Prophecy Update Newsletter
November 11, 2016
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
From This Day on I Will Bless You - A Bible Study by Jack Kelley -
Seek His Kingdom
On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai: "This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Ask the priests what the law says: If a person carries consecrated meat in the fold of his garment, and that fold touches some bread or stew, some wine, oil or other food, does it become consecrated?' " The priests answered, "No."
Then Haggai said, "If a person defiled by contact with a dead body touches one of these things, does it become defiled?"
"Yes," the priests replied, "it becomes defiled." Then Haggai said, " 'So it is with this people and this nation in my sight,' declares the LORD. 'Whatever they do and whatever they offer there is defiled.
Note: Jack wrote this in 2008 during the great recession. While the markets and housing prices have recovered, job losses and rising prices are still with us. And the principles he talks about here are timeless. I'm also comforted by Jack's reminder that as believers, we're not held captive to the fate of our nation like the Israelites were. ~Samantha
" 'Now give careful thought to this from this day on -consider how things were before one stone was laid on another in the LORD's temple. When anyone came to a heap of twenty measures, there were only ten. When anyone went to a wine vat to draw fifty measures, there were only twenty. I struck all the work of your hands with blight, mildew and hail, yet you did not turn to me,' declares the LORD.
'From this day on, from this twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, give careful thought to the day when the foundation of the LORD's temple was laid. Give careful thought: Is there yet any seed left in the barn? Until now, the vine and the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree have not borne fruit. " 'From this day on I will bless you.' " (Haggai 2:10-19)
After returning from the Babylonian captivity the Jews had faced a lot of resistance in trying to rebuild their Temple. Finally they gave up, wrongly deciding that perhaps it wasn't God's timing. When they did, they faced another kind of trouble as well. They lost the Lord's favor, and from then on no matter how hard they worked they weren't successful. Each time they thought they were getting ahead, they discovered they were actually getting further behind. Even their offerings weren't pleasing to Him.
On the day they they turned back to the construction of the Lord's house, this all stopped and He restored their blessings. What was the lesson? He wanted them to put His house first, especially in times of persecution.
The Lord's depletion of their stored up goods is a model of today's losses, first in the decline of the dollar and now in the decline of property values. The dollar has lost much of it's previous value in the world markets, making the foreign made products we buy, or those made of imported materials, more expensive. (Try to find something on your shopping list that doesn't fit into one or the other of those two categories.)
In most of the US the average home is still worth less than it was a few years ago. Since most people didn't have a lot of equity in their homes to begin with, that means the average home owner still owes more on his or her property can it can be sold for. Estimated losses for the Real Estate market are counted in billions of dollars. Retired Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan called this situation a "once-in-a-century" financial disaster, and it's impacting financial markets all over the world.
The blight, mildew, and hail of Haggai 2 are models of the natural disasters that are also afflicting us now. As it was with the Israelites, the fruits of our labors are disappearing, and our offerings are not pleasing to the Lord.
Things that were external and physical in the Old Testament often become internal and spiritual in the New. In the Old Testament the Temple was a building in Jerusalem, but in the New Testament we are the Temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16) and things aren't national anymore, they're personal. The good news is that as believers we're not held captive to the fate of our nation like the Israelites were. In 2 Chron. 7:14 the Lord promised the Israelites,
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
This was a promise to the Jewish people that if as a nation they would return to their covenant relationship with God he would restore His blessings on the Promised Land. The New Testament application of this promise for the Church can be found in Matt. 6:31-33.
So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
This is a promise to each of us personally. We're not to worry about how we'll get by. We're to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given us as well. The Lord's feeding of the multitudes (Matt. 14:13-21, Matt. 15:29-39) was meant to teach us that He is able to provide when we're willing to let Him. The feeding of 5,000 is the only one of His many pre-resurrection miracles that's described in all four gospels, which means that except for the Resurrection it was His most important one.
