Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jim Nabors being with a partner for 38 years in no way legitimizes homosexual marriage as a proper relationship

I wrote yesterday of the news that television actor and singer Jim Nabors, 82, married his long-time homosexual partner. I know that one thing that will strike the unbelieving world about the Jim Nabors marital news is the reported length of time he and his homosexual friend have been partners. The news reports were that they have been together for 38 years.

One thing that the non-believing supporter of homosexuality denies is the penchant for gays to hitch quick and divorce quicker, or for single gays to hop from bed to bed. Gays say that they are not defined by sexual activity, but they belie that when they fail consistently to be monogamous. Their promiscuity s legendary.

The statistics on sexual promiscuity among homosexuals are staggering. 83% of the homosexual men surveyed estimated they had had sex with 50 or more partners in their lifetime, 43% estimated they had sex with 500 or more partners; 28% with 1,000 or more partners. They are promiscuous, and rarely stay with one partner for long. (source)

So no doubt, people will be using the unhappy couple's self-stated lengthy partnership as a legitimizer for such perverse relationships. They say, "It's love!" or, "See, it's the same as heterosexual marriages!" However, whether promiscuous one-night stands or a 38 year apparent partnership, homosexual relationships are still sinful.

Length of time being involved in a sin is no credit to that sin. It is still sin. Just because you have been sinning longer is not a reason or a basis to say that it is now legitimized. If someone has been embezzling funds from your corporation for 38 years, do you forgive it, saying its length of time as an ongoing event means that it must be credible by now? Of course now. Embezzlement is a crime, just as homosexuality is a crime- against God.

As a matter of fact, length of time as an active homosexual is more of a reason to say they are condemned. In the progressive Wrath of Abandonment as outlined in Romans 1, the Lord hardens the heart and gives them over to their sinful desires of the body (Romans 1:26; Psalm 81:12).

What does it mean, exactly, that God gives them over?

Because they refused to honor God, He gave them over to the vilest of devices. It shows to what depths they fall without God. They became abandoned to the last degree. The very fact that they are a homosexual or a lesbian is illustrative of the fact that they have been given over by God. There is only one further step: being given over to their depraved mind. At that point they cannot even think right. (Romans 1:18-32). It is the end of the line.

Being given over means that if a person persists in denying the sovereignty of God for a period of time, after repeated warnings, God allows the person’s sin to take them to its inevitable conclusion. In the case of Pharaoh, God gave warnings in the form of judgment plagues, and then hardened Pharaoh's heart.

This is because Pharaoh refused to listen, and each time he refused to listen, Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Ex 7:22, Ex 8:14, Ex 8:19, Ex 8:32, Ex 9:7). After a certain point, God calls it. He gave Pharaoh over to his sin.

God is just. He is not a doormat nor a patsy. After a certain point of no return, He gives you over.

In the case of Nebuchadnezzar, God gave the king repeated warnings in the form of a dream. The final  dream came with a dire warning. Even then, God gave the king one year to repent. At the moment Nebuchadnezzar said he built the city himself and he gave himself the glory, denying God once again, Nebuchadnezzar was struck in judgment. The difference between Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar was that when Nebuchadnezzar came out of his insanity period, he repented and gave God the glory. Pharaoh never did. Who knows how many more warnings and dreams would have been given Nebuchadnezzar, if any, but it is wise to heed His warnings the first time. God is merciful in not smiting us at birth for being sinners against Him. He is long-suffering, allowing our sins to progress until He decides to either regenerate us into new life, or harden us into spiritual death. He is patient, for example, waiting a full year for Nebuchadnezzar to repent. God is love, we are made in His image. But he is also just, and He judges us.

I am not saying a homosexual person has no chance of being saved. Any person can repent and will be welcomed into the Kingdom of God. What I am saying is that the longer you go in not addressing your sin, the more chance that God will give you over. We don't know when that moment is. He does this with nations. It is called The Wrath of Abandonment. Romans 1 outlines the progression.

