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No One Can Cancel Our “Blessed Hope” – Jonathan Brentner - https://www.jonathanbrentner.com/https/jonathan-brentner-g8fgsquarespacecom/config/2021/3/4/the-cancelling-of-our-blessed-hope
The distortion of biblical prophecy through allegory lies behind much of the doctrinal error that we see in the church today.
If one can interpret prophetic passages of Scripture by applying a meaning foreign to the text, what is to stop others from applying this same methodology to other portions of Scripture they find objectionable?
The rejection of justification by faith during the Dark Ages did not begin with the allegorizing of relevant passages in Romans and Ephesians. No, it began with Augustine and prophetic texts related to Israel and Jesus’ future millennial reign. He said the idea of a millennium “would not be objectionable” if somehow “the nature of the millennial kingdom was a ‘spiritual one’ rather than a physical one.”[i] Because he found these prophetic passages objectionable to his Plato-inspired view of reality, he attached symbolism to these texts.[ii] The amillennialism that began with Augustine’s objections to the unspiritual nature of the millennium dominated the church for many centuries.
By the time of the Reformation, Catholic theologians had distorted the Gospel using the same allegorical methodology that Augustine applied to prophecy. Both Luther and Calvin recognized the great damage that allegory had done to the purity of the Gospel. Calvin characterized the allegorical interpretation of God’s Word as “satanic” because it led people away from the truth of Scripture.[iii] Luther joined Calvin in firmly denouncing the use of symbolism as a way to interpret God’s Word.
Unfortunately, despite condemning allegorical interpretations of Scripture related to the Gospel, the Reformers failed to apply their convictions to prophetic passages. However, the Sola Scriptura and Scripture interprets Scripture principles championed by the Reformers sparked the rise and later dominance of premillennialism.
Dr. William Watson wrote an excellent article that documents how the next generation after the Reformers began applying the Scripture first emphasis of John Calvin and Martin Luther to prophetic Scripture and as a result, premillennialism again sprang to life.[iv]
Today, allegorical interpretations of biblical prophecy are again driving the church away from the purity of the Gospel and in effect cancelling the “blessed hope” of Titus 2:13. In this article, I address the fallout from allegorizing prophecies that pertain to our glorious hope. In my next post, I will discuss the damage it’s doing to the doctrine of justification.
PETER WARNS US AGAINST PRIVATE INTERPRETATIONS OF BIBLICAL PROPHECY
Notice the words of the apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:20-21, “. . . knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Just as the prophets of old did not speak from their own understanding, in the same way we must not apply our own private “interpretations” to what they wrote; we must let the words speak for themselves.
The Greek word for “spoke” in verse 21 is laleo. According to Trench in in his book Synonyms of the New Testament, the “prominent notion” of this verb is “the fact of uttering articulated speech. . . it is the words uttered, and that these correspond to reasonable thoughts . . . .”[v] Biblical prophets, in both the Old and New Testament, expressed truths in words as God moved them through the Holy Spirit (see 2 Tim. 3:16; Proverbs 2:6). They did not speak in riddles or symbols that only the wise among us can discern; no, they spoke God-breathed words that communicated objective truths.
The Lord’s instructions to Jeremiah confirm this emphasis on the place of words in conveying clear and objective realities, “Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, / ‘Behold, I have put my words in your mouth’” (Jer. 1:9).
Of course, God uses symbols and metaphors to communicate His message to us; however, much of biblical prophecy comes to us in the form of objective statements in which the author’s intent is clear. It’s when teachers and pastors apply allegorical interpretations to the latter that they lead people away from the truth of God’s Word with their “private” interpretations that do not relate to the words on the page.
The apostasy of the Dark Ages began with Augustine’s disdain for the unspiritual nature of millennium and his use of allegory to change passages regarding Jesus’ future reign to something more agreeable with his human reasoning. Today, we see history repeating itself at an alarming rate.
FALSE TEACHINGS THAT SPRING FROM AMILLENNIALISM
Much doctrinal error springs from allegorical interpretations of biblical prophecy that retrofit prophetic texts with meanings foreign to the writers of Scripture at the time they wrote. Below, I list a couple examples of popular false teachings that in effect cancel our hope in Jesus’ soon appearing and our reign with Him during the millennium.
