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.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Why Israel will rule the new Middle East | Fox News

Why Israel will rule the new Middle East | Fox News

PJTV: Afterburner: What difference does it make?


Published on 31 Jan 2013
 Reblogged from panoffolin.wordpress.com 

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Brazil honors diplomats that saved Jews from Nazis

Reblogged from Julio Severo´s http://lastdayswatchman.blogspot.com.br/
 BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Two Brazilian diplomats who helped save hundreds of Jews from ending up in Nazi concentration camps have been honored during an International Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony.
The Wednesday night ceremony paid tribute to Aracy Guimaraes Rosa, a staff member of the Brazilian consulate in Hamburg in the 1930s and 1940s and Luis Martins de Souza Dantas, Brazil's ambassador to France during the same period. Both issued hundreds visas to Jews.
Aracy Guimaraes Rosa
President Dilma Rousseff attended the ceremony organized by Brazil's Jewish Confederation and Brasilia's Jewish Cultural Association.
Claudio Lottenberg, president of the Jewish confederation, said the two diplomats had "the courage to disobey foreign ministry orders to restrict the entrance of Jews into Brazil."
Source: Associated Press, via Julio Severo in English:

Damascus countdown: Iran & Syria vow retaliation after Israeli airstrike. Is something more catastrophic coming?

Reblogged from Jole Rosenberg´s flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com

January 31, 2013 at 2:39 pm
Map locating the Syrian town Jamraya which was hit by an Israeli air strike on Wednesday. (Reuters graphic)

Map locating the Syrian town Jamraya which was hit by an Israeli air strike on Wednesday. (Reuters graphic)

What will be next?
As the implosion of Syria continues unabated, Israeli officials are increasingly worried that weapons of mass destruction positioned on Syrian soil will be used against the Jewish state. Or that they will fall into the hands of anti-Israeli forces. Or be handed over to anti-Israeli forces. 

Prime Minister Netanyahu and the IDF top brass are also deeply concerned about Iran’s efforts to use the chaos in Syria to divert international attention away from stopping Tehran’s nuclear weapons program. 

As I’ve written before on this blog — and explore in more detail in my forthcoming geopolitical thriller, Damascus Countdown — the corridor between Tel Aviv, Damascus and Tehran is the most dangerous corridor on the planet at the moment. Iran is getting closer to building The Persian Bomb. More than 40,000 people have been slaughtered inside Syria. The world is not taking decisive action to stop any of this. And there is a growing fear in the region that a countdown may have begun to something even more catastrophic happening in the not-too-distant future. I pray that it doesn’t. But governments are increasingly on edge, and for good reason.

Here’s a snapshot of the latest developments in the last 48 hours:

“Israel bombed a suspected shipment of antiaircraft missiles in Syria on Wednesday, according to regional and U.S. officials, in its most ambitious strike inside its neighbor’s territory in nearly two chaotic years of civil war there,” reports the Wall Street Journal

“The early-morning strike in a border area west of Damascus targeted a convoy of trucks carrying Russian-made SA-17 missiles to Hezbollah, the anti-Israel Shiite militant and political group in Lebanon, according to a Western official briefed on the raid.”

“Syria maintained that the accounts of a strike on an arms convoy near the country’s border with Lebanon were wrong. Instead, Syria’s military said, Israeli jets had attacked a military facility near Damascus,” the Journal reports. “‘Israeli warplanes violated our airspace at dawn today and directly struck one of the scientific research centers responsible for elevating resistance and self-defense capabilities in the area of Jamraya in the Damascus countryside,’ Syria’s military said in a statement carried by the official Sana news agency. The attack killed two workers and injured five others, it said, and ’caused significant material damage and the destruction of the complex’ and an adjacent parking lot. Syrian activists say the Jamraya site is in a mountainous area of military facilities and training camps located on a heavily guarded road just off the main Damascus-Beirut highway. 

Later Wednesday, a U.S. official said the accounts of two targets—a convoy of weapons, and a military site—weren’t mutually exclusive. The U.S. believes Israeli warplanes bombed a Hezbollah-bound convoy of antiaircraft missiles, U.S. officials said. The vehicles may have been close to a military facility, they said, cautioning their information remained incomplete.”

Meanwhile, “Iran threatened that a reported Israeli strike in Syria would have ‘grave consequences for Tel Aviv’ on Thursday, days after saying that an attack on Syria would be seen as an attack on Iran,” reports the Times of Israel. “Syria added that the attacks ‘would not go unanswered.’”

“All options for a response against Israeli aggression are open,” an official close to the Assad regime said, according to Syrian press reports. ”The Zionists are trying to use the situations in Syria to restart the crisis when the government was managing to work toward a diplomatic solution.”

