Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
You Must Be Born Again - By Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2019/02/you-must-be-born-again.html
5 " Jesus 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.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:5-6)
There is no other doctrine that is more central to the Christian faith as when Jesus spoke with Nicodemus and proclaimed that a man must be born of water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God. Nicodemus was obviously very confused, as written of the account of the meeting the Pharisee had with Jesus after coming to Him after sundown and it was dark.
"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
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.
4 Nicodemus 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?
5 Jesus 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." (John 3:1-5)
Nicodemus was thinking in physical terms and could not understand the concept thinking that he must he enter the womb of his mother and be born again? He wasn't thinking in spiritual terms and it seemed totally illogical to him at that moment.
Many Christians use the term to describe their being a believer of Jesus Christ, but do they fully understand in Spiritual terms exactly what Jesus was driving at? Many use the label to describe themselves as a believer in Jesus Christ, but is belief enough? Remember what James said :
19, Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." (James 2:19)
Let us examine what it means to be "born again" in the physical and in the spiritual.
As an illustration, when I was a young man, I used to be only concerned with myself. I was single and single minded of what I wanted. But when I got married and especially when I had a child between us, I changed. My identity of who I was changed dramatically. Oh, before when I was a happy go lucky young man, without the responsibility of being a husband and then a father, I would have been happy with a condo on the beach. That would have been wonderful. But now, my focus was on someone else. My money went to take care of a wife, and then a new life born into our family. I changed and my focus changed. My identity changed. I was no longer responsible for just myself. I now had a wife and baby and I was a father. My focus was different. I was a changed man.
So it is with becoming "born again". We change. Our identity is changed. Our core being is changed. We are not the same person. Know one thing, my brethren. God is not doing a remodeling job on the same old house. He's not coming in and saying, let's knock out this wall, or let's put in a new refrigerator over here, and put up some new nice curtains for the windows....No, God comes to us and since our life was built around being lost in our sins, objects of His wrath, and considered a walking dead man, spiritually, God started from scratch. It's like an episode of "This Old House". The old house is so much in disrepair, with rotting walls full of termites, leaky roof, a foundation that is falling part, that they come in with a bulldozer and tear it all down and start over completely. There is just no way to repair what is without ability to be repaired. . They dig a new foundation, pour new concrete with cement blocks for a foundation and build a whole, brand new structure. That's what we become. A complete new creation or a "new structure". The old is gone, and the new has come. We were changed at our very core. Our being was changed inside. Oh, we may look the same on the outside, but spiritually we are different and God has taken the old man and killed him and buried him with His only Son, Jesus Christ and raised him to a new life in baptism.
1 "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." (Ephesians 2:1-3)
We were hopeless, lost and objects of God's wrath. We were walking dead men who didn't realize it until the Holy Spirit drew us to the foot of the cross of Calvary. There we believed John 3:16-18 and the surrounding Gospel message of Jesus and Him crucified for the sins of the world. Then by obedience to the Lord's example we were baptized by immersion into a watery grave just as Jesus demonstrated when baptized by John the Baptist. (Matthew 3:14-17).
Why do we immerse a person? Why not just sprinkle some water on his head, or stick his head in a bowl? Because the water of baptism is a symbol of the grave. We died to the old man. We were raised to newness of life. But the question raised, is baptism necessary for salvation? No, but as mentioned, it is a sign of obedience and knowing that we have died to the old man and raised a new creature. Romans 7:
4 'Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
5 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death.
6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." (Romans 7:4-6)
The law was our school-master to point us to our need for a Savior, as there is none that can keep the law.
10 "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Romans 3:10-12)
That is what confused so many during the time of Jesus, as they thought that the law of Moses would save them. No works of keeping the law will do anything but one thing, CONDEMNS US.
Through Christ Jesus, the law has no hold on us, in that it condemns us, because we have been baptized into the death of Jesus Christ and the old man has died and we are now raised with a changed identity. Oh, we still have that sinful nature, because we are still mortal. But Paul addresses this conflict of the flesh waging war against the spirit.