Preterism starts with amillennialism and further compounds this error by claiming that Jesus returned to earth in 70 AD. Preterists claim that Jesus fulfilled all remaining biblical prophecy with His late first century AD appearance. The extreme form of Preterism regards our current existence as the eternal state. The milder expression of this false teaching regards some portions of Revelation 21-22 as still future.
A second false teaching that arises from the allegorization of prophecies related to Israel is that of Dominion Theology. Those who hold to this view compound the error of allegorizing prophecy by adding new apostles and prophets that they claim receive new revelation. These new messages state that the church will someday triumph and bring about the millennium before the Lord Jesus returns.
Once one dismisses the objective prophecies of Scripture regarding Israel’s future and Jesus’ future millennial reign, one’s interpretation of future events becomes just as good as another. But the slide away from biblical truth does not stop with matters that pertain to our “blessed hope.”
THE ERROR OF AMILLENNIALISM SPREADS BEYOND THAT OF FUTURE THINGS
The church in the United Kingdom exemplifies how amillennialism morphs into further and even more serious error over time. Many leaders and pastors in the Church of England have long since abandoned premillennialism in favor of doctrines that deny the future restoration of Israel as well as the prophetic significance of her existence today.
During January of 2020, churches in Scotland and England disinvited Franklin Graham to speak because of his views on the LBGTQ agenda. According to news reports that I read at the time, Bryan Kerr, a Church of Scotland pastor in Lanark said this, “Franklin Graham isn’t the voice of Christianity.”[vi] The path to such a blatant disregard for scriptural standards began with amillennialism, which many decades later morphed into the assertion that Franklin Graham did not represent valid Christian beliefs.
Please know that I am not saying that all doctrinal error and twisting of Scripture stem from amillennialism and the use allegory. What I am saying is that once one teaches that objective statements regarding the future of Israel and the millennium do not really mean what the words say, it opens up other passages of the Bible to one own interpretation as a way to make them less objectionable.
Is that not the path that started Augustine on his disastrous denial of premillennialism? He found passages related to the millennium offensive and sought for a way to change their meaning.
I know amillennialists will surely attack me for stating that their rejection of Jesus’ millennial reign over a gloriously restored Israel in effect cancels our “blessed hope.” I realize they apply these same words to the distant end-of-the-age return of Jesus at which time He establishes the eternal state. In their eyes, they and the other viewpoints that spring from amillennialism do not diminish this hope.
However, for me the “blessed hope” of Titus 2:13 consists of the imminent “appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” Once someone takes away this eager expectation along with our future anticipation of reigning with Jesus during the millennium, I believe they have already erased key aspects of our glorious Gospel hope.
I believe the rapture represents our “blessed hope’ or at least the start of it. The New Testament expectation is Jesus’ imminent appearing and the glorious new bodies He will give us at that time.
But there’s much more at stake with our efforts to resist the allegorization of biblical prophecy.
Today, we see this practice also extending to other passages that pastors find objectionable. Not only are a great many churches drifting away from beliefs in the rapture, millennial reign of Jesus, and our hope of dwelling in the New Jerusalem, but they are also following the trend that occurred during the Dark Ages. They are also moving away from the firm foundation of Justification by faith alone and in the case of many other churches, they are abandoning the clear teachings of God’s Word.
I will have more to say about this in my next post. Stay tuned!
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[i] D. Matthew Allen, Theology Adrift: The Early Church Fathers and Their Views of Eschatology, A paper published on the Bible.org website.
[ii] Thomas Williams, Augustine and the Platonists, A lecture given to the Freshman Program of Christ College, the Honors College of Valparaiso University, 23 October 2003. In this lecture, Williams discusses the influence of Plato upon Augustine.
[iii] Bernard Ramm, Protestant Biblical Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House 1970), p. 58.
[iv] William Watson, The Rise of Philo-Semitism and Premillennialism During the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, on the Pre-Tribulation Research Center website @ https://www.pre-trib.org/articles/all-articles
[v] Richard C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1975), p. 287).
[vi] Taken from news accounts during the time the churches in the UK refused to let Franklin Graham speak.
Digital Vaccine Passports Are Coming & Could Be Used For Much More Than Travel – Robert Wheeler - https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=4594
There are currently two existing vaccine passports options, one being operational in the United States right now:
Common Pass: Created by Commons Project, this health pass has been in international use since October on United and Cathay Pacific flights between New York, London, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Common Pass operates via Apple's Health app on iOS and CommonHealth for Android. It connects to 230 US health systems. It functions as a scannable QR code and can store a passenger's test or vaccine data and travel plans.
