Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Threshold - By Alice Childs - https://www.raptureready.com/2019/02/20/threshold-alice-childs/
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
"Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was... Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2 Timothy 3:1-9; 12-13 KJV)
"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" (Romans 8:22-23).
Everyone senses it. Something is coming. All across this nation, indeed all over the earth, people sense that humanity crouches, poised on the threshold of some kind of "event horizon" that is imminent.
The portents that herald this coming event are myriad and ominous. There have always been things such as wars, natural calamities, and violence; but if one looks back at the history of the twentieth century and the first two decades of the twenty-first, one can see the sudden plunge into what the Bible calls "The end times." With the advent of World Wars I & II, things seemed to take a huge plunge downward into ever increasing chaos, depravity, and violence. For the first time in history, with the advent of World War I, wars were fought that encompassed nearly all the nations of the world. Warfare entered a new and much more deadly theater.
Then came the beginnings of the dissolution of what had been thought of as "civilized" societies and countries.
With the beginning of the decade of the 1960's, America's innocence was ravaged by the conflict in Vietnam - a senseless tragedy the government didn't want to admit was a war. As a result of the debacle that was Vietnam, and the absolutely tragic loss of life of nearly 59,000 of America's brightest and best young men and women, the seeds of anger and rebellion that were sown in a disillusioned generation found fecund ground in which to grow.
The anger and sense of hopelessness of a young, disillusioned generation made that entire generation ripe for the infiltration of a Marxist/communist worldview in which to fester and grow. During this era of national, civil, and racial unrest, the Church in America dropped the ball in regards to teaching and grounding her children and youth in sound doctrine. The Church in Europe had already completely lost the ball altogether.
During the tumultuous decade of the 60's in America, the seeds of rebellion found fertile ground, and the first twisting winds of the whirlwind that we as a nation are reaping today nearly 60 years later, began to grow in bitter soil.
In America and all across Europe as well, the festering poison of rebellion and disillusionment was germinating and beginning to quickly blossom. One could see this bitter fruit evidenced in the music, dress, mores, and attitudes - the changing worldviews of the "counterculture" in the harsh, angry casting away of morals and mores within every aspect of American and global culture.
In America, "Leave It to Beaver" was out and Woodstock was in. In public education, the Bible was out and the socialism of John Dewey was in. In our Churches, sound doctrine was out and higher criticism was in. The truth of scripture was touted as "too narrow minded," and the esoteric enticement of Eastern mysticism and Transcendentalism that flourished in the waters of Lethe - those "dark waters" that were the illicit drug culture went hand in hand with the mystic, the occult, and the esoteric.
In the liberated, turned-on culture of the 1960's, the sanctity of life was dealt a fatal blow with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of abortion in Roe v Wade. This ruling of the state-sanctioned murder of the unborn set up the modern, stainless steel altars to MOLOCH that have now butchered 60 plus MILLION babies in America alone, and rapidly closing in on a BILLION worldwide. The very atrocity that is the result of nearly six decades of Roe v Wade has now brought legalized infant torture and murder to full-term pre and postnatal babies.
Since the decade of the 1960's, the "perilous times" spoken of in 2 Timothy have expanded exponentially. Like the gaseous putridity of a decomposing corpse, the stench and putrefaction has now exploded wide open, spewing a spiritual and moral corruption that has infected every continent on earth.
It isn't just humanity that has degraded to the omega point; nature itself is in the throes of destruction. Natural and man-made disasters have grown much more frequent and MUCH more destructive. Devastating wildfires; unrelenting floods and mudslides; unprecedented, devastating hurricanes (typhoons, & cyclones); tsunamis; rising volcanic activity; exponentially rising earthquakes, magnitudes 6 or greater; tornadoes - all are increasing in both frequency and severity.
In nature, the sheer number of fish and avian die-offs in our oceans and in our skies are unprecedented and vastly underreported, or rarely reported at all. There are also vast die-offs of reptiles, amphibians and mammals in the millions worldwide.
