The People's Pope

I took this same picture with my cellphone the week it was put on the store shelves.  I couldn’t help to have that eerie feeling inside that oozed, “Something’s odd here.”  The scripture that came to mind immediately when Jesus said to his disciples, “When the world hates you, remember it hated me before it hated you. The world would love you if you belonged to it, but you don’t. I chose you to come out of the world, and so it hates you.” John 15:18-20.  Yet here on this cover, he is dubbed “The People’s Pope.”

The world’s most renown religious leader being heralded as “Person of the Year” by one of the more secular/worldly magazines is very interesting, to say the least. I decided, at a minimum, to pay close attention to this pope and his spiritual fruit. Observing it, according to the Lord, is the indicator of true Christ faith.

The day Pope Francis was elected I watched my television as millions of Catholics encamped Saint Peters Square waiting for the white smoke to rise from the chimney indicating the choice had been made.  I remember leaning over towards my boys and saying, “If only people would honor and venerate Jesus as they do this coming pope.” People were crying with anticipation, singing and lighting candles as they eagerly awaited Francis’ arrival on the balcony.  All the excitement and hype was overwhelming by all, including the media. I decided in my heart that since the world is in such a mess – many were looking for someone to turn to for answers.  People were looking for a spiritual leader to help them understand.  But as I mentioned earlier – something felt off.

Maybe it was those two lightning bolts that struck St. Peter’s Basilica one month earlier that caused my unwarranted suspicion of the papacy when the prior pope, Pope Benedict XVI resigned.  Against all odds, a lucky photographer captured a massive blue streak of lightning hit the Basilica that momentous evening in history. The day was February 12, 2013.  For the first time in 600 years, a pope resigned rather than dying in office.  The fact that the lightning struck the basilica twice the very evening of his resignation sent conspiracy theorist reeling. To be fair though, the basilica is the highest point in Vatican City and boasts a tall, slender lightning rod. So maybe my spiritual goose bumps were mistakenly aroused.

Superstition.  Most of us have heard of those silly little superstitious superlatives like say, “Don’t walk under a ladder” or “if you see a black cat cross your path…” or “rub a rabbit’s foot and it brings good luck.” Let’s talk about where the “don’t walk under a ladder” phrases came from.  This superstition came from the medieval period when people were hung by the gallows and the shape of the ladder symbolized the gallows itself. Therefore, people began to believe that if you walked under a ladder – your fate was sealed to a death by hanging. The superstition of black cats stem back to Egypt and is representative of dark magic. And that lucky rabbit’s foot…well, your guess is as good as mine.

Now, let’s say you saw someone walk under a ladder and two days later they happened to be arrested, sentenced to death by hanging; hanging from a medieval type gallows? You might ask, “What are the odds?”  What if a colleague, later that evening, shared nervously with you that on the way to work, a black cat crossed his path.  The next day that same colleague showed up at work frightened because his house and car were graffiti with satanic symbols?  You might think – “huh, that’s just creepy.”  On the way home that same evening, you remembered that furry little rabbit’s foot your daughter gave you that was still in your pocket. So instead of driving straight home, you make a quick stop to purchase a lottery ticket. The next morning, you receive a phone call that you have won the lottery and will be receiving one million dollars every year for the rest of your life!  You might ask yourself, “What in the world is going on?”

Am I superstitious?” Hardly.  But let’s be honest, if the above mentioned things happened just as I stated and in the above mentioned timing…we would completely be within reason to sit up and take notice.  Agreed?  This is how I see the world.  We can’t take one or two oddities and base a theory. However, if we have multiple things occurring at the same time ALONG with the confirmation of God’s Word telling us in advance of these things  – should we sit up and take notice then?

Let’s look at God’s own words concerning what we are to be looking for that substantiates TRUE “cause and effect” correlations and not just superstitious fallacies. Like maybe that lightning bolt that hit the Basilica in February 2013.  By itself, we can’t read much into it but taking all things (God and His involvement) into account…let’s have a serious discussion.

First, let’s remember that God’s Word specifies to us in the Book of Ephesians, chapter 6, that “our battle is not with flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”  There are spiritual-beings; good and bad – that are fighting on our behalf.  They are hidden behind veils that we are yet able to see with our physical eyes. Nonetheless, we know it is happening because we believe what the bible says. Read the book of Daniel, chapter 10 just as a reminder.

