What the Bible says about light and seed

The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.

The Good Seed and the Weeds “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Matthew 13:24,25.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Maranata, Jesus Vem - Eduardo Peixoto




The Lord is my Shepherd
Nothing will I want
Jesus-Christ is my Lord
In His glory will I be

Praises to his name
He guides me
He guides me and I walk
In the light, in his light
In his glory will I be

In the light of his footsteps
The whole church will sing

Chorus
Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus,
Come for us
Maranatha, for all your children
With the Lord, I will dwell

Friday, June 29, 2012

What is all this "favor of God" talk really about?

What is all this "favor of God" talk really about?
http://the-end-time.blogspot.com

Do we really have as much favor from God as some preachers say we do? What is all this "favor" anyway?
Interview with Joel Osteen:
Q. You talk about God’s favor a lot. What is God's favor?

A. "There are so many people who don’t expect anything good in life. They don’t expect to get breaks, they don’t expect to get promoted, they don’t expect anything positive. So I just try to get people to say, I believe if we expect God’s favor, if we declare it, if we thank him when we do see good things happening, then we’re going to see more of that." ~Joel Osteen

No it's not. Favor of God is His grace upon us, unmerited. "Grace is free sovereign favor to the ill-deserving.” -Benjamin B. Warfield

It all depends on what one means by "good things." I certainly don't expect good things in life from God on the basis of my sparkling personality or because of the supposed favor I did Him by becoming a believer. Not this life...compared to the next. And yet, I DO expect good things. The Holy Spirit has already deposited Himself in me as a guarantee of my inheritance. That's a good thing! Then He dispensed spiritual gifts as He willed. That's a good thing! He has been growing me in sanctification in ever more Christ-likeness. That's a good thing!

Mr Osteen makes the implication, both overtly and covertly, that your Christianity isn't doing you any good unless you are receiving earthly, material things, and getting "breaks".

In this painful but uplifting story out of Egypt, we learn the hopes and fears of the Christians there in the face of increasing violence and hatred toward them. "The service ends with the Lord's Prayer and instructions for members to exit through the church's back entrance--tear gas is in the air in front. A short time later, a wailing ambulance arrives, delivering six young men. One clutches his wrist; another reveals a back peppered with birdshot. Another will probably lose his eye. The following night, the violence touches the church family. A KDEC teenager is shot near Tahrir. News spreads that someone kidnapped the daughter of a church member. Another member is found dead, murdered on his way home from the airport."

Where are their breaks?? Yet they already know they have their "good things." And they act accordingly. The article continues: "We [converts] could be the first people to be killed," said the activist, who asked for anonymity. "We are the rust in Islam that is corroding the walls. We are the threat." But rather than seeking the first opportunity to leave Egypt, he and others like him choose to stay and exert influence behind the scenes. "Doctors stay in medicine; politicians stay in politics; advocates stay in advocacy," he said. "The salt put in warehouses will just go stale. The salt needs to be in the food."

It all depends on what a person expects is a "good thing." The Egyptian Christians are hoping that if it is appointed for them to die, that they die for His name being uplifted and that hope enter the hearts of the killers. In Mr Osteen's theology, Christians should hope to get a good parking space at the mall. Is the 'good thing' Christ oriented, or me-oriented? The way 'favor' is being used by the prosperity Gospelites are that the things we receive are an identifying confirmation that we who possess many earthly riches have more favor with God than the next person, who doesn't possess as many.

For Mr Jentezen, his definition is: "Favor means God has called u to the front of the line! It's your turn. Your [sic] next!" ~ Jentezen Franklin- Twitter

Favor means that I cut ahead of other, sanctified, holy saints to the front of the line? Why would I want to do that? And what line? There's a line? What happens when I get there? Anyway, didn't God say, "So the last will be first, and the first last" ? (
Matthew 20:16a). Maybe the head of the line is not good, ha ha. Also, doesn't He love us equally, without favor? As He said to the man in the parable who complained of the ones coming into the vineyard at the last hour, who received the same pay, "I wish to give to this last man the same as to you."

Sort of along the same lines at the man in the parable complaining he'd worked all day and the last guy got the same pay, is this question asked and answered at Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry:

"Why does God hear and answer prayers for some and not others even though they live for Him?" At the end of the good essay (I recommend reading it at their site)

"What is the point of doing good then, if not to gain God’s favor? There is every reason in the world to do good! We do get God’s favor, not because He owes it to us, but because when we do good, we are operating according to God’s design for us, and we benefit from this in more lasting ways. We actually get more of God Himself when we follow Him. He is the source of all good."

Therefore, why do I need 'breaks,' when I already possess the universe's greatest break of all? Why isn't that good enough for the positive confession, name it claim it, blab it and grab it people?

An acrostic!
The grace of God IS the favor (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). "That is to say those of us who know God through faith in Jesus Christ are the recipients of the out-pouring of God's continual blessing and favor." MacArthur

But what of passages like this in the bible, you say:

"And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the LORD and with men." (
1 Samuel 2:26). Barnes notes explains, "The child Samuel advanced and grew and was good (or acceptable), both with the Lord, and also with men." The word 'favor' translated means 'good, acceptable'. Not that you receive extra special things according to your works.

What of Naphtali's favor? "Naphtali is abounding with the favor of the LORD and is full of his blessing; he will inherit southward to the lake." (
Deuteronomy 33:23).
Though it is a different Hebrew word than used in the Samuel verse it means the same thing, "acceptable to the Lord, pleasing, good."

