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Archive for the ‘Bible Prophecy’ Category

“Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.” (Psalm 37:1-2)
 
Christians, satan’s minions are at it again, now striking us here in the NY/NJ area. It is in the midst of these disquieting times that we are called to be Biblical voices of reason. As others panic and search tdesperately for solutions, let us be the calm and fret-less ones that they can turn to. Our hope, our peace, and our joy is in Jesus Christ and we must bring Him into any circumstance as the calming Agent. This is our calling and this is our duty.

We shall not cave in. We will get up, go to work, and function as we normally do. Terrible things will always happen, but we will not be terrorized into silence or dormancy. According to my Bible, these tribulations make the obedient Christian stronger! We have the choice to cower or tower. Let us choose wisely. 

Believers and unbelievers together are negotiating the same troubled waters, but let the faithful continually proclaim the ease of Christ’s yoke and burden. Yes, we face the same pain, grief, and challenges, but Christ’s way is easier and lighter. Let us never be caught saying that being a Christian is difficult, when it is the faithless who are having the most burdensome times of it. In Christ Jesus we have the easier and lighter Way; we must be a reflection of Him in trying times. In the face of death we are fearless for one reason only: we have a hope rooted firmly in Jesus and all His promises. In troubling times it is crucial we share this hope. Share these words if you agree!
 
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive [d]and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

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The theme for this year’s National Day of Prayer (May 5, 2016) is ‘Wake Up America.’ The emphasis is upon the need for Christians to “return to the God of our Fathers in reverence for His Holy Name.” The representative verse the NDP committee has chosen is Isaiah 58:1a:

Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet.

I like it, but before we all set out to participate in this year’s event, I’d

ndplike to elaborate upon their import, at least as far as it pertains to consequence, as I suspect a certain presidential candidate’s name is going to come up a lot in our prayers today.  If (or when) God pours out His wrath on America it won’t entirely be because of a heathen in the White House, but because there are heathens in His house as well. So before we go around proclaiming, “Surely God’s wrath is coming now!” we should submit to a little self evaluation.

Let us consider the NDP theme Scripture verse from a few years ago:

“If My people, which are called by My name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14, emphasis mine)
Take note that the passage does not begin, “If my people, which are called by My name, shall elect a godly man…”

If you’re a Christian and you’re concerned about the wrath that is coming, focus on the log that might be in your own eye — that person you’re shacked up with, that lifestyle you embrace, that porn you watch, that substance you abuse; you get the picture. Be ye revived! Some would say you aren’t even born again, so if that’s the case, be ye born again!

You say you’re saved and there’s nothing in your eye? Great! Turn your attention to that brother or sister wallowing in their habitual sin and lovingly bring them back into the fold.

It will serve us all well to remember that God’s wrath is not coming solely because your guy at the gas station is a Muslim, your doctor in the hospital is a Hindu, your mechanic at Pep Boys is an atheist, or your man in the White House is bombastic. These are folks we should be sharing the Gospel with,  but remember, when His wrath comes it will be partly because of the filth within the body of Christ, the Church. That should sting a little.
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“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger (wrath) of God is coming.” (Colossians 3:1-6 NLT)
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That Colossi-warning was written not to the world, but to the saints (Ephesians 5 repeats the warning to the church), and one of the reasons why 2 Chronicles 7:14 is applicable not only to historic Israel, but to our nation today. So perhaps when we pray today, we should focus not on others (so much), but ourselves and in the spirit of revival.
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“Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God…(Praise the Lord, but)…whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” (Romans 5:9; John 3:36b)

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Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; and they said to him, “Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations.”  (1 Samuel 8:4-5)

Oh no. Looking back we see that Israel has made a grievous error. When God chimes in, we see the full depth of their mistake and the consequences that will follow.  Take note: these consequences are in essence a promise from God.

The Lord speaks (verse 7):

The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them.

We immediately see the root of the problem – the people have rejected God. These religious folks only wanted to be religious up to a certain point.  They would be great Jews on the Sabbath, but as for the rest of the week, well not so much. As a result they would receive exactly what they asked for and the consequences that would go along with those choices.