6 "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." (Romans 6:6-15)
In Paul's day, it was believed by a heretical belief held by a sect called Gnostics that we could sin all the more, so that grace could be even more grace. Paul says no. For we are not under the law, but under grace and dead to sin. He continues:
16 " Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." (Romans 6:16-18)
You see, because of grace and the mercy of God, it doesn't allow us to willfully sin and act like nothing ever happened. Some people feel if they come down to the front of the church, give the preacher your hand, and join the church and "believe by being an assenting Christian" in Jesus Christ, that they are fine.
("Party time now, because it's all good. I can live like I want, do what I want and I'm covered, past, present and future. I just got my free ticket to heaven")....
See there is a difference between believing as the demons do, by assenting to the fact that Jesus is God, and becoming a follower of Jesus and being conformed to His likeness. It's speaks to the level of your faith, and decision to allow Jesus to be Master of your life. But let us go a little deeper, as what does the term really mean to be "born again"?
Born again is a phrase used by many Protestants to describe the phenomenon of gaining faith in Jesus Christ. It is an experience when everything they have been taught as Christians becomes real, and they develop a direct and personal relationship with God. ...that is true enough, as we are become a new creature in Christ Jesus....BUT
WHAT IS THE END RESULT OF BEING BORN AGAIN?
As said, it is true enough that we are supposed to change into a new creature, even though we are still living in these mortal bodies that are prone to sin. We struggle everyday to be more like Jesus, but if you are still human, you will fail at times and come to the ABBA Father in heaven through Jesus to repent of a sin that you fell into sometimes with much weeping and remorse. But remember the words that Jesus spoke to the Pharisee in the above mentioned passage in John 3?
5 "Jesus 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.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8 The 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 3:5-8)
Paul speaks of this in Romans in my most favorite chapter...
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." (Romans 8:29-30)
That gives us thoughts of what Jesus and Paul were speaking of....we are justified upon being saved by faith and ultimately baptized unto our Lord's death and struggle to live and be conformed to the image of Jesus, our Savior, but what of these words above about being glorified?? The Bible, I believe gives us clues to what being "born again" truly means. It is not about just being a new creature in Christ on this earth, but goes way beyond what many of us can only imagine. Let us consider the following verses, some that I have already quoted.
8 The 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 3:8)
Jesus explains to Nicodemus, that those born of the Spirit, those who are "Born Again", will be as the wind, that comes and goes and you only see the effects of their presence on the natural world, much as the winds moves the leaves of the trees.
On the road to Emmaus, Jesus came to two of His disciples and they knew Him not...even as He walked and talked to them....then at the end.....they knew Him ultimately.
30 "And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.
31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight." (Luke 24:30-31)
Even when Jesus came to the apostles who were hiding behind locked doors, Jesus appeared to them.
36 "And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
38 And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
39 Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
40 And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet.
41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
43 And he took it, and did eat before them."(Luke 24:36-43)
Just as Jesus had revealed Himself on the road to Emmaus to two of His followers, here Jesus reveals Himself to His Apostles and they were afraid, but as they touched Him and saw Him eat, they knew it was Jesus and He had come right through the walls to greet them. Jesus described Himself as "flesh and bone" as now His life force was the Spirit of God, not blood as required for mortal life.
Remember also what Jesus told Nicodemus?
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.
4 Nicodemus 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?
5 Jesus 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.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." (John 3:3-7)
So from just a quick look at these verses tells us that we will not enter into the Kingdom of God as flesh and blood mortals that are part of the "Bride of Christ". We will be changed, glorified into what Jesus was and is. Note as I have preached in the past, that Jesus was a "new type" of what man will become. He was the first, the "prototype" of what we will be. The above verses only hint at what that will encompass and the glory that will be found in us. As Paul said in Romans:
14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Romans 8:14-18)
We will be heirs of God and JOINT HEIRS with Jesus Christ, our Savior. The only thing is we don't know exactly what we will be when Jesus comes, but we KNOW that we will be just like Him.
