In January of 1987, as explained in reality part 2, I began my short-lived career on Christian radio. Because the content is still relevant today, the scripts for the first three 15-minute segments follow below. First, to prepare you for the unorthodox style of the weekly "intros," here are the two 30-second promo-spots adopted:
Hi! Are you a sleepy virgin? No way? Well, don't be too sure until you check out a new Saturday morning wake-up ministry on AM-1300... In Matthew 25 Jesus says if He delays His coming far into the night His bride MIGHT have a tendency to doze beside a flickering lamp. So if YOUR spiritual eyelids have begun to droop lately, set that clock for 9:15-SUNSHINE January 3rd and partake a quarter hour cup with Brother Jim on STORMWATCH.
[LOUD SNORE] Great Granny McBride! This alarm's been ringing half an hour and you girls are still asleep! Wake up, now! On your feet! Trim those lamps! (Straighten the wrinkles out, Missy! Let Matilda have her turn with the spot remover!) Up! Everybody up! Gracious I never saw such a BEASTLY storm! Let's see if we can get a weather report: [...fade in MUSIC...] "This is STORMWATCH, folks, blaring at you Saturday mornings at 9:15 AM on AM, A-men? Let that sheep with an eye on the sky startle YOU awake with scary cloud formations."
broadcast #1 1/3/87
Welcome to all the flock who were formerly scattered on every high hill and mountain on a cloudy and gloomy day. Greetings to the sun-drenched flock purchased out of Egypt by the blood of that perfect Lamb, our Shepherd Jesus. This is STORMWATCH. I'm brother Jim, your wooly weatherman, scanning the spiritual skies to keep you informed of latest changes in climates of opinion, thunderheads of controversy, whirlwinds of false teaching. Our Radar is getting rather ancient, but actually is more sharply focused now than ever: we call it the written word of God, and it pierces -- not only to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow: being able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart -- but also over our heads it penetrates all this ominously boiling confusion sweeping towards us from every horizon...to reveal the brilliant sunlight beyond -- the Glory of the King of kings!
But fellow rams and ewes, WHAT A STORM IT IS that's just beginning to break! How those first raindrops sting as they hit the ground like buckshot! Just because no man sees its overshadowing with the natural eye, does not make its towering loom over western civilization any less real, amen? I mean, even the unsaved, if they have the misfortune to be left alone in a quiet place for a minute, have attacks of nervousness at the only too evident darkening down of a society bent on self-gratification at any price. Talk about your twilight of the gods, lads and lassies!
But our Radar has already told us in Revelation 12:12, "Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you having great wrath, knowing that his time is short." Did you know the lightning-S symbol displayed by the Nazi SS corps and prominent on numerous heavy-metal rockalbum covers pays perverse homage to that casting-down of Satan -- which our Lord beheld in Luke 10:18 as being "like lightning"? It's already past time to have donned our storm-gear, folks, elsewhere known as the Whole Armor of God...And that's what this broadcast is all about -- sounding an alarm, trying to waken still-drowsing segments of the flock, hypnotized by the exciting pace, the treasure-trove dazzle of the modern world -- rouse them to the lateness of the hour,
'CAUSE "A HARD RAIN IS GONNA' FALL!" [End weekly intro]
Walter Martin, the "Bible Answer-Man" and author of The Kingdom of the Cults, in his November '86 newsletter writes:
All across America there is a growing awareness of the inroads of atheistic humanism, concerning which I have been speaking for more than 25 years ever since I encountered it in higher education. There is a storm brewing in American culture which is beginning to break, not only in our religious institutions, but also in our secular schools and in our government itself. More and more people are beginning to realize that it is the Judeo-Christian religion and its tradition in America which has protected us in the past from the very excesses we now so openly deplore.
Well, you say, "I know all that -- that's no big news to me. Hey, I'm fed up to here with hoopla about "secular humanism." I'm awake to all that mess, you wooly-headed young weathersnapper!"
Well, O.K. O.K., I know, but just hang on a minute and you may find out you're still half asleep. BECAUSE: Checking out the spiritual skies, blocking out today's major storm-systems: whereas the angry blast from what we might call the WESTERN horizon, noted by Martin, has indeed long since struck us, there remains another, largely unnoticed storm-front wafting stealthily in from the "east" that in its lurid strobelight flashings evidences all the unbridled ferocity of a full-blown -- I believe the ultimate -- hurricane. Now listen up, gang, and put on your Holy Spirit thinking caps and let's get serious, because I want to read you an extremely heavy -- that is, "weighty" super-concentrated statement from a Christian observer of the New Age Movement, Brooks Alexander, of the Berkeley-based Spiritual Counterfeits Project: I quote:
In the spiritual vacuum of a 'post-Christian age,' humanity's innate desire for transcendence is groping for new forms of expression. The older forms of humanism, based upon rationalism and materialism, are being discarded in favor of an occult-mystical view of man as essentially divine and (through the alteration of consciousness) infinitely expandable. This illegitimate divinization of man -- the idolatrous worship of the self -- which was pronounced by the serpent in Eden and practiced en masse at the Tower of Babel, is nothing more that humanism in its cosmic dimensions.
