IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Importance of a Witnessed Rapture - By Jeff Van Hatten - https://www.raptureready.com/2021/07/31/the-importance-of-a-witnessed-rapture-by-jeff-van-hatten/
Why is it important that the rapture be witnessed?
The witnessed rapture brings glory to Yahweh, whereas an instant disappearing rapture allows Satan to steal glory that only belongs to Yahweh / Yeshua. Let’s examine how that works.
Proving the Prophecies – Advance Notice of Rapture
Enoch and Elijah both had advance notice that they would be taken up to heaven, and both were witnessed as they ascended to the clouds. We find Enoch’s prophecy of “Advance Notice of Rapture” in Enoch 81:5-6 – “You will have one year to teach your children, then the seven holy ones will take you from their midst.” Elijah’s prophecy is a little trickier, as we do not have a source for his “Advance Notice of Rapture” – we only know he did have advance notice because twice in 2 Kings 2:3-5, the sons of the prophets ask Elisha, “Don’t you know today is the day Elijah will be taken?” to which Elisha answers, “Yes, I know!”
Proving the Veracity – The Visible Raptures
2 Kings 2:12 – “While Elisha was watching, he was crying out…. Then he could no longer see him.” Elijah’s ascension was witnessed by both Elisha and the prophets with their own eyes, and eventually, Elisha “lost sight of him.”
Acts 1:9 – “Yeshua was taken up before their eyes; and a cloud hid him from their sight.” Yeshua was carried up into heaven while the disciples (and perhaps wives, children, neighbors, etc.) were looking on, and a cloud received him out of their sight. This ascension was so fascinating to those watching that two “men” had to interrupt them and basically tell them to get on with their lives until Yeshua returned! And not to mention that the disciples were in the right spot at the right time to witness Yeshua being taken up, eh? Yeshua’s rapture was witnessed by many.
Revelation 11:12 – “The two witnesses went up into heaven in a cloud, while their enemies watched them.” The two witnesses are raptured while many enemies watch.
Impact – Seeing But Not Believing
Seeing is believing, we are told, but there are still those who refuse to admit that Elijah’s ascension was witnessed by both Elisha and the prophets with their own eyes, though eventually Elisha “lost sight of him” (v12). But the prophets didn’t believe what they had witnessed – they insisted on going to look for Elijah, spent three days doing so, finally returned without finding him, only to hear Elisha say: “I told you not to go, didn’t I?” (v18). The same goes for Enoch – Enoch’s rapture was witnessed, though many deny this despite his having been taken from the midst of a crowd of witnesses.
Seeing is believing, we are told, but there are still those who refuse to admit that Yeshua’s rapture was witnessed, despite his having been taken from a crowd of witnesses. No doubt the same will happen when the Two Witnesses of Revelation are raptured right before the eyes of their enemies.
Proving the Veracity – The Wedding Pattern
In a Jewish Wedding, when the father tells his son to go get his bride, the son does not step outside his newly built home, blow the shofar, shout ‘Bride, come here,’ and then the bride just disappears from her house and, poof, instant teleportation to the bridegroom’s house. Her “rapture” is accomplished by the bridegroom and his friends carrying her from her house to his.
Impact – Seeing But Not Believing
Seeing is believing, we are told, but there are still those who refuse to admit that the bride’s “rapture” was witnessed, despite all the people who watch her being carried from her house to the bridegroom’s house. But wait, you say, it happens in the middle of the night – who is awake to see it? Humph. If you think the blowing of the shofars and all that shouting both going to and coming from her house doesn’t wake people up who don’t stick their heads out of their doors to see what all the commotion is about, then you don’t know human behavior at all.
Proving the Prophecies – Resurrection Is Not Immediate Rapture
The individuals that were resurrected according to the scriptures that did not instantly disappear are but were seen by many after their resurrection:
Two Future Resurrections:
Impact – Seeing But Not Believing
Seeing is believing, we are told, but there are still those who refuse to admit that the resurrected who were witnessed after they rose from being dead did not, repeat, did not just disappear – all were seen by many after their resurrection, some for forty days like Yeshua and the Holy Ones, some perhaps even longer. Scripture doesn’t tell us how long many remained alive before they died and were buried, as was the Apostle Paul.
