In his book, “The Reason for God,” Tim Keller argues that Christianity is the only truly global religion. Indeed, within a few generations of Christ, the Christian faith had spread across much of the known world—from India to North Africa to furthest reaches of the Roman Empire and into the barbarian lands of Northern Europe. Yet up until a hundred years or so ago, for all kinds of historical and sociological reasons, Christianity became a predominantly Western religion.
The missionary efforts of the last hundred years began to change that, and now Pew Research predicts that Africa will be the most Christian continent within about 40 years.
The story behind this geographical relocation is overwhelmingly a story of missions. For centuries, the West sent evangelists to Africa, Asia, and South America to preach the Gospel, plant churches, and create Christian communities where none existed. Whereas the heroes of the faith in the ancient church were theologians and bishops, and those during the Reformation were, well, reformers, most of the names we recognize since the Reformation are the missionaries: William Carey, Hudson Taylor, Gladys Aylward, Eric Liddell, Jim Elliot, Amy Carmichael.
This move of the Gospel from the West to the South and the East could be one of the largest scale fulfillments of the Great Commission since Jesus first gave it.
Yet, as a fascinating piece in The Economist explains, the direction of the flow of Christian missions has now largely reversed. As it did, the geographic center of the faith also shifted. A century ago, as Pew reports, over ninety percent of the world’s Christians lived in Europe and the Americas, and less than six percent in Africa and Asia. Today, over a third of all Christians hail from those continents.
As this Christian population shift has taken place, something else interesting has also happened. Poor, developing countries that once benefited from Western missionaries coming into their cultures have started sending missionaries of their own back to the rich and increasingly irreligious West.
While the U.S. still leads the world in sending missionaries—something that has been true for a long time—our market share is dropping. The largest growth seen in global missions output is in non-Western countries. And it’s happening fast.
Between 2010 and 2015, the number of African missionaries jumped 32 percent to over 27,000. Korean missionaries jumped 50 percent to 30,000 in the same period. And the countries receiving the lion’s share of these missionaries are Brazil, Russia, and—wait for it—the United States.
As one whose church has been largely shaped by the missionary efforts of African Christians, I thank God for this new trend. At the same time, anyone trying to convert Westerners has their work cut out for them. As The Economist piece observed, “Saving the rich is difficult,” though Jesus said it wasn’t impossible. Among the compelling stories of Christian history we may read about one day will be whether missionaries from the Global South coaxed Western camels through the needle’s eye.
Those bringing the good news back to our shores—and even more so to Europe’s shores—often remark how jaded and difficult it can be to convert Westerners. Having once had the faith but having (at least partially) lost it, we’re like the bird-infested path or the thorny ground in Jesus’ parable.
Even so, to whatever scale the effort to reconvert the West succeeds or not, it ought to leave us in awe of God’s wisdom. Within just the span of a few centuries the Church went global, and it was precisely at the time the West began to lose its faith.
Both the work of the missionaries who planted those seeds abroad and the return of that fruit to our own shores are testaments to providence. We ought be reminded through them that God is no respecter of persons, nations, or even continents. I only wish those early global missionaries could see all of this unfold. Of course, as those who’ve now joined the great cloud of witnesses, they have a perspective on the whole story that’s better than our own. They obeyed Jesus’ command to make disciples of all nations. I wonder if they had any idea that those nations would one day return the favor.
John Stonestreet is President of The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and BreakPoint co-host.
G. Shane Morris is a senior writer at BreakPoint, a program of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He’s also written for Summit Ministries and The Christian Post, and blogs regularly at Patheos. Shane lives with his wife and three children.
Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published by BreakPoint.
Our intuitions aren’t infallible. That doesn’t mean we should ignore them.
JOHN KOESSLER| JUNE 21, 2019
Watson Thornton was already serving as a missionary in Japan when he decided to join the Japan Evangelistic Band, an evangelistic mission founded in England in 1903. He decided to travel to the town where the organization’s headquarters were located and to introduce himself to its leader. But just as he was about to get on the train, he felt a tug in his spirit that he took to be the leading of the Lord telling him to wait. He was puzzled but thought he should obey.
When the next train rolled into the station, Watson started to board but again felt he should wait. When the same thing happened with the third train, Watson began to feel foolish. Finally, the last train arrived, and once more Watson felt a check. “Don’t get on the train,” it seemed to say. Shaking his head, he thought, I guess I was wrong about this. Watson thought he had wasted most of the day for no apparent reason. Yet as he turned to go, he heard a voice call out his name. It was the mission leader he had intended to see. He came to ask whether Watson would consider joining the Japan Evangelistic Band. If Watson had ignored the impulse and boarded the train, he would have missed the meeting.
What was this impulse? Watson believed it was the voice of the Lord. Despite this, he felt unsure of himself. His actions didn’t seem to make sense at the time. It felt more like a matter of intuition than anything else.
Coincidence or Guidance?
Jonas Salk called intuition the inner voice that tells the thinking mind where to look next. Intuition is that flash of insight that prompts us to act in the moment. We all have had some experience with this. You feel a strong urge to call someone you haven’t talked to in ages. When they answer the phone, they say, “I was just thinking about you.” Or you are planning to depart for your road trip at a certain time but decide to leave two hours early. Later you learn that you missed a major traffic jam. Was it coincidence or guidance?
We can’t just live by our intuition, can we? Scripture warns that the heart is deceitful above all things (Jer. 17:9). How can we trust it? And the mind does not seem to fare much better. Proverbs 3:5–6 advises, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” We can’t trust our heart or our mind. What is left to guide us?