Now of course when Brooks speaks of our living in a "post-Christian age" he certainly doesn't mean there are no Christians left: rather, he's just squarely facing the fact that the Christian world-and-life view held by our remnant no longer sets the tone of western culture. But in case you mistake brother Alexander for a pagan philosopher because he uses such high-dollar language, please note that his perspective is grounded solidly in the prophetic scriptures. This brother is speaking forth a profound key to understanding the big picture, the satellite view of what is happening in our era:
What he's saying, folks, is that the forms of secular humanism Christians are having to confront today in the schools, in government, and in the media are, for the most part, just the first -- and actually the lesser -- of a one-two punch from hell. The first is not lesser in scope, but -- get this -- in the KIND OF POWER BEHIND IT. The older humanism with which we are more familiar has been generally agnostic or atheistic; in other words, it was anti-christ simply by being anti-spiritual, anti-supernatural. It thought "spirit" was a fairytale.
But because of the inescapable spiritual hunger built-into man by the reality of his being a creature made by, and for fellowship with a personal God, this humanism has despaired inwardly at its own hollowness, its own soul-parched shallowness. Probably we've all heard the phrase, "The Age of Anxiety." Even baby believers -- even not-so-baby believers -- are not immune to occasional bouts with this relentless cloud of foreboding, right?
So that first wave of humanism is simply the worldview of fallen natural man left pretty much to himself, after he has been mentally cut off from belief by being programmed to think life is nothing more than an accidental arrangement of matter and energy in an eternal collection of matter and energy. The main driving force of that first wave was simply man's own pride in thinking himself the crowning measure of all things, evolution's unrecognized darling, out of a chaos without rhyme or reason. In the Christianese we've borrowed from our Radar screen, it is fallen man operating strictly from the basis of "the world" and "the flesh."
But our Radar picks up a third and more insidious source of our enslaving blindnesses: the prince of fear and confusion, the "ruler of this world," the devil. No apologies: The devil. Defeated but not yet bound. And here we come to the crucial distinction between the two waves, these two gigantic storm-systems. That difference is this: The second wave, the one now looming scarcely noticed from the east, has a supernatural dynamic that its asdherants are learning to tap-into in hell-hatched counterfeits of the Spirit-filled life. Talk about your "winds of doctrine"! -- People, the coming storm is so awesome because its goal is a Satan-seduced man walking in the arrogance -- not just of the delusion that he is a god: but that man even at times receiving a degree of real -- but unholy -- POWER which is, indeed, not of this world!
Now I know what I'm talking about, because I once walked in that path, back there in Egypt Land; and although I may have already been "grafted into the olive tree" as a spiritual Israelite, when I finally surrendered fully to Jesus in grasping the fact that He is very Lord and Creator God and got my free escort through the Red Sea, I was still so scared by what I'd seen back there in Pharaoh's army: I tell you I hit the beach running! But more about that later...
Remember Matthew 25 where Jesus says the Bridegroom had delayed His coming and the ten virgins became drowsy? Even the five who had sufficient oil were catnapping! The bottom line of that and similar parables was always "Keep alert, for you don't know the day or the hour." USA Weekend in a recent survey found that 70% of Americans thought they were on their way to heaven. But that's just a cross-section of your average traffic-jam. How many church-goers have been lulled into a similar "salvation by assumption"? (I'm getting off my subject, but men and women, you're missing it if you only "hope" you are Christ's. It's not enough even to believe what the Bible says about Jesus: You have to be trusting in Him! YOU / AND / HE / HAVE / TO / KNOW / EACH / OTHER / PERSONALLY. And if you know Him, you will be soon growing into knowing that you know Him. It's a hard saying, but even sound doctrine can be made into a bed of false security. How much more the teachings of devils!)
And if you can miss the boat in a strong Bible church, how thick are the barriers for the shopping-mall or TV-addict whose mind is consumed with politics, sports, or Dallas? But the alarm I'm called to communicate is more serious yet. Unless God's Spirit were to intervene in listening hearts, what I am speaking will come across as near-nonsense to the unsaved. I'm primarily addressing Spirit-born followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I unabashedly assert that we are entering the time of fulfillment of Matthew 24:24 where Jesus said: "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect." That scripture ties directly to 2nd Thessalonians 2:8-12 where the apostle speaks of "that lawless one...whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness."
This radio ministry is not primarily evangelistic. What this show is about is helping to insure that the elect, God's called-out flock, are not tricked; it's about unmasking social doctrines of demons, shining a spotlight on circling wolves in sheep's clothing, blowing the cover on enemy strategy -- crippling the deceiver's lines of LIE-SUPPLY.
As just one little sample leaf swooping ahead of that coming hurricane, did you know that Shirley McLaine is right now preparing a mini-series made for television from a script boasted as being largely dictated from the astral plane? And because I saw enough back there in Pharaoh's city that I do not doubt a supernatural source for her material, -- do you, my Christian family, grasp the implications of that statement? We're not talking demonic inspiration in the media here -- we're talking a direct media uplink from a scripting office in hell! They call it "channeling." The King James Version calls it "strong delusion."