Numerous times scripture tells us, ‘You certainly see, but you don’t get the point!’ (Isaiah 6:9; Ezekiel 12:12; Matthew 13:14; Mark 4:12; etc.), and we wonder why Yahweh/Yeshua speaks in parables. I like the way the Complete Jewish Bible translates Jeremiah 5:21 – “Hear this, stupid, brainless people, who have eyes but do not see….” [Am I being too harsh? Humph. I think not. Nowhere near as harsh as Paul when he tells the Judaizers to castrate themselves rather than just perform a circumcision!].
The resurrection pattern, the witnessed rapture pattern, and the wedding pattern all agree – there is no such thing as an instant disappearance rapture. And that is three witnesses, as required by scripture (Deuteronomy 19:15, Matthew 18:16, 2 Corinthians 13:1, etc.), which establish a fact.
If the resurrection patterns show zero instant disappearance events and the bride in a Jewish Wedding has to literally be carried from her house to the house of the bridegroom’s father in full view of all those who have been awakened by the shofars and shouting of the bridegroom’s friends, isn’t that yet one more pattern of no instant disappearance? If two or three witnesses establish a fact, and Yahweh/Yeshua doesn’t change, then why would the rapture of the Bride be an instant disappearing act? More than likely, the rapture of the Bride will also be fully witnessed and will take more than a twinkling of time to finish.
I believe the rapture from Earth to the clouds may take time – whether short or long, scripture does not specify. Elijah ascended fairly quickly. Yeshua’s ascension may have taken a bit longer, as the witnesses were still staring up to the clouds for quite some time! And yet, once we get to the clouds, the transfer from there to Heaven may be in an instant! Scripture simply doesn’t give us all the details.
Why Is It So Important That the Rapture Be Witnessed?
The Witnessed Rapture Gives the Glory to Yahweh/Yeshua
Deuteronomy 4:24 – “Yahweh your Elohim is a consuming fire, a jealous Elohim.”
Isaiah 42:8 – “I am Yahweh; that is my name; my glory I give to no other.”
Isaiah 48:11 – “For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it… My glory I will not give to another.”
Yahweh does not give nor share his glory with anyone, especially not with Satan. That is why the Rapture of the Bride of Yeshua will be witnessed by all. The fully witnessed rapture of the Bride of Yeshua will be hard, if not downright impossible to deny – all will know it was done by Yeshua and will bring great glory to Yahweh.
The witnessed rapture proves Yahweh’s power to do what no other god or magician can do. This pattern is consistent throughout scripture. Here are two examples:
Moses and the Magicians. The magicians were able to perform the first several miracles: staffs into snakes, water into blood, and swarms of frogs (Exodus 7:11-8:7). But from then on, only Moses was able to perform additional miracles (Exodus 8:18), bringing glory only to Yahweh.
Yeshua and the Rephaim. Baal, it is said, promised his fallen minions in Tartarus that he would resurrect them for all to see, and it would only take three days to do so. Scripture, however, says, “they live not, Rephaim [ghosts, shades, the dead] they rise not” (Isaiah 26:14). But it is Yeshua who rises after three days, and Yahweh allows Yeshua to be seen (Acts 10:40). Yeshua even preaches to those in Tartarus (1 Peter 3:19, 4:6), saying in effect, ‘Guess what, guys, I’m outta here in three days, but you are still dead!’ His resurrection after three days brings glory only to Yahweh.
The Instant Disappearance Rapture Gives Glory to Others
An instant disappearing act allows the glory that only belongs to Yahweh / Yeshua to be stolen or denied – not gonna happen! Satan can falsely claim the rapture was done by aliens or some other means. This false paradigm is parroted by many in the New Age and Occult movements. Here are four examples:
Impact – Seeing But Not Believing
Seeing is believing, we are told, but there are still those who refuse to admit that the rapture of the Bride of Yeshua will be a witnessed event, just as were the scriptural patterns. The instant disappearance rapture allows Satan to steal glory that is due only to Yahweh / Yeshua – not gonna happen!
The witnessed rapture brings glory only to Yahweh – all will know it was done by Yeshua and no other. Yahweh will not allow the rapture of the Bride of Yeshua to be attributed to anyone other than himself – he does not share his glory with anyone, whether or not those who are witnesses will believe or will deny what their eyes have seen!
An instant disappearance rapture allows Satan to steal glory that belongs only to Yahweh / Yeshua – not gonna happen!
I believe that the entire instant disappearance rapture paradigm is severely flawed and needs a little fixin’ – what do you say?
