Archive for the ‘Signs of the Times’ Category

What You Need to Tell Your Local Public School Officials About Children and Mindfulness Meditation

Today we received a call from a concerned woman who found out that a local public school was about to introduce mindfulness meditation to children at the school. She called the school and has been granted a 5-minute time slot at an upcoming school meeting to explain why the school should not teach mindfulness meditation to children. During our phone conversation with the concerned woman, we developed a short outline of how to address this issue with school officials. Meditation (and Yoga) will soon be practiced in most public schools in America. Whether you have children at a public school or not, do what you can to help prevent your own local public school from incorporating meditation into the lives of the children. And keep in mind, it’s just a matter of time before Christian schools will be introducing mindfulness meditation and Yoga as well. We know this because the condition of today’s North American Christianity is of such a nature that Christians are being persuaded to go along with the culture; and, of course, with contemplative meditation so prevalent in the church, Christians are being conditioned to accept all forms of New Age meditation.

4-5 years old boy meditating outdoor

Our outline on why meditation should not be brought into the schools. 

I. Mindfulness is meditation

a. According to the respected Mayo Clinic, mindfulness is a form of meditation: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/mindfulness-exercises/art-20046356.

II. Mindfulness is therapy

a. According to several professional sources, mindfulness exercises are considered a therapeutic practice. For example, the Journal of Psychosomatic Research and the Clinical Psychology Review associate mindfulness with Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) (https://www.psychologytoday.com/therapy-types/mindfulness-based-cognitive-therapy).

III. Mindfulness is a religious practice.

a. Webster defines the word religion as “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.”

b. The premise behind mindfulness is that divinity dwells in every human being, and therefore this meditative state that alters one’s mind can be reached by anyone because the divinity within allows for this connection. This belief that everyone has divinity within is a religion within itself but is also the premise of Buddhism and Hinduism (and the New Age).

c. Since public schools in America have made the decision that religion cannot be taught in the public schools, Yoga and meditation have no business being taught in the public schools. This is discriminatory against Christian influence in the schools, which has been banned from American public schools.

IV. Meditation is dangerous, and the schools should not be experimenting on vulnerable children.

a. There are numerous documented reports that meditation can be dangerous, especially for the vulnerable and weak (a category in which children fit). Here are a few articles that discuss this:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/meditation-is-touted-as-a-cure-for-mental-instability-but-can-it-actually-be-bad-for-you-10268291.html

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/3-hidden-dangers-meditation-you-should-know.html

This is probably the best article on the dangers of mindfulness and meditation. It discusses a study done by researchers at Brown University: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4538240/The-dangers-meditation.html.

We recommend printing this outline and also the articles that it links to and giving this to your local public school district officials. And Lighthouse Trails is willing to send a free copy of one of our booklets on meditation to any school district official who would like to read it. Just e-mail us at editors@lighthousetrails.com the name and mailing address of any school official who agrees to receive the booklet.

Some of the dangers and effects of meditation according to the sources listed above:

a. insomnia

b. fear

c. hypersensitivity to light and sound

d. anxiety

e. difficulty eating

f. panic and paranoia

g. psychosis

h. seizures

i. mania

j. visual hallucinations

k. unable to function or work

l. a loss of sense of identity

m. psychotic depression

n.  elevated mood and grandiose delusions

o. unrestrained behaviors (sexual and violence)

p. pain

q. confusion and disorientation

r. feelings of emptiness and ennui (listlessness, dissatisfaction)

s. depersonalization

t. impairment of social relationships

u. cognitive, perceptual and sensory aberrations

v. disempowering

w. causes passiveness and compliance (even when those are negative responses to certain situations)

*It is interesting to note that most of these symptoms are similar to symptoms that occur with the use of hallucinogenic drugs. Is this really what children in the public schools should be put at risk of enduring? There is no way for a teacher to know which children will respond negatively to meditation. Also worth noting in reference to mass shootings, some of these men had a history of long-term meditation habits. This is even mentioned in one of the articles above. When you read some of these symptoms – depersonalization, unrestrained behaviors, psychotic depression, a loss of sense of identity –  we must ask the question, will this huge thrust by American public schools to have all school children meditating end up producing violence and psychotic behavior in our society rather than peace?

Related Resources:

Kyle Odom, the Man Who Shot Idaho Pastor, Says Meditation Started it All

How to Protect Your Child from the New Age and Spiritual Deception by Berit Kjos (a handbook with practical and biblical ideas)

Mindfulness! Heard of It? What Does it Mean, and Where is it Showing Up in Christian Circles?

(photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

NEW BOOKLET: The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf

NEW BOOKLET: The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf  by Linda Nathan is our newest Lighthouse Trails Booklet. The Booklet is 18 pages long and sells for $1.95 for single copies. Quantity discounts are as much as 50% off retail. Our Booklets are designed to give away to others or for your own personal use. Below is the content of the booklet. To order copies of The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf, click here.

The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf

By Linda Nathan

Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide, with 5 million daily users worldwide.1

Should Christians use pot? Should they condone the use of it in our society? What would Jesus do? The author’s extensive experience, biblical approach, and current research provide clear guidelines for those struggling with today’s exploding drug culture.

INTRODUCTION

WHAT’S HAPPENING?
For the first time in U.S. history, Christians in America are facing the challenge of a majority approval of marijuana. A recent Gallup Poll revealed that 58% of Americans now favor its legalization, and 67% of ages 18 to 29 back legalization. Yet when Gallup first asked the question in 1969, only 12% favored legalization.2

By September 2017, there was some form of marijuana legalization in 29 states and the District of Columbia.3

This massive change has occurred in less than fifty years, and it is a major sign of the seismic shift occurring in our culture—a shift that should concern Christians deeply.

But some Christians are uncertain how to view this shift, for the Bible doesn’t mention marijuana directly—or does it?

What do we know about marijuana? Is it good for our health? Or can it be harmful and even lead to psychosis? But, most important, how does the Bible deal with it?

Before we continue, let me tell you a little about myself and why I’m writing this booklet. I think it’s fair to say my involvement with marijuana stretches over half a century, through experience, observation, and research. My husband Richard and I met in San Francisco in 1962 and spent fourteen years in the Bay Area counterculture. By the grace of God, we survived the ’60s meltdown for thousands of young people into corruption, crime, and madness. And we personally experienced and saw with our own eyes the destructive effects not only of marijuana but also of some of the other drugs to which it opened the door. And the pot we smoked then was much milder than what is available today.

I thought I knew all about marijuana from my experiences during the ’60s and ’70s. But as I researched what is happening today, I saw that it’s now an entirely different ballgame. Today’s marijuana has a much, much stronger psychoactive (THC) content. Billionaires now power its promotion. And radical changes are occurring in our society as a result.

