Prophecy Update Newsletter
February 22, 2017
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Grace is a Gift of God, not of Works (Part 2) - By Pastor Mike Taylor -
THE SIMPLICITY OF GRACE
We began this message with a discussion of the simplicity of grace. We are saved by grace through faith that payment for our sins was made at the Cross and that the Blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.
Everything in the above statement that comes after the word 'grace' is the direct result of grace.
The mechanism whereby we are saved is that our sins are covered by the Blood of Christ, shed as full payment for the sins of the world. The keeping of law or traditions can do nothing outside of grace. They will not provide salvation.
Dwell on that for a second. The sins of the world. The whole world. From the moment of creation to this present hour. You -- everything you are, all you know, all you've experienced, everything you've ever done or ever will do -- compared to every sinner and every sin ever committed in the history of man.
You know that the Blood of Christ was sufficient for them. But you're different? You try hard to keep the law found in your Bible...you try and follow the traditions set up by your church. You struggle, you go through the motions, and you feel ......empty!! Why do you feel such a way? Because you have not obtained wisdom and the ability to receive what is given as a free gift....grace!
Wisdom is thinking God's way, and God's way of thinking is expressed by His Word. Understanding comes from seeking wisdom in God's Word and seeing its application to a given situation.
Keep the laws of God through legalism is seduction against which the Spirit of God expressly warned. The law had a purpose. It was our school master to tell us that we could not keep it without sinning. It pointed us to Jesus Christ as the propitiation or substitute for us not being able to keep the law. We can come right up to that line, of law keeping, but once we cross it, we have sinned.
23 "But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." (Galatians 3:23-25)
Conversely, keeping the laws of men's traditions that are in addition to what is written in God's Word, Paul expressly condemned such practices:
7 "Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accurse" (Galatians 1:7-9)
The law pointed us to salvation that reveals our need to walk close to God, but it is not for the purpose of currying favor with God through good works, but rather for protection against the temptations of the law.
That's why we are not under the law, but under grace.
14 "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
15What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." (Romans 6:14-15)
Conversely, we are not under the traditions of men, as should be obvious to anyone reading this...keeping traditions, or keeping the law in legalism does only one thing. Doing so pulls our attention and our dependency on Jesus Christ and His atonement. We can do nothing to secure our salvation...except throught faith in Christ alone.
7 "That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:7-9)
Under grace, God accepts us based on the fact we are in Christ and judged according to Christ's performance on our behalf. Under the law, we are judged exclusively on our own performance. Traditions are in addition to law keeping, but the doctrines of men and they give false assurance of salvation through your church.
Law keeping, observing traditions and grace are therefore each complete systems unto themselves. They are also mutually exclusive. To mix these principles robs the law of its terror , grace of its graciousness and traditions of mere men complicate both to making them of none affect.
Grace cannot be made complicated, despite our best efforts, because in the end, it only means one thing, and every expression of that meaning carries with it the very flavor of heaven.
'Grace" (Greek: charis) means 'gift' -- but it means so much more than that.
It also means acceptable, benefit, favor, joy, liberality, pleasure, thanksworthy, -- the word 'grace' carries so much yet it weighs so little on the mind. Grace cannot be appropriated, it can only be offered freely, or it is no longer grace.
Conversely, traditions are man made concepts that Jesus railed against which in todays world, I call them modern day Pharisees.
27 "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
28Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity." (Matthew 23:27-28)
And grace cannot be rescinded, or it was never grace to begin with.
6"And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:6-9)
"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." (Romans 8:15) ........side note, the word ABBA in Hebrew means DADDY.
Both legalism and traditions are men's express inability to come to God. God comes to us. We don't seek God, He seeks us.
11 "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17And the way of peace have they not known:
18There is no fear of God before their eye" (Romans 3:11-18)
So you see, my friend, those who follow after the precepts of men, either through legalism, or traditions of their church follow after their denomination, not after God. God is so much more than these two doctrines of demons. He is about a love that passeth all understanding.
6 "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him" (Romans 5:6-9)
Being justified by Christ, through His finished work on the cross, provided us with salvation through His grace...and MERCY....what is mercy..?
Mercy is not receiving something we deserve. That is what Christ did through His love, His Grace and His Mercy, gave us what we do not deserve.....Eternal Life. And took on what we did deserve....death. He was the Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world through His own death unto salvation for all who believe.