He also does this with individuals. There IS a point of no return. Homosexuality is the signal that it is very far along in the path of no return.

GotQuestions writes,
"[I]f we don’t confess our sins, they have a cumulative and desensitizing effect on the conscience, making it difficult to even distinguish right from wrong. And this sinful and hardened heart is tantamount to the “seared conscience” Paul speaks of in 1Timothy 4:1-2. Scripture makes it clear that if we relentlessly continue to engage in sin, there will come a time when God will give us over to our “debased mind” and let us have it our way. The apostle Paul writes about God’s wrath of abandonment in his letter to the Romans where we see that the “godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth” are eventually given over to the sinful desires of their hardened hearts (Romans 1:18-24).
A lengthy homosexual relationship might be lauded as "love" in secular (sinful) society but that is no commendation at all. It is actually a danger to their soul and eternal destiny! GotQuestions again-
"So, what then is the antidote for a heart condition such as this? First and foremost, we have to recognize the effect that this spiritual disease has on us. And God will help us to see our heart’s condition when we ask Him: “Search me O God, and know my heart…see if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:2-24). God can heal any heart once we recognize our disobedience and repent of our sins. But true repentance is more than simply a resolute feeling of steadfast determination. Repentance manifests itself in a changed life."
Hallelujah that our mighty God changes our lives away from sin and toward righteousness! He can and He does. Every day. credit: Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton via photopin cc/bestrated1/191150805/

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Jim Nabors, 82 (Gomer Pyle) marries long-time gay partner

Actor Jim Nabors of ‘Andy Griffith Show’ marries male partner; says he ‘just wanted it legal’
"Actor Jim Nabors says marrying his longtime male partner doesn’t change anything about their relationship — he just wanted it to be formally acknowledged. “I just wanted it legal,” the 82-year-old actor best known as Gomer Pyle in “The Andy Griffith Show” told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Hawaii News Now reports Jim Nabors and his partner, Stan Cadwallader, traveled from their Honolulu home to Seattle to be married Jan. 15, 2013. The couple met in 1975 when Cadwallader was a Honolulu firefighter. Nabors married 64-year-old Stan Cadwallader in Seattle on Jan. 15. Nabors says they have been partners for 38 years."

Well. That's kinda disappointing. I guess I'll delete my "Jim Nabors Gospel" Pandora channel now.

The national religion, homosexuality, is proceeding apace. As a benchmark behavior, it is listed pretty far along on the scale of where a nation stands as far as rebellion against God goes. (Romans 1:18-32).

Last October in his devastating sermon called "Homosexuality and the Campaign for Immorality", John MacArthur spoke about the Romans verses and where America is now in terms of being on track for imminently enduring God's wrath of abandonment:
What you see in Romans chapter 1 is the sequence of what happens when God abandons a nation. First, verse 24 says, He gives them over to “the lust of their hearts to impurity,” sexual sin, the dishonoring of their bodies among them. When God abandons a society, the first thing that happens is it becomes pornographic. It becomes obsessed with sex, obsessed with fornication, adultery, every kind of sexual behavior. We have gone through that already in the sexual revolution a couple of decades ago.

The second thing that happens when God abandons a culture is found in verse 26, “God gave them over to degrading passions...their women exchanged the natural function for that which is the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” At the end of that verse, “Receiving in their persons the due penalty” is the diseases that come consequent to homosexual behavior. And as you know, they unleashed on the world the horror of AIDS.

But what it’s saying here is that when God abandons a nation or a culture under His wrath, there will be a sexual revolution followed by a homosexual revolution. And we are living in this very condition.
Jesse Johnson at The Cripplegate wrote today of persecution of Christians in America. He sees it coming, a peculiarly kind of American persecution. He sees that it will be based on refusal to submit to our new national religion: homosexuality. Here are just a few of the bullet points:

Four responses to the coming persecution
--The day is quickly coming when churches will be subject to legal obstacles for their stance on homosexuality.
--It seems like only a matter of time before lawsuits targeting churches are filed if a church refuses to do parent/child dedications for same-sex couples.
--It is not far-fetched that pastors will lose their housing allowances, and churches lose their tax exempt status, unless they are willing to affirm the validity of the homosexual lifestyle.

