Prophecy Update Newsletter
January 4, 2017
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Foolishness of the Cross? - by Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-foolishness-of-cross.html
18 "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe" .........
25"Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29That no flesh should glory in his presence." (1st Corinthians 1:18-21, 25-29)
I am sometimes amazed at how people of this world cannot grasp the simple language of the Bible. Jesus said that we must become as little children. But the world uses logic and the finite mind to try and understand the wisdom of God who is infinite in knowledge, and love of mankind.
"15Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein." (Mark 10:15)
You look at a small child and they are so trusting of those who they know loves them. They believe what is told them, even though they may not understand it and follow the commands of their parents...(in most things, as children can be rebellious), but in simple day to day living, when given an explanation of something they may have asked in a one word question "WHY?" they are given the explanation and they believe.
Many people just cannot wrap their finite minds around something so simple, but must be accepted in child like faith. You may not understand it, but you accept it because God has said it, and you believe...but some just can't see the forest for the trees.
For example, we've examined the nuts-and-bolts answers to hard questions like, "Why did Jesus have to die?" and "would a loving God send people to hell?" etc. But it is good from time to time to revisit the basic gift of salvation.
The people I speak of that can't grasp the concept of mercy and grace, think they must do something to warrant God's mercy and grace...like good works, or following rules, or following their denomination's traditions. In other words, they must earn this gift from God. But can you earn a gift? They just can't understand that salvation is for sinners. Maybe you know some people like this. They get hung up in rules and regulations, traditions that speak of works and doing what their "church" says.
Then another set of people get hung up on keeping the Law of God, but can't seem to understand that you can't keep the law in its entire application of what God expects from each of us. From law keeping, the law is our school master, but it condemns each one of us, as we can't keep the whole of the law.
When Jesus was asked what is the greatest and most important commandment of God, Jesus replied:
""Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40)
Love God and love your neighbor as yourself...simple. But when was the last time you loved everyone you meet and love them as yourself?. The world is full of those who in simple language, "are hard to love". They can get you fired up and thinking inappropriate thoughts about those who offend you, or thoughts of "getting even". Admit it...we can't love our neighbor (not all of them) as ourselves, it is humanly impossible...some will try, but each of us fail, because "we're human". We are prone to failure to live up to even this commandment that encompasses the whole of the law.
It leads directly to the truth that we can't keep God's Law, and thereby cannot have a personal relationship with God the Father, because of our sin. There is a huge gap between a Holy God and sinful mankind that cannot be bridged on our own. That's where Jesus comes into focus, as the bridge to God the Father.
" I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, No man cometh to the Father but by Me." (John 14:6)
You see, God the Father, being perfectly Holy in all His ways, cannot allow sin into His presence. No matter what we do, we will never qualify as perfect enough, sinless enough to enter into His presence...So that leaves you, that leaves me as sinners on the other side of this huge gap between us and a Holy God. We are ALL selfish sinners, that is why God had to become ONE of us.
To do that, God emptied Himself of all His glory, entered into this quarantined sin-soaked world, into our atmosphere and took on human form, conquer sin in this world, and thereby defeating sins stranglehold on all of humanity. And then, having qualified as an acceptable Sacrifice, He paid the eternal penalty for sin on our behalf.
12 "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
13 "(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.
18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
19For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." (Romans 5:13-19)
The message from the preceding passage points to that all of mankind was cursed because of Adam's sin...thus scripture said God cursed him because he had allowed sin in his life. :
""In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." (Genesis 3:19)
As a symbol of the coming One who would cover his sin, God made a covering for Adam and Eve out of the skins of an animal.....
22 "And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
24For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands,which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself." (Hebrews 9:22-26)
Jesus paid the penalty for the sin that Adam allowed to enter into the world, and to every man since Adam, but Jesus was WITHOUT sin. Having been born of the Father in this sin sick world, Jesus lived the life that God expects from each of us, but was unable to do what He demanded, that in Jesus He defeated the penalty of sin that we deserve. This was mercy and grace. Mercy is defined of being forgiven of something we earned, which was death, and grace receiving what we could not earn, but given as a gift. He defeated sin by His death, but because of His resurrection He justified all who believe in Him and what He accomplished.
"For by grace are ye saved, not of works. It is a gift of God, lest any man should boast". (Ephesians 2:8)
All of mankind has sinned. It is part of our spiritual DNA, from our original parents that no one can escape. Nobody who ever sinned, even once, has defeated sin personally, and all mankind remains under sin's penalty of death.
All mankind is under a curse and without ridding ourselves of the sin we have committed will stand before a righteous judge and be condemned.
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" (Hebrews 9:27)
TWO PARTS TO THIS COMING DEATH
Death is in two parts. The physical death, and what the Bible calls the 'second death' eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire. And so is the judgment of a person's life. Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as a little child in that child-like faith have already been judged at the cross of Christ. Their penalty has already been paid.
14 "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances (penalty) that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
15And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Colossians 2:14-15)
But for those who trust in their own good works to save themselves, there will be a second death before the Great White Throne of God Almighty, where they will be judged for ALL their works, either good or bad.
Contrary to some who believe that if they live a good life, and their good works which outweigh their bad, will somehow earn them a ticket to heaven will be horrified to learn that they were wrong. But beware if you think such foolishness, as there is no balancing scale with good deeds on one side and bad deeds on the other. Even ONE sin of those standing before God at this judgment will earn them eternal separation from God.
All who have died in this physical life, will taste physical death, should the Lord tarry, but those who stand before God without some form of payment for their sinful nature, will taste spiritual death. This is the second death
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
THOSE THAT FOUND FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST.
