Five Fold Today
An Evangelical Responds to Sanders' Speech at Liberty U - Advance, For You Have Overcome! - God's Judgment Begins With the House of the Lord, Take Heed - True and False Prophets - The Shelter of God - Charleston’s ‘Mother Emanuel Church’ Has Stared Down Racist Violence for 200 Years - Bernie Sanders Speaks - Backward Christian Soldiers
An Evangelical Responds to Sanders' Speech at Liberty U Jim the Evangelical Pastor
He was convicting the Christian leaders and the religious leaders in that university, and calling us out for being complicit in the abandonment of those who suffer, the least of these, and siding with the powerful and rich, the masters of this world. And he was convicting us and calling us out, and we scorned him, and we stared him down; and, with sour faces, we thought, "Who is this wacko, and why do all these people seem to follow him, seem to like him this wild-haired Jew, crying out from the wilderness of the political left, in his hoarse voice?" When I heard Bernie speaking in that way, when I saw that guy on stage at Liberty University, I saw John the Baptist...crying out to the religious leaders, the Pharisees of his day, calling them corrupt and complicit with those who have all the power and all the money and all the wealth, and abandoning the people that God loves, that God cares about... As I heard Bernie Sanders crying out to the religious leaders at Liberty University, in his hoarse voice, with his wild hair this Jew and he proclaimed justice over us, he called us to account, for being complicit with those who are wealthy and those who are powerful, and for abandoning the poor, the least of these, who Jesus said he had come to bring good news to. And in that moment something occurred to me. As I saw Bernie Sanders up there, as I watched him, I realized Bernie Sanders for president is good news for the poor. Bernie Sanders for president is Good News for the poor. Bernie Sanders is gospel for the poor. And Jesus said "I have come to bring gospel" good news "to the poor." And lightning hit my heart at that moment. And I realized that we are evangelical Christians. We believe the Bible. We believe in Jesus. We absolutely shun those who would attempt to find nuance and twisted and tortured interpretations of scripture that they would use to master all other broader interpretations, to find some kind of big message that they want to flout. We absolutely scorn such things, and yet somehow we commit to the mental gymnastics necessary that allows us to abandon the least of these, to abandon the poor, to abandon the immigrants, to abandon those who are in prison. I listened to Bernie Sanders as he said he wanted to welcome the immigrants and give them dignity, as he said he wanted to care for the sick children and mothers and fathers who do not have health care, as he said he wanted to decrease the amount of human beings who are corralled like cattle in the prisons, as he said he wanted to do justice for those who have nothing and live homeless. And I remembered the words of Jesus who warned his disciples that there will be judgement, and on that day he will look to his friends, and he will say "Blessed are you for you cared for me, for I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you cared for me, I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was in prison and you came to visit me, I was homeless and you gave me shelter." And his disciples said, "When did we do any of those things for you?" And he said, "If you have done it for the least of these, you have done it for me." Those words echoed in my heart as I listened to that crazy, hoarse-voiced, wild-haired Jew standing in front of the religous leaders of the Evangelical Movement, calling us to account, as a Jew once did before, telling us that he intends to care for the least of these, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, to care for the sick, to set the prisoners free. I wouldn't be much of a Christian if I didn't stand on the side of gospel for the poor, because, the last time I checked, that's where my master Jesus stood, and I'll stand with Him. And, for now, that means I stand with Bernie Sanders. I'm leaving out a lot here. I'd really recommend listening to the whole thing.
https://clyp.it/eusxalwe http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/09/16/1421659/-An-Evangelical-responds-to-Sanders-speech-at-Liberty-U?showAll=yes Advance, For You Have Overcome! Phyllis Ford In my time of prayer before the Lord I saw a highway. It appeared to be rush hour traffic and the lanes were moving slow. All of a sudden a lane would open up. Most cars stayed in their current lanes waiting for the traffic to pick up. Have you ever been in a lane or a line and asked yourself, How did I wind up in the slowest of all the lanes?’ As the other lanes begin to move forward people found themselves complaining about where they were instead of watching and waiting for the time and opportunity to move ahead. They responded with words of frustration instead looking for that opening to advance and move forward. The Lord told me to keep watching. Many were honking and not letting anyone in because they felt if they had, that there would be further delay. As I watched, I began to see openings in the traffic where one could maneuver and move ahead quickly without the long wait. The Lord said, My people have entered into a time where things will accelerate and there will be visible openings for advancement. They will see places of opportunity open up, and they will no longer be hindered even in the midst of the traffic.’ Several things were mentioned to me concerning this vision:
September 17th, 2015
An Evangelical Responds to Sanders' Speech at Liberty U
Jim the Evangelical Pastor
He was convicting the Christian leaders and the religious leaders in that university, and calling us out for being complicit in the abandonment of those who suffer, the least of these, and siding with the powerful and rich, the masters of this world. And he was convicting us and calling us out, and we scorned him, and we stared him down; and, with sour faces, we thought, "Who is this wacko, and why do all these people seem to follow him, seem to like him this wild-haired Jew, crying out from the wilderness of the political left, in his hoarse voice?"
When I heard Bernie speaking in that way, when I saw that guy on stage at Liberty University, I saw John the Baptist...crying out to the religious leaders, the Pharisees of his day, calling them corrupt and complicit with those who have all the power and all the money and all the wealth, and abandoning the people that God loves, that God cares about...
As I heard Bernie Sanders crying out to the religious leaders at Liberty University, in his hoarse voice, with his wild hair this Jew and he proclaimed justice over us, he called us to account, for being complicit with those who are wealthy and those who are powerful, and for abandoning the poor, the least of these, who Jesus said he had come to bring good news to. And in that moment something occurred to me. As I saw Bernie Sanders up there, as I watched him, I realized Bernie Sanders for president is good news for the poor. Bernie Sanders for president is Good News for the poor. Bernie Sanders is gospel for the poor. And Jesus said "I have come to bring gospel" good news "to the poor."
