Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Israel's Feasts: Foreshadows of Redemption - Jack Kinsella - www.omegaletter.com
It is easy to see why secularists -- and even many Christians -- have a hard time getting their heads around the idea of what is called the Rapture of the Church. When you take a step back and look at it, it does sound a little, er, weird.
Describe it without using Bible terms and see how it sounds: People will suddenly disappear without warning, and will be transported -- alive -- into the air, and from there, it's off to heaven.
What people? Only the ones that believe. . . if you aren't a believer, you will be left behind. If you aren't a believer, how does that sound to you? A little nuts, right?
Some years ago, I appeared on a National Geographic program called, "Doomsday: The Book of Revelation" that pitted "believers" against "experts" over how literally one should take doctrines like the Rapture, the Tribulation and Bible prophecy in general.
"Fundamentalists who believe in the apocalypse call it the Rapture," the narrator intoned. Nat Geo played the whole thing strictly for laughs, I thought, taking the Rapture about as seriously as it does Nostradamus.
Is the Rapture doctrine something made up by believers? Or is it a legitimate part of the whole endtimes' scenario? How far back can we trace it? Is there evidence that God had it planned from the start?
Or is it, as the skeptics say, a recently-invented doctrine from the early 19th century?
In the Book of Leviticus, God issued instructions to His chosen people, the children of Israel, concerning how they were to worship Him. Leviticus gives instructions regarding the priesthood, the Law and the system of sacrifices. God also issued instructions for seven designated feasts that Israel was to celebrate each year.
Each of the feasts is significant both to Israel and to the Church in that both highlight God's provision for His people. Both His provision for the needs of His Chosen People and His provision for mankind by the coming of the Messiah and His redemptive Work on the Cross.
The seven Levitical feasts played significant roles in the Lord's earthly ministry and are symbolic of the whole redemptive story, from His death as the Passover Lamb to His Second coming when He will "tabernacle" (or dwell) with His people forever.
The first three feasts take place almost back-to-back, just as do the events that they symbolize. Passover recalls the day the Lord visited judgment on all those that rejected Him, passing over those whose homes were sprinkled with the blood of a lamb.
Jesus was God's Passover Lamb offered as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Jesus died on the Cross and His Body was placed in the grave.
The Feast of Passover is followed the very next day by the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Feast of Unleavened Bread lasts one week, and it recalls Israel's hasty escape from Egypt, (symbolic of the world) during which time there was no time to let bread rise. They ate it without yeast.
The Feast of the Unleavened bread symbolizes when Christ descended into Paradise (with the thief), where He led the righteous dead out of their captivity in Abraham's bosom and into the presence of God.
The second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread is the Feast of Firstfruits. Jesus is the first-fruits of the Redemption Who conquered death and Hell and rose from the grave on the third Day after Passover.
Fifty days after the Feast of Firstfruits is the Feast of Pentecost. The Feast of Pentecost celebrated the end of the grain harvest. Pentecost was also the day that Jesus ascended into Heaven, ending His earthly ministry, but not before promising to send another Helper, the Holy Spirit.
The arrival of the Holy Spirit is a reminder that the promise of salvation and future resurrection is as sure as the harvest and His indwelling empowers believers for ministry to bring in the harvest until He returns.
The Book of Acts records Jesus' ascension into heaven at Pentecost, saying He rose into the air and was received into the clouds.
"And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11)
Pentecost concludes the spring-time feasts for Israel just as it concluded the Lord's earthly ministry for the Church. After Pentecost, there is a period of time before the Fall Feasts begin. This is symbolic of the Church Age -- the Lord has fulfilled the first four feasts of Leviticus to the letter.
To recap, the first three Feasts symbolized His death, His time in the grave and His Resurrection. His sacrifice and Resurrection are past, we have received His Holy Spirit and now we await His Return.
The first three symbolized the major redemptive events of His First Advent -- the remaining four tell the story of His Second Coming.
The Feast of the Trumpets is next on the calendar and it celebrates the waning of the agricultural year. The growing season is over and the harvest is in the barns. The Feast of the Trumpets, or Rosh Hashanah, marks the start of ten days of repentance, or "Ten Days of Awe."