Besides our personal experience, Richard, who has a B.S. in Biology and a Master’s in Christian History, has spent the last 24 years working in psychiatric and drug treatment centers where he has continually observed the devastating effects of marijuana and other drugs.

So, let’s look at what’s happening.

TWO MOVEMENTS IN ONE: MEDICAL AND RECREATIONAL
Although there are around 400 derivatives of the marijuana plant, the battle for legalization focuses mainly on two: medical marijuana (cannabidiol or CBD) and recreational marijuana (tetrahydrocannabinol or THC).

“Recreational” marijuana (THC). Currently (2017) eight states (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and Colorado) plus the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, but the movement is growing rapidly as other states are moving toward legalization.4 More on recreational marijuana later.

Medical marijuana (CBD). By September 2017, twenty-nine states and Washington DC had medical marijuana laws, and another eighteen had passed CBD laws.5 CBD has minimal THC content. Therefore, many states have legalized it for specialized cases, primarily with childhood epilepsy or seizures. Some believe that legalizing CBD isn’t the same as legalizing medical marijuana because it’s not using the entire plant.6 A common assumption is because the CBD extract has some healing benefit, then the entire plant does too. But there are many dangers with using the entire plant.

Later, I will discuss the use of marijuana for medicine and the positions of major medical organizations.

Many powerful factors are propelling these movements, but first, we need to know what the Bible says. While it doesn’t address the issue of marijuana specifically, it has a great deal to say about its effects and about God’s demand for holiness for His people.

THE BIBLE SPEAKS

1. We are to obey the law. We are to obey the Law of God (Romans 13:1–2), as well as the laws of the land, unless those laws conflict with God’s law (Acts 5:29). Marijuana is still illegal by federal law except within approved research situations.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1)

2. We are to live soberly. The Bible tells believers to be sober and practice holy behavior. Marijuana (THC) can lead to a vulnerable, drunken type of state.

Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. (Romans 13:13)

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

3. Marijuana can be harmful. There is a great deal of scientific evidence concerning its mental and spiritual harm, which is discussed later. According to the Bible, our bodies are not our own; we belong to Christ.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19–20)

4. Only God’s Word can transform our minds; supposed “consciousness-raising” drugs can be spiritually dangerous. Here again, I speak from experience: Under marijuana, the soul can become more vulnerable to false teachings.

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils. (1 Timothy 4:1)

5. Marijuana can lead to idolatry and demonic bondage. Whatever has power over you becomes an idol, and behind every idol is a demon. Richard has observed marijuana leaf tattoos on many young psychotic patients, sometimes entwined with a cross. The idolatry of drug abuse involves both spiritual and physical bondage.7

Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:14)

Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils. (1 Corinthians 10:21)

6. Marijuana is a method of sorcery. This is one of the strongest arguments against Christians using marijuana and the reason why it opens the door to worldview changes. Witches have used it and other such drugs for centuries to contact the demonic realm. The Bible uses the word pharmakeia for “sorcery,” which is the root of our modern word “pharmacy.”8 Consider the following thoughts from a Bible forum:

Marijuana is a hallucinogenic. This is one of the reasons why using it is sorcery and witchcraft. With the use of drugs, you are opening yourself up to all sorts of spiritual attacks and seducing spirits. Mind-altering drugs are used in witchcraft to alter your reality. This can be very dangerous. This is why God calls us to be sober and avoid attacks from Satan (1 Peter 5:8).9

Let us make it our concern to grow in holiness through obedience to Christ. Scripture exhorts us:

For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)

TURBO POT—
NOT YOUR GRANDMOTHER’S MARIJUANA

It occurred to me lately that these new ultra-high THC level marijuana breeds or what the kids refer to as (KB) Killbud mixed with any other narcotic is [sic] altering the children’s minds in such a destructive way the consequences are irreparable.10

When I committed my life to Jesus Christ, I knew that I needed to give up marijuana and other hallucinogenic drugs. I realized that the influence of these drugs was the opposite of the influence of the Holy Spirit. The two are incompatible.11

Now, maybe despite the Bible’s warnings about how we are to live, you’re not convinced that there isn’t some good in using marijuana recreationally.

But there’s a vital fact many people don’t realize: The current weed is immensely more powerful than it used to be—to the point of being hallucinogenic. In their book Going to Pot, William Bennett and Robert White explain:

Let’s acknowledge that today’s marijuana is at least five times stronger than the marijuana of the past. The THC levels of today’s marijuana average around 15 percent, but go as high as 20 percent and above in the dispensaries found throughout the states that have legalized it for ‘medicinal’ or recreational use. The marijuana of today is simply not the same drug it was in the 60s, 70s or 80s, much less the 1930s. It is much more potent, leading to a great many more health risks.12

The Marijuana Potency Project at the University of Mississippi has found levels of THC as high as 37 percent. That is a growth of a psychoactive ingredient from 3 and 4 percent a few decades ago to close to 40 percent.13 (emphasis added)

WHAT IS THC, AND WHY DO HIGH LEVELS MATTER?
Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that gives the “high.” Synthetic versions can be very harmful.14 Consider the following:

The difference between 3 to 5 percent THC and 13 to 30 percent THC is very significant. It is like comparing a twelve-ounce glass of beer with a twelve-ounce glass of 80 proof vodka; both contain alcohol, but they have vastly different effects on the body when consumed. Indeed, many argue that because of the difference in potency, it is not even the same drug we once knew. Some have taken to calling today’s marijuana “industrial marijuana” or “turbo pot.”15

A hallucinogen. Such high levels can be hallucinogenic and cause profound perceptual distortions of reality. Regular use may lead to “flashbacks” or (sometimes frightening) hallucinations that can reoccur for years. There may be panic and anxiety attacks, and health problems. Used with other drugs or medications, it can lead to vomiting, stroke, increased blood pressure, convulsions, seizures, and nerve problems; and it can affect babies in the womb.16

Psychosis. And then there is the connection with psychosis. “Nine studies following hundreds to thousands of people for decades searched for a connection between marijuana use and psychosis. All but one of these studies suggest a connection between marijuana use and schizophrenia.”17

Other studies reveal the connection between high pot use and a clinically significant increased risk of developing schizophrenia and other mental illnesses during adolescence.18 Our own experience has shown that you can’t know how it will affect you; it might seem fine for a while and then act without warning as a depth charge in your soul.

Sir Robin Murray, a psychiatrist at King’s College in London, says, “Even I, 20 years ago, used to tell patients that cannabis is safe. It’s only after you see all the patients that go psychotic that you realize—it’s not so safe.’”19 My husband says amen to that, having worked 24 years at treatment centers.

MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE?
PART I: THE BATTLE

In 1970, the US Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act because they considered it to have “no accepted medical use.” Since then . . . [21% of the U.S. population] now lives in a state where smoking weed is legal.20

There is no level of marijuana use that is actually completely safe. . . . even the casual use of marijuana changes the brain.21

This new marijuana is waaaaaaay beyond simple medical use for pain.22

The controversy rages. The Journal of the American Medical Association defines medical marijuana as:

. . . the use of cannabis or cannabinoids as medical therapy to treat disease or alleviate symptoms. Cannabinoids can be administered orally, sublingually, or topically; they can be smoked, inhaled, mixed with food, or made into tea. They can be taken in herbal form, extracted naturally from the plant, gained by isomerisation of cannabidiol, or manufactured synthetically.23

So, do the Bible’s warnings apply only to using marijuana with THC? After all, the CBD used for medical purposes doesn’t contain THC. Does it?

Actually, CBD does contain the hallucinogen THC, in varying ratios. Some claim the two work together therapeutically and that “a patient’s sensitivity to THC is a key factor to determining the ratio and dosage of CBD-rich medicine.”24 But many advocates don’t differentiate and insist on using the entire plant.

Proponents argue that it can treat the symptoms of chemotherapy-induced vomiting, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, childhood epilepsy, and neuropathic pain. Testimonials are the main support for other conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, glaucoma, Crohn’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.25

In 2015, The Journal of the American Medical Association published the preliminary conclusion of a compilation of 79 studies of the experiences of 6,000 patients who used marijuana for self-medication. The report stated:

Smoking pot was found to be of little use in relieving symptoms for many ailments, among them hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. Researchers found that smoking pot did show some success in relieving nausea caused by chemotherapy, and “spasticity” for multiple sclerosis patients. The authors of the study did not rule out other medical benefits, but found little evidence of any so far.26

Opponents decry marijuana’s dangers, the fact that it lacks FDA approval, and that legal drugs make marijuana unnecessary. They point out its addictiveness and that it can lead to harder drug use and mental problems; they also say it “interferes with fertility, impairs driving ability, and injures the lungs, immune system, and brain. They claim medical marijuana is a front for drug legalization and recreational use.”27 There is no clear optimal dose for its various approved conditions. THC concentrations vary widely; and sometimes users breed out CBD, which can ameliorate THC’s negative effects, to increase THC’s potency.28 Furthermore, marijuana smoke can contain up to 70 percent more carcinogenic materials than tobacco smoke.29

No one medicine has ever been recommended or used for the number of diseases and ailments political proponents of medical marijuana say it is a therapy for. The proponents have turned it into some kind of major miracle drug while, at the same time, the scientific literature finds marijuana either dangerous or of extremely limited use, and often both.30

Now let’s look at the positions of professional medical associations.

MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE?
PART II: THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY SPEAKS

The American Psychiatric Association—

There is no current scientific evidence that marijuana is in any way beneficial for the treatment of any psychiatric disorder. In contrast, current evidence supports, at minimum, a strong association of cannabis use with the onset of psychiatric disorders.31

Medical treatment . . . should not be authorized by ballot initiatives.32

The American Medical Association—
In November 2013, the AMA retained its longstanding position that “cannabis is a dangerous drug and as such is a public health concern.” Recent policy changes call for further well-controlled studies.33

The American Society of Addiction Medicine—
The ASAM warns against marijuana’s adverse effects on mind and body, its increasing potency, and its influence in precipitating relapses in alcoholism and other drug dependencies. It recommends carefully controlled medical use and drug education for early school grades and health workers.34

The American Cancer Society—
A 2013 position paper states that cancer patients may receive benefit from marijuana, which can “help alleviate the nausea, vomiting, wasting, and muscle spasms caused by chemotherapy in some patients.” The ACS supports more research for treatments for cancer and its side effects, but it does not advocate marijuana legalization.35

The American Ophthalmological Society—
In 2014, the AOS reaffirmed its stand that marijuana does not help glaucoma. Ophthalmologists believe marijuana has side effects that could endanger eye health, increasing risk for cancer and eye diseases.36

The American Academy of Pediatrics—
In 2015, the AAP reaffirmed its opposition to legalizing marijuana for either recreational or medical use. It recommended protections for children in states that have legalized either. It says, “For adolescents, marijuana can impair memory and concentration, interfering with learning, and is linked to lower odds of completing high school or obtaining a college degree. It can alter motor control, coordination and judgment, which may contribute to unintentional deaths and injuries. Regular use is also linked to psychological problems, poorer lung health, and a higher likelihood of drug dependence in adulthood.”37

CRITERIA FOR MARIJUANA AS MEDICINE
The general conclusion appears to be, “If marijuana is to be used for medical purposes, it should be subjected to the same evidence-based review and regulatory oversight as other medications prescribed by physicians.”38

Bennett and White offer the following controlled program for obtaining medical marijuana: a) A physician specialist for the patient’s chronic condition must sign a special waiver; b) Approval by the Institute of Medicine; c)Both patient and physician must sign a formal statement under penalty of federal perjury charges limiting the marijuana to that patient only; d) The patient must sign a waiver of understanding releasing the government of any liability regarding marijuana’s possible adverse side effects; e) It must be a standardized dose of government-provided marijuana; f) A hospital pharmacy must fill the government-approved, doctor-certified prescription; g) The patient’s prescriptions must be based on the doctor’s regular reviews.39

So, if marijuana is still illegal on the federal level, and all these authorities oppose or caution about its legalization, why is the legalization movement growing so rapidly? This is a question that begs an answer.

BIG MARIJUANA AND CULTURAL CHANGE

“The pro-legalization movement hasn’t come from a groundswell of the people. A great deal of its funding and fraud has been perpetrated by George Soros and then promoted by celebrities,” said John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy under George W. Bush. “The truth is under attack, and it’s an absolutely dangerous direction for this country to be going in.”40

Marijuana use in the United States before the ’60s was mostly underground; but as its popularity spread, the public became much more accepting, until by the ’90s,

]L]eaders and politicians stopped speaking of the harms of marijuana . . . anti-drug ads became less prevalent . . . arguments on behalf of marijuana use were no longer answered . . . a market was found to create medical marijuana and call marijuana medicine because of its analgesic effects, and . . . Hollywood made punch lines out of the use of marijuana in blockbuster movies and popular television shows.41

NEVERTHELESS, LEGALIZATION TODAY IS NOT A GRASSROOTS MOVEMENT.

Billionaire financier George Soros and other wealthy people jump-started it and are maintaining it. Soros “has become one of the largest supporters of drug reforms ranging from medical marijuana use to the easing of sentencing for drug charges. His foundation has donated about $200 million to drug reforms since 1994.” He has also spent around $80 million on reforms through a nonprofit network and his mouthpiece, the Drug Policy Alliance.42 Soros provided 68% of the financial backing to pass Washington State’s 2012 initiative and is focusing on other states.43

Other promoters include the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and billionaires Peter B. Lewis, PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, and Sean Parker and Dustin Moskovitz of Facebook.

