Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Rapture Rewards and Coming Judgments - By pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2019/10/gods-rewards-and-judgments.html
26 "For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." (Hebrew 9:26-28)
While reading your Bible, you will happen on a central theme that is throughout the Word of God. Beginning in Genesis, the judgment of Adam and Eve begins a story of judgment when our common parents transgressed against God and partook of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Moving through the pages, you come to the flood of Noah's day, then the judgment of an unfaithful generation during the Exodus and 40 years of wandering in the wilderness till every last member of that generation had died. Then other judgments, such as Sodom and Gomorrah, a multitude of judgments against Israel for their idolatry, and finally the ultimate judgment for sin paid for by the only Person who could pay it's price, Jesus Christ at Calvary...This is just to name a few of the judgments you will find in Holy Scriptures.
THE COMING JUDGEMENT
There is coming a judgment that those who live during this generation we are now in, will experience the 21 judgments outlined in the Book of Revelation during the coming Tribulation period.
The Bible outlines five individual judgments that differ in five general aspects; the subjects, the time, the place, the basis of that judgment, and the results of the judgment passed.
There are two judgments for believers. The first judgment was for sinners, and the time of this judgment was roughly 30 AD. The place was the cross at Calvary.
The basis for the judgment was the finished Work of Christ. And the result was the justification for the believer. For the believer, this first judgment is in three parts. First as a sinner, second as a son, and thirdly, as a servant.
The "sin" part for the sinner was settled at the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The 'son' question is an ongoing process called sanctification through personal judgments the Bible calls 'chastisement'.
I call it the 'wood shed' experience that God will use to discipline those who step outside of His will. This judgment is designed to bring the believer back in line with God's Ways.
6 "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?" (Hebrews 12:6-9)
Finally, there is the judgment that comes for being God's servants, which brings us to the Judgment Seat of Christ, or the Bema Seat.
The Subjects are believers in Jesus Christ. The time is after the removal of God's true church from this planet, some call the 'rapture' or translated from the Greek Harpazo, the removal of God's true church from this planet. The basis for this judgment is our works that we have performed for service in the Name of God our Savior, Jesus Christ. The results will either be rewards, or the loss of rewards.
9 "Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
11 Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences." (2nd Corinthians 5:9-11)
11 "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (1st Corinthians 3:11-15)
Those that appears before this judgment seat, are not to be judged worthy of entering heaven, or God's Kingdom. That question has already been settled at the cross.
Here we will be judged for what we have done, or not done in the service as servants of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is a 'rewards banquet' and will reveal what sort of works we have done for Jesus and in His Name.
Think about that for a moment! Everything you ever did will be analyzed and scrutinized openly by the Lord Jesus Christ. Every good thing. . . and every bad thing. We'll be called on to give account of every word, every deed, every thought.
I don't know about you, but the bad part that I've done in my life, I don't relish the idea of Jesus piercing gaze cover all the things I've done in my life. I was not always following the Lord, and it makes me sad that I wasted any amount of time not following Him as a servant that has received a pardon from a death sentence. But praise God, Jesus paid for all my sins and I won't be judged for them or penalized for them. I just won't receive a reward for those things not done in the Name of Jesus. Only those done for the glory of God will any of us receive a reward in the coming Kingdom of God.
For all believers, the Judgment Seat of Christ will be an excruciating experience. "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men . . ." As Paul wrote: If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (1st Corinthians 3:14-15)...I can see what He meant by wiping away all tears from our eyes...even now it breaks my heart to know that in my past, I failed my Lord in something I did out of His will.
REWARDS FOR SERVICE FROM OUR LORD
There are five possible rewards, or "crowns" that believers can earn for their works at the Bema Seat. The Crown of Life. This is the Martyr's Crown. You get this one the hard way;
10 "Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.
11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death".(Revelation 2:10-11)
The Crown of Glory. This the the 'Pastor's Crown' given by the Chief Shepherd when He shall appear to those who serve;
"Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." (1st Peter 5:2-3)
I readily admit that I am working to earn this crown. Salvation is a gift of grace through faith, and that not of yourselves -- crowns you have to work for.
"And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (1st Peter 5:4)
The Crown of Rejoicing. This is the Soul-winners crown. Those brought to Jesus by us will be our "crown of rejoicing" at His Coming. Our Lord will give us this crown because of our witness to others about the Gospel message, and we will rejoice over who we have led away from the jaws of hell.
