Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Awaiting the Rapture by Our Blessed Hope - Pastor Mike Taylor - https://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2019/11/awaiting-rapture-by-our-blessed-hope.html
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.
53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54So 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." (1st Corinthians 15:52-54)
In this message, I am going to revisit a central theme to the belief and hope of every Christian here on this earth who are preparing themselves for the coming of the Lord Jesus in the clouds of heaven. From time to time we need to remind ourselves of the glorious promise we have in Jesus. And I am here to remind, and not so much as to warn those who have not received our Blessed Hope. Get ready for the soon coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the King of Glory. It could be sooner than any of the people of earth even imagine.
The destiny of the Church is to participate in the Blessed Hope that the Apostle Paul wrote about in the verses above, and what was written in Titus :
12 "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:12-14)
The central purpose of Bible prophecy for the last days is not only to give warning to the true Church of the Living God,(as they should be watching for His appearing) that time is running out, but Bible prophecy is not solely for the Church, but those who will be left behind to face a most horrible time in all the earth.
The coming of our Lord, identified by the name "rapture" by English translations of the word harpazo in scripture, signals the conclusion of this age we live in called the Age of Grace, in the same manner that it began. Let us look what the Bible says abou this time, and what it means to each of us.
The Lord explains it to the Apostles before He was crucified
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you." (John 16:7)
That verse is not too hard to explain...The bible explains it literally, that unless Jesus goes away, then the Holy Spirit (the Comforter) would not come and indwell within them, as what happened on the Day of Pentecost. Course at this very moment when the Lord was talking to them on the Mt. Of Olives, they just didn't get it. Right up the moment Jesus rose from the earth in His ascension, the Apostles were confused and afraid. They were expecting Him to usher in the Millennial Kingdom right away.
6 "When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:6-7)
And they still wouldn't understand until the Holy Spirit came and gave them power to do God's will. But here the Lord was still with them, and the Holy Spirit was not.
So there they stood, clueless and afraid, while the Lord explained the Holy Ghost would soon empower them for the Great Commission.
"And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight." (Acts 1:9)
Can you imagine if you were standing there and the only Person you had to connect you with the reality of what had just happened was suddenly taken away from you? Here they are staring into the clouds, straining to get one last glimpse of their Master as He arose into heaven.
10 "And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:10-11)
Here is the chronological order that Jesus being taken up into the clouds will be in reverse order at His coming.. He is raised up from the earth alive, in His Resurrected and transformed Body, and taken up until He vanishes in the clouds. That is how He is taken away - and the Promise given is that is how He will return.
WHAT TIME IS IT?
Now let us fast forward to the event that will end what Jesus began, which is the beginning of the Church Age, or the Age of Grace and what will signal its conclusion.
The Apostle Paul describes it detail in the opening verses in 1st Corinthians and repeats it in the letter to the Thessalonians "
16 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1st Thessalonians 4:16-18)
He returns in reverse order to His departure. The Lord Himself will descend from Heaven, where He will resurrect the dead in Christ and then those living will be 'caught up' into heaven at the Rapture. Why do I say that?...read on for an explanation of why we must be "caught up" before He can come fully down to earth.
PAUL COMFORTS THE THESSALONIANS
But note in the letter to the Thessalonians, the people were a little confused, as Paul left them in doubt. It is shown that somebody entered into the church and proclaimed that Nero was the Anti-Christ and they were beginning the Day of the Lord with God's wrath falling all about them, and they were sore afraid that they had missed the coming of the Lord to remove His church beforehand. ..This is clear evidence that even the early church while Paul was ministering to them, were pre-tribulation believers, and fully expected a return of Christ to remove those who believed in Jesus, as Lord and Savior and they were afraid they would be going through the coming Tribulation. They were afraid they had misunderstood the teachings of Paul. So Paul had to teach them further and extinguishing their fears with further revelations from God.