The witnessed Rapture is extremely important. The prophetic signs are burgeoning and not abating. Time is incredibly short – Yeshua Ha’Mashiach is coming soon – so be of great cheer, keep looking up, and keep maintaining an attitude of gratitude. Be sure you are believing The Truth, not The Lie. Be sure Yeshua is your Redeemer, King, and High Priest, and your sins are forgiven.
The Sinking 'LGBT Inclusive' Protestant Churches - https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=4900
In many Western countries, evangelical churches who persevere in a historical teaching on issues such as family, marriage, the protection of the unborn, and the rights of freedom of conscience, speech and religion; do not have a good press.
In contrast, Protestant denominations that defend 'inclusion and plurality' with LGBT priests and the blessing of same-sex unions are presented as a faith that has understood the social reality well.
Among many mainline Protestant circles, it is argued that Christianity needs to attract people with an open-minded approach to the Bible that reinterprets certain texts accommodating them to the trends and thinking of the social majority. In the past, the Bible and the 'sola fide and sola scriptura' may have said one thing about human identity, but today the say another.
The reality, nevertheless, is that the church attendance and membership in theologically liberal churches that support the LGBT agenda is not growing, quite the opposite.
Often those who leave their congregations are the most committed believers, and those who have small children and look for a spiritual education based on biblical values.
These churches are often not active in evangelism and therefore do not reach unbelievers with the message of salvation. Many others just become nominal believer as they stop attending church services.
Let's look at the statistics of 7 big mainline Protestant churches in 4 countries, all of which have embraced a 'LGBT inclusive' theology and practice in the last decades.
1. Church of Sweden
It is the largest Lutheran church in the world. Linked to the state until the year 2000, it is hegemonic in the country although it coexists with other smaller free evangelical churches who are theologically conservative.
Officially, 55% of the population is member of the church, although only 2% of these members attends church with some kind of regularity.
The Church of Sweden accepts homosexual marriage since 2009, and appointed the first openly lesbian bishop in Stockholm that same year. In the last months, they have moved towards pro-transgender positions.
These are data from recent years.
2005: 6,967,000 members (77% of the population)
2010: 6,590,000 (70%)
2015: 6,225,000 (63%)
2018: 5,899,000 (58%)
2020: 5,729,000 (55%)
2. Church of Scotland
The 'Kirk', as it is known, is a Presbyterian Church. It is the national and majoritarian church in Scotland since 1560. After decades of debates in their General Assemblies and a growing liberal sector, the 'kirk' voted in 2009 to allow their ministers to have same-sex relationships (the Scott Rennie case).
Since 2015, civil unions of homosexuals are approved, and it is expected that in 2022 the Church of Scotland will adopt marriage rites for same-sex partners. A smaller Free Church of Scotland left the congregation and maintains an evangelical.
These are the figures of membership of the Church of Scotland, in a country of 5.5 million people.
2000: 607,000 members
3. Anglican Church of Canada
It was never the biggest church in the country but it has a large presence throughout the country. Always seen as more liberal than other Protestant groups, it started celebrating religious gay marriages in 2016. A first gay bishop married his partner in 2018, and in 2019 the church allowed all dioceses to perform same-sex marriages.
This is the evolution of the Anglican Church of Canada's membership.
1961: 1,360,000 members
4. United Church of Christ (UCC) in the US
Another mainline Protestant church with a mix of Congregational, Lutheran, Calvinist and Anabaptist roots. It was the church of former US President Barack Obama and is known for its progressive approach to social and ethical issues. Although it defines itself as a "extremely pluralistic and diverse denomination", only 5% of its local churches are formed by a majority of non-white people.
Already in 2005, the UCC declared itself in favor of same-sex marriage. They celebrate gay marriages and they are expected to vote a ban on any therapy or pastoral accompaniment that implies the modification of a person's attraction to the same sex.
Is this denomination filling the pews? Not really, according to their statistics.
1995: 6,145 churches, 1,472,000 members
2005: 5,633 churches, 1,230,000 members
2015: 5,032 churches, 915,000 members
2019: 4,852 churches, 802,000 members
5. Episcopal Church of the USA
Traditionally described as the US Anglicans and the religion of the Anglo-Saxon socio-political elite in the country, they are not in their best moment. Over twenty years ago, the Episcopalians gave their 'ok' to sexual relationships before or outside of marriage. In 2003, the case of Gene Robinson, a divorced man with two children who was in a partnership with a man, was ordained bishop, causing a large controversy.
