Friday 25 January 2013



by Chaim, Abalone Kid

We must ALL appear before Jesus Christ to account for our life God created for us beginning with Adam. Believe this? You say "NO". God says:

Lost humanity will never survive it's sin nature. No "system" man thinks he devises will correct, nor preserve life. All man's works are vain without God at the lead. And behind all "systems", ALL of them are spiritual forces that have rejected God long ago and made their place here their realm of unseen rule through man's sin nature that is deceived by our lost mind.


We have one life to decide that it is not by mere choice of others we are alive. In this time we have, our lives can mean more then day to day and then, at some unknown moment, it's over.

Consider the following:

GOD IS. God shows the proof in our life, the heavens declare it, the creation sounds it out, the WORD of GOD speaks all of it, and the believers in all generations, many of whom died for this truth they would not give up, speak to it by their sacrifice.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world" Psalm 19:1-4.

Looking at the stars, understanding the vastness of the universe, observing the wonders of nature, seeing the beauty of a sunset—all of these things point to a Creator God. If these were not enough, there is also evidence of God in our own hearts.

"For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" Romans 1:20.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us, "...He has also set eternity in the hearts of men." Deep within us is the recognition that there is something beyond this life and someone beyond this world. We can deny this knowledge intellectually, but God's presence in us and all around us is still obvious. Despite this, the Bible warns that some will still deny God's existence: "The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'" Psalm 14:1

Deuteronomy 4:29 proclaims,

"But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul." This verse teaches an important principle—everyone who truly seeks after God will find God. If we truly desire to know God, God will make Himself known to us.

People claim to reject God's existence because it is "not scientific" or "because there is no proof." The true reason is that once we admit that there is a God, we also must realize that we are responsible to God and the way WE live, and in need of forgiveness from Him for our SINS. Romans 3:23; 6:23.


It's the heart condition that exists which is our problem that stops us from rising from the spiritual graveyard of our world where we ourselves each have a spot, and be raised from the spiritually dead by GOD.

We are Natural Born Sinners that glorify the way of death in the darkness of this world thinking it is life. We have no connection to God who is our maker. It is our inherited condition. Because of this God is strange to us. Jesus Christ on a "cross" is strange to us! This is our natural condition. We are born separated from God spiritually. DOA from our Maker! Thus God cannot be the leader in our lives. God cannot shed grace upon grace on us. And we cannot accept God's way because it is foreign to us. WE ARE LOST AND THINK WE HAVE FOUND.

Sin has deceived us, because it is just as natural to us as looking at our face in a mirror. We do not see what our heart, and mind and soul cannot see is our lost condition. Only God can wake us up.

Jeremiah 17:9
"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"

Mark 7:21-23
"For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication's, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."

The proof of our fallen and dead spiritual condition (separation from God) is in our sins which lead to physical death. If this death is not overcome in Christ, through belief in His Gospel, it ends in permanent separation from God called the "second death". This is explained in the Bible and I gave you scriptures to look up in my original message I sent.

God cannot accept sins and receive a sinner for GOD is perfect and Holy. ONLY JESUS CHRIST CAN STAND IN FOR US BEFORE ALMIGHTY GOD! We are God's creation. God has given us a way to overcome this condition. Like symptoms of a disease, our sin is the evidence of our lost condition.

In the end, God's existence must be accepted by faith.

" But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:6

"So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17.

I have sent you important scriptures that GOD has given all generations. First by inspiration and speaking it, now by writing we can read as well as speak.

God the Son has called you through His word. You cannot deny it later on when you face Him. He will ask you about your life, what you did, and thought, and you will not be without sins. The verdict is eternal separation from GOD in the Lake of Fire. Your choice in your free will God gave you has now cost you an eternity of misery.

He will say to you that His blood paid for your sins and it was a FREE gift to you. He will remind you of our correspondence. You will have NO excuse.

I pray you will hear God in the Gospel of Jesus Christ I have shared with you.

Jesus speaks to you:

Revelation 3:20

"I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

God has a ironclad plan for His creation. GOD WILL HAVE HIS WAY. God calls His human creation! That is God's way.

He is calling you. God is telling you the truth. ONLY JESUS CHRIST SAVES. You must believe WHY AND HOW.

If you are destined to be a child of GOD through the Son of God, you WILL understand! GOD will open your eyes and you will see and understand by the Spirit of God. Only the Spirit of God can inform you by the Word of God which is revealed to this world, in the Bible, through Jesus Christ who is God.

