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Prophecy Update Newsletter
August 26, 2016
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
New Turkey - New Friends - Alf Cengia - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8297
It appears that there's a New Turkey, and it has found New Friends to play with.
Some time ago I received negative feedback on my musings about Vladimir Putin's motives. I was informed that Putin was a "flash in the pan." He was a wannabe Czar whose star would eventually fizzle out like a snuffed birthday candle.
Often our opinions are shaped by the material we regularly read. Most news media contain degrees of partiality - some more than others. Further complicating matters are our own personal biases. Many would rather not believe that troubling events are occurring around the world. It interferes with their lifestyles.
A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then. Putin's subsequent actions confirmed his Real Deal status. He has always harbored a calculated game plan for expanding Russian interests. Putin telegraphed what he wanted to do and then set about achieving those targets.
I remember the lead up to the 2008 United States presidential elections. At the time I was still living in Australia and reading about the presidential candidates from several sources. One candidate stood out - Senator Barack Obama. He seemed to come from nowhere.
There were different lines of thought about Senator Obama. Some were leery of him based on his history, what he said, and the people he associated with. Others loved him for those very same reasons.
Still others (some conservatives included) dismissed negative feedback as possibly racially motivated. Many were excited about potentially making history by voting for the first mixed race President of the United States.
Like Putin, Mr. Obama telegraphed his intentions. Sure he spouted the obligatory pre-election throw away promises. But mixed in with the political fluff, he achieved what he said he'd do - kowtow to Islam and oversee a smaller American global footprint (especially in the Middle East). Among his accomplishments has been the advancement of nuclear Iran and assisting the Muslim Brotherhood. You might even say that Obama was the perfect man for Putin's career!
Then there's the new Turkey and its new friends - Russia and Iran. For a long time we wondered what Erdogan was going to do. Would he jump into bed with the European bunch? Would he cultivate a cozy relationship with Israel, as some reports suggested? Even when he was spitting out vitriol against Zionist Israel?
The thing about Erdogan is that he's a funny guy - but not in a good way. Think of Joe Pesci's unstable character in the movie Goodfellas. He's the sort of individual who can compliment and threaten, all in the same sentence.
The attempted rebel coup served to strengthen Erdogan's Islamist position in Turkey. It allowed him to enact "temporary" emergency measures which have cemented his position. The West had been hopeful that "moderate" Turkey would align itself to it. But Erdogan now appears to have chosen Putin:
Turkey's newfound love affair with Russia will inevitably have repercussions in Syria, and that pleases Iran. "Not only will Turkey have to 'digest' that [Russian-Iranian-Syrian] line, it will have to join it, entering into a pact with Putin and the ayatollahs.
Will the relationship last? Ken Timmerman's article sums the current status up well:
A [tectonic] shift has occurred in the balance of power in the Middle East since the failed Turkish coup of mid-July, and virtually no one in Washington is paying attention to it. Turkey and Iran are simultaneously moving toward Russia, while Russia is expanding its global military and strategic reach, all to the detriment of the United States and our allies. This will have a major impact across the region, potentially leaving U.S. ally Israel isolated to face a massive hostile alliance armed with nuclear weapons. (Emphasis mine)
Tectonic is an appropriate word. The military ramifications of this new alliance are large scale. Saudi Arabia has already broadcasted its intention to counter a future nuclear Iran. Will this escalate into a new arms race?
The following comments by Timmerman were also interesting:
Believers in Bible prophecy see this new alignment as a step closer to the alliance mentioned in Ezekiel 37-38, which Israel ultimately defeated on the plains of Megiddo...Today's Israel, however, is doing its best to soften the blow by patching up relations with Turkey and through cooperation with Russia. (Emphasis mine)
One of the main points raised by prophecy enthusiasts - when discussing the Gog-Magog conflagration - is Israel's trust in its peaceful conditions (Ezek 38:11). These conditions suddenly change requiring God's intervention to prevent Israel from being destroyed. For more information on this topic I recommend Ron Rhodes' book Northern Storm Rising.