Besides that weird lightning bolt, there has been an even odder event that took place shortly after Francis took office. On January 27, 2014, while standing next to two Italian children, speaking from a window of the Apostolic Palace, Pope Francis prayed out loud, making an appeal to the Ukrainians for peace. At that time in history, the Ukrainian people were protesting against their leader who was leaning away from joining the European Union, as he had earlier promised, and instead, more towards Russia. The pope spoke to the tens of thousands of people below in St. Peters Square saying, “I hope a constructive dialogue between the institutions and the civil society can take place that any result to violence is avoided and the spirit of peace and the search for the common good is in the hearts of all.” Then the children standing beside him released the two white doves fluttering off into the air as the tens of thousands of on-lookers watched. As the doves were no further than an arm’s length from the window, a seagull and black crow mysteriously swept down from nowhere immediately on a mission to destroy them.  The crowd gasped as one of the doves broke free from the seagull’s persistent attack but not before losing feathers. The other dove was even less fortunate when it was repeatedly assaulted and pecked by a huge black crow.  It was not clear what happened to the doves after onlookers lost sight of them.  Even secular media feared this phenomenon representing some sort of “bad omen.”

You may call me superstitious but the moment those symbolic white doves were nearly devoured by two random prey birds, in harmony with the pope’s peace gesture concerning Ukraine and the world – I knew something terrible was about to happen with Ukraine.  It isn’t that I have special knowledge.  Scriptural studies reveal that birds, particularly birds of prey are a reference to evil or demonic activity. Let’s begin with Matthew 13:4, for example.

1. Jesus talks about “the seed” (the word) is thrown along the path by the sower (Son of Man) and the birds come and steal it away.  The “birds of the air” are a negative symbol as Jesus tells us in verse 19, that the “birds of the air,” is “the wicked one” devouring the seed.

2. In Mark’s version (Mark 4:3) of Jesus’ same parable, Mark uses the specific word “Satan,” and similarly, Luke 8:12 uses “the Devil.”

3. Now let’s look at Revelation 18:2.  “And [an angel] cried mightily with a loud voice, saying Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a habitation of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!”

There are many scriptures that reveal birds spiritual symbolic meaning.  I recommend a thorough study of these truths for yourselves.  You might be shocked. I have inserted a link below with the bizarre video for your viewing.

One year later almost to the day – February 26, 2014 – Russia invaded Ukraine and proceeded to take the Crimean Peninsula.  June 11, 2014, Four Russian strategic bombers were seen near Alaska and 50 miles off the coast of Northern California. What is Russia doing over near North America?  July 17, 2014 a Malaysian Airlines commercial jet was shot down by a pro-Russian insurgency group staked out in Ukraine.

Okay -first, we have a lightning strike on the St. Peters Basilica the evening of the old pope’s resignation – ushering in the reign of the new pope, Pope Francis.  Second, after Francis utters peace and the “spirit of peace” – his symbolic cease-fire birds where nearly mauled to death by two random birds of prey before thousands of horrified on-lookers. Now let’s look at what this pope has done and said while being the Vicar of Christ (“in place of” – or “instead of”).

Pope Contradicts God’s Account of Creation:  I am disturbed by some of Pope Francis’ comments that contradict God’s own Word. For example, God explicitly tells us in Genesis that He created all things in six days.  We may not understand how all this took place but the bible is clear in saying, “It was evening and day” making one day, so on and so forth. This is difficult, I understand, but it is faith that sets us apart.  If we question the validity of scripture already in Genesis, how can we take God’s Word to heart throughout? Pope Francis has made it clear he does not believe the biblical account of creation by saying, “When we read about creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” the pontiff proclaimed while speaking Monday at the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. “He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws that he gave to each one so they would reach their fulfillment.”

Pope Contradicts God’s Account of Man’s True Depravity: Pope Francis wrote an open letter, stating that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences.  Say What? Then later, he wrote: “You ask me if the God of the Christians (what does that mean, “The God of the Christians”? Isn’t he supposed to believe that there is only one God?) forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.” Yet, God’s Word in Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?”

I totally agree with the Pope that God’s mercy has no limits especially to those that come to Him with a sincere and contrite heart but to imply obedience to the human conscience is as good as the guidance of the Holy Spirit that only comes as a result of repentance and belief in Jesus Christ, is a pipe dream. The pope has not accepted the reality that the human conscience has been corrupted by sin and remains in that condition until it makes peace with God through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Pope Contradicts God’s Edict Concerning the Promised Land to the Jews: “On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanite, the Girashite, and the Jebusite…Genesis 15:18-19. This covers all the land that is currently in dispute.  Now some may not like this scripture but, all the same – it is God that made that decision. Should we dispute with Almighty God? Should the American administration? United Nations?  The European Union? The Palestine Authority?  God’s Word is indisputable here.