IATA Travel Pass: Expected to launch in early 2021, IATA Travel Pass, is currently under development by the International Transport Association. According to the IATA website, the digital pass for travelers is: A global and standardized solution to validate and authenticate all country regulations regarding COVID-19 passenger travel requirements.
If you've ever left a pet at a kennel while you travel, you may be familiar with the process of proving your animals have had their shots against things like rabies and kennel cough. Now, it appears that humans, too, will have to prove they've "gotten their shots."
While we're certainly not objecting to anyone who wants the vaccine being able to get it, this push to make it essential to live a somewhat normal life is concerning for a number of reasons.
New York has begun a pilot program for their vaccine passport.
New York officials are testing a new mobile app that could be your ticket into places like Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center as the state slowly reopens venues for sports, concerts and other events.
The Excelsior Pass works much like a so-called "vaccine passport." The app, developed in partnership with IBM, uses encrypted smartphone wallet technology to prove a person's recent negative COVID-19 test or confirm they are fully vaccinated against the virus.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo touted the app as a way to fast-track the safe reopening of theaters, stadiums and other businesses that operate in densely populated settings.
"As we begin reopening the valves on different sectors of our economy, we are putting guidelines in place to ensure individuals attending events involving larger gatherings have tested negative for COVID or have been vaccinated to avoid an outbreak of the virus," Cuomo said in a statement Tuesday. "The Excelsior Pass will play a critical role in getting information to venues and sites in a secure and streamlined way, allowing us to fast-track the reopening of these businesses and getting us one step closer to reaching a new normal."
Thus far the app was tested at Brooklyn Nets game at Barclays Center on Feb. 27 and again on Tuesday during the New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden.
Of course, your personal health data will be perfectly secure.
The global pandemic crackdown is continuing apace, particularly in the areas of travel
Denmark and Sweden are already announcing they are developing systems for "digital vaccine certification," aka "vaccine passports." These digital certifications allow travelers to prove they have received the COVID vaccine.
The plan is to create and maintain a record of anyone who wants to travel both domestically and internationally to countries that require proof of vaccination.
Claims are the plan is to accelerate air travel and assist in the "revival of national economies." Morten Bodskov, Denmark's acting Finance Minister, has stated that an online registry will be operational soon, and it should be fully in place by around June.
Thomas Bustrup of the Confederation of Danish Industry told CGTN Europe he saw the registry taking the form of a phone app. The app would include the following three pieces of information:
- Someone had had the vaccine
- Whether a person was tested and the result of the test
- Whether the person had COVID-19. If so, they may still have antibodies
Sweden is also looking at a similar plan and timeframe to Denmark. Sweden's Digital Development Minister, Anders Ygeman, stated, "With a digital vaccine certificate, it will be quick and easy to prove a completed vaccination."
Attendance at sporting and cultural events may require digital vaccine certificates
Both Sweden and Denmark stated the system's scope could eventually be widened to include attendance at sporting events and "cultural events."
As is typical when long-planned agendas unfold, other European nations are looking at rolling out the same system. Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, and Spain have all announced plans to unveil a similar vaccine passport system.
The European Council has also taken note of the system. However, it has yet to make any official decision, saying in a statement that: "Leaders agreed to work on a standardized and interoperable form of proof of vaccination for medical purposes. Leaders will determine at a later stage in what circumstances these certificates could be used."
The British government is also considering a vaccine passport system
As The Evening Standard has reported, vaccine passports for travel are on the way.
A Covid vaccination certificate that could unlock holidays abroad is on the way, the Transport Secretary disclosed today.
Grant Shapps revealed that talks are under way with governments, including the United States and Singapore, and the United Nations aviation body about an international system to help people who have had the Covid-19 jab to fly.
"Just as we have things like the yellow fever card... I imagine that in the future there'll be an international system where countries will want to know that you've been potentially vaccinated or had tests taken before flying, before you come in," he told the BBC Radio Four Today program.
But the Cabinet minister warned the public it is "too soon" to book summer holidays yet -- and he even suggested that staycations in the UK could be in doubt.
"The truth is we just don't know how the virus will respond to the vaccines," he told Sky News.
There is concern that it's too soon to plan for any travel yet
Indeed, the British government has taken contradictory stances on vaccine passports in the past several weeks.