What about Mary? Wasn't she 'highly favored'? "And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. (
Luke 1:26-28). J. Vernon McGee wrote, "There is a tendency among Protestants to play down the role of Mary, but this tells us that she was highly favored. In the same breath, however, let me say that she was blessed among women, not above women. She is not lifted above women; she lifted up womanhood."

"One thing is clear: while Americans universally want God’s favor, as a whole, they do not want God." (source, John MacArthur above)

What are really asking when we say we "want God's favor"? Is it that we crave His blessings upon us spiritually, as we continually repent of our sins and seek His face, walking in His statutes? No. It is favor upon us personally, as Osteen said, to get breaks, a good parking space at the mall, and a promotion. These kinds of favors are man-sized favors, temporal and earthly, desired by people who live in the flesh. (Mt 6:19)

We should desire the God-sized favor, which means grace on earth and, stored up in heaven. (
Mt. 6:20). "Do not exhaust your strength and spend your days in providing for the life here, but let your chief anxiety be to be prepared for eternity...To regulate the heart, it is therefore important that the treasure, or object of attachment, should be right." (Barnes Notes). [Illustration, "On hoarding treasures." Artist unknown. 1593.]

"Freedom, as expressed in Galatians, refers to freedom from the frustrating struggle to keep the law to gain God's favor. It is the freedom of knowing you are accepted by God because of what Christ has done. Such freedom is a tremendous kind of freedom, but it is more than just a deliverance from the oppression of legalism; it is also a positive endowment. When a Christian lives in the flesh, he forfeits the blessing he would receive if he were living in the Spirit. A Christian can live in the flesh, hoping to earn God's favor, but that only cuts him off from the flow of daily blessing." (
source)

Maybe the positive confession, favor-seeking pastors and teachers should just read Colossians!

"Positionally, you cannot increase or decrease in the favor of God. As a genuine Christian, nothing you do, or fail to do, can change to the slightest degree your perfect standing before God--for "in Him you have been made complete" (Colossians 2:10). (source)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dominionism and the 7 Mountain Movement

Dominionism and the 7 Mountain Movement

Bruce Wilson at Talk2Action has put together a very interesting post, The Social Transformation Conference & the 7M Movement
The article includes a number of links plus a 5 minute video. Below are a few quotes…
On April 1-2, 2011, the Harvard Extension Service and Learning Society will host, at the Harvard Northwest Science Building, the “Social Transformation Conference”. The upcoming event has already generated considerable controversy, and Truth Wins Out, a “Non-profit organization that defends the GLBT community against anti-gay misinformation campaigns”, plans to run a full page ad in the Harvard Crimson, on Thursday March 31st, protesting the event–which is being billed as advancing the “Seven Mountains” program. One of the scheduled speakers is linked (intimately) with a professed co-author of Uganda’s so-called “kill the gays bill”, and the 7 Mountains movement is already impacting US national politics.

Prominently featured on the Social Transformation Conference website is a professionally-produced video on the “Seven Mountains mandate”, which instructs “Bible believing” Christians to seek control of seven key sectors of society: education, government, media, business, arts & entertainment, religion, and the family. According to the video, the “church” must regain control of those sectors, which are now occupied by “darkness”.

The Seven Mountains concept is a vision for the total eradication of secular society and church-state separation. Os Hillman and Lance Wallnau, two of the scheduled Social Transformation Conference speakers, are in the vanguard of promoting the 7M idea, which Wallnau calls “a template for warfare.” The ‘Seven Mountains movement’ is a newly formed global Protestant mega-denomination that has coalesced out of independent charismatic Christianity; Four of the speakers, Hillman, Wallnau, Pat Francis, and Bill Hamon, are all apostles within the biggest organizational body in this movement, the International Coalition of Apostles (ICA), launched in 2001 [see footnote #1], and three are on the ICA’s elite “Apostolic Council”.

One apostle, Bill Hamon, serves, along with The Call founder Lou Engle, on the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders (ACPE), the top prophetic body of the Seven Mountains movement, whose prophets profess to communicate directly with, and receive prophetic insight, from God. ACPE prophet Mary Glazier has suggested that believers will drive the unrighteous from “the land” ….
Leaders of the NAR/Seven Mountains movement are aggressively working to move from the fringes into the mainstream. While their underlying ideology is extreme compared to traditional fundamentalism, they have managed to re-brand as pseudo-progressive by emphasizing ethnic and racial inclusivity (towards the creation of a new ‘rainbow right’)...

The Seven Mountains/NAR leadership is being aggressively courted by top-level Republican Party politicians including several who may run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination (including Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin, and Michele Bachmann (see footnote #2)), and its leaders over the past two years have shared stages with many Republican senators and Congress members, including Senator Jim DeMint and former Senator Sam Brownback, now governor of Kansas, who was Lou Engle’s roommate for seven months, in a rented Washington DC condominium, as Brownback confirmed in September 2010.

The movement has developed its own Biblical scripture-based lingo, through which its apostles and prophets can communicate political ideas in a manner that outsiders almost wholly miss…
If interested in the entire article + video, click here
Brannon Howse (worldviewweekend) has also posted a new 16 minute video exposing dominion theology and it’s leaders, the New Apostolic crowd (Cindy Jacobs, Joyner, Peter Wagner, etc.)
RELIGIOUS TROJAN HORSE: THE DANGERS OF DOMINION THEOLOGY: PART ONE

How Can I Serve Him? Qs and As

How Can I Serve Him?
http://gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher

Q. I am in desperate need of advice. To describe my overall state would indeed be that of cognitive dissonance. I am so extremely anxious to serve to Lord with my life, I have forgotten – if I had ever known – what his truest desire is for us: to love him. But how? I want nothing more, but I find it nearly impossible amongst the chaos of daily living, striving for a meager existence. I’d just as soon leave everything, my home, my job, my family. All I want is to love him, and to give my life to his service. Please help.