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 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.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1st John 3:1-3)
9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God." (1st Corinthians 2:9-10)
Someday, I believe very soon, we will be changed into what Jesus is and inherit as joint heirs in the Family of God, as Jesus our "big brother" our kinsman Redeemer and the Bridegroom for the Bride of Christ will usher us into the Kingdom of God being adopted into the family of God and we will be Kings and Priest to God on this earth for a 1000 years.
9 "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." (Revelation 5:9-10)
WOULD YOU BE THANKFUL?
Let me ask you a hypothetical question. If you came to your doctor and he pronounced that you had advanced stage IV cancer and prescribed a treatment that cured you, would you be indebted to that doctor? Most certainly you would be. You might even hug the man, or kiss him, because he just saved your life. What has God done for you then? He just saved your life. You were dead, dead, dead. But He has made you alive in Jesus Christ and promised you eternal life and a future beyond your wildest dreams. Would you be indebted to Him? Would you follow His plan for your life in humble submission to a Father in heaven and our Lord Jesus Christ who just gave you a pardon from a death sentence?
10 "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ
12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;" (Colossians 2:10-14)
God our Father, gave us a new life, with endless possibilities and future heavenly rewards, apart from the blessing of this temporal life we live. He made us glorious promises found in God's Word to those who love Him.
32 'He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." (Romans 8:32-34)
Did you catch that? He will freely give us all things, and the greatest of these is a life without end, eternal life. As Paul testified in Philippians chapter 4,
19 "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)
BUT STILL YOU SIN?
But you lament, as many that email me struggle with the complaint, "but I still sin". Yes, we are still mortal. We are still afflicted with a sin nature. But Paul spoke of this seemingly conflicting paradox of those buried with Jesus Christ and find that when they say something they should not have, or look at something they should not be looking at, or think a thought that is not very Christ-like they are convicted and the need for repentance is strong, even as Paul lamented in Romans chapter 7:14 "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.....(skipping down)
19 "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me."(Romans 7:14-17,19-20)
But he identifies the solution to be a mortal man and having God's Holy Spirit living inside us in the verses further down in the same chapter:
24 " O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." (Romans 7:24-25)
It seems to be a conflict that is present all our lives. We are "born again" as a new creature in Christ, but still mortal that has this war going on inside us. But with God's Holy Spirit within us, strengthening us, leading us in the paths of His righteousness, when we sin because of the frailness of our mortal flesh, it is not our identity that is doing it, because we have become the children of God (sons and daughters), but it is the sin nature that is doing it and not my changed spiritual identity, but the sin nature that lives as a part of my flesh. When we sin because of being flesh and mortal, we bring that failure to our Lord and repent and ask forgiveness and the fellowship that was hindered is restored completely. We will finally overcome the sinful nature, when the deposit of the Holy Spirit that melded with our spirit finally overcomes.
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,
14 Which is the earnest (deposit) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.(Ephesians 1:13-14)
When will we finally overcome? Rapture verses:,
52 " In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?(1st Corinthians 15:52-55)
Then the deposit of our purchase possession will be changed into His likeness at His coming for His church. As Paul spoke of in Philippians:
21 "Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." (Philippians 3:21)
As Jesus could come and go at will right before men's eyes because He was now flesh and bones with a resurrected body, we will have the same body that He possesses now. We will be able to be touched, possibly eat as Jesus did, but come and go as a breeze through the trees that Jesus described. We will be the purchased possession, as the deposit of the Holy Spirit has now quickened our mortal bodies into eternal spiritual bodies with properties and powers that no mortal man can describe save what the scriptures define. All I can say is, I can only imagine. And I want it, more than anything...Do you? Those of us who have made that decision to follow our Lord and Savior, by accepting His free gift of eternal life, through His death and resurrection will sing His praises for 10,000 years on into eternity forever thankful, forever forgiven, and forever part of the Family of God. Then we will be truly "Born Again".