There Are Always Consequences

So Samuel spoke all the words of the Lord to the people who had asked of him a king. He said, “This will be the procedure of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and place them for himself in his chariots and among his horsemen and they will run before his chariots. He will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and of fifties, and some to do his plowing and to reap his harvest and to make his weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. He will also take your daughters for perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants. He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants. He will also take your male servants and your female servants and your best young men and your donkeys and use them for his work. He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his servants. Then you will cry out in that day because of your king whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” (1 Samuel 8:10-18)

It Doesn’t Matter Who You Choose

When a nation collectively rejects God, this is what we get. I don’t know this 11for a fact, but I suspect there were at least some Jews who did not want a king. Too bad for them. We can assume that their efforts were in the minority and had no bearing on what Israel would ultimately receive. So it is for our nation.

Am I suggesting that this First Samuel passage is applicable for today? That’s exactly what I’m suggesting and I can’t find anything in the Bible that undoes the consequences (promises) that God established as a result of our historical desire for secular leadership.

But we’re Christians! Jesus is Our King!

This is true. But nevertheless, the consequences linger – we have adopted a system of governing ourselves and we are stuck with it. The best men can do is modify this broken system, which in many instances only makes the situation worse; i.e., communism, socialism, fascism, capitalism, etc. At the end of the day, and regardless if we rightfully claim Christ as our king, we will have this earthly leadership, that is, until Christ returns. Then and only then will the kingdom be restored.

But Until That Day…

“(Let) Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. (Romans 13:1-7)

God in His infinite wisdom has given us a way to deal with it. In the same way God placed regulations on slavery (not because He condoned slavery, but because slavery is a reality to this day), God gives us regulations for living in harmony with the secular, government system. Again, we’re stuck with it (in subjection to it), until Christ’s return, so this is how we’re to deal with it. God puts it this way: “This is my ordinance and if you oppose it, you’re bringing condemnation upon yourself.”

This is my ordinance and if you oppose it, you’re bringing condemnation upon yourself.

The American Dynamic

It appears to me that God allowed something unique for the United States. Don’t get me wrong – God is not a respecter of persons in that regard, but at the same time God said to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

I believe God showed our founding fathers some of this mercy when they set out to create a republic that fully recognized God as creator and the giver of rights. As a result, we the people were given access to God-given rights that in many cases the government had previously denied. Just that we could now cast a vote for our leaders was positive, but this system went even further: we could dictate the kind of leader we desired, including his religious affiliations. Naturally, in these early elections, Christians were commonly running against Christians, and therefore Christians commonly won.

So what happened?

I suppose we could call it the Ancient Israel Syndrome: through the years we wanted less God and more of ourselves. In a word, the system is still broken. We redefined Christianity over and over in our desire to make our faith fit our culture, rather than having our culture conform to our faith. As a result we have a country with laws (I still can’t believe it) that allow drug use, homosexuality, murder in the womb, and general moral decline. We have become a nation of those who call evil good, and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!’ (Isaiah 5:20)

The Christians Rebel

Is it too late for this country to recover? Can Christians rally to get a solid, evangelical, fundamentalist Christian in the White House to save America? I believe it’s too late, but in the same way that it was too late for Israel way back in First Samuel. Ever since they rejected God and desired secular kingship, the dye was set and rule will not be restored until Christ returns to establish His Government.

Now What?

Let’s go back to Romans 13:1-7. In it we see a brief description of what we and these God-ordained leaders are supposed to do.

Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.

Ideally, if we do good (if we obey the laws of the land as long as they’re not in opposition to God’s law), we can live fearlessly. This is of course where Christians have the advantage; if we adhere to God’s Biblical mandates and are persecuted for it, we have the assurance that our eternal futures are secure. Non-Christians have no such promise.

The passage goes on to say that these leaders are sword bearers, in other words they are the God-ordained mechanism for protecting the people militarily. So, if you’re pacifist, no worries! God has established a government to fight for your protection; avengers and bringers-of-wrath to evil doers! But take note that while these rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this wrath, that does not necessarily mean that they are followers of Jesus Christ or (hold on to your Easter bonnets), do they have to be.

Blasphemy!

