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The Biblical Indictment of America - by Bill Salus - http://prophecynewsstand.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-biblical-indictment-of-america.html
Note: This article was originally posted by Bill Salus back in May of 2016 but, it prophetically speaks to our present day!
World history confirms what the Bible boldly declares: The establishment and future of a city, territory, nation or empire, is determined by the Lord. Concerning the creation of a nation, we are told in Acts 17:26,
“And He (God) has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings.”
The prophet Jeremiah explains how the future of a nation is determined.
“The instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it, if that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.” (Jer. 18:7-8)
“And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it, if it does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it.” (Jer. 18:9-10)
This article takes a look at the epic tales of two infamous cities, Nineveh and Jerusalem. These comparisons are made to determine which one of these locations best characterizes America’s current spiritual condition. If such a historical comparison can be applied now, then the relevant question is: Should Americans find hope in Jeremiah 18:7-8, with the story of Nineveh at the time of Jonah, or feel despair in the story of Jeremiah 18:9-10, which describes Jerusalem at the time of the Babylonian conquest? To determine the answer, I propose the examination of two principles that I call “The Nineveh Principle” and “The Jerusalem Principle”.
THE NINEVEH PRINCIPLE
“I think in many ways America is like Nineveh. The wickedness of Nineveh was so great that God effectively said it was recognized up in heaven – ‘the sin of Nineveh has come before me’ – and I believe America is at such a state.” (Senior Calvary Chapel Pastor and Evangelist Greg Laurie.)
The Nineveh Principle has its origin in the 8th century BC before Jeremiah 18:7-10 was written. It is rooted in 2 Chronicles 7:14;
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Although these verses primarily dealt with the Lord’s response to King Solomon’s petition for the protection of the nation of Israel around 957 BC, they apparently also laid the groundwork for the Lord’s treatment toward other nations. The Assyrian city of Nineveh at the time of Jonah about 760 BC evidences this. Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrian empire, was ultimately destroyed around 612 BC; however the empire had become exceedingly evil long before it came to its end.
At the height of its wickedness, the Lord sent Jonah, a prophet, to warn of Nineveh’s fast approaching destruction.
“And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”” (Jonah 3:4)
Jonah’s warning was well received by the king and the people of Nineveh. They took it upon themselves to turn from their evil ways and Nineveh received a stay of execution.
“Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it.” (Jonah 3:10)
Although it can be argued that the Assyrians at the time were not classified as “My people,” the fact that they repented and turned from their evil ways changed their spiritual standing with the Lord.
With the historical precedents of 2 Chronicles 7:14 and Jonah 3:10 already in place, Jeremiah 18:7-8 reinforces this Nineveh Principle: if an evil people repent and turn from their wicked ways, the Lord will relent from bringing disaster upon them.
THE JERUSALEM PRINCIPLE
In sharp contrast to the Nineveh Principle, is the Jerusalem Principle. The Jerusalem Principle applies when a nation reaches a point of no return and the Lord determines that its destruction will not be postponed. This happened to the city of Jerusalem and the Southern Kingdom of Judah about 2700 years ago during the time of the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah. Three times Jeremiah was told to stop praying for the people of Judah.
“Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?” (Jer. 7:16)
“So do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not hear them in the time that they cry out to Me because of their trouble.” (Jer. 11:14)
“Then the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for this people, for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence.”” (Jer. 14:11-12)
After Jeremiah received his instructions to quit praying for the people of Judah, he forewarned them of their impending judgment. The people were captured and transported into Babylonian captivity where they remained for seventy years. Their homeland sat desolated during that period.
In His foreknowledge the Lord knew that Judah would not have a Nineveh or 2 Chronicles 7:14 moment. Jeremiah’s intercessory prayers on behalf of Judah would have no effect on the Lord’s decision and he was told to cease praying for the people. The Lord explained why:
“Therefore you (Jeremiah) shall speak all these words to them, (in Judah) but they will not obey you. You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you.” (Jer. 7:27)
In essence, Jeremiah was informed that the people of Judah would not respond to his warnings in the similar way that the people of Nineveh did to Jonah’s forewarnings. As per the provision of forgiveness given in Jeremiah 18:7-8, if Judah would have repented, like Nineveh did, then the Lord would certainly have relented from judgment. However, due to their evildoings and disobedience the Lord implemented the provision of judgment in Jeremiah 18:9-10, which was ultimately executed through the Babylonian conquest.
