Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Wednesday, 19 February 2014
By Vernon Gray - email@example.com
Question: - "Please can someone tell me once and for all when the Rapture will happen?"
Answer:- With all the hype surrounding the "Blood Moons" etc., it seems like everyone has an opinion of when the Rapture will take place and Tribulation will begin.
Theories abound. Some are plausible and Biblically well thought out; and others are simply not worth exploring.
NOTE: Just so that we are clear at the outset, this writer is unashamedly Premillennial and Pretrib in doctrine.
No one seems to understand that the rapture is sign less.
As a result there is not a single sign that is to be given whereby we can predict to the day and the hour when the Rapture will happen.
(Except perhaps for the sounding of a trumpet.)
Check it out for yourself. Nowhere in Scripture are we given any hint as to when the Rapture will take place. Any speculation as to the timing of the rapture can only be worked backwards seven years or so from when the Second Coming event.
If we can guestimate the timing of the Second Coming by current historic events and by what the Bible teaches us, then we may be able to come up with a date for the Rapture. Once we have the Second Coming pegged, we can work backwards seven years at least to the Rapture event.
I see someone nodding in agreement because they have read in Matthew 24: 36 "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."
The problem with this verse is that Jesus was not talking about His Second Coming.
Jesus had just said in verse 35 "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away," He was emphasizing or reinforcing what He had just said in verse 33 which says: "So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors."
Why would Jesus confuse us by saying that we CAN know the season of His return in verse 33 and then tell us "that no man knoweth, no not even the angels...?"
in verse 36.
If you read the passage carefully, you will see that the "No man knoweth" verse has to do with Heaven and earth passing away, not the second coming because He had already told us in verse 33 that we can indeed know.
Anyone can work out 3.5 years from the time that the Antichrist declares himself as God in the Holy of Holies. A 1260 day count is not difficult for most of us.
Ok Ok, Jesus did not tell us the exact day and hour. What He did tell us is that there would be certain signs for us to see that His return is imminent.
On what we call Palm Sunday Jesus entered into Jerusalem as the Jewish Messiah. They missed it, and paid a high price for doing so.
Matthew 23:37, 38 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate."
Jesus expected the children of Israel to know that He was Messiah and that this was the time prophesied by Daniel the Prophet that their Saviour would make His appearance on the earth.
Luke 19:39 - 44 "And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. and he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, saying,
If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation."
The suggestion here is that the Jews should have known that He was the Messiah. His Arrival was prophesied to the very day by Daniel.
Before that day, whenever His disciples tried to make Him King, He rejected the idea saying "My time is not yet come."
But on this day He arranged it. He sent for the donkey etc.
Why this particular day? What made Him change His mind on this day?
Because that precise day was prophesied by Gabriel in Daniel in chapter 9: 25 "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."
This includes a mathematical prophecy. The Jewish (and Babylonian) calendars used a 360 day year; 69 weeks of 360 day years equals 173,880 days.
This decree was given in 445BC (Nehemiah 2: 5 - 8 & 17, 18)
In effect, Gabriel told Daniel that the interval between the commandment to rebuild Jerusalem until the presentation of the Messiah as King would be exactly 173,880 days.
God gave Israel the precise day on which their Saviour would come through the Golden Gate of Jerusalem. (Ezekiel 44:1 - 3) The Ottoman Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent sealed off the Golden Gate in 1541. It remains sealed up to this day and a Muslim grave yard was placed at its entrance.
The precision of this prophecy has been the focus of many an attack by Bible Haters on the authenticity of the Book of Daniel.
We have not answered the question of when will the Rapture occur; but we must first lay more evidence on the table.
If we accept as most scholars do that the budding of the Fig Tree in Matthew 24 is the rebirth of Israel in 1948. And if we accept that a generation is 70 years (80 at the most) then in 2018 Israel will be 70 years old. This generation must see all those things spoken of by Jesus at the Olivet Discourse. Seven is God's number, and I don't think that the generation spoken of will exceed the 70 years because that does not fit the pattern that God has set in the past.
Paul believed that the Rapture could happen in his lifetime. He says so in
1Thessalonians 4: 15 - 17 "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
The "we" spoken of here includes the writer of the passage. Paul held to the doctrine of imminence.
Paul however did not have the benefit of the history we have today. In particular the fact that Israel was reborn as a nation after nearly 2000 years of global dispersion.
