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IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Last Days & Preparing to Meet the Lord: Part 4 - By Sean Gooding -
"Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; But happy is he who keeps the law."
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the end amongst conservative Bible believers. I have had many discussions about the end, and I find that there is an urgency that is driving us in many areas. I can say that it is invigorating to me and a bit scary as well. In Matthew 25:21 we find these wonderful words from our Lord Jesus:
"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!'"
These are some of the sweetest words one will ever hear. Just this morning my wife and I had a discussion about 'are we using our talents wisely?' Will we have profit to offer the Lord on the talents that He has entrusted us with as a family, she as a wife and me as a husband and pastor. Will I/Will we be able to offer our Lord a return on His investment in us?
This is where the proper teaching of the Bible is so important. When the scriptures are properly revealed to us, we can find the ways to live pleasing lives to and for our Lord. But every day we can see that there are men and women who abuse the Holy Scriptures by taking them out of context, using partial verses simply to make their point and - as we used to say in seminary - some preachers look for a verse to blame their sermons on.
We look at passages like Matthew 25:14-29, and we see that Jesus is picturing for us the kingdom of Heaven. Here we see that His servants are given monies according to their abilities, and each one then has to give an account of the way that he invested that money on behalf of the Master. It would be easy to make this a salvation passage if one does not take the time to study. But it is not. It is about saved people answering to the Lord for their lives after the point of salvation.
In many modern churches there is a lack of teaching on the end, the very times that we are in today. Many saved persons have no clue that they too will face a very harsh judgment - not about Heaven and Hell, but about being in the will of God and led by the Holy Spirit. I touched on this a bit last time, and I want to expand on it a bit today. The idea that we will be judged is foreign to a lot of God's people, and too many are not going to be prepared to offer God any return on His investment; sadly, they will suffer great loss. The loss of opportunity and the loss of responsibility in the coming Millennial Kingdom. This Kingdom is spoken about in Revelation 20:4-6:
"And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years."
We again find reference to this Kingdom in Isaiah 11:6-9:
"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
All throughout the Old Testament, it was prophesied about the new Kingdom that would come. Jesus spent the first half of His ministry life talking about the new Kingdom. The Jews could not see, and even the apostles did not see the gap between Jesus' first and second comings. But here you and I are in the gap. Almost 2,000 years have passed since Jesus ascension, and we are nearing the Rapture. There are a lot of writings about the Tribulation and the judgment that will be executed here on earth, but there are not many who talk about our judgment, our time to stand and give an account. Jesus was very, very adamant about our accountability. In 1 Corinthians 16:13 we see this charge:
"Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."
Stand fast and behave like men. Be strong. The term stand fast is a military term; it means to stand your ground and defend that space until the death. Soldiers had to be adept at fighting and committed to orders in the face of great danger and loss of life. This is the command made to us. What happens when a soldier abandons his post? He is arrested. In the days that the Bible was written, he was executed. Jesus expects us to take the command to behave like soldiers and be men very seriously.
Too many men are not soldiers in the cause of Christ; we are cheerleaders on the sidelines. Some can't even do that. Sadly, too many are asleep at the wheel and cause more hurt than good. You may say, "Hey Sean, where is the call to women?" Men need to wake up and remember that God is not a SJW, and He is not, nor ever will be a feminist. Men, you will be judged first. God made you first; He gave you the first responsibilities in Creation; and He spoke to Adam first even though Eve ate of the fruit in the Garden first. Men need to wake up and realize that we cannot hide behind our wives. God expects us to behave like men and take some responsibilities and show some leadership.
While the inhabitants of the earth are going through the Tribulation down here, we will be answering to the Lord for our lives. Were we Light and Salt? Were we faithful servants? Did we love God will all our hearts, souls, minds, and our strength? Did we put God first in everything? You get the picture.
I want to expand a bit about the Holy Spirit in our lives. To do this we need to take a look at the church in Laodicea from Revelation 3:14-22:
"And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, 'These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'-and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked- 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.
"19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."'
No era of the Lord's churches has had the wealth that many modern churches have today. The church I pastor, though small, can endeavor to do many things. Many of our members make a decent living, and the tithes are given faithfully. According to many surveys, the average person gives about $20 each time they attend a church service. For example, a church that has a regular attendance of 1,000 on a Sunday morning will collect about $20,000 each morning service. That is over $1,000,000 per year with 52 Sundays per year. I know of one of our Sister churches that annually collects close to $250,000 just for missions. This is not their general-fund income. Imagine what a church of 5,000 or 10,000 will take in for an offering each service.
It is clear to see that the Laodicean church is a picture of a lot of churches in our time. Notice verse 17: 'I am rich and wealthy and in need of nothing.' We have so much money and resources that we can indiscriminately do the work of the Kingdom and miss the point that if what we do is not led by the Holy Spirit, we are not in obedience. Look at God's assessment of the same church, verse 17(b) 'you are wretched and poor, miserable, blind and naked.' Why are they this way? Because Jesus is not the Head and Life of this church; their activity is. They are busy doing the Lord's work without the Lord.
Every decision we make should be Holy-Spirit led; Where do we send money? To whom do we send money? How much do we send? On and on we can go.
In Acts 16:6-10, we find Paul's call to go to Macedonia. Where he wanted to go was not bad, just not God's will at that moment for Paul:
"Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them. So passing by Mysia, they came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' Now after he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go to Macedonia, concluding that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel to them."
This is an example of good works; the right work, led by the Holy Spirit for God's glory only. Paul wanted to go one way, but the Holy Spirit led elsewhere. The desire to go was good, but where to go was God's business.
Whether we are an individual or a local church, the same guideline should apply. We need to ask the question: is this Holy-Spirit led, empowered and God glorifying? You and I should live knowing that we will be judged by Jesus the Righteous Judge, and He will expect us to have profit to offer for His investment in us. Will you have something to offer Jesus? Will I have something to offer Jesus? The Bema seat of Jesus, as described in 2 Corinthians 5:9-11:
Therefore, we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 11 Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are well known to God, and I also trust are well known in your consciences."
Notice that Paul tells us that we should be aware of the 'terror of the Lord' in verse 11. Yes, the terror of the Lord. The One who can rebuke the storms, rebuke the demons, stop the sun, multiply fishes and loaves, raise the dead and defeat the grave is the very same God to whom we will answer. Did we behave like men? Did we stand fast for the truth? Were we strong? Are you, am I ready to give an answer? Heed the warning of James 5:8; the Lord is near:
"You too, be patient and strengthen your hearts, because the Lord's coming is near."
How the Israel-Iran war might begin - Yaakov Katz -
In the back of everyone's mind there will be a constant and nagging question mark over what happens next. Everyone that is, except for Iran.
The missiles will come in low, after being in the air for almost an hour, and when they hit, they will be coming just over the horizon. People who witness the attack will remember later that the missiles didn't fall from the sky. They flew at their target straight, like a bullet.
The drones will hit just a few minutes later. They will have been flying at low altitudes for longer, taking off in Iraq, crossing into Syria, and then across the border into Israel.
The "swarm" of drones and cruise missiles - as it will later be referred to - will have caught the country by surprise. By the time they strike, the target will be less relevant - the Haifa oil refinery, an apartment building in Kiryat Shmona, or a school in Katzrin.
This scenario, while fiction for now, is one that the IDF top brass is talking about on a regular basis these days. It is being played out in the minds of IDF generals and intelligence officials, responsible for watching Iran's every move, from Tehran all the way to its proxies' bases in Yemen, Iraq, Syria and the Gaza Strip.
