Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
JESUS, THE GREAT PHYSICIAN - By Pastor Mike Taylor -
"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."(James 5:14-16)
We live in an era of intense suffering all over the world. Here in the land of the free, home of the brave, we have had it better than most other countries around the world. But disease and affliction still can invade our sense of security, our sense of peace, and shake our faith in God's ability to heal.
In our church, we have had disease rear its ugly head and one of our own has come down with a life threatening illness and we are all devastated. I can only imagine what I would feel, what the parents of this young person feel to learn that their child has a deadly disease. Prayers go up and we have believed the healing power of Almighty God to deliver our sister from the clutches of her mortal body turning on itself and afflicting her with the dreaded "C" word....cancer. But the question is "Does God still heal in our 'modern' age of advanced medicine and scientific treatment?" I believe God is the same yesterday, today and forever and He has not changed.
Hebrews 13:8 "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever."
So why is it that we don't see the miracles of healing like was present during the times of ministry of our Lord Jesus and the lives of His followers, the apostles?
I'm not talking about TV evangelist that we see on TBN, to the likes of Benny Hinn and Creflo Dollar, as personally, I believe they are using God's grace to further enrich themselves to unsuspecting masses that do not understand, or discern real healing and the practices of a charlatan. It gives healing a bad name.
In our world today, physical healing is looked upon with at least some skepticism, if not outright doubt. Much of this skepticism results from these charlatans who play on the misery of the infirm, often performing their spectacles on stage and on television for the entertainment of thousands. What a contrast to Jesus' humble, circumspect miracles of healing! His miracles reflect His character, naturally expressing His love and sympathy for suffering mankind. God will reward those who make sport of His ability to heal and deceive other men, and emptying their wallets, even of the poor and those who can least afford it. Remember, "God is not mocked, as whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap".
No, what I'm talking about are men of God in the trenches taking hold of the horns of the altar of God and praying through and will not be moved. They speak to the mountain of their affliction, or the affliction of their loved ones and will not do anything, but believe that God will do it. They pray and fast, they lay hands on the afflicted, they speak the Word of God over those who need the healing and will not give up, or until God says no and the loved one is taken home. Many times God says "yes" and the person is healed, sometimes instantly, sometimes after much prayer having been sent up. This is the time to give God all the glory and praise His name as a witness to others who need Jesus in their lives.
WAIT ON GOD
It is hard to wait on God, as we want what we pray for now. We must not be discouraged when our healing or the healing of a loved one takes longer than what we pray for. Immediate gratification and answer to those prayers may not come instantly. It is an excellent opportunity for us to exercise our faith and wait on God's intervention. We put God to the task of meeting our needs, and we claim His promises. We lay our needs, our afflictions at His feet and believe in our hearts that He will do what He said. He doesn't mind that you keep coming again and again before Him to pray the same prayer over and over, as He wants to know that you believe what He said. God wants to heal, as it is His character and nature to give us the desires of our hearts. Our God wants to forgive, He wants to apply mercy and grace, He wants to heal not afflict, and he wants to restore, not destroy. That's our God and we must take Him at His Word.
"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)
Men of God must pray the prayer of faith and if they have the faith of a grain of mustard seed, then anything is possible. Remember the story of when Jesus rebuked His disciples for their lack of faith?
14 "And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.
17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.
18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.
19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you."(Matthew 17:14-20)
God is not limited in power, it is we who pray with fear, doubting that God will answer our prayer, and we bind the Holy Spirit to meet our prayer request. We must pray not doubting. Hebrews 11:
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)
Further in the chapter, Paul writes:
6 "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."
But a word of caution here to those who are seeking healing from God for themselves or a close loved one. God did NOT promise us a bed of roses or a life without trials and tribulation. God is not so much worried about our physical comfort, as He is worried about our spiritual growth and our growing in His grace. We must be relying on Him alone for our every need. God answers prayers for healing our physical bodies, not according to our wants, but according to our needs and His will and purpose. In everything that we do, we must give God the glory for His abundant provision to meet our every need. Now God can use illness, or other trials to get our attention, to turn our face to Him and Him alone. It all depends, are we listening to Him?
