Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Prophetic Malnutrition - Steve Schmutzer -
How well will your car perform if you've removed one wheel? Would you sit down in a chair with a leg missing? Do you trust a plane with only three of its four wings?
These questions may seem absurd, but they each have something in common. In each case, 25% of something important is missing. And in each scenario, you would be at risk if you settled for less. No reasonable person would willingly choose to put themselves in these situations.
So why do we choose to regard the Bible differently than we would regard the car, the chair, or the plane? I'll pose the same question another way, but with greater relevance this time: "Why do so many pastors, teachers, and "Christian leaders" choose to ignore, revile, dilute, and misrepresent the 25% of God's Word which comprises the prophetic Scriptures?"
Here are a few compelling facts to consider from the "The Encyclopedia of Biblical Prophecy" by J. Barton Payne:
There are 1,239 prophecies in the Old Testament and 578 in the New Testament for a total of 1,817 prophecies.
These prophecies are included within 8,352 verses of the Bible.
Since there are 31,124 verses in the Bible, the 8,352 verses that contain prophecy constitute 26.8 percent of the Bible's volume.
So I'm being conservative here. That's actually a bit more than 25% of the Word of God!
The entire Bible has prophetic themes woven throughout. It is prophetic at the very beginning in Genesis chapter 3 when the conflict between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent was foretold. And it is prophetic at the very end of Revelation when the reign of Christ is anticipated for all eternity. The prophetic Scriptures so dominate the whole Bible that they're impossible to avoid unless one intentionally changes their gait through its pages the same way one avoids stepping on cracks in the sidewalk.
Digging a bit deeper here uncovers more to think about. Over 1500 of the prophecies of the Bible are devoted to Christ's Second Coming. For every prophecy in the Old Testament about Jesus' First Coming, there are eight about His Second Coming. Christ's return also comprises one of every five verses in the New Testament.
Here's where the rubber meets the road. If the Bible makes prophecy a priority, so should we. If an emphasis of the New Testament is the Second Coming of Christ, we should make that an emphasis too. If prophetic themes crop up all the time throughout the entire Word of God, we should be seeing prophetic themes salting many of our sermons and lessons.
But we don't.
It was not always like this, and we can look at Paul's example as a case in point. We know Paul as the converted persecutor of early Christians, and as the agent through which the Holy Spirit authored most of the New Testament. We are less familiar with Paul's activities during his missionary journeys, but it's here that I want point out something important.
It concerns the church of Thessalonica which Paul visited on his second missionary journey. His time with them was brief as Acts 17:2 may suggest. He followed that visit up with the letters we call 1 & 2 Thessalonians, and now it gets interesting.
Word had come to Paul that apostate teachings had entered the young Thessalonian church, heresies which conflicted with the things he had personally taught them. Chapter two of 2 Thessalonians dives right into the problem and it concerns the second coming of Jesus Christ. Paul dispenses a healthy portion of meat in this chapter, but he asks in 2 Thessalonians 2:5, "Don't you remember when I was with you I used to tell you these things?"
It's easy to overlook the layout of this situation, but here it is:
The Thessalonian church was new in its faith and organization.
Paul didn't have a lot of time with them, but he used what little he had to emphasize the themes of prophecy.
Specifically, Paul taught these early believers about Christ's Second Advent, about the Antichrist, about the Rapture, and about the Great Tribulation.
It's time for a reality check. This was a young church, right? Yup. And the believers faced external persecution and internal discord just like believers do today, correct? Mm-Hmm. And the congregation was trying to minister to the needs of those inside and outside the faith, right? You bet.
So what gives with this emphasis on prophecy? Shouldn't Paul have focused on Christian community, the love of Jesus, responsible tithing, and what it means to really care? Let's get real here, eschatology? Isn't that the fringe stuff that's not really central to our faith? Shouldn't he have emphasized Jesus since it's all about Jesus anyway?
Maybe it's the church of today that needs to learn something from the church of yesterday. Our pastors, teachers, and "Christian leaders" would be wise to take a cue from Paul. It's high time we reintroduced 25% of the divinely-inspired Word of God back into our regular diets.