And lightning hit my heart at that moment. And I realized that we are evangelical Christians. We believe the Bible. We believe in Jesus. We absolutely shun those who would attempt to find nuance and twisted and tortured interpretations of scripture that they would use to master all other broader interpretations, to find some kind of big message that they want to flout. We absolutely scorn such things, and yet somehow we commit to the mental gymnastics necessary that allows us to abandon the least of these, to abandon the poor, to abandon the immigrants, to abandon those who are in prison.
I listened to Bernie Sanders as he said he wanted to welcome the immigrants and give them dignity, as he said he wanted to care for the sick children and mothers and fathers who do not have health care, as he said he wanted to decrease the amount of human beings who are corralled like cattle in the prisons, as he said he wanted to do justice for those who have nothing and live homeless. And I remembered the words of Jesus who warned his disciples that there will be judgement, and on that day he will look to his friends, and he will say "Blessed are you for you cared for me, for I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you cared for me, I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was in prison and you came to visit me, I was homeless and you gave me shelter." And his disciples said, "When did we do any of those things for you?" And he said, "If you have done it for the least of these, you have done it for me."
Those words echoed in my heart as I listened to that crazy, hoarse-voiced, wild-haired Jew standing in front of the religous leaders of the Evangelical Movement, calling us to account, as a Jew once did before, telling us that he intends to care for the least of these, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, to care for the sick, to set the prisoners free.
I wouldn't be much of a Christian if I didn't stand on the side of gospel for the poor, because, the last time I checked, that's where my master Jesus stood, and I'll stand with Him. And, for now, that means I stand with Bernie Sanders.
I'm leaving out a lot here. I'd really recommend listening to the whole thing.
Advance, For You Have Overcome!
In my time of prayer before the Lord I saw a highway. It appeared to be rush hour traffic and the lanes were moving slow. All of a sudden a lane would open up. Most cars stayed in their current lanes waiting for the traffic to pick up. Have you ever been in a lane or a line and asked yourself, How did I wind up in the slowest of all the lanes?’ As the other lanes begin to move forward people found themselves complaining about where they were instead of watching and waiting for the time and opportunity to move ahead. They responded with words of frustration instead looking for that opening to advance and move forward. The Lord told me to keep watching. Many were honking and not letting anyone in because they felt if they had, that there would be further delay. As I watched, I began to see openings in the traffic where one could maneuver and move ahead quickly without the long wait. The Lord said, My people have entered into a time where things will accelerate and there will be visible openings for advancement. They will see places of opportunity open up, and they will no longer be hindered even in the midst of the traffic.’ Several things were mentioned to me concerning this vision:
The Heavens are Open: There are times in our transition when we perceive that things are operating in one way, when in fact what we see is skewed by our thinking. Sometimes we are over-thinking situations and as a result there is an overwhelming fear that tries to slow us down so that we don´t see the opportunity to move ahead. These are things to consider. We must pray Father open our eyes that we may see the BIG PICTURE and what we are called to do. Believe me we have walked into a season of open doors where the Lord himself will usher us into realms and places of victory we have never seen. We can´t let the heavy traffic keep us from seeing that the Lord is releasing increase over His people. His very breath is upon us to remind us that we are a persevered people and we will be victorious if we respond to His words by walking in them. Blessings of increase is being released in this hour. What we walk in even prophetically, we will possess.
Deuteronomy 28:10-14 And all people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name of the LORD; and they shall be afraid of thee. And the LORD shall make thee plenteous in goods, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy ground, in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers to give thee. The LORD shall open unto thee his good treasure, the heaven to give the rain unto thy land in his season, and to bless all the work of thine hand: and thou shalt lend unto many nations, and thou shalt not borrow . And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them: And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.’
It´s time to Lay Hold: The kingdom of heaven is like that highway. At that entry we must press to enter into it. Understand in the grasping and seizing of our assignment in the kingdom we become the kingdom. We then find that our efforts to fulfill that assignment is on the path of our destiny, because we are in step with Him. Doing so we lay hold to that which has now laid hold to us. As we align ourselves with Christ we come into agreement with the life that He desires for us to live. Time to change our thinking for now is the time to become an active participant in the furthering of our destiny. We have a responsibility to get to our destination and to aid others in getting to theirs. Coming into the fullness of a destiny that those who lost their way have also found has its own rewards.
(Philippians 3:12-14) Matthew 11:12 (NIV) From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men lay hold of it.’ Matthew 11:12 (NCV) Since the time John the Baptist came until now, the kingdom of heaven has been going forward in strength, and people have been trying to take it by force.’ Matthew 11:12 (Jubilee Bible 2000) From the days of John the Baptist until now, life is given unto the kingdom of the heavens, and the valiant take hold of it.’ Matthew 11:12 (Bible in Basic English) And from the days of John the Baptist till now, the kingdom of heaven is forcing its way in, and men of force take it.’
If we are the kingdom and the kingdom of God is at war with the kingdom of darkness then we are at war. Some of us are under constant warfare, but we must not allow ourselves to be defeated. Let us lay claim to that which belongs to us. Let us be ready to act out the strategies of the Lord. There will be times we will have to valiantly hold our own ground and not allow the enemy steal from us what is already ours. How many times have we read in His word that in the midst of great opposition, the Lord brought forth great miracles and did great exploits? So will we shrink back in fear or continue to advance the kingdom?
1 John 3:7-9 Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous; the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.’
