Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
In God We Trust, Or Do We? - Steve Schmutzer -
I often tell the class that I teach each Sunday, "What God repeats, we should revere." It's my way of reminding all of us that we need to pay special attention to those elements of God's Word which are divinely restated.
I'm not suggesting there's a formula at play here - as in the more something is repeated the more important it is. After all, "born again" is only mentioned three times in the Bible (KJV), and that's a pretty crucial concept! "Rapture" emerges only as an English derivative of an obscure Latin term, and "trinity" is never mentioned once. For that matter, "Bible" never shows up in the Bible.
This doesn't mean that the Rapture won't happen or that the concept of the trinity is untrue. The doctrines of the rapture and the trinity are both taught within the canon of Scripture we call the "Bible," and the Bible remains complete and inerrant. I know of no responsible "born again" believer that has challenged the veracity of any of this.
But if God does choose to re-emphasize something in His inspired Word, I think chances are He wants us to take notice of it. At least that's a safe bet by my way of thinking.
So why do we struggle with "trusting God" so much? Throughout the Bible we're exhorted over and over to place our trust in God. It's one of the most common themes in Scripture. It's not possible to overlook this straightforward instruction apart from willful omission.
In the opposite respect, we are also warned against trusting in things apart from God - things like wealth (1 Tim. 6:17), people (Jer. 17:5), plans (Prov. 19:21), material goods (Matt. 6:19), and family and friends (Micah 7:5-6). For the independent and "DIY" types, we're even warned against trusting in ourselves (2 Cor. 1:9). Many of these cautionary passages underscore the foolishness of placing trust in anything but God.
Point made. So why is it so hard to do the right thing?
I've been thinking a good deal about trusting God as of late. I don't necessarily know why that's the case, but it's something God has placed on my heart for me to ponder during this season of my life. As I've done so, I've been reminded of the beautiful words of Proverbs 3:5-6 which state, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will direct your paths."
These two verses constitute a command, not an option. They are charged with great insight, and they help us unpack the operative question as to why it's so hard to trust God. Let's look at some basic applications.
First, real trust is full trust. There is no such thing as partial trust. That's like saying one is "partially pregnant." You're either pregnant or you're not; there is no condition that is in-between those two points. Partial trust amounts to nothing more than mistrust.
Few of us trust God fully because we fail to know Him fully. Skepticism naturally wells up in any of us when we have exhausted our own means and we are forced to depend on something or someone we are unfamiliar with. Those situations spawn uncertainty and suspicion, and it's no different with God. When we need to rely on an infinite God that we've chosen to define by finite measures, we're going to have challenges trusting Him fully. That's our problem - not His.
Secondly, it's the heart that's called into accountability here, not the mind. That's an important distinction. A mind can accumulate a great deal of knowledge, but unless that person is properly applying that knowledge via the conduit of a heart that is yielded and obedient to God's standards, they do not have wisdom. Because plenty of very knowledgeable people have their heart in the wrong place, it is impossible for them to fully trust God.
Therefore, the expression "all your heart" takes on special meaning here. This is our spiritual center. It's the very hub of our emotions and desires, and there can be no reservations here. It's not possible to ration one's heart and fulfill this command to "trust in the Lord." One cannot quarantine a portion of their heart from a right relationship with God and expect to discover what it means to fully trust Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 outlines an all-or-nothing proposition.
This ties directly into the next part of the passage which challenges us to get rid of our crutches. That's a good way to think of the concept of "leaning on (our) own understanding." If you take the crutches away from someone who needs them, they're going to hit the floor. We depend on our crutches to hold us up, and God wants to be the one to support us that way.
Face it, we all need a crutch from time to time; a basic takeaway from these verses in Proverbs is we're going to face the need to lean. That's guaranteed. It's not possible to be human in this sinful and fallen world and not need to lean - at least once in a while. The bigger query here is not when we lean, but rather on what we lean when we do.
Really - it's who! The challenge Proverbs 3:5-6 lays out for us is our need to upgrade our crutches from all the "what's" we have to a single "who." Most of us have many crutches we depend on to help us get through life more than we would like to admit. There are just as many names for them, including, but not limited to: alcohol, pornography, money, tobacco, friends, prescription meds, "sick" days, pets, secret affairs, family, food, hobbies, jobs, experience, and education.
Our crutches can be good things and they can be bad things. In and of themselves, they can be vices and they can be virtues. Either way, Proverbs 3:5-6 reminds us that they all have the capacity to occupy the affections of our heart and to numb our need to fully trust God.
If we are honest with ourselves, we like our crutches. They are familiar to us. We've formed habits and patterns around the crutches we employ, and part of our identity is formed around the ones we choose to lean on the most. The way we lean displays our values and choices Proverbs defines as being our "own understanding."
The toughest part of this passage for me is the next one that instructs me to consciously place God front and center in every aspect of my life. The phrase "....in all your ways acknowledge Him" is easy to say but hard to do. I'll be candid - I'm still figuring this part out.
I do know it's much more than offering a trite prayer before every activity I undertake or before commencing with every decision I've already resolved to execute. It's much more than wrapping an artificial enthusiasm around my unknowns or prescriptively stating "I'm trusting God" through clenched teeth.
Right now, I think it has much more to do with faithful obedience in one direction. It's staying the righteous course when self-centeredness and integrity are clashing. It's being consciously aware that the eyes of God are on me all the time as I put one foot in front of the other along the narrow path. It's about finding contentment with God as my portion (Ps. 119:57), and it has everything to do with nurturing the hope I have in Him (Lam. 3:24). In basically every respect, it has something to do with not having the answers I want to have. These are the principles I am settling on as I refine my understanding of what it means to "acknowledge God in all my ways."
And finally - all this leads to God "directing (my) paths." It's harder for me to appreciate those translations which say He'll "....make my paths straight." I've never really seen a straight path; even the good ones meander a bit. That's why they are "paths" and not sidewalks.
My larger takeaway here is God will be the one doing the directing and not me. It's my full trust in Him that enables me to see the situation for what it is and to stop striving against His sovereign will. It's seeing the bigger picture and being convinced that this moment, too, is part of eternity. Again, my obligation is to faithfully do my part and to not worry about the elements which I cannot see or comprehend and which are out of my control.
My guess is most of us are learning what it means to live out the wonderful truths of Proverbs 3:5-6. That learning process is likely to be a life-long exercise, but my prayer for all of us is that God will extend His abundant mercy and grace to us as we diligently seek to trust Him, to lean on Him, and to acknowledge Him in all our ways.
Trump's North Korea Strategy Is Terrifying Iran - Caroline Glick - http://www.breitbart.com/jerusalem/2018/06/04/caroline-glick-trumps-iran-strategy-is-terrifying-tehran/
The North Korean media reported Sunday that Syrian President Bashar Assad is due in Pyongyang for an official state visit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.
Much of the instant media commentary regarding the announcement claimed that it is nothing more than a testament to the deep, long-standing ties between the two isolated nations, whose rogue behavior has caused both to be shunned by the international community.
The problem with this interpretation is that neither leader is isolated.
With the planned summit with President Donald Trump back on for June 12, Kim is about to score North Korea's greatest diplomatic achievement since the hermit kingdom was established in the aftermath of the Korean armistice in 1952.
Last week, Kim received a visit from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who invited him to come to a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin later this year. Kim has had two meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-In, and has had two meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, in just the past three months.
Assad, for his part, just met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on May 17. His forces and their Iranian/Hezbollah/Shiite militia allies have retaken the outskirts of Damascus, and so largely ensured the survival of his regime. Assad has made clear that his next moves will be to seize southern Syria along the Israeli and Jordanian border regions of Quneitra and Daraa from rebel forces. He also has his sights on the U.S.-allied Kurdish held areas in eastern Syria.
In other words, things are looking good for both men. Why would they risk their newly held credibility by meeting with one another? Kim will certainly score no points with Trump for meeting with the man the president referred to recently as "a monster."
The answer, in a word, is: Iran.
In September 2007, the Israeli air force destroyed a nuclear reactor in Deir Azzour in Syria. The reactor was constructed by North Korea and paid for by Iran.
The Israeli operation placed Iran's nuclear cooperation with North Korea in stark relief. Many Israeli officials viewed the Syrian reactor as an extension of the Iranian program. Iran constructed the Syrian reactor, they told reporters, as a means to replicate and expand its own capabilities.
According to an Israeli official who was intimately engaged in discussions with the Bush administration regarding the Syrian nuclear reactor both before and after the Israeli airstrike, rather than use the revelations of Iranian-North Korean nuclear cooperation to pressure Iran and North Korea to come clean about their collaborative efforts, and the extent of their nuclear cooperation, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice sought to silence discussion of the issue.
Rice, who opposed the Israeli operation in Syria, was engaged at the time in nuclear talks with both Iran and North Korea. Rice was not interested in highlighting either regime's role in building the Syrian reactor, because she apparently hoped to appease both.
Due to Rice's efforts, little attention has been paid publicly to the issue of Iran's nuclear ties to North Korea. But the fact that those ties exist is an undisputed fact.
Consequently, with North Korea apparently actively engaged in discussions of its nuclear program with Washington, the Iranian regime is likely in a state of panic about what Kim and his representatives are telling the Americans about their work with Iran.
And that is where Assad comes in.
If the North Korean media report of his planned visit is accurate, and if Assad soon shows up in Pyongyang, he won't be there to show the world that he has friends, too.
Assad will be in Pyongyang as an emissary of the Iranian regime, which wants to find out what Kim is planning - and hopefully, coordinate policy with him before his June 12 meeting with Trump.
Iran's apparent effort to coordinate its operations with its longtime partner, and its fear that North Korea may be in the process of selling out to the Americans, is not happening in a vacuum. The Trump administration is implementing an across-the-board strategy to isolate Iran from its economic and strategic partners.
In some cases, like Trump's diplomacy with Pyongyang, and the decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. is implementing its strategy directly. In other areas, the U.S. is using Israel to implement its strategy of isolating Iran.
If North Korea is Iran's chief Asian partner, Assad and Putin are Tehran's most important allies in the Middle East. Russia built Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor. Russia has sold advanced weapons systems to Iran. Since 2015, Russia has been Iran's chief partner in preventing Assad's defeat in Syria, and in winning back regions of Syria that rebel forces had successfully seized control over during Syria's seven-year war.
But for the past several weeks, backed by air strikes against Iranian targets in Syria, Israel has been leading a diplomatic effort aimed at Putin to convince the Russian leader to attenuate, with the goal of ending his alliance with Iran in Syria. As Dore Gold, former director general of Israel's Foreign Ministry, outlined in a policy paper this week, Israel has been making the case to Putin that now that the Syrian war is petering out, with the Assad regime in control over wide expanses that were previously held by rebel forces, Iran's plans and interests are no longer aligned with Russia.
Russia wants stability in Syria to ensure its continued control over the Tartus naval base and the Kheimnim air base near Latakia. Assad gave Moscow the bases in exchange for Moscow's military assistance in saving his regime from destruction.
Iran, on the other hand, has made no attempt to hide the fact that now that the war is winding down, it expects to use its position in Syria, where it controls some 80,000 forces, to pivot to war against Israel. Israel has responded to Iran's threats by attacking Iranian military positions in Syria. And Israel has also made clear that if it is forced to go to war against Iran in Syria, the government will order the Israel Defense Forces to destroy the Assad regime.
In other words, the Israelis are saying to the Russians: If you do not rein in Iran in a serious way, and block the chance of war, the Assad regime that gave you your port and air base will disappear, and you will need to hope that the next regime, whatever it is, will let you keep the bases. In giving full backing to Israel's military operations in Syria, the Trump administration has signaled to Moscow that the U.S. will back Israel in the event of such a war.
Understanding that Israel is coordinating all of its actions with the Trump administration, Russia has given partial support to Israel's position. Over the past two weeks, Putin and Lavrov have made a series of statements calling for the withdrawal of foreign forces from Syria, and stating explicitly that Russia expects Iranian-controlled forces to withdraw from the border area with Israel. The border areas, the Russians have said, should be manned only by Syrian regime forces. Moreover, they have said, Russia is willing to deploy police forces to the border areas to ensure that no Iranian-controlled forces are deployed in those areas.
Israel, while thanking Russia for its recognition of Israel's concerns, has insisted that Russia demand all Iranian-controlled forces withdraw from Syria. The U.S. backs that demand, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated explicitly during his speech on the administration's Iran policy at the Heritage Foundation last week.