The people of Judah forsook their God Jehovah and became idolatrous. Jeremiah 19:4-9 provides the indictment of; and verdict for, Judah. These verses paint a graphic picture of despair and they are summarized below.
The INDICTMENT of JUDAH (Jeremiah 19:4-5)
• The people forsook the Lord and alienated Him from Judah.
• They worshipped false gods instead.
• They sacrificed the innocent blood of their children to the false god Baal.
• Child sacrifice appalled the Lord.
The VERDICT of JUDAH (Jeremiah 19:6-9)
A judgment in the form of a slaughter would come as sequenced below.
• The counselors of Judah would provide foolish counsel.
• The people of Judah would be killed by the swords of their enemies.
• Their corpses would be eaten by the vultures and carnivorous animals.
• The land would be desolated and contaminated with plagues.
• The survivors would become cannibals in order to survive.
• They would even eat their own sons and daughters due to their despair.
It is important to note that the Lord told Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:22, 28 and Noah and his three sons in Genesis 9:1, 7 to be fruitful and multiply upon the earth. The goal was to populate the earth with godly offspring. Contrary to the Lord’s command, the people of Judah were murdering and ultimately reduced to eating their children!
The Jerusalem Principle depicts what has historically happened when judgment and destruction occurs to an evil people who forsake the Lord.
“We have taken God out of the public debate…I want to put Him back in.” Evangelist Franklin Graham.
America has crossed every forbidden biblical boundary and in so doing has forsaken God. Throughout history nations and empires have been judged and destroyed for transgressing these biblically defined moral and spiritual boundaries! Boundaries such as:
• SEXUAL PERVERSION, like that of Sodom and Gomorrah at the time of Abraham around 2000 BC.
• IDOL WORSHIP, which in its worst conditions led to child sacrifice, which resulted in the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC and the Southern Kingdom of Judah in 586 BC.
• WICKEDNESS AND MORAL DECADENCE, which caused the ultimate destruction of the Assyrian empire about 612 BC by the Babylonians and Medes.
• ANTI-SEMITISM, which led to the destruction of the Egyptian army at the time of Moses about 3500 BC. The treatment of Israel by a nation is reciprocated upon that nation according to Genesis 12:3. This policy pertains to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their descendants, the Jews today. Blessings are in store for those who treat Israel favorably, but troubles are guaranteed to them that curse Israel.
In every instance the destructions caused unbearable sufferings and hardships to everyone, including believers in God and unbelievers that did not heed the prophetic warnings given in advance by the Hebrew prophets.
(Tombstone image quotes Daniel 5:24-28 – MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; Your kingdom has been divided). (June 26, 2015 is when the Supreme Court approved same sex marriages).
AMERICA IS IN THE DANGER ZONE
Over the past fifty years, America has transgressed over all of these dangerous boundaries. This is attested to by the Supreme Court decisions listed below.
• 1962 – Engel v. Vitale: the removal of Prayer in public schools by the Supreme Court.
• 1963 – Abington School District v. Schempp: the removal of Bible reading in public schools by the Supreme Court.
• 1973 – Roe v. Wade: legalized abortions by the Supreme Court. Since then, America has performed over 58 million abortions. Presently about 1 million abortions occur every year in America. This law means that about 1 million children annually will not be able to grow up, populate the earth and potentially become Godly offspring.
• 1980 – Stone v. Graham: in this case the Supreme Court ruled that a Kentucky statute was unconstitutional. The statute in question required the posting of a copy of the Ten Commandments on the wall of each public classroom in the state. The Court ruled that because they were being placed in public classrooms they were in violation of the First Amendment.