His Words: I am breathing a fresh breath of life upon you. Now take in this fresh release of my life and strength. From now on live, grow, and become all that I have called you to be. Begin to walk it out and watch me see to its completion. What I am doing in you in this hour is greater than anything that has ever happened in your life. You must believe, you must know, you must become what I have formed and created you to be. For what I have placed before you is greater and bigger than you can perceive and the old you can not accomplish it. So breathe in, and allow your life follow after me and the plan that I prepared for you. You belong to me and I am personally seeing to your success as you press in. Whether it becomes your failure or your success still depends on you. You have to realize that you have overcome, because when you walked with me I overcame it through you. Placing our opposition under my feet.’ Demonic forces are trying to convince you that you will not succeed but look around you. You have already overcame many things that literally tried to wipe you out. You are not alone, for it was me in you all along. Persevering, prevailing, and preserving you, as you are transformed into what I have called you to be. Much awaits you and there will be somethings that will stand in opposition before you.
The truth is, the enemy is more afraid of you than you are of him. This is one of the greatest times of your life. Deal with dark areas of your life, by my word, by prayer and supplication. Change and turn from them because your assignment is greater than the trouble that has tried to draw the life and strength out of you. Behold I blow upon a fresh breath of life. Now you will come forth, flourish, and grow like a green leaf. Remain in me, and you will not wither nor will you fade. I have created you for this time. Within you there are more answers than you will ever realize.’ As you study my word know that in the midst of a great hardship, despair, and even death I revived a people. Many miracles came forth and my people overcame. I say again to you, study my word. In the face of evil came victory, and I wrought powerful miracles by my own hand. The blessing being released now carries the anointing to overcome your present enemy. For my blessings are far greater. I have raised up a people of great faith, who endured in the face of adversity. There has been so much focus on the enemy that it has become a major point of distraction. Do not be distracted. For I am raising up an army who have overcome. Do not say once this enemy is defeated we will go, build, and conquer.
I created you to be kings and priests. So rise up and do great exploits in the face of your enemy. Your perception must change. Now is the time for building. You must seize the day and take what I have already given to you.’ Your trials of adversity became the crucible which has formed and created your inner beauty and fortitude. I say to you. Look, see, that even in trouble you fared well. Weep no more, mourn no more, for I have given you beauty for ashes, the oil of gladness and the mantle of praise. Embrace this moment and let it carry you into the fulfilment of the dreams that you have hoped for and prayed for.’ Know this is a day of reckoning. There is more trouble in sight but your triumphs will overtake your troubles. Know that the earth is in travail. Remember you have overcome. As you see the wheat and tares grow together for a time know I have a day appointed the tares will be taken away and cast into the fire. Look within my word, there you will find answers, even understanding of great mysteries which have yet to be revealed. In this hour great revelation is springing forth for I have created a code that the enemy can´t understand nor decipher. Within it is great light and the darkness can not comprehend it. I am also validating patterns and blueprints of prayers and revelation that will conquer your present enemies, slay giants of deception and even dispel dark works of divination.’
Prophet Phyllis Ford Arlington, Texas www.carpenterstouch.org
*©**copyright 2015 by Phyllis Ford Ministries*
God's Judgment Begins With the House of the Lord, Take Heed
Georgie Manton (Newman)
God is positioning His people in these last days. He is calling the Jews back to Israel; and His bride into a new dispensation led by His Spirit alone. The church today parallels the Revelation churches. Pleasing to the Lord in some things, yet accepting and participating in sin abhorrent to a Righteous God. When we do not humbly seek God for His direction; hinder the Holy Spirit moving; arrogantly pursue our own agenda by busying ourselves with programs; produce inedible fruit; ignore the sheep, and birth premature converts, we are on dangerous ground. Unfortunately those persisting with their own agenda ignorantly applaud themselves for their achievements, lacking insight to challenge or change their behaviour. They are oblivious to their failings, appalling state, and neglect. Lacking understanding they have given legal right for the spirit of Jezebel to cause untold damage; and many Christian leaders and their followers are failing to discern their condition due to spiritual blindness.
Because of the fullness of sin in the church, God´s Judgment is upon us.
In the latter part of 2014 the Lord gave me a dream and a series of visions showing me judgment had started in the church. In the dream my Father was dead’ to my Mother, and she remarried. The family was preoccupied and too spiritually ignorant to notice any change. My mother then aligned herself with the new husband´s family and she started behaving like them, the siblings following her lead without questioning. In God dreams, my father always represents God; my Mother represents the leaders in the church, and my siblings as fellow believers. I understood’ for some church leaders God was dead to them as they ignored Him or gave their allegiance to someone else, or to their own agendas. They then took on the persona of their new family, departing from their old character. The sheep were preoccupied with doing church’ and were oblivious to the change.
The Lord then showed me a series of visions. I was lying on my bed when Jesus led me to a field and showed me what looked like a beautiful melon which any farmer would have been proud of; it was ready to harvest. As I stood admiring this perfect fruit a two edged sword came swiftly from heaven and sliced it in half. To my surprise, and disgust, the inside was crawling with maggots, the flesh was rotten the fruit useless. Many are so proud of the fruit they have produced believing this will be their defense saying Lord, Lord did we not (do this) in your Name..? Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!´ Matthew 7: 22,23. To be known by God we need to produce good fruit in accordance with His will. We can only do this by remaining humble, seeking Jesus daily, and obeying our Heavenly Father; not acting out of our own understanding, nor pandering to what we, or others think.
When the Lord gave me the dream and showed me this first vision I understood in the spirit that God was speaking about a large percentage of Christians, not just a few, so I asked the Lord to confirm what He had shown me. Immediately I saw an axe at the base of a huge tree that had no foliage. The axe was swung and the tree toppled with just one blow. God´s decisive and frightening judgment was swift. The tree represented the established church; the lack of foliage its failure to provide shade, protection and shelter. I was then taken by the Lord to where people were gathered. They were looking down at others, smug in their superior, safe position. Suddenly the roof caved in. Despite their confidence of being immune from judgment and what is to come, they were not. Their covering was a pseudo-Jesus that fitted in with their mind sets, heart and lifestyle; not Jesus Christ the Rock of the Bible, so their protection crumbled under God´s examination. For He knows our hearts, hears our boastful speech, observes our attitudes and knows the fruit we produce. No one can deceive, nor escape the Righteous Judge.