So far, there is ample evidence that Russia is not speaking with one voice on Iran. On the one hand, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced Wednesday that Iranian and Hezbollah forces were preparing to withdraw from the border area with Israel.
On the other hand, while insisting that all Iranian-controlled forces abandon the border zones with Israel, the Russians are also telling Assad that as the "sovereign" in Syria, he has the power to decide whether foreign forces will operate in the country and where they will deploy. Shortly after Putin called for all foreign forces to withdraw from Syria, Russian and Iranian forces jointly constructed 17 fixed military posts around Idlib province.
And perhaps most damningly, on Thursday, Israel's Hadashot news channel reported that Hezbollah forces along the border with Israel were sighted donning Syrian military uniforms.
But whether Putin is lying or telling the truth about his attenuation of his ties with Tehran, what is clear enough is that Russia's warm embrace of Israel, including Putin's decision not to block Israel's air assaults against Iran's military assets in Syria, is setting off alarm bells in Tehran.
Whereas a year ago, the Iranians believed their alliance with Putin was stable, today they are forced to worry that he will stab them in the back to improve his relations with Washington. And now, with Putin making at least an artificial separation between Syrian regime forces and Iranian-controlled Shiite forces, the Iranians also need to worry, if only at the margins, that Assad may feel he needs to distance himself from his Iranian sponsors.
The U.S., for its part, is doing everything it can both to reinforce this Iranian paranoia and to prod Moscow away from Tehran. The administration is working both indirectly, through Israel, and directly, through discussions of a summit between Trump and Putin.
It is far too early to know if the Trump administration's strategy for isolating Iran and destabilizing its alliances will be successful. But both the announcement of Assad's planned visit to Pyongyang, and the noises the Russians are making on Syria, indicate that Moscow is attenuating its ties with Tehran. Those are encouraging signs of progress.
Nearing Midnight: Elam Prophecy in View? - Terry James -
Israel, always in the news while planet earth closes in on Christ's Second Coming, again is drawn into the center of stage-setting for prophetic fulfillment. I'm referring specifically to prophecy involving ancient Persia-modern Iran.
We've looked at the prophecies involving these end-times players over the past number of years. Dynamics generated from things going on in the region have increased in intensity as of late. It is therefore worthwhile to catch up with developments involving Israel and its biblically foretold enemies.
Iranian leaders are angered over the Trump administration's taking the U.S. out of the "nuclear deal." They are threatening the Jewish state and vowing that soon Israel will feel their wrath.
Development of nuclear weaponry is at the heart of the threat. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump have both vowed that Iran will not have nuclear weapons. However, it is known that they already possess missiles thought to be capable of carrying nuclear payloads. And, their centrifuges and nuclear laboratories, deeply ensconced within Iran's mountainous regions, are beyond inspection by the people who came up with the "worst deal in history," according to President Trump.
A primary reason Trump considered the "deal" as such is because the inspectors could neither "trust" nor "verify," as President Ronald Reagan insisted in the case of dealing with the Iranian's chief ally, Russia.
A Jerusalem Post article reports Israel's present mindset.
Netanyahu said he spoke over the weekend with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and expressed Israel's appreciation for the strong and determined position the US administration is taking against the Iranian nuclear agreement and the Islamic Republic's aggression in the region.
"The regime in Tehran is the main factor undermining stability in the Middle East," he said. "The campaign against its aggression is not over, and we are still in it."
Netanyahu said that Israel is working against the Iranian regime on three fronts: preventing it from acquiring nuclear weapons, working against its military entrenchment in Syria, and working against the transfer of game-changing weapons from Syria to Lebanon, or the manufacturer of that weaponry in Lebanon.
"Those weapons are intended for use against Israel, and it is our right - by virtue of the right of self-defense - to prevent its production or transfer," he said. (Netanyahu says campaign against Iran ongoing on three different fronts, by Herb Keinon, Israel News - Jerusalem Post, May 27, 2018)
As mentioned, we have previously, and on several occasions, covered the threat to Israel from its prophesied enemy, Persia (Iran). That nuclear threat hasn't gone away since we last paid attention in one of these commentaries. It has, as a matter of fact, progressed toward becoming not just a threat, but, possibly a real assault. The former U.S. presidential administration aided and abetted that ratcheting-up of Iran's eventual achievement in producing atomic weapons. Israel's military posture as of late, combined with Netanyahu's elevated words of concern, illustrate, I think, just how near might be some action to neutralize Iran's growing danger to not only the Jewish state, but to other nations as well.