WHY DID GOD BECOME A MAN, NAMED JESUS?
God, the Eternal Almighty God forsook His glory to take on mortal flesh. It was His desire from the beginning of time, and before the foundations of the world was even laid, to redeem what He knew would be lost due to man's rebellion against His laws. Our first parents only had one decree, one command from God our Father and that was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Sounds simple to me, but Adam was not deceived as Eve was from Satan's deception, for the choice was to follow God or follow their own desires. The choice was God's way or man's way. To submit to the will of God out of love, devotion and obedience willingly and know that He only wanted what was best for mankind is God's desire. Man made a choice to follow his own way. Now some say that Adam showed that he chose Eve, as she would be condemned and his love for her, made him follow her in her sin and sin himself. Sounds plausible, as we don't know how long they were joined as husband and wife as it could have been a 1000 years. We just don't know, but Adam made a choice, and God knew what He must do to reclaim what man had thrown away, eternal life and a close and personal relationship with his Creator.
Isaiah explained it so very well in chapter 53 of what he wrote why Jesus came to die for His creation. I quote a few verses, but the whole chapter is all about Jesus.
3 "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."(Isaiah 53:3-6)
The whole chapter is pregnant with the reason God came to bear our sins, our transgressions, and our falling away from Him and bound for hell and separation from God for all eternity.
Notice that Jesus came and bore what we deserve, death and separation from Almighty God. Jesus bore that horror by being separated from God on the cross to take the burden of our sins upon Himself. But understand, Jesus didn't come to only save our miserable hides from disease and affliction, our physical bodies from physical death by taking upon Himself the stripes we deserve to heal us of every affliction, but oh, more than that. Much more than that as Jesus came to rescue our spirits, our souls, and our eternal life, to be with Him forever. He came to heal us, completely, mind, body, soul AND spirit from eternal death and separation from God our Father.
I'm reminded of the leper that came to Jesus and made His way to Jesus through the crowd. Obviously, men stood back and avoided touching the man, as the leper's condition was contagious. What did Jesus do? He reached out His hand and touched the leper and healed him.
2 "And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed."(Matthew 8:2-3)
The scene of the leper is an example of divine reconciliation. Usually uncleanness or the profane does not mix with holiness, but Jesus overcame this by reaching out and touching the man and Himself was not made unclean, at least not yet. As Jesus took his infirmity and all mankind's infirmities upon himself and made us clean, holy and clothed with His righteousness and able to stand before Almighty God filled with what He accomplished at the cross, forgiveness of our sins and unclean condition. Jesus made us righteous through Him and not of ourselves. Proverbs 20:9 says, "Who can say, 'I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin'?" The leper could no more pronounce himself clean than we can pronounce ourselves sinless!
"7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." (I John 1:7-10).
To heal our bodies, to heal our minds and souls, He must first heal our spirits. If we do not have God in our heart in the name of God's only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, then we cannot and will not receive healing of other aspects of our lives. People can pray for you all day long, but unless you come to a awakening in your spirit that you are lost in your sins, then their prayers may not be answered as they would like them to be answered. Why? God wants to save your spiritual lives, not only your mortal lives. Don't misunderstand, as God wants to heal every part of you, mind, body, soul and spirit, but remember what I said above? God is less concerned with our physical comfort and more about our spiritual condition. He is making us ready to reign with Him for a thousand years and on into eternity. God may even use the disease or affliction to get you to turn to Him in love and gratitude and convict you of your sinful nature. Remember, the bible is full of examples where God allowed disease and affliction to turn the person around and teach them that they are nothing without Him. They owe Him their very lives, their allegiance, their love and devotion willingly. God does not want slaves, but sons and daughters who love Him for who He is.