“Angry statements from Russia, Iran and the militantly anti-Israel group Hezbollah underscored the risk that Israel’s action —  which analysts and Western officials described as an attempt to stop the transfer of weapons from Syria to Hezbollah outposts in Lebanon —  could hasten the spillover of the civil war in Syria into a wider conflict,” reports the Washington Post.

“Russia said on Thursday it was very concerned about reports of an Israeli attack in Syria and that any such action, if confirmed, would amount to unacceptable military interference in the war-ravaged country,” reports Ynet News. “‘If this information is confirmed, then we are dealing with unprovoked attacks on targets on the territory of a sovereign country, which blatantly violates the UN Charter and is unacceptable, no matter the motives to justify it,’ the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.”

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mass Shootings: The Videos Piers Morgan and Dianne Feinstein Don’t Want You to See

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Syria: Israeli jets strike Jamaraya arms depot near Damascus leaving casualties

Syria: Israeli jets strike Jamaraya arms depot near Damascus leaving casualties

Troops bulldoze homes, leave thousands homeless

Troops bulldoze homes, leave thousands homeless

Just How Much Is Sports Fandom Like Religion?

By Michael Serazio
Share 10 Pro sports teams are like what religion and sociology scholars call "totems"—symbols of greater entities that communities gather around for identity and unity.
 Reblogged from http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/01/just-how-much-is-sports-fandom-like-religion/272631/

  banner_fandom as religion.jpg
 Two San Diego fans perform the sacred ceremonial Chargers face-painting ritual before a game in 2011. (AP / Denis Poroy)
The Super Bowl, professional sports' highest holy day, is again upon us. As fans paint their faces and torsos, pile on licensed apparel, and quixotically arrange beer cans in the shape of team logos, the question must, again, be asked: Why exactly do we do this for our teams?

Why, in my own case, do I feel the need to sport a Chargers cap on fall Sundays sitting in front of the television when decades of futility, not to mention common sense, suggests it has little effect on outcome?
The answer—and the secret of fandom—might just be found in a context far removed from professional football.

Almost precisely a century ago, Emile Durkheim pondered along similar lines. Durkheim, a pioneering sociologist, began digging through accounts of "primitive" cultures like the Arunta tribe of Australia, hoping to excavate the ancient source of ties that bind. His conclusion—as revealed in The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life—remains as profound and relevant today as it is elegantly simple: Whenever a society (or, here, sports subculture) worships a divine form, it is, in fact, also simultaneously worshipping itself.

For Durkheim, this all hinged on what he called "the totem." As he wrote, "On the one hand, [the totem] is the external and tangible form of what we have called the... god. But on the other, it is the symbol of that particular society we call the clan. It is its flag; it is the sign by which each clan distinguishes itself from others, the visible mark of its personality."

In other words, our religious totems, while "officially" symbolizing deities, also implicitly offer vessels for fellowship; licenses to congregate together. As social creatures, there is something universal—and still enduring—in that tribal yearning. Yet community is often more abstract and imagined than concrete and identifiable.

The totem, then, gives believers a physical representation of that need for identity and unity: a Star of David hung from the neck; a Ganesh figurine placed on the dashboard; a St. Christopher medal tucked in the wallet. Theological justifications are really just incidental; what matters is that through our faith in these common artifacts, community is forged.

Alas, formal, organized religion in America today seems but a shell of its former self. A recent Pew study noted that the percentage of the U.S. public declaring themselves religiously "unaffiliated" had grown to one-fifth, including one-third of those under 30—the highest figures in the poll's history. Faith in other institutions—family, one's employer, political entities—is equally dwindling, though such institutions once also rooted the individual in something larger.

What totems, therefore, still survive in this culture of ours? The Red Sox. The Packers. The Lakers. And so on. The notion that sports remain our civic religion is truer than we often let on: In fandom, as in religious worship, our social connections are brought to life, in the stands as in the pews. It serves as a reminder of our interconnectedness and dependency; it materially indexes belonging. Like others, I indulge the royal "we" when speaking of my team, though there is little evidence they need me much beyond ticket sales, merchandise, and advertising impressions. Nonetheless, as Durkheim long ago noticed, "Members of each clan try to give themselves the external appearance of their totem ... When the totem is a bird, the individuals wear feathers on their heads." Ravens fans surely understand this.

In short, if you look hard at sports, you can't help but see contours of religion.
Others have gestured to these parallels over the years. Some have highlighted how both preserve revered spaces (e.g., Sistine Chapel, Wrigley Field) and observe seasonal rhythms and orderly ceremonial frameworks. Elsewhere, it has been claimed that with its religious metaphors, regular invocations of good and evil, and sacred vestments (The Shroud of Schilling!), sports channel a natural religious impulse—driving one, somehow, "Godward."
The notion that sports remain our civic religion is truer than we often let on: In fandom, as in religious worship, our social connections are brought to life, in the stands as in the pews.
Writing about British soccer fans, one sociologist observed that: "Just as Durkheim suggested aboriginal tribes worship their society through the totem, so do the lads reaffirm their relations with other lads through the love of the team."