I have to be brutally honest here. I'm alarmed at the posture of the greater church towards the prophetic Word of God. In an abject display of 2 Peter 3:4, the average church today doubts and belittles the very doctrines Paul considered vital to the faith of a believer and to the health of a congregation. Trapped within the clutches of Rev. 3:15-20, the church today is blind to its own prognosis. It has vaccinated itself against receiving the full truth by permitting only a portion of it to have any effect.
I'm concerned that we've allowed the good to become the enemy of the best. To repeat a phrase I touched on earlier, it's common to hear, "It's all about Jesus." This is a standard line that many folks parrot when they find themselves confronted by spiritual issues that challenge their personal preferences and zones of comfort.
I'm not going to argue with the essence of that line, but I'll offer a perspective that some people who are quick to deploy it have not adequately considered. In Rev. 19:10 it says, "For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Let me put that another way: prophecy is designed to reveal the full person and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This is a problem for anyone that justifies placing prophetic doctrines on the back burner so they can "focus on Jesus" instead. It's problematic for them to say, "It's all about Jesus," because their choices incriminate them. They cannot maximize their relationship with God when they refuse to wholly understand Him the way the entire revelation of the Bible intends for them to.
It's like having a bunch of Facebook "friends." Saying they are your friends hardly means you share the sort of bond with them that the discipline of a fully-vested relationship brings about.
I'll come full circle here and wrap it up. The 25% of Scripture which is prophetic uniquely reveals the person, plans, and purposes of Jesus Christ. As such, it was divinely-intended to be a vital part of the believer's spiritual diet. Any other choice results in spiritual malnutrition and an arm's-length relationship with our Lord and Savior.
Just as Paul realized that one's relationship with Jesus will lack a great deal of meaningful dimension if His future plans and dramatic end-time return is discounted, so we will be less effective with the good news of salvation if we do not proclaim 100% of the testimony of Jesus.
The Enemies of Israel are the Enemies of God - By Sean Gooding - http://www.raptureready.com/2018/04/11/enemies-israel-enemies-god-sean-gooding/
"It shall come to pass in that day that there will be no light; The lights will diminish. It shall be one day which is known to the Lord-Neither day nor night. But at evening time it shall happen that it will be light. And in that day, it shall be that living waters shall flow from Jerusalem, half of them toward the eastern sea and half of them toward the western sea; in both summer and winter it shall occur. And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be-'The Lord is one,' and His name one.
"All the land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be raised up and inhabited in her place from Benjamin's Gate to the place of the First Gate and the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king's winepresses. The people shall dwell in it; and no longer shall there be utter destruction, but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
"And this shall be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths.
"It shall come to pass in that day that a great panic from the Lord will be among them. Everyone will seize the hand of his neighbor and raise his hand against his neighbor's hand; Judah also will fight at Jerusalem. And the wealth of all the surrounding nations shall be gathered together: Gold, silver, and apparel in great abundance. Such also shall be the plague on the horse and the mule, on the camel and the donkey, and on all the cattle that will be in those camps. So shall this plague be."
God has been fighting for Israel since her very beginning. He went out with Abraham when he rescued Lot in Genesis 14. He fought with Israel all through the wilderness journey of Exodus through Deuteronomy. God fought with Joshua in the conquests of the Promised Land. He fought with the Judges for 400 years. Men like Gideon and Samson went to war with the power of God upon them. God helped Saul to prevail in many wars. He trampled David's enemies underfoot for 40 years, and David was able to give Solomon a kingdom that was at peace for the vast majority of the 40 years he was king.
God has also left Israel to their own demise when they turned their backs to Him and despised His blessings. They often went out to battle only to be sorely defeated and destroyed. It would seem that about every 40 years or so in the book of Judges, the nation would have oppression from their neighbors. As a nation, Israel would turn to idolatry, then God would allow the bordering nations to steal their food, their livestock, their women, and kill some of them.
Even in modern times we see the hand of God in the 6-day war of 1967 and then again in 1973 where the nation defeated far superior enemies. God fights for Israel, and when He does, they are undefeated.
