Christianity, current events, God, November 2016 election, Star Trek

“Day of the Dove” and America 2020: Something to think about

I was thinking of Star Trek TOS and realized there was an episode called “Day of the Dove” in which the script is very similar to the condition of America 2020, and I would like to explore that in this post. If you are already familiar with the original series and this episode, you can follow along easily. I will add details to help those who may not be familiar with it.

The episode begins with a fake distress call which draws the Enterprise to a deserted world where there was supposed to be a human colony. Shortly thereafter, a Klingon ship is also drawn to the same planet by another fake distress signal. The Federation and the Klingon Empire have been at peace up to this point, but as the Klingon ship enters orbit, it is disabled by an unknown power and most of its crew is killed. This creates suspicions among the Klingon survivors that maybe the Enterprise attacked them.

The false message and the start of contentions

I will open my comments on the fake message that drew both ships to this deserted world. There was peace between the two powers up to this point, but now this false message and the events afterwards plant seeds of doubt that maybe one or the other has begun hostilities. Similarly, America was a land at peace. We have two major parties and our elections were peaceful transfers of power; they were unmarked by the widespread violence and massive protests other countries experienced. People respected law enforcement and our institutions of government. But a false message has been circulated that our democracy is under assault, and we have been told that President Trump in particular with Republicans and conservatives in general as cofactors in a threat against our country. Like the distress call, this is the fake message that has drawn us into contention and strife with each other. Civility has been replaced with hostility. Friendships and even family relationships have been disrupted or destroyed because of who one voted for. The appellations used to refer to conservatives are many and derogatory; they have been called racists, xenophobic, white supremacists and misogynists, which are among the most common. In response, some conservatives have unfortunately also resorted to pejorative labeling and name calling, which only makes things worse.

We have violence in the streets. Our cities burn and businesses suffer looting. Whole sections of society proudly “Resist” and identify as part of the “resistance” based on an erroneous message.

The stage is set

The episode continues when the Enterprise landing party returns to their ship with the party of Klingons.  there, Kirk places the Klingons into custody and transfers all the survivors to the Enterprise. Shortly after this an alien power begins to disrupt and manipulate life on the Enterprise. Most of the crew are trapped below decks leaving only thirty-eight crewmen left. The Klingon survivors also number thirty-eight, and so now the evenly matched sides are pitted against each other, complete with weapons and old animosities and even a case of imagined wrong (Chekov’s brother) by the alien power. Both sides now fight to take control of the Enterprise.

The American battlefield

The political makeup of America is about an even split between Republicans and Democrats, and as I have mentioned, we were peaceful in our politics up to now. With the 2016 election the “Resistance” reared its head, and some truly ugly things were said and done. Forces in Congress focused on getting President Trump out. There was an “insurance policy” in the FBI against a Trump win, the Mueller probe which turned up nothing, the impeachment and subsequent Senate trial which again went nowhere, the Speaker of the House tears up a copy of the State of the Union speech. Add to this violence, looting and arson in many American cities over police shootings. The pattern of conflict in “Day of the Dove” is repeating in our politics.

An epiphany

When the conflict continues aboard the Enterprise, and even among his own crew, Captain Kirk has his hands full. After repeated calls for vengeance against the Klingons and an incident of race hatred on the bridge between Scotty and Mr. Spock, he begins to realize something is amiss. They have never been at each other’s throats like this before:

“What’s happening here? We have been trained to think in other terms than war.  We’ve been trained to fight its causes if necessary. Then why are we behaving like a group of savages?”

And then Captain Kirk recognizes a pattern of manipulation:

“Two forces aboard this ship, each of them equally armed. Has a war been staged for us? Complete with weapons and ideology and patriotic drum beating? Even race hatred?”