There is the Bible, of course. But it often does not speak to us with the specificity we might desire. It certainly works well enough on the big things. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t murder. Make disciples of all nations. Yet it doesn’t speak about the fine details. To which church should I accept a call as pastor? What week should we schedule Vacation Bible School this year? Should our short-term missions team go to Mexico or Uganda? There are all kinds of decisions I have to make that cannot be made by turning to a specific chapter and verse.
We do see something like intuition at work in the lives of God’s people in the Bible. Paul tries to enter Asia but is “kept by the Holy Spirit” from doing so (Acts 16:6). He tries to enter Bithynia but his progress is checked by “the Spirit of Jesus” (v. 7). He passes Mysia and goes down to Troas, where he has a vision of a Macedonian man begging him to come and help them (v. 9). Paul took this as a call from God and got ready at once to leave.
Acting on intuition seems as if it is relying on the irrational, or at least something non-rational in us. However, it might be better to describe it as supra-rational. It involves thinking, but there is more to it than that. An intuitive act does not entirely skirt the rational processes since it often involves a decision. But it is one that is made based on different criteria than we usually rely upon when deciding or acting. Intuitive acts seem non-conscious because they don’t involve long deliberation, exhaustive research, or lists of pros and cons. Instead, the decision is made or the action taken in a moment.
Intuitive acts are more holistic than those that are purely rational. They seem to come from some place deep within. They are decisions made by the whole self rather than just the mind. Those who act on intuition often say that they are acting on the gut or their instinct. They cannot explain how they know what they should do; they just know that it is the right thing to do. It is still rational in the sense that the mind is engaged.
There is an additional factor involved where God’s people are concerned. Believers often act based on what might be called “inspired” intuition. They are moved not only by the unseen processes that affect everyone else but also by the Holy Spirit. That was how Paul understood his decision not to enter Asia, Bithynia, or Mysia. The influence of the Spirit was what compelled Watson Thornton not to get on the train, even though that was what he had come to the station to do. We usually describe this as following the “leading” of the Holy Spirit.
This is a sensitive subject for some Christians. One reason is we are not exactly sure how this guidance works. Even though there are clear instances in the Scriptures, the exact details are not always included nor do they necessarily fit our experience. For example, we are told in Acts 13:2 that the church of Antioch was prompted by the Spirit to commission Paul and Barnabas and send them out on mission. In that case, the call did not come through some inner intuition but when the Holy Spirit spoke as the church was fasting and worshiping. But how did the Spirit speak? The explicit mention of prophets and teachers could suggest that there was some kind of prophetic directive. Yet the text does not actually say this.
The same is true of the directions Paul received while he was on his missionary journey. We know the Spirit directed him not to enter some regions and allowed him to enter others. But apart from the one vision, we really don’t know what form this direction took. Was it a “feeling” on Paul’s part that some destinations were just not right? Did God use obstacles and circumstances to nip at Paul’s heels like a sheepdog in order to guarantee that he ended up in the right place at the right time?
In the end, Paul was directed to his destination by a vision. In our case, the Spirit seems to carry out his ministry of guidance by employing more ordinary means. Instead of being visited by a prophet, we receive an email or a phone call inviting us to apply for a pastoral position. When trying to decide which youth pastor to hire, the choice is made when one them turns us down. The processes we use are not at all extraordinary, but that does not mean that God is not in them.
A Measure of Risk
Just as we do not entirely understand the natural processes involved when we act intuitively, we do not always know the spiritual processes involved when God directs us as believers. We often talk about being “led” by the Lord, but when Paul employs this language in Galatians 5:18, he is talking about morality, not decision-making. Those who are led by the Spirit are empowered by him to obey. They “walk”—that is, live—by the Spirit and do not gratify the desires of the flesh, the sinful nature. Being led by the Spirit in a biblical sense is not the art of spontaneous direction or action but the power of God to obey. As New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce once explained, “To be ‘led by the Spirit’ is to walk by the Spirit—to have the power to rebut the desire of the flesh, to be increasingly conformed to the likeness of Christ” (2 Cor. 3:18).
Here, then, is the first principle when it comes to guidance. You already know most of what you need to know to be where you are supposed to be. The art of being led by the Spirit is not a matter of waiting each moment for some mystical experience of divine direction. It is a matter of trusting God for the power to obey what he has already told you to do.
The trouble with living by natural intuition is that it sometimes leads us astray. Some will say that our instincts are never wrong, that we should always lead with our gut. But our actual experience proves otherwise. And research confirms what our own experience tells us: Intuition is real but not infallible. “Psychology,” says Hope College psychologist David Myers, “is replete with compelling examples of how people fool themselves. Even the most intelligent people make predictable and costly intuitive errors; coaches, athletes, investors, interviewers, gamblers, and psychics fall prey to well-documented illusory intuitions.”
This raises an important question. If Christians can err just like anyone else when they act intuitively, then why should we listen to intuition at all? We must admit that there is a measure of risk. The intuitive choices made by Christians are not automatically better than those made by unbelievers. Like everyone else, our hunches can and do go wrong. That investment that our gut told us would be good suddenly tanks. The employee we hired and with whom we seemed to have an instant connection turns out to be lazy. Our sudden impulse to call a friend results in a pleasant but insignificant conversation. We do not always get it right.
Yet the same is sometimes true of the decisions we make after long thought and careful deliberation. The fact that we sometimes get it wrong after doing our research and weighing all the pros and cons does not cause us to conclude that we should throw reason and deliberation out the window. Why would we do the same with intuition? Believers who trust in Spirit-guided intuition are not afraid to make a decision in the moment when they sense God’s prompting. It is worth the risk.
