Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Moses, An Unlikely Hero - Steve Schmutzer -
I cried today when Moses died. This is not an event that just happened, and it's not because he and I were close. In fact, Moses died many thousands of years ago, long before I was born. I won't meet him until I die too, and then I'll find a different Moses than the guy I've just read about.
Most of us are familiar with Moses at some level. He led the people of Israel out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. It was tough traveling, and the challenges were many. Though God miraculously guided them and provided for them each step of the journey, the Israelites learned all their lessons the hard way - if they really learned them at all. This was very hard on Moses, and his resulting frustration eventually proved his undoing.
But from birth to death, it is obvious that God chose Moses for a special purpose. His relationship with God was unique, personal, and faithful. The Bible concludes Deuteronomy by stating that "...no prophet has since risen whom the Lord knew face to face," and that "....no one has ever shown the mighty power or performed the awesome deeds that Moses did."
Let me put this another way: we are never going to see anyone like Moses again. He was a hero, a pretty remarkable man. No doubt about it.
So I hesitate to say I see a lot of myself in him. But I do. I understand Moses when he doubted God, when he challenged God, when he pleaded with God, and when he asked God for special favors. I sympathize with his frustrations, his loneliness, and even his passion for justice. I feel his despair when he wanted to give up and call it quits. I've been there. I know how it feels to wonder if you're really the man for the job.
Everybody loves a hero! Our heroes accomplish the things we can only dream about. They show us it can be done! We're inspired by our heroes because they give us hope. We believe in them, and eventually we place some of our own identity in the person we choose to see them as.
That's why a gnawing misery invades our soul when something goes terribly wrong with our heroes. Our sense of worth and purpose gets clouded. We become troubled in our secret places, forced to wonder once again who we are.
I admit that the particular circumstances surrounding Moses' death will always make me feel uncomfortable on some purely human level. After so many years of endurance, hard work, loyalty to God, and doing a lot of challenging things the right way, Moses had his natural outburst - his unguarded moment. He lost control.
He blew it. And for this, God denied Moses the reward of achieving the goal, even when the prize Moses had endured so long for was finally in sight. It makes me swallow hard. It's easy to feel a spasm of despair for Moses who showed that even he could fail. It concerns me to no small degree that I see myself in Moses here too.
In the end, Moses, the staunch patriot, the unparalleled leader, the prototypical judge, and the great mentor to God's chosen people was still just as human as I am right now. I am tempted to be alarmed about this more than I am encouraged to find any hope in it. After all, if a matchless personality like Moses could fail, then maybe the bar is set too high. It's easy for me to feel overwhelmed. My hero couldn't pull it off, so why should I even try?
After thinking this over for a bit, I conclude that there is a lot of incentive to finding fault with God. It is easier to hold to an improper view of God than to change something I most want to believe about myself. And being the person I am, I want to believe that I'm OK. I want to feel I can bring something good to the table.
The problem is I'm not OK, not even close! Moses wasn't either. Only the absolute holiness of an Almighty God makes this clear. Without this standard, it's too easy to think I'm better than I am or that God is not as awesome and perfect as He really is. Both views are so very wrong.
I'm wiser to see Moses as a reality check. The Israelites constantly failed the basics about trusting God, and in a critical moment, Moses also did the same as they.
Sure, he was a hero, and basically everyone around him wasn't. But personal achievements aside, who we really are comes down to giving proper place to God. That's why A. W. Tozer says, "What comes to our mind when we think about God is the most important thing about us." This sets the tone for everything else which follows.
I think Moses should still inspire us. He went from murderer and fugitive to become a prophet and leader for all time. Originally, he was a fairly ordinary man, but after God got hold of him he became a commanding figure of incredible destiny.
He's an example of what God can do through any of us if we lay aside our personal distractions and choose to walk as closely with God as Moses chose to do. And because God never changes, He's still searching for imperfect people to turn into unlikely heroes. People like me....and you!