Once again, we are looking into the future, to a time at the very end of the Tribulation when the armies of the world have amassed at the gates of Jerusalem with the intent of annihilating the Jews. Israel would already be reeling from almost three and a half years of both spiritual and physical trouble. A little over 3 years before we get to this event, the Anti-Christ, who rules, if not the whole world, for sure the vast majority of it, will break the 7-year treaty that he had made with Israel.
This treaty will allow them to rebuild the Temple and begin the sacrifices once again. He, the anti-Christ, will defile the Temple and set up an idol to be worshipped. Israel will rebel, and all hades will break loose. Plague after plague on the whole world, hunger, disease, natural disasters and stuff that makes a lot of our horror movies look like a Saturday morning cartoon. The earth will be broken; death will be real and rampant, and yet people will still defy God and refuse to humble themselves. We see this in Revelation 16: 10-11,
"And the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and its kingdom was plunged into darkness, and men began to gnaw their tongues in anguish and curse the God of heaven for their pains and sores; yet they did not repent of their deeds."
Wow, we are a hardhearted bunch! God will do all He can to scare us to repentance, since love and grace did not work. He will send pain and suffering, and even that will not work. Man is so stubborn and so full of pride. Look in verse 11 of the verses I just quoted. They will 'curse God;' they will know where the suffering is coming from and still refuse to repent.
At some point, the leaders of the world will set their sights on destroying Israel, and they will come full-force on her, and they will trigger a reaction in Heaven that they will regret for eternity.
Rivers of Living Water, verses 6-11
God always has some light in the darkest times. We are told in verse 6 of our text that it will be dark, as it always is before the light comes up. Then on a day that is known only to the Lord, this will happen: There will be an earthquake that flattens a part of Israel. This note mentions the city of Geba. This city is actually in the tribe of Benjamin; so for 6 (six) miles from Jerusalem to Geba and the surrounding areas of the tribe of Judah where Jerusalem is, God will send an earthquake that flattens that mountainous area.
Jerusalem is 3,800 feet above sea level. A secondary result will be that there will be living water that flows from Jerusalem into the Dead Sea. This will bring life to the Dead Sea; this is called the eastern sea in the text. According to the text, Jerusalem itself will stay elevated (verse 10).
In verse 11, we find that the people of Jerusalem will live in safety. Right now, there are tensions between the Jews and the Arabs around them. There is constant threat of rocket attacks, knife attacks, and on and on. But when this day of the Lord is over, Jerusalem will dwell in safety. God will be their God, Jesus will be Lord over the whole earth (verse 9), and a new era of man's existence will be ushered in.
The Plague of Death, verse 12
Verse 12 is a scary verse. Some have described what will happen here as a nuclear event. I don't think so. Jesus does not need the bombs of man to cause this kind of destruction; He is God. Whatever man has invented, God has stuff that makes them look like toys.
We are told in verse 12 that God will send a plague to strike all the people who come against Jerusalem. We can know this is not the same fight as the one in Ezekiel 38; there the Lord turns every man against his fellow soldier, and they kill each other. This time Jesus does the killing with a plague that melts people where they are. This is like watching one of the Mummy movies when the Pharaoh is raised from the dead, and those that see him turn to sand. Well, this will be no movie; this will be millions upon millions of men and maybe women and livestock, according to verses 15, simply melting.
"Their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths."
Then we are told that a great panic will come on the people. No wonder! If you see the armies melting around you, you too would be in a panic. Folks, the God pictured here is not the God that is often preached today in many churches - a God of wrath, a God to be feared and one who is powerful and whose anger is not to be taken for granted.
We have 'sissified' Jesus. We have Him as some love-struck man, unable to go on without us. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus loves us; yes, that is true. Jesus came and humbled himself for us; yes, that is also true. But once He resurrected, He returned to His rightful place at the right hand of God to resume ruling the world. In this capacity He is also an Advocate for the redeemed before the Father.
He is on our side; He is our Friend and He is our Righteousness before God. But HE IS GOD! Those who forget this do so to their own detriment.
When Jesus steps out of Heaven on this day we are talking about in Zechariah, there will not be one iota of humility in Him, not one gram of weakness and meekness. But that Day, the wrath of the Living God will be seen by the whole world, and they will understand that Jesus is Lord forever. They will not mistake Him for another; they will know exactly who He is. No one will have to introduce Him.