I think this is a surprisingly accurate description of America in 2020. Our elections and way of life were peaceful up to this point. Now not only do we have forces trying to overthrow our 2016 election, there are those who incite racial, class, and ideological division in this country, turning Americans against each other. I don’t believe this just “happened.” Behind the scenes and in the shadows of the dark plans were drawn up against our nation to cause disruption, division, and regime change. This is too organized to be by chance. Someone is supplying, financing, and directing this “resistance.” A war truly has been staged for us.

Mr. Spock adds to Captain Kirk’s observations with this:

“Recent events seem to be directed towards a magnification of the basic hostilities between humans and Klingons. Apparently, it is by design that we fight. We seem to be pawns.”

One can see how this correlates strongly with the same situation in America 2020. This should have been just another election. We were at peace with one another until a contrived “emergency” and “resistance” was put in motion complete with weapons, ideology and its own drum beat.  Almost immediately there was a woman’s march on Washington DC which lead to more acts of resistance. Racial hostility is magnified with constant cries of “white supremacy” and “white privilege.” Cancel culture and censorship have worked to silence conservative voices, news they consider fake, and alternate points of view. There have even been revelations that resistance groups will attempt to shut down major America cities after the election of 2020. “It is by design that we fight.”

Something to think about

The cure is also similar to the one that saved the Enterprise crew: A realization of who the real enemy is and a united front against it.

In the Day of the Dove, both sides stopped fighting against each other when they realized they were being manipulated by an unknown power. Once they knew this, they could act in unity against this power and save their lives. We need this same realization and unity in America. We are being manipulated. A war is being staged for us and our fighting among ourselves is by design. We need to realize who the enemy is, and we need a united front against it. We can end the days of being a pawn. And Christians, we need prayer warriors to intercede against this darkness. This fight is also against powers, principalities, and spiritual forces of wickedness in high places.

Let’s restore America as a land where power is transferred peacefully, we can agree to disagree without violence, where we examine all things and hold fast only to what is good, and where God is glorified. Let’s repent of evil and hating our neighbors and turn away from it while there is still time. It’s up to you America.

Cheshvan 12, 5781

October 30, 2020

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Christianity, Evangelism, God, Uncategorized

Reflecting on What the Lord Has Done

I had planned on reading John and Acts today, but as I was reading through John, I couldn’t get past the end of chapter three. It was like the Lord prompting me to tarry over this part of Scripture. Here’s the section He highlighted:

He who comes from above is above all, and he who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth. He who come from heaven is above all. What He has seen and heard, of that He bears witness; and no man receives His witness. He who has received His witness has set his seal to this, that God is true. For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (John 3:31-36, NASB).

Join me and let’s take a look at this more closely.

He who comes from above is above all.” When I thought about this, I was reminded of another passage of Scripture: “To whom will you liken Me that I should be his equal” says the Holy One (Isaiah 40:25, NASB). The One who comes from above is truly above all, and there is nothing we can compare to Him. His name is above every name, and every knee will bow to Him one day. Jesus once asked His disciples who people said He was. When we compare what the disciples said with the Isaiah passage, we realize how far off people really were. Jesus isn’t just some prophet or one “spiritual master” among many, as if someone could be like Him. Don’t let anyone tell you there is someone like Jesus. The Holy One is beyond comparison, and no one is His equal.

He who is of the earth is from the earth and speaks of the earth.” We can see how different we are from the One who comes from above here. We are of the earth, created beings who have fallen from a state of perfection. After the Fall, our nature has lost its spiritual characteristics and became natural (also referred to as the flesh), and so we now think and act as those from the earth. Our life resembles the lyrics from a Harry Chapin song:

“My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch, and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talking ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, dad”
“You know I’m gonna be like you.”

(Chapin, 1974, track 1)

We are concerned about the things of the world, and looking for fulfillment, but not finding it on earth. We have lost our ability to hear and receive spiritual things.