"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7)
Let me ask you a simple question. Do you see yourself here in this message? Are you trying to follow the precepts of men, through legalism and traditions?? Do you rely on your church, or do you rely on God? In plain English, these are two distinctly different subjects....one IS Salvation by Jesus Christ, the other is suppose to lead you to Him by using God's Word and letting the Holy Spirit draw you to Him. Where is your trust...who do you believe? Do yo believe God or men?
"For God so loved the world, they He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God sent not His Son to condemn the world, but that the world through Him, might be saved." (John 3:16-17)
"9That 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.
10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 10:9-11)
Don't let anyone fool you, or stand in the way of believing in the only way back to God. It is not through either of the doctrines of demons we have discussed, but through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, Him crucified and resurrected to the right hand of God Almighty. Grace is a gift of God, not of works, let any man should boast.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, proclaiming the grace of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at email@example.com , or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com . God bless you all
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Iranian FM Warns U.S., Saudi Arabia, Israel: 'We Will Defend Ourselves' - by Deborah Danan - http://www.breitbart.com
The U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia should not "get themselves into serious trouble" by taking military action against Iran, the Islamic Republic's top diplomat said in a BBC interview on Monday.
"First of all, we're not talking about the law of the jungle," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told BBC's Lyse Doucet.
Referring to a proposal by the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia to renew sanctions on Tehran after the country conducted ballistic missile tests, Zarif said, "We're talking about the international law, and according to international law, those options are a violation of international law."
"I certainly hope that prudence will prevail because Iran is not an easy target," Zarif asserted. "We're not going to provoke anybody. We're not going to instigate any hostility. We've never started hostility, and we're not planning to do it. But we will defend ourselves."
"I do not believe that people looking at our history, people looking at our capabilities, will ever make the decision to engage in that misadventure," the foreign minister added.
Zarif further claimed that the Obama administration had been forced to sign the nuclear deal once it understood that sanctions were not a deterrent, and instead were having the reverse effect of strengthening Tehran's resolve. He added that the nuclear agreement was a fair one that must be maintained by all parties.
Following a meeting with Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Friday, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, "The three main problems we must handle are Iran, Iran and Iran. We must build a genuine and effective coalition to deal with the terrorism [Iran] spreads around the world, the development of missiles it is engaged in and its nuclear arms race."
The defense chiefs' meeting occurred two days after President Donald Trump met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House.
According to the White House, Iran was also on top of the agenda for the two leaders.
Earlier this month, National Security Adviser Mike Flynn warned that he was "putting Iran on notice" following the tests and President Donald Trump vowed that "nothing is off the table" if the Islamic Republic refused to toe the line.
In response, chief of the IRGC's ground forces Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour warned the U.S. against making threats it couldn't back up.
"The U.S. statesmen should be very wise and avoid threatening Iran, because the entire world has admitted this fact that the Americans cannot do such a thing," Pakpour told the semi-official Fars news agency.
At a security summit in Munich on Saturday, Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday called Iran "the leading state sponsor of terrorism."
"Thanks to the end of nuclear-related sanctions under the [deal], Iran now has additional resources to devote to these efforts," Pence said.
"Let me be clear again: Under President Trump the United States will remain fully committed to ensuring that Iran never obtains a nuclear weapon capable of threatening ... our allies in the region, especially Israel," the vice president added.
Earlier this week, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed resistance to Trump's "measures and threats" and mockingly thanked the president for saving Iran a great deal of trouble by "revealing the real face of America," characterized by "political, economic, moral and social corruption."
Hezbollah warns 'no red lines' in next war with Israel - By Stuart Winer - http://www.timesofisrael.com/hezbollah-warns-no-red-lines-in-next-war-with-israel/
Terror group chief Hassan Nasrallah advises Jewish state to 'count to a million' before starting conflict with Lebanon
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Monday doubled down on his recent saber-rattling against Israel and warned that his terror group would not hold back from attacking sensitive Israeli targets if the Jewish state goes to war with Lebanon.
During a television interview with Iran's state-run Islamic Republic News Agency, the terror chief repeated a previous threat to fire rockets at Israel's nuclear reactor in Dimona and at a huge ammonia storage tank in Haifa.