The model is very similar to Iran's attack against the Aramco oil facility in Saudi Arabia in September: within the span of 17 minutes, 18 drones and three low-flying missiles hit the facility with amazing precision. The ability to launch a coordinated cruise missile/drone attack that hit its target with precision (except for a few cruise missiles that missed) was an impressive feat. That Iran has this capability came as a surprise to many in America and Israel's defense establishments.
That Iran would like to attack Israel is not a secret. Two weeks ago, an Iranian-backed militia in Syria fired four Fajr-5 rockets at the Hermon Mountain in Israel. The rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome batteries.
In August, Israel struck an Iranian-backed cell planning to launch explosives-laden drones into Israel from Syria. After both incidents, the Israeli Air Force carried out extensive retaliatory strikes against Iranian targets in Syria.
But what happens if Iran succeeds in hitting Israel with an Aramco-style attack? What happens if it hits a strategic installation and causes extensive economic damage or worse - loss of life? What will Israel do?
This question is at the heart of discussions within the defense establishment, and there are a number of possible answers, each with its advantages and disadvantages.
IF FOR example the cruise missiles and drones are launched from Syria, Yemen or Iraq, the easiest move is for Israel to simply retaliate against the cell that launched them, assuming it is able to quickly locate and identify the attackers.
On the other hand, while such a retaliation has tactical value - denying the cell the ability to continue firing missiles - what does it say about Israeli deterrence? If Iran knows that it can strike at Israel via proxies from other countries and not pay a direct price, what will stop it from continuing?
For that reason, another option would be for Israel to strike back directly at Iran and to deliver a decisive blow against the regime that would make the clerics there understand that there is a personal price to be paid for attacking Israel.
How would Israel do that?
Israel will likely need to rely on its Air Force, the backbone of which - the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, F-16I Sufas and F-15I Raams - are specially configured for long-range bombing operations.
With some refueling, the planes would be able to fly to Iran, attack their targets and return. There are different routes: flying directly over Jordan and Iraq, over Saudi Arabia and Iraq, or along the Turkish-Syrian border. All have their advantages and disadvantages. Some are longer while others are more dangerous.
Israel could potentially use drones in such an attack. According to foreign reports, the Heron TP - Israel's largest drone with the wingspan of a Boeing 707 - has the ability to carry missiles. How big and how much damage they can cause remains unknown. That is why while the drones - if they are even an option - might minimize the risk to pilots, their ability to cause extensive damage is limited.
For this reason, for example, Avigdor Liberman when he was defense minister, and Naftali Bennett before he became defense minister, both pushed for the IDF to develop additional long-range capabilities. Liberman tried to establish a missile corps in the IDF. At the time, the focus was on short-to-medium range that was not big enough to reach Iran, but that would have been the next stage.
Prior to being appointed defense minister, Bennett also raised the issue in security cabinet meetings and tried to push the military to think creatively about how it can deal decisive blows to far away enemies like Iran. Now, as defense minister, he can try to implement his vision.
EACH RETALIATORY option will directly impact the scope of the conflict that will follow. If, for example, Israel goes with option 1 and limits its strike to the missile launchers in Iraq, Syria or Yemen, there would likely be almost no response. Iran would understand that Israel needed to vent and would accept the follow-up blow.
If Israel goes with option 2 and strikes in Iran, an unprecedented move, it could lead to a regional war. Iran can activate its militias based in Syria, Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip and, of course, Hezbollah in Lebanon which has the ability to launch over 1,000 rockets and missiles a day against Israeli targets.
In theory, Iran also has the potential to launch its own long-range ballistic missiles toward Israel. While Iran has developed an impressive ballistic missile capability, they have never really been tested in combat. Will they be able to make the flight to Israel and accurately hit their targets? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, they would first have to make it through the Arrow, Israel's ballistic missile defense system.
What would Israel target in such an attack against Iran? For purposes of deterrence, it might be enough to strike at a single symbolic target, like a military base. On the other hand, if you know that a massive war is coming, maybe it would be the right time to strike additional targets at the same time - nuclear facilities, missile depots and launchers, air force bases, navy ships. If there is already going to be a war, it might as well be worth it.