Moses walked into the final hours of his life with his head and his heart in the right place. I doubt he anguished over his appointed time. He delivered a final, firm challenge to the nation of Israel and then he climbed the mountain alone, never to come back down. The Bible states that God met Moses up there and personally showed him the land which he would not enter. After that, Moses died.
I wonder how he died. I'm sure that Moses and God had one last talk. If the Lord said anything to him, I'll bet they were words of love and reassurance. Maybe they were something like, "It is time. You've journeyed long, my child. Let me take you to a far better Promised Land than this one you see."
The Bible states that God Himself buried Moses. There is no record of anybody else that had this honor. Moses left this world as exclusively as he came into it. If Moses had any shortcomings as a hero, he certainly died with hero's honors.
All things considered, it is not difficult to see why I feel like I've come to understand Moses - or at least the person he once was.
Qatar and Turkey: Toxic Allies in the Gulf - by Richard Miniter - https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/12917/qatar-turkey-toxic-allies
These days, America has more trouble with its allies than its enemies.
Consider the strange case of Turkey and Qatar, two putative American allies. Both nations host essential U.S. air bases while supporting Islamist political parties, increasingly cooperating with Iran, America's most determined enemy in the region, and actively subverting U.S. policy in the region.
Questions began with the arrest of Andrew Brunson, an American-born Christian pastor who has lived in Turkey for 23 years without incident. Then, on October 7, 2016 Brunson and his wife Norine were seized as alleged coup plotters. Norine was released after being held for 13 days, without any charges being filed. Andrew Brunson has remained in detention since 2016 and the charges, when they finally appeared, were numerous and impossible to believe. Example: Brunson is a part of Mormon-inspired CIA plot to topple Turkey's elected government. (Brunson is not Mormon and has no known CIA connections.) If convicted, he faces up to 35 years in prison.
Turkey revealed its true intentions when it offered to exchange Brunson for Fethullah Gülen, a self-exiled Turkish Islamic cleric who lives in Pennsylvania. The Turkish government believes that Gülen and his alleged "Fethullah Gülen Terror Organization" are behind the July 2016 alleged attempted "coup" against the Turkish government. Dissidents maintain that the "coup" was manufactured to give the elected Islamist government cover to purge pro-secular senior military officers, opposition politicians and critical journalists. For more than a decade, Turkish politics has been roiled by a debate about undoing many of secular traditions and laws enacted at the founding of modern Turkey in the 1920s, but now moving toward a more Islamic model that is friendlier to Iran's Islamic dictatorship and less so toward the US and the EU. Brunson apparently became a pawn in a larger chess game.
Enter President Donald J. Trump, who has publicly called for Brunson's release while privately rejecting the idea of turning over Gülen, a legal U.S. resident, to a foreign court system unlikely to give him a fair trial in a charged political environment. Next, Trump piled on economic sanctions to try to spring the jailed American pastor.
Those sanctions have gravely wounded Turkey's weakening economy, but not weakened its resolve. Turkey's currency registered a 40% drop against the U.S. dollar this year. Foreign direct investment into Turkey has also slowed significantly this year. Still, its government has stayed the course and refused to free Brunson. Indeed, it upped the ante: Turkey's leader called on his followers to boycott iPhones and other iconic American products.
Remember, Turkey is a NATO ally of the United States and the second-largest contributor of troops to that vital alliance. It is also home to key U.S. air bases, including Incirlik, a massive complex near Adana housing some 5,000 US airmen.
As U.S. sanctions tightened, another U.S. ally, Qatar, intervened. Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani pledged to invest $15 billion in the Turkish economy during a recent visit -- and plainly declared that the point of the investment was to blunt the force of U.S. sanctions. With friends like these...
It is worth taking a closer look at America's putative ally, Qatar. It is also home to a major US air base at Al Udeid, from which American warplanes bomb the Taliban, ISIS and elements of Al Qaeda.