1 "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?"(2nd Thessalonians 2:1-5)
Remember, the issue under discussion here was a rebuttal of the false doctrine claiming that Nero was the antichrist. Nero can't be the antichrist, Paul says, and here's why.
"And now ye know what withholdeth that he [the real antichrist] might be revealed in his time." (2nd Thessalonians 2:6)
Let's go back and quickly review what we've covered about the beginning of the Church Age.
Here is what the Apostle Paul says will signal the end of the Church Age. It ends in reverse order to the way it began.
First the Holy Spirit must go away from this earth which was delivered on the Day of Pentecost...Make no mistake, God's Holy Spirit will not be removed, just pulled back to Old Testament manifestations of His power, THEN Jesus will come in like manner as we saw Him leave this earth. Remember these verses:
6 "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, (Holy Spirit) until he be taken out of the way.
8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." (2nd Thessalonains 2:6-10)
The Holy Spirit must be drawn back, to allow evil and the coming Anti-Christ to be revealed. And as the chuch was indwelt with God's Holy Spirit down through the ages, because of belief in Jesus Christ, then when He is removed in His fullness, we, the church will be removed as well.
THE PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH
The modern day Church's purpose has many, but the one purpose that we must be about, not only in witnessing for the Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation by His atonement in His blood, is to be on the lookout for the signs of the coming Anti-Chirst. Much like a weatherman who forecast bad weather coming, we are watchman on the wall to warn those who are subject to the coming wrath of God.
I am reminded of the verses in Ezekiel and quote it often :
3 "If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
4Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
6But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." (Ezekiel 33:3-6)
I hear people tell me, we should be looking for the sign of the coming of Jesus Christ for His people, not the coming of the Anti-Christ, but they fail to understand, there is no sign of the coming of our Lord for the Church. It is a signless event.
2"For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (1st Thessalonians 5:2-4)
Here the analogy is speaking of a thief coming to break into your house. Does a thief give warning? No, the thief will come when you least expect it, unless you have taken precautions.
Speaking of our purpose here on earth, we deliver the Gospel, "the Good News" and we are also to deliver the bad news, as signs of bad weather. But to give proper signs of the Lord's coming, we must look at the total picture to get an idea of the soon coming nature of our Lord. We don't just give the signs that make us feel good about ourselves, but we give the good with the bad.
The bad news, is that the Bible predicted all the bad things that will come upon the earth in the last days, the days we are living in right now. We see things God predicted and wrote about in His Word thousand of years ago, coming to pass and unfolding upon this earth. But the Good News is that God has everything under His control. So we are not fear.
As we said, there are no signs for the coming "catching away of the Church" so there is nothing to look out for. There is nothing that we can point to that says Jesus will be coming during this day or that day, (as one knows the day or the hour), because the only clue that to those left behind when Jesus does come, is the vanishing of millions of people from the earth. And the turmoil and chaos that will ensue when the reality hits them like a ton of bricks.
There is only signs of the coming Tribulation that we see all around us...We can't point to the increase in earthquakes, famines, and wars all over the globe. These are not the signs of the soon coming of Jesus, but they are signs of the revealing of Anti-Christ. They are signs of impending doom and gloom that will grip every man and woman to face the next 7 years of sheer, unadulterated horror and misery coming to the nations left. These signs are important to us who scan the news for bible prophecy being fulfilled, the signs in the heavens, the fulfilling of Matthew 24 that Jesus spoke of, because when these signs are all over your news and you wonder what in the world is going on, the Rapture will have happened. The "catching away of the church" the Harpazo found in 1st Thessalonians and 1st Corinthians will have been completed, as the rapture happened FIRST, then the Tribulation in full force of the wrath of God will begin to fall.
So the only tangible thing that we can look to as a signal of the closeness of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds to call up His people and to change them into immortal spirit beings, is the signs of the coming Tribulation.
We can nail our hopes to, weirdly enough, to the signs of the coming antichrist. If we can discern the approach of the antichrist, then it means that the Rapture is just that much closer. We know from the words of Jesus, that this generation shall not pass till all things be fulfilled from the time of the blooming of the fig tree, the restoration of Israel in May 1948.
