Friday, September 19, 2014

Meriting Unmerited Grace

“For the grace of God has APPEARED, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12 NASB).

The unmerited favor which defines the biblical word “grace” is often misunderstood, and perhaps more so now than ever before in history.  The Western culture—and the  context in which the American church exists—is so promiscuous and morally anarchical, that it has overflowed its banks and flooded us with its language and behavior to such a degree as to pervert the very foundation of godliness: GRACE.  That’s right!  Unmerited favor is the floor of the house of godly living.  Our righteousness is not our own; it is imputed as a gift.  And only after it is received, do our lives begin.

The grace of God HAS appeared; all men are without excuse.  The first graces of life are already given; what we do with it—or if we receive it at all—is now obligatory upon us.  Just as the unconditional love of the mother (who embraced us in her womb and nourished us at her bosom), is the foundation of our well-being, and must grow into the conditional love of the father (who instructs, disciplines, and hardens us for service and viability in a harsh world environment), so the initial graces of life (the unmerited favor of life) must grow into the merited glory of a life fully matured in Christ.  God rewards us disproportionally to utter merit always, but He does require that we DO something with the unmerited grace He gives us. 

Indeed, “The grace of God (His unmerited favor and blessing) has come forward (appeared) for the deliverance from sin and the eternal salvation for all mankind.  It has trained us to reject and renounce all ungodliness (irreligion) and worldly (passionate) desires, to live discreet (temperate, self-controlled), upright, devout (spiritually whole) lives in this present world, awaiting and looking for the [fulfillment, the realization of our] blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One), who gave Himself on our behalf that He might redeem us (purchase our freedom) from all iniquity and purify for Himself a people [to be peculiarly His own, people who are] eager and enthusiastic about [living a life that is good and filled with] beneficial deeds” (Titus 2:11-15 Amp.).
Matthew Henry, concerning these verses of Scripture, said: “See our duty in a very few words; denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, living soberly, righteously, and godly, notwithstanding all snares, temptations, corrupt examples, ill usage, and what remains of sin in the believer's heart, with all their hindrances.”  In other words, there is no longer a cloak for sin, no acceptable excuse for living in base drunkenness and debauchery; fleshly desires and dissipations (squandering money, time and energies on worthless pursuits), excesses, misspending, overconsumption and self-indulgence must give way to sobriety of mind and heart, imputed righteousness, and living after the image of God in Christ that has been placed inside us in Seed form.

Yes, in Seed form!  That is the key to meriting unmerited grace.  Christ is in our hearts by faith (a faith God graced us with); what will we now do with Christ?  Will He form in us to the full stature?  Will the Seed become the Son?  This great unmerited salvation merits our attention and the full powers of our effort to realize its potential.  Mom loved us, dad disciplined us, and we—incorporating all that they taught us (from that premise)—we build the superstructure of our lives.  Likewise, the master-builder apostle (representing the Apostle of our faith), after birthing and establishing us (by his New Testament writings), insists that we work out what is worked in.  Indeed, Paul said, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13).  Spurgeon, remarking on these verses, said, “Now, the matter to be worked out is a something which the text tells us is at the same time worked in. We may safely defy anybody to work a thing out which is not first in. God, we are told in the second verse of our text, works in us, therefore it is that we are to work the inward towards the outward.  We work out, bring out, educe from within ourselves to our exterior life that which God constantly works in us in the interior secret recesses of our spiritual being.”

Though unmerited favor is always unmerited, there are those who propagate a grace so disconnected to consequential behavior as to warrant the moniker characterization “hyper-grace.”  So misunderstood is grace that I wrote a short article titled “The Misnomer of Hyper-Grace” on 3/29/2014; it is worth repeating here in support of this article:

“I guess I have been in my own world for so long that I hardly knew there were those who labeled certain ministers as hyper-grace propagators.  And as I discovered this idea, and the misconceptions surrounding it, I realized it is like so many things I encounter: it is misunderstood.