The most devastating vision which may seem the least to the ignorant was more appalling than all the previous visions. God was in fact drawing a line in the sand for those not walking in obedience to Him. Despite possessing Bibles many believers have neglected His Word. Therefore the Lord is taking the Bible, the Word of God from them. In the vision He tore it so those who have ignored or neglected His Word could no longer learn from it. He ripped understanding and revelation from them.
There is hope for those who hear the warning of the first three visions if they act quickly. However, the last vision is so appalling because the time to realize and repent is being taken away from those who ignore God´s Word. Many churches are oblivious to their condition. Watering down the gospel and making it palatable to those who don´t want to die to self’ so as to fill the church and its coffers. False Shepherds incapable of meeting the flocks need fearfully control them by refusing God´s anointed servants to bring balance have by their actions welcomed the Jezebel spirit. A spirit so rife in many churches Jesus is no longer holding back, instead calling His true sheep out of these apostate organizations can you hear Him? For those who have entrusted them selves to false leaders rather than taking responsibility for their own walk they will not be immune to God´s Judgment.
Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their (false leaders) example of disobedience.Hebrews 4:11
Therefore, do not be one who produces rotten fruit; nor ignore to study, and apply the Word to your life; nor be part of institutions that deny the power of the Holy Spirit. Repent! Come out, escape from these apostate churches. Be alert, rejoice when you hear warnings sound rather than be upset when your safe, comfortable existence is being shaken. If you ostracize or ignore those sounding the alarm and continue to walk with those who are spiritually blind the Bible describes your condition clearly. For
[They are] every hearing, but never understanding; [they are] ever seeing, but never perceiving. the heart of this people [are] calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed. Isaiah 6:9-10
For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you and you will be my sons and daughters says the Lord Almighty. 2 Corinthians 6:16-17
The time to turn and be spiritually healed’ is now, before it is too late! There is such urgency. For God has started refining His Church, separating the sheep from the goats. He is doing this by calling His sheep to a new dispensation. One that is to serve a Holy God in awe; no longer pampering to the flesh, self centered wants, or immature faith. No longer will the Lord tolerate people following those who have made ministries, or a name for themselves. We must follow and worship God alone. For those who scoff that God´s Judgment has begun, be careful not to look in the natural, for you will not discern the separation before it is too late. For those whose desire is to follow Christ but aren´t wholeheartedly, the enemy is waiting ready to claim you. For you have ignored the warnings, the signs of the times and most of all God´s Word.
God is now calling His Bride together to become Holy, Pure and Ready for His return.
Will you take heed?
Georgie Manton (Newman)
True and False Prophets
by Zac Poonen
We read in Daniel 11:32, that those who are influenced by the spirit of the antichrist will use smooth words (flattery) to draw people to themselves. The one unmistakable characteristic of every false prophet in history has been flattery. And the one unmistakable characteristic of every true prophet has been rebuke.
False prophets flatter people in order to win them to their group, or to build their own kingdoms, or to get honour, or to get money, etc., Many of these false prophets correspond faithfully with people, in order to retain their personal hold over them. Their letters will not however contain words of rebuke and correction (as in the letters of the Lord and of the apostles - as we read in Revelation 2 and 3 and in the epistles). Instead, they will only contain words of flattering commendation.
Smooth words will only defile your heart with pride and self-satisfaction. Words of rebuke on the other hand will cleanse your heart and make it pure. Jesus said "Those whom I love, I reprove and I discipline" (Rev.3:19). Rebuke is one mark of Divine love.
When God sends a prophet into our midst, to rebuke us, that is a proof of the fact that God loves us. When God forsakes a church, it will "no longer have a prophet in its midst" (Psa.74:1,9) to rebuke it. Instead, it will have preachers who preach smooth words (2 Tim. 4:3,4). That is a sad condition for any of God's people to be in.
In Revelation 2 and 3, we see that even though five of the seven churches there were in a bad shape, yet the Lord had not forsaken them as yet. The proof of this is seen in the fact that He sent a prophet (John the apostle) to rebuke and correct them through his letters.
John had strong words even for the elders - words such as, "You have left your first love....You are spiritually dead....You are wretched and poor and blind and naked". If those elders and those churches did not respond to those words of rebuke, and repent, they would be forsaken.
Once the Lord "takes away the lampstand" (Rev.2:5), He will not send His prophets to rebuke that church any more. The false prophets will then take over, and smooth words will be heard regularly at the meetings, Sunday after Sunday!! This has happened in church after church, in generation after generation, throughout these twenty centuries. And it is happening all around us today.
It is at such a time, that there is a great need for those "who know God, who are strong, and who will do great things for Him" (v.32). Because they know God, they will fear no man...
The Shelter of God
By Francis Frangipane
There is a place of immunity for the believer, a spiritual fortress in Christ that shelters us from the attacks of the devil. For those who abide in this stronghold of God, the onslaught of the wicked one does not touch them. Here, in this secret dwelling with the Almighty, we are hidden from the effects of the accuser's tongue; we are sheltered from the assignment of the destroyer.
The dictionary defines immunity as "freedom or exemption, as from a penalty, burden, duty or evil." This is how the living God wants His children to walk: in freedom from the penalties and burdens of sin, delivered from the duties of legalistic religion, protected and triumphant over the assault of the evil one.
Survey the landscape of the Bible. You will find hundreds of examples of God's loving protection. Every time the Lord pleaded with sinful Israel to return to Him, it was to urge them back to His protection; each time they responded, they were secured again within the shelter of God. The Scripture says, "He shielded them and cared for them, guarding them as the apple of his eye" (Deut. 32:10 NAB).