Don’t get me wrong. Personally, I want ALL my leadership, from the POTUS to my local town mayor, to be Christian. Why? Because I know that Christians (theoretically) have the same moral values. However, the reality in these United States is that although we have the freedom to vote, we really don’t have the freedom to elevate the best candidates to be elected. That process is pretty much done by the government and as a result, our choices are severely limited. Honestly, sometimes our choices are horrid.

Then Don’t Vote!

Not voting is not really an option and I’ll remind you why: Romans 13:1 says we’re to be in subjection to the governing authorities. These authorities have established laws and our civic privileges, and as good citizens we’re to take full advantage of them. If collectively we refuse to vote, the system will take advantage of our failure and usher in a dictatorship by default.

That leaves us with voting for what we’re given, and if we’re not pleased with the choices, we’re to essentially choose the candidate that will do the least amount of damage to our moral structure, national security, economic stability, and personal freedoms. Keep in mind, Billy Graham is not running for president this year, nor is Franklin Graham, Max Lucado, or Greg Laurie.

Now this might shock you, but I’m not sure I’d vote for any of those guys anyway. Sure, they’re abundantly equipped in one particular area, but I suspect they fall way short in others. Obviously I don’t know what kind of expertise they would bring to the table, I’m just making a general observation.

As for 2016 (and at the time of this writing), the field has been effectively narrowed down to three possible candidates (for me) and my choice (which I have voiced on social media) is not sitting well with many of my Christian brothers and sisters. Actually, the phrase ‘not sitting well’ is being kind. Some of my ‘brothers and sisters’ have become outright nasty over my choice because (I gather), he is the least Christian of the bunch. While they’re hoping to pick a ‘Pastor-in-Chief’ from the group we’re given, I’m leaning towards that sword-bearing, avenger of wrath that God told me about, praying that in addition to keeping the nation secure, he will also serve to protect what’s left of our Christian morality, despite the fact he isn’t the model of Christian morality himself. In other words, through constant prayer, I’m trying to vote for the best overall candidate given the circumstances.

Vote For Whoever You Want

I hope that it’s clear that you should vote for whoever you want, but if the last paragraph riled a few Christians up, remember to love others, love your enemies, and behave in a way that is pleasing to God. If you have a beef with your brother or sister, go to them privately and try to settle it, keeping in mind that every player in this next election has a log in their eye, skeletons in their closets, and a penchant to sin.

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Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 1 Corinthians 7:1-2

I really didn’t want to enter the 50 Shades debate. I think it was because I’m still reeling from the President of the United States 1standing up before the 2015 National Day of Prayer and reminding us all that we should dismount our ‘high horses’ of anger and justice (in regard to Muslims burning a man alive), and pause to remember the church’s historical record. I’ve this vision of President Obama calling me out, “Ya know Dave, I think you should get off your ‘high horse’ and stop talking about all this ‘sex within marriage’ stuff. Seems to me your record on this issue makes you a hypocrite.”

Ya know Dave, I think you should get off your ‘high horse’ and stop talking about all this ‘sex within marriage only’ stuff.” 

Ugh

He’s right.

Where do I get off warning others about their sexual exploits after I’ve had my fill. While I’m at it, what business do I have warning others about drug and alcohol abuse, drunk driving, aggravated assault, or dare I say murder. Let the record show that Dave has lots and lots of blood on his hands.

A ‘Biblical Reality’ Check

This is where we all need to pause and consider all the players in the Bible, save Jesus. Can you think of one who was without sin? Me either. But yet these same men, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote the Bible. My mind immediately flashes to the Apostle Paul; a guy who arrested and murdered Christians, not unlike some barbarian Muslims we know! How dare this wretched man offer us Godly counsel and call it wise.

Ah, but for the grace of God, there go I.

Our One Defense

For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law. Romans 3:28

Sinners have only one defense in this matter: we boldly proclaim Biblical truth because we are justified by our saving faith in Jesus Christ. It is not the Christian who speaks, but the saint who is robed in His righteousness. No one in Christ’s church sits upon a high horse except Christ Himself, and it is in His name we may speak. It is for this reason I often declare on these matters that I have no opinion – I have a Bible. Therefore, we boldly proclaim that sex outside of marriage (i.e., marriage between a man and a woman) is wrong because God has said so.