THE NEW GOLD RUSH
Today the pot industry is viewed as the “new gold rush,” with “hundreds of tributary businesses.”44

Sales of marijuana grew 30% in 2016, and as long as acceptance continues to gain steam, the industry could hit $20.2 billion in North America within four years, according to a marijuana market research firm.45

The legalization movement and industry are transforming our culture and institutions.

THE POT PRESIDENT
Former President Obama’s administration greatly expanded the movement. He openly admitted smoking marijuana when young, calling it merely a “bad habit and a vice,”46 and supported legalized pot in Washington State and Colorado. In April 2013, his administration even told the Supreme Court to ignore a lawsuit by Oklahoma and Nebraska opposing legalized pot in Colorado.47

The Obama administration also pressured the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of the Department of Justice to consider removing marijuana from the list of the country’s most dangerous drugs.

That list was created as part of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, which consolidated all federal drug laws into a single comprehensive measure and defined marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, alongside heroin, LSD and other drugs that the government says have no medical value and the highest potential for abuse. That meant marijuana was saddled with the strictest possible restrictions and penalties.48

To date though, the DEA has maintained its “core priority” to oppose marijuana and prosecute “those who manufacture, distribute, or possess any illegal drugs, including marijuana.”49

However, movement is underway to reclassify cannabis as a non-Schedule I drug, allow states to regulate medical marijuana programs, remove CBD from the Controlled Substances Act, and reconcile federal banking issues in the legal marijuana industry.50

DRUG-DEALING STATES
George Soros also funds studies about the profits from marijuana legalization.

Colorado. Such a study found that marijuana legalization could generate as much as $100 million in state revenue after five years. “That research was widely considered to have influenced the election.”51 (emphasis added).

Washington State. Marijuana sales generated $70 million in tax revenue during the first year of legalization, with over $257 million in sales.52 But one business owner said $70 million is low and sales should increase.53

Logan Bowers, who co-owns a recreational cannabis store in Seattle, claims there’s a “cultural shift happening in Washington, Colorado and other states that have started to legalize marijuana use.” 54 (emphasis added) Although the article doesn’t describe that “cultural shift,” I know it well. And my husband sees its results every day.

POPULAR ARGUMENTS FOR AND AGAINST

You talk to the kids and with everything that’s going on with it being legalized in Colorado and comments being made that it’s just not that bad for you, the kids are taking it one step further and they’re telling me, “It’s just an herb. It’s OK. In fact, it’s used for medical purposes, it’s not bad for you. It’s good for you.” And that’s the belief our kids are getting.55—Fourteen-year veteran, Salt Lake City Police Department

There’s a wide spectrum of opinion about legalizing marijuana, but the battle doesn’t fall on a simple Left-Right continuum. Some Republicans favor it and some Democrats oppose it. Issues involve personal health and freedom, tax revenues, public policy, expense to our justice system, cultural change, and states’ rights. Many believe a ban would be futile.

Bennett and White conclude in Going to Pot that most advocates are poorly informed because of deliberate falsehoods by interest groups, ignorance about the strength of today’s marijuana, and unwillingness to give it up.56

Even Christians have many different views, as you will see in the chart below.

FOR

Divine intervention. Pot is God’s intervention to bring healing and relief. Even Jesus must have smoked it because it grew in the Middle East then.

AGAINST

What can bring temporary relief isn’t necessarily good (e.g. alcohol, opioids, etc.) (1 Corinthians 10:23). To assume that Jesus Christ smoked it because it may have been around is an irrational unbiblical leap.

FOR
Relaxation. It relaxes me, so it must be good.

AGAINST

Don’t count on it. Marijuana is not a sedative; it can excite and even stimulate hallucinations and psychosis. The present high levels make it unpredictable.

FOR
God’s creation. God created everything and gave us the plants of the field (Genesis 1:29).

AGAINST

God created deadly nightshade, too, but we treat it with care. This is a fallen creation.

FOR
Not from Satan. Satan doesn’t create, so marijuana couldn’t be of Satan.

AGAINST

Instead of creating, the devil spins webs of deceit (2 Corinthians 11:3).

FOR
Freedom. Jesus wasn’t legalistic; Christians live by grace.

AGAINST

This is true, but Scripture clearly says that we are never to use our freedom as a license to sin (Romans 6). And the Bible has given us many instructions on how we are to live including being sober minded and avoiding drunkedness.

FOR
Fairness. Trust the democratic process.

AGAINST

The democratic process also brought us homosexual marriage and transgender bathrooms.

FOR
Just an herb. Marijuana is just a medicinal herb.

AGAINST

Opium can be medicinal too, but recreationally it’s destructive.

FOR

Popularity. My friends all use it.

AGAINST

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world” (1 John 2:15; see also 2 Timothy 2:22).

FOR
Bigotry. You’re a bigot to oppose pot.

AGAINST

Don’t be afraid to be criticized for standing for righteousness. Be bold. (1 Peter 4:1–5)

FOR
Legality. It’s okay for Christians in states with legalized pot.

AGAINST

It’s still illegal on the federal level, and even if that changes, it won’t make it safe or right. You can sin with legal and social approval.

 

WHAT CAN CHRISTIANS DO?

For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. . . . Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:9, 11)

Many Christians today are confused about marijuana. This may result from:

Lack of education

Misreading the Bible / rejecting biblical authority

Peer pressure and moral laxity in churches and society

Confusing propaganda

Naiveté and/or ignorance of the devil’s wiles

Here in Washington State, we’ve not witnessed any noticeable Christian resistance to the “legalization.” On the contrary, we’ve encountered apathy in some churches and casual openness to it in some church youth groups. Online, youth pastors sometimes seem uncertain. There seems to be little awareness of its spiritual dangers. A woman who had opposed a marijuana factory in her neighborhood called us after our letter protesting the new law was published. She’d approached many Christian neighbors, but few had signed her petition. There was a lot of apathy, she said, an attitude of, “Well, it’s a law now, what can we do?”

Well, there’s a lot we can do. First and foremost, we can pray. In spite of all that is happening in the world today, including the growing use of marijuana and other drugs, as Christians, we serve a God who cares and who listens to our prayers.

We can also help to educate those around us, in our homes, churches, and neighborhoods. And while it may seem like a hopeless case there are some encouraging signs. As of this writing, the White House has announced that we should expect to see greater enforcement of federal marijuana laws, regardless of states’ laws. Attorney General Jeff Sessions opposes the drug. Furthermore, marijuana is still classified on the federal level as a Schedule I drug along with heroin, LSD, and ecstasy.

But the battle will continue. The exploding marijuana industry is up in arms about losing its huge profits from a possible major crackdown. While President Donald Trump doesn’t oppose medical marijuana, the White House views recreational use differently. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is examining the whole issue. If the White House and the DOJ go easy on the “legal” states, the marijuana industry will continue flourishing, with the states as drug dealers. But if the DOJ cracks down, marijuana will increase as a powerful symbol of rebellion. One thing is clear: President Trump, the DOJ, and the country need our prayers.