Now that doesn't mean we can sit back like baby birds with our mouths open crying, "Feed me." Paul said that he who will not work shall not eat. (2 Thes. 3:10) But it does mean that we are to put our trust in Him to take care of us regardless of the circumstances, to do the work He gives us no matter what it is, and concentrate on coming closer to Him.
Let's Get Personal
The time is coming soon when every Christian family in America will either have a personal experience of miraculous survival in the face of financial disaster or will know of one who has. In each case the story will be the same as it was for the Jews of Haggai's day. As soon as they stopped worrying about their own lives and turned back to the business of building the Lord's Temple, His blessings were restored. As soon as we stop worrying about how we're going to survive the potentially difficult days ahead and focus our lives on Him we'll experience the same result.
Please don't misunderstand me here. I'm not talking about some external application of legalism. I'm not talking about mindless obedience to rules and commandments while our hearts are in rebellion. I'm talking about an inner reliance on the Lord, about restoring our faith in both His ability and His desire to provide for us.
There's no prophecy we can point to for assurance that the Lord will save the United States. Applying Old Testament promises meant for Israel to the US is just another form of replacement theology. This is not a national issue. This is a personal one, and each one of us will determine the outcome for our own lives.
The very day that Israel decided to resume building the Lord's House He restored their blessings. This is a part of the prophecy you can claim for yourself. The very day you determine in your heart to place your life in His hands He will begin blessing you.
That doesn't necessarily mean we'll all get to keep everything we now have. Some of our possessions are actually the cause of our problems, both because we've over spent to get them and because they've taken our focus off the Lord. Some of them have even enslaved us, and were much more fun in the getting than they are in the having. Many came with ongoing ownership costs like interest or other fees that eat away at our resources.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10). You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God (2 Cor. 9:11)
The Lord will show you what, if anything, has to go. And don't worry about incurring losses. If He tells you to get rid of something and you obey, then over time He'll restore your losses. How do I know this? Three reasons. One, He wants you to store up treasure in Heaven. (Matt. 6:19-21) Two, He's promised that if you follow His direction you'll be made rich in every way so you can be generous on every occasion (2 Cor. 9:11). You can't do either of these if you're taking huge losses. And Three He promised to repay you for the years the locusts have eaten. (Joel 2:25) That means when you turn back to Him He'll give you joy in return for the misery you've caused yourself.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Luke 6:38).
But don't think He'll restore your fortunes just so you can keep all your toys, or get them all back. That's the failure of the so-called prosperity gospel. The Lord's promise is that we'll be made rich so we can be generous, not so we can be irresponsible or selfish. It's in being generous that we store up treasure in Heaven, where no form of property or currency devaluation can do us harm. Generous people are also the happiest people. See how it works?
Some will say, "I'm so far in debt even if I started today it would take 10 years to get out." I say, "How much debt will you have in 10 years if you don't start today? The way I see things shaping up, you can either downsize voluntarily and do it the easy way, or you can wait till you're forced to and do it the hard way.
Now I know better than anyone that the rapture could come any day now and spare us all these things. But if you're part of the 90% of believers with a secular world view, the longer He waits the more time you'll have to finally start storing up treasure in Heaven, where it will benefit you forever. When you know you're moving to a different city soon, you begin thinking about your new home and what your life will be like there. Take my word for it, you're moving to a different city soon, so you'd better start thinking about it. Remember, our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil 3:20).
I used to pray for more money so I could pay the bills on my outrageous lifestyle. I didn't get it. Now I live on less than 1/3 of what I used to spend and in every sense I'm wealthier than I was. Now I pray for more money so I can give more to His work, and He always sends it. You think maybe there's a lesson in there somewhere?
After Trump Victory, Pressure Builds to Officially Name Jerusalem Capital of Israel - Katie Pavlich -
Before Donald Trump won the presidency on Tuesday night, he campaigned on a promise to officially name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and said he would order the relocation of the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv to the Holy City.
Now that Trump's victory is secure, pressure is already building for those promises to be fulfilled.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat cheered "Mazel tov, Mr. President!" to the winning candidate and then reminded Trump that he had promised to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel's declared capital, Jerusalem. The United States does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, awaiting instead a final negotiated settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely - Israel's top diplomat - chimed in that she wanted Trump to fulfill his campaign vow to recognize Jerusalem. "That would be an important historic move," she said.
"This will symbolize the close relationship and courageous friendship between the two nations," said Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked.
The leader of Israel's Jewish Home party, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, called Trump's win "a tremendous opportunity for Israel to immediately announce its intention to renege on the idea of establishing Palestine in the heart of the country - a direct blow to our security and the justice of our cause."
Yesterday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated President-elect Donald Trump on his victory, calling him a great friend of the Jewish state.
"President-elect Trump, my friend, congratulations on being elected President of the United States of America. You are a great friend of Israel," Netanyahu said "The bond between the US and Israel is based on shared values, shared interests and a shared future. I am sure that President-elect Trump and I will continue to strengthen the special alliance between Israel and the US and we will bring them to new heights."
PM Netanyahu Congratulates US President-Elect Donald Trump
In return, Trump invited Netanyahu to visit the United States for a meeting. The two met at Trump Tower earlier this year.
Medvedev in Jerusalem as Putin waits for Trump -
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his prime minister Dmitry Medvedev to Israel Wednesday, Nov. 9 as a gesture to mark the 25th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
It was not the only one: Almost his first action on arrival was a symbolic visit to the Western Wall, the eternal Jewish shrine in Jerusalem. Medvedev chose this gesture to underscore the comment he made last week: "Russia never denied Israel's or the Jewish people's rights in Jerusalem and in its holy sites, and the subject has been blown out of proportion."
The Russian prime minister was therefore demonstrating Moscow's recognition for Jewish rights in Israel, Jerusalem and its holy places - most of all Temple Mount - not just for the Palestinians. It was a message directed by the Kremlin to extremist Muslim organizations, which have set themselves the goal of "liberating Jerusalem from Israeli occupation."
On the broader level, Putin through Medvedev was telling the world, and the US in particular, that Russia was ready to act as peacemaker between the Arab world and Israel, with greater flexibility on the Jerusalem question than Washington has exhibited.
Since his visit to the Western Wall took place Thursday, the day after Donald Trump, who recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state, was elected US president, the Russian prime minister was also extending the hand of cooperation to the new administration on a long list of Middle East issues.
In Moscow, a few hours later, Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov made this disclosure in relation to the president elect: "There were contacts before the election. We continue this work of course."
Another official source elaborated on this: Representatives of the Russian embassy in Washington had met members of the Trump campaign, he said, whereas Hillary Clinton's advisers had refused to meet.
Both Putin and the incoming American president had therefore shown they would be open to doing business together.
This did not prevent Moscow making another sort of telling gesture on America's election day: It was announced that the carrier strike group from Russia's northern fleet, along with additional ships from the Black Sea fleet, were on their way to the Mediterranean to launch a crushing bombing and cruise missile assault on the Syrian rebels holding out in eastern Aleppo.
This fleet is led formidably by the Admiral Kuznetsov carrier, the Peter the Great guided missile cruiser and the Admiral Grigorovich guided missile frigate.
debkafile's military and intelligence sources report that this demonstration of Russian naval might and its mission did not catch the US administration by surprise. Some weeks ago, Putin informed President Barack Obama that he was determined to go through with the capture of Aleppo, Syria's second city, and hand it over to Bashar Assad.
Moscow almost certainly moved these pieces on the board in readiness for the election of Hillary Clinton rather than Trump. The ships would have loosed a hellish barrage on Aleppo as soon as her victory was announced. The Russian president has a long reckoning with Clinton ever since she was US Secretary of State, and especially when in early 2011, she rebuffed his appeal for cooperation to save the life of the Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi after he was ousted by a NATO operation managed from Washington.
The Russian operation to reclaim Aleppo for the Assad regime was originally set to show the incoming US president that the Russians have no qualms about using military force in other confrontation arenas, too, if that's what it takes to achieve their ends.