ALL of these things have literally exploded in unprecedented numbers (unprecedented; there's that word again, but it is THEIR word - the word that scientists, ecologists, and climatologists are now using with greater frequency).
In addition to the increasing multitude of animal die-offs, the world was also rocked by the 2011 earthquake and resulting tsunami which caused the absolutely devastating meltdown of three of the four heavily damaged nuclear reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. The havoc and desolation wrought by the "China Syndrome-like" meltdowns, has nearly killed the aquatic and marine life of the Pacific Ocean. The Pacific, which produces vast quantities of the world's marine food supply, is already highly contaminated with radioactive elements such as strontium 90 and cesium.
The levels of these contaminants among others are rising because of the damage done at Fukushima that will NEVER be contained until Jesus returns and renovates this earth in the Millennial Kingdom.
Besides that disaster, biological threats both natural and man-made are making a sweeping comeback - viruses such as Ebola; mutated strains of influenza; previously eradicated diseases such as polio, tuberculosis, cholera, typhus, plague, Dengue Fever, among others are all reappearing in alarming numbers. Each of these pestilences is only one outbreak away from igniting a global pandemic. Then there are the man-made horrors such as Anthrax, Sarin gas, and only God knows what else that are stockpiled, just ready for one of the earth's madmen to unleash them upon a totally unprepared world.
All of this and more is part and parcel of the imminent destruction that is waiting to happen. Then, there is Israel-the flashpoint of the Middle East that is set to go at any time.
There is the moral degeneracy of the entire Sodomite agenda with all of its inherent deviancy, the escalating violence within our inner cities, and the complete corruption that has infiltrated and infected every government on earth. All of these things are an everyday part of our lives now. Yes indeed, we are right smack dab in the middle of those "perilous times," those prophesied dangerous times that God, through the Apostle Paul, warned us would be the harbingers of the last of the last days just before Jesus would, of necessity, personally intervene in humanity's affairs.
So yes, all of these things are portents of an unprecedented SOMETHING that the whole world senses is coming. All of creation IS groaning under the tremendous weight of sin, degradation, and debauchery. We all sense that the world is on the threshold of SOMETHING. The question is, the threshold of WHAT? and WHEN?
Ahhhh, those are the questions, aren't they? As believers, we already know the answers. What's more, we know where to show others how to find them. Although we can't give an exact day or date, we CAN, through the prophetic scriptures, give all who will listen the answer to the closeness of the earth's coming cataclysmic threshold. Yes, the earth IS on the threshold of great change - calamitous change - a humanity-altering change. There is change coming, for both the lost unbelieving world, and for the true Remnant Church. Both people groups are on the threshold of a great change, but both groups are not on the SAME threshold.
For the lost, those following what Paul called "another gospel"; those who hate or reject the God of the Bible; those who reject as their Savior the God-Man Jesus Christ; those who hate God's Word; those who hate Israel (whom God loves and calls "the apple of His eye"); those who hate the blood-bought, born-again Church; and those whom God has already "given over to their reprobate hearts" - all of you whom God identifies as "earth dwellers," YOU are on the threshold of the coming Tribulation, a seven- year period of horror that will be ruled by the Man of Sin. The threshold upon which you are poised and being pushed ever closer to is none other than the last seven years of this fallen, sin-cursed world system under the usurper Satan and his "man of the hour" - the Antichrist himself.
You are facing the holy vengeance and justified wrath of King Jesus, the crucified, resurrected, and glorified Lamb/Lion. You "earth dwellers," as God calls those who reject His salvation, are facing a time so horrible, so devastating, so unendurable that if Jesus did not return to put a stop to the devastation, "no flesh would be saved."