Johnson goes on to describe how we should respond to it, and what to remember above all. It's a good essay.

Matt Slick at Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry wrote:
"Homosexuality is clearly condemned in the Bible. But, it also goes against the created order of God who made Adam, a man, and Eve, a woman -- not two men, not two women -- to carry out his command to fill and subdue the earth (Gen. 1:28). Homosexuality cannot carry out that command. It is, therefore, a contradiction to God's stated desire in the created order. Unlike other sins, homosexuality has a heavy judgment administered by God Himself upon those who commit it - and support it. This judgment is simple in that those who practice it are given over to their passions - which means that their hearts are allowed to be hardened by their sins."
My heart grieves for Nabors. He is a man who appeared in several wholesome television shows as an innocent person seeing the good in all people in a chaotic world. However the truth was far from the superficial thespian presentation. If Nabors has been in a homosexual relationship for 38 years or longer, then from the verses in Romans it can be seen that God has given him over to his perversions as a judgment. Rev. Slick concludes his essay with hope, the hope we gain from Jesus:

"The only hope for the homosexual, and all people who break God's laws, is to realize that God is holy and he will rightfully judge all who have sinned against him by breaking his law (1 Kings 8:32; Ps. 9:8; 1 John 3:4). If he did not do this, then he would be approving of wrong doing. However, God is loving (1 John 4:8) patient (Rom. 2:4), wanting people to repent (Acts 17:30) and come a saving knowledge of him so they might be redeemed. What this means is that the sinner must turn to Christ, who is God the Son in flesh (John 1:1,14; Col. 2:9), who bore our sins in his body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24), died and rose from the dead (1 Cor. 15:1-4), and made it possible for sinners to be saved from the righteous judgment of God by faith in what Jesus did on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21) and be forgiven of their sins (Eph. 2:8). This is done receiving Christ (John 1:12), by believing in him and his sacrifice that is a payment for our sins to God the Father. Like any sinner, the homosexual needs to repent, receive Christ by faith, and be saved from God's righteous judgment by trusting in Christ and the judgment that fell upon him on the cross. They need to pray and ask the Lord Jesus to save them."

I hope that Nabors and his partner do pray to Jesus. Meanwhile, my Nabors Gospel channel has got to go...

Note: an addendum essay was published here regarding one more thought on the issue.

Jim Nabors being with a partner for 38 years in no way legitimizes homosexual marriage as a proper relationship 

A stormy day

Pretty heavy storms about to hit us here in GA. Many are already without power. If I do not post tonight, that is why :)

Pray for the many who have lost homes, and those who are without power and are in shelters. Buses are finishing their runs, and we pray the kids all get home safely.

Hope you are all safe too! Take care.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ariel Sharon showing significant signs of brain activity

'Significant brain activity' in comatose Ariel Sharon
"Comatose for seven years, Israel's iconic former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is showing "significant brain activity." The 84-year-old suffered a devastating stroke January 4, 2006, and a brain hemorrhage. He was presumed to be in a vegetative state. But on Monday, a team of surprised neuroscientists and doctors said Sharon's brain appeared to respond when they showed him pictures of his family and had him listen to his son's voice. Doctors also used tactile stimuli to measure Sharon's reaction. Does this mean the man Israelis once dubbed the "Lion of God" could wake? Doctors urge caution."

I remind us that four years ago I reported his doctors said Sharon may soon wake up. He didn't.