Note that some prophecy scholars subscribe to a Psalm 83 scenario occurring prior to Gog-Magog. Bill Salus and Thomas Ice debate the issue HERE.
In general, I've avoided commenting about prophetic details. Not only am I not an expert but it's fraught with all sorts of possible pitfalls. Even so, the big picture seems to be forming - at least to my mind. It has taken a long series of unusual circumstances to get where we are now: Putin, Obama, ISIS, Erdogan, the Syrian and Iraqi collapse, the Turkish coup attempt etc. But here we are.
One wonders what's next, lurking around the corner. What about China and North Korea? Is Pyongyang just indulging in the usual saber rattling, like Putin allegedly was? Is the U.S. Administration concerned? It should be.
We live in a world filled with tenuous conditions fertile for another Word War. Conflict can escalate quickly. The epicenter of the world's current tribulations is the Middle East. And Israel just happens to be in the center of it all. Hatred of Israel and anti-Semitism is rising. This appears analogous to scenarios portrayed in the Bible (Zech 13-14 etc).
Could these events be precursors to the End of this Age? We need to be paying close attention.
Those of us who have placed our trust in the Lord must renew our relationship with Him on a daily basis. Our hearts should be cast upon on heaven, even while serving God and witnessing here. That last thought always stings my conscience.
Our lives are like vapors. If you haven't placed your faith in Jesus Christ yet, now is the time to do it. Your eternity depends on your choice in the here and now (John 3:16-18; I Cor 15:3-4).
Time may well be running out.
Iranian military official: We have 100,000 missiles in Lebanon ready to hit Israel - Ariel Ben Solomon - http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Iranian-military-official-We-have-100000-missiles-in-Lebanon-ready-to-hit-Israel-459350
According to Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the IRGC, "the opportunity to destroy Israel is now better than ever."
President Hassan Rouhani said the last year's nuclear deal "was the cheapest way to achieve Iran's goals and interests."
Speaking in Tehran on Saturday at an iftar meal breaking the Ramadan fast, Rouhani said the pre-Iran nuclear-deal era is past and Iran now needs to take advantage of the new atmosphere to pursue its "national interests more than before," Iran's Islamic Republic News Agency reported.
The country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday called for student associations to establish a "unified anti-US and anti-Zionist front" among the Muslim world's students, Tasnim News Agency reported.
"By using advanced means of communication and in cyberspace, general campaigns can be formed by Muslim students based on the opposition to the policies of the US and the Zionist regime of Israel so that when needed, millions of young Muslim students create a big movement in the Islamic world," he said.
Khamenei also warned against plots by enemies seeking to sabotage the country.
Separately, on Saturday, Fars News Agency reported a senior official of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards as having said Israel's Iran Dome anti-rocket system has vulnerabilities that were revealed in recent wars.
On a similar note, the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Brig.-Gen.
Hossein Salami, said on Friday "more than 100,000 missiles are ready to fly from Lebanon," according to Tasnim.
"Today, the grounds for the annihilation and collapse of the Zionist regime are [present] more than ever," he declared, saying there are "tens of thousands of destructive long-range missiles" from Islamic territories aiming at all of "occupied" Israel.
"If the Zionists make a wrong move, all the occupied territories will come under attack from dedicated fighters and, God willing, the territories will be liberated," Salami warned.
On Friday, Rouhani accused Western powers of trying to exploit differences between the world's Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims to divert attention from the Israel-Palestinian conflict, state television reported.
"We stand with the dispossessed Palestinian nation," he said.