A DECISION TO MAKE
Have you been really "born again" in this life as a new creature in Christ? Have you received the deposit of God's Holy Spirit living within your spirit as a guarantee of your future glorification into the "sons of God"? Have you accepted the only payment for the purchase of your soul to live eternally with Almighty God, a loving Father and His only Begotten Son? Are you an assenting Christian believer in your mind, or a true follower of Jesus Christ, in Spirit and in Truth in your heart of hearts? You must ask yourself these questions, as signs and symptoms of the closing of this church age is growing exponentially louder and more pronounced with each passing day. As any minister would give an altar call at the end of a message, I call you now, by God's Holy Spirit and the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to repent of your sins, accept my Jesus Christ as Lord and Master of your life, and be changed forever inside your very core of being. Become a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, our soon coming King and Lord...Be ye, BORN AGAIN!
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.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He 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." (John 3:16-18)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."(Romans 10:8-13)
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying for you to be born again in the Kingdom of God. If you should have a need, would like prayer, counseling or just a listening ear, then email me firstname.lastname@example.org . Or visit me online for more biblical lessons from the Word of God at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , God bless you all,
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
The Limits of Arab-Israeli Cooperation - Caroline Glick -
The Trump White House is reportedly deliberating the best time to present its peace plan for the Palestinians and Israel.
A few weeks ago, the Hebrew language media in Israel reported that the administration intended to release the plan after the Israeli elections on April 9, but before the next coalition government is formed.
On Wednesday, the Times of Israel reported that the administration intends to delay the release of the plan until mid-May.
In the meantime, President Donald Trump's senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is overseeing the administration's peace efforts, is scheduled to speak at a conference in Poland on peace in the Middle East next week. According to a report Wednesday at Axios, Kushner is expected to answer questions about the administration's plan, but will not divulge any specific details about its contents.
One aspect of the plan that is known is that the administration hopes to use Israel's improved bilateral relations with Sunni Arab states, led by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, as a means to improve the chances that the plan will be accepted by Israelis and Palestinians.
In a conversation with the Times of Israel this week, a senior White House official said, "We believe we can put forth a credible, realistic and fair plan that could bring this conflict to an end; to dramatically improve Palestinian lives, maintain Israel's security and allow Israel to integrate into the region in a way that even two years ago no one would have imagined it could."
In other words, the Trump team apparently believes that it is possible to base Palestinian peace with Israel on a wider regional peace between the Arab world and Israel.
This assumption is probably correct, as far as it goes.
The wider Arab world's rejection of Israel's right to exist, and Arab states' repeated attempts to destroy Israel, are the foundation of the Palestinian conflict with Israel. The more accepting the Arab world is of the Jewish state, the less motivated the Palestinians will be to maintain their perpetual war against Israel.
This state of affairs has already dramatically reduced the potential for tension between the Palestinians and Israel to rise to the level of all-out war. Arab states led by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Egypt are far more concerned about Iran and its efforts to assert hegemonic power in the Middle East and build a nuclear arsenal than they are about attacking Israel, which they do not view as a threat. Their keenness to cooperate with Israel in joint efforts to curtail Iranian power in the region far outweighs their support for the Palestinians.
So too, fear of Iran has made Sunni Arab leaders far more focused on receiving U.S. military and other support to protect their regimes and territory from Iran and its terrorist proxies - Hezbollah, the Houthis, the Iraqi Shiite militias, and others. That is the reason that the likes of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah a-Sisi and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sultan did nothing and said little in response to President Trump's decision to recognize that Israel's capital is Jerusalem and move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.
Under these circumstances then, it is reasonable for the Trump administration to believe that it is possible to use Israel's cooperative ties with the wider Sunni Arab world as a platform to promote its plan to resolve the Palestinian conflict with Israel.