I cannot quote here every passage that tells of these last seven years before Jesus sets His foot upon planet Earth again, upon the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Israel, at the end of these coming last seven years, but I will give you some passages of scripture that will warn you of what you will (very soon) have to endure if you do not repent (to repent, according to scriptures, is to change your mind and admit you are a lost and Hell-bound sinner in need of a Savior, and then to believe that Jesus, the God-Man, IS that perfect, sinless Savior who alone died to pay the penalty for your sins - this is what it means to repent according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
THIS is the threshold over which you are about to be thrust. Read about the event that is coming in Isaiah 13:6-8; Amos 5:18-20; Joel chapters 1 & 2; Daniel 9; Isaiah 17:1; Ezekiel 38-39; Matthew 24-25; and Revelation chapters 6-18.
Those of you who deliberately reject the great salvation offered freely to "whosoever will," will absolutely and certainly face everything recounted in these and many other scriptures. It's not a "maybe" or a "possibly," but a CERTAINTY. This is YOUR threshold.
However, we who have placed our trust and faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ have a completely different destiny. ALL who believe in Jesus as our Savior by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation - all believers, both Jew and Gentile are, upon our belief, made one new body "in Christ" - that body (also called the bride of Christ) being the true Remnant Church. For us, we are NOT on the threshold of the Tribulation. Oh no! By God's saving grace, WE, the Church, are on the very threshold of Glory!
This is what awaits ALL who are believers according to the scriptures - all who make up the "body" of whom Jesus Christ is the head - the bride of whom Jesus Christ is the bridegroom. Here is what awaits the blood-bought, redeemed Church of Jesus Christ:
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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" (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).
"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:2-3).
"For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
"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).
"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" (1 Corinthians 2:9).
"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; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth"
Oh Church, I KNOW we are tired - weary to the bone. Like righteous Lot, we too are vexed in our spirits. As we watch this world plunge ever deeper into the pit of evil, depravity, violence, hatred, murder and Godlessness, our hearts are being torn apart within us.
We do our best to share the only gospel that can save men's souls. We weep, we pray, and we warn as watchmen on the walls; yet every hour that passes, we realize that this wicked, unrepentant, God-hating world edges closer and closer to the razors- edge of destruction. We already know what horrors lie just over the threshold of the lost, unbelieving world - a threshold that they will be catapulted across and into the coming Tribulation the instant we, the Church, are called up into the skies to meet our Savior in the air when we cross OUR threshold.
Two people groups: the lost, Christ-rejecting earth dwellers; and the saved, redeemed, and soon-to-be raptured Church. Two thresholds: one into the time of the wrath and vengeance of holy God upon this vile, God-hating, Christ-rejecting world; and the other, ushered into the very throne room of heaven into the presence of the holy One who sits in splendor upon an emerald-encircled throne!
Don't lose hope, believers. Hard as it may get, Church, don't quit. Keep looking up because, for us, while the earth dwellers are poised on the threshold of the gates of Hell come to earth, WE are on the very threshold of Glory!
Palestinians: "The Slap of the Century" - by Khaled Abu Toameh - https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/13787/palestinians-slap-of-the-century
The US administration is now saying that it will announce its plan for peace in the Middle East, also known as the "Deal of the Century," after the April 9 election in Israel . The unseen plan has already been rejected by Palestinian leaders, who continue to denounce it as a "conspiracy aimed at eliminating the Palestinian cause and rights."
In light of the Palestinians' vehement opposition to the "Deal of the Century," it is already clear that the plan will not solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas will hardly accept a plan that he has repeatedly referred to as a US "conspiracy" and the "Slap of the Century." In one of his recent speeches, Abbas said: "We will not accept the 'Deal of the Century' and we will not accept a situation where the US is the sole broker in the peace process."
Abbas has turned US President Donald Trump and his senior advisers into enemies of the Palestinians. Abbas and Palestinian Authority officials have been boycotting the US administration since December 2017, when Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Abbas and his associates have since been using harsh language to condemn Trump's senior advisers, especially US Ambassador David Friedman, and special envoys Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt. Abbas himself has called Friedman a "son of a dog." Palestinian officials and media outlets regularly refer to Kushner, Friedman and Greenblatt as "Zionist extremists" and "settlers."