• 2003 – Lawrence v. Texas: This was the landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court that struck down the sodomy law in Texas, which by extension, invalidated sodomy laws in 13 other states.
• 2013 – United States v. Windsor: the case that the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA stated that one man should be married to one woman. DOMA was biblically supported according to Genesis 2:24, which says; “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” Marriage is the ordained relationship through which a man and woman can become fruitful and multiply the earth with godly children.
• 2015 – Obergefell v. Hodges: the Supreme Court case that ruled in favor of Same Sex Marriages, which is unbiblical according to Romans 1:27 and elsewhere. Same sex couples are unable to procreate naturally. Therefore, it is humanly impossible for them to be fruitful and populate the earth with godly kids.
• 2015 – The present White House Administration has turned its back on Israel. As an example, Obama believes the Iran JCPOA nuclear deal is good, but Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu believes it’s the worst deal imaginable. A recent poll conducted by the “Panels Politics in Tel Aviv” confirmed the concerns that Israelis have about U.S. President Barrack Obama. The poll overwhelmingly rated him as the worst president for Israel in the last 30 years.
The Lord has provided ample warnings to Americans that the country is headed for destruction. These forewarnings have come in the forms of remedial judgments, prophetic voices, and ultimately by giving them the ungodly leaders they deserve. For instance, U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama is the most pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, and anti-Israel president in America’s history!
Which of these two cities does America most resemble today, forgiven Nineveh or judged Jerusalem?
Most would agree that once upon a time the Lord planted, built up and blessed this nation. This would connect the USA with Jeremiah 18:9, which says, “And the instant I speak concerning a nation and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it.”
It appears safe to also suggest that from the Supreme Court decisions provided above, that America has, as Franklin Graham stated, “Taken God out of the public debate.” Thus, if the Lord’s voice is not even in the public debate, then how can we be obeying the Lord’s say-so in the important matters of this country? If we are not obeying the Lord’s commands then we are doing evil in His sight. This would connect the USA with Jeremiah 18:10a, which states, “if it (a nation) does evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then…”
Then what? “Then I will relent concerning the good with which I said I would benefit it?” (Jer. 18:10b).
Let’s substitute America for Jerusalem and Judah in Jeremiah 7:16 to see if the shoe fits.
“Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?” (Jer. 7:16)
This verse is paraphrased below for potential American application.
“Therefore do not pray for Americans, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them, nor make intercession to Me; for I will not hear you. Do you not see the forbidden biblical boundaries their Supreme Court has crossed over in the city of Washington D.C., the sale of aborted baby body parts by Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, and the LGBT Gay Pride Parades in the streets of San Francisco and San Diego?”
WILL AMERICA HAVE A NINEVEH OR JERUSALEM EXPERIENCE?
Is it possible that the historical example of Nineveh could be repeated in America? If indeed America is headed for a disaster, could America receive a similar pardon from the Lord? The answer is yes, but the Lord does not issue “get out of jail free” cards like in the game of Monopoly. Americans and their leaders must sincerely emulate the actions of Nineveh in order for the Lord to relent from destroying the nation.
I’m not saying that Americans should stop praying for their country, nor am I suggesting that Americans will become so desperate that they will someday eat their sons and daughters. In fact, Ezekiel says that was a one-time episode for Judah that wouldn’t be repeated.
“And I will do among you (Jerusalem) what I have never done, and the like of which I will never do again, because of all your abominations. Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers; and I will execute judgments among you, and all of you who remain I will scatter to all the winds.” (Ezekiel 5:9-10)
What I am asking Americans to consider is does America have a national repentance forthcoming in the near future? If the answer is yes, then America will most resemble forgiven Nineveh and Jeremiah 18:7-8. If the answer is no, then… Then what? Then, at the very least, the Lord will no longer bless this nation and America’s greatness will never return! Only God, who knows the end from the beginning, knows America’s final verdict!
“Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure.’” (Isaiah 46:9-10)
Clearing a Pathway for Antichrist’s Judgment - By Gene Lawley - https://www.raptureready.com/2020/02/25/clearing-a-pathway-for-antichrists-judgment-by-gene-lawley/
As we look at the total expanse of Scripture, the evidence of a parallel direction forward is in the mindset of the world and likewise in the plan of God. Both targets are that there will be a “one-world government,” a “New World Order.”
The world which chooses to deny God, even to ignore Him, intends to dominate the whole world with the elite being served by the less privileged persons. Yet, those cannot be many lest they cannot be controlled. It is described by the promoters of that “New World Order” as a glorious future for them. But not so much for those who are slaves to them, apparently.
God’s plan points toward the formation of that one-world government as a vehicle that brings the world and the Antichrist into final judgment. It brings into vivid clarity the truth that God does not allow any worldly evil to have a deciding input to the manner or timing of the development of events along the way. For example, in our very current events we see how God literally yanked out of the hands of the “One Worlders” their intent to bring into existence their vision. It shaped up this way:
When Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, a very gleeful Henry Kissinger blurted openly, “He has been primed to lead us into a new world order!” At another time he said, “We hired him right out of law school.” That “priming” took on the most deceptive twist that had never been seen in presidential campaigns and terms of office in the history of the United States, as the evidence clearly shows.
As the end of his eight years in office approached, he muttered at the April 30, 2016, annual DC Correspondents’ Dinner, “All of you are looking great…the end of the Republic has never looked better!” While his supporters claimed otherwise, the integrity of the nation’s sovereignty was steadily grinding downward. He was sure that Hillary Clinton was headed for the oval office to replace him and thus complete the destruction of the nation, that one strongest opponent of that New World Order.
But God came on the scene and shut down that plan of the world to create a ruling class of their own making, that of the flesh and not of God. Psalm 75:6-8 tells of the event:
“For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge. He puts down one and exalts another. For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red. It is fully mixed, and He pours it out; surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth drain and drink down.”
Part of God’s move toward judgment of this evil generation seems to be pointed at bringing people to realize their sinfulness. When the Scripture speaks of a “falling away,” as in 2 Thessalonians 2, it is stated that it is that the lawless one may be revealed—a possibility that God allows, then follows it with a complete clearance for the path of evil by removing the “One who restrains” (evil), that is, the born-again believers who possess the Holy Spirit and the embodiment of righteous resistance to that evil. It is called the “rapture” or the snatching away of the Lord’s possessions from the path of evil.
Revelation 6 shows the opening of that first seal, and the one on the white horse comes forth, “conquering and to conquer.”
The prophet Ezekiel, in the end of Ezekiel 37, tells of God’s promise of an “everlasting covenant” with the Jewish people; and parallel to this, Daniel, in Daniel 9:27, writes of a seven-year covenant being imposed upon the Jews by many and joined by the man with a past legacy from Rome. Ezekiel then launches into the prophecy of the Gog and Magog invasion of Israel. After Ezekiel 38-39 are finished, we see another obstacle of the Antichrist’s progress of conquering the world is removed—the threat of Russia’s desire to rule the world, and also the goal of the Islamic faction to rule the world.
Note that while the “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7) is going on, God’s inclusive plan to judge the world moves along in tandem. Next, we see in Revelation 9, the introduction of 200 million warriors from the “kings of the east.” They apparently are done away with in the judgment of God; and thus, China and the hordes of Asia and its Communistic threats to the world are eliminated, not to be mentioned as an obstacle to the Antichrist.
He continues to conquer as he moves behind the front of the “New World Order” and its one-world government—that seventh head of the Beast of Revelation. We find much of the concluding events of his advancement as he is supported by that second beast with the two little horns who promotes his efforts in Revelation 13.
Finally, in Revelation 17, we see this Antichrist, who intended to rule the world in a warfare with God from the beginning of his fall from favor in the ages before time began. In this chapter it describes his impatience of having to work his plan behind a world government, and he “pulls out all the stops” and takes over as the eighth head of the Beast—that is, he personifies the Beast, at last. Then the Lord God ends his existence, along with that second beast, the false prophet, by tossing them, bodily and alive, into the lake of fire to burn forever and ever.