The problem with this conviction is that it fails to recognize the built-in limitations of pan-Arab cooperation with Israel.
Today, the Saudis, the UAE, Egypt, and other Arab states view Israel as a partner because they share a common enemy - Iran. Israel has demonstrated its willingness and capacity to fight Iran and its proxies both militarily and diplomatically. Israel's close ties with the U.S. are an added inducement for the Arabs, who require U.S. military assistance and weapons systems to foster cooperative ties with Jerusalem.
But even as unofficial, behind-the-scenes ties expand between Israel and its neighbors, Arab societies' popular rejection of Israel remains implacable. The places that hostility manifests itself most vociferously are the two Arab states - Egypt and Jordan - that have formal peace treaties with Israel.
For instance, this week, the UK-based, virulently anti-Israel Middle East Monitor website reported that Egyptian intellectual groups responded with rage and condemnation to a Facebook post by Israel's ambassador to Egypt David Goffrin which included photos of the ambassador visiting the Cairo Book Fair. The Egyptian Book Organization, the Cultural Committee of Egyptian Journalists, and other groups condemned Goffrin and rejected any normalization between Egyptian society and Israel.
In the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, generally viewed as the most pro-Western Arab state, hatred for Israel and Jews is all-pervasive. Israeli tourists routinely return home with tales of harassment at the hands of their tour guides and Jordanian authorities. Last December Jordan's Minister of Information and government spokesman Jumana Ghunaimat provoked a diplomatic crisis when she was photographed stepping on an Israeli flag painted at the entrance to Amman's Trade Union Headquarters.
Also in December, a Jordanian worker at Israel's port of Eilat attacked two of his Israeli co-workers with a hammer.
The Hashemite monarchy does nothing to diminish popular hatred of Israel. Worse, in fact, King Abdullah facilitates Jew hatred and rejection of Israel. Last October, for instance, he announced that Jordan would not renew the 25-year lease of agricultural plots along the border with Israel. The lands have been farmed by Israeli farmers for more than 100 years. Israel agreed to withdraw its claims to sovereignty over them in the framework of the 1994 peace deal in exchange for renewable 25-year leases to Israeli farmers to continue farming the land.
Ironically, the month after Abdullah announced the leases would not be renewed, Jordan asked Israel to increase the amount of water its supplies to Jordan. Currently, Israel provides Jordan with 50 million cubic meters of water every year.
While Saudi Crowned Prince Mohammed has spoken warmly about Israel, he has made clear that Saudi Arabia will not normalize its relations with Israel until after Israel concludes a peace deal with the Palestinians. Since the Palestinian leadership has committed itself to rejecting peace with Israel, and refuses to even speak with American officials, it is clear that Prince Mohammed's statements are unlikely to be put to the test.
Israelis, for their part, are not pining for tourist packages to Riyadh. To the extent Israeli businessmen need to travel to Arab capitals for work, they are largely able to do so. Formal treaties of peace between Israel and the likes of Saudi Arabia will add little to no value to ties between the two countries. To the contrary, as has happened in Jordan and Egypt, government authorities, fearful of claims by Islamists and others that they betrayed their nations or Islam itself by forging a peace on paper with Israel, will go out of their way to distance their governments from Israel.
In other words, ironically, formal peace between Israel and Arab states will reduce the strategic potential of bilateral ties, while subjecting those ties - now hidden from public approbation - to continuous assault by opinion leaders and religious authorities.
Moreover, since the current thaw in Israel-Arab relations is a function of shared concern over Iranian aggression, it is likely that those ties will be reduced, and may even end, if and when the Iranian threat is significantly reduced or defeated outright through regime change.
This, then, brings us to the nature of the Trump "deal-of-the-century" for Israel and the Palestinians.