I Don’t Agree

Please don’t argue with me or anyone else, read Acts 15:20; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; and Jude 7 for yourself. If you still don’t agree, bring your debate to God, however trust me, “But Dave did it,” is not good fodder for your argument! The Bible commands complete abstinence before marriage, with sex between a husband and his wife being the only sexual relationship God approves.

It’s Black and White

5o Shades of Grey is nothing more than perversion. Even when I was active in my sexual sin I would have recognized this book as perverted, depraved, and pornographic. There’s nothing gray about it being smut. Know this: if you’re a follower of Jesus Christ and find yourself attracted to this book (and reportedly there are many), you are being deceived and you’re opening a door to consequences you may not be prepared for. Check out the last verse of Romans 1.

Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. Romans 1:32

Earlier in this same Book, the Apostle Paul makes ill mention of all practitioners of unrighteousness, with dishonorable recognition going towards fornication, inventors of evil things, an unnatural affections. If we stop reading after verse 31, we might ride away on our high horses saying, “Shame on these evil doers,” but verse 32 serves to knock us out of the saddle by reminding us that if watch (or read) from the sidelines, we’re just as guilty.

Please don’t reject 50 Shades because some hypocrite told you it was filth; reject it because God says it’s more harmful than you know.

Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:7-9

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“My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.” Daniel 6:22-23

Everyday approximately 250-300 Christians (on average) are caaamurdered simply because they believe and follow Jesus Christ. I have often wondered why Jesus doesn’t *spare His faithful as He spared Daniel or as He protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace. Despite occasional bewilderment, to this truth I cling: Jesus saves — He always has and He always will. Daniel could have been eaten alive that day, but he would have still been saved. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego could have burned, but yet saved.

The reality is that Daniel did eventually die and Jesus spared him again (and permanently this time) from the lion; Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego all died, and again they were spared from the fiery furnace, but this time for eternity. You see, the lion’s den and the fiery furnace, although quite real to Daniel and the boys, is a picture of hell for us; a visual depiction of God’s promise to protect His children. However, for those unrepentant souls who falsely believe they can destroy a Christian, there is no such sparing. For them the lion waits and the furnace burns.

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3:36

Rejoice Not

Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth , and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth; Proverbs 24:17

As you pray for the persecuted church, pray also for those who persecute. Remember, the Apostle Paul was once a vile persecutor of the brethren, but he turned away from evil, turned to Jesus, and his life was spared. Everyday there are stories of evil men rejecting the gods and tenets of their false religions and being saved when they turn to Jesus Christ. I’m not certain how our prayers fit into the equation, but nevertheless, the Holy Spirit is coming along side these men and convicting them by their own wicked deeds, and they are repenting!

Remember to also pray for how the Lord wants to use you in your religious freedoms, I should add, ‘while you still have them.’ Christian persecution has arrived on the shores of America and has taken root. I say that, to say this: it will never be more easy to share your Christian faith as it is right now, as tomorrow brings more detractors and new deterrents. Do not fear the mouth of the lion or the heat of the furnace, for from these things we have been spared.

I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish , neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one. John 10:28-30

*Note: Jesus does still occasionally  ‘spare’ his children from earthly atrocities. I remember hearing first hand from a Christian pastor (in India) who himself was tied to a tree to be burned. They piled wood about his feet and doused it with kerosene. When the match was struck and tossed upon the wood, it did not ignite. Match after match, nothing happened. In frustration, they left him tied to the tree with the promise to return in the morning to finish the job. In the middle of the night one of these men, convicted by his evil deeds, returned and cut him loose.

We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven (Colossians 1:3-5a)


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Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep , we should live together with him. 1 Thessalonians 5:5-10

The Evil Ploy

Terrorism is a psychological tactic of the enemy, the purpose of which is to instill crippling fear in those who have a [real or imagined] personal attachment to its victims. Therefore, the terrorist, given a choice of killing ten men with a gun or savagely beheading just one with a dull knife, will opt for the latter because of its horrifying, emotional impact. Of course modern terrorism has gained greater momentum because there exists a media that will transmit these images around the globe within minutes of their occurrence; audio and video snippets awash with fear-filled analysis from an equally fearful commentator. We watch, we pause a moment to consider the future, and typically, we succumb to this evil ploy of the enemy – we are afraid.

Is there a remedy?

