Nov 4, 2019

The Late Great State of California

No other state outranks California in the prosperity of people and financial wealth. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. California’s economy, with a gross state product of $3.0 trillion, is larger than that of any other U.S. state and is the largest sub-national economy in the world. If it were a country, California would be the fifth-largest economy in the world.

The Golden State has recently lost its luster in some profoundly karmic fashion. In the richest urban areas, there is a growing homeless problem with tent compounds, used needles, and human excrement on the doorstep of million-dollar homes. Because everything is so expensive, California has the highest poverty rate in America. Here in Arkansas, we spend $2.25 for a gallon of gasoline; in California, some people are paying $4.49 per gallon.

California’s notoriety as the nation’s most impoverished state doesn’t stem from a lack of programs designed to alleviate poverty. The state is currently spending hundreds of millions on the homeless crisis. San Francisco is on the verge of havoc generated by a homeless population, which is roughly 1% of the total populace (around 9,000 homeless and a total population of 860,000.) The problem could easily double or triple.

It’s obvious that California is going down the drain because it has political leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters. I recently read about a Rep. Katie Hill who had to quit because she had an inappropriate sexual relationship. The California voters decided it would be nifty to elect the first bisexual congresswoman. A couple years later, a video of Hill shows up in a British newspaper that has her naked in an adulterous situation with a female staffer; they are smoking pot, and Hill has Nazi tattoos on her body. The only reason she had to resign was because of a House rule barring members from sleeping with their subordinates.

I had given up on California when it decided to return former Governor Jerry Brown to the office that earned him the title ‘Governor Moonbeam’ in the 1970s. When Brown was forced to step down by term limits, the voters replaced him with Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom. He came from the Bay Area, which guarantees that Sacramento would stay focused on a culturally liberal agenda.

The most glaring indication that California has lost its way are the power blackouts. Over the past month, more than three million people have lost power across California as part of a deliberate blackout by utility PG&E Corp, which is designed to keep power lines from igniting wildfires. PG&E’s equipment was identified as the cause of the Camp Fire in November 2018 that killed 86 people and destroyed the town of Paradise. It was the deadliest blaze in California history.

Another major blaze has already erupted, and the now bankrupt PG&E is facing an uncertain future. The company is already saddled with an estimated $30 billion in liabilities. PG&E’s stock price has gone from a recent high of $70.38 to a low last week of $3.55. California has truly reached a third-world status when the wind speed determines if your home is going to have electrical power.

A recent poll of the state’s registered voters by Cal’s Institute of Governmental Studies revealed that half have considered leaving the state. The top reason was the high cost of housing, high taxation, and crime. Many people are leaving California, but the inflow of illegal migrants keeps the numbers fairly balanced, resulting in a net population loss of only 38,000 for 2018. With many of the millions of migrants taking advantage of California’s welfare system, the state will someday run out of money.

I’m sure most Californian’s still love their cities. It is a land of some of the most glorious wealth on the planet. There have been many songs written about the state, but the only one that is still appropriate is the sinister theme of the Eagles “Hotel California.” The dream of heaven on earth has turned into a hellish nightmare. Unlike in the song, believers in Christ have the ability to check out and leave the socialist mess that will eventually sweep over all 50 states.

“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name” (Hebrews 13:14-15).


Going Blind

“I believe what you have is retinitis pigmentosa,” the retinal specialist said after the test. It was what I believe he called a scleral exam.

In conducting the test, the retinal specialist uses the lower skeletal bone surrounding the eyeball as a fulcrum. He places a hard, plastic instrument that looks like a small shoe spoon beneath the eyeball, and then uses the lower bone forming the eye socket to pop the eyeball out to some extent.

I once heard Sugar Ray Leonard, the welterweight and later middle weight boxing champion say that he would rather go fifteen rounds with his chief nemesis Tommy “The Hitman” Hearns than to again have that examination. Leonard suffered a detached retina from about, so had to have the same type of exam.

I know exactly what Mr. Leonard meant. It was extremely painful and excruciatingly lengthy. The specialist then keeps putting the pressure at different points along the lower eye-socket bone to best pop the eyeball out while shining a painful light on the retina. He then stops to make scribbles on some sort of chart before returning to torturing the patient.

