Weapons of Mass Intervention

The Power of Prayer and Why it is Under Attack


If you arrived here via my Welcome page you will already realise that the silencing of Christians during the lunacy of 2020 doesn’t sit well with me. If you arrived here directly, this is what I had to say:

‘Christian voices were silenced at a moment in history when they should have been at their loudest. I for one have no wish to remain silent. It’s time our voices were heard.’

In using the term ‘were silenced’ I’ve clearly expressed the view that this ‘gag order’ has been deliberate.

I’m writing this post to explain why I believe the action – or rather the attack – has been pre-meditated, targeted and strategic. First of all, I’ll give one recent example of Christian suppression.

On September 23rd, three Christian men were arrested in Moscow for participating in an outdoor worship service.

This snippet of news may not surprise many, given that the event occurred in Moscow. However, this didn’t happen in Moscow, Russia, but in Moscow in the state of Idaho, USA.

The United States of America, home to the largest Christian population in the world; a nation in which sixty-two percent of polled adults claim to be active members of a church congregation; a nation whose Pledge of Allegiance states:

‘I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’

Sadly, repression of Christian worship in America is not limited to Idaho.

Idaho is one of many states in which severe restrictions on church gatherings and worship are enforced. For example, the California state governor has banned totally all indoor worship.

Meanwhile, in San Fransisco, the city’s Mayor, not satisfied with the usual two metre distancing ruling enforced across many nations, has ordered that only one person at a time may be permitted to enter houses of worship. Perhaps the man, London Breed, is all too aware of Jesus’ assurance stated in the book of Matthew:

‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.’

Matthew 18:20

What are world leaders, such as Mayor Breed, so afraid of that they seek to prevent Christians from meeting together? Why do they seek to forcibly silence those who engage in vocal worship?

I’ll tell you what I think – in my own meandering way, so please bear with me.


To retake Port Stanley from Argentinian invaders in 1982, the British army advanced overland in what was a gruelling forced-march in full kit over difficult terrain. Between them and their goal were a series of hill defences upon which the Argentinian forces were heavily entrenched and well equipped with artillery and mortars.

The battles to retake these hill-top defences generally took place at night. During one such battle, to capture the hills known as Two Sisters, the British were again outnumbered, their enemy well dug-in and heavily armed.

The fighting was bitter, with artillery shells and mortar fire raining down on the British soldiers who, by that time were exhausted and almost out of ammunition. Things were desperate. The attack to retake the hills was about to stall.

The British commanding officer, Clive Dytor, then fixed his bayonet and ran screaming at the opposing forces, firing from the hip. His men quickly followed suit and charged the enemy lines, yelling like berserkers. Though heavily outnumbered, their fearsome attack so demoralised their enemy that the British quickly overwhelmed the Argentinian defences.

Outnumbered, outgunned, and open to enemy fire the British employed fear to discourage and dis-empower their enemy. And it worked.


I’ll now dial the clock back further, to 1944.

The second episode of the 2001 TV series ‘Band of Brothers’ is titled ‘Day of Days’. It covers events occurring on D-Day. During the episode, Easy Company are tasked with performing an airborne landing behind enemy lines prior to the beach-landing of the main invasion force.

Allied commanders were aware that the enemy had positioned heavy artillery in bunkers behind the beach-line defences. They knew that, unless they were disabled, the heavy fire from these would rain down on the allied soldiers and may even prevent a successful landing. Easy Company’s mission was to attack the bunkers and put the guns out of action.

For the invasion to have a chance of success, the greatest threat had to be silenced.

These examples suggest two things:

  • When attacking well-protected opponents from a weaker position, fear may be successfully employed as a weapon.
  • For operational success, it is vital that those elements which represent the greatest risk to the mission are neutralised. The heavy guns.

I make no apology for including examples of military conflict when discussing this year’s silencing of the Christian community. Anyone who can’t see that what is taking place right now is a war of epic proportions is simply not paying attention.

As I’ve alluded to several times already on this site, we’re witnessing history being made on a scale this generation has never seen. Many people, however, remain ignorant of this reality as much of it is unreported, downplayed or misrepresented in our media.

Nevertheless, Christian commentators familiar with Biblical end-time prophecy, are sitting up and paying attention.