Why didn’t God use the Holy Spirit to give us an infallible understanding of the choices we have to make? I don’t know. I know that if he had, it would not have guaranteed our obedience. The Bible is full of instances in which God’s people know without a doubt what he wants them to do, and yet they often do otherwise. When Israel was poised on the border of Canaan, they did not need intuition to tell them where to go from there. Their problem was that their intuition sent them the wrong message. When they saw the size of the enemy, their gut reaction was: “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are” (Num. 13:31). Notice that this wasn’t just intuition. It was also the result of their research. Yet Caleb’s intuition sent the opposite message: “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (v. 30). What made the difference? Caleb’s intuitive sense was shaped by God’s promise.
God uses both careful deliberation and intuition to guide us. There is an element of risk in each. Our confidence is not in our own infallibility but in God’s sovereignty. We know that if we belong to Jesus Christ, even when we get things wrong, all things work together for our good (Rom. 8:28). God’s ultimate plan for our lives—to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ—cannot be thwarted, not even by our own missteps.
God’s Familiar Voice
In the summer of 1988, Watson Thornton stopped at a post office in the small town of Green Valley, Illinois, to mail a package. By then, he was in his 80s and had retired after a long career in the ministry. He had moved to a nearby town to live with his daughter after his wife’s death.
Watson’s first visit to Green Valley did not especially impress him. “The town does not even have a filling station for gasoline,” he later observed. “I parked across the road from an old dingy store-front, with the title ‘Valley Chapel’ on it, and some children running out from their [Vacation Bible School].”
Despite its dingy appearance, Watson was interested in the tiny church. Two hours earlier, he had prayed, asking God if there might be a small country church nearby where he would feel comfortable. On an impulse, Watson crossed the street and walked in the door. “I stopped in and introduced myself to the young pastor, his wife, and some of the teachers,” he later wrote. “They took me right in and I have felt very much at home.”
I know that this is true. I was the young pastor at the time.
If this was a miracle, it was a small one. Most people would probably write it off as a coincidence. What are the odds of finding a small country church in a town like Green Valley? Pretty good, I suppose. But to someone like Watson, who had spent his life listening for the gentle whisper of the Spirit, it was much more. It was a moment of inspired intuition. This was no coincidence; it was God’s familiar voice—faithful in directing Watson in the small decisions, just as he had always been in the large ones.
John Koessler is chair of the pastoral studies department at Moody Bible Institute. This article was adapted from his book, Practicing the Present: The Neglected Art of Living in the Now (Moody).
“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17 (NIV)
It was only a matter of time. I could see her eyes surveying the situation and hear the wheels of calculation grinding in her head. Sure, she’d been relatively content singing “Happy Birthday” and partaking in the spoils of cake and ice cream. But the time had come for opening presents, and she knew those presents weren’t for her.
The presents were for her younger sister, and one present in particular was the very thing she so desperately wanted for her own birthday. It was a baby doll, dressed in jammies, smelling of lavender, complete with all the essential accessories — pacifier, bottle and stuffed animal. What more could a 3-year-old girl ask for?!
I had foreseen this dilemma coming the moment both girls fell in love with the same baby doll. My two girls have birthdays a month apart, but my younger daughter’s birthday comes four weeks before my older daughter’s. And one whole month of waiting for any 3-year-old might as well be an eternity.
So I did my best to prepare my older daughter. I regularly reminded her that her sister’s birthday would come first. I encouraged her to celebrate her sister’s birthday. I even went so far as to assure her that she, too, would get the exact same baby doll on her birthday. And yet, when the time came for my youngest daughter to open her present, my oldest daughter immediately forgot EV-REE-THING I had said. She wanted that doll for herself, and the tears she shed were not of joy … they were of envy!
My heart knew the struggle all too well. When others seemed to have all the newest “things” (bigger house, nicer car, perfect fall booties, etc.), I envied them, and my heart insisted I needed them more: “Don’t I deserve nice things too?”
When others’ friendships seemed so effortless and full of joy, while my own relationships felt forced and stuck in a rut of exhaustion, I envied them, and my heart complained, “Why can’t my relationships look like theirs?”
And when it seemed as though one friend was always overflowing with opportunity and blessings, having spiritual gifts that seemed much more exciting and more important than my own, I envied (hard) and whined (even louder), “But why heeerrrrrrrr?”
In Exodus 20:17, God commands His people, “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
He commands it. He doesn’t merely suggest it. And why? Because God knew the thief that envy is.
And just as my daughter’s envy robbed her of the joy in participating with the rest of the party, so too can envy be a thief in our own lives. When we envy our neighbor’s belongings, we’re robbed of the opportunity to delight in and be grateful for the things we do have.
When we envy our neighbor’s relationships, we begin to neglect our own, missing opportunities to love and be loved right where we are. And when we envy someone else’s God-given blessings, not only do we risk doubting and dismissing the gifts given to us, but we are robbed of the opportunity to encourage and cheer on our neighbors’ work!
A grim picture to say the least … if that was the end …
But it’s not the end — because our God is greater than the thief! He’s the safeguard of our hearts. So when envy comes knocking again (because it most definitely will), I can instead turn to God, choosing to trust His provision for all of my needs. He is enough. I can respond with an obedient heart to the places He is calling me to serve. He has placed me with intention. And I can simply rest in His loving presence, knowing He is sovereign over it all.