I have people write me that I am, or we (other ministers like me) are doing the people a disservice to the cause of Christ, by not preparing those who will face the Tribulation and the coming Mark of the Beast and they will be unable to combat the coming horrors found during this time. I know they mean well, but they feel we "pre-tribbers" are wrong...to them I have this answer to their baffling arguments.
If we are wrong, and I believe we are right, but in the outside chance that we are wrong, the answer to the question of the Mark of the Beast, IS "don't do it"....Now that sounds simple, but it's not really, because as they fail to understand, Jesus opens the 1st seal for the redemption of the earth in Revelation chp. 6 and God's Wrath begins to fall. For we cling to scriptures that say, the churuch is NOT the focus of the coming Tribulation, as the focus is the redemption of national Israel, not loosing one, and the destruction of rebellion upon this earth. Meditate on these scriptures and let them become part of your DNA..
" For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ," (1st Thessalonians 5:9)
10 "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Revelation 3:10-11)
These are only two passages that give us clarity that we are not the focus of the Tribulation, as Revelation 3:10 says Jesus "will keep thee from the hour of temptation", which in Greek is the word "EK" which literally means to be removed from the time and place of the coming event.
For we have assurances many that we are right, and they are most likely tribulation martyrdom wannabees (which I can't imagine), because they don't understand the truth of prophecy. Because there are many signs that precede the coming Anti-Christ. First, the Anti-Christ is a politician...I have explored many possible candidates that we should all be watching. I have explored the coming 12th Imam of Islam, the POTUS in America, the Pope in Rome, and a secular figure that will arise to rule the European Union or the Revised Roman Empire. But I am further convinced even with all the speculation, we will NOT see the man burst upon the scene...why? Because the removal of the church will cause him to come upon the scene to stabilize a world in chaos...Will we, the Christian people, see the rise of a New World Order? I don't believe so according to scripture, as this is what the AC will take hold of. It is not revealed how much time between the removal of the Church and the rise of the NWO and the rise of the AC. It could be within a short period of time..or could be years..We just don't know and the Bible is totally silent...But as we draw closer and closer to that time period, it makes the coming of our Lord, more imminent with each passing day.
THE RISE OF THE ANTI-CHRIST
By all accounts the coming Anti-Christ doesn't seize power in a military coup, but it is given to him by universal acclamation from 10 regional locations of power upon the earth. The world will wonder after this mortal man who will become the "seed of Satan"...
4 "And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
5And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
6And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven." (Revelations 13:4-6)
From reading the above passage, it appears the AC does not reveal himself as a god, until the middle of the 7 year Tribulation. Things have been bad for the last 42 months, but now, it only becomes worse, as man has to endure hell on earth, when he sits in the Temple in Jerusalem proclaiming himself to be God. THEN the Great Tribulation begins in all its fierceness of the indignation of Almighty God.
The man does not arrive in secret, but explodes onto the world stage when the world is looking for answers for what has come upon the earth. These will seek peace and safety, and there will be none.
3 "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." (1st Thessalonians 5:3)
The world is looking for answers from anyone, but Who they should have been seeking the answers from is Jesus Christ. But at this time, not that there will be few choices...He will be the ONLY choice available, but rebellious mankind will make the wrong choice so that they may continue in their unrighteousness.
He (the Anti-Christ) is a liar whose rise to power is accompanied by many lying signs and wonders - but he is thrust into power by the people - if we are right on the timing, by people that are alive right now.
So it is extremely illuminating of the lateness of the hour when a charismatic politician rides into power on the back of lies and disinformation, shows total disregard for Congress, or any international law, buys off the money trust, starts wars in the name of peace and reverses seventy years of friendship with Israel as part of his commitment to globalism.
Many people thought Obama was the Anti-Christ, but I expect the Anti-Christ to be more competent and diplomatic in his deceit. Before Obama, it was hard to imagine how anyone could accomplish all that the Bible predicted in just 7 short years, but see what our past "POTUS" (sic) (I can say his name now, because he is finally gone, praise God) accomplished in just 8 short years. He nearly ruined this country and it will take a vigilant POTUS Trump to undo his damage.
And as time goes on, we will learn more revelations about this past "idiot in chief" that we really, really don't want to know, because if you're like me, you were tired of the Obamanation and just want him to fade from our memory.
But one thing the man did do, he put into motions the machinations that will bring the Anti-Christ to power and enable him to accomplish his mission.
It is not possible to explain (just yet), how the coming "lawless one" will use the economy to enforce his edicts without understanding how it works. I don't believe that the Lord provided us with such a clear and unambiguous model if we weren't to learn from it.
The three main pillars of government during the Tribulation Period are the anti-Christ's control of a global economy, religion and government.
If we are to be watchmen on the wall prepared to give the warning, we need to know what we are warning of. The anti-Christ isn't a cartoon character wearing a red union suit and carrying a pitchfork.
Neither is he an amateur buffoon with no concept of how to lead or any clue of the Law of Unintended Consequences. (That's how we knew it wasn't Obama.)
In fact, he won't announce himself at all, or wear a name tag, saying "Anti-Christ".
The man will look like a "savior" to the unsaved world, and they will accept him with open arms. Israel will accept him, as their political messiah, until they figure out, that in the attempt to promote national security and sovereignty by making a 7 year peace treaty with this man, they have made a contract with the devil...so it will come to pass what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:
15 "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." (Matthew 24:15-21)
Our Lord shall come, when you think not. In an hour you are not looking for Him...those who are watching and getting their lives right with God, are expecting Him eagerly. Our Great God and Savior will break through the clouds and shout "Come up hither" and it will be as the sound of a great Trumpet....are you ready?
7 "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God."( Revelation 19:7-9)
So come Lord Jesus. We anxiously await your return. Won't you join Him? How you say?
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)
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosover 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)
But Jesus warned that men would love darkness rather than light in the next few verses from above:
19 "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God." (John 3:19-21)
We look for the coming of our Blessed Hope and to all who read this who have not done so, come to the Light of Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. The Tribulation is coming and the warning goes out that we are at the cusp of the end of this age, the Age of Grace with the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you refuest this call then you will be cast head long into the most destruction, hell on earth of the coming Tribulation. Don't make that mistake of your eternal, immortal soul, but come to Jesus and thou shalt be saved from the wrath of God. Come to Jesus and be found standing in front of God wrapped in the righteousness of our Kinsman Redeemer, the only Begotten Son of God.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, saying Get Ready...the King is coming...if you need counseling, prayer, or just a listening ear, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , . God bless you all.
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
IDF, Iranian-led PIJ battle was limited, will not be the last - analysis - Seth J. Frantzman -
While the battle against PIJ was limited and Israel only used a small amount of its capacity, the real challenge is in the North, and against Iran and its other proxies.
Forty-eight hours of fighting between Israel and Palestinian Islamic Jihad was monitored by Iran and its proxies in the region, including Hezbollah.
IRGC commander Hossein Salami spoke at a ceremony on Thursday, warning that the Islamic world would soon see the "fall of the Zionist regime." He said that Iran's military industry has greatly improved and that advanced weapons were being deployed. They were so advanced that the Iranian media would not even be allowed to see them.
What he is hinting at is precision-guided missiles, cruise missiles and drones - the same kind of threat that Iran used against Saudi Arabia's Abqaiq facility in September.
"We assure the Iranian nation that the armed forces and the IRGC are so great that they can cope with the enemy, and our people will live comfortably with the knowledge that we can crush our enemies," Salami said, according to Tasnim and Fars News in Iran. "We will never stop or retreat due to sanctions."
Iran's IRGC commander and his aerospace units, which have missiles as well as drones, watched closely the battles with Islamic Jihad in Gaza. Salami hinted at this by noting that he had monitored the "Palestinian resistance commanders and leaders of Hamas and PIJ."
