Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A hot wind did blow

"At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A hot wind from the bare heights in the desert toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow or cleanse, a wind too full for this comes for me. Now it is I who speak in judgment upon them.” (Jeremiah 4:11-12)

The Lord sends the wind. He is the God of this earth and nothing happens on it that He does not cause or allow. Not even a sparrow falls to its death without the permission of the LORD. (Matthew 10:29).

So, He sends the wind.

That was the literal part of my essay. The verses in Jeremiah above are metaphorical. What He had instructed Jeremiah to say is that He sends the wind for different purposes. Firstly, the wind accomplishes His will. "Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word" (Psalms 148:8 )

He sends a gentle wind for winnowing. He sends a fruitful wind for planting. He sends a wind for cleansing (Job 37:21). In the case of judgment He sends a hot wind that doesn't salve, but agitates. It is a hot wind, a damaging wind, a full wind that scorches and destroys. Barnes Notes explains:

"A dry wind - literally, A clear wind. The Samum is probably meant, a dry parching east wind blowing from the Arabian desert, before which vegetation withers, and human life becomes intolerable. Not to fan ... - The Syrian farmers make great use of the wind for separating the chaff from the grain: but when the Samum blows labor becomes impossible. It is not for use, but for destruction."

We can ignore the wind, but that won't work. We can rely on the wind for planting and winnowing. The wind purifies and cleanses.

But woe to those who ignore the wind.

We cannot outrun the wind. It will catch us. The wind blows where it will. "The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit." (John 3:8).

When the wind is destructive it means it is of the judgments of God:
  • "In measure, when it shooteth forth, thou wilt debate with it: he stayeth his rough wind in the day of the east wind." (Isaiah 27:8)
  • "Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire." (Isaiah 29:6)
  • "Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them: and thou shalt rejoice in the LORD, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel." (Isaiah 41:16)

You can think of the wind as the breath of God.

When you read the bible, think on these metaphors. Yesterday I wrote of the light an the darkness. Today I write of the wind. The bible uses symbols for a reason. Symbols don't change. Words change, symbols do not. Planting is planting. Reaping is reaping, Lions prowl. Sheep follow.

As far as the wind goes, you should always let the wind of the Spirit move you as the wind moves a sail. The sail bows to the wind, letting the wind fill it, and gently guide and propel the sail to move the boat. It is all harmony, the wind and the sail and the boat and the water as one unit.

When you sail, and the wind is behind you, it is smooth and quiet sailing. Quite peaceful. If you try and sail into the wind it is called "beating". It really does feel like you're getting beaten. The wind is loud. The waves are choppy. The boat balks. The sails refuse to fill and you have to constantly adjust them. You're working against the wind in that case, sailing upwind as close as you can to the no-go zone. The boat heels over and the sails, mast, and people sailing it are stressed. The direction you go relative to the wind matters. The best thing to do when sailing into an upwind destination is to simply change your destination and thus go with the wind.

Pay attention to where the wind blows, and change your destination. If a person refuses to repent, all they will sow is a hot wind that destroys.

Much better to go with the gentle wind, allowing it to push us, purify us, cleanse us. Jesus is Lord, kind and good.
.

Halloween candy redistribution for an important lesson

Steve Crowder redistributes kids' Halloween Candy at a church trunk or treat. The kids give us an important lesson about earning potential, fairness, and wealth redistribution.



"I'm going to call the police on you!" LOL

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Manhattan In the Dark

The lights off in NYC made me think of Amos 5.
Drudge Report screen shot, 10-30-12

Stay with me.

"Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light, as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him. Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?" (Amos 5:18-20)

First, the earthly hardships that go along with a storm of this size are incredible. Frankly, when the Tribulation hits, the last place you want to be is in a city. Bug OUT if you want to survive.

Anyway, as millions upon millions are discovering now, living on any floor above, say fifth, means a lot of walking up and down stairs. No elevators. No running water. That means you have to lug water up, if you can even find any. No flushing, unless you stored water ahead of time and can use it to flush the toilet. No food, or if you find some, you have to lug it up. If you go out on the street there are a lot of other tired, desperate, hungry, thirsty people. There were twitter meet ups planning a mass looting, so it is even more dangerous than usual to be out and about. Then cabin fever sets in. What to do with the kids for days on end inside an apartment with no internet, tv, or PlayStation? And where would you even go? The subways aren't running, along with bus and most likely, cabs. The streets are littered with tree limbs, flood sludge, dangling electrical wires, and debris. Even if you want to get out and about it is impossible and dangerous.

And then the rats arrive. The UK Daily Mail helpfully reminds us that "Rats are highly social individuals and live in a fairly stable social structure. If this storm disturbs that, rats could start infesting areas they never did before.' There are precedents for rats being displaced by floods and forced into buildings. In the UK this summer washed out rats began infesting homes. 'It's not just about the high winds and rain,' said Ostfeld. 'A rat disturbance is something we should be concerned about.' "

So the city is a bad place in the best of times. It is downright survival UNfriendly in the worst of times.

But what about spiritual survival? I pray that those who know Jesus have remained peaceful even in the face of terrible fear, adrenaline-pumping protection of your children, in evacuation, or even in the face of loss of all you owned. Jesus is the rock who will provide help to you spiritually to work through these hard times. (Psalm 9:9). What a Savior we have who promises help in times of trouble! Before I was saved I used to mock Jesus because I thought, wrongly, that if you were a Christian that meant you would never have trouble. So when trouble inevitably came to His believers, I thought he was powerless and ineffectual to protect them.

I know different now. Jesus said that in this world you will have trouble,

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”' (John 16:33)

The difference now is that my faith in Him has shifted my perspective from one of clinging to temporal, earthly things, like a house and clothes and a car or a job, to Him in eternity. I have an eternal perspective and the treasures I am heaping up are hopefully faith, patience, love, kindness and other fruits of the Spirit that point to HIM. If I go through trouble (and I do) I rely on His peace and His grace and His Spirit to get me through. He is my Light. Being in the Light is warm and safe and peaceful. Nothing can trouble me when I am in the Light.

But for those who do not know the Light and are in the dark, it is a dark place indeed. Having an earthly perspective means that we see only to the end of our lifespan on earth, 40 or 70 or 80 years. That is not long. Anyone who is over 50 knows how short life is! And when some of that is taken away, a job or a car or a house, unbelievers get frantic because it takes time to build back up and if all you see are a few short years of life then there is no time!

Back to Manhattan being dark. Imagine the lost people in New York in the dark as the people in Amos's verse, stumbling around in the dark during the Tribulation, AKA The Day of the Lord.

"Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light, as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him. Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?" (Amos 5:18-20)

They reel from one calamity to another, in gloom with no brightness.

The NYC photo of darkness is a real and scary event that is happening to millions right now. But it is also a spiritual metaphor for those who are stumbling around with no hope, they are in spiritual darkness. After the rapture there will be only darkness. Sin will have its day and the gates of hell will be allowed to prevail and overcome the world and the saints. (Revelation 13:7)

Repent now and be in His Light! In Him was the Light of men and in Him there is no darkness at all. (John 1:4-5). I'm not saying that if you repent of your sins and ask Jesus to forgive them, and become a born again (John 3:14) that you won't have a tornado slam into your house or a flood carry your car away or that other disasters won't touch you. Not at all. But you will be able to handle them with the Holy Spirit in you giving you strength, and the forgiveness and sanctification of Jesus giving you peace.

"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

Please come into the Light, the Light of Jesus and His outstretched hand offering forgiveness of your sins. Repent and believe, for the time is short.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Urgency of the times

I have the day off today. I've been reading Jeremiah 4, a tough, tough chapter. There are so many parallels between Jeremiah's time and ours... So when I finished reading, I re-listened to John MacArthur's sermon that he delivered in June 2011 about Jeremiah and his times, called, "Prophetic Message to an Ungodly Nation" and he compared it to our times. They are so similar it is amazing. I guess maybe not so amazing...because sinful people are still sinful people and pride is still pride.