The sports totem therefore gives me reason to strike up a conversation with a stranger; better still, it offers phone fodder for calls to Grandpa. We routinely speak of being "born" into a particular fandom and treat those who change allegiances to rival teams with the same alienation familiar to heretics and apostates.

And should the Chargers ever reward my faith with a Super Bowl win—and, having lived through the Ryan Leaf years, I'm not holding my breath here—I'll finally have recourse to revel riotously, just as we'll see for one lucky, exhilarated fan base in a few days' time.
Durkheim had a name for this, too. He called it "collective effervescence," that social "electricity" that gets generated when groups gather to exalt in epic rituals. In that, the post-game celebration and day-after parades, with its feverish outpouring of emotion—all that hugging and high-fiving, those deafening howls and blubbery weeping—might look like chaotic disorder but it is actually a rare moment of social order: a glimpse of spontaneous solidarity, an interlude of uninhibited integration. This is not to excuse the excess of vandalism or violence that often accompanies the effervescence; the same social norms that maintain chilly anonymity in day-to-day modern life also serve to uphold law and decorum.

Yet that anonymity can inevitably be an unsettling thing; just ask anyone who's ever moved far from home. It doesn't really matter whether our teams win or lose on the field. As long as the totem survives, so do we. Turns out, that's what I'm really rooting for and why I'm still wearing that Chargers cap every Sunday afternoon.

The Obama Inaugural Address

By Dennis Prager · January 29, 2013 
Reblogged from  http://patriotpost.us/opinion/16484

Dennis Prager
To understand leftism, the most dynamic religion of the last hundred years, you have to understand how the left thinks. The 2013 inaugural address of President Barack Obama provides one such opportunity.

--"What makes us exceptional -- what makes us American -- is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'"

What American does not resonate to a president reaffirming this magnificent statement from our Declaration of Independence?
But here's the intellectual sleight of hand: "What makes us exceptional -- what makes us American" is indeed the belief that rights come from God.
But this seminal idea is not mentioned again in the entire inaugural address. This was most unfortunate. An inaugural address that would concentrate on the decreasing significance of God in American life -- one of the left's proudest accomplishments -- would address what may well be the single most important development in the last half-century of American life.

--"We learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together."
If there is one word that most excites progressives, it is "new." 

("Old" turns the left off: Judeo-Christian religions and the Constitution are two such examples.) The fact is that Americans did not make "themselves anew" after the Civil War. What they did was finally affirm what was old -- the Founders' belief that "all men are created equal."
So why did the president say this? Because what he and the left want to do is to make America anew -- by making it a left-wing country.

--"Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce, schools and colleges to train our workers."

The president used the word "together" four times in his speech. In no instance, did it make sense. What he meant each time is government. In the mind of the left, together and government are one.
Moreover, the point is meaningless. We determined that "a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce"? Isn't that utterly self-evident? Isn't it as meaningless as saying that "together, we determined that jets are faster than propeller planes?

--"Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play."

Again, "together" -- meaning the government.
And, again, this is an intellectual sleight of hand in order to make his case for more government. The free market "only thrives" when individuals have the freedom to take risks. Too large a government and too many rules choke the free market. Look at Europe and every other society with too many rules governing the marketplace.

--"Preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action."

This is pure leftism: Individual freedom will be preserved by an ever-expanding state.
The whole American experiment in individual freedom has been predicated on as small a government as possible.

--"No single person can train all the math and science teachers we'll need ... or build the roads and networks and research labs ...

Who, pray tell, has ever said that a single person can train all teachers, build the roads, etc.? The point he is making, once again, is that only the government can do all these things.

--"The commitments we make to each other through Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great."

This is either a non-sequitur or a falsehood. Huge government programs do not increase risk taking, and, yes, they often do make "a nation of takers." Again, look at Europe. If such programs encouraged entrepreneurial risk-taking, European countries would have the most such risk-takers in the Western world. Instead, Europe has indeed become a continent of takers.

--"We will respond to the threat of climate change ... Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and more powerful storms."

"The overwhelming judgment of science." Just as the left has changed global warming to "climate change," the president has now changed scientists to "science." To differ with the environmentalist left on the sources of whatever global warming there is, or whether to impede the economic growth of the Western democracies in the name of reducing carbon emissions is now to deny "science" itself, not merely to differ with some scientists.
Moreover, all three claims of the president are false.
As the Danish environmentalist, Bjorn Lomborg, who believes that there is global warming and that that it is caused primarily by carbon emissions, wrote about the president's claims:
On fires: "Analysis of wildfires around the world shows that since 1950 their numbers have decreased globally by 15 percent" (italics in original).
On drought: "The world has not seen a general increase in drought. A study published in Nature in November shows globally that 'there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.'"
On storms: "Hurricane activity is at a low not encountered since the 1970s. The U.S. is currently experiencing the longest absence of severe landfall hurricanes in over a century."

