Category: Discernment


Women Pastors

Women Pastors – Ron Graham – twotug@embarqmail.com
 
“But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 1 Timothy 2:12-14.These Bible verses have certainly seen their fair share of controversy over the years. Battles rage over just exactly what Paul meant here and was he just speaking culturally to those folks at that particular time in history? For the answer to that question the Apostle Paul takes us clear back to the book of Genesis.
 
Many people don’t really have a clue about the deception that took place in the Garden of Eden. “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Genesis 3:1. First of all we must ask the question “Why did the serpent (Satan) seek out the women to confront with his lies instead of Adam?” Satan brought his temptation against the woman because he perceived she was more vulnerable to attack. This is because she did not receive the command to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil directly from God, but through Adam. 
 
“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Genesis 2:15-17. God gave the clear command to Adam. Then, when God created Eve, Adam made God’s prohibition of that particular tree and fruit clear to her. But Eve probably didn’t really pay all that much attention to Adam when he passed on God’s command not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because when the serpent (Satan) questioned Eve as to whether or not God said they couldn’t eat of the fruit of that tree, she responded with “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” Genesis 3:2-3.
 
We must take notice of the fact that Eve’s knowledge seems to be lacking. She doesn’t name the tree of whose fruit she and Adam were to abstain from eating.
 
Actually, Eve’s first mistake was in carrying on a discussion with Satan. “The Lord rebuke you” should be our only words as we address Satan. As we can see, Eve’s apparent lack of knowledge makes her all the more vulnerable to deception. She then went from bad to worse as she misquoted the command God gave to Adam. Her words, “Ye shall not eat of it” and “lest ye die” are close enough, but she added to the command and put words in God’s mouth when she said, “neither shall ye touch it.” The major consequence we see that arises from putting words in God’s mouth is we begin to teach the doctrines of men as if they are the commandments of God. “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:9. It’s interesting just how many of mans idiosyncrasies have become doctrinal mandates in our Churches today.
 
Secondly, Eve was deceived but her husband was not deceived “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression” 1 Timothy 2:14. Satan perceived Eve to be the weaker link in the chain and so he approached her with his lies, sure enough she fell into transgression.
 
By taking us back to the beginning, Paul precludes any arguments that might arise concerning women teaching or usurping the authority of men as being a cultural issue of that society. Paul’s admonition was not a cultural issue then, nor is it now; it’s God speaking through Paul. 
 
God knew what would happen if women were allowed to teach men and to usurp authority over them. Sure enough, the majority of the cults today were begun by women who have manipulated the scriptures so that they could, without fear of condemnation, rise to positions of authority over men.
 
Over the past few decades women have become pastors of churches because of a lackadaisical attitude on the part of the Church, not to mention men’s ignorance of scriptures. So what do we see happening today? The completely erroneous rendering of the truth of the scriptures by those who wish to supplant God’s word. “But I suffer not a woman to teach:“ The word “suffer” used by Paul is from the Greek word “epitrepō” and it actually means “permit”. Paul says he does not permit a woman to teach or usurp authority over a man. Women are not free to usurp authority over men nor are they at liberty to become pastors of Churches.
 
I know that I’ll receive a massive amount of letters disputing Paul’s stance on women in a pastoral position. Many will attack me for even suggesting there’s a problem with women being in a position of authority over men. They’ll march out Debra, Esther, Lydia, and Priscilla. None of whom were priests or pastors of Christian Churches. And knowingly or not they will be attacking God.
 
“This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;” 1 Timothy 3:1-2. A bishop must be the husband of one wife. Bishop, Elder, Pastor is what the text refers to. The Greek word for husband is “anēr”, a masculine noun with the following description: of a male, of a husband, of a betrothed or future husband, any male. And the Greek word of wife is “gynē”, a feminine noun. A description of the word “gynē” is: a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow, a wife, a betrothed woman. There can be no doubt as to what Paul was saying: no to women pastors, no to women teaching men. The text is clear.
 
We are all called to proclaim the Gospel to all nations, men and women alike. This means we explain the Gospel of Christ to anyone who will listen. Jesus Himself told us to do this simple thing. Speaking the truth of the Gospel is witnessing and possibly sharing your testimony with others. This is a far cry from where we see women have advanced to in today’s Christian Churches. Senior pastors, presidents of Christian seminaries and universities usurping authority over men. 
 
“One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” 1 Timothy 3:4-5. So we can see plainly that Paul only wants men who are capable of rearing their children in the admonition of the Lord. Not once does Paul include women in the mix of Bishop/Elder/Pastor, or Deacons for that matter. There are probably many well meaning women in leadership roles in churches who only wish to serve God with all their heart. But God’s word is firm and to the point, no women pastor, elders, bishops, or deacons in My Church.
 
“Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things.” 1 Timothy 3:8-11. Women who bypass the clear exegetical rendering of scriptures to pursue and obtain the office of Pastor/Elder/Deacon are in full contradiction to God’s word, and so are the men who’ve allowed this error to escalate. 
 
Here’s a little side note: In this same verse “the husband of one wife” has also been quite controversial in regards to men who’ve been divorced being excluded from holding the position of pastor of a Church or even that of Elder or Deacon. Paul was keenly aware of the pervasiveness of the cultural acceptance of taking in marriage multiple wives. But Paul in no way excluded men who were biblically divorced from entering the ministry or holding the office of elder or deacon. After all it was Jesus Christ (God Almighty) Himself who said that in the case of adultery divorce was acceptable. Who was it acceptable to? To God. Jesus put no restrictions on a man who divorces his wife for infidelity on her part, especially by excluding him from the ministry of preaching, or holding the office of elder, deacon or even a Bible teacher. This exclusion by many denominations has left many capable men who were called by God Himself into the ministry out in the cold. God says go and preach my word, and the Church says no. Makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?
 
Interestingly too, if the whole counsel of Scripture is bypassed, should we not also exclude Paul (who wasn’t married) and Jesus Christ Himself from being leaders of the Church or teaching? Of course not, what we must do is work within the boundaries of scripture instead of the boundaries of men.
 
Certainly by now the majority of the readers should see that Paul is quite adamant about the exclusion of women in the preaching ministry. Remember this verse? “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.” 2 Timothy 3:16. In other words, these verses I’ve included in this commentary are not just written by Paul the Apostle, but they were God breathed. If Paul says he does not allow women to teach or usurp authority over men, then we can be assured those words came from the Creator of the Universe.
 
If you are in a Church where your pastor is a woman then you are fundamentally standing with her, thus you’re standing against God. Ignoring the scriptures placed above even after looking into the Greek only makes your case weaker. Corrupting and manipulating those same scriptures, twisting them to say what you want them to say, or interpreting them contrarily to the exegetical norm won’t cut any ice with God when you try to explain your disobedience to Him concerning His word.
 
Lastly, I feel I must address the idea of homosexual pastors. A homosexual bishop/pastor/elder/deacon cannot possibly fulfill the requirement set down by God Almighty in which a man must be the husband of one wife. God sets the parameters, not man. God created male and female for a reason. “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24. The word used here in the Hebrew for man is “’iysh” and means male, man, opposite of female. And the Hebrew word for wife is “’ishshah” and the description in the concordance is – woman, female, opposite of male. Absolutely no confusion here.
 
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it…” Genesis 1:27-28. Homosexuals cannot multiply, they cannot replenish the earth, and they are actually a deterrent to replenishing the earth. Thus they stand diametrically opposed to God Almighty.
 
Homosexuals are an abomination to God, an affront to His inerrant word, and He would never condone the ordination of a women pastor, let alone a lesbian, to pastor a church. How in the world does a lesbian fulfill the requirement of “the husband of one wife?” It’s impossible. Again, it’s a case of people thinking that the Bible is not to be taken literally. God knew what would happen to His Church if these abominations were allowed to spread, and He tells us of the apostasy in the last days. People, we are there. Now women pastors and even homosexuals are taking over many of the mainstream denominations all because they either misinterpret the scriptures or they dismiss the word of God as simply metaphors and allegories and mostly irrelevant to society today.
 
Do you really want to be taught the scriptures by someone who avoids those verses that are clearly contrary to their position? Does “be ye not deceived” come to mind? Where’s all this headed? God knows.
 
“Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8.
 
God bless you all,
 
Ron Graham
All scripture is from the KJV

Five for Five

Five for Five – By Jason Lovelace – www.raptureready.com              
 
Keys for Today:
 
“And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd’s bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling was in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine.”
 
– 1st Samuel 17.40
 
In the battle between David and Goliath, we see the weapons both men used. Goliath was arrayed in heavy armor (some experts think it may have all weighed around 250lbs.) with larger than normal weaponry for his stature. David, by contrast, was armed as a shepherd, with a staff, a rod, a sling, and a pouch for stones. We read in 1st Samuel 17 that David chose five stones out of the brook in order to fight Goliath. The question today, is, why did David choose five stones? How does this also connect with us in our daily lives today? How does David’s weapons – particularly the five stones – apply to our lives as believers in Jesus Christ? How can we overcome the giants that we face on a daily basis?
 
A Giant Problem
 
Goliath could very well have been the physically largest person ever to have walked the earth. The King James Version of the Bible states that Goliath was, in height, six cubits and a span. To understand what this means, a cubit in ancient times is equivalent to about 22 inches in today’s American measuring system (58 centimeters in the metric system. When we multiply this 22 inches (58cm) by 6-1/2, we get just under 12 feet tall (11.92ft; 3.78m). Taking into account that Goliath had been trained form his youth as a warrior, it is a safe bet to conclude that he may have weighed anywhere between 6OO and 9OOlbs (273 ~ 410kg). All this to say, Goliath was one huge man! We also see that his weapons and armor were also larger than normal. Arrayed in his “Sunday Best”, Goliath was a sight to behold: His Iron or bronze armor was polished, and shone in the sunlight like gold. His sword, strapped to his belt was gigantic and razor sharp. His spear was the size of a weaver’s beam, and its tip glinted off of the sunlight like a star. His shield – carried in front of him – was likely larger all-around than a man, and probably weighed as much. For forty days, according to the story in 1st Samuel 17, Goliath walked out of his camp, challenging and calling on the Army of Israel for a champion to come forth to fight in single combat. The conditions were serious enough. Victory for Goliath, and the Israelites were to be the servants and slaves of the Philistines; victory for Israel’s champion meant the Philistines would serve Israel, and as a n added bonus, King Saul had offered the victor his daughter’s hand in matrimony, and his family to be tax-free for life. Yet all the same, the Army of Israel produced no champion. In fact, according to Scripture, the Israelites were scared stiff, from King Saul, all the way down to the lowliest foot soldier.
 
A King the Size of a Mountain…But with the Heart of a Chicken
 
King Saul – though not quite as tall as the imposing Giant Goliath – was himself a large man, even by modern standards. 1st Samuel records King Saul’s stature and physical form:
 
 
“…Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.”
 
–1st Samuel 9.2
 
“and they ran and fetched him thence: and when he stood among the people, he was higher than any of the people from his shoulders and upward. And Samuel said to all the people, ‘See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people?’ And all the people shouted, and said, ‘God save the king.’”
 
– 1st Samuel 10.23 ~24
 
We can see from Scripture here that King Saul was the tallest in the kingdom, head and shoulders – literally – above the rest. It is estimated that Israelites of King Saul’s and David’s day were between 5’3” and 5’5” in height. Looking at Saul towering above everyone else, it is possible that Saul was at or around seven feet tall. In the beginning of his reign as king, Saul did very well, and was zealous for the Lord against the Ammonites and Philistines (ancestors of the Jordanians and some Palestinians respectively). However, in the last two-thirds of his time as king, Saul did very poorly, disobeying the Lord on two occasions. So bad was King Saul’s attitude that these tragic instances are recorded:
 
“But the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him.”
 