This brings me to a further quote from my Welcome page:

‘I am sure [events of 2020] will eventually come to be recognised as, not only an attack on humanity, but an attack on Christianity.’

One might consider this to be a touch melodramatic, or take the view that, as buildings of worship are now re-opened, everything is hunky-dory. Such a view would be a mistake.

Bearing in mind my summary of the two historical examples above, here is a sample of text taken from the UK government’s ‘Guidance for the Safe Use of Places of Worship …’

The UK is currently experiencing a public health emergency as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The transmission characteristics of COVID-19 are outlined by Public Health England. The transmission of COVID-19 is thought to occur mainly through respiratory droplets generated by coughing and sneezing, and through contact with contaminated surfaces. The predominant modes of transmission are assumed to be droplet and contact.

‘… fear may be successfully employed as a weapon.’

I’ve extracted the following from similar guidelines produced by the local church which, until recently, I regularly attended:

There will be no singing by the congregation or raised voices.

‘… it is vital that those elements which represent the greatest risk to the mission are neutralised.’

To understand why I no longer attend that church I suggest you visit my post ‘A Question of Obedience’. Once there, consider those enforced regulations and judge for yourself whether they represent freedom to worship or Christian persecution.

So, why would anyone suppress the act of Christian worship, using fear of a virus to do so?

I’ve already hinted at the answer to that question above, but I’ll elaborate here:

Christians, and their power of prayer are the big guns. Effective, target-focussed prayer represents such an overwhelming threat to those in service to Satan that, to have any chance at success in whatever evil agenda their’s may be, it is vital that they muzzle Christ’s army.

Furthermore, as with the Falklands’ example above, our oppressors have launched their attack from a position of weakness, using fear as their weapon.

I know from personal experience that prayer brings results. However, before sitting to write this post, I consulted a number of books in my collection to gain a fuller understanding of the true potency of prayer.

It’s unsurprising that my first and most trusted resource was the Bible. Here, there’s a multitude of scriptural references on the subject. Perhaps one of the most pivotal examples is this statement given by Jesus:

‘Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.’

Matthew 18:18-20

Prayer, however, is not a contrivance with which, like petulant children, we appeal to God into satisfying our every wants.

The act of prayer is a cool-headed acceptance of our true situation before our heavenly Father. It’s also an admission of our need for His intervention in our lives.

It isn’t something we simply do for ourselves, ‘intercession’ is a prayer by which Christians pray for others. We are urged to intercede for other people. Used this way, prayer is both unifying and strengthening.

In his Concise Commentary, Matthew Henry wrote:

‘The disciples of Christ must be praying people; all, without distinction of nation, sect, rank, or party.’

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary of the Whole Bible

I take comfort in the fact that the power of prayer isn’t determined by the one praying. Its success isn’t dependent on a magic formula of buzzwords, scriptural slogans or godly gobbledygook. It’s in an honest, open hearted and reverent approach to God. The almighty power resides in Him, of who Jesus said:

‘… with God all things are possible.’

Matthew 19:26

Unfortunately, the power we have available to us through our authority in prayer is widely underestimated. Our enemy, however, knows full well our true potential.

It is for this reason those prominent and priviledged pawns strutting on Satan’s chessboard have sought to demoralise, muzzle and silence Christians worldwide.


It’s time our voices were heard!


‘The prayer preceding all prayers is “May it be the real I who speaks. May it be the real Thou that I speak to.”’

C.S. Lewis

Fearless

In nineteen eighty-nine, three enterprising young men created a clothing brand, billed as an ‘extreme sports brand with added attitude’. It now includes its own highly successful energy drink, and the brand has even been promoted by Hollywood through several of its ‘blockbuster’ movies.
The brand’s name?

No Fear

No Fear has been a global success story. So much so that the logo could often be seen on bumper-stickers, vehicle windows and, of course, on the clothing itself.

At one time, if you were to walk down almost any high street, you’d probably see the name – ‘No Fear’.

Fast forward to 2020 and what do we now see as we walk those same streets? We see fear. Despite faces half-hidden by masks, we see a population afraid. A demoralised people living in fear. But fear of what?

We’re warned of a dreadful ‘hidden enemy’ that stalks our land like a bacteriological Grim Reaper, striking down countless thousands as it cuts swathes through the nation. So goes the warning. But what do we actually see?