The terrorist knows we will pause to speculate upon the future, trusting our imaginative gaze will likely freeze at a point where his heinous acts could affect us most directly. Oh, he wants us looking forward, but only so far; he wants to keep our projections inside the box; a house of horror designed by satan himself. The enemy also knows if a Christian looks too far into the future, the fear he has will subside and eventually disappear. Therein lies our solution.

We’ve heard it said, “The next time satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.”

To that I say, don’t waste your time; satan knows Bible scripture better than you and I rom 8– he knows perfectly well what his future holds. This time could be better used to remind ourselves what our future holds, skipping over the ‘box’ entirely and gazing full-throttle into eternity, considering the reality of a blessed infinity. Thankfully, the Bible has much to say on the matter (click on the hyperlinks as needed).

First off, we have a future and a hope, our strength will be renewed, our Lord and Savior has overcome and so shall we, and we have a promised rest and a promised inheritance prepared by God Himself! This is no secret, “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed…The dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with (us).”

Need more of a glimpse?

Right now we are God’s children and when Jesus appears we shall be like Him. Our citizenship is most assuredly in heaven. We have been sealed with the Holy Spirit…the guarantee of our inheritance. We are fellow heirs with Christ Jesus, adopted by God, grafted into the vine, and made the very bride of Christ.

We need not fear!

Remember in Luke 8 how Jesus instructed his disciples to set out in their boat to go over to the other side of the lake? They obeyed, but a great storm came about and they immediately panicked. Jesus said to them, Where is your faith?” Where was their faith indeed! Didn’t Jesus say they were going to cross the lake? Jesus cannot lie. When Jesus tells us that He is going to prepare a place for us, He was telling the truth – like the disciples, we will cross over — where Jesus is, we will be too!

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)

What do we do in the meantime?

Keep doing what you’re doing (unless of course you’re doing nothing). Go to work, go to school, be a parent, be a friend, be a loving and outspoken Christian, and do it all for the glory of God, praying constantly for opportunities divine, and most importantly ‘teaching all nations (and) baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’ Remember, in the darkness of terrorism, you may be the only light in the room.’

Our future is so bright the light of eternity can be seen on our faces, so let’s not cover it with a veil of fear.

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By faith (Abraham) dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.  Heb. 11:9-10

Yes, I am a tad irate.

If you read my recent Facebook status (in regard to our latest government shutdown) you would probably come away thinking that I was pretty annoyed with our politicians in irategeneral and our president in particular. You would be right. I’m angry that our government has closed up shop, I’m angry that our nation is 17 trillion dollars in debt. I’m angry that half our nation has become (or is becoming) dependent upon government assistance. I’m angry that the constitution is being trampled upon. I’m angry that our leadership is cozy with our enemies.

And that’s just the short list!

Then the Lord offered this explanation:

“The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” “I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ” Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.” (Psalm 2:2-12)

How Appropriate

The Psalmist explicitly states that part of the problem lies with the leaders. Working together, our rulers (nationwide and worldwide), seem to do everything within their power to violate, transgress, and/or contravene the ways of the Lord. As they collectively cut the cords that bind, they legislate ungodly decrees to hinder those of us who choose to cling tightly to them. As the psalm concludes, our Father in Heaven compassionately offers our kings the opportunity to repent.  Hence, it’s only fitting that we pray for them.

The Bigger Problem

It would be easy for us to rest upon the knowledge of Psalm 2 and deny that there are other issues that serve to perpetuate our current national decline (boy, wouldn’t that would be a shame). I believe, based on scripture, that the larger portion of responsibility rests on the shoulders of the church, or more accurately, the nominal Christians who make up the church.

What is a Nominal Christian?

Nominal Christians (NC’s) fall into different categories, ranging from those people who think they’re believers (but have no actual relationship with Jesus Christ), to those who are born again and are severely back-slidden, and everyone in-between. One characteristic common to all NC’s is selfishness; that is to say, they are primarily serving themselves and not Jesus Christ. Plainly said, they are not committed, submitted, or consecrated to God.

Consider God’s words to King Solomon.