Yet Qatar funds some of the same groups that America bombs. The gas-rich peninsula channels money to Al Nusra, a Syria-based affiliate of al Qaeda. It had funded Taliban leaders in the run-up to the September 11 attacks and, just a few years ago, reportedly paid some $1 billion to Iran-backed terrorists to ransom captives held in Iraq and Syria.
Qatar funds still other groups that kills Americans. Qatar's emir has publicly and proudly announced his financial support for Hamas, which has been officially designated as a "terrorist organization" by the U.S. and the E.U. and Israel. Also, let us not forget the hundreds of millions of dollars that Qatar gives to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the gateway organization for almost every Sunni jihadi terrorist band in the Middle East. Al Qaeda's current leader, Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, began his extremist journey in a Brotherhood chapter in Egypt, as did September 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed in its Kuwait branch. The onetime head of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, was indoctrinated in the Brotherhood's Jordan offshoot.
The emir has also welcomed Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual guide, to live in Qatar, as well as various senior Hamas officials.
Al Jazeera, Qatar's state-run broadcaster, frequently lionizes these groups, giving them air time to legitimize their murderous views toward Israel and America as well as their Arab neighbors.
Add to that, Qatar's alleged hacking of U.S. citizens (including former Republican National Committee finance chairman Elliott Broidy) and distributing their private emails to journalists, according to U.S. court filings.
In addition, Qatar's funding of lobbyists (at some $100,000 per month) who are close to the current chairman of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and that committee's ranking Democrat.
Senator Ted Cruz's former deputy chief of staff, Nick Muzin, pulled down $300,000 per month from Qatar, according to Reuters.
Finally, Qatar has drawn close to America's biggest regional rival, Iran. It shares the vast offshore Pars gas field with the Islamic Republic - providing a river of money to the very nation that America suspects of building nuclear weapons and the long-range missiles to carry them to U.S. bases in the Middle East and Europe.
US Representative Ted Budd, a member of the Financial Services Committee and its Terrorism and Illicit Finance Subcommittee, in an essential article, states:
"Iran's continued support of the Hezbollah terrorist organization with both financial and political assistance, as well as weapons and tactical training, deserves close examination. Western diplomats and Lebanese analysts estimate that Iranian financial support for Hezbollah averages around $100 million each year, sometimes reaching amounts closer to a quarter of a billion dollars...All of these activities pose a direct threat to U.S. security interests, contribute to the prolonging of conflicts across the Middle East, and pose threats to our key allies in the region."
Taken together, the pattern is clear. Far from faithfully supporting current U.S. policy, Qatar is using every means at its disposal to subvert or alter it. Its slap-in-face funding of Turkey, while a US citizen is held captive there, is simply the latest example of the behavior of Qatar, supposedly a US ally.
Strangely, the Trump Administration seems to be of two minds about Qatar. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has spoken positively about Qatar's counter-terrorism efforts while the State Department has soft-pedaled Qatar's outrages. President Trump himself has not been consistent in his public statements about Qatar. According to an April 18, 2018 article in the New York Times:
"President Trump, who last year denounced the Persian Gulf state of Qatar as a "funder of terrorism" and backed its rivals in a contentious regional feud, welcomed its monarch to the Oval Office on Tuesday and portrayed him as a partner in the fight against extremists.
"The friendly visit represented a remarkable turnaround for a president who had once portrayed Qatar as part of the problem."
Ultimately, the Trump Administration will have to decide which set of its allies to back: Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf Arab states, or Qatar and Turkey, each of which have cozied up to Iran. The way forward begins with a simple question: Which set of allies actually supports America and its objectives in the Middle East? Why not consider expanding the US deployment at Al-Dhafra airbase in the United Arab Emirates as a replacement for the airbases used by the US in Qatar and Turkey, if the UAE accept the idea?
An expanded US deployment at Al-Dhafra airbase in the United Arab Emirates could be considered as a replacement for the airbases used by the US in Qatar and Turkey.
Resetting the alliance with Qatar will not be easy or cost-free. America maintains a large presence in the Al Udeid military base in Qatar, and Qatari investments in the U.S. economy are measured in billions. Hard choices lie ahead.