When a sinner accepts Jesus Christ as personal Savior, our sin is transferred to our Lord, as the propitiation (substitute) for what we deserve. Jesus blood sacrifice on a Roman cross paid our eternal debt from that moment forward on into eternity. There is NOTHING left to judge us on, except what rewards that we will receive at the Bema Judgment Seat of Christ. It is something that we could never earn no matter what we do, because it is a free gift, freely offered to all men.
By accepting Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf and committing to follow Him we are declared righteous by God on the basis of our faith.
Therefore as new creatures, recreated by the Blood of Christ, wearing His righteousness instead of our own, we are able to come before the throne of God blameless and cleansed, re-establishing our relationship with God. When God the Father will look upon us standing before His throne, He will see nothing but the righteousness of His Son...we are clothed with that righteousness when we confessed our sins, and accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and the substitute payment for what we did deserve....death, eternal death.
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2nd Corinthians 5:17)
No matter what men do, this has nothing to do with religion. Those who promote one religion supreme over another fool themselves that they can somehow do enough righteous acts through their church to qualify somehow to enter into God's Kingdom. Men believe that they have to belong to a certain religion and call it "God's Church" founded by the Lord Jesus Christ. Proper teaching of truth by one's denomination can lead you into the truth found solely in Jesus Christ, but it can do nothing in of itself to justify you, just because you belong to its religion and follow their traditions, no matter how righteous they may seem, it will do nothing for your eternal salvation. But it CAN lead you astray from Jesus as the only payment for that sin.
The apostle Paul made that abundantly clear when he was preaching to the church in Galatia, where a false teaching had crept intho their midst that said that Christians had to be circumcised like Jews, in order to prove they belonged to God. Paul corrected those in error that they were neither Jew or Gentile, but a new creature in Christ.
"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." (Galatians 6:15)
A NEW CREATURE IN CHRIST
For a lot of people, this is a difficult concept to understand exactly what a "new ?creature" is according to scripture and what it is not. The Bible teaches there are four separate spiritual creations of God.
First God created the angels, which became ministering spirits and flames of fire:
7 "And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire." ......14"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? " (Hebrews 1:7, 14)
Angels were created to serve Almighty God and humanity who would become heirs of salvation, even before man was even created. Some call them guardian angels, and they do watch out for us according to the will of God.
Then God created Adam in His image and His likeness. Adam was sinless and designed to live forever as long as he followed the commandments of God..and there was only one...not to eat of one particular tree...sounds simple, doesn't it? At Adams fall, his spiritual state changed as he became separated from God because of his sin and became the father of unregenerate Gentiles. Adam willfully rebelled against God's command. Some say it was out of love for Eve, who was deceived, but Adam was not.
Then there is Abraham, through faith, fathered the first of another new spiritual creation. Isaac was the first spiritual Jew, the father of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel.
Since then, every person is born either a Jew or a Gentile, from the perspective of their spiritual state of existence. For simplicity, we speak of them as Jews, but it is more correct that God separated out a member of the Hebrew race. The first three sentient, spiritual creations of God, then, are angels, Jews and Gentile, descended from Adam, but in God's Image, with an eternal spirit. From that point, God dealt with Jew and Gentiles separately. A Jew would always be a Jew in God's eyes, and a Gentile could be a practicing Jew. A Jew could never be a Gentile, but they both were estranged from God apart from Jesus Christ. They were both still in their sins that separated them from their Maker.
At the resurrection of Jesus Christ, God introduced a new Spiritual Creation. All through the Old Testament there are scriptures that prove that man was made in the image of God, but beginning with the New Testament, the image of God makes a very decided shift. Jesus the second Adam, the man from Heaven, (as the Bible calls Him) or as John said "the eternal Word, is in the image of God in the flesh. Not mankind in general.
Now get this, for lack of a better word, Jesus was a prototype. He was a full, functioning form of a NEW type. This is what I mean by a shift in emphasis of what man is to become. Jesus was the first, the example of becoming the image of God. Jesus was the prototype, the goal of our redemption, our salvation and our glorification. This is the final goal of born again man
"And have put on the new man, who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him" (meaning us, man). (Colossians 3:10)
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is." (1st John 3:2)
Jesus introduced a new spiritual creation with His resurrection. Those who trust Jesus are transformed into a totally new spiritual creation, personally indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, and restored to the fellowship lost by Adam.
"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12)
"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." (Romans 5:19)
Each of us, meaning forgiven sinners have received an earnest deposit of God's Holy Spirit (earnest meaning deposit) guaranteeing our future glorification.
13 "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 1:13-14)
Having been MADE righteous and restored to fellowship, Christians are neither Gentile nor Jew. Nor are they angels, either literally or figuratively. The Bible calls them 'saints' -- something entirely unique in the history of the universe.
Either Jew or Gentile, they remain who they are, but a Christian who accepts Jesus Christ is REBORN into a new birth, a new spiritual creation of God.
This points to that the NEW man in not just in the image of God, or just a general picture of God, as man was formed to look like, but specifically to be formed into the image of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He, Jesus, becomes the goal of the redeemed man, unto salvation. Jesus proclaimed this truth to Nicodemus when he came to him by night, seeking truth from Jesus:
3"Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." (John 3:3-8)
Salvation is a permanent transformation from one kind of spiritual creation to a different kind of spiritual creation. It is the misunderstanding of the new creature that is a stumbling-block to grasping the simple assurances of the Gospel.
The Bible says to repent (literally, change your mind), realizing your sin will take you to hell, and that there is nothing you can do about it except to trust Jesus' promise that by trusting Him for your salvation as the Lord of your life, you are now a new creation of God.
It's so simple. So simple, but in fact, that there are millions upon millions who just can't get it. Paul spoke of being "wise in your own conceits" (Romans 12:16) not the least of which is the belief that our works contribute to our salvation.