– 1st Samuel 16.14
 
“And Saul asked counsel of God, ‘Shall I go down after the Philistines? Wilt thou deliver them in to the hand of Israel?’ But he answered him not that day.”
 
– 1st Samuel 14.37
 
“And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord answered him not, neither by dreams, nor Urim. Nor by prophets. Then said Saul, ‘Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her’…Then said the woman, ‘Whom shall I bring up unto thee?’ and he said, ‘Bring me up Samuel…And Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?’ And Saul answered, ‘I am sore distressed…God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams…Then said Samuel, ‘Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy?’”
 
– 1st Samuel 28.6 ~7,11, 15, 16
 
You see? Even though Saul was king, and was a huge man in and of himself, he had become lily livered. Because God was not with him and the Spirit of the Lord had departed, he was timid and afraid. Following 1st Samuel 15 and Saul’s final disobedience, we see that Saul was plagued by fear at every turn. When Goliath stepped forth to challenge the army of Israel, it should have been her king, the huge, tall, and powerful Saul (1st Samuel 8.20). While Saul didn’t quite measure up to Goliath’s stature, with God, victory should have, could have, and would have been sure. Instead, because Saul was hiding in his tent, plagued by fear and distress, the entire army was also in fear of huge Goliath. As we have already learned, the real tragedy of Saul wasn’t that he started off so well, but that he disobeyed God, remained in an unrepentant state, and when Goliath came challenging, was found hiding out in fear and trembling, rendering the entire army useless, scared, weak, and unable to take up the challenge. The king may have been a giant in his own right, but he had the heart of a coward.
 
Enter David, Exit the Misconceptions
 
We see that David was left behind, once again, when the Army of Israel left for the front to go and face the Philistines. As his father had left him behind when Samuel the Prophet came looking for a king, so, too, this time was David left behind due to his youth. Since Jesse was regarded as an older man at this time, it is safe to say that his sons probably ranged in age from 25 or 26 to seventeen. His three eldest sons had followed the King into Battle, leaving David and his five next older brothers at home, as was the custom of the day to take men over the age of 20 and under the age of 60 to fight (see Numbers chapter 1). Instead, David was employed as a supplier from home, and was sent to the front with food and other victuals for his brothers, their captains, and the king. As we read 1st Samuel 17, we see that David heard Goliath’s challenge, and, being full of the Spirit of the Lord, volunteered to fight him. Though his eldest brother and King Saul tried to discourage him, in the end, King Saul relented and dressed him in his own armor and weaponry. Now, a close read of this story shows that David turned down the use of the King’s Armor. Why so? Many experts and theologians speculate that David didn’t use the armor because it was too big, the sword to unwieldy. David has been portrayed at this time of his life and in this battle as a very young man, maybe aged between eleven and fifteen. However, look again: the king gave him his own armor. Why would King Saul do such a thing if he knew it would be too large for David to use? Wouldn’t it be better for David to have tried on the armor of a smaller man, such as a shield bearer or cavalryman? Instead the King dressed him in his own armor, and this is what we must conclude:  David wasn’t a small, pasty, pre- or mid-teen boy, but instead a nearly grown man of possibly seventeen to nineteen years of age, with broad shoulders and a tall stature (possibly above six feet, and maybe even 6’4”: we see, later, King Saul’s son, Jonathan, giving David his own weapons and armor later [see 1st Kings 18]). David was no small boy himself. The reason he didn’t take and use King Saul’s weapons and Armor is as follows:
 
“And Saul armed David with his armour, and, and he put an helmet of brass upon his head; also he armed him with a coat of mail. And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, ‘I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them.’ And he put them off him.”
 
– 1st Samuel 17.38 ~39
 
You see? The reason David didn’t take Saul’s armor and weapons is simply because he wasn’t used to them, not because he was too small or too little to wear the armor of the king.
 
Why Five Stones?
 
David, instead of wearing the king’s armor, went with what he was familiar with, and that is the dress and weapons of a shepherd: A shepherd’s rod and staff, a sling, a pouch, and some stones. Now the question that we read in the introduction must be asked here again: Why did David pick up five stones out of the brook? There was only one giant: why the five stones? Why not just one? If Goliath was the champion that the Bible states that he was, having been a warrior from his youth, how likely is it that David would get the time or the chance to sling more than one stone? Why five stones, then, and not just one? We need to understand that David wasn’t facing Goliath as a scared little boy, or as a fearful young man. He may have had some nervousness, but by his words throughout this 17th Chapter of 1st Samuel, we can easily see that he had God with him, and because of that, he knew he was going to slay Goliath: one stone was more than enough, as we see later. Why then the other four? We need to understand that there are no accidents in the Bible: things are written there for a reason. In this case, too, David didn’t pick up five total stones merely for extra ammunition, or because he was afraid of missing Goliath (he was twelve feet tall and weighed several hundred pounds! Even without God with him, David would have been hard-pressed to miss). The simple reason for David choosing five stones is because Goliath had four younger brothers; David wanted the other four stones in case Goliath’s brothers showed up (please read 2nd Samuel 21.15~22 and 1st Chronicles 20.4~8). David merely wanted to be prepared for Goliath’s brethren, which is why he took five stones.
 
 
Bullies Always Need and Have Flunkies and Followers…
 
Anyone ever had a bully? Was there some guy or some girl that bullied you almost incessantly when you were at some point in school? How did this bully operate? Did s/he operate alone? In this writer’s case, there were three times that he had bullies: Elementary school and Junior High. In elementary school, there was a bully named Jonathan. Jonathan was large, came from a rather dysfunctional home, and used his fists. One day – out of the blue – Jonathan had a friend grab this writer by the arms from behind, hauled off, and punched him hard in the stomach. Jonathan remained a bully until 6th and 7th grades. Then another bully appeared: his name was Timmy, and he was actually smaller than this writer, but he was the worst of troublemakers. He also ran with friends, and one day an argument nearly ended up with blows being traded. It would have been a mismatch because Timmy had two others working with him. Then, in the 8th grade, this writer and his family moved across the state to another county and school. It was then that the worst trial of bullies happened for this writer. There were six girls that tormented him every day for two years, from the beginning of the 8th grade until the beginning of the 10th grade. These girls would often work together, but on occasion would work separately. Their boyfriends and other male friends would also often cause a lot of trouble for this writer. You see? In the same way, this is how giants work: they rarely come alone. Goliath not only had the entire army of the Philistines behind him, he also had four brothers. The devil also works this way. He never comes against a believer alone: there are always followers of him ready to do his bidding (whether knowingly or not), and they always come in groups. 
 
 
 
Five Stones for Five Giants and their Tactics
 
As David chose out five stones to fight Goliath and his brothers (who showed up much, much later), so today, we will look at five giants every believer faces, and the five stones with which to fight them. These “Giants and Stones” will come out of the Book of Nehemiah.
 
Giant Tactic Number One: Ridicule and Mocking – whenever someone comes to Christ or chooses to commit him/herself to the Lord, it never fails that the Devil always shows up, and the first weapon he employs is ridicule. Take a look at what happened to Nehemiah when he got the people of Israel to work rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem:
 
“But it came to pass, that when Sanballat hears that we builded the wall, he was wroth, and took great indignation, and mocked the Jews. And he spake before his brethren and the army of Samaria, and said, ‘What do these feeble Jews? Will they fortify themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they make an end in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish which are burned?’ Now Tobiah the Ammonite was by him, and he said, ‘Even that which they build, if a fox go up, he shall even break down their stone wall.”
 
– Nehemiah 4.1~3
 
The story of Nehemiah is one of great effort and more importantly the grace of and the reliance on the Lord. God gave Nehemiah and the returnees from the Babylonian Captivity a great charge: to rebuild the walls and fortifications of Jerusalem. Anytime we begin to do a work for the Lord and make a serious decision for him, the enemy will come and try to monkey up the works. Now, we need to understand something very key to this whole thing: when we determine in our hearts to make a decision in favor of Jesus Christ, it makes the Devil hoppin’ mad. He won’t admit it, but the fact of the matter is that whenever we choose Christ, the Devil will become unhinged. It’s the same with bullies everywhere: when a bully sees a potential threat – such as a potentially more popular person – that bully gets so ripped up on the inside. It happens the same with the devil. Here we see how Sanballat and Tobiah joined forces (see? Bullies always need more than one). David got it in a different form:
 
“And Eliab, his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, ‘Why camest thou down hither? And with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.’…And Saul said t o David, ‘Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth.’…And the Philistine said unto David, ‘Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?’ And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. And the Philistine said unto David, ‘Come to me, and I will give thy flesh to the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.’”
 
– 1st Samuel 17.28, 33, 43~44
 
Anyone here reading this have an older brother or sister? When you set out to do some task, did you get encouragement firm your brother or sister? Can you relate to Dav9id and his situation? Not only did he get trouble and ridicule form Goliath, he didn’t get any support from the King nor from his own brother! Friends, that’s how the Devil works! He will not only give it to you from his end, but he will also work it so that people who are supposed to be with you or on your side also launch in with the ridicule! And not only was the Giant angry with him, but so was his eldest brother. Friends, this is the simple truth: if we choose to go God’s way, we will get the ridicule from just about every imaginable direction, even from those who love us the most.
 
Stone Number One: Prayer for Your Ridiculers – Jesus Christ states it best:
 
“But I say unto you, ‘Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven…”
 
– Matthew 5.44~45
 
Nehemiah followed this prescription to the letter:
 
“Hear, O our God; for we are despised: and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity: And cover not their iniquity, and let not their sin be blotted out from before thee: for they have provoked thee to anger before the builders.”
 
– Nehemiah 4.4~5
 
When we face ridicule in what we are called to do by God – whether it be to salvation, to sanctification, or to fulfill His Call up on our lives – the ridicule will come, and when it does, we need to get close to God, pray, and give the trouble to him, praying for our enemies and those who are persecuting us. If we do so, those ridiculers will not only walk away, but they will, in turn, possibly become friends later.
 
Giant Tactic Number Two: Threats – Eventually, the ridicule will turn into something a bit more sinister – threatening. Take a look at Nehemiah 4 again:
 
“But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdothites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth, And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it.”
 
– Nehemiah 4.7~8
 
David had the same experience:
 
“…the Philistine arose, and came nigh to meet David…”
 
– 1st Samuel 17.48
 
We all know how a bully works, right? When s/he sees one of us, the laughter, the ridicule, and the mocking start. Inwardly they are as angry as a stirred up nest of hornets, but outwardly, they are ridiculing. When we ignore them, it makes the bully and his pals especially angry, and then here come the threats. “You better pay attention, or I’ll pound you!” “I said, ‘Give me your milk money or else!” We remember those – or threats similar to them – from elementary and junior high, right? In the same way, the Devil threatens us, too. “If you get saved, you’re friends will leave you high and dry!” “If you let the Holy Ghost have control, you’ll be in big trouble!” “If you answer God’s Call, you’ll get a job you hate and a life of dull boredom!” He oftentimes will threaten our families with sickness, injury, or death, or even threaten us our person similarly. 
 
 
 
Stone Number Two: We Are Not Alone, and Be Prepared to Fight – One thing that bullies do not like is someone who will buck up and stand their ground. It makes them so angry to see us walk along and ignore their ridicule, so it turns them to do something else. So it is with the Devil:
 
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
 
– James 4.7
 
If we are submitted to God, when we resist the Devil, he will flee from us. He won’t stay away for good, but he will leave us for a time (see Matthew 4.1~11; Luke 4.1~13). So it is when we are faced with threats from the enemy. If we will resist, remembering that god is with us, then generally those threats will disappear. Sometimes, the threats turn into action by the enemy, and for those times we need to be prepared, but generally, the saying is true, “his bark is worse than his bite”. This is how Nehemiah responded to the threats he faced:
 
“Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them.”
 