He said that they have a right to defend themselves and the "Zionist regime" was leading itself to destruction.
Israel has said that it views Iran as its main strategic threat. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Iran against entrenching in Lebanon. IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi warned in late October that the situation in the North and South is fragile and that conflict could develop. The North is the main challenge facing Iranian-led activity.
There is an increasing threat of "Shi'ite militias" in Syria. This includes a network that links Hezbollah to Iraqi based groups such as Kataib Hezbollah, which operates in Syria. In 2018, a Kataib Hezbollah base was hit by an airstrike near Albukamal. Other airstrikes, which Iraqi media blamed on Israel, have hit an alleged Iranian base near the same Albukamal border crossing with Iraq.
Israel cannot overlook this northern threat.
This means that while the battle against PIJ was limited and Israel only used a small amount of its capacity, the real challenge is in the North.
The two are linked because PIJ is an Iranian-allied group. Tehran is seeking to strike at Israel through its proxies. It already flew a drone into Israeli airspace in February 2018, and fired rockets in May 2018 and January 2019. In addition, a Shi'ite militia attempted to fire rockets at Israel in September from near Damascus. Israel struck a "killer drone" team south of Damascus in October.
This is the context of the battle in Gaza.
A short 48 hours showed that PIJ has capabilities that were well known. It did not fire its longer-range missiles north of Tel Aviv. Some of its arsenal was degraded, but it has thousands of rockets.
However, compared to Hezbollah, it has just five percent of the number of rockets. This is the larger picture.
Iran is seeking to profit from the chaos in Iraq and the US withdrawal from parts of Syria. It wants to cement its road to the sea across Iraq and Syria to Lebanon. But it is must also be cautious, because it has challenges at home to its economy - and it has read the statements by the US, including by US Secretary Mike Pompeo, supporting Israel in any actions against Iran's threats.
Freedom - By Hal Lindsey - https://www.hallindsey.com/ww-11-14-2019/
In Hong Kong, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, and scores of other places around the world, people are fighting tyranny. They long for freedom. Many are willing to die for it.
On March 23, 1775, at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia, Patrick Henry expressed the sentiment like this. "What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"
Henry was leery of a strong, central government. When a constitutional convention was called, he was not so eloquent as he had been in 1775. But he got his point across. He said, "I smells a rat." Many Americans shared that sentiment. The key to getting the new Constitution ratified was the inclusion of the first ten amendments - the Bill of Rights.
But the Bill of Rights do not guarantee Americans' liberty. Even the most despicable nations have pieces of paper with a list of human rights on them. The United Nations has something called, "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Article 3 says, "Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person." Article 16 includes these words. "The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State."
Article 17 says, "No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property." Remember those words when you hear American politicians talk about a "wealth tax." A wealth tax is a tax on things you own, money in the bank that you already paid income taxes on, property you own, and any other assets you have accumulated.
Article 18 says, "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance."
Does any UN signatory nation take these articles seriously? The United States is still the envy of the world when it comes to upholding human rights, but things are slipping badly. American liberties are being eroded by crime, fear, and laziness. While some cry, "Give me liberty or give me death," others cry, "Give me comfort, safety, entertainment, and convenience, and I'll be your slave, and so will my children."
A recent poll asked, "Do you agree or disagree with this statement? 'The First Amendment goes too far in allowing hate speech in modern America and should be updated to reflect the cultural norms of today.'
Fifty-one percent agreed. Can you imagine that? While people in some nations are getting their heads hammered in a quest for freedom, many Americans are all too willing to give it away. My point is that freedom granted by a government is tenuous. If the government gave the freedom, the government might take it away.
Freedom-loving Americans and anyone in the world who really wants liberty, should know this. America's founders got it right when they said that real freedom comes from God. The Psalmist said, "I will walk at liberty, For I seek Thy precepts" (Psalms 119:45).