In all previous U.S. "peace plans," Israel was called on to transfer land it requires to defend itself against foreign invasion and terrorist infiltration in exchange for a paper peace. It was called on to destroy the homes and communities of hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Israeli citizens, and partition Jerusalem, transferring control over urban neighborhoods and holy sites to the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Not only would implementing the requisite concessions endanger Israel strategically, it would also cause massive social cleavages which would increase dramatically the prospect of a profound destabilization of Israeli society.
Statements by U.S. officials, including by former U.S. UN ambassador Nikki Haley, regarding the details of the Trump administration's peace plan have telegraphed the message that its contents are similar to those presented by past administrations. That is, the Trump plan presumes that Israel will give real - irreversible - concessions to the Palestinians in the form of land transfers that will enfeeble and divide it in exchange for a paper peace deal.
The difference, to the extent there is one, between the substance of the Trump plan and its predecessors is that the Trump administration plan envisions peace between Israel and the Palestinians to be forged in the context of a broader peace between Israel and regional Arab states.
And yet, when one considers the ubiquitous hatred for Israel and Jews in Jordan and Egypt, it is clear that formal peace deals do not improve ties between the nations of the Arab world and Israel. If anything, they harm them. So too, when one recognizes that since the basis of the current operational cooperation between Arab states and Israel is a shared interest in diminishing Iran, it becomes clear that once that threat is diminished or defeated, the basis for Israeli-Arab cooperation will disappear.
If that happens after a "peace" is forged, Israel will have endangered its future and weakened its society in an egregious way for nothing. Its formal ties with the likes of Saudi Arabia and the UAE will be reduced to nothing and it will face a renewed threat of pan-Arab aggression after surrendering its defensible borders for a paper peace.
There is a reason that despite the best efforts of every U.S. president since Harry Truman, peace between the Arab world and Israel remains elusive. There is no popular acceptance of Israel in the Arab world. And no Israeli concessions to the Palestinians or Israeli assistance in countering Iran's aggression will change that.
Before and After - Nathele Graham - email@example.com
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23.
We all are born into this world as babies...then the fight begins. It's a spiritual battle played out in the physical dimension. A baby has physical needs and can only make those needs known by crying. A loving parent changes the diaper or eases the hunger pains. The child soon learns to be selfish and demands their own way. This is the beginning of the spiritual battle for the soul of a person. Toys become idols and cookies aren't to be shared. As they grow older, lusts become more sinful. If the child is born into a Christian household there's a solid foundation on which to build a life and the lust of the flesh isn't tolerated. No matter what teaching a young person receives, there are always choices to be made every day. Do I engage in sin or do I resist temptation? The most important choice in life is whether or not to accept Christ for salvation. A wise person chooses Christ. When Christ is chosen that person becomes a new creation..they are born again. "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." John 3:3. Before that point, sin ruled. By God's standards we all fall short of His expectations. Our only hope is Jesus. Without Him we are forever lost.
Before we accepted Christ we had no moral guidance. Right and wrong were whatever was right in your own eyes. After coming to Christ our moral guide is found in Scripture. If we don't allow Him to change our moral outlook there's a problem. That's when you need to question whether or not you truly gave your life to Christ who gave His life for you. "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. As you read through that list you might not see yourself in it, but you are there. You may never have stolen anything but if you've ever thought about taking something that wasn't yours then by God's standards you're a thief. Jesus said that even the thought of sin is just like actually committing the sin. Any sexual activity outside of a one man/one woman marriage is sin, but before you were a Christian you probably didn't see anything wrong with it. After giving your life to Christ, that should change."And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." 1 Corinthians 6:11. The blood of Christ changes everything. Before we came to know Jesus sin wasn't something we fought. After accepting Christ for salvation our attitude should change. Before you came to Christ sin was seen as a normal and acceptable part of life...now it isn't.