No one knows which w

ay the nation will go.

But which way will you go?

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:17–18)

To order copies of The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf, click here.

ENDNOTES
1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24904437.
2.https://tinyurl.com/y7zl4f5y.
3. http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html.
4. http://www.refinery29.com/2016/04/107985/where-is-weed-legal; www.westword.com/marijuana/eleven-states-considering-pot-laws-in-2017-8720; see a current map of state marijuana laws at http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html.
5. https://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=006473; https://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881; and http://www.governing.com/gov-data/state-marijuana-laws-map-medical-recreational.html.
6. See http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000881 and http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=006473. See a chart of medical marijuana pros and cons at http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000141.
7. There is a good discussion about this at https://justprayno.org/tag/idolatry.
8. See http://www.revelation.co/2010/01/27/what-does-the-bible-say-about-marijuana-is-smoking-pot-a-sin-in-gods-eyes.
9. See http://bibleforums.org/showthread.php/127483-Sorcery-Drugs-In-The-Bible for a thorough discussion. Also http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-sorcery.html.
10. William Bennett and Robert White, Going to Pot: Why the Rush to Legalize Marijuana Is Harming America (New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, 2015), p. 152.
11. http://www.sosmin.com/pdf/marijuana.pdf.
12. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 172.
13. Ibid., p. 18.
14. See http://spiceaddictionsupport.org/what-is-spice.
15. Going to Pot, op. cit., pp. xiv–xv.
16. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/can-marijuana-use-during-pregnancy-harm-baby.
17. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/06/390143641/pot-can-trigger-psychotic-symptoms-for-some-but-do-the-effects-last.
18. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/marijuana/there-link-between-marijuana-use-psychiatric-disorders.
19. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/06/390143641/pot-can-trigger-psychotic-symptoms-for-some-but-do-the-effects-last.
20. http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org; http://www.businessinsider.com/marijuana-in-america-20-of-americans-can-now-access-legal-weed-2016-11.
21. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 92. Also see http://adf.org.au/drug-facts/hallucinogens.
22. Ibid., p. 19.
23. “Cannabinoids for Medical Use: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” (The Journal of the American Medical Association, June 2015, at http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2338251).
24. https://www.projectcbd.org/guidance/cannabis-dosing.
25. “Problems with the Medicalization of Marijuana” (2014, at http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1874073; https://tinyurl.com/yd6tet2a).
26. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/jul/12/editorial-a-bust-for-medical-marijuana.
27. http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org.
28. “Problems with the Medicalization of Marijuana,” op. cit.
29. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 19.
30. Ibid., pp. 61–62.
31. https://web.archive.org/web/20161003070041/https://www.recoveryanswers.org/pressrelease/apa-position-statement-on-marijuana-as-medicine.
32. Ibid.
32. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/addiction/marijuana-and-psychiatric-patient
33. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/11/20/ama-reaffirms-opposition-to-marijuana-legalization; http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/sourcefiles/AMA09policy.pdf.
34. http://www.asam.org/docs/publicy-policy-statements/1marijuana-5-062.pdf.
35. http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.source.php?sourceID=001399.
36. https://tinyurl.com/yb5mxrt9.
37. https://tinyurl.com/zolhjrl.
38. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 68.
39. Ibid., pp. 65–66.
40. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/2/billionaire-george-soros-turns-cash-into-legalized.
41. Going to Pot, op. cit., pp. 177–178.
42. https://tinyurl.com/ybt8ph67.
43. https://tinyurl.com/mfqdk4o.
44. http://www.msnbc.com/the-cycle/how-marijuana-could-be-the-new-gold-rush; http://www.fox5ny.com/news/160812124-story.
45. https://tinyurl.com/yctqxtm9.
46. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8pZ2AC_pv0.
47. https://tinyurl.com/y962aclb; http://countercurrentnews.com/2016/01/obama-tells-supreme-court-to-legalize; https://tinyurl.com/y8am2h57.
48. Joel Warner, “Marijuana Could Soon Be Rescheduled As A Less Dangerous Drug By The DEA, So Why Aren’t Cannabis Proponents Excited?” (04/14/16, https://tinyurl.com/yd3bvlm2).
49. The DEA Position on Marijuana, https://www.dea.gov/docs/marijuana_position_2011.pdf, p. 1.
50. See http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/10/us/washington-marijuana-70-million-tax-dollars.
51. https://tinyurl.com/ya9tkpqg.
52. “Pot Money Changing Hearts in Washington” (July 2015; http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/10/us/washington-marijuana-70-million-tax-dollars).
53. Ibid.
54. Ibid.
55. Going to Pot, op. cit., p. 12.
56. Ibid., p. 82.

Note: To follow this discussion and for updates, visit http://www.logosword.com/blog.

AUTHOR BIO: Linda Nathan spent many years in the ’60s and ’70s West Coast counterculture before Jesus Christ rescued her. She has a B.A. in psychology and master’s work from the University of Oregon, and ten years in the legal profession. Since 1992, she has provided professional freelance writing, editing, and publishing consultation services through her company, Logos Word Designs, LLC (www.logosword.com). You can visit Linda on the web at www.logosword.com.

To order copies of The Cross and the Marijuana Leaf, click here.

God’s Help and Comfort Through It All

LTRP Note: As another mass shooting has struck our country, victimizing yet another community, we know of no other words to say today to our readers than the ones from Scripture.

God’s Help and Comfort Through It All

By Warren B. Smith

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1-2)

For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. (Isaiah 50:7)

For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. (Isaiah 41:13)

Henry Francis Lyte completed the lyrics of his hymn Abide With Me shortly before his passing in 1847. Aware that death was near, he directed his hymn to God who he described as the “Help of the helpless.”

Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me!

The 1719 hymn O God, Our Help in Ages Past by Isaac Watts and William Croft, reminds us that God has been our help in the past and will continue to be our hope in the years to come:

O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come; Be Thou our guide while life shall last, And our eternal home.