GOD HAS ALWAYS BEEN ABOUT HEALING SINCE THE CREATION
Healing didn't just start with Jesus when His ministry healed the blind, the leper, the lame, and raised the dead. It began before the world was formed, and proclaimed in the Old Testament and was proclaimed God's desire to heal us completely.
25 "And he cried unto the LORD; and the LORD showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee." (Exodus 15:25-26)
In this passage, God reveals Himself as Yahweh Ropheka, or "the Eternal-Who-Heals," at the incident at Marah. Nathan Stone writes in his book, Names of God, that this name means "to restore, to heal, to cure . . . not only in the physical sense but in the moral and spiritual sense also" (p. 72). Dying to sin and living for righteousness are a kind of healing through Jesus Christ.
We who have Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord of our lives, look to Him for making us clean spiritually and healing our mortal bodies of disease. We give Him praise and glorify His name for both. Praise Him for saving our souls from eternal death, and praise Him for healing our bodies of disease. When God through His mercy heals our sister in our church from disease, (we will continue to pray until God gives us an answer and the victory) then we will raise the roof to give Him glory and praise. I pray God uses this disaster to bring her victory in Jesus and solidifies her faith and resolve to trust in Him and Him alone. We want it to be a testimony of God's divine healing power and a witness to the living men and women in and out of this church.
Jesus is the Great Physician, and does God Heal Today? The answer is yes. He heals every part of the condition of mortal man all to His glory and praise. He heals us spiritually foremost, and heals us emotionally, mentally and finally physically. It all comes down to how much faith do you have? Do you believe what He said?
Have you put your faith and trust in the only person who ever lived that can save your immortal soul? That person is the Son of man, God in the flesh, Jesus the Christ. Jesus said " I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man cometh to the Father but by Me." (John 14:6)
When Jesus Christ became sin for us, on Him was transferred all uncleanness, diseases, physical as well as spiritual uncleanness. For those who have repented and accepted His sacrifice, there is increasingly more responsibility to continue this cleansing process in cooperation with and submission to Him. The Apostle Peter summarizes this idea
"[He] Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed."(1Peter 2:24)
Jesus will heal every unclean condition you have present in your life. Sin, disease, mental anguish, and emotional turmoil. He will cleanse your mortal body...all you have to do is ask Him in faith, no wavering, but in faith not moving to the right or to the left, but keeping your eyes upon Jesus.
"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." (Romans 10:8-10)
As our Lord Jesus told a blind man did he believe the Jesus could heal him:
"Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you." (Matthew 9:29)
As the blind man, according to your faith, Jesus wants to heal every part of your body, soul and spirit, as Jesus is the Great Physician. Call upon Him and thou shalt be saved.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor praying healing in your life from the source of all healing, Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com for more biblical messages from the Word of God....God bless you all,
Till we meet at Jesus feet.
The Prophetic Yom Kippur War - By Enoch Lavender -
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the dramatic Yom Kippur. The Yom Kippur war is not only a powerful story from the pages of history, but I believe it also prophetically foreshadows an even greater war to come - while also pointing to the means of deliverance and victory.
On October 5th, 1973 the Egyptian army on the West bank of the Suez Canal were drawn up in full battle array with bridging equipment and rubber boats for crossing the Canal. The Egyptian side of the Suez was bristling with 100'000 troops, 1350 tanks and 2000 artillery pieces and heavy mortars. Meanwhile the Israeli side of the border barely numbered 450 aging reserve troops, 44 artillery pieces and only 3 tanks!
The border with Syria was in an even worse situation with the Israeli troops and tanks outnumbered in even greater numbers. The thin line of Israeli tanks and troops on the Golan was all that separated the civilians of the Galilee region from the incoming armada of Syrian troops and tanks.