--"That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God."

Finally God is mentioned -- on behalf of solar panels and windmills! The god of the left is the god of environmentalism.

--"We the people still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war."

The president's favorite American -- the Straw Man. Who exactly believes in "perpetual war?" Perhaps the president confuses perpetual strength with perpetual war.
Had he not been a leftist, he could have said: "We the people still believe that enduring security and lasting peace require perpetual American strength."

--"But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war."

Whatever peace we have won has been won as a result of war and/or being militarily prepared for war. But acknowledging that would mean abandoning leftist doctrine.

--"We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully -- not because we are naive about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear."

"Not because we are naive?" The entire sentence is an ode to the left's naiveté‚ regarding evil.

--"Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm."

The president didn't say what would create more security in children than anything else -- a father in their lives. Why didn't he? Because the left doesn't talk about the need for fathers. Such talk is deemed sexist, anti-women, anti-single mothers and anti-same-sex marriage.
But the left does talk utopian. In what universe are children "always safe from harm?" The answer is in the utopian imagination of the left, which then passes law after law and uproots centuries of values in order to create their utopia.

--"Being true to our founding documents ... does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way."

That's more left-wing ideology: Liberty means what you want it mean. As does marriage, art, family, truth and good and evil.

--"We cannot ... substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate."

No conservative could agree more with that. They are, after all, two of the most prominent features of left-wing political life.

--"Let us ... carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom."

The president began his address citing Creator-given rights, but never mentioned either the Creator or Creator-given rights in what followed. So, too, he ended his address with a call to freedom that had nothing to do with anything he said preceding it. The address was about climate change, same-sex marriage, equal pay for women, and mostly, expanding the power of the state - not freedom.
The speech was not inspiring. But it did have one important value: It illuminated how the left thinks.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

