ome of you are aware Christian Media has maintained its own print shop for our many periodicals. Shortly before Christmas, our printer, and longtime friend of over 16 years, was murdered. The details are gruesome, so the coroner simply called it "homicidal violence." The perpetrator, or perpetrators are still at large, and in an apparent effort to cover the crime, they set his body ablaze and burned our print shop to the ground.
The fire took all the printing presses, paper cutters, binding equipment, laser printers, computers, and book inventories that were located at the shop. This uninsured loss was just the salt in the wound, because we lost our old friend Roger Johansen to this heinous deed. As you might imagine, we've been in something of a state of shock over this horrifying event.
Unfortunately, because print shops have many chemicals and large quantities of paper on hand, the fire burned devastatingly hot. This has been headline news in our area for some time, and a major combined law enforcement effort is now underway as numerous law enforcement authorities are earnestly looking for the culprit.
The Scourge Of Sorcery
The book of Revelation tells us that well into the prophesied tribulation period, the people of the world will continue clinging to their sinful ways, and in a profound rebellion, refuse to repent of their wickedness:
"And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands...Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts." - Revelation 9:20, 21
Most contemporary Christians are aware that the Greek word underlying the word sorceries, is pharmaceia - as in the word pharmaceutical. In short, one of the four significantly mentioned sins in the last generation is directly related to drug abuse.
Our friend Roger struggled with drug problems for much of his adult life, and we thought he had gained the victory - but now he's become another statistic. Even though there were previous episodes when he made great progress, and appeared to be clean for lengthy periods of time, he had apparently slipped back into his old patterns. Although he had ongoing bouts with drug abuse, he was fully functional in that he was a remarkably capable printer, in addition to the fact that he was a very intelligent, and colorful individual.
Early on, the police investigation indicated that Roger's murder was very likely related in some way to the drug sub-culture. We've learned there were drug related people who claimed he owed them money, but we really don't know what happened at this time.
What we do know is another person has gone to meet his maker prematurely, and the fact that he was murdered is a hideous reminder of how man's sinful condition is prophesied to escalate to the very end. We are truly saddened by the loss.
God Is Punishing You
The fact that Roger's murder does not appear to be an act of anti-Christian aggression, tends to mask how the principalities and powers of wickedness wish to harm all associated with the Gospel. However, it is self evident the LORD allowed this terrible thing to occur.
I remember some years ago, when we had a couple of very trying episodes, a Christian man told me God was punishing me because I had spoken out against the rapture. I was greatly disturbed to hear this, because the Scriptures make it clear a person who confuses a work of the LORD, with a work of the Devil, is perilously short on Spiritual discernment.
In the past, I've been harshly criticized by more than one person who knew Roger had drug problems, and as word of this incident emerges, there will likely be others who will condemn us for our association with such an "unsavory" character. However, we've noted that criticism of this nature universally originates with people who already hate our ministry, and only seek to use my decision to continue with Roger as a printer as a means of damaging us. The fact is, the LORD made it very clear to me that Roger was the person He had provided, in order for us to grow the ministry on the print side.
I also had the sense that Roger was scheduled to hear the Word of the Lord through Christian Media. Roger had come to recognize the existence of God, but as far as we know, he did not commit his life to Jesus Christ. We can only pray that in his last moments, realizing he was leaving this world, he reached out to Jesus.
The very idea that grave harm that strikes near us is an indicator that God is somehow displeased with us, is thoroughly repugnant - however, we must never assume God is not trying to tell us something. Many people have great difficulty believing that God would allow disaster to strike us in order to teach us some lesson, but there are significant numbers of people who have come to the cross because of a crisis in their lives.
The fact is, most believers attribute misfortune in their own lives to the Devil, but are usually quick to assume trouble in someone else's life, is a signal that God is punishing them. How shortsighted we can be!
This type of anguished self-examination occurs in the book of Job, where we see the fabled man of misfortune has "friends" who hastily accuse him of some unspecified infraction. Things go so poorly for Job that even his foolish wife urges him to just reject God, and go ahead and die - perhaps the worst advice in history. In the end, Job is justified, and his former associates meet a rather bad end. Thus, we would all do well to be very careful in assigning some havoc as the consequence of something we may know nothing about.
The recent church shootings in Colorado, in which four young Christians were killed, including two teenage sisters just arriving for worship services, should give any sane person pause to wonder just why the LORD allowed such a thing to occur. We note, for instance, the deranged killer in that case had been a professing believer who was kicked out of a Christian missionary organization, and had posted the following on a website shortly before his murderous rampage:
"You Christians brought this on yourselves...I'm coming for everyone soon, and I will be armed to the teeth. I feel no remorse, no sense of shame, I don't care if I live or die in the shoot-out. All I want to do is to kill and injure as many of you as I can, especially Christians who are to blame for most of the problems in the world."