The surprise attack caught Israel napping. The seemingly all-knowing Israeli intelligence community had been completely blindsided by the attack. Israel's front-line soldiers were therefore unprepared for the conflict at hand. As the war broke out,the hitherto mighty Israeli tanks were also caught by surprise.
As they confidently rushed to aid the front-line troops they found themselves easy targets for new and powerful anti-tank weapons carried by Egyptian infantry. The seemingly all-powerful Israeli Air Force was also in a lot of trouble. State-of-the-art Soviet air defense systems were proving deadly against the Israeli Jets - causing the loss of roughly one-third of the Israeli Air Force in the fighting.
Within 24 hours, 100'000 Egyptian troops had crossed into the Sinai overwhelming the Israeli fortifications and dismembering the Israeli tank brigades. The Syrians meanwhile launched what was to become the largest tank battle in history since World War 2, pitching their 1300 tanks against Israel's 177 inferior tanks.
The two-fold threat was so great that Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir prepared to commit suicide. Israel's notorious 'Samson plan' was also tabled - picturing Israel in her dying hours launching nuclear weapons on her neighbors - like Samson who with his final act killed his bitter enemies.
Heroes on the Battle Front
Fortunately for Israel, her brave soldiers were able to hold the razor thin lines with Syria at a super-human effort. One example of such heroism is 21 year old lieutenant Zvika Goldberg.Replacing a wounded tank commander, he went straight into action taking out six tanks in quick succession.
As darkness fell, Zvika lost radio contact with the only other Israeli tank in the area and was alone when he faced the approaching 452nd Syrian tank battalion. Zvika kept dodging the enemy while shooting and moving, causing the Syrian tanks to turn on their search lights in frustration - making it a lot easier for him to hit his targets!
During that battle Zvika took out 10 Syrian tanks before forcing a Syrian withdrawal - as the Syrian tank commanders were convinced they had met a large Israeli force! During the night Zvika kept on fighting, switching tanks 6 times throughout the night as each of his tanks got damaged. His uniform caught on fire, but the injured hero kept fighting for 20 hours straight before heading back to base - where he literally collapsed, unable to fight any longer.
A similar fighting spirit was seen in Shmuel Ashkarov who destroyed 30 Syrian tanks with his own tank, until he was hit directly and hospitalized. Shmuel however refused to give up, and made an escape from the hospital - still in bandages and with damaged vocal chords. He reassembled a tank battalion and kept on fighting in the critical hours and days ahead.
After a desperate plea to US President Richard Nixon, the US finally agreed to a massive re-supply of Israeli arms. In the weeks ahead, the re-supplied Israelis finally gained the upper hand and ended up routing their enemies. Yet the Yom Kippur War remains one of the costliest battles in Israel's history, with Israel suffering 2'300 deaths.
A Future Yom Kippur War?
Today, Israel's army is ranked as one of the best in the world. Yet the message of the Yom Kippur War is that the IDF is not undefeatable, and that Israel must remain on guard. Peering into the End times, Ezekiel the prophet foresees the future Gog and Magog war as again catching Israel off guard. Ezekiel describes the Jews of that day as living unprotected and being overwhelmed by a massive incoming army flooding the mountains of Israel (Ezek 38:8-11).
Not only does the Yom Kippur war provide a prophetic glimpse of a future surprise invasion of Israel - I believe it also points to the remedy.
Yom Kippur is after all the Day of Atonement - a solemn day of prayer and fasting for the entire nation of Israel. This will truly be the key to Israel's survival in that very dark hour which is to come. Israel's salvation in that day will not come from the might of the IDF. It will not come from her tanks, her air force or even her heroic soldiers. The answer will neither come via a re-supply of arms from the US or any other friendly power. It will come directly from the God of Israel Himself.
The day will come when all of Israel will cry out to God in repentance and desperation - after the pattern of Yom Kippur. And on that day, the Messiah Himself will come and will fight for His people (Zech 14:3) - delivering them from dire danger before taking His place on the throne of His father David in Jerusalem. That future war will not only end in victory for Israel, but will also restore the people of Israel fully to her God. What a day it will be!