Dear Lord, with all my heart, I desire to trust Your provision in my life, and Your placement of my life. Please forgive me for the times I’ve allowed envy to play thief and sow doubt where You intended it for good. Fill me with Your presence as I walk through this day, and open my eyes to all the mercies and all the blessings You continue to lavish upon me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY: Proverbs 14:30, “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” (NIV)
Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (NIV)
1 Corinthians 12:18-20, “But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.” (NIV)
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REFLECT AND RESPOND:
In which area(s) of your life do you struggle with envy? In what ways has envy impacted you, your relationships with others and your relationship with God? Share your thoughts in the comments!
C.S Lewis was an Oxford and Cambridge scholar, a prolific writer, classicist, philosopher, and Christian. He wrote more than 20 books in his time the most popular of which is, The Chronicles Of Narnia and Mere Christianity. Apart from those two books, he also produced two excellent works on both pain in the general sense and grief in a personal sense. Most of the quotes you will find below are from those two works, A Grief Observed and The Problem Of Pain. Though most of the quotes come from those two books, there are a few that I have pulled from his other works — namely, The Screwtape Letters and The Chronicles of Narnia.
1. Silence And Pain
“I have learned now that while those who speak about one’s miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”
― C. S. Lewis
2. Grief And Fear
“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
3. Stopping Is Inevitable
“Crying is all right in its way while it lasts. But you have to stop sooner or later, and then you still have to decide what to do.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Silver Chair
4. The Painful Journey
“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”
― C.S. Lewis
5. Drama And Pain
“Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is more common and also more hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain
“I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been – if you’ve been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you – you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
7. The Tragic Trade
“The pain I feel now is the happiness I had before. That’s the deal.”
― C.S. Lewis
8. Becoming Numb
“The more often he feels without acting, the less he will be able ever to act, and, in the long run, the less he will be able to feel.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters
9. Meditative Grief
“I once read the sentence ‘I lay awake all night with a toothache, thinking about the toothache an about lying awake.’ That’s true to life. Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.”
― C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
10. The Love Of God
When pain is to be born, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all.”
As John received revelation upon revelation sitting exiled upon the Isle of Patmos he issued a very strong warning to us in our day. He told us that our entire world would be deceived (lied to) through the sorceries that would come out of Babylon. (Rev. 18:23-24)
He went on to say that the end result of this deception would be the demise of prophets, saints and many good men. In other words no one would be spared in this great deception by these sorceries. Remember that we were told that even the very elect would be deceived.
So what is this sorcery of which John warns?
The Greek word for sorcery is pharmakia, which means “medicine from a pharmacy.” WHAT?! Does that mean the drugs we find in those pharmacies on nearly every street corner now? Is it talking about those same drugs with ads that run all day long on our TVs and in magazines that we see everywhere we look?!
Is it any wonder then that these prescription drugs are now being reported as the biggest drug problem in America today? Is it any wonder that the whole world has been deceived about these drugs?
According to a 1995 study done by concerned pharmacists, prescription drugs, taken “as prescribed” rather than abused, are the third leading cause of death in this country, killing as many Americans every week as we lost at 9/11. The death toll of another 9/11 every week in this country! In light of this we need to ask who the real terrorists are when we are in a war over one week’s worth of these deaths while all the others go unnoticed, slaughtered and buried right under our noses. Is it any wonder the scriptures speak so sternly of sorcerers and sorcery?
In 2008 we read in the New England Journal of Medicine that almost half of the studies done on one of America’s most popular group of drugs, antidepressants, were negative, yet when any of those negative studies were reported to the public the results were presented as positive.
They also said the studies indicated that there was little evidence these drugs which bring in nearly $200 million per day were more effective than placebos in treating depression.
Deception? Deadly deception! How deadly?
The most popular of these antidepressants, Effexor, now has “homicidal ideation” listed as a side effect. Homicidal ideation is not just killing someone, but it is having constant ruminating thoughts of killing and how to kill.
To see the results of just this one deception with antidepressants go to www.ssristories.NET where you will find a very long list of school shootings, loving mothers and fathers who have killed their children, children who have killed their parents, suicides, murder/suicides, female school teachers who have seduced male students, even well respected ministers who have raped children, previously “straight” individuals who have become “gay” – even to the point of having sex change surgery, extreme out of character behavior, including violence, wild spending sprees, embezzlement, sexual promiscuity, exhibitionism, gambling, etc. – all side effects of antidepressants.
Then the FDA announced that they have been investigating many various types of medications for the potential of causing suicide. After learning that antidepressants increase suicidal potential by 2-3 times suddenly the FDA officials realized that multiple classes of medicines might cause dangerous psychiatric problems including suicide.
Medicines to treat acne, hypertension, seizures, high cholesterol, swelling, heartburn, pain, bacterial infections and insomnia can all cause psychiatric problems, effects that were discovered in most cases after the drugs were approved and already used in millions of patients.
Now, how could these medications produce such things? With antidepressants that answer can be as simple as explaining that antidepressants create a sleep disorder in which the patient acts out nightmares. It is called a REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) and 86% of those being diagnosed with the disorder are taking antidepressants. RBD is known to produce both murder and suicide. Acting out one’s worst nightmare – what a perfect way to produce out-of-character behavior that could destroy all a person has worked to achieve in character building throughout life–all gone in the blink of the eye!
Even worse than understanding the potential of these drugs to produce RBD, is to know that in the past RBD was known mainly as a drug withdrawal state. So the question of great concern at this point should be: “If antidepressants are being found to be in current use in 86% of the cases just how high will that percentage go in the withdrawal state from these drugs?!” This is why is it so important to avoid the worst of withdrawal by weaning EXTREMELY SLOWLY down off an antidepressant.