The Spoils of War, verse 14
As a conquering kingdom, the wealth of the defeated nations will come to Jerusalem. All the gold, silver, and clothing in great amounts will come to Jerusalem, and the riches of the world will be hers.
Think of the nations that surround Israel: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Syria and others. Most of these are oil-rich nations with billions and billions of dollars. These will now be the riches of Jerusalem, and they will control the wealth of the whole world.
This is how Jesus and Jerusalem will enter the Millennial Kingdom: all her enemies defeated and all their riches now in her possession. What a Day that will be!
Are you on the Lord's side? There is no middle road, no neutral ground. You are either on God's side or you are His enemy. This is very important for us to know. If you refuse the truth of God, you have chosen the lies of the Devil, and as such, you work for him. You will defy God, you will hate Christians, and you will choose sides.
But we are still under the age of Grace. God has graciously sent His son, Jesus, who died on the cross of Calvary for our sins and to be raised from the dead to offer us eternal life, to offer us the chance to be born again and to be children of God. We stop being His enemies and become His family. Trust Jesus while there is still time; call on Him while He offers a loving hand and offers the complete forgiveness of our sins.
2 Corinthians 6:2 "For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."
Understanding the Longsuffering God of the Bible - by Bill Salus - http://www.prophecydepotministries.net/
What does it mean to be longsuffering? The word is defined as, "having or showing patience in spite of troubles, especially those caused by other people."
The root words are LONG and SUFFERING, which is the active verb that means to be suffering in the present tense. They are defined below.
LONG: lasting or taking a great amount of time.
SUFFER: experience or be subjected to (something bad or unpleasant). to endure pain, disability, death, etc., patiently or willingly.
Imagine a loving longsuffering God, that endures painful undertakings within His creation over a prolonged period, namely over several millennia.
1. Genocidal attempts of Jews, Christians and ethnicities.
2. Corrupt governments.
3. Dividing God's land and Replacement Theology.
4. Idolatrous Blasphemies.
5. False religions.
6. False teachers.
7. Fake News
8. Sex trafficking.
9, Rape victims.
11. Child sacrifices, child abuse, and child labor enslavement.
12. Catholic Priests who commit child molestations.
The list goes on, but the point is that the Lord presently endures enormous pain because He wishes that none would perish, but that all would be blessed with everlasting life through Christ Jesus. (John 3:16).
The Lord, for a long time past and in the present, tempers His fury and righteous indignation with His enduring pain. He turns the other cheek continually in the practice of what He preaches. (Matthew 18:21-22)
Pain tolerance has its limits within humanity. Some can endure suffering longer than others, but eventually, we all succumb to a final dose. But God, has in the past and continues to suffer in the present, beyond what humans can conceivably imagine or definitively measure. His Son, Jesus Christ evidenced this when He obediently went through the scourging's, crown of thorns, the crucifixion and the burial in the tomb.
The reality that a believer must soon come to grips with is that the Lord is presently in the longsuffering condition but will someday shift His focus to the fury mode. Vengeance is the Lord's privilege as the Divine Creator and as per Deuteronomy 32:35 and elsewhere.
There are numerous unfulfilled biblical prophecies, like in Jeremiah 49:37 and Ezekiel 25:14-17, that forecast severe judgments are forthcoming upon various nations. These judgments come because the Lord is furious with those specific nations. This means that at some point in the future, the Lord says, "I have had enough!" However, this is not likely because He can't endure the pain any further, His millenniums of longsuffering prove that, but because He recognizes that any further longsuffering from Him is futile.
In other words, God's further longsuffering is no longer fruitful to the end of one's salvation and / or even for the future survival of mankind's upon the planet. Matthew 24:22 tells us, And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened.
In essence, His longsuffering reaches a point whereby it causes more harm than good. Knowing the end from the beginning, He foreknows when that point of no return occurs.
Thus, judgment then comes and fortunately when that scenario happens, some will realize that even in judgment, the Lord is just and righteous. The Holy Scriptures are bountiful in acknowledging that many become saved believers when the wrath of God is poured out upon a Christ rejecting humanity.