The cost of doing nothing, however, is even greater. If one nation is able to defy or undermine U.S. policy while still pocketing the benefits of America's friendship, many others may follow Qatar's example. Why should other Arab nations endure domestic criticism for supporting America's war on terror if they can subvert America but still enjoy America's military protection and their access to the world's largest market? What is a US ally if lip service will do the trick?
Nearing Midnight: Perilous Times Traitors - Terry James -
The Apostle Paul's "perilous times" prophecy is becoming more manifest by the hour. Perusal of the news at any given point in the news cycle during daily life should make that abundantly clear to spiritually attuned eyes and ears. We are living at the very end of this dispensation known as the Age of Grace or Church Age, if this is the case.
Perhaps a closer look at Paul's foretelling in 2 Timothy juxtaposed against news unfolding around us presently will establish the point.
As the title of this commentary implies, we will look at a particular term found within that end-times prophecy. That term is "traitor."
Paul begins the familiar prophecy: "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come" (2 Timothy 3:1).
The apostle is inspired by God the Holy Spirit in this Scriptural verse to forewarn of a special period of time that is yet future. When the Lord forewarns us, the thing of which He forewarned about represents a danger "on steroids," as we like to verbalize things that are expressed in the vernacular of our day. These times that Paul has been inspired to call "perilous" are well beyond the normal troubles we face during the course of moving throughout life.
When going through these "perilous times" indicators in 2 Timothy 3, we can, in my view, discern the souped-up nature intrinsic within each.
Paul says further: "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy" (2 Timothy 3:2).
I have written before about the first of these, "lovers of self."
I still can think of no more profound example of this "perilous times" indicator than of the forum we call Facebook and of the photographic phenomenon of our time called the "selfie."
Facebook, I realize, is popular-and, no doubt-used ubiquitously by those who read these commentaries. I realize, too, that many, including those in my family, interact within this forum to keep up with friends and to enjoy other communication-type activities. So, I might be on tenuous footing in bringing this up.
However, studies have shown and continue to show that in cases of far too many the forum is a less than beneficial interactive technology. It can create in some instances alternative realities that present psychological dangers. I maintain that, in some narcissistic instances, it can do great spiritual damage. People can become "lovers of their own selves" to the point of pushing God completely out of the picture. Facebook and selfies can become encapsulated, egocentric universes in which some people become their own gods. These, then, become tools the devil truly uses to bring about his purpose-to separate forever men, women, and children from their Creator.
In my opinion, forums such as Facebook and Twitter are presently being used to try to manipulate culture and society. Satan wants life transformed into an existence he considers more conducive to one day serve the new world order he intends to create-the platform upon which to build the coming Antichrist regime. America, of course, is prime testing grounds for this manipulation, and we are seeing this in our news each day. The young-earth's future populace-are the most vulnerable, the most prone to fall victim to the dangers within these technological communications forums.
Paul's perilous-times forewarnings thus frame perfectly, I think, the effects on today's youth-the Millennials and younger. Again, Paul prophesied that people at the end of the age will be: "covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy" (2 Timothy 3:2).
Any honest observation of what is going on in the world of social media will convinced the spiritually attuned observer that there is more there of an evil nature than of a godly nature. Hollywood-the entertainment media-inculcates the youth (and even those not so young) with ungodliness that reaches the souped-up sort of ungodliness of which Paul forewarns.
It is ungodliness with which the evil one-Lucifer the fallen-wants to infuse all of humanity. He is determined to permeate God's creation called man with thinking and with actions that move us ever farther from the God who loves us so much that He sent His Son to die and resurrect in order to redeem us.
Again, the spiritually attuned observer can discern this insidious work by the devil in our breaking news.
Paul wrote that in the last days, men would be: "traitors" ("having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof").