I also listened to a sermon on Jesus as the Word from John 1. My favorite verses in the bible are John 1:1-5. So that was a good sermon to listen to, very edifying and beautiful. Stay in the word. Jesus is our rock to cling to.

Here is an essay by Dr. David Reagan on the topics of Urgency and Encouragement. My twitter and blog friend Child of God tweeted it and I followed the link to read this very good piece. I hope it encourages you as it did me.

------------------------------

Urgency
Dr. David R. Reagan,
Monday, October 29, 2012

There is a sense of urgency in the air. Our nation is on the brink of moral and economic collapse. The world is caught up in an insane frenzy of terrorism. The Middle East is about to explode. And the biblical signs of the times are shouting from the heavens that Jesus is about to return.

In the words of Charles Dickens, "It is the best of times, it is the worst of times."

It is the worst of times because the depravity of Man is manifesting itself in the increasing rejection and blasphemy of God. The result is an exponential increase in violence and immorality.

It is the best of times because the collapse of society worldwide is the fulfillment of end time prophecies that point to the soon return of Jesus.

Jesus Himself said that He would return at a time when society was once again as immoral and violent as it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37).

An Exciting But Challenging Time

We are privileged to be living in such an exciting and momentous time when we can witness the stage being set for the triumphant return of Jesus. But it is a time that calls for courage.

We simply must keep our eyes on Jesus, and we must remember that even if our nation has no hope, we as individual Christians have great hope.

But that sense of hope will prevail in our lives only if we consciously and determinedly live with an eternal perspective.

God is in Control

We must keep in mind that as the world falls apart around us, God's Word says that He "sits in the heavens and laughs" (Psalm 2:4). His laughter is not prompted by a lack of concern. Rather, He laughs because He has everything under control, for He has the wisdom and power to orchestrate all the evil of Man and Satan to the ultimate triumph of His Son.

He has also promised that He will walk with those who are Christians, accompanying us through fire and high water (Isaiah 43:1-3).

And He has promised us an escape before the world totally collapses into absolute chaos (Luke 21:36). That escape is called the Rapture. When Paul revealed this escape in detail in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, he concluded by saying, "Comfort one another with these words."

Additionally, we have the promise of the Millennial reign of Jesus to look forward to. What a day that will be!

Jesus will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords from Jerusalem. David, in his glorified body, will reign as King of Israel. We, in our glorified bodies, will be scattered across the earth to reign over those in the flesh. And the earth will be flooded with peace, righteousness and justice, as the waters cover the seas (Isaiah 2:1-4 and Isaiah 11:3-9).

Maranatha!

HMS Bounty abandons ship in Hurricane Sandy. Please pray for mariners, Navy personnel and Coast Guard responders

Update to the update: Originally it was thought that there were 17 crew members. There are 16. This means that the CG is still looking for two missing. The other 14 have landed safely at Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City. Please continue to pray for the 2 missing, the Coast Guard looking for them and all mariners in this monster storm.

Twitter @Reuters update: "FLASH - 14 of 17 crew members who abandoned HMS Bounty rescued by U.S. coast guard." Praise the Lord! Please pray for the other three
--------------------------

The three-masted Tall Ship HMS Bounty has abandoned ship. BNO News reports,

HMS Bounty
"The Coast Guard has received word that the crew of the HMS Bounty has abandoned ship approximately 90 miles southeast of Hatteras N.C., Monday. The 17 person crew donned cold water survival suits and lifejackets before launching in two 25-man lifeboats with canopies. The Coast Guard continues to monitor the situation and assess the weather conditions to determine the soonest Coast Guard aircraft or surface assets can be on scene to conduct effective rescue operations. Coast Guard Sector North Carolina initially received a call from the owner of the 180-foot, three mast tall ship, HMS Bounty, saying she had lost communication with the vessel's crew late Sunday evening."

"The Coast Guard 5th District command center in Portsmouth subsequently received a signal from the emergency position indicating radio beacon registered to the Bounty, confirming the distress and position. An air crew from Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City launched aboard an HC-130 Hercules aircraft, which later arrived on scene and reestablished communications with the Bounty's crew. The vessel was reportedly taking on water and was without propulsion. On scene weather is reported to be 40 mph winds and 18-foot seas."

The Coast Guard also put out a press release, saying much the same thing.

I had mentioned in last night's blog entry that I had lived aboard a sailboat for two years. I am a mariner. I was living aboard when the 1993 "Storm of the Century" struck, also known as the '93 Superstorm. This was a storm that reached from Cuba to Halifax. These facts from Wikipedia remind me of the terrible losses we experienced:

"In the United States, the storm was responsible for the loss of electric power to over 10 million customers. It is purported to have been directly experienced by nearly 40 percent of the country's population at that time. A total of 310 people, including 10 from Cuba, perished during this storm."

It spawned rain, wind, blizzards and tornadoes. As for us in the Bahamas, I'll never forget the train-sound of straight line winds that barreled toward us. The dark clouds were scary beyond anything I'd ever experienced up until then. We heard it coming and we saw it coming and though we were in a protected anchorage, it still knocked our 23,000 lb, 40 foot yacht flat on its side like a toothpick. We had three anchors out and the Yanmar diesel running at top speed and we still dragged.

After the initial arrival like a bomb, the storm remained in a high wind pattern for days. By then our anchors were holding and we sustained no damage to our vessel. One boat did sink near the harbor as it attempted to get into port. The people were rescued but the boat was a total loss. So the worst part for us was hearing the distress of other mariners on our radios...and there was nothing we could do to help them.

But Coast Guard did. The brave men and women who flew out into the terrible storm are the ones who have my undying gratitude. We rightly honor the policemen and firemen and transit workers for helping in times of storm and distress. We tend to honor them more often because their bravery and dedication to saving lives is on the television news afterward. The Coast Guard does their work alone, far from land, in the dark, and battling monstrous winds and waves. For the mariner, scared and helpless, far from shore and facing a cold and lonely death, just knowing that the Guard will respond is hope that offers sanity-saving clinging to during the terrible hours of waiting.

As today's storm approaches, the Coast Guard has elevated the port status along many of the Eastern Seaboard's ports to Port Condition Yankee. "The U.S. Coast Guard has elevated New York and New Jersey port condition status to Yankee. Large vessels must vacate New York’s ports, and other mariners are cautioned to avoid being on the water. The Coast Guard’s search and rescue operations will be hampered, and they may not be able to provide help until after the storm. Drawbridges will remain closed as wind picks up speed."

Port Condition Yankee also means "No vessels may enter, transit or remain within this safety zone without the permission of the Captain of the Port."

So for those mariners who did not seek safe harbor or who were too far from harbor, the ports are now restricted. A port Condition Zulu (closed, period) may be issued later.

Please pray for the mariners, the Coast Guard and the Navy men and women who are out to sea right now.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Flooding potential from Hurricane Sandy Frankenstorm: Manhattan

I lived on a sailboat for two years. I sailed with my husband from Maine to Florida, crossed the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas, and reversed the trip. We did that twice. Once we traveled from Naples FL to Rhode Island on a 21 foot Sea Ray, lol.

When you travel 10,000 nautical miles at an average rate of three miles per hour, you see everything. One thing that always had struck me was the trip through the East River and Hell's Gate.

The red streak is the section of Hell Gate, the entryway between Long Island Sound and the Port of New York. It is a place of rocks and converging tide-driven currents from the Long Island Sound, Harlem River strait, Upper Bay of New York Harbor and other channels. In other words, a lot of water has to flow through a very narrow channel every few hours as the tide changes.

Anyway, once you're through, you get a slow ride down the river while sightseeing the skyline of Manhattan at eye level. It is really beautiful and amazing.