A. My advice is to just focus on loving Him. He’ll let you know when its time to start doing something more, and He’ll let you know what He wants you to do (Romans 12:1-2). It may be for now that the best way to show your love for Him is to cherish and support your family. Paul said that whatever we do we should do it as if for the Lord (Colossians 3:17). That includes doing your job, loving your wife and kids, and being the head of your family.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive Dissonance
This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley

“Son of man, these men have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? (Ezekiel 14:3)
The dictionary defines cognitive dissonance as an anxiety that results from simultaneously holding contradictory or otherwise incompatible attitudes or beliefs. To relieve this anxiety the human mind will strive to diminish the relative importance of one of those beliefs in favor of the other.
Jesus warned us that no man can serve two masters (Matt. 6:24) and James said when we pray we must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind and should not think he will receive anything from the Lord (James 1:6-8).

God was rhetorically asking Ezekiel if He should let people with idols in their hearts even pray to Him, Jesus was warning us about becoming distracted by wealth and James was referring to wavering faith, but the principle is the same in all three instances. A close personal relationship with God requires wholehearted devotion to Him. These are the prayers God is sure to answer. There can be no cognitive dissonance found in us.
We love the promise from Romans 8:28, “God is working everything together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” But how many of us know that the word translated “love” in that verse is agape? It’s the highest form of love in the Greek language and it means to be totally given over to the object of one’s love regardless of the outcome.

Jesus loved us that way. He gave up His life for us, remember? Romans 12:1 says we should be willing to do the same for Him. Of course, I’m not talking about our physical life. I’m talking about giving up our version of our future in favor of His. As long as we retain any willfulness or self-determination we’re not offering our whole beings as living sacrifices. That’s why Paul told us not to conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). We’re not to pattern our lives according to the things of this world, but according to His will for us.

Well There’s Your Problem

Let others lament over our deplorable behavior and our weak faith. I’m going to suggest that the area where Christians in the US today are the most vulnerable has to do with the cognitive dissonance we’ve developed between our desire for the Lord’s return for us and our love of the life we enjoy here. The anxiety this creates in our sub-conscious has caused our longing for the next life to be diminished relative to our desire for the Lord to restore this life to its former levels of enjoyment.

To a degree, this is understandable. For the past 65 years or so the US has been the most preferred place to live anywhere on Earth. Even people who hate America have dreamed of living here. The benefits of American life have been as generous as they have been numerous. Average Americans have typically enjoyed a standard of living that’s beyond the reach of even the privileged few in many countries.

By contrast, the benefits of eternal life with the Lord are undefined and don’t seem real to many. For them, the phrase “pie in the sky by and by” defines the extent of their understanding. I see evidence of this in the letters I get from well meaning people who are afraid we’ll be “confined” to the New Jerusalem, as some have put it, and won’t be able to visit the Earth we’ve grown to love. Others are concerned there won’t be enough room for all of us there, and still others can’t imagine how their new life could be as nice as their current one. If they knew what the Bible says they would have no such concerns.

Whose Fault Is That?

This lack of knowledge is due primarily to the Church’s terrible failure to teach believers about the blessings of the life to come. After all, it is the fulfillment of our life’s purpose. Therefore I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that asking God to save our country is a more popular thing to do than preparing to be taken away to begin our eternal adventure with Him. For many of us, returning to the good old days here seems like a better deal than longing for the bliss that lies ahead. But while the Lord never promised to save the USA, He did promise a reward to all who long for His appearing.
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing (2 Tim. 4:8)

I often wonder how bad things will have to get before people stop dreaming about the past here and start yearning for our future there. I guess time will tell.
To use Ezekiel’s words, The “American way of life” has become an idol we’ve set up in our hearts. We’ve become double minded because of it and if the Lord isn’t already doing so, He’ll soon be wondering if He should even let us pray to Him about it. And remember, no matter how beautiful and desirable something appears to us, if it interferes with our whole-hearted desire to follow His will it’s an idol and a wicked stumbling block from His perspective.

Asking Him to extend our time here rather than hasten the day of our departure is a clear sign that we’re not loving Him as He has loved us. It means we haven’t given ourselves completely to Him. When push comes to shove we don’t really want to put aside our plans for the future in favor of His. We’ve enjoyed our time here too much and don’t want to leave just yet.

When Are We Going To Learn?

Paul said everything that was written in the past was written to teach us (Romans 15:4). One lesson we should learn from our study of the Old Testament is that when Israel lined up behind God’s will He blessed them beyond all measure. But when they positioned themselves in opposition, His response was to take away everything they desired more than Him until He was all they had left. It doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to see that happening in the US today. (Maybe the best way to make life easier for ourselves now is to abandon our version of the future and get behind His.)

According to Bible Prophecy God’s plan for our times is to completely destroy all the nations to which His people have been scattered (Jeremiah 30:11) and give Israel the Kingdom He promised them. In the process He’ll restore Heaven and Earth to provide them with a life that’s vastly superior to anything they’ve ever experienced. But before He can begin these things, He has promised to take the Church to a place filled with wealth and happiness beyond measure where we can be protected from the wrath that’s coming against the unbelieving world (Isaiah 26:20-21, John 14:2-3).