In 2018 Israel will be 70 years old. The final generation of the world as we know it is already grey-haired and teetering on the edge of eternity.
Truly the Rapture is close at hand. Are you prepared? Are you still playing Churchianity?
I am sure that you have seen a list of "Signs of the Second Coming."
I would like to put forward my own list and extract the emotion and hype from it, giving you the bare bones of what is happening right now as you read this.
Biblical Signs of the last days
It is not generally known that the great apostasy of the church is the single most spoken of sign of the end times in the Bible. Apostasy is mentioned in more books of the Bible and more times than any other sign. (2 Timothy 4:3-5)
Re-establishment of Israel in May 14th 1948. (Isaiah 66:7-8)
Reclamation of the land of Israel. (Ezekiel 36:34-35)
Revival of Biblical Hebrew. After centuries of slumber where it was strictly a liturgical and written language, Hebrew was literally reborn nearly a century ago in its original birthplace. Eliezar Ben Yehuda led the rebirth of Hebrew as a spoken language. (Zephaniah 3:9; Jeremiah 31:23)
The opening up of the Bible and the understanding of Bible prophecy. (Daniel 12:8-9)
1. Regathering of the Jews. (Isaiah 11:10-12)
2. Re-occupation of Jerusalem. (Luke 21:24)
3. Resurgence of the Israeli military. (Zechariah 12:6)
4. Re-focusing of world politics on Israel. (Zechariah 12:3)
5. Arab threat to Israel. (Ezekiel 35 and 36)
6. Increasing instability of nature. Weather patterns are changing rapidly. (Matthew 24:7 & Luke 21:11)
7. Increasing lawlessness and violence. (Matthew 24:12)
8. Increasing immorality. (Matthew 24:37)
9. Increasing materialism. (2 Timothy 3:2)
10. Increasing Hedonism. (2 Timothy 3:4)
11. Increasing influence of Humanism. (2 Timothy 3:2)
12. Depraved entertainment. (2 Timothy 3:4)
13. Calling evil good and good evil. (2 Timothy 3:3 & Isaiah 5:20)
14. Increasing use of drugs. (2 Timothy 3:3)
15. Increasing blasphemy. (2 Timothy 3:2)
16. Increasing paganism. (Wicca etc.) (2 Timothy 3:1-4)
17. Increasing despair. (2 Timothy 3:1)
18. Signs in the heavens. (Luke 21:11,25)
19. Increasing knowledge, internet etc. (Daniel 12:4)
20. Computer technology. (Revelation 13:7)
21. Increasing travel. (Daniel 12:4)
22. The explosion of cults. (Matthew 24:11)
23. Increasing occultism. (1 Timothy 4:1)
24. The proliferation of false christs. (Matthew 24:5)
25. Increasing attacks on Jesus the Bible and Christianity. (Romans 1:18-19)
26. Increasing persecution of Christians particularly in the east and middle east. (Matthew 24:9)
27. Wars and rumors of wars. (Matthew 24:6)
28. Weapons of mass destruction. (Luke 21:26)
29. Increasing famine. (Luke 21:11)
30. Increasing pestilence and new diseases. (Luke 21:11)
31. Television. (Revelation 11:8-9)
32. Satellite technology. (Revelation 11:8-9)
33. Unification of Europe. (Daniel 2 & 7)
34. Far Eastern military powers or Kings of the East. (Revelation 9:16 & 16:12)
35. Movement toward world government and one world monetary system. (Daniel 7:23-26)
36. Move towards a cashless society. (Revelation 13:16-17)
37. Denial of the Rapture and Second Coming. (2 Peter 3:3-4)
38. Denial of creation by God. (Romans 1:18-22)
39. Translation of the Bible into many languages.(Matthew 24:14)
Obviously this list could be expanded, but the examples above should be sufficient to show that we are living in the season of the Lord's return.
There are numerous compelling extra-biblical "evidences" that we are at the very end of days. Some are convincing and unexplainable in natural human terms, but it appears that certain knowledge was given to persons in the past by someone or something that had higher knowledge.
The Bible clearly teaches that God never pours out His wrath without warning for He is a just and loving God who does not wish that any should perish.
2 Peter 3: 9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
That's why He has provided so many signs to alert us to the fact that we are living on the threshold of the Rapture and for the Earth Dwellers, the Tribulation.