– Nehemiah 4.9
 
This is exactly what we need to do: give the problem to God, realizing that he is with us, and set a prepared watch.
 
Giant Tactic Number Three: Infiltration – This is by far the most devious, and most successful, tactic that the enemy has to use in his repertoire. If the ridicule doesn’t stop us (and form any it does), and the threats don’t cower us (and sometimes it does), then the enemy will ultimately turn to infiltration. Wars in the past have been won on the back of infiltration as a means of destroying the enemy from within. When the Allied Forces invaded France in 1944, already the French Underground had been at work in preparation for the day when liberation would come form the Allies. This is a very successful trick the Devil uses. Here is what Nehemiah’s situation was:
 
“And Judah said, ‘The strength of the bearers of the burdens is decayed, and there is much rubbish: so that we are not able to build the wall.’ And our adversaries said, ‘They shall not know, neither see, till we come in the midst among them, and slay them, and cause the work to cease.’ And it came to pass, that when the Jews which dwelt beside them came, they said unto us ten times ‘From all places whence ye shall return unto us they will be upon you.’”
 
– Nehemiah 4.10~12
 
What we see here is that due to the fatigue and exhaustion of the people and the greatness of the work, the vigilance was less than what it needed to be. As a result, the enemies of the Jews were in ripe position to infiltrate and destroy the work God had put forth for Nehemiah to do. Such is the case with us when we are tired, exhausted, and worn out from doing the bidding that God calls us to perform. Face it, folks, we are all people: flesh and blood with limited strength and abilities. Just as doing heavy manual labor – such as rebuilding a broken down city will – or physical exercise is exhausting and long, so too is our life and living for Jesus Christ. There will be times when the fatigue is too much, the exhaustion is too overpowering, and the wear and tear unbearable. It is in times such as these that we need to be extra careful, because the enemy is waiting, like a ninja, to do us in. The danger from a ninja isn’t his weapons or expertise with the sword, but his ability to disrupt, assassinate, and destroy key points in his enemies’ territory. So, too, the devil waits an opening, and all he needs is a small, small crack and he’s in, causing confusion, making us angry, and encouraging us to lash out or just give up altogether.
 
Stone Number Three: Lean On Each Other and On God – Folks, this is the simplest way to defeat infiltration. You see? The ninja is best when he can isolate his enemy, entrap him, and cut him off from help. In nature, we see this with wolves. A wolf is an expert killing machine and hunter. When a wolf sees his prey, he will do everything he can to cut it off from the main body. Then the wolf’s fellow pack members move in for the kill. When a wolf’s prey sticks close to its herd or group, safety is assured. It’s the same with us. Most Christians fail because of something very, very simple: they stop going to church. Did you know this? You see? Churches fail when they are split up. Christians fail when they stop going to Church. This is why going to church as often as possible and fellowshipping with other believers is so key: we strengthen each other, and there’s strength in numbers. The Bible is rife with examples:
 
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they can have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him: and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
 
– Ecclesiastes 4.9~12
 
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”
 
– Galatians 6.2
 
“Confess your faults one to another, ands pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”
 
– James 5.16
 
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
 
– Matthew 18.20
 
“The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all.”
 
– Proverbs 22.2
 
“Can two walk together except they be agreed?”
 
– Amos 3.3
 
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together…”
 
– 2nd Thessalonians 2.1
 
“I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord.’”
 
– Psalm 122.1
 
“‘Let us go speedily to pray before the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts: I will go also.’”
 
– Zechariah 8.21
 
These verses above, and many more like them in the Bible, make it clear that we need to depend on each other as believers and follows of Jesus Christ. Alone, we are easy prey for our enemy, the Devil. Nehemiah, again in Chapter four, places great emphasis on the need for each other:
 
“Therefore set I in the lower places behind the wall, and on the higher places, I even set the people after their families with their swords, their spears, and their bows. And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the LORD, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses. And it came to pass, when our enemies heard that it was known unto us, and God had brought their counsel to nought, that we returned all of us to the wall, every one unto his work. And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. They which builded on the wall, and they that bare burdens, with those that laded, every one with one of his hands wrought in the work, and with the other hand held a weapon. For the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, and so builded. And he that sounded the trumpet was by me. And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another.   In what place therefore ye hear the sound of the trumpet, resort ye thither unto us: our God shall fight for us. So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared. Likewise at the same time said I unto the people, Let every one with his servant lodge within Jerusalem, that in the night they may be a guard to us, and labour on the day. So neither I, nor my brethren, nor my servants, nor the men of the guard which followed me, none of us put off our clothes, saving that every one put them off for washing.”
 
– Nehemiah 4.13~23
 
In the verses above, Nehemiah puts great effort in getting the people of Jerusalem to rely on one another, and listen for the call of danger or trouble. So should we in this day and age, for without others there to help us, we will surely fall.
 
Giant Tactic Number Four: Compromise – When the enemy sees that his tricks aren’t working, that the ridicule, threats, and infiltration have all failed, he will try another way, and another one that is highly effective: Compromise. We see what happened with Nehemiah when his enemies wanted him to compromise:
 
“Now it came to pass when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief.”
 
– Nehemiah 6.1~2
 
Here, Sanballat wanted Nehemiah to come and meet with him and his cronies in order to get Nehemiah to compromise. Remember that when the enemy fails in his attempts to intimidate you away from following the Lord, he will try to get you to compromise, and this is probably the most effective tool the Devil has. So many churches today have lost their effectiveness simply because they gave in here and there, and it wasn’t in the big areas, but in the little places and little ways. Some of the congregation don’t believe this about the Bible, so what do we do? Instead of convincing them of the truth, the church decides to cut out the controversial part. Soon other parts are cut out, ignored, or overlooked. The result is that the church is no longer really the church, and what do we have? No lifestyles, no lives changed, abortion, homosexuality, theft, and single parenthood rising like skyrockets in the church. Compromise is the most effective weapon of the devil in the church at large, and it’s also a dangerous tool for individual Christians as well.
 
Stone Number Four:   Keep Working – Perhaps the best thing we can do to avoid the trouble of compromise is to ignore the calls to meet with the enemy, and continue on with the work at hand, This is exactly what Nehemiah did:
 
 
 
“And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?”
 
– Nehemiah 4.3
 
When faced with compromise, we need to keep right on doing what we are called to do, and not give in. New Christian, just keep on growing in the grace that God has given you with Bible study, prayer, and church attendance. Newly called into ministry in one form or another, just keep on preparing, planning, and staying close to the Lord, and he will guide you. Newly sanctified and filled with the Spirit, let the Holy Ghost guide you and lead you on into Christian life. Don’t stop for a moment when the tempter comes and desires a compromise with you, because, friend, there is no compromise with the enemy!
 
Giant Tactic Number Five: Persistence, Persistence, and More Persistence – The enemy will never quit. This is a fact of life and living for Christ. So long as we draw breath and live in this flesh, the enemy will continue to attack and attack and attack some more. This tactic is played out by Nehemiah’s own hand:
 
“Yet they sent unto me four times after this sort; and I answered them after the same manner. Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; Wherein was written, ‘It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words.   And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, “There is a king in Judah”: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.’ Then I sent unto them, saying, ‘There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart.’ For they all made us afraid, saying, ‘Their hands shall be weakened form the work, that it not be done.’ Now, therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.”
 
– Nehemiah 6.4~9
 
So long as the devil is free to do his deeds, so long as man continues to be rebellious and unrepentant in this world, so we will always have trouble.
 
 
 
Stone Number Five: Persistence, Persistence, and More Persistence…in the Lord! Just as the devil never quits, so we need to keep at it, and keep our eyes on Jesus! Whatever it is that we are about doing, whether it be preparation for fulfilling the call of God in some sort of ministry, learning what it means to be a Christian, or learning to live indwelt by the Holy Ghost, we need to stay strong and keep on doing what we’ve been called to do. If we will stay the course with Christ, trusting in him for our life and growth, then no matter how persistent the devil will be, the Lord will be infinitely more present and he will help us be more persistent in our walk with him.
 
The Bottom Line – Use Your Tools!
 
Friends, when David went out to fight Goliath, he didn’t use the King’s armor because he wasn’t used to Saul’s kind of weaponry or protection. David was a shepherd and used a set of shepherd’s tools (not to mention experience) to go out and meet Goliath in the Spirit and strength of the Lord. Nehemiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem didn’t use special weapons or new ideas to fight the enemies in Samaria, Syria, and Ammon: they used the tools and weapons they knew and trusted in God. We need to do the same thing. When in doubt and under assail from the Devil, turn to the Lord and pray. When needing comfort and peace, look up a passage in the Bible. When facing trouble and difficulties, talk to your brethren at church, and make an appointment to see the Pastor. As David defeated Goliath (and later his four younger brothers) and as Nehemiah and the people of Jerusalem completed the construction of the City Wall, so, too, we can live a victorious Christian life if we will but trust in the Lord, and use the tools and weapons he has given us.
 
Conclusion – what Giants Are You Facing?
 
What Giants are you coming up against? What difficulties do you have? How is the enemy stacking his forces against you? Do things look overwhelming? Does the enemy fill the countryside while your resources look like two little flocks of baby lambs (see 1st Kings 20.27)? Then fear not…and in fact, rejoice, for victory is at hand! If you will keep your trust in God, your faith in Jesus Christ, and your reliance on and in the Holy Ghost, you need never fear the enemy and his tricks, even if you suffer as horribly as Job.   What giants are staring you down? Are you trying to face them alone? Friend, if you go out and try to take out giants in your own strength, defeat will surely be the result. But if you will keep your trust and faith in Jesus Christ, you can never lose.
 
Invitation
 
Have you taken on a giant, only to lose? Have you lived in a way that is against the will of the Lord? Have you sinned? Friend, sin is the surest way to face defeat and death both in this life and in eternity to come. You can be victorious, but only if you ask Jesus Christ into your life.   If you walk away form Christ, then sin is crouching at your door, and disaster is waiting (Genesis 4.7). Christ is waiting at your door to save you, and to release you from the snare of sin (Revelation 3.20; John 8.32, 34, 36).
 
Prayer 
 
Heavenly Father, we praise you and thank you for this day. We love you Lord. Father, in this hour, there are those who are facing giants of unimaginable size, strength, and power. They are facing enemies who seek their destruction. They are looking at hopelessness and powerlessness in the face of their difficulties. We pray, O Lord, that you would remind them that though they think that they have no strength, you are waiting to pour out blessings and help and that you are never more than a cry away. Help us to remember, O Father, the tricks of the enemy, how he works, and what his ways are, and help us, dear Jesus, to stand and resist him in thy power and thy strength, and use the tools and weapons you have given us. We bless thee and thank thee, Father, and we pray all these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our Risen Lord, Amen.
 
Verse to Remember
 
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
 
– Ephesians 6.13

According to the Scriptures

According to the Scriptures – Dave Hunt – www.bereancall.org
 
The Bible makes uncompromisingly clear to all mankind its claim to be the infallible, inerrant Word of the only true and living God. It denounces all other gods and scriptures as false, as well as the religions they represent. Of Jesus, God’s Word declares, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (Jn 3:36). Peter told Jewish religious leaders (and was beaten, imprisoned, and killed for testifying to Christ’s resurrection): "There is none other name…given among men whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
 
Such unequivocal statements cannot be misunderstood. Jews would not have been persecuted and killed had they presented Yahweh as just one more god to be added to the Roman Pantheon. Christians were considered an even greater threat because in obedience to Christ they preached the gospel everywhere and thereby "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6). Even they would not have been persecuted and killed had they presented Jesus Christ as merely one of many possible saviors. It was their firm proclamation of Christ’s claim, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (Jn 14:6), that threatened Caesar and aroused such vicious hatred. Today, however, to avoid the objectionable exclusivity of their faith, "Christians" often compromise and many ecumenically deny the biblical gospel.
 