Hezbollah will not keep to any "red lines" in a future war with Israel, Nasrallah cautioned.
"In the face of Israel's threats to destroy Lebanon's infrastructure, we will not abide by red lines, especially regarding Haifa's ammonia and the nuclear reactor in Dimona. Hezbollah possesses the full courage for this," he said, according to an English translation of his comments reported by the Naharnet website.
He also warned Israel to "count to a million" before going to war in Lebanon.
"We are not advocates of war. We are in the defense position," Nasrallah said.
Israel and Hezbollah fought a punishing war in 2006, but have maintained a tense calm watched over by UN peacekeepers on the border since then, punctuated by several deadly cross-border incidents.
Israeli officials have raised alarms in recent years that Hezbollah may be bolstering its positions in southern Lebanon and in the Syrian Golan Heights, and a court recently ordered an ammonia tank in the city of Haifa to be shut amid fears a missile strike on the facility could cause mass casualties.
Lebanese President Michel Aoun, who draws support from Hezbollah, recently called for the terror group to remain armed to "resist Israel," despite a UN resolution forbidding militias in Lebanon.
In other statements reported by IRNA-affiliated Press TV Monday night, Nasrallah offered reassurance to the Palestinians that they have not been forgotten. On Tuesday, a two-day international conference on the Palestinians was set to kick off in Iran with the participation of some 80 delegations.
"The most important result and message of this action for the Palestinian nation is that you have not been left alone and that an important and powerful country in the region supports you," Nasrallah said.
The Hezbollah leader commented on US President Donald Trump's statements last week during a press conference in Washington with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he said that Washington would no longer pursue only a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and would look at any plan the sides agreed on.
Nasrallah said that Trump's apparent bucking of decades of previous US policy supporting the two-state scheme was a positive development in that it showed Israel's true intentions regarding the Palestinians.
Last Thursday Nasrallah boasted that his rockets could reach Israel's nuclear reactor in the southern city of Dimona, and said he would turn Israel's reported nuclear arsenal against it.
Nasrallah, who had previously threatened to target an ammonia tank in Haifa, claimed credit for an Israeli court decision to shut down that facility last week and said he would do the same with the nuclear reactor.
An assessment commissioned by the Haifa facility found that a strike on the tank, which holds some 12,000 tons of ammonia, could cause tens of thousands of injuries or deaths in the area.
In response to Nasrallah's warnings, Minister of Intelligence Yisrael Katz threatened in a statement to target "all of Lebanon," including infrastructures there, in retaliation for any attack on Israeli population centers or infrastructures. He also called for "debilitating sanctions" on Iran over its support for its "proxy and stooge" Nasrallah.
On Sunday, an Arabic newspaper reported that Nasrallah's threats last week came after Israel passed a message to Hezbollah warning it of a forceful response to any attack from Lebanon or Syria, where Hezbollah has been helping prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime by fighting against rebel groups seeking to oust him.
The message was passed along to the Lebanon terror group via an unnamed Arab emissary, according to a report in the Arabic-language London-based Al-Hayat newspaper. It was not clear exactly when Israel sent the message or what prompted it.
International agencies believe Israel has over 100 nuclear weapons. Israel has neither confirmed or denied the existence of its nuclear arsenal, maintaining a policy of "nuclear ambiguity."
Is Lost Temple Menorah Hidden in Vatican? Ancient Myth Resurfaces - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - https://www.breakingisraelnews.com
"And he said unto me: 'What seest thou?' And I said: 'I have seen and behold a candlestick all of gold with a bowl upon the top of it and its seven lamps thereon.'" Zechariah 4:2 (The Israel Bible™)
An ancient legend which holds that the Temple menorah is hidden away in the depths of the Vatican is coming to light again with the announcement of an upcoming exhibit jointly hosted by the Papal seat and Rome's ancient Jewish community. Intended to showcase the growing Jewish-Vatican relationship, the theme of the exhibit actually brings this sore subject to the forefront, raising suspicions that despite a long tradition of Vatican protests, the rumors persist for good reason.