World War 3 Coming Soon? Tanks Roll Across the Border as Turkish Invasion of Syria Begins - By Michael Snyder -
The invasion of Syria that so many people have been warning about is now happening. On Wednesday, Turkish tanks rolled across the Syrian border, and they were accompanied by radical Islamic Syrian rebels that want to ultimately overthrow the Assad regime. This invasion was conducted under the code name "Euphrates Shield", and it was supported by airstrikes from A-10s and F-16s that are part of the U.S.-led coalition that has been conducting airstrikes against ISIS targets in the region. The mainstream media in the United States has been very quiet about this escalation of the conflict in Syria, but things are much different in the rest of the world. For example, a major Israeli news source announced the attack this way: "Turkey invades Syria". And without a doubt, that is precisely what is taking place. The Syrian government denounced this move by Turkey as a "blatant breach to its sovereignty", and the Russians are deeply alarmed. The farther Turkish forces push into northern Syria, the more likely they will be to encounter Syrian or Russian forces, and one bad move could result in the outbreak of World War 3 in the Middle East.
The fact that the U.S. media is treating this invasion of Syria as if it is of little importance is deeply disturbing. These days, the big news channels are obsessed with feeding us propaganda about how "healthy" Hillary Clinton is, or about how "racist" Donald Trump is, and they spend exceedingly little time on the things that really matter all over the globe.
Fortunately, it is not the same way around much of the rest of the planet. Here is an excerpt from a British news source about the Turkish attack...
It is hard to anticipate whether Turkey's unprecedented military incursion into Syria this week will change the dynamics of the multiple wars that have ravaged the region and put civilians through hell. If things already seemed complicated in the Middle East, they may have just become even more so. What started on Wednesday ranks as the largest Turkish military operation inside Syrian territory since the civil war began five years ago. A dozen tanks, reportedly followed by a bus transporting Syrian rebels, rolled into northern Syria to drive Islamic State forces from the town of Jarablus, one of their last footholds on the Turkish-Syrian border. Today Turkey sent more tanks in and told the YPG Kurdish armed group it had one week to retreat from the border areas.
We are being told that the primary purpose of this Turkish invasion is "to fight ISIS", but that is just for western consumption. The truth is that Turkey has actually been supporting ISIS and other terror groups in Syria for a very long time. In fact, it has been heavily documented that ISIS sold hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of stolen oil through Turkey until the Russians put a stop to it.
No, the real motivation for this assault is to stop the advance of Kurdish forces. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu recently promised that Turkey would "do what is necessary" to keep Kurdish fighters east of the Euphrates River, and even President Erdogan is admitting that the Kurds are primary targets in this operation...
"(Wednesday's operation) started in the north of Syria against terror groups which constantly threaten our country, like (ISIS) and the PYD," Erdogan said, referring to a Syrian Kurdish opposition political party.
And U.S. officials know exactly what Erdogan is doing. Just check out what one of them told CNN...
Another senior US official told CNN's Barbara Starr the US assessment is that Turkey's cross-border action is largely about trying to stop Kurdish action. "The Turks never cared about Jarablus until the Kurds wanted to get there," the official said.
So now the Turks have declared open season on the Kurds in northern Syria, and the Syrian Kurds are treating this move as "a declaration of war"...
Spokesman for the YPG Kurdish militia, Redur Xelil, called Turkey's move "blatant aggression in Syrian internal affairs." Aldar Xelil, another influential Kurdish politician, accused Turkey of initiating an occupation of Syria, saying the operation amounted to "a declaration of war" on the autonomous administration set up by Kurdish groups in northern Syria in 2011.
According to the Turkish government, Operation Euphrates Shield will "create a safe zone" that will be 90 kilometers long and 40 kilometers wide that stretches roughly from the town of Jarablus to the town of Marea.
That is a massive amount of territory, and this basically shows that the Turks plan to set up shop there permanently.
President Erdogan and his supporters have always dreamed of recreating the old Ottoman Empire, and they already have military forces occupying portions of northern Iraq. This move into northern Syria is yet another bold move in the direction of their ultimate goal.
But will the Russians just stand by and allow the Turks to do whatever they want?