As people begin to see how they have been lied to about the safety and effectiveness of these drugs and attempt to come off the drugs, what will the end result be? Knowing what I know about these drugs and the withdrawal from these drugs I can tell you that I for one DO NOT want to witness what we will see!
If there has ever been a situation in the history of this world where we have so desperately needed to adhere to the command to be our “brother’s keeper” this is it! In doing so, even if you are not the one taking the drug, the life you save may be your own or that of a loved one.
Why? Because when someone goes psychotic in the withdrawal they can do anything to anyone and I just might be you or your loved one. (For information on safe withdrawal go to www.drugawareness.org to find the CD “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!)
Kim Crespi near Charlotte, NC learned of antidepressant withdrawal all too painfully on January 20, 2006 when her husband David, a good strong Christian and wonderful husband and father, who was also a vice president of the local bank and well respected in the community, stabbed their twin four year old daughters to death.
David was months into an abrupt withdrawal from Paxil and had just started taking Prozac. He and Kim were not aware that the FDA had just warned the year before that any abrupt change in dose of an antidepressant, whether going up or down (he had just done both), can produce suicide, hostility, or psychosis – generally a manic psychosis leading to a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder. Of course it is not true Bipolar, but a drug withdrawal effect, yet so many have found they would be medicated for years for something (the Bipolar Disorder) they don’t really have.
Is it any wonder that the diagnosis of Bipolar has increased by 4000% over a recent 10 year period when it was basically unheard of before SSRI antidepressants?
But why is all this happening to us? Where did we go wrong?
For the answer we need to turn to Isaiah 28:8 where, he, speaking of our day, says that we will rise up each day to get drunk (but he had already made it clear that this drunkenness would not be from wine or strong drink). What would produce that drunken state then? Well when do people generally take their medications? First thing in the morning? These are mind altering medications. And what do the package inserts list as side effects? That is right – all the same effects one could expect from alcohol, but much stronger.
Isaiah then goes on to tell us why people would suffer the feelings of needing drugs. He says that our tables are “full of vomit” and there is nothing clean there.
Well, what is vomit? Vomit is food that either has already had the nutrients extracted or food that cannot be used by the body and is expelled because of that. And unclean? Look at the chemicals that have saturated our food supply.
So if our tables are full of vomit – food that has been depleted of nutrients or food that cannot be utilized where does that leave us? We are nutrient depleted. And where does nutrient depletion lead us? It leads us to stimulants of any kind in order to force our bodies and brains to perform since they do not have the fuel or building blocks from nutrients to perform.
Perhaps the most obvious segment of society in which to see this is that which is most transparent due to the exposure they get – Hollywood. Show business is a very high profile and highly demanding profession. If you watch the lives of those in the business you generally see only two groups: health nuts or drug users. They either reach for nutrients to supply the building blocks they need to build energy levels they need to cope with their fast paced lifestyle or they use drugs to force their bodies/brains to keep up the fast pace. It is simple to see which of those choices coincides with the Savior’s teachings.
One extremely critical point for all Christians to understand is the serotonin connection to spirituality. Antidepressants as well as the new atypical antipsychotics work by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. But 50% of the serotonin is metabolized by the pineal gland.
What is the pineal gland? It is the master gland of the body and also known as the “seat of the soul” or our connection to higher, spiritual thoughts. In Eastern religions it is known as the Third Eye and is located right in the center of the brain behind the eyes. The question we need to ask is that if the Pineal gland is overloaded with large amounts of serotonin produced by these drugs, does it interfere with that spiritual connection?
According to patients using these drugs it does. They continually report that they can no longer feel God. One perfect example that comes to mind is that of Elizabeth Bush, the 14 year old girl who shot her best friend at the private Catholic school they attended. Elizabeth’s hero in life was Mother Teresa. Elizabeth planned to devote her life to God and become a nun. So how did she go from that point to a charge of attempted murder almost overnight?
I called her attorney when this happened and told him what happened was likely the result of the use of one of these antidepressants. He did not show much interest, but said he would check. Then the following week Elizabeth was interviewed on 20/20 and asked this very question of how did she go from Mother Teresa as her hero to shooting her best friend at school. Her reply was that she could “no longer feel God anymore.”
I called her attorney the following morning and told him I no longer had any question about whether or not his client had been on an antidepressant nor any question about its contribution to causing this tragedy. With that new evidence about her inability to feel God anymore, in my mind, I knew. At that point he asked me to hold for a minute and when he returned he said through the rustling of papers, “Paxil. Is Paxil one of those drugs?”
So, as dangerous and life-threatening as these drugs can be, even worse is the possibility that we can be severed from the spiritual by these drugs. Not only can they produce physical death, but also spiritual death.
Where did we go wrong?
Clearly we have underestimated Satan and his potential to pull us into his web of deceit and debauchery. Just because he is evil, does not mean he is stupid. He has much knowledge, far more than we do. Not more power than we do, because we do have the strength to overcome all with the help of the Savior. But we must be constantly aware of his cunning craftiness when it comes to his power to deceive. This awful situation in which we now find ourselves is a call for humility and faith and a reminder to always turn to the Savior in ALL things rather than trusting in the arm of flesh.
[For additional information on serotonin and antidepressant medications along with additional information on the great deception of pharmakia that John spoke of see Ann Blake-Tracy’s book, Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare ]
I will share here three articles with additional information as full confirmation of those prophetic warnings to us in Revelations. In the end I think you will see that it was not modern medicine that you might have thought made you well, but God who actually spared your life from the danger.