But like most of the world, the Kremlin was sure that Hillary would win the presidency and was taken aback when Donald Trump walked off with the prize. In view of this surprise, Putin may now decide to pause for second thoughts before bombing the Syrian rebels in Aleppo, or just hold off until his first direct meeting or contact with President elect Trump.
Israel won't let Iran have military presence in Syria, Netanyahu tells Russian PM - By Raphael Ahren -
2 leaders hail security cooperation; Medvedev says, 'Every time I visit Israel I feel at home'
Israel will prevent Iran from establishing a military presence in Syria, and will continue to intervene to stop Iran arming Hezbollah and other Shiite militias there, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, on Thursday in Jerusalem.
Moscow is a staunch supporter of Basher Assad's regime and has also maintained close ties with Iran. But in recent months the government of President Vladimir Putin has increased military cooperation with Jerusalem to prevent the Russian and Israeli militaries from clashing over Syrian skies.
"Israel, Russia, the United States and many other countries share the objective of defeating the Islamic State," Netanyahu said standing next to Medvedev in the Prime Minister's Office.
"At the same time, we are also concerned by the second actor promoting radical Islam - Iran - which champions the destruction of Israel and also supports 360-degree terror on five continents."
Hence, Israel is determined to do two things, Netanyahu said: "First, prevent Iran from achieving nuclear weapons and second, to prevent Iran - in any situation that arises in Syria, with or without an agreement - from establishing itself militarily in Syria, on the ground, in the air or at sea. We are also determined to prevent it from bringing about the establishment of Shiite militias, which it is organizing, and of course, the arming of Hezbollah with dangerous weapons aimed at us."
The prime minister thanked his Russian counterpart for the close security coordination - a so-called deconflicting mechanism - aimed at preventing clashes between Israeli and Russian fighter jets from clashing over Syria, as Israel routinely enters the country's airspace to prevent hostile actors from smuggling arms or planning attacks.
"This, too, highlights the dramatic change in our bilateral relations," Netanyahu said.
Netanyahu also thanked Medvedev for agreeing to help return to Israel the bodies of fallen IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, and three Israeli citizens currently held in Gaza.
Medvedev, too, hailed the improvement in bilateral relations, stressed the "special values" that Russians and Israelis have in common. "Every time I visit Israel I feel at home," he said. "Our countries have common challenges, primarily terrorism. Terror threatens the entire world but in this region it is felt particularly strongly."
Earlier on Thursday, the Russian prime minister, who last visited Israel in 1990 - long before he entered politics - met with President Reuven Rivlin.
"Russia has always had an important role in our region, perhaps today more than ever," Rivlin told Medvedev. "We are faced by many challenges, and at the same time opportunities, and we need to be prepared for both."
Medvedev, who served as president between 2008 and 2012, told Rivlin that Russia and Israel have a "close friendship and shared challenges which we must solve together."
The Russian prime minister on Thursday also met with opposition leader Isaac Herzog.
Medvedev's two-day trip to Israel is part of a series of bilateral exchanges to mark the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Israel and the Russian Federation. Both Netanyahu and Rivlin visited Moscow in 2016.
Medvedev arrived Wednesday evening and headed straight from the airport to Jerusalem's Old City, where he visited the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
After his meetings Thursday with politicians, Medvedev was slated to visit the Volcani Institute Agriculture Center in Beit Dagan.
On Friday, he is scheduled to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial together with Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin, before heading to the Palestinian Authority.
In Jericho, he is slated to sign bilateral agreements with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and hold a joint press conference with his host, before the two leaders inaugurate a street named after the Russian prime minister.
On Friday evening, he will return to Moscow from Israel's Ben Gurion Airport.
What Are Some Misconceptions About the Rapture? - Nathan Jones -
The best example of getting it all wrong about the Rapture is a video made by YouTube "poet" Jefferson Bethke, who was made popular by his awesome video "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus." Jeff's done some good work furthering the Gospel, and I commend him for it, but when it comes to his understanding of the Rapture, I have to ask...