Five Reasons Churches Should Teach Bible Prophecy - By Hal Lindsey - https://www.hallindsey.com/ww-9-27-2018/
My name has been associated with the teaching of Bible prophecy for a long time. But I also understand the need for balance in the pulpit. The Bible addresses a whole range of issues that are pertinent to our lives. All those things need to be taught.
When I say churches should teach Bible prophecy, I am not saying that every pastor has to specialize in it. But I am saying it needs to be included in his teaching. Here are some reasons why.
1 - Prophecy teaching provides balance. We say we want balanced teaching. Somewhere between one-fourth and one-third of the Bible deals with prophecy. How can we be balanced if we leave out such a large and integral portion of scripture?
2 - Prophecy is God's stamp of authenticity. Truth is God's signature. The fulfillment of prophecy is His chosen way of authenticating His word. We see it in Deuteronomy 18:22 where the legitimacy of a prophet is proven by whether or not his prophecies come true.
In Isaiah 41:21-23 God shows the foolishness of idol worship by challenging idols to foretell the future. The New Living Translation says, "'Present the case for your idols,' says the Lord. 'Let them show what they can do,' says the King of Israel. 'Let them try to tell us what happened long ago so that we may consider the evidence. Or let them tell us what the future holds, so we can know what's going to happen. Yes, tell us what will occur in the days ahead. Then we will know you are gods.'"
God alone tells us "what will occur in the days ahead." Since He's the only One who knows the future, prophecy proves that only He could have inspired the Bible.
3 - Prophecy aids evangelism. We're all intrigued by the future. In that way, prophecy draws the curious. But it's not like a carnival sideshow. Once they begin to seriously consider prophecy, they quickly see the truth and relevance of God's word to all areas of life.
When people see ancient prophecies fulfilled in the world around them, it provides overwhelming evidence that they can and should trust God with their lives. With present-day fulfillment of end times prophecy, what seemed like an old book written by ancient primitives comes to life as God's word for us today!
4 - Prophecy motivates us toward right living. 2 Timothy 4:8 speaks of "all who have loved His appearing." I have no statistics on this, but I have a lot of experience working with Christians through the years. From that experience I can tell you that those "who have loved His appearing," tend to live their lives with an eternal perspective. That perspective causes them to invest their time, money, and attention in things that matter - things of eternal value.
5 - Jesus taught prophecy. The New Testament teaches us that Jesus is to be our example. (John 13:14-15, Mark 10:43-45, 2 Corinthians 8:8-9, Philippians 2:5) And Jesus taught prophecy. He used Old Testament prophecy to authenticate Himself as the Messiah. He used prophecy to explain that His coming would be in two parts. He foretold events of the end times.
He is our example. He taught prophecy. We should, too.
PETER, PAUL, AND FORGIVENESS - Nathele Graham -
Does it seem as if your sin is so great that Jesus can't forgive you? Is that the stumbling block that stops you from surrendering to Him? Everyone sins. Whether you've followed Jesus for years or if you've recently come to know Him, you still have a sin nature that causes you to fail. If you've truly given your life to Jesus then your sins are forgiven. You need to repent and move away from sin, but Jesus always forgives. The Bible tells of people who accomplished great things, but also tells of their failures. For instance, King David was a man after God's own heart, but he failed many times. He committed adultery. When the woman became pregnant he made sure the woman's husband was killed. He couldn't change what he had allowed to happen, but he repented and changed. The New Testament tells of the men chosen by Jesus to follow Him and spread the Gospel. Their weaknesses are exposed, but we see the forgiveness of Jesus through their lives. Matthew had been a tax collector, which was a dishonest profession. Thomas doubted the resurrection. Let's look closer at Peter, who was the first to be called, and Paul, who didn't follow Jesus until much later.