Arnold Nesselrath, a Vatican Museums official, announced the theme of the upcoming exhibit on Monday, noting that the connection between the Vatican and the menorah is graphically illustrated in an image frescoed on a wall of the Vatican's Borgia Apartment. The apartment was built for Pope Alessandro VI, whose papacy began in 1492, the same year Spanish Jews were given the choice of forced conversion to Catholicism or expulsion.
Organizers said in the statement that the exhibit "recounts the multi-millennia, incredible and suffered history of the menorah." The story of the menorah's suffering began in 70 CE, when the Temple was destroyed and the menorah, standing over 5 feet tall and made from over 130 pounds of solid gold, was taken into exile in Rome by the Emperor Titus.
This event is illustrated in the famous Arch of Titus Menorah Relief, which depicts Roman soldiers carrying the menorah away after the destruction of the temple. Jewish sources also contain many first-hand accounts reporting the Menorah being seen in Rome soon after the destruction of the Temple.
Josephus Flavius, a first-century Roman-Jewish scholar of priestly descent, reported that the Temple artifacts were indeed taken to Rome and placed in Vespasian's Temple of Peace, completed in 75 CE.
The historic trail of the menorah seems to have been lost during the 5th century. Historians conjecture that the artifact was taken by the Vandals who sacked Rome in 455, after which it was melted down and the gold dispersed. But there are no historical accounts from this time relating the event.
Since that time, there have been several unverified sightings of the Menorah in the Vatican, but most are second-hand or anecdotal claims that point fingers without providing actual proof. In the second half of the 12th century a Spanish Jew known as Benjamin of Tudela made a tour of the known world, traveling as far east as Mesopotamia. He claims in his journal that the Jews of Rome knew that the Temple vessels were hidden in a cave in the Vatican.
These rumors continue until today. The Vatican receives hundreds of letters every year from Jews and non-Jews requesting the vessels be returned to the Jewish People. Though the Vatican responds there is no proof of the Temple vessels being in their possession, requests for their return continue. In a meeting with Pope John Paul II in 1996, Shimon Shitrit, then the Israeli Minister of Religious Affairs requested the Vatican's aid in searching for the Temple vessels as "a goodwill gesture". Haaretz reported that "a tense silence hovered over the room after Sheetreet's request was heard."
Following Shitrit's bold appeal, Israel's Chief Rabbis Yona Metzger and Shlomo Amar made a similar request upon their first visit to the Vatican. This was repeated when then-President Moshe Katsav visited the Vatican. In 2004, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) sent a team to Rome to search the Vatican storerooms for signs of archaeological artifacts. They reported finding nothing unexpected.
And still, the rumors persist. In 2013, just before the newly-elected Pope Francis came to Israel for his first official visit, Rabbi Yonatan Shtencel, a resident of Jerusalem, made a sensation in the media when he wrote a letter to the Vatican requesting that the Pope take the opportunity to return the golden menorah stolen from the Temple. Shtencel turned to the new Pope as a leader with a "willingness to listen to other nations".
"It is time for the holy vessels, stolen at the time of these difficult historical events and taken to Rome as spoils of war and remaining to this day in the hands of the Vatican authorities and under your control, to change status," Rabbi Shtencel wrote. He stated that by doing so, the many years the Vatican had possessed the vessels would change from theft to a "trusteeship" for the Jewish People.
Archbishop Guiseppe Lazzaratto responded, saying the Vatican had given the matter "serious attention". Though he did not admit the Temple vessels were in the Vatican, neither did he deny it. He reaffirmed the growing affinity between the Church and the Jews, noting that withholding the vessels would go against that trend.
"If you can provide me with any evidence that the sacred vessels are indeed kept in the archives or somewhere else in the Vatican, I will be very pleased to forward your request to the Prefect of the same archives and to Pope Francis himself," he replied.
Nearing Midnight: Of Course We Should Ban Muslims - Todd Strandberg - http://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
The world is being overrun with the delusion that followers of the Muslim faith are such wonderful people that it would be a blessing to have them emigrate to our nation. Liberals have created this fantasy that immigrants from every lawless region in the Middle East are equal to the pilgrims. The pilgrims didn't come to America with the desire of committing random acts of mass murder.
This positive mindset is shared by most liberal judges. Since people on the left operate with one giant collective brain, I knew President Trump's four month ban of people coming from high risk nations would run into legal trouble. Lawyers for these immigrants went to a leftist judge and got a friendly ruling. When the Trump Administration appealed the case, all I needed to hear was "The San Francisco-based appeals court" and I knew the three judge panel would side with the pro-Muslim lobby.