What surprised me was the low level of the island. The whole island is about eight feet above the water. With the skyscrapers built almost to the edge and their great height, it looks for all the world like the buildings are pressing the island down into the water. Or alternately it looks like the island can't hold them up, with only a few feet of freeboard.

Here are a couple of shots from Google Earth so you see what I mean-

In the aerial photo above you can see the Brooklyn Bridge, the ferry terminals and in between, the cars on FDR Drive.
Zooming to street view, you can see the pavement at the helipad at the same spot as above, the skyscrapers, and the multicolored section that is the East River. The Drive is only a few feet above the river.

Why all this? Because Hurricane Irene last year flooded lower Manhattan at a 4.5 foot surge. The storm surge this time is predicted to be double that, not to mention the historic rain. The news folks are reporting record destructive potential. "NOAA's hurricane research division on Sunday ranked the surge and wave "destruction potential" for Sandy — just the hurricane, not the hybrid storm it will eventually become — at 5.8 on a 0 to 6 scale'

This storm is indeed ominous and important. God either causes or allows everything that happens to happen. I don't know His mind, other than what He has revealed to us in His word, but we know from His word that persistent sin will result in judgment. Already "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness..." (Romans 1:18).

I worry greatly for New York. I pray for the people there, that they heeded the evacuations. But where is there to go? The storm is predicted to affect all the way down to NC, all the way north to Maine, and all the way west to the Mountains and the Great Lakes. They are even predicting power outages from the storm in Chicago and Detroit. The LORD is mighty indeed. He is worthy to be worshiped.

I just wanted you to know how low the island of Manhattan is compared to the water level of the adjacent rivers.

Even with that dire news, this is not our home. Heaven is. How do you get there?

For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

"And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved;" (Joel 2:32)

"And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'" (Acts 2:21)

Frankenstorm and British Columbia earthquake: Spiritual warfare and battle fatigue

I was reading a weather report regarding Hurricane Sandy Frankenstorm. The CT Post calls it a "freakish and unprecedented monster." This is the storm of mega-proportions that due to its combined elements of tropical storm, arctic nor'easter and unusual trajectory have made an historic storm of never-before-seen power. Millions will be affected by this Sunday-Tuesday with wind, rain, and snow. The impacts are expected to linger well into the weeks or even months. Power is expected to be out for days along the most populated segment of the nation: Washington DC to Boston Mass or even as far north as Portland, Maine. That is according to current weather analyses.

It seems that the storms have been coming one upon the other, almost. This is true for the entire globe, but especially true for America. It was a year ago May that the tornado outbreak at Joplin MO hit, wiping out the town and a good many other towns too. Then we had severe drought, wildfires, snow, derechos, floods and more in a non-stop train of disasters and storms. In addition, there have been thwarted terrorist attacks, mass shootings, Molotov cocktails, and unparallelled violence in Detroit and other cities. Then we had wars, cyberwars, and overseas involvement in successful and failed missions (Benghazi, anyone? WHO left them to DIE?).

People are weary. Just when we got over one set of disasters or near disasters, another one occurs that is worse. The Frankenstorm is a case in point.

I was reading an article about the coming storm that called it a hybrid, 800 mile storm set to impact millions and tens of millions of people. In the midst of the hubbub of the actual event, so large the mind can hardly contain what may be coming, one man's tears moved me.

"Across the street, Douglas Jumper, whose first floor took on nearly 5 feet of water during Irene, was tying down his patio furniture on Friday and moving items in his wood shop to higher ground. "I'm tired. I am tired," Jumper, who turns 58 on Saturday, said through tears. "We don't need this again."

What is happening in the world is a battle. It always has been a fight since the fall, but because we are close to the end the battle is more furious, more visible, and more potent against the humans who dwell on the earth.

Christians know we're in a spiritual battle. Secular people don't, but we do. Satan rages against God and against His children. God rages against sin. The Christian battles his own personal sin, and each of suffers from the effects of it and from the effect of others' sins. It is a fight all the time. We must be constantly vigilant, (James 4:7) on guard (1 Peter 5:8) and wearing our armor. (Ephesians 6:10-17). Even having the Holy Spirit in us to energize us, it is a weary thing to always be on guard against a relentless and intelligent enemy bent on our destruction. Ask any soldier. (Illustration: artist unknown, Illustrator of Henry Davenport Northrop's 'Treasures of the Bible', 1894)

The bible warns us against growing tired and losing heart.

"Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9)

Notice the word IF. This says to me that it is possible to lose heart. The verse is talking about not getting tired of being kind and patient and loving. We become appalled at obstacles, disheartened at betrayals, grief-stricken over sin, and sometimes we just plain tire of the battle.

Jeremiah said in chapter 45:3 "You said, 'Woe to me! The LORD has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.'"

Imagine how hard it is for those people who do not have the Holy Spirit in them to help restrain their sin, grow in Christ-likeness, and in doing well to others. How is it for them who do not know Christ and wonder at the storms. I awaken this morning to news of a 7.7 quake in British Columbia (Mark 13:8) and a tsunami warning for Hawaii and small tsunami waves already hitting the American west coast. So both the east of America and the west are being pummeled.

The man from the article, Mr. Jumper, comes to mind. I do not know if he is saved or not, but his weariness just struck me. I can empathize. The battle against the worldly elements must seem insurmountable...one storm after another means that there is constant activity to protect, board, evacuate, adrenaline flowing, family members to be rounded up, cared for, evacuated. Then the waiting through the storms, never knowing if your home will even be there after it is all said and done. Then afterwards the constant activity expended to get back up and running, repairs, insurance calls, re-building....

And then it happens again. And then again.

We are told that the end time is like a woman giving birth. The long gestation began when Jesus ascended and will end when He returns in glory. As the pregnancy nears its bloody conclusion the discomfort grows as the pressure increases to unbearable levels. And when the labor pangs begin the pain only increases in frequency and intensity. The brief periods of respite between the pangs grow shorter in duration and soon before one can catch one's breath the next pang comes crashing down. It is like that with the Frankenstorm and the major earthquake. And the Tribulation will be so much worse. We need more than ever to carry each other's burdens. (Galatians 6:2).

Annie Vallotton, Gal 6:2

Without the Lord, I don't know how people even cope. Perhaps they are not coping.

Battle fatigue:

Wikipedia explains, 'Now called "Combat stress reaction (CSR), is a term used within the military to describe acute behavioral disorganization seen by medical personnel as a direct result of the trauma of war. Also known as "combat fatigue", historically, it has some link to shell shock. Combat stress reaction is an acute reaction including a range of behaviours resulting from the stress of battle which decrease the combatant's fighting efficiency. The most common symptoms are fatigue, slower reaction times, indecision, disconnection from one's surroundings, and inability to prioritize."

You can go here to look at the symptoms of combat fatigue, or see the chart below. Click to enlarge.


Satan brings disorder into our physical world by afflicting humans (Job 1-2; 2 Corinthians 12:7; Hebrews 2:14). The disorder is not just external but internal also. In my opinion I believe the symptoms many people are feeling, whether they know they are in a battle or not, are symptoms of battle fatigue.

Image from World War I taken in an Australian dressing station near Ypres in 1917. The wounded soldier in the lower left of the photo has a dazed thousand-yard stare, a frequent symptom of "shell-shock". (Wikipedia)

Literally, I awaken each morning wondering what dread thing might have happened overnight. Is Damascus destroyed? The verses in Isaiah 17 say that it will happen suddenly. Destruction comes quickly, was there an earthquake? A volcanic explosion? The labor pangs are increasing to a degree where their effects cannot help but be felt in the world by the people. People are internalizing the stress of the economic times, the moral times, and the potential for natural disaster. These internalizations, fears, tragedies, worries have an effect on the mind and the body.

