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Get Real with God Blog

We live in a world of pain today. Everywhere we look we see misdeeds and misfits. Some of us have cried tears to last several lifetimes and yet there seems to be no end in sight. Evil is rampant and the devil seems to be dancing with the stars.

For some of us the pain is abject poverty. Some of us see the wasting away of children affected by diseases that could be cured with a cheap pill and we weep. Many of us protest against the horrors of human trafficking and others are angry at rampant corruption in a world driven by money. The moral landscape of America also anguishes many of us. Our children seem to be out of control. Kids are perishing from the lack of a true north and everywhere the palpitating heart of broken relationships rages.

Some colleges and universities across the country are finally sounding the alarm. For example, the president of Dartmouth College, a very prestigious Ivy League school, recently came out against the self-destructive culture dictating the behavior of many students on his campus. He cited the alarming number of sexual assaults where excessive drinking plays a part and spoke of “a general disregard for human dignity as exemplified by hazing, parties with racist and sexist undertones, disgusting and sometimes threatening insults hurled on the Internet.”

None of these things, except the Internet, were foreign concepts to Habakkuk, the Biblical prophet who lived around 600 B.C. and also struggled to make sense out of the ideological swamp he found around him, and especially in light of the fact that it appeared as if God didn’t care. Habakkuk grew up in a time when he saw devotion to God descend into the bottomless pit. The faithful reforms of King Josiah (2 Kings 22, 23) were only a memory and the land had now turned into a vast wasteland where everything and anything was permissible. As a highly materialistic society, they had not only learned to tolerate evil, they redefined the moral compass by calling evil good and good evil.

In the time preceding the reforms, there was even a hill outside of Jerusalem appropriately called “Hill of Corruption,” where every possible pagan deity had a shrine and some unspeakable acts of debauchery and debasing of human behavior were on display. Josiah’s reforms only lasted twenty years and soon the people reverted to their sinful ways. Now the godly in the nation were asking why God was choosing to be silent.

Habakkuk was not the only one who had a little trouble with God. Jeremiah also lived during the same time and he was not exactly quiet either. But Habakkuk was unique in that while the other prophets spoke about God to the people, Habakkuk spoke about the people to God. He was a pious man who couldn’t understand why a holy God could tolerate so much evil in the world. And like others who feared God, he also felt that it was unfair for him to have to swim in the swamp with the rest of the people.

Yes, the age old question… Sorry to disappoint you, Dr. Dawkins, but you didn’t invent the question about how a good God can permit evil in the world. Neither did Sam Harris or Christopher Hitchens (bless his soul) for that matter. You are just some of the most vitriolic questioners in recent memory. That is all.

Anyway, Habakkuk opens up a dialogue with God which is refreshing. He proves that God does not mind when we are brutally honest with Him. He proves that there is a proper context in which it is perfectly fine to go tête-a-tête with God and not feel ashamed. God does not appreciate when we shove our hard questions under the rug and pretend everything is okay. He invites a robust dialogue as long as we allow Him to continue to be God.

And these are some of the thoughts we will be exploring in the new series we are starting this Sunday – “Get Real With God – finding God through pain.” Hope you can join us in the discussion.

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade

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When I was attending the university one of my fellow students lost his mother. Un-consoled, he went into a deep depression and started missing classes. Weeks later, he was back. I asked him how he was doing. He told me he was going to a séance and was able to hear his mother talking to him. I tried to warn him that maybe it was not his mother. He retorted: “It is my mother; her voice, her mannerisms, everything. Plus, she reveals details about my life that only my mother could know.” Soon, he was deep into the Alan Kardec brand of Spiritism.

This was not an atypical story in my previous life. I came across many other examples of Satan’s schemes to lure people into engaging in communication with the spirit world. Examples in pop culture abound, perhaps the most blatant one being the singer Nicki Minaj, who has an alter ego by the name of Roman Zolanski, whom she claims “… is a crazy boy who lives inside me, who says the things that I don’t  want to say.”

She has created an elaborate scheme which includes Roman’s mother, who is traditional and wants to see her son exorcised. It is even more dramatic because Roman is supposed to be a blond homosexual male from London who sometimes poses as a female. Nicki insists that he will never be exorcised even when they throw holy water at him. Meanwhile, mothers flock the malls where Nicki makes appearances, so their five and six year old daughters can get a photo op with Nicki. Something is wrong with that picture.

We learn from Scriptures that there is such a thing as “evil” or “unclean” spirits (Matt. 10:1; Luke 7:21). Demons are nothing more than evil spirits that fell when they joined Satan’s rebellion against God. Demons are highly intelligent and as Satan’s emissaries they are capable of doing things that mere mortals cannot do. They can speak in the voice and personality of the deceased and they can reside inside someone and even help them produce rich art that can earn them a shot at the Grammy’s.

Katy Perry, the singer, also made news this week. Her performance at the Grammy’s deserved a comment by the E! Online magazine in their Twitter account. They asked, “Um. Did we just witness actual witchcraft during Kate Perry’s performance at the Grammy’s?”  Notice: this is not a conservative blogger or a Christian pastor asking that question. It is E! Online. Now whether Katy was being sarcastic when she said that she “sold her soul to the devil” after her career in gospel music didn’t take off, those who have taken her literally will have another reason to believe so after her performance at the Grammy’s.

Satanism is alive and well and not only in Hollywood. And Christians need to learn what is true and what is false about demon possession and demonic activities in the Bible world and today. So this Sunday we will launch a brand new series called “Do You See What I See – The Truth About Spiritual Warfare.” And we will start talking about demon possession.

The good news though is that in spite of our Enemy’s superior intelligence and super-human powers, when the curtain closes, he will be lying on the ground with all his myriad of soldiers, because we know who triumphs at the end. Satan and his demons are powerful, but they are still created beings and as such they are not omnipotent and omniscient as God is. So when the big drama unfolds, God will bring Satan and his demons to their knees. And we will be talking about that in the next several weeks. In the process, I believe, you will also learn how to live your life in freedom from fear, from self-doubt and from the negative influences that many times plague our lives.

“… They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.” (Revelation 20:9-10).

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade