Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Escape from Hell and the Lake of Fire - By Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2019/07/escape-from-hell-and-lake-of-fire.html
22 "But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:22-23)
I got into a discussion with a friend of mine who seems to be confused about the doctrine of sinners and their destination of an ever burning hell. In talking with this person, I was aware that he didn't believe a loving God would ever send any one to an eternal torment known to us as hell, and ultimately the Lake of Fire. Is he right? Is a loving God unwilling to send anyone to a terrible place called in the bible in 53 different passages, hell or a place burning with fire and brimstone? Is the concept of a eternal hell a figment of some minister's imagination or a denomination's attempt to force people to the altar for fear of being cast into hellfire?
First, let me quote a minister that doesn't believe in an eternal hell and that God is a God of Love,
"For centuries, many ministers have been preaching "hellfire and brimstone" sermons and promoting a religion of fear by teaching that the unsaved face an eternity of torture. The common teaching is that incorrigibly wicked people will be tormented forever in some fiery, macabre manner in a terrifying place called hell. This horrible fate usually conjures up in people's minds visions of an ever-burning hellfire where sinners are continually roasted on spits, and a devil with horns and a tail runs around sticking his captives with a pitchfork."
The imagery is a very simplistic explanation of hell and ultimately being cast into a lake burning with brimstone and sulfur. Satan and his demons will be there along with anyone who does have their sins forgiven.
It is hard to convince some folks that God is not only a God of love, but also the God of judgment. He is a God of justice, a God of consuming fire, and a God who will not allow sin into His presence.
25 "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
29 For our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:26-29)
Are we talking about the same God?. Do you mean the same God that told the Israelites when they entered Canaan to not spare man, woman, or child from the sword, but to slay them all? Do you mean that God? If it's the same God of the Bible, what did He say about it?
JESUS GIVES A LESSON ON WHAT HELL IS LIKE
When Jesus spoke of the biblical lesson of the rich man and Lazarus being separated by a huge gulf and the rich man being in torment, and Lazarus being comforted in Abraham's bosom, was He just telling a story? Was He stretching the truth, just to make a point? Let's look at the passage. This is Jesus speaking in Luke chapter 16:
19 "There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.22 And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame." (Luke 16:19-24)
Since our Lord was sinless and only told what is true, it would make sense that He would not tell a falsehood, just to make a point. Jesus spoke of things spiritual that were being played out in the natural realm. Do we think that He was just joking and He didn't mean it as He spoke it, and exactly as we take it?
SOME RELIGIONS EXPLAIN AWAY HELL
Some denomination and well meaning Christians believe that hell is a synonym of the grave. They go to great lengths to prove that Hades, the grave, and hell are all the same thing. Then why does so many Old Testament and New Testament writers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit make so much about the wages of sin and the eternal destruction of the soul in hell? Jesus spoke of hellfire, more than He did of even heaven...it was a place He didn't want anyone to end up for all eternity. Let's take a journey to look at just a few of the scriptures that point to the fallacy of not believing that the penalty for not having Jesus Christ cover your sins with His own shed blood is an eternal home in hell's unquenchable fire.
King David spoke of it in Psalms
16 " The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands
17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God."(Psalms 9:16-17)
13 "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell."(Proverbs 23:13-14)
If you punish your child, you will not save him from the grave. We all will die, but what is spoken of here is delivering yourself from something beyond the grave, a place of everlasting torment. We call is Hell!14 "Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.15 And the mean man shall be brought down, and the mighty man shall be humbled, and the eyes of the lofty shall be humbled:" (Isaiah 5:14-15)
Isaiah spoke of a place where man will be brought down and will be humbled. We all die, so it's not speaking of only the grave, but something beyond the grave.
Isaiah when he spoke of the final destination of Lucifer because of his sin against God, he wrote these words:
12 "How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?"(Isaiah 14:12-17)
Understand that hell and the Lake of Fire was designed for Lucifer and his demon angels that fell because of rebellion. It was never designed for mankind that was made in the image of God. Satan had to attempt to thwart God's judgment on himself. If he could get man to fall, then it possibly could thwart God's perfect creation and maybe judgment on Lucifer himself. But God knew that to redeem what had been stolen by Satan, a perfect sacrifice had to be slain, and Jesus was slain from the foundation of the world. So God sent His only Son into the world to redeem mankind, as the kinsman redeemer. But it would cost Him His life, because sinful man is worthy of death. So Jesus paid the penalty for all who believe on His name and follow His example.
Satan wants you to disbelieve in a place called hell. Satan wants to deceive you, and blind you to this Biblical truth. Satan knows it is his final destination and he will not go down without taking anyone and everyone he can, with him. He has tried for many thousands of years to thwart the judgment of God and make Him somehow a liar and to make void his sentencing to a devil's hell.
Jesus spoke of it further in Matthew
22 "But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in
you search your concordance for the word hell, verses before this one in your bible, does give you a feeling that hell in some scriptures, not all, depicts the grave and some point to beyond the grave, but this is where the Lord of Creation identifies what hell means. There is no fire in the grave, but of a place beyond the grave where the wicked and the sinner will end up. Hence it spoke of it plainly in Lazarus and the rich man. Through the gospels, and I won't quote each and everyone of them for the sake of brevity, Jesus makes an analogy of removing the sinful and offending part from you so that you will not be cast into hell. If it be the grave, then all parts of the departed end in the grave. Jesus speaks of something more.
Then there is the time when Jesus in His righteous anger railed against the Jewish authorities for the iniquity in dealing with the people: In Matthew again,
31 "Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.32 Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?"(Matthew 23:31-33)
How much more plain can Jesus be? Did He not give enough clues to the final destination of all who are not redeemed by His own shed blood?
The kicker for me is found in Revelation chapter 14, that speaks of the reward of those who take the mark of the beast.
9 'And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." (Revelation 14:9-11)
Now tell me reader, if this hell fire is a parable, and hell is only the grave and there is not eternal torment for the sinner and the wicked, then why is the smoke of the torment rising before the Lamb and His holy angels, forever, and ever, and ever...sounds like eternity to me and proof that there is a final fiery judgment on sinful mankind!!
When I pointed this simple fact found in your bible out to my friend, he had not an explanation. No quick comeback and no answer to the Words of our Lord, written by John the Apostle. I fear for people who don't believe the simple words of your bible. One denomination actually believes that "all will be saved after the Great White Throne judgment.". This scenario believes that all will stand before the Ancient of Days, and be judged, but sentence will not be carried out until they have a "full chance" at believing in the name of Jesus Christ and finding forgiveness. This is called Universal Reconciliation and it is not found in your Bible. There is an ultimate penalty for those who have rejected His Son who came to save mankind from their sins. Now I can't speak for God, as God is sovereign, all powerful and all merciful. All that have not had a chance at hearing, God can do what He wills with them, but to all who have heard the gospel and think they have a"second chance" at redemption play the Russian roulette of the fool.
Paul makes a point in Hebrews that we should take seriously this side of eternity:
26 "For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."( Hebrews 9:26-28)
You who are reading this, I don't mean to scare you to the altar because you fear an ever burning fire called Hell !! But I wish to convey the harsh reality that all who are not found with their name written in the Book of Life at the Great White Throne judgment will receive their just reward, and it's all because of their own will, not Gods. Do a simple Google search and find the verses that speak of an eternal destination for those who have rejected the Divine payment for the sins of the world, found in the blood and body of our Lord Jesus. Each of those who have not the righteousness of our Lord Jesus covering their sins, because of the blood payment He made on the cross will be cast into the Lake of Fire, along with hell, death and the grave. I pray Holy Spirit conviction come upon you, and you make a plea for changing your life and repenting of your former life and living for God for the rest of it. Don't come to the Lord for the wrong reason. Fear is the beginning of wisdom, but a true repentant and humble heart is what God desires.16 "For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."Psalms 51-16-17)
COMING JUDGMENT OF ALL MEN WHO DO NOT BELIEVE
11 " And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."(Revelation 20:11-15)
But Jesus stands in the gap. He has paid the ultimate price for your sins, His life and shed all of His blood to wash you perfectly clean and make you acceptable before God the Father in Heaven.
In the closing verses of the final book of our bible, Jesus makes this final plea:
16 "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."(Revelation 22:16-17)
Jesus makes an open invitation to all who will come and sit at His feet and believe in the only Begotten Son of the Father, Jesus the Christ (Messiah). He wishes for all to be joined unto Him and live forever, but He will not usurp your own will. He will not force you. He said,
"Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear my voice and open unto me, I will come unto him and sup with him, and he with Me." (Revelation 3:20).
He desires that all come to repentance and to accept His free offer of grace. All you have to do, is believe in the One whom God has sent.
28 "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:28-29)
Then become a new creature in Jesus Christ and follow the Lord in baptism as a first sign of obedience. Then live unto obedience the things He wrote in His Word.
9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,"( II Peter 3:9-11)
The Lord is coming soon, as a thief in the night...meaning suddenly and without warning. He wishes you to be with Him and not suffer what is coming. Chances are you will be counted with the sinner, as salvation will be hard to obtain, and be easily lost because of tribulation and the demonic forces working overtime for the destruction of your soul. Don't give Satan a chance to take you with him. Make that decision for Jesus Christ right now, while there is still time. But time is growing short. How do you escape a ever burning Lake of Fire when Satan and the demons have been cast away for their wickedness? It is very simple as all you have to do is accept a free gift that is there one simple prayer away.
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."(John 3:16-18)
8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."(Romans10:8-13)
Don't make that human mistake that any works you do will absolve you of the sin in your life, as Jesus is the ONLY Way back to God the Father....He offers salvation as a gift...reach out and take it....and you will escape the eternal reward of those who are not found in Jesus Christ, hell and the Lake of Fire.
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:5-9)
This is Pastor Mike Taylor wishing you well and God's love in your life. If there is anything I can counsel you on from our bible, then drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com for more biblical lessons from the Word of God that proclaim Jesus as Savior and our soon coming King. I have a listening ear, I'm here waiting to assist you.
God bless you all,
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
danger of hell fire." (Matthew 5:22)
The dark shadow Iran is casting on the world - Melanie Phillips - https://www.jns.org/opinion/the-dark-shadow-iran-is-casting-on-the-world/
The twin issues of Iran and North Korea illustrate how the isolationist right and the universalist left march hand in hand.
In Israel, as the drumbeats of war grow ever louder, people are preparing with a mixture of dread, stoicism and determination for the long-feared, ultimate showdown with Iran.
After reported Iranian attacks on two oil tankers last month near the Straits of Hormuz, Iran also shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone. Following this, U.S. President Donald Trump said he had cancelled an airstrike on Iranian targets with only 10 minutes to spare because of last-minute concerns that the likely number of casualties would be disproportionate.
Earlier this week, Iran announced that it had breached the limit for low-enriched uranium set in the Obama-brokered 2015 nuclear deal. Last May, President Trump pulled the United States out of this deal and reimposed crippling sanctions that Britain and Europe, which still endorse the deal, have been trying hard to bust.
On Wednesday, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani threatened further that Iran would increase its enrichment of uranium this Sunday beyond the level set by the nuclear deal-a move that could generate enough high-enriched uranium to produce a nuclear weapon.
Even the European Union has responded with horror to Iran's breaches of the uranium limits. But the E.U. facilitated and still defends the shocking deal that facilitated Iranian terrorism and its regional power grab by funneling millions of dollars into this terror state, while paving the way for its genocidal and fanatically anti-Western regime to develop nuclear weapons.
Last year's Mossad coup in raiding Iran's nuclear archive produced conclusive evidence that Iran had constructed an elaborate pretense of peaceful nuclear development to conceal its nuclear weapons program. The International Atomic Energy Agency subsequently discovered numerous Iranian violations of the deal.
Yet those in the Western intelligentsia and mainstream media who view events through the Orwellian prism of the enemies of the West and the Jewish people are blaming Iran's belligerency on President Trump's reimposition of sanctions, thus sanitizing and denying Iranian aggression.
There's no doubt that the Iranian regime is feeling intense pressure from sanctions and is accordingly upping the ante to test Western resolve. So it's vital that the West doesn't blink. So far, however, Iran's provocations and saber-rattling have been no more or less than that.
Trump's policy is to impose intolerable pressure through sanctions; this is already working and should be given time to work still further. Either the regime will (hopefully) implode under the strain or it will finally feel forced to overstep its belligerency. That would be the time for military action against it, not before.
But in this phase of shadow-boxing, actions have symbolic significance that send signals to the other side.
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the Capella Hotel in Singapore on June 12, 2018. Photo courtesy of White House via Wikimedia Commons.
There is a close alliance between Iran and North Korea, which is suspected of helping Iran advance its nuclear weapon program. How President Trump acts towards North Korea therefore has significance not just for addressing that particular issue, but also for Iran, which is watching intently how the North Korea drama plays out.
So it was unfortunate that President Trump chose to take his much-ballyhooed step across the demilitarized zone into North Korea without his hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton, accompanied instead by Fox News host Tucker Carlson.
Last month, Carlson called Bolton a "bureaucratic tapeworm" for whom war was "always good business." Carlson later rationalized North Korean atrocities, saying that leading a country "means killing people."
President Trump, meanwhile, dialed down his original demand for full denuclearization to the lesser requirement of a freeze on North Korea's nuclear-weapons program. Significantly, a few hours after President Trump's step across the line, Bolton tweeted that he was currently in the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator, thus signaling that Trump's foray was a strategic mistake that had nothing to do with him.
It is astonishing and alarming that the American president should so conspicuously elevate the advice of a blowhard talk-show host over a foreign-policy official as sober and experienced as Bolton.
It suggests that Trump is trapped by his own contradictions. On the one hand, he rightly saw through the appalling Iran deal and realized that the regime needed to be brought to heel through crippling sanctions.
On the other, he doesn't seem to understand that there are some, like North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who, although they are not religious fanatics, are nevertheless psychopaths for whom a civilized deal is never possible. To stop his behavior, the only course of action is to undermine and destroy their unconscionable regime.
The twin issues of Iran and North Korea illustrate how the isolationist right and the universalist left march hand in hand. This alliance was on ugly display over the Iraq war, when both sides united in declaring that we were "taken to war on a lie" because of a conspiracy stretching from Jerusalem to the White House to do the bidding of the Jews and put the rest of the world at risk.
Given the ubiquity of this malevolent Jewish-conspiracy canard at the time, it is absurd that people now profess to be astonished at the current epidemic of Jew-hatred and Israel-bashing in Britain, Europe and America.
The indifference shown to this Jew-baiting over the past two decades and more has helped legitimize and embolden ever more unambiguous demonstrations of this deranged mindset, along with a wider cultural confusion.
Four months ago in Britain, upon learning that the best-selling novelist Richard Zimler was a Jew, two cultural organizations dropped their invitations to him to appear at their events. They said they feared protests by their members and others if they invited a Jewish writer.
Against the backdrop of a bill in the Irish parliament, the Dail, to boycott Israel, an Irish News columnist Brian Feeney wrote that Iran was "the only democracy in the region-no, Israel isn't."
After U.S. Rep.Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) demeaned the Holocaust by comparing detention centers on America's Mexican border to Nazi concentration camps, political and cultural figures piled in to support her. When the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum voiced concern about using Holocaust analogies in this way, more than 430 scholars who research the Holocaust and genocides urged it to retract its criticism as "fundamentally ahistorical."
In Britain, the government wants to build a Holocaust memorial next to the Houses of Parliament to combat Holocaust denial. Yet Britain is still an enthusiast for the Iran deal, even despite the recent discovery of a Hezbollah bomb factory in London.
Sweden, where the authorities notoriously turn a blind eye to rampant anti-Israel and anti-Jewish incitement, intends to hold a conference on anti-Semitism next year in Malmö. That's quite a statement. For Jew-hatred in Malmö is so bad that last month the spokesman for its Jewish community said it might close down altogether in the coming decade.
This is the international background against which Iran is ramping up for war. In Israel, there's a grim acknowledgement of a world which, while paying ever more extravagant lip service to the victims of the Holocaust, prepares to betray them at every turn.
More than half-a-century ago, the West fought off Nazism. That fight is what it really means by "never again."
America the Beautiful - By Hal Lindsey -
Nike planned to celebrate July 4th with a shoe featuring a Betsy Ross flag. But former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick nixed the idea. No, he's not president of Nike. He serves as one of the many athletes who pitch Nike products. And he found the Betsy Ross flag offensive.
We are told that some white supremacist groups have chosen to use that flag as a symbol. I know nothing about that. For me, Betsy's flag symbolizes American beginnings. Was our nation born perfect? Far from it. But from the beginning, it championed a profound ideal. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
We humans are not equal in ability, stature, strength, intelligence, or character. We were born into different circumstances - financially, morally, and in a host of other ways. There is only one sense in which we can truly be equal and that is if we are created equal. And to be created, requires a Creator. Saying that all human beings are created equal is a theological statement - a creed that launched our nation.
America started with the ideal of equality before God, even though it failed to live up to that ideal. Slavery was written into the Constitution. But things changed. Again and again, the United States went through the painful process of confronting its national sins. When it continued to reach toward its founding ideal, America changed for the better.
It never achieved that ideal, but look at what America has achieved. It led a worldwide revolution in putting the rights of the people above that of artificial monarchies. It created opportunities for happiness and prosperity to more people than anyone ever thought possible. As the decades passed, it came to treat human rights with ever more care.