The characteristic "traitors" pervades our highest levels of government in America. While the current president is being assaulted with being called a traitor and with every other invective one can imagine, it is, in my observation, those accusing him of these things who are the traitors-traitors to him, personally, traitors to our nation as founded, traitors to the Lord of Heaven with their lies and accusations.
"False accusers" are streaming across our minute-by-minute news feeds. These accusations are particularly virulent within social media, which more and more is letting these vicious falsehoods proceed, while doing all within their power to ban opposing viewpoints. These believe themselves to have the moral high ground-a form of godliness that gives them the right to ban the speech of the ideologically unfit.
The perilous-times characteristics of "traitors" and "phony godliness" are prominent while we pass through our hourly increments of life on earth. They constitute a sure sign that we are approaching the moment when Christ will suddenly intervene in the wicked affairs of this world.
"Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 24:44).
European Union Continues to Fiscally Back Hate Education Against Israel - By Michael Calvo - http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=2517
In May 2018, the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs and Public Diplomacy published a report titled "The Money Trail: The Millions Given by EU Institutions to NGOs With Ties to Terror and Boycotts Against Israel, an In-Depth Analysis."
Two months later, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Frederica Mogherini, replied to the report. Her main arguments were that allegations of the European Union supporting incitement or terror were unfounded and unacceptable -- and that terror and boycotts are two distinct phenomena.
The Israeli Ministry's report is clear and substantiated, and Mogherini should read it again.
What is not mentioned in the report is that the European Union and its member states finance NGOs that harass Israel, Israeli officials, and corporations doing business in Israel and in Europe. The European Union still finances the Palestinian Authority (PA) -- and the PA still encourages Palestinians to kill Jews.
As the Taylor Force Act states, "The Palestinian Authority's practice of paying salaries to terrorists serving in Israeli prisons, as well as to the families of deceased terrorists, is an incentive to commit acts of terror."
It is well known that the Palestinian leaders have incited their people to kill Jews. PA leader Mahmoud Abbas even admitted that the terrorists "did what the Palestinian Authority ordered them to do," and PA official Mohammed Dahlan confirmed that "Forty percent of the Martyrs in this Intifada belonged to the Palestinian security forces ... and that the Palestinian Authority has hidden Hamas members against Israeli counter-actions."
Between 1994 and 2012, the European Union provided 5.6 billion euros to assist the PA. During 2014-15, a total of more than 390 million euros has been allocated to the PA through Pegase Direct Financial Support (DFS).
The aim of Pegase DFS is to assist the PA to meet its obligations towards its civil servants, pensioners, and vulnerable families; maintain essential public services; improve public finances; and pay teachers' salaries. Among the civil servants and pensioners who received payments from Pegase DFS during 2014 and 2015, 67% were working in the health and education sectors.
Palestinian children are taught to kill and hate Israelis in their public schools -- so by supporting teachers' salaries, the European Union financially participated and continues to participate in hate education, disregard for the lives of the Jews and others by promoting jihad, and inciting children to become martyrs.
Concerning boycotts, the European Union has no qualms about applying double standards to Israel. It boycotts Israel's "occupation," but not other -- real -- occupations across the globe.
In 2013, the European Union found it appropriate to ban grants, prizes, and financial instruments (such as loans and bank guarantees) to Israeli entities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), eastern Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights. In September 2015, the European Union drafted various rules, arguing that consumers must know that some imported products come from the settlements and not from Israel.
Under international law, the question of whether the West Bank territory is occupied remains far from settled. However, the European Union finds it legitimate to provide direct financial assistance to Turkish settlements in the occupied territory of Northern Cyprus.
It funds the occupation of an EU member state (Cyprus) purportedly to "end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community." Concerning the Moroccan occupation of the Western Sahara, European businesses and universities openly operate in these "occupied territories" without being barred from EU funding, while similarly situated Israeli entities are disbarred.
China is not required to label products coming from Tibet, which it has occupied since 1951. Goods originating from "occupied territories" such as Northern Cyprus, Gibraltar, the Falklands, Western Sahara, Tibet, Kashmir, and the Russian-held regions of Azerbaijan are not specially labeled.