Do you catch a hint of why I'm saying it's time to wake up? To "Wake up," as Jesus says in Revelation 3:2, "and strengthen the things that remain." I repeat: The hour is later than many of us think. We've got to get busy buying oil for our lamps, to be found already standing firmly on our feet, already awake for that sudden midnight shout, ready to meet the Bridegroom.
Pre- Mid- or Post- I don't care: He's coming!
But look at us! After Jesus tells the church at "Latter-day-cea" in Revelation 3 that he will spew them out of his mouth, He says: "Because you say, 'I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,' and do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, that you may become rich, and white garments, that you may clothe yourself that the shame of your nakedness not be revealed, and eye-salve to anoint your eyes that you may see."
broadcast #2 1/10/87
[Replay Intro] ...Before I begin giving you concrete evidence for my statement last time that we are entering the time of the fulfillment of Matthew 24:24 concerning false Christs who by lying wonders would deceive, if possible, even God's elect, -- even before I share my own peculiar testimony with you -- I must spend the first few programs laying a foundation in scripture for the overall perspective of this teaching ministry. Today we'll be dealing with a passage relating to my choice, really the Lord's choice, of the weather-report format.
So, first, let's recall what Paul wrote to believers in Ephesians 2:1-3: "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest."
These are rich verses, and we'll be returning to them, but all we have time for today is a look into that one curious phrase characterizing the enemy of the flock as "the prince of the power of the air." That is a mysterious saying. I won't pretend I know what it means, but I would like to offer two possible meanings that fit for me.
The first interpretation I mention mostly in passing as a curiosity -- and more as an illustration of something else; the second will lead into a clearer understanding of my purpose in these rough-weather bulletins.
You know, as I hinted last time, the Lord saved me not just out of blind ignorance, but out of active participation in what we could call Pharaoh's army. By God's mercy I'm a deserter from that great engine of destruction. And also by God's long-suffering grace I have been allowed to, in a sense, smuggle through enemy lines quite a bundle of, let's say, communications about marching orders, tactics -- even hints of strategy. And I find these enemy secrets confirmed by our Radar, God's written word.
This "prince of the power of the air" seems a possible case in point.
This great storm-system I mentioned to you last time, (that I intend to make you aware of) the less noticed one creeping up from "behind," from the "east," this second wave of humanism full of spiritual sounding cosmic overtones, that we call the New Age Movement -- this storm system at its whirling core is closely patterned after the religion of Hinduism, the ancient mother of almost all eastern religion. Before I was shocked awake to the fact that we have an enemy who is more intelligent, even in his madness, and certainly trickier than any mortal man, I thought this parallelism with the latest New Age thinking was an argument for the truth of Hinduism.
Anyhow, one of the central tenets of Hinduism, these teachings from India about supposedly ultimate truth, teachings literally as old as the pyramids -- one of its basic ideas is that the very life force itself, the essence of divine energy, is the air we breathe.
Now don't misunderstand me here. I am saying that as an ultimate truth, this is a lie, but at the same time a remarkably clever one because it contains so much truth. Our modern scientific understanding knows that the atmosphere contains an ingredient essential for all fleshly life because it is the crucial element for burning every candle, for nearly all chemical reactions -- namely oxygen. There is a "power" in the air. Hindu yogis, so-called "holy men" striving to work their way off into the very Source of all existence, spend great portions of their lives in concentrated breathing exercises where they strive to make careful use of this, they believe, divine energy they call phrana. And just on the side, I must mention here that identical breathing techniques are turning up throughout our public schools and in many major business corporations. These practices do achieve results. More on that later.
For right now, let me be the first to say it's a waste of time to speculate whether our adversary has embezzled his way into some special relationship with the material air. What we need to realize in this context is that God's Holy Spirit must in no way be confused with a material element like oxygen. (Nor is He an impersonal "force" or "energy" like electricity.) Our Radar affirms that compared to the reality of our Creator Who can speak worlds into existence, the hardest earthly concrete is but a passing shadow. The Holy Spirit is one with the Inventor of air and of creatures to breathe it. While it is true the risen Christ in John 20 breathed on the disciples and said, "Receive ye the Holy Ghost." I am thoroughly assured by the Spirit that act was, in the outward sense, primarily symbolic, a shadow pointing to the invisible Real which was also happening. Spirit is like the wind; it is not the wind. Remember the Lord's gentle rebuke in John 6 when the disciples took His statements about eating His flesh and drinking His blood too literally: "It is the Spirit Who gives life; the flesh profits nothing." Or recall the opening verses of that same gospel where we find: "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." I don't believe that's talking about sunlight, people -- as wondrous as sunlight is. Paul on the road was blinded by a light that far outshone the sun. Our minds cannot grasp it, but the truth is that the brightest sun is still a faint replica, or maybe better -- the strongest image our eyes can tolerate -- of the unseen light of the life of Jesus Christ, of Him Who said (Jn. 9:39) "For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see; and that those who see may become blind."