"But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty." (1st Corinthians 1:27)
If Jesus didn't do it all, then He didn't have to do it at all and He died in vain.
"I do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:21)
THE SIMPLE ALTERNATIVE TO SALVATION THROUGH JESUS
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:16-19)
That is the simplicity of the Gospel. Jesus is the gift, (God gave His only Begotten Son). It is free for the asking and accepting if by faith the free gift. But notice the verses after 16-17? That is a simple explanation of what will be the result if you choose in your own freewill choice to either accept or reject this free gift. It is a penalty imposed because of that freewill.....it is condemnation. It is a simple explanation of what man can expect if they reject God's provision for their salvation from being separated from God for all eternity. No one can say that they rejected God's free gift out of ignorance. The Salvation message has been preached to nearly the entire world. It would have to be a backward civilization so removed from modern life, that they never heard the name JESUS, YESHUA..THE SON OF GOD who came into the world to save sinners, like me, like you...
9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." (2nd Peter 3:9-10)
There is coming a day when Jesus will come and those not found in Him will be thrown headlong into the coming Tribulation. But that is not what this message is about. Prophecy is usually my main focus, but without Jesus, prophecy means nothing. Prophecy covers what Jesus has done, what He will do, and that He calls each of us by His Holy Spirit. If you have heard that call, don't put it off one day longer, as the window of your salvation could close abruptly, for we are not promised even tomorrow.
2 "(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)" (2nd Corinthians 6:2)
I am reminded of a song I love that speaks of what Jesus did:
"Living He loved me,
Dying He saved me,
Buried He carried .....my sins far away,
Rising He justified, ....freely forever,
One day He's coming, Oh, Glorious day. Oh, Glorious day."
Embrace the simplicity of the Gospel and you could be singing that song the next few minutes...
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying the simplicity of the Gospel finds it's way into your heart and mind. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a friendly, listening ear, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , . God bless you all,
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
The PLO's Zero-Sum Game - By Caroline Glick - http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/265339/plos-zero-sum-game-caroline-glick
Since its inception in the late 1970s, the Israeli peace movement has been based on one thing: hope.
Members of the peace movement hoped the PLO's war with Israel could be resolved through compromise. Proponents of peace with the PLO hoped that Yasser Arafat and his terrorist minions weren't truly committed to Israel's destruction.
The two-state formula was based on the hope that Israel could reach an accommodation with the PLO. To wit, in exchange for parts of Judea and Samaria and Gaza (no one was talking about Jerusalem), Israeli peaceniks, who over time came to encompass all factions of the Left in Israel, hoped the PLO would bury the hatchet, build a state, or federate with Jordan, and that would be that.
In 1992, the peace camp took over the government. Under the leadership of then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and then foreign minister Shimon Peres, hope became the basis for Israel's national security strategy. That strategy was followed by every Israeli government since. The basic idea was clear enough. In exchange for land and guns and legitimacy, Arafat and his goons would be domesticated.
The peace camp's hope was never based on evidence. Indeed, it flew in the face of the PLO's track record. By the time the Israeli peaceniks began negotiating with Arafat and his deputies in the late 1980s, the PLO had already controlled two autonomous areas. In both Jordan and Lebanon, Arafat and his terrorists transformed peaceful areas into bases for global terrorism and launching points for massacres of Israelis and of victims from Africa to Europe to the Americas.
The secret of the PLO's success was that it didn't simply kill people. It combined murder with political warfare. The PLO's political war had two goals. First, it aimed to make killing Jews politically acceptable a mere generation after the Holocaust.
Second, the PLO devoted great resources to wooing the Israeli and Western Left. It sought to convince a sufficient core of leftists that the PLO wasn't really committed to its goal of eradicating Israel. It actually was a peace movement in terrorist disguise.
Arafat and his deputies whispered in the ears of their gullible Israeli "partners" that they weren't an implacable foe. They were partners for peace just waiting to be convinced that they could make a deal.
The success of both political warfare strategies has been on prominent display of late. On December 23, the ambassadors of state members of the UN Security Council broke out in spontaneous applause after they unanimously passed Resolution 2334, which declares Israel an outlaw state populated by criminals and bereft of all rights to its capital and its historic heartland.
A week later, the PLO's largest terrorist faction Fatah celebrated its founding day. The largest celebration this year reportedly took place in Bethlehem.
Fatah was actually founded in 1958. But Arafat chose December 31, 1964 as its founding day because that was the day his terrorists carried out their first terrorist attack against Israel.
In Bethlehem Saturday, thousands of Palestinian youths - starting at the age of four or five - marked the day with a march through town.
This was no ticker tape parade.
In classic PLO fashion, the young people - including the preschoolers - were clad in military uniforms and had their faces covered with sheets. They marched through the streets behind banners sporting the images of Fatah terrorists like mass murderer Dalal Mughrabi and pledged to complete their heroes' mission.
The message of the spectacle was straightforward enough. Fatah remains utterly committed to eradicating Israel through terrorism and war.
Covering the march for the Israeli media was Channel 2's far-left correspondent Ohad Hemo. In a manner comprehensible only to true believers, Hemo stared at the march and saw a reason for restored hope for peace.
Speaking to masked grand masters, without a tinge of embarrassment, Hemo asked if they supported the two-state solution.
Lo and behold, as they marched behind banners of Mughrabi, who led the PLO terrorist cell that massacred 38 Israelis including 13 children in 1978, Hemo's minders told him that indeed, they support a two-state solution!
Hemo was exultant.
Even with its chokehold on the media and its control of the judicial system and state prosecution, the Israeli Left would have never been successful in maintaining this murderous joke without outside help.
And that's where the American Jewish establishment came in.