Then, Jesus, the Christ, begins a thousand years of theocracy over the whole world, reigning with righteousness and justice. It is a time of proving that mankind, in their best efforts of self-governing, could not accomplish it without God, as they were planning to do. Again, God is glorified before the whole world.
But wait! What about Satan, who will have been cast out of heaven and from the presence of God once and for all time (see Revelation 12)?
When Satan, a disembodied spirit, is cast into the world, he must have a body to occupy. It could only be appropriate for him to enter the body of the Antichrist, a mortal being, until that person is cast into the lake of fire. Satan, then, is bound in chains and held in the bottomless pit for a thousand years. Revelation 20 tells us He will then be released for a short time to pull together the multitude of people who still are in opposition to the Lord Jesus Christ and lead them against Him in a final battle for control of the world.
Righteousness reigns and evil is judged as the Lord of Lords crushes evil once and for all! The devil and his followers are cast into the lake of fire along with all of the unsaved from all time to burn forever and ever. That is the final judgment which God exercises over evil, the end of the pathway for His opposition over the ages.
The whole story abounds with “mysteries” which are so-called by the Scriptures. This writing attempts to show the broad picture along the way. Redemption of mankind, as many as are saved, and the restoration of Israel to an acceptance of their true Messiah are main-line actions of God opposite that of allowing evil to proceed towards the judgment He planned for it. In all of these things, God will have been glorified as the Lord of Lords and King of Kings of the universe.
Where is the beginning of these things?
It appears to have been at the time of the Restoration of the nation of Israel on May 14, 1948, nearly 72 years ago. In Luke 21:28, while in the midst of a preview of what is to come in the form of judgment, Jesus said,
“When you see these things begin to happen, look up, for your redemption draws near.”
Increasingly, since that date a few decades ago, end-time signs and prophecies have been revealed to verify the truth of the Lord’s predictions. Witness the astounding revolution in public sexual expressions. That prophecy of a “falling away” from lawfulness and moral integrity is turning mankind into a pitiful, confused and frustrated population. There is an increasingly marked rejection and rebellion against the voice of Almighty God.
The Creator is not to be ruled by His creation.
The China Threat is Real - and Upon Us - D.W. Wilber - https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2021/01/china-threat-real-and-upon-us-dw-wilber/
The Communist regime believes victory is within its grasp.
So what’s all this concern about Communist China?
Well, let’s start with a little history lesson. From 1966 until 1976 the great ‘Cultural Revolution’ took place in Communist China. Led by the Communist Party leader Mao Zedong, the end result was that upwards of twenty million Chinese citizens simply ceased to exist.
Killed by their masters in the Communist Chinese Party for such crimes as ‘independent thought’. Of course, there were many other crimes against the people for which Chinese citizens were accused, tortured, and executed, but primarily they were killed at the whims of the local party officials in their small community or region. The blood flowed freely in China, all of it the blood of innocent Chinese citizens.
In 1978, two years after Mao died the new Chinese Communist Party leader Deng Xiaoping began to dismantle the Maoist policies that had led to so much bloodshed. He began to implement reforms that helped China recover somewhat from the damage inflicted by the Communist government during the Cultural Revolution.
Today the Chinese economy is one of the strongest in the world, and China’s military is one of the worlds’ largest, and is also well equipped. China has gone full speed ahead to try to gain any economic and military advantage that it could by stealing Western technology at an unprecedented rate. If it has some value to the Chinese government and it isn’t bolted to the floor, there’s a good chance the Chinese Intelligence service will steal it. They’ve even been known to bring a pair of bolt cutters along with them to steal what’s bolted to the floor.
China’s Intelligence service has infiltrated every corner of American life. Politics, academia, the news media. They are very active on college campuses, and not only involved in academic pursuits but are also involved in stirring up dissent and recruiting impressionable young minds.