Franz von Stuck, "War," c. 1894
The underlying root cause of all this is a spiritual battle over the deed to the earth. (Satan has already lost and our Savior owns the earth and everything in it (Revelation 5:5; Psalm 24:1), but satan refuses to believe that, so he presses on, and God lets Him, until the time is right for us to be taken up and the times to end.)

"Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out." (Proverbs 242:19-20)

Gill's Exposition explains that verse so well: "For their calamity shall rise suddenly,.... And come upon those that fear not God, and rebel against the king and the state, and innovate in matters of religion; and especially that bring in damnable heresies, and, while they cry Peace, peace, and are pleasing themselves with their new schemes and prosperous success, swift and sudden destruction comes upon them."

We rejoice in our Holy Savior who does these holy things. There will be much singing in heaven over His conquering of sin. But watching the world be warned and punished is HARD. And it has its effects. We are battle weary too! Those who do not have Jesus are even more battle weary. At least we know the time is short. They don't know when this will ever end, and for many who do not heed the warnings, it never will.

Be aware that the spiritual battle of this world is taking its very real and physical toll on people. Brethren, do not grow weary. The writer of Hebrews said,

"not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:25).

I believe this is why: battle fatigue. Its effects are real.  Do not grow weary. It is the last hour! The Lord is near, indeed, He is a very present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

"but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Frankenstorm: preparation tips

I've put up an update to the Frankenstorm weather details here. Now for are some great tips to prepare in advance of the Frankenstorm--

FOOD

Some Tips on keeping food safe from Food & Drug Administration:

— Just before the storm hits, set your refrigerator and freezer to their coldest settings (remember to reset them back to normal once power is restored).
— Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature.
— The refrigerator will keep food cold for about 4 hours if it is unopened.
— A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.
— Buy dry or block ice to keep the refrigerator as cold as possible if the power is going to be out for a prolonged period of time. Fifty pounds of dry ice should hold an 18 cubic foot, fully-stocked freezer cold for two days.
— For infants, try to use prepared, canned baby formula that requires no added water. When using concentrated or powdered formulas, prepare with bottled water if the local water source is potentially contaminated.
— Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freezer, refrigerator, or coolers in case the power goes out. If your normal water supply is
contaminated or unavailable, the melting ice will also supply drinking water.
— Freeze refrigerated items such as leftovers, milk, and fresh meat and poultry that you may not need immediately. This helps keep them at a safe temperature longer.

More at link above

WATER

Safety Tips from Big Sandy Rec Department

— Keep a 3- to 5-day supply of drinking water in plastic bottles. Plan on at least 1 gallon of water per person, per day.
— Store a manual can opener with enough nonperishable foods for 3 to 5 days. Canned meats, tuna fish and peanut butter are good foods to store. Don’t forget pet foods!
— Conserve water by using paper plates and plastic utensils.
— Have a camp stove or grill for outdoor cooking.
— If you have a washer in your home, fill the washer with water, when it starts the wash cycle, turn the washer off and you have gallons and gallons of fresh drinking water.
— Use bleach to clean the tub, rinse thoroughly, and then fill it. This water can be used for sanitation by dipping a pail into the tub for toilet flushing, don't use it for drinking if you can help it
— 30 or 40 gallon plastic trash cans are a good to store large amounts of water for flushing toilets, washing dishes, and drinking if necessary. You can line the trash can with a clean liner or trash bag.
— If you run out of drinking water, drain the water from your hot water heater via the valve into a trash can or pails.

SANITATION

— Premoistened cleansing towelettes are useful and help conserve water. Put them in ziplocs prior to the storm's arrival.
— Another way to keep clean without power, and cheaper too, is to take wet washcloths, put a little soap on them, and seal them in zip lock bags for homemade handi-wipes.
— Maintain a supply of prescriptions, nonprescription drugs, vitamins and special dietary foods.
— Keep sanitary and personal hygiene supplies replenished.
— Gather newspapers. Newspapers are good material to soak up water. If you soak up water that seeps into the house with towels all you'll have is wet and moldy towels as the days go on. Newspapers are easily cleaned up and can be thrown away.

KIDS

Tips from Weather Fun Times Guide

— Playing cards, books, drawing and writing supplies, and board games help pass the time. If you have a video camera and tapes, your family can make a storm documentary.
— Aluminum foil is a great, moldable item for young kids to use for creating all kinds of things.
— Plastic cups, Tupperware, and paper plates are great, safe, lightweight items — perfect for stacking and building.
— Toothpicks and popsicle sticks are fun for creating designs on the carpet, a table, or other flat surfaces.

PETS

— Dogs and cats don't need much except to ensure there is enough food on hand and fresh water. If they are on medication, plan to get those filled before the storm hits. If your cat needs litter, make sure there is enough to last for some days.
— Fish are quite sensitive to power interruptions. The emergency fish care article from the Fresh Aquarium site at About.com is an excellent guideline to help keep your fish alive in a power outage.
— Indoor birds can be quite sensitive to drafts and changes in temperature. Have a towel or blanket handy to reduce the change of your bird catching a cold due to temperature changes. Make sure to have adequate ventilation (do not use plastic wrap or too heavy of a blanket!) while protecting your bird. Here are some tips for keeping your birds warm, from the About.com Guide for Birds.

GENERAL

Much more from NY Department of Homeland Security, including generator safety, heat safety, and plumbing carbon monoxide, fireplace and woodstove safety and other tips

— Fill your vehicles' gas tanks, in case you must evacuate. Do the same for the generator if you have one.
— To stay warm, dress in layers of lightweight clothing and wear a cap.
— To stay warm, eat well-balanced meals.
— Do laundry and wash dishes before the storm hits. When the power goes out you don’t want heaps of dirty dishes or clothing to deal with.
— Charge up all your electronics before the power goes off.
— Have cash on hand because ATM’s will not work.

Jesus is the ultimate place of safety! George Banton singing Shelter in the Time of Storm reggae style

Are you futilely carrying water in a sieve? Read here for the answer

Israel is a dry land. It is verdant in some areas where it is close to the humid Mediterranean, and in the north rain does fall between November and March. More than 70% of the average rainfall in Israel falls between those months. June through September are usually rainless, however. For the most part it is a dry country. The Jordan rift valley is the the lowest place on earth (1300 feet below sea level) where where only one to two inches of rain fall annually.

Egypt, where major portions of the bible events take place, of course is also dry, with rainfall averaging from 8 inches per year in the north to 2-4 the further south one travels.

It is dry there. Water is an issue.

The first time a well is mentioned in the bible is in Genesis 16:14, where as so often a well is the major landmark- "Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered."

David longed for a sip of water from the well at Bethlehem. (2 Samuel 23:15)

Famously, when the Israelites were wandering in the desert, and they got thirsty, they grumbled and clamored for water. So Moses inquired of God what to do and God said to strike the rock and when Moses did a flow of water gushed out. (Exodus 17:1-7).

Think of how many times in the bible Jesus (or The Angel of the LORD) met someone by a well or a spring.

When Abraham and Sarah put out the slave girl Hagar that had begotten Ishmael, Abraham gave her a skin of water and sent her on her way with the boy. They wandered, but the water ran out. She put the boy Ishmael under a bush and sat weeping a little ways off so she would not have to watch the boy die. The Angel of the Lord (Jesus?) heard Hagar weeping, and comforted her with His words and when she opened her eyes there was a well of water. (Genesis 21:8-21).

I've mentioned before that the Woman at the Well is my favorite story in the bible. John 4 has the story. A woman who seems to have been marginalized came to the well at midday (hot!) to draw water by herself (unusual- wells were the original water cooler place for talk and gathering). Jesus was there, being tired and thirsty. He was sitting. He told the woman to draw water for Him, and this was also unusual because it broke a gender and race taboo- men did not speak to women alone and Jews did not speak to the hated Samarians. She exclaimed in surprise.

"Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”"

Living water? He seemed to her to be an unusual man speaking of an unusual thing. And indeed He is an unusual Person and the Living Water is the everflowing Holy Spirit. He said in John 7 in the section titled Rivers of Living Water:
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39)
Of course the enemy hates that the people have water. Wells were often targets of the enemy to plug up.

"For all the wells which his father's servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth. (Genesis 26:15)

"And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones." (2 Kings 3:19).

In the bible, water is a symbol for Salvation, Holy Spirit Truth, and Everlasting Life.
  • "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." (Isaiah 12:3).
  • "Understanding is a well-spring of life unto him that hath it; ..." (Proverbs 16:22a)
  • "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:14)
Peter likens false teachers and false prophets to dry and empty wells, hypocrites offering a pretense of Christian life but having no water at all: "These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever." (2 Peter 2:17)

Can you imagine if Hagar, for example, had wandered alone with her son in the desert, her skin empty and the sun beating down, knowing life would end for herself and her boy if she didn't find water, spotted a well. Eagerly moving the rock so as to draw water, she lets down the bucket, only to come up with nothing but sand and earth. Her wailing would have been all the worse for this bitter disappointment, having had the glimmer of hope only to have been fooled by the pretense of life giving water.

There is nothing worse than pretense! There is nothing more disappointing to sit under a teacher only to discover they were only offering dry earth and vain hope all along! (Colossians 2:8). They were a dry well and a broken cistern!

In Jeremiah 3:10 God says that He hated the pretense Judah was putting forth in their devotion to Him. Matthew Henry Commentary explains:

"Josiah went further in destroying idolatry than the best of his predecessors had done, and for his own part he turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul; so it is said of him, 2 Ki. 23:25. The people were forced to an external compliance with him, and joined with him in keeping a very solemn passover and in renewing their covenants with God (2 Chr. 34:32, 35:17); but they were not sincere in it, nor were their hearts right with God. For this reason God at that very time said, I will remove Judah out of my sight, as I removed Israel (2 Ki. 23:27), because Judah was not removed from their sin by the sight of Israel's removal from their land. Hypocritical and ineffectual reformations bode ill to a people. We deceive ourselves if we think to deceive God by a feigned return to him."

"for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water." (Jeremiah 2:13)

Have you heard the phrase "carrying water in a sieve?" That comes from Greek Mythology. "In Greek mythology, the Daughters of Danaus were the fifty daughters of Danaus. They were to marry the fifty sons of Danaus's twin brother Aegyptus, a mythical king of Egypt. In the most common version of the myth, all but one of them kill their husbands on their wedding night, and are condemned to spend eternity carrying water in a sieve or perforated device. In the classical tradition, they come to represent the futility of a repetitive task that can never be completed." (Wikipedia)

John William Waterhouse
The Danaides, 1903
You cannot earn your own salvation. If you are not complete in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10) you are no better off than the Danaides daughters, carrying water to fill an endlessly leaking well. If you're in church and you believe that to be enough, it isn't. Filling a leaking cistern in a church is just as leaky and incomplete as it would be in any other place.

Whenever you're reading the bible and you see a reference to a spring or a well or a fountain, then think of these symbols of water and what they mean.

"Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." (Ephesians 5:25-26)

"Whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:14)

How might you get some of this living water? Christian blogger and author Joel C. Rosenberg linked to a simple Gospel web animation that explains why we need Jesus and how to be saved. It is here. Please share it widely and often. And I pray you are saved and partaking of the Living Water daily.

Friday, October 26, 2012

(UPDATED)Frankenstorm: "We've never seen this in the record"

UPDATE: Things are moving fast with the storm now as the details are hammered down and the landfall is projected. I put up a great list of preparation tips, here. Many of them are things I've never thought about, like filling the washing machine with fresh water, or draining the hot water tank if you run out of water<. The Weather Channel has a breaking news update titled "East Coast prepares for Sandy's wrath." Of course since this is a Christian end times prophecy site I make ironic note that secular people can claim that a mindless storm can render wrath but an Intelligent and Holy God doesn't. (i.e. "God is love"). Anyway, here is news on Sandy, more at the link above.

"...as the Eastern Seaboard braced for a rare megastorm that experts said would cause much greater havoc."

Though Hurricane Sandy is a Category 1 strength right now, don't let that fool you "said Hurricane Specialist Carl Parker on The Weather Channel. "It is a very large storm, a hybrid storm, the area of strong winds is going to be absolutely enormous by the time it come into the northeast, and that’s why it is going to be a high-impact system."

"Officials did not mince words, telling people to be prepared for several days without electricity."

"Be forewarned," said Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Assume that you will be in the midst of flooding conditions, the likes of which you may not have seen at any of the major storms that have occurred over the last 30 years."

"I'm tired. I am tired," Douglas Jumper, who turns 58 on Saturday, said through tears. "We don't need this again."

Prophetic Note: We're all tired, I understand his concern and his weariness. However, the storms will only continue coming faster and faster as the Tribulation nears. And after the Rapture the frequency will never let up until the Day and Hour Jesus returns. For now, JESUS is the shelter in the storm. This compilation was published containing the news of Hurricane Sandy/Frankenstorm contrasted with the lyrics from the old Hymn Shelter from the Storm. He is a mighty rock in a weary land!!!



And here is the hymn without the news overlay




----------------------
Two weather men talking on The Weather Channel:

Guy 1: At this point it is really all but certain that we're going to get a huge storm in the Northeast, and probably one of the worst that we've seen in a very long time.

Guy 2: At least for October. This is unprecedented for early October.

Guy 1: We've never seen a tropical system do this, come up and hook left like this. That's never happened in the record, which is amazing.

Guy 2: They always seem to get sucked out but this one is going to get sucked back in, and all of us here at the Weather Channel are going 'wow, this is crazy!'

Guy 1: Yeah it really is

And then they go into the details of the forecast. Stay tuned to the weather channel, friends from the Carolinas to Maine! Here is that video forecast


Wretched: RC Sproul Jr's daughter is in the arms of Jesus

The sovereignty of God brings all the good that we think is good, and all trials for His good into our lives. A moving short video

The promise of Jesus: TRIALS

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

We Christians often say that the love of God to send His own Son to die in our place as punishment for our sin is incomprehensible. His is a perfect love, eternal love, unconditional love. We do not understand a love like that. But we are grateful for it!

If there is one failing we have, it is that we underestimate the hatred satan has for us. A hate like his is incomprehensible, we forget how dark it actually is. Satan's original name is the light, (Isaiah 14:12) but he descended into total darkness. His mind is a cesspool of black sewage and his heart has shrunk into a dark raisin with the mass of a million dead suns. His hatred of Jesus, and by extension of us, is eternal, incendiary, flaming and all-consuming evil that has no end.

We do not like to think of an enemy like that who has such a constant hatred of us, so we don't.

Therefore very often we are surprised when a trial comes. If we live in a Western nation, especially, we are wealthy by the world's standards, happy, productive, going along perhaps for years with no major problems. Then suddenly one day, BLAM.
Not all trials are directly from satan. Some are because the world itself is sinful. Some of our trials are because we are sinful and we're just experiencing the consequences of our own mess. But some are definitely because satan has attacked us.

Our first reaction is to moan and bewail the situation, disoriented because of the sudden cut-off of light. It is like when you come into the condo from the bright, sunny beach. You go "whoa" and stop walking because it takes your eyes a second to adjust. If you have woken up one day to find yourself in a moment of darkness it is all right to stop for a second and wait for the heart and mind to adjust to a new reality. But take heart, you don't have to remain in a state of disorientation or darkness. Your eyes will adjust, and if you remain in the Word when your eyes clear they will rest on Him.

Jesus said He said we would have trials so that in Him we may have peace.