Hopefully this will be of some comfort to those who are eagerly waiting for their Lord and saviour to return for them.
James 5: 7, 8 "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."
Tuesday, 11 February 2014
By Pastor Mike Taylor -
4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
(II Timothy 4:3-4)
Sometimes, if I allow myself, my heart becomes heavy with the direction of this country we live in, and for the rest of the world. Paul warned that a falling away from true religion of those following after Jesus Christ would be rampant and coming to a fulfillment at the end of the age. This warning has been increasing in intensity and volume from its beginning nearly 1800+ years and the rise of apostasy in the form of Gnosticism and the beginnings of the transformation of the Roman Empire into a theocratic rule by the "Holy Roman Church" and its papacy. Anyone can research the history of this portion of human history and read about the horrors that were imposed on other humans to rule them, all the while invoking the name of Jesus Christ. I've written several messages about the coming One World Religion that will be headed by none other than the Roman Catholic Church and its pope. These can be found on my website, should you wish to review them. But that is not all what I wish to talk about today.
Down through the last 400+ years since the Reformation, there have been many endeavors to return to the teachings of the Bible and forsake man-made traditions that elevated their teachings above clear meaning of passages found in the Word of God. I was just reading a message by the late Jack Kinsella, who was a reformed Catholic himself. Something I didn't know, but he went over how he came out of the Catholic Church. The story goes that he started to question the practice of calling the local priest of his school, "father", when the Bible clearly stated that we were not to call anyone on earth "Father"...Matthew 23,
v.9 And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
As I have always been, Jack was also confused and asked a nun why this was so, since the bible said it was not to be done. To this the nun spoke against God's Word and Jack wrote what she said. "So I asked her about that, and her answer totally devastated me. "In matters of conflict between the Bible and Church dogma, Church dogma is to be given the greater authority." I had to ask her to clarify it for me; "You mean when the Bible doesn't agree with Church teaching, it is the Bible that's wrong?" And if this be in opposition to God's Word, what else is in opposition? From my viewpoint and my studies, there's major opposition, but we won't go there today.
That is the mindset of main stream Christianity for the last 1800 years, which they call their traditions. It is be given more weight than what the bible says. Meaning man can override God or change the clear meaning of scripture to his own interpretation or evil intentions. They are modern scribes and Pharisees of our day! Do we not remember what Jesus said to the ruling authority of the Pharisees and their scribes? Jesus railed against them for their traditions. Starting in Matthew 23 v. 13, Jesus makes charges against the ruling theocracy of the Temple priest by how they had perverted the law of God by their traditions, and ends it with this powerful indictment:
v. 27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
v.28 Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
As modern day Pharisees have done in our mainstream churches beginning with the Church in Rome, lest I be accused of Catholic bashing, the Protestants churches have taken some of the same roads. Now there are good churches filled with God fearing, Bible believing people (Catholic and Protestant) who only wish to follow after the ways of God and the footsteps of our example, Jesus Christ. I pray that those that fear God are blessed by those churches, but the apostasy grows amongst us to where the modern day Pharisee hypocrisy flourishes in our churches and outside of churches on your TV set or your local evangelist coming to an auditorium near you.
As the Catholic Church has been guilty of for hundreds of years, so is the modern day epitome of what Jesus accused the Pharisee and the scribes of. The cancer of hypocrisy has spread to those religions that came out of the "mother" church who only wished to put distance between them in beliefs and practices from the Papacy in Rome. But I have come to the surreal realization that the mainstream religions of today have evolved into the same apostasy that has inflicted the Catholic Church for hundreds of years. Not all, but many have been effected.
How many times do I get emails from concerned Christians, who lament that there is not a church that believes in the faith once delivered by the Apostles? Today's mainstream religions are into anything that makes the senses feel good. It could be music with hard rock sound, coffee shops that line their lobbies, or Prosperity Gospel that is looking only for as much tithe and offering they can swindle out of you. Of course, it's in the name of "Jesus" or somebody by that name, and all the while they are lining their pockets with as much gold as they can in this life. They live luxuriously in fine homes, fancy cars, and may run around in a leer jet, all the while saying they are spreading the Gospel. Who have they taken their lessons from? Yep, the Catholic church who is the richest religious institution in the world, having more gold in their coffers than Fort Knox. As Peter wrote about these false prophets and teachers in 2nd Peter,
2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.