The End Time: Is Ariel Sharon waking up?
October 22, 2009
Close to four years after suffering a massive hemorrhagic stroke, Dov Weisglass, who served as bureau chief to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, told Israel Radio’s Reshet Bet on Thursday that the former prime minister’s medical team indicates he may emerge from his coma, soon." "Not really explaining his words, Weisglass exhibited a measure of optimism, seemingly confident the former war hero, prime minister and architect of the Disengagement Plan will awaken from his coma. He did not address earlier reports that Sharon sustained profound neurological compromise as a result of massive cranial bleeding from the stroke(s)." (Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

Ariel Sharon was Prime Minister of Israel, 2001-06. Sharon was a commander in the Israeli Army from its inception in 1948. As a paratrooper and then officer he participated prominently in the 1948 War of Independence, becoming platoon commander of the Alexandroni Brigade and taking part in many battles, including Operation Ben Nun Alef. He was an instrumental figure in the creation of Unit 101, the Retribution operations, the 1956 Suez War, the Six-Day War of 1967, the War of Attrition and the Yom-Kippur War of 1973. As Minister of Defense, he directed the 1982 Lebanon War. During his military career, he was considered the greatest field commander in Israel's history, and one of the country's greatest ever military strategists. The Israeli public nicknamed him "The King of Israel" and "The Lion of God".

So you can see that Sharon is (was) an influential figure. He looms large in Israel's history, even having been comatose for nearly 8 years.

Suddenly, after years of dormancy, the talk is abruptly of a two-state solution again. Of a Palestinian state. Of peace talks. Here is one news article about it:

Netanyahu would agree to interim Palestinian state, ex-minister claims
"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is willing to agree to the creation of a Palestinian state in provisional borders, even before his conditions for a final-status agreement are met, former minister and veteran peace activist Yossi Beilin said. “I don’t think that Netanyahu, who is far from being a warmonger — he’s a very cautious person — [is ready to commit to] a permanent solution. Not because he doesn’t want it — all of us want it — but because he’s not ready to pay the price,” Beilin said Monday night. “But to speak about a provisional border with the Palestinians, this is something that I heard from him that we would be ready to do it.”

[Outgoing Secretary of State] Hillary Clinton Sees Opening for Revived Mideast Peace talks
"Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says a new coalition government in Israel could lead to resumption of talks toward a two-state peace accord with Palestinians. "I think the outcome of the election in which a significant percentage of the Israeli electorate chose to express themselves by saying 'We need a different path than the one we have been pursuing, internally and with respect to the Middle East peace process,'" Clinton said. That could mean a resumption of stalled talks with Palestinian authorities, something that she said the Obama administration will pursue at "every possible opening."

Just as the bonfire reaches maximum, God throws another log onto the fire...and things get hotter.
"I will gather you and blow on you with the fire of my wrath, and you shall be melted in the midst of it." (Ezekiel 22:21)

photo credit: Captain Kimo via photopin cc

False teachers deceive, deny, and depart: Discernment from 1 John

In reading 1 John 2, the warnings about false teachers are so vividly clear. Isn't the bible amazing, that the readers in our time would benefit just as much from this living document, as those in John's time, 1,900 years ago, did?

It wasn't long before false teachers were infecting the church with false doctrine, perverting the Apostles' teaching. Actually, they came in right away.

We are no different today. False teachers sway the unwary and pollute the church with their man-made philosophies. Humans are human. Just as there were believers and liars then, there are believers and liars now.

I love the preacher's tendency to alliterate their bullet points from their sermon outline. Alliteration is a tactic often used by public speakers to help listeners remember the main points by making the first word of each point begin with the same letter. As a speech communication major and a rhetorician at heart, I love the alliterative device. (As long as it is not overdone). Phil Johnson is Executive Editor of John MacArthur's Grace to You and a pastor himself. The two men were engaged in a Q&A recently and they had a loving and laughing exchange about alliteration. Phil begins:
In fact, my favorite, you did a sermon once from Matthew 27 on the miracles that occurred during the crucifixion. And you had…you had doubly alliterated every point. There were like six or seven points, I forget how many miracles there were, but I do remember your outline because it had to do with the tearing of the curtain in the tabernacle and you called that “sanctuary desecration,” and then there was the supernatural darkness and when you got to the earthquake you called it “soil disturbance.”