The ruling turns our immigration laws into Swiss cheese. After the 9/11 terrorist attack, the president was given total authority in determining who could come into American. To give Muslims a free pass makes the $80 billion we spend each year on Homeland Security a worthless effort.
Normally, Democrats are hostile to any type of faith. They have spent a decade kicking the Judeo Christian God out of most public and private institutions. Somehow they think the god of Islam would compliment America culture. In reality, Islam is very aggressive in taking over a country. The number of Muslims in Europe is in the single digits, but even with these small numbers, the followers of this faith demand that their host nation bend over backward to accommodate their religion.
The mess that has become France is reason enough for why we need to restrict Muslims from coming into America. The French lawmakers just approved the fifth extension of a state of emergency, which was put in place after attacks in Paris that killed 130 people in November 2015. The previous extension occurred shortly after the Bastille Day attack in July when a Tunisian Jihadist rammed a truck through a crowd in Nice, killing 86 people.
Rather than dealing with the root cause of the terrorism, French leaders use band-aid methods to protect the public. Paris is spending $22 million to build a protective barrier around the Eiffel Tower. They need to add a protective barrier around the Louvre Museum. A machete-wielding man shouted "Allahu Akbar" recently attacked that location.
The Louvre attacker was an Egyptian who had flown into France hours before the attack. He purchased his machete at a local shop. I can only assume he was a Muslim because it is taboo to mention the religion of attacks in news coverage.
It hasn't even been a year since the shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub. On June 12, 2016, 29-year-old Omar Mateen killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in the greatest mass shooting in U.S. history. This event has been swept under the rug because it was carried out by a Muslim.
This instant amnesia process was recently made clear by a shooting event in Canada. When several people were murdered at a Quebec mosque, the press was eager to cover the story as a hate crime against Muslims. When it was first made known that two people were arrested and one had the name Mohamed, the story immediately disappeared from the news wires. When it later became clear that Alexandre Bissonnette was the only suspect, and he was known to people who monitor far-right groups-the story reappeared like magic.
Canadian politicians, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have denounced those who target Muslims. A coalition of Canadian Muslim leaders wants the federal government to recognize the day of the shooting as a national day of remembrance and action against Islamophobia. There is no call for a remembrance of the October 22, 2014 shooting at Canada's Parliament.
I can only wonder where this craziness of Muslim accommodation ends. Maybe soon when a Muslim visits a western city, he'll be handed an AK47 rifle and a map to the nearest Gay bars or synagogues. Our leaders are so demonically demented, they would probably agree with such a twisted idea.
The Rev. Franklin Graham had some wise words about this immigration madness. He said, "If you want to reach the Promised Land and enter the gates of heaven, you must believe in Jesus Christ who 'stamped and sealed' your immigration status in heaven with His own blood." He also warned people that "God uses extreme vetting."
"...I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).
My Review of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?"
Over the last 35 years, I have literally read hundreds of books on Bible Prophecy and End Time signs. I especially enjoy books on the Rapture, and I have read almost every Rapture-related book published. In all those years, devouring thousands of pages, and millions of words, I have not read a better book on the Rapture than, Rapture Ready...Or Not?
Terry James might be physically blind, but he is spiritually sharp and well discerning beyond most authors. In "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" Terry has nailed the pre-trib Rapture, and removed any doubt what so ever about the Church going through the Tribulation. With great insight and Godly discernment, Terry explains with simple, yet profound words, why and how that he has come to believe the ways he does about the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the End Times scenario. I think after reading "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" you too will believe as Terry does, and be Ready for the Rapture like never before! - Randy Thomas - Publisher / Editor - Prophecy Update
For more information and or to get your copy of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" use this link: http://www.raptureready.com/terry/book35.html
Why "The SHACK" Is Blasphemous - Bill Perkins - www.compass.org
The Shack is a well-written "Christian fiction" book by William P. Young that has sold over 20 million copies since its debut in 2007.
Due to the intense story, for most readers it causes a flood of emotions to well up inside, masking the theological errors throughout the book.