We see TV bulletins. We see headlines in newspapers. On the radio we hear an unrelenting chorus of pessimism and hopelessness every hour, on the hour. Of course people are afraid. Isn’t it inevitable?

But …

… what if that which people fear most is simply the bad news itself? They dread the next baffling bulletin, the next bizarre broadcast. What if it’s these things that are blighting their lives?

Like moths drawn to a flame, they can’t resist the urge to do that which causes their pain and they switch on, tune in and hang onto every word. Unbeknown to them, their greatest fears are being realised each and every day.

Fear.

Of course, there may be some whose desire is for us to be fearful; some who consider that fear renders us compliant, placid and helpless. After all, before 2020, were the headlines that much different? Were they, really?

Whatever the reasons may be, God doesn’t want us to be afraid.

“… do not fear for I am with you …”

Genesis 26:24

Any non-Christians reading the above verse may doubt the relevance of a phrase written fifteen hundred years before Christ. What validity does it have to those events occurring in the twenty-first century?

However, the bible teaches us that a fear-less life, living under the assurance of God’s love and protection was not something that was limited to Abraham’s generation all those years ago. The verse is a timeless one and applies to every single one of God’s children. I am one. As are you.

Despite the extraordinary and perverse events I see around me I don’t allow fear to dwell in me. I never allow it to gain purchase. That’s not to say that I’m a stranger to fear. I’m no more brave or resilient than the next man. Far from it. Fear has featured in my daily life for many years.

With God’s help, however, fear is now a temporary intruder, hastily evicted, rather than an unwelcome lodger permitted to squat in the basement of my psyche.

Such control over this unwelcome guest hasn’t always been the case. I’ll explain.

In 2017 I was invited by my medical specialist to give an account of living with uncontrolled epilepsy – a condition that goes hand-in-glove with stress and fear. This is what I wrote at that time:


Imagine if you will, driving your car down a busy road at night. It could be a narrow road such as those in North Yorkshire, flanked by dry stone walls. The walls have stood for over a century. They’re solid, rugged and unforgiving.

As you contemplate the stone-cold walls, you hit black ice and spin out of control. Please now focus on the nauseating fear you have in the pit of your stomach. Imagine removing your hands from the wheel—for you are no longer in control of your body’s motor function.

Now, remove all your lucidity, knowledge of the likely outcome; eliminate any memory you may have of previous such experiences. Disregard your earlier sense of logic— for at the onset of an epileptic seizure, logic no longer has a seat in the house.

You may fear crippling injury; you can’t influence the outcome. Anxiety piles on distress. You may die. Your fate is out of your hands.

Now, imagine how that feels. But let me tell you, you’re still not even close to experiencing the all-consuming fear of a seizure.

Consider the sickening sense of relief you experience as you regain control.

Your heart rate settles, the trembling in your limbs eases. Sweating ceases as your body and mind recovers.

Now, contemplate the dawning realisation that this will happen again later in the day. It will happen twice, three times maybe. And you have no idea of when they’ll hit you or where you’ll be when they do. Imagine the dread at facing a tomorrow loaded with the same constant threat— and every day of your life.

Now, put on a smile and carry on.

You see, the fear doesn’t come and go with the seizure activity. It remains a constant feature, albeit at a fluctuating level each day.


That was my life in 2017.

Two years later, almost crushed by the burden of responsibility in an increasingly hostile and dysfunctional world, whilst at the same time struggling to maintain control of body and mind, I cast my cares onto God, and declared:

‘Lord, I can’t do this on my own. I need Your help in my life.’

I waved the white flag. But mine was not a flag of surrender, but one of victory, for that’s when my life changed.

That’s when my unwelcome lodger was finally expelled from the basement.

Worry and anxiety not only drain the spirit, but deplete our physical strength and consume our joy for life. Worry and fear are unacceptable. Jesus told us not to worry. He knows it can break us physically, mentally and spiritually – and this is not what he wants for us.

‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’

Phillipians 4:6-7

To further illustrate the secure, unflinching confidence of a life filled with God’s gift of the Holy Spirit, what follows is a statement written by a Christian brother. Before proceeding, you may read his brief testimony here.