First is from my friend and fellow Board Member, Dr. Candace Pert, whose research make SSRI antidepressants possible & who served for 13 years as Chief of the Section on Brain Biochemistry, Clinical Neuroscience Branch, at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).
Next is a radio interview with Dr. John Virapen who is the one responsible for BUYING the approval (yes he paid a bribe in Pharmas’ behalf ) to get these drugs on the market. Listen to him admit it all in this first radio interview he did in the United States in 2010:
The last one is from Dr. John Ioanidis, the world’s leading expert on medical science who has been warning since 2005 that 90% of medical research is at least tainted if not outright bogus, due to influence ($$$$$$) from industry!
To demonstrate the seriousness of this situation he stated he is not sure medical science will be able to survive this! One simple question to bring perspective: “Would you take your car to a mechanic who is relying on information on the car which is 90% incorrect?” And yet according to Dr. Ioannidis, this is exactly what you are doing with your own health/your very life or the health/lives of your loved ones, every time you walk into a doctor’s office!]
WITHDRAWAL WARNING:In sharing this information about adverse reactions to antidepressants I always recommend that you also give reference to my CD on safe withdrawal, Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!, so that we do not have more people dropping off these drugs too quickly – a move which I have warned from the beginning can be even more dangerous than staying on the drugs!
The FDA also now warns that any abrupt change in dose of an antidepressant can produce suicide, hostility or psychosis. These reactions can either come on very rapidly or even be delayed for months depending upon the adverse effects upon sleep patterns when the withdrawal is rapid!
Ann Blake Tracy is the executive director of the International Coalition for Drug Awareness and the author of: ”Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? – Our Serotonin Nightmare – The Complete Truth of the Full Impact of Antidepressants Upon Us & Our World” & Withdrawal CD “Help! I Can’t Get Off My Antidepressant!”
Christian sex ‘sins’ melt down on TV’s ‘Bachelorette’
‘Dude, choose a woman who loves Christ the way you do. Period’
Luke Parker and Hannah Brown enjoy a helicopter ride together (Instagram /Luke Parker)
Millions of Christians across America and the world are familiar with the Bible’s warning against having sex outside of marriage, and now that conflict has sparked a meltdown on “The Bachelorette” TV show and spilled into real life.
The stance by one Christian suitor, 24-year-old Luke Parker, to wait until marriage to have sex got him tossed out of contention by Hannah Brown, who rolled her eyes numerous times when Parker objected to the “Fantasy Suites” portion of the program.
It’s not that Brown wasn’t attracted to “LukeP” as he’s called on the air.
“The closest thing to love at first sight was probably with you,” the Alabama native admitted during Parker’s final episode.
But when it came to the possibility of Ms. Brown having sex with numerous partners, that’s where Parker drew the line.
“I don’t believe that’s something you should be doing,” he said, “and I just want to make sure you’re not going to be, you know, sexually intimate with, you know, the other relationships here.”
“Guess what? Sex might be a sin out of marriage, pride is a sin, too, and I feel like this is like a pride thing,” Brown responded. “I feel like I’ve finally gotten clarity on you and I do not want you to be my husband.”
After Parker asked if he could have a moment, Brown dropped a bombshell on him, saying she did, in fact, already have sex in a windmill twice with fellow contestant Peter Weber.
“I have had sex and, like, Jesus still loves me,” she declared.
The lovers’ spat continued off the air, on the internet, with the couple engaging in a fierce war of words over what constitutes sin, and how Christians should respond.
“The difference in how we view sin is seen in the response,” Parker indicated. “I’m weeping at mine and you’re laughing at yours. All sin stings. My heart hurts for both of us.”
Brown responded: “time and time again Jesus loved and ate with ‘sinners’ who laughed. And time and time again he rebuked ‘saints’ that judged. Where do you fall Luke? #TheBachelorette.”
Luke replied: “There is a difference between eating with sinners who laugh and sinners who laugh at their sin. Sin is the very thing that put Jesus on the cross and that’s not a laughing matter.”
Brown wasn’t through, though, as she alluded to a conversation Parker had with another kicked-off contestant, Garrett Powell: “I have never said that I find my sin funny. I’m not going to [be] lectured on appropriate emotional responses by a guy who threw deli meat in a guy’s lap.”
Parker then addressed the sexual encounter in the windmill.
“Your tweets about the windmill and the wood were enough, it’s not about the action it’s about the response. If you want to talk about it, you know how to get ahold of me.”
On Instagram, Parker admitted it hurt his heart that Hannah “felt I was shaming her.”
In our conversation my heart was never to judge or condemn Hannah. I was simply making a decision for myself on what I expected in our relationship, our conversations and our beliefs led me to believe we were on the same page about sex. For me it was never about getting a rose, it was always about finding a wife who would choose me everyday just as I would choose her everyday.
As for my time on the show I made mistakes and no I’m not perfect (crazy right) I didn’t totally behave as the man I want to be and I did not represent Christ the way I thought I was prepared to and that has broken me.
This journey has taught me so much and for that I am grateful but the greatest gift I have received is a compassion for those who love the world and it’s ways. My desire is to put the Father first above all things and share the truth that he has given to us all. Thank you everyone for the prayers always remember speak truth and rid yourself of all hate, let compassion drive your words. Stay tuned.
Some comments from viewers online include:
“Stick to your guns. [Wait for] sex until you’re married. She is crazy anyways.”
“Boy still can’t fully take responsibility for how crappy he is.”