However, CBS Travel Editor Peter Greenberg does not doubt that vaccine passports will be required to travel. "It will be required," he said. "The real question is what technology will be available to create a universally acceptable and universally readable document that can't be forged."
"Some governments are doing it," he added. "Denmark is creating a digital passport for citizens that will contain all your current medical information that can be updatable on that digital card."
CNN has been promoting the idea as well. For instance, in a bizarrely written article where the author labels the concept of "vaccine passports" as "reassuring," the article shows that documentation requiring vaccination to travel is something that is coming down the pike. CNN writes,
The words "vaccine passport" have a reassuring ring to them, perhaps conjuring up the image of a sleek, embossed document with watermarked pages and official stamps of approval. Flourished at border controls, it would open travel doors that, for so many of us, have been closed by Covid-19.
Some destinations -- including the Seychelles, Cyprus, and Romania -- have already lifted quarantine requirements to visitors able to prove they're vaccinated. Others, such as Iceland and Hungary, have opened up to people who've recovered from Covid-19.
This raises the prospect that proof of inoculation or immunity could be the golden ticket to rebooting travel and seems good news for people eager to book summer vacations after months of lockdown, particularly as vaccine rollouts gather pace.
They could open up the restaurants, bars, cinemas, and other leisure and entertainment facilities whose closure over the past year have left many teetering on the edge of -- or already victim to -- financial ruin.
Required vaccines and other procedures are just the beginning
Requiring vaccines, biological manipulations, and medical procedures before allowing access to essential services, entertainment, or travel has been a long-held idea. In fact, conspiracy theorists tried to warn us about mandated vaccines.
As early as May 2020, "Contact Tracer" and "Disease Investigator" jobs opened up across the United States, to track those who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Weekly COVID tests were reportedly in the works for the UK offering a "Passport to Freedom."
Now we finally see a vaccine passport system being rolled out, and, for many, it is surreal. As costs and difficulty mount for "proving" that you're healthy, it's a concern of many that only those with money will find their lives returning to some type of "normal."
At this point, all I can say is to hold on to your hats because this ride is just beginning.
Can You Not See That The Crust Of Our Planet Is Becoming Increasingly Unstable? - by Michael Snyder - http://endoftheamericandream.com/can-you-not-see-that-the-crust-of-our-planet-is-becoming-increasingly-unstable/
How much shaking is it going to take for most people to wake up? As I write this article, New Zealand continues to be slammed by large earthquake after large earthquake. On the other side of the globe, Iceland has been hit by more than 18,000 earthquakes in the past week, and authorities are warning that two volcanoes in a “densely populated” region of the country could erupt at literally any moment. On Wednesday, I wrote that “we are moving into a time when I believe that the changes that are happening to our planet will accelerate dramatically”. That was before an area off the New Zealand coast was shaken by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake, a magnitude 7.4 earthquake and a magnitude 8.1 earthquake on Thursday. Following the magnitude 8.1 earthquake, there have been 33 aftershocks of at least magnitude 5.0. Of course by the time you read this article that number will inevitably be even higher.
As I have warned so many times, the infamous “Ring of Fire” is roaring to life, and the major quakes that just shook the New Zealand coast prompted authorities to warn of the potential for tsunamis…
Several powerful earthquakes hit near the coast of New Zealand on Thursday night and Friday morning, prompting tsunami warnings for New Zealand and tsunami watches for Hawaii.
The most powerful was an 8.1 quake that hit some 620 miles northeast of New Zealand on Friday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey said. Two earlier quakes registered magnitude 7.4 and magnitude 7.3.
Thankfully, no large tsunamis were generated this time.
But next time could be much different.
In New Zealand, there was quite a bit of panic after officials urged residents to get “as far inland as possible”…
“This evacuation advice overrides the current COVID-19 Alert Level requirements. Do not stay at home if you are near the coast and felt the earthquake LONG or STRONG. Evacuate immediately to the nearest high ground, out of all tsunami evacuation zones or as far inland as possible. Stay 2 metres away from others if you can and it is safe to do so.”
After watching what happened during the Fukushima disaster, none of us should take the threat of tsunamis lightly ever again.
The good news is that the tsunami threat has now passed and the quakes were far enough away from New Zealand that no serious damage was done.
But experts are warning that it is just a matter of time before a historic disaster strikes. The entire west coast of the United States sits along the Ring of Fire, and seeing so much unusual activity elsewhere along the Ring of Fire should definitely concern coastal residents.