End Times Truth: Avoiding Deception

 Reblogged from Prophecy Update
How do we avoid deception in these last days?
This question was put to me recently by Doug Harris from Britain's apologetics television program "Simply the Truth." In this first episode of Doug's new show "End Times Truth," he sought along with me and other guests to define what the Last Days are and how we should live in them. The following is an excerpt of that program.
The Last Days Interview
Doug Harris: First Timothy 4:1 warns the believer to pay attention so as not to be deceived by deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons. It becomes very obvious if people pay attention to these things that sooner or later they will want to communicate with these evil spirts and will want to draw closer to that which is deceitful - the doctrine of demons.
Just how can we test out what is truly from God and what is taught by demons when things are spoken of concerning the End Times. How can we begin to test these things out? What can we do to insure that we are not led astray?
The answer is clear - we certainly need to bring everything back that we've heard to the Word of God. If what's being said is clearly found within the Word of God, then there is absolutely no problem with that end times teaching.
If, however, what you've learned is not found within the Word of God, but it's also not denied by the Word of God, well we might not be able to be so sure. We end up holding those teachings up and conclude they're probably true, but debatable.
Stand strong on the belief that anything that is not clearly taught within Scripture, or is clearly denied by Scripture, means we cannot build our future upon it. We need to be discerning. The Bible advises us to be diligently seeking. I hope that's something we always do from the Scriptures and with others.
However, even at this point we are not left helpless, because 1 Timothy 4 goes on to give the antidote to avoiding deception and the accepting of wrong teachings. The answer is that we are to be nourished by the words of faith and of sound doctrine. Just how vital is that today? How should we be living in these days?
Nathan, what do you have to say? In 1 Timothy 4:6, we get in the King James this phrase about being "nourished." I'm very interested in that phrase. Just how are we to be nourished in these last days? When I think of nourishment, I'm reminded that nourishment always gives you strength. Nourishment always gives you the ability to do things. We as believers in Christ are going to face difficult days. We are in fact even now facing difficult days, knowing that we are going to face even more difficult days to come. How do we get nourished and be able to face them?
Nathan Jones: The Apostle Peter gave us a great description of what being nourished looks like. Second Peter 3 is an entire chapter dedicated to talking about living in the "last days" or "latter days." Peter gives us ten points that we can follow to be nourished and to exist wholly in these last very difficult days.
1. Peter tells us to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the commands given by our Lord and Savior through the Apostles. We should remember the words of Jesus. Remember the words of the Apostles. In other words, read your Bible!
2. Understand that in the last days scoffers will come. Peter was telling us that in the last day people would declare that Jesus isn't coming back. They'll claim such a belief is nonsense and not to believe in it. They'll scoff at the Bible. They'll scoff at God even existing. And, they'll scoff at primarily the Creation story. In other words, Peter is prophesying the advent of the teaching of Evolution.
3. Peter warns us not to forget God's promise that He'll return. We are to abide in His salvation and model His patience. That Jesus is so patiently waiting for everybody who is supposed to in this age come to know Jesus Christ as Savior and get saved demonstrates God's amazing love.
4. Peter reminds us to live holy and godly lives. While we are here on this earth, as Christians we are to live holy and godly lives while we wait for Christ's return.
5. Look forward to the day of God. Look forward to the time when we live with God up in Heaven with dwell with Him forever. That's really something to look forward to! And, it will give you hope and perspective.
6. Speed the Lord's coming, Peter says. In other words, get the Gospel out. Share the Good News with people so they may hear the Word of God and get saved. Time is short, so be active in evangelism.
7. Look forward to the New Heaven and New Earth, which is the home of the Righteous. We are here in this world only temporarily. This here is a temporary home. Our real home, though, is the New Jerusalem. That's Heaven! Heaven will come down to earth one day so that God will dwell with redeemed Man. Such knowledge gives us believers great hope and something to look forward to.
8. Peter says we are to be found spotless and blameless and at peace with God. Again, live those holy and spotless lives, but strive to live at peace with one another. Christians are an ornery bunch, but we need to practice peace with one another now, for we'll be spending eternity with each other later.
9. We need to be on guard so that we may not be carried away by the error of lawless men. During the Last Days, one of the main signs that Jesus gave is that we would know His soon return is coming due to the proliferation of false prophets and false teachers. That's why Peter warns the Christian to be on our guard and be prepared for battling doctrinal error. To be able to do that, we need to know our Bible so that we can refute the false doctrines that are being taught.
10. The last nourishment Peter gives us is the directive to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Grow in the grace of God and become more Christlike.
That there is the ten "nourishments" Peter gives.
Doug Harris: Brilliant, brilliant info! Two points came out to me there. It's sort of like you almost were talking about both a looking back and looking forward. We are to look back to what God has said in His Word; never forgetting what He said, never forgetting what's written down, and never forgetting what's there. But, also, wherever we are, we're to be looking forward to what is yet to come. As Paul had said, this difficult time that I am going through now is nothing compared to what glory is to come. So, Peter is giving us two directions to pay attention to: looking back and looking forward. That's very important.
Nathan Jones: Amen! As difficult as the world is now for Christians to live in and growing worse every day with the massacres in Nigeria, the concentration camps for Christians in North Korea, and the loss of our freedoms in the Western world; it's going to get worse. Conditions are going to get worse because evil hates God. Evil hates the thought that we represent God and so wants to destroy our belief in Christ. But, Jesus says that even as bad as it is now and how tough our last days' time period is, it's nothing compared to the last of the last days, which is the coming Tribulation.
Doug Harris: Wonderful words! I hope all believers understand the need to be nourished by the Bible's words of faith and sound doctrine.
 In the third part of this interview on End Times Truth, we will discuss what worldly fables lead us away from the truth of Jesus Christ.

The Real Crisis

by Terry James
 Reblogged from www.raptureready.com 
Crises and potential crises surround us during every waking moment. Except for those who are oblivious to what is going on in this nation and world today, the cultural and societal pathway ahead disappears into the anxiety-laden darkness of the unknown. Rather than take on the entire world and its problems in this regard, I will, for our purposes in this commentary, stick to analyzing the fearful future of this nation I love.

Most in America--and sadly, in the church (born-again believers)--falls into that category of the oblivious. Therefore, the crises, from their perspective, don’t exist. All the forewarnings of coming disaster seem issued to ears that will never hear and presented to eyes that will never see. Yet, at the same time, the crises, themselves, do create undercurrents of worry. Even the otherwise diverted masses notice, at least for fleeting moments, when societal dangers disrupt their world of shopping and entertainment–for example, the murder of the children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Then, it is back to buying, selling, building, marrying, and giving in marriage, and the thousand and one other things that matter most to them.

Crises dominate the horizon politically, economically, and morally. As a matter of fact, they intertwine in such convolution as to now be inseparable so far as discerning where one aspect begins and the others end. There has developed, because of the incessant progression of assaults by evil actions, desensitization that affects the masses like a venomous bite by a deadly serpent.

The analogy is more than coincidental. It is a precise description of what has happened. The serpent of Genesis, chapter 3, has successfully injected much of America’s population with the same sort of morality-paralyzing toxin that separated man from God those many millennia ago. We have indeed reached the point of becoming a people like those at whom Isaiah the prophet pointed the finger of condemnation: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).

