Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
CAPTURED BY GRACE - By Pastor Mike Taylor -
8" For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast". (Ephesians 2:8-9)
When one speaks of God's grace, it has been defined as the love and mercy given to us by God because God desires us to have it, not because of anything we have done to earn it, but is the condescension or benevolence shown by God toward the human race. It is understood by Christians to be a spontaneous gift from God to man being a generous, free and totally unexpected and undeserved -that takes the form of divine favor, love, clemency, and a share in the divine life of God.
It is an attribute of God that is most manifest for the salvation of sinners. Christianity holds that the initiative in the relationship of grace between God and an individual is always on the side of God, not man. God pursues us, as we do not pursue Him.
CAPTURED BY GRACE
I just got finished reading a book by David Jeremiah, called "Captured by Grace". In the pages of this book, Dr. Jeremiah explores the life of Paul, and contrast it with another man who wrote the words of that most beloved hymn "Amazing Grace" John Newton. If you read about the life that each of these men had before they met the Lord of Glory, you would understand how depraved and sinful they were. How deceived each man was.
SAUL WHO BECAME PAUL, THE APOSTLE
Saul of Tarsas was a zealot of the Jewish faith, being a Pharisee, he made it his mission to stamp out this new heretical sect of Judaism, called at the time, "The Way". We can read the story of Saul at it's beginning in Acts chapters 7 of the stoning of Stephen, where Saul is introduced as a man consenting to the death of this young disciple of Jesus Christ , but moving on into into chapter 9, Saul is on the road to Damascus and the risen Jesus Christ comes to him and knocks him off his horse and blinds him:
3 "And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the goads." (Acts 9:3-5)
I wondered what the word goad meant and what it referred to, or as some translations have it pricks. It is a reference to the pointed stick or metal poker that was used to drive an oxen team to do what you wanted them to do, where you wanted them to go. You were leading them, but pricking them with this stick, even as the oxen would kick at it. Paul was being pursued and was being driven to do what God wanted him to do with a spiritual sharp stick.
As you read the story, you have to wonder what went through Saul's mind when he is confronted by the risen Lord. The same Lord he was determined to stamp out any worship of by persecuting all who were following Him. I just can imagine it destroyed everything he thought he was, or believed up to that point. If he was wrong about this, what else was he wrong about? He had to meditate on this in his weakened condition. For three days, he took no food or water, being blinded by the intense light that shown about him, as the revelation of Jesus Christ came to him bodily in His glorified state.
As the story progresses, Paul is healed by a follower of Jesus Christ, one Ananias who God commands him to go to Saul and heal his eyes, by laying his hands on him. From that point on, Saul who changed his name from Saul to Paul, became a zealot for Jesus Christ and Him crucified and there is no other man in the Bible, (save the persecution of our Lord) that was more persecuted, all for his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor was there a more a bold tower of spiritual faith and conviction that there was found in Paul, the apostle.
SLAVE TRADER, JOHN NEWTON
Then there is John Newton, a man who had a terrible life. Abandoned as a child, reared in a boarding school that is nothing more than a child prison, lived the life of a sea faring slave trader, guilty of the murder by deprivation of other human beings transported in the squalor of a ship's bowels, and was at service of every evil he could think of, in word and in deed constantly. If you read the story of John Newton, you wonder how this man ever became known as a pastor of a church in England, a minister of righteousness, and the author of one of our most beloved hymns, "Amazing Grace". It is a story of about each man, living in the clutches of a sinful, evil life and changed in an instant by one thing, God's grace and mercy. In this beautiful book mentioned, you discover that they both were "captured by grace". God's grace lifted them out of the miry clay of a life headed for hell, and set them on a solid rock, a changed man. If you want a book that will touch your mind, soul, and spirit, then this is a good one to read, but back to God's grace. Why?
WHY DOES GOD CARE FOR MANKIND?
