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.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Sackcloth & Ashes- Dividing Jerusalem

2012 Epicenter Conference - understanding the Scriptures concerning God’s love for Israel’s neighbors - Joel Rosenberg

Epicenter Conference

At the 2012 Epicenter Conference, I delivered a message on understanding the Scriptures concerning God’s love for Israel’s neighbors, & Israel’s responsibilities towards the Palestinians, as well as the Church’s responsibilities. 

At the same conference, we had a session of testimonies — a session in which an Israeli Jew, an American Jew, a Palestinian Arab, and a Jordanian Arab shared their spiritual journeys of how they came to faith in Jesus the Messiah, and how it changed them from the inside out.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Palestinians could have been celebrating the 65th anniversary of their state today. What happened?

The Palestinians could have been celebrating the 65th anniversary of their state today. What happened?
Posted: November 29, 2012 in Uncategorized
Reposted from Joel Rosenberg´s blog: flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com
Map of 1947 UN “Partition Plan.” (source: BBC)

(Los Angeles, California) I am sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian people. They are loved by the Lord God of the Bible, but they are forgotten or ignored by much of the world. Tragically, most of their leaders over the years have been either corrupt, misguided, or incompetent. They deserve so much better. Consider briefly the sad pattern of modern history:

* 1947– Humanly speaking, the Palestinians could have been celebrating the 65th anniversary of their state today. After all, 65 years ago today, the U.N. voted on the “Partition Plan,” giving part of British Mandated “Palestine” to the Jews to create the state of Israel, and part to the Arabs to create a Palestinian/Jordanian state. The Jewish leaders said yes to the U.N. plan, and created Israel. The Arabs said no to the U.N. plan, and went to war to destroy the Jews. They lost the war and got heartache and poverty instead.

* 1967 — The Arabs — led by Egypt and Syria — built up their military forces, surrounded Israel, and vowed to “throw the Jews into the sea.” But they not only lost the Six Day War, they lost control of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), and the Golan Heights, and the city of Jerusalem. Israel offered to make a peace treaty. But the Arabs issued the famous “Three Noes” declaration at a summit in Khartoum: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel.

* 2000 – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat a sovereign Palestinian state in 2000 at Camp David, including all of Gaza, 90% of the West Bank, and half the Old City of Jerusalem. Arafat said no, and went home to unleash a wave of suicide bombings and other terrorists attacks against Israel known as the Second Intifada.

* 2005 – Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon withdrew all Israeli forces and people from Gaza and unilaterally gave the Palestinians Gaza without asking for a treaty in return. Yet the Palestinian leadership said no to making peace. Rather, the Palestinians began firing thousands of rocket and missile from Gaza at Israeli civilians.

* 2008 – Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinians a sovereign state, yet again the Palestinian leadership said no.

* 2009 — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came out in support of a Palestinian state (with some caveats). Yet the Palestinian leadership refused even to sit down for direct negotiations with Netanyahu and his government.

Today, the Palestinian people still live in pain and poverty. Last week, the Palestinian leaders in Gaza started a war with Israel and committed more than 3,000 war crimes. Today, they want the world to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state, rather than sittting down and negotiating with the Israeli government and people. In this morning’s Wall Street Journal, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor writes a column that is worth reading and considering. He asks, “Exactly what kind of state are we voting for?” A few excerpts:
  • A state with no control over its territory — The Palestinian Authority has zero authority in Gaza today. Out of concern for his personal safety, President Abbas has not even seen this area with binoculars since 2007, when the Hamas terrorist organization seized control of it in a bloody coup. Demonstrating their affection for Mr. Abbas, Hamas threw members of his political party off 12-story rooftops. While members of the U.S. Congress visit their constituents on a weekly basis, President Abbas hasn’t laid eyes on almost half of the Palestinian population for six years.
  • A terrorist state — States recognized by the U.N. must pledge to be “peace-loving.” This month, Hamas showed its commitment to peace and love in Gaza by firing more than 1,200 rockets into Israeli cities.
  • An undemocratic state — Hamas has imposed brutal tyranny in Gaza, and Palestinian democracy in the West Bank is also far from Jeffersonian. President Abbas’s mandate to rule expired three years ago. He continues to personally extend it without elections or consultation from his people.
  • A bankrupt state —  Palestinian Authority institutions remain completely dependent on foreign aid, limping from crisis to crisis. Yet this year, as the PA threatened to delay payroll for many employees, it tripled payments to convicted terrorists. Today the PA devotes 6% of its annual budget to payments for imprisoned terrorists and the families of suicide bombers, and less than 1% to higher education.
As I stated at the beginning of this column, I am sympathetic with the plight of the Palestinian people. They are loved by God, but so poorly led. That said, should the world support a sovereign Palestinians state under current circumstances? Should Christians around the world support a Palestinian state at all? 

As I explained in detail yesterday, and have written numerous times before, I believe the answer is no. The Bible says God will judge all nations who divide the Land of Israel. Our love for Palestinians cannot turn a blind eye to such Biblical warnings. But we should support autonomy for the Palestinian people. And as Christians, we should support and encourage the Christian community in the West Bank and Gaza, and do what the Lord allows us to do to build up the Church among the Palestinian people. We should help them love their neighbors, study the Word of God, share the Gospel, make disciples, train pastors, and plant new Bible-teaching congregations. We should also help them stand for justice and stand against injustice of all kinds.