There are many that believe Rosh Hashanah symbolizes the "Fullness of the Gentiles" and that the Rapture will occur at some time during this ten-day period. How important is that?
If there is no pre-Trib Rapture, then the Feast of the Trumpets has no symbolic counterpart and the whole dual fulfillment interpretation falls apart.
Recall Jesus' admonition was that "no man would know the day or the hour," but we COULD know when it was "near, even at the doors."
A ten-day window out of one generation, somewhere in time, does no violence to the traditional understanding of either of these relevant Scriptures.
And it fits perfectly with Paul's description of the event in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.
"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 Day of Atonement was the day the High Priest would make an offering for the sins of all Israel. It symbolizes when God will turn His attention away from the Gentiles and back to Israel.
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob." (Romans 11:25)
Finally, Sukkot, the seventh feast day on God's calendar takes place five days after the Day of Atonement. It is the Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles and lasts for seven days. It recalls the time the Israelites lived in huts made from palm branches prior to entering the Land of Canaan.
It also foreshadows entry into the Millennial Kingdom where Christ will rule from Jerusalem and people from every kindred, tongue and nation will be able to "tabernacle" or dwell in His presence.
Israel is back in the Land of Promise. The fullness of the Gentiles is almost complete. The Lord is coming back to reap His Harvest and we can almost hear the trumpet.
What a time to be alive! Maranatha!
The Gathering Storm on Israel's Northern Borders - By Bob Feferman - www.timesofisrael.com
Over the past months, while the western media has been obsessed with the latest tweet of President Donald Trump, there have been disturbing developments in the Middle East. Storm clouds are gathering on Israel's horizon that will one day pose a grave danger to the security of Israel.
In a speech given this June, Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah warned that a future war with Israel, "...could open the way for thousands, even hundreds of thousands of fighters from all over the Arab and Islamic world to participate - from Iraq, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan".
Nasrallah was not hallucinating.
Over the past years, the notorious Major General Qassem Suleimani, the head of the elite Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has been quietly working to create a land bridge from Tehran to the Mediterranean. The first stage of this project is to prop up the brutal regime of Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad.
Since the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, Iran has provided the Assad regime with massive financial support, an endless supply of ammunition and weapons and tens of thousands of fighters from its Revolutionary Guard Corps and from its loyal proxy, Hezbollah. In addition, Iran has recruited, trained and deployed thousands of loyal Shia militants from Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere to Syria. Thanks to the more recent addition of Russian air power, the future of Bashar al-Assad now seems secure.
However, the new Syria will essentially be a protectorate of Iran. That means that Iran will dominate three Arab countries: Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The result will change the face of the Middle East.
As veteran reporter Dexter Filkins wrote in The New Yorker, "The development is potentially momentous, because, for the first time, it would bind together, by a single land route, a string of Iranian allies, including Hezbollah, in Lebanon; the Assad regime, in Syria; and the Iranian-dominated government in Iraq. Those allies form what is often referred to as the Shiite Crescent, an Iranian sphere of influence in an area otherwise dominated by Sunni Muslims".
For Israel, the implications are very serious.
It is no coincidence that over the past months we have seen more disturbing developments that fit into this larger picture. Iran has been building factories for the production of long-range missiles in Lebanon and Syria. There is no doubt that the target of these missiles will be Israel.
Since the 2006 Lebanon War, Iran has resupplied Hezbollah with more than 120,000 rockets and missiles. Since Hezbollah already has a huge rocket arsenal, the question that begs to be asked is this: What is Iran up to now?
In July, IDF Chief of Staff Lt. General Gadi Eisenkot told a Knesset committee, the purpose of these factories is to upgrade the range and accuracy of the Hezbollah arsenal. At the same time, the presence of these factories in Lebanon and Syria will alleviate the need for Iran to transport these missiles over land since their convoys have often been the target of the Israel Air Force.
In addition, Israel has already expressed its concerns over the so-called "De-escalation Zones" agreed on by the U.S. and Russia in southwest Syria. These zones will allow Iran and its proxies a permanent presence near the border with Israel.
It does not take a leap of the imagination to envision a scenario in a few years where Israel could face the outbreak of hostilities with Hezbollah in Lebanon, and also fighting on a second front on Israel's border with Syria on the Golan Heights.