We already now know how Communist China has made an effort to recruit American politicians, starting at the local level and supporting candidates who appear to exhibit promise and the potential for higher office, and those who also exhibit vulnerability and character defects that can be exploited later. Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein and Congressman Eric Swalwell are just two of the most recent examples. Who knows how many more have yet to come to light.
Many colleges and universities are involved in government research work which the Chinese have been successful at gaining access to, through willing participants from the research and academic community involved in these government projects.
Many have been recruited by and are cooperating with and providing information and program access to the Chinese Intelligence service. The research which costs the U.S. government billions of dollars in funding is quickly stolen by the Chinese Intelligence for a negligible cost.
A few thousand dollars into someone’s pocket, some sexual payoffs to someone else. A mere pittance compared to what it would cost the Chinese to fund the research and development out of their own pockets. Not to mention the years spent doing the hard work that China can just skip right over and steal the finished product. It’s happened regularly in the past and is ongoing.
When considering the threat Communist China poses to our nation all one has to do is look on the streets of America in recent years. Much of the civil strife and unrest that we have been and continue to experience has the fingerprints of Communist China all over it.
ANTIFA, BLM, and any other leftist organizations are most certainly quietly influenced - if not outright infiltrated and getting their marching orders from Communist China. China’s participation may be hidden, using third parties - some very high profile, maybe even well-known former political figures - but China’s hand is there nonetheless. And China will continue their efforts to destroy our country from within, based on the success they have experienced thus far.
Make no mistake about it, Communist China is ‘all in’ on this effort. They have crossed a line and there’s no turning back for them. To do so would be to admit defeat and lose face. China believes that they are getting close, and that victory is within their grasp.
With a Biden Administration, they may well be correct. And one day not long after, America may also experience its own ‘cultural revolution’.
Isaiah 41:10, The Most Popular Bible Verse Of 2020 – by Evangelical Focus - https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=4495
The Bible-reading app YouVersion has published a report reviewing its statistics for 2020, which show that there have been more than 52 million installs and half a billion verses shared, its highest on record.
The app has also registered up to 22.4 million Bible App for Kids installs, more than 1.4 billion plan days completed, over 7.5 billion audio Bible chapters played and more than 99 million videos viewed.
"Through every hardship, people continue to seek God and turn to the Bible for strength, peace, and hope", YouVersion founder Bobby Gruenewald, said.
He pointed out that, "while 2020 is a year so many say they'd like to forget, we see it as a year to remember how God used the Bible App to help so many people who are searching for answers".
Isaiah 41:10 the verse of 2020
You Version has also reported that the most searched, shared and bookmarked verse worldwide in 2020 was Isaiah 41:10: "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand".
Furthermore, "early in the year, people most frequently searched the App for Bible in a year plans, but in mid-March as COVID-19 accelerated, the number one search term was fear. Soon after, the fastest growing search terms were words like peace, hope a nd faith as the pandemic continued", the YouVersion founder explained.
According to Gruenewald,"these top search terms really show what's been weighing on the hearts and minds of people around the world at key points throughout the year. They reveal how people are seeking God as they wrestle with the difficult circumstances they have faced in 2020, and that is something we can celebrate".
Great impact in countries where religious freedom is threatened
The report also revealed the growth in the use of the Bible app in many countries where the religious freedom of minority groups, such as Christians, is threatened.
This is the case of India (with an increase of 23%), Nigeria (32%), Egypt (20%), Ethiopia (61%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (25%) and the Philippines (32%), among others.
"Experiencing the Bible in your own language is a powerful gift, and we are eternally grateful to our partners who share our dream of making the Bible for everyone", Gruenewald stressed.
Bible Gateway: Searches of pandemic-themed verses grow exponentially
Bible-reading website Bible Gateway presented very similar trends in its annual report. Since March, when the lockdowns began, pandemic-themed verses and God's healing of sickness got around 90 times more queries than average.
Regarding top Bible verses, John 3:16, followed by Jeremiah 29:11 were the 2 most popular verse in 2020, as they were in previous years. Meanwhile, 2 Chronicles 7:14 moved up to the number 3 spot.