Well yeah, that’s the best I could with an S D for an earthquake.

If you guys use that, make it “seismic disturbance,” or something.

Yeah, well why didn’t I think of that? That’s why you edit my books.
I was reading 1 John chapter two this week. I keep going back to it. The Spirit has grabbed a-hold of my brain and grabbed a-hold of that chapter and is not letting go. So anyway I'm reading and the flow of the chapter floats to my mind in sort of a picture. A picture of a list. An alliterated list, lol.

John warns the flock that false teachers will engage in:


"I write these things to you about those who are trying to deceive you." (1 John 2:26).

John uses the word planao for deceive. Planao means properly, "go astray, get off-course; to deviate from the correct path (circuit, course), roaming into error, wandering; (passive) be misled."

Perhaps they go off-course like this, metaphorically speaking--

We get so involved with examining our bag of candy that we wander off the path before we know it. John was telling the flock that there were some who were trying to nudge them off the path, and they were using deception to do it. For some gullible 'believers', it is like giving candy to a baby.

At this stage of his life, John was quite advanced in age. He made oblique reference to this in his letter, calling the flock "little children" or "children" many times.

"Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour."

In speaking to them as children, John was being fatherly in his shepherd office. He was also reminding them that deception has one source: demons. The antichrist spirit is behind all false doctrine. All. Beware of their deceptions.


The second "D" that came to my mind as I read the chapter is Denial.

"Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son." (1 John 2:22)

Deceivers deny the Christ. Now, some undoubtedly denied Christ outright, they still do that today. But remember, John is speaking of false teachers within the church, and who were successful in leading some away. If they deny Him outright, they are very easy to spot, no? So how does a false teacher deny Christ? Perhaps by denying He was born of a virgin. Perhaps by denying He lived a sinless life. Perhaps by saying He was a really good teacher but...that's it. Perhaps by saying that He is truth but that there is more truth to be had in visions and dreams and personal revelations. In other words, that His truth is not authoritative as spoken in the bible.

So the false teachers deny His authority. They deny His attributes; such as His sinlessness, or His wrath or His deity. ("God is love, He won't judge..."). False teachers deny, deny, deny. And this is important: they make you doubt what you know.

The scene below is from the 1960s movie A Guide for the Married Man. It is where we got the quote, "deny, deny, deny."


False teachers do what they do to draw you away from the center point which is Jesus. Anything they can do to divert your focus, nudge you off the path, they will do it. If they go, it proves they were never of the faith.

"They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us." (1 John 2:19).

Some will always find false doctrine a treat, a candy sweetness they wrongly assume is as sweet as Jesus. It is not, but they still seek after it, and false teachers know this and deceive in order to draw out those who are willing to be drawn. It is one way the Lord purges His flock. John 15:2 says that He cuts off the branch that bears no fruit- He prunes.

But it is still traumatic to lose congregants who follow after the false ones. It is heartbreaking. But go they will and it is one way the Lord makes something good from something bad. The branch always buds more flourishingly after the dead weight is cut off.

Not just the congregants depart. The false teachers depart too. They see each church as a field with assets and once they strip it of all riches, they move on. How many alien movies have we seen where the alien invaders' plan is to strip-mine the earth for all its minerals, or humans, and leaving the planet a wasteland, move on.

It is the same with false teachers. They strip-mine the weak of their money or their time or their heart, and scooping up their booty, leave with spiritual devastation in their wake.

False teachers deceive, deny, and depart. Beware. The New Testament is full of warnings about false teachers. If you study the bible, you will read and heed the warnings, because you will be getting filled with the truth! The truth is the best and only barometer of falsity. It is the sure thing.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Dark times calls for Light encouragement

I read a headline on Drudge that absolutely shocked me. I rarely read the news itself anymore, because it is, well, too shocking. I'm reduced to glancing at headlines with one eye closed and the other squinting. This morning it was not enough.