That is the question. Why would God bother with men such as these two, or any man, for that matter, who are prone to sinful ways? Since Adam fell, men have had a sinful nature that separated them from a righteous God who can't abide sin in His presence. King David wondered the same thing when he wrote in Psalms:
4 "What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5 For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:" (Psalms 8:4-6)
In each of these men, whose life I read about in the context of grace, it was God who did the pursuing. David Jeremiah called it the "hounds of heaven". God was on these men's trail and they may have felt His presence, a conviction or something in their spirit that they felt they we being stalked. The book envisions it this way:
"Saul feels the beginning of a chill along his spine. This has happened before-more than once. He roots out the Christians: he does his job: he is reminded of their strange calmness, their-what is the word for it? Some kind of irrational mercy. And always, as Saul is reflecting over the oddity of it all, he hears the ----footsteps." (Captured by Grace, P. 3)
Of course, this is literary interpretation of what Saul might have felt, but in the moment Saul may have "felt a strange inside feeling that he was the one being pursued, and that someone, or something else was pursuing him. Of course, it's irrational. What possible sense could it make? He was God's champion, defender of the faith. He must continue on, root them out, capture them one by one. Capture their faith, capture---yes, that's the word, their grace." (Captured by Grace, P.3)
JOHN NEWTON ANAZLYZED
It was the same in comparison with John Newton, a man wallowing in sins of the flesh in alcoholism, , murder, revelry with women and every other word was a blasphemy against God or a curse word. How were these men changed, into the exact opposite of what their life was in the beginning into men of faith, men of passion for Jesus Christ, and followers of the righteousness of God to the end of their days?
It was grace. Such grace can only come from God. It is unmerited, unlimited, and a gift not sought for by anyone. For no matter what we have done, no matter the depth of our transgression, the darkness of our hearts, grace overrules them all. God pursues us relentlessly. He will not give us up, and once He has captured us, He won't let us go.
Saved a Wretch Like Me
There's a line in that wonderful, old song, that most of us can sing by memory.
"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found. Was blind, but now I see."
What do you feel when you sing that line? A lot of people just belt it out and never realize that they are who the writer was talking about. He was talking about himself, and he was talking about you, and talking about me. "A Wretch like me." Have you ever tried to define what a wretch is? It's an Old English term, that means a person in exile, a person who is miserable and terribly lost. As the New York Times wrote in a piece about the morals of this country, "we are a wretched people in need of a road map." Amazing that the New York Times recognizes the terrible condition that this country, this world for that matter, is in. That road map is the Bible. The Bible speaks of the nature of mankind, in Roman:
11 "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
17 And the way of peace have they not known:
18 There is no fear of God before their eyes." (Romans 3:11-18)
That pretty well sums up the condition of most of the people that have turned away from God as the Sovereign of this nation. This is true of the world at large, but even more so than for the USA. We were a nation conceived on Christian principles, founded on our belief in the Ten Commandments of how men are to worship God and treat one another, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. No other nation has been more blessed, more rich in material favor, and has become the greatest nation on the face of the earth, greater than any nation in all of history. Even the poorest among the people are considered rich by any other nation's standards.
You might be thinking, "hey, I'm a good person. I don't do drugs, I don't run around on my wife, and I go to church every Sunday". Good for you, but in God's eyes, you are a wretch and lost, if you depend on your own goodness and morality. We are all sinners in God's eyes, and wretched by definition, or outcast, exiled, and separated from God. Paul speaks of it this way:
19 "For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Jesus Christ) shall many be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound.(to define sin) But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 5:19-21)
Sometimes it is said that grace is a five letter word that is spelled J-E-S-U-S.. For Newton's hymn, the melody embodied the idea, BUT Jesus was the Man. He was the perfect once and for all, perfect image of grace. John 1:
1 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2 The same was in the beginning with God.
3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.......
