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Thoughts on life by Teri McCarthy

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Guillotines and The Apocalypse

Posted by admin in January 16th, 2020 | 8 comments 
Published in faith, freedom, Waiting

When I was a kid we watched horrible movies at church about the last days. Thief in the Night and A Distant Thunder are such wretched films. They are badly directed, badly filmed, badly acted, and I’m not so sure they are theologically sound. Daryl told me he knew kids who became Christians because of those movies. Really? That’s hard to believe, but God can and does use anything.

When I was growing up in the church we heard a lot of sermons about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. It was talked about, preached on, studied, and maybe it got a bit weird at times, but still the Church (capital C) included Christ’s return on its “important issues” list. And then it stopped.

In the 90s, Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye brought a renewal of the topic with the Left Behind books. Later Kirk Cameron and Nicholas Cage starred in the series on the big screen. The movies were a bit silly – not their content, but again with the writing and the acting – let’s just say they didn’t win any awards. Movies by Christians about Jesus should be excellent. These were corny, trite, and not believable. Sadly.

But I bring all of this up for an important reason. I had a conversation recently with a Christian counselor. Helen (pseudonym) is a strong believer. She was raised on the mission field and has followed Christ all of her life. She got into Christian counseling as a way of ministering to people hurting and struggling with life. She’s an excellent counselor and I really admire her walk with God. I trust her. She’s solid.

One morning, she and I were discussing how the world is changing and how people are increasingly unable to cope with what is happening around them. And then Helen dropped a bomb! She totally opened my mind to a new perspective – one I had never, ever thought of. But when she was telling me about her theory, I knew she was right! It hit me between the eyes and stuck. I can’t shake it.

Helen was raised hearing the same sermons as I heard; watching the same horrible last days movies as I watched and pondering what would happen if the Antichrist took over America. She explained, for most Christians in the USA, we could stand strong facing the guillotine, or even a firing squad. Americans are built to stand for Christ. We are a nation built on independence, fighting for ideals, and personal freedoms. We are stronger than we think and I’d venture to say, as Helen said, that if the Church in America was given a choice to deny Christ or face a firing squad, I think we’d take the bullet–literally. We’re wired like that. It’s in our DNA.

And for most of us in the Church, that’s the persecution we were expecting. That’s the persecution we have been taught about. We’ve seen it in places like China, North Korea, and in Muslim nations. Open Doors has created an entire ministry based on this type of persecution. We’re ready for it.

But Helen had another idea. As a counselor she sees many born-again believers who are struggling to cope and struggling to hold on to their faith. She sees clients who are petrified by living in an upside down, topsy-turvy world. They just cannot reconcile what is happening to them or around them. Things don’t make sense; things are not fair, or balanced, or just. And Helen said that’s when it dawned on her, maybe persecution of the American Church in these last days won’t be the straight forward “deny Christ or die,” but a more subtle, and yes more powerful, persecution – that of trying to navigate in a crazy world.

Never in my wildest thoughts did I ever think the evangelicals of this nation would change their minds on topics such as same-sex marriage, homosexuality, legalization of marijuana, sex outside of marriage, transgender issues, abortion, and obeying the law…and believe me! It’s happening and I have been blindsided by it.

Isaiah 5:20-23 comes to mind, “Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!…Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!”

Think about it! We are living in an upside down world- obvious injustices, good being declared bad and bad being declared good; evil being declared normal. Our nation calls wrong right and right wrong and the Church is following! This type of persecution is truly destructive to the American Christian’s psychological health. But what a strategy!! The enemy is strategic in his plan of persecution of the Church in America! And it just might be working.

