Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
You Must Be Born Again - A Bible Study by Jack Kelley - https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/spiritual-life/must-born/
Jesus replied, "Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again" (John 3:3)
This started out as my response to someone asking me to defend my view that children who die before reaching the age of accountability go to heaven. As you'll see, it became much more.
We came into this world when our mother physically gave birth to us. This physical birth is what Jesus called being born of water in John 3:5 and flesh giving birth to flesh in John 3:6. It was our first birth.
Although we were born to earthly parents, we belonged to God in the sense that if our physical life ended for some reason, our soul and spirit, the eternal parts of us, would go to be with Him. We had what the Bible calls eternal life. We continued to enjoy this position with God until we reached a state of intellectual maturity sufficient to understand the sinful nature of our behavior. Throughout our young life we had committed various sins, but since we were unable to comprehend the nature of sin, God did not hold us accountable for them.
In referring to sins, I'm not talking about being disobedient to our parents, although some acts of disobedience are also sins. I'm talking about violations of God's laws. Until we became intellectually mature enough to understand that violations of God's laws are sins that carry eternal consequences, God did not hold us accountable for these violations, because to do so would be unjust. (We have similar provisions in human law where young children are not held to the same standards of accountability as adults are in matters of the law.)
Once we were capable of understanding the sin issue, God began holding us accountable for our sins. At that point, we no longer belonged to Him, and no longer had eternal life. Our sins had separated us from Him.
We see this transition, and its consequences, in Romans 7:9 where Paul wrote, "Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died."
Obviously, Paul was still physically alive at the time. By saying, "Once I was alive apart from the law" he was referring to the eternal life he had before he became accountable for his sins. During that time, he was apart from, or outside, the Law and exempt from its provisions.
The phrase "When the commandment came, sin sprang to life, and I died" means that as soon as Paul became old enough to be accountable for his sins he was immediately scheduled for death, death being the wages of sin (Romans 6:23). Paul knew that although he was born with eternal life, he was not born immortal, so he would eventually experience physical death just like everyone else. Therefore, he was talking about losing his claim to eternal life.
The Greek word for "sprang to life" indicates Paul's sin nature had always been there, but for accountability purposes, it's as if it was dormant while he was a child. As soon as he came of age, it was revived, and when that happened everything changed for him.
The Bible does not give any exact age at which a child becomes accountable. Among the Jewish people, this age has been established by tradition as being 12 for girls and 13 for boys. But the point of this study is not to determine at what age we become accountable for our sins. Rather, it's to confirm that we began life as a child of God with the assurance of eternal life and to show how we can qualify for that assurance again as adults.
Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 18:3).
There are two important points here. The first is the confirmation that if they die, little children will enter the kingdom of heaven because they don't have to change to do so. And the second is that we must change and become like them in order to enter ourselves. Remember, all children are born with eternal life and their sins are not counted against them. Therefore, as adults, we have to somehow regain that same status we had as little children.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God- children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God (John 1:12-13)
God gives each one who believes in what Jesus did for us and receives Him into his or her life, the right (power, authority, permission) to become a child of God just like we were when we were born. Here's how it happens.
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:4-7)
Both this passage and Romans 8:15-17 convey the idea that adoption into the family of God is truly the most important event of our lives. God sent His son to die for our sins so we could receive the right of adoption into His family. According to John 1:12-13 belief in Jesus gives us the authority to claim this right and when we do God adopts us as His children and we become heirs to his estate. At that time, the penalty for all our sins is transferred to Jesus (Isaiah 53:5) and we're no longer responsible for them.
That's what it means to be born again as a child of God and have eternal life. According to 2 Cor. 5:17 we actually become a new creation from God's perspective. The old has gone and the new has come. This is our second birth, what Jesus called being born again in John 3:3 and the Spirit giving birth to spirit in John 3:6.
Like the little children we once were, we still sin. And like them, God does not hold us accountable for our sins. But this time, it's not because we don't understand the sin issue, it's because the penalties for all the sins of our life have been transferred to Jesus. They were nailed to the cross with Him, and when He died we were forgiven for every one of them (Colossians 2:13-14). Now, just like the children we once were, God doesn't hold us accountable for our sins but attributes them to the sin nature that lives within us. Here's how Paul described it.