“Grace, like love and mercy (and God Himself for that matter) is inherently superfluous, super-abundant, without end, based on an I AM the Alpha-and-Omega everlasting God who INHABITS eternity (BEING at all times at all places all at once, outside of time and in it too).  It is IMPOSSIBLE to hyper-exaggerate God and His goodness, and consequently, His grace.  It is, however, possible to be hyper-ignorant.  I am not trying to be cruel, but many don’t understand things deep enough to see the logical addendum to their arrived at dogmas and the truncated view of things their dogmas are based on.  Yes, we all know in part, but how small does that part need to be?  Someday we will be like Him, we are told, and every intervening day between now and then ought to see our part growing bigger and therefore closer to the whole truth.  If we get honest, I imagine, most of us would have to admit that we have not studied to SHOW OURSELVES APPROVED UNTO GOD, and that we are more like a Sadducee than a disciple (one that God had to soundly rebuke) when He said to them: “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God (Matthew 22:29 NASB).

“We cannot afford to let experience be our only teacher.  Just because our experience with sin has not been victorious does not mean that Christ did not overcome sin and transmit that victory to His children.  If grace is not afforded us (or so we think), and sin dominates our lives, it does not negate the power of God to do all things in us, for us, and through us.  It only means we are deficient in FAITH, in appropriating the grace He abundantly lavishes on His children ALWAYS.  It can only mean we have an evil and unbelieving heart, no matter how benignly we try to tell ourselves otherwise.  I’m inclined to think that most of those who accuse others of hyper-grace teaching are more like the ten spies who could not overcome giants, rather than the two spies who did overcome giants. 

“Nonetheless, I am sympathetic to those who do not seem to experience the full measure of grace.  I am a prophet by office, and therefore, I TEND towards 'doom and gloom' and 'law'; perhaps that is why it took me many years to reconcile the idea of grace with the righteous requirements of holiness.  Nonetheless, grace cannot be exaggerated, only a perverted view of it.  Grace is not license of flesh, but law of spirit.  It is encouragement of spirit and rebuke of flesh always.  It comes tied together in one love package from God.  Grace gives us the ability to obey the gospel from the heart, and inclusive with that enabling of heart (or spirit) to obey, is a correcting of soul (to agree with spirit) and a destruction of the energy of flesh (to remove its base poison from our ascended spirit’s expression).  For many years I could not overcome the giants, and therefore I died a thousand deaths in a barren wilderness.  'Only the rebellious dwell in a dry land' say the Scriptures, and all that I can say is that—looking back and being completely honest—I was practicing witchcraft and wondering why God was so spartan with His grace toward me.  Through the dirty lens of my own viewpoint, I thought all people were like me, and those who walked in 'hyper' grace were delusional (and somehow even scripturally wrong).  But I finally came to accept that it was this simple: BE IT UNTO YOU ACCORDING TO YOUR FAITH.  And IF we accept that IT IS FINISHED, striving ends and grace begins; more grace is given IMMEDIATELY when we BELIEVE (faster than even the hyper speed of a twinkling eye).”

In the end, it would be wise of us to consider ourselves merely unworthy servants (having only done our duty), and as those—however much our stature grows to personify eldership (or even kingship/sonship for that matter)—that rejoice to throw their crowns at His feet.  It is sufficient that we hear “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23), however much of an elder, king, or son we become.  The Lord Himself showed us the way.  Indeed, “Let this same attitude and purpose and [humble] mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus: [Let Him be your example in humility:] who, although being essentially one with God and in the form of God [possessing the fullness of the attributes which make God God], did not think this equality with God was a thing to be eagerly grasped or retained, but stripped Himself [of all privileges and rightful dignity], so as to assume the guise of a servant (slave), in that He became like men and was born a human being.  And after He had appeared in human form, He abased and humbled Himself [still further] and carried His obedience to the extreme of death, even the death of the cross!” (Philippians 2:5-8 Amp.). 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Error of Balaam

“They...have abandoned themselves for the sake of gain [it offers them, following] THE ERROR OF BALAAM” (Jude 1:11 Amp.).

“Having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed THE WAY OF BALAAM, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Peter 2:14-16 NASB).