“I just don’t think this environment/setting was for you. I mean, how could someone not have controlling behaviors when a girl their dating is dating 30 other guys. I think the the guys who DON’T CARE that Hannah is mindlessly sleeping around/jumping naked is more concerning to me, than a man who finds it concerning and worth talking about? Clearly the TV show made you look like some narcissist. But I don’t think you are. I think @alabamahannah is just an airhead who uses grace as an excuse to have 0 control and overreacted. Her Bible quotes were her interpretation of the Bible. Any who. *Not a Luke fan but even more so not a Hannah fan. She slept with a guy she had no feelings for … (she never told peter she loved him …) I mean it’s worth being a little concerned about if you’re wanting to propose to someone within a week.”
“Why is everyone confusing the words judgement and discernment. Obviously you have a standard you want to live by and it’s not unreasonable to desire a wife with those same standards and desires. Hannah doesn’t have a true relationship with Jesus. Because Christ says that ‘those who love me obey my commands.’ Dude … choose a woman who loves Christ the way you do. Period.”
Michael Brown takes on controversy surrounding reality show’s pair of contestants
The headline announced, “‘Bachelorette’ star sends contestant home after sex before marriage spat, feud spills into Twitter.” Yes, “Sparks flew Monday night on the Fantasy Suites week episode of ‘The Bachelorette’ between star Hannah Brown and Luke Parker.” The sparks were flying over the issue of pre-marital sex.
Both Brown and Parker claim to be committed Christians, but for Parker, sex was to be saved for marriage. Not so for Brown, who told Parker she had had sex with another show contestant, not once, but twice. “I have had sex” she said, “and, like, Jesus still loves me.”
To be candid, I’ve never watched “The Bachelorette” (or “The Bachelor”), and I know nothing of Brown and Parker, other than what I’ve written here.
But I do know Jesus. And I do know the Scriptures. And the Word of God makes perfectly clear that sexual intimacy is a special gift for a husband and wife alone. Period.
To have sex before wedlock is called fornication. To have sex outside of wedlock is called adultery. And both are expressly forbidden in Scripture. Sex is too sacred to be squandered and abused and misused. It is for the marital bed alone.
But what of Brown’s statement, “Jesus still loves me”?
She’s absolutely right. He still does. He loves us when we sin, even repeatedly.
He loves us when we’re immoral. And when we’re proud. And when we’re greedy. And when we’re hateful.
Yes, He still loves us, even when we sin.
But that doesn’t mean He is pleased with us when we sin. That doesn’t mean He looks the other way. That doesn’t mean we haven’t grieved Him. And that doesn’t mean He will not discipline us in His love.
In fact, Jesus spoke so strongly against sexual immorality that He said we should take radical steps to prevent it in our lives, emphasizing that those steps would be far less costly than going to hell (Matthew 5:27-30).
Paul also gave warnings in the strongest terms, writing, “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. … For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:3–6).
The book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible, has this to say about who will enter the eternal, heavenly Jerusalem and who will not: “Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood” (Revelation 22:14–15).
Willfully practicing sin is terribly costly.
Again, it’s true that Jesus still loves us, even when we sin. And it’s true that, one way or another, we sin every day, either in thought or word or deed. Even if we don’t sin consciously, we still fall short of loving our neighbor perfectly, even on our very best day.
But Jesus loves us enough that He calls us out of our sin, rebukes us for our persistent and willful sin and warns us of the consequences of sin.
Hannah Brown said to Luke Parker, “Guess what? Sex might be a sin out of marriage; pride is a sin, too, and I feel like this is like a pride thing.”
And that, somehow, was justification in her eyes for having sex outside of wedlock. To paraphrase, “Well, I feel you’re bring proud, which is just as bad as having sex out of wedlock. So, if you can be proud, I can have sex.”
What she has sadly forgotten is that sex is sacred and that sin destroys. And that Jesus came to save us from our sins so that, from here on, we could live the rest of our lives in obedience to God.
The Lord does forgive us, freely and completely, laying down His life to save us from judgment and destruction. But salvation comes with requirements. God requires us to be holy.
As Paul wrote, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:18–20).
I pray Hannah Brown would take this to heart. In fact, I pray that each and everyone of us would take it to heart. We can’t let anything rob us of walking in the beauty of holiness.
The truth does not change based on your ability to accept it.
I do my best to live life in a way that I am aware of what I do, while also trying not to chase things that are outside of my control.
Here are some of those truths that help me stay in control of my life.
Life is pain
“Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” — William Goldman
The first person that comes to mind is Gary Vaynerchuk, whose constant social media posting encourages folks to chase happiness instead of money.
Well, sorry to break it to you, but life is pain. If you do not accept this, life is going to break your heart on a daily basis.
The pursuit of happiness? How does that even work? How does one go about it? How long does it last?
Don’t wish for fairytales. Just don’t.
The truth is that you have to make use of your suffering. That you must do your best to choose the battles you want to fight.
Do what is hard every single day, do what is meaningful, and happiness will come as a by-product of your actions.
Envy is the most stupid thing ever
“People always get what they want. But there is a price for everything. Failures are either those who do not know what they want or are not prepared to pay the price asked them. The price varies from individual to individual. Some get things at bargain-sale prices, others only at famine prices. But it is no use grumbling. Whatever price you are asked, you must pay.” – W.H. Auden
There’s a price that one must pay for anything. The price is sometimes time, sometimes energy, sometimes compromising oneself.
If someone has more than you, if someone is better than you at a certain skill, you can rest assured that they are worst than you in other areas.
We get what we are willing to sacrifice for.