Choose the way of God this very day and receive Godly life now and forever.

May God bless you to be His FOREVER.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Spiritual Warfare

by Grant Phillips

Have you ever noticed the glassy-eyed look you get from some people when you mention spiritual warfare? It is especially alarming when talking to another person who claims to be a Christian, and they look at you like you came from another planet and need to be locked up for your own good. It is alarming because it corroborates the immaturity of a fellow Christian.

Satan uses a double barrel method of attack against us humans. With some he shows himself as evil and draws those (non-Christians) in to worship him. With most of us however, Christians and non-Christians alike, he works at making us believe that he really doesn’t exist.

I firmly believe that far more people than we even realize are possessed to one degree or another by Satan’s demons. At the very least, many, many more are strongly influenced by Satanic forces, and don’t even realize it.

The one thing that needs to be made clear is that Satan is not omnipresent; he can only be in one place at a time. He is not God, who is omnipresent. However, he has an untold host of fallen angelic beings in his camp. We know he seduced one third of the angels to follow him, but one third of what? We don’t know. Satan and all of his army of fallen angels, or evil spirits, are hard at work.

One of the many times the Apostle Paul was attacked by Satanic forces is told us in the following passage.

“16And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 17The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 18And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.” (Acts 16:16-18)

We know that the damsel, a young girl or young woman, did not come in a friendly manner to meet with Paul, simply by taking a closer look at the Greek word in verse sixteen that is translated as “met” in our English. The Greek word means “to meet in a hostile fashion.” Also, the verse clearly says that she was possessed by a “spirit of divination.”

People today do not realize just how dangerous it is to play around with weegie boards, tarot cards, séances, etc. You are entering an area you know nothing about and the only thing on the other side is evil. We call this evil Satan, and he is very real.

The Lord tells us by the pen of Paul to:

“11Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12For 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 6:11-12)

A Christian cannot be indwelt by an evil spirit. Why, you ask? The Holy Spirit resides within the Christian and will not allow it. However, that does not mean that Satan, via his demonic army, will not attack us in some way. He will try to trip us. He will try to influence us by any means possible. We are his enemy, and this is not a game. It is war.

There are three groups of people that Satan attacks, and I believe he does so by the following methods.


Left to our basic nature or instincts, without laws, human beings would be like a pack of wild rabid dogs, attacking others and even those within the pack.

God had to give us a set of laws to obey in order to protect society. He provided them by a fellow named Moses. Consider what happened to Noah’s generation. They were so defiled, God had to destroy them all, except Noah and his family.

It is my opinion, but I believe a correct opinion, that many today would do things that would shock even the person doing them, if it were not for the law of the land. As we well know and observe, many do them anyway. How many more murders, robberies, rapes, etc. would there be, if there were no law?

Satan knows man’s nature, and he uses it for his benefit.

If you don’t agree, consider the following verses.

“9What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17And the way of peace have they not known: 18There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:9-18)

Weak Christians

This group of people would include those who have not been saved very long, and those who have, but are just too lazy to put on the whole armor of God. Read Ephesians 6:10 through the end of the chapter.

One way Satan will attack these Christians is by loading down their time with other activities.

He will try to make them dependent on others to spoon feed them on the Word. There are a bunch of these folks walking around.

He will provide them with excuses to avoid their prayer life and time in the Word.

He will tempt them with the “goodies” that the world has to offer.

Maturing Christians

Christians, who are students of the Word and try to live for the Lord on a daily basis, will most definitely be attacked in some way by Satan, because they are a menace to him.

Their intent is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives by how they live, what they do, and what they say.

They speak out for Jesus.

They love His Word. They won’t bend by going against what the Word says.

When they sin, and they will, they are on their knees in repentance, not to get saved again, but to restore the fellowship that they broke between themselves and their Heavenly Father. They are always His child.

The more wicked the world becomes, and it’s getting quite vile, Satan induces others to hate and mock them. Hopefully with pressure from their peers, they will crumble under temptation.

As I write this article, I have been tempted throughout to do something else and come back to it, but I am determined to stay the course. Satan does not want me to write this article. Any pastor who has preached very many sermons will tell you that it never failed when the reality of Satan and his forces was the subject matter, a negative force was present.


As I look through the window of politics, I see Satan hard at work. In this country alone, the political field is bleak, to say the least. There are some, and I emphasize “some,” men and women in the political arena who are desirous of following our Constitution and actually serving the citizens in the manner designed by the Constitution. Most however are servants of greed and other satanic forces. These servants of Satan have the populace so blinded, they continue to retain their offices election after election, and therefore continue to dismantle the greatest nation ever assembled by God-fearing patriots.