1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-4, 14)
God in His mercy, had a loving, deep desire for the work of His hands. He desired a relationship with His creation, as the potter makes a masterpiece by the work of His hands and cherishes this example of perfection. Our heavenly Father longed for a family of people who loved Him. He longs for us, His perfect creation. Going back to Psalms where David ponders why God has a desire for us. Psalm chapter 8:
5 " For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
6 Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:"(Psalms 8:5-6)
We were intended for honor and glory, but Satan, the usurper managed to deceive our first parents and cause them to choose a different life, by free choice. They chose the knowledge of good and evil, and chose a very different, dangerous world that we now live in. But God in His mercy has extended His mercy and His grace to a creation that is drowning in sin and unable to save themselves. Ephesians:
1 " And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)" (Ephesians 2:1-5)
This is love...This is grace...This is mercy...unwarranted, undeserved, without merit. God became a man, lived amongst His own creation. Why? Because He knew man could NOT save himself. We were dead. We were killed spiritually by Satan and slaves to sin without hope or any way out in of ourselves. But to reclaim us, Jesus became our kinsman redeemer, whereby a person who has been sold as a slave, as we were sold to a sin filled life, by the act of one man (Adam) and the evil deception by our adversary, Satan the devil, we were reclaimed by one Man, Jesus Christ. Romans:
14 "Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.
19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous." (Romans 5:14-19)
The Prodigal Son
If there is one story in the Bible that speaks of grace, let us quickly look at the story of the prodigal son. It's a much preached about parable that Jesus told. We all know how the story goes. About a young man who wanted to go his own way, to leave his father, and took his portion of the family fortune and went out into the world to live a sinful, riotous life until all his money ran out. Where did it end him? Down in the mud, feeding pigs and longing for the corn husk that they ate.
Until, he came to himself and realized that he must return to his father, and throw himself upon his mercy, and pray for being nothing but a servant, as he deserved nothing more from him. Luke 15:
17 "And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!
18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee," (Luke 15:17-18)
The parable that Jesus told, its a story about us. This is where all of us are, or were. We were sold under sin and lost within the family of mankind, by inheriting the sin nature of Adam and Eve.. This story is not so much about the son, but of the father, who upon seeing his son coming from afar off, runs to greet him. Realize that during his running to his son, the father had to lift up the mantle of his robe to prevent him from tripping over it's hem. Thus exposing his bare legs and running with love and compassion holding that hem. The discards all thought of his being the patriarch in the community and the decorum of Middle Eastern man, but runs with abandonment to the son he had been looking down this road for so long, only now to fall upon his neck and kiss him. The son gave his much rehearsed plea to his father for becoming part of his servants, and not worthy to be his son. But notice the father's reply, again Luke 15:
22 "But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry."(Luke 15:22-24)
We are that son. God is that father. It's not so much a story about the guilt of the son, but of the grace of the father. We were dead, but God has made a way for us to come back to him. What is that way, the only Way? John 3,
16 "For God (your Father, my Father) so loved the world,(you and me) that he gave his only begotten Son (Jesus Christ), 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)
For Paul, is was the realization that he was wretched. For John Newton, it was the realization that he was also a wretched wandering prodigal son. As Paul wrote in 1st Timothy chapter 1:
13 "Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." (1st Timothy 1:13-15)
For John Newton, who wrote "Amazing Grace" the words spoke of his blindness, his sin, and the grace he received. It was the same, for both men.. They both were blind, they both were lost, but now they see. And they both were saved by grace. Our loving, heavenly Father gives us all that we need to come to Him in faith. In this, even our faith is given by our God, as He draws us to Him, and all we have to do is reach out in gratitude and repentance for the "wretch" that we are, wallowing in our sin and unable to save ourselves.
36, "But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.
37, All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (John 6:36-37)
God works even to make sure that His people have the faith they need! God supplies everything except one's decision-and even in the decision a person makes, He keeps poking us in the ribs, shoving us in the back, to move us in the right direction. He does not give up easily once He sets his mind to do something.
8 "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God," (Ephesians 2:8)
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN THESE EXAMPLES?