So far the Russians are not saying much, but Vladimir Putin has ordered snap military drills...
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered snap military drills as German Chancellor Angela Merkel accused him of breaking international law in Ukraine and said NATO will defend member states against attack.
Combat readiness exercises are taking place "to defend the interests of the Russian Federation amid increasing threats to its security," Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday in a statement on the ministry's website. Troops in Russia's southern, central and western military districts, naval deployments in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, and airborne forces are involved, he said.
The Russians don't want to fight Turkish forces in Syria, but as they have shown in Crimea, in Ukraine and elsewhere, they are definitely not afraid to take military action when their interests require it.
And if Russia and Turkey do start fighting, that would threaten to drag the rest of NATO (including the United States) into the conflict.
Turkey has been chomping at the bit to start grabbing chunks of territory in northern Syria for quite some time now, but this invasion is going to turn out to be a tragic mistake.
President Erdogan has definitely overplayed his hand this time, and let us just hope that it doesn't result in World War 3 erupting in the Middle East.
Why Iran isn't rattled by Turkey-Russia turnabout - Zakiyeh Yazdanshenas - http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2016/08/turkey-russia-rapprochement-impact-iran-regional-policies.html?utm_campaign=applenews&utm_medium=applenews&utm_source=apple
The politics of the Middle East are undergoing rapid changes, as demonstrated by recent developments in Turkey's domestic and foreign policies. These shifts will undoubtedly impact the regional and foreign policies of Turkey's neighbors, in particular those of Iran. For Tehran, the two primary factors are Turkey's decision to redefine its ties with Israel and Russia and the diminishing of Ankara's power as a key player in the Middle East and a rival of Iran.
These days, Iran sees itself as Russia's strategic partner in the Middle East. Of importance, the two countries are supporting the same side in the Syrian war. "Neither West nor East" remains part of the Islamic Republic's lexicon, but Russia has always enjoyed a better position in the country relative to the United States and other Western powers. In this vein, increased military cooperation between Moscow and Tehran is evidence of how important this partnership is for Iran. This month, the Islamic Republic for the first time allowed Russia to conduct military air operations from one of its air bases, perhaps a show of Tehran's wish to maintain its pivotal position in Moscow's regional policies.
As some have recently argued, Iran's allowing Russia to use its Hamedan air base can be considered a message to its opponents in Syria, such as Turkey, who are attempting to court Russia. Indeed, Iran wants to signal that while Russia might talk to different players about Syria, such as Turkey and the United States, at the end of the day, it is Iran that Russia views as trustworthy. This bottom line has been lost amid the storm of criticism from Iranian lawmakers and negative public opinion about the sorties from Hamedan that led Tehran to announce Aug. 22 that Russian military operations from Iranian soil had been halted.
Although Iran and Russia have supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad since the war in Syria erupted, their red lines in the country do not fully overlap. Ali Akbar Velayati, who serves as foreign policy adviser to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had previously stated that keeping Assad in power is Iran's red line in Syria. In contrast, Russia's red line is maintaining the regime but not necessarily Assad. As such, the Turkey-Russia rapprochement, in the context of Ankara distancing itself from the West, may cause concerns in Iran about the possibility of a Turkish-Russian deal on Assad's fate.
Nasser Hadian, a professor of international relations at Tehran University, told Al-Monitor that the impact of the July 15 coup attempt on Turkey's future has three basic dimensions. "Generally, the coup has weakened the Turkish position in the region and the world, but it has strengthened President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's power within the Turkish political system, while also limiting the role of the army," he said.
With Turkey's internal turmoil weakening its position in the region, Hadian said, Ankara's power to act in the Middle East will be limited. This in turn could provide Iran, as a key regional player, with more opportunities as Turkey focuses on internal challenges for the foreseeable future.
Nonetheless, given the interconnected nature of security in the region, Hadian believes that Iran is in fact concerned about the security situation in Turkey. Indeed, Iranian officials' prompt condemnation of the coup attempt as it unfolded and backing of Turkey's democratically elected government could be seen within this framework.