As I peer through the window of Hollywood, Satan is pulling out all the stops to reveal just how disgusting he is. Again, there are a few even within the Hollywood scene who have character. For the most part the lifestyle of Hollywood would be like comparing pigs wallowing in slop while wearing expensive jewelry and tuxedoes (or evening gowns). Could there be a more corrupt people all gathered in one place? There is a possibility of close ties with our nation’s capital, each with an equivalent lifestyle, but generating a different type of filth and garbage upon the common folk.

As I gaze through the stained glass windows of the churches, Satan is sitting on the front row, cheering on his puppets. All that glitters is not gold. Many so-called shepherds of the flocks are actually hirelings. Their master is not the one and only true God, but one who wants to be God. His name is Satan. Jesus said to the Pharisees,
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” (John 8:44)

Satan is real. He took with him an army of fallen angels from Heaven, and is always in combat fatigues. It makes no difference if we accept this as fact or not. It remains true. We are at war. It is a spiritual war, but it is war no less.

One last time, I observe through another window, the window of the family, the first institution established by God at the creation. Within the first family of Adam and Eve, Satan interjected jealousy, greed, and murder. It has gone downhill since. Today, the family, as God meant it to be, is in the minority. If someone attacked your family, would you fight for them? Of course you would. Would you lay down your life for them? Of course you would. Satan is attacking your family, and he wants their soul. What are you going to do about it?

We are supposed to be living in the age of knowledge. We say we are more civilized than any generation before us. Is that so? In reality, we have become as they were in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot. Does that ring a bell? Consider the following verses.

"26And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; 29but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:26-30 NKVJ)

Just prior to this day spoken of in the above verses, approximately seven years, Jesus Christ will remove His bride, the true Church, from this earth. Are you ready? Satan is pulling out all the stops. Are you being blinded by his lies, or are you heeding the Truth? Do you scoff at the mention of a spiritual warfare? Are you one of those who roll your eyes and under your breath says something like, “Oh, here we go again?”

Jesus warns us through the pen of the Apostle Paul.

“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)

The war will soon be over. Whose side will you be on when the dust clears?

Grant Phillips
Pre-Rapture Commentary
Rapture Ready

Sunday 20 January 2013

The Rapture is a Family Matter

Lambert Dolphin
email me:

The Rapture is a Family Matter:

Lately I am meeting some new friends by emails who are interested in discussing the rapture of the church in more detail. The vast majority of the people in the world are disinterested in all this (to say the least), reflecting the fact that Jesus Christ is the most hated man who ever lived.

Brenda Peterson has written a light-hearted book, "I Want to be Left Behind: Finding Rapture Here on Earth." As a girl she attended a Southern Baptist evangelical church where she "accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour," and where she learned a lot of fine old hymns, whose titles make convenient chapter headings in her book. She has an obvious love of nature and for greener living, but further thoughts about the real, living God soon fade from consideration as one gets into her book.

At times, I, too, would like to escape from the insane stressed-out life of the city, but then I am instantly reminded that nature is broken too, not just us people who live here on God's green earth.

"...if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body," Romans 8:10-23 

Just a few years ago, it seemed to me that many churches oversimplified the gospel message. Jesus Christ, alive from the dead, does indeed offer himself to us as Saviour, Lord, Friend and Lover. His ability to offer Himself to us so generously, so freely, is based on his own voluntary death by crucifixion, for each one of us. "...He Himself is the propitiation (Greek: hilasterion,, for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." (1 John 2:2) Ray Stedman explains that the issue of all human sin, for all time, has been paid for in full by Jesus Christ the Son of God,

Now, why does John say, "he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world?" Why does he put that in? Obviously he is drawing a contrast between Christians and non-Christians. He is reminding us that when the Lord Jesus died upon the cross 1900 years ago, he not only paid the debt of our sins, he not only took our guilt, as Christians, but he took the guilt of the whole world. He paid the price for every man. There is no man who will be kept away from God because of his sins, if he accepts the work of Christ on his behalf. Sin can never separate an individual from God, because of the cross of Christ. No matter how bad the sins, no matter how extreme it may be, or how long continued, sin can never separate anybody, anywhere, in any time, or any age, from the heart of God, if the work of the cross be received. That is the extent of the expiation mentioned here. But why does he remind us of that in this context? 