Palestinian leaders have incited their people against the Trump and his advisers to the point where it would be almost impossible for them even to be seen meeting with any US official. In recent months, Abbas has been quoted as saying that he does not intend to end his life as a "traitor." The comment also means that it would also be impossible to accept any peace plan presented by the current administration.
Abbas knows that the American plan will not give him everything he is asking for. He wants, among other things, a full Israeli withdrawal to the 1949 armistice lines, including east Jerusalem.
His rivals in Hamas and other Palestinian groups, on the other hand, want to see Israel replaced by an Islamic state, where some Jews may be permitted to live as a minority under Muslim rule.
In short, Hamas rejects Israel's existence on what they claim to be totally Muslim-owned land.
Anyone who thinks that the Palestinians may change their mind about the "Deal of the Century" -- either before or after the Israeli election -- is living in an illusion. There is no reason why Abbas should not be taken seriously when he says he does not intend to end his life as a "traitor." One has to give him credit for at least being honest. He is all too aware that the moment he accepted the "Deal of the Century," he would go down in history and in the eyes of Palestinians -- as well as many Arabs -- as having sold them out, and, of all people, to the "colonizers."
All that is left for the Trump administration to do is to try and persuade the Arab states to abandon the Palestinians and to continue focusing on the regional threat from Iran. If the US completes its pullout from Syria, Iran will successfully complete its long-desired "land-bridge" to the Mediterranean through Yemen, Syria and Lebanon. This encirclement of the area will position Iran, via its proxies, to be the hegemon controlling the region, as it has clearly been trying to bring about. Russia, of course, is standing in the wings, thanks to the gift that then US President Barack Obama handed Putin in 2011 by pulling American troops out of Iraq.
The US could also agree to urging the Arab and Muslim world to continue normalizing its ties with Israel. This mission, though, could easily turn out to be "mission impossible."
Arab foreign ministers who attended the recent US-sponsored conference in Poland on peace and security in the Middle East are now facing strong condemnations from many Arabs. The ministers are being denounced for appearing in public with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during the Warsaw summit. They are being accused by Arabs of promoting normalization with the "Zionist enemy."
Earlier this week, Palestinian and Arab activists launched an online campaign, under the title, "Normalization is Treason," to condemn the Arab officials who participated in the Warsaw summit.
Notably, Abbas's Fatah faction and Hamas have joined one another in the campaign against the Arabs who reportedly support normalization with Israel and have begun using the exactly same language to voice their condemnation.
Mahmoud al-Aloul, deputy chairman of Fatah (headed by Abbas), said that Arab normalization with Israel is a "stab in the back of the Palestinians."
PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat also condemned attempts to promote normalization between the Arab states and Israel as a "stab in the back of the Palestinians."
Hamas's military wing, Izaddin al-Qassam, has also endorsed the rhetoric of its political rivals, Aloul and Erekat. Abu Obaidah, a spokesman for Hamas, warned that normalization with Israel is a "stab in the back of the Palestinian resistance. Normalization is a betrayal of the blood of thousands of our martyrs."
While Fatah and Hamas clearly agree that normalization with Israel is a stab in the back, one group of Palestinian Islamic scholars begs to differ. The scholars disagree with the phrase "stab in the back" not because they support peace and normalization with Israel. Instead, these scholars believe that normalization between Arabs and Israel is a "stab in the heart" -- the front, not the back -- of the Palestinians
Under the current circumstances, when Arabs are being widely shamed and condemned for sitting in the same room with an Israeli prime minister, it is hard to see how the Trump administration will be able to convince Arab states and leaders to normalize their relations with Israel. Some of these Arab leaders may be privately telling US administration officials things they like to hear about peace and coexistence with Israel. The very same leaders, however, are fully aware of the opposite sentiments, not only in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but throughout the Arab world.
For decades now, not only Palestinian leaders but Arab ones as well, have been radicalizing their people against Israel. Using every available platform, including mosques, media outlets and United Nations organizations, these leaders, with the collaboration of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, have demonized Israel. They have poisoned the hearts and minds of their people with the hate that exists towards Israel all over the Arab world. To promote normalization with Israel, a leader must prepare his people for the possibility of peace with Israel. Meanwhile, Arab leaders are doing the exact opposite -- which is why some of them are currently being denounced as traitors and pawns in the hands of Israel and the US. It would be wise for President Trump's advisers, if they wish to grasp what is really going on in the Arab world, to listen to the voices of the Arab street.