As for any potentially negative implications stemming from the new twist in Turkish-Russian relations and the possibility of Turkey surpassing Iran as Moscow's regional ally, Hadian said, "I believe that [the situation] is not a zero-sum game, and [Iran] should not be concerned about this issue." He thinks that the impact of the rapprochement between Ankara and Moscow on Iran's regional policy will notably be seen in developments in Syria.
"It is likely that Turkey will close its borders [with Syria] to stop equipping Assad's opponents, and it may probably agree with a transitional period [as part of a peace deal], with Assad remaining in power during that period," he said. "The realization of this scenario is consistent with Iran's regional objectives."
Iran has consistently backed the Syrian government and fought Assad's opponents throughout the 5-year-long civil war. Unlike Western countries and Turkey, Iran and Russia see no difference between the Islamic State (IS) and the "moderate" opposition to Assad. As such, if Russia can persuade Turkey to effectively seal off its southern border and stop arming Assad's opponents, both Moscow and Tehran will move closer to their common objectives in Syria.
There are several reasons for Turkey's possibly being receptive to Russian influence. Although the coup attempt has caused instability in Turkey, the country was already suffering from instability related to the Syria war and the situation in Kurdish areas in the southeast. This has put Turkey in a weaker position vis-a-vis Russia. Furthermore, the United States and Russia are reportedly coordinating their efforts in the fight against IS in Syria. Given these developments on the ground, Russia has a good opportunity to persuade Turkey to decrease its support to Assad's opponents. In return, Russia is likely to pay more attention to Turkey's security concerns, and in this regard, likely reduce its support for Kurdish forces in Syria. Finally, unlike complex security issues that have proven difficult to resolve, common economic and commercial interests favor both Russia and Turkey expediently improving their ties.
While Turkey is unlikely to do a complete U-turn of its Syria policy, cooperation between Tehran and Ankara will likely improve, while the relative strengthening of Iran's position in the region in the aftermath of the coup attempt is likely to continue regardless of the improvement in Turkish-Russian relations.
This week on 'The Hal Lindsey Report' - Hal Lindsey - www.hallindsey.com
Russia is on the move again. Ukraine is the target again.
Recently, the Russian military moved as many as 40,000 troops, along with tanks, armored vehicles, and air force units, to staging areas along Russia's border with Ukraine.
Russia is also conducting massive military exercises nearby and in Belarus, north of Ukraine.
Some media organizations are noting that these are the same preparations Russia made before invading and annexing Ukraine's southern peninsula of Crimea in 2014.
Some are speculating that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine and seize the eastern regions that are home to many Russian-speaking Ukrainians. Others think that Russia is flexing its muscles in response to NATO's and the European Union's efforts to draw Ukraine into the western sphere.
Even more ominous is the response of the United States. Several media outlets are reporting that President Obama recently ordered the removal of the large nuclear arsenal housed at Incirlik Air Base in Turkey.
Now, in view of the unrest and instability in Turkey, that is a wise decision. However, instead of moving the arsenal to a stable NATO ally like France or Great Britain, Obama has apparently decided to move the nukes to Romania -- the nation that borders Ukraine to the east and south.
Whether or not he means to, the President just sent a provocative message to Vladimir Putin. And he is furious!
Poor Ukraine. A furious Russia -- who has already invaded and seized prized territory -- on its eastern border, and NATO and the United States and its nuclear arsenal on its western border.
Further, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander recently said that "Russian doctrine states that tactical nuclear weapons may be used in a conventional response scenario."
So Russia believes it can use nuclear weapons when fighting a conventional war; it has become more aggressive with its challenges to western air forces and naval forces; it has increased its submarine patrols off the U.S. coast; and it is in the midst of a huge buildup of nuclear warhead-capable missiles.