'Peace? Peace?' You shout. How can I have peace? I am facing foreclosure! I am being hauled to court on false charges! I was diagnosed with a fatal cancer! My child was just killed! Peace, you say? There is no peace!'

Oh, but there is. Here's why: There is nothing that you are going through that Jesus did not go through. Nothing.

Are you grieving over a death of a loved one? Jesus wept over His dead friend and over his beloved city. (John 11:35, Luke 19:41).
Have you been arrested on false charges? Jesus was. He was hauled off in handcuffs in front of His friends and students. (John 18:12)
Have you been taken to court unjustly? Jesus experienced that. And He was convicted, too. (John 19:16).
Have you been threatened with violence? Jesus endured it. (Luke 4:29).
Have you been conspired against? Jesus was too. (Mark 3:6).
Have you been stabbed, spit on, tortured with violence? Jesus suffered it. (John 19:1-2; John 19:18, Matthew 26:67).
Have you been rejected by even your own neighbors? Jesus knew the pain of it. (John 4:24; John 4:44).
Have you been faced with penury and poverty? Jesus was homeless. (Luke 9:58).
Have you faced temptation of the pride of life or the sin of the flesh? Jesus was offered it. (Matthew 4:1-11).

Even those of us with medical issues can know that Jesus sympathizes. If your body is broken from a paralyzing accident or is rife with a dread disease, Jesus endured that. How so? Because He came from eternally holy glory to pour himself inside sinful and putrid flesh and live in it for over 30 years. He allowed His body to become a cancer, comparatively speaking. (John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14)

He told us ahead of time that we would have trials, not so we could worry about what those trials are or when they would come. There is no need to obsess about them. But when they DO come, and they will, He has gone before us to take unto Himself your sorrows, and to give you peace through your trial. His peace has another gifting aspect to it: if we dive deep into His peace within our trial, we don't have to sin throughout it.

Doing this in the midst of our trial shows Jesus to the world: "and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we entreat." (1 Corinthians 4:12-13)

And the more we pray for our enemies and bless them that persecute us, (Romans 12:14) the more our faith will grow and the more peace we will have.

"Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him." (James 1:12)

So we can have the light within instead of the darkness. He made a spectacle of the darkness while He was even on the cross they are forever disqualified from having jurisdiction over you.

"Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16)

You might be going through the fight of your life, but FAITH IS THE VICTORY

Source

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What's with the Molotov cocktail throwing? Tremor at LA sinkhole, and other news

Here is some news for you. There really is too much these days to cover comprehensively. The nearness of the Tribulation is truly astonishing, and getting closer each second. The events lining up in the Middle East, the deepening financial depression with no solutions in sight, the earth events such as quakes, sinkhole, storms etc, the X-flares from the sun, hatred of Israel and the Jews worldwide, the sinful behavior of people with all their violence, the false teachers and tickled ears that refuse to hear the Gospel, ... I am shaking my head in amazement.

You know that the United States is rapidly becoming a Third World country, don't you? Our debt, lack of manufacturing, loss of influence and stature in the world, shrinking military...all have combined to bring the wolves to the door. A Russian sub patrolled our shores in the Gulf of Mexico for almost a month and we didn't notice. Or if we did, we didn't say anything.

Now we have a UN election monitor team coming to the US to monitor OUR elections. Foreign officials coming in unprecedented numbers to monitor US elections. Texas of course, said don't mess with us, and threatened to have anyone who even looked like a monitor prosecuted.

All I can say is, the election won't solve our problems. And besides, even if Romney wins, it is a long time until the inauguration. Anything could happen.

In addition to foreign former superpowers nosing around our shores undetected, and global monitoring teams watching our elections, we have had a spate of Molotov cocktail throwing incidents. "The Molotov cocktail is a generic name used for a variety of improvised incendiary weapons. Due to the relative ease of production, they are frequently used by amateur protesters and non-professionally equipped fighters in urban guerrilla warfares. They are primarily intended to set targets ablaze rather than instantly destroy them." (Wikipedia)

A Molotov cocktail was thrown in a Virginia Mall this week. "Leon Alphans Traille, Jr., 29, has been charged with committing arson for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail into the food court area of the Ballston Common Mall in Arlington, Virginia." He threw it from the second floor balcony into the food court. It did not explode but it did ignite. The flames were extinguished. There is no more innocuous place in America than a mall food court. Can you imagine sitting there, munching on an Orange Julius or a Au Bon Pain croissant and suddenly the floor next to you is aflame and you're running screaming down the hall?

This news piece is graphic. A Molotov cocktail was thrown onto a guy and it did light up, burning the man.
"Police in the United States have released shocking video of a 54-year-old man being set on fire as he was sitting outside a market in the state of California. “The victim was waiting for his father to get food, minding his own business, when the suspect came from an alley and threw an object at him, a bottle,” Sergeant Aaron Eaton of the Long Beach Police Department told local media. The graphic surveillance video, released on Sunday, shows the suspect tossing a Molotov cocktail at the victim, who was sitting on the ground outside a Long Beach, California market on Friday evening. The victim, engulfed in flames, runs into the nearby parking lot, where witnesses helped put out the fire. He is in serious condition with burns to the lower part of his body, his hands and his face, and his name is being withheld."

This one is out of Hurst TX. "Federal agents are trying to identify who threw small explosive devices at a lawyer's office and an oil company in Hurst. Firefighters discovered Molotov cocktails when they responded to a report of a fire in the 1200-block of Southridge Court on Sunday morning, said Andrew Young, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives."

Montreal has had three Molotov attacks in 24 hours. A Molotov cocktail launched at sushi restaurant and two bars.

Throwing an incendiary device on an innocent bystander is horrible! Unconscionable!! As this writer said,
"Increase of Wickedness" - There is a pattern of lawlessness dominating our society today that throughout history was found in civilizations in the process of decline. It is a pattern evident in nations that rejected God's Word as ultimate authority in their lives and is a pattern prevailing in many Americans today. Scripture tells us that... Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. [Matthew 24:12]. I believe America's rejection of Christ's lordship is the reason behind all the bloodshed, violence, racial hatred, moral decay, drug abuse and outbreak of deadly sexual diseases in our society. Lawmakers, educators and the media have made God an unspeakable subject...
So now there's this Frankenstorm looming. I wrote about it on Tuesday when the computer models were first showing something that would be worse that 1991'as Perfect Storm. Then I updated it early this morning. Since then, the computer models have lined up and there seems to be something of a 90% chance that this storm will be as bad as they feared. Forecasters warn East Coast about 'Frankenstorm':

"It's looking like a very serious storm that could be historic," said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the forecasting service Weather Underground. "Mother Nature is not saying 'trick-or-treat.' It's just going to give tricks." National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Jim Cisco, who coined the nickname Frankenstorm, said: "We don't have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting. ... It's almost a weeklong, five-day, six-day event," he said from a NOAA forecast center in College Park, Md. "It's going to be a widespread, serious storm. ... Some have compared the tempest to the so-called Perfect Storm that struck off the coast of New England in 1991, but that one didn't hit as populated an area. Nor is this one like last year's Halloween storm, which was merely an early snowfall. "The Perfect Storm only did $200 million of damage and I'm thinking a billion," Masters said. "Yeah, it will be worse."

Regarding the Louisiana sinkhole I've been reporting about, the people near it have been evacuated, but the sinkhole keeps growing and the return-home date is not in sight. Officials: Math doesn’t work; end to evacuation is unclear
"The math isn’t adding up in Assumption Parish, and some parish officials are worried about what might be happening underground near a Bayou Corne area sinkhole. ... With this uncertainty as well as other factors — such as the natural gas still trapped underground — officials said the end date of the evacuation of the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities remains unclear. “Until we figure out what is going on below the surface, it would be very negligent on our part to ask these people to come back into their homes,” Assumption Parish Sheriff Mike Waguespack said. The evacuation has been in place since the evening of Aug. 3, hours after the sinkhole was found south of La. 70 South on Texas Brine’s leased property. The evacuation affects about 150 homes." ...