Here is his declaration:


Declaration

Fifty-three years ago as a hard-drinking foul-mouthed soldier who tried to kill his friend who had become a Christian, God used that same friend to bring me to the cross of salvation.
God took me from the barrack room and anointed me to preach His Word.

He took me to nineteen different countries on four continents, some of them up to eight times. I have traveled on every type of transport known to man, and some that should not be known to man. I have slept in high-class hotels and under the stars. I have lived in villages and shanty towns in Africa and India, have walked through war zones and deserts, and have climbed mountains and traversed forests.

I have faced wild animals, been chased by angry mobs, had guns pointed at me and been caught up in riots (not of my making).

I have been with kings and politicians and with street beggars. I once climbed a mountain to minister to two dear souls and have preached to vast crowds at open-air meetings. I have conducted seminars for hundreds and Bible studies for two seekers.

I have worked with some of the finest children of God in all of the countries I visited. I have been inspired by their devotion to the work of His Kingdom and have counted it a great honour to have been able to work alongside them.

Now I am nearing my seventy-sixth birthday. I am still on fire for God and His Word; I am fit and (as far as I have ever been) am of sound mind.

I will not be cowered by a virus or intimidated by immoral liars of any political party. Nor will I be kept down by weak church leaders.

I am an eagle and I will rise up and proclaim the Word of God.



A final word on ‘fear’.

In the words of a song by American artist, Zach Williams, fear is also a liar:

Fear he is a liar.
He will take your breath,
Stop you in your steps.
Fear he is a liar.
He will rob your rest,
Steal your happiness.
Cast your fear in the fire,
‘Cause fear he is a liar.

To hear the song, click here.


A Question of Obedience


If you’ve previously read my posts ‘…more than conquerors …’ and ‘A Proverbial Spider’, you will have already realised that I have long held doubts about the veracity of the whole ‘coronavirus pandemic’ story. A story that we have been fed ad nauseam for over eight tedious months.

My views of both aren’t necessarily important right now, and my own interpretations are not really relevant to the issues I’m about to cover. Whatever our understanding of 2020’s global phenomena may be, we have all been affected and our lives seriously disrupted.

Many people have lost their livelihoods as a consequence of the autocratic ‘pandemic’ precautions taken worldwide. Additionally, whilst many have lost their lives as a direct result of a virus – the source of which is not yet clear – a staggering number of lives have also been lost due directly to the draconian measures taken by governments around the world.

But, enough on that. Books may be written for decades to come, analysing and dissecting the minutiae of these events. My six-pennyworth is neither necessary nor useful here.

Instead, I simply wish to explain why I wasn’t among the small congregation earlier today when my church opened its doors for the first time in over five months.


I knew that when our church reopened, it was to be in full compliance with ‘Guidelines for the Safe Use of Places of Worship During the Pandemic’ issued by the UK government.

Some may consider that our church has no choice in the matter but to obey these parliamentary directives. But there lies the crux of the problem. When official, secular rulings conflict with God’s directives, who should we obey?

For me, the choice was simple, albeit painful. And that is why I have not attended church.

There are those in the church who direct my attention to the book of Romans:

‘Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.’

Romans 13:1

I can say, hand on heart, that I have been a law-abiding citizen for all of my sixty-two years. However, when rulings issued by our ‘governing authority’ contradict those of God, there can only be one outcome. This point is illustrated in the Book of Acts, chapter five, verses twenty-six to twenty-nine.

‘But Peter and the other apostles answered them and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men”’

Acts 5:29

So what are those problem areas that so prevented me from joining with fellow Christians in worship today?

For ease of explanation I will quote a sample of those instructions issued by the church, beginning with the obscene masks:

  • Face coverings are mandatory for places of worship – except for those who are leading services or events in a place of worship, and those who assist them, (or unless you are exempt) [sic].

When God breathed that initial breath of life into man – as described in the first book of the bible – it wasn’t through a cloth face covering. There was no intervening fabric reducing or befouling man’s first lungful of air. It was a breath of life, God-given – as each one should be.

In addition, the Book of Deuteronomy includes the following instruction:

‘You shall not muzzle an ox when he treads out the grain.’