Are we there yet? No. In fact, I believe we have regressed over the last few decades. A big reason for that regression has been a belief that America's greatness came from its natural resources, its diversity, or "Yankee ingenuity." I love our military. It protects America's greatness, but it did not cause it. I love our system of fairness and justice for all. But they are a result of America's greatness, not the cause.
America became great because of an almost universal respect for God and His word. That is not to say that it has ever been a Christian nation, or even a nation of Christians. But there is a reason Americans placed their hands on the Bible when they swore an oath to "tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God." There is a reason that an image of Moses adorns the United States Supreme Court. There is a reason that every session of Congress begins with prayer.
In all these things we are acknowledging that our rights and freedoms have their source in Almighty God. For a long time, a near consensus of Americans held to this basic idea. But today, such attitudes strike many as quaint remnants of a distant past. This national shunning of God and His ways places all Americans in grave peril.
Would you like to move the United States in the right direction on this Independence Day? One of the best things you can do is celebrate Him as you celebrate this nation, its freedoms, and ideals. Thank God openly. Let your family hear you thank Him.
The Bible Is Our GPS - By Grant Phillips -
Global Positioning System (GPS) is used by nearly everyone these days. Did you know that it is used to assist those who are deaf or blind? We all saw how accurate it can be during Desert Storm. It is said that it answers five questions simultaneously:
GPS works in three ways. They are:
Space: 28 satellites orbit the earth twice a day, each in its own orbit 11,000 nautical miles above the earth.
User: Receivers can be held in our hands or mounted, for example, in our cars.
Control: Five ground stations around the world make sure the satellites work properly.
For traveling purposes, folded maps, which we have all probably used at one time, are no longer necessary. Just key in your destination on the receiver, and off you go. Obviously, there are many, many other uses for GPS, but for my purpose in writing this article, this is all I need to say.
I was thinking about the Bible the other day in relationship to the GPS service we all know and love. It occurred to me that the Bible is the spiritual GPS for everyone on earth. It tells us where we are, where we are going and how to get there. It provides answers for the same five questions that GPS answers.
WHERE AM I?
The Bible says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," (Romans 3:23)
It also says, "whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed." (John 3:18b-20)
These and many other verses in the Bible let us know that we are all sinners before God. Our position in this world is as sinners standing before a Holy God. If we do not come before God placing our faith in His Son Jesus, we remain in the position of "stands condemned."
Where am I? I'm standing alone, condemned and without excuse.
WHERE AM I GOING?
"But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him." (Luke 12:5)
"Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:14-15)
If we stand condemned before God our destination is hell, which is then thrown into the lake of fire on judgment day.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
Now that's a good question. Do we have to curse God or publicly deny Jesus to arrive in hell? Do we have to be a bad person, or even a really, really bad person? Actually, anyone can arrive in hell after leaving this world by simply doing nothing. That's right. Getting a free all-expense paid trip to hell is so easy anybody can go; bad people, good people, even religious people.
Don't forget, God said in John 3:18, "...whoever does not believe stands condemned already." So it really doesn't matter if you never said "No," because you have said "No" to Jesus by simply saying nothing, trying to remain neutral. In the same verse God goes on to explain by saying, "because they have not believed in the name of God's one and only Son."
Therefore, if I really prefer to go to hell (perish the thought), I don't have to do anything. It will all be made available for me upon my death.
So now we have the route to take, and the route is the broad way of destruction.
"...For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it." (Matthew 7:13b)
NOW WAIT JUST A MINUTE!!!
Oh, I'm sorry, I almost forgot. What about those who want to go to Heaven instead? Okay, let's start over.
WHERE AM I?
Nothing has changed. We all are leaving from the same place; i.e. "stands condemned."
"There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." "Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit." "The poison of vipers is on their lips." "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know."
"There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Romans 3:10-18)
So what hope is there for those who want to have Jesus in their lives and live with Him forever in Heaven? There must be a different way, than the highway to hell. There is one way. Not many take it, because it is so narrow.
HOW DO I GET THERE?
Notice I skipped "Where Am I Going" since we have already decided to change the destination from hell to Heaven. So how do I get to Heaven?
"If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9)
In other words, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
By trusting wholly upon Jesus Christ, putting our faith in Him alone, our destination is changed for eternity, but we must act. We cannot be neutral about Jesus. We are either for Him or against Him. If we say nothing, we are just as much against Him as those who curse Him, but if we ask Him to save us, He will.