As a student of the prophetic Scriptures, I have come to understand that the Lord will destroy several nations and ethnicities, and that He is just in so doing this. I have been taken back by His patience and for a prolonged period of time have prayed the specific supplication of:
"HOW LONG OH LORD, UNTIL YOU CURSE THOSE THAT ARE CURSING ISRAEL?"
The Lord's foreign policy in this matter is in Genesis 12:3, which says that He will bless those who bless Abraham, but curse those who curse them. This extrapolates down through the generations to the Jewish descendants of Abraham today. This foreign policy is effectually intact.
I prayed over this matter for a longsuffering period. Then, one day, a few years ago, the Lord spoke to me and simply answered my prayer by asking me a simple question. He asked,
"WHAT PART OF I'M A LONGSUFFERING GOD DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?"
Therein, that statement was my answer. The measurement of time until the Lord would curse those that curse Israel was not a matter of time, but a matter of spiritual condition. And, that spiritual condition was under His sole longsuffering discretion.
Now the question for the Lord is,
"HOW LONG WILL YOU CONTINUE TO LONGSUFFER BEFORE YOU CURSE THOSE THAT CURSE ISRAEL?"
Stay tuned for the answer to that question....As we see things rapidly deteriorating in the Middle East, we may discover God's answer very soon!
Nearing Midnight: The 2018 Midterm Election Looks Very Grim for Republicans - Todd Strandberg -
In a normal election year where there is no presidential race, April would be way too early to be talking about voting that doesn't take place until November. Since we now live in a time of continuous campaigning, I'm desperately behind in commenting about an election that is quickly becoming a done deal.
I've been closely watching elections since the Carter administration, and I've never seen one that looked so bad for the Republicans. I've also never seen an election where the Democrats were so fixated on taking control of Congress.
Some Democratic candidates have already raised incredible amounts of money. El Paso Rep. Beto O'Rourke, the Democrat hoping to defeat Sen. Ted Cruz in November, raised a record-setting $6.7 million in the first quarter of 2018, according to his campaign. Texas has been such a solid red state that, in the past, any Democratic challenger would be lucky to raise a few thousand dollars.
A wave of retirements by prominent Republicans in Congress also suggests good fortune for Democrats, making it harder for Republicans to hold some competitive seats. A much bigger factor is the 80% historical average of the sitting President's party losing 20-30 seats in the midterm election.
The Democrats only need a swing of 24 seats for them to gain control of the House. The current forecast calls for the Republicans to lose between 40 and 50 seats. I know some of these polls are the same ones that had Hillary Clinton 15 points ahead in the 2016 race. Because House races are all a direct vote, they tend to defy the oddities of one candidate getting three million more votes and still losing the election: 65.8 Clinton vs. 62.9 Trump.
There has been a series of massive political changes in the key political state that could play a major role in a democratic win. Here is a list of them:
Florida - Hurricane Maria had such a devastating impact on the Island of Puerto Rico that a large portion of the Island's residents has relocated to the state of Florida. Since 70% of Puerto Ricans vote for the Democratic Party, this change in demographics could doom several Republican seats.
Pennsylvania - The state's Supreme Court has redrawn the map of the state's congressional districts, overturning a Republican gerrymander that's been used in the past three congressional elections. The new map more closely reflects the partisan composition of the state, all but ensuring that Democrats will pick up seats
Wisconsin - Governor Scott Walker warned that his state could see a wave of Democratic victories in the 2018 midterm elections. Walker's comments came after liberal Judge Rebecca Dallet overcame conservative Judge Michael Screnock in the race for a Wisconsin Supreme Court seat.
California - The Golden state is in open revolt to the authority of the federal government. Leftist radicals are actively seeking to flood the state with illegal immigrants that will give their support to the Democratic Party.
Texas - People who are sick of all the rules and taxes in California and other Western states are moving to Texas in large numbers. They are not in Texas to support policies that have made Texas prosperous. They have brought with them the same political beliefs that will turn Texas into another California.