A Father's Care
God is not only our Creator; He is also our Father. As such, it is inconceivable that He would leave His children unprotected. In Matthew 6:8, Jesus says our Father knows our needs before we ask Him. If we, even in our fallen condition, seek to provide for our children, how much more does God in His perfection seek to shelter and care for His offspring!
Scripture testifies that He has "granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence" (2 Pet. 1:3). The more we possess a true knowledge of the Almighty, the more accessible His provisions for us become. What has He given us? He has prepared an abiding place for us where all that we need concerning life and godliness is ours. It is a place where every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places belongs to us in Christ (Eph. 1:3).
David knew of this awesome place of protection. He wrote, "The Lord is my rock and my fortress . . . in whom I take refuge; my shield and . . . my stronghold" (Ps. 18:2). Again, speaking of those who fear God, David prayed, "You hide them in the secret place of Your presence from the conspiracies of man; You keep them secretly in a shelter from the strife of tongues" (Ps. 31:20). And again, "You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance" (Ps. 32:7).
In David's personal life, he knew the living God as a spiritual stronghold and a place of safety from conflict. The king was intimately familiar with this special place in God's presence. It was here in the fortress of God that David's soul was sheltered.
For Those Who Follow Christ
This stronghold was not just a special provision for prophets and godly kings. From the day of Christ's resurrection, the entrance into the citadel of Heaven was opened to all who would follow the Messiah. Discovering this abode where Christ literally floods us with His life is not merely the subject of this message, it is the object of our existence!
How shall we find this spiritual place? We simply begin by loving Jesus. He said, "He who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him" (John 14:21). If we persevere in love and obedience, Jesus has promised to progressively reveal Himself to us.
Consider the magnitude of Jesus' promise! He continued, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him" (John 14:23).
This unfolding revelation of Jesus Christ to our hearts is the path to the abode of God. It is the shelter of the Most High, which is the stronghold of God.
Lord, with the psalmist I cry, "When shall I enter the courts of the living God?" You are our Father; do not hide Yourself from us, Your children! Bring us to Your lap, oh God! Hold us to Your heart; assure us with the fullness of Your Spirit that You indeed are near. Thank You, Lord!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, Shelter of the Most High on sale this week at www.arrowbookstore.com.
Charleston´s ‘Mother Emanuel Church´ Has Stared Down Racist Violence for 200 Years
The more you read about Charleston´s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, otherwise known as Mother Emanuel,’ the more awe you feel for its historic resilience amidst white-supremacist terror.
This church is now known as the scene of a massacre, which is being investigated as a hate crime.’ Nine are dead, but this institution will not fall. We know this because it has stood tall amidst the specter of racist violence for 200 years. Next year, in fact, was to be the 200th anniversary of the founding of the church. It was 1816 when the Rev. Morris Brown formed Mother Emanuel’ under the umbrella of the Free African Society of the AME Church. They were one of three area churches known as the Bethel Circuit. This means that a free church in the heart of the confederacy was formed and thrived 50 years before the start of the Civil War. It had a congregation of almost 2,000, roughly 15 percent of black people in what was, including the enslaved, the majority-black city of Charleston. Because the church opened its doors to the enslaved and free alike, services were often raided by police and private militias for violating laws about the hours when slaves could be out among the public.’ They were also raided for breaking laws that prohibited teaching slaves to read at Bible study sessions. (It was at one of these Bible study sessions that the shooter opened fire Wednesday night, after sitting among the people for over an hour.)
More violence against the church was to come, as one of its founders was Denmark Vesey. If you don´t know that name, then your US history class failed you. Vesey was born into bondage on St. Thomas Island where he was known as Telemaque. At age 32 in 1799, Vesey won a city lottery of $1,500 that allowed him to buy his freedom from slavery.
But his former master would not sell Vesey his wife or children. Under patriarchal master/slave law, this also meant that any future children they had would also be in bondage. This was not a state of affairs Vesey was willing to let stand. He achieved financial success as a skilled carpenter. He became a city leader. He also looked at Charleston, this majority-black city amidst lush plantations, and planned an insurrection. He said, "We are free but the white people here won't let us be so; and the only way is to raise up and fight the whites."
In 1822, Vesey was executed on charges of attempting to organize this unprecedented slave revolt. The planorganized in meticulous fashion and involving thousands of adherentswas to sack the area plantations, liberate the slaves, and sail to Haiti, which had liberated itself from slavery 20 years earlier in its own revolution. The plan was audacious in its scope and remarkable in its reach, and as a result provoked mass hysteria throughout Dixie.
Vesey was one of five insurrection freedom fighters executed on July 2, 1822, two days before Independence Day. The proximity was said to have inspired Frederick Douglass´s speech delivered almost exactly 30 years later on July 5, 1852, What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?,’ where he thundered,
What, to the American slave, is your 4th of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisya thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.
Douglass would later invoke Vesey to recruit for the all-black Civil War 54th Regiment, featured in the film Glory.
Even though Vesey´s plan never extended beyond the initial stages, there was a call by the genteel city leaders of Charleston for even more blood. Thirty more were executed that month, legal mass lynching meant to strike fear in the hearts of Charleston´s black community. What is remarkable is that more were not arrested or executed. This is attributed to a remarkable level of solidarity amongst Charleston´s black population. No one would talk about a popular campaign that turned slaves into active insurrectionists. As part of this campaignwhich combined legal and extralegal terrorismMother Emanuel Church was burned to the ground. That did not stop people from gathering. It did not end the church.