2:2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.
2:3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
Has not the modern day churches done this in the name of "Jesus Christ" or could it be another Jesus? The newly elected Pope seems to be changing even its obscure way of salvation that they have fostered for over a thousand years, namely you must be Catholic and part of the "mother " church to be saved. You must depend on a priest, or someone other than our Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. Pope Francis was quoted as saying (of course, most Catholics won't believe it, saying he was misquoted, but it's easy to take the quote from a homily) that there are other ways to get to heaven..And I quote:
"The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. 'But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.' Yes, he can... "The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! 'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists. Everyone!".. We must meet one another doing good. 'But I don't believe, Father, I am an atheist!' But do good: we will meet one another there."
Of course not all Christians believe that those who don't believe will be redeemed, and the Pope's words may spark memories of the deep divisions from the Protestant reformation over the belief in redemption through grace vs. redemption through works. In further comments he replied to a question about to another atheist about good works:
"Just do good and we'll find a meeting point," the pope said in a hypothetical conversation in which someone told a priest: "But I don't believe. I'm an atheist." Just do good"
Thus the leader of a billion Catholics expressed a belief that salvation does not come by grace, but by works of doing good. This, I believe is a further attempt to unify all religions, or no religion into one religion on earth. This would extend to Muslims, Buddhist, Hindus, Jews, or come as you are atheist by definition. Is that scriptural? Oh, I forget. Traditions can supplant and replace the Word of God, if they are in conflict, as dogma takes precedence. But let us not stop there. Are the modern Protestant churches doing any better? Look around you, my reader, what do you see? If you follow after a religious denomination ask yourself if their teachings line up with the Word of God...There are 7 things to look for when evaluating whether your local church has fallen into apostasy. I quote this from an online source dealing with apostasy and paraphrase:
1. What is their source of teaching? Is it the bible, or does the teacher makes up his own theology as he goes? The false teacher relies on his own creativity. He makes up his own message.
2. A different message. What is the substance of the message? For the false teacher, Jesus is at the margins: "They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them"
3. Different position. What does their teaching leave you feeling? Truth in Jesus Christ produces freedom, but apostasy produces slavery. The true believer is escaping corruption, while the counterfeit believer is mastered by it.
4. Different character. What kind of people does the message produce? The counterfeit Christian is marked by arrogance and slander. They are "experts in greed" and "their eyes are full of adultery"
5. Different appeal? The truth teacher promotes the Word of God. The false teacher makes a rather different appeal: "By appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error"
6. Different fruit. What does the message produce in the people who hear? The true believer attains more of the ways of Jesus Christ. The counterfeit is "like a well without water" (2nd Peter 2:17). This is an extraordinary picture! They promise much but produce little.
7. And finally: What end does it ultimately lead to? The true believer will be welcomed into the Kingdom of God. The deceived will be swift to destruction, as they followed the wrong teacher, or a false Christ devoid of grace and mercy through the blood of Jesus Christ. The cross is seldom mentioned. That would be any Catholic or Protestant religious institution near you...choose wisely.
Let's not forget the abomination of homosexuality, adultery, pedophilia, and every sin of the flesh imaginable and that's just the clergy, not just the congregation...disgusting!!
Do you see any symptoms of these signs of false teaching or sins of the flesh being displayed in your church? If so, these are the warning signs to get out and find a church that believes in "the Bible Only"...I had a family member who expressed in an email that took me back. First, this family member is a converted Catholic...yeah, I know, the strongest kind, as they weren't born into it, but embraced it with all the foreknowledge and their five senses within their spiritual discernment...(or the lack thereof). Not going back to Catholic bashing, but it shows were this apostasy originated and now flourishes in Protestant churches in different forms as noted above. To what he said and believed by all Catholics as a nun so emphatically told Jack Kinsella, that tradition trumps the Word, or Sola Scriptura, (scriptures only) the source of all Truth from God our Father. My family member said, and I quote: " Sola Scriptura is a heresy. It undermines your religious foundation. I don't think it sends you to hell, as I believe God is infinitely merciful." Say what?