“I have a few things against you: you have some people...who are clinging to THE TEACHING OF BALAAM, who taught Balak to set a trap and a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, [to entice them] to eat food that had been sacrificed to idols and to practice lewdness [giving themselves up to sexual vice]” (Revelation 2:13-15 Amp.).

In the above three portions of Scripture we see three different aspects of one truth concerning Balaam, and it is expressed as the ERROR, the WAY, and The TEACHING.  Because I see them all caught up into the one expression, i. e., “the ERROR,” I have changed the sequential order of their introduction into Holy Writ, but the proper order found is the WAY, the ERROR, and the TEACHING.  This is significant when compared to the fact that Jesus Christ is expressed as the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE in John 14:6.

In the life of our Lord we see the WAY as the way of suffering, the way of the cross (the way of death unto life); in the life of Balaam we see the way of deviation, avoidance of suffering, avoidance of the cross means to life.  The “eyes full of adultery” which marks the way of Balaam is based on greediness of desire and an inordinate love for the wages of unrighteousness or sin (which is death).  This way is really an anti-way, because what is behind this way is a relinquishing of responsibility or a letting off of effort to do righteousness.  Behind it is the belief that God’s way is too hard, which flies in the face of the fact that “His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:3).  Spiritual laziness tends downward into baseness, down into our fallen nature; we must always rise with the Spirit to mortify our flesh.  If not, we will crystalize our characters along the wrong lines.  To be carnal minded is death, and internal rationalization leading to external compromise is the evidence of that death.  And Balaam’s way is this way of carnal death.  Ultimately, it is the broad way that leads to destruction.

Jesus Christ is the TRUTH—the personification of Scripture; in Him, there is no lie.  In Balaam, it is not so much that he lied factually (which of course he did—ultimately and immediately), but that his very person was dispositionally off-center (he personified himself after the mold of the character of his fallen nature).  The error of Balaam is found in the limited scope or tight parameters of this false mold; he “abandoned” himself as God originally constructed him to be.  “One thing I have learned [found]: God made people good [virtuous; upright], but they have found all kinds of ways to be bad [sought out many devices]” (Ecclesiastes 7:29 EXB) to avoid their responsibility to maintain that good and virtuous and upright (straight) mold of character God provided.  Balaam—like Solomon and the Galatians after him—started out well, but also like wanton Solomon and the fleshly Galatians, he went the way of his lower nature; this is the error of Balaam.  Abandoning self for the sake of gain is to throw off all restraint; but it is ironically and ultimately to lose rather than to gain (just as “godliness with contentment is great gain”—see 1 Timothy 6:6—so ungodliness with discontentment is great loss).

The teaching of Jesus Christ—the LIFE—glorified God not man; He affirmed God’s righteousness and condemned man’s unrighteousness always in the expression of that life.  Balaam, contradistinctively, taught man’s rights and God’s stinginess always.  His skewed perspective, born of greed, made him believe a lie concerning the true nature of things.  Whenever we see God—but not ourselves in relationship to that vision—we misinterpret His teaching and misrepresent His intent.  When flesh is enthroned in our hearts, our spiritual sight is less than partial; it is faulty even in its partiality!  Compromise is making concession to flesh, and making concession to flesh is to teach false doctrine.  This is the teaching—the LIFE—of Balaam: COMPROMISE.  It is a teaching (or life) expressed as divided loyalties (eating both at the table of demons and communing with God); it is often expressed as sexual looseness (being given over to the appetite of sex without restraint or conscience), but also, in symbolic terms, being given over to anything else that takes the place of God in our lives.

The name Balaam means “destruction of the people” or “swallowing up the people”—and in a ravenous appetite way; he had a gluttonous appetite for ruining Israel.  Beor means “torch” or “lamp” and is from the root word meaning “to consume, to burn up, to depasture (to denude of pasture by constant grazing).”  Balaam is therefore the overwrought seer, the over-penetrating eye, the flash of too much light too quickly upon the subject matter of man (it is enlightenment without purity—a dangerous mix!).  Thus, in the ministry of Balaam, the pure in heart (the Israel of God) that sees God—but before purity of heart is achieved—is brought too quickly to the throne of God (where judgment is).  Inevitably, therefore, those that come to God in their own righteousness—in their native impurity—are consumed by a Consuming Fire rather than merely salted with fire (and thereby preserved).  