Disobedience to God isn't anything new, but it's never acceptable to Him. We choose sin and disobedience, and we also choose to reject Jesus. By doing so we choose eternal death. "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. Adam had one rule: Don't eat the forbidden fruit. His disobedience to God caused the sin and death we see around us today. Satan lied and that liar is still working his evil in the world today. Many people seek after the sinful lust of the flesh but don't recognize lust as sin. There's no hope in sin. "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Romans 7:24. Only Jesus Christ can deliver you from eternal death. Before you came to Christ you were lost in sin and death. After you accepted Christ for salvation, you were justified. Now it's time to live for Him.
Sin separates us from God so we cannot possibly be good enough to get to Heaven by our own merit. Jesus paid for our redemption. "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. Salvation through Jesus Christ is a free gift. If you've accepted this gift your sins are forgiven and you're a new creation through Him. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17. When you realized that you were dying in sin and accepted Christ's shed blood for salvation, you were justified. That means He forgave your sin and instead of eternal death you gained eternal life. Instead of seeing the blackness and ugliness of the sin that separated you from Him, God now views you through the righteous shed blood of Jesus. Now it's time to grow. You were a sinner bound for eternal damnation, but now you're a sinner saved by grace. That inner change should be evident by outer action.
There's no possible way for a new believer to know every sin ever committed or every stumbling block to come, but there should be repentance over past sin and a desire to please God in the future. "But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."Titus 3:4-7. Works cannot add to our salvation. We are saved by the grace of God but out of love and gratitude for what Jesus did we need to begin working for Him. Scripture is our guide. Before you came to Christ you probably never studied Scripture. What about now? How can you know how to live for Him if you don't study His guide book? We know the unhappiness that lustful living and sin can bring, but the joy of salvation is something only a life lived for Christ can bring. You were once ruled by sin but now be ruled by Christ.
After you've turned to Christ for salvation you need to stop making excuses for the sin in your own life, but you need to also have to stop accepting sin in those around you. There's a fine line between loving the sinner and condoning the sin. Christian congregations shouldn't be filled with people who are comfortable in their sin or with people who take pleasure in the sin of others. "Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same but have pleasure in them that do them." Romans 1:32. Using Scripture as the standard by which we judge isn't wrong. We can't expect people who reject Christ to live by His laws, but within our congregations if sin is embraced and the congregation takes pleasure in it then there's a problem. There's a difference between a person who recognizes their sin and is fighting to change and one who happily continues in sin. God isn't pleased when we take pleasure in the sin of people who claim to be Christians but don't follow Christ. We are all in the ministry of reconciliation and need to help each other to come away from sin. "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation." 2 Corinthians 5:18-19. You ignore an important responsibility of your salvation if you don't care if others are reconciled to Christ.
A question that many ask is how much sin can I continue to commit and still be saved? If you're still living with one foot in the world a better question is how sincere you were when you asked Christ to forgive your sin. We have freedom in Christ but we aren't free to continue to take pleasure in sin. "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." Galatians 5:13. The Holy Spirit resides in all who have truly accepted Christ's shed blood for salvation. Whatever we do we take Him with us. We are to walk in the spirit and allow Him to guide us. "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." Galatians 5:16-17. Christians aren't to be double minded, but are to turn away from the lusts of the flesh. Temptations will come our way, but that's when we go to the Lord in prayer.
Scripture will help a new Christian to grow in the Lord, and will help an older Christian to walk the narrow path. To fight temptation we need to take control of our thoughts and let God's light lead us. "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled." 2 Corinthians 10:3-6. Christians are in a spiritual fight. That fight manifests in the physical world, but our weapons of war are spiritual. When temptation comes along, fight with spiritual weapons. Continual prayer will keep God in your thoughts and Scripture will keep Him in your heart. Jesus fought the temptations Satan put before Him by quoting Scripture. If you take time to memorize Scripture it will be there when you need to fight a Spiritual battle. Start by memorizing the Ten Commandments. Before you gave your life to Christ you didn't care about fighting sin. Now it should matter a lot.