In 2006, the ECUSA officially said yes to gay marriage, and the year after, around 240 theologically conservative communities left the Church to form the Anglican Church of North America (which now has around 1,000 churches in the US and Canada).
Has the theologically liberal approach of the Episcopal Church helped increase its membership? No. In fact, the denomination has lost one third of its members in only 20 years.
2000: 2,329,000 members
6. Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) in the US
A Church born in 1988 when three Lutheran streams united. In summer of 2009, the ELCA accepted the ordination of practicing gay and lesbian pastors, as well as the blessing of homosexual unions. In the beginning of 2021, the denomination went a step further and ordained its first transgender bishop.
Thousands of conservative Lutherans left the Church to join other congregations. Others stayed with a critical approach. Nonetheless, ELCA's membership has diminished. Ten years after the decision on LGBT matters and a continuous radicalization of positions, the ELCA has lost one third of its members.
1988: 5,288,000 members
7. Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA)
It is the largest Presbyterian church in the US, born in 1983 with the merging of two large denominations. In 2012, it approved the ordination of homosexual priests and in 2014 the PCUSA redefined marriage as a union of "two people" (instead of "a man and a woman").
One decade later, they have lost one third of their members.
1984: 3,100,000 members
2000: 2,525,000 members
2005: 2,316,000 members and 10,959 congregations
2010: 2,016,000 members and 10,560 congregations
2016: 1,483,000 members and 9,451 congregations
2020: 1,245,000 members and 8,925 congregations
A not so 'proud' reality
The images of rainbows in church buildings, Pride celebrations and messages such as "love is love" seem to distract from the crude reality of the "LGBT inclusive" Protestant churches. Below the celebration of tolerance and diversity, there is the statistical reality of a heavy fall in membership, church attendance, influence, as well as a worrying shortage of church ministers.
It is obvious that may causes could be included in the analysis of the complex evolution of dying churches, but statistical evidence shows that embracing dominant ideologies in society such as the LGBT agenda is certainly not filling the churches with new believers.
Theologically conservative Protestant churches may also have their own issues and challenges, but most of these are growing both in Global South countries and many Western countries, or remain stable with high church attendance rates.
About Face - By Steve Schmutzer - https://www.raptureready.com/2021/08/11/about-face-by-steve-schmutzer/
I knew a man once. He was my friend. He was a PhD scientist, a successful investor, an avid hiker – a family man.
He was also a staunch atheist. While I had several talks with him about this, there was little I could say or do to get him to reevaluate his position. His mind was set like hardened concrete.
Because this man dismissed all evidence of God, he didn’t believe in sin. He believed instead in the inherent “goodness of mankind.”
Along with that came his affections for open borders, lenient jail sentences, and all forms of government assistance and control. He blamed most of society’s problems on ‘a lack of education,’ and he was deeply distressed when very educated people made very bad choices.
No surprise, he was also a radical environmentalist, and that’s an understatement. By his assessment, this earth was IT! There was nothing more. The fate of all humans was tied to this whirling celestial ball.
He fawned over creatures great and small. He wrote checks to various environmental causes. He labored to raise alarm to any situation which he perceived as harming or threatening the environment. He loathed people and policies that didn’t conform to his passions. Reusable grocery bags, cloth diapers, and bicycles were a big deal to him. As he saw it, all matters about the welfare of planet Earth were top priority.
When I first met him, he talked about the problems of “global warming,” but even he admitted that term was misleading. He became comfortable with referring to the issue broadly as “climate change” instead. He blamed all notable weather events and natural disasters on “climate change” – even though historical records showed these things had already happened multiple times before.
I caught him reading a book one day that challenged his “climate change” notions, and I asked him about it. He furrowed his brow as he pontificated on the “responsibilities of being a scientist.” In a more lucid moment, he acknowledged his own views needed to be subordinate to real data points and studies.
One book led to another like it – then a few more. He pored over academic research, and he wrote to various people with his questions. He came to me after a while and dropped a bombshell. He said, “I no longer believe in climate change. The data does not support it. It’s a lie that has become a false religion for many people. The true agenda of climate change is total economic control.”
He smiled as he added, “I’ve converted.” He knew I’d see the humor there.
I had to respect this man for what had happened. He’d moved from one position he had been extremely passionate about to an opposite position he’d become just as firm on. The facts had found a toehold and had won him over.
What prompted his change? I think it was several things.