The answer is: It is to help us see ourselves.
Why is it that all the world is not reconciled to God? Why is it that these others, whose sins have been already settled for on the cross, are living in estrangement and hostility to the God who loves them and who seeks after them? Why is it that men are still defying God, and blaspheming God, and turning and running from him, and experiencing the death, darkness, and degradation that comes from not knowing? You know the answer: Because they will not believe him. They will not accept his forgiveness. He has forgiven them, but they have never forgiven him. As Paul puts it in Second Corinthians 5, "We are ambassadors for Christ, for God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. Therefore, we beseech men, be ye reconciled to God," (2 Corinthians 5:20). We do not have to say to God, "be reconciled to men"; we are saying to men, "be ye reconciled to God," (2 Corinthians 5:20b KJV).
Now, that is the very same reason why we Christians are not enjoying the full flow of the Spirit of power, life, love, and wisdom, in our experience. It is all available to us, but we will not receive it. That is what John means. Like the world, we are turning our back on it. We are saying to God, "I'm not interested in cleansing because, you see, I really don't need it. After all, this is not a sin, it's simply a weakness, just an inherited tendency, something I got from my family. I can't help it." That kind of thing is cutting the ground out from under the whole redemptive work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Though his power is all-available, it is not experienced because of that. Now let us bow before him. In a moment of quietness before God, let us confess this terrible tendency that each of us has unquestionably experienced, to rationalize sin, to excuse it, justify it, call it something else, doll it up, sprinkle perfume on it and make it look better, instead of calling it exactly what it is. Christ has found a way below, around, and above our circumstances. He can reach us despite the pressures; it is just that we do not want it. (

The kind and quality of the boundless love Jesus offers us demands a wholehearted response from us. True, we have nothing to offer Him but ourselves, but that is exactly what He is asking from us. Our Lord is also offering each of us a place in his kingdom, and a place of intimacy with Him as well--as indicated by the symbols of heavenly Bridegroom courting and becoming one with his gentile, virgin Bride. (Never mind that the bride-to-be may have previously been a spiritual adulteress, or worse--the forgiveness package offered covers any and all kinds of sin. Only sinners need apply).

In spite of much pleading by God, and much love poured out on our generation, history has shown that only a small number of people are accepting the courtship offer God still offers mankind. The time period Jesus has been calling a Bride to Himself has now been about 2000 years. Many believed in Jesus after the Creation of the world but before the Flood of Noah. Most of the people of Israel have not as yet responded to the calling of their Messiah.

The offer of Jesus -- in the role of a Bridegroom seeking a Bride -- is not the whole story of God's love for the world. It is but one, one facet. Evangelism of the whole world will pick up again after the rapture of the church--with great power and conviction, but many of these last-minute converts will pay by experiencing their own immediate martyrdom. Trying to stay alive on earth for even a short time after the Rapture will involve a series of horrific, cascading nightmares whose primary purpose is do deal with layers of human evil and corruption which must be purged away before the rebuilding of earth can begin.

As noted by Paul in Romans 8, nature ("the creation") is fatally broken and running down and must be completely remade. Evil men who insist on running their lives by their own selfish rules must be dealt with by force; justice must be dispensed, the "unrighteous" of earth will find themselves soon evicted. They have been living on borrowed time and borrowed land. The Landlord wants His property back. Whole (holy) men and women need to will be housed in a holy place, in an all new-creation. Sin is terribly contagious and must be eradicated one step at a time, until we come to a time of a "new heavens and new earth." What will survive the coming great purges are the deeds God have done though His people.

In chapter after chapter, whole books of the Bible tell us what the future of life on earth will be like when Jesus Christ returns in power as Ruling King of all the nations (Psalm 2). We might wish for more detail, but there is actually plenty already written down for us by the ancients.

The big event called the "second coming" of Jesus is described in the New Testament by the use of the Greek words "parousia," and "epiphaneia." The first aspect of the return of Jesus, is popularly known as the rapture of the church. (See "Aspects of the Return of the Lord Jesus Christ," After that event, history will move rapidly ahead to the visible appearing of Jesus Christ on the Mt. of Olives in Jerusalem. The Rapture may be largely unseen and unnoticed in the daily news but radical, major shifts in world, power will follow the rapture in short order. Bible buffs are quite busy tracking down the major shifts in the world one can see were foretold long ago in the Bible. We are already seeing a small foretaste of bad things to come down here on earth in recent months.