The violence of this week will not end the church either. The killing of nine people inside Mother Emmanuel calls backward to the 1960s civil rightsera church bombings. It also calls to a present in 2015 where video after video is showing white America a policing system that sees black life as having little value, a present in 2015 where mass media relish black death but do not acknowledge black life, and a present in 2015 where Charleston´s Walter Scott can be calmly shot in the back by police. It also calls to a present where police officials and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley speak solemnly about the Mother Emanuel martyrs, under that enduring symbol of racist terror the Confederate flag. This demonstrates with utter clarity that the past that Charleston leaders try to tuck away with a statue of Denmark Vesey - amidst the city's lucrative plantation tourism - is far from past.
In moments such as this, few words from the present can resonate as powerfully as the words of Frederick Douglass in his Fourth of July speech when he said,
Oh! had I the ability, and could I reach the nation´s ear, I would today pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke. For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake.
This is not history. It´s a guide to action. This action can be heard in the words of Mother Emanuel Reverend and South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinckney. The Reverend was one of those killed on Wednesday. In a 2013 speech about freedom,’ Pinckney said, sometimes you´ve got to make noise . Sometimes you may have to die like Denmark Vesey. Sometimes you have to march ’
Bernie Sanders Speaks
By John Nichols
When Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders told The Nation last year that he was prepared to run for president,’ he said he would do so only if it was clear that progressives were enthusiastic about a movement campaign seeking nothing less than a political revolution.’ It was an audacious proposalbut after traveling the country for a year, Sanders decided that the enthusiasm was there and announced in late April as a candidate for the Democratic nomination. There were plenty of doubters then. Two months into the campaign, however, everything about this candidacythe crowds, the poll numbers, the buzzis bigger than expected. That says something about Sanders. But it also says something about the prospects for progressive politics. In late June, The Nation sat down with Sanders for several conversations that asked the longtime Nation reader (started when I was a University of Chicago student in the early 1960s’) to put not just his campaign but the moment in historical perspective for our 150th-anniversary issue:?
The Nation: Your campaign for the presidency has surprised people. The crowds are big; the poll numbers are stronger than the pundits predicted. You´re a student of political history. Put what´s happening now in perspective. Are we at one of those pivot pointsas we saw in the 1930swhere our politics could open up and take the country in a much more progressive direction??
Sanders: Obviously, we´re not in the midst of a massive depression, as we were in the 1930s. But I think the discontent of the American people is far, far greater than the pundits understand. Do you know what real African-American youth unemployment is? It´s over 50 percent. Families with a member 55 or older have literally nothing saved for retirement. Workers are worried about their jobs ending up in China. They´re worried about being fired when they´re age 50 and being replaced at half-wages by somebody who is 25. They´re disgusted with the degree that billionaires are able to buy elections. They are frightened by the fact that we have a Republican Party that refuses to even recognize the reality of climate change, let alone address this huge issue.
In 1936, when Roosevelt ran for reelection, he welcomed the hatred of what he called the economic royalists’today, they´re the billionaire classand I´m prepared to do that as well. That´s the kind of language the American people are ready to hear.
The Nation: There are other people who have tried to do what you´re doing with this campaign. But you seem to have the platform, the microphone, at this point. Why so??
Sanders: I am getting a lot more national media ever since I´ve been running for president. But even with all of the national media I´ve been getting, what´s always shocking to me is that still half the American people don´t know who I amwhich talks about not me in particular, but just about political consciousness in general. I can tell you what is more of an indication: We have by far now what I think is the most successful Senate Facebook pageI think [more than] 1.2 million people who are part of our Facebook network and, on any given day, there might be a million people or more talking about us. So there is no question but that there´s a significant part of the population that follows what we´re doingand that has been following us for years.
The Nation: Obviously, for a lot of those who have followed you, the economic issues, the populist message, is at the heart of your campaign. But when you talk about the crisis, you always include a discussion of climate change.?
Sanders: Look, for those of us who believe in science, you simply cannot ignore what the scientific community is saying almost unanimously. And that is that climate change is real; it´s caused by human activity; it´s already causing devastating problems; and it will only get worse in years to come if we don´t transform our energy system. You cannot ignore what is happening every day in terms of the climate and what it will meanwhat it´s meaning today to the folks in California and elsewherefor your kids and my kids. There is a moral responsibility that we must accept to transform our energy system. It cannot be ignored.
The Nation: As a candidate for president, would you refuse money from fossil-fuel companies??
Sanders: (laughing and speaking sarcastically) Well, let me seeit´s true the Koch brothers did send us a large check, and we´ve been debating whether to accept it or not. Of course, for us, it´s rather an unrealistic issue: a) I don´t take corporate PAC money, and b) if, by some accident, some company sent us money, we would send it backabsolutely.
The Nation: A criticism directed toward you early in the campaign was that you were very focused on economics, but not sufficiently focused on critical issues such as police brutality and mass incarceration. Isn´t this something you have to address??
Sanders: Clearly, police brutality and what goes on in African-American communities and other communities is a huge issue . The question is: How do you have police departments in this country that are part of their communities, not oppressors in their communities? How do you have police officers who, when they commit acts of crime, are held accountable and are indicted? How do you have police officers receiving the proper training that they need? How do we demilitarize our police departments? All of these are important issues. The good news is that, as a country, we are paying far more attention to this issue than we previously did. If anyone thinks that the kind of police brutality that we´re seeing now is something new, they are sorely mistaken. The good news, in a sense, is that it´s now becoming public and we´re seeing it and talking about it.
There has to be, I think, a significant change in police culture in terms of [the use of force]. That is a major issue that has to be dealt with. And we will deal with it, period.
The other thing, to be frank, that does trouble me is that there is so little discussion about African-American youth unemployment. How do you discuss Ferguson and not know that, in that particular community, unemployment is off the charts? How do you discuss Baltimore and not know that, in that particular community, unemployment is off the charts? African-American youth unemployment in this country is 50 percent, and one out of three African-American males born today stands the possibility of ending up in jail if present trends continue. This is a disaster. So, of course, we´ve got to talk about police brutality; of course, we´ve got to talk about reforming our criminal-justice system; of course, we´ve got to make sure that we are educating our kids and giving them job training and not sending them to jail. But I get a little distressed that people are not talking about what I consider to be a huge problem: How do you not talk about African-American youth unemployment at 50 percent?