First, he chose to exercise objectivity. It wasn’t easy for him; he really WANTED to believe certain things. It was so much easier to float downstream with all the dead fish rather than fight the currents. But, in the end, he was a proud scientist. He feared falling victim to the clammy clutches of subjectivity and senseless thinking. Properly assessing the data became a higher priority for him than holding a particular view.
Secondly, he realized he didn’t have a true dog in the fight. That is, he didn’t have any personal agenda except to get to the bottom of the truth. Other than the fact he had an ego and he wanted to be revered as “knowledgeable” by others, he would figure out how to fit the truth – whatever it was – into all the other notions he still wished to cling to.
Third, he got weary of the act. As is often the case with folks like him, he’d always reacted with hostility when he was presented with the truth. His tensions were nothing more than his discomfort with his own decisions. The evidence reminded him constantly that his views were suspect, and every day he struggled to have a clear conscience. That took energy. He was exhausted from his self-inflicted wounds, and he decided this was a battle he could no longer fight.
Lastly, he approached the truth like a therapeutic salve and not a poison. This permitted a ray of humility to break through his pride. The truth illuminated those dark corners of his mind where the cobwebs of arrogance, deception, and foolishness were most tangled. Wherever he let the truth in, it healed him. His recovery was proportionate to his exercise of humility.
When I most recently spoke to him, this man still clung to other fallacies and foolish ideas that are the direct by-product of his spiritual poverty. After all, if you don’t believe in God – or if you choose to put a sovereign and infinite God into a box that is more palatable to you – then you will not respect those laws and values which find their source in God’s Word.
On that matter, common sense will elude you if you don’t have a right relationship with God. Even if you THINK you and God are on good terms, but you’re really keeping Him at arm’s length instead, your choices will be full of holes. You’ll have double standards, and you’ll be OK with that.
You’ll condemn truth of all forms, and you’ll embrace lies instead. You’ll ignore the things your conscience is instructing you to pay attention to because your chosen identity is sewn up in the poor choices you’ve made.
If this describes you, then your mind is already in the process of being conformed to the world’s ideas (Romans 12:2). You lack discernment, but you believe you have it. You are inclined to profess yourself as wise, but it is patently obvious you cannot add 2+2 and arrive at 4. You will evidence in so many ways you are foolish instead (Romans 1:22).
Your agenda has aligned with the world’s agenda. Its talking points are yours. Its political ideals are the altar you bow down to, and you’re prepared to fight to protect what you most want to believe. You will mock anyone who chooses to engage in the hard work of due diligence that your own fears, prejudice, and insecurities prevent YOU from undertaking.
If this is you, your vital signs are clear to everyone. You believe America’s present leadership came to power lawfully. You think a record number of legal voters actually put our current President in office.
You think BLM and Antifa are the good guys. You believe wearing a red cap is wrong, but wearing a black hoodie and face mask is fine. You see nothing wrong with clamping down on this nation’s citizens and removing their rights while multiple thousands of untested and undocumented illegals are being encouraged to pour into this country.
If you don’t already think capitalism is bad, you’re less inclined to defend it than you are willing to defend the principles of socialism. You believe law enforcement should be defunded, college should be free, and SUVs should be heavily taxed.
You think the jab is really a vaccine. You don’t see any cover-ups and corruption at the CDC and the NIH. You think the ‘good’ doctors are the ones condemning HCQ, and the ‘bad’ doctors are the ones supporting it. You actually believe masks work and those who are vaccinated are protected.
You support men using women’s bathrooms and women using men’s bathrooms. You’re fine with drag queens reading gender-bending stories to your kids at libraries the same way you’re OK with lousy and insecure male athletes competing as ‘transgenders’ in women’s sports.
I could go on and on here. If this describes you, then the examples of your ‘vital signs’ are many. But my point is already clear. Saying more doesn’t bring it into better focus.
If you are honest with yourself the way my friend was with himself, you’d do a little digging here. You’d test your convictions, you’d swim upstream a little, and you’d explore the truth.
Make no mistake – procuring insight is hard work according to Proverbs 2:3-4. It’s like hunting for hidden treasure. But wisdom is available to the common person if one is willing to take on the task of gaining it (Proverbs 1:20).
The goal of moving from a foolish view to a wise view means one must make personal changes. Such a person must be Tenacious, Righteous, Unbiased, Mature, and Proactive.
In other words: TRUMP. That should be easy to remember.