At that point, Israel would not only face Hezbollah fighters but the thousands of Shia militants from across the Middle East that Hassan Nasrallah referred to in his June speech. They could be easily transported to Syria and Lebanon via the new land route controlled by Iran. This potential force would be backed by an enhanced arsenal of 120,000 rockets including many more accurate, long-range missiles that could hit any target in Israel.
In addition to the danger of a war on two fronts on Israel's northern borders, there is always the possibility of a third front with Hamas in Gaza that is also supported by Iran.
Israel's concerns were recently conveyed to Washington by a high-level delegation of Israeli security officials. The delegation included Yossi Cohen, the head of Mossad, and Maj. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the head of Israel's Military Intelligence.
According to reporter Ronen Bergman, in their meeting with the National Security Council, the Israelis told their American counterparts, "We rushed here to warn of the deployment of Hezbollah, Iranian and Syrian forces; to explain exactly what's going on there. Without a significant change in your (the US) position, if you don't become more involved, tougher and more aggressive, you will leave the Middle East to the Iranians, under Russian auspices."
The international community must hold Iran accountable, not only for implementing the terms of the nuclear deal (JCPOA), but also for adhering to norms of international behavior. Normal nations don't build rocket factories for terrorist organizations.
Unless the United States, Europe and the international community wake up to the dangers posed by Iran's malign efforts in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria then Israel will be left on its own to deal with the implications of the gathering storm on its northern borders.
Russian Defense Minister Shoigu in Damascus, Tehran for anti-ISIS drive -
After a tense conversation with Bashar Assad in Damascus Tuesday, Sept. 12, debkafile's military and intelligence sources discovered the Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had flown secretly to Tehran the next day. He then proceeded directly to Sochi to brief President Vladimir Putin on his mission, which was to pull together the Russian-backed Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah operations against ISIS on the Syrian-Iraqi border.
debkafile's sources report that Shoigu's visits capped this effort by Moscow.
The bright prospects of success in breaking the ISIS' long siege of Deir ez-Zour announced at the beginning of the week dimmed on Tuesday and Wednesday, when the claims of a major victory proved unexpectedly premature.
As of Wednesday evening, Syrian army units were still locked in battle for control of the main road from Damascus to Deir Ez-Zour, and were still about 15km away from the city. Reports that the ISIS siege on the large Syrian airbase adjoining Deir Ez-Zour had been lifted were also premature. On Wednesday night, ISIS forces were still attacking the base's perimeter in an attempt to break through.
In other words, the lofty claims in recent days by senior Russian officers, President Assad and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, claiming the war was won, aside from small scattered battles, were over-hasty.
Our military sources point out that now, because ISIS is concentrating on battering the Syrian, Iranian and Hezbollah forces and stalled their advance to the Euphrates Valley, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, consisting mainly of Syrian Kurdish fighters from the YPG militia, have found that the road from Raqqa to Deir Ez-Zour is open and are overtaking the Russian-backed forces. The SDF is advancing rapidly with US helicopters providing them with fuel so their vehicles can press forward.
As of Wednesday evening, the SDF was just 6 km away from Deir Ez-Zour, ahead of the Russian-backed armies which were taking the brunt of ISIS attacks.
When he saw this happening, Russian President Putin sent his defense minister over to Damascus and Tehran to look for ways to break through to the next operations scheduled for attacking ISIS strongholds on the Syrian-Iraqi border. Ahead may be decision to commit more Russian military forces to the war against ISIS or explore a path to a breakthrough in talks with the Americans..
Epic Quest to Document 'Miracle' of Hebrew Language - http://www.breitbart.com/jerusalem/2017/09/14/epic-quest-document-miracle-hebrew-language/
The bespectacled man with two pens in his shirt pocket and a black skullcap atop grey hair points to his computer screen and explains an epic project spanning generations.
Gabriel Birnbaum, 66, is a senior researcher helping document and define every Hebrew word ever - from ancient texts such as the Dead Sea Scrolls to the contemporary novels of Israeli literary figures like Amos Oz.
It is a mammoth task under way since 1959, and even though a milestone has been reached on the digital project, there are still many years to go.
Called the Historical Dictionary Project at Israel's Academy of the Hebrew Language, it will serve as an invaluable resource for scholars, writers and linguists.