19 "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
20 For ye are our glory and joy."(1st Thessalonians 2:19-20)
The Crown of Righteousness. This is the crown earned by the Watchmen on the Wall who give the warning of His soon appearing.
18 "When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
19 Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." (Ezekiel 3:18-19)
7 "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2nd Timothy 4:7-8)
The Incorruptible Crown. This is a tough one to earn. This is the "Victor's" Crown, which is set aside for those who master temperance in this lifetime.
24 "Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.
25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible." (1st Corinthians 9:24-25)
Those who don't yield to the lusts of the flesh, and not saturate themselves with alcohol and drugs, and keep themselves separate from the world can expect to be rewarded with the Incorruptible Crown.
TRIBULATION ON EARTH
The judgment seat of Christ takes place simultaneously with the Third Judgment identified by scripture as taking place on the earth.
God's judgment is falling on a rebellious world. Revelation speaks of horrors that only one can imagine and never would want to experience. The Jewish people who are going through intense persecution that will make the holocaust pale in comparison. The subject of this Tribulation period are the Jews, the place is Jerusalem, the time is called the "Time of Jacob's Troubles". God will refine the nation of Israel as gold or silver is refined in a hot, fiery furnace.
2 "But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto theLord, as in the days of old, and as in former years." (Malachi 3:2-4)
But God will save a remnant of His people through the fire of purification:
7 "Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.
8 For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him:
9 But they shall serve the Lord their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them." (Jeremiah 30:7-9)
The basis for this judgment is the continued unbelief and rejection of their Messiah, until they cry out as Jesus prophesied they would and will bring national redemption of Israel:
37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." (Matthew 23:37-39)
Israel is basically in unbelief even to this day, but that will change in the coming Tribulation, when God will show Himself alive and bring them through the fire to cry out for deliverance (believing on their Messiah (and ours) that their fathers rejected 2000 years ago), and Jesus, our God will hear and come fight for them "as in the day of battle".
The fourth judgment identified in Scripture also takes place during the Tribulation. The subjects are the Gentile nations. The place is the Valley of Jehoshaphat. The basis for this judgment will be their treatment of the Jews and following the Beast power and taking the Mark of the Beast.
11 "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.
17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great." (Revelation 19:11-18)
Those who survive the battle at the plains of Megiddo or from around the world, will be gathered before the King of kings...
31 "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left."(Matthew 25:32)
The nations will be divided into the "Sheep nations" and the "Goat nations". The result is the Sheep nations will be permitted to enter into the Millennial Kingdom. The "Goat nations" will be destroyed.
This judgment takes place at the conclusion of the Tribulation Period of those who followed the Anti-Christ and his beast power, and those who did not.
40 "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:" (Matthew 25:40-41)
During this time, to help a Jewish person to survive would create a death sentence for one who did, but those who persecute and single out the Jewish people for extermination will receive God's wrath during this time and those who sheltered a Jewish person will receive a reward for their belief in Jesus the Messiah and brought that message to their brethren being saved, the Jewish people.
ADDITION FIRST FRUITS ADDED TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD
We have a resurrection that takes place at the end of the Tribulation, as Jesus has come and raised those who have experienced martyrdom during this period being of the 1st resurrection...Jesus was the beginning of that resurrection, those raised to life when Jesus came for His church, and those now, are all of the first resurrection..Jesus being the First Fruits of those born of the dead. .
"And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years." (Revelation 20:4)
The fifth and final judgment identified in Scripture is the Great White Throne Judgment. It will take place at the close of the Millennium a 1000 years after the judgment of the Nations, and before the "Great White Throne." and the books were opened:
"And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
13, The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his work
14, Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15, And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." Revelation 20:12-15)
I want you to notice something. This entire outline only works if the Rapture takes place before the Tribulation. If the Church is on the earth during the Tribulation Period, the entire outline falls apart. I've often made mention of this and it bears repeating here....if Jesus comes and destroys all rebellion on this earth and only those who are found in Christ are changed into immortal beings according to Paul's writing, then who goes into the Millennium as mortal? ..the answer, NO ONE.
50 " Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1st Corinthians 15:50-55)
BUT -- and this is the important part -- this is the only outline there is! There is only one Bible from which to work, and it doesn't give an alternative scenario.
It is the key to understanding the outline of Bible prophecy as it unfolds before this generation.
The Bible identifies five judgments and five crowns. The judgments are as I've outlined them, by those who are subject to them, when, where, why, and how.
WHERE WILL YOU BE?
Now for you who are reading this message, where will you fall when Jesus comes? What judgment will you partake of? What crown will you inherit as a reward, or will you be so unfortunate to be cast out into eternal darkness? This time is fast approaching as we bump right up to the end of this Dispensation, or the Age of Grace. Jesus is coming soon, Make your calling and election sure.
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:" (2nd Peter 1:10)...what thing?
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)
If you believe in your heart the above passage, then make it known to those around you:
8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:8-13)
Judgment of God is coming. Will you receive a reward or be cast out from the presence of God? The wise man/woman chooses wisely.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying you are standing with me at the Bema Judgment Seat of Christ awaiting your crown...if you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit me online at my blog for more messages about the Gospel as Jesus our only Way to God our Father, and the coming Tribulation and the gathering of God's Church called His Bride, at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , , God bless you all....TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
The Mask is Off: Lebanon is Hezbollah - By Dr. Mordechai Kedar - www.breakingisraelnews.com
I have some news: There has been no state of Lebanon for some time now. The entity to the north of Israel is nothing but a mask covering up the bitter reality: Lebanon belongs to Hezbollah. It is ruled by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, whose agenda is dictated by Tehran. Hezbollah's army is stronger than the official Lebanese army, and the country's economy is designed to serve Nasrallah's goals.
The Lebanese parliament, government, president and all other state institutions are nothing more than a facade for players directed by Nasrallah, who also decides what they will be paid for "good behavior," and whether his collaborators can benefit from the corruption that is running rampant in Lebanon.
The public is well aware of the situation, and is furious about it. Two weeks ago, people took to the streets in Lebanon to protest against "corruption" and demand that the government resign. The unifying slogan has been "everyone-as in, everyone," meaning get rid of all the ministers because they are all corrupt, including the ministers that work for Hezbollah.
Nasrallah and his Iranian sponsors are afraid that the mask will slip, exposing the country's true face-that of Hezbollah-to the world. If that happens, the world will stop selling weapons to the Lebanese army ("we have to strengthen the Lebanese army for the challenges facing it," say French weapons manufacturers and others) and stop lending the country money that just goes to support the thieving regime Hezbollah has put in place.
In a speech last Friday that lasted over an hour, Nasrallah warned the citizens of Lebanon against anarchy, warning that if the protests got out of control, they would meet "active intervention" (meaning, forcible dispersal) from members of the "resistance" (Hezbollah).
On Tuesday, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned, along with the rest of the government, including Hezbollah ministers-meaning the demonstrators' first demand has been met. Their second demand is to appoint a government of non-party-affiliated experts to run the country.
It appears that Nasrallah won't object to the idea, if only to keep the mask on. He will, however, make sure that the "experts" will do what he tells them to. That way he can play for time-but the public could take to the streets again if they realize they were fooled.
Hariri's resignation and the fall of the Lebanese government is the first crack in the mask, and Nasrallah will now hunker down and start working assiduously to breathe life into state institutions so that they resume functioning and keep supplying him with cover as in the past. He doesn't have an easy task ahead of him, because the protesters are as sick of Nasrallah as they are of his corrupt lackeys.
The sense of togetherness that has blossomed in the nation's squares, the "festival" that has gone on for two weeks already, the major role the women of Lebanon are playing in the protests, the national flags with their stylized cedar trees and the slogans being shouted are all signs that the genie is out of the bottle, and at this stage is refusing to go back in.
If, heaven forbid, a few dozen of the protesters were killed, that might be the final nail in the coffin. Or it might not. Nasrallah is sweating bullets, that's for sure.
Bump in the Night - By Hal Lindsey -
Imagine you and your family are in an Anaheim, California motel or Airbnb. Preparations for tomorrow's visit to Disneyland are complete. Excited kids have finally settled down to sleep. You're able to relax a minute before doing the same.
Then you feel it. The floor begins to rumble and roll. The room sways. A nearby lamp rattles. It takes about two seconds to realize you are experiencing a California earthquake. In the seconds that follow, you ask yourself, "Could this be the big one? What are the safety procedures? What do I do to protect my family?"
In a few more seconds, all goes quiet. The quake ends. It turns out to have been small - at least for you. But how far are you from the epicenter? How bad was it there? Has there been any damage? Are the freeways intact? Will the airport be operating when it's time for you to go home? Is Space Mountain okay? What about the rest of Disneyland?
You go on the internet in search of information. In a matter of minutes, an article appears giving preliminary information on the quake - where it was centered and how strong it was. You learn that it wasn't the big one, and it won't disrupt your plans.
Then, at the end of the brief article, you see that it was written entirely by machines. A computer at the US Geological survey received and evaluated data from seismic sensors across the region. It sent an alert to various news media containing basic information and preliminary statistics. A computer at the newspaper where you found the article then spit out the preliminary story. Such use of technology is useful and, in an emergency, could be crucial.
But where is it leading?
More than half of all internet traffic is now automated, mostly by what are referred to as "bots." That's short for "web robot." These are not manlike machines sitting at keyboards and reading computer monitors. They are software applications. They do automated tasks, following scripts written for them.
By some estimates, during the 2016 election cycle, one-fifth of online debates were between machines with no human beings involved at all. Bots can be programmed to generate political stories or get into political arguments. Why pay people to do this when you can automate the process with Artificial Intelligence? The next time you get into an online debate with a stranger, that stranger may not even be human.
Bots follow scripts given by their human masters. Those scripts reflect the beliefs, biases, prejudices, and purposes of those humans. By automating the process, bots turn the work of a single human into something that looks like the work of thousands, maybe millions. They invade social networks. They generate posts and lay out stories meant to persuade people of a certain point of view, or sometimes to paralyze the political opposition with confusion.
And then there are the real people. In 2016, a group of people in Veles, Macedonia - most of them teenagers - made their city famous as the "Fake News Capital of the World." They discovered that the American elections were a gold mine. All they had to do was make up stories that people wanted to believe. Every click on one of their stories meant money in their pockets. Whether or not the stories were true, made no difference. If people clicked on the story, it made money. So, they wrote outrageous things - the more outrageous the better, as long as it felt like something that could be true.
It's no accident that when His disciples asked Jesus about the end times, His first words were a warning. In Matthew 24:4, He said, "Take heed that no one deceives you."
We live in the era of deception. Today, there is little consensus on reality. They used to say that pictures don't lie. But they do now. Film of someone doing something or saying something once served as irrefutable evidence that the person did or said what was depicted. Not anymore.
So, what do we believe? Who do you trust in an era when liars have been given such powerful technological tools? Two thousand years ago, Pontius Pilate asked, "What is truth?"
In John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am... the truth."
In John 8:32, He said, "The truth shall make you free."
As the world struggles to understand what is true and what is real, those who know Jesus can rest in the most fundamental truth of all - Him.
A Little Help From A Brother - Nathele Graham -
"What shall we then say to these things: If God be for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31. As we go along our path in life we sometimes come up against problems. That's when we need help. God is always there to help and if we are walking in His ways then nothing can stand against us. Things can look bad and circumstances may steal our joy, but a little help from a brother or sister in Christ can change our outlook and make our burden a little lighter. Sometimes God will call us to do a certain task, but we see our weaknesses instead of the strength we have in Christ. This has been true for eons. Moses is an example of someone who saw his own weakness. God called him to lead the Israelites out of captivity, but Moses only saw the reasons why he couldn't do what God asked. From a human perspective, he had a point. Moses was born in Egypt to a Hebrew family, but was raised by Pharaoh's daughter. There came a day when Moses saw an Egyptian abusing some Hebrew slaves and defended the slaves by killing the Egyptian. That wasn't a wise decision, and it caused Moses to flee to Midian. God can use us even though we fail, and He chose Moses to free the Israelites from the captivity in which they had been enslaved, and lead them to the land promised to Abraham.
Moses came up with one excuse after another as to why he couldn't do what God asked, and God showed him over and over why he could. His first excuse was they wouldn't believe him. How many times have we kept silent in our Christian witness because we fear what the non-believer might say? Moses was standing there talking to a voice from a burning bush and could still question God's power. Like Moses, Christians are called to speak on behalf of God and not worry about the outcome of our obedience. God gave a demonstration of why Moses could trust Him. He told Moses to throw his rod on the ground. Moses did and it became a serpent! Moses was understandably frightened. "And the LORD said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand: that they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee." Exodus 4:4-5. We have nothing to fear when God is with us and we follow His directions. Then God told him to put his hand inside his bosom. Moses obeyed and when he took his hand out it was full of leprosy. The process was repeated and the hand was healed. Moses should have been convinced of God's power, but he continued making excuses. We can criticize Moses, but we are much like him. God calls us to service and we have one excuse after another for why we will fail.