Are you like any of these three examples? Are you wallowing in sin and lost from being away from the Father who loves you? Does life seem to be a desperate road of being unable to find your way back to where you know you should be? Do you feel that tugging at your heart, and the unrest of your mind? God is pursuing you and won't stop till He captures you. Will it take a blinding light and being knocked from a horse, or being so low that you reside with pigs and eating scraps from someone else's table, as Newton and the prodigal son did? Or will it be something even worse? Do you understand the mercy and grace that has been extended to all who believe in the only pathway back to the Father who created you? Jesus said:
"I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)
You see, God became a man, as John 1 proclaims. He lived and died 2000 years ago for one purpose and that was to make available to all who believe to receive God's Amazing Grace But what must you do to receive this grace, this free gift from God who even gives you the faith to even believe that Jesus is the Son of God who was raised from the dead and is alive and standing at the right hand of God the Father, and is soon to come again....maybe real soon..
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)
God's grace and mercy, along with the faith to internalize that grace into your heart and mind is sitting right in front of you. All you have to do is reach out and take the "brass ring" and our God will set your feet upon a "SOLID ROCK" which is Jesus Christ and you will have been captured by Grace to the glory of God our Father. Won't you accept this free offer by coming to Him in repentance of your sins, and confessing with your mouth your need for a Savior....that Savior is Jesus Christ...the ONLY Way back to Almighty God?
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying grace and mercy enter into your life through Jesus Christ, my Lord. Should you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me email@example.com , or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com .
God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus Feet.
Palestinian Threats to Arab Normalization with Israel - by Khaled Abu Toameh - https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/13236/palestinian-normalization-israel
For more than 10 years now, Hamas and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah faction have been at war with each other. Attempts by their Arab brothers, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, to solve the power struggle between the two rival Palestinian groups have thus far failed and are unlikely to succeed in the foreseeable future. The gap between Hamas and Fatah remains as wide as ever: the two parties despise each other. Fatah wants to return to the Gaza Strip; Hamas says it out loud: no. Fatah wants Hamas to disarm and cede control over the Gaza Strip; Hamas says no.
On one particular issue, however, the two sides lay aside their differences and see eye to eye. When it comes to Israel, one would be hard-pressed to distinguish between Fatah and Hamas.
Both parties use the same harsh language when referring to Israel and the policies and decisions of the Israeli government. The daily statements condemning Israel that are issued separately by Hamas and Fatah sound almost identical. Both refer to Israel as the "state of occupation." They also continue to incite Palestinians and the rest of the world against Israel by accusing it of committing "war crimes" against the Palestinians and "violating international law."
The daily attacks on Israel by Hamas and Fatah have radicalized Palestinians to a point where many of them would not consider any form of compromise with it.
In the past few days, the rival Palestinian parties have again found themselves in agreement -- this time over what they perceive as efforts to normalize relations between Israel and some Arab countries.
The normalization efforts there are talking about refer to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent visit to Oman, an Arab country that does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. They are also referring to the participation of Israeli athletes in a judo competition in the United Arab Emirates, another Arab country that does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.
Separate statements issued by Hamas and Fatah have strongly condemned Arab countries for "rushing" to normalize relations with Israel before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved. The statements are strikingly similar in their words and messages.
Consider, for example, what Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh had to say about the apparent rapprochement between Israel and some Arab countries. On October 29, Haniyeh was quoted as saying:
"All the attempts at normalization won't change the reality. There is no place for the [Israeli] enemy on the map. The people are sending an angry message to all those who are normalizing [with Israel]."
A statement issued by Haniyeh's Hamas movement went as far as denouncing the normalization efforts as a "stab in the back of the Palestinians." The statement accused the Arabs who are engaged in various forms of dialogue with Israel of "abandoning the Palestinians and their just cause."
In other words, Hamas is implying that any Arab leader who establishes relations with Israel will be seen as a traitor to the Palestinians and their cause. Haniyeh is brutally honest as to why he and Hamas oppose any form of normalization with Israel; it is because they believe there's "no room" for Israel on the map. In their eyes, Israel has no right to exist and should be replaced with an Islamic state, where Jews would be welcome to live as a minority.