For more than 20 years, led by AIPAC, the American Jewish establishment has insisted that the two-state solution is the only option. That is, empty faith in a terrorist organization fully committed to Israel's destruction is the only acceptable policy for Republicans and Democrats alike to follow in respect to Israel.
For 23 years, despite the ever increasing dubiousness of Republican leaders and a few Democratic lawmakers, the consensus view was maintained.
The Jewish community's slavish devotion to the PLO stemmed from two sources. First, by insisting that the PLO is a credible force, the American Jewish community has been able to keep peace in its ranks, which are populated overwhelmingly by leftists.
Second, by promoting a policy at odds with reality, communal leaders have been able to pretend that there is no qualitative distinction between Democratic and Republican support for Israel. This claim, which has become downright implausible during President Barack Obama's tenure in the White House, is vital for enabling American Jews to pretend that Israel is a voting issue for them and that they aren't simply motivated by their leftist world views.
It would appear that the jig is up on this position.
Obama's lame-duck war against Israel and the rise of anti-Jewish forces in the Democratic Party led by Rep. Keith Ellison make it practically impossible to continue to claim that the Democratic Party is a home for pro-Israel forces in America.
On the other hand, President-elect Donald Trump's full-throated support for Israel and promotion of advisers who openly oppose a PLO state has opened the door for Republican lawmakers to abandon their half-hearted support for the PLO. Beginning this month, they may very well begin ending US recognition of the PLO and cut off taxpayer funds to its terrorism-cultivating autonomy in Judea and Samaria.
In this state of affairs, American Jewish groups will either support Trump and the Republicans or lose their ability to influence events. In either case, for at least the next two years, they have lost their capacity to support the Israeli Left in a significant way.
This is important for Israel to understand because the clock is ticking. Obama's onslaught has made clear that the Democratic Party no longer supports Israel. Like the PLO, Obama and his advisers view the PLO's conflict with Israel as a zero-sum game and they have cast their lots with the terrorists against the Jewish state.
It is to be expected that under the leadership of former president Obama and Ellison the Democrats will expand the openness of their hostility to Israel.
Under these circumstance, Israel has but two years - until the mid-term congressional elections when the Democrats may be empowered in Congress - to decide what it wants to do with Judea and Samaria.
Last week the government signaled that its first step will be to apply Israeli law to Ma'ale Adumim. A bill to this effect is expected to be brought before the government shortly after Obama leaves office.
While a good first move, our leaders must recognize that it needs to be quickly followed up by additional administrative changes. The goal of those additional steps is to dismantle the military government which administers Area C - 60% of Judea and Samaria - by 2019 and transfer full administrative responsibility for the area, which includes Israel's border with Jordan and all the Israeli communities of Judea and Samaria, to the government.
The time has come for the government to move ahead boldly. In their post-Obama, post-2334 state, the Israeli Left and its American Jewish supporters are in no position to stop the government from doing what needs to be done. But, if the government fails to act now, when the Democrats return in two or four years, the opportunity now upon us may be lost forever as the PLO comes back to win its zerosum game against Israel.
Five Potential Major Developments in US-Israel Relations in 2017 - https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/81481/five-potential-major-developments-us-israel-relations-2017/#tys1IILaGckoOv6M.97
"A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Proverbs 17:17 (The Israel Bible™)
The onset of 2017 comes several weeks before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, ushering in a new era in the U.S.-Israel relationship. The new year and new administration bring intrigue and unanswered questions on a number of major storylines that could shape the complexion of American-Israeli ties both this year and for years to come. JNS.org presents five potential major developments to watch for this year.
Will the U.S. Embassy in Israel move to Jerusalem?
Trump and his ambassador-designate to Israel, David Friedman, have pledged to move America's Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Will they follow through?
Typically, any country's foreign embassies are located in capital cities. Israel set up its capital in Jerusalem in 1948, but many nations, including the U.S., have established their embassies in Tel Aviv as part of a refusal to recognize Israel's annexation of eastern sections of Jerusalem and the unification of the city following the Jewish state's victory in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Israel has been pressing nations for decades to move their embassies to Jerusalem. In 1995, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, calling for the U.S. embassy to be officially moved by 1999. But the measure included a provision in which the president could postpone the move every six months by executive order "to protect the national security interests of the United States." Since the act's passage, Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have each continuously exercised this provision.
If Trump wishes to move the embassy, all he would need to do is not sign the upcoming waiver, according to U.S. law. Yet Palestinian leaders have sharply panned the potential move. As such, Trump and Friedman's resolve to move the embassy in the face of Palestinian threats may represent a litmus test for an incoming administration that has been openly challenging the current nature of U.S. diplomacy toward Israel.
How will Trump handle the Iran nuclear deal?
Trump's election victory last November immediately raised questions about the future of the much-discussed Iran nuclear deal, which was approved by the Obama Administration and five other Western governments in July 2015.
As a presidential candidate, Trump made a variety of comments regarding his opposition to the deal, ranging from calls for stronger nuclear inspections to entirely nixing the Obama administration's signing of the pact. Trump "has cultivated a fair amount of ambiguity" on how he would approach the nuclear deal, ambiguity that is "best exemplified by Trump's claims of both renegotiating and tearing up" the agreement, said Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior Iran analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think tank.
Shortly after Trump's victory, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made it clear that Trump would not be able to unilaterally destroy the deal, telling his cabinet, "Iran's understanding in the nuclear deal was that the accord was not concluded with one country or government but was approved by a resolution of the U.N. Security Council, and there is no possibility that it can be changed by a single government."
One of Trump's Mideast advisers, Walid Phares, told BBC Radio that rather than "ripping up" the deal, the president-elect "will take the agreement, review it, send it to Congress, demand from the Iranians to restore a few issues or change a few issues, and there will be a discussion."