A Disturbing Trend: Does Anybody Care? - By Jan Markell -
Interest in Israel is waning. Does anybody care?
In recent weeks, several publications have put out alarming stories that evangelical support for Israel is sinking -- and especially among young people. The periodicals state that a new survey reveals that there is confusion about, or indifference to, the world's only Jewish state.
It is really a two-pronged phenomenon. There is a decline in the interest in end-times (eschatology) and a decline in interest and support for God's Covenant land and people by those who identify as a part of the today's church.
The Christian Post states, "Seventy-seven percent of evangelicals, ages 65 and older, say they support the existence, security and prosperity of Israel, according to a Life Way Research survey. But only 58 percent of evangelicals ages 18 to 34 say the same."
The various articles indicate that young people are focused on social justice now. There is a perception that the Palestinians are "downtrodden, persecuted, and mistreated," and therefore, sympathy is towards them. Israel is the "occupier."
Adding to the survey were Joel Rosenberg and Chosen People Ministries. Rosenberg stated, "Unless the church gives younger believers a healthy, balanced, solidly biblical understanding of God's love and plan for Israel, overall evangelical support for the Jewish state could very well plummet over the next decade as Millennials represent an ever-larger percentage of the overall church body."
So who or what is to blame? May I suggest some of the following?
Christianity Today says that at best, young evangelicals are "indifferent about Israel." With such a non-stop barrage of anti-Israel propaganda, how can young minds sort through fiction to find the facts?
The Israeli newspaper Ha-aretz is running an article that states that young evangelicals don't have the automatic support for Israel that their parents had. This is a generation that is suspicious of anything that is presented without explanation. They don't want to be political pawns. They don't adopt automatic views and positions. In order to connect them to Israel, we need to make a case for why they should support it. Future U.S. policy towards Israel is at stake!
All of this is happening as new and young members of the U.S. Congress, including one radical Muslim from Minnesota -- Rep. Ilhan Omar -- are taking a strong anti-Israel stand. Their anti-Semitism is not even subtle. How many younger people will Rep. Omar, Rep. Tlaib, and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez influence in the wrong direction?
While people, both young and old, can be disloyal and change sides, "He that keeps Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps." (Psalm 121) God's love and protection will never waiver for His covenant land and people.
How odd of God,
To choose the Jews;
But not as odd, as those who choose,
The Jewish God, but spurn the Jews.
Why Do We Suffer? - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
Nobody likes to suffer, but if we can see a reason for it suffering becomes easier to bear. Much suffering is caused by our own choices, but we always expect God to take the trouble away. Another reason is so His glory can be seen. In Old Babylon a decree had been issued requiring everyone to worship a false idol or be burned alive. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego worshiped God Almighty and refused to bow before an idol. They were sentenced to burn. "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." Daniel 3:17-18. We are to follow the law of our land, but not when it conflicts with God's law. Three men were bound and thrown into the furnace, but four men were seen walking there. "Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." Daniel 3:24-25. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego faced suffering because they honored God, and He was with them in the furnace. Nebuchadnezzar saw and God was glorified. Those three Jewish men didn't want to be burned in the furnace, but they refused to compromise their faith in order to worship a false god. Their example of encourages us in times of trouble.
Sometimes suffering comes when God disciplines us. Anyone who has raised a child knows that discipline is important in shaping a child's life. A loving parent will inflict punishment if that child lies, hits someone, or steals something. Childish lies can grow into more serious lies and stealing another child's toy can lead to grand theft, so children must be taught right from wrong. God also disciplines His children when we do wrong. "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not... Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" Hebrews 12:6-7, 9. We don't like to face discipline, but it helps to shape our Christian walk. God's children need to learn to follow Him faithfully. "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." Hebrews 12:11. Discipline can be painful, but we learn to walk in God's ways.