This crisis of moral decay was brought home to me as I listened to the minister who was selected by the 44th president to read a prayer during the Obama inauguration on January 21. He, we are supposed to presume, prayed to the God of Heaven for Him to bless the gay lifestyle in that prayer for inclusiveness and tolerance in America.

This is the same administration that has made homosexuality and those who fight for the right to openly display the debased, debauched activities of that community in a very public way as the equivalent of the black community crusading for those people’s civil rights. This is the same political entity that will pull all the levers of governmental power at their disposal to protect the young of wildlife, thus to impose as much control as possible over individuals and businesses, under the guise of environmental concerns. These will, at the same time, do everything within that power to facilitate the murder of babies in their mothers' wombs for the sake of placating a voter base that desires to expediently get rid of unwanted fruits of their pleasure-seeking indiscretions.

While America sleeps, liberties are eroded one at a time, and the powers that be viciously seek to marginalize all who would disagree with their seizing by “executive action” constitutional powers the founding fathers built into the nation’s safeguards through checks and balances. Even those who have until recently adamantly opposed such a power grab seem now to be shrugging shoulders and going along with the mainstream media mantra that it is just the new norm.

But the dumbing-down of the American public and apparently, too, many of those constitutionally elected to represent it, in convincing that the new norm is just the hope and change that is the natural progression of such an advanced, sophisticated culture –thus the moral implosion that continues to take its toll-- isn’t the real crisis.

The real crisis is wrapped up in the following: the Church in this crucial hour is asleep, and if there is no preacher, how shall they hear? (Romans 10:14).

The Lord of Heaven might have just about reached the limits of His patience with a nation peopled by a populace that has lived the most materially–and even spiritually blessed—existence in the history of mankind. Proof that we might be near the outer limits of God’s tolerance for national rebellion is the fact that there seems a collective mindset now developed like that forewarned by the apostle Paul.

Please consider with all gravity the Word of the living God. I believe it is the equivalent of Isaiah’s finger pointed at my beloved United States of America:

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1: 21-32)

A Few Simple Questions for Muslim Visitors « MidnightWatcher's Blogspot

A Few Simple Questions for Muslim Visitors « MidnightWatcher's Blogspot

Egypt, Syria are falling apart – an Israeli nightmare unfolds

Reblogged from DEBKAfile Special Report January 29, 2013, 5:54 PM (GMT+02:00)

Iron Dome anti-missile stationed in Haifa
Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel warned Tuesday, Jan. 29, that Syria is falling apart and no one knows what the next day may bring: “War may not break out tomorrow,” he said, “but we stand ready for any eventuality.”

If war is not expected tomorrow, why have Israel’s armed forces, including the air force, been on their highest level of preparedness since Friday, Jan. 25? The Syrian crisis may not technically fit the description of a state of war. However, the violent turbulence in that country may at any time spill over the border into hostilities in some shape or form.

The “no comment” stance on the Syrian civil war, long held by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak is untenable and pointless, especially after the latter cut short an overseas family trip to be flown home in a hurry Saturday.

No one believes the official explanation that the three Iron Dome anti-missile batteries stationed over the weekend in northern Israel - in the sight of many thousands of local dwellers - are there for a preplanned routine test - least of all after a senior Israeli officer told AFP that large Hizballah forces are parked at Bashar Assad’s chemical weapons stores poised ready to seize them.
If this happens, said the officer, “A decision to attack Syria or Lebanon will need to be implemented immediately.”

This is beginning to sound as though the politicians and the generals are not on speaking terms.
Gen. Eshel’s comment came hard upon the grave warning issued earlier Tuesday by Egypt's army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who is also the defense minister. “The political strife is pushing the state to the brink of collapse,” he said on the sixth day of turbulent protests across the country at the cost of more than 60 lives.

Gen. El-Sissi reacted to the chaos and lawlessness engulfing Egypt. The government headed by President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood is no longer a functioning administration. They have been reduced to the single task of fighting to hang onto power.

None of the forces of law and order - the army, internal security, police - are willing to clash head-on with the opposition protesters rampaging on the streets of the main cities including Cairo.  Some towns have descended into chaos and some outlying areas in this country of 90 million are no longer receiving regular food and water supplies.

The Egyptian defense minister’s warning may be taken two ways:
1.  As a last warning to the Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition on the streets that this is the eleventh hour and if they don’t step back from their confrontation, the military will be forced to seize power to save the country.
2.  Alternatively, that the army will not interfere and will stand aside for now, while warning that a civil war in Egypt would be more extensive and calamitous than the vicious conflict bringing Syria to ruin in the last two years.

As the two countries teeter on the brink of catastrophe, Gen. Eshel’s dry forecast of doom correctly noted that no one knows what tomorrow will bring.
However, Israel is coming face to face with its worst fear: being hemmed in by a blazing ring of hopeless conflicts just across its borders: Syria and Lebanon in the north; Egypt in the west and south; and Jordan under threat.