One prominent Russian military observer and analyst is convinced that "Russia is getting ready for a big war which they assume will go nuclear, with them launching the first attacks."
Welcome to the end-times!
You snicker when I say that, but consider this. Ezekiel 38 describes one of the pivotal moments in the end-times scenario. The scripture says that Magog and Persia will lead a confederation of nations in a massive invasion of Israel.
Magog and Persia are modern-day Russia and Iran.
Once antagonists, Russia and Iran are now thick-as-thieves. In fact, Iran did something it has not done since it has been the Islamic Republic of Iran. It allowed a foreign military to base assets on an Iranian military base.
Until just weeks ago, Russia had strike bombers based at Hamedan air base, just west of Tehran. They were flying bombing sorties through Iraqi airspace into Syria in support of Bashar al-Assad's government.
Unprecedented. But precisely as predicted for these days by the Bible thousands of years ago!
Remember the famous Battle of Britain at the beginning of World War Two? The outmanned and outgunned Royal Air Force (RAF) defeated the deadly German Luftwaffe and thwarted Hitler's attempt to invade and defeat the British.
The Brits may not be so fortunate in the new Battle of Britain. This time they are fighting a force that is firmly implanted in their own midst: Islam.
The new Muslim mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is wasting no time. It was recently announced by Scotland Yard that it will use its full force and resources to protect London's Muslim minority -- at all cost.
The new mayor is instituting a help-line to report hate crimes against Muslims. Although the Scotland Yard statement suggests that it is open to victims of any crime motivated by the victim's race, faith, age, sexual orientation, gender, or disability, the general consensus is that it is aimed primarily at Muslim citizens.
But what makes this hate help-line different is that Scotland Yard is telling the public that, "You do not have to prove that the incident or crime was motivated by prejudice, if you or any other person believes that it was, then it will be dealt with as a hate crime."
Evidence? To paraphrase a famous movie line: "We don't need no stinking evidence!"
Forgive me, but it's hard for me to believe that a sophisticated western society can sink so far so quickly.
Over the last few years, preachers of the Gospel have been hauled to London jails because someone thought their words were hateful. Tolerance in Great Britain has apparently become a one-way street.
Now, the vaunted Scotland Yard promises to harass anyone even accused of saying something negative about Islam -- whether or not a law is actually broken or there is actually any just cause.
Since when have religious ideas been exempt from scrutiny?
But Islam is more than a religion. It is a political ideology. A free society must be able to openly criticize political ideas or it will not remain free.
What the Germans couldn't do in WW2, political correctness may do today.
Finally, on this week's program, I am going to continue my discussion of the Biblical concept of "propitiation."
I will also show you how the exacting rituals of the Jewish tabernacle in the Old Testament foreshadowed the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and how that sacrifice became our propitiation. It turned away God's wrath and allowed Him to show us His mercy.
Don't miss this week's Report on TBN, Daystar, CPM Network, The Word Network, various local stations, www.hallindsey.com or www.hischannel.com . Check your local listings.
Watch this week's Report before it airs! An HD quality MP4 download of each week's show will now be available for purchase from the website. Visit the store at www.hallindsey.com to get your report.
My Review of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?"
Over the last 35 years, I have literally read hundreds of books on Bible Prophecy and End Time signs. I especially enjoy books on the Rapture, and I have read almost every Rapture-related book published. In all those years, devouring thousands of pages, and millions of words, I have not read a better book on the Rapture than, Rapture Ready...Or Not?