Please be praying for the Palestinian people today — that God may show them His grace and favor and mercy in a real and special way, and that the Church will show them God’s love, too. These are precious people loved by our Lord and need so much better than they have gotten over the years.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

If The Lord’s Coming, Why Aren’t We Preparing?

If The Lord’s Coming, Why Aren’t We Preparing?

Reposted from: gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher 

Q. Something has been weighing heavy on my mind for some time now. It seems that no one is preaching ‘preparation’.  I believe there will be a rapture of the Church soon. As things are winding down and we see prophecy coming to fruition it is time for true women and men of God, I believe, to focus on being prepared for His coming. What are your thoughts on this?

A. You make a good point. And of course the reason no one is preaching preparation for His coming is that very few really believe it. Even among the most sincere believers, the Lord’s return is still more theoretical than real, and to think of Him coming soon takes a huge paradigm shift that few are willing to make.  In fact the only time you hear the word preparation, it’s in connection with the fear that the Lord is not coming soon.

I think we should focus on two things to prepare for His coming. The first is to exercise our faith to make it stronger. As I’ve said before, we do this by walking by faith even if we aren’t currently experiencing difficulty.

Learn to rely on the Lord again as at the beginning of our walk with Him, not making any decisions without seeking His will. Pray without ceasing, pray about everything. Study His word daily.  Put Him back in charge of our lives. Cultivate like minded friends. Start acting like we really expect Him to appear soon. After all, we’re promised a crown for doing so (2 Tim. 4:8).

And the second thing is to keep working to simplify our lives, getting rid of all the things that distract us from nurturing our relationship with Him. The old saying is true. We work to get things, and then we work because we have them. These things divert both our time and our resources from “Kingdom activity” that would bless us and please Him. Let’s start extracting ourselves from the grip this world has on us and focus more on the next one.  This one only has a few more years to run, but the next one lasts forever.

Doing these things would make our lives into an example for others that would probably bring more people to the Lord than all our fancy evangelism programs could ever accomplish. Folks always respond better when they see that we actually believe what we’re telling them.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The God Without … A Thanksgiving Message

The God Without … A Thanksgiving Message

A Thanksgiving Message by Jack Kelley
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.   For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. (Psalm 100)

Each year on the 4th Thursday of November we celebrate Thanksgiving Day in the US.  It’s a holiday begun by the early settlers to express their gratitude to God for a bountiful harvest, and it’s patterned after the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles.

After the harvest Israelites from all over the country would gather in Jerusalem for a week long celebration. This was to commemorate the time God had spent with them in the wilderness and to give thanks for another good harvest. All year they saved up their tithes, the first born of their flocks and herds, the first sheaves of grain, the first grapes, figs, olives and other fruit and vegetables and brought it all to Jerusalem in the fall where they cooked and ate everything in a national celebration of praise (Deut. 12:5-7).

After surviving a very difficult year in the new world, the Pilgrims of New England instituted a similar, though much smaller, thanksgiving feast, again with the intent of praising God.   This event finally became a national holiday in the US in 1863, but it took until 1941 to settle on the 4th Thursday of November as its official observance.

My parents made sure we never forgot that it was the Lord who provided for us and so Thanksgiving was a religious observance in our house. Prayers were offered and each family member gave thanks to the Lord for all the good things we had received.

You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today (Deut. 8:17-18).

We believed, as the Bible tells us, that even though my parents worked hard all year, it was the Lord who had given them their strength and ability and created opportunities for them. In these verses God reminded the Israelites (and us) not to forget that.  After all, lots of people work hard all their lives and never seem to get anywhere.   We weren’t well off, but we gave thanks for what we had because we knew where our blessings came from.

As an adult I got involved in the self-development field and began learning about the “god within”, an internal force I was told I could use to maximize my “creative potential” for success.  This appealed to my ego and made me seem like the master of my own fate. I forgot all about the Lord’s admonition to remember Him. When I was born again at age 40 I finally saw that this “god within” was really the “God without” who had been blessing me all along even though I was taking all the credit.  Once, as I was praying about this, the phrase “God Without” kept repeating itself in my mind. Was the Lord trying to tell me something?

The word “without” applies to lots of things where the Lord is concerned, and as I continued to pray several of them came to mind. If you’re looking for things to be thankful for (even if you live in a country where Thanksgiving isn’t celebrated) try some of these “withouts”. I’ll bet the Lord will bring more to your mind as you focus on them.

Love Without LimitsFor God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believed in Him would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Forgiveness Without QuestionAsk and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks the door will be opened (Matt 7:7-8).  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Performance Without ExceptionAll that the Father gives me will come to me and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. And this is the will of Him Who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up on the last day (John 6:37, 39).

Promise Without EquivocationI make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times what is still to come. I say, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please … what I have said, that will I bring about and what I have planned, that will I do” (Isaiah 46:10-11).

Blessings Without NumberYou will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country (wherever you are). The fruit of your womb will be blessed (your children), and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock-the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks (your work). Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed (you’ll have plenty of food). You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out (when you come home at night and when you leave in the morning) (Deut 28:3-6).

Mercy Without Measure …. It is because of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassion fails not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Faithfulness Without FailingKnow therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands (Deut. 7:9).  And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

Redemption Without RetractionIn love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will– to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding (Ephesians 1:5-8).

Salvation Without MeritBut when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4-7).