I wrote the following in a commentary on June 14, 2014:
My friend, Bill Salus, has just released an especially fascinating book relative to our time. NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN IN IRAN: The Ancient Prophecy of Elam points to a particular prophecy in the book of Jeremiah that the author believes foretells a devastating blow to a certain part of Iran-the area of ancient Elam.
One of my own burning questions has been: Why does Persia (modern-day Iran) seemingly intend to attack Israel alongside Russia in the Gog-Magog attack of Ezekiel chapters 38 and 39 without apparent deployment of nuclear weaponry? -Thus, since Iran is obviously developing such weapons as fast as it can.
That prophecy that both Bill and I had and still have in mind is the following:
Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the chief of their might. And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come. For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life: and I will bring evil upon them, even my fierce anger, saith the Lord; and I will send the sword after them, till I have consumed them: And I will set my throne in Elam, and will destroy from thence the king and the princes, saith the Lord. But it shall come to pass in the latter days, that I will bring again the captivity of Elam, saith the Lord. (Jeremiah 49:35-39)
The title of Bill's book-NUCLEAR SHOWDOWN IN IRAN: The Ancient Prophecy of Elam-might itself prove to be prophetic, as things wind up for the end of the age.
Watchman Warning: Drugs and the End of the Age - By Hal Lindsey - https://www.hallindsey.com/ww-6-5-2018/
Increasing drug use is one of the signs of the end times. Right now, in most of the world, drug use is at an all-time high. And it's having a profound effect on all our lives.
The news media is willing to tell us about drug companies pushing their products on doctors and the public. That fits one of their preferred narratives-that big business is bad. They rarely mention the correlation between legalized marijuana and a general increase in drug use and traffic deaths. Try as they might, they simply can't ignore the enormous number of overdose deaths. So they cover those numbers, but not with the kind of emphasis that such an epidemic deserves. And, according the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it is an epidemic.
A 2017 Pew Survey found that almost half of US adults have a close friend or family member who has been addicted to drugs. But that number is likely low because addiction is not something people tell about themselves. Even close friends don't always know, and family members are often intentionally left in the dark.
Whether you realize it or not, you almost certainly know an addict-probably several. And you encounter addicts almost every day. You drive with them on the streets, they are in line with you at the grocery store, they deliver your packages, work on your car, or sit near you in a pew at church.
I'm not saying that your church friend drives to the seamy side of town and buys packets of heroin from a nefarious pusher, though that is possible. More likely, the pusher was a well-meaning doctor. Your addict friend probably didn't go to a dark, crime-riddled street to buy the drug, but to his local pharmacy. And he might not even know that he is an addict.
Drug abuse affects all our lives in many ways. For one, it kills. According to the CDC, more than 60,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2016 alone. That's just overdoses. It doesn't count the people who died because of damage to their bodies from long-term drug use. It doesn't count the industrial accidents where the addict died or caused the deaths of others.
For comparison, 37,461 people died in car accidents in 2016. But there's a problem with the comparison. Many of those auto accidents were also fueled by drug and alcohol use. According to the CDC, "In 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States."
Alcohol has traditionally been the major culprit in car accident deaths. But with increased legalization of marijuana, that changed in 2015. According Reuters, "US data has shown for the first time that drivers killed in crashes were more likely to be on drugs than drunk, with marijuana involved in more than a third of fatal accidents in 2015."
These days, the news is full of people doing completely insane things. A parent murders his or her children. A person walks into a restaurant and randomly stabs one of the diners. And then there are the mass shootings. Drugs are not the whole problem in any of these situations, but they are often a big part of it. In many cases, drugs make the difference. They push people over the edge.
Godly values provide a restraint on this problem. But as those values decline, the problem grows. Many who think they're looking for a buzz or an escape, are really just looking for comfort in their souls. They know drugs and alcohol provide only a temporary fix while magnifying the problem, but they do it anyway. In their desperation, they just want to survive the moment.
There is a better way. The Maker of our souls can redeem them. He can heal the addicted and the wounds that lead to addiction. A lifestyle directed by His word provides a powerful hedge against the evils of drug abuse.