2 Corinthians 3:17 says, "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty."
Jesus said that He came, "To proclaim liberty to the captives" (Luke 4:18).
In John 8:32, He said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." And in John 14:6, He said, "I am... the truth."
He is the real source of liberty.
Hungry for the Word, Starving in the Pews - Nathele Graham - email@example.com
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6.
Many Christians are starving. Not because they have no food, but because the word of God is watered down and questioned by those who should be feeding the flock. That's a sad comment on the preachers and teachers of today. They claim to have been called by God to stand in pulpits and lead a congregation, but many congregations are dying because they're being starved. I get many emails from people who yearn to find a Christ centered congregation where the word of God is taught and honored. These people are looking for fellowship with Christians who find joy in their faith and their worship services are alive with the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, in these last days those congregations are few and far between. God saw it coming. "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: and they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it." Amos 8:11-12. This verse is specifically about Israel, but we are in the last days and there is a famine today in our Christian congregations. Many preachers today don't preach the full counsel of God because many in the congregation don't want to hear it. It's more comfortable to die in sin than live in truth.
It's the duty of a pastor to shepherd the flock in a God-fearing manner. A shepherd cares for the sheep. He is sure they're well fed and have plenty of water, and if something dangerous comes among the flock, it's dealt with swiftly. If a shepherd sees a member of the flock wandering away, he will go after that sheep and bring it back. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and is the example to follow. He cared for the people who followed Him and never tickled their ears with a watered-down Gospel. When He faced opposition from the Jewish leaders, He never caved to their demands. Today, liberal governments forbid pastors to preach the full truth of God's word. Instead of standing firm on God's truth, most pastors tickle ears and sidestep important issues. Why? If they call homosexuality a sin, they'll lose their tax exemptions. Just like the money changers in the Temple, who cared more about money than truth, many pastors are willing to sacrifice God's truth in order to keep the money coming in and tax exemptions in place. Peter and John were arrested for preaching God's truth and were threatened not to preach about Jesus. They wouldn't be silenced and were brought before the high priest. "And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us." Acts 5:27-28. Peter knew who he followed and who he served and would not allow himself to be silenced when preaching the truth. "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29. Peter had a lot more to say to the men who tried to stifle the word of God, and pastors today should take heed. It's God who must be obeyed, not Satan who is the ruler of this world and influences liberal-minded folks to try to stop the truth of the Gospel. The name of Jesus must be preached and the full truth of God's word must be taught.
Peter had followed Jesus for a long time, but he didn't always stand up for the Lord. Peter was always outspoken and bold, until he was afraid of being arrested and put to death along with Jesus. Peter hid as Jesus was crucified but when the tomb was found to be empty, he ran to see for himself. What bitter conflict he must have felt. He had followed Jesus but fear of being punished for his faith caused him to deny His Lord. It was Jesus who calmed Peter's fears. After the resurrection the disciples were instructed to go to Galilee. Jesus met them there and they shared a meal with the risen Christ. On the night Jesus had been arrested, Peter denied knowing Him three times. Now, on the shores of Galilee Jesus asked Peter three times "Do you love me" and each time Peter was given a responsibility. The first "...Feed my lambs.". John 21:15b. Lambs are young. They aren't ready for adult food, but need nourishment. Milk is their main food and it helps them grow into sheep. The Greek word bosko is translated "feed" and that's exactly what it means. It's also descriptive of how a Christian teacher is to promote the spiritual welfare of the congregation. The lambs need to be fed milk at first, but they will never grow to be sheep if only fed milk. New believers need to be gently led to grow into strong Christians. Jesus asked a second time if Peter loved Him and told him to take care of the sheep. "...feed my sheep." John 21:16b. This time instead of books Jesus used the Greek word poimaino, which means feed but also means to tend a flock. That means to look out for their welfare and provide for their spiritual growth. If the sheep are allowed to stray, the flock will die. Then Jesus asked a third time if Peter loved Him told him to "...Feed my sheep." John 21:17b. Once again the word was bokos. Sheep need adult food, not milk. Very few congregations today are being nourished and only lambs are being fed. People are hungry for the word of God but are starving as they sit in the pews. Notice too that Jesus said "my lambs" and "my sheep". Peter might have been the shepherd, but the flock belongs to Jesus. Peter took Jesus' words to heart and faithfully fulfilled his calling. Peter was the one who spoke boldly on the day of Pentecost and thousands of people accepted Christ as their Saviour that day. Read his words in chapter 2 of Acts and see if he tickled ears that day or if he was politically correct. Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and no longer feared for his life. He served Jesus and wasn't afraid to speak the truth. What about your pastor? Does he tip toe around Scripture or does he boldly preach God's truth?