But then today, Tremors were reported at the giant Louisiana sinkhole
"A sharp tremor was recorded by USGS monitors just after 9 p.m. Wednesday at the site of the giant Louisiana sinkhole in Assumption Parish."

Gazans fire 80 rockets at Israel in last 24 hours
"Eighty rockets and mortar shells hit the western Negev on Wednesday, in the second day of one of the most severe rocket barrages on southern Israel in recent years."

The world hates Israel.

"Heading toward an irreparable rift between U.S. Jews and Protestants
"As relations between Jews and mainline Protestants in the U.S. hit a 45-year low after 15 Protestant leaders sent a letter to Congress urging that aid to Israel be reconsidered."

UN expert: Boycott companies in Israel settlements
"UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. special investigator on human rights in the Palestinian territories called Wednesday for a boycott of all companies that have dealings with Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem..."

Sudan angry, defiant after attack that it blames on Israel
"Sudan remained defiant and angry Thursday after a fatal late-night bombing of a weapons factory in that east African country - a sophisticated attack a Sudanese official continued to blame on Israel."

The sun is pretty active. Spaceweather.com reports magnetic froth. Sounds pretty! But it packs a punch.
"MAGNETIC FROTH: Sunspot AR1598 has quieted down since unleashing an X1-class solar flare on Oct. 23rd. It might be the calm before the storm. The sunspot is still large and apparently potent, as shown in this image captured by amateur astronomer Sergio Castillo of Inglewood, California:"...

This is a very good essay by Randy Alcorn on the upcoming election. he deals with all our objections, lol. Personally I am hoping for the rapture prior to election. Obama can HAVE the world, then.

Election 2012 Part 5: Is it Wrong to Vote for the Lesser of Evils? Shouldn’t We Instead Vote for a Third Party Candidate?

We are citizens of a better country.

"But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.' (Hebrews 11:16)

Count it all joy

Testing of Your Faith

"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." (James 1:2-4)

Sermon on that verse by Charles Spurgeon:
"Beginning with this word "brethren," James shows a true brotherly sympathy with believers in their trials, and this is a main part of Christian fellowship. "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ." If we are not tempted ourselves at this moment, others are: let us remember them in our prayers; for in due time our turn will come, and we shall be put into the crucible. As we would desire to receive sympathy and help in our hour of need, let us render it freely to those who are now enduring trial. Let us remember those that are in bonds, as bound with them, and those that suffer affliction as being ourselves in the body. Remembering the trials of his brethren, James tries to cheer them, and therefore he says, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers trials." It is a part of our high calling to rise ourselves into confidence; and it is also our duty to see that none of our brethren despond, much less despair. The whole tendency of our holy faith is to elevate and to encourage."
Please remember our brethren in love. Carry their burdens, for would you not want someone to come alongside you in your time of trouble and carry yours?

Trials bring patience. As Spurgeon says,
"the kind of patience is when experience enables a man to bear ill-treatment, slander, and injury without resentment. He feels it keenly, but he bears it meekly. Like his Master, he opens not his mouth to reply, and refuses to return railing for railing. Contrariwise he gives blessing in return for cursing; like the sandal-wood tree which perfumes the axe which cuts it. Blessed is that holy charity which hopeth all things, endureth all things, and is not easily provoked. Ah, friend, if the grace of God by trial shall work in you the quiet patience which never grows angry, and never ceases to love, you may have lost a trifle of comfort, but you have gained a solid weight of character."
"They have built a new lighthouse upon the Eddystone: how do we know that it will stand? We judge by certain laws and principles, and feel tolerably safe about the structure; but, after all, we shall know best if after-years when a thousand tempests have beaten upon the lighthouse in vain. We need trials as a test as much as we need divine truth as our food." 
Joseph Mallord Wm Turner, The Eddystone Lighthouse
In these dark days, it is our love and our light which is from Jesus that makes the difference. Be Christ-loving by loving those who persecute you, and pray for them.
"and you, dear brother, if ever you are to be a leader and a helper, as you would wish to be, in the church of God, it must be by such means as this that you must be prepared for it. Do you not wish to have every virtue developed? Do you not wish to become a perfect man in Christ Jesus? If so, welcome with all joy divers trials and temptations; fly to God with them; bless Him for having sent them: ask Him to help you to bear them with patience, and then let that patience have its perfect work, and so by the Spirit of God you shall become "perfect and entire, lacking in nothing." May the Comforter bless this word to your hearts, for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen."

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What is the gift of distinguishing of spirits?

More on spiritual gifts: I asked the question in prior blog entries on whether the spiritual gifts that were given as a sign are ceased now. (tongues, interpretation of tongues, miracles, healing). I came to the conclusion that scripture seems to say they are concluded.

There are many other permanent, edifying spiritual gifts that remain to this day.  The spiritual gifts are endowments given by the Holy Spirit.  As Theology professor Wayne Grudem says, "these are the supernatural graces which individual Christians need to fulfill the mission of the church." I won't take time to do a series on all of them, better scholars than me have weighed in on explaining them. However today I do want to look at one particular gift, though: distinguishing of spirits.

Here is the verse from 1 Corinthians 12:10 in several different translations:

"to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues." (ESV)

"To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:" (KJV)

"He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said." (NLT)

The word for distinguishing in Greek is diakrisis, and it means an act of judgment. Not the kind of judgment in court, but "properly, a thorough judgment, i.e. a discernment (conclusion) which distinguishes "look-alikes," i.e. things that appear to be the same" goes the definition from Strong's. (source)

Pastor Charles Spurgeon once said that "discernment is not simply a matter of telling the difference between what is right and wrong; rather it is the difference between right and almost right."

In the bible one example of the gift of distinguishing of spirits was when Peter was able to tell instantly when both Ananias and Sapphira were lying to him and thus to the Holy Spirit.

"But a man named Ananias, with his wife Sapphira, sold a piece of property, 2and with his wife’s knowledge he kept back for himself some of the proceeds and brought only a part of it and laid it at the apostles’ feet. 3But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” 5When Ananias heard these words, he fell down and breathed his last. And great fear came upon all who heard of it. (Acts 5:1-5)

How did Peter know? Ananias had made a claim, and there doesn't seem to have been enough time to pass for Peter to have heard any different from other sources...except from the Holy Spirit. And the exact same thing happened when Ananias's wife Sapphira came in three hours later and laid some money down. She also claimed it was the full amount. Peter pronounced her death and immediately she fell down and breathed her last. (Acts 5:7-10).

Paul had the same thing happen, and the gift of discerning of spirits manifested itself in a way that showed him though the girl was saying something truthful, was at root an evil from a demon.

"As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. (Acts 16:16-18)

The Holy Spirit had given Paul and Peter the ability to discern if what the person was saying was a lie or the truth, or was a half-truth, or was truth but was from an evil spirit.

We all have a certain amount of discernment. We should practice it, pray for it, and be diligent about it. As we grow in our faith, we employ the discernment knowledge we have gained as we strive with the Spirit. But there are other people who have been given a gift of discerning the spirits. These people seem to be able to tell earlier that something is false. They are ahead of the curve so to speak.

The men at GotQuestions tell us:
"There are certain individuals, however, who have the God-given ability to distinguish between the truth of the Scriptures and erroneous and deceptive doctrines propagated by demons. Although we are all exhorted to be spiritually discerning (Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1), some in the body of Christ have been given the unique ability to “spot” the forgeries in doctrine that have plagued the church since the first century. But this does not involve a mystical, extra-biblical revelation or a voice from God. Rather, the spiritually discerning among us are so familiar with the Word of God that they instantly recognize what is contrary to it. They do not receive special messages from God; they use the Word of God to “test the spirits” to see which line up with God and which are in opposition to Him. The spiritually discerning are those who “rightly divide” (2 Timothy 2:15) the Word of God in a thoughtful and diligent manner."