Hamas's rivals in Fatah have taken a similar stance towards the warming of relations between Israel and some Arab countries. A number of senior Fatah officials, including Munir al-Jaghoob and Mohammed Shtayyeh, have condemned Oman for hosting Netanyahu. They have also condemned the UAE for allowing Israelis to participate in the judo competition.
"Fatah condemns the public normalization between Israel and some Arab countries," al-Jaghoub commented. He went on to claim that Netanyahu's visit to Oman was part of US President Donald Trump's yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East. Palestinians believe that Trump's plan, which no one in the Middle East has seen so far, envisages the establishment of peace treaties between Israel and the Arab countries before the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is resolved.
Hamas and Fatah are opposed to normalization between Israel and the Arab countries because they are afraid that their Arab brothers will abandon them. The two Palestinian rival parties fear that once the Arabs sign peace treaties with Israel, they (the Arabs) will forget about the Palestinians and focus on bringing prosperity and stability to the Arab countries.
The Palestinians seek to continue holding the Arab world hostage to their own unrealistic demands. They do not want to see the Arab countries move forward and build a better future for their people. This tactic, which has worked for the past seven decades, is apparently about to become less useful as one Arab country after the other opens its doors to Israeli leaders, politicians and athletes.
Hamas and Fatah seem to want to play the victim card to the bitter end. They have long claimed to be victims of Israel. Now they are seeking to convince the world that the Palestinians are victims of some kind of an Israeli-American conspiracy to make peace with Israel. In the world of the Palestinians, peace between Israel and the Arab countries is tantamount to treason, a conspiracy concocted by Israel and the US administration.
Instead of welcoming the warming up of relations between Israel and some Arab countries as a positive development that brings hope and optimism to the Middle East, the rulers of Hamas and Fatah are busy condemning and inciting against Arabs who "collaborate" with Israel. The condemnations and incitement sound a great deal like threats directed towards Arab heads of state and governments who want to do business with Israel. These threats will undoubtedly have a negative impact on some of the Arab countries that will see them as blackmail by the Palestinians.
When Hamas and Fatah call on the "Arab street" to voice its opposition to the normalization efforts with Israel, they are actually urging the people in the Arab countries to revolt against their leaders and governments. It is hard to see how any Arab leader will remain idle in the face of the Palestinian threats and denunciations.
The Palestinians are once again acting against their own interests by alienating powerful and wealthy countries such as the UAE and Oman. Hamas and Fatah are indeed leading their people towards an certain end: isolation and extremism. So, Fatah and Hamas cannot agree to pay their workers, they cannot agree on supplying electricity to the Gaza Strip, and they cannot agree on providing medical supplies to hospitals there. They do agree, however, on inflicting more harm and damage on their people. If they go on like this, the day will come when the Palestinians will discover that their friends and brothers have become their biggest enemies.
Nearing Midnight: Mad as Hell - Terry James -
It was somewhat shocking, what happened while "watching" the Lou Dobbs program on Fox Business Network a week or so ago. (Technically, being blind, I was "listening" rather than "watching.") I heard Lou's guest say the words "I am as mad as Hell!".
Now, even Mr. Dobb's wife, he has confided on the program, has gotten onto him for using during the broadcast what we might consider the milder cuss words in today's vernacular. But, it wasn't the show's host who used the word this time.
Lou's guest was Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor of the megachurch, First Baptist of Dallas, who uttered the word. That it was Dr. Jeffress who said it was slightly jolting.
As I recall, the topic revolved around the upcoming midterm elections. Specifically, it was about the vitriol the mainstream news conglomerate continues to spew against President Donald J. Trump. The host and Dr. Jeffress agreed that every effort was being made by the leftist cabal, consisting of the mainstream news and entertainment media and the Democrat Party, to demonize the president and all who adhere to his Make America Great Again agenda.
The pastor said something along the lines of, "The voters are angry. In this election, they might say, through their collective vote, something like was uttered in the old movie, Network. Like when the guy said, 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore.'"