We didn't recommend reading the book when we reviewed it in 2008 (1), nor do we recommend seeing the movie that is coming out in March. Here's why:
Although The Shack is a fiction book, it attempts to address significant theological issues. But the answers given to these issues are in grave Biblical error. And more often than not, these errors go undetected by most Christians. Here are some of them...
The Shack presents an unbiblical picture of God:
God the Father is personified by a large black lady named Papa.
I could stop there as most Believers see the blasphemous problems with making God into a woman-which basically is goddess worship. But there's much more.
The Bible never teaches that God the Father takes on a physical form. Just the opposite.
"God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:24
"...who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see." 1Tim. 6:16
Even though God the Father is shown to possess both male and female attributes, the Bible always refers to God in the masculine gender, never female.
On page 95, "Papa" has scars in her hands. But, of course, only Christ bore the sins of the world. God the Father rendered judgment to His Son.
The Shack presents an unbiblical picture of the Holy Spirit:
God the Holy Spirit is personified by an Asian woman. But the Holy Spirit never appears as a person, much less a woman, and is always referred to in the masculine gender.
The Shack presents an unbiblical picture of Jesus:
Jesus of The Shack is not Jesus of the Bible!
"...for God is not a God of confusion..." 1Cor. 14:33
There are several verses in the Bible where Jesus exercised His headship, His divine attributes. But on pages 99-100 it says, "Jesus as a human being had no power within himself to heal anyone." And this is, of course, 100% false. Jesus was 100% God and 100% man.
The Shack presents an unbiblical picture of the Trinity:
The Shack presents all three members of the Trinity in human form, but the Bible shows only Jesus taking human form.
The Shack says on page 122-124 that the Trinity is all equal, that they don't relate to each other within a hierarchy. But the Bible says clearly that God sent His Son. The Son did not send Himself. So while the members of the Trinity are all equal, there is also a divine order of headship and submission, which is hierarchy.
"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; John 6:44
"But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ." 1Cor. 11:3
The Shack presents an unbiblical picture of salvation:
The Shack suggests there is more than one way to be saved. Basically, it teaches pluralism. The book states on page 182, with regards to salvation:
"Those who love me come from every system that exists. They are Buddhists or Mormons... Muslims,"
The Bible disagrees:
"Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'" John 14:6
While it IS possible that a Mormon or Muslim could get saved, they wouldn't stay in the Mormon or Muslim faith. But The Shack suggests that those in the faith are indistinguishable ... no difference. Even adding:
"I have no desire to make them Christian."
And then it goes on to say:
"Does that mean all roads will lead to you?"
To which Jesus says:
"Most roads don't lead anywhere."
Of course, the Jesus of the Bible disagrees:
"Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it." Matt. 7:13
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'" John 14:6
Yet The Shack doesn't tell people they should seek the only way to avoid eternal damnation--believing Jesus was God, came to earth, lived a sinless life, was crucified, and defeated death by rising from the dead.
The Shack presents an unbiblical picture of your relationship with God:
Throughout the book, The Shack places an emphasis on your "relationship" with God while downplaying proper doctrine. But how can you have a true relationship with God without scripturally understanding God's truth as revealed in His Word?
"...until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ." Eph. 4:13
The Shack embraces Pantheism:
Pantheism is the false teaching that God is everything and everything is God. Trees, rocks, animals, the sun, pets, people...are all gods. But even though God may live in a person or be present in a rock, that doesn't mean He is a person or a rock.
Don't confuse this with God being "omnipresent." God is not immersed in the fabric of everything, God is present in all time and space.
Noted New Ager Benjamin Creme wrote in his book, "The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom":
But eventually a new world religion will be inaugurated which will be a fusion and synthesis of the approach of the East and the approach of the West. The Christ will bring together, not simply Christianity and Buddhism, but the concept of God transcendent-outside of His creation-and also the concept of God immanent in all creation-in man and all creation. p. 88
The Shack also teaches the New Age principle that "God is in everything."
"God, who is the ground of all being, dwells in, around, and through all things." p. 112
This is the same garbage that Rick Warren teaches in his blasphemous "The Purpose Driven Life":
"He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything." p. 88
If pantheism were true, it would not be a sin to worship the sun, moon or stars because they would, in fact, be God. But the Bible forbids it.