Where will Rex Tillerson stand on Israel as Secretary of State?
While the proposed embassy move to Jerusalem and opposition of the Iran deal represent positions that are strongly aligned with the Israeli government's stances, Trump's pick for secretary of state-ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson-left more to the imagination.
As CEO of one of the world's largest oil firms, Tillerson spent many years cultivating relationships with top oil-producing Sunni Arab Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Qatar. Yet on Israel, which until recent years had not been a major player in the global energy market, Tillerson's stances are relatively unknown.
Jewish organizations had mixed reactions to the Tillerson appointment. The American Jewish Committee noted that it is "unfamiliar with his larger geopolitical view of the world and America's place in it." But Zionist Organization of America President Morton A. Klein gave the incoming administration the benefit of the doubt, saying, "Since Donald Trump and most of his top aides are strongly pro-Israel, I don't believe they would have allowed this appointment if [Tillerson] were hostile [to Israel]."
Will the U.S. recognize Israel's sovereignty in the Golan Heights?
Member of Knesset Michael Oren (Kulanu), a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. who currently serves as deputy minister for diplomacy in the Prime Minister's Office, told Bloomberg News last month that he is urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to seek U.S. recognition of Israel's control of the Golan Heights region after Trump takes office this month.
"If it weren't for Israel's presence, the Syria war would be spilling over to Jordan. So Israel's presence in the Golan is indispensable for Mideast stability," said Oren.
Israel gained control of the strategically important Golan from Syria as a result of the 1967 war, when Syria invaded northern Israel. In 1981, Israel extended sovereignty over the region, a status the international community has not recognized.
While the Obama administration consistently opposed Israeli control over territories the Jewish state acquired during the Six-Day War, the future Trump administration would seemingly be much more likely to back Israel on the Golan issue. Yet Dr. Mitchell Bard, executive director of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, said that timing and priorities might be obstacles to pushing through a new U.S. policy.
"The issue of moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem seems like it will be a higher priority for the Trump administration, at least in its first months, than the Golan," said Bard.
Obama's Israel policy has been a hot-button issue in the Jewish community during the past eight years, which saw higher-than-usual tension between the Israeli and American governing administrations. Will the post-Obama era reveal any new insight into how the president feels about Israel, deep down in his heart?
The disagreements between Obama and Israel ranged from the president's May 2011 comments that Israel's pre-1967 borders should be the starting point for an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal, to disputes over Israeli settlement construction, to Obama's support for the Iran nuclear agreement, to Netanyahu's March 2015 address to Congress without prior consultation of the White House, to arguably the climax of the tension last month-the Obama administration's refusal to veto a U.N. Security Council measure against Israeli settlements, breaking with the longstanding U.S. policy of defending Israel against one-sided U.N. measures.
At the same time, those seeking to downplay concerns about a bilateral crisis have noted that American defense support for Israel reached all-time high levels during the Obama years, most recently with the signing of a new 10-year, $38 billion package for U.S. aid to the Jewish state.
Come Jan. 20, Obama will no longer be constrained by the rhetorical limits of his office. Will he go the way of President Jimmy Carter-whose criticism of Israel grew sharper after his presidency-or will his post-presidential tone simply echo his outgoing administration's current policies and statements on Israel?
Israel's Nuclear Strategy and US National Security - By Louis Rene Beres - http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/19995
Professor Lou Beres, examines Israel's nuclear strategy, its timely and unsettling. The core strategic problem remains preserving the existence of Israel and the Jewish people - and recognizing their fundamental dependence on a suitable nuclear security strategy for their very survival.
I have spent most of my professional career dealing with the realities of nuclear weapons from early years of involvement in the storage, security, and tactical employment of air and land delivered nukes - to senior responsibilities as a General Officer on the Pentagon JCS staff, charged with planning the strategic employment of nuclear weapons to deter the Warsaw Pact. Fortunately, I was also able to help craft the dramatic reductions of both US and Russian warheads and delivery systems as the senior US JCS negotiator during the President George H.W. Bush Administration, while working for the JCS Chairman, General Colin Powell.
The situation facing Israel is fundamentally different from our nuclear confrontation with the Russians. NATO never really faced a believable threat of being overwhelmed by the Warsaw Pact at the tactical or even the operational level of war. Our hugely powerful NATO military ground forces with dramatic air and sea superiority, and our gigantic western economic power, made it extremely unlikely that we would be forced to use nukes in the absence of an actual threat or use of nuclear weapons by the Russians.
The Russians were also rational actors. They were chess players. They were pragmatic. They were realists. Thankfully, deterrence held until the Russian empire fell apart from internal contradictions.
The Israelis have no such safeguards. They are surrounded by a mass of potentially hostile states and populations who have clearly stated a commitment to the destruction of the Jewish state. These state and non-state actors are motivated by rage and religion, not by geostrategic and pragmatic calculations. If these potential enemy states were able in the coming decades to tactically mass their conventional forces, they could without question overwhelm the IDF, and force a nuclear response to an existential threat.
There are clearly also real linkages of Israeli nuclear doctrine to US national security that remain unacceptably ambiguous and unexamined. In the coming decade, the disastrous nuclear deal with Iran will prompt a reluctant Israel and its US defense colleagues to make more explicit these complex linkages.
Israel simply cannot live with the possibility of an Iranian first strike. It would represent the end of national life. The core strategic challenge for both Israel and the US in the coming decade is to make the possibility of the actual employment of nuclear weapons credible but remote. Within a decade, the Iranians will be a declared nuclear power with the delivery capability for a first strike on Israel and US military regional forces. This recognized capability will have terrible consequences. There will be huge security pressures for nuclear proliferation, and incentives to develop a Sunni Muslim nuclear deterrent to the Shia "Persian" threat.