In fact, on Thursday there was an “explosion” at Mount Veniaminof in Alaska…
A small explosion was recorded Thursday at a remote volcano on the Alaska Peninsula, prompting officials to raise the alert level.
Satellite and webcam views indicated low-level ash emissions from Mount Veniaminof volcano. The ash plume did not rise above 10,000 feet (3048 meters), the Alaska Volcano Observatory said. Minor ash deposits are visible at the volcano, located 480 miles (772 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage.
Meanwhile, things are getting crazy on the other side of the planet as well.
In Iceland, a swarm of more than 18,000 earthquakes has put everyone on edge…
A volcanic eruption in Iceland ‘could be imminent’ after more than 18,000 earthquakes hit the island in the past week, authorities have warned.
On Wednesday alone, there were about 2,500 earthquake detected and since midnight on Thursday almost 800 earthquakes measured, according to the Icelandic Meteorological Office (IMO).
Most of the quakes are occurring in a “densely populated region in southwest Iceland”, and officials are now telling us that they “expect” two volcanoes to erupt shortly…
The sudden burst in seismic activity has been centred around Reykjanes Peninsula, a densely populated region in southwest Iceland just south of capital city Reykjavík.
Icelandic authorities are now expecting two volcanoes on the Reykjanes Peninsula – Mount Keilir and Mount Fagradalsfjall – to erupt in the coming hours.
Two volcanoes erupting at the same time in a “densely populated region”?
That doesn’t sound good at all.
In Guatemala, “Pacaya” continued to send hot volcanic ash thousands of feet into the sky on Thursday…
Guatemala’s Pacaya volcano continued to spew columns of ash thousands of feet (meters) into the air Thursday, but residents of hamlets on the volcano’s slopes have largely ignored a recommendation to evacuate, relying instead on folk traditions and their own knowledge of the peak to judge when it’s time to go.
Of course Guatemala sits directly along the Ring of Fire, and many experts are watching developments there very closely.
With so much seismic activity happening elsewhere along the Ring of Fire, it amazes me that so many people on the west coast continue to assume that a major disaster will never hit them.
But even though so many people are ignoring them, the warning signs are definitely there.
As I discussed earlier this week, Mt. Hood was shaken by earthquakes for 45 straight minutes on Monday.
One of these volcanoes on the west coast is likely to erupt sooner rather than later. Of course a massive earthquake along the San Andreas fault could happen at any time, and scientists assure us that a major rupture of the Cascadia Subduction Zone is inevitable.
I know that authorities are interested in keeping people calm, but the truth is that we have entered a time when the crust of our planet is going to be getting increasingly unstable.
Just in the time that it has taken me to write this article, there have been four more earthquakes off the New Zealand coast of at least magnitude 5.0.
The talking heads on television are going to keep telling you that all of this is “normal” and that there is nothing to be concerned about at all.
You can believe them if you would like.
But we are going to continue to see unusual earthquakes and violent volcanic eruptions shake the globe.
The clock is ticking for our planet, and many believe that all of this shaking is leading up to something really, really big.
Relax, God’s Got This - By Howard Green - https://www.raptureready.com/2021/03/04/relax-gods-got-this-by-howard-green/
The months leading up to the recent 2020 Presidential election were punctuated by prayers, rallies, and a tangible sense of urgency among many evangelicals that Donald Trump must be re-elected or all hope is lost. There was a perception among many believers that it was God’s will for Trump to serve as President again because of his Christian world-view and support for Israel. There was a consensus among some evangelicals that Trump had to be re-elected in order for God’s plans for the U.S. and the world to come to fruition.
Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020, was a day marked by confusion and conflicting reports regarding the outcome of the Presidential election. As Joe Biden became the projected winner, the weeks that followed were marked by a confidence that the election results could be overturned through the courts at a state level, and there was hope that the Supreme Court would act. As these efforts to recount votes failed one by one, optimism faded into the realization that, barring some miracle, Trump would have to leave the White House. On January 20th, 2021, at 12:00 pm, Joe Biden was inaugurated, and he became the 46th President of the United States, much to the dismay of many Christians.
Many well-meaning Christians placed their desperate hope in a man and this world, not in Jesus and His kingdom to come. Regardless of how you feel about the validity of the election results, many believers gave too much credit to the voters and Dominion machines instead of to the One who raises up and deposes kings (Daniel 2:21).