Just as there are false apostles who show great signs and wonders and yet know not God, so there are false prophets who see accurately and speak correctly and yet know not God.  Though the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable, fruit is judged according to merit.  And just as only men who KNOW women know fatherhood, only those who KNOW God bear fruit.  And the fruit of righteousness grows only on the tree of life, and the tree of life—in the midst of the garden of our hearts—is only arrived at through the flaming sword which guards it.  If we eat of it in an unworthy manner, we crystalize our character into the mold of our sinful nature.  Only death to ourselves as presently constructed—and then life from that death—makes us able to eat of the tree of life without harm.  “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.  And as many as walk according to this rule (of the new creation spirit), peace and mercy be upon them (their entire person comprised of body, soul, and spirit), and upon the Israel of God (the new creation spirit at the center of that person)” (Galatians 6:15-16 NKJV).

So, in other words, only those willing to be cut and cauterized by the “flaming sword” reach the tree of life.  Balaam—associated with Moab—is someone (by inference to Moab) associated with incest, someone inordinately absorbed with self; someone who inverts the stream or river of their life (greedily returning it back into themselves) rather than distributing it outward in blessings to others.  The error of Balaam is to be close to the river of life, but not in it, nor to drink from it.  The first mention of Balaam in the Bible finds him “by the river of the land of the children of his people” (Numbers 22:5 KJV).  This first mention is the telling mark of his nature, and it characterizes him—and all those who never lay hold of life—as antilapsarians (those who deny the Fall of Mankind).  They are near life, but never in it.  This is the error of Balaam. 

Later, the prophet tells us how to know the righteousness of God by looking at how Balaam answers the Moabite dilemma (we are all born of spiritual incest, but what we do with that fact determines our destiny).  “O my people, remember now what Balak king of Moab consulted, and what Balaam the son of Beor answered him from Shittim (“plains or meadows of acacia”) unto Gilgal (“liberty” or “rolling away”); that ye may know the righteousness of the Lord” (Micah 6:5 KJV).  The plains or meadows of acacia trees in the land of Moab is representative of essential or native human nature, and the liberty given by God in Christ Jesus—and the rolling away aspect that creates that liberty—is suggestive of God rolling away the stone off of the graves of our deaths, the removing of the force of our essential or native nature.  This is to “know the righteousness of the Lord,” but the antilapsarian spirit of Balaam removes any chance of this righteousness by removing the fundamental ground of repentance upon which to build it.  
The error of Balaam is therefore the error of not embracing God’s way when once we are brought to it (all those who heard the gospel but never obeyed it are included here).  We cannot be righteous until we admit unrighteousness; we cannot know the narrow path of life until we get off the expansive plain of death.  And then, once there, we must maintain that separation.  The error of Balaam is the error of not embracing the circumcision of the cross that separates us away from our baser fallen nature in perpetuity (we must die daily to maintain that separation).  The cutting edge of reality is the cross of Christ in sharp relief; God on the resurrection side of it must be encountered regularly to keep one's self out of hell, death, and the grave.  As the apostle asked, “What partnership have right living and right standing with God with iniquity and lawlessness? Or how can light have fellowship with darkness?  What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial [the devil]? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?  What agreement [can there be between] a temple of God and idols?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16 Amp.).  The error of Balaam is the antithesis instruction to guard ourselves from idols.  “Little children, keep yourselves from idols (false gods)—[from anything and everything that would occupy the place in your heart due to God, from any sort of substitute for Him that would take first place in your life]” (1 John 5:21 Amp.).     

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

America the Proud!