The following Scriptures refer directly to the help and comfort God brings to those who put their faith and trust in Him:

God’s Help

God is Our Helper
Behold, God is mine helper. (Psalm 54:4)

So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Hebrews 13:6)

God Helps Us
Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. (Isaiah 41:10)

For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. (Isaiah 50:7)

God is Our Help and Our Shield
Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. (Psalm 33:20)

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. (Psalm 28:7)

God is Our Help and Our Deliverer
But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God. (Psalm 40:17)

But I am poor and needy: make haste unto me, O God: thou art my help and my deliverer; O LORD, make no tarrying. (Psalm 70:5)

God Helps Deliver Us From the Wicked
And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him. (Psalm 37:40)

Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. (Psalm 94:16-17)

We Pray to God for Help
Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. (Psalm 108:12)

Help me, O LORD my God: O save me according to thy mercy: That they may know that this is thy hand; that thou, LORD, hast done it. (Psalm 109:26-27)

Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. (Psalm 12:1)

O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help. (Psalm 71:12)

Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me. Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation. (Psalm 38:21-22)

Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me. (Psalm 40:13)

Deliver me from the workers of iniquity, and save me from bloody men. For, lo, they lie in wait for my soul: the mighty are gathered against me; not for my transgression, nor for my sin, O LORD. They run and prepare themselves without my fault: awake to help me, and behold. (Psalm 59:2-4)

God is Our Help in Times of Trouble
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man. (Psalm 60:11)

Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me. (Psalm 116:5-6)

We Rejoice in God’s Help
Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. (Psalm 63:7)

God Helps With Our Infirmities
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Romans 8:26)

Our Help is in the Name of the Lord
Blessed be the LORD, who hath not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:6-8)

God’s Comfort

God is the God of All Comfort
Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort. (2 Corinthians 1:3)

God Comforts His People
I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass. (Isaiah 51:12)

Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted. (Isaiah 49:13)

God’s Holy Spirit is Our Comforter
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26)

God’s Holy Spirit Abides with Believers Forever
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:16-17)

God Comforts with His Word
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Romans 15:4)

God Comforts Those Who Are Cast Down
Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus. (2 Corinthians 7:6)

God Comforts in Our Tribulation
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. (2 Corinthians 1:4)

God Comforts in Times of Despair
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

God Comforts on Every Side
Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee! Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth. Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side. (Psalm 71:19-21)

God Comforts Those Who Mourn
The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound . . . to comfort all that mourn. (Isaiah 61:1-2)

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)

God’s Comfort Can be Maternal
For thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream: then shall ye suck, ye shall be borne upon her sides, and be dandled upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem. (Isaiah 66:12-13)

God Comforts us With the Promise of His Return
. . . we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18)

Forty Helpful and Comforting Verses

The Lord is Around His People
As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever. (Psalm 25:2)

He Goes Before Us
Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

He Never Leaves Us or Forsakes Us
Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. (Hebrews 13:5)

Nothing Can Separate Us From the Love of God
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)

He Has Given Us His Word
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

His Word is Quick and Powerful
For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

His Word Never Passes Away
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35)

He Gives Us Wisdom
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5)

He Will Guide Us Continually
And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. (Isaiah 58:11)

He Will Direct Our Paths
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

He Supplies all our Needs
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

The Lord’s Compassion Never Fails
It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)

He Gives Strength to the Weary
Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)

He Gives Us His Peace
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27)

He Keeps Us in His Peace
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isaiah 26:3)

His Peace Keeps our Hearts and Minds
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

He is Our Refuge
The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)

He Delivers Us From Affliction
Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. (Psalm 34:19)

He Gives Us Rest
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)

He Perfects His Strength in Our Weakness
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

We Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Us
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13)

He Works All Things For Good For Those Who Love Him
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

He is Able to Keep Us From Falling
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy. (Jude 1:24)

He Protects Us
When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (Isaiah 43:2)

He Lifts Up a Standard Against the Enemy
When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him. (Isaiah 59:19)

No Weapon Shall Prosper Against Us
No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper. (Isaiah 54:17)

He Gives Us the Victory Through Jesus Christ
But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:57)

He is Faithful to Complete His Work in Us
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

He is Our Guide Unto Death
For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death. (Psalm 48:14)

He Gives Us Eternal Life
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Eternal Life is a Gift from God
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

God Sent His Son to be the Propitiation for Our Sins
Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

If We Confess Our Sins He Forgives Us
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Whoever Calls Upon the Lord’s Name Shall be Saved
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13)

By Grace We Are Saved Through Faith
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

He Has Prepared a Place for Us
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:1-3)

He Will Raise Us Up
Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you. (2 Corinthians 4:14)

His Glory Will be Revealed in Us
For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

He Will Wipe Away All Tears
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

What God Has Prepared For Those Who Love Him
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9)

Our Helper and Our Comforter

Lines from the following two hymns echo what the Bible makes very clear. God is our rock, our hiding place, our refuge and defense—our helper ever near. He is our shelter in the time of storm, our wonderful Savior and comfort sweet. In good times and in bad, He is our Helper and our Comforter through it all.

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide, A Shelter in the time of storm;
Secure whatever ill betide, A Shelter in the time of storm.

A shade by day, defense by night, A Shelter in the time of storm;
No fears alarm, no foes afright, A Shelter in the time of storm.

The raging storms may round us beat, A Shelter in the time of storm;
We’ll never leave our safe Retreat, A Shelter in the time of storm.

O Rock divine, O Refuge dear, A Shelter in the time of storm;
Be thou our helper ever near, A Shelter in the time of storm.

 Shelter in the Time of Storm
Vernon J. Charlesworth (1878)

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.

Near to the Heart of God
Cleland B. McAfee (1903)

(Photo from bigstockphoto.com; used with permission)

 

“On Reformation Milestone, Experts Detect ‘Astounding’ Thirst For Unity”

Pope Francis, right, hugs the President of the Lutheran World Federation Bishop Munib Younan during an ecumenical prayer in the Lund Lutheran cathedral, Sweden, Monday, Oct. 31, 2016. (Credit: L’Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP.)

LTRP Note: The following is posted for informational and research purposes and not as an endorsement of the source or the content.

By John L. Allen Jr.
Crux (Catholic publication)

Two experts on the Catholic/Lutheran relationship, one Catholic and the other Lutheran, both say that joint commemorations of today’s 500th anniversary of the launch of the Protestant Reformation reflect a strong yearning for unity in the grassroots, and may represent a new “springtime” in ecumenism, meaning the quest for Christian unity.

Five hundred years ago today, tradition has it, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the cathedral in Wittenberg, Germany, thereby triggering the Protestant Reformation that’s divided Western Christianity ever since.

Today, two experts on each side of that Catholic/Lutheran divide say what they detect in the trenches is an “astounding” thirst for unity. Click here to continue reading.

“Why Millennials Are Ditching Religion for Witchcraft and Astrology”

LTRP Note: The following news story is posted for informational and research purposes and not as an endorsement of the source or the content. It is also a reminder that young people today desperately need to hear the true biblical Gospel of Jesus Christ.

By Kari Paul
Marketwatch

When Coco Layne, a Brooklyn-based producer, meets someone new these days, the first question that comes up in conversation isn’t “Where do you live?” or “What do you do?” but “What’s your sign?”

“So many millennials read their horoscopes every day and believe them,” Layne, who is involved in a number of nonreligious spiritual practices, said. “It is a good reference point to identify and place people in the world.”