"You shall have no other gods before Me." Deut. 5:7
"And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them..." Deut. 4:19
Funny thing, when you think about it. The same lie Satan used in the Garden of Eden, "You can be God," is still being used by Satan today!
While a mature Believer may be able to read the fiction book and/or watch the fiction movie without being compromised, we believe that the dangerous theological errors in The Shack are from the pit of hell.
Reading and/or seeing The Shack movie by a mature Believer could expose less mature Believers to major Biblical error. What could have been an interesting story is actually playing with fire (i.e. Satan), which is never acceptable.
"Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1Pet. 5:8
Daily Jot: Responding to the hate and disrespect - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
It's one thing to say that you promote love, tolerance, inclusion, and equality and then call everyone who disagrees with you a bigot, racist, Nazi, homophobe, xenophobe, Islamophobe, or whatever. Even still it is one thing to say you are taking the high ground and then categorize everyone who disagrees with you as un-American and hateful. Those who are upset that Donald Trump became President are always talking about love and tolerance, but their words and actions are disrespectful, hateful, and intolerant. They put all these wonderful ideals on their websites and then in person they employ the most vulgar and vitriol language and gestures toward those who disagree with them. There is no end to the hatred.
I have been asked many times how to deal with this. It is no small question, and there is probably no single answer. I can say that while I did not like most anything that the previous Administration did, and I believed the ex-"president's" actions were extremely bad for our country, never did I do a violent act or commit a public tirade as have these never-do-wells. We, as Americans, must find ways to disagree without being disagreeable and disrespectful. The things that were said, for example, at the women's march in Washington, DC after the inauguration were vulgar and unseemly. I can't imagine how any self-respecting woman would admit being associated with this behavior. This, however, has become the norm.
Romans 12:21 says, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." We must not allow our good to be spoken of as evil. We must engage because we cannot allow this darkness to overcome our nation-it is a sure demonstration of how the powers of darkness and spiritual wickedness are manifest in the affairs of men. Engaging takes boldness to act and prayer for wisdom. A good rule to follow is found in Proverbs 15:1, "A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." Try to deescalate. Ask questions gently. Specifically, why do you feel that way? Have you researched the facts, both sides of the issue? Is it reasonable to say that everyone who disagrees with you carries a derogatory label? How do problems get solved if you impugn others by calling into question their honor or morals?
Remember that your place as a Christian is to lead/show by example. You can be firm, but fair. By asking questions, you can lead a person toward a path of reason. You also are not responsible to win the argument. Some plant seeds, others water, others reap. The Holy Spirit will convict. It's not our job. You are not going to get anywhere by just making them more angry. In fact, escalating plays into their pre-judged position. Ask yourself, "What do I want this person to take away from our conversation?" Proverbs 26:4 says, "Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like unto him." And finally, know when to walk away. Proverbs 29:9 says, "If a wise man contends with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest." We have an opportunity during times such as these to shine the light of Christ and his wisdom.
Daily Devotion: Not Ashamed - Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. -Romans 1:16
It seems today that it's open season on Christians. People attack us as intolerant, Bible-thumping bigots. Because we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we are dismissed as simple-minded fools.
What are we to do? We should keep praying. We should keep preaching. And we should keep living the Christian life and not compromise our principles.
It's interesting to note that when Daniel was attacked for his faith, he didn't change a thing. As a Jew living in a foreign country, his custom was to open his windows, face Jerusalem, and call upon the name of the Lord. It was a habit of prayer. From the time that he was a young man, he always took time to pray. He established that grid in his life, and even in his nineties, he was still praying.
But Daniel's enemies had set a trap for him. They convinced the king to sign a decree that made it illegal for him to continue his daily practice of prayer. Yet for Daniel, to not pray would be a compromise.
There are certain things in life that you won't feel comfortable doing. Listen to what God's Spirit is saying to you, and don't compromise. Don't deny Him. Sometimes to not confess Him when the occasion arises is to deny Him. Someone may say, "I have been watching you. You're different. What is it about you? Where do you get your value system? Why are you happy all the time?"
"Oh, I was brought up well. It's just my way. You may choose to live differently. I don't want to push my beliefs on you."
No, tell them it's because of Jesus Christ and the change He has made in your life. Don't be afraid. Don't be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.
FROM THE HEART
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