The exam was complete in about forty minutes. The doctor then put his thumb and index finger to chin and said, “I believe what you have is retinitis pigmentosa.”

My obvious question was, of course: “What’s that?”

“Well, it’s one we don’t know much about. It’s a degeneration of the rods and cones that make up the retina.”

“What does that mean?”

He said very matter-of-factly, as if giving a clinical report to a student, “It means the retina is being dissolved.”

“What does it mean about my being able to see?” I naturally asked.

He was looking at some sort of book. “It says here that most with the disease go blind.”

That was all in 1977. They didn’t know much about the disease at that time. They know a lot more today, but still can do nothing about the malady–i.e., it can’t be cured, although they are reportedly making strides toward artificially restoring some degree of vision.

Now, to all who are having retinal problems and must face a retinal specialist’s exam, I must offer this bit of comfort: They now have technological means (machinery) to do–with painless procedures–what the doctors did during that scleral exam. Never fear: You most likely will never have to face the procedure Sugar Ray and I had to face.

I am also commissioned, however, to forewarn a procedure that is going to be infinitely more painful: the Great White Throne judgment. It involves examination of a world of people going, well, blind–spiritually blind.

Thankfully, the Lord of Heaven has been with yours truly all these years of going blind. And, that’s exactly what God has made it possible for me to do. That is, He has kept me going while physically blind.

I’ve been blessed beyond measure by His providing all necessary to accomplish things on His behalf in writing, speaking, and other ministry. I continue to, literally, keep going while totally blind, through God’s grace and permissive will.

What God gives us to do, He makes clear. It might take some time, but, eventually, ultimately, He will dissolve the haze and make our pathway clear.

Of course, we must make every effort to obey. As Dr. Charles Stanley puts it, “Obey God no matter what, and leave all the consequences to Him.”

Proverbs contains the Scripture that encapsulates this directive from on high: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). It is with that divine imperative that my pathway was made clear on Good Friday, April 22, 2011. I’ve written of it many times in this and other forums, as well as spoken about the profound intervention God performed that Good Friday.

I died clinically three times because of the widow-maker heart attack. I knew precisely each time my heart stopped. I was instantaneously in the presence of heavenly beings–beautiful young men and women who were jubilant and inviting me to join them.

The third time my heart stopped and I was with them, I was running with them, as if in a glorious victory celebration.

The Holy Spirit has shown me on a number of occasions since that this was Hebrews 12:1-3 in action. The specific celebration was to impress upon my spirit that the Lord approves of, in particular, the message that Jesus is on the very cusp of returning. Even more specifically, I have had it validated in the deepest reaches of my spiritual heart that He is coming very soon in the Rapture for the Church–all born-again believers, according to Romans 10:9-10.

This will occur before God’s wrath and judgment must fall on an incorrigibly wicked world of rebellious God-deniers. And this gets back to that world of people who are going, blind. Sadly, they think they see clearly their pathway ahead. They believe humanistic endeavor can guide them to a preferable destination. But their vision is shortsighted. They suffer, you might say, from spiritual retinitis pigmentosa, at the basis of which is the soul-destroying infection called sin.

They keep going, while blind to truth, down that broad way that leads to destruction and the black abyss of eternity. So, my mission, my assignment, is to keep going, even though physically blind. Witness of Christ’s saving power is our heavenly mandate. That is what I intend to do. And, that is what you, as Christ’s representative on earth–His royal ambassador—are to do also.

The heavenly rewards for such faithful service are staggering to contemplate: “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Our spiritual eyes must stay turned toward Heaven as we negotiate this darkening earthly traverse. The light of Jesus Christ will illuminate our pathway as we obey His commandment to go forth and witness of His power to save the soul, no matter how sin ridden.

Christ’s promises are beyond our ability to fully imagine. Things of unparalleled splendor and glory that we will experience at the moment of Rapture–or death, if we pass instantaneously through that doorway—are incomprehensible from this present perspective. Our vision will be made perfect at that time: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).