Christianity is a biblical faith, and the Bible is not an "ecumenical" book. It makes no compromise with any of the world’s religions. Those who support ecumenism to any extent, no matter how loudly they defend their orthodoxy, are not Bible-believing Christians. At worst they are deliberate frauds; at best they are confused into simultaneously professing two contradictory beliefs (syncretism). Which do they really believe? Speaking out of both sides of their mouths is a popular ploy today of both political and "Christian" leaders.
 
Anyone is free to invent any new religion-but not free to call it Christianity. That faith is founded upon facts: Scripture, history, and prophecy, all of which are a matter of clear record and none of which can be changed. These facts cannot honestly be denied.
 
What must we say of "Christian" leaders and even entire denominations that do not follow Christ and His Word? We have exposed many by name and have documented in these pages their inexcusable hypocrisy and deceit, which must be summarily rejected. Away with all duplicity!
 
Whoever insists that Islam is a "religion of peace" and that Allah is the God of the Bible is either deceived or lying. Islam has its founding prophet, Muhammad, who began his career with numerous murders, attacked peaceful villages and caravans, and beheaded hundreds who surrendered in exchange for his sworn promise of peace and safety. Islam has its scriptures (the Qur’an and Hadith) and 1,350 years of the bloodiest and most violent history of any religion ever known, including the merciless slaughter of millions (more millions in the take-over of India than Hitler killed in all of Eastern and Western Europe).
 
We fully document the truth about Islam in Judgment Day , which every Berean ought to donate to his or her local public library. One can only say that all those (from Bush and Rice on down) who turn a blind eye to the indisputable truth about Islam and call this violent religion "peaceful" are engaged in a cover-up.
 
It is indisputable that today’s Islamic terrorism may not honestly be blamed upon "extremists." This is true Islam as it always has been from the beginning! Terrorists are sincere Muslims following both the teaching and example of Muhammad, the obedient example set by his loyal followers, and Islam’s scriptures, which command the take-over of the entire world and death to all who will not convert. True, not every Muslim is a terrorist, but nearly every terrorist is a Muslim!
 
The scriptures and history of any religion are a matter of permanent public record that cannot be disputed, much less reinvented. Both those who attempt to do so (whether with Christianity or Islam) and those who accept and pass on their lies are guilty of the same deceit.
 
While terrorists are genuine Muslims who follow Muhammad and the Qur’an, the Crusaders were not biblical Christians. They followed Rome, not Christ and His Word. The popes had their own agenda of world conquest by force. Crusaders waved the Cross but denied Christ by killing His brethren, the Jews, wherever they went. Attempting "in the name of Christ" to retake the "Holy Land" from the atrocity-committing Islamic invaders violated Christ’s declaration to Pilate, "My kingdom is not of this world [or else] would my servants fight" (Jn 18:36).
 
Yes, Israel was commanded to wipe out the Canaanites, a particular people in a very small part of the world with clearly defined borders-to execute God’s judgment upon their unspeakable wickedness and perversion. Israel was not told to "convert" them or anyone else with the sword nor to take over the world by violence-as both the Qur’an and Muhammad (claiming an edict from Allah) declared from the beginning to be Islam’s mission. This fundamental teaching of Islam cannot be changed without renouncing Islam.
 
Equally important to understand is the fact that the Bible, in contrast to the so-called scriptures of every religion, gives the proof of its claims. I don’t say "every other religion" because biblical Christianity is not a religion; it is a relationship as children to a loving Father, which every true Christian has with God through Jesus Christ.
 
The God who inspired the Bible through His prophets and is presented therein does not demand "blind" faith, as Richard Dawkins and other atheists blasphemously assert. He offers proof and is willing to reason with skeptics and unbelievers, if they will honestly do so: "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD…" (Isa 1:18). Faith in God and in His Word is the only reasonable response to the questions with which the universe confronts us and to the answers God provides in Scripture. Peter reminds us that true followers of Christ do not threaten unbelievers but are "ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh…a reason of the hope…" we have in Christ (1 Pt 3:15).
We have proved these facts so often in this newsletter that I will not repeat the proof now. The major proof, of course, that God offers of His own existence and that the Bible is His Word is prophecy. It foretells events centuries and even thousands of years in advance. Biblical prophecy is always fulfilled right on time in every detail.
 
Prophecy is absolutely unique to the Bible, being found in no other religious scriptures (though some contain false prophecies). Israel’s prophets offered hundreds of prophecies concerning the promised Messiah so that He could be identified beyond question when He came as a humble, virgin-born child. After the resurrection, the apostles preached the gospel to everyone and everywhere, as Christ had commanded them. The two primary pieces of evidence were: 1) their own personal sworn testimony as eyewitnesses of what Christ taught and did (including His crucifixion and resurrection), though it cost them their lives as martyrs for refusing to ecumenically deny the truth they knew; and 2) the many prophecies in Scripture given centuries in advance, which were fulfilled to the letter in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.
 
There was no excuse for all of Israel not to have been anticipating and not to have welcomed Jesus of Nazareth as the promised Messiah. How could they have closed their eyes to the fact that this healer of thousands, who did so many miracles witnessed by multitudes (even raising the dead), who was the talk of all Judea and Galilee, had arrived at the very time their prophets had foretold the Messiah’s coming? The precise day (Dan 9:25; Neh 2:1-9) that He would present Himself to Israel, riding on "the colt…of an ass" (Zec 9:9), was the date Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (now celebrated as "Palm Sunday"), was hailed by mobs lining the road down from the Mount of Olives (Mat 21:2-11), then, four days later, was crucified-a shocking twist but exactly as foretold (Ps 22:14-18; Zec 12:10). Then the resurrection!
 
Unquestionably His body was gone, the tomb empty, in spite of the platoon of Roman soldiers guarding it. Frank Morison, (who, as a skeptic, examined the evidence, determined to disprove the resurrection), presented a fascinating story in his book Who Moved the Stone? He showed beyond doubt that the only possible explanation was the resurrection, exactly as the disciples testified, though it cost them their lives to do so.
 
America is no less guilty than Israel for her rejection of Christ. We have even more proof today than the Jews had then. A false Christianity’s perversion and rejection of the gospel has stricken America with a blinding madness. Nowhere is that more clearly seen than in the attempt of "Christians" to embrace Islam as a partner religion. How could any sane person sincerely insist that Islam’s Allah, who hates Israel, is the biblical God who 12 times calls himself "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob…this is my memorial throughout all generations" (Ex 3:15,16), and who 203 times is called "the God of Israel"?
 
Church leaders persist in attempting to embrace Islam as a peaceful partner with Christianity. Yet the Qur’an contains more than a hundred exhortations to convert the world by violence. Sixteen times it declares that Allah is not a father and has no son, denies that Christ is God, declares that He did not die for our sins but someone died in His place, denies the resurrection, and declares that belief in the Trinity sends one to hell! All of this (and there is much more of the same genre) makes Allah the God of the Bible and Islam the friend of Christianity?!
 
At a student panel of "Pluralism at Harvard" (moderated by William A. Graham, Dean of the Divinity School), Diana Eck, Professor of Comparative Religion and Indian Studies and director of the Pluralism Project, who speaks approvingly of Islam, reminded the audience:
 
By the mid-1990s there were governors…and mayors who were recognizing Ramadan….[In] 1996…President and Mrs. Clinton invited members of the Muslim community to the White House to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan….In subsequent years we are seeing an increasing presence of this religious phenomenon in the American religious landscape…the observance of Iftar in the Pentagon….Madeline Albright hosted an Iftar at the State Department for the first time in 1998….A week ago, we had President Bush holding an Iftar dinner at the White House [his seventh!]….[On] the White House home page there’s a whole list of Ramadan events….
 
Persisting in the lie that Islam is peace is like the United States responding to Nikita Krushchev’s "We will bury you," with "We know you’ll do it peacefully."
 
Muslims continue to kill thousands of Christians in Algeria, Indonesia, Nigeria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, etc., and to burn down Christian churches wherever they can. More than 3,000 churches have been destroyed in the last three years in Indonesia, 2 million killed in Southern Sudan for refusing to convert, plus thousands elsewhere. Muslims further demonstrate the true meaning of "Islam is peace" by continuing to slaughter one another in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.
 
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the "World Without Zionism" conference, October 26, 2005, that "Israel must be wiped off the map." He has repeated this threat of "Islamic peace" elsewhere. All of the high profile Islamic political and religious leaders of "peaceful Islam" have for at least 70 years boasted that they will soon achieve their long-standing ambition to annihilate Israel. Arafat declared, "Peace for us is the destruction of Israel"-and he was given the Nobel Peace Prize! Those holding this wicked passion seem unaware that three times the God of the Bible calls Israel "the apple of his eye" (Deut 32:10; Lam 2:18; Zec 2:8) and declares that He will protect her.
 
Millions of evangelical Christians were tortured and murdered by the Roman Catholic Church throughout history, yet many forgave their tormentors with their dying breath. Their modern successors, however, stricken with the ecumenical truth-denying insanity we’ve been describing, insist that Roman Catholicism is the same as evangelical Christianity, though it preaches a gospel of salvation through rituals, works, prayers to the dead, suffering in purgatory to pay for one’s sins, and submission to the pope
 
The few verses that we have quoted above make it clear that God does not "dialogue" with man, as though He might be willing to take some suggestions and modify the gospel to suit His deluded and wicked creatures. Christ agonized in the Garden because He was going to be "made…sin for us… [i.e., treated as though He were sin itself] that we might be made the righteousness of God in him" (2 Cor 5:21). The full penalty for sin had to be paid, and Christ would pay it for all mankind. All God’s wrath against sin was going to be poured out upon Him as He took our place.
 
Jesus pleaded with His Father not to make Him suffer this agony if sinners could be rescued any other way: "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me…" (Mat 26:39). No other way was possible. The full penalty had to be paid, and He was the only one who could pay it. So Christ, in love for His Father and for us, submitted to His Father’s will. In fact, Christ’s suffering the infinite agonies of an eternity in the Lake of Fire for our sins had already been foretold by the prophets. This was the gospel [good news] that Paul preached: "how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (1 Cor 15:1-4).
 
The New Testament explains, "That he, by the grace of God should taste death for every man" (Heb 2:9). That death would have had to include the experience of the "lake of fire [which is] the second death" (Rv 20:14) for all mankind for eternity.
 
May we stand firm in our love for all, robbing no one of heaven by compromising the biblical gospel, which alone is "the power of God unto salvation" (Rom 1:16).
 

DAMNABLE HERESIES INVADING THE CHURCH

DAMNABLE HERESIES INVADING THE CHURCH  [Excerpts]

By Marsha West

A large number of Christians are unaware that literally truckloads of counterfeit Christians have gained access to pulpits, wormed their way into Church leadership, Christian organizations and are deeply entrenched in the so-called Christian entertainment industry. Call them what you will–false teachers/prophets, liberals/progressives, cultists, misinformed, misled, even looney tunes–the one thing they all have in common is that they have strayed from the truth.

Unbiblical teaching has been going on since the early church took root. Peter cautioned that "there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction" (2 Peter 2:1).
Today there is a damnable heresy in the Church that many Christians haven’t yet heard of: The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) a.k.a. Dominionism/ Kingdom Now/Replacement Theology. Those who disagree with their false gospel must be removed through intense "spiritual warfare" and by raising up a "new breed "of Christian they call an "Army of God."

The NAR is not new at all. Only the name has been changed-many times-to fool people into thinking there is a "New Wave" or a "Paradigm Shift" taking place in Christendom. Over the years they have dubbed themselves Joel’s Army, Latter Rain, Manifest Sons of God, and the list goes on. They’re ushering in "a reformation greater in scale than the reformation of the 1500’s."