But it will also act as an anchor for Hebrew, the ancient language revived in spoken form in the 19th century after some 1,700 years.
Work completed so far is already available to the public online.
For Birnbaum, who has been working for the project for about 13 years and is charged with writing dictionary entries for the words, the project's researchers "understand that we do something very important for the Jewish people".
"For linguistics in general also, because it's a huge linguistic project in itself," he added.
At his book-lined office at the project's headquarters in Jerusalem, he clicked through to various entries.
The Hebrew word for table, for example, brought up almost 3,000 occurrences, including from the Bible's Book of Exodus in a section where God tells Moses to create a tabernacle.
But it is not all business for Birnbaum.
Another tab on his browser was open to a song by Leonard Cohen, the late musician whose songs include references to Jewish tradition. Birnbaum is a big fan.
- A dramatic revival -
While such historical dictionaries exist for other languages - perhaps most notably the monumental Oxford English Dictionary - Hebrew's status may give the project added importance.
Earlier incarnations of the language were spoken by ancient Jewish communities where the modern state of Israel is located today.
As Jews were forced into exile, Hebrew as a spoken language began to fade, though it remained in use in written form.
After some 1,700 years, it was revived in the late 19th century as part of the push by Zionist Jews to resettle in the lands from where their ancestors fled.
It is now an official language of Israel and is considered history's sole example of such a dramatic revival.
"It's a miracle," said Birnbaum, a father of five who moved to Israel from Hungary when he was six years old.
The headquarters of the project includes furniture and books from Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, seen as the father of the effort to revive Hebrew.
Ben-Yehuda, who died in Jerusalem in 1922, began work on the first modern Hebrew dictionary, and slips of paper on which he wrote entries by hand are included in the project's collection.
Around 25 people currently work on the project. When it started in 1959, there were only five people, said Birnbaum, and they used an early form of computers for the work.
Most of the ancient manuscripts and inscriptions are located outside Israel, requiring researchers early on to rely on photostats.
More recently, images of many are online, including the Gezer calendar, considered by some to be the oldest known Hebrew writing, dating to the 10th century BC.
- 'Task is great' -
All ancient literature will be included because examples are relatively few, but for later eras, representative samples are chosen.
In the beginning, researchers did not focus on the Bible because reliable biblical dictionaries already existed, opting to delve into other ancient works such as the Talmud.
Since then, biblical texts have been added.
Researchers study texts for words and input them by hand.
Some 50,000 entries are already included along with linguistic analysis, and definitions began to be written in 2005 - a milestone for the project.
"The idea is that it will be an electronic database," said Steven Fassberg, the project's associate editor.
"I don't think anybody would even venture how many years" it will take to complete, he said.
Charlotte Brewer, a professor at Oxford's Hertford College who researches the Oxford English Dictionary, said the project "has obviously been carefully planned".
"Dictionary projects which set out to chart the history of a nation's language are usually closely bound up with cultural and ideological beliefs about nationhood, patriotism, etc, and this project looks to be no exception," she said.
Birnbaum takes pride in the work begun by Ben-Yehuda.
He points out a plaque in the room where Ben-Yehuda's furniture is displayed and which once hung above his desk.
Quoting a traditional Jewish teaching, the plaque says: "The day is short and the task is great."
Corruption Follows Idleness
- By Grant Phillips - http://www.raptureready.com/2017/09/12/corruption-follows-idleness/
I was driving home this morning and noticed how the weeds had taken over farmland nearby that used to grow corn. Once the corn was harvested a cover crop was sown to keep the ground fertile. Unfortunately, the owners sold the farm and no longer are growing any corn. Some of the farmland has been set aside for a few horses. Some is being divided into plots for a sub-division, and this one particular lot I have mentioned is sitting idle, at least for now. Instead of the beautiful land we used to see when we drove by, it is now covered in weeds as tall as I am.
This got me to thinking about our spiritual lives as Christians. I'll come back to that, but first of all let's consider some other examples.
My Mother-in-law's car sits idle most of the time in her carport. I mentioned to her the other day that it really should be driven at least once a week to keep all the moving parts working as they should.