Saying that we want to be raptured before things get bad on one hand, but praying that He will heal our land so we can enjoy a few more years of the “good life” on the other is as clear a case of cognitive dissonance as I’ve ever seen. It’s a wonder He doesn’t just shake His head in utter amazement and walk away forever.

But He won’t. Ready or not He’ll come one day soon and whisk us all away to our mansions in the sky. He’ll do that, not because we’ve longed for it to happen, but because He promised He would. He is God after all. He can’t do anything else. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 06-23-12

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tempering our weapons




In Isaiah 52:12, the Prophet declares:
“But you will not go in haste or go in flight;
For the Lord will go before you,
the God of Israel will be your rear guard."

Isn't it comforting to know that we don't have to watch our back, that the Lord protects from the attacks of the enemy from behind? All we have to do is keep our armor on, take up our shield of faith and the sword of His Word and use them efficiently. See a list of our spiritual armor in Ephesians 6:10-18

As spiritual warriors, we have spiritual weapons to combat and defeat the enemy in prayer and gain the victory in life. We are also figuratively speaking essentially a weapon in the hand of our captain of the Host. Speaking of the servant of the Lord (which we are), Isaish declares:
He made my mouth like a sharpened sword,
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me into a polished arrow
and concealed me in his quiver.
3 He said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will display my splendor. ”
4 But I said, “I have labored in vain;
I have spent my strength for nothing at all.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand,
and my reward is with my God.” Isaiah 49:2-4

The enemy knows our weaknesses and uses this knowledge in his schemes to try and defeat us. But, the Lord will help us in our weaknesses if we recognize them and ask for help.
Another way our enemy attacks is in our place of strength. We run the risk of being defeated in those areas because we are prone to self-sufficiency and independence. If we rely in our own strength, the enemy will encourage us to move in our own ways and will defeat us.

Usually there are 2 ways we can react to adversity.
• First, we can think that it's the devil's work and ask God to rebuke him by the authority of Jesus’ name.
• Second, we can realize that the Lord is sovereign and the devil can only do what the Lord allows him to do and that the Lord is providing us with an opportunity to strengthen us and teach us an enduring lesson thus helping us to mature.

In Isaiah 54:14-17, the Lord declares:
“In righeousness, you will be established;
You will be far from oppression,
For you will not fear;
And from terror, for it will not
Come near you.
If anyone attacks you, it will not be my doing
whoever attacks you will surrender to you.”
(or will fall because of you).

16: See, "it is I who created the blacksmith who fans the coals into flame and forges a weapon fit for its work.
17: And it is I who have created the destroyer to work havoc;
no weapon formed against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you."
(The tongue that speaks the lies of the devil against us directly or indirectly)

this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and this is their vindication from me."

One thing I learnt when I took a course in forging metal during my technical studies is that you use different kinds of cooling agents to temper the metal that you are trying to shape. Perhaps we could use the analogy of the forge and tempering with oil to understand the way the Lord works in our life to make us an instrument ready to use.

In forging, the blacksmith heats the metal to a certain color that indicates that the metal is ready for a certain application. If he wants the metal to be very hard, but brittle, he heats it to a glowing red, almost white and cools it very rapidly in water. If he wants to be able to work with the metal, he brings it to a blue and plunges it in oil which allows a slower cooling to provide resilience to the metal.
The piece of metal doesn't say to the blacksmith: Ouch, I don't like the way you are pounding on me and heating me up and cooling me down.

Sometimes in our Christian life we need the cool refreshing water of the Spirit to soothe our souls. However, there are times when the Lord is trying to purify us, make us more resilient, more usable, less brittle and breakable. I Corinthians 13:4 says: “Love is not easily angered.” Are we sometimes brittle, easily offended and engage in spiritual joust with our brothers using Bible verses, swinging our sword to prove that we are right?

So the Lord uses His Spirit as the oil to cool his weapon or instrument down.
This requires patience on our part as we have to let Him do His work in us until He says that the season of preparation is over and we are able to be used by Him for His purpose. Look at verse 16 again.
And this comes right after the beautiful chapter 53 on our Lord Jesus-Christ, the suffering servant. What a lesson!

When the blacksmith wants to fan the fire, he directs the bellows in one focused place and that place radiates heat throughout all the cooling coals and that's the spot where he plunges the metal. So sometimes the Lord will concentrate on one spot in our life and we have to stay there until we understand what He is trying to do, and decide to let Him mold and forge us into an instrument that he can use after tempering us with the oil of the Spirit . That's His prerogative as the Lord of our lives.

Jean-Louis

Monday, June 18, 2012

UPDATED--Rumors: Russia to escort Assad out of Syria?

Monday, June 18, 2012
UPDATED--Rumors: Russia to escort Assad out of Syria?
UPDATE
A story below mentioned that the US had enlisted UK's aid in stopping the alleged shipment by Russia of helicopters to war-torn Syria. Today the UK Telegraph reports "A Russian ship believed to be carrying helicopters and missiles for Syria has been effectively stopped in its tracks off the coast of Scotland after its insurance was cancelled at the behest of the British government.' More here
--------------------
During the fog of war there is by definition a clash of truth and rumor. It becomes very hard to know what is true and what's a feint. What is propaganda and what is accurate. With that in mind I bring you some news of the events in the fast-unfolding arena of imminent prophecy fulfillment: Syria, Israel, Egypt.