Society, meanwhile, continues to move away from God and His ways. And that's the problem. Spiritual voids will be filled. That's why the demonic is so often associated with drug addiction. Revelation 9:21 gives a prophecy for the time just before the Second Coming of Jesus. It tells us where the problem is headed. "And they did not repent of their murders nor of their sorceries nor of their immorality nor of their thefts."
The word "sorceries" comes from the Greek word "pharmakeia." That's where we get the English word, "pharmacy." This shows that rampant mind-altering drug use will be a fixture near the end of this age.
That's why it's so amazing to see it happening now at levels never seen before. It's happening all over the world. And, most important, it's happening in conjunction with all the other signs for Christ's coming at the end of the age.
The late Adrian Rogers said, "The times are growing dark, but they are gloriously dark because the light of Christ shines brighter in the bleakest of times."
In dark times, remember the words of Jesus in Matthew 5:14-16. "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
In these "gloriously dark" times, let the light of Jesus shine through you!
Daily Jot: Too much bad news can make you sick - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
I'm sure you have heard someone, maybe even yourself, say, "All this bad news just makes me sick." CNN, of all networks, is reporting that every news alert indicating the world is "pushed further and further into crisis" takes an increasing toll on "our mental health." CNN reports, "The world has always been stressful, but experiencing acute events occurring thousands of miles away is a new and challenging phenomenon. On any given day, it feels like the world is falling apart." Susanne Babbel, a trauma recovery psychotherapist, says constant exposure to bad news can "derail our ability to cope healthily...we might go numb or have an overactive fear response to the perceived threat."
CNN says the 24 hour news cycle opens us up to hearing about problems all around the world, all day every day. CNN reports that news, indeed, is getting worse: "According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, the United States experienced 16 weather and climate disasters last year, with losses exceeding $1 billion and total costs of approximately $306 billion - a national record. The United Nations' disaster-monitoring system says that since 1970, the number of disasters worldwide has more than quadrupled, rising to about 400 per year." CNN then poses the questions: "How can we brace for disaster and find the strength to withstand it? How will we adapt to our greater exposure to trauma? And will our mental health be sacrificed in the process?"
The answers are really two-fold: First, people can stop listening and watching so much news. I had to do that because it's just depressing. Think of the impact it has on the mental state of those poor godless liberals who are covering and reporting the news? CNN is talking about its own staff when it is quoting a psychotherapist about overactive fear responses and being able to mentally cope with the news. Think of the frenzy in just covering the White House. These reporters have worked themselves up to the point of a near blood lust. Their mental health is clearly compromised. It's visible by virtue of the nonsensical things they say. This translates to the public. My advice: Turn it off. Take it in small doses.
The second answer is really what the world needs. Jesus Christ told us what would happen in the latter days. He said in Matthew 24 that there would be wars and rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, kingdom against kingdom, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. He said in verse 6, "see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet." In answer to CNN's questions, we brace for disaster and withstand it by embracing the Lord. Psalm 46:1 says, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble." We combat the bad news by accepting the good news of the gift of salvation. While the bad news can make us sick, the good news of Christ heals. As is written in Romans 10:15, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!"
Daily Devotion: The Purpose of a Testimony - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. -Romans 5:8
When you tell other people about what God has done for you, you are sharing your testimony. A testimony is when you share your story of how you came to faith. Every Christian has a testimony.
Some Christians have dramatic testimonies where they tell of being delivered from a life of drug addiction or crime or some sordid deeds. Other Christians don't have testimonies that are quite as dramatic-but they are just as significant.
I like to hear how people came to Christ, but I don't like it when people go into gory details about their past. Then there are testimonies where people tell how much they have given up for Jesus. They'll say things like, "I gave up this and that for Jesus. I have made such sacrifices for the Lord. I have done it all for Him!"
Your testimony is not about what you gave up for Jesus. It's about what He gave up for you. Don't share what you have done for Jesus. Share what Jesus has done for you. Jesus is the one who has done the work. It is Jesus whom we are proclaiming.
A good, strong testimony will lift up what Christ has accomplished. The fact of the matter is that all of us were sinners hopelessly separated from God, traveling in the same boat on our way to Hell; and the same gospel came and transformed us. That is the testimony we all have.
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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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