I spent eight years writing before I earned a single dollar. I was living mostly on coffee, Coca-Cola, and cigarettes. I was also a recluse. I felt as if there was this invisible wall between me and the rest of the world. I cannot count the times I cried whenever I saw people who were in love or seemed to be.
I paid the price. To be able to write my stories, to share them with the world.
Think about that next time you feel like being envious of someone else’s success or achievements. They paid the price. You didn’t.
Cynicism is going to poison your soul
“Michelangelo’s great perfect marble David cries out to its observer: “You could be more than you are.” When you dare aspire upward, you reveal the inadequacy of the present and the promise of the future. Then you disturb others, in the depths of their souls, where they understand that their cynicism and immobility are unjustifiable. You play Abel to their Cain. You remind them that they ceased caring not because of life’s horrors, which are undeniable, but because they do not want to lift the world up on to their shoulders, where it belongs.” – Jordan B. Peterson
Here in Romania a lot of folks tend to believe that rich people are all thieves. Corrupt. They did something bad to acquire their fortunes. And when I tell them that they could also steal, they look at me like…
Play by the rules, if you want to win. If you hate the game, hate the players, you’re only going to be bitter about it for the rest of your life.
You know those guys who call the police whenever a neighbor throws a party?
Well, they do so because no one ever invites them to parties. The same goes for guys who slut-shame women, people who hate on the rich, on the famous, on the talented, on every single other category.
The dog that can bite, almost never has to
“Morality is just a fiction used by the herd of inferior human beings to hold back the few superior men.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
We have a saying here in Romania: the dog that barks never bites. The people who are most vocal about their beliefs, about ethics, about the way that we should live our lives, they are most afraid of the chaos that life truly represents.
You know one of the best ways you can gain self-confidence and speak up for yourself? If you are strong enough to defend yourself physically. Funny. But true.
The thing is, unless one is capable of being bad, he cannot be considered good.
A rabbit is not good. It is harmless. Being harmless, being the nice guy, that’s not going to get you the kind of life you dream about. Avoiding conflict makes it so that you attract conflict.
Just take a look at the kind of kids that get bullied. As a matter of fact, take a close look at kids aged 2 to 4 and the way they play together. How mean and aggressive they are. They lie, they steal, they fight. Little monsters.
I think it’s almost a miracle we don’t all end up as serial killers.
There’s a certain darkness in each and all of us, and we must accept our own darkness, and we must be willing to face the darkness in other people’s souls.
Pretending otherwise? You’re just setting yourself up to be exploited by those who do accept the darkness that lies in each and every single one of us.
Think about it.. if you expect the lion to not eat you because you didn’t eat it, guess what’s going to happen?
Intentions don’t matter
“Remember, people will judge you by your actions not your intentions. You may have a heart of gold but so does a hard-boiled egg.” – Maya Angelou
A few years ago I was deeply in love. Or so I’d define what I was feeling back then. One fine morning, after a particularly long and tedious fight the night before, she decided to break up with me. I didn’t expect it, never thought it could happen.
All I could do was cry and tell her that I loved her as much as I could. That was it. All I could do. What I felt for her, I couldn’t feel more of. There wasn’t more to be felt. There wasn’t room in my heart to love anyone or anything else but her.
It didn’t matter, of course.
The rabbits from my previous truth on life are probably judging her as insensitive and cold.
Here’s the thing: in life, everyone except your mother is going to judge you by your actions. It does not matter that you tried to do the right thing. Did you do it? That’s all that matters.
It does not matter how much you love someone or what you’re willing to do for them, it matters if you love them the way they want to be loved, if you are the person they want to love.
Unhappy kids raise unhappy kids
“The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth” – African proverb
A mother is supposed to love her child unconditionally. It does seem to be the one element an awful lot of successful people have in common, but not the only one.
Children are fragile, and you can even break them by giving them too much love and attention, or by never saying no, or by trying to protect them from what you consider to be a dangerous world.
It took me years and years to understand my own self, to get rid of traumas that I had the tendency to downplay.
And the demons that we acquire when we are kids (that we sometimes end up calling destiny) are not so easy to get rid out.
Habits, not goals
“Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.” – Jeff Olson
It’s February and I bet that the vast majority of people who set New Years Resolutions have already failed at them.
Goals are not as exciting as we think they are. As a matter of fact, most of the time reaching a goal is not as satisfying as daydreaming about it.
Habits, on the other hand, can last a lifetime.
Develop the habits. Focus on the twenty-four hours ahead of you.
Ask yourself who do you want to be, and do something today that brings you closer to becoming that person.
Be a king. Always.
“About this time he had the sarcophagus and body of Alexander the Great brought forth from its shrine, and after gazing on it, showed his respect by placing upon it a golden crown and strewing it with flowers; and being then asked whether he wished to see the tomb of the Ptolemies as well, he replied, “My wish was to see a king, not corpses.” – Suetonius
Be the king of your own life. Of your own soul. True mastery is mastery over oneself. Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes. Especially if your voice shakes. You are going to die, no matter what. Do not beg for moments or temporary comfort.
Be a king. Keep your head high.
And remember, always remember, that if you stand for nothing, you will fall for everything. It is better to die on your feet than live on your knees.
If the world asks you who you are, you speak loud and clear, because you if you do not, it will tell you and you won’t like it.
These are some of the truths that I try to remind myself on a daily basis. There are, of course, a lot more, like the fact that most people are wrong (and it always helps to stay away from what the majority thinks or believes in or does), or the fact that we must do something hard every single day, or that we must embrace uncertainty.
What do you think? What are some undeniable truths that you figure out about life?