My heart literally sank...he believes everything that comes out of the mouth of this present Pope and every Pope (even the historically evil ones) or priest that has the moniker, "Catholic"even the perverted ones, and there are many...as tradition trumps Word in their minds. But that is the mindset of our modern era of religious tolerance to everything that is unbiblical. It doesn't fit the modern mindset of the church today, they say. We have evolved...Oh, really? So God the Father has changed? The King of kings, has changed? Where do we get off changing the clear meaning of Holy Spirit inspired words of God Almighty? .Malachi 3,
v.6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Isaiah wrote what God said of Himself:
46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,
46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Also in Hebrews where Paul wrote:
13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines.
So I ask you, how dare any religion that was made on earth, even the same one who they emphatically proclaim that Jesus founded, change what His Word says? Does God change? Any man, or leader of any institution that supplants or distorts the clear meaning of the Word of God is anathema to the Almighty. As Paul wrote and railed against those who would pervert God Word that was received of him by revelation of Jesus Christ, Galatians:
1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
1:10 For I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
1:11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.
1:12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
I repeat to those who would pervert, I say loudly and vigorously proclaim to any man, even my own flesh and blood, if any man change the Word of God, then he sins against the very God he claims to believe in and worship, his worship may be in vain. And those who do, would do well to examine themselves and determine if they be in the faith once delivered to the Apostles and have not worshipped another "christ"...a false christ and follow a false teacher. Revelation chapter 22, that closes out the whole of the Bible,
v. 19, For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
v.29. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
We have freedom in Jesus Christ. His way is not the way of bondage of regulations, or traditions, but the true milk of the Word with the power to save and change the life of the repentant heart and to follow Him in His footsteps as close as humanly possible. I told my family member, that the foundation of my spiritual life, in all its failed human errors notwithstanding, as been rooted in four verses and makes a explosion outward to all the truths of the Bible and something I learned at the urging of my dearly departed uncle, when had me memorize a simple passage that we all know, or should.
John chapter 3:16-19,
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.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Jesus spoke the simple and only way to salvation through grace and mercy when He said these words. But He also said in v. 19 that men's hearts loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying for truth of the Word of God in your life. If there be anything I can pray with you in agreement, or counsel you on, or just a listening ear, then drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org , God bless you everyone, TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET.
Saturday, 8 February 2014
By Grant Phillips
I was just thinking of my grandparents. All four were Christians and have been deceased for several years. The thought that comes to mind is, “If Jesus would instantly transfer them from Heaven to earth, right now, what would they think of this fallen world we now live in?” Our world is much different now than it was when they moved on to Heaven by their deaths.
If you’ll think about it, you and I have grown accustomed (tongue in cheek) to the evil around us because it has come upon us slowly. I am reminded of the frog placed in tepid water. The water is heated gradually until the frog is boiled alive. If the frog had been placed in hot water, it would have attempted to jump out, but since it was heated gradually, it didn’t notice the heat until it was too late.
Maybe this is why we don’t spend more time on our knees than we do. We have gotten so used to the degradation around us; we don’t notice it as much as we should.
A new movie that is out now has broken the all-time record for its use of the “F” word. It is called Wolf of Wall Street and this particular word is used 506 times. My wife and I have not seen it, and will not be doing so.
I recall in grade school my younger brother came home from school one day and said the “F” word right in front of my Dad. Dad said something like, “Son that is a very bad word. Don’t ever say it again.” That word was never again said in our house. The next day in school I was thinking about that word though, wondering what it meant, so I asked one of my cousins. He told me to ask a girl who I will not mention by name. By the twinkle in his eye, I had a bad feeling about it and decided to drop it. Thank God. I remember more than one occasion of us children sometimes having our mouths washed out with soap, but not for that word.
Another time my younger brother came home and asked my Dad “What is an S.O.B.” Listening closely, he told us both, that it was a very bad name someone would use to dishonor our Mother. If it ever happened, we should give them a good thrashing. We still didn’t know why, but it sounded like a good idea to us.
Using profanity in our house would result in having your mouth washed out with soap. Believe me, soap is not very tasty. Anyway, we were naïve in our younger years and I thank God for my parents.
We have received the Reader’s Digest in our home for many years. It has always been a handy size family magazine to keep in the bathroom for those quiet times. I noticed their September 2013 issue had an article about two “gay” men living together. It was a positive article (from Reader’s Digest viewpoint anyway) about this “couple.” When our subscription runs out, which should be soon, it will not be renewed. They will be notified that we are cutting ties and will no longer be supporting them financially.