Pastors today are called to feed both lambs and sheep. Many are failing. They feed the lambs but forget to feed the sheep. On more than one occasion I've had someone tell me that God doesn't want us to understand all of Scripture. These people have never been fed anything but milk. The Apostle Paul wrote two letters to a young pastor named Timothy to guide him in shepherding his flock. Paul told Timothy "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Paul didn't say that only the easy Scriptures are to be taught, but all of Scripture is for our edification. At that time Scripture was the Old Testament. Does your pastor only teach from the New Testament? If so, you're being deprived of some important doctrine. Does your pastor hop, skip, and jump through Scripture rather than teach verse by verse? If so, he probably avoids teaching against sin so the tax exemption will stay in place and nobody will be offended and stop tithing. That's why so many congregations today are dead. Prophecy is a little more difficult to fully understand because it sometimes describes a future event that was hard for the prophet to describe. For instance, how could John have understood how the world would see the two witnesses lying dead in the street? Today we can understand because satellites and cell phones make it possible.
Sheep need a shepherd but we have a Shepherd who is greater than any man. Jesus Christ is that Shepherd who will never leave us wanting. "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine." John 10:11-14. Your pastor may be a hireling who's not interested in shepherding the flock like he should. Jesus is the Good Shepherd. He loves us, cares for us, and will never flee in the face of opposition. Most pastors won't preach all of God's truth for fear of losing members of the congregation or being persecuted for preaching God's truth. The flock belongs to Jesus and He gave His life for our salvation.
It's important for Christians to feed on God's word. Does that mean you have to sit in a pew and starve? Fellowship with other Christians is important in our spiritual walk and that usually means attending a worship service, whether watered down or not. "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) and let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:23-25. Being with other Christians is important, but if you're sitting in a pew starving because you're only being fed milk don't wait for the hireling to feed you. You can feed yourself. Jesus is the Bread of Life and our Good Shepherd. Turn to Him. You have a Bible and can read and study. Don't wait for a hireling to tend to your spiritual needs, but take care when studying that you aren't duped by a false teacher. There are many. Read Scripture and digest it. Study it and understand that the entire Bible from Genesis through Revelation is all inspired by God. Men held the pen to write it but they wrote God's word as inspired by the Holy Spirit. Also remember they didn't write it in English or Spanish or French. It was mostly written in Hebrew and Greek. If a certain Scripture is confusing then look up the words in a Hebrew and Greek dictionary to get the original meaning. Then see where that word is used and translated elsewhere in Scripture. Never take a verse out of context. The best way to begin your study is with prayer. The Holy Spirit will guide you. I've found some very inspired Bible teachers that I listen to online, but I never just listen to just one man. That way I don't become a follower of a man. The men I study don't worry about fitting a teaching into a 15 minute sermon, but may take an hour to be sure the sheep are fed.
If you're hungry for the word of God but starving in the pews, look to Jesus for nourishment. "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." John 6:35. Jesus is the Bread of Life and the Living Water.