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do-this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. (Romans 7:15-20).
Like He does with little children, God has separated the sins from the born-again believer and no longer counts them against us.
Are You Born Again?
The phrase "born again" has picked up a lot of baggage over the years, to the point where some more "sophisticated" Christians don't even like to use it. And the liberal denominations that follow reformed theology don't even recognize the need to be born again. They teach that since you didn't choose God but He chose you, there's no need to be born again. All you have to do is become an official member of one of their denominations to receive your salvation. This is by far the cruelest falsehood of reformed theology because it has resulted in millions of sincere people attending church every Sunday, believing that God chose them and actually obtained salvation for them, not knowing that they aren't saved and never will be unless they undertake a personal effort to find the Lord and be saved apart from their denomination's teaching.
But the Bible is very clear on two points. The first is, we must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God (John 3:3). And the second is, we become born again by believing, 1) that we are sinners in need of a savior, 2) that Jesus came to die for our sins, and 3) that He rose again on the third day as proof that His death was sufficient to save us from our sins. Otherwise, we have believed in vain (1 Cor. 15:1-4).
By becoming born again we have become like little children in God's sight and are therefore qualified, just like they are, to enter His Kingdom and enjoy eternal life with Him.
Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed are they whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit (Psalm 32:1-2).
Hamas Probing Israel's Defenses With Latest Border Incursion - By Yoni Ben Menachem -
Friday was particularly violent on the border of the Gaza Strip. Around 15,000 people participated in demonstrations in which seven Palestinians were killed and 250 wounded. An especially severe incident occurred in the vicinity of Bureij in central Gaza.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh made a surprise appearance at one of the demonstrations, fanning the flames further.
Hamas announced the next day that it was responding to violent incidents on the Gaza border, stating "the Palestinian people have a strategic arsenal of unending heroism and fighting ability, which is making the Occupation's attempt to conquer it impossible."
The announcement continued: "The great struggle at the Gaza border expresses real progress in standing against the enemy at point-blank range."
From an IDF investigation, it emerged that Palestinians detonated a large explosive device on the border fence. The explosives blew a large hole in the fence, through which around 20 terrorists infiltrated into Israel under the cover of a dense cloud of smoke created by burning tires.
An IDF force fired at them to push them back. Most of them turned back into Gaza, but three of them continued to move on toward a military outpost, where they were shot and killed.
It appears that this was an attempt to test the IDF's reaction to see if a deadly attack or kidnapping of soldiers on the Gaza border could be carried out to change the balance of the conflict, giving Hamas the upper hand. After abducting soldiers, the Palestinians would demand the complete removal of the embargo on the Gaza Strip.
The violent events at the Gaza border are no surprise. Anyone who believed that the diplomatic-security measure of allowing Qatari industrial fuel into the Gaza Strip to increasing the electricity supply would calm the situation was much mistaken. Appetite increases with food, and Hamas did not launch its "March of Return" war of attrition against Israel on March 30 just to be satisfied with the minor step of increasing the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip.
Hamas interpreted the entrance of Qatari industrial fuel to Gaza as the beginning of Israel's capitulation. But six months of ineffective demonstrations have not achieved anything connected with easing the embargo. Therefore, Hamas has decided to increase military pressure on Israel.
The ultimate goal of Hamas has not changed. It is the complete removal of the Israeli embargo, and until this is achieved the violent demonstrations at the border fence will continue.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced the halt of industrial fuel supplies into Gaza in response to the violence at the border on the weekend. This step follows a restriction on the fishing zones permitted to Gaza fishermen, but these measures will not put a stop to Hamas's strategic decision to continue the demonstrations.
An attempt to gain bargaining chips
Over the past few weeks, Hamas has intensified the violence on the border after the failure of talks with Egyptian intelligence services in Cairo about reconciliation and calm and after the refusal of P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas to remove the sanctions that he imposed on the Gaza Strip.
