s need for a present father for the sake of fame and fortune, just as my father had done. I put my career above my children’s needs at a time in their lives when they needed me the most.

Before my father died, God put it in my heart to wrestle for his blessing. I desperately needed a miracle to happen.

Just four days before my father passed, we turned our hearts towards each other. His “I love you too, son” responses to my, I love you, dad, brought me back to life as a man and fulfilled my quest to become my father’s beloved son. It was as though I had placed my heart into my father’s and found it to fit perfectly.

More importantly, on the night of October 7, 1998, my father, in turning his heart towards me, made it possible for me to believe that I am also God’s beloved son. And frankly, this began a chain reaction, whereby in a few short years, I became the man I was destined to become and finally the father my children had longed for. It also profoundly changed me into the husband my wife, Toni, had prayed for.

This unique encounter with my dad changed the trajectory of my life and would eventually change the lives and the course of my children. A prodigal father turned his heart towards his son, and a lost son was found. God’s amazing grace healed not only a lost prodigal father but also a lost and broken son.

There is hope for lost fathers and lost sons.

See the movie “Warrior” With Joel Edgerton, Tom Hardy, Nick Nolte, and Jennifer Morrison. The youngest son of an alcoholic former boxer returns home. At one point in the film, the father, tormented by guilt and an inability to reach his sons, cries out:

“We’re so lost… …SO LOST!”

What they need is redemption and forgiveness. This is just what most of us need also. Watch the movie to find out whether they had succeeded.

In the latest of the Robin Hood movies, starring Russel Crowe, Robin, being the lost son of a forgotten father, rediscovers his past in the same town he was born. He recalls his painful memory of his father’s stand against tyranny. While he and his band of men are visiting his hometown, Robin removes a stone at the monument located at the town square, where he finds the imprint of his little hand next to his father’s. He places his now fully grown hand into his father’s imprint and discovers it’s a perfect match.

He also finds the same inscription on the underside of the stone he removed, which bears the same engraving on the handle of a sword he had earlier recovered. It says:

“Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.”

And it means never give up until the impossible happens.

Boys and men, never give up until the impossible happens! Seek out your lost fathers; fathers seek out your lost sons; seek them with everything you’ve got! Forgive them, love them, and change both your lives and destinies.

Keep rising until the impossible happens!