Syria, which Isaiah 17 prophesies its capital city of Damascus and environs will be totally destroyed, has been in the news since winter of 2011. The citizens rose up against its dictator, much like the citizens in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Algeria, Libya etc did. Except the Syrian uprising is still going on. The feeling of imminent fulfillment deepened last week when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reported that Russia was planning to deliver attack helicopters to Syria's leader, Bashar al-Assad. The two nations have been allies for 40 years, and Syria is Russia's biggest customer for war weapons.

Egypt has also been in the news, with the uprising, capture of dictator Mubarek, and Muslim Brotherhood ascension to power, and now their elections. Isaiah 19 is an unfulfilled prophecy regarding Egypt in the last days.

It is also no coincidence that Russia began expanding Syria's port of Tartus last year so that it can host Russian warships. Tartus is the only port on the Mediterranean that Russia has access to. For Russia, having an ally and thus a presence in Syria is critical. Russia is in prophecy in Ezekiel 38-39 as a participant in the Gog-Magog war.

That was the background. Several news stories caught my eye this morning.

EGYPT-ISRAEL

Amid presidential elections, al-Qaida leader urges Egypt to cancel treaty with Israel
"Al-Qaida's leader has urged Egypt to cancel its peace treaty with Israel and to establish Islamic rule, according to an audio message released Sunday. He said the goal was to stop Israel from turning Jerusalem into a Jewish city."

IDF moves tanks closer to Egypt
"The IDF has deployed Armored forces near the Israel-Egypt border, moving tanks closer to the fence, Ynet has learned. The unusual move followed Monday's terror attack on defense contractor crews building the new security fence"

RUSSIA-SYRIA

US enlists Britain's help to stop ship 'carrying Russian attack helicopters' to Syria
"The US government has enlisted Britain's help in a bid to stop a ship suspected of carrying Russian attack helicopters and missiles to conflict-riven Syria, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal."

Stop the presses! Forget the helicopters, that was so yesterday. Today Russia just upped the ante from helicopters, to warships and troops.

Russia to send ships and marines to Syria
"Two Russian navy ships are completing preparations to sail to Syria with a unit of marines on a mission to protect Russian citizens and the nation’s base there, a news report said Monday. The deployment appears to reflect Moscow’s growing concern about Syrian President Bashar Assad’s future."

Ahhh, now here comes the rumor:

Russian Commandos 'to Escort Assad Out of Syria'
"Ships carrying Russian commandos may soon sail to Syria to escort strongman Bashar Assad to safety from the country where a rebellion against him is growing fiercer.Reports to this effect were cited by Voice of Israel radio's veteran "listener" Miki Gurdus, who specializes in listening to radio broadcasts on various frequencies worldwide."

Of course Israel is in prophecy, everywhere. Most applicable today is the prophecy in
Zechariah 12:1-2.

"The burden of the word of the LORD concerning Israel: Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: 2“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples."

While Isaiah 19 foretells a time of strife and wrath from the Lord upon Egypt, it is hopeful to know that God has a glorious future in store for Egypt (and Assyria and Israel as well!!) Egypt turns to the Lord! Assyria is blessed! (What IS Assyria? Here is a map)

Isaiah 19 ends with the following promise that will be fulfilled in the Millennium:

"In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the LORD at its border. It will be a sign and a witness to the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt. When they cry to the LORD because of oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and deliver them. And the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the LORD and perform them.

"And the LORD will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the LORD, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them. In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and Assyria will come into Egypt, and Egypt into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians. In that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.”' (
Is 19:19-25)

The LORD is good!

It is my opinion that with events moving into place so quickly and the probable fulfillment of these prophecies coming into view, nay, landing on our laps, that the rapture is even closer. The rapture is an event that has no sign, and could happen at any moment. It is dependent upon Jesus taking the full number of believers that he has set aside, (
Romans 11:25) and we don't know what that number is or how close we are to it. That is why the rapture has always been imminent, meaning, could occur at any time. It is not dependent upon one certain thing occurring before it could take place.

In listening to Pastor JD Farag's weekly prophecy update last night, he said he is changing his message from "get ready" to "BE ready." He said it is too late to get ready. Make preparations now for being snatched up to the Lord. No more waiting, no more dithering, no more researching, no more wondering. This is it. The rapture seems so close, he said, in his opinion, it is closer than any of us can imagine.

I agree.

He referenced the rapidly moving events that coincide with what the Lord said to look for and what the Lord promised would happen. Things are moving at a day-by-day clip now, with each dawn unfolding new developments that seem to be ripped out of the pages of the bible. Now is the time to know the Lord through repentance of your sins and acceptance of Him as Savior and Lord.

WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED??

"Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved." (
Romans 10:9-10)

Believe upon the Gospel. WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?

The basic ingredients of the gospel message are the death, burial, resurrection, and appearances of the resurrected Christ. "Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received—that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve… (
1Corinthians 15:1-5)

He was buried, so His death became an established fact. He was resurrected which witnesses verified, therefore His claims of being God were verified. He is who He says He is: God in the flesh, come to seek and save the lost in their sins by becoming the sacrifice upon which God poured out all His wrath for sin, so we would not have to bear it. He took the penalty for it. However, His though His death and resurrection provided the way, it is the ONLY way to heaven and thus of escaping God's wrath. Any other way is not the pardon, it is the death sentence.

Do we have to work our way into heaven? Even if we accept Jesus?

No. His grace is sufficient. "For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace." (
Romans 6:14)

"Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (
John 6:29)

Repent and believe! The end is nigh.