Grace Without GuiltTherefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

So in a time when mankind has all but forgotten that the Lord is the Giver of every good and perfect gift, the Author of all our victories, who arranges every opportunity and fashions every blessing, these “withouts” might serve as good reminders to give thanks where thanks is due.
And now may “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.” (Numbers 6:24-26)

Happy Thanksgiving. 11-17-12

The world has been duped

The world has been duped!

The world has been duped!
It is a sad day in this world when people have become so enamored of evil that they can no longer recognize good.  War is a horrible, horrible thing, but sometimes war is necessary.  War in itself is not always “evil”.  War is righteous when it is for the purpose of ending or curtailing evil.  I pray for the peace of Israel and I know that one day God is going to put an end to all aggression against her.  In so far that I have any right to an opinion or feelings about the ceasefire in Israel, my feeling is one of frustration and disappointment.

I think a lot of Benjamin Netenyahu, and though he is in a position where he cannot afford to completely disregard the sentiments and opinions of all the clamoring of other world leaders, I am concerned at what this cease-fire is doing to the morale and motivation of the thousands of IDF reservists waiting in limbo at the Gaza border and their families at home.  Of course I know that sort of thing is “all part and parcel of a soldier’s job”, but I also know that fervor building to a crescendo, peaking out, only to be met with dismissal, is about as demoralizing as it gets.  To ask that of soldiers, then tell them to stand down, while the other side continues to violate the terms of the ceasefire? 

Still, I am hoping that Bibi is merely playing along with the diplomacy game, knowing, as we do, that Hamas will overplay their hand, thereby justifying the ground invasion to finish the job.  It would require a great deal of self-restraint and patience to “heel” to international pressure and opinion” knowing those opinions are largely uninformed, or worse yet, informed-but-indifferent!  Considering that Hamas has the Muslim Brotherhood in their own corner, how on Earth will Egypt be trusted to guarantee any peace terms?  Behind both the MB and Hamas, is Iran, and behind Iran, is Russia.  Obama seems determined to subdue Israel.  Why might that be?  Perhaps due to Obama’s love affair with the MB?

The press, and a majority of the world are now against Israel, just as the Bible said would be the case at this point in history.  This article in FrontPageMag.com is right on the money!   Huffington Post merely epitomizes the whole of mainstream media.  And for the Obama administration, I simply do not believe that they do or will have Israel’s back when push really comes to shove.  Still, I suppose I should allow the benefit of the doubt, since so many are praying for Obama to do the right thing by Israel.  I do think American Jews have a blind spot when it comes to Obama. But then, most American Jews are not Israelis.  They maybe don’t get it!

Hamas plays dirty and for blood.  They know that Israel is not the aggressor, and they also know that images of wailing Palestinians mourning their dead, plays well for the news cameras.  Never mind that they died at the hands of Hamas.  Hamas kills their own people.  The non-Hamas citizens are as terrorized as the Israelis, but not by Israelis.  Here is a snip of the map from the above FrontPageMag.com article which shows the locations Hamas chooses to fire rockets from.  First of all the smuggling in of these rockets is accomplished via tunnels under ground.  But they store the weapons under greenhouses, schools, hospitals.  Makes me think of that verse in Matthew that says woe to those who are with child and those who give suck.  I read a story sometime this week where they had to evacuate the delivery unit of one hospital in Israel because the Hamas bombs were landing dangerously close to the Labor and Delivery unit.

So Hamas fires from locations which will naturally draw fire back, for the express purpose that they can then declare in “righteous indignation” that Israel targeted a school or a hospital.  Never mind the fact that storing their weapons there, and firing from there greatly endangers their own citizens.  Hamas is barbaric.  They relish assassinating citizens accused of collaborating with the enemy.  No trial, no jury, no judge or due process, just a bullet to the head, stripped naked, feet tied together, and dragged through the streets from the back of a motorcycle.  That is pure, unadulterated blood-lust and evil incarnate.

In Israel, by contrast, there are a million and a half citizens who have endured daily life with a constant barrage of incoming rockets for 3 years, necessarily having to be prepared to drop whatever they are doing, and run to bomb shelters, not knowing if their home, business, or even their loved ones, will survive this round.

I am not sure how it is that we can even continue to be surprised by the absurdity of the notion that Hamas’ actions are justified.  You’d think that after a while, we would be used to it, and in a lot of ways we are, yet we can never just accept it.  Israelis just want to work, raise their families, and live in peace.  So, too, do many Arabs and other people in the region.

I can’t quite understand the accolades for Obama’s “unwavering support” for Israel’s right to defend herself.  That is like me standing by while a parent beats the snot out of their 12-year-old kid while his big brothers restrain him, and me saying “I’m rooting for you kid, you have every reason to be offended, and I won’t blame you if you fight back”.  Not to equate the sovereign nation to an adolescent, but the point is their size and the obvious fact that  Hamas is not acting alone.

Obama has been more than happy to dispatch money, weapons, and the manpower of the U.S. military to aid terrorists in the Middle East.  U. S. involvement in the “Arab Spring” was never about giving citizens a “fighting chance” at democratic government.  It has always been about maintaining leverage and protecting the interests of the globalist agenda.  Not just under Obama, but GW Bush, Clinton, and GHW Bush.  I am convinced that just like Viet Nam, the “official” reasons for recent conflicts in which Americans were involved, reasons which stir the blood of patriots, were merely a pretext, and that the real intent has been far more nefarious.  Oil? maybe in some cases.  Power, mostly, after all, what do the oppressed citizens of Libya have to offer?   How about those in Syria?  They are not even in the game, though they thought for one shining moment that they were, when evil rulers were toppled.  Assad and his forces are evil oppressors, but the opposition forces are a mixed bag of hopeful citizens and lesser factions hoping to rise to the same caliber of oppressive power as Assad’s bunch.  The global powers that be will throw their weight behind whichever one is most amenable to some degree of loyalty to the elite powers at the top in America (who, by the way, no longer even have the best interest of Americans at heart, either), or who will at least be willing to negotiate with said powers.

Who can blame the poor for their gullibility to a man who offered hope?   Americans were not the only ones who “voted” for Obama.  I say that figuratively, but am certain it is literal as well.  Foreign money spends just as well as domestic.  The problem is, it was not just the poor and naive who rooted for, worked for and voted for the re-election of Obama.  It was the greedy, the power-hungry, the wealthy (mega-banksters hoping to retain their free pass from accountability, politicians hoping to retain their freedom to abuse their status and office) and it was also the “helpless” screeching birds sitting in their subsidized housing “nests” with mouths open waiting for the next worm.  The free cell-phone worm.  The free internet worm.  The EBT card worm.  It was the pharmaceutical giants, who happen to also be the makers of the genetically modified foods which are making us sick.  Convenient, huh?  Notice I do allow that there are the “legitimate poor” among us.  Even among the “undocumented aliens” there are those who are legitimate refugees from inhumane circumstances in other countries, who just like you and I, only want the chance at a simple, decent life, peace, and means to provide for their families.

But “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me” only works in a nation where freedom reigns, where accountability is upheld, where people acknowledge God as the giver of inalienable rights, (not Government), and where everyone works, and only those who are truly helpless are provided for, and then not by government, nor by the constraint and coercion of government, but as a matter of conscience, with generosity and benevolence,  by their fellow-citizens.
Not only have we been duped, here in America, but all over the world.   Societies are only as strong as the moral fiber of their citizens.   I think for the most part, the people who get fooled, are the people who want to be fooled.  The people who don’t like the reality, and are more than happy to embrace the fantasy that is offered because somehow it allows them a free pass;  Either from moral obligation, condemnation,  even from responsibility.

We are willfully duped when we kid ourselves that there are no consequences for our actions and choices, that God is whomever and whatever we choose to believe He is.  We know better.
We are willfully duped when we kid ourselves that a fetus is merely a blob of tissue.  We know better.
We are willfully duped when we kid ourselves that there are no moral absolutes.  We know better!
Satan kids himself that one day he will exalt himself above God.  And everything that is wrong in this world, equates to nothing more than a willful fantasy that God is not in charge of things.
Sadly, however, and soon, God will disabuse the world of the luxury of self-delusion.
Neither Hamas, nor the Muslim Brotherhood, nor “Palestine”, nor Iran will ever destroy Israel and push her into the sea.

Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
35 Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The Lord of hosts is his name:
36 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever.
37 Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord.
38 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the city shall be built to the Lord from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner.
39 And the measuring line shall yet go forth over against it upon the hill Gareb, and shall compass about to Goath.
40 And the whole valley of the dead bodies, and of the ashes, and all the fields unto the brook of Kidron, unto the corner of the horse gate toward the east, shall be holy unto the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, nor thrown down any more for ever.
The future of America, however, is much less certain.

Hamas Exploitation of Civilians as Human Shields

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Isaiah 55. Revelation 22; John 7. Invitation to the Hungry and Thirsty

A universal offer and call
My thanksgiving´s prayer in a country 
that does not celebrate Thanksgiving day as we do in ours

1 "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David”. Isaiah 55:1-3.

 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Isa 55:1; John 7:37. 

  37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. Lev 23:36; Isa 55:1; John 6:35; Rev 22:17; 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Isa 12:3; 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) Isa 44:3; Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17; 40 Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Matt 21:46; Luke 7:16; John 6:14; 41 Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? John 4:42; John 1:46; 42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? Ps 132:11; Mic 5:2; Matt 2:6; 43 So there was a division among the people because of him. 44 And some of them would have taken him; but no man laid hands on him. John 7:37-44. 

Heavenly Father God, holy, merciful and just.
Thank you that we do not have to wait for a special day, Sabbath or Sunday to rest because our souls can find rest in you alone anytime, anywhere. 
Thank you that through the shed blood of our Lord Jesus, we do not have to seek anywhere else or strive for rest in anything or anybody but you.

Thank you Lord Jesus that you have finished the work that the Father gave you so that we may experience the rest, peace and abundant life when we trust you and abide in you.
Thank you that we can have food and drink without money, that your sacrifice on the cross has given us access to the Father who gives us abundant spiritual riches that satisfy.

 Thank you Holy Spirit that you gave us who believe the living water that overflows from our innermost part. Thank for guiding us into truth, for opening our understanding in to your Word, for filling our heart with love, peace, joy, for your comfort, for strengthening us with grace when we are weak, for protecting us from harm, for giving us discernment against the traps of the enemy, for revealing and glorifying our Lord Jesus, for renewing our minds with the Word and giving us hope and patient endurance while we wait for our Savior and Lord Jesus. 

Lord Jesus, let us say like you: “My food is to do the will of my Father”.
Open our ears that we may listen carefully and hear clearly your voice, come to you and eat what is good and live by every word that comes out of your mouth.
In the most precious name of our Lord Jesus. Amen.