The number of participants in the demonstrations has risen to 20,000 people. Extensive use has been made of lethal tactics such as throwing explosive charges and grenades at IDF soldiers, and there has been a rise in terror attacks caused by sending incendiary balloons and kites into Israel.
At the same time, Hamas supplemented its burning tires and started to use smoke generators at the border to create heavy smoke screens to shield Gazan rioters and allow them to get closer to the border fence and infiltrate into Israel.
Hamas has turned the violent demonstrations at the Gaza border into 24/7 events to get the IDF soldiers accustomed to the ongoing presence of Palestinian activists at the fence, including at night.
These nightly activities are carried out by a special unit called the "night confusion units," which burn tires, sound sirens, blind IDF soldiers with lasers and more.
Hamas's overall objective is to take the IDF by surprise by blowing up the fence at several points and infiltrating into Israeli territory to harm IDF soldiers or abduct them and take them into the Gaza Strip.
Hamas is making significant efforts to take the IDF by surprise. The precedent of the Gilad Shalit deal in 2011--in which one Israeli soldier was traded for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners--has strengthened the feeling among Hamas that Israel is prepared to pay a heavy price for bringing back captured soldiers alive.
Therefore, the objective of Hamas is to cut through the fence under a heavy smokescreen, creating a diversion so that it can get into Israeli territory and kidnap soldiers from their outposts along the border fence.
At the same time, under the ground, Hamas continues its tunnel digging. On Oct. 11, Israel uncovered and destroyed another Gaza tunnel (the 15th in the last year) that penetrated 100 meters into Israeli territory. Using such a tunnel in 2006, Hamas abducted Shalit.
Attrition of the IDF
In the internal dispute among the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, the winning side has been those who believe that the border demonstrations should not be moderated to reduce the injuries among Palestinian youth from IDF fire. They seek to keep the nature of the demonstrations "peaceful and non-violent" to gain the support of the international community.
Hamas has concluded that the absence of violent friction with the IDF reduces pressure on Israel, and therefore the demonstrations must be extreme.
The establishment of the "night confusion units" is intended to bother the IDF at all hours of the day and night, making it harder for it to strike at the demonstrators operating under cover of darkness.
Sources in Hamas claim that the continuing "March of Return" campaign is disturbing the sense of security of the residents of the Israeli communities bordering Gaza, deterring more "settlers" from coming to live in the towns along the border. This way, the campaign is scuppering Israel's plans to expand the population of the Negev and the southern parts of the country.
Hamas believes that the campaign is also strengthening its position in Palestinian society and is getting the international community to understand that the Palestinian problem is still alive and that the residents of Gaza need to receive their full rights.
The Hamas leadership is not interested in an all-out military confrontation with Israel. The Gaza street is strongly opposed to this, and the Hamas leadership understands that a new war with Israel will result in substantial damage to the organization. Therefore, the idea is to continue with the "March of Return" campaign, which will not cost the organization too much and will maintain its rule without paying too high a price for terror.
Nearing Midnight: Most Important Matter - Terry James - https://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
Much preparation is required when getting ready for a prophecy conference. This is especially the case for yours truly. A blind guy getting ready to give a Power Point presentation to an audience that is keenly clued in to the topics involved can be a daunting exercise. (Thanks, sweet Dana, for all the work on this. Couldn't do it without you!)
Memory must be relied upon to know what is on the screen, to keep in line the order of points to be made, and to speak to all of the facts and ideas in between. So it is that while preparing for my speaking session (which, by the time this commentary is posted will already be history), the true importance of what is involved speaks to my spirit. It is a matter that burns into my conscience as one charged with trying to address what the Lord prompts me to present.
Lord willing, I have by the time of this posting, spoken on "Deceivers and the End of Days" at the Prophecy Watchers Conference in Norman, Oklahoma.
The lecture/session is based upon the book of the same name, Deceivers. It revolves around Jesus' prophecy given on the Mount of Olives as recorded in Matthew 24:3-5. The book is a compilation of chapters written by fourteen of the most well-known writers, broadcasters, and teachers of Bible prophecy from the Pre-Trib view of eschatology. Authors present their analyses of how current issues and events of our time are all setting the stage for fulfillment of Bible prophecy for the very end of the Church Age (Age of Grace).