God surely grieves when men reject the gift He offers, yet for God the consent of a few to follow Him is apparently reward enough. Most of us know that the news media of our day do not usually report on those issues that are of major importance to God and His kingdom. Not many Christians may be leaving with us at the rapture, because many who say they are in the family of God, aren't. It is a wonderful topic to study and think about. The devil will soon cover up the exit from earth of that small band of "fundamentalists." Were they "merely" abducted by alien space ships? Probably it won't be all that big a deal to most of those who out to tidy by the gardens. As Ray Stedman noted above, unbelief is the biggest obstacle to our faith most all the time.

Back to the Rapture: All three Persons of the godhead are involved in the approaching and scheduled consummation of the 2000 year courtship story concerning the Lord Jesus Christ and his Bride, the true church. Like any good Jewish father, God the Father has carefully chosen each of us, and called us. He is taking the responsibility of preparing us to be THE Bride for His beloved son. We who are gentiles are being invited to marry into the Jewish family of Jesus. (But there are multitudes of Jews who are in the church as well). As a very rough guess I estimated that the true church (all believers in Christ since that Pentecost day which immediately followed the resurrection of Jesus), could easily be  billion of people in numbers! Ten billion is a possibility.

Local churches, as described in the New Testament, are supposed to be families who take in the refugees of our fallen world. Imagine the diversity of persons in the finished church of Jesus Christ we are being invited into. The heavenly family of Jesus surely contains many children: orphans, throw-away kids, victims of abortion, war, disease. There will be old and wise folks in heaven and every age in between, all in different states of spiritual and emotional maturation (I would think). Part of growing up as humans is experiencing nurturing and receiving training and instruction in a family. Local churches are supposed to be doing as much of this as possible here and now, but I wonder how much healing-of-families goes hand in hand with the rapture?

The sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (already mightily at work in all of us who know the Lord) is in making once derelict sinners into all-new godly men, woman and children. Jesus evidently looks forward to sharing a home with Him in the heavenly places (probably the orbiting City of New Jerusalem). At most weddings, the Bride is featured as the center of attraction. Although the Lord Jesus is the Most Honoured One at this coming union with His Church, it should be obvious that every good wedding should involve a good match between Lover and Beloved, between Bride and Bridegroom. In this case the Holy Spirit (He is fully God in very respect) will surely know what wedding dowry is best suited for the virgin spouse of Jesus. Getting the Bride sanctified is a very tall order for which the Spirit of God has always been the Healer and the Giver of Life.

The Song of Solomon is a wonderful love study about a very plain peasant girl who receives a complete wedding endowment from the Spirit of God so that she arrives at her wedding day fully equipped to provide a wonderful match for a great King. Psalms 45 further hints at the union of the Lord and his church.

 See, and "Love and Relationships, The Song of Solomon,"

Ecosystems and infrastructure matter to man--one sees that in the way we were created in Genesis 1-2. I suppose heaven will have sanctuaries for shy persons, garden spaces, libraries, and plenty of comfort for each of us. Man was created last, after the rest of the created universe. God delights in variety, in gardens, in places for rest and meditation. Like C.S. Lewis, I hope heaven has room for our close animal companions from this life.

I think our immediate home after the Rapture is indeed the heavenly city of New Jerusalem, Revelation 21-22. The heavenly city seems to me to be a district in heaven, not the sum total of what the Third Heaven is). While we are waiting to go there, I hope some gifted artists and architects of our day might allow their sanctified imaginations to tell us what the City of God might be like? My earliest childhood thoughts of heaven hardly went further than thinking of fluffy clouds in an otherwise boring "place" free from sin, pain and sorrow. A few years ago while visiting Israel I found that was attractive to a simple, low-profile assignment in New Jerusalem, "For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness." (Psalm 84:10)

Knowing the one true God is about being in a very diverse family of men, women, boys and girls--all ages all backgrounds, all cultures, all callings. The Rapture is very much a family reunion where we are all on common ground. For some, God helps us find the right place in his cosmic family by sending us pain and grief. Hebrews 12 tells that all legitimate children of God are disciplined--even scourged. The list of those whom the father "scourges" includes Jesus. Getting us adjusted, and our brothers and sisters as well, may mean He must send us trials, tests and suffering. (I don't see heaven as a deserved reward for the righteous at all. I think it is the next big step God has for us to continue to enjoy being the objects of His love and grace. We each have a unique place in God's affections, but being a follower of Jesus is still a family matter.) The world around us could care less about everlasting happiness with Jesus, and this is very sad indeed. For now, there is still time to say "yes" to the healing love of Jesus. All who will may come.