And that's the kernel of the lesson in even bringing up this tidbit about the Hindu concept of phrana: Satan uses good things made by God to counterfeit God to man in order seduce men away from the highest good with a lesser good, in order to keep them "children of a lesser god" indeed. The devil's tactic has always been to tell a super-slick lie, usually a lie totally coated over with real truth, like putting a diamond crust on a bag of maggots or a chocolate coat on a wad of arsenic. That's why we wool-heads talk so much about discernment: In this world, for a sheep, discernment quickly becomes a matter of raw survival.
But that was just a first possible understanding of the phrase "the prince of the power of the air" and one only an ex-yogurthead like myself would notice. I have borrowed my next insight into this mysterious word from a contemporary brother everyone has heard of, Hal Lindsey. I have tremendous respect for him as an undoubted servant of Christ strenuously performing his assigned role in the Body. I commend to you his broadcast on this same station today at 12:30 PM. It was during the call-in portion of that show that he gave his understanding of that phrase in Ephesians 2:2. Maybe it just struck me because it dovetails perfectly with my governing vision for this ministry. (In fact, it is part of my reason for calling the program STORMWATCH.)
What brother Hal said was that the "air" Satan is the prince of is -- get this -- the "atmosphere of thought." (If you're an unbeliever who happens to be overhearing this sheep conversation, and you think the Bible isn't sophisticated enough to even intend meanings like that, you have our sincerest sympathies. Many of us had the identical discomfort before we met the book's Author. Even after that it takes a while to catch on to the fact that the Bible's Author is not only the inventor of our ability to perceive meaning, He is Himself the Source of all meaning. He is Himself the Word, capital W. Put that in your water pipe.)
So Mr. Lindsey is saying that Satan has retained for the time being, hardly total dominion, but still a devastatingly effective sway over the "atmosphere of thought." We have the same idea in the common phrase, "the climate of opinion." Now isn't that a lot like the weather! What is the climate of opinion in America today compared to during World War II: quite a change in the weather, huh? How about compared to the 15th or 16th Century in Europe after the Protestant Reformation? My goodness, could we even recognize such weather if we saw it?
Maybe in some ways we could. That was a time of spiritual storm and conflict with the devil working both sides of the street for all he was worth, just like he always does, whether it's North versus South or freako peacenik versus porky po-lice. And thoughtful people everywhere are aware that we are entering a period of terrible worldwide upheaval in every dimension of civilization -- not only political and economic but religious as well. And really, politics and economics, even philosophy, have a way of being fallout from religious explosions. If philosophy is queen of all the sciences -- including political and economic science -- theology is the inevitable king to whom the queen, however reluctantly, must bow. And for us, the sheep of His pasture, the sovereign standard of theology must be the Word of Him Who "upholds all things by the word of His power." I mean the testamental scriptures as recalled to our minds by teaching without and His Spirit within.
What this show proposes to do for listening believers is give them a slight jump on future developments, based on a comparison of current enemy strategy and the revealed word of our Father in the highest heaven. Many of you who, like myself, already trust in the precision of God's written Word may reject my conclusions because there are strong crosscurrents of opinion within the flock today on this very issue of what lies just ahead.
Our Radar indicates that when the time of Christ's return is ripe, not only will it be "business as usual" but that men's love for one another will have grown cold, men having become lovers of self who could not endure sound teaching.
I come to you straight from Pharaoh's encampment. Twelve years ago I was a blind fool rolling dice with the Egyptian troops in the dust beside Pharaoh's tent. Through the walls I could catch the intense murmur of final preparations. And I'm telling you, folks, if there were ever a time in history to shake yourself awake and get ready, to put on the full armor of God, to pursue -- not fun or luck but the purity of a holy life in our Lord Jesus, that time is now.
Read again Luke 21:8-36. When we see the fig tree beginning to put forth her leaves, Jesus tells us explicitly we can know for ourselves that "SUMMER IS NEAR."
broadcast #3 1/17/87
[Replay Intro] ...In case you're waiting on the edge of your seat for me to start giving you insight on the New Age Movement and how it is one of the most powerful evidences that the time of our Lord Jesus' return is near, please be patient while we lay some foundational understandings in scripture.
This program strives to move in the area of discerning spiritual counterfeits in order to lay waste their power to deceive. Besides waking you up by keeping you informed how rotten the weather's getting outside our assorted Christian ghettos, I hope to teach you how to detect these spreading imitations in order that the chains that bind the thoughts of those to whom you minister may be broken, that they may see the truth that will set them free: the truth that Jesus was the almighty Creator in the form of one of His own human creatures. [Col.1:16; Jn.1:1-3,10,14; Heb.1:2-3; 1Cor.8:6]
I admit this is a pretty specialized department of "spiritual warfare." In wartime you won't find an entire army of spies uncovering enemy strategy or secret weaponry. I'm certainly no hero because I discovered these things in pursuit of my own lust. God was permitting me to be one of His counterintelligence agents long before I came to repentance or had any idea why He was preserving me through my own selfish path. But now that this unwitting agent has gathered his information, you ministers whom the Lord has drawn to this broadcast will be able to pass on to the troops the word of what to expect, to equip the rank-and-file with appropriate counter-measures. But before we can issue these particular rations, you need to get a firm grasp on how they apply to this area of discernment.