The same could be argued about Hezbollah. If the military assessment is that Hezbollah would attack Israel after such a strike, then the IDF would need to consider launching a preemptive strike against Hezbollah and hitting targets - its long-range missile arsenal, assuming Israeli intelligence knows where it is stored as an example - at the same time that an attack is launched against Iran. At least this way, if war with Hezbollah comes, Israel will have limited the Lebanese-based group's ability to inflict damage.
WILL ANY of this happen? That is impossible to know. Based on the frequency of visits by top US military officials in the last few weeks - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, head of the US Air Force Gen. David Goldfein, and CENTCOM chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie were all here last month - there is coordination going on behind the scenes between the Pentagon and the IDF.
The same can be understood from the two phone calls Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently had with President Donald Trump, during which they discussed the threat from Iran as well as other "critical" regional issues.
The problem, though, is that anything Netanyahu does today will be seen as politically driven. If there is an attack in the coming weeks after Israel has gone to another election, then however Israel responds will be looked at through the prism of Netanyahu's legal predicament. Did he decide to go to war to try and postpone his trial, or did he decide to contain a devastating attack to avoid a war that would incur casualties and possibly also a political price?
In the back of everyone's mind there will be a constant and nagging question mark over what happens next. Everyone that is, except for Iran.
Pope Francis Compares President Trump to King Herod - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz -
"Thus he said: 'The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all the kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces.'" Daniel 7:23 (The Israel Bible™)
In a report published on Thursday, it was reported that while on a recent visit to Buddhists in Thailand, Pope Francis addressed the issue of refugees, comparing the policy of building walls and detention centers to the acts of King Herod who killed Jesus.
La Civilta Cattolica reported on Thursday that while in Thailand, Pope Francis met a group of 48 Jesuits from Southeast Asia. Pope Francis is unique in several respects; he is the first pope from the southern hemisphere and, most significantly, he is the first Jesuit to be appointed to the position. The pope discussed the issue of refugees and immigrants with his fellow Jesuits.
"For the Jesuits our work with refugees has become a real "theological place." That's how I see it, a theological place. Pedro Arrupe right here in Thailand in his last speech reaffirmed the importance of this mission. Arrupe was a prophet to me: his 'swan song' was the foundation, right here in Bangkok, of the Jesuit Refugee Service. Then, during the flight to Rome from Thailand, he suffered a stroke."
"The phenomenon of refugees has always existed, but today it is better known because of social differences, hunger, political tensions and especially war. For these reasons, migratory movements are intensifying. What is the answer the world gives? The policy of waste. Refugees are waste material. The Mediterranean has been turned into a cemetery. The notorious cruelty of some detention centers in Libya touches my heart. Here in Asia, we all know the problem of the Rohingya. I must admit that I am shocked by some of the narratives I hear in Europe about borders. Populism is gaining strength."
"In other parts, there are walls that even separate children from parents," Pope Francis said in an oblique reference to President Trump's policies on the southern border, suggesting that the policies will ultimately fail. "Herod comes to mind. Yet for drugs, there's no wall to keep them out."
King Herod, also known as Herod the Great, was a Roman client king of Judea. Herod's family were converts to Judaism and his religious commitment was questioned by some elements of Jewish society. While Herod publicly identified himself as a Jew and was considered as such by some, this religious identification was undermined by the decadent lifestyle of the Herodians, which would have earned them the antipathy of observant Jews. Herod later executed several members of his own family, including his wife Mariamne.
The account of the Massacre of the Innocents in the New Testament, in an attempt to kill the infant Jesus, Herod gave orders to kill all boys of the age of two and under in Bethlehem and its vicinity.
"As I told you, the phenomenon of migration is compounded by war, hunger and a 'defensive mindset,' which makes us in a state of fear believe that you can defend yourself only by strengthening borders. At the same time, there is exploitation.