Interest in spirituality has been booming in recent years while interest in religion plummets, especially among millennials. The majority of Americans now believe it is not necessary to believe in God to have good morals, a study from Pew Research Center released Wednesday found. The percentage of people between the ages of 18 and 29 who “never doubt existence of God” fell from 81% in 2007 to 67% in 2012. Click here to continue reading.

Related Information:

 10 Vital Things Parents Can Do to Help Children Keep Their Faith

The Impact of Practical Mystics versus Cults

By Ray Yungen
(Author of A Time of Departing)

Evangelical scholar David L. Smith correctly assessed the powerful, yet subtle, impact New Age spirituality is having on society when he made the following observations:

Not since Gnosticism at the dawn of the Christian era has there arisen a philosophy as pervasive and threatening to orthodox Christianity as the New Age movement . . . It would be difficult to find any area of life, which has not been touched or redirected to some degree by the concepts of this movement.1

bigstockphoto

Smith recognizes that, rather than just a small segment, the overall social fabric of society is being impacted. This movement has clearly evolved well past the subculture stage into something much more dynamic and sophisticated. This stunning change has been brought about by the rise of a new breed of mystic—one that presents mysticism as a complement to secular goals and one that is adept at easing the public’s natural impulse to reject the strange and unfamiliar. Some examples of this are:

A prominent, influential speaker and seminar leader, Brian Tracy, promotes the use of the “superconscious mind” (i.e., the higher self), “to improve productivity, performance and output” in the corporate world.2

An article in one major Pacific Northwest newspaper features a large color picture of a local university professor in a classic Zen Buddhist meditation pose. He has not joined the Buddhist religion but is trying to reverse his heart condition through Eastern meditation.3

A popular morning talk show entices viewers with the promise of “how to get along with your spouse.” The show then features popular New Age author Wayne Dyer exhorting viewers to “go into the silence for guidance” when they get angry with their mate[s].4

These are just a few examples of what could be called secular mysticism or generic mysticism, meditation practiced not for religious reasons but as a tool to improve life. Many Christians have a difficult time comprehending this concept. They have been trained to think in terms of cults such as the Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) or the Watchtower Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses). But these groups are rather limited in their impact because, even if they become sizable, they remain only isolated islands in society. The advantage practical mystics have is that they only have to piggyback a seemingly benevolent meditation method onto whatever programs they are promoting—in other words, they do not have to proselytize people to a dogma, only a practice.

New Age publisher Jeremy Tarcher spoke of this challenge in an interview. Speaking of practical mystics he explained: “They have to learn to present their perceptions in appropriate language and actions that don’t arouse fear or resistance.”5

Because of their success at this effort, one writer declared that interest in meditation was currently exploding. This explosion in Western culture is unprecedented and very real.

In the West, mysticism had always been restricted to a tiny fraction of the population (i.e., shamans, esoteric brotherhoods, and small spiritually elite groups). Never before has there been a widespread teaching of these methods to everyone. Now, mysticism pervades the Western world. How did this happen?

The first such book to reach a broad audience was Creative Visualization by Shakti Gawain. This book could rightfully be called a practical mystic’s bible. Many people can trace their first involvement in metaphysics to this book. Since its publication in 1978, it has sold millions of copies and has influenced the fields of psychology, health, business, and athletics.6

The book became so popular because it addresses such topics as creativity, career goals, relationships, better health, and simple relaxation and peacefulness. Who wouldn’t want to have all this, especially if all it takes is engaging in a simple practice?

Gawain spells out very clearly what that practice entails. She teaches her readers:

Almost any form of meditation will eventually take you to an experience of yourself as source, or your higher self . . . Eventually you will start experiencing certain moments during your meditation when there is a sort of “click” in your consciousness and you feel like things are really working; you may even experience a lot of energy flowing through you or a warm radiant glow in your body. These are signs that you are beginning to channel the energy of your higher self.7

There had been books like hers before, but those appealed to people already in the New Age subculture. This wasn’t true of Creative Visualization. This book had just the right secular slant on something inherently spiritual. Gawain believed that one could stay a Jew, Catholic, or Protestant and still practice the teachings of the book. All you were doing was developing yourself, not changing your religion.

Gawain was merely the forerunner of what has become a flood of such books. A more recent book, The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, which is about the “spiritual path to higher creativity,”27 has sold over two million copies.

A good example of this approach was a business in a major West Coast city that sold books, tapes, and videos on stress reduction. The owners were very active in their community. Doctors, therapists, and teachers came to them for help. They gave talks to school faculties, major corporations, and all the major hospitals in their city. Their clientele tended to be affluent, well-educated professionals and business people who were interested in personal growth.

Yet, along with stress reduction and self-improvement, another element was subtly present—spiritual awareness. One of the owners wrote how she attended a powerful workshop with “Lazaris” and discovered that his techniques were “practical and useful.”8 That does not sound too extraordinary at first glance—however, Lazaris is not a person but a spirit guide!

Because of the stereotypes about people who gravitate toward mystical experiences (such as counterculture types), we may tend to assume people associated with these practices have strange personalities or are in other ways offbeat. On the contrary, these individuals are professional, articulate, conservatively dressed, and above all, extremely personable. They are positive and likeable. A newspaper reporter who did an article on one of them told me, “She is one of the most calm, serene persons I have ever met.” The reporter added, “People want what she has!”

The health, self-help, and recovery sections of secular bookstores are now saturated with New Age metaphysical books. Christian columnist Terry Mattingly summed up the situation brilliantly when he observed: “The New Age didn’t crest, it soaked in . . . It is now the dominant theme in commercial bookstores.”9 If the self-help and personal growth sections of most secular commercial bookstores were examined, the only conclusion to come away with would be that New Age mysticism is the prominent spiritual viewpoint of this country.

A case in point: One day while strolling through a shopping mall, I noticed a New Age bookstore and a secular bookstore just around the corner from each other. Upon examination, it was clear the secular bookstore had far more New Age books than the New Age bookstore did—hundreds more. Moreover, the vast majority were not in the New Age section but in the self-help, health, and other sections. Thus, New Age bookstores have almost been rendered obsolete by the explosion of practical mystic books stocked in traditional bookstores.

This is not an understatement or scare-tactic conjecture. Take a look at book sales for some of the major New Age authors around today. Just the top two, Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra, have sold fifty million books between them. James Redfield, the author of The Celestine Prophecy, can boast of a staggering twenty million books sold, and Neale Donald Walsch, the channeler of Conversations with God, a paltry seven million.10
The basic message of these books and hundreds of others like them could be reduced to one simple word, a word that cries out a uniform consistent theme—meditate! That is to say, you’re not going to get anywhere in this life unless you get that “click” that Gawain spoke of earlier and to do it, you must meditate.