"God is going to invade this earth in force. But what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream, and something else -- something it never entered your head to conceive -- comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us, and so terrible to others, that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature.

"It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we have really chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back, to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it." (C.S. Lewis)

Lambert Dolphin
email me:
August 12, 2010
Current PBC Class:

Thursday 17 January 2013

Collecting... for the Saints

 - Ron Graham -

"Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem." 1 Corinthians 16:1-3. First notice that Paul says "concerning the collection for the saints" Paul specifically states who the collection is for... the Jerusalem saints. The purpose of the collection was to help provide the saints in Jerusalem with sustenance - apparently they were in great need.

Secondly, we find the true understanding of the verse above to be somewhat diverted in our English translations. The English phrase "the first day of the week" is translated from the Greek words "mia sabbaton". The Greek word "mia" means "only one or someone" and it comes from a root word that simply means "one"; it does not mean "every" such as every week. The Greek word "sabbaton" is translated into Greek from the Hebrew word "Sabbath". Sabbaton means seventh, as in the seventh day of the week, or it can simply "week."

If we back up a few chapters to 1 Corinthians 7:1 we find that Paul has received a letter from Corinth. He's attempting to answer the concerns of that particular assembly. In chapter 16 Paul continues his reply to that same assembly, this time it's in regards to a collection for the saints in Jerusalem. Paul spends two chapters on this subject - the ministering to the saints. He's concerned for the plight of the saint's in Jerusalem. As Paul did with the assemblies in Galatia, he requests that those in Corinth help their brethren in Jerusalem.

I've received numerous letters from my readers who've requested a biblical explanation of tithing. I'll not attempt to turn my brethren away from giving. On the contrary, I wholeheartedly convinced that giving of our abundance as we purpose in our own hearts is of God. We, as the children of God, more than any other people on earth should be of the mindset of helping our brothers and sisters "in Christ" who are in need. In this commentary I will attempt to set many minds at ease when it comes to tithing, using the inerrant word of God as our guide.

What is God's view of tithing? There is no example of tithing in the New Testament. The tithe was a requirement of the law in which all Israelites were to give 10% of everything they earned back to God. One reason for giving back a portion of what God had blessed them with was the need of the Levites. The Levites were priests, thus they had been given no land. Without any land they had no way to sustain themselves. They relied on the rest of the Israelite tribes for their sustenance.

"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart..." 2 Corinthians 9:7. On the other hand, the "ekklēsia" (the called out congregation of Jesus' followers) was never given the commandment or directive to tithe. Giving with a glad heart pleases God, giving one percent or ten percent of our abundance, or giving everything we have, is a decision based solely on how we purpose giving in our own heart. No man should be provoking another brother to give or to give more than they've purposed in their heart.

We are given confirmation of the Greek word "mia" meaning "one" and not "every" in another verse in Matthew. "In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher." Matthew 28:1. Clearly Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the sepulcher only once. They didn't arrive "every week" seeking to prepare the body of our Lord for burial, but one time only.

"For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:" 2 Corinthians 9:1. The Greek word "perissos" is translated into our English word "superfluous", and a more defined meaning would be: over and above, more than is necessary. In other words by now its apparent from Paul's statement above that the assembly at Corinth were keenly aware of what Paul expected of them concerning the collection for the saints... unto Jerusalem.

1 Corinthians 16 and 2 Corinthians 9 are the two main chapters used by those who wish to bind the Ekklesia of Christ with a stumbling block - one of tithing. Yet, as we study the original Greek language, we find these two chapters have nothing to do with tithing or giving on a continual weekly basis. Nor do we find in Paul's admonition to the Corinthians any exhorting of the faithful to collect weekly, not to mention for the purposes for which they are collected today.

Basically what Paul is requesting is "one" offering to take place on the seventh day of the week. Remember who he's writing to. These were Gentiles who had become Christians, they had never been observers of the Sabbath. Nor did this offering have anything to do with worship services; Paul wasn't telling the Corinthians to worship on "Sabbaton" but to collect liberality (a onetime gift)... on the seventh day. And, as I've already mentioned, to give it to those saints who were suffering in Jerusalem. Don't take my word for the correct rendering of the original Greek but look them up in your own concordance/dictionaries.