My wife and I enjoy relaxing now and then with a good movie. A month or two ago we sat back to enjoy what we thought would be something with a lot of action. It had a lot of action alright and a continuous flow of profanity, and that was the first few minutes! That is also as long as it lasted, because it found its way to the trash can. I was so disgusted I don’t even remember the name of it.
We have witnessed over the years several big name “stars” of Hollywood who have sunk to levels of depravity in movies that reach right down into the sewers and pull up a big handful of what is deposited there. We don’t watch them, but have read the reviews.
Then there’s television. If you have children in your home, stand guard. For example, the television industry really likes the “reality” shows. The shows are saturated with idiots. What can I say? That’s what they are; idiots with filthy mouths.
My hat goes off to Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. If every Christian had the same resolve to follow Christ as the Robertson family, no matter what, can you imagine what a difference it would make in our society? Sadly, most of us Christians have no backbone and would never have survived under the Roman Empire.
Now let me say at this point that I do not walk around with a halo over my head. I am just as imperfect as anyone else. Ask my wife. But as imperfect as we are as Christians, we are now having everything possible thrown in our face that we know is a sin against God. We as Christians do not claim any superiority over non-Christians. We are not “holier than thou.” We are sinners too, but we have been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and our desire is to live for Him.
If immorality has come this far in just my lifetime, I can’t imagine the lack of morality people will have when the Church is removed from this world at the Rapture. The only thing, in my opinion, that is still preserving some form of decency in our society is the presence of the Holy Spirit working through the Church. When the Church leaves, that vacuum will be filled with pure evil.
I can’t imagine.
Even though we may be laughed at and taunted, we Christians need to be completely open for God to use us for His glory while we are here. Even though the stench of Satan is filling the land like a fresh skunk spraying, true power is not Satan’s. It is God’s. Maybe He will work through us to save a soul from much heartache in the future.
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Thursday, 6 February 2014
- Ron Graham - www.straitandnarrowministry.com
"And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul," Deuteronomy 10:12. The word "fear" is translated from the Hebrew word "yare'" which in context means "to fear, reverence, honour, respect." The Israelites were admonished to fear the Lord, walk in His ways, to love Him, and to serve Him. The above Scripture was directed to Israel but as born again believers in Jesus Christ we are to have the same attitude. Do you stand in awe of God? Do you revere, honor, and respect Him? Do you love Him? Every Christian would do well to heed this verse.
Fearing God is a term that seems to have fallen by the wayside. Somehow we seem to think God is our buddy who just accepts us as we are and isn't very concerned when we go against His ways. It's true that Jesus is our friend, but He's a friend who is worthy of our respect. His ways are never to be taken lightly. He alone is worthy of our worship and our praise. In fearing Him, that is respecting Him and revering Him, we don't have to be afraid of Him. There is a difference between fearing Him and being afraid of Him. When I was a boy I had a fear of my father, meaning I respected him and I wanted to please him. I wasn't afraid of him because I was his child and I knew he loved me. Even when I did things he didn't like he never stopped loving me. Our Heavenly Father loves us even more than our earthly father. We who belong to Him need not be afraid of Him, but we do need to fear Him.
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7. If you do not fear God then perhaps the second part of this verse refers to you. As Solomon plainly states it is foolish to ignore God's truth. Why is it that so many people refuse to listen to the truth of the scriptures? If we fear God we want to please Him. In order to please Him we need to know what He expects of us. His directions for living a life that honors and respects Him are found in His word. The Holy Bible is very clear on what His standards are...and the penalty of disobedience. The more we allow ourselves to become His property, the more He will increase our knowledge. God does not want us to be ignorant of Him and we must search the Scriptures to gain knowledge of Him. "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. Those who "were more noble" were the Bereans who listened to what was being taught, but searched the Scriptures (Old Testament) to be sure it was correct. By so doing they gained knowledge. We, too, need to search both the Old and New Testaments to be sure things people try to teach us, as well as our own assumptions, line up with Scripture. If we fear God we need to take His word seriously and live our lives accordingly.