Remember in our last broadcast we talked about Paul's reference to Satan as "the prince of the power of the air" and how a case could be made for the "air" being "the atmosphere of thought" or "the climate of opinion"? This understanding adds a further dimension to our Christian view of spiritual warfare as being conducted through the mind -- how in many ways human minds are the disputed battle turf that the Lord wants to reclaim. Our minds, through the application of the truths of scripture, must become renewed, having cast down the ways of seeing things with which this world has programmed us from the moment of our entrance into it.
Recall the context of Ephesians 2 where this phrase "prince of the power of the air" occurs: It tells us we were dead in our trespasses and sins, that we were walking "according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience"-- how among these rebellious children "we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the MIND."
That text is so strong because it doesn't simply say the life of the unsaved person is terribly out-of-kilter or even mortally sick: It says that from God's point of view every thought and desire of the unregenerate is DEAD, spiritually worthless -- worse than nothing because "nothing" doesn't stink and death does! The whole so-called "life" of the unsaved person is a stench in God's nostrils -- no wonder the passage concludes by saying we were then "BY NATURE CHILDREN OF WRATH." Now, only God can bring the dead to life, but He can use us to help clear away some of the worldly underbrush in their heads that is blocking them from the possibility of seeing His truth.
The point I want to emphasize today is: that although when we're born from above by the Spirit of God, He melts our worldly heart of stone -- gives us a heart of flesh -- in spite of this miracle our mind is not instantly renewed. Our mind observes that something monumental, unspeakable has happened in our heart-of-hearts; but our mind-set can remain pretty detached, in a way -- completely untouched. After the emotional heat of that great encounter cools, we can go on as if nothing happened, continuing to be tripped up by habitual grooves of dead thought. (This happened to me double because I was initially wakened to God's reality outside of a bible-believing environment that could have better explained that experience and set my feet on a path of growth in understanding -- which no doubt would have brought my "birth process" to a more immediate conclusion!) But later, when I actually did surrender to Jesus, I still thought I needed to continue practicing yoga! My point is that at the first moment of our adoption into His holy nation, God doesn't simply hit the delete key on our computer and download a new program to our hard-drive. Our thoughts are still mostly dead thoughts!
Now I realize that as one matures in Christ, real "spiritual warfare" can move way beyond merely "mental faculties"; but no one would deny that (with exceptions like "praying in the spirit") what believers call spiritual warfare does necessarily get filtered through, or is played out on, the field of OUR MINDS. So before we can even fantasize about marching forth to cast counterfeit worldviews out of our neighbor, the Lord's first task with the infant believer -- our own first task with ourselves -- is to seek, to actually work at this remodeling of our thinking. It's not an automatic gift. And of course the primary means of that renewal, as stale as it may sound: is by hiding the scripture in our heart, abiding in Jesus by fellowshipping with His Spirit through frequent chewings and digestings of His written word.
Now let's take our understanding a little deeper. Let's look more closely at another familiar passage, over in 2nd Corinthians 10 where the apostle says "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal." We need to grasp how strongly these verses tie spiritual warfare to what goes on in our minds. (Just as an aside, these verses are also a clue to what most of us sheep realize: that so-called "mental illness" is more often than not the outgrowth of spiritual problems.)
Let's look at this passage first in the King James translation, where for many it has the familiar but somewhat distant ring of a cathedral bell: Second Corinthians, Chapter 10, 3 through 5: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ..."
Now for all its power, the older forms of speech make that version, for some of us, as hard to unravel as a legal agreement. The out-of-circulation word "carnal" in particular is more accessible in the New American Standard Bible. (But before I read it again there, please consider that this passage applies only to regenerate -- that is, Spirit-born -- followers of God's Son Jesus: However others might bristle with Uzis and magnums, the unsaved are, in this Christian sense, both defenseless and inoffensive.) So again: "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ..."
Of course we already understand the Christian doesn't fight for Christ with guns, or even fists, but do you hear in these verses how the MIND is the stage upon which this mortal struggle is played out? It equates the "strongholds" or "fortresses" with "imaginations," with "speculations," with "every thought." In other words, the enemy defenses we are destroying are in the nature of distorted ideas, faulty notions, erroneous understandings. We're swimming in deep water indeed, here, people. The Amplified Bible amplifies my point in its rendering of the last part as (quote) "inasmuch as we refute arguments, and theories, and reasonings..." (unquote) Those are always Satan's first line of defense within the mind. Psychologists label these battle-stations "neurotic complexes"; the Bible is more straightforward -- and about fifty miles deeper -- in telling it like it is.
So spiritual warfare turns out to be in this one sense, mental warfare, in that it obviously does involve the understanding, which means thoughts and ideas, and these in turn necessarily involve language: words, preeminently God's words. When I was a baby Christian in Orlando, Florida, a Navy Chaplain told me,"The most spiritual organ in the body is the tongue." And I thought he'd flipped his cookie! Now I see better what he meant. Words are the DNA of thought. Do a study on the tongue in scripture sometime and it'll blow your mind.
Are you starting to see how all this ties back to "the atmosphere of thought"? the "climate of opinion" we talked about last time? Second Corinthians 4:3-4 is the payoff: "If our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has BLINDED THE MINDS of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."