A new Administration will soon take office in Washington. Hopefully, the incoming US President will remain committed as a core US national security principle to maintaining the freedom of a democratic, law based, and capitalistic Israeli state in the heart of the Middle East. This should be a US national security purpose based on both moral and international legal grounds, as well as on sheer US self-interest in preserving regional peace.
Israel has very little strategic, operational, or tactical room to negotiate. It can never absorb a coordinated conventional first-strike attack. It also simply cannot ever depend on international security guarantees or peace negotiations with its Arab neighbors for national survival. The hatred and public commitment to destroy Israel will not fade until several generations have passed - if ever.
Israel must maintain, as a first priority, a survivable sea-based nuclear deterrent. It must have a very credible air defense system based on missiles and lasers and energy weapons. It must continue to harden nuclear storage sites and land based delivery systems, to ensure the country can credibly survive a surprise attack by cyber, chemical, terrorist, or nuclear threats. Finally and most carefully, Israel must re-examine its currently ambiguous nuclear strategy, to make more explicit certain new principles most likely to achieve deterrence and maintain the peace, especially given the still-looming reality of Iran as a nuclear state.
The US and NATO can help in this process even while maintaining strong political and economic ties to Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and the Gulf States. We must continue to skillfully engage diplomatically, and at a people-to-people level, throughout the region. The US should without question engage in a direct and continuing dialog with Iran. We may also require a more explicit US nuclear guarantee to our regional allies, until Iran legitimately joins the international security calculus as a genuinely peaceful partner.
None of this will be easy. However, we stand on the precipice of a possible nuclear disaster in the Middle East if global security actors cannot recognize the requirement to contain nuclear proliferation and deter nuclear blackmail, or even an actual nuclear Armageddon. This new article by Professor Louis René Beres can help show the way.
Nearing Midnight: Arming Up for Armageddon - Todd Strandberg - http://raptureready.com/rap16.html
We live in a time of great conflict between perception and reality. The general view in the media is that of peace and safety. While we have this carefree attitude in America, the rest of the world is in the midst of an arms race.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin is working on strengthening Russia's nuclear potential. His goal for Russia is to fortify the nation's military nuclear capabilities and develop missiles that can penetrate any missile-defense system. He also seeks to develop precision weapons across various branches of the armed forces as well as electronic warfare systems.
"We must carefully monitor any changes in the balance of power and in the political-military situation in the world, especially along Russian borders, and quickly adapt plans for neutralizing threats to our country," said Putin.
Despite heavy sanctions from the West over the annexation of the Crimea region, Putin has been successful in modernizing his military. He said that about 60 percent of modern armaments are currently in the Russian nuclear forces.
A Russian missile design company recently unveiled the first image of a new weapon in Russia's arsenal: the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, nicknamed "Satan 2."
The rocket "is capable of wiping out parts of the earth the size of Texas or France," claimed Russian state news outlet Sputnik. The missile can carry up to 15 separate warheads with a combined explosive power of 50 million tons of TNT.
India has just tested its longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Agni-5, which is capable of striking targets in Asia. Heralded as the "weapon of peace." the missile has a striking range of up to 5,000kms. Sometimes dubbed as the "China killer," the missile can carry a one ton warhead and is capable of reaching almost all of Asia including India's key rivals-China and Pakistan. India's foes will likely respond by improving the range and carrying loads of their missiles.
The evolving threat of North Korea's nuclear program has come about primarily because of the neglect of western nations giving them too much leeway-by dismissing their ongoing threats. We kept hoping that this little dictatorship would collapse under the weight of its massive military spending. With an endless supply of slave labor and radical ideology, North Korea has built up a growing arsenal of nuclear weapons. It will soon be able to fire them from missiles putting Japan and the Western U.S. at risk.
China has been very aggressive in expanding its military. This year, China's fleet commissioned its first aircraft carriers. The Chinese government could potentially build a number of additional aircraft carriers within the next 15 years. The willingness of Beijing to demonstrate its military power in the Western Pacific has made the region a favorite stop for the world's arms merchants.
There is growing concern that Japan is on a plan toward re-militarization. In the face of growing threats from China, the Japanese government has moved away from its historical pacifism, passing bills to bolster its military presence. A new, hotly contested package of 11 security bills gave the Japanese military the option to engage in battle to protect their allies, including the United States, even if there is no direct threat to Japan or its people.
Last week, the Japanese government said it will spend $44 billion to confront China. The money will be used to bolster its coast guard capabilities to defend disputed islands in the East China Sea.
The greatest threat from a militarized Japan would be its huge cache of weapons-usable plutonium. Since WWII, Japan has banned the production of nuclear weapons. With more than 47 metric tons of plutonium, Japan has enough to make nearly 6,000 warheads like the one that flattened Nagasaki.
The U.S. has the largest nuclear force on the planet, but it's a very old arsenal. The U.S. Air Force maintains a fleet of 450 Minuteman III ICBM missiles. A key leg of the nuclear triad, the Minuteman III missiles went into service in the 1970s. The Air Force has 76 B-52 strategic bombers that have been flying since the 1960s. The Navy has 14 Ohio Class ballistic missile submarine fleet that first went into service in the 1980s.
Donald Trump has frequently talked about upgrading our nuclear arms. He recently tweeted that the United States "must greatly strengthen and expand its nuclear capability until such time as the world comes to its senses regarding nukes." Asked to clarify his comments, MSNBC reported that Trump had said: "Let it be an arms race. We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all."
Trump's words may be mostly bluster, but after 8 years of neglect under Obama, he may need to accelerate the development of arms just to keep up with the growing capability of our enemies.