For a more beautiful, touching, moving and more elaborate piece for thanksgiving´s gratitude and thankfulness from a blogger friend, click on this link: 

For the evening of November 18th by Charles H. Spurgeon

For the evening of November 18th
by Charles H. Spurgeon
"Thou art from everlasting." --Psalm 93:2
  1 The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. 2 Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.1  3 The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves. 4 The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea. 5 Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.

Christ is EVERLASTING. Of Him we may sing with David, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." Rejoice, believer, in Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever
Jesus always was. The Babe born in Bethlehem was united to the Word, which was in the beginning, by whom all things were made. The title by which Christ revealed Himself to John in Patmos was, "Him which is, and which was, and which is to come."
If He were not God from everlasting, we could not so devoutly love Him; we could not feel that He had any share in the eternal love which is the fountain of all covenant blessings; but since He was from all eternity with the Father, we trace the stream of divine love to Himself equally with His Father and the blessed Spirit. As our Lord always was, so also He is for evermore.
Jesus is not dead; "He ever liveth to make intercession for us." Resort to Him in all your times of need, for He is waiting to bless you still. Moreover, Jesus our Lord ever shall be. If God should spare your life to fulfil your full day of threescore years and ten, you will find that His cleansing fountain is still opened, and His precious blood has not lost its power; you shall find that the Priest who filled the healing fount with His own blood, lives to purge you from all iniquity.
When only your last battle remains to be fought, you shall find that the hand of your conquering Captain has not grown feeble--the living Saviour shall cheer the dying saint. When you enter heaven you shall find Him there bearing the dew of His youth; and through eternity the Lord Jesus shall still remain the perennial spring of joy, and life, and glory to His people.
Living waters may you draw from this sacred well! Jesus always was, He always is, He always shall be. He is eternal in all His attributes, in all His offices, in all His might, and willingness to bless, comfort, guard, and crown His chosen people.

The third Jihad-Part I

Overwhelming gratitude

Overwhelming gratitude

Overwhelming gratitude
The word Thanksgiving occurs 28 times in 27 verses in the King James Bible.  Most often it is in the context of “a sacrifice” and in the other instances it is either in tandem with song, or prayer.

Thanksgiving is not just a Holiday commemorating the pilgrims first celebration of their newfound freedom in America.  It is a heart attitude that makes all the difference in life.  It is best when Thanksgiving is a natural and spontaneous response, but that is something that has been stripped out of our make-up over time here in America where we have “had it so good, for so long” that we take it all for granted.  But thankfulness can be cultivated once again.

Being thankful means living consciously.  That’s another thing most in America have forgotten.  Well, not just Americans, but all of us, most of the human race.  Always plugged in, constant vigilance that we not miss a text or an important news item or in many cases, the latest song, episode of the favorite show, or whatever.  Fill in your own blanks.

I am thankful that my Dad is in heaven with Jesus and with his brothers and sisters and mom and dad, who all went before him and whom he has really missed.  I am thankful we had him here with us, all of my life my Dad was present and he was my Dad.  He was faithful to his wife and faithful as a provider.  How many people can say that of their dad these days?  Our neighbor and dear friend Johnny who died the previous month, too is with the Lord.  I’ve been more attentive of our other dear friend, his widow, who has been like a second mom to me, since then and not taking her for granted as before.  We don’t neglect each other on purpose.  Just like my brothers who live nearby, we know they are there and we can see them anytime, therefore we are often less intentional about actually making that time to see them, and before we know it, they could be gone.

I am thankful that my parents took me to church, and for the many good adult influences I had in my growing-up years.  From neighbors to school teachers and sunday school teachers.  I live in a small town of about 25K residents.  It is about 4 miles in a radius as the crow flies.  That sounds like we are packed in there, but no, it is just a little “factory boom town” that mostly was built up in an era of simplicity, where houses were not gargantuan monstrosities, just simple 2 and three (small) bedrooms, a kitchin, living room, and one bathroom.  For the most part we still have families here whose parents and great-grandparents immigrated here and settled here, and they remain active in maintaining the roots of the town.  There are still lots of families who know one another and speak as they meet at the post office, or will pick up the phone to let someone know if they saw their kid up to no good, and have that be appreciated rather than offense being taken.

There is lots of parental involvement in the schools, although less in middle and high school, and good cooperation between police and citizens and very active neighborhood watches throughout the city.

I am thankful that not everyone has thrown out all of the “old ways” to the extent we have forgotten them, because the longer the Lord tarries, the higher the liklihood that we are going to need to re-learn some of them.  And frankly, it would be hard but that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Even though I have staunchly stood by the probability that things are on a trajectory which is not going to turn around, in my heart of hearts I do know that with God, all things are possible.  There is possible, and then there is likely.  Still, in the event that enough of us cry out, in genuine mourning over our own sins and that of the church and the nation, and God, who hears and is ever-merciful even in the midst of wrath, He could choose to push the middle East back from the brink, see us through a dark and extremely difficult restructuring period here in the U.S., and maybe restore in us the humble submission to Him with which our Christian forebears initiated this nation to begin with.
Do I want to hang out here on this Earth with things continuing on the road this world is currently on?  NO! Not me, not my kids.  My cry as I see what is happening, is “Come, Lord Jesus” and come quickly.  I am 100 percent NOT a citizen of this world, my citizenship is in Heaven and that future City of the New Jerusalem.  But!  Here is the thing:  Jesus, being yet GOD, :thought it not robbery to be equal with God, But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.