Paul's Silver Linings - Karen McQuillan - https://www.rev310.net/profile/e81dfccc-3b47-4d2d-afa9-abef199afb45/profile
I have grown very fond of the Book of Philippians lately in light of the difficult circumstances everyone is facing involving COVID19 and also with my own health issues keeping me from doing what I am used to doing.
I’m reminded of the common expression of the glass being half empty/half full. Is it a positive thing or a negative thing? It’s all about how you see it I suppose.
In the book of Philippians, Paul has been arrested on his third missionary journey and thrown into jail and he is writing a letter to his Philippian brethren to reassure them that he is okay and that he has developed a mental discipline that no matter what is going on he can see the silver lining in these negative circumstances and the hand of God in all of them.
He could see that he wasn’t a prisoner of his circumstances and could walk in the joy of the Lord. The joy of the Lord in the midst of adversity is very different from happiness. The word “happiness” comes from the Latin word “HAPP” which means happenstance or luck. The world system will allow you to experience emotional well-being as long as circumstances are good and everything is honky dory but oh my goodness, when things become unfavorable the happiness dissolves in a heartbeat. This is not the joy of the Lord.
The joy of the Lord is an emotional well-being that a person can have regardless of their circumstances and this is why the book of Philippians was written. God, through Paul, is showing us that we can use our negative circumstances for positive outcomes, whether it is Satan trying to cause our problems, or we ourselves have made a wrong decision somewhere along the line, or it is nobody’s fault and just life being difficult. Sometimes God even puts us into a difficult situation for His own purposes.
So Paul writes to the Philippians, not from a place of comfort but from a place of imprisonment, and tells them that his circumstances have turned out for the greater good of the gospel and not to shed tears for him as he isn’t shedding any for himself.
Now I want you to know my brethren that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel,...Philippians 1:12
So many times we can tend to feel sorry for ourselves when adversity comes knocking but we need to see it from a position of faith and trust that God is accomplishing things in the midst of the negative that He could not do otherwise while things are going well. This is what was going on with Paul.
Paul saw the reality of what God was doing, not in spite of his imprisonment but because of it.
After a series of chains of events and Paul using his Roman citizenship for a fair trial in front of Caesar, Paul is eventually taken to Rome and imprisoned there. Another opportunity that Paul realized was to do with a vibrant church that had begun in Rome without the help of an Apostle and he had wanted to go to Rome to doctrinally solidify this church and it was always Paul’s goal of getting the gospel to Rome.
On the orders of Caesar, while waiting for his trial, Paul is chained to a Praetorian guard. No ordinary guard, but an elite guard. Paul saw this as the guard being chained to HIM and not the other way around. There was no-where this guard was going anywhere soon and Paul used the opportunity to speak to this man of the gospel, a strategic move, knowing he would go later into his high society community and spread the gospel to influential people who would then venture on into the rest of the world. All roads lead to Rome as they say. Rome, at that time, was a very focal place in the eyes of the world.
Paul knew his imprisonment would accelerate his evangelistic opportunities as it had eleven years earlier when he had been beaten and thrown into jail with Silas for being a public nuisance. Lydia, (The first gentile) conversion was the first of three significant events associated with the beginning of the church in Philippi, the second being the exorcism of a demon from a slave girl, which resulted in Paul and Silas being thrown into prison and the third was the conversion of the jailer along with his family.
Still using his imprisonment as yet another opportunity, Paul wrote the books of Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, Philemon, and later on the second book of Timothy.
Paul was also safer being in prison chained to this Praetorian guard than he was a free man because he was the target of a group of religious men who hated Paul for preaching to the gentiles and had taken a sacred oath to take his life.
Can you see that the zeal and fervor of the wicked can’t overcome the providence of the Lord? Paul saw this, and this is why he had the Joy of the Lord in the middle of circumstances that would have made some of us feel very down and out. But not Paul. He saw all this with silver linings because now those who knew of his imprisonment were taking up the slack with zeal and boldness and evangelizing and praying like never before. Without fear!
So, I’m encouraged and blessed as I read in Philippians, of Paul, who is one of my hero’s of the Bible, because he is a wonderful role model for the rest of us to be able to see his negative circumstances in a positive light.
In the midst of all this COVID19 kerfuffle or whatever it is you might be facing, trusting God’s provisions in His word and trusting that He is TRULY sovereign and in control and working all things together for our good in the middle of our adversities, not just for those around us but for our growth and maturity, and so He might be glorified.