The Pope also met with Thailand's supreme Buddhist patriarch Somdej Phra Maha Muneewong at Bangkok's Ratchabophit Temple. The meeting took place in front of a 150-year-old gold statue of Buddha. The Pope followed Buddhist custom by removing his shoes. During the meeting, the Pope gave the Buddhist Patriarch the Declaration on Human Brotherhood. The Declaration s a joint statement signed by Pope Francis of the Catholic Church and Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, last February in Abu Dhabi. The Pope met with the Imam last month to reinforce the Declaration which declares that all religions should unify.
The Coming Collapse Of Mr. Rogers - By Dustin Messer/Breakpoint.org -
The very things which make Mr. Rogers so embraced today--his gentleness, kindness, and civility--will cause him to be ostracized tomorrow.
That Mr. Rogers is loved today isn't up for debate. Just this past month, Pittsburgh's WQED suggested people celebrate World Kindness Day this year by wearing a cardigan--an homage to their longtime host, Mr. Rogers. The precocious, bedridden child turned minister turned puppeteer is an unlikely folk hero for our secular age.
Between the recently released movie about his life staring "America's dad," Tom Hanks, the flurry of books, documentaries, and think-pieces regarding the soft-spoken public broadcaster, it's hard to believe there was ever a time in which Rogers wasn't idolized. But such a time did exist, and it wasn't that long ago.
To understand how this modern prophet will be cast aside, it'll help to understand how it happened the first time.
Rogers handled the scorn and mockery of his persona with grace, as was shown in the recent documentary, "Won't You Be My Neighbor." Yet, it was never a secret that he felt some of the parodies crossed a line, particularly the most famous lampoon, SNL's "Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood."
Indeed, from its inception, the civility of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood stood out against the crass backdrop of late 20th century Americana. Rogers' mission to teach the requisite skills of neighborliness--empathy, honesty, fortitude--was ridiculed, if not scorned, by the secular elite.
As the culture became ruder, Rogers emphasis on kindness was deemed passé. As the culture became cruder, Rogers emphasis on virtue was deemed sanctimonious.
Today is a new day, however. While the secular intelligentsia put all of their money on team "Beavis and Butt-Head" in the cultural clash of yesteryear, Rogers seems to have won and those who cheered for the other side appear perfectly content--ecstatic, even--by the results.
So, what accounts for this dramatic about-face when it comes to the Rogers persona? In short, the often-boorish behavior of Donald Trump. In their quest to put distance between themselves and the disliked chief executive, the elites of popular culture have embraced a persona they once disdained.
In, say, 1992, Mr. Rogers was on the wrong side of the culture war. In George H.W. Bush, America had a President whose value-system, worldview, and even style ("the ivy league look") nearly perfectly reflected that of Mr. Rogers. There was a cultural appetite for something new, something fresh, something edgy.
Rogers, Bush, and everyone else who touted things as quaint as personal responsibility and character formation were standing in the way of progress, of liberation. Their virtue was a challenge to the other side's power, so it was demonized.
That history leads one to question whether the rehabilitation Bush Sr. and Rogers are enjoying today is the result of a new worldview in the zeitgeist, or simply a fresh political calculation. At the risk of being cynical, I remain unconvinced that "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" could have been made five years ago or five years from now.
When virtue hurts the side of "progress," it's rebuffed; when it helps, it's embraced. Today, it's embraced, but Christians shouldn't expect that embrace to last longer than our peculiar political moment.
None of this is to say, of course, that Christians ought to avoid celebrating the newfound appreciation of virtue. We simply need to remember that our benevolence and integrity must be rooted in something deeper than pop-culture, because that culture will change.
There will be another person in the White House one day, the contrast won't be necessary, and those ideals personified in Rogers and Bush--gentleness, civility, humility--will go back to being mocked quicker than you can say "the wimp factor."