How is Jefferson Bethke wrong about the Rapture?
Jeff makes the following eight common misconceptions people have about the Rapture.
But first, what do I mean by the Rapture? I'm referring to that biblical teaching that Jesus is going to return one day soon to catch up, snatch away, rapture, believers in Christ - called the Church - off this earth and up to Heaven to live with Him forever (John 14:1-4; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). The Apostle Paul comforted the Thessalonians by teaching them that the Rapture is meant to encourage believers living in this difficult age of persecution. Christians, though, will not have to endure the worst time that is yet to come - the wrath of God over a seven-year Tribulation time period (Daniel 9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9; 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2; Romans 5:9; Ephesians 5:6; Colossians 3:4).
Paul explained that the Rapture is meant to give Christians comfort and hope. Jeff disagrees. His thesis:
1. The Rapture is problematic when it comes to hope as a Christian believer.
How can the teaching of the Rapture be "problematic" when Jesus Himself even promised, "Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth" (Revelation 3:10)?
As a Christian I find it highly comforting to know that God doesn't beat up on His children when He brings judgment on the world, a judgment that will destroy much of the world's population and ecology. Jesus even compares His Church to a bride (2 Corinthians 11:2), and no man beats up on his fiancé, especially for seven years, and still expects she will marry him. God's loving protection provides great comfort and hope!
2. The Rapture teaching is too new to be true.
Jeff trots out that well-disproven claim that the Rapture teaching was popularized in 1830 by a crazed teenager named Margaret MacDonald, and then a cult leader named John Darby promoted her view. This is an historical fallacy, for not only was Darby teaching about the Rapture well back in the 1820s, but many others had since the Puritans 200 years earlier:
Joseph Mede (1586-1638), Increase Mather (1639-1723), Pierre Jurieu (1687), Philip Doddridge (1738), John Gill (1748), James Macknight (1763), Thomas Scott (1792), Morgan Edwards (1722-1795), William Witherby (1818). For more examples, read Dispensationalism Before Darby by Professor William C. Watson, an expert on historical literature from the 1600s-1700s.
Bible prophecy stopped being taught in the Church in the 400s AD when Augustine began spiritualizing everything in the Bible, and until the Renaissance you could be killed for disagreeing with his teachings. When the Reformation in the 1400-1500s began bringing back the literal interpretation of the Bible, Bible prophecy was once again taken seriously.
Anyway, biblical truth is determined by Scripture alone, and not how that teaching has been perceived at different times during history. And, Scripture teaches about the Rapture of the Church. Christianity is now understanding the Rapture better because of what the Prophet Daniel was told - that end time prophecy will not be fully understood until the time comes for it to be fulfilled.
3. Raptured people live as disembodied spirits.
Jeff goes as far as calling the Rapture teaching a Gnostic heresy! He's right that Gnosticism is a heretical teaching that material is bad and spirit is good, which the Apostles kept refuting. But, the Rapture passages never teach that after we die we live as disembodied spirits. The Apostle Paul explained when raptured our corrupted human bodies are transformed and changed into our new glorified bodies (1 Corinthians 15:50-58). The Bible teaches that these glorified bodies are tangible, recognizable, and eternal, just like Jesus' body at His resurrection.
4. The Tribulation is for destroying those God doesn't want.
Jeff doesn't seem to understand what the Tribulation is all about. The Tribulation isn't all about judgment, but about salvation. The Church is raptured because God has promised His Bride will never have to endure His wrath, but for those people left behind, this is God's big push to get them on their knees and bring them to salvation. While the focus is on bringing the Jewish people to accept Jesus as Messiah, Gentiles will also come to know Christ. And God uses all sorts of amazing methods to share the Gospel such as the Rapture (Revelation 7:9-14), the Two Witnesses in Jerusalem (Revelation 11), 144,000 Jewish Evangelists (Revelation 7), Judgments of God (Isaiah 26:9), and the Gospel Angel (Revelation 14:6) to share the Gospel.
The Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), and multitudes will come out of the Tribulation saved.
5. Christians are worried they'll be left behind.
No Christian today should have any fear that they'll be left behind. If you've accepted Jesus as your Savior, then you're secure in God's promise: "When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory" (Colossians 3:4).
6. The Rapture is about ushering in Jesus at the end of time.
To make such a statement, Jeff's likely bought into the once dead but now resurrected view called Dominionism, also Kingdom Now, or Post-Millennialism. This view spiritualizes the biblical prophecies concerning the Rapture, Tribulation, Second Coming, Millennial Kingdom and Eternal State and throws them all into a blender. The result is that prophecy is all in the past and that the Church will evangelize the world until it gets better and better, until eventually the Church reigns over a golden age. Jesus then returns and the Church hands a restored world over to Him.
But, is the world getting better and more Christian?
No, not really. Post-Millennialism is an exciting concept, but not realistic. Only Jesus Himself personally can restore all things.
7. Christians are hiding out waiting for the Rapture instead of evangelizing.
One merely has to leave the confines of their Reformed churches and actually get to know a person who believes in the Rapture of the Church to understand that we Premillennialists take the Great Commission very seriously. Because we always live with the "30,000 foot level" view - that being, Jesus is returning soon - we're always excited by three things: 1) evangelism, 2) holy living, and 3) the return of Christ in victory. The greatest missions' movements ever were pioneered by those who lived with the hope of the Rapture.
8. Paul's reference to hope was about the Eternal State.
That Jesus rules over a restored and united Heaven and Earth in the Eternal State is exciting, and does provide great hope for the Christian, I agree. But, that's like watching the Super Bowl game alone and missing all the games that led up to it. There are so many other victories our team has before that final game. It's a great stretch to claim Paul's reference to hope was just about the end game, especially since the context of his comforting the Thessalonians was about not living through the Tribulation.
The hope God gives us isn't limited to the Eternal State, but in all of Christ's other victories as well, and that includes the Rapture.
My Review of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?"
Over the last 35 years, I have literally read hundreds of books on Bible Prophecy and End Time signs. I especially enjoy books on the Rapture, and I have read almost every Rapture-related book published. In all those years, devouring thousands of pages, and millions of words, I have not read a better book on the Rapture than, Rapture Ready...Or Not?
Terry James might be physically blind, but he is spiritually sharp and well discerning beyond most authors. In "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" Terry has nailed the pre-trib Rapture, and removed any doubt what so ever about the Church going through the Tribulation. With great insight and Godly discernment, Terry explains with simple, yet profound words, why and how that he has come to believe the ways he does about the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the End Times scenario. I think after reading "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" you too will believe as Terry does, and be Ready for the Rapture like never before! - Randy Thomas - Publisher / Editor - Prophecy Update
For more information and or to get your copy of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" use this link: http://www.raptureready.com/terry/book35.html
If You Are Reading This in English, Thank a Vet - Jack Kinsella - www.omegaletter.com
Tiny Melton was a truck driver from Missouri. Tiny got his nickname in boot camp after his drill instructor took one look at his 6'4" 220lb frame and said, ''From now on, son, your name is Tiny.''
The name stuck. Tiny looked like a body-builder, but it was just the way he looked, he didn't work at it. And as big as he was, he was as gentle as a lamb.
Tiny always put me in mind of Clint Walker's character, "Posey" in the 60's war movie, "The Dirty Dozen."
Lynwood Richardson was from Alabama. Lynn was black, his skin a deep, rich ebony color. He was rechristened by his drill instructor as 'Snowball'.
Richardson was a great runner, but a lousy athlete. It was a dirty little secret then, but I suppose it's safe to admit it now.
In those days, it was fairly common for the drill instructor to cheat a little in order to squeeze somebody by some parts of the physical fitness test.
The tester was a drill instructor from another platoon. Snowball couldn't do the requisite number of pull ups -- my DI had me wear his sweatshirt and do them for him. (Snowball did the 3 mile run wearing my sweatshirt while I wore Pvt. Brunson's and did his situps.)