The correct interpretation of 1 Corinthians 16:1-3 indicates that the collection Paul requested was not something he admonished the parishioners to repeat every week. It was a onetime blessing for the saints in Jerusalem collected from the assemblies in Galatia and Corinth. Paul made it clear he intended to send one of the brothers of the Corinth congregation to Jerusalem with this one time offering. That was it. Paul never says bring your tithes every Sabbaton so we can build new beautiful buildings, pay pastoral salaries, pay for grounds upkeep, musical instruments, stages, lighting, sound systems, and all the rest of the entertainment specialties that people seem to need today. These verses have been used to accommodate the hierarchy (the clergy) for hundreds of years, but as I've just demonstrated this was clearly not God's intent.

Please don't misunderstand my intentions with this commentary. I'm only trying to give my readers a clearer picture of the correct interpretation when it comes to tithing - from scripture. There are many pastors who are under extreme pressure from their board of directors to squeeze more from their congregations in regards to funding. In most cases these funds are not used to help the suffering brethren but, as I've already mentioned, to add sources of entertainment or pay for overhead to an already bloated building fund.

Supporting others in need through our own abundance is exactly what Jesus teaches us in the parable of the Samaritan. Almost immediately, as Jesus begins this parable, He uses the word compassion. However, He never mentions that this Samaritan was under orders from his pastor or anyone else to help the man who had been attacked by thieves. The parable tells us that the Samaritan purposed in his own heart to help this man. Instead of passing by, Jesus showed that this Samaritan loved this man with a sacrificial love. He didn't wait to be asked; seeing the need right in front of him was enough to compel him to action. He also gave freely of both his time and his resources. He didn't filter his giving through a "benevolence" fund or send it to a charity where most of the funds were siphoned off for administration purposes, but shouldered the responsibility himself. By laying out this parable, Jesus was attempting to answer the question "Who is our neighbor?" What we come to understand from this parable is that everyone is our neighbor. We should have compassion for our fellow man, no matter who that person may be.   

"If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?" James 2:15-16. In many cases we pray for the hungry, naked, and destitute but give them little if anything at all to eat, cover themselves with, or help them pay their monthly heating cost. If we are of no help to others what profit, or what benefit, is it to them? Here's a suggestion. Look around your own community or congregation and see who is in need, then help them directly. Even if you want to stay anonymous there are ways to accomplish that also.

Anyone who tells you that if you don't tithe you can't be born again is mistaken. Many in Christian leadership continually insist that the members of their congregations who don't tithe are standing against God's precepts. Jesus Christ is our Saviour and He is our King, and a King doesn't tax his own children. We're free to give as we prosper and as we purpose in our hearts.

" let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:7. The Greek word "lypē" is translated into our English word "grudgingly", and it means: sorrow, pain, grief. We aren't to be in serious state of wanting ourselves when we give because then we will be giving grudgingly. The Greek word "anagkē" is translated into our English word "necessity" and it means: imposed either by the circumstances, or by law of duty regarding to one's advantage, custom, argument, calamity, distress, straits. In other words, no one should be provoking us or brow beating us into giving or tithing. Clearly when we give we are to give out of our love for someone else - God says give cheerfully, joyfully; when we do so we honor God pleasing Him in love.

God bless you all,

Ron Graham

All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed

Please continue your prayers for my health. The diabetes has taken a detrimental effect on my eyesight, the Myasthenia is worsening and both the MG and the diabetes have begun to take a real toll on my body. The prostate cancer is back and I must begin hormone treatments again. Through all this "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13.

I'm very grateful to those of you who have been led by God to send gifts of support. God is the giver of all good gifts. I've placed this little acknowledgement here at the bottom of my commentary because some of you have asked if you can send a gift. My response as always is; If God leads you to send a gift of support then yes; if this is the case then please send your gift to:

Ron Graham

96 County Road 5480

Salem, MO, 65560

For those of you who have suggested it, I have set up a PayPal account using my email address as my account access number. Thank you my brethren, God bless you all.

If you would like to be on my email list to receive the commentaries just drop me a line and let me know. I never add anyone to my email list without their requesting I do so.

Tuesday 1 January 2013

"-for John had"not yet been thrown into prison." - John 3:24 NASV

Happy New Year & Closing Thoughts After Almost 8 Years

Just before Christmas  I shared with you all a post about what I've learned about the persecuted church and today, as I have thought about what to share with you in my last post for this blog, I wanted to leave a few final thoughts with you all.

Before I do that though, I wanted to let you know that if you want to stay in touch with me, you can follow my blog and what I'm up to at my company website at Active Christian Media.  I will continue to share about the news of the persecuted church there, as well as other things we'll be doing, including my daily radio program.