We’re confused, and knocked off-balance by what is being declared not only in our nation, but in our churches. We look around us and ask the question, “What’s wrong with me? Am I losing my mind?” And according to Helen, many people do just that! It’s hard to stand strong these days. The hashtag movement is killing truth in our churches! #METOO #LOVEWINS #SANCTUARY #WELCOMETHESTRANGER

I have friends who attend a church and its motto is, “We don’t care who you sleep with, what you drink or what you smoke…just come be a part of us.” Stop it! Don’t say God loves us unconditionally. Yes, He does, but He doesn’t accept us unconditionally. God loves us through His Son Jesus and we must come to God through Christ and Christ alone and well, sorry to go against the mainstream here, but there are requirements to salvation: John 8:11, Jesus speaks to the woman caught in adultery and says, “Go and sin no more.” 1 Cor. 15:34, “Awake to righteousness, and do not sin…” 1 John 2:4, “Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person.” And there are results to salvation, 2 Cor. 5:17, “Therefore if any person be in Christ, he or she is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things become new.” New! So yes, there are conditions and the fact that I’m having to state them shows exactly how far the Church has slipped and sadly, followers of Christ who believe in these absolutes are now made to feel out of touch with reality.

Judgmental, critical, hateful, unloving, alt-right, hypocritical, and just plain wrong – all are labels pinned to the lapel of any follower of Jesus who stands up and declares, “This is wrong!” When I questioned church leaders a while back about a pastor’s plagiarism I was told that I WAS THE ONE IN THE WRONG! I was called a pseudo-intellectual snob and told to leave the issue alone. Upside down. Evil being declared good; good being declared evil.

So what’s the bottom line here? Get ready, it’s one of those clarion calls that includes a few ALL CAPS!

CHURCH WE MUST STAND! The Church is over 2,000 years old and it has not changed its mind on core issues. The Bible speaks very definitively about marriage, homosexuality, proper use of our bodies, the sanctity of life, the deity of Christ, Jesus as the only way of salvation, the Virgin birth, the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, the return of Jesus, obeying the law of the land, lying as sin, and that the Word of God is wholly reliable and without error! The Church has held these core truths for over 2,000 years. We must hold on to Christ and hold on to our minds. We must stay drenched in the Word of God and pray without ceasing. We must fight this battle and use the weapons provided for us by Christ – they are mighty to the pulling down of strongholds. WE MUST STAND FIRM.  “BUT WE DO NOT BELONG TO THOSE WHO SHRINK BACK AND ARE DESTROYED, BUT TO THOSE WHO HAVE FAITH AND ARE SAVED! (Heb. 10:39).” And please do not feel discouraged or alone; just like the Old Testament prophet, there are thousands in the land who have not bowed their knee…Peace.

The Manger and The Cross

Posted by admin in December 10th, 2019 | no comment 
Published in Uncategorized

Recently I was reading an article by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In it, Bonhoeffer makes a statement that shook me to the core,
“For the great and powerful of this world, there are only two places in which their courage fails them…These are the manger and the cross of Jesus Christ. No powerful person dares approach the manger, and this even included King Herod. For this is where thrones shake, the mighty fall, the prominent perish, because God is with the lowly…Before the young maiden, before the manger of Christ, before God in lowliness, the powerful come to naught…” God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas (Westminster John Knox Press, 2010).
The manger and the cross. The words jumped off the page and hit me like a hammer! The two most powerful images or places in the history of humankind; the two most anointed and significant events in all the world; the two symbols of humanity’s only way to salvation – the virgin birth of a poor infant born in a barn and the horrific death of a man on a trash heap between two criminals. Scandalous. Ridiculous. Absolutely insane and yet it is through the manger and the cross that […] Continue Reading…

Reefer Madness: There Is No Such Thing As Medical Marijuana

Posted by admin in October 15th, 2019 | 2 comments 
Published in Marijuana, Social Issues, Uncategorized

There is no such thing as medical marijuana.
“What about all those children with epilepsy and my great aunt with glaucoma?” I am exhausted with the false narratives about the medical benefits of marijuana. The questions fundamentally miss one simple fact: there is NO SUCH THING AS medical marijuana!

The confusion is not surprising, as the marijuana advocacy community has done everything possible to disguise the way medical legalization works in the US.

Marijuana is not “prescribed” for anything. It can’t be, because the FDA has never approved it to treat any disease, and there is little to no evidence that marijuana, in any form, can or does help any diseases.

Pot doctors may “authorize” its use, usually after very short visits by patients. But it is important to understand that an authorization card is NOT a prescription. Less than 3% of MDs in the US have agreed to such authorizations. Most credible doctors, especially GPs, stay away from any form of “medical marijuana” because the research on its benefits and usefulness simply does not exist.