This latest arms race has "prophecy" written all over it. Political leaders may talk about the need for peace, but very little has been done to prevent the world from sliding into the abyss. The military hardware being developed today will eventually find its way onto the battlefields of the Tribulation hour.
"Proclaim this among the nations: 'Prepare for war!' Stir up the mighty men. Let all the warriors draw near. Let them come. Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears. Let the weak say, 'I am strong'" (Joel 3:9-10).
My Review of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?"
Over the last 35 years, I have literally read hundreds of books on Bible Prophecy and End Time signs. I especially enjoy books on the Rapture, and I have read almost every Rapture-related book published. In all those years, devouring thousands of pages, and millions of words, I have not read a better book on the Rapture than, Rapture Ready...Or Not?
Terry James might be physically blind, but he is spiritually sharp and well discerning beyond most authors. In "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" Terry has nailed the pre-trib Rapture, and removed any doubt what so ever about the Church going through the Tribulation. With great insight and Godly discernment, Terry explains with simple, yet profound words, why and how that he has come to believe the ways he does about the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the End Times scenario. I think after reading "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" you too will believe as Terry does, and be Ready for the Rapture like never before! - Randy Thomas - Publisher / Editor - Prophecy Update
For more information and or to get your copy of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" use this link: http://www.raptureready.com/terry/book35.html
A Closer Walk - Nathele Graham - email@example.com
It's that time of year again. Many people take a good look at themselves and resolve to make changes in the way they live. Some see the need to give up a bad habit, such as smoking. Other's want to be better stewards of their money. Every year I resolve to lose weight, but like most resolutions I never seem to be able to put it into practice for more than a couple of weeks. There's always next year, right? Of all the resolutions to be made, drawing nearer to Christ is one that every Christian should make and keep. A closer walk with Christ should be our hearts desire. "Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." James 4:8a. How often have you felt that you're far from God? We all go through times of being on the mountain top, then we plunge down into the valley. God is always right there with us, but when we're in the valley we sometimes feel far from Him. He hasn't moved away, but you've stopped looking for Him.
Many Christians read through their Bible each year, and that's a good habit to get into. Scriptures can be memorized and brought to mind in a time of need. If you become familiar with passages that bring comfort you will be able to bring peace to a friend who is struggling, and therefore help others in their walk with Jesus. Reading through the Bible is good, but maybe this year you should resolve to really study it. As you study, have a good concordance nearby in order to learn the meaning of each word in a verse. No matter what version you use, our English Bible is merely a translation from the original languages. Quite often you will gain deeper understanding by knowing the definition of original words and phrases. You'll learn that it was God who created everything and it didn't evolve from nothing. Only by study will you learn what God says as opposed to how man has confused His word. "But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come." 1 Timothy 4:7-8. You may have to change your mind about the "profane and old wives' fables" you've been taught once you study Scripture. For instance, many preachers teach that the reason God destroyed all flesh in the Flood is that Seth's sons married Cain's daughters. What a fable that is! Satan uses that fable in order to make God look angry and vindictive. An honest study of Genesis chapter 6 reveals that the "sons of God" are the fallen angels and the "daughters of men" are human women. This ungodly union produced the Nephilim, which had to be destroyed or all of creation would be beyond redemption. If you believe that God destroyed all flesh because one human married another human, then you'll be confused about other passages where God gives orders to destroy all men, women, children, and animals of certain tribes. The human genome has to be protected from corruption of their DNA by satanic forces. Unless you study what God says rather than man's fables you will be very confused. By the way, scientists today are corrupting DNA quite regularly...just as in the days of Noah.
Only Bible study will give you the knowledge to defend your faith. If someone asks you a question, you'll have the answer. "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" 1 Peter 3:15. The world, which is under the influence of Satan, accepts many things that contradict God's word. If you "sanctify the Lord God" in your heart, then you will have no conflict of how to answer someone who claims that God is OK with the particular sin they embrace. They will say not to judge them because Christians aren't to judge. People like to pull a verse out of context and build a false doctrine around it. By studying God's word you can explain that you aren't judging because God defines sin and the wages of sin is death. Then you can open their eyes to God's love and forgiveness. If you have studied Scripture you will be able to help them to repent and accept salvation that only is through Christ.
Walking closer with our Lord takes determination. As you study God's word, examine your life. We all have sin that comes between us and Jesus. Recognize the sin in your life and ask God to help you move away from it. James wrote that if we draw close to God, He will draw close to us and then he tells us how to do that. "Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." James 4:8b-10. We tend to recognize sin in others but justify our own sin. Anger, lust, and poor stewardship of our money are just a few things we justify. James says to stop being double minded. Don't have one standard for yourself and another standard for others. Cleanse your hands of the sin in your own life and live as an example to others of how to honor Christ. Remember, God hasn't changed His mind about what is and isn't sin. What was sin yesterday is sin today. He shed His blood to purchase your redemption from the wages of sin. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23. Christ paid a huge price to save you. Don't take that fact lightly.
Many people today say they can "feel" that things are changing. "Something's in the air", they say. That "something" is prophecy being fulfilled. Many Christians ignore prophecy and refuse to study it. That's wrong. God gave us prophecy for our benefit...a light that shines in a dark place. "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation." 2 Peter 1:19-20. Peter had witnessed amazing things as He walked with Jesus, but in spite of what he saw he placed prophecy above what he experienced, yet most preachers won't teach about it. In effect that's telling God that a large portion of His word doesn't matter. The events happening around the world, especially in the Middle East, will make more sense when looked at through Bible prophecy. Why is there such a fight over Israel's right to exist? God gave that land to the Jewish people. Period. God gave it to them forever. The UN, the USA, or any other political alliance you can name, has no right to take it away from them. Study Genesis chapter 13 to see that the land was given by God Almighty to Abram's seed forever. Abram (whose name was changed to Abraham) is the father of the nation of Israel. Prophecy tells us that all nations will come against Israel, and we see that happening today. The war will continue but Israel will be victorious. As you study Scripture, don't neglect prophecy. God wants us to understand and walk close to Him as we face these last days.
Which brings us to the Rapture. Studying Scripture will reveal that not only is the Rapture Scriptural but it's on the very near horizon. Many people erroneously believe that the pre-tribulation Rapture is a new teaching. Nonsense. In your study of Genesis you will come across Enoch who was taken (Raptured) by God prior to the judgment of Noah's flood (Genesis 5:24 and Hebrews 11:5). Enoch is a "picture" of the pre-tribulation Rapture. Also study Paul's letters to the Thessalonians and you will see that Paul taught a pre-tribulation Rapture. Also understand that the letters that Jesus dictated to John, which are found in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, spell out the history of the ekklēsia. After the final letter, John saw a door open in Heaven. "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter." Revelation 4:1. This is the Rapture. The rest of Revelation is what John saw happening after the ekklēsia (Christians) are Raptured. There were marvelous things in Heaven, but on earth it is awful. The events of the final seven years will be horrendous...God's wrath will be poured out. All those who have not accepted Christ for salvation will face harrowing times. This alone should inspire you to draw near to God and witness to others about the good news of salvation through Jesus.
The most comforting of all subjects of study is salvation. God made it simple for us but people have complicated it. "For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9. What a wonderful promise! There's nothing you can do, no works involved, that can save you. Only grace from God accepted by faith brings salvation. There's no other way to spend eternity in Heaven than through faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Everyone is a sinner and falls short of God's perfect standard, but Jesus shed His blood for the entire world. The question is, in what have you placed your faith? "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Romans 3:23-26. Have you placed your faith in Christ alone for salvation? Many people place their faith in works, such as doing good deeds. Some believe that baptism equals salvation. How many people have been baptized but haven't placed their faith in Christ and think they are saved? Each person must make the choice to accept God's free gift for themselves. Works should be a result of your faith. You should be baptized because of obedience and you should do good deeds help as a way to glorify Christ, but only faith brings salvation. As you walk closer to Jesus you will become more and more thankful for the price He paid to redeem you.
Of all the resolutions you can make, the one with the greatest rewards is to truly study His word and walk close to Him.
God bless you all,
Ron 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: The acerbic occupant - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
The occupant of the Oval Office appears as if he is doing everything he can to undermine President-elect Donald Trump. The media has reported that the "president" has established a presidential record by on creating federal regulations and red tape that will cost the American taxpayer over a trillion dollars. He has also presided over record illegal immigration and "refugee" resettlement from terrorist sponsoring states. He has created diplomatic and foreign policy crisis with his reckless treatment of Israel and harassment of Russia. He has said that if he had a third term he would have won the election, and he is moving down the street to continue living in Washington, DC. A shadow government in the making.
During the presidential debate, Trump said that he would wait and see when asked if he would accept the results of the election if he lost. His opponent Hillary Clinton said this was a threat to our democracy. The "president" said Trump's remarks were dangerous and undermines "our democracy." The liberal talking heads in the media echoed the comments saying that such a remark undermines democracy, threatens the newly elected president, and makes way for a shadow government that questions the very legitimacy of the president. So far, this has been the game plan of the Democratic Party-their leadership has challenged the results of the election, called into question Trump's legitimacy, and it appears they are establishing a shadow government with the lame duck "president" as the ringleader.
No question that the lame duck occupant of the Oval Office is attempting to undermine the presidency of Donald Trump before he even takes office. The regulations, the immigration policy and the diplomatic crisis are all issues that will have an immediate impact on the new president and will require incredible manpower to undo. And the lame duck "president" has stated repeatedly that he will be quiet for a time-which remains undetermined-then he will speak out on the Trump policies. Given that he has purchased a home in an expensive DC neighborhood, he has thrown the gauntlet down that we have not seen the last of his "presidency."
He has broken presidential protocol, deciding that his legacy must continue whether the American people rejected it or not. What this really could be is the aftermath of an incredible coup against the US government. He said he would remake America and left the people to decide what that meant. But he seems to have meant that America would become a revolutionary new Marxist Islamic regime. Everything was going according to schedule until Trump defeated Clinton. Now he and his cabal must scramble to continue or complete the revolution. They are doing exactly what they accused Trump of doing. Beware and stand strong for as it is written in Isaiah 59:7, "Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths."
Daily Devotion: Just Be There - Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. -Romans 12:15
If you were to go to Israel today, you could see olive trees dating back to the time of Christ. Some are believed to be the actual trees Jesus may have prayed beneath in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The word Gethsemane means "olive press." This was a place where olives were pressed to make oil. It was also the place where our Savior was pressed to give us life.
At Gethsemane, Jesus said to Peter, James, and John, "Stay here and watch with Me" (Matthew 26:38). What an honor afforded to these three. He took them into this holy moment of His life and asked them to be there with Him.
Notice that He didn't say, "Stay here and give me a little sermon and explain what's going on." He didn't ask for an explanation of any kind. He simply asked them to be there.
When a person is hurting, when a person is suffering, one of the best things we can do as Christians is to simply be there with them. I think far too often we feel that we always have to have an answer for everything or a little sermon to explain every situation that a person is facing. We don't realize that sometimes the best thing we can do is be there. As the Bible says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15).
When something horrible has happened, some Christians will come along with some pat clichés, while others will say they know how it feels, but maybe they don't. Let's simply try to understand that someone is going through a time of great difficulty.
One of the best things we can do for others in situations like these is to just be there, love them, and pray for them.
FROM THE HEART
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