Over the course of the past year, we witnessed a lot of confusion among Christians. Some couldn’t stand the thought of voting for Trump, while it appears that others couldn’t imagine God’s plan going forward without him. Both groups overlooked a basic biblical principle that should bring peace and clarity to believers regardless of the current political climate, and it is this: God will ultimately decide who is in power.
We see this exact scenario play out multiple times in scripture. One example is during King Zedekiah’s reign over Israel. Approximately ten years before Jerusalem fell to Babylon, God tells Jeremiah to warn Israel and the small kingdoms surrounding it that they must serve the King of Babylon. In fact, God calls Nebuchadnezzar His servant! (Jeremiah 27:6). He then goes on to warn those nations, if they don’t serve the King of Babylon, they will be punished with the sword, pestilence, and famine in Jeremiah 27:8.
In our finite thinking, we might ask, How can God do such a thing? His word provides the answer in Jeremiah 27:5. God’s wisdom is infinite, and He will do what is right to Him, which includes giving temporary authority over lands, people, and animals into the hands of both good and evil leaders to accomplish His purposes.
Please understand my point: I’m not equivocating the reign of Zedekiah and Nebuchadnezzar to former President Trump or President Biden. My point is that we cannot be so shortsighted and faithless to think that God has somehow been caught by surprise and is nervously pacing the floor in heaven because of an election outcome. The biblical reality is that God orchestrated and allowed the election results. It’s not my intent to go into the debate of “Stopping the Steal” vs. “No Election Fraud” because God saw fit in His wisdom to place Joe Biden in office.
Daniel 2:21 gives us full assurance that God is the One who has the final say in every King’s coronation, Presidential election, and even a despot’s temporary regime. To think anything else is to give ourselves undue credit. Some people have wandered into the false teaching of dominion theology by thinking that if we can just elect the right man, hold a majority, and clean up the country, then the stage will be set for Jesus to return. They neglect the fact that God is truly in control and is bringing His plans to fruition. The Bible tells us that God used good and evil leaders to bring about His will. He raised up Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, and even Rome to accomplish His purposes.
As Christians, we can rest in the knowledge that God is in control and the events that are happening all around us are sanctioned by Him. Followers of God from ancient times to right now have placed their trust in His providential care. Job, Esther, Jeremiah, Daniel, the early church, Reformation saints, Bonhoeffer, Ten Boom, and scores of others saw past the harsh reality of this world and put their faith in their God who has the final authority on what is allowed to happen (Job 42:1-6).
This brings us to the current days we live in. If we apply God’s unchanging word to our time, as believers, we are compelled to understand that He is bringing leaders, nations, geopolitical crises, and society toward the event that will be the culmination of human history, the return of Jesus. We are living in times of increasing economic, social, and global upheaval. The tepid leadership in America and Western Europe is placating to China, Iran, Russia, and other enemies of freedom.
Closer to home and just as dangerous are the self-righteous cancel-culture crusaders, who continue to stoke hatred and jealousy through Marxist, woke, and anti-Judeo-Christian ideology. The threat to personal and religious freedom cannot be overstated. Given the current leadership and hostile social climate of our day, I believe widespread retaliation and even persecution of people of faith will likely begin in short order. The ostracizing and bullying is already beginning to be encouraged, if not sanctioned by big-tech, big-media, and even some in leadership. Remember that taking a stand for the Lord will cost you something (Hebrews 10:32-33).
As Christians, it should come as no surprise that the world will hate you. Culture, society, and individuals will continue to hate us for our faith. It’s wrong to teach that society will get better when the Bible teaches no such thing. Remember that leaders, nations, and events are all moving toward a crescendo, and as believers, we can have full assurance that our lives are in God’s hands (Hebrews 11:32-39). Jesus Himself warned us that the world would hate us, and Peter encourages us to be ready to suffer for righteousness’s sake (1 Peter 3:13-16). I want to remind you to pray for those in authority and obey them, as long as it doesn’t conflict with our obedience to Christ (Romans 13:1, 1 Peter 2:13 and Acts 5:29).