You see, when Jesus hung on that cross, He didn’t just die for me, although if I was the only person on Earth, I believe He would have done it just for me.  Jesus who was master over Death, Hell and the Grave, was not KILLED on that cross, though He did most definitely die there.  He died, willingly giving up His life ( the words from His own lips about His life were: “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again”).  But He did so, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.  It is not God’s will that any should “perish”.  Perish, here doesn’t just mean the natural death of the human body, but the eternal death of permenant separation from God, the source of all life.

I am a sinner.  I understand that I sin because I have the nature of sin in my mortal flesh, like a genetic abherration, it is a condition in my flesh that I am powerless to change.  God is not some stern taskmaster in the sky with a whip who watches like a predatory hawk, for me to slip up and break one of His laws so He can gleefully swoop down upon me with wrath and punishment.  God in His genious, instilled in us a “counterpart” to the law, called a conscience.  He gave the law to act as a mirror to reflect back to us our behaviors and actions and attitudes, and this conscience is like a sensor that reads our actions in light of the law, and if it is working properly, this sensor tells us whether what we are doing is good or is evil.  Notice I did not say “good or bad”.  When Eve and Adam ate of the forbidden fruit in the garden, it was the fruit of “The knowledge of good and evil”.  A baby of 18 months knows good and bad.  But a baby of 18 months has no ability to discern evil.  A baby of 18 months is guileless.  They may poke you in the eye and maybe even inflict real harm, but they in no way had evil intent.

Adam and Eve first walked in the garden with God Himself and in perfect innocence and yes, niavety, like that innocent baby.  Then along came the temptor Satan, and against God’s direct command, Eve and then Adam violated their own consciences and did that which they knew was “wrong”, and in doing so they opened up in themselves a “pandora’s box” of understanding.  You see, what you don’t know, you aren’t accountable for.  What you do know, you ARE accountable for.  God would have preferred for us not to ever have to “know” firsthand what evil is.  But because He created us in His image with free will of our own, and even with curiosity, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Jesus took not just the sin of myself and other Christians upon Himself on that cross.  He took the entire “phenomenon” of Sin into Himself and became sin, so that sin itself was crucified with Him and in Him on that cross.  Therefore look at sin as a disease such as Cancer.  It literally is a very auto-immune type condition which always ultimately destroys the host.  God has offered the antidote and any fool who chooses not to take, will experience the ultimate end of that “cancer” within himself which is death.  That is WHY the Bible says the wages of sin is death.  Death is not a punishment, so much as it is just the natural course and ultimate end of disease and decay.
I am so thankful that God sent Jesus to take that sin, my sinful state, unto His own body and bear it for me, and conquer it, so that it has no more power over me.  When my Dad breathed his last breath here on this Earth 2 weeks, 2 days, 10 hours and thirty minutes ago, he went immediately into the presence of His Savior and has now seen the face of Jesus!  That is all my heart desires.  I don’t want anything in this world.  Not money, not freedom, certainly not “stuff”, but to be in the actual physical presence of Jesus, and see His face in person!

I know that when we see Him we will fall on our faces in the glory of His Holiness and magesty.  But I also look forward to getting up from that, and just giving Him a hug and saying “thank you” in person.  Thank you for saving me.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for all the times You forgave me when I did the wrong thing, and loved me when I was unlovely and unloveable.  Thank you for removing the scales from my eyes and letting me see truth.  Thank you for what You went through on the cross for me.

Because I am thankful, I am grateful for these things, I want others to know Jesus and be saved.  Not because of my own “benevolence toward my fellow man”.  No, seriously, I don’t have the kind of love I ought to have for others.  I am cynical, and suspicious by nature, or, well, maybe by virtue of my life experiences.  I would love to be able to say that I love everyone so much that I want to give them Jesus, and show them “the way” but the honest truth about me is that just as the Bible said would be the case in these last days, my love for people has grown cold.  I find it harder and harder in a world where most people have zero regard for others, where even life itself is not valued, to uphold that standard of love which a Christian is meant to be known by.  Even though I made a conscious choice to “care anyway”, it is a monumental struggle sometimes.  I do care.  And when I see someone hurting, I respond to them, and reach out to them, but find myself counting the cost.

So, if not motivated by love for others, then what is my motivation to tell others the Way?  Is it because I think it will earn me heavenly “points”, a “favored status”, or other rewards?  Nope.  I’m about the most uncompetitve person God ever made.  I’m pretty satisfied with the simple basics even here in the Earthly sphere.  Though the one “reward” I would like to earn is to hear my Lord say “well done, thou good and faithful servant”.

My motivation is this:  If Jesus died for all the sin of every human who ever lived, so that not a single one had to perish, just think about that for a second.  Have you ever been just overcome by the sheer magnitude of evil in this world.  Maybe you watched the tragic loss of life during the Columbine High School Massacre, or even just the unceasing wars.  Aren’t you sick to death of wars?  I know I am.  That is just the evil of one generation.  It can weigh on you and make you feel tired, hopeless and depressed about life.  We most of us love this Earth, nature, the beauty around us and recognize the tragedy of defiling it.  That is just a drop in the bucket of evil, and we “feel” the effects of that and we mourn it.  Jesus had ALL of that evil, all the evil of the Crusades, all the evil of the Holocaust, all the evil of human trafficking, all the evil of slavery, all the evil of the entire history of the human race converged in His body on that cross.  It wasn’t the crown of thorns, the cat of nine tails and multiple lashes which ripped his skin to shreds, nor the pulling out of his beard.  The real agony was to take all of that evil into Himself and then to experience the separation from God the Father in that instant, when God had to turn away and the world went dark for half an hour. 