Sherman Latchaw was a little bitty guy from Pennsylvania -- he didn't weigh 95 pounds dripping wet. He wore great big, oversized glasses that made him look like the little kid 'Sherman' from the Mr. Peabody cartoons.
But, since his name was ALREADY Sherman, we called him 'Poindexter.' Poindexter looked like a stiff wind would knock him over. But he whipped every guy he was matched up with in hand-to-hand combat training. Poindexter, the little guy with the big glasses, graduated at the top of his boot camp class.
Terry Severance was from Pennsylvania, as well. For some reason, he and I didn't hit it off that well at first. One of the duties shared by each recruit in boot camp was 'firewatch' duty. Each recruit in turn pulled a one-hour patrol of the barracks at night, before waking up the next man.
Terry fell asleep and when he woke me, it was halfway through my turn. Somehow, we ended up having a fight in the shower room -- me barefoot in my skivvies, he in full dungaree uniform and combat boots.
I don't remember who won, but I remember we were friends from them on.
My drill instructor was a guy named S/Sgt. J. R. James. When he found out I was Canadian, he nicknamed me 'Wacky Jack' -- whenever another DI stopped by, Sgt. James would invite him to inspect 'his pet Canadian' whereupon I would race to the center of the squadbay to be 'inspected.'
They'd look me over and say things like, "No wonder the Canadians sent him down here." and, "they don't grow 'em too sturdy up there, do they?" and other kind words of encouragement. (I kept part of the nickname -- I dropped the 'Wacky' part and only had to put up with it when I ran into somebody from my old platoon)
Mike Tuscan was a decent guy, quiet, steady, and somebody you knew you could count on when the chips were down. He was a fairly nondescript looking guy, you'd pass him on the street without a second glance.
The last time I saw him, he had made it to S/Sgt in less than three years -- quite an accomplishment for a Marine so bland that HIS nickname was 'Mike'.
The Lord Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)
I spent the Veteran's Day weekend watching old war movies with my buddies. It sounds boring to some, but there is a real education there, if one takes the time to study the lessons offered.
The WWII movies I like the best were the ones Hollywood was churning out in the early years of the war when its outcome was still in doubt. Hollywood didn't understand the enemy, and it didn't try to.
Instead, they stuck to what they DID understand; we were good, the enemy was bad, they started it, and it was up to us to finish it. Our soldiers were heroic, brutal yet honorable, a force for good in an epic struggle with evil incarnate.
The war turned out the way Hollywood scripted it. We utterly destroyed our enemies and marched home in triumph.
We watched a couple of movies set during the Korean War, and one could see a subtle shift. Our forces were still brave, but so were the enemy's. The main characters were not quite so fierce, not quite so honorable; the enemy was not quite so evil, our cause not quite so just.
The Korea War ended in stalemate. Nobody won, nobody lost, and the Korean War has yet to formally draw to a conclusion.
Then Hollywood moved on to Vietnam. We watched "Platoon" and "Full Metal Jacket" and "Hamburger Hill". In those films, it was hard to figure out exactly who the enemy really was or which side to root for.
Vietnam ended in a loss. Or as observed by a character in the Clint Eastwood film, "Heartbreak Ridge" the score was 1, 0 and 0 for our side.
In post-Vietnam war movies, no matter which conflict they chronicled, there were no 'good' guys' -- just some guys were worse than others.
In the most recent war movies, our forces are depicted as dangerous psychopathic Nazi wannabes -- unless they are gay, disloyal or cowards, like the hero in the slanderous 2004 movie, "Jarhead."
It was like watching our society implode in fast forward.
But the men who fought those wars didn't change. There is no difference between a Japanese bullet and a Taliban bullet -- when it is fired at you.
Marines from all these wars didn't fight for governments or to advance some kind of unpopular foreign policy. They fought for their buddies, for their flag, for their families -- and for the ungrateful morons who can't tell the difference.
I spent the rest of the day remembering.