Have you ever noticed that when we don't exercise, regardless of our age, our body gets weaker and pudgy? Since our body wears down with age anyway, it gets even more critical to exercise it to slow down the "blessings" of the aging process. My guess is that most of us do not feel, in our minds, our actual age. In my mind, I feel much younger than my age, but my body has a way of reminding me that I'm not a young buck anymore. Can I get an "Amen" here?
Children aren't as physically active as we were when we were youngsters, but I've told my wife, on one of those few occasions you spot one outside playing, "We used to be active like that. What happened?" I used to run and jump over fences just for the pure joy of it. Now, I don't want to walk too far from the house, since I'm concerned about getting back.
Sin brought corruption into this world. When God created the world, everything was perfect. How do I know, since I wasn't here at the time? He said so. (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 3) Can you really think of anything, since sin entered the world that does not wear down? It is also true that many things in our world deteriorate even more rapidly if left idle.
Our bodies need to be maintained (food, drink, exercise) to keep working properly, but even then aging takes its toll. Our spirit is much different. Unlike the body, it is eternal. It is not aging, but it still needs to be maintained (food, drink, exercise).
Far more often than not, most Christians are not maintaining their spirit. With most Christians it (their spirit) sits idle, and idleness reaps nothing but corruption. In using the word "corruption" for this article, I am not saying they are "sleazy" people, as this word would normally be defined.
I am saying that they are becoming weak, as in a body that is not maintained. Living in this sin-bloated world, we must be strong against Satan's assaults. When bad things happen, and they will, we must have the spiritual muscle to withstand. However, if we don't feed our spirit with the Word of God (Bible) and spend time in prayer (fellowship with God), we're going to have a much more difficult time living in this world than a Christian who is growing spiritually in the Lord.
I am saying that they are becoming weed-infested, as a piece of ground that is not maintained. If we allow our spiritual lives to sit idle as the farmland I mentioned in the opening paragraph, we won't know what to believe. We will be so confused; we'll never be at peace with Truth. Our faith will be weak. We will be so full of "weedy" questions; we'll never be truly content, relaxing in God's rest. We are in God's rest if we are a Christian, but are we relaxing in it, enjoying God's grace?
"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." (Hebrews 4:1)
Many Christians are really confused about the security of their salvation. One day they think they're saved. The next day they aren't so sure. It's because they have been idle and their souls have become corrupted with the weeds of false gospel. Their ground needs to be cleared and plowed so the cover crop can be sown.
Our God wants a close relationship with us by our mutual fellowship with Him. He wants us to be strong in faith and fertile in our life, but if our spiritual life sits idle, we are not going to grow spiritually. We will always be fighting against the current. Consider the following Scriptures.
"Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger." (Proverbs 19:15)
Slothfulness in this verse actually means "lazy." If we are idle, we are lazy and starving our spiritual self.
"By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through." (Ecclesiastes 10:18)
As with anything, idleness brings nothing but corruption. The house just falls down around our ears while we stand and watch.
"Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." (Ezekiel 16:49)
Jesus said that in the last days the world would become as it was in the days of Noah and Lot. Notice that this Scripture says that Sodom had an "abundance of idleness." Maybe that's one of the major problems with the Church today. We have "an abundance of idleness" and we are reaping corruption.
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html
Praise the Lord - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
"[[A Psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.]] O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary." Psalm 63:1-2. David was a man who had many troubles. Some of them were brought on by his own sin, such as his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the subsequent murder of her husband, but some were just things that happen in life, such as Saul's hatred of him. King Saul was soothed when David played music, but when the music stopped Saul would try to kill David. At one point David was forced to flee and ended up in the wilderness. David could have been bitter and blamed God for not stopping Saul's attacks, but he praised God instead of blaming Him. This wilderness was a hostile environment with no comforts. Though water was scarce David's soul thirsted for God. We also have wilderness journeys that can test us and sometimes we may feel cut off from everything good and feel far from God. In those times we need to seek God as a thirsty person seeks water. It's easy to praise God when our hearts aren't troubled, but in the wilderness we gain strength in our faith by praising Him in all situations.
"Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name." Psalm 63:3-4. When life takes a bad turn most people blame God. Keep in mind that God never promised to keep all troubles away from us and while we live on this side of Heaven we will face many, many troubles. The way a Christian handles those troubles depends upon how much we trust God. Even though David was running for his life he recognized the mercy, kindness, and goodness of God. To David, God's lovingkindness was better than life itself. Even while dusty, dirty, thirsty, and generally uncomfortable, David praised God. Can we say the same thing when we face problems that come our way? David lifted his hands to the Lord. Most Christians sit quietly in a pew on Sunday mornings and worship God with no real passion. What if we, like David, lifted our hands in praise? Would that change our way of thinking about Him? Maybe, maybe not, but if we're afraid to openly praise Him in the midst of a congregation of fellow Christians we certainly won't praise Him in the hostile world outside of those hallowed walls. We have so much to praise Him for and we should always have His praise on our lips and in our hearts. If our hands are lifted in praise then we won't use them for mischief, if our hearts are tuned to Him with song then we won't harbor hatred and anger, if our lips sing His praise then we won't deny His lovingkindness. The Apostle Paul said "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting." 1 Timothy 2:8. If David saw fit to lift his hands to the Lord in the wilderness and Paul encouraged lifting up holy hands then we shouldn't be embarrassed to openly praise the Lord. Do you lose all inhibitions at a sports event? The Lord God Almighty is more worthy of your adulation than a football team.
David felt God's provision even in the harshest conditions. His mouth was filled with God's praise and it was as satisfying as a good meal. "My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice." Psalm 63:5-7. This Psalm doesn't promote meditation as the Eastern pagan religions promote and it's not contemplative prayer. This meditation is turning your mind to God at all times and remembering all He has done for you. Even when things seem the darkest, God is still worthy of praise because of His love. No matter what your trouble happens to be, He still laid down His life for your salvation. Think about that. He has forgiven you of a multitude of sins and His lovingkindness is better than life. His love has given Christians eternal life.
"My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me. But those that seek my soul to destroy it shall go into the lower parts of the earth. They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes. But the king shall rejoice in God; everyone that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped." Psalm 63:8-11. No matter what happens around us we can only be responsible for how we follow the Lord in our own life. David knew that it was God who was his strength and that God would come against his enemies. David followed after God's ways but wanted God to deal with his enemies. He chose to rejoice in God through good times and bad times and we need to follow his example. When someone has it in for us or tries to hurt us, let God deal with that person and you just keep praising the Lord. "Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice." Philippians 4:4. Paul understood persecution and what it means to take up your cross and follow Jesus. When he says to rejoice he means while on the mountain top of joy as well as in the dark valley of trouble and despair. Other people will see your love for the Lord and be encouraged, but praising God in all things will also encourage your own trust in Him.
We face many troubles individually and as a nation. The news headlines can be very troublesome to read and it could be easy to get discouraged. Jesus said that as the end of time approached we would see an increase of problems and they would get worse. "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." Matthew 24:6. Troubles and tough times are here and getting worse. We are moving swiftly towards the Rapture, which will occur prior to Daniel's final week, and Jesus was clear about the events leading up to the end of days. Jesus knew that troubles will increase in strength and frequency as the end of time drew near. "For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows." Matthew 24:7-8. Throughout the years people have faced these problems but today these events are becoming more frequent. As I write this, Florida is being pounded by hurricane Irma while people in Texas haven't come close to recovering from hurricane Harvey. An 8.2 earthquake hit offshore Mexico and many people have died. People in Venezuela are suffering from starvation, North Korea is threatening to send nuclear weapons to destroy Guam or Hawaii or anywhere else that can be destroyed, the Middle East is seething with hatred towards Israel, and Muslim terrorists are killing anyone who isn't a Muslim. Things really look bleak. Should we just give up and blame God? "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18. We certainly cannot be thankful for these things, but like David in the wilderness of Judah and Paul in prison we can still praise God when we're in the midst of these trials and testing. It's God's will that we praise Him even when going through the wilderness.