The concept of spiritual warfare comes from the Bible. It warns of invisible beings who want to harm us and advises us to put on armor (spiritual armor) in order to ward off their vicious attacks. Problem is, the way in which NAR practices spiritual warfare is both unorthodox and extra-biblical. First of all, they teach three levels of spiritual warfare:

"Ground-level" involves casting demons out of individuals; "occult-level warfare" involves more organized "powers of darkness" [They target here New Age thought, Tibetan Buddhism, Freemasonry, etc.]; and "strategic-level warfare" directly "confronts ‘territorial spirits’ assigned by Satan to coordinate activities over a geographical area."
In addition, they carry out other extra-biblical practices such as "binding Satan," "rebuking demonic spirits," "tearing down strongholds," and "taking control of cities and situations."

Why go to all the trouble of demolishing demonic strongholds, even if such things do exist, when the Bible teaches that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is sufficient for demolishing strongholds! (2 Cor 10:3-5).

http://www.newswithviews.com/West/marsha197.htm

Saints Often Walk Alone

Saints Often Walk Alone
Excerpts from Man, the Dwelling Place of God by A. W. Tozer
 
In the morning of the world (or should we say, in that strange darkness that came soon after the dawn of man’s creation) that pious soul, Enoch, walked with God and was not, for God took him; and while it is not stated in so many words, a fair inference is that Enoch walked a path quite apart from his contemporaries.

Another lonely man was Noah who, of all the antediluvians, found grace in the sight of God; and every shred of evidence points to the aloneness of his life even while surrounded by his people.

Again, Abraham had Sarah and Lot, as well as many servants and herdsmen, but who can read his story and the apostolic comment upon it without sensing instantly that he was a man "whose soul was alike a star and dwelt apart"? As far as we know not one word did God ever speak to him in the company of men. Face down he communed with his God, and the innate dignity of the man forbade that he assume this posture in the presence of others. How sweet and solemn was the scene that night of the sacrifice when he saw the lamps of fire moving between the pieces of offering. There alone, with a horror of great darkness upon him, he heard the voice of God and knew that he was a man marked for divine favor.

Moses also was a man apart. While yet attached to the court of Pharaoh he took long walks alone, and during one of these walks while far removed from the crowds he saw an Egyptian and a Hebrew fighting and came to the rescue of his countryman. After the resultant break with Egypt he dwelt in almost complete seclusion in the desert. There, while he watched his sheep alone, the wonder of the burning bush appeared to him, and later on the peak of Sinai he crouched alone to gaze in fascinated awe at the Presence, partly hidden, partly disclosed, within the cloud and fire.

The prophets of pre-Christian times differed widely from each other, but one mark they bore in common was their enforced loneliness. They loved their people and gloried in the religion of the fathers, but their loyalty to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and their zeal for the welfare of the nation of Israel drove them away from the crowd and into long periods of heaviness. "I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children," cried one and unwittingly spoke for all the rest….

There are some things too sacred for any eye but God’s to look upon. The curiosity, the clamor, the well-meant but blundering effort to help can only hinder the waiting soul and make unlikely if not impossible the communication of the secret message of God to the
worshiping heart.

Sometimes we react by a kind of religious reflex and repeat dutifully the proper words and phrases even though they fail to express our real feelings and lack the authenticity of personal experience. Right now is such a time. A certain conventional loyalty may lead some who hear this unfamiliar truth expressed for the first time to say brightly, "Oh, I am never lonely. Christ said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you,’ and, ‘Lo, I am with you alway.’ How can I be lonely when Jesus is with me?"

Now I do not want to reflect on the sincerity of any Christian soul, but this stock testimony is too neat to be real. It is obviously what the speaker thinks should be true rather than what he has proved to be true by the test of experience. This cheerful denial of loneliness proves only that the speaker has never walked with God without the support and encouragement afforded him by society. The sense of companionship which he mistakenly attributes to the presence of Christ may, and probably does, arise from the presence of friendly people. Always remember: you cannot carry a cross in company. Though a man were surrounded by a vast crowd, his cross is his alone and his carrying of it marks him as a man apart. Society has turned against him; otherwise he would have no cross. No one is a friend to the man with a cross. "They all forsook him, and fled."

The pain of loneliness arises from the constitution of our nature. God made us for each other. The desire for human companionship is completely natural and right. The loneliness of the Christian results from his walk with God in an ungodly world, a walk that must often take him away from the fellowship of good Christians as well as from that of the unregenerate world. His God-given instincts cry out for companionship with others of his kind, others who can understand his longings, his aspirations, his absorption in the love of Christ; and because within his circle of friends there are so few who share his inner experiences he is forced to walk alone. The unsatisfied longings of the prophets for human understanding caused them to cry out in their complaint, and even our Lord Himself suffered in the same way.

The truly spiritual man is indeed something of an oddity. He lives not for himself but to promote the interests of Another. He seeks to persuade people to give all to his Lord and asks no portion or share for himself. He delights not to be honored but to see his Saviour glorified in the eyes of men. His joy is to see his Lord promoted and himself neglected. He finds few who care to talk about that which is the supreme object of his interest, so he is often silent and preoccupied in the midst of noisy religious shoptalk. For this he earns the reputation of being dull and over-serious, so he is avoided and the gulf between him and society widens. He searches for friends upon whose garments he can detect the smell of myrrh and aloes and cassia out of the ivory palaces, and finding few or none he, like Mary of old, keeps these things in his heart.

It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God. "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up." His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else. He learns in inner solitude what he could not have learned in the crowd that Christ is All in All, that He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, that in Him we have and possess life’s summum bonum.

Two things remain to be said. One, that the lonely man of whom we speak is not a haughty man, nor is he the holier-than-thou, austere saint so bitterly satirized in popular literature. He is likely to feel that he is the least of all men and is sure to blame himself for his very loneliness. He wants to share his feelings with others and to open his heart to some like-minded soul who will understand him, but the spiritual climate around him does not encourage it, so he remains silent and tells his griefs to God alone.

The second thing is that the lonely saint is not the withdrawn man who hardens himself against human suffering and spends his days contemplating the heavens. Just the opposite is true. His loneliness makes him sympathetic to the approach of the broken-hearted and the fallen and the sin-bruised. Because he is detached from the world he is all the more able to help it….

The weakness of so many modern Christians is that they feel too much at home in the world. In their effort to achieve restful "adjustment" to unregenerate society they have lost their pilgrim character and become an essential part of the very moral order against which they are sent to protest. The world recognizes them and accepts them for what they are. And this is the saddest thing that can be said about them. They are not lonely, but neither are they saints.

REVELATION…WHY THE MYSTERY?

REVELATION…WHY THE MYSTERY? –  By Mike Taylor – www.raptureready.com
 
I was in services this last weekend and was called on to speak to our little congregation. All was going well as scripture after scripture spoke of the love and saving power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ leading to our modern era and the end times we face. I had the full attention of everyone there and heads were nodding in agreement. That is until I got to a passage in Revelation dealing with the 24 elders. Like many people in the church I attend, they have believed that Revelation is beyond their comprehension. They steer clear of it, as being too masked in mystery to be any use to the trials everyday Christians have to face. They believe it is too divisive and we, as Christians should stay away from even discussing what will be coming upon the earth in the near future….
 
Please understand that our only hope is in the salvation of Jesus Christ and when our Lord spoke to John the Apostle, he was using language to give us knowledge of the end of all things. It is being revealed what symbols mean as God chooses to reveal it to each of us when the timing is appropriate. In times past, people didn’t understand the symbols surrounding the many passages filled with end time prophecy. But we are now facing the fulfillment of these prophecies and the pieces of the puzzle being put into place right before our very eyes. I had one member speak in awe of the news headlines that point to a coming one world government that could be in place in the very near future, based on an economic crisis worldwide. It is forewarned in Revelation.
 
I have warned everyone that I come in contact with, either in services, in sermons, lessons, and bible studies that we must be watchful and not putting our heads in the sands and avoiding the powerful words that Jesus wrote down through the Beloved Apostle, John.
 
Some are fearful and a person without Jesus Christ as their hope, has every right to be fearful. These Christians fret that they may not have the faith to endure the persecution and the gloomy time that is called the “Day of the Lord”. Jesus said in Luke 21:25-28:
 
 “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
 
 v26Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
 
v27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
 
v:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
 
But these are people who profess a love and confidence in the saving power of the Lord Jesus Christ, but worry about what is coming upon the earth, just as non-Christians do. Why is that? We know from Matthew 24 starting in verse 15,
 
 Jesus gives a warning of when the abomination that causes desolation appears that people witnessing that event should flee into the mountains, but was He talking to Israel or to all the inhabitants of the earth?, Some erroneously, think that Jesus is speaking to the whole of Christianity, not just the Jewish people. Let’s not even think of the logistics of such a flight from persecution to a place called Petra , as one minister envisioned in times past. I think for a moment we need to look at a minister of the past, I speak of, who has led a group of people to believe that we will go through all of the tribulation, in which I believe, is in error.
 
There was a man who started a new denomination that was called the Radio Church of God. His name was Herbert W. Armstrong. He looked at the Bible in a different light than most of the ministers in his day. He saw where in the Old Testament that God gave His Laws, His commandments, and His appointed Holy Days, which included the 7th Day Sabbath. We all know this man’s history, legacy, and his eventual downfall from a large membership to a fragmented groups scattered far and wide across the nation. You can do a google search to find all the problems this organization experienced from the rise of many converts, to a fragmented denomination. Why did the organization fail? I believe the answer is pride, plain and simple. Human pride and self indulgence is one of the classic reasons why a church movement dissolves when it fails to give God the glory, or follows it’s own teaching, that Jesus called the “traditions of men”. The man started out with a fire that rivaled my boyhood hero, Billy Graham, for preaching the gospel. He had a following that was worldwide and created a movement that lasted 50 years, until pride entered his heart and he looked at himself to be more than what he was, a servant of Jesus Christ. He called himself an “apostle”. He made predictions of prophecy that failed to come to pass. Some slogans were known as “Flee in 73” (meaning in 1973) or “Place of Safety” (meaning Petra, in the nation of Jordan in the middle east) and the world was to be thrown into the tribulation and Jesus would appear after all of Revelation’s plagues and bowl judgments had been poured out. God said concerning a false prophet in Deuteronomy 18: verse 22:
 
“When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.” In my understanding, we should not listen to such a false prophet or heed his prophecy. It shows God was NOT speaking.
 
 
 
Some people revere this man, even today as an example to follow. I beg to differ, as the only example that any Christian should follow is the one set by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus is our example, He is our model. Now in HWA defense, the man was not all bad in what he preached. He had a lot of Bible knowledge. Some profess that we should follow the traditions of the church he formed, called the Worldwide Church of God. But instead of following the traditions of men, should we not follow the whole counsel of the Word of God, instead of an organization? Now I believe that the Sabbath and the Holy Days were ordained by God in Leviticus 23 starting in verse 2:
 
v2 Speak unto the children of Israel , and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
 
v3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; ye shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings.
 
v4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons.
 
These still apply, as Jesus said in Matthew 5:17-19:
 
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
 
5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
 
5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
 
Do we understand what a jot or tittle is in verse 18? It’s the smallest part of the Hebrew language, meaning not a crossing of a “T” or a dotting of an “I” will be changed till all things be fulfilled. Last I checked, the sky was above me and the earth was below my feet.
 
I’m so glad that ministers, such as Jack Kelley realize their significance to research the full meaning of what these commands, called “MY” feast, mean to every Christian who follows the whole counsel of the Word of God. I call them, God’s plan for man. Not an original title made by me, but applies to what God is using during these last days as communion with God. I like to refer to them as revival camp meetings. Some folks think they are Jewish festivals and God gave them to the Jews only, but as noted in Leviticus 23, they were given to mankind, starting with Israel as a perpetual event for all time…forever.
 
But it’s not a salvation issue, but a blessing, if God reveals to you that He wishes to be worshiped in this way. It’s a personal choice with conviction and one not taken lightly by anyone who does. But following a personal conviction leads up to a persistent question that keeps coming up, does it say anywhere in the Bible that keeping of these ordinances and Laws given by God Almighty save anyone? 
 
I had a lovely lady in our group that mentioned that a lot of the world does not keep the Sabbath and the Holy Days, so how can they be in the first resurrection? I had to ask her a question in brotherly love, because I have to deal with that mentality whenever is brought to my attention. I asked her a simple question. Can the practice of keeping God’s 7th day Sabbath, and observing God’s appointed Feast found in Leviticus, save you? Obviously, on thinking about it, she already knew the answer. I prefaced my question by saying that I do not diminish God’s law and His commands by no means, as they are a blessing to whoever God leads to believe they are for modern day Christians, but can they save you?
 
Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
 
v9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
 
No, my brethren, God’s law was given to Israel and to us because of transgressions and the Israelites captivity of bondage in Egypt. They had forgotten the God of their fathers, due to 400 years of slavery. So God brought them out and gave them a standard to live by which pointed them to the cross. But as time went by, Israel transgressed God’s Law and followed other gods. Many times God disciplined them, until he finally divorced them in Jeremiah and sent the people into captivity. First the northern 10 tribes, then the southern half of ancient Israel, called Judah and sent them into Babylon . The 10 tribes were scattered and were lost into other nations who absorbed them. When the Jews, since that was what they were called because of being of the tribe of Judah, were allowed to come to their homeland and rebuild their temple, in the course of time they devised a plan and a set of rules, called oral traditions, where they would be able to follow the Law of God perfectly. They had a rule for everything. They had a rule for what you could do and not do on the weekly Sabbath, what you could do during the week, rules for family life, for married life, and about as many rules that could think of that gave them confidence that they could keep the Law of God perfectly and never go into slavery again. They didn’t need a Savior, they could save themselves.
 
Oh, Really? Only one problem, man can’t keep the God’s law perfectly, no matter how many rules and traditions they made up to prevent it’s transgression. When Jesus started His ministry, He took every chance He got to preach against their traditions of keeping the Law. Turn with me to: Mark chapter 7, starting in verse 6
 
He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
 
7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
 
7:8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
 
7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
 
Yet, Jesus kept the Law of God perfectly. In Him was no sin, as the Law defined the nature of sin. He kept the Sabbath, as was His custom. He kept the appointed Feasts to the Lord God, as was commanded in the Old Testament, and referring back to the scripture we read in Matthew in the Sermon on the Mount, He came to explain the full meaning and its spiritual application of following the Law handed down by God Almighty. But He came, because man could not keep the Law perfectly, as He did. So He gave Himself to die on a cruel instrument of Roman torture. He shed His blood and allowed beating of His flesh to free us from the penalty of not being able to keep the law perfectly. Did He do away with following God’s commands? He did not! According to scripture God says in Malachi 3:6:
 
3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; and again in Hebrews 13:8:
 
 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Meaning God does not change His mind or do away with any part of His Word.
 
 
 
 
 
BUT, people like Mr. Armstrong applied keeping God’s Law to an extreme, just as the Pharisees did in Jesus’ time. To a lot of the people who attended this now scattered denomination called the Church of God, it was a release from bondage, as they were told what they could do and what they could not do. They lost the freedom in Jesus Christ they had by following the simple teachings of God the Father, expressed more fully by our Savior while here on earth. James put it simply in his book, starting in Chapter 2 starting in verse 17:
 
2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
 
2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
 
2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
 
2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
 
I explained it to one of my friends that it’s like a set of scales symbolizing your life. On one side, if you have faith in Jesus Christ and made a commitment to him and asked Him to come into your heart, you put that on one side of the scale….faith in Jesus Christ is absolutely required for salvation and justification. You must believe on Him and accept Him into your heart and life. But look at the other side. It’s not balanced. So it is with your life. If you accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior, are you not to do something with it? What is James, the brother of Jesus talking about? I believe that every person that accepts Jesus Christ as personal Savior and shares that experience with others will fill up that other side of the scales. Some call it works, but I call it the manifestation that Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit is in your life. Further, God calls it sanctification or being made into the image of His only Son, Jesus Christ. If you are truly His and only you and the Lord knows for sure, you can’t help but produce fruit, or works. It’s a byproduct of the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
 
We all know the parable of the talents. Where each was given talents to use until the master returned. Each increased their portion except the one servant who had only one. He hid it in the ground. I ask you, what is the most precious thing that God owns and gives us? His Word! If we hide in the ground, how can we give an increase? We can’t and God will hold us accountable. If you have an increase, that is fruit, works, and a byproduct of accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior.
 
I say all of this to get back to the central point. Each of us, as Christians are looking for the blessed hope that is Jesus Christ our Lord. We live our lives according to what the Word of God speaks to us. It must start with 2 simple verses that pointed me to the cross when I was a 10 year old boy brought up in the Baptist Church . It’s John 3:16-17:
 
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him, might be saved.”  
 
It’s the mini version for the whole message of the Bible. When each of us were called by the Holy Spirit and made that decision to follow in His footsteps, we had to then look to our handbook, our Bibles, the Word of God. Jesus said, “he that teaches others to break these commandments will be called least in the Kingdom of God . “ It sounds like we will be there but it’s speaking of the degree of reward. Keeping God’s Word, all of it and teaching others to do so, provides rewards for the believer.
 
We must take it all in, research it, study it, memorize it, and internalize it. It has to become part of us. Jesus said for each of us to watch and pray in Revelation 3:10:
 
 “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.”
 
He commanded that we take the whole counsel of the Word of God, not just the parts we like. He instructed us on how to live our lives according to His will. Likewise, He gave us lesson after lesson in His Word of being protected from His coming wrath…. How many scriptures do we need to understand that He will remove His people out of the way before the coming Day of the Lord? Many examples are provided in your Bible, such as Lot leaving Sodom before God’s wrath, Noah entering the ark before the wrath of the flood, the Israelites being protected from the death angel with blood on the door posts. Folks, that is our guarantee, if you will. His promise, and God cannot lie…I will provide you with scriptures that further prove the point and there are many, but here are just a few selections:
 
Isaiah 26
 
26:19 Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
 
26:20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
 
26:21 For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. It speaks of our being removed after being resurrected or changed and being protected from His coming wrath.
 
John 14:2: 14:2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
 
14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. We will be going to where He is and He’s not here on earth at the present.
 
I Corinthians 15: 51-52:
 
15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
 
15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. These verses are a mirror of Isaiah 26 we quoted. Some equate the last trump spoken of, with the 7th angel blowing his trumpet, but I believe that is an error due to traditions of men and faulty interpretation.
 
I Thessalonians 5
 
5:9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
 
5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
 
5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. And again in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 :
 
1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
 
 
When people avoid the book of Revelation and supporting scriptures that support its testimony, they do God a disservice. He said to study to show thyself approved. He said “watch”. We on this site are watching and taking in all the signs that surround us. I told one of our members, I’ll call “David” who sadly disagrees with me, that when Revelation starts to be revealed in our physical time, each of us will have a head slapping moment, including David. Picture yourself taking your right palm and with an open hand slap yourself on the forehead and say, “ahh, haa”, so that’s what He meant. I believe there will be many members of God’s Church discover that their traditions of their church, or their favorite minister was in error. Their interpretations of scripture and relying on the traditions of the Church of God , instead of the Word of God will be sorely deficient. May we study to show ourselves approved and to pray always to be accounted worthy to escape what is coming upon the earth. Jesus is the only way to be found worthy to escape the coming judgment and God’s wrath. You must start with Him and accept His free gift of salvation by answering the call of the Holy Spirit. If you want to learn how to have that confidence, then start with the Gospel of John. Accept His free offer of salvation and believe on the “One whom God has sent”, which is Jesus Christ, the Lord. Then you will be able to begin that path to His glory and share in those blessing.
 
God bless you all. For any feedback or anything I can help you with, email me at
 
Realteam1999@sbcglobal.net

The Remaking Of Jesus

The Remaking Of Jesus – Lea Sylvester – www.raptureready.com
 
The “remaking” of Jesus is not just some harmless campaign to make God’s Word (the Bible) more palatable for those who are looking for “meaning” or for “purpose” in their lives. It is a concise, direct and planned attack on Christianity and on the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. This attack is taking place in our churches, our colleges and even in Congress.
 
How many times have you heard someone remark, “My God will not send me to hell…” or “God is love…” and this is frequently followed up by some disparaging remark about those parts of God’s Word that some find offensive, such as the fact that there are consequences for sin, or that there will be a time when all are judged? Romans 1:20 tells us, “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” We also know that without God, we are unworthy and we are all sinners. Only through His grace are we given salvation, Psalm 14:1 “.. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.” Psalm 14:2 “The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.” Psalm 14:3 “They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” God reminds us that we all will come short of perfection without His grace, Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” and the consequences of sin are death. Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Does ignoring these facts make them untrue? Many falsely believe that Jesus’ loving nature renders him incapable of eternally damning anyone. Our society doesn’t want to ever deal with the consequences of their choices…now or ever. But, that is flawed logic because like it or not, all are accountable.
 
So, how is it that so many “Christians” don’t seem to understand that God is not a little cherub, with wings and a bow, floating around in space? Could it be that they don’t take the time to study His Word, are not familiar with His Word and therefore don’t KNOW? Are pastors today teaching ALL of the Bible? Will those sitting in the pews in those churches be held accountable for what they do not know? The answer to the last three questions is YES! Every person will answer for their actions and choices, and they will answer to the God who created the universe, and all that is.
 
Many people are aware that the phrase, “Separation of church and state” do not appear anywhere in the Constitution of the United States of America. But, many believe it does. Recently, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, was quoted as saying, “…we have to give voice to what that means in terms of public policy that would be in keeping with the values of ‘the word’. The Word. Isn’t it a beautiful word when you think of it? It just covers everything. The Word.”
 
Pelosi was speaking about how it is our responsibility to provide for those in need or those “deemed” in need and that we should do so by taking from others (taxing, regulatory legislation, etc.) and giving to others. She says her “favorite” scripture is, “The Bible tells us in the Old Testament, ‘to minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.’ “   I’m not sure which Bible Pelosi is studying but it certainly is NOT the same version as the one I’ve studied! That saying appears nowhere in the Old Testament, nor the New Testament. How many people have heard her say this and never knew of her deception? If we don’t know the truth, how can we know the truth from a lie or deception? We cannot.
 
The “remaking” of Jesus includes the Ecumenical Movement which is the precursor to the New World Religion. Many mainstream denominations and their leaders are embracing this “interfaith doctrine” with zealousness. They believe that we all are “God’s children” (we have that option, to be sure), for the higher good of everyone, we should show “unity” and join with those of all religions because, after all “we worship the same god.” This is a blatant lie.
 
This movement is endorsed by many so-called Christians. Ecumenicity or ecumenism is the practice of promoting cooperation or better understanding among different religions. Christians are warned about false prophets, doctrines, and the best protection we have to keep from being misled is to know God’s Word. Does God tell us to hold hands with those who worship Allah? What about Buddha? How are we to share the good news if we are busy building bridges to other faiths?
 
Many “progressives” in this country have claimed and continue to claim that Jesus was a “liberal.” Modern society has often painted Jesus as a very “soft,” even effeminate person. Jesus teaches us to be followers of peace and to turn the other cheek when we are reviled or insulted (Matt 5:9, 38-39). Peacemaker and pacifist are not the same.
 
Anything Jesus taught was totally consistent with the laws which God had already established including the laws against theft, envy and covetousness (Exodus 20:15, 17). These are destroyers of the soul.
 
God’s word tells us we should help the whole person, not distribute handouts. Unless we provide charity as the Gospel directs, we are only sending a person to a hopeless future. Is it possible to be a faithful Christian and still follow the principles of the modern Democratic Party? This is not to suggest that there are not genuine Christians who happen to be Democrats. The Democratic Party has lost the Christian vote because it doesn’t stand for Godly principles. How can we give our allegiance to Christ and at the same time follow an organization which openly promotes homosexuality, abortion and many other policies that openly defy God’s Word. According to II John 2:9 to support these is to be a partaker of them. Another good question may be how can we attend a church that openly puts those same people in a leadership position? This compromises the entire congregation of that establishment.
 
In no way is this an endorsement of the Republican Party. It is true that the GOP has more consistently addressed issues that concern Christians. Disregarding the poor can never be excused. Caring for the poor and needy is the most frequently repeated command in the Bible. How we address this issue displays our faith – whether it is genuine or not (James 2:14-17). If we neglect the poor, God will not accept our worship (Amos 5:21-24). He will not hear our prayers (Proverbs 21:13), and we will ultimately be judged severely (Amos 6:4-7).
 
Poverty can never be defeated through human means, political or otherwise. There are government programs that have helped people during hard times and have helped make lives better. But, in some cases, these programs have proven to be nothing more than political grandstanding. Caring for the needy is the work of God, and God’s work must be done in God’s way.
 
Some have misinterpreted Jesus’ compassion for the poor to be a form of Socialism or even Communism. The truth is, however, that private property and free enterprise have a biblical basis. It is good to remember that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were all wealthy men, made rich by the blessing of God (Genesis 13:12, 26:14, 33:5). This can also be seen by those in the Old Testament such as Joseph (Genesis 41:57), Solomon (1 Kings 3:13), Daniel (Daniel 6:28), and many others.
 
If Jesus were, as some teach, indiscriminately opposed to wealth and prosperity, it seems that He neglected to read His own Scriptures.
 
The Hebrew Scriptures Jesus believed and cherished taught that from the beginning God gave man property to tend and care for (Genesis 1:26, 2:15). The Ten Commandments reinforces these property rights by settling strict laws against theft and covetousness (Exodus 20:15, 17). God takes pleasure in the prosperity of His servant (Psalm 35:27), rewards hard work and ingenuity (Proverbs 10:4) and declares that to enjoy the fruits of our labors is a gift from Him (Ecclesiastes 3:13, 5:19). Jesus’ future millennial reign will be a time in which every person will sit down on their own property under their own “vine and fig tree” (Micah 4:14).
 
Jesus was not poor, and He did not uphold poverty as an ideal. Unbiblical ideas about money (equating poverty with humility and spirituality) has kept countless believers from the fruitful, benevolent lives God desires for all of us. No matter about the pious cliches, there is nothing humble nor spiritual about watching those you love go hungry or cold. Prosperity is more than money. That is why it is important to not only help the poor but also teach them how to help themselves. As we all have heard, give a man a fish and he can eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he can eat for a lifetime. This is the practical approach that is the center of Biblical welfare and charity toward others.
 
God did not set up a welfare state for His people. It was a free market economy in which people could make as much money as they wanted to, provided they did it within the framework of God’s covenants (Deuteronomy 8:18). Their tax system was not a wealth redistribution scheme. The Bible gives us examples of how excessive taxation can have disastrous results. The breakup of the Kingdom of Israel into the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah following the death of Solomon is a good example of this. It is directly attributed to heavy taxation (1 Kings 12:4, Nehemiah 5:4, II Kings 23:35). For His covenant people, God established what we would call a flat tax system. An equal percentage was required of every Israelite, rich or poor.
 
God’s primary means of financial provision is the avenue of work (Ephesians 6:5-7, II Thessalonians 3:10) and ancient Israel was no exception. A study of the harvesting of crops shows us that what wasn’t gathered by the farmer was left for those less fortunate. They would come pick up the remainder for their families (Leviticus 19:9, 23:22, Deuteronomy 24:19-22). All forms of welfare required responsibilities from the person or persons who received it.
 
Today, the same principles we saw in the Old Testament remain. We must remember that need, in and of itself, does not move God. God is moved when we step out in faith to receive His provision. He wants us to depend upon Him for everything. The church’s primary mission is to win the lost and to make disciples and all programs including charity are aimed toward this goal. We must be good stewards of the financial resources that God gives us.
 
There are many needs in this lost world. None of us can do it all but we all can do something. Jesus’ words are still true for His followers in today’s world: “Freely you have received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8. “To whom much is given, much is required.” Luke 12:48 We will be held accountable for how we respond to the hungry, the sick, those in prison and those who are lost. “Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire. For I was hungry, and ye fed me not…In as much as you did not do it for the least of these, you did it not for me…” Matthew 25:41-46.
 
We have great opportunities to glorify our Heavenly Father today. We can feed the hungry, reach out to those in prison, speak for victims of persecution and oppression, defend unborn children and do good wherever and whenever we have the opportunity. By doing this, the name of Jesus will be glorified. Labels such as “conservative” and “liberal” or “progressive” will lose their significance. But we must know God’s Word, we must be ready to give an account for our faith at any time. We must get the wonderful message of God’s love to those lost in this world for our time grows short.
 
“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16).

Wells without Water

Wells without Water – Ron Graham – twotug@embarqmail.com
 
“These are wells without water…” 2 Peter 2:17a. We have a well on our property which on the outside looks the same as most other wells these days. Our well is 518 feet deep, but on the outside it just looks like a pipe sticking out of the ground. Its job, of course, is the same as most other rural country wells, which is to draw water from an underground reservoir and move that water into our home. Many of you reading this commentary may have a very similar looking pipe sticking out of the ground in your yard. Though they may look the same from the outside, the question is, are they?
 
Our particular well has a problem down inside that deep hole where our transport pipe and pump reside. But only my wife, daughter, and I can see the problem. At times we see the water that comes from the tap as clouded and sometimes it is reddish brown in color. Outsiders who drive by can see our well and pump house but until they live in our home they will not discover for themselves the ugly truth about our drinking, bathing, and laundry water. But the most important thing about our well is that it contains an abundance of water.
 
In the verse cited above, the Apostle Peter addresses a problem that is occurring more and more as we move into the last days on this planet. That problem is false teachers, he refers to them as “wells without water”. Now there are wells, and there are wells, and what must be determined by the believer is which well are you hook up to. Unless you are aware of the lack of water in a well you might just be persuaded to latch onto one that’s completely empty.
 
False teachers may look and even sound the same as teachers who proclaim the truth, but inside they are only dry wells. Water being a metaphor for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is what Peter is speaking about. False teachers do not have the Holy Spirit of God, they are led by the enemy of God and therefore they are, as the Apostle Peter most appropriately states “wells without water”. A Holy Spirit filled teacher will not teach falsehoods. False teachers may proclaim a portion of truth in their teachings but they are all intertwined in deceptiveness, they are empty vessels.
 
“And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you… ” 2 Peter 2:3. These folks who profess a relationship with our Lord Jesus, yet have no water in their wells, are in virtually every case only in the ministry for what they can materialistically gain.
 
I know I’ve hit on this subject before and probably will again, but these false teachers are among us today, and in great numbers, which just proves the seriousness of the hour. There are false teachers currently proclaiming damnable heresies, and believers must acknowledge them as such. Their lies are exposed through our knowledge of scripture; in this way all the church can see and not be saddled with, nor lead astray by, their lies.
 
This particular chapter of Peter’s second epistle is not addressing the possibility of false teachers and false prophets coming among us. On the contrary, Peter is stating a fact, they are among us now. And they are in our Christian Churches doing their damage. Therefore Christians aren’t so much in the “be on the lookout” mode any longer; we are currently in the “damage control” mode. Soon and very soon if we don’t confront this evil we will be in the “run for your lives” mode.
 
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies…” 2 Peter 2:1. Privily means secretive, but it isn’t that these liars teach in secret, it’s just that their agenda is cloaked in secrecy. Throughout the last 2,000 years, men and women have been tricked and swindled by these heretics. False teachers come and go but by-and-large we will never be without them. Many are here to reap a lifetime of earthly rewards and their consciences are seared with what’s in it for them attitudes.
 
Just by looking at the outside appearance of a water well isn’t enough to tell us anything about the capacity, efficiency, or lack of water in that well. If you are seeking a refreshing drink of water you’re not going to get it from a dry well. “Wells without water” (false teachers) are abundant, there may be one standing behind the pulpit at your local Church each Sunday, and I promise you they are great at extinguishing your spirit. On the other hand, only a Holy Spirit filled Bible teacher will work at satisfying your spirit’s thirst for the truth.
 
A huge red flag should go up for the true followers of Jesus Christ whenever someone claims Jesus is anything other than what He claims to be. Sadly, many are seduced into believing lies about Jesus even though they claim to follow Him. The Bible gives us the truth; all we must do is believe the Bible over men and women who continually teach lies. The only reason people follow a person who teaches a lie is because they neglect or reject their own Bibles. Here’s an example, many of these “wells without water” deny the deity of Christ. I’ve encountered many professing believers who blatantly deny Jesus Christ is God Almighty. A major heresy and a damnable one at that, yet they will follow the “wells without water” crowd blindly without ever looking to see if the Holy Spirit of God dwells in them.
 
“Just because a person has what appears to be a godly walk and relationship with Jesus Christ, they can still be bringing in destructive heresies. Often times, the worst damage is done by a good man who teaches lies. His lies are accepted far more easily because of the good character of the man.” –David Guzik
 
Our eyes are opened even more about these false teachers as Peter further explains that these “wells without water” are “…even denying the Lord that bought them”. 2 Peter 2:1. They, for all intents and purposes, look to be legitimate and truthful Bible teachers, saved and walking with the Lord, but they deny even “the Lord that brought them”.
 
I’ve been rebuked in the past by those who claim I’m being remiss in my duties as a watchman on the wall for not bringing into light the names of all those who are false teachers so the uninformed can know who they are. This is simply astonishing to me. How could I possibly name every false teacher out there? Besides, diligent Bible study habits aside, every born again believer “In Christ” is indwelt with the Holy Spirit of God. Thus the Holy Spirit directs us as to what is correct and truthful Bible teaching and what is false.
 
I’ve heard of many who might fall into the category of false teacher and false prophet, and yet I’ve not seen a need for myself to research them and their teachings. God will reveal their erroneous teachings, if indeed they are teaching erroneously, through His Holy Spirit to anyone who is seeking to know the truth. So, for the purpose of this commentary and many more I plan to write, I will leave the discernment of truthfulness up to all those who are indwelt with God’s Holy Spirit. These commentaries are written as a warning to you, as well as to the non-believers who choose to read them, to investigate the truthfulness, and whether there be water in the well of your favorite Bible teacher. Even non-believers will find the truth when they diligently seek it out.
 
We can expect a surge in heresy teaching and we are told that even many who’ve had occasion to hear the truth of the Gospel, as well as many professing Christians, will follow these heretics to their own destruction. “And many shall follow their pernicious ways;…” 2 Peter 2:2. Pernicious or destructive, no matter how you slice it they will all be damned to Hell because they chose to believe a false teacher who blasphemes and dishonors God’s Holy name. 
 
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts 17:11. We should all be just like those Bereans who would not just take Paul and Silas’ word for what the scriptures said, but they went to those very scriptures and read them themselves to see if what they were being taught was truth or lies, a practice we should all adhere to.
 
As Peter continues his 2nd Epistle he tells us of the harshness of the judgment that will befall false teachers. “…whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.” 2 Peter 2:3. You and I may see them prospering and becoming wealthier and much more affluent than we could even imagine. We may sit bewildered as to why they prosper as we watch them fill their bank accounts with all their treasures. But what God is doing behind the scenes is allowing them to heap up for themselves treasures here on earth, continuing in this same manner they will only cement their condemnation for eternity. Don’t envy these folks and their wealth for their end is destruction of the eternal kind.
 
Remember what Peter is telling us “These are wells without water…” 2 Peter 2:17a. The Holy Spirit is absent in the lives of these heretics. By deceiving the masses they have blasphemed God because they aren’t listening to His Holy Spirit. By not listening to His Holy Spirit and by falsifying His word they’ve condemned themselves. This condemnation is building to a crescendo that will result in the most horrible finale. And, as they continue and prosper more and more, one day their final reward will be realized, but it won’t be what they’ve been expecting.
 
The warning is to be sure you have the Holy Spirit residing in you and that you are in tune to His lead. This way you aren’t going to be drawn to the false teachings of the damned, Hell bound liars who only wish to prosper at your expense. Water wells are very similar in appearance, yet some are empty, devoid of water (the Holy Spirit). So the question remains, how’s the “Water” in your well?
 
God bless you all,
 
Ron Graham
All scripture is from the KJV

Look Up

Look Up – Ron Graham – twotug@embarqmail.com
 
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Luke 21:28. It is my sincere hope and my fervent prayer that my brethren are all in the same frame of mind and that they are all, metaphorically speaking that is, looking up right now. We are so close to the return of Jesus Christ that many believers have moved into the position of being watchmen on the wall. The Israelites had their watchmen to sound the alarm when danger approached and the Christians today have their watchmen who are sounding alarms. Listen to the voices of those who are telling you to get ready for there is no doubt that we are on the very precipice of the Rapture of Christ’s Church.
 
Letters from my brethren are continually flowing in concerning the Rapture, and folks are now becoming concerned with the lateness of the hour. Obviously many are now seeing the signs which are beginning to make a real impression on us. Jesus spoke of signs as future history as He sat with His disciples. He fully explained the end times scenarios which were to unfold. We can read all about them in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. As we read those chapters the light begins to shine on us. What do those chapters say to those who are watching and waiting? Read them and at the same time read current world events and you’ll come away thinking the Bible was written yesterday.
 
The signs Jesus addressed would begin gradually, and increasingly those very same signs would appear to be even more severe, ultimately bringing their frequency and severity to a raging crescendo of catastrophes. And what do we currently see unfolding before our very eyes? The beginning signs Jesus told us to watch and be mindful of. Remember, Jesus said that when they begin to appear “look up”.
 
Right now, and each day from here until the Rapture, the signs Jesus spoke about will become so numerous and intense that it will be impossible to keep up with these events as they rapidly unfold. We can see that we are currently standing just this side of the seven year tribulation period.
 
Speaking for myself, I can hardly wait to get up in the morning to see what has transpired overnight with my country and world events. I know the signs are emerging exactly as Jesus foretold. I’m not frightened by those signs, no, not at all. Instead I’m encouraged and even excited with each sign that unfolds. We, that is those who follow Jesus Christ, were given our history lesson in advance for one reason, so we would know how very close His return is and put forth a definitive cry of warning to those who are still lost.
 
As we watch world history unfold around us we are to prepare ourselves for the inevitable, “…then look up, and lift up your heads…” Luke 21:28. But more importantly we are to spread the Gospel of Christ as never before. We who are believers in Christ must not allow ourselves to be muted, but clearly and concisely speak the truth to all who are perishing.
 
So, what are the signs Jesus spoke about? Let’s take a look at a few of them, sign by sign. First of all we read “Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.” Luke 21:8. We’ve seen the damage wrought by those who’ve falsely declared that they are the Christ, and through their deceptive ways many have been led astray. Clearly not everyone has heeded Jesus’ words. We aren’t going to stop these deceptions from occurring but we need to be on guard, ever watchful, and ready to confront deceptions.
 
Secondly, we read “But when ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified: for these things must first come to pass; but the end is not by and by.” Luke 21:9. Jesus basically tells us that these are non-signs. Not to get all worked up over rumors of wars and even full blown wars when they take place because they are ever constant and somewhat predicable, they’ve always been numerous as well as frequent, so essentially they’re non-signs.
 
In three of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus lays out a scenario that pretty much details the future of humankind. “Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.” Luke 21:10-12. Surely we’ve all witnessed, either by reading about them or being there firsthand, great earthquakes in many different (divers) places. They are increasing in intensity and frequency, and apparently, according to many scientists, we haven’t seen anything yet.
 
All of the above mentioned signs Jesus prophesied are going to open up for many to behold in the last days, but for the believer in Christ we will only see the beginnings of these signs “And when these things begin to come to pass…” Luke 21:28. “Begin” is the key word here; believers won’t be on earth for the brunt of the action.
 
Nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom, this too is currently in the making and can be somewhat unnerving as we read about all the saber rattling. And Israel is constantly being blamed for every little skirmish. One of these days, and very soon I’m afraid, either North Korea or Iran will push the rest of the world into another world war.
 
Certainly, we are currently witnessing around the globe and within the boundaries of many nations, turmoil, nation against nation, their own citizenry rebelling and fighting in the streets, many are being slain and many more are being injured, and for what? Because their governments, in many cases, have cut back on the handouts people were accustomed to receiving. It takes money and lots of it to withstand the turmoil besetting the world, and this world’s economy is very much at risk of failing. The US economy is teetering on a knife edge; watch for the turmoil of aggressive demonstrations beginning to occur here in the states in the not so distant future.
 
The unrest now surrounding Israel due to the flotilla incident is a worldwide phenomenon; the hatred is obvious in practically every nation. We are seeing the stage being set for the prophetic war of Psalm 83. This unrest will continue and worsen as the days progress. Most of Israel’s enemy’s are arming themselves to the hilt. They have one purpose in mind, one agenda, and that is the annihilation of Israel. Their only reason for living is to eliminate Zionism from the face of this planet. God says in His word to pray for the peace of Israel and we should be doing so daily. But we also know that God’s hand is upon Israel and He will not allow the annihilation of His chosen people no matter how many come against her.
 
“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.” Zechariah 12:2, 3. The scriptures are clear, and they point out that every nation will come against Israel and that God will destroy them. Seemingly, since all nations wish to curse Israel and to do so without fear of God’s retribution, believers should be keenly aware of just what’s around the corner. Every nation is going to be in that mindset of destroying Israel; clearly those who faithfully follow the Savior of the world should be looking up.
 
Earthquakes, pestilences, fearful sights, great signs from heaven will only be as a prelude for those of us who are in Christ to be witness to. But for those folks who remain on earth after the Rapture, they will witness the full force of all those prophetic catastrophes. 
 
Besides all the news on the national and world fronts which clearly indicate the last days are upon us and that we should be “looking up”, there’s a strange spiritual, supernatural side unraveling before us. Jesus also tells us of a great apostasy (falling away from the faith) in the last days. This phenomenon is quite pervasive. How do I know? By the many letters I receive concerning the inability of many believers to find a Christ centered, Bible believing congregation where they can attend worship services. I can tell you all, that the apostasy Jesus speaks about has now infiltrated many a Christian Church worldwide.
 
When these things begin to come to pass? My brethren, they’ve begun. Interestingly, an unthinkable event occurs in the 8th chapter of the book of Revelation which may give us reason to pause and reflect as we read “And the second angel sounded, and as it were a great mountain burning with fire was cast into the sea: and the third part of the sea became blood; And the third part of the creatures which were in the sea, and had life, died; and the third part of the ships were destroyed.” Revelation 8:8-9. I wonder if that mountain could be a mountain of oil seeping from a broken pipe out in the Gulf of Mexico. Could this catastrophe be a prelude to fulfilling Revelation 8? We’re told by the scientists observing the leakage that the oil under the water now resembles huge plumes, kind of like mountains, and the US coast guard is using fire to disperse that oil. Certainly a catastrophic event is unfolding before our eyes. Just my thoughts.
 
At any rate our days on planet earth are clearly numbered. As such, those of us who are diligently following our Lord Jesus Christ and His commandments should be in the midst of the unsaved sharing the Gospel of Christ with them, praying for the ones we’ve spoken to who are fence setting, and looking up intently as our “redemption draweth” so very close.
 
God bless you all,
 
Ron Graham
twotug@embarqmail.com
All scripture is from the KJV

Beware, The War Is On!

Beware, The War Is On! Joseph R. Chambers – jrc@pawcreek.org  
 
Spiritual warfare has never been at the present level. This is not an ordinary struggle or battle but the beginning of the final conflict before the kingdom of Christ fills the earth. While the entire earth is the scene, the nation of Israel and the saints of our Lord are the targets. Since we do not know the day of the Rapture, we must not give up the cultural war in our nations. What is occurring in America is nothing less than moral suicide. America is quickly going to Hell.
 
There are battles occurring in our nation on different levels, but the only one that can ultimately win is the spiritual. We must enlist everyone possible to start fighting by the Holy Spirit. He is the Restrainer and angels move in His wake. We are very close to witnessing a spiritual invasion that will unite the entire spirit world. Please do not think that this truth is unbiblical or impossible.
 
Read carefully what the great apostle wrote to us Gentiles, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). You must know that this fight is spiritual, which is clear from this statement. Because of this fact, our weapons must match and exceed the enemy’s weapons. Our Creator warned us often against thinking we can win in the flesh. Paul continued to discuss our enemy by giving instruction in warfare, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).
 
The apostle then lays out our weapons. We must be girded with the infallible Word of God. The breastplate must be a righteousness that He has provided. He even says that we wear special footwear, which is provided in the Gospel message. Then, we hold forth a shield that can be moved in all directions and it is the “shield of faith.” That is our trust in His covenant of protection. Our sword that dashes the spirit world into pieces is the “Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” But, all of this is loaded into the human vessel or magazine by “praying in the Holy Ghost.” No wonder our empty prayer life leaves us in spiritual ruins.
 
Our church world keeps denying that God’s Holy Spirit is still supernaturally active in the saints. As a Pentecostal, I know better and would have shipwrecked long ago without the Holy Ghost. The apostle wrote, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18). Then, let’s read what Jude, our Lord’s half brother, wrote, “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost” (Jude 20). We have got to have this mighty power of the Spirit world. That alone will rescue our churches from their deadness.
 
It’s exciting to pray, preach, teach, or worship in a spiritual dimension. We are spiritual creatures not just of animal likeness. Apostle Paul said, “What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” (I Corinthians 14:15). He adds to that in his marvelous letter to the Roman believers, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).
 
I love the fact that angels move in the wake of the Holy Spirit. The prophet Ezekiel taught this truth to Israel, “Whithersoever the spirit was to go, they went, thither was their spirit to go; and the wheels were lifted up over against them: for the spirit of the living creature (angels) was in the wheels” (Ezekiel 1:20). If you study the wars that Israel has fought since 1948 AD, you see much evidence of this fact. It has also often occurred in the great revivals of the past. Where there is a mighty move of the Holy Ghost, there is also a special move of angels.
 
Now, we see why this apostle made such an impact in the early church. God chose Him to exemplify this mighty ministry of the Holy Ghost and to teach us the same. Angels were often present in His ministry. It was said of him, “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also” (Acts 17:6b). He was constantly a target for beatings or death. If we win in our individual battles we must follow his instructions, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Corinthians 10:3-5).
 
Satan and the spirits of Antichrist are unleashing a barrage of evil powers and confusion. The human flesh is a prime place for Satan to sow seeds of doubt and roots of bitterness. Every believer must put on “the whole armour of God.” Keep the shield of faith at hand to quench the fiery darts. Above all live a life hid in the sweet Holy Ghost of God. If we are yielded to Him, He will storm the gates of Hell in our praying
 
Joseph R. Chambers
 
jrc@pawcreek.org
 
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