I'm not here casting a condemning glance at Pastor Jeffress. I have said worse-like the other morning when I knocked the "I Love New York" coffee mug given me by my much beloved, honorary, granddaughter from my desk and broke the handle. So, I certainly have no room to cast aspersions.
The quotation Dr. Jeffress used to express the need for voters to fight the political evil going on, ironically, was made by the character who was a network news anchor, Howard Beale, played by Peter Finch. He had become somewhat senile and was being removed as anchor. The character, during his broadcast, urged all to take action. He shouted, "I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell, 'I'm as mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' Things have got to change!"
There is a lot wrapped up in that term, "mad as Hell." To be in that state of mind is, I am certain, beyond any mindset one can conjure.
To be that angry implies that the mindset has been reached like that of those who are in that eternal, infernal place. To anyone who has read Inferno by Dante Alighieri, the briefest glimpse of the madness might be achieved. But, being of human authorship, the descriptions of that fictional Hell can provide fodder for but the slightest imagining of what must be the reality.
The ultimate madness that is the final result of turning away from the God of Heaven comes to fruition in that place called Hell. But the mindset that determines to turn one's back on the Almighty begins at birth. We are born sinful creatures-lost from our very conception because of original sin. When we mature to the point that we can know we must accept or reject God's offer of redeeming grace, and when we choose the latter, the madness-spiritual and eventually mental-begins to fester. It incubates growing sinfulness-rebellion against Heaven and all that is righteous. Turning one's back to the Lord of Heaven moves one down the road of madness as framed by the Apostle Paul.
We have looked at the scriptural condemnation before. Here it is again to reinforce with biblical description where I'm convinced this generation of the anti-God rebels is positioned:
And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful. (Romans 1:28-31)
We have witnessed these anti-God characteristics grow and play out within American society and culture in recent decades. The madness has increased and the reprobate mindset Paul alludes to truly dominates the national political landscape at this very moment. For whatever time is left in this dispensation of grace, we must wrestle-God's way-against the powers and principalities, against the wickedness in high places, as given in Ephesians 6:12.
The specific, God-ordained way to do so as we face this time of determining which way the United States will choose is to earnestly pray according to 2 Chronicles 7: 14-then to vote against the madness assaulting America.
I Never Thought I Would See the Day (Part 3) - By Jan Markell - www.olivetreeviews.org
A year ago I began writing a couple commentaries reflecting on things I never thought I would live to see. Pastor David Jeremiah started this line of thinking several years ago. Today, I introduce part 3 of my thoughts, because I never thought I would see the day when . . . .
* The slaughter of eleven Jews in a Pittsburgh synagogue would be blamed on the most pro-Israel President ever.
* This ordeal would be made even worse when "The Atlantic" urged Trump-supporting Jews to not be welcome in synagogues.
* Almost half of Americans -- both Republicans and Democrats -- state they feel like a stranger in their own country.
* Churches across America of all denominations would celebrate Halloween featuring zombies, dancing skeletons, and haunted hay rides glorifying demons and all things dark. What part of Ephesians 5:11 don't they get? "Have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead, expose them."
* "Kill all Jews" would become a popular trend on social media. Twitter actually apologized for their role in this.
* Christians and Trump supporters would be depicted as "trash" in a fake New York City sanitation ad.
* To add insult to injury, Christians and conservatives would also be called "scum" and the "dregs of society" by Joe Biden and others. They moved beyond racist, sexist, homophobe, and Islamaphobe.
* A new term was coined called "Blexit" representing the departure of African-Americans from the Democrat Party.
* Strong delusion would soar and blatant witchcraft would be in headlines. Witches would curse Judge Brett Kavanaugh and a professing Christian would promote "Christian witchcraft."
* Many Catholics would become disillusioned with a Pope, who, they are taught, can do no wrong. Some Catholics feel Pope Francis has a "crisis of credibility."
* Social media would keep promoting evil but Facebook would censor and block prayer.
* An American President -- Donlad J. Trump -- would declare to the world of globalists that he is not one of them! He wants nothing to do with their one-world scheme.