If Jesus did that, for every person who ever lived, what a horrific shame it is, that even one solitary human being ought to go to their death without having had the opportunity to know about it, and choose to receive the benefit of it.  If they reject it, that is their perogative, but for me as a beneficiary of that kind of grace, generosity and love, to take my lovely “gift” and keep it all to myself and not extend it to others, well that is the most ungrateful act any Christian could ever do.  It is a slap in the face of Jesus in return for what He did.

I am not promoting the movie “The Passion of the Christ” one way or another.  I know it has “doctrinal issues” but it moved me greatly.
There are two parts of that movie that are burned permenantly in my memory.  I was a mother of young children when I watched it, and the scene where Mary sees them leading the wounded and bleeding Jesus to Galgatha, and she flashes back to his childhood, when he would get a boo-boo and her mere hugs and kisses could take away his pain, OH how my heart sqeezed.  To be the mother of Jesus?  To have raised him from a baby.  Surely, blessed are you among woman, Mary.  Though human and not to be worshipped.  And the most moving part was really a tiny segment.  Jesus has uttered “it is finished” and given up the ghost.  And the camera pans from above, away, up up up, and we are viewing the scene as through a water droplet.  Then the droplet falls and a deluge of rain splashes over the entire scene.  That effect was lost on a lot of people because of the rain.  But that first droplet wasn’t a rain drop, and symbollically neither was the rain itself, meant to be rain, but God’s own tears as He sacrificed His only son.  To recognize the world through a falling tear, you have to have spent some time crying.  I have. Have you?

I have mourned my own sinfulness.  I have mourned the evil in this world and I have mourned and grieved in weeping and tears and pleadings with the Lord over this nation.  And others have as well.
But the loss of freedoms, and even the loss of the greatness of the good old U.S. of A. is nothing, when laid alongside the tragedy of millions who will spend eternity in hell unnecessarily because we didn’t give them the gospel, or because they chose not to receive it.  Your free will is intact.  You can take it or leave it.  But I give you Jesus.  He died for you.  He did not die to give you a better life.  He is not interested in turning you into a “saint” who must forsake all fun and freedom and change everything about your life.  What He has to offer, is completely free and there is nothing you can do to earn it, only believe it and receive it.  That means faith.

“But I just can’t believe all that stuff in the Bible, I mean, Noah’s Ark, a worldwide flood?”
That’s okay.  You don’t have to “know” it for a fact, you can choose faith and take God’s word for it.
“Oh, come on, there are a million and one religions in this world, don’t you think it is just a tiny bit arrogant and closed-minded to think yours is the ‘right’ way?”

This is not a religion I am talking about.  Religion is man reaching, striving, to reach God. Christianity is not a religion.  It is the only belief system wherein God seeks YOU, comes to YOU, and accomplishes the mending of the breach, the divide that is between you and Himself.

A lot of people will say “God is a gentleman” He won’t force you.  No, God is not a gentleman.  What He is not, is a beggar.  And frankly because of that fact, I don’t believe I ought to be either.  Nor should the preacher be.  Nor should the evangelist.  We are not responsible for what anyone chooses.  We are responsible to extend only the truth and the invitation.  The choice is yours, but there will come a day of winnowing.  A day of judging and sorting.    On one side, will go those who acknowledged Jesus as Lord.  On the other, those who did not.  When we are gathered at that judgment bar, there is only one matter that will be weighed, and that matter is, what did you do with Jesus.  Those who remained in their sinful state, unreconciled with God via the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, will hear “depart I knew you not”.  But those who are reconciled with God through Jesus will have the blood on their hands, of the lost whom they personally had opportunity to reach, and the agonizing realization that that soul is condemmned to hell for EVER, when that Christian might have prevented it.

I don’t want to ever experience that moment.  It is not fair to Jesus.
And so, for my many Christian friends who do not believe in a pre-tribulation rapture, who have questioned me “what will you do when the tribulation starts and you are still here, then what will you do” I say this: I deserve everything that I have coming.  I do see the pre-tribulation rapture in scripture, and I expect it, not because I am under any delusion that I have earned an escape, any more than I deserve the salvation Jesus so graciously has given, or the eternity in His presence I look forward to.  God’s nature is love, and that is why He loves us.  Not because we are so darn loveable, because anyone who is honest will admit we are not.  I don’t know why He loves me, but I know He does.  I don’t know why He saved me, but He did.  I can’t explain everything about salvation and God and how He operates any more than I can explain to you the ins and outs of my car’s engine and transmission and drive shaft, torque, combustion, and all of those principles.  But I don’t have to know all that in order for my car to get me from here to the grocery store.  I just have to have enough faith in my car to get in, insert the key, start the engine, put it in gear and go.

That is how it is with being a Christian.  Like the funny videos I reblogged, we like the Pharisees of old, make things much more complicated than they really are.  It is the faith of a child that saves us.  At Christmas, a 5 or 6 year old kid doesn’t deal with “oh, but I didn’t get YOU anything, and that makes me look like such a loser”, no, he sees a package with his name on it and is immediately filled with excited anticipation and wonder.  When the gift is offered, he receives it eagerly and tears into the wrappers with gusto.  How simple is that?  How pure?