When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

One might look at the present condition of the United States and surmise that the reason for our nation’s downward spiral is because the majority of us are decadent, depraved, and degenerate, non-Christians. I submit to you that’s not the reason at all. Those who aren’t walking with Jesus Christ should be behaving in this manner — it’s what heathens do.

God’s warning to Solomon was for the believers who were acting illicitly. Clearly God is saying to His church that it’s time to clean up our act.  In other words, it’s time for those dirtwho call themselves Christians to start acting like Christians. Our nation is not going down the tubes because of the perverted efforts of one elected official. It has taken us decades to get to where we find ourselves today. Our current president can point to the former president all he wants and proclaim that it’s his fault, but he’s wrong — it’s the churches fault. This wrath we’re witnessing, which is only a very small glimpse of the wrath to come, is our fault and it is a direct warning to the church to repent. God uses those in authority to admonish His children, in much the same way He used King Nebuchadnezzar (and Babylon) to admonish, and ultimately correct, the nation of Israel.

“For I the Lord do not change” Malachi 3:6

What should we do?

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:13-14

If God is saying that we need to be humble, it means that huge numbers of us, since the inception of our nation, have positioned ourselves above His authority. Therefore, we must express godly sorrow for our sin and step down from that post to a place of submission. If you’re not agreeable to this doctrine, then don’t even bother praying, for God will not hear you; the text is that clear. The directive is to be humble, pray, seek Him, and turn away from depravity.  And remember, the ordinance in this context is not for the heathen, it’s for those who call themselves followers of Jesus Christ!

For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 2 Corinthians 7:8-9

Are you angry?

I hope you are.

Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Psalm 4:4

Let your God-given emotion bring you to a place of decision. I hope you’re angry enough to lovingly pray for our government and our leaders. I hope in your anger you allow the Holy Spirit to identify your role in the equation, as I have. I was once a NC and although I have repented, I recognize that my back-sliding days have caused much damage. So while it is true I am forgiven, I am as much responsible for what’s going on in our nation as those who are actively nominal in their faith. It is for this reason we sound the trumpet. There can be no healing of the land unless the church as a whole is submitted to the will of God. It starts with me and it starts with you.

Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord God, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’ Ezekiel 33:11

But aren’t we aliens in a foreign land?

Why should we care what happens here, after all we’re just passing through, right?

This is true, but we’re also called to be good stewards with the things the Lord has provided to us. How selfish it would be to devour the land and our liberties, without any effort to leave the place better than we found it. We have also been instructed by our creator to submit ourselves to those in authority over us and to obey the laws of the land, as long as those laws do not violate the laws of our Lord. Therefore, it is our duty to sustain that which is good (as prescribed by our forefathers) and maintain that which the Lord has graciously given. In regards to our stewardship, I cannot help but think of Christ’s words to Saul (aka: Paul) on the lonely road to Damascus.

‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’  Acts 26:14-18

I ask you, has God stopped sending people?

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Twin-TowersIf the photograph on the left is any indication, then the answer is yes! Why then does the President of the United States want to support an Al Qaeda-infested rebel force seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad‘s Syria? It doesn’t matter that Assad is evil, Al Qaeda is OUR enemy and if we do anything to support them, it’s an act of treason.

Am I overstating the issue?

Is treason too strong a word to use in regard to the intended actions of the POTUS?  

You decide…

Aid and Comfort:

To render assistance or counsel. Any act that deliberately strengthens or tends to strengthen enemies of the United States, or that weakens or tends to weaken the power of the United States to resist and attack such enemies is characterized as aid and comfort.

Article 3, section 3, clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution specifies that the giving of aid and comfort to the enemy is an element in the crime of Treason. Aid and comfort may consist of substantial assistance or the mere attempt to provide some support; actual help or the success of the enterprise is not relevant.

If the president drops one bomb on Syria, guess who he is aiding and comforting?

That’s right – our enemy: Al Qaeda. 

What’s our recourse?

Short of prayer, I’m not 100% certain, so let’s begin with that and be persistent in it! I trust that the Lord will guide His children in how we oare to respond. I do know that God in His word instructs us to be subject to the governing authorities (Romans 13:1), so as good subjects we should vote when we’re able and encourage those in power to do what’s morally and Biblically right.