* Theaters would actually turn away a money-making film titled "Gosnell" because it didn't fit the liberal agenda. To them, abortion is a sacrament.
* A Democrat Party leader in Pittsburgh was fired because on social media he said he would stand for the flag and kneel for the cross.
* Drag queens would be welcomed into grade school and middle school with no warnings to parents.
* With shades of Daniel 9:27, a European leader, unable to patiently wait for a U.S. peace plan in the Middle East between Palestinians and Israelis, said he would come up with such a plan. France's Emmanuel Macron cannot wait to be such a peace broker. One periodical calls Macron "Europe's Saviour."
* Most evangelicals would believe that God accepts the worship of all religions.
* Only one church in my home town of Minneapolis -- the land of 10,000 churches -- would preach on the Rapture.
So that's enough of my list for today. Clearly, we're not in Kansas anymore. It's a new day. The Bible said such aberrations would be characteristic of a last days' generation so that's the good news.
I can almost hear the hoof beats of the four horsemen. But the King comes first! It could be today.
Daily Jot: There's got to be a day after - Bill Wilson -
While the so-called "blue wave" never reached tsunami stages, there was enough to turn the House of Representatives over to the Democratic Party's gavel. In the Senate, however, the watermark rose for the Republican Party as it gained several seats. The ebb and flow of blue and red waves leaves the good ship Republic of America afloat in perilous waters, possibly unable to navigate-not as bad as the Poseidon in the 1972 movie, "The Poseidon Adventure," but here we are in the day after and there is a lot of damage to the Republic. While the maps all show that the nation is predominantly Republican, as reflected by the Senate, urban areas are sharply divided with far-left Democrats. What does all this mean?
On the surface it means that enough far-left Americans, primarily in highly populated urban areas, bought the vitriolic rhetoric, abandoned the appreciation of the economy and job security, and voted revenge. It means that Americans will face the next two years of government brought to a standstill because of "communist-like" tribunals investigating every wild-eyed, conjured-up scandal that comes to mind. It means that there will be an official platform for the "resistance" to continue its propaganda, now even louder. It means that division caused by political parties will be placed far ahead of the welfare of the citizenry. It likely means that Washington, D.C. will earn a new name-Subpoena City.
But there is a deeper meaning to all of this. It exposes a flaw in the two-party system. George Washington believed that political parties would be divisive and dangerous to liberty and limited government. He warned in his 1796 farewell speech, "You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heartburnings which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection...they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion."
Washington believed an inoculation against the undermining by political parties was electing moral and religious leaders. He said, "Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them." Exodus 18:21 says regarding good government: "provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness..." How can those who deny God, fear God? How far have we progressed to even be forced with that choice? This is the day after, and I guess there's got to be one.
Daily Devotion: Why We Need Godly People - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah's royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. -Daniel 1:3
Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were plucked from their homeland of Judah and sent to the pagan place called Babylon. Their names were even changed. Hananiah's name was changed to Shadrach, Mishael's name was changed to Meshach, and Azariah was given the name Abednego.
Although their names were changed, it didn't change their character. And when the people in Babylon ultimately bowed down before an image of King Nebuchadnezzar-Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood their ground and refused to bow. Because they had faith in God, they didn't compromise.
World changers are almost always a minority and rarely, if ever, a majority. The majority isn't always right. Case in point: it was the majority that wanted Christ crucified. It's often the one man or the one woman-a world changer-who stands up for what is true and will say what is right.
You can't control your environment entirely. You may be in a workplace with people who don't believe. You may be in a classroom around people who don't share your faith. You may have ungodly family members. I'm not saying you can change that. But there's a difference between the people you're around and the people you choose to spend time with.
Spend time with godly people. Find godly friends who will build you up in your faith and increase your appetite for spiritual things-not people who drag you down and decrease your appetite for spiritual things.
Psalm 1:1 says, "Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers" (NLT). If you want to be a happy person, then don't hang around ungodly people.
Sometimes our circumstances change. But if we are men and women of God, then our circumstances won't change us.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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