Before you gave your life to Christ you were lost and without hope. "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another." Titus 3:3. After accepting Christ for salvation you are a new creation of God bound for eternal life. "That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." Titus 3:7. Live for Christ today.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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Daily Jot: Reality disconnect - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
There are several examples of where reality has been disconnected in the public discourse of America. Take, for example, the person the Democratic Party chose to give the rebuttal to President Donald Trump's State of the Union Address, Stacy Abrams. Abrams, the sore loser in the Georgia governor's race, stated as fact: "The Republican tax bill rigged the system against working people. Rather than bringing back jobs, plants are closing, layoffs are looming and wages struggle to keep pace with the actual cost of living." In fact checking, these are no short of bold faced lies, a total disconnect with reality. Unemployment filings are at a 50 year low; in 2018 over 233,000 jobs were created; and wages are beating inflation.
Painting a picture of a gloomy American economy is one thing, but lying about the economy is yet another. The media, claiming to be the watchdog of government, is complicit in perpetrating the lies by not calling Abrams out on it. But that is hardly the tip of the iceberg. The media is a propaganda machine for the left. The Washington Post is among the worst offenders. Trump, saying that border security is a moral issue, stated that one in three women is sexually assaulted on their journey to the border and women and children are subjected to human traffickers and sex trafficking along the way. Any reasonable person would say that just one person assaulted or taken into sex slavery is bad enough, but not the media.
Washington Post's Glenn Kessler challenged Trump's figures, ultimately saying that only 31.4% of the women were sexually assaulted, stating emphatically in a tweet, "But there's less to that number than meets the eye." Who is to argue over 1/3 or 31.4%? The Post should be so accurate on the rest of its reporting. Fact is that those opposing border security are enabling and empowering drug trafficking, sex trafficking of women and children AND slavery. It's big business because American politicians refuse to secure the border. The venerable New York Times said that Trump's statement that illegal border crossings represent a national crisis is "false." Then in explanation, the Times stated that "A record number of families have tried to cross the border in recent months...creating a new humanitarian crisis."
Trump's pro life statements were challenged by the Washington Post for metaphorically saying "Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother's womb moments before birth." The Post defended the NY murder on demand bill by just restating the language of the bill, not explaining that it allows for in legal terms what Trump said it does in plain language. The deception in these people is one thing, but the disconnect from reality is far worse because they actually believe what they are saying. Of them, Christ's words in John 8:44 come to mind: "You are of your father the devil...He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it."
Daily Devotion: A Walk of Faith - By Greg Laurie -
So the people of Israel walked through the middle of the sea on dry ground, with walls of water on each side! -Exodus 14:22
It must have been very exciting when the Israelites walked through the middle of the Red Sea on dry ground. Maybe they saw fish cruising by in the walls of water on each side, like the best aquarium ever. But they had to walk for hours and hours. It took all night.
That is the Christian life. It's just a walk with the Lord. Sometimes there's a lot of excitement in the beginning of the Christian life when we realize what God has done for us. But as time passes, we might start taking things for granted. And we might find ourselves becoming apathetic.
If that describes you, then you need to plot your RPGS: (1) Read the Bible every day. You never outgrow it and never get beyond it. God's Word never becomes irrelevant. (2) Pray about things. Bring things up before the Lord. You need to have a prayer life. (3) Go to church. You need to be a regular part of the church. (4) Share your faith with others.
We stop doing these things and then wonder why spiritual apathy is seeping into our lives. It's because we're not doing the basics. Let's just say that you decided you weren't going to eat anymore. Here's what will happen: You'll get lightheaded. You'll feel almost sick. And if it goes on for a while, you'll basically start to die. You can't live that way. You must eat to survive. In the same way, if we neglect spiritual disciplines, it won't be long until we'll find ourselves withering.
Nietzsche said, "The essential thing 'in heaven and in earth' is . . . that there should be long obedience in the same direction."
As Christians, our lives are a walk of faith. We need to keep walking that walk.
FROM THE HEART
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