What He has seen and heard, of that He bears witness; and no man receives His witness.” When Jesus told Nicodemus that a person must be born again, he couldn’t understand how that could be. After all, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” (John 3: 4, NASB). Nicodemus couldn’t understand that the children of God are not born according to the flesh, but according to the will of God. He couldn’t receive what Jesus was saying. Now you can see why after Jesus would speak to the people, He would say “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Not everyone can receive what He says.

He who has received His witness has set his seal to this, that God is true.” When I read this, I felt led to look up the definition of seal. The definition that stood out to me was this: “Something that confirms, ratifies, or makes secure: Guarantee, assurance” (Seal def). The one who receives Jesus’ witness has confirmed, ratified, or made secure the fact that God is true! This is good, but it leads to a conundrum. If we cannot receive the things of God in our natural nature, then we will not understand how we have sinned against God, and we will not be able to come to a place of repentance. It would seem we are lost were it not for this one fact: He is the God of the impossible!

For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.” In our natural self, we cannot receive the things of God as Paul reminds us in 1 Cor 2:14, but God has given all things into Jesus’ hands, and He has all authority. When God gives the Spirit without measure, it means Jesus’ has been given limitless power to reach the heart of the lost. His arm is not shortened that it cannot save! He intervenes in His great power and makes it possible for that lost soul to receive His word so they can repent. Without that intervention, it would be impossible for us to be saved. In conclusion:

The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

If you have not done so yet, please come to the Lord Jesus and receive mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Jesus has used the limitless power of heaven to bring you to a place of repentance. If you will confess your sin, He is faithful and just to forgive all your sin; He will abundantly pardon and make you into a new creation! Come and see that the Lord is good!

Shalom my friends,

Sivan 20, 5778

Chapin, H. (1974). The cat’s in the cradle. On Verities and Balderdash. Elektra

Seal. (2018). In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary. Retrieved from https://www.meriam-webster.com/dictionary/seal

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Christianity, Passover, religion, Uncategorized

Get The Leaven Out!

On Friday evening, March 30, 2018, it will be Erev Pesah, and Passover will begin. This celebrates the departure from Egypt and slavery and will last for eight days. Passover is also known as the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In preparation for the Passover, Jewish families remove all leaven from their homes. This is an effort that goes beyond a normal cleaning:

Seven days there shall be no leaven found in your houses; for whoever eats what is leavened, that person shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he is an alien or a native of the land (Exodus 12:19, NASB).

A last search is made of the house before Passover, and any remaining leaven is burned, followed by reciting a declaration that all leaven has been removed. As I thought about this, I realized there is an application for us I would like to share.

 

The New Testament also has something to say about leaven and unleavened bread we should consider. First, unleavened bread is a type of those who are born again. Jesus tells us “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, NASB). Before a person is born again, that person is like leavened bread. They have been leavened with malice, greed, idolatry, arrogance, hatred, strife, bitterness, rebellion and so forth. None of these things will ever make a person fit for God’s kingdom, and so the leaven must be removed. When a person is born again, the old leaven is purged, much like when all the leaven is removed from the house for Passover. Like the house is cleared of leaven and clean, the born again person also has their old leaven purged; they become like unleavened bread.

 

The problem is, we must guard ourselves to keep ourselves in an unleavened state. Leaven has a way of creeping back in if we don’t guard against it, and it only takes a little to do great damage. Paul addressed this in his first letter to the Corinthians:

Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Clean out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover has also been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor 5: 6-8, NASB)

We all remember what Jesus warned the disciples: “Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matt 16:6, NASB). And Paul was distressed that the Galatian church had become infected with the leaven of false brethren: “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified?” (Gal 3:1, NASB).
Leaven can sneak in many ways, such as the cares of life and corrupted teachers who seek to draw away followers for themselves. As a matter of spiritual housekeeping, we must make sure this leaven finds no home with us. We may not be conscious of any problems, but that doesn’t mean everything is alright. The Laodicean church thought they were fine, but they were unaware of their true condition:

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. Because you say ‘I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing, and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. (Rev 3: 15-17, NASB)

We may fool ourselves about our condition, but not Him. We need His perfect eyes to search us for the leaven that may be hidden in our house so it can be removed. Remember, all it takes is a little leaven to mess things up, so get it out! Make your temple a “leaven free zone.”

Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thought; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way (Psalm 139: 23-24, NASB).

Shalom and blessings my brothers and sisters!
Nisan 10, 5778
 

 

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Apologetics, Christianity, Evangelism, God, religion, Uncategorized

Love The Right Answer

I don’t know when it started exactly, but in my mind I keep hearing the words “love the right answer,” and I would like to share some thoughts with you about this. I think this is related to some online discussions that I have had and observed others participate in. I have been in talks with atheists and skeptics, and I remember that we should “always [be] ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15, NASB). When Peter tells the readers to use “gentleness and reverence,” it means love the right answer.

 

I have seen plenty of exchanges online between believers and unbelievers, and sometimes I have to wonder if believers have forgotten that we need to include gentleness and reverence in our responses. If we start trading insult for insult, and evil for evil, how can we sow the good seed of the word of God? James tells us “And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (3:18, NASB), and the Lord tells us “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God” (Matt 5: 9, NASB). Being quarrelsome is like Peter taking his eyes of the Lord as he walked on the water. It doesn’t work. Love the right answer, and do your sowing in peace.

 

Loving the right answer must include the right response, even if it is something you would rather not do. I will take a page from my own life to show what I mean. When you have a family member that you love and want to spend time with, but their response is indifference and apathy, it can be a source of frustration and contention. It is natural that when you love someone, you want to be loved back, and if this doesn’t happen over a long period of time, it can be a terrible experience. I thought about this in connection to loving the right answer, and this came to mind: “if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5: 46-48, NASB). The right answer is to continue to love, even when that love is not returned. There will always be whispers from the tempter to give up and leave for greener pastures, but it is better to love the right answer, do the right thing, and stay true. You love the right answer when you do the right thing.

 

When we love the right answer, we are fair to everyone, even those who are in opposition. It can be easy to be unfair, when emotions are hot and strong, or when a group of people are despised by society (as tax collectors in Jesus’ day). The Bible tells us about the importance of fairness when we read “A just balance and scales belong to the LORD; all the weights of the bag are His concern” (Proverbs 16:11, NASB). In apologetics, it means we must evaluate the arguments of those in opposition and represent them fairly. If we misrepresent their arguments or what they say, we are not being fair to them. In that case our balance and scales have become unfair, and that ought not to be. That is the wrong answer, and we should not love it. They may not agree with us, but they should have confidence that we will be fair. There is another application I would like to mention for the readers who may be teachers.

 

I taught first year composition at my university for a season, and whenever it came time to grade assignments, the thought of a just balance and scales would be on my mind. There were some papers in which I really had to struggle for what would be a fair grade, but I wanted each paper to be the product of a just balance and scales, so I would pause, pray, and ask for help in doing the right thing. This is what got me through my grading process, and I hope it will be a benefit to others as well. You love the right answer by being fair.

 

I would like to mention one last thing in closing to the Christian apologist. Make sure that your motives for defending the faith are right. Are you there to win an argument, or are you wanting to win a heart? If you want to win arguments, you may win the battle, but you will lose the war. People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care. You love the right answer when you love those you are reasoning with.

 

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly, it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” (1 Cor 13: 4-8, NASB).
Love the right answer and share it.

 

A prayer:

 

Lord, I realize I cannot do the work of changing hearts. You, and You alone have the power to give them ears to hear, eyes to see, and hearts to understand. Help me to decrease so that You may do Your work through me, and the people see You, not me. Have mercy on the people and forgive them. Open their minds to understand the Gospel so they may recover themselves from the snares of the enemy. I pray that they will be fruitful boughs in Your Kingdom, and that they will be worthy to walk with You in robes of white, and to be with You always. Amen.

 

Adar 4, 5778

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