These words express the raw rage and hatred that emanates out of the bottomless pit, and that ancient hostility is completely focused on all who profess the LORD Jesus Christ as their Saviour. We would do well to remember just how much Satan hates everyone who is scheduled to inherit a place of honour in the kingdom he has forfeited.
We grieve with the families who lost children and beloved relatives. Indeed, as I thought to mention that horrible tragedy in the present writing, I noticed the media did not cover the fact those particular church shootings occurred at the very same church that was run by the Reverend Ted Haggard, the nationally known pastor who was exposed for his lengthy homosexual activities last year.
In that humiliating fall from grace, Haggard, who was also the president of America's highly esteemed National Association of Evangelicals, was exposed for his drug abuse and the hiring of a homosexual man for sexual acts. Incredibly, some time after the pastor was ousted from the mega-church, that disgusting professional sodomite, who is an avowed non-believer, attended services at Haggard's former church (the very same church where the teenagers were just murdered), and was warmly welcomed. One cannot help but wonder what sort of twisted sense of Christian "love" was being displayed towards such an obvious disciple of the Devil.
While there are instances in Scripture where a leader's failure sets in motion judgments that hurt those under his care, we should be exceedingly cautious about concluding a direct cause and effect. However, in II Samuel 24, we learn that David's order to "number" the people resulted in the deaths of 70,000 Israelites - a harsh judgment indeed.
We do see that the text tells us when David sacrificed to the LORD "that the plague may be stayed from the people" (II Samuel 24:21), the text actually tells us "the Lord was intreated for the land " (II Samuel 24:25). Thus, a collective sin of the nation does seem to be in view. However, we have no indication those who were destroyed by the angel of the LORD had committed any infraction, for
"...David spake unto the Lord when he saw the angel that smote the people, and said, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly: but these sheep, what have they done? Let thine hand, I pray thee, be against me, and against my father's house." - II Samuel 24:17
Here is a fascinating foreshadowing of the intercession for others performed by Jesus Christ, who offers Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the people and the nation. Truly, the ways of the LORD are higher than our ways, and as we seek to understand things that are veiled we must trust Him in all things.
When it comes to misfortune striking those who surround us, I have seen a principle my wonderful wife Susan has dubbed Spiritual Shielding. Although I can't fully explain it, over a period of years it seems as though every time some serious problem emerged at the ministry I was in town running errands, or had left the premises when it occurred.
Susan even made it into something of a joke, as she suggested that whenever I would leave the ministry offices (and our home), I took my "shield" with me. Indeed, some years ago, when we had the enormous forest fire that almost consumed everything here, I was in the opposite end of the country on a speaking tour. Other episodes of a similar nature have suggested there is some sort of Spiritual phenomena occurring.
Please understand that this has nothing to do with attributes I possess, or any perceived goodness on my part, as God is the sovereign LORD who gives every gift. It's more along the lines of "I will bless them that bless thee" (Genesis 12:3), a verse that is widely misinterpreted, since it applies to the Christians, because we are the children of the promise, and are thus counted for the seed of Abraham (see Romans 9:8 for details).
We do notice in the Scriptures the concept of a covering is found in many places. In Isaiah, through the prophet, the LORD warns those who are not covered, or protected, by His Spirit:
"Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit...." - Isaiah 30:1
The New Testament subtly uses the figure of marriage, which we all know relates to Christ and His bride, when it says we are to walk in honour,
"...being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." - I Peter 3:7
Thus, what we do (or fail to do) does have a "cause and effect" principle involved. In this regard, it's clear that although the grace of Christ covers a multitude of sins, willful disobedience can bring about a very severe recompense - and it will come upon us wherever our Spiritual Shield is weakest.
Last, but hardly least, the Scriptures tell us the Restrainer has indeed been holding back the evil, but even that protection has an end. Most believers pay little attention to the subject of the Restrainer, because the liars in the Rapture Cult have convinced them the restraint is removed at the supposed "rapture" - and they figure they'll all be gone. The truth is, when all restraint against the wicked powers have been completely removed, all believers will be fully sealed in whatever condition they were in when the shift occurred.
We are already at a point where Remnant believers are in the Spiritual wilderness, and the harlot church is clearly on the back of the beast. All true believers who have "come out of her" are now in great peril at her hands. As Remnant Christians, it's going to become more difficult as we see others around us fall - because they have not availed themselves of the LORD's Spiritual Shielding due to their refusal to hear, and obey, His Word.
"And when they shall fall they shall be helped with a little help...." - Daniel 11:34
But the LORD Jesus Christ is faithful and true, and as the book of Hebrews promises, He is the author and the "finisher" of our faith, so that we may complete the race He's given us to run.
"Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. 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." - Matthew 11:43, Revelation 21:4
We look forward to that day.
- James Lloyd
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