After receiving an authorization card, “patients” can then buy as much marijuana as they like for a year for any reason they choose. Three studies I read showed […] Continue Reading…

Reefer Madness: It Brings Injury and Death

Posted by admin in October 15th, 2019 | no comment 
Published in Uncategorized

Marijuana use increases accidents and ER visits.
There is a strong link between marijuana use and dangerous driving. Berenson says, “The number of drivers in fatal accidents in Colorado and Washington state who test positive for marijuana has soared since legalization” (p. 219).

With recent changes in its legal status, the impact of marijuana on driving accidents is tragic! Marijuana is the most common illicit drug reported in motor vehicle accidents (MVA) nationwide! Experimental studies indicate that acute intoxication with marijuana affects a number of cognitive and motor skills that are necessary for safe driving, including reaction time, signal detection, information processing, and spatial memory—basically every skill necessary to drive safely.

But car accidents aren’t the only thing sending users to the ER.

Five years after Colorado first legalized marijuana, a new study shows the drug is sending more people to the emergency room than ever before. Inhaled marijuana caused the most severe problems, but marijuana-infused foods and candies, called edibles, led to the second most severe problems. Patients went to the ER with symptoms ranging from uncontrollable vomiting to psychotic episodes.

In a state-funded, post-legal-pot study at The University of Colorado Hospital, —2,567 emergency visits were without question caused by marijuana. Seventeen percent […] Continue Reading…

Reefer Madness: It Fries the Brain

Posted by admin in October 15th, 2019 | no comment 
Published in Marijuana, Social Issues, Uncategorized

Marijuana causes impaired cognitive abilities.
Even among infrequent (non-daily) users, marijuana causes significant impairment to one’s ability to pay attention and to concentrate. A number of studies have shown that marijuana use significantly affects impulse control, the ability to do simple planning, decision making, and a person’s working memory—this is with nondaily, infrequent use.

But the enormous “Marijuana Legalization: Impact on Physicians and Public Health” study that I read shows that marijuana use results in:

slower response time in tasks and simple reaction time,
impairment of visuospatial (perception of distance between objects),
inhibits sustained attention and divided attention, and
it wreaks havoc on short-term memory, as well as impairment on motor control tasks.

With chronic, daily use of marijuana, users experience greater cognitive impairment and oftentimes, depending on the age of the user, that cognitive impairment does not repair itself after the users stops ingesting marijuana—resulting in long-term irreparable cognitive damage. Heartbreaking.

So, let’s look at some of the persistent effects of this drug. Chronic marijuana use is associated with:

persistent impairment of attention,
verbal memory loss,
working memory loss,
impaired decision making (the making of bad decisions) and
impaired decision-making function (unable to make any decisions at all).

Although early research indicated that […] Continue Reading…

Reefer Madness: Marijuana Causes Vioence

Posted by admin in October 15th, 2019 | no comment 
Published in Marijuana, Social Issues

Using marijuana is dangerous.
My loved one, the guy who asked the question that started all of this, is an open-minded, born-again Christian. His question was good for me. Instead of me just brushing him off, his sincerity forced me to find evidence to prove my case. And like a lot of people who support the legalization of marijuana, he made this statement, “Marijuana is perfectly safe. Way safer than alcohol.”

No, it isn’t. And the science proves it. In Tell Your Children, Berenson states the common pro-marijuana argument, “Barack Obama smoked it. Bill Clinton smoked it too, even if he didn’t inhale. Might as well say it causes presidencies. I’ve smoked it myself, I liked it fine. Maybe I got a little paranoid, but it didn’t last. Nobody ever died from smoking too much pot” (2019, p. xiv).

“No one ever died from smoking too much pot” is a lie. Not only is marijuana highly addictive, it also leads to violence. There is indisputable research that smoking marijuana leads to violent behavior.

Google Raina Thaiday. Australian courts found her violent behavior was a clear result of long-term marijuana use. The judge stated, “Thaiday gave a history of the use of cannabis since […] Continue Reading…

Reefer Madness: Why I Hate Marijuana’s Guts

Posted by admin in October 15th, 2019 | no comment 
Published in Marijuana, Social Issues

Recently I was asked by a loved one why I am so against marijuana. His question was sincere, and though I believe he holds his own opinion about the subject, I felt that he was genuinely interested in why I hate it so much.