Treason is a stipulation of our Constitution, therefore anyone who violates it needs to be prosecuted. Untied State citizens (subjects) in good-standing need to lovingly stand behind any effort to remove law-breakers from our society, even if it is the president. As ‘good subjects’ we must see to it that our laws are enforced.

We also should be praying for our president (and those who support his position on aiding Al Qaeda), that they would adhere to the laws of the United States. More importantly, that he (and others) would act like the Christian that they say they are. Our prayers in this regard are essential and any implementation should not be ignored or rejected.

The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, “Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision. Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure: “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion.” (Psalm 2:2-6)

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Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh. Jude 21-23

Hell

I suspect that somebody reading this blog right now needs the hell scared out of them. That is to say that they either do not believe in hell or they do not fully understand what hell is or why hell is. As a result of this misunderstanding, they either do not believe in Jesus Christ, they’re unlearned Christians, or their faith in Christ Jesus is nominal. I remember having a similar discussion with my mom, before she died a few years ago. She mom sonbelieved in Jesus Christ, but she did not believe in a literal hell.

“Mom,” I began, “do you believe Jesus is both your Lord and your Savior?”

“Yes,” she answered.

I continued, “Mom, if there’s no hell, from what were you saved?”

She went on to say that she could not fathom a loving God sending people to hell. I explained God doesn’t send people to hell; they essentially send themselves when they reject Jesus. We all sin and sin causes separation from God. The Law that our righteous and just God established requires that all sin (and all sinners) be dealt with. As a solution, our loving God sent Jesus. He suffered and carried all our iniquities to the grave. If hell is nonexistent, then God caused His Son to suffer for nothing and it would further indicate that He is a liar.

God does not and cannot lie.

Since these accounts and the descriptions of hell come directly from the Bible, followers of Jesus must believe them. We cannot accept the niceties of Holy Scripture and reject the adverse. To do this is to rewrite the Bible, thus fabricating God into an image that pleases us. Any god we create is a false god.

Satan and his minions rebelled against God and God created hell for them — not for us. It stands to reason that those who reject the presence of Jesus Christ in this life will not be in His presence in the eternal life. Since Heaven and hell are the only choices, hell is the place where God’s presence is not. Believing hell doesn’t exist or believing in Heaven only, does not make hell go away.

What Else Does the Bible Say About Hell?

God has much to say on this issue because He wants you to make an informed decision. After reading about Heaven and hell, it could rightly be assumed that a wise person would desire to be in the better place. If God left us uninformed, He would qualify as a mean God, but God is both good and loving, for He told us all we need to know biband then provided His Son Jesus as the means by which we can arrive at our destination. Don’t be annoyed that God only gave us two choices, but be grateful that He gave us any choice at all and kept it simple at the same time.

Here is what the Bible records. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s enough to give you the overall picture. If you are one that does not believe in hell, then you should take your time to pour over each passage; you owe it to yourself to be informed. First pray that the Holy Spirit will give you understanding (1 Corinthians 2:14), lest it all seem foolishness to you.

  1. You will make them as a fiery oven in the time of your anger; The LORD will swallow them up in His wrath, And fire will devour them. (Psalm 21:9)
  2. For behold, the LORD will come in fire And His chariots like the whirlwind, To render His anger with fury, And His rebuke with flames of fire. (Isaiah 66:15)
  3. For the LORD will execute judgment by fire And by His sword on all flesh, And those slain by the LORD will be many. (Isaiah 66:16)
  4. “And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Matthew 3:12)
  5. “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 7:19)
  6. “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:41-42)
  7. “So it will be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth, and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 13:49-50)
  8. “And if your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; it is better for you to enter life crippled or lame, than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the eternal fire. (Matthew 18:8)
  9. “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; (Matthew 25:41)
  10. Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 1:7)
  11. he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. “And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” (Revelation 14:10-11)
  12. And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. (Revelation 19:20)
  13. And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Revelation 20:10)
  14. And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:14-15)
  15. for I have five brothers– that he may warn them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ (Luke 16:28)
  16. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
  17. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)
  18. “And in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. “And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue; for I am in agony in this flame.’ (Luke 16:23-24)
  19. “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. (Matthew 7:13)
  20. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. (Philippians 3:18-19)
  21. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
  22. Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
  23. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)
  24. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. (John 5:24)

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