Dear friends, let me encourage you in the Lord. You can have true contentment, peace, and even joy, regardless of the chaotic conditions around you. Jesus told us to stay awake, be alert, and be about His business. I want to exhort you to be more concerned about eternity than November 2022 & 2024. Certainly, vote pro-life and Christian values, but make it your utmost priority to be a bold, loving, witness for Jesus. I want to tell you that prophecy is being fulfilled, Jesus is coming soon, and to relax, God’s got this. Remember the promise of our Lord in Matthew 28:20 to be with us always.
All for Him,
Daily Jot: The Farm Chronicles: Rodeo Cowboy – Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
Growing up on the farm, the best time of the year was summertime. Other than having to make hay and stack it in the barn, there was a lot of free time. My Dad was not only a farmer, but he also owned a small gas and oil business where he delivered gasoline and fuel oil to the area’s farmers and residents. This business also slowed down a bit in the summer time as there was far less demand for heating oil. So the summer holds great memories of trips out West, including the 1963 Great Western Tour that we did with the McCarthy’s in our homemade camper. At that time, the West was just beginning to get itself settled down and was banking a lot on the tourist trade off of the romantic tales of the West.
Everywhere you went West of the Mississippi there were tourist traps. Signs along the road were designed to market the biggest and best of the West. For miles and miles, they would hype what they said was the place of the most significant gunfight or the home of the fastest gun in the West, or the killers of the desert. “Last chance for gas for 150 miles” also was very popular. With all the build-up, I was always excited to see a huge Western ghost town where there would be modern-day gunfights and battles with the Native Americans (back then they called themselves Indians, but in today’s terms that is “outdated cultural depiction”). Finally there, I would jump out to take in the thrill of the moment, but it was usually just a small gas station with a rattle snake penned up behind glass, or a poster of Wild Bill Hickock on the wall.
The real fastest guns in the West became the guys at the gas station. They would rush out to fill up the car with gas. Back then, there was no self-serve. Dad, being in the fuel business, would always check the pumps to make sure they were registering the right price for the gallon—something that has stuck with me even today. These out of the way gas stations were always trying something. They knew how to raise the hood on your car to “check the oil” and pull a quick-draw on disconnecting something so the car wouldn’t run. Then people would lose a whole day and a lot of money paying for the replacement part and the “mechanic.” Dad refused to let them check the oil. We saw a few in our travels who weren’t so smart.
Some places along the way actually put effort into their tourist traps. They would sell the idea of a gift shop or a “boot hill.” One place out near Cody, Wyoming advertised a rodeo. The 50 miles of signs would say things like, “Ride a Wild Bronc,” or “Rope a steer on the range.” I began bugging my parents after the first sign or two to stop there. You know, John 16:24 says, “Ask and you shall receive that your joy may be full.” And as the youngest spoiled child (some say a brat), I was no stranger to that concept. Turns out that there was a coral in the back with papier mache statues of a bucking horse and a steer mixed in with old covered wagons and broken wheels. While not quite what was advertised, I still had a blast riding that bucking bronc. I was a real rodeo cowboy, at least in my mind. Then the tank was full and it was time to go.
Daily Devotion: Running from God’s Will - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the LORD. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the LORD by sailing to Tarshish. —Jonah 1:3
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/running-from-gods-will/ - Listen
When the Lord called Jonah to go and preach to the city of Nineveh, Jonah tried to go in the opposite direction. The most ungodly people imaginable lived in Nineveh. They were known for their cruelty, their hardheartedness, and the way they treated their enemies.
Also, the Ninevites were the avowed enemies of Israel, and Jonah was a patriotic Jewish man. He didn’t want to go to his enemies and bring a message of hope to them. Or, maybe he didn’t want to go to Nineveh because he was afraid he would be rejected.
Whatever the reason, Jonah tried to go in the opposite direction. He was running from God’s will for his life.
I wonder if you’ve felt called by the Lord to do something. Maybe the Lord has prompted you to start a Bible study on your school campus. Maybe the Lord has been leading you to share the gospel with a neighbor. Maybe the Lord has been directing you to commit your life to serve Him in the place that you’re in right now.
And maybe you’re saying, “I don’t want to do it. That’s not part of my career plan.”
But here’s what you need to know. God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called. God isn’t looking for qualified people. Rather, He’s looking for people who will simply say, “Here I am. Send me.”
And really, what God is looking for more than anything else is availability—not so much ability but availability. He’s looking for someone who will say, “Lord, I want to be the person You’ve called me to be.”
God will give you the strength to do what He calls you to do, when He calls you to do it—not before and never after. He will give you what you need when you need it.
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