I think the only chance that Republicans have at retaining the House is voters rejecting the possibility of putting Nancy Pelosi back in as the Speaker of the House. The press has been very active in hiding her medical problems, but I think there is clear evidence that she is suffering from an advanced form of dementia. I don't know why they don't replace her as minority leader. My guess is that insanity is so pervasive in the Democratic Party, it's longer possible for them to comprehend that Nancy is losing her marbles.
The outcome of this election will clearly be the will of God. It would be an amazing accomplishment for the Republicans to retain both houses of Congress, despite this massive effort on the part of Democrats. I know this endless stream of rage is coming from the pit of hell, and it's clear that the devil is not going to stop until he achieves victory. It is my hope that the rapture comes as an October surprise. Right before the November election, we could disappear and join the Lord in laughing the left to derision.
"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision" (Psalm 2:1-4).
Daily Jot: Mueller Investigation smokescreen of darkness - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
The trouble with Special Counsels, like Robert Mueller, is that there is no telling how far their authority will go. They may or may not get to the bottom of the real issue, in this case Russian influence over the US election, but they may turn up other evidence that warrants legal action. They head up the wild west of legal investigations. It is absurd to even think that the Russians changed the outcome of the US elections. That part is clear. Now were there bribes paid, information exchanged and used, laws violated? Perhaps so. There are enough smoking guns surrounding the previous Administration and the Hillary Clinton campaign to keep a special counsel going for years, but they are not the target.
No other president since Richard Nixon has been under fire as has Donald Trump. It's coming from the media, from the Democrats, from the Republicans, from the CIA, the FBI, and from any "institution." Every word Trump says is scrutinized and turned inside out. Every action he takes is criticized. His wife is under a microscope. His youngest son is openly joked about. Trump's moral mistakes of decades ago are being relived as if they had occurred last week. From porn stars to criminals to political hacks, everyone's words are taken as gospel truth if they are words against Trump. It's as if every sin America has committed is put on Trump's shoulders along with his own.
This is getting to the point that it will, if it hasn't already, impacted our very national security. Enemies of America, and there are a lot of them, have to be looking at the morass and chaos depicted in the news 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and think "there may be a chance for us to take advantage of this." The communist gun-grabbers, certainly are trying to make hay while the sun shines. The no-borders people are out en masse with drivers license sign-up drives, and no doubt, voter registration in tandem. Once they are on the voter rolls, they can vote. Nobody is challenging this, and the Democratic Party stubbornly resists updating and purging voter rolls. A takeover of this country looms against this visceral background.
The Mueller investigation has become the smokescreen for the enemies of America to accelerate their efforts. Maybe the investigation will confirm other deeds, like Clinton enriching herself with a pay to play deal selling US uranium to Russia. Or some of the other shenanigans, but it doesn't seem likely at this point. Meantime, the godless communist agenda advances. When that agenda advances, so does the devil's agenda. As Jesus said in John 10:10, "The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Don't let the smoke get in your eyes. See clearly and act accordingly. Having done all, stand.
Daily Devotion: Losing Your Life to Save It - By Greg Laurie -
"If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." -Matthew 16:24-25
What comes to mind when you see a cross? Maybe you think of it as the symbol of the church or of Christianity. For many, the cross is a fashion accessory or maybe even a tattoo. The early church, however, did not use a cross as their symbol; they used the fish as their symbol. The early church did not wear crosses; they died on crosses. It was an upsetting, shocking image.
In the first century, people who lived in any area occupied by the Romans knew about crosses, because the Romans had a penchant for crucifying people. Crucifixion was not an efficient way to put a person to death. There were far more effective ways. The Romans used crucifixion as a means of torture. They used it to inflict the maximum amount of pain. They crucified people and put them on public display to serve as a warning to anyone who would dare defy the power of Rome.
That's why Jesus said, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matthew 16:24 NKJV). It was an alarming way to phrase it. And it meant one thing: death. That sounds pretty unappealing. You imagine yourself living a miserable, sacrificial life-an unhappy life.
But Jesus went on to say, "For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it" (verse 25 NKJV). The fact of the matter is that when you're truly taking up your cross, you're experiencing life.
The objective is not to learn to love yourself; it is to deny yourself. If you actually want to find yourself, then lose yourself. And how do you lose yourself? You take up your cross and follow Him.
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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