3 comments:

  1. Hi Elizabeth. As I was scrolling down I noticed a small error toward the end when you quote John 6 as John 2. I wanted to alert you before I read the whole thing which I will do right now. Blessings to you. Jean-Louis.
    1. Thank you so much Jean-Louis! I fixed it. Typos when typing verse addresses make a difference don't they!!
  2. Hi Elizabeth! Thank you for posting this. This time period in which we are living reminds me about the war in Algeria. In 1954, August 20th my mother and my brothers were taking it easy on a coastal beach. My father was working in Constantine 90 kms inland. Around lunch time, we see him and ask him: “what are you doing here?”

    Without answering our curiosity, he tells us go quickly: "make up your bags and let´s go". Growing up in the 40s and 50s, our family wasn´t a democracy and my father´s decision and orders weren´t up for debate, voting or consensus. I am thankful for that. Once in the car, going back home, he told us why the hurry. The mujahideens, we called them fellagahs then, had simultaneously attacked several cities and villages and started massacres. My father just in time got out of the city under a rain of bullets to come and get us. Paternal instincts and reflexes saved our family. Next day, we heard on the radio that the bus from the beach resort to my city was stopped, all passengers ordered and murdered. Just thinking that we could have been on that bus made us shudder.

    We survived the horrors of that war but lost what had been our native place of birth for 3 generations. My parents who were retired in 1960 had the foresight to leave that year for France and start a new life. I stayed behind to help my grandma who wanted to die there no matter what. In August 61, I decided to leave, thinking that my departure would prompt her to rejoin us which she did later on.

    The point of this comment is to alert people to look at the signs that are right in front of their noses, happening at a rapid pace and who still refuse to acknowledge the imminence of events culminating in the fulfillment of prophecies.

    In April 1962, in the middle of the night, the army awoke the French people who for one reason or another hung on to their false hopes or the attachment to our land and material possessions, had waited until the last minute. Then, it was too late and they had time only to put a robe on their pajamas and night gowns and gather some important documents and a little jewelry. They were transported by helicopters to the airport where airplanes flew them to France. Some who didn´t have relatives ended up in prisoners camps vacated by the Algérians terrorists released as a part of the Evian accord. I will spare you the account of what happened later on. There is enough written about it.

    This has been the common experience throughout history of people who refuse to acknowledge very real threats and heed warnings. We can certainly understand if the information comes from overzealous and paranoid human sources, but we would be remiss if we fail to heed the very words of our Lord Jesus and his prophets. Maranatha.
    Keep up the good work. You are a blessing. Grace and peace to you and let´s keep looking up for our redemtpion. Jean-Louis

Who is a refugee?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Believe In The One He Has Sent

Believe In The One He Has Sent

A Bible Study by Jack Kelley

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. Earth and sky fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what he had done.Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev. 20:11-15)

The Great White Throne Judgment fits descriptions we have about the Day of Atonement, also called Yom Kippur. It was believed that on the first of Tishri (Rosh Hashanna) the books in which all the deeds of God’s people had been recorded were opened in heaven for review. The names of those whose behavior in the previous year had been exemplary in every way were immediately inscribed in the Book of Life. Those whose behavior had been totally without merit were scheduled for death in the coming year.

Obviously, almost everyone was somewhere in between these two extremes so for the next 10 days, called the days of awe, the people conducted a thorough self examination and went around frantically trying to right the wrongs they had committed during the year, because the forgiveness of God required prior reconciliation between men (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Repentance). On the 10th of Tishri, Yom Kippur, the books were closed and those who had righted the wrongs of the previous year were inscribed in the Book of Life for another year. During the 10 days of awe, a common greeting among friends was, “May your name be written in the Book.”

The difference in Rev. 20:11-15 is the absence of the 10 days of awe. The unsaved dead will be resurrected and immediately taken to judgment without any opportunity to make things right. Anything that was not dealt with before the person died will be there to condemn him or her at the Great White Throne. Therefore only those who died in a state of total righteousness will find their names written in the Book at the resurrection of the unsaved.

Traditional Or Conditional?

There’s a lot of talk these days about degrees of good and evil, and some of it has even evolved into a re-thinking of our traditional view of the eternal state of unbelievers. The traditional view is that anyone who fails to personally accept the pardon that God purchased for us with the blood of His son will spend eternity in a state of agonizing punishment in the Lake of Fire.

But some have begun to question this view, asking why an unbelieving humanitarian who led an exemplary life in service to others but failed to acknowledge the Lord as his Savior should receive the same punishment as someone like Hitler or Stalin who murdered millions of people in cold blood. They say it’s not like God to do this, and back it up by quoting Revelation 20:12 that says in part, “The dead were judged … according to what they had done.”

To them this verse indicates that a spirit of cause and effect resides in the judgment, and reveals God’s intention to make the punishment fit the crime, so to speak. Therefore, they claim, God who is just and merciful will look upon unbelievers who lived otherwise fruitful lives and hand out a punishment for them that’s shorter and less severe than the mass murderers and torturers receive. But since no matter how good a person is, dying in a state of unbelief must result in eternal death, then at the end of their term of punishment they’ll be destroyed and cease to exist in any form. So, as a reward for their good life on earth, they’ll be put out of their misery after a shorter and more tolerable time of punishment. This is called the “Conditional View” of Hell.

Let’s Back Up For A Minute

Is there Biblical support for this? Let’s take another look at history’s first judgment for sin to find out. By studying the first time an important concept is mentioned in Scripture, we’ll often discover clues to understanding that will help us interpret subsequent similar situations. Scholars refer to this as the Principle of First Mention.