Deuteronomy 24:4

Interestingly, and as a direct consequence of this law, this humane practice continues in parts of Syria, where oxen are permitted to tread the grain, unmuzzled. Furthermore, in his first letter to Timothy, apostle Paul applied this verse in reference to the fair treatment of:

‘… those who labour in the word and doctrine …’.

To continue, in full compliance with government, today’s church also forbids close contact between worshipers:

  • Do not shake hands, hug or lay hands on anyone.
  • Observe social distancing within the building.

There are two issues with this. The first is what has been shamefully termed ‘social distancing’. Such an instruction ought to be anathematic to all Christians. God, through Paul’s first letter to Peter, provides a clear instruction on how we must greet one another:

‘Greet one another with a kiss of holy love.’

1 Peter 5:14

How on earth are we to do this while six feet apart? Furthermore, in his first letter to Timothy, Paul also wrote:

‘Do not neglect the gift in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the body of elders.’

1 Timothy 4:14

Once again, how can we administer such aid to those in need whilst maintaining obedience to government? We can’t.

As if these ordinances weren’t enough, Christians are no longer permitted to express their joy in open worship:

  • There will be no singing by the congregation, or raised voices.

This appalling rule, given to appease authors of a political decree, flies in the face of numerous contrary edicts we’ve clearly been given by God in His Word. Such as:

‘Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.’

Psalm 100:2

‘… be filled with the spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.’

Ephesians 5:19

‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom, reaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.’

Colossians 3:16

There are no ambiguities in the Word of God. His instructions are clear.

To contravene the ‘guidelines’ of a profane government may solicit an unfavourable response. Disobeying God, however, will have way more serious ramifications. This was something Adam and Eve discovered right at the start, to the detriment of all mankind.

As a footnote, I’ll add one further prompt that appears on my church’s ‘Covid-19 Guidelines’.

Whilst those directives shown above reflect church’s willingness to place government policy above scripture, there is one biblical component they do wish to uphold – tithes and offerings:

  • We have appreciated most people have been able to give their Tithes & Offerings online, and we would encourage this as much as possible. If this is difficult for you there will be a marked box that you can use as you exit the building.

I was sorry to miss today’s meeting, and my decision has caused me some considerable distress over recent days. However, as with the story of ‘The Emperors New Clothes’, I consider that vital truths have been laid bare here, and this church is one to which I will not return.



‘… more than conquerors …’


Earlier this year on the day before Valentine’s day, my Bible study at that time was on the subject of ‘witnessing’. It included a text from Luke I considered to be appropriate, given the task I was about to embark on. In the text, Luke quotes Jesus, saying:

‘And he said to them, “The Harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest.”‘

Luke 10:2

The following day, I met with some friends at our church to hand out Valentine’s Day roses to passers by. Attached to each rose was a brief greeting and invitation to attend our church services.

I explained to one of my friends that I’d felt unwell that morning and almost declined to attend. I reasoned I was probably being coerced into feeling that way. Satan wanted me to stay at home.

My friend replied that this was to be expected. While we remain inside our churches, singing our happy songs and enjoying fellowship, Satan leaves us alone. But once we venture outside – to witness or spread God’s word – we become a threat.

This threat is also reflected in Luke as he continues to quote Jesus:

‘… behold I am sending you out as lambs into the midst of wolves.’

Luke 10:3

Matthew also refers to this quotation in his own gospel:

‘Behold I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.’

Matthew 10:16

The wolf metaphor intrigued me so I reflected on why it should be used. Why wolves? What was it about wolves that prompted Jesus to choose them? Among those things I found were these:

  • Wolves are relentless predators
  • They hunt in packs
  • They begin to devour their prey while it’s still alive

It’s fair to say I’ve often felt as though I’m being devoured at times – sapped of spirit or wearied by a world changed beyond all recognition from the one of my youth. A world in which we’re assailed by an endless parade of headlines that appear to have one of two agendas:

  • To divide us
  • To make us ever fearful

Now, it is the Coronavirus ‘pandemic’. Before that we had:

  • Sars
  • Bird Flu
  • Ebola (1 & 2)
  • Aids

As a backdrop to this we have ‘climate change’ and numerous terrorist events and other acts of mindless violence, all of which – to those with eyes to see – appear to follow a defined playbook.

Today, evil activities and agendas previously conducted covertly have breached the surface, visible for all to see.