If you think the New Age movement is a colorful assortment of strange cults populated by free-spirited aging hippies and assorted oddballs who are being duped by money-hungry charlatans and egocentric frauds, then think again. We are not dealing with fringe religious groups or chanting flower-children anymore but with a broad-based concerted effort to influence and restructure our whole society. (Excerpt from A Time of Departing, chapter 1)

Notes:
1. David L. Smith, A Handbook of Contemporary Theology (Victor Books, 1992), p. 273.
2. Brian Tracy, Maximum Achievement (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1993), pp. 179, 17.
3. “Change of Heart,” (The Sunday Oregonian, September 19, 1993), p. L1.
4. AM Northwest Morning Talk Show, KATU Channel 2, Portland, OR, Interview with Wayne Dyer, March 27, 1997.
5. Jeremy Tarcher, “Living with Vision” (Science of Mind, April 1, 1992), p. 44.
6. Shakti Gawain, Creative Visualization (Novato, CA: Nataraj Publishing, 2002), back cover.
7. Ibid., 1983, 9th Printing, p. 57.
8. Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way (New York, NY: William Morrow Co., 10th Anniversary Edition), front & back covers.
9. What’s New at Stiles newsletter, 1985.
10. Terry Mattingly, “Marketplace of the Gods” (Christian Research Journal, May/June 1986), p. 6.

Meditation’s Role in the End of the Age

Ray Yungen

By Ray Yungen

Throughout my Christian life I have periodically heard fellow Christians suggest we are in the last days. Often these comments were initiated from current cases of violent crimes, sexual perversions, war, or natural disasters. Since I knew history had repeatedly encountered these calamities, such predictions of Christ’s imminent return rang hollow.

However, in 1984 I had an unexpected encounter that changed my entire outlook. A newfound friend educated me about the New Age movement and its end-times implications. After a period of investigation, I came to believe this could very well be the time period the book of Revelation showcases. Instead of a vague and obscure manifestation of prophecy, I saw something distinct and pervasive happening in our churches and society. And incredibly enough, this shift has been predicted from both sides of the struggle.

Christians must remember that the authenticity of Christianity itself is predicated upon its prophecies coming to pass. Jesus Christ, the apostle Paul, and various apostles and prophets of the Old and New Testaments make clear and direct references to particular events occurring in the future. If these events are only fantasies, then everything else could be deemed equally fictitious as well. I believe current trends authenticate Jesus Christ’s and the apostle Paul’s prophetic claims regarding the end of the age. Upon examination of the evidence, it becomes clear that the course our society (and our churches) is taking has been foretold by the apostolic writings.

The apostle Paul spoke of the “day of the Lord” in reference to “the times and seasons” in the fifth chapter of 1 Thessalonians. He describes how God will intervene swiftly and without delay. Paul states:

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. (I Thessalonians 5:1-6)

Paul is saying the end of the age will come upon the world like a thief in the night. In other words, it will actually sneak up on people. Then interestingly, the apostle contrasts two groups:  “But ye, brethren [followers of Christ] are not in darkness [people of ignorance], that that day should overtake you as a thief. [unaware]” (v.4). Here, Paul is saying believers in Christ will have the information (Scripture) available to them to prepare for “that day.”

Those who walk in the light can see both where they are going and what is coming up ahead. Paul then warns against spiritual slumber and drunkenness, which could lead to a person being overtaken by that day, unaware: “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (v. 6). The word sober means be alert or aware. If we are instructed to watch and be aware, there must be something to watch for—otherwise, Paul’s admonition would be useless. But who and what are we to watch for? …

Interestingly, the apostle Paul declared one called “the man of sin” and “the son of perdition” would proclaim himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:3,4). I believe this coming Aquarian messiah will be the son of perdition spoken of by Paul in 2 Thessalonians. Furthermore, I am convinced the New Age movement is his spiritual platform. Too many things fit together for this to be just mere coincidence. Therefore, we must watch for the restructuring of our world by those who are preparing the way for his arrival and identity to be revealed.

Daniel 8:23 states this man will be a master of dark sayings. In Hebrew, this translates as one skilled in cunning and ambiguous speech. The world will see him as one who is distinguished and spiritually brilliant. Keep this in mind as you read the following description:

The coming one will not be Christian, a Hindu, a Buddhist, not an American, Jew, Italian or Russian—his title is not important; he is for all humanity, to unite all religions, philosophies and nations.1

The only one who could bring this about is the one who fits the description mentioned in Daniel. This explains the all-out effort by the New Age, which is saturating our society with meditation right now. When this man comes forward, all those who are in touch with their higher self, those who are awakened will clearly recognize him as their unifier and give him their allegiance. He will have a ready-made constituency (many in key positions) to help him reconstruct society. This will be the final culmination of the paradigm shift that is taking place.

Familiar spirits (fallen angels) will not just mislead a few individuals; they will deceive the whole world into embracing a new system. Satan (whose name means adversary) will be the power behind the “Coming One”—the great Antichrist. The origin of the Antichrist’s religious system is clearly revealed by the apostle John in Revelation 17:5:

And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.

Another word for Babylon in the Old Testament was Chaldea. The Chaldeans were renowned for their use of metaphysical arts. They began the first mystery schools. Daniel 4:7 says: “Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers.” This Mystery Babylon, then, would be the original source or mother of what is now New Age metaphysics.

I believe the Bible contains an important passage, which clearly indicates a change of times and seasons may indeed be at hand. In Matthew 24:3-5, which is a chapter dealing with the tribulation period, Jesus spoke these words to His disciples concerning the signs of His coming and the end of the age:

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many….

In light of the many who will be coming in Christ’s name, I also believe the occultist Alice Bailey prophecies can provide further insight into what the apostle Paul called in 2 Thessalonians the falling away. Bailey eagerly foretold of what she termed “the regeneration of the churches.”21 Her rationale for this was obvious:

The Christian church in its many branches can serve as a St. John the Baptist, as a voice crying in the wilderness, and as a nucleus through which world illumination may be accomplished.2

In other words, instead of opposing Christianity, the occult would capture and blend itself with Christianity and then use it as its primary vehicle for spreading and instilling New Age consciousness! The various churches would still have their outer trappings of Christianity and still use much of the same lingo. If asked certain questions about traditional Christian doctrine, the same answers would be given. But it would all be on the outside; on the inside a contemplative spirituality would be drawing in those open to it.

The world is opening its arms to wholly embrace a spirituality that will exist under the umbrella of mysticism. The correlating theme will be—we are all One. When the man of lawlessness does rise to power with a one-world economy and political base, he will seduce many into searching for their own Christ consciousness rather than the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Notes:

1. John Davis and Naomi Rice, Messiah and the Second Coming, p. 150

2. Alice Bailey, The Externalization of the Heirarchy, p. 510

Ray Yungen (1952-2016) is the author of several Lighthouse Trails books, booklets, and lecture DVDs. He stood valiantly for the truth and issued warning to the church for nearly thirty years. 


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