While working on writing this article and thinking on continuing preparation for the upcoming presentation (from my perspective at that time), I kept being distracted by the desire to watch the punditry about the Supreme Court nominee's confirmation. I got caught up in this world's political goings-on. My thoughts ran the gamut from: What does it mean to how the abortion controversy will play out from this point forward? to What does it mean for the upcoming November midterm elections? Does Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation mean that the national electorate will see fit to vote to assure that constitutional principles will prevail over the radical mob mentality that threatens civility? Also, I considered whether the current president and his policies will continue to build a booming economy as is happening presently.
Much of this is what I will be talking about (did talk about, from the point in time this is posted) in that session-i.e., my thought was to dwell on America and all things going on in this country with regard to the end-times Deceivers acting within religion, society / culture, politics /government, and news and entertainment media.
It hit me, then, during that preparation: The religion, societal/cultural, political/governmental, and news/entertainment media things occurring in this nation are insignificant in relation to things going on in the human, spiritual heart at this critical moment. The ultimately important thing is not how all of the prophetic stage-setting is affecting the well-being of each of us and our lives in America. This nation-its governmental/social-cultural/media and religious systems-are all soon doomed to pass away.
My thinking on these things in terms of how Mr. Trump or any other leader or system of leadership might improve-or, for that matter, cause to be deteriorated-life in America is exercise in futility. The all-important thing consider is the human condition, in terms of spiritual exigencies.
We are told in God's Word to pray for leaders in government so that we might "lead peaceable lives." But, there is no percentage to be gained by placing faith, or even trust, in government-ever. Government-all of existence under the present world systems and regimes of this age-are passing away. All is "vanity," as the "preacher" of Ecclesiastes put it.
There are no such worldly entities as a godly or Christian government. The best we can hope for is a reasonable government that adheres to basic, godly principles the Founding Fathers were influenced by the Holy Spirit to build within our Constitution. It is wholly just and right to fight, politically, for these things at the ballot box and fight, literally, against those who would destroy our nation.
All that said, one thing matters most of all-beyond all else-to each human being alive at present: What is the status of one's soul? Do you and I know Jesus Christ as the One who was crucified, buried, and resurrected to life those two thousand years ago? As important as it is to love country, family, and all the things that are good that life brings, the status of our souls are what matters.
We must pray and vote to see to it that our liberty is preserved so we may live peaceable lives despite all of the evil percolating all around us. But, embracing Jesus Christ for salvation is the one action we can take to assure life for an eternity of joy and ever-increasing exultation. We will, at that eternal moment, begin to live and love our friends and family who are saved more intimately than can be imagined while in this earthly existence. In Heaven we will praise the Savior who provided, once and for all, payment for the sin that would otherwise separate us from God the Father forever.
Again, the truth of that all-important matter is wrapped up in the following, penned by the Apostle Paul: "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. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:9-10).
Hurricane Michael, US Passports, Trump, Jerusalem...the Flood is Coming! - By Ariel Nathan Pasko -
Michael is the guardian angel of Israel/the Jewish People. Trump just declared no "Jerusalem, Israel" on US Passports, for American citizens born there. The G-d of Israel uses natural phenomena as his Rod of Judgment. This week's Torah reading is Noah, the flood story.
Have you noticed this? I have, let's explore each of these four statements...
Michael is the guardian angel of Israel/the Jewish People.
According to Jewish tradition, Michael acts as the advocate of Israel, and sometimes fights with the angels of other nations to protect the Jews, particularly with the angel Samael, Israel's accuser. Samael is the angel of death, and the title 'The Satan' is accorded to him. While 'The Satan' describes his function as an accuser, Samael is his proper name. Samael is the guardian angel of Esau and Edom. And, according to the medieval Rabbi, Don Isaac Abarbanel, by extension Rome, Christianity, and Western Civilization. While Samael tempts people to sin, Michael defends Israel's actions.