I remembered Tiny Melton, Lynn Richardson, Terry Severence, Sherman Latchaw and all the rest. To the many veterans among our membership, I apologize on behalf of the ignorant among us. And to all the millions before and since, I add my heartfelt thanks.
There is a bumper sticker out there that sums it all up nicely;
"If You Are Reading This in English, Thank a Vet."
Daily Jot: Holding accountability, seizing opportunity - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Exit polls showed that some 80% of Christian evangelicals voted for President-Elect Donald Trump. Trump carried a percentage point less of the white vote than did his previous Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Trump gained over Romney with Blacks and Latinos. So this was not a "race" charged election, unless you consider that we are all one race, the human race. Christians stood in the gap and made up the hedge, otherwise Hillary Clinton would be President. That's a fact. So all the deplorable, unredeemable, basement dwelling radical Bible thumpers elected a US President. But mark my word, the biggest threat to America right now, this very day, is the Christian evangelical.
This election demonstrated that when Christians decide to do something in this representative republic, it can get done--If we act in unity and are led by the Holy Spirit. We have the power to hold accountability in this nation. We also have the God-given mandate to "overcome evil with good." We are a threat to the nation because if we go back to our homes and families thinking that the job is done, that Trump will take care of business and all will be well, the nation will fail miserably. Christians must remain more engaged in society otherwise this nation will look like the protests of the losers across the country, who are protesting that Trump won and they are now "afraid" to be women, illegal immigrants and Muslims.
There are so many Christians wanting revival, but that is not going to happen unless Christians reach out to society with the good news of the gospel. It would be revolutionary act, not a bunch of Christians getting together for a show. We need a Revivalution to hold accountability in this nation. It starts with building on the very thing that brought us together in this election. The one thing American Christians apparently will stand in unity against is a known and recognizable evil. We saw what that looked and felt like and we need to keep doing it. Otherwise we will have a Matthew 12:45 situation where an unclean spirit comes out of a man but returns "and takes with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first."
We can't accomplish this Revivalution by being all "holier than thou." We have to show by example the standard we live by. We need to speak into peoples' lives without being judgmental or legalistic. We need to know our place-ours is to show Christ to others, the Holy Spirit will convict them, and then we can coach 'em up. We have a tremendous opportunity to hold accountability by exercising our faith; being firm, but not offensive; showing love and respect; disagreeing without being disagreeable or sanctimonious; living by God's code of love, truth, honor, and justice. Lead by example.
When we see people protesting the election, or saying we are racist because of our vote, it's easy to look at them as whiny ignorant loser pawns of the godless communist agenda, but we need to be above that. We need to show by example that we are not bigots, racists, xenophobes, homophobes or whatever other politically correct phobia they have invented. Jesus said in Matthew 5:44-45, "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven." This is a time to seize the opportunity, and hold accountability in changing our nation for the better. Let's do it!
Daily Devotion: Reasons to Forgive - Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. -Ephesians 4:31-32
Without even knowing you, I know this about you: You have been hurt in life. You have had people say unkind things to you. You have had people do mean things to you. There have been incidents in your life where you've been treated unfairly.
Some want to rationalize that there is no need to forgive those who have wronged them because they don't deserve forgiveness. But they have to ask themselves whether they deserve forgiveness themselves. As C. S. Lewis pointed out, "Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive."
Here is what the Bible has to say about forgiving those who have wronged us: "And do not bring sorrow to God's Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:30-32).
God's command to forgive should be enough. But let me offer another reason why we should learn to be forgiving: it might actually extend our lives. Recent studies have suggested that those who do not forgive are more likely to experience high blood pressure, bouts of depression, and problems with anger, stress, and anxiety. Dr. Charlotte vanOyen Witvliet, a researcher at Hope College, said "If you are willing to exert the effort it takes to be forgiving, there are benefits both emotionally and physically."
People who have been studying the medical benefits of forgiveness have come to the same conclusion that the Bible came to long ago: it is a good thing to forgive others.
FROM THE HEART
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