Moses was convinced he would fail because he looked to his own failings and felt nobody would believe him. His past sins caused him to doubt God could use him. He feared that people would remember the sin and not trust him. His final excuse was that he wasn't an eloquent speaker. "And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue." Exodus 4:10. Like Moses, we can come up with every excuse imaginable as to why we will fail. If God is for you, who can be against you? God pointed out to Moses that He was the creator of all things, even the human mouth. He would give Moses the words. Still, Moses argued. Even God will not argue with a person forever. "And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Moses, and he said, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also, behold, he cometh forth to meet thee: and when he seeth thee, he will be glad in his heart." Exodus 4:14. It was Moses who God chose to bring the Israelites out of captivity, but Moses needed a little help from his brother, Aaron. Sometimes we also need help from a brother or sister to accomplish the task which God has set before us. Instead of wasting time arguing with God, why not be willing to do the task but humbly accept help where needed. God will provide help. He works through people, and Aaron was willing to do his part.
Together, Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh, and God was with them. After some difficulties the Hebrew slaves were freed, but their journey to the Promised Land wasn't easy. Doubt and fear caused them to wander 40 years instead of quickly accomplishing what God intended. Moses led the people, but Aaron was there to help. While they wandered, they faced troubles and even war. Exodus 17 describes a battle with the Amalekites. "Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim." Exodus 17:8. Joshua was to lead the Hebrew soldiers into battle, but Moses would stand on a hill with the rod of God in his hand. This would encourage Joshua and all who fought so that they would not lose heart and fail. And so, the battle began. Moses stood on the hill along with Aaron and Hur. As the battle raged, Moses would hold up his hands and Israel would prevail, but if he let down his hands the enemy would begin to win. Isn't that true today? We fight in a spiritual battle and begin to grow weary and our hands lifted to God begin to drop. When we lift our hands to the Lord in praise the enemy loses. "But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun." Exodus 17:12. There's an important lesson here. Moses needed his brother's help so the battle wouldn't be lost. Do you ever feel as if you are losing the battle with the enemy? Maybe God has called you to His service, but you tire of the battle and your hands can no longer be raised in praise. Brothers and sisters need to help each other in times of need. You may need help, or you may be the one to help someone else. When we lift our hands to God, we praise Him and our strength is renewed.
Moses is just one example we can follow, and the New Testament gives others. As always, Jesus is our best example. Jesus was God, but chose to enter His creation as one of us. He chose twelve men to follow closely and learn from Him. When He sent them out on mission trips, He didn't send them one by one. "And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits" Mark 6:7. Why do you supposed He sent them two at a time? Just like Aaron was there to help Moses, we all need someone by our side to keep us grounded in what Scripture teaches. There is safety in numbers, but it's also easier to keep strong in our Christian walk if there's someone with us who will prop our arms up when we grow weary in battle. The men Jesus sent were able to cast out demons and heal the sick. Could they have done it if they traveled alone? Probably, because God was with them. On the other hand, it would have been easy for them to shrink back in fear when faced with a demon. Because they weren't alone in the battle, they had a like-minded brother to help them if they faltered and there was a brother to share the joy of what they accomplished through the power of the Holy Spirit. One of the excuses Moses used was that if he had told the Hebrews about what God had done, they wouldn't have believed him. With two travelling together there are two witnesses to the power of God. Another reason for asking a brother or sister for help is accountability. Temptations will come, but if you have a brother or sister near you who cares they will help you to walk the strait and narrow path. Christians need each other and we need to be there for each other.