First, let me say that this almost eight year ride having the blessing of doing this blog for The Voice of the Martyrs has been just that, a blessing!  I recently asked my neighbor how she ended up being a neo-natal nurse for 25 years and she shared with me that she was simply placed in a NICU unit during her training and she ended up loving it.  Well, I was asked by a friend to be a contract writer for this blog and the rest as they say is history.  I was asked because my friend Paul knew I subscribed to VOM's weekly prayer requests and that's all it took.  It's actually really funny if you think about it.

The scripture really is true when it says that the Lord directs your steps and so not only did He direct me here, but I am confident that He is directing me on to a new place.  I'm excited about what the future holds and I hope you are too.

Yesterday I saw something in scripture that I wanted to leave with you as I close this chapter of my life.  I was reading the gospel of John chapter three and I read the following verse:
"-for John had not yet been thrown into prison." - John 3:24 NASV

This verse just popped out at me because I found it interesting that the writer made a point of sharing it within the context he was sharing it.  In order to get some background, please take the time to read all of John chapter 3. 

Here's what I thought as I read the verse - "What if my name was there instead?  What if it said, "for Stacy had not yet been thrown into prison" - How would I feel?  What would I do differently?  Would I be more grateful, would I take my faith more serious, would I watch my favorite TV show or would I be more intentional about sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others?  Would I study the scriptures more and would I consult with the Lord concerning everything in my life?

Now, what if YOUR name was there - how would you feel?  What would you do differently?  Pause and think about it for a second.

As you continue to read through John 3 you'll see that the aforementioned verse is referring to John the Baptist and if you know anything about John the Baptist  you know that he was beheaded because Herod the tetrarch wanted to give his step daughter the birthday present she requested, because her mother wanted it -   John the Baptist's head on a platter - literally. (Talk about a soap opera plot!)

Here's the account from Matthew 14:1-12 -
 At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the news about Jesus,  and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he has risen from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”       For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip.  For John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded John as a prophet.

But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod,  so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked.  Having been prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” Although he was grieved, the king commanded it to be given because of his oaths, and because of his dinner guests.  He sent and had John beheaded in the prison.  And his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, and she brought it to her mother.  His disciples came and took away the body and buried it; and they went and reported to Jesus. 
A birthday, a beheading... drama for sure! This passage reminds me of one of the first big decisions I had to make when I started this blog, and that was whether or not I should post an actual picture of a beheaded person.  I remember debating it for quite some time before I did it because it's not every day that you see that.

I also remember the feedback from readers when I posted the picture.  Some people were very upset because they didn't feel the picture was suitable for all readers and others were really glad that I did it because honestly, it's a reality for Christians in countries where Christians are severely persecuted.

Well, back to the last observation I wanted to share with you from John 3.  If you continue to read through John 3 you'll see that John the Baptist was a man who knew his God given role.  He knew he was the forerunner for the Messiah and he knew that his life wasn't about exalting himself, but rather the One who made him.
Read John's words from John 3:27-30 -
John answered and said, “A man can receive nothing unless it has been given him from heaven. “You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’  “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full.  “He must increase, but I must decrease.

Note John's words, "He must increase, but I must decrease." As I have considered these words over the years, and especially consider them in light of the persecuted church, this is what I know, every Christian who is a martyr understands that being a disciple of Christ is not about what we get out of it.  Being a disciple of Christ means that Christ is exalted and that we are to pick up our crosses daily and follow Him with all of our hearts.

We are told that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted in 2 Timothy 3:12 and that is true.  Luke 9:23-26 also tells us the following:
And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.  “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.  “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?  “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
 In closing, I want to encourage you to follow the Master and pursue Him with all of your heart.  I want to remind you though, that following Christ will cost you.  For some of you it may cost you your life, for others of you, it may cost you a job or a promotion or even friends. Never let the cost of being a disciple of Christ scare you into denying Christ because what is waiting at the end of your life is a glorious reunion with the One who died for your sin and life everlasting.

Pray daily for the persecuted church worldwide and never forget the reason we are all here on this earth - to lift up the name of Christ and honor Him with our lives.

I pray the Lord blesses you in 2013 and want to encourage you to run this race with perseverence.

I leave you with Hebrews 12:1-3  -
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.   For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Go Honor Your King,
Screen Shot 2012-12-31 at 9.57.31 AM

 Stacy Lynn Harp