Their eyes, the inner eyes of their minds, are veiled from seeing, from discerning the truth of Jesus Christ. Now is that earth-shaking or is that earth-shaking? We're back to the metaphor of seeing and not seeing the unseen. Of "the eyes of your heart" being closed like the man born blind in John 9. The reality of the spirit. The unseen "substance" of faith. And we're back to the "prince of the power of the air" who is actively engaged supplying mankind with spiritual sunglasses to filter out that light of Christ. (For the last 130 years, the theory of evolution has been his big item.) Or looking at this enemy interference by a different metaphor, remember Jesus also used the analogy of birds swooping down to steal the seeds of truth sown in the minds [hearts] of men?
Spiritual seduction! Blinded minds! Wow, if the sophisticated modern man -- that man who (if he weren't spiritually dead already) we could say has been literally educated to death -- if he only realized the Bible is not just a damned-up reservoir, like Thoreau said -- a hodge-podge of accumulated wisdom -- but rather an awesome living Ocean of God's revelation! But without the Spirit of God intervening to rip Satan's blinders from our minds, there's no way we'll ever even guess. How God's foolishness dwarfs the wisdom of an Einstein! Our deceitful pride in our own worldly education (sometimes even our own idealistic good intentions) stands as a veil blocking us from a reality so much more vast -- from another dimension so much more alive that only the stellar reaches of intergalactic space can begin to give a clue to the difference in scale!
And until we have our own minds renewed by the energetically sought washing of the word of scripture, the nourishment of the bread and water of life, we can't expect God to release us to move on into the outer world in effective ministry. Pray with me that this broadcast, these open declarations of God's truth will be the destruction of Satan's fortresses in the minds of many "seeing" who do not yet see and many "hearing" who do not yet hear.
O.K. That was the first three broadcasts. Here's one more at no extra charge:
broadcast #5 1/31/87
[Repeat Intro] ...Probably a lot of you by now have heard the story of how banks train their employees to recognize counterfeit money. As soon as people are hired, they spend the first several days in the vault playing with real money of every denomination. They study it, feel it, fold it, crumple it, gaze intently at its details. For two or three eight-hour-days they become thoroughly acquainted with real money before they are shown the first counterfeit bill. In this way they become so attuned to the real thing that they can instantly discern all but the slickest interlopers.
One of the central contentions of this radio series is that the spiritual counterfeits masquerading as divine truth today are, as we enter the final scenes of human history, getting ever more sophisticated -- to the point where even veteran bank tellers, even God's elect, if it were possible, might be deceived. Knowledge of God's Word has increased to the point where Satan, who always matches the subtlety of his perversions to the alertness of his targets, is forced to incorporate more and more real truth in his deceptions. There are cults whose teachings are 95% based on the Bible text itself.
And yet God has not left us without a standard. With "one hand tied behind Him," He will match His enemy ploy for ploy. To paraphrase John 10:4-5: "My sheep know My voice, and a stranger they will not follow."
If you know the Bible at all, you've run across those verses in which God states His concern for accurate weights and measures. Unless an absolute standard exists, the very concepts of good or evil, truth or falsehood, justice or injustice, are meaningless. You may remember the messianic passage in Amos 7:8 referring to the coming Christ as "a plumb line." It says, "Behold, I am about to put a plumb line in the midst of My people Israel."
Now I guarantee you it's not pride talking -- because the Lord has forced me to the realization that that experience He allowed me which I told you of on my last show -- that experience when I was 18 -- is a kind of standard by which to appraise all the counterfeit subjective experiences rampant today, competing for adherents. Not for any merit in me, but for His own purposes, God allowed me, in a sense, a taste of -- dare I say it? -- the real Cosmic Consciousness, the absolute "Mind of Christ," of His own devastating Holiness and Love, not to mention an Intelligence, not to mention a sheer Beingness, a Reality with a capital R that cannot be compared to the impersonal cosmic "Force" or "Self" peddled by the eastern gurus or other ascended masters of self-improvement-works-righteousness religion.
Folks, the reason there is a "New Age Movement" today is that our enemy Satan knows there is indeed a New Age coming -- coming as we find in Revelation 4:3, at the foot of the throne of God surrounded by the rainbow of His glory. That's why the enemy is so frantically trotting out his own imitation millennial promises festooned with rainbows like overgrown birthday ribbons. Hitler's Third Reich was just the dress-rehearsal for the rule of antichrist taking shape around us.
But before I go on and fill you in on my second 18 years of stumbling search prior to coming fully to trust on Jesus Christ, let me back up and focus a little more closely on that standard set before me that monumental evening in my life sketched lightly for you last time.
In June of 1958, as strange as it may sound, in a dry field on Travis Air Force Base in California, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob allowed me a glimpse of His very nature -- to the degree that I could stand it. I was clear to me that I was in the Presence of another order of Reality, an incomparable power-of-Life that it wouldn't take much-more-proximity-with to kill a man. Our Manufacturer evidently knows how to touch us with sufficient delicacy that we survive the introductions!