John MacArthur on 1 Cor 12:10, on how the discerning spirits verse manifests itself today says,
"This kind of gifted Christian can intuitively identify truth from error, hypocrisy from genuineness, and false prophets are everywhere today and I believe there are some people who are gifted by God to unmask false prophets. I think some of them write books. I think some of the people who have done good work in the cults and in the occult may be exercising the gift of discernment, the capacity to see through something to the core of its hypocrisy."
The gift of discernment of spirits is a gift the Spirit has given to me. So, how does a person with this gift use it? How is the church edified by proper use of a gift of discerning the spirits?

MacArthur again:
"The gift can be exercised in many ways. Let me just share what possibly could be the use of it today. It could be used to reveal demonism in any form, any form. It could be used to reveal false prophets and spiritual phony's. This person can spot a spiritual phony without missing, usually. Sometimes someone say to me, "You better not put that person in such a such position. You'd better not have that person come to your church and do, because something's not right, protecting the church. I think the gift can even be used to see the intrusion of carnal elements into worship. The gift can discern one in whom the Holy Spirit is genuinely working. The same person will often say to me, "You know there's a person really energized by the Spirit of God. I can see it." They are the watchmen of the church.

Tim Challies wrote a book on discernment. He said, "This is not merely a gift, but a responsibility."

You shouldn't accumulate knowledge just for the sake of knowledge. Once you know something is true or false, you have a responsibility to do something about it. You have a responsibility to praise the Savior if you find a true teaching, but if you find a false teaching you have to say something about it, as well.

I tell my fellows at church that I am a carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide gas is poisonous and odorless. It kills, but people only detect its presence when they start to feel sleepy and even then it may be too late. False doctrine is like that, odorless, undetectable except for some symptoms that appear in people who are under its influence. If you detect a false teaching, or an evil spirit at work or a carnality creeping in, or whatever it may be as MacArthur outlined, DO something. What I do is speak to my pastor or the teacher of the class. I make a report. I tell the men, right away. I let them know what I found, how I found it, where I found it, and the methods I used to find it. This is so they can check for themselves. I also offer the scriptural foundation that in my opinion shows the teaching or carnal thing is false so they can compare it to the Word. If they deem it false, my prayer next becomes that they do something about it and therefore it will not be tolerated.

Remember the condemnation of the church at Thyatira. The people were tolerating a false prophetess. Jesus was unhappy about that. (Revelation 2:20). If you discern something is off somewhere, you have a responsibility to speak up about it.

It isn't an easy ministry. I don't go looking for falsity. The blogs that have a badge on their top menu bar "member of heresy hunters" or some such...I disagree with that. I don't spend my time hunting evil. I spend my time hunting good. There is too much evil to keep up with and it always finds me anyway. Instead, I try to stay on the center line of the narrow road of His goodness by listening to sermons, praising Jesus, learning the word, exhorting about Him everywhere I go.

Sometimes in other places or in other churches when I did make a report on this or that, my report was rejected summarily without prayer or consultation to the scriptures. Sometimes I was identified as a bad influence rather than the false doctrine being bad. Shooting the messenger does happen. Poor Jeremiah, thrown into a nearly bottomless cistern... That is why having the gift of discernment of spirits is a responsibility and not an intellectual game and not a personal playground. It comes with consequences, sometimes.

Challies said,
"Satan and his spirits can be discerned in appearance. Satan invades the Christian community with teachers and leaders who counterfeit the truth. These people will always introduce teaching that is foreign to Scripture. ... Though her [the slave girl's] words were true, the spirit behind them was false and sought to lure people with a little bit of truth so that the opportunity could be used to heap reproach upon the gospel."
And there is the nut of it. Whether you don't have the specific gift but are maturing in your faith and gaining discernment, or you do have the spiritual gift of distinguishing spirits, not bringing reproach on the Gospel is the goal. Jesus is to be uplifted, always. It is HIS Gospel, it is HIS church, it is HIS doctrine. So even though the responsibility is heavy, the joy is wonderful when the body works together to maintain a level of purity in a local church. It is joy when we see the melding of the separate gifts result in something pleasing to the One who delivered us from the evil that we are now reporting and protecting the fellow sheep from.

In some cases, the sheep never even knew that a creeping poison almost touched them. They are happily ministering and functioning in their spiritual gifts unknowingly protected from yet another foray by satan. Praise the Lord for mature churches where all gifts of the body work together to edify His congregation and exalt Jesus, the ultimate goal of any church!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

(UPDATE) Meteorologists watching potential for catastrophic storm- NY/NE

UPDATE October 25 (Thurs).

As we get closer to landfall and the models become more precise, I'll provide updates here. This news article is from two hours ago.

Huge combo storm may pummel East Coast next week
"Much of the U.S. East Coast has a good chance of getting blasted by gale-force winds, flooding, heavy rain and maybe even snow early next week by an unusual hybrid of hurricane and winter storm, federal and private forecasters say. Though still projecting several days ahead of Halloween week, the computer models are spooking meteorologists. Government scientists said Wednesday the storm has a 70 percent chance of smacking the Northeast and mid-Atlantic."

"Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean, an early winter storm in the West, and a blast of arctic air from the North are predicted to collide, sloshing and parking over the country's most populous coastal corridor starting Sunday. The worst of it should peak early Tuesday, but it will stretch into midweek, forecasters say."

"It'll be a rough couple days from Hatteras up to Cape Cod," said forecaster Jim Cisco of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration prediction center in College Park, Md. "We don't have many modern precedents for what the models are suggesting."

"Some have compared it to the so-called Perfect Storm that struck off the coast of New England in 1991, but Cisco said that one didn't hit as populated an area and is not comparable to what the East Coast may be facing. Nor is it like last year's Halloween storm, which was merely an early snowstorm in the Northeast."

"This has much more mess potential because it is a combination of different storm types that could produce a real whopper of weather problems, meteorologists say."

"The Perfect Storm only did $200 million of damage and I'm thinking a billion," said Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the private service Weather Underground. "Yeah, it will be worse.""

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A combination of "very unusual" and intense weather systems and effects are converging to create the potential for another superstorm, akin to the "Perfect Storm" of 1991. In that storm, "also known as the Halloween Nor'easter of 1991, was a nor'easter that absorbed Hurricane Grace and ultimately evolved into a small hurricane late in its life cycle." (Wiki). In this week's storm, it also may absorb tropical storm Sandy (predicted to become a hurricane) and combined with a "very unusual" dip in the Jet Stream, and an intense low pressure in Canada sweeping down, possibly creating conditions forecasters are saying would be "quite concerning", a combination of a "extreme nor'easter and a hurricane," potentially "devastating" a "threat," and an "extraordinarily unusual and extreme storm."

The Wall Street Weather Journal guy cites other forecasters, stating, "the local National Weather Service with responsibility for New York City has called the situation “ominious,” and the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center, who has responsibility to forecast large impact weather events nationwide said on Sunday that the “potential impact is impressive.” What could happen is quite complicated, and may have precedence only a handful of times across the more than 200 years of detailed historical local weather recordkeeping (Big storms in 1804, 1841, 1991, and 2007 come immediately to mind)."

Time will tell as to whether this complicated series of factors will converge to produce the seriously ominous storm the forecasters are tracking, so keep an eye out for all weather developments as the week progresses. If this thing combines to make the storm they hope will not form, evacuations would be called. Make sure you have batteries, fresh water, an evacuation route planned, gas for the car, warm clothing, and a few day's food you can prepare without electricity.

If it does not form, then we can all breathe a sigh of relief and say trick or treat! Until the next time...