The Nation: That focus on employment goes back to the historic message of the civil-rights movement. Civil-rights organizing was one of the ways into political activism for you, wasn´t it??
Sanders: Civil rights was a very important part of it. I was very active in the Congress of Racial Equality at the University of Chicago. I got arrested in trying to desegregate Chicago´s school system. I was very active in demanding that the University of Chicago not run segregated housing, which it was doing at that time. We were active in working with our brothers and sisters in SNCC [the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee] at that point helping them with some very modest financial help. So, yes, I was active. And I do not separate the civil-rights issue from the fact that 50 percent of African-American young people are either unemployed or underemployed. Remember the March on Washingtonwhat was it about? Jobs and Freedom.’ The issue that Dr. King raised all the time was: This is great if we want to desegregate restaurants or hotels, but what does it matter if people can´t afford to go to them? That´s still the issue today.
The Nation: As long as we´re talking about the evolution of public policy, let´s talk about the evolution of a word: socialism. You appeared on ABC´s This Week and, when you were asked whether a socialist can be elected president, you did not blink; you talked about socialism in positive, detailed terms. I don´t believe a presidential candidate has ever done that on a Sunday-morning show.?
Sanders: Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the Senate, often criticizes President Obama, incorrectly, for trying to push European-style socialism,’ and McConnell says the American people don´t want it. First of all, of course, Obama is not trying to push European-style socialism. Second of all, I happen to believe that, if the American people understood the significant accomplishments that have taken place under social-democratic governments, democratic-socialist governments, labor governments throughout Europe, they would be shocked to know about those accomplishments. One of the goals of this campaign is to advance that understanding . How many Americans know that in virtually every European country, when you have a baby, you get guaranteed time off and, depending on the country, significant financial benefits as well. Do the American people know that? I doubt it. Do the American people even know that we´re the only major Western industrialized country that doesn´t guarantee healthcare for all? Most people don´t know that. Do the American people know that in many countries throughout Europe, public colleges and universities are either tuition-free or very inexpensive?
I have always believed that the countries in Scandinavia have not gotten the kind of honest recognition they deserve for the extraordinary achievements they have made . The Danish ambassador, whom I talked to a couple of years ago, said to me that in Denmark it is very, very hard to be poor; you really have to literally want to be outside of the system. Well, that´s pretty good. In Denmark, all of their kids can go to college; not only do they go for free, they actually get stipends. Healthcare is, of course, a right for all people. They have a very strong childcare system, which to me is very important. Their retirement system is very strong. They are very active in trying to protect their environment . And, by the way, the voter turnout in those countries is much higher; in Denmark, in the last election, it was over 80 percent. Political consciousness is much higher than it is in the United States. It´s a more vibrant democracy in many respects. So why would I not defend that? Do they think I´m afraid of the word? I´m not afraid of the word.
The Nation: Of course, if you´re not afraid of the word, they can´t attack you. You can actually focus on the policies.?
Sanders: When I ran for the Senate the first time, I ran against the wealthiest guy in the state of Vermont. He spent a lot on advertisingvery ugly stuff. He kept attacking me as a liberal. He didn´t use the word socialist’ at all because everybody in the state knows that I am that. It has lost its cachet.
The Nation: You´re the son of an immigrant, and you´ve made an issue over the years of the exploitation of immigrant workers. What´s your sense of how these issues will figure in the 2016 campaign?
Bernie Sanders as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont
Bernie Sanders as Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, 1981 (AP Photo/Donna Light)
Sanders: I´ve been a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, the Dream Act, a number of these initiatives. But as you know, the Republicans have blocked action; worse than that, they talk about self-deportation’ and these other draconian proposals. So I supported the president´s executive actionI think that was a good step. But we have to push harder: We have to fight against this politics of division that seeks to divide working families, that disrespects hard work, that disrespects the contributions immigrant workers make to our economy. This politics of division doesn´t fix anything; it just makes it easier to exploit millions of workers who are vulnerable because of their undocumented status. We have to address that exploitation and end it. We also have to speak about who benefits from that exploitation: the same corporations that we see pushing these race-to-the-bottom policies. Instead of trying to divide workers, which is the oldest story in the book, we´ve got to be focused on uniting them, and the way to do that is by saying, Look, the problem isn´t with this group of workers or that group of workers. The problem is with the corporations and the policies that make the exploitation possible.’ We´re going to talk a lot about that in this campaign.
The Nation: Another issue you´ve focused on over the years is mass surveillance. In addition to voting against authorization for the use of force in Iraq, you voted against the Patriot Act. That was almost 15 years ago, and you´re still fighting on these issues.?
Sanders: I did vote against the Patriot Act. I said at the time that it gave the government far too much power to spy on innocent Americans, and I believe I´ve been proven right about that. What frustrates me is this false choice that says the United States of America cannot pursue terrorists and protect people from harm while still respecting the Constitution and civil liberties. I didn´t believe that was the case in 2001, and I do not believe that is the case now. So I´ve raised these issues, and I will continue to raise them. And one other thing: I believe it´s importantvitally importantto recognize that it isn´t only what the federal government does that should concern us. We have to recognize that corporations collect huge amounts of data on us. There is no question in my mind that technology is outpacing public policy in this area, and I do not think we should be casual about this or say that it´s something we should let the corporations figure out. We should all be talking about thisabout how we´re going to maintain our privacy rights in very rapidly changing times.
The Nation: You feel the same about corporations warping the future of the Internet to their advantage.?