The affinity pop-culture has right now for the broad Judeo-Christian tradition is extremely tenuous. It's a weapon with which they can bruise an enemy. If you and I truly want a "kinder, gentler nation," then our courage must come from our firmly held convictions, not the favorable press being received by Mr. Rogers.
After all, the inheritance promised to the meek isn't popularity today, it's the Earth tomorrow.
Daily Jot: Writer's block and motivation to serve - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
My son and I were having a conversation the other night about writing. He loves to write. Takes after his dad. We were talking about writing on deadline and how to get motivated to write. He said that when he has specific assignments, such as pre-determined page lengths, it is more difficult for him to write. There seems to be a writer's block with that pressure. My love for writing began at a young age. In my teens, I wrote about the daily happenings mostly every day. Writing made me feel free. It helped me get my thoughts together. It started a life-long habit of recording daily events. God gifted me with some small ability to communicate to others, to serve God through words. This is an example that may help you.
The Lord impressed upon me these verses in Ezekiel 3:18-21, "When I say unto the wicked, You shall surely die; and you give him not warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at your hand. Yet if you warn the wicked, and he turns not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul. Again, When a righteous man turns from his righteousness, and commits iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die: because you have not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at your hand. Nevertheless if you warn the righteous man, that the righteous sins not, and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also you have delivered your soul."
These verses have inspired me and motivated me. At the same time, they have kept me pursuing humility and a servant's heart. In January 2002, the Lord put it on my heart to begin writing The Daily Jot. It started by me writing whatever came to mind and sending it out to my email list, which was about 35 people. Over the years, it has grown to the tens of thousands. Aside from Holy Spirit motivation, there is a human side that constantly motivates me to write. It comes through experiences that inspire that old farm boy stick-to-it-ness. One such experience happened in Ghana in one of the most poor and dangerous Muslim slums. William Agbeti had arranged with the Imam for us to preach the gospel to school kids there. Yes, you read it right, and it was a small miracle.
Walking to the school, we passed through some of the most impoverished areas I have ever seen, and also it felt spiritually hostile. We were able to teach some young children about Christ; feed them; sing with them; and love on them for a short time. I remember this one little boy who looked up to me with those deep brown eyes and reached his left hand out to touch me. We had a Holy Spirit moment that brought me back to those Ezekiel verses and the compassion of Christ. For some small time, we were privileged to serve and blessed by it as well. Looking into that child's eyes, I'll never forget it, is motivation to use the gift God gave me to serve him, and by serving him, to serve others. Over the weekend, be encouraged to seek the Lord and find or renew your inspiration in Him to serve. If you do, you will never have writer's block.
Daily Devotion: Be Careful What You Wish For - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip.-Romans 1:28-29
When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, he had two tablets that contained the Ten Commandments. The first four commandments have to do with our relationship with God, and the next six commandments have to do with our relationship with people.
Unrighteousness is the result of sinning against each other, and ungodliness is the result of sinning against God. And when you're out of fellowship with God, you will have conflict with others, too.
If you want to run from God, He won't stop you from exercising your free will. The prodigal son went to his father and basically said (loosely paraphrased), "Dad, I'm sick of waiting for you to die. I want my inheritance now. So give it to me."
We would have understood if the father had said, "No, son, I love you too much. You will make bad decisions and hurt yourself. I won't give it to you." But that isn't what happened. The father gave his son what he asked for.
The boy skipped out of town with his inheritance, and then he blew it all. He messed up his life. And he regretted it, of course. But his father allowed him to exercise his free will.
Be careful what you ask for, because you might get it.
The Bible describes what happens when you push God out of your life: "Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip" (Romans 1:28-29 NLT).
God will allow you to pursue what you want to pursue and do what you want to do. But be careful. Because when you reject God, ruin follows.
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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Our Prayer for You- "Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 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. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else." 2 Corinthians 9:10-13
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