Paul did experience his share of suffering in his missionary work, but he learned to put aside his own suffering and praise God in all things. Whether in a jail cell or being beaten by an angry mob he never turned away from Jesus. Today there are many people who are in prison and being tortured because they love Jesus. Discrimination against Christians is strong, but instead of rioting and causing damage and destruction, we praise the Lord and let God deal with our enemies. Paul wasn't happy about the suffering he faced and he prayed for God to take it from him. "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians12:9. Because he always had praise on his lips he was able to bring many people to salvation through Jesus. We have that same ability if we keep praising our Lord no matter what our situation. As Christians, we have so much to be thankful for and rejoice over. No matter what troubles may befall us we have salvation. If we praise God no matter what our situation, then other people will see our attitude and glorify God. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is heaven." Matthew 5:16. Glorifying God should be every Christian's goal. David praised Him in every situation and so did Paul, Peter, James, John, and the others who followed the risen Christ with all their strength.
Whether your home is flooded from storms or your stomach is grumbling from lack of food, praise the Lord. You'll find strength to face each day and His grace will be sufficient for you.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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Daily Jot: Hillary meltdown an omen of the future? - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
A friend of mine and I were talking last night about future Democratic Party candidates for President. He was telling me about a Zogby Analytics poll of likely Democratic Party voters who ranked the candidates for which they would most likely vote in 2020. There were three that rose to the top: Senator Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT), Former Vice President Joe Biden, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (Democrat Progressive-MA). Our main question to one another that we really couldn't answers was: How do these people get where they are? When Joe Biden emerges as the most sane among them, there is a tremendous problem within the Democratic Party. But Hillary Clinton is a tremendous indicator.
Unlike any losing presidential candidate in history, Clinton has come out of her post-campaign depression swinging. She is blaming Sanders, the ex-"president," women, men, government agency leaders, Russia, racists, misogyny, bigotry, and any other terms she can for losing the election. It is kind of a meltdown in public. Clinton was on CNN the other night talking about relieving her stress from losing the election by using a yoga technique of alternating breathing from her nostrils. Worse yet, CNN's Anderson Cooper actually tolerated and encouraged this nonsense. Some Democrat office holders and insiders, according to The Hill, just wish she would shut up and go away.
Clinton is unable to admit that she, herself, was a flawed candidate and ran a flawed campaign. Even according to her own campaign operatives, who remain in the shadows and do not want to be named by the press, Clinton wants to blame everyone except herself for her loss. The Clinton meltdown has sucked the air out of attempts by other Democratic Party leaders to unite their base, integrate the socialists/progressives into the party mainstream, and move on to the issues upon which they want to focus. Clinton appears bitter, mean-spirited, and unable to accept responsibility for a loss when she had the news media, the pollsters, and leftist organizations tilting the scales in her favor.
Imagine if she would have been president. Imagine if things didn't go her way or she was criticized even a fraction of what the current President has been. Would her delusional state cause her to react in such a way that would harm us all, never accepting responsibility for her own actions? These are legitimate questions not only for Clinton, but also for the three frontrunners who would assume the role of the next Democratic Party presidential nominee. All three-Sanders, Warren and Biden-have demonstrated similar characteristics as Clinton. As Psalm 14:1 says, "The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that do good." And therein is the problem with all of these-While they say they know God, their actions prove otherwise. Remember them for the future.
Daily Devotion: God's Chosen Vessels - By Greg Laurie -
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." -2 Corinthians 4:7
Have you ever tried to get kids to do a job? Maybe you asked them to take out the trash or clean up a mess. But in the process of cleaning, they made a bigger one.
It is so much easier to say, "Never mind. I'll just do it myself." Yet why do you have children help you? It's because you want to teach them responsibility. You want them to be involved in the process. You don't ask children to help you because you need them. The fact is that you don't need them. They need you.
When you stop and think about the entire process of evangelism, you may wonder why on earth God chooses to use people to reach people. If I were God, I would roll the heavens away, poke my face through, and say, "Hello, humanity. I am God, and you are not. Believe in me now, or you will die." (Aren't you glad that I'm not God?)
Or at the very least, if I were God I would raise up an army of angels to preach the gospel. Wouldn't that be powerful to have an angel of the Lord come to you and declare the truth of Jesus Christ? But I would never use people. They are flawed. They make mistakes. They fall short. They are inconsistent. Sometimes they contradict what they say by the way they live.
But God in His great wisdom has chosen to use people to reach people. You can hardly find a story in the New Testament where an individual comes to faith apart from the involvement of another person. Yes, it was done through the Holy Spirit. But God worked through a person to bring someone to faith. And today, in the same way, God wants to use us.
FROM THE HEART
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