If you're too proud to ask for help, just look to Jesus. He took His disciples when He taught and when He healed. This was so they could learn. On the night of His arrest, He went to God the Father in prayer, but He asked His friends to be with Him. "And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; and saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch." Mark 14:33-34. He knew what was soon to happen. The trial, the beating, the mocking, and the scourging. Worst of all, as He hung on the cross He knew that God the Father could not look upon Him. Sin separates us from God and on that day Christ, who was perfect in all ways, took our sin upon Himself. He became sin in our place. He offered Himself as the once for all sacrifice for your sin and mine. For the first time ever, Father and Son were separated. "...My God, my God! Why hast thou forsaken me?" Mark 15:34b. The anguish in that cry resounds through the ages. As He prayed in that garden waiting for the soldiers to arrest Him, Jesus knew what He would face and would have liked to have a friend or two by His side. He asked His friends to watch and pray, but they fell asleep. Too often we are like them and don't recognize a need in the life of a fellow Christian and we just fall asleep. We all need to be more aware of the needs of our brothers and sisters around us. We need to hold each other's arms up as we face the spiritual battles before us.
As we travel this life, we need the help and support of fellow Christians to see us through each day. Sometimes you will need a friend to support your arms as you lift them to the Lord. Sometimes someone will need you to support their arms. In the day of battle, we all need a little help from a brother.
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: The impeachment railroad - Bill Wilson -
Democrat lawmakers are railroading impeachment rules into place that give a tremendous advantage to the party as it steams toward impeaching President Donald Trump. Under the guise and media narrative of having open votes to make sure things are fair, the Democrats are voting on rules that allow House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) wide latitude in determining the secrecy of the hearings, unelected staff members to question witnesses, block witnesses that the Republicans would like to hear testify, and to release only transcripts that Schiff deems appropriate. All the while, Schiff and the Democrats are saying these rules bring "fairness and due process" to the impeachment inquiry.
Breitbart reports: "Again and again, Republicans offered amendments to restore the rules used in previous impeachment inquiries. For example, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) offered an amendment to allow the president's counsel to be represented in all of the committees investigating impeachment, not just in the House Judiciary Committee." When Congressman Rob Wooddall (R-GA) objected that the new rules continue to allow secret hearings, and to bar the president's counsel from most of the investigative process, Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD) responded that the House's power over impeachment was unlimited, saying, "[W]e have the power to get the information that we want in the manner in which we want to get it."
In the past, impeachments have been investigated by only the House Judiciary Committee and witnesses could be questioned by the president's counsel. Now Democrats controlling the process will allow investigations conducted by several committees, led by the House Intelligence Committee, with no guarantees that witnesses will be questioned by the president's counsel, or that witnesses could be called by the president's counsel. Democrats said that the president's rights to due process do not apply to impeachment because it is similar to a grand jury. In this case, however, unlike a grand jury, the Democrats are leaking to the news media only excerpts of damaging testimonies to sway public opinion.
The Democrats have the votes and the power to set their own rules because they are the majority. They could impeach the president today if they wanted to, but they are stacking the process against the president and are railroading public opinion on impeachment. Republicans are unable to level the playing field. Impeachment is based on public opinion. If the public rises up against it, there will be severe consequences to the Party of impeachment. This is why the Democrats are leaking the bad information and setting the rules so that only those against the president can testify or question witnesses. Isaiah 58:1 says, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins." We need to lift our voices and show Americans this travesty, and House Democrats their wrongdoing.
Daily Devotion: Spit Out - by Greg Laurie -
I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!-Revelation 3:15-16
Awhile back we had our grandchildren at the house, and they were getting ready for school. Allie was hungry, so Cathe said, "Greg, make some eggs for Allie."
All I know how to make are eggs and toast. So I made my scrambled eggs. Now, Cathe always cooks them on lower heat so they're fluffy. But I didn't want Allie to be late, so I cranked up the heat to finish them. And by the time I served those eggs, they were rubbery.
They were horrible, in fact, but I wasn't saying anything. Allie took one bite and announced that she wasn't really hungry anymore.
What if you made a meal for someone and they said it made them want to throw up? This is the language Jesus used when He described how He feels about lukewarmness.
Speaking to lukewarm people in Revelation 3, Jesus said, "I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!" (verses 15-16 NLT).
But isn't it better to be lukewarm than cold? No, it actually isn't. That's because a cold person who has no interest in the things of God may, in a way, be closer to coming to Christ than a lukewarm person. They may be thinking about getting their life right with Him.
On the other hand, someone sitting in church might say, "I know this already. I've heard this already."
At least the spiritually cold person knows they have a need, while the lukewarm person doesn't think they do. And that's the problem.
There are three spiritual temperatures: cold, lukewarm, and hot. Which one describes you?
FROM THE HEART
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