North Korea is experiencing a horrific famine. They have been for a long time. People in that closed nation are resorting to things that the world has only very rarely seen. There is a particularly hideous reported case. (The report itself is smuggled out at risk to citizen journalists, because the nation is so thoroughly authoritarian). The incident of which I am speaking is that there are reports, and not isolated cases, of people so hungry they are digging up corpses to eat them.

In other cases, parents have been murdering their children for food. In one case, a father killed his two kids while the mom was away on a short trip. When she returned, the dad said "we have meat", but the woman refused to believe it was pork, and suspicious, called the police. They found their teenaged children's body parts.

I began thinking, and pleading with the Lord to come soon. Because, you see, the times are so terrible. Just when I think I got over Newtown/Sandy Hook shooting, there comes reports of widespread cannibalism in North Korea. What next? I shudder to think.

Then I got to thinking, are times terrible? They are dark, and certainly getting darker by the day, that much is a definite fact. However, before I allow myself to sink into a funk, I think of two things. First, Jesus. And second, what my forbears went through. It is because of the work of Jesus we can be saved. It is because of the work of my forbears in the faith that the faith was handed down to me. I thank each and ever predecessor.

In this case today, I was thinking of Noah. Jesus said that at the time of the flood, Noah was the only righteous man left. Genesis 6:8 says that Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. Noah was blameless in his ways, and righteous. He walked with the LORD. (Genesis 6:9).

This is in contrast to the description of everyone and everything else. "The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:5). "Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight, and the earth was filled with violence." (Genesis 6:11). "And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth."

That's twice in a row, God saw the earth and when God saw it, it was filled with violence and corruption. God was so grieved at this, He was sorry He made man! (Genesis 6:6).

In order to bring the bible to life for me, I like to think about what the bible is saying and think of what that looks like if it was happening now. In Noah's day, All men were evil. All flesh was corrupt. All they did was evil and when they were not doing evil they were thinking evil. The only righteous person was Noah. Of his sons, the bible doesn't say they were righteous or unrighteous. Just that Noah had three sons (Genesis 6:10) and that they and their wives came into the ark with Noah. (Genesis 7:7). We do not know if the sons walked with God. We do not know if the sons were blameless in God's eyes or if they were allowed into the ark because Noah's righteousness covered them. I mean, Job used to continually sacrifice on behalf of his children's sins to cover them. (Job 1:5). Perhaps Noah did also.

In any case, either it was a small band of humans who were righteous and did right in God's eyes, or it was one person. Either way, that is a lonely, lonely life. Imagine how grieved Noah must have been with all that darkness around him!

When I think of how grieved I am today, the sins of the world piling up... the awful knowledge of what is coming for them...sickness over my own sins... I think of Noah. For many years, 120 certainly, Noah preached God's righteousness and built the world's biggest boat (the world's only boat?) and asked people to join him. He had not one taker. They mocked and they laughed and Noah saw his neighbors and friends go further away from the LORD into their one evilness. How sorrowful he must have been?

Jesus said that right before He returns at the end of the Tribulation the days will have been like Noah's.

“But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark,

Some take that verse to mean that the timing refers to the latter half of the Tribulation when they will have been when they were marrying and drinking and carrying on as normal. Some take the timing to mean just before the rapture, because after the rapture, when the Tribulation begins, nothing is normal.

Either way, I was thinking this morning, just how evil do the days have to get to be actually like they were during Noah's time? Worse than they are in North Korea? What is worse than eating your children? Not that humankind has never experienced cannibalistic infanticide before. (Lamentations 4:10; Deuteronomy 28:53; Jeremiah 19:9).

We Christians have a lot on our minds. But no matter how heavy our hearts are in their burdens for other people, we need not fear.

Here are some essays encouraging us as to the reality of our position. The darkness is around us, