Monday, September 23, 2019

Interfering In The Affairs Of Men

From the temptation of Eve in the Garden of Eden until this very day Satan and his minions have been fully invested in destroying individual lives and entire nations through nefarious machinations.

“Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they were defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world, he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” (Revelation 12: 7-9) He is a deceiver.

Jesus speaking to an unbelieving Pharisee; “Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But, because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.” (John 8:43-45) He is a murderer and a liar.

Christians and Jews who believe and put their trust in their Creator and loving God constitute those most likely to suffer persecution and even death for their beliefs at the hands of Muslims who are in diametric opposition to the very existence of Jews and Christians who they refer to as “The people of the book!” They are joined by all manner of God hating Leftist Progressives, Marxists and Atheists in their loathing hatred for God and His beloved.

Bible scripture differentiates between the good and evil in the following verses: 
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. (Proverbs 9:10) 
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none that does good. (Psalm14:1)
A wise man’s heart inclines him toward the right, but a fool’s heart toward the left.  
(Ecclesiastes 10:2)

The world is undergoing a massive division by the demon influenced forces of the Left that is in diametric opposition to the Right. The Left struggling violently at times and with cunning deception, attempting to wrest control of the world’s population for Satan the usurper. This can be clearly seen in political events and violent clashes by mobs in the public squares in various places throughout the world. The formerly trustworthy news media has given it’s voice over to the dark side with vile lies and distortions of the truth. Women are murdering their own unborn children in the millions and are clamoring for a legal right to kill their newborn. Murders of police, authorities and citizens abound. One might ask, where does this come from? The answer is evident, it emanates from Satan Prince of Darkness.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3: 1 - 4)

The Lord uses sheep and goats analogous to the people in these two opposing groups. Sheep tend to be compliant and follow the voice of their shepherd and trust him to lead them to food, water and safety. A goat on the other hand, doesn’t follow anyone. They are willful and contentious head butting animals. A herd of goats goes where it wants, and the goatherd follows behind.

When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:31-34 &41)

Now is the time, choose God’s salvation and draw near to Him before it’s too late.

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me; when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29: 11-13) 

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Acknowledging The Great Provider

Over the years when dealing with the struggles of having a home, raising a family and making ends meet financially, there has always been a sense of never really being alone, trusting that somehow for some unbeknownst reason that things would fall together. Now in the finale years of life looking back, it has become clear in retrospect that the Lord always sets various stepping stones before us for greater opportunities to provide for home and family. We have to start the days with a sense of awareness that the Lord is with us.

In earlier times never being as cognizant of God’s provision in life recalling in some of the darkest hours and greatest trials crying out, “Jesus please help!” He did, though my prayers were never eloquent and occasionally muttered through my tears. I often failed to thank Him and acknowledge His providence in my life. In that, I am sure that I’m not alone as it is common to all of us to take it all for granted, even congratulating ourselves for our success.

Eventually drawing closer to the Lord through the written word in the Holy Bible I came to realize that; “The steps of a man are from the Lord, and he establishes him in whose way he delights; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord is the stay of his hand.” 
(Psalm 37: 23-24)

Beginning each day with a quiet time of prayer to the Lord and meditation on His word is most beneficial because it establishes a mutual relationship, deeper trust and daily walk with one’s own Creator and it honors Him who in turn honors us, overshadowing us with His great presence as we go about the daily routine.

The Lord will always walk with you
Along life's dusty trails,
His footprints there beside your own,
He promises without fail.
Two sets of footprints, side by side,
From dawn to setting sun,
Yet there may come a day,
When you'll see only one.
Do not think the Lord has left you 
Nothing could be more wrong.
It's just that he has picked you up
And carried you along.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)

Monday, September 9, 2019

How Then Shall We Pray?

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old received divine approval. (Hebrews 11:1-2)

Prayer is essential for a true believer, it’s an outward act of faith, a line of communication that is initiated by man and is honoring to God and establishes our trust and dependence on Him for everything, even the air we breathe. Failure to engage in regular prayer changes that dynamic and reliance on God eventually becomes reliance on self whereby we supplant ourselves as center of our universe rather than the Creator. It is an affront to the Almighty in which one can hardly expect His blessings and provision to continue unabated, we have the power to change the eventual outcome because prayer is a personal choice of either continuing the relationship or abandoning it altogether and facing the eventual consequences. 

“When you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew6:5-9)

Praying to Mary and other dead saints is not biblical and praying to anyone other than God is idolatry. To bow down before a statue or painting and pray to it is evil and it is forbidden in Scripture. Nowhere in Scripture does it say pray to dead saints. Nowhere in Scripture does it say ask dead saints to pray for you.Nowhere does it say that people in Heaven will pray for people on earth. Alive Christians on earth can pray for you, but dead people will not pray to God for you and there isn't any passage in scripture to justify this. 

Jesus said, “Pray then like this: Our Father who is in heaven, holy is your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6: 10-13)

Jesus gives an example of how to pray, it is a conversation between man and God and is not, and never should be a mindless repetition or mantra of the same prayer repeated multiple times over, which to anyone who is a father hearing the same request from his child rattled over and over continuously would become an onerous and exasperating experience to contend with.

Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. (James 5:13-16)

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” (Matthew 21:22)

I prayed for my younger brother for years. He was a raging alcoholic, I prayed in tears that God would deliver him from the grip of that demon. Finally the day came when he decided he had enough and sought treatment, whereupon he spent the fifteen remaining years of his life clean and sober. I came to understand that from the time I began to pray for him that God heard my prayers, but that His answer was contingent on my brother finally coming to the point where he knew how futile his own arrogance and attempts to quit on his own was. God’s answer to our prayers comes in His timing not our own, so we should remain steadfast and trust that God hears us and will act when the time is right.

And finally we have this admonition from the Apostle John speaking to the church; “My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. And by this we may be sure that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” (1John 2:1-3)

We are told to go directly to God through Christ who is the only intermediary between us and the Father given in scripture and not through a third party clergyman as some religious institutions would have it. They have taken the following verse out of context, “Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” (James 5:16) which means that we are to go to those we have wronged with a contrite heart and make amends to them just as the Lord has commanded.

John acknowledges the fact that believers still living in a corrupt world can occasionally lapse into sin, but that Jesus who himself died for the sins of man, stands as the believer’s advocate (attorney) before His own Father who will judge the living and dead and all who claim Him as Lord and Savior will be exonerated. By this we will be sure that we know Him and He will know us, if we keep his commandments which are to love Him and acknowledge Him through prayer and to love one another. Keep also in mind that: “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6: 14-15)

Monday, September 2, 2019

Church Heresy? You Be The Judge!

Many Christians have been led to believe that one day there will be a rapture and all who have called on the name of the Lord will suddenly be gone and the unsaved will be left behind. There was even a book written and also a movie about that entitled "Left Behind," which was essentially ludicrous. It isn't that simple though and comes as the result of wishful thinking and a misunderstanding concerning the Great Tribulation of the church that precedes the second coming of Christ." 

A heretical teaching concerning the pre-tribulation rapture of the church had begun in the 1800’s at a Plymouth Brethren Church in England by a fellow named John Darby. It was based primarily on the following passages:

“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” 
(John 14:1-4)  

“Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written; “Death is swallowed up in victory. Oh death, where is thy victory? Oh death, where is thy sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 
(I Corinthians. 15:51-58) 

“But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians. 4:13-18)

The preceding passages have been construed as if to indicate there will be a moment prior to the great tribulation where Christian believers will be taken up and removed from any harm. Let us reason and ask ourselves if we think that God loves present day Christians more, and that they are somehow more worthy to be spared the torture and horrible deaths of those first century Christians and all those others down through the ages? 

Jesus said, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation, and put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away, and betray one another, and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold. But he who endures to the end will be saved. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”  
(Matthew24: 9-13 21-22)

Consider what is happening to Christians throughout the world coupled with the current uptick of hatred for Jews and Christians here in America by Progressives and Islamists and then consider how betrayed by God believers will feel who cling to the heretical version fostered by Darby and adopted by many churches, while family members are being beaten, bludgeoned, raped and stabbed. Wouldn't it seem that the pre-tribulation version may be nothing more than the work of Satan the Deceiver? It has already begun in the Mid-East, Africa, Indonesia, China and North Korea and other places where hundreds of thousands of Christians have been imprisoned, tortured and murdered for their faith in most recent times, that same murderous spirit is now slithering under the doorway into Western Culture.

The Scofield Reference Bible is used by the Plymouth Brethren Church, it twists the meaning of scripture like a pretzel in order to give credibility to their belief in a pre-tribulation rapture. Many believers erroneously refer to the passages previously cited which are widely misconstrued as something other than exactly what they are intended to mean, and it's taught in many churches as a wishfully delusional heresy by those insisting it refers to a pre-tribulation event, however it was never taught throughout the previous 1800 years of Christianity. Reading the bible in proper context the tribulation is Satan's murderous attack on the Church. Some scholars think the rapture will occur mid-way through the seven year tribulation period after which comes the seven bowls of God's wrath on Satan and all who follow him. No one is certain of the timing of these events, best advice is that we all walk close with God and maintain our relationship with Jesus Christ. The following two passages from Revelation clarify the order of events:

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; they cried out with a loud voice, “Oh Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been. (Revelation 6:9-11)

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood round the throne and round the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.”
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and whence have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:9-14)