OSAS. No Repentance No Conversion?

Reblogged from gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher

Q.  I know how strongly you believe in OSAS.  But what about “believers” who have never been taught about the need for repentance?  Isn’t it true that no repentance is evidence of no conviction, which means no conversion?  These people may think they’re saved for ever, but are they?

A.  If you look up the meaning of the Greek word translated repent you’ll find the common understanding of repentance is not consistent with the Greek word from which it comes. The word is “metanoia” and literally means to change one’s mind about something.  It is not connected to changing behavior.
Every born again believer has changed his or her mind about several things pertaining to salvation;
1. that he or she is a sinner in need of a savior and is hopelessly lost without one (Romans 3:23),
2. that Jesus died for his or her sins and has agreed to be that savior (John 3:16),
3. that God will immediately and unconditionally grant salvation to everyone who asks in faith (Matt. 7:7-8).

These are things unbelievers don’t accept.  Therefore, according to a correct understanding of the word, every born again believer has repented.
This is the reason that repentance was more strongly emphasized among the Jews (Acts 2:38) than among the Gentiles (Romans 10:9).  Jews had been (incorrectly) taught that their salvation was solely dependent upon their obedience to the Law and needed to change their minds about their need for a savior.  Most Gentiles had not been taught anything about salvation and didn’t need to change their minds.
It is true that most believers will find their behavior changing after being saved.  But that’s a response to the Holy Spirit’s prompting and is evidence of their gratitude for the free gift they’ve received.  It’s the effect of their salvation, not a condition for receiving it.

Europe: The world’s new superpower | Full Comment | National Post

Europe: The world’s new superpower | Full Comment | National Post

Top brass litmus test: Will you fire on Americans?

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Story Behind The Redeemer

This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley
Reblogged from gracethrufaith.com 
As many of you already know, my newest book, The Redeemer, became available this week. Since it’s a little different from my previous efforts I want to give you some background on why I wrote it.

Why Did You Do That?

The current trend among ministries like ours is to tap into all the different social networking media in an effort to broaden their audiences. And while we’ve begun to do that as well, we’ve also been taking a look at what the world would be like if suddenly there were no internet ministries.

There are three reasons why I think it makes sense for someone in my position to consider this. First, of course, is the rapture of the Church. Without Christians around to maintain them, Christian websites would soon disappear too. And try as I might, I just can’t imagine asking one of my non-believing friends to take over in my absence if I should suddenly disappear, although that could certainly be the spark to ignite a conversation of a different sort. The problem is if the conversation resulted in the friend’s conversion I’d be right back in the same situation. I’d have to find someone who is not a believer now, but was guaranteed to become one right after the rapture. So far the Lord hasn’t revealed such a person to me.

The second reason is an EMP (electromagnetic pulse) attack. A nuclear warhead detonated in the atmosphere above the US would send an electromagnetic pulse hurtling to Earth at the speed of light. Depending on the height, the location, and the power of the explosion it could destroy all computers and other electronic devices in the US instantly. No more internet. No more electronics of any kind. Experts say this is where we are most vulnerable to terrorists because the capability already exists, it’s a relatively inexpensive weapon, and we have no defense against it.

The third reason is something that’s also in the works. The UN is persisting in their effort to gain control of and regulate the internet. One of their stated goals is to eliminate hate speech, but as we know in some people’s view hate speech includes Biblical Christianity. This is partly due to the fact that we’re opposed to homosexuality and abortion, and believe that non-believers will be condemned. If the UN gets the power it wants, Bible study websites like ours could soon be censored to the point of ineffectiveness.

For these reasons, I concluded that we should also pay attention to some of the more traditional means of mass communications, and that includes writing books. Books are more durable. Once they’re in circulation no one can push a button somewhere and erase them.  In short they’re better suited to times of political uncertainty.

What’s It All About?

So then the question became what to write about.  My experience answering Biblical questions over the past five years has taught me that a lot of Christians really don’t know very much about our faith. At some point in their lives they chose to become believers, but because there are so few opportunities for meaningful discipleship, they frequently just go on living as they had before. If someone asks them to explain their faith, they have a hard time doing so because what little knowledge they have is largely hearsay. And as for having a meaningful discussion with a curious non-believer, forget about it.

The majority of today’s believers are represented by the seed that fell among thorns in Matt. 13:7, which is part of the Kingdom Parables. Jesus described them as being unfruitful because they are too concerned about the things of this world (Matt. 13:22). According to recent surveys over 90% of people who call themselves Christians fall into this category. Now I’m not questioning their salvation. I’m talking about their fruitfulness. Salvation is not a fruit bearing event. It’s what we do after we’re saved that determines our fruitfulness.