The rabbis of the Talmud and Midrash tell us about Michael's role as defender. His activities can be seen with the biblical patriarchs. It was Michael who rescued Abraham from the furnace into which he had been thrown by Nimrod. It was Michael, the "one that had escaped" (Genesis 14:13), who told Abraham that Lot had been taken captive, and who protected Sarah from being defiled by Abimelech. Later, he announced to Sarah, that she would bear a son Isaac, and he rescued Lot at the destruction of Sodom.
Michael later prevented Isaac from being sacrificed by his father, substituting a ram in his place, and saved Jacob, while yet in his mother's womb, from being killed by Samael, Esau's angel. Michael prevented Laban from harming Jacob.
The midrash says that Michael defended Israel at the time of the Exodus, when The Satan (as an adversary) accused the Israelites of idolatry, pointing out to G-d, that there is no difference between them and the idol-worshiping Egyptians, about to be drowned in the Red Sea. Michael is also said to have destroyed the army of Sennacherib from Assyria.
Jewish tradition claims that Michael was first sent by G-d to bring Nebuchadnezzar against Jerusalem, but that afterward, Michael worked to free the Jews from Babylonian captivity. According to the midrash, Michael saved Hananiah and his companions from the Fiery furnace. Michael was active in the time of Esther, "The more Haman accused Israel on earth, the more Michael defended Israel in heaven," (Esther Rabbah 3:8). And, it was Michael, who reminded Ahasuerus, that Mordechai had saved him. Michael's activities, have continued to be discussed throughout the medieval and modern periods, and in kabbalistic literature.
And, now a hurricane called Michael hit America. America, draw the proper conclusions. The Promised Land and especially Jerusalem, is exclusively for the Jewish People.
Trump just declared no 'Jerusalem, Israel' on US Passports, for American citizens born there.
Despite the United States recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital last December, and moving it's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May, American citizens born in Jerusalem, are still unable to list 'Jerusalem, Israel' on US passports.
In September, 55 House Republicans, sent a letter to President Trump, calling on him to order the State Department to list Israel on US passports, as the birth country, for American citizens born in Jerusalem. The letter stated, "Despite the progress in moving the embassy, the State Department has not yet fully implemented the administration's policy of recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital for purposes of registration of birth, certification of nationality, or issuance of a passport of a United States citizen born in the city of Jerusalem."
In response, a State Department spokesperson explained, "The president has made clear that the specific boundaries of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem remain subject to final-status negotiations between the [Israelis and the Palestinians]. We have not changed our practice regarding place of birth on passports or Consular Reports of Birth Abroad at this time."
Although Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, he has the authority to not have 'Jerusalem, Israel' listed on US passports. According to constitutional scholar Ilya Shapiro, in Zivotofsky v. Kerry, the Supreme Court ruled that only the president has the power to recognize foreign entities in accordance with the US Constitution's Reception Clause. "Zivotofsky ruled in favor of the executive; he was not required to comply with the Federal law. Trump, like Obama, can decline to stamp 'Israel' on the passport of a citizen born in Jerusalem."
John Sitilides, a Washington-based geopolitical strategist, proposed that Trump may be withholding putting 'Jerusalem, Israel' on passports, due to his much-anticipated Mideast peace plan. "President Trump has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but is now emphasizing his support for a two-state solution, and is withholding on the passport issue to maximize US leverage as his diplomatic negotiating team finalizes its proposals. He has publicly stated that Israel must be more flexible now that Jerusalem has been recognized."
But, I already warned about that in a Dec. 2017 article, Palestinians, Beware Jewish Days of Rage, Hanukkah is Coming to Israel! reviewing Trump's speech, in which he recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Notice carefully, Trump during his speech didn't say 'undivided capital.' Trump continued, "We are not taking a position on...specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem...Those questions are up to the parties involved." So let's just be clear. This 'recognition' doesn't preclude the re-division of Jerusalem into the capitals of Israel and a Palestinian state.
Trump also said, "Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque."
Hence, preserving the status quo of the Old City and Temple Mount. A status quo that denigrates Jewish Rights.
Then, during his recent UN press conference, Trump said, "Well I'd love to be able to make a deal with the Israelis and the Palestinians. You know, my whole life I was told that's the toughest deal...but we're going to take care of that too...I think we're going to make a deal..."