Terry James might be physically blind, but he is spiritually sharp and well discerning beyond most authors. In "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" Terry has nailed the pre-trib Rapture, and removed any doubt what so ever about the Church going through the Tribulation. With great insight and Godly discernment, Terry explains with simple, yet profound words, why and how that he has come to believe the ways he does about the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the End Times scenario. I think after reading "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" you too will believe as Terry does, and be Ready for the Rapture like never before! - Randy Thomas - Publisher / Editor - Prophecy Update
For more information and or to get your copy of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" use this link: http://www.raptureready.com/terry/book35.html
What legacy will you leave? - Greg Laurie -
Pastor Greg Laurie urges emulation of Paul's long-distance 'run'
Alfred Nobel had the unique opportunity of reading his own obituary. One day he opened the newspaper and saw his name in the obituary column. It had been printed by mistake, of course, but Nobel was distressed that he was remembered as the man who created dynamite, something used for mass destruction. Nobel decided to make some dramatic changes in his life. Wanting to change what people would remember him for, he went on to create the Nobel Peace Prize.
If you weren't aware that Alfred Nobel invented dynamite, then apparently his plan worked. Instead he left the legacy of the Nobel Peace Prize.
We all will leave a legacy. What will people remember about us? What will our family members say? What will we be known for? If we don't like what we come up with as we think about this, it isn't too late to change.
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul stated and left his legacy. His turbulent life was coming to an end, yet he had truly made a difference. His final words were not a message of defeat but one of victory.
He was not like Solomon, who looked at his life in retrospect and said, "Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 2:11 NIV).
Nor did Paul look back on his life and say, like his namesake, Saul, the king of Israel, "Indeed I have played the fool and erred exceedingly" (1 Samuel 26:21 NKJV).
The apostle Paul was able to say what he said because he lived a life that was right before God. Because of that, he had no regrets.
At the time, Paul was sitting in a dungeon in Rome. An amazing series of events had led to his imprisonment. It started with Paul's desire to go to Jerusalem and preach there. A prophet named Agabus had taken the belt Paul had been wearing, wrapped up his own arms and legs in it, and said, "The Holy Spirit says, 'In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles'" (Acts 21:11 NIV).
When Paul's friends heard that, they began to weep. They asked him not to go to Jerusalem. But Paul would not be deterred. I guess he really meant it on the day of his conversion when he said to Jesus, "Lord, what do You want me to do?" (Acts 9:6 NKJV). Paul did not fear imprisonment. He did not fear what people could do to him. He gave his life completely to God.
It reminds me of the words of Jim Eliot, a 20th-century martyr who was killed in his endeavor to take the gospel to a tribe in Ecuador known at that time as the Aucas. In his journal he had written, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."
Paul went to Jerusalem and preached, and sure enough, people were angry with him and wanted to kill him. He was arrested and whipped, and then he was transferred to Felix, the Roman governor.
Now if Paul had played his cards right, he could have talked his way out of that mess. Instead, Paul spoke to Felix about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come. Paul challenged Felix to come to Christ. Felix procrastinated, and after a period of time, Paul exercised his rights and privileges as a citizen of Rome and appealed to Caesar. So Paul was put on a ship and sent to Rome.
He was taken to a place known as the Mamertine Prison, which was nothing more than a cold, dark cave cell with no window. There was only a hole through which food could be lowered. Needless to say, Paul was in a pit. And it was from this pit that Paul wrote these words: "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:6-7 NKJV).
Notice that Paul didn't say he ran the race; he said he finished the race. That's the key. It is not enough to start well; we need to finish well. It is not enough to run fast; we need to run fast and long. This is a long-distance run. The goal is to make it across the finish line.
The Bible is filled with the stories of so many people who had tremendous potential but crashed and burned in the spiritual race. Samson had the incredible ability to vanquish his enemies. He would kill them left and right on the battlefield. On one occasion, he killed a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey. Yet he went down in flames because he played around with sin - and sin ultimately played around with him, culminating in his own death.
Then there was Gideon, who had such humble beginnings and was mightily used by God. But as his life came to an end, he lowered his standards and fell into immorality and pride.
Both Samson and Gideon started well, but they didn't finish well. They ran fast in the beginning, but they didn't get across the finish line like they should have.
Paul wanted to be of the company of those who finished the race, joining the ranks of those who did so in God's winners' circle-men and women who finished well.