Sanders: Absolutely. I´ve been very involved in the fight to maintain net neutrality. This is about the free flow of information, the free flow of ideas, on the Internet. If we let corporations put a price tag on that, so that some ideas move more quickly than other ideas because a billionaire is paying for an advantage, that changes the debate in a way that harms democracy. This is common sense, and we´ve had some success in defending net neutralitybut we have to be vigilant. These fights over communication policy are really fights about how our democracy is going to functionif it is going to functionin the 21st century.?
The Nation: One line of criticism from the pundits goes: Sanders is strong on the issues, but he can´t get anywhere if he doesn´t attack Hillary Clinton.’ You get attacked for not going negative!?
Sanders: (laughing) I´ve had writers who have sat exactly where you´re sitting, and I´ve talked for an hour on every major issue facing the American peoplegone on for an hourand at the end, somebody asks me for a word on Hillary Clinton. And the story is Bernie Sanders [vs.] Hillary Clinton.’ That is the corporate media´s worldview. That is their only understanding of how a campaign can be run: when one candidate attacks the other candidate.
Now, I´ve known Hillary Clinton for many years. Let me confess: I like Hillary. I disagree with Hillary Clinton on many issues. My job is to differentiate myself from her on the issuesnot by personal attacks. I´ve never run a negative ad in my life. Why not? First of all, in Vermont, they don´t workand, frankly, I think increasingly around this country they don´t work. I really do believe that people want a candidate to come up with solutions to America´s problems rather than just attacking his or her opponent. If you look at politics as a baseball game or a football game, then I´m supposed to be telling the people that my opponents are the worst people in the world and I´m great. That´s crap; I don´t believe that for a second . I don´t need to spend my life attacking Hillary Clinton or anybody else. I want to talk about my ideas on the issues.
The Nation: Which brings us to the subject of debates. My sense is that you´d be happy to debate every day.?
Sanders: Well, not quite every day.
The Nation: But you have argued for a lot more debates. And you´ve suggested the radical notion that Republicans should be included in the debates.?
Sanders: This is what I believe. I´m the ranking member on the Budget Committee. The Republican budget gave over $200 billion in tax breaks over a 10-year period to the wealthiest two-tenths of 1 percentmassive cuts in Medicare, massive cuts in Medicaid, massive cuts in education, threw 27 million people off their health insurance. That is the Republican budget. That is what they believe . This is a fact. That´s exactly what their budget did.
The Republicans get away with murder because what they do and what they want is not seen, is not understood by the American people, because it´s not talked about . So I think the more that we can confront Republicans about their ideology of tax breaks for the billionaires and cuts to every program that is a benefit to the American people, and can expose them for their subservience to the billionaire classI think that wins for us every single time.
So this is what I would like: I would like as many debates as possible, and I would also like to break new ground and have debates with Republicans and Democrats. I think that will be very positive for the American people in that we´ll be able to focus on issues. Let the Republicans defend why they want to give tax breaks to the billionaires and make massive cuts in Medicare. I would love to hear it.
The other thing I want to do is to take these debates into the so-called red areas of the country. I think it is insane that the Democrats do not have a 50-state strategy [along the lines championed by Howard Dean]. How is it that, if you are the party of working people, supposedly, you abdicate your responsibility in some of the poorest states of America? Where are you in Mississippi? Where are you in South Carolina? Where are you in Alabama? Where are you in other low-income states? If you don´t get started now, you will never advance. So I intend in this campaign to go to states that many Democratic candidates don´t usually visit.
The Nation: Would you do one-on-one debates with Republican presidential candidates? Would you sit down with Scott Walker and debate about unions with him??
Sanders: Of course I wouldI´d debate him about anything. And I´ll tell you the truth: I don´t think it would be a bad idea to have more than one Republican and more than one Democrat. The most serious political problem facing this country is that we don´t discuss the serious issues facing this country. And the American people are becoming increasingly alienated from the political process; 63 percent of the American people didn´t vote last November. I´m looking for ways to bring them into a serious discussion about serious issues. When we do that, the Republican agenda will be exposed for the disaster it is.
The Nation: You have a strong sense of history. What´s your measure for a historic campaign??
Sanders: The title of our campaign, the working slogan, is A Political Revolution.’ That´s what this campaign is about. If it results in millions of people beginning to move in that direction, beginning to understand the potential of our country, what we can become; if people understand why we are where we are in terms of income and wealth inequality; if people begin to understand that participating in our democratic process is our patriotic duty and what people fought and died to defend; if people begin to stand up and say, America is not supposed to be a country where 99 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent, or where the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent that is not what America is supposed to be’; if people begin to ask, What can we do as Americans? How do we move to healthcare for all? How do we have the best educational system in the world? Let´s get involved in that discussion. Let´s make it happen’if we accomplish that goal, I will be elected president of the United States. And even if I am not elected president of the United States, this country will be in much better shape for having made that effort.
Backward Christian Soldiers
Backward Christian soldiers, Fleeing from the fight,
With the cross of Jesus, Nearly out of sight.
Christ our rightful master, Stands against the foe;
Onward into battle, we seem afraid to go.
Like a might tortoise, Moves the church of God.
Brothers we are treading, Where we´ve often trod.
We are much divided, Many bodies we,
Having different doctrines, but not much charity.
Crowns and thrones may perish, Kingdoms rise and wane,
But the cross of Jesus Hidden does remain.
Gates of hell should never ‘gainst the Church prevail,
We have Christ´s own promise, but we think it might fail.
Sit here then ye people, Join our sleeping throng.
Blend with ours, your voices in a feeble song.
Blessings, ease and comfort Ask from Christ the King,
But with our modern thinking, We won´t do a thing.
Backward Christian soldiers, Fleeing from the fight,
With the cross of Jesus, Nearly out of sight.
The Lord has given us the grace to reconcile the children to their Fathers
As One Body
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