Giving the gospel to others is also as simple as that.  It is our own pride that prevents it being as simple as God made it.  I must not look foolish.  I don’t want them to think me a kook.  To be honest with you, I have never had anyone react to the gospel that way.  Even if people disagree, they generally appreciate the thought behind my sharing.  The recognize it as concern and genuine, even if their opinion is that it is a misplaced or unnecessary concern.  The only people who react negatively are the churched.  Pride rears up in them.  “Don’t tell me about Jesus, I have been teaching Sunday School for Thirty Year, young lady, so you just take your tract and give it to someone who needs it”.
Oh boy, those are the ones I pray for the hardest.  Because even if they are saved, they still have not come to terms with just why they needed a Savior.  Because when you fully realize your own defilement and stench when compared to God’s own Holiness, all pride is obliterated.

Some of us have been “Saved so long” we begin to believe by now we have earne  some credit for our own goodness.  We give Jesus credit for the initial redemptive act, but we intend to retain unto ourselves ”credit where credit is presumably due” for “all that we have done for the Lord” since then.
I hate to break it to you but I don’t care if you are D.L. Moody himself, YOU have done nothing.  God has done it all.  You have merely been permitted the privilege of being a vessel.  Or perhaps you have so thoroughly fooled yourself that God has gone on without you, and you’ve been building houses of straw on foundations of sand and will be among the shocked an appalled who will cry “I healed the sick and cast out demons in your name”, but will hear “depart, I knew you not”.

My friend, I am no one special.  I am a 48 year old mom who has broken all of Gods law.  In me is no good thing.  Like Paul, I am the chiefest of sinners.  I have contributed to the statistics that reflect poorly on Christianity, by divorce, but the words of my mouth, by actions unbecoming.  I am not better than you.  The fact it is likely you are more gracious, more selfless, more charitable, more trusting, more forgiving, and nicer than I am.  Maybe.  Or maybe you are sitting in a prison, guilty of murder or rape or worse.  We are the same, you and me.  The difference between us as far as “how good or bad we are” is as negligable as the physical differences between identical twins.

The difference that makes the ultimate difference, lies solely in whether or not one of us has embraced the pardon freely offered in Christ, and the other has not.  I have received that pardon.  Have you?  I am 100 % positive that like my Dad, when I close my eyes in death here, I will wake up in Heaven with Jesus, or go up to Him in the rapture if that comes first, regardless of it ‘s timeing in relation to the tribulation.  Are you?  Do you have that peace? You can.

If you see the truth in what I have said, you see it only because God has witnessed the truth of my words by way of the Holy Spirit and your own “answering” conscience in your heart.  If that is the case, then you need merely to admit that you understand you are a sinner, and ask Him to save your soul by applying His righteousness to you, in exchange for guilt.  You’ll still be a sinner but your sin will no longer be accounted against you.  You will be “reckoned” as righteous by virtue of Jesus having already borne that guilt on the cross and fulfilling the due sentence.  You see, for infinite guilt, you must either have infinite and eternal punishment, or a once and for all punishment must befall an infinite being, in order to be sufficient atonement.  God is your judge, your jury, your executioner.  God has pronounced your guilt and the penalty, which is death, but then He did an amazing, unimagineable thing.  He took off his judges robe, stepped down off the bench, and received the indigtment, and served the sentence for you.

But don’t think “well, then I’m covered, there’s nothing more to be done”.  No, it doesn’t work that way.  By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not “of yourself” (doesn’t come from within) but is a gift of God, lest any man should boast.  Even the faith to believe what I have told you, comes from God Himself.  That’s why you “can’t believe it”.  That’s why it seems “too good to be true” and “too easy, there has to be a catch”.  If you are unsaved, God does not even hear your prayers.  There is only one prayer of the unsaved man which God will listen to.  That is the prayer asking to be saved, or the prayer asking for the faith which is needed in order to entertain the plausability of His offer of Salvation.

If you don’t pray that prayer, you will go on being blind to these truths.  And your literal ticket out of hell willl sit at the “will call box” unclaimed and tragically and needlessly wasted, while you spend eternity in hell,  literally having had to walk around Jesus to get there.  Not His “dead body”, for He rose back up from the dead, and that is the other difference between Faith in Jesus, and “religion”.  We don’t worship a dead prophet.  We serve a living Savior and God.

And for that, I am most thankful of all!
As you sit around the table this Thursday, celebrating “Thanksgiving” ask yourself this:  “Who am I thanking?”  Our Holidays don’t need to be hollow and meaningless.  When you sit there on January 1, after partying it up yet another year, or after crying yourself to sleep, at the futility of it all, facing the futility, wishing there was “more to life”, I want you to remember this. Because there IS.  Jesus is real.  God is good and He cares about you personally.  He knitted you together in the womb, He picked out your eye color, deliberately put those dimples there and that freckle here.  He gave you your personality, and your gifts and abilities and has a purpose for you life.  It’s all true.  Do you have the courage to believe it?  Don’t take my word for it.  Ask Him yourself.  He speaks your language. 

May you truly be blessed to meet my Savior and discover you are not a random accident of “nature” with no purpose and no hope. Even in face of these troubling times, my heart overflows with hope.
This world is not my final destination, and death is not the end but the beginning.  Praise Almighty God, Elohim, the great “I AM”, the Alpha and Omega, JHVH Jireh, my provider, JHVH Nissi, my banner, JHVH Rapha, my healer.  He never leaves, He never forsakes or abandons, or abuses.  Praise my wonderful Savior!

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