Trump continued, "...one of the reporters asked about the one state two state, and I said I think the two state will happen, I think it's way more difficult because it's a real estate deal, because you need meets and bounds and you need lots of carve outs and lots of everything...I said well, I think the two state will happen, I think we're going to go down the two state road..."
So it's pretty clear to Trump, Jerusalem is still on the cutting board, not exclusively for Israeli hands.
The G-d of Israel uses natural phenomena as his Rod of Judgment.
I described this in my Aug. 2017 article, Hurricane Katrina, Harvey, and the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process. "In fact, the G-d of Israel has been doing this ['natural' disasters], since the beginning of the Peace Process. In March 1991, after the first Gulf War, President George H. W. Bush pushed Israel into attending the Madrid Peace Conference. Later that year, at the same time as the conference, Hurricane 'Perfect Storm' attacked the East Coast of the United States. Bush, staying at his vacation home in Kennebunkport, Maine at the time, had to be evacuated. His house was damaged."
In my September 2005 article, Israel to America, I Warned You... I wrote, "Well, it's begun; less than a week after the Israeli army expelled thousands of Jews from their homes in Gaza and Northern Samaria, uprooting 25 communities, American troops were evacuating people from their homes in Louisiana and Mississippi. The greatest 'natural' disaster has happened in American history. The Hand of G-d is written all over this one."
Many in Israel and America, Jews and non-Jews at the time, saw "G-d's Hand" in the Hurricane Katrina disaster.
I explained why G-d did this, in my earlier June 2005 article, Israel, Tell America the cold, hard truth warning there, "America, your country is in danger. The G-d of Israel, who has brought His people (the Jews) home after 2,000 years, is watching your every move. Stop pushing Israel into suicidal concessions (giving away parts of its homeland to a non-existent group, the so-called Palestinians), before it's too late, and your fate is sealed."
As I said then, "The redemption of the Jewish People and their return to the Holy Land (Israel) is an unstoppable divine process...the 'Palestinians' won't stop it, the Europeans won't stop it, and America won't stop it. If America continues to promote the 'rights of the Palestinians' (what the Bible calls 'a non-people' Deut. 32:21), know that you are going against the G-d of History and Jewish destiny, beware!"
I concluded in my Aug. 2017 article, Hurricane Katrina, Harvey, and the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process. "Just like when George Bush and Condi Rice worked to promote the expulsion of about 10,000 Gazan and Samarian Jews from their homes, destroying whole communities in the process, in 2005, to curry Arab favor (to gain support for America's war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq); the Trump administration is continuing to work, to sacrifice Israel, on the Altar of 'Middle East Peace,' to gain support of a Sunni coalition of states against Shiite Iran."
I believe this plan continues, note what Trump said in his recent UN press conference:
"When we had - in Saudi Arabia, we had one of the great conferences in history...we had, I believe 58 Muslim countries - their leaders, the kings, the Emirs, the absolute leaders from every - there was nobody in second place, they were the leaders of the whole thing."
"And unbeknownst to anybody else people would...come up to me and say, "sir, you can't have peace in the Middle East without peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians...So I heard that from...the King of Saudi Arabia whose a great guy...I know where they're coming from."
He continued, "I must have had 12 leaders say it...I started to realize that peace between Israel and the Palestinians for the Middle East is a very important thing and we're trying very hard to get it. I think probably two state[s] is more likely, but you know, if they do a single, if they do a double, I'm OK with it if they're both happy. If they're both happy, I'm OK with either. I think the two state is more likely..."
This week's Torah reading is Noah, the flood story.
And all this, (the floods and damage from Hurricane Michael and Trump's holding back full normalization of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in State Dept. policy) comes during the week of learning about Noah and the Flood in the weekly Torah reading.
Interestingly, the American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce, that focuses on the conditions of the oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere is called NOAA (Noah) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - which had been reporting on the progress of Hurricane Michael.