An apple tree is born because the seed that was planted in the ground has germinated and produced a new life. It grows to maturity and begins to produce apples. Although the tree was alive from the moment it sprang forth from the soil it wasn’t considered to be fruitful until it produced more of its own kind. After all, apples aren’t just for eating. They’re also for producing more apple trees.

So it is with believers. We’re born again because the seed of the gospel was planted in our heart. But although we’re a new creation from the moment we believe we’re not considered to be fruitful until we produce more of our own kind. We’re not just for singing and praising God. We’re also for producing more Christians (Matt. 28:19-20)
From this I determined that three groups of people could benefit from knowing more about what Christians believe and why we believe it. In no particular order, they are curious unbelievers, new believers, and long time believers who want to become more fruitful.

After some prayer and reflection on this, I felt like the Lord had told me what to write about and who to write it to. I divided the message into eight parts, which became the book’s eight chapters. Eight is the number of new beginnings and it’s my prayer that many who read the book will be motivated to begin their life anew, whether by deciding to become a believer, or by having their faith strengthened through a deeper understanding of what the Lord has done for them.

Chapter 1. The Redeemer Is Promised

The book begins at the beginning, explaining how mankind became estranged from God and why we need a redeemer to bring us back to Him.

Chapter 2. The Redeemer Awaits

Chapter two is an overview of what God was doing between the time He promised to send a redeemer and the time of His actual arrival. Think of it as a very brief summary of the Old Testament as it concerns man’s redemption.

Chapter 3. The Redeemer Is Given

This is the Christmas story. To show that the Redeemer is the focus of the entire Bible I made liberal use of Old Testament prophecies that foretold of His coming.

Chapter 4. The Redeemer In Ministry

This chapter is devoted to a summary of things Jesus taught us about what He had come to do and why it was important for to us understand that He wasn’t starting a new religion. On the contrary, He was trying to re-establish a relationship.

Chapter 5. The Redeemer In Victory

This is the longest chapter in the book and gives a day-by-day description of His official presentation as the Redeemer, His final days of teaching, His crucifixion, and His resurrection, eight days that changed everything between God and man.

Chapter 6. The Redeemer In The Church

Following His ascension, the men He had trained and mentored began to build His Church. This chapter shows how the Church began, why and when the New Testament was written and what effect the Redeemer has had in the world. It ends with a prayer that allows those who began reading out of curiosity to become children of God.

Chapter 7. The Redeemer In Prophecy

Jesus didn’t die for us just so our sins could be forgiven. He died so whoever believes in Him can have eternal life. Chapter 7 explains why Christians have a right to believe there’s a future in store for us that exceeds our wildest expectations.

Chapter 8. The Redeemer Returns

We conclude with a summary of end times events that will take place after the rapture. It shows how God will fulfill the promise he made so long ago to reverse the devastating effects of sin and restore planet Earth to its origial condition.

In Summary

I wrote the book in simple straight forward language so even people who are not believers could see the importance of changing their lives and becoming born again. I included hundreds of Bible references within the text so new believers could use the book as a study guide to help them understand what our faith is all about. After a few hours of diligent study with nothing but this book in one hand and and a Bible in the other, a new believer can come away with a greater understanding of our faith than most seasoned veterans have. These references will also help long time believers search the Scriptures to prove whether what I’ve written is true in accordance with Acts 17:11, and rekindle the flame of faith they had at the beginning.

As I did with my last book, I’ve included an appendix with eight of our most popular studies on prophecy, eternal security, and faith.  These will facilitate continued growth and understanding.

All that said, I think The Redeemer will accomplish its stated goals in the life of anyone who reads it with a sincere desire to learn. I also think it will make an ideal gift for a person who has expressed interest in our faith, whether as a prelude to a personal discussion or to supplement one you’ve already begun.

Of course, you’d expect me to say something like that. After all, I wrote the book. The best way to see if I’m right is to get a copy and read it for yourself. Selah 01-26-13

Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast Address - Jonathan Kahn

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Innocents betrayed

Judging Miracles

Reblogged from gracethrufaith.com/ask-a-bible-teacher

Q. I’m watching pastors and people I have gone to church with in the past 4 years turn more and more to signs and wonders and human effort  but now I realize that they’ve been lead away from the Blood of the Lamb toward the “man as god” scenario. Please tell me what you think about all this.  How do I explain that I can’t participate with this because I strongly feel that the Holy Spirit is telling me to depart from them?

A. Many believers insist that miracles or other signs and wonders validate ministries so they don’t exerise any discernment.  In Mark 9:39 Jesus said, “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me.” To me that means that the miracle and the teaching will be consistent, so you can judge the miracle by the teaching that follows it.  If the teaching is not consistent with Biblical truth, then the miracles are counterfeit and you’re right not to participate.
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