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Visions of the Coming Days 
by R. Loren Sanford

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R. Loren Sanford, within his sober reflection, reveals the heart of the Father and the hope of glory for the body of Christ. With clarity and piercing biblical insight, he helps believers understand what is to come, and he gives practical advice on how to prepare spiritually--for the events that will unfold and for their role in all of it. Foreword by John Paul Jackson   



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What's Creeping into Paradise?

By John Lofton

America’s society has become a playground for lukewarm Christians and hot natured unbelievers.  Instead of being a land of the free and home of the brave, it has become the land of the feeble and home of the broken.

As I look around our great nation I see a dearth in moral values and an increase in sexual immorality.   America, known by many to be the land of western opportunity, has become a cesspool of failures. Where did it all start?  Did it start with our postcolonialistic forefathers that wrote, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, while at the same time owning slaves”.  I don’t believe it’s just an American issue as much as it is a worldview issue of culture and Christianity.  The lines between right and wrong and black and white are no longer comprehensible but have become marred by different mind-sets and have become grayed.  Pope John Paul II hit the nail on the head when he made the next statement, “We face an insidious relativism that undermines the absolute truth of Christ and the truths of faith, and tempts believers to think of them as merely one set of beliefs or opinions among others.  We face a materialistic consumerism that offers superficially attractive but empty promises conferring material comfort at the price of inner emptiness”. 

 As people around the world search for some since of significance and fulfillment, they have been trying to fill a void that only Christ can fill.  Many have adopted the existentialistic worldview which is a collection of worldviews that believe our choices determine what we are.  We create our own meaning and value.  This mind-set does not see the need for a true and living God by believing they are little gods themselves.
     Again I ask, where did it all start?  Did this world start off being this giant ball of depravity?  The answer is no not at all.  This answer becomes clearer when we turn to the Bible in Genesis 1:1 that states, “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth”.  A cyclical view of time precludes any singular beginning of the world.  So Buddha says, “No origin can be perceived.” (Riplinger 284)  But God was there from the very beginning and unlike the Deistic worldview which believes God created the universe then abandoned it, God will be here until the very end. God created a perfect Earth which later became void and formless.  This new Earth was covered with darkness because it was an Earth that had been judged because of sin. 
 Next God created the man and planted a garden for him to dress it and keep it.  Sinless man with his wife was living on a sinful Earth in a garden called Paradise.  Adam and his wife were in constant fellowship with God.  They communed with God about everything.  They obeyed his every command and were clothed with His Glory. 

 But our first parents allowed something to infiltrate the garden called Paradise.  A new culturalistic view crept into Paradise changing the course of man forever.  Satan entered Paradise by the use of a serpent to persuade Adam and Mrs. Adam to embrace the worldview of Esotericism.  The serpent deceived them into trusting their own intuitions rather than obey a clear command from God.  The first subtle deception the serpent used, which he is still using today, was to question what God had really said.  The serpent questioned God’s word by asking the woman, “Did God really say?  After questioning what God said, the serpent began to enlighten her with four spiritual flaws as his counter-flaws to God’s laws.  According to Genesis 3:4-5 these flaws are, (1) you will be like God, (2) you surely shall not die, (3) you will know good and evil, and (4) your eyes will be opened.  The character of the temptation illustrates craftiness.  There was nothing said at first to awaken suspicion, or to shock the moral sense; merely a sly insinuation calculated to excite a natural curiosity.  Then there was a direct lie, combined with just enough truth to give it plausibility. 

 Today, our Paradise may not be the beautiful euphoria God originally had in mind for man but, the places we live or family we have, work and worship are a type of Paradise. 
How is he creeping into the families?  One of the biggest weapons the enemy is using to attack our families is the weapon of divorce.  The U.S. has gone from the most marrying society in the world to one with the most divorces and unwed mothers, damaging the welfare of children in the process.  “If we are concerned about teen pregnancies, illegitimacy, deadbeat dads and children in poverty, then we can no longer ignore the common denominator behind these problems.  The steady weakening of the marriage as the primary institution for raising children,” the authors of “Marriage in America:  A Report to the Nation” said of their two-year study.  Martin Richards of Cambridge University’s Center for Family Research said the age children were when parents divorced was a major factor.  Richards and colleagues followed 17,000 children born in one week in 1958 in Britain, the United States and New Zealand.  He found the children of divorced parents, on average, left home earlier and started families sooner than did the children of “intact” families. 
 In the workplace Satan is using worldviews such as Secular Humanism to subtly blend psychology and Christianity to build a wall of reason around the human mind, insulating many from the belief in the true God.  Sexual immorality is at an all time high between co-workers because of Moral Relativism.  “If it feels good, do it.”

 The church also is being infiltrated with the traditional teachings of man’s wisdom instead of the true gospel of Christ.  The Secular Humanist is no longer content to sit outside the gate and throw verbal bullets at the adherents of theism, the Secular Humanist desires subtle, deceptive infiltration of the Christian community.  He smiles as he pastors a modernized church beautifully decorated with man’s ingenuity and creativity.  It’s a miracle-less, super-natural-less, powerless gospel whispered from the pulpit.  Yes folks, even churches that fill thousands of seats every Sunday embrace transcendental meditation comparing it with Judeo-Christian religion when its roots are techniques of Hinduism. 
 We cannot, as many Christians do, allow biblical terminology and traditional function to be reinterpreted to allow for man’s intellectual progress.  Sure, our understanding of God’s word will increase through biblical scholarship, but that increase can never add to or take from that which is our ultimate authority.  So my brothers and my sisters, beware of what’s creeping into your Paradise. Colossians 2:8 says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” What's creeping into your paradise?