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall”—Proverbs 16:18

Drop the moral ground out of the equation and the bottom line drops with it.  But rather than repent to reestablish that high moral ground in order to strengthen our bottom lines, most of the church in America is still stubbornly and defiantly redoubling their efforts to elevate their bottom lines above morality.  The Almighty Dollar is the church of America’s god (her idol), and because of this tragic fact, God is about to break the staff of her bread (her ecclesiastical economy); He is about to pull it down, pulverize it into a powdery chaff, and blow it away by the breath of His mouth.  If it were not enough that the church in America continues in pride and arrogance—with “fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness” (like wicked Sodom before her)—the church in America is now (also like wicked Sodom before her), not strengthening “the hand of the poor and needy” (Ezekiel 16:49 KJV).  Indeed, “This was the sin of...Sodom,” she was “arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; (she) did not help the poor and needy.  (She was) haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with (her)” (Ezekiel 16:49-50 NIV).

If “The punishment of my people (Israel) is greater than that of Sodom, which was overthrown in a moment without a hand turned to help her” (Lamentations 4:6 NIV), then what makes us think that the church in America will not fall also (and by the same example pattern)?  Wicked indulgence always means more than mere selfishness; it always means oppressive treatment of others—ALWAYS!  Jerusalem, “the great city where the Lord was killed,” and “[…which is figuratively/symbolically/spiritually called Sodom and Egypt]” (Revelation 11:8 EXB) is, no doubt, being referred to in this verse of Scripture as apostate Israel—and by inference—the apostate church.  The idea that wicked self-indulgence is also an oppressive disregard of others is clearly seen in the remaining portion of Revelation 11:8 in the Expanded Bible: “Jerusalem is symbolically named after places judged by God for wickedness (Sodom) and for oppressing God’s people (Egypt).”

The New Jerusalem, however, is come down out of heaven, and is therefore unlike apostasy; it is rather of the divine nature of truth and fidelity (the opposite of “defection” or “revolt”—the definition of apostasy).  But just as the Lord said concerning Israel the whore, He is now saying to the apostate American church: “Now I will uncover her nakedness in plain view of her lovers, and no one will rescue her from me.  I will end all her religious celebrations” (Hosea 2:10-11 CEB).  The ordinary door of mercy is shut!  “But thanks be to God!  He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57 NIV).  Because after God removed Israel’s idols—after He took her into the desert/wilderness experience to accomplish that—He restored her (albeit in humbled and numerically smaller form).  Likewise, God, in His wise and merciful counsel, is about to deliver the American church from her apostasy.  She is about to lose everything and have her skirt lifted up before the world in shameful and debilitating fashion.  But God’s exposure is redemptive.  As He said to Israel long ago, so He now says to us:

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.  There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.  There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt” (Hosea 2:14-15 NIV).

Of special note is the “Valley of Achor” as “a door of hope.”  The Valley of Achor was the site of the destruction of Achan (“serpent”), his family, and all he possessed.  He “troubled” (the definition of Achor) Israel by stealing what God had cursed in the siege of Jericho.  Jericho (which represents the human heart) was the gateway to the conquest of the entire Promised Land.  Any mistake there is a mistake of extraordinary consequence (out of the heart flow the issues of life).  The serpent and his serpentine family is issued a death sentence for what they did to us in the garden, and our complicity, that ties us to the serpent (and all his wicked children), is only completely destroyed at his destruction.  The Valley of Achor, the valley of our being troubled (tribulated or being narrowed and crammed into the kingdom of God), is the narrow door of our escape.  It is there that the serpent is judged to condemnation, whereas we are judged to victory in the same location.   “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?  Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:18-19 KJV).

The American church as she is presently constructed is being removed; her new mold will be less ostentatious and more spiritual.  Just as “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17 NASB), so are the lusts of the American church passing away, and all those who refuse to do the will of God in her midst.  The removal of what can be shaken (created things—inclusive of us—and certainly also inclusive of the American church and her apostasies)—“so that what cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:27)—is upon us!  As Albert Barnes put it (in his commentary concerning this verse), “And this word, Yet once more - That is, this reference to a great agitation or commotion in some future time. This is designed as an explanation of the prophecy in Haggai, and the idea is, that there would be such agitations that everything which was not fixed on a permanent and immovable basis would be thrown down as in an earthquake. Everything which was temporary in human institutions; everything which was wrong in customs and morals; and everything in the ancient system of religion, which was merely of a preparatory and typical character, would be removed. What was of permanent value would be retained, and a kingdom would be established which nothing could move.”

Barnes further elaborated on the idea behind Hebrews 12:27 as follows:

“(1) All that was of a sound and permanent nature in the Jewish economy was retained; all that was typical and temporary was removed. The whole mass of sacrifices and ceremonies that were designed to prefigure the Messiah of course then ceased; all that was of permanent value in the Law of God, and in the principles of religion, was incorporated in the new system, and perpetuated.

“(2) The same is true in regard to morals. There was much truth on the earth before the time of the Savior; but it was intermingled with much that was false. The effect of his coming has been to distinguish what is true and what is false; to give permanency to the one, and to cause the other to vanish.

“(3) The same is true of religion.  There are some views of religion which men have by nature which are correct; there are many which are false. The Christian religion gives permanence and stability to the one and causes the other to disappear. And in general, it may be remarked, that the effect of Christianity is to give stability to all that is founded on truth, and to drive error from the world. Christ came that he might destroy all the systems of error - that is, all that could he shaken on earth, and to confirm all that is true. The result of all will be that he will preside over a permanent kingdom, and that his people will inherit “a kingdom which cannot be moved;” Hebrews 12:28.

“The removing of those things that are shaken - margin, more correctly "may be." The meaning is, that those principles of religion and morals which were not founded on truth would be removed by his coming.

“As of things that are made - much perplexity has been felt by expositors in regard to this phrase, but the meaning seems to be plain. The apostle is contrasting the things which are fixed and stable with those which are temporary in their nature, or which are settled on no firm foundation. The former he speaks of as if they were uncreated and eternal principles of truth and righteousness. The latter he speaks of as if they were created, and therefore liable, like all things which are “made,” to decay, to change, to dissolution.

“That those things which cannot be shaken may remain - the eternal principles of truth, and law, and righteousness. These would enter into the new kingdom which was to be set up, and of course that kingdom would be permanent. These are not changed or modified by time, circumstances, human opinions, or laws. They remain the same from age to age, in every land, and in all worlds.  They have been permanent in all the fluctuations of opinion; in all the varied forms of government on earth; in all the revolutions of states and empires. To bring out these is the result of the events of divine Providence, and the object of the coming of the Redeemer; and on these principles that great kingdom is to be reared which is to endure forever and ever.”

Now as pertaining to America and her church, mighty is God who judges her!  Yes indeed, in the end, all iron, clay, bronze, silver, and even gold (representing the different governing models of mankind) will be crushed, pulverized, and made like chaff to be blown away by the breath of the Almighty, as Jesus Christ, that stone which did all that crushing and pulverizing, becomes a mountain and fills the whole earth with a majestic and high government.  It is upon us, “the final removal and transformation of all [that can be] shaken—that is, of that which has been created—in order that what cannot be shaken may remain and continue.  Let us therefore, receiving a kingdom that is firm and stable and cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:27-28, Amp.). 

The seventh angel then blew [his] trumpet, and there were mighty voices in heaven, shouting, The dominion (kingdom, sovereignty, rule) of the world has now come into the possession and become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (the Messiah), and He shall reign forever and ever (for the eternities of the eternities)! (Revelation 11:15, Amp.).

Our nation and the American church are increasingly proving themselves as vaporous as what man is within himself without Christ; he and everything he conceives of and makes with his hands is ultimately baseless.  But the good news is that Jesus Christ is not only on the horizon for all who cling to Him, but is Himself THE HORIZON.  “Therefore thus says the Lord God, Behold, I am laying in Zion for a foundation a Stone, a tested Stone, a precious Cornerstone of sure foundation; he who believes (trusts in, relies on, and adheres to that Stone) will not be ashamed or give way or hasten away [in sudden panic]” (Isaiah 28:16, Amp.).  Do not fear what is coming upon the earth, and do not fear the fact that Jesus Christ and God have been removed from our nation; God is greater than our nation, and He can never fade away except in delusional minds and hearts.  Place your future on solid ground—that which cannot be removed—upon the Word of God made flesh, Jesus Christ.  America the proud is her downfall, yes, but mercifully—by the intercession of God Almighty—only to the baseline ground of Truth!