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: Now for the noise
- Bill Wilson -
The hill is alive with the sounds of impeachment. Everywhere you turn, except sports stations, you're going to hear the clanging cymbals of this analyst or that, this so-called journalist or that, this deep-stater or that, pontificating about the latest testimony. Just remember: this hearing is staged and controlled to the extent to turn American public opinion against the president. This is a historic moment. A political coup attempt is in play. This is something Americans should speak out against and stand against on principal, not politics. The deep state, non-elected bureaucrats and socialists should not be able to remove a president for getting in their way no matter the political party. This is about your country.
The New York Post editorial board calls the hearings a "farce," and warns: "[House Speaker] Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schiff, the Intelligence Committee chairman, have tried to make the coming hearings as scripted as possible: They're only calling witnesses who've already testified in secret, or in some cases just releasing transcripts of that testimony....Indeed, Democrats now refuse to have the whistleblower testify, even in secret - though Schiff at first publicly called for just that. Every sign is that he changed his mind because cross-examination is likely to reveal him to be a highly partisan Trump-hater, and might even suggest he colluded with Democrats across Washington to launch this fast-track impeachment."
Constitutional Attorney Jenna Ellis Rives wrote in The Hill: "The Democrats are abusing the power of impeachment and, if they are allowed to move forward, they are not only setting a terrible precedent that impeachment can be wielded as a political weapon that it was never intended to be, but also attacking the Constitution and undermining the rule of law." Rives concludes, "Schiff and Pelosi are not interested in real demonstrations of innocence or guilt. Their only interest is staging a political coup against their adversaries. But this is even bigger than the president. This is an attempt to overthrow the federal government from the inside." The argument here is not about President Trump. It boils down to overthrowing elected government.
Dating back to the infamous "Pee Dossier," the secret FISA Court spy authorization, and the subsequent actions by the Democratic National Committee, the previous president and the deep state operatives within the State Department, CIA, FBI, NSA, DHS and so on, there has been a concerted effort to frustrate, disrupt and remove this president. Why? Because Americans elected someone who stood in the way of a socialist takeover the Democrats, some establishment Republicans, and deep state had so long and carefully planned. This is not theory. You can track the facts. Hollywood, the mainstream media, and politicians all have colluded to bring about this moment in history that tests not only the Constitutional intent of impeachment, but also the will of the people to remain free.
Who knows better about governing themselves? Unelected administrative bureaucrats, spies, deep state agents, one-world government advocates, Marxists, or you? The struggle here is between Marxism in its various forms and LIBERTY. You need to know this and understand it. If it goes the way the Marxists want, they will hold or usurp the White House and both houses of Congress as well as the unconstitutional administrative positions in the government bureaucracy. AND those who disagree with them on moral issues and issues of religious freedom will be shut out of the public square. I have been writing about this for over a decade. The Daily Jot is equipping you with information. Please stand against this travesty. Where to start: Tell everyone you know. Be an Ephesians 6:18 person and "speak boldly as I ought to speak." Make some noise.
Daily Devotion: Three Things We Can Give to God - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.-Ephesians 5:15-16
We all have three things we can give to God: our treasure, our talent, and our time.
First, we have our treasure, the finances God has put under our care. Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21 NKJV). In other words, your heart follows your money.
For example, if you've invested in a certain stock, I'm certain you'll follow that stock because you want it to do well. In the same way, when I've invested in the kingdom of God, I'm interested in the benefits of it. Wherever we put our treasure, our hearts will follow.
Then we have our talents. God has blessed every believer, every person, with talent. You have natural talent as well as gifting from the Holy Spirit.
When I was a new Christian, I volunteered for everything. I offered to do anything that no one else would do. As a result, I found out that I was bad at a lot of stuff. But I also found that I was good at a few things, and some of them surprised me.
God has given us all gifts that we should use to serve Him. Everyone can serve the Lord in some way. You'll also find that it's a blessing to serve.
Lastly, we have our time. God gives each of us 1,440 minutes to use every day. We have twenty-four hours to invest. You have to sleep for part of that, of course, but you are responsible for what you do with the remaining hours.
The Bible says, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV).
Because we've been saved by God, we should want to serve Him.
FROM THE HEART
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