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
My sources of inspiration
-Philippians Chapter 1
-Andy Woods “Philippians 003 Half Empty, Half full”, Philippians !:12-30 YouTube
Daily Jot: The Farm Chronicles: Boys of August - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
It’s the dog days of August. Hay is in the barn. The horse show season is winding down. Northeastern Ohio is hot and humid during the day and cool at night with a bit of dew on the morning grass. Time to relax a bit, right? No. The farm boys are gathering together, greeting each other for the long-awaited day of a different kind of work. It was two days for football practice. Unlike most people, I loved two days. The smells of August–Ohio grass, slightly browned from baking in the day’s hot sun; the sweat mixed with helmets stored over winter and spring in a musty room; even the dirt on the ground had a unique aroma as we hit it over and over again in up-down grass drills. We were back. We were football.
There were many adventures during my experience in high school football. All of them were life lessons one way or another. Coach was a former marine tough guy long on drills and discipline, but short on teaching fundamentals and technique. If you were willing to run through a brick wall you were his kind of guy. But if you asked why or how, you were in the dog house. I was a late bloomer. Very fast. On the slight side. One of those guys that with a little more individual coaching and maturity, could be a valuable asset. But I was very frustrating to Coach. I had to take the last week of two adays off because I was committed to my horse 4-H project at the county fair. Coach hated this and would ride me harder than I rode my horse, earning me the sarcastic nickname “Pony Bill.” By my senior year, Coach had had enough of it.
Each day practice ended with the team running a quarter mile in full pads. Backs and receivers had to run the lap in 70 seconds, linemen had 90 seconds. If anyone came in after their appointed time, the entire team ran again, same time limits. One time, one of the boys kept missing the time. We all knew he could run the lap in 70 seconds, he just wouldn’t do it. We had run that track three times and most of us were gassed. Me and a couple other of the fast guys huddled and came up with a plan. We lined up for the fourth run, everybody was sweating and yelling and moaning. The three of us ran that quarter-mile as fast as we could. And the guy that was lagging once again, was far behind. We turned around and ran back to him, each grabbing a side of shoulder pads and his belt. We dragged him across the line in under 70 seconds.
He is probably still picking cinders out of his legs, but everyone was grateful that the team didn’t have to run again. Even Coach approved. Leadership, he said. I thought it was a bit deranged, myself. But us farm boys had to do what we had to do. Some my fault, some not, my love for football was depleted by the end of high school. It wasn’t until I was recruited to play semi-pro that it was revived. And later I had a successful coaching run that landed me a position with the NFL. While there were many valuable lessons, I also learned what never to do. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A brother is born for adversity.” There is this one thing that is universal: Out of adversity, brothers are made. The men with whom I played, the young men I have coached, and those I mentor even today–We are brothers. All said and done, we are the boys of August.
Daily Devotion: Anticipating the Enemy - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. —2 Corinthians 11:3
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/anticipating-the-enemy/ - Listen
For some inexplicable reason, I collected snakes when I was a boy. I don’t know why I liked them so much, but I had quite an exhaustive collection.
A lot of those snakes bit me, and I remember a certain snake that could almost sense my fear. We had a very contentious relationship.
Snakes are just that way, though. You can’t read a snake like you can read dogs, for instance. It’s easy to see where you stand with a dog. You know when dogs are happy or sad. You can pretty much know whatever dogs are feeling because you can read it in their body language.
On the other hand, you always want to be aware of a snake’s threat. That’s how it is with the Devil. You don’t know what he’s going to do next. He’ll snake his way into a given situation.
The Bible tells us that the Devil came in the form of a serpent to Eve. He questioned God’s love, essentially saying, “If God really loved you, He would let you eat from any tree in the garden. So, it must be an indication that He doesn’t really love you at all. And by the way, if you eat from this tree, you’ll become like God. You’ll know the things that only God knows.”
That’s all Eve needed to hear. It appealed to her pride, and she went for it.
In the same way, the Devil is cunning. He won’t come to us and say, “The Bible isn’t the Word of God.” Rather, he’ll say, “You know, it’s really not that bad for you to do that. Other people do. So why can’t you?”
We’ll keep our guard up against the so-called big sins, but then we’ll lower it in areas that we perceive as insignificant. And suddenly we find ourselves defeated.
FROM THE HEART
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Count for ALL of Eternity!
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