Peter was a fisherman. His failures are probably the most documented in the Bible. Peter was rash and usually acted before he thought a matter through. When Jesus called him, Peter dropped his nets and followed, which was good. The problem is that Peter didn't really make a commitment. This is true of many people who claim to follow Christ. They say the words, and may even do works to prove they're devout (tithing, attending church, etc.) but they've made no true commitment to Jesus. Do you know who He is? There's no question that Jesus is God and He chose to enter His creation to shed His blood for your redemption. Faith in Him should affect your life. His sacrifice was much greater than a few dollars in the collection plate or an hour sacrifice on Sunday morning. Peter went through the motions of following Jesus, but he would face many struggles before he truly committed his life to Jesus. Peter was one of the disciples who was closest to Jesus and he saw many wonders and miracles, but didn't really understand who Jesus was.
Peter saw many miracles and was even a part of miracles. He was enthusiastic and sometimes his antics are amusing. Jesus had miraculously fed a multitude with five loaves of bread and two fish and then told the disciples to get into a boat and cross over to the far shore. Jesus stayed behind and went onto a mountaintop to pray. From there He saw the disciples in the boat struggling against wind and waves and making no progress in the storm. Wind, waves, and water are no obstacles to Jesus, and He set out walking on the water to them. All of the disciples were amazed but it was Peter who called out "...Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water." Matthew 14:28b. Peter's enthusiasm was rewarded. Jesus told him to come. Peter got out of the boat and began walking to Jesus. That's where his faith ended. "But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me." Matthew 14:30. Peter's mistake was that he took his eyes off of Jesus. The same thing can easily happen to us. We may start with strong faith, but when the storms in life hit we take our eyes off of Jesus and begin to sink. Then we blame Jesus when we have been the cause of our own storms. Jesus loves you. No matter what storm you happen to be in, keep your eyes upon the Lord. Jesus allows you to make your own choices and if Peter had chosen to continue to sink he would've drowned. Instead he cried out to Jesus. "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" Matthew 14:31. This wasn't Peter's last failure.
It was Peter who made a heartfelt proclamation "...Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God". Matthew 16:16b. The words were right, but did he mean them? Jesus commended him and said those words were the foundation that Christianity would be built upon. Like so many of us, Peter said the right thing but there was no conviction in his heart. He continued to fail. On the last night Jesus would spend with the men whom He had chosen it was time for them to hear about what was about to happen. Jesus told them that He would be arrested and put to death...He told them that they would desert Him. "Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice." Matthew 26:33-34. It's easy to make such proclamations when seated around the dinner table with friends. After Jesus was arrested Peter did secretly follow but denied Jesus three times...then the cock crowed. Peter was nowhere to be found at the foot of the cross. When his faith was tested Peter failed. The next three days must have been agony for Peter. Did he remember the things he had witnessed and his great proclamation of faith? Did he question his actions during Jesus' darkest hours? Did he recall being told that he would deny Jesus and how his heart sank when those words were fulfilled? We can point fingers at Peter, but every time we choose to deny our Lord by our words or actions we are just like him. Peter had walked with Jesus, but was still able to deny Him.
One final encounter with Jesus on the shores of Galilee brought Peter to repentance. After the Resurrection the disciples and Peter were instructed to go to Galilee and Jesus would meet them there. Peter was included, but was named separate from the disciples. They followed instructions but Peter wasn't content to wait. He returned to what he was comfortable with in the world. For you it might be drugs or illicit sexual encounters that you return to. For Peter it was fishing. They fished all night and caught nothing. Pursuits in life that aren't blessed by God will always fail. On shore a man called to them "Cast your nets on the other side". Their nets filled up with fish. Peter knew the man on shore was Jesus. He jumped into the water and swam ashore. Peter found that Jesus had prepared a meal for a sinner such as him. It was time for Peter to make a choice. Jesus asked him "...Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?..." John 21:15b. The fish represented Peter's past, the worldly pursuits that he was comfortable in. Jesus asked him three times if he loved him...Peter had denied Christ three times. How many times have you denied Jesus? Because Peter chose Jesus his story has blessed many generations with an example of how Jesus can change a lost sinner into a sinner saved by grace.