The European Union does not treat Israel like it treats other countries. It applies double standards by requiring from Israel "a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation." This represents antisemitism, according to the Working Definition of Anti-Semitism of the European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia, and the European Forum on Anti-Semitism.
Daily Jot: Of tyranny and empathy - Bill Wilson -
Yet another killer who killed others. We have a shooter in Jacksonville, FL., who killed two and wounded others. Already the leftists and socialists are calling for more gun control and disarmament. Interesting, however, that it was a "gun free" zone where the 24-year-old killer shot his victims. In Chicago a week ago, there were 61 shootings over the weekend. This, in a city and a state where gun control is among the toughest in the nation. Over and over again, it is proven that gun control fails miserably at controlling guns. The guns fall in the hands of criminals who would use them. They are not law abiding, so how could any sane person expect them to obey gun control laws? This is a people problem, not a gun problem.
A friend read me a brief story the other day about gun control. I don't know if the facts are right, but the point is well taken. It said that American citizens privately owned over 300 million firearms and more than a trillion rounds of ammunition. The tagline was that if law abiding gun owners were the problem, America would know about it. The vast majority of those who own guns are law abiding and would never want to use them to inflict harm on someone. According to the real time data of deaths in America since January 1, 2018 as reported by the Centers for Disease Control-Abortion is the leading cause of death at 713,565; Heart Disease is next at 401,441, followed by cancer at 386,642. Murder by guns is 23rd at 7,510-essentially 1% that of abortions. Drunk driving kills three times as many people as do guns.
The gun control crowd's appeasement is that they respect that the 2nd Amendment guarantees the right of citizens to own guns for hunting and sport shooting. But we know that's not the left's true position. Of the dozens of quotes by Madison, Jefferson, Adams, Lee and more, perhaps Noah Webster said it best in his 1787 "An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution": "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom of Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States."
In 1788, Richard Henry Lee wrote, "To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of people always possess arms, and be taught alike especially when young, how to use them." The Founders wanted to guarantee that any standing army would be regulated by citizen armament organized into militia. This was the only way to protect and defend personal liberty. Even Jesus believed in personal defense. He instructed his disciples to purchase the common weapon of his time--the sword: "And he that has no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one (Luke 22:36)." The leftist cries to undermine the right to protect and defend oneself and one's family against the opponents of liberty--whether they be thieves or governments or both-are rooted in tyranny rather than empathy.
Daily Devotion: Bitter, Party of One - By Greg Laurie -
Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. -Romans 12:19
During the Civil War, someone asked President Abraham Lincoln why he was making friends of his enemies when he should be thinking about destroying them. Lincoln replied, "Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?"
If we know anything about forgiveness, we should be forgiving people. Yet there are people today, Christians even, who are harboring anger toward others. The problem is that when we do this, we hurt ourselves more than we hurt them.
Harboring unforgiveness is like drinking rat poison and hoping the rat will die. It's killing us. It eats us up inside. Jesus taught us to pray, "Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us" (Matthew 6:12 NLT).
A new field of research has been developed on the subject of forgiveness that suggests those who do not forgive are more likely to experience high blood pressure, bouts of depression, and problems of anger, stress, and anxiety. One expert said there are robust psychological differences between non-forgiving and forgiving people.
To quote Elsa from the movie Frozen, "Let it go." Just let it go and put it in God's hands. Maybe you think those who wronged you don't deserve forgiveness. And maybe that's actually true. But do you deserve God's forgiveness? Do I? No, we don't. Jesus came to pay a debt He did not owe because we owed a debt we could not pay. Because our sins have been forgiven, we want to forgive those who have sinned against us.
Is there someone you need to forgive? Are you willing to forgive them? Unforgiving people are bitter people. And if you don't forgive others, bitterness will consume you. When you choose to forgive someone, you're setting a prisoner free: yourself. Forgiven people need to be forgiving people.
FROM THE HEART
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