Satanic symbolism is flaunted openly, transgenderism encouraged, abominations and perversions applauded and countless thousands of children and babies murdered by traffickers and abortionists alike.

What happens to the bodies of these innocent victims? The victims of wolves in the form of men and women? Here the word ‘harvest’ takes on a new and horrific connotation.

We all know what a wolf looks like.


How do we recognise a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

Truth about our world is far more horrible than we could ever imagine. But truth will out – it always does. And when that happens, we need to be ready.

One thing the Bible teaches us, however, is that we’ve been here before.

The previous quote from Matthew took me to the book of Ezekiel, chapter twenty-two. In it, Israel is being judged and found wanting. The wolf metaphor is used once again.

‘Her princes in her midst are like wolves tearing their prey, shedding blood, destroying lives to get dishonest gain.’

Ezekiel 22:27

Destroying lives for dishonest gain.’

This paints a familiar picture. One has only to consider today’s geo-political chess-game, the perpetual wars, terrorism and misery. The text continues:

‘The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted the sojourner without justice.’

Ezekiel 22:29

If this image isn’t yet familiar, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary provides clarification:

‘All orders and degrees of men helped to fill the measure of the nation’s guilt. The people that had any power abused it.

It bodes ill to a people when judgements are breaking in upon them, and the spirit of prayer is restrained. Let all who fear God, unite to promote his truth and righteousness; as wicked men of every rank and profession plot together to run them down.’

Matthew Henry’s Concise Comentary

Where am I going with this?

I’ve painted a picture of a small number of Christians going out, roses in hand, into enemy territory. It is a territory of ravening beasts tainting God’s creation with their evil, perversions, greed and corruption.

Under such circumstances it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, except God has left us with numerous reassurances scattered throughout the Bible. Such as:

‘No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.’

Romans 8:37

On Valentine’s Day there were three ‘conquerors’ manning the front line.

This has since put me in mind of the TV series, ‘Band of Brothers‘. In one scene depicting the eve of a battle one officer warns another: ‘Looks like you guys are going to be surrounded.’ To this the series’ hero replies: ‘We’re paratroopers, lieutenant, we’re supposed to be surrounded.’

In another, the film ‘We Were Soldiers‘, Mel Gibson and his troops face off against the Vietnamese in a Hollywood account of the first major land battle of the Vietnam War.

In one scene, the situation is dire as Mel’s boys are about to be overwhelmed by advancing Viet Cong. All appears lost when Mel snatches a radio mike, contacts HQ and calls in an airstrike, saving the day.

As Christians we not only man the front line, but we operate behind enemy lines, surrounded and vastly outnumbered – on the earthly battlefield. But, just as Mel Gibson could rely on his wireless link to headquarters, we have a direct link to God.

We need no radio, microphone or antennae. We simply pray.



I delivered this piece to my church in February 2020, little knowing the degree to which the ensuing months would increase its relevance.

A Proverbial Spider

I wrote this piece in February, 2020 and delivered it to my church in early March. At that time I had no idea how relevant it was to become.

I love old second-hand bookshops. I rarely buy anything but love browsing. While holidaying in Suffolk a few years ago, I did buy a book and it was this one:

‘The Diary of a Country Parson’

The book is a fascinating insight into the life of an eighteenth-century English vicar. One particular entry appealed to me:

1774 – October 15th

“I caught a remarkable large spider in my wash place this morning & put him in a small glass decanter & fed him some bread, & intend keeping him.”

Unsurprisingly, there’s no further mention of the spider in the diary, but I’ll get back to him later.

This was a bizarre entry but as the book reflects the man’s personal diary there is no reason to doubt his honesty. But in a world of Fake News how do we discern fact from fiction. Truth from lies. And how important is it that we’re able to do so?

What is the impact on us when our perceptions become skewed, whether that distortion be by accident or design? With this in mind, imagine a world in which 98% of the media is controlled by a handful of huge corporations. Six to eight small groups of extremely powerful people gathered in boardrooms controlling everything you see – and equally important, what you don’t see.

Their unwritten mantra may be along the lines of ‘control the information and you control the people’. This scenario shouldn’t stretch the imagination. Like it or not, it’s today’s reality. Extend that deception to academia. Our own education.