Paul truly had made a difference with his life. And if we are on the right course, our lives can make a difference as well. We all will leave a legacy. What kind will you leave?
Daily Jot: Another vast right-wing conspiracy - Bill Wilson -
In 1998, First Lady Hillary Clinton invoked the words "vast right-wing conspiracy" in defense of her husband, President Bill Clinton, amid the sex scandal that would eventually cause his impeachment. It has its own Wikipedia page. Bill Clinton also used the same terms when criticism was leveled at the current occupant of the Oval Office. Now it has been brought out of the political bag of tricks again by Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to deflect the fact that she used her position as Secretary of State to enrich herself in a pay to play scheme. AP and Judicial Watch have used Clinton's own emails to confirm that she and her aids demanded money in return for access to State Department meetings.
Whenever the Clintons come under fire, they roll out the victim card and tell the media that they are the brunt of a "vast right-wing conspiracy." The New York Times posted a video of Clinton responding to the AP/Judicial Watch bribery scheme confirmations by attacking her "opponent" as a racist, submitting to a "remerging racist ideology known as the alt-right." Clinton has avoided public appearances and media contact during this truth storm revealing her ongoing corruption and disregard for national security. When she finally came out of hiding, she employed this long-standing Clinton strategy-- answer allegations with smears and conspiracy theory, while claiming her opponent is smearing her.
When Clinton and the Democratic Party operatives smear their opponent with racist and bigot allegations, they really mean that anyone who votes for him is also a racist and a bigot. Nobody wants to be considered a racist or a bigot or part of some outrageous vast right-wing conspiracy or the alt right wing, whatever that is. So the Clintons are trying to shame you into voting for her or not voting at all because while she may be the most corrupt candidate in recent memory, at least those who vote for her are not part of a vast right-wing, alt right, racist, bigot conspiracy. Nevertheless, that's how the left views Christians who are pro-life and believe in the right to bear arms. They have repeatedly said it.
The Clintons are expert at insinuation and painting a smear picture of their opponents. They are artful at making people lose their nerve to vote over fear of being labeled something unacceptable to society. While claiming they are the victims of smear (which in reality is factual evidence of their wrong-doing), they smear others and label them so the non-thinking people will shy away. This is their tried and true campaign strategy. Don't take the bait. Ephesians 5:6,7, says, "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not you therefore partakers with them." On election day, we should hit the "alt-control-delete" button on the Clinton campaign against America, and not allow her to paint Christian Americans as "alt-right."
Daily Devotion: An Essential of Evangelism - Greg Laurie -
Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone. -Colossians 4:5-6
Jesus, the master evangelist, used something that many Christians seriously lack today, which is tact. Tact has been defined as diplomacy, sensitivity. One definition of it is skill and grace in dealing with others. Isaac Newton defined tact as "the art of making a point without making an enemy."
There is a built-in offense to the essential message of the gospel, but we don't have to make it worse by being insensitive to people. And far too often this happens. I have watched it. You probably have too. A Christian will walk up to an unbeliever and start the conversation with something like this: "Hey, heathen. Did you know you are going to hell?" That is not the way to build a bridge.
When Jesus approached the woman at the well in Samaria, He asked her a question. He drew her out. He engaged her. Evangelism is a dialogue, not a monologue. And the best way to engage a person in a conversation is to listen. In starting a conversation, the objective is to build a bridge. That is what we want to do. Ask people about themselves. Everyone's favorite subject is themselves. And as they talk, engage them. Ask them questions. You don't have to cut people off. You don't have to contradict them. You don't have to insult them. Just listen.
Sure, there is a place for point and counterpoint. Sure, we need to defend our beliefs. But no one has ever been argued into the kingdom of God. And I have seen Christians win the argument and lose the soul. But I would rather win the soul and listen and engage and give and take. As you do this, you will know from the conversation how to respond with the gospel message. Listen patiently. And then respond appropriately.
FROM THE HEART
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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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