Humans can easily be filled with pride. That happens when we feel as if we've accomplished great things by our own power. Instead of thanking God for what He's done through us we brag about our own accomplishments. An example is Paul, who was a prideful man and full of sin until he met Jesus. In order for him to accomplish great things for God, Paul first needed to be humbled. We know the great mission work he did, but we forget that it was years between the road to Damascus and when he was called to spread the Gospel. Pride could have ruined his witness. "And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure." 2 Corinthians 12:7. People speculate as to what the thorn was, but Scripture doesn't say. Was it a physical ailment? Maybe it was the many arrests and beatings he endured. Whatever it was it kept Paul humble. He prayed that this thorn would be removed, but we can take encouragement from God's answer. "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9. If you've ever been tormented by a "thorn in the flesh" and asked God to take it from you, try thanking Him instead of complaining. That thorn may be what keeps you humble and of greater service to the Lord.
When we place our lives in the hands of our Lord there's a lifetime ahead of us to grow in faith. Quite often it's the trials in this life that strengthen our faith. "That the trial of your faith being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" 1 Peter 1:7. By faith we know Jesus died for our sins, and faith is more precious than any riches this world has to offer. Whether a physical trial or a financial loss, our trials in life strengthen our faith knowing that Jesus will guide us through. Too often we blame God. Many of us have watched a loved one suffer from a life-threatening disease. We pray for healing. We seek God. If that person dies we blame God. Why? If our loved one was a Christian then he or she has received the reward of their faith...eternity with Jesus. "Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:9. It's the emptiness in our own heart that makes us angry. Faith teaches us to trust God in all things. Even the death of a loved one.
Muscles grow stronger through exercise, and likewise our faith must be exercised to grow stronger. Trials strengthen our faith more than the easy times. "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Romans 5:3-5. If you've always been wealthy, you can't understand what it's like to wonder where your next meal will come from. If you've always been healthy you cannot possibly understand the anxiety of waiting for the diagnosis by a doctor. "Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ." 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. The more trials we go through the stronger we grow. Then we need to help others through their trials.
How often do you cry out to Jesus when things are going smooth? When things are going great it's easy to ignore Him, but trials bring us to our knees in prayer. Troubles teach us to give the problems and the outcome to Him. "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body." 2 Corinthians 4:8-10. The only way to learn to rise above troubles is to go through them. We learn to pray and lean upon Jesus for strength, and to trust God with the outcome. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28. Challenging times teach us that God can use all things for good, even if we don't see the good immediately. We just need to trust Him.
Something we don't often think about is that the angels learn from watching us. They are spiritual beings who see God so they don't live by faith. On the other hand, we live by faith not by sight. Angels watched as men of old walked in faith through trials. Noah, Abraham, Jeremiah, and Daniel are just a few who had faith in the coming Messiah even through trials. Peter, John, and the other disciples saw Him and He changed their lives, but they weren't exempt from suffering. Today we look back into history and are encouraged by those who walked before us in faith. The way we handle trials teaches angels about faith. "Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into." 1 Peter 1:12. The angles watched as Abraham made mistakes but grew faithful through those mistakes. Many prophets suffered trials but still faithfully served God, and the angels watched. They also watched Peter become a great leader who was obedient even to his own crucifixion. All of this must have been of great interest to the angels, and even today they watch us to learn about faith.
Even Christ suffered trials. Think about what He suffered for your salvation. Heaven is filled with absolute love and the glory of God. Jesus chose to set aside all He had in Heaven and stepped into this fallen world filled with sin. His "reward" on earth was rejection, false accusations, beating, mockery, and crucifixion. Jesus looked beyond the moment of suffering and saw the end. His sufferings are an example to us. His death made it possible for lost sinners to gain eternal life. "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God." 1 Peter 4:1-2. We need to look past this life and the suffering we face to see what awaits us in Heaven. While we live on this side of Heaven we'll face trials and temptations but God will be with us through our suffering. Look to Jesus for an example of humble obedience through whatever comes our way.