Now, let's take a look at another man whose life was changed when he met Jesus. Saul was very intelligent. He studied under Gamaliel who was the greatest Rabbi of his time. Saul knew the Jewish Law better than almost anyone and was, by his own admission, a Pharisee. The Law condemned murder but Saul was full of hatred. After Jesus was crucified there were many Jewish people who turned away from the Jewish religion and embraced the faith that Jesus had taught. Saul's hatred grew. He was there when Stephen was stoned to death. That was only the beginning. The hatred toward the followers of Christ burned inside of him and became an all out vendetta. "And Saul, yet breathing out threatnings and slaughter against the disciple of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem." Acts 9:1-2. He got permission from the Jewish leaders to find these Jewish followers of Christ and arrest them. While on his way to Damascus he had an encounter that changed his life. A bright light shone from heaven. "And he fell to the earth and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Acts 9:4. He thought he was punishing those who had turned away from Judaism, but in truth he was persecuting Jesus. This encounter left Saul blind. He lodged in a room but was blind and he neither ate nor drank for three days. He was blind but he saw his sin and his need for forgiveness and he prayed. Jesus knows our sin, but He also knows what we can be if we just turn to Him.
The Christians in Damascus knew who Saul was and why he was coming their way. We don't always understand the things that Jesus asks us to do, and when Ananias had a vision in which Jesus told him to go to Straight Street and lay hands on Saul there was some fear and doubt. "Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name." Acts 9:13-14. Ananias' concern is understandable. Saul was notorious for his hatred of Christians, but Jesus knew that Saul was repentant and ready to turn his life over to the very One he had persecuted so viciously. "But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel" Acts 9:15. Ananias obeyed and found Saul in a bad way physically but was spiritually a changed man. The scales of blindness fell from his eyes and he was ready to fulfill his calling.
Saul was named after King Saul, who was arrogant, full of his own self-righteousness, and tried to kill the young David who God had chosen to be the true king of Israel. The New Testament Saul was similar to the man he was named after. After he met Jesus he was changed. He chose to be called Paul, which means small or little. Because Paul allowed Jesus to change him we're blessed with the example of true missionary work, which is to spread the Gospel. We're also blessed by letters which Paul wrote. From them we learn how to live our faith and allow Jesus to be our strength. His letter to the Romans tells us how Christ fulfilled Jewish Law, the letter to the Ephesians teaches us about Spiritual warfare, Galatians, Philippians, Corinthians, and the other letters all have lessons for us. Peter, who was a changed man after he submitted himself to Jesus, had some special words about Paul's writings. "...even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written to you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction." 2 Peter 3:15b-16. All Scripture is difficult to understand if you aren't led by the Holy Spirit and study. Peter makes note that Paul's letters are Scripture. These two men both had a common faith in Jesus.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9. There's no sin that's beyond the forgiveness of Jesus. His blood at Calvary that was the once for all sacrifice to take our sin away. Both Peter and Paul are examples to us of the forgiveness that's found in Jesus. Peter walked with Him, but not in truth. He denied knowing Jesus, but finally surrendered to the living Christ. Paul was full of hatred and murder, but Jesus forgave his sin. Whatever sin you hold on to that has separated you from Jesus it's not so horrendous that you cannot be forgiven. Surrender your life to Him now and let Him change you into the man or woman He knows you can be.
The only sin that's unforgivable is if you continue to reject Him until you die. It's your choice. Continue to reject Him and you choose eternal damnation. Choose to accept the sacrifice He made for you and live eternally.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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Daily Jot: Prophetic Winds Shifting In Middle East - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Israel is God's prophetic timepiece. What affects Israel has prophetic influence. The apocalyptic clock ticked forward significantly when the previous US "president" used his position to advance the agenda of Islam throughout the Middle East with Arab Spring. His infamous Iran nuclear deal, not only propelled Iran to advance its nuclear weapons program, but also provided badly needed funding to "up" its sponsorship of terrorism. In particular, the ex-"president" gave Iran billions of dollars in untraceable cash, which was promptly used to fund its violent interests in Syria. In an October 1, 2015 speech to the UN, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the fall out from the Iran nuclear deal.
Netanyahu said, "Just look at what Iran has done in the last six months alone, since the framework agreement was announced in Lausanne. Iran boosted its supply of devastating weapons to Syria. Iran sent more soldiers of its Revolutionary Guard into Syria. Iran sent thousands of Afghani and Pakistani Shi'ite fighters to Syria. Iran did all this to prop up Assad's brutal regime...Iran supplied Hezbollah with precision-guided surface-to-surface missiles and attack drones so it can accurately hit any target in Israel. Iran aided Hamas and Islamic Jihad in building armed drones in Gaza." The war in Syria became more devastating because of the Iran nuclear deal. But now the prophetic winds are shifting.
President Donald Trump Wednesday told the UN Security Council, "This horrible, one-sided deal allowed Iran to continue its path towards a bomb and gave the regime a cash lifeline when they needed it the most....They needed cash. We gave it to them...The regime used new funds from the deal to support terrorism, build nuclear-capable missiles, and foment chaos. Following America's withdrawal, the United States began re-imposing nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. All U.S. nuclear-related sanctions will be in full force by early November... After that, the United States will pursue additional sanctions, tougher than ever before, to counter the entire range of Iran's malign conduct. Any individual or entity who fails to comply with these sanctions will face severe consequences."
Ezekiel 38:2 says, "...set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against them." Magog, Meshech, Tubal are all located in what is now modern Turkey. Verse 5 says, "Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them..." Persia is modern day Iran. Turkey (Sunni) and Iran (Shiite) are Islamic rivals positioning for control of the Middle East. For Gog (the antichrist) to lead this broad coalition that includes Persia against Israel, Persia must submit to Gog. Turkey's economy is being squeezed hard with currency devaluation. Iran's economy, due to US sanctions, will also deteriorate. Their common challenges may bring them closer. These nations may hold hate toward one another, but it is a greater hate for Israel that unites them even for just a specific time. Watch and discern as the prophetic winds shift.
Daily Devotion: An Appointment with God - By Greg Laurie -
Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where are you?" -Genesis 3:9
A friend of mine has a saying: "Early is on time. On time is late. Late is never acceptable." Sometimes Cathe and I will be meeting him and his wife for dinner, and I'll say, "I don't want to be late. I hate it when I walk in and they're already seated. Let's go early." Even then, they are already there. Did they get there an hour before? I don't know. But they're incredibly punctual.
It's one thing to be late for an appointment with a friend, but it's another thing altogether to be late for your appointment with God. The Bible says, "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" (Amos 3:3 NKJV). God has made an appointment with you. Maybe you don't see it on your calendar, but it's there-every day. You need to make time for the Lord.
Adam had an appointment with God every day in the Garden of Eden. The Lord would show up when the sun was setting and take a walk with His friend Adam. I don't know whether God took on a human form or if the Lord spoke audibly, but what a great time that must have been.
One day when God showed up, Adam was late for his appointment because Adam had sinned. So God said, "Where are you?"
I wonder if He says that to some of us sometimes. Where are you? Why don't I hear from you? Why aren't you reading My Word? Why aren't you showing up at church with My people to worship Me? Why aren't you praying? What is going on? Where are you?
This is something we should make time for. You're saying, "Greg, I'm so busy. I have things to do." We make time for what's important. Keep your appointment with God.
FROM THE HEART
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