Searches for "fear" and "fear not" increased throughout 2020, with "fear" ranking number 6 on the Bible Gateway's ranking of the most popular keyword searches. Meanwhile, "love" was at the top of the list in both English and Spanish.
Daily Jot: The Farm Chronicles: Great Balls of Fire – Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
As many of you know, I grew up on our family farm in Northeastern Ohio. It was part of a land grant in payment to my grandfather seven generations back for fighting in the Revolutionary War. At the time my grandfather sent his son to claim the land, it was wilderness, the most western part of the new America, and most certainly Indian country. He had to carve out their inheritance while defending against the elements and Indians, and learn how to farm fertile, but rather low land. The house he built was a sturdy two room structure with a loft above, with two inch planks pegged together as walls and large beams, also pegged together, held the house up over the crude cellar. The house was added on to in 1840.
The entire farm was handed down from Wilson to Wilson from around 1800 till even today, when my son will take over the property. We all were raised on this farm since then. When my father went on to be with the Lord in 1989, my mother continued living at the farm until she was unable to do so and moved in to our Maryland home. During those times before, we would pack up the family and “go home” for Christmas. Sometimes, my mother didn’t make the best decisions at Christmas time, especially since it was my dad’s birthday, and the anniversary of his death was just a few days after my mother’s birthday, also in December. Mother, however, never wanted to admit that her decisions might not be the best.
We were finished opening presents and all the paper from the gifts was stuffed into a couple of trash bags. There was no garbage pick up at the farm. We burned everything in an old sawed-off 50 gallon drum out about 30 feet from the milk house. Now this drum was old and had charred and rusted down to about half its height. On this Christmas morning, the wind was blowing pretty hard and there was no snow on the ground. I protested that it was not a good idea to burn these wrappings, but mom insisted–she was a neat-kin to the max and didn’t want the trash in her house another second. So I reluctantly complied. I set the wrappings on fire and soon they blew all over the pasture, setting tiny fires as they landed.
These tiny fires grew into bigger fires and soon about half an acre of pasture was on fire with the wind shifting toward the barns. I was fighting the fire with a shovel and an old gunny sack while everyone else was in the house enjoying the morning, unaware of the fiasco outside. I finally prevailed over the fire. I came in the house with smoky clothes, smudges on my face, arms and hands, and my eyebrows were singed. My mother calmly sat across the kitchen table and without any hesitation said, “You shouldn’t have burned that trash with that wind blowing like it was.” Ephesians 6:2,3 says, “Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” You can, if you survive the fires <wink>.
Daily Devotion: Living with Your Eyes Open - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. —1 Thessalonians 5:6–7
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/living-with-your-eyes-open/ - Listen
When I first became a Christian, I met a few stick-in-the-mud believers who told me, “You know, brother, you need to be more sober.” That’s because I was always joking and trying to have fun.
When the Bible speaks of being sober-minded, however, it simply means to be clearheaded. It means being alert, sane, and steady. It’s living with your eyes open.
Some people say that Christians are out of touch. They would assert that we’re so heavenly minded that we are no earthly good. What nonsense. No one does more for the world than those who are heavenly minded.
So many of the world’s great relief organizations are Christian organizations. When tragedy strikes, it’s always the Christians who are showing compassion in every practical way, reaching out to people regardless of their beliefs or lack thereof.
Christians are the realists. In fact, I think Christians are the sanest people around, because we’re realistic about the problems and the solution. When the Bible tells me that humanity is sinful and that’s why humans do the things they do, it makes sense to me. It certainly explains a lot.
And if we were to simply take the word sober at face value, it means that we don’t need to be under the influence of any intoxicant. My mom was alcoholic, and needless to say, I’m not real fond of drinking. I’ve seen the devastation that it brings.
Now, I have compassion for those who are bound by alcohol. But I also know that the power of God can free them from it. On the other hand, I see a lot of believers being very lax in this area, and it can lead to some really horrible repercussions.
May God help us to sober up and wake up to the urgency of Christ’s soon return.
FROM THE HEART
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