And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

Adam was created in the image of God, immortal, with talent and ability you and I can only imagine. The same was true of Eve. They were both full of goodness and purity, and they walked and talked with God. They only had one rule and they only disobeyed it once.
But when they did, in spite of the fact that the good in them far outweighed the bad, and though they had only committed one sin, they died and the creation was cursed, as was all their progeny. We all lament the consequences brought upon us by this one act of disobedience. As Paul wrote, “The result of one trespass was condemnation for all mankind.” (Romans 5:18)

Yet they were relatively good, maybe even better than most of us, for the Bible never mentions another sin in their lives. Did their punishment fit their crime? Did God weigh the good of their lives against the bad? Or did He do exactly what He told them He would?
For what it’s worth, I don’t see any shades of gray in God’s dealings Adam and Eve then or with mankind since. I think that applying a scale of relative goodness to the life of each person is a man made idea. For example, take the reverse situation. How are believers granted entry into the Kingdom? Is there any scale of relative merit applied there, or are we all 100% in forever? Some say that the punishment of unbelievers is too extreme, but how many believers deserve the reward we’re getting? Isn’t that kind of extreme, too? If our reward is based only on belief, why wouldn’t their punishment be based only on unbelief?

In Islam, it’s said that at the final judgment Allah will compare the good and bad in each person’s life and then decide whether or not to allow him or her into paradise. (The only guaranteed ticket in is to die in battle as a martyr.) As Christians, we react poorly to that idea. We say it’s unfair, because no one could ever know in advance whether they’re saved or not. And yet some are OK with having that same uncertainty be part of an unbeliever’s lot in terms of judgment.

Couldn’t that uncertainty have the effect of causing someone who doesn’t really believe in Hell anyway to be more confident in putting their salvation decision off, thinking that since they’ve lived a good life they’ll be able to work something out with God after they’ve died? Didn’t we all think we were living relatively good lives until we got saved?
I’m going to suggest that maybe man’s whole understanding of the phrase “judged according to their works” is flawed. Adam and Eve had one rule, and when they disobeyed it nothing else mattered. There was no negotiation, no weighing in the balances. They got what the Lord had warned them they’d get. I think it’s the same with us. I think we have one rule too, and if we disobey it we’ll get just what the Lord warned us we’d get.

What Is The Work That God Requires?

After Jesus had fed the 5000 the crowds that followed Him understandably grew exponentially. He knew they just wanted Him to give them more bread. He warned them not to be so preoccupied with working for food that spoils but to work for food that endures to eternal life.

Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:28-29)
There you have it, mankind’s one rule. Believe in the One He has sent. It’s our equivalent to “Don’t eat from that tree.” It’s the only thing that God requires. If we disobey, nothing else matters. Those who deny Jesus go to eternal punishment according to Matt. 25:46 while the righteous go to eternal life. Isaiah 66:24, Daniel 12:2 & Mark 9:48 all agree.

Now don’t misunderstand me, I know we’re called to live lives that reflect our beliefs and are even promised additional rewards for doing so, and I’d be the last one to advise someone to profess their faith and then forget about living it out. But the simple fact is that faith is the only work that God requires and none of the other things we can do count for anything until we’ve taken that one required step. We’re saved because of what we believe, not because of how we behave. Nowhere in all of Scripture is there even a hint that an unbeliever’s destiny can be altered in the slightest by the “goodness” of his or her life.

In fact, it would appear from scripture that the Lord equates unbelief with disobedience. Paul wrote that God believes His existence is simply too obvious to be missed (Romans 1:18-20). And in 2 Thes. 2:10 he said that unbelievers will perish because they refused to love the truth and be saved. To refuse something is to decline it. It’s a specific action. By doing so, unbelievers have disobeyed the one rule He gave us, and in response He’ll do exactly what He said.

Let’s Get One Thing Straight

It bruises our egos to learn this, but none of our good works help God at all, just as none of our sins hurt Him. Remember Elihu’s words to Job about the impact our life has on God.

If you sin, how does that affect him? If your sins are many, what does that do to him? If you are righteous, what do you give to him,or what does he receive from your hand? Your wickedness affects only a man like yourself, and your righteousness only the sons of men (Job 35:6-8).

Isaiah explained this even more clearly. About the religious works of unbelievers, He wrote,
“But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man, and whoever offers a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig’s blood and whoever burns memorial incense, like one who worships an idol.
They have chosen their own ways,and their souls delight in their abominations;so I also will choose harsh treatment for them and will bring upon them what they dread. For when I called, no one answered,when I spoke, no one listened. They did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me” (Isaiah 66:3-4)

God only considers the works of believers good to the extent that they’re done out of gratitude, in an effort to please Him, because of what He’s done for us. (1 Cor. 4:5) It’s like when your 3 year old proudly hands you a barely recognizable drawing. It has no intrinsic value to you. But you know your child was trying hard to please you, and it’s the thought that counts. The same is true of our good works.

But unbelievers aren’t trying to please God with their good works, they deny that He even exists. They’re only trying to make themselves feel better. If their good works don’t help God and are motivated by selfishness, where is the justification for considering them when determining their punishment for rejecting Him? This idea makes no more sense than the one allowing rich entertainers and politicians to purchase “carbon credits” to offset their huge “carbon footprints”. The checks they write don’t nullify the effects of their extravagant lifestyle, they’re just trying to make themselves feel better.