(Also, you need not fear that I'm about to start shouting from my housetop here, saying, "Well, God has given me New Revelation." If it is God working in your life, whatever experience He personally gives you will not, I repeat, will not be in contradiction to what He has revealed in His written word: It will only confirm it. The trouble with progressive revelation is its tendency to "progress" completely away from the plain sense of scripture.)
As one little example of that principle of confirmation by the Word, at the same time an example taken from the very experience we want to focus on: As I was walking home from the movie that summer evening with my little brother and another friend, I became increasingly aware, at the same time dumbfounded, that another mind, or a gigantic "awareness," or, really, a Personality the size of, maybe, an ocean liner was as if trailing along behind us. Now you can take it or leave it, but that is precisely what I felt and no one could persuade me differently. As my mind spontaneously attempted to form some picture or analogy of this radically uncategorizable Presence, of this Being overshadowing me, I came up with the image of a gigantic boulder of incredible density, hovering over my head, as if steaming and popping and all too fearsomely ready to fall on me. Now, at that time I had no conscious knowledge that scripture spoke of Christ as the Rock that would fill the whole earth or the Rock from which the fountain of living waters flowed in the desert. [see 1 Cor.10:4] As we walked, I was incredulous that my two companions showed no sign of sensing that anything extraordinary was taking place.
I got home and came partly back to everyday reality in the process of eating supper with my family. And please remember, all this was before the days of mind-bending drugs in middle America. In my flat-top haircut, I was as straight a kid as you could find anywhere. But then, before I could even finish my supper -- in fact had taken a first bite of banana pudding and couldn't even swallow it. Because at that moment it was as if that galactic battlestar had taken a fine bead on the middle of my back and cut loose with a stream of sheerest invisible fire. I rushed out of the house. There was no way I could tell my parents what was happening to me; if I could have expressed it, they still wouldn't believe me. And those machine-gun-like bullets of spiritual fire were the very Love that God is, unseen chunks of flame ripping through my chest, melting down my heart like a lump of hot wax. If you've had a similar encounter with our Lord, you know what I'm talking about.
All I could do was just try to get away from all the people who wouldn't understand, out of earshot of neighbors, into a dry field under a clear moonlit night sky. I could not see with the eyes of my body anything out of the ordinary, simply a beautiful California summer evening. But -- over my head -- up there above me in a large space somehow close to me was the Presence of God -- there could be no question -- any creature -- I believe even the simplest, would be made conscious of that Presence, should God choose, of Him Who created that creature. God has a Reality so far beyond our ordinary experience that, indeed, He makes this world of solid rock appear as a smoke and vapor BY COMPARISON. I'm not saying, like the Hindus, that this world is a dream or an illusion; it is real enough, and yet relative to God's order of Reality, it pales to a mere shadow. To conceive God as somehow like a ghostly vapor because He is a Spirit is an all-too-natural mistake. God is the true Substance which all natural substances can only hint at. He's not even the ground of nature, rather totally beyond every created thing. That's the truth behind the distortion dealt out as the pantheistic doctrine of maya.
There are no words to tell of this sort of encounter. To quote A. W. Tozer: "That which is spiritual cannot be shut in by ink or fenced in by type and paper." He could have added magnetic tape to the list. And yet, I do seek to communicate a small hint. If my entire life before or since that June evening could be compared to a line running between one-quarter and two inches off the ground, for that ten minutes the line was snatched a thousand feet in the air. And that's coming from a guy who has explored the thrills of this world in drugs, women, fast machines, fatherhood, music, art, bodily discipline -- you name it. Nothing in human experience can equate with the bona-fide touch of Almighty God. "Behold, I am about to put a plumb line in the midst of My people Israel."
My only response in this overwhelming Presence was involuntary -- I couldn't help simply crumpling down on my knees with sobs and tears like those of a tiny child. What crumpled me most was the reality of His Nature as Love/Holiness. The scripture declares the Truth point-blank: "God is love." But we don't realize the magnitude of what those words must fail to capture. Love is the essence of what the God Who made us IS. He is Love to a degree that, by its Holiness, necessitates JUSTICE. It's a perfection that is more than enough to crush the saintliest man. Our bodies simply couldn't handle it unless He made allowance for our frailty. The tears that streamed down my face seemed squeezed from the depths of my being -- I was racked with uncontrollable sobs in the Presence of This Love which made all of -- not just my life -- but all human life such a sorrowful tragedy -- simply because we live with NO INKLING how far we are from the Goodness and Holiness of Him Who made us originally in His image, for His standard of Life, His perfection of Holiness.
We don't KNOW how far we've fallen. That is probably the greatest problem in the church today -- that we've lost "sight" of the unapproachable Holiness of God. Unapproachable but for the blood of God's Lamb Jesus.
Not only are His thoughts as high above ours as the heavens are above the earth, but there's no way we can even conceive with our minds the perfection of His Goodness. "God is great. God is good." The words themselves cannot contain the truth they pretend to state. But to stand in the Presence of that Truth is to be devastated, however noble our character or morality by human standards. Human standards are like tinder to the fire of God's Holiness. The "Righteousness of Christ" is more than an ecclesiastical formula! When the scripture declares our God a consuming fire, that fire of judgment is His Holiness confronting our sinfulness, our lack, our moral poverty before such perfect Wealth.