Why is it that some people, like the Bereans, understand the need to search Scripture to gain knowledge and understanding, but other people, even some who claim to be Christians, just don't care what He says? I believe the answer can be found in the very lifestyles of those who refuse to gain knowledge of Him and reject His ways. Plainly stated there are those who enjoy the sinful lifestyle they live so much that they will not heed or even desire to hear God's warning. Having said that, should we who are born again believers ignore those people because we are afraid they won't listen to our message? No. You see, we don't convince the lost of their current condition, that's the Holy Spirit's job. We are the messenger of the truth, He does the convicting. It's not up to us to decide who to witness to, but instead we need to witness every time we know God is telling us to. Then it's up to the individual to choose God over Satan. Paul made many missionary journeys to cities where sin raged. He faced many trying times in his life, but his fear (respect) of God drove him on. He lived his life in a way that honored God and was a wonderful Christian example to others. We also need to fear God and live a life that respects Him in order to make our witness believable. We need to "walk in His ways".
Jesus tells us that there is a time to be afraid of God. "Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him," Luke 12:5. Many times in Scripture we're told to "fear not", but here in the Gospel of Luke we're actually told to be afraid of what God can do. Each of us is free to make a choice of accepting Christ's death, burial, and resurrection as payment in full for our sin, or we can reject His sacrifice. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23. The death spoken of in this verse is eternal death. It isn't a fun place where you will meet up with all the other people who party hearty and reject Christ, but a place of eternal damnation. There will be eternal anguish, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. It is an individual choice that will send a person to hell or allow entry into Heaven. God gave us the only way of salvation, and I do mean the only way. That is through Jesus Christ, and Him alone. If you study Scripture and gain knowledge, you will fear (respect) God, but there should also be the fear (terror) of Him who has "the power to cast into hell". The only time God will pull His presence away from us is when we've condemned ourselves to Hell through our unbelief and rejection of Jesus Christ. That should be a terrifying thought
Fearing the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. A starting point if you will. Diligent study brings forth an abundance of knowledge. There are many God-fearing men who fill the pulpits each Sunday and preach God's truth. No matter how many Sunday mornings we sit and warm a pew, we will never receive all of the knowledge God wants us to gain if we just sit and listen. When I first became a Christian I was excited. Every Sunday I would listen closely to see what the man in the pulpit had to say. On the other hand my wife, who had been a Christian for many years, didn't accept everything that was being preached. After the Sunday services she would bring up the questions she had and we would search the Scriptures. I learned that what was being preached wasn't always Scriptural. I had a fear of the Lord and respected His word; I studied and gained knowledge. Through this I found a deep love for searching the Scriptures daily. Sunday morning sermons have their place, but studying our Bibles is where knowledge is gained.
God does not want us to be ignorant of His word. Fear (respect) for God should propel us into diligent study. Prophecy is being fulfilled daily, but there are those who don't take the time to study and so they become confused. Therefore they believe we aren't supposed to understand. If we weren't to understand why do we have so much prophecy in the Bible? God tells us in advance what will happen so we can be prepared. Then there are those who think that people have changed, so therefore God's word needs to be revised to fit today's lifestyles. They think that abortion should not be seen as murder, but a choice. Homosexuality is now "acceptable" though the Bible speaks strongly against this abomination. We who fear God and strive "...to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul", as stated in the first verse above, know that He has not changed His mind on any of this. Every Christian needs to understand that God has not changed and we need to conform to Him. If we love Him we need to walk in His ways and not expect Him to walk in ours. "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever." Hebrews 13:8. That means that as you study Scripture and gain knowledge, you will come to understand that God gave the Law to Moses, and He hasn't changed. Sin is still sin even if society says it is a "choice". If you fear God you will reject the sin in your life and "...walk in all His ways".
No matter how hard we try we will never be able to fully walk in His ways. We all will stumble, but if we fear Him we will ask His forgiveness and learn from our failures. The fear of the Lord will give us knowledge of how to please Him. Life on earth is short and we need to make it a priority to serve the Lord. He does not want anyone to make the choice of rejecting Him and condemning themselves to Hell. "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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:16-17. There is no love greater than that. There is no other way that a person can spend eternity with God than to believe in Him. Believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and you will not perish, but you will have everlasting life. From the moment you believe your salvation is secure. From that point on you need to grow in knowledge of His ways. Study the Scriptures and then apply them to your life. Fear (be in awe of) the Lord and walk in all His ways. Turn from the ways of the world which is filled with sin "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." 2 Peter 3:18. Again I say, amen.
God bless you all,
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This commentary was started by Ron Graham before his death on March 14, 2013, and finished by his wife, Nathele Graham
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