Notice the parallel, NOAA/Noah, observing the flood brought on by G-d. The Torah describes the evil behavior of Noah's generation, which is said to be according to tradition, stealing such small amounts that no one could be prosecuted, i.e. ongoing injustice.
And, in this generation, BDS, the UN, the 'Palestinians,' and yes, the Trump Peace Plan, are all unjust attempts to steal the Land of Israel and in particular Jerusalem, from the Jewish People.
But wait, America always helps Israel...
Since George H. W. Bush, American policy has been slowly moving to reverse the miraculous outcome of the 1967 Six-Day War. Potentially ripping away parts of the Land of Israel from the Jewish People, and dividing Jerusalem in half; Trump's election has also led to the ripping in half of American society itself. Democrats and Republicans are guilty in both. Now another hurricane. It's not surprising that the G-d of Israel is angry, and bringing warnings of disaster to America...
Daily Jot: Pastors, politics and Christians - Bill Wilson -
As election day approaches, the debate over Christian participation in politics is re-circulating among various Christian camps of thought. Those justifying non-participation often cite Matthew 22:21 where Jesus says, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." Some pastors use this verse to teach their flocks that Christians have no place in the affairs of their nations. Pastors also preach Romans 13 about submitting to the ruling authorities, even though they may be evil. But Peter himself said in Acts 5:29 that, "We ought to follow God rather than men" when he was facing persecution and unjust demands from the ruling authorities.
As I see it, the context of Romans 13 was about the religious leaders that were the Roman-appointed governing body over the Jews. In any case, if those leaders are corrupt by Biblical terms it is self evident that you do not follow or support them. Governments are established for the good and protection of the people. In that, people give up some rights for those protections. Laws are established also to protect the people. As Christians, we know that we are to be a law-abiding people. But when a law goes against God's law; or a government goes against God's law, to whom do we submit as the higher authority? Peter answered that question when the ruling Sadducees threw him in prison for preaching Jesus in the Temple.
When this country was established, the Founders were well aware that they were going against the prevailing world view--that God appointed the ruler (the king) and that the people should blindly follow along even if that ruler was unjust. We can see the Founders' thinking by reading the Declaration of Independence in its entirety. Their mantra at Concord and Lexington was "No King but Jesus." So in our form of government, we the people have the say over who rules us. To passively submit to evil rulers, especially in this nation where God blessed us with the freedom to choose, is beyond the bounds of God-given common sense and self-preservation.
Many will say that Christians should not concern themselves with earthly kingdoms, but only be concerned about the kingdom of God. I don't view it as "either/or," but rather "both/and." We are charged in Romans 12:21 to be not overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good. In this country, we are blessed to have a say in our government with our vote. And if we choose to be salt and light to the political arena, we have that opportunity as well. I take issue with pastors who promote accepting evils in government or politics by saying they are no concern to Christians. Discouraging action against the ills of society by voting, participating in government or politics, or by just speaking out on such issues, is consent. Perhaps the best way to begin overcoming evil in high places is by cleansing the pulpit of those who condone it.
Daily Devotion: Liberty and Responsibility - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. -1 Corinthians 8:9
I could almost say that I'm an expert on drunk people. That sounds strange for a pastor to say, but let me explain. I spent the first seventeen years of my life around raging alcoholics. Every night my mother drank and basically passed out. I saw her friends and the effects that alcohol had on them and the subsequent wreckage of their lives. I've seen what alcohol does.
Some Christians say they have the liberty to drink. But with that liberty they also must be very careful. There are believers who have come out of an alcoholic background. What if a brand-new Christian who has been gloriously freed from alcoholism sees another believer having a drink? What if they rationalize that it's okay to have a drink-and then they fall into that lifestyle again?
As believers, we're all interconnected. The Bible says, "For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another" (Galatians 5:13 NKJV).
Here's a profound insight: If you don't drink, you will never get drunk. But if you drink, you could get drunk. Proverbs 23 has this to say about alcohol: "At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things" (verses 32-33 NKJV).
The Bible says, "Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts" (Ephesians 5:18-19 NLT). I would rather be under the power of the Holy Spirit than the spirits. I have never seen a single good thing that has come from drinking.
FROM THE HEART
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