Anecdotes are okay, but as a PhD I know rigorous research beats anecdotes every time. But on this day, I couldn’t quote a single piece of evidence that would make my case. So, I grabbed the arsenal easiest to reach-—that of personal experience and I started there.

I know firsthand that smoking pot is dangerous. At college, I smoked pot for three years. I didn’t just smoke pot recreationally, (which is the way I started), but I eventually had to sell the drug in order to sustain my addiction. I needed pot to go to sleep; I needed it to go to work; I needed it to start my day.

I also know from personal experience that pot hinders productivity. I started smoking marijuana midterm my freshman year. I was earning good grades and had a very clear goal for my life. I was studying special education because I wanted to be a teacher from the time I was […] Continue Reading…

When the Handwriting is on the Wall

Posted by admin in October 9th, 2019 | 7 comments 
Published in Uncategorized

Corrie ten Boom wrote about a time that she was very sick and the doctors thought she was going to die. This was a few years after the war ended. A brother in Christ that she loved and respected came to her bedside and asked, “Corrie, is there any area in your life in which you are not obeying God?”

Corrie ten Boom. The woman had survived a prisoner of war camp, hung tightly to her faith even when her sister died there, boldly loved God with all of her heart and always encouraged the Body of Christ to do likewise—could she ever disobey God?

But there it was. Germany. God was calling Corrie to return to Germany and she did not want to go!

The Christian brother prayed with Corrie and she asked for forgiveness because delayed obedience is always disobedience. She confessed her sin to God and to this brother. They prayed together for healing and Corrie, as always, said yes to the Lord and yes to Germany. Within a few days she was back on her feet and heading to the one place in the world to which she had never wanted to return.

Not anything that dramatic […] Continue Reading…

The Glory and the Grind

Posted by admin in August 3rd, 2019 | 4 comments 
Published in faith, Uncategorized

There’s an old adage, “War is long periods of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.” I think about this saying whenever I’m reading or studying the life of Abraham. Abraham, an ordinary guy going about his ordinary life doing ordinary things when all of the sudden BOOM! God interrupts and Abraham’s course, his life, even his name is changed. We read about Abraham from his call in Genesis 11, at age 75, until his death at age 175, in Genesis 25. In those 100 years of walking with God, the Bible states that God spoke to Abraham only seven times—-seven times in 100 years. Abraham’s life can be described much like the old adage on war: long periods of grind punctuated by shocking moments of glory.

This year I turned 60 and 60 is a call for reflection. I have walked with God since my 21st birthday in 1980. That was the year I was filled with the Spirit and set on fire for God. That was the year I dedicated my life to missions and made a covenant with God to follow Him with all of my heart, soul, mind, and strength. It’s been nearly 40 years […] Continue Reading…

The Tilt of Freedom Toward Evil

Posted by admin in January 7th, 2019 | no comment 
Published in Uncategorized

Solzhenitsyn. The name conjures up a few images, like folks who know they should eat their vegetables, “But it’s just so hard to find the time.” Or, “I love him, though I’ve never actually read him.” Most pseudo-intellectuals like myself LOVE the idea of Solzhenitsyn, but just haven’t taken the time and hard work of actually digesting him.

As Americans we want to be intellectually astute and many claim to have read Solzy, but in truth, we’ve only read bits and pieces and stuff others have written about him. Hand raised, I’m the guiltiest among us.

Recently, Daryl (who actually read The Gulag Archipelago on vacation a few years back) shared with me a book review written by Polish scholar Ryszard Legutko. Legutko is brilliant. He speaks five languages, authored half a dozen books, is a professor of philosophy, and a member of Poland’s parliament. His English-language writing style is glorious. Basically, he’s a rock star. In January’s issue of First Things Legutko writes a book review on Solzhenitsyn’s Between Two Millstones, Book 1: Sketches of Exile. The book ends with Solzhenitsyn’s 1978 Harvard commencement speech. Legutko calls him “The Russian Jeremiah.” And quite frankly, he’s right.

In the Harvard speech Solzhenitsyn […] Continue Reading…

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