According to the Jerusalem Post, “Pope Francis delivered a powerful boost of support to the Palestinians during a Holy Land pilgrimage, repeatedly backing their (Palestinians) statehood aspirations, praying solemnly at Israel’s controversial separation barrier and calling the stalemate in peace efforts “unacceptable.”  The Pope has also called Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority and supporter of terrorism, “A man of peace.” Outrageous!

Pope seeks the daily guidance from “Guardian Angels” rather than the Holy Spirit: In his homily for the Feast of Holy Guardian Angels, Pope Francis told those gathered for daily Mass to be like children who pay attention to their “traveling companion.”  According to the tradition of the Church, each of us has a guardian angel who protects us and helps make us aware of things. Often times, we have the feeling that “I should do this, this is not right, be careful.” This, he said, “is the voice of” our guardian angel: our “traveling companion.”

But God’s word does not tell us we each have a guardian angel [Psalm 91 says, “For He (God) shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”] but we are never to seek their wisdom and guidance.  They are God’s ministering spirits acting accordingly.  I am reminded of what Paul wrote to the Galatians “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Also, Jesus said, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He speaks; and declares it to you.” John 16:13.  We are to seek the wisdom from the Holy Spirit only.

Pope Will Not Say Anything That Might Offend the Sinner: Pope Francis is named ‘Person of the Year’ again, but this time by a leading gay rights magazine, because of his comment about homosexuality.  “If someone is gay and seeks the Lord with good will, who am I to judge?”

I suppose if I clean out my mother-in-laws bank account and seek the Lord with good will – I shouldn’t be judged, right?  I mean, after all, maybe I’ll do something very good with that money like take myself on a well-deserved vacation. Can you see the problem in his logic?  Actively striving after and in the pursuit of sin is a direct contradiction to “seeking the Lord with God will,” as the Pontiff suggested.  1 John 3:9 says, “Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them.  So they cannot keep on sinning, because they are children of God.”

Pope Contradicts God on Why the Earth is REALLY Wearing Out: The Pope wrote, “As stewards of God’s creation, we are called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family.  When we destroy our forests, ravage our soil and pollute our seas, we betray that noble calling.” This sounds reasonable doesn’t it?  We should all be mindful of our actions that pollute our waters, and poison our soil.  No doubt!  What I’m concerned about is the popular phenomena in modern culture of what could be defined as “earth worship.” As a matter of fact, my jaw dropped open several months ago when I was watching TV and an environmental commercial came on ending with, “Because the Earth Needs a Lawyer Too.”  It is as though the world is now giving the creation (earth) a persona. Aren’t we going too far?

I have yet to find scripture that says we are “called to make the earth a beautiful garden for the human family.”  As you may remember, it was actually God that gave the human family a beautiful garden in the beginning.  He called that wonderful habitation, “The Garden of Eden.”  But man sinned against God causing himself to be thrown out of that “beautiful garden.”  And according to Paul in the book of Romans, “the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, (that being God) in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” According to Paul, “… the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”  Do I take care of nature.  Yes.  Do I want my drinking water clean?  Yes, of course.

The Pope thinks we have the power to reverse the earth’s bondage to decay. Yet, according to God’s Word – it will continue to deteriorate regardless of what man does. Liberation will not come to the earth until the children of God are revealed!  Actually, our true calling can be found in Ephesians 4:1-6.  “I, (Paul) therefore,  the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body (true believers) and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord (Jesus), one faith, one baptism (Holy Spirit), one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”

These are the days, we should watch and listen to everything that is being said and being done.  Remember we have been warned that in the latter days, deception is one of the major themes.  Do not be deceived even by those who are in positions of authority.  Everything that is accepted by popular belief should be verified with God’s own words.  “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” Revelation 3:22

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.” 1 Timothy 4:1-5

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Also for similar stories and devotionals, you can order my book, Journal of a Sinner, Listening for that Still Small Voice, by going to Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble or Xulon Publishing.

What am I up to?

1. Book Signing Events:

January 23, 2015 – Faith Baptist Church, Trinity, AL

March 21, 2015 – Tammy Eddy Antiques & Interiors, Decatur, AL

2. Connecting Women Conference (Owensboro, KY) “Fearless” devotional for participates. Visit ConnectingConference.com to register!

3. Christian Radio & Bookstores

Blessings you guys.

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