If that seems a step too far, how many Christians reading this believe in the ‘Big Bang’ and Darwin’s theory of Evolution? Yet, both are taught as fact through all grades of education and propagated through every natural history programme, publication and in every museum. Everywhere.

So if you’ve been lied to about something as fundamental as the origin of time, space and matter; the origin – or genesis – of life, is it so hard to imagine they’d lie to you about anything and everything?

That said, now imagine a generation that has been systematically misled from cradle to grave.

It would be reasonable to suggest that under these conditions, instruction and advice parents have passed on to their offspring with all good intentions has therefore been flawed to some degree. Compromised. Now, extend that deception to academia. Our own education.

The result would be a second generation whose start in life has been influenced by misinformation and who then enter an academic environment structured on those same falsehoods while, at the same time, becoming increasingly influenced by a corrupted, unprincipled and increasingly pervasive media.

A whole generation then who live entire lives without ever knowing essential truths that should form the bedrock on which their characters are built.

What would be the consequence of such a deception? To help answer this, first of all consider animals in the wild.

Without ‘situational awareness’ the deck is stacked against them

Their survival depends on knowledge of their environment. They need to know where to find food, what foods sustain them and what doesn’t. They must know where to find safety in times of danger and routes they need to take quickly to get there. They need to know where to shelter for rest.

Without that ‘situational awareness’ the deck becomes stacked against them. Similarly, we need an ever-acute situational awareness. The information we receive shapes our perceptions, opinions, world view, decisions, life choices and actions.

Therefore, an environment dominated by misinformation and deliberate deception renders it impossible for us to make effective life choices. Like wild animals lost in an unfamiliar landscape, our odds of success in life become … diminished.

Clearly a trusted source is vital. A benchmark by which we may judge all else.

As Christians we know of only one fundamental and 100% reliable truth … the word of God. The Bible. How do we know this?

Simple. The Bible tells us so.

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy we find:

‘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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.’

2 Timothy 3: 16-17

Scripture – our standard, or yardstick – therefore imparts undisputable conviction. It equips us with a road-map by which we need never lose our way.

In his earlier letter to Timothy, Paul had stated:

‘If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister in Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith …’

1 Timothy 3:6

We see here, therefore, that God’s word – his truth – is also nourishing. By extension it would be fair to say that those things in direct opposition to God’s truth – may be considered toxic.

Moreover, in an age in which a view expressed in Cardiff, Wales can be transmitted to Cardiff, New South Wales in little more than a heartbeat, lies are also contagious.

As contagious as a virus. Viruses and lies. Now there’s a topical consideration.

When I returned to the church following an absence of forty years I felt I had some serious catching up to do. I dusted off my bible and … two thousand two hundred pages, sixty six books written by over forty authors over 1500 years. Where do I start?

There are guides aplenty for this and each one has something unique to say, so I guess it comes down to personal choice. Whatever works for you is always going to be the best option. One piece of advice suggested the use of The Book of Proverbs in maintaining a discipline of daily reading.

Proverbs, at thirty-one chapters lends itself perfectly to a monthly rotational reading programme. Read a chapter each day, through to the end – then start again. For those months having thirty days only, read two chapters on the last day.

But for guidance in life in the twenty-first century what use is a book written approximately 700 years before Christ? To answer this I’ll quote the introduction from my own study bible:

‘Everyone knows the value of good advice. Listening to those who are wiser than we are gives us the benefit of their hard-won experience. Growing up, getting along with others, and holding a job all would be impossible without guidance from folks who have been there before.

The Book of Proverbs gives that kind of help. But the book is more than a collection of tips and tricks. It passes on a core of knowledge and experience that God says we must have if we are to live successfully.

These proverbs are not merely old sayings that concern people in far-off lands, but universal principles that apply to all people of all times. They speak of modern problems as much as ancient ones because they concern human nature and God’s ways.’

For anyone in any doubt about the relevance of Proverbs, here’s the clincher:

‘Human nature has not changed since Solomon’s time; neither has God‘s. Only the landscape around us has changed.’

So thirty-one chapters of sound advice that lends itself perfectly to modern daily reading … and, if you are using the King James Version, when you eventually turn to Chapter 30 you’ll find … a remarkable spider.


A Remarkable Spider