If all this is true then you may wonder why God goes to all the trouble to record every one of our actions? If only one of them matters, why bother with the others? The Bible doesn’t answer that question but since God is just, I think that by having everything recorded He can demonstrate that his records are complete and accurate, and that he didn’t overlook a single detail of any person’s life. This will prove that a person’s omission from the book of life wasn’t due to an accident or oversight, but the result of that person’s refusal to do the one thing He requires of us.

And so I think it’s just possible that when unbelievers are judged “according to their works”, only the work that God requires will be at issue. Have they done the one thing that He asked them to do, and that’s to believe in the One He has sent? Remember, in the absence of that one thing, there is nothing that man can do that’s considered good according to God’s standards. Rev. 20:15 agrees. If anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire. You can only be written in the Book of Life by being 100% righteous. And you can only become that way by having the Lord’s righteousness imputed to you by faith (Romans 3:10 & 4:5). In other words, to believe in the One He has sent. Selah 06-16-12

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fathers Day: 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Being A Dad

Fathers Day: 10 Things Nobody Tells You About Being A Dad




Before I became a dad, I thought I would be a pretty good dad. After all I grew up in a nice, Christian home, I read a few parenting books, and heard quite a few messages on biblical parenting. So I was set. The kids I would raise would be fortunate to have me as their father.

Then, a funny thing happened. I actually became a dad for the first time. First came Grace, then Daniel Jr, then Emma, and finally Lily. I’m now a father of four and I know much less about parenting than I did before I became a parent. I’ve realized that there are certain things about fatherhood you can only learn until you actually become a dad.

Here are ten:

1) You are much less patient than you think you are. Oh, you think you’re a loving, patient, sweet peach of man. You’ll be the guy playing catch for hours and carefully instructing your son how to ride his bike. You’ll never get short with your kids and you’ll always know the perfect balance between discipline and love. Right. Keep dreaming, my friend. There’s nothing like a live child in your midst to bring out your selfishness, anger, and impatience.

2) Many times you’ll have no clue what to do. But you still have to pretend you are in control. Like when your three-year old melts down the grocery store. The books say to do one thing, but there is a certain paralysis that takes place when it’s your little child kicking, screaming, and not getting along with the shopping program. Over time, you’ll figure out your child and the best method, but there will be a lot of trial and error along the way. Mostly error.

3) You’ll realize that minivans are secretly awesome. Before I had kids I swore on a stack of John Wayne collector’s edition DVD’s that I would never be seen behind the wheel of a minivan. Then we had our 2nd child and I suddenly saw the awesomeness of minivans. I now have four children and the Chrysler Town and Country keeps getting cooler. You can go for long trips and play DVD’s. You can fold the seats down into the floor and haul large pieces of furniture that your wife thinks you need. Trust me on this one. As soon as kid #2 comes, you’ll find yourself wandering over to cars.com to compare the best prices on minivans.

4) You’ll probably not get six continuous hours of good sleep ever again. And if you do, you’ll never admit it because it will make your wife mad for the broken up sleep she got when she got up and took care of the teething child. Dads perfect the art of pretending like they are stone cold sleepers who can’t be easily woke. But really you’re just trying to do it long enough so she’ll get up and take care of the situation.

5) There are singular moments of joy so indescribable they can only be experienced. There are moments of pride and joy that make every single hard parenting experience seem easy. There are times of closeness and love that will make your heart burst with rapture. Sometimes I just sit back and look at my four children and cannot believe God allowed me to be their dad. If you’re a dad, you know what I mean.

6) Your presence is more important than you know. You may not think you’re a good dad. You may not think you’re all that useful around the house. But your kids need your presence more than you know. God wove fatherhood into the fabric of humanity. Your consistency and faithfulness to your wife and to your children will speak volumes to your children about the consistency and faithfulness of their Heavenly Father.

7) You need to repeat the same words over and over to your children. It’s not enough to be a model Christian. It’s not enough to provide and be present. Your kids must hear, over and over again how much you love and accept them. I try every single day to tell each one of my children that I love them. There have been times I’ve flippantly said something to my oldest daughter and it crushed her feelings. I’ve had to apologize and seek forgiveness. My words matter to her.

8). You will watch less of your favorite games, play less video games, and will go out with your guy friends hardly at all. But this is good. You are called to serve your family sacrificially. This often means putting your selfish desires last. This means not whining. This means being strong when you want to be tired. This means being the brave one when everyone is scared. But if you see your kids as your God-given mission, you will gladly give up these things for something better. Your sacrifice and your presence is not an option.

9) You will embrace your cluelessness as a gift from God. The further you go into your fatherhood, the more you realize you need help being a good dad. You really don’t have what it takes. This is where you lean in, heavily, on your Heavenly Father. The sooner we realize, as dads, that we don’t have what it takes to succeed, the sooner we’ll seek His help, both thru His Word, His Spirit, and from earthly fathers who can lend wisdom. I’ve learned much from a program our church did called Men’s Fraternity. I’ve learned much from other dads in my church. I’ve learned a lot from older dads who have gone before.

10) You will realize your ongoing need to repent, confess, apologize, and forgive. You will mess up, almost daily. And so you will need to admit to your children your mistakes and ask their forgiveness. You will learn the underrated value of an apology, how quickly it earns you respect and attention. You will have to forgive your children for their sins. You will need to practice these with your wife. In doing so, you will model to your children what the Christian life looks like. It’s not a life of perfection, but of brokenness, surrender, and grace.
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