"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ," (Philippians 3:20)
"But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel." (Hebrews 12:22-24)
We now have a new route. It is the only route that goes directly to the cross of Christ and the empty tomb He left behind. This is the narrow path and the narrow gate that few choose to travel, but it is the only way to God.
"Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)
BUT THAT'S NOT ALL
By asking Jesus to save us we now are at peace with God.
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1-2)
Also, we will never ever be condemned by God because Jesus took our condemnation upon Himself, for us.
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death." (Romans 8:1-2)
And also we will never ever be separated from our Savior and Lord. We are His for ever and ever.
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
Yes, the Word of God, the Bible, is the GPS for every individual on this earth; all those in the past, present and future. The Bible is the most important document mankind will ever have because it speaks the words of God. Those who take it lightly will suffer for it, but those who listen will be blessed.
Jesus said to the seven churches in Revelation, "Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches." (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22)
The churches and all mankind need to listen to His words. They speak truthfully, loudly, clearly and emphatically in this precious book called the Bible.
I will close by mentioning one more matter. For those who choose the GPS route of the narrow way, what do we do about the many road hazards Satan throws in our way? I think King David said it best.
"The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." (Psalms 23)
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: https://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html
Daily Jot: America's freedom and heritage
- Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Blessings to America and her sons and daughters as we continue to celebrate our independence declared on July 4, 1776. But the nation we know and love as America, the ideal of the United States of America, really began in the early 1600's when settlers came from other countries, mainly England, on an adventure that spawned the beacon of freedom and the light of Jesus Christ for the world. The Mayflower Compact, which many believe today to be the first significant governing document of what would become the United States, was very specific about the covenant these men and women were entering into with God for this new land. Herein, we need to know the past in order to preserve our future.
The Mayflower Compact of 1620 reads: "IN THE NAME OF GOD, AMEN. We, whose names are underwritten, the Loyal Subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c. Having undertaken for the Glory of God, and Advancement of the Christian Faith, and the Honor of our King and Country, a Voyage to plant the first Colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; Do by these Presents, solemnly and mutually, in the Presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil Body Politick, for our better Ordering and Preservation, and Furtherance of the Ends aforesaid."
Some 18 years later, The Fundamental Orders of 1638, were adopted in Connecticut. Its preamble says, "For as much as it hath pleased Almighty God...knowing where a people are gathered together the word of God requires that to maintain the peace and union of such a people there should be an orderly and decent Government established according to God, to order and dispose of the affairs of the people at all seasons as occasion shall require; ... to maintain and preserve the liberty and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus ... which according to the truth of the said Gospel is now practiced amongst us; as also in our civil affairs to be guided and governed according to such Laws, Rules, Orders and Decrees...
These documents and many others like them dispel the lie that America was not founded on Christian precepts. We allow freedom to all religions, because our God in Christ Jesus will not force Himself upon others, but rather allow them to come voluntarily. But the foundation of our nation must remain Christian otherwise we will not so long be a nation of freedom and justice. God's sovereignty must be the rule of man. The Lord said in Jeremiah 34:15, "And you were now turned, and had done right in My sight, in proclaiming liberty every man to his neighbor; and you had made a covenant before me in the house which is called by my name." Remember your heritage in order to keep your future.
Daily Devotion: What Jesus Said about Worry - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. - Matthew 6:34
The great theologian Charlie Brown made this statement about worry: "I've developed a new philosophy. . . . I only dread one day at a time."
Now let me quote an actual theologian, the late Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who said, "If I allow my concern about the future to cripple me in the present, I am guilty of worry."
There are so many things happening in our world today that could cause us to worry. The war on terrorism is far from over. There is a terrorist army that calls itself ISIS, the likes of which we have never seen before. Then there are rogue nations like North Korea and Iran arming themselves with nuclear capabilities.
Then we have our personal problems too. There are problems with work . . . problems with our families . . . problems with our health.
How can we overcome fear and worry? The Bible has something to say about this. Jesus Himself addressed it in the Sermon on the Mount:
Therefore do not worry, saying, "What shall we eat?" or "What shall we drink?" or "What shall we wear?" For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:31-33 NKJV).
Believers should not worry. Jesus is not saying that Christians shouldn't be concerned about the necessities of life. He is not saying that we shouldn't think about them or plan for the future. The Bible encourages us to work hard, to save our money, and so forth. But what Jesus is saying is that we shouldn't worry about these things.
Worry doesn't make your life longer; it just makes it more miserable.
FROM THE HEART
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