It is only as we become convicted by His Spirit of how we stand in need of a Savior in relation to that Holy God -- then Christ has the opportunity to reach down and accomplish what no man can accomplish for himself.
So, when I was 18, God gave me that plumb line, that standard of measurement, that "experience" of all experiences, I believe, short of the rapture itself. Of course in doing so He quite effectively cut off the possibility of ever being an atheist, but at the same time, as far as my mind was concerned, I was far from being a Christian. That experience did not come -- by His choice -- in a church environment. Consequently, that revelation of God's Reality started me on a long quest, on a search for truth, just as increasing numbers of our youth today are looking in the oddest places for God: in rock'n'roll, in drugs, in shaved heads and bare feet. I suspect some of them have even been touched by God as I was, but have been side-tracked into the futile quest for "Christ Consciousness."
In my own case, too, Satan was poised on the sidelines. I guess he saw that God must have some purpose in nudging me, so he thought he'd better take care of this little problem. The first books I immediately began to be attracted to had to do with mysticism and other increasingly "metaphysical" studies. Without realizing it I was being led into the heart of occultism. My ears perked up to all the voices saying, "Hey, just eat this mushroom and you can know God," or [in East-Indian singsong accent:] "What you need to cultivate is God-consciousness all the time. You need to live your whole life on this mountain-top of awareness. This is the goal for those willing to discipline body and soul, who strive with nerves of steel to achieve this transformation, this breakthrough to the deeper Self hidden within all men."
I swallowed that kind of garbage hook, line, and sinker because I thought I knew precisely what they were talking about. At that time I thought that I had -- just by accident -- stumbled upon a great secret; that now my job was to find how to work my way back there. I was duped even into the fancy that perhaps I had been given this great boon through a particularly meritorious lifestyle, because I cultivated a healthy body and religiously practiced the piano! My goal became to uncover the formula for living in that glorious presence of God. -- Never once guessing, in spite of my thousand hours in church growing up, that it is always God's sovereign choice of time, place, persons, His selection of conditions or "works" -- in this case the one work of belief on Jesus -- that determines the quality of our inevitable confrontation with His Reality.
So I went through a lot of painful mind-altering drug experiences, mainly psychedelics like LSD, because those were the ones that supposedly led to God (never mind that illustrations accompanying the literature usually included frolicking skeletons!). Little did I guess that the Greek word translated as SORCERIES in the New Testament, pharmakia, is the same word from which we derive our word for DRUGstore: "pharmacy." I found that, no, these substances didn't lead any place I wanted to be -- they just scared the willies out of me!
And I read all the prescribed literature: The Tibetan Book of the Dead, The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, the writings of Carl Gustav Jung, Edgar Cayce, Alan Watts, Gurdjieff, Casteneda -- all the confusing briar-patch of eastern deception. Went through those for years making a living as an English teacher and film-technician, until I finally realized the eastern systems all boiled down to having to practice a so-called "spiritual discipline." Like so many others, I graduated from drugs into the even more destructive school of serious yoga and blank-mind-type "meditation." These efforts were rewarded in the early 70's with real encounters with representatives of the father of those concoctions -- in that three times I came within a gnat's eyelash of classical demonic possession. Also got a first-hand dose of kundalini-juice at no extra charge.
Meantime I had been in the process of tearing apart two of my own marriages along the way -- I mean, what else could be important enough to stand in the way, if my "mission" in life was to find out, then teach others, how to get back to God?! You know, I was practically crazy-to-the-point-of-saying, "Well, I'll just start my own -- I'll start the TRUE RELIGION; you know, I'll figure everything out and write a new religious text suitable to enlightened modern man. So I imagine the dark kingdom was delighted enough in the fool's path I was going down. Our enemy did not yet realize Jesus would speak to me through the Word of God what He spoke in Mark 5 to the demoniac of the tombs: "Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you."
So anyway, by the early 70's I had run from the insanity of the San Francisco area to live with like-minded countercultural refugees building a new alternative-energy life out in the high deserts of Northern New Mexico. If anyone on the planet was about to put it all together -- from the sane use of technology to the full spectrum of human wisdom -- it was these idealistic new age artists and innovators.
But as I hinted before, my flirtations with the kingdom of darkness were coming home to roost. Three times, over a period of five years, while I was in a twilight state on the verge of sleep, powerful spirits of evil -- and there was no doubt that's what they were -- demonic spirits the size of a man tried forcibly to merge themselves inside my skin. That scared me bad enough to where I had to admit to myself I was searching absolutely in the wrong direction. Here was the antithesis of the God of Love Who had so graciously touched my life. My ten-year party was over.
So it happened that in 1975 I ran like a scared rabbit to visit my ex-wife in Florida, who happened to be attending a genuine old-fashioned Holy Spirit-filled church. I could hardly believe such an anachronism still existed, but I reached out there in desperation, made a last-ditch leap to make sense of my life -- and you know very well Who had been waiting all along for that opportunity to grab my falling arm. He saved me. Most of all, He saved me from myself. And He has abundantly proved Himself to be that Truth I had been trying to get back to those 18 years.
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
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