Trials come in many forms and each teaches a lesson. Through trials of suffering and loss we learn to trust God. Trials of temptation teach us to overcome lust and sin through the power and strength of the Lord, Jesus Christ. "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing." James 1:2-4. Do you count it a joy when your faith is tried? I'm learning to find joy in troubles. Not because I enjoy the trouble but I'm always in awe as God gets me through problems. It's only by going through suffering, loss, or financial troubles that I, or anyone, can learn to trust Jesus. It's hard not to despair when trouble strikes, but knowing that there's a reason for the suffering can be a comfort.
There's no substitute for faith in Jesus. "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33. Thank You, Jesus, for seeing us through.
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: When the love of many waxes cold - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Speaking of the chronology of the end of days, Christ said in Matthew 24:12,"And because lawlessness shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." This is certainly a sign of the end times. It is not meant to be America-centered, but it is part of a prophecy that will occur in the end of days when the Beast (commonly referred to as the antichrist) rises to power and, as prophesied in Daniel 11:36, "...shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods..." The lawlessness, the iniquity of not following God's law, foments hate-a shadow of which is darkening America today.
Those who do not follow God's law; those who mock God; those who deny God and his power are the leaders of this hate movement in America, and around the world for that matter. They accuse anyone who disagrees with their sordid immoral beliefs of the most horrible of things. Yet, they, themselves, are the ones practicing the evils. They are quick to jump on any incident to accuse others of the content of their own hearts. Hence, we have things like, "It is evil to build a wall to protect national security," but it is kind and loving to allow an invasion of people intent on taking advantage of welfare programs and health benefits at taxpayers expense, commit horrible crimes, and scoff at Americans in the process.
Christ summed up God's law in Mark 12:28-31: "And one of the scribes came and having heard them reasoning together and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is "Hear O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And you shall love the Lord thy God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is none other commandment greater than these." Herein we can discern that the absence of God's law is the absence of love.
This is what we are facing here in America. There was a time in America's history that the majority of people aspired to follow God's law. Many who didn't at least were aware that following God's law did no harm and invoked no harm. Today, those who mock God are the loudest hatemongers in society. They conduct their hate by disguising it as love, empathy, equality, and emotion. In reality, these are justifications to disparage anyone who disagrees with their individual beliefs. As is written in 2 Timothy 3, these are proud lovers of their own selves who say and do evil things, are false accusers and rebellious. Even so, we, as disciples of Christ, are to continue in the holy scriptures, wise unto salvation through faith in Christ.
Daily Devotion: Divine Roadblocks - by Greg Laurie -
Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath. - 2 Samuel 11:2
David could not have avoided the first look at Bathsheba. But he could have avoided what he did next: he immediately acted on what he saw and called for one of his servants to find out who she was. A servant told him, "She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite" (2 Samuel 11:3 NLT).
You have to give that servant credit. He knew exactly what was going on with David. Here's an interesting thing to consider: sometimes other people have a better sense of what we're doing than we have. The servant knew David. He knew David was a womanizer. And he knew what David saw. So he said, "She is Bathsheba . . . the wife of Uriah the Hittite." In other words, "She's married and you're married, so forget about it."
But David didn't forget about it.
God was putting a roadblock in David's life to keep him from sinning. And God will put roadblocks in our lives as well. Have you ever noticed that when you try to do something wrong, God doesn't make it easy for you? He makes it difficult.
That's why I think it's so ridiculous when someone claims to have somehow "fallen into" adultery. Really? Just like that-kind of like tripping over a rug? Someone says, "Here I am in adultery. How did this happen? How did I end up in the bed of someone else? How did this happen?"
Did they just "fall into" the hotel room or wherever? I don't think so. They didn't fall into anything. They planned it. They plotted it, they executed it, and then they lied to cover it up. People don't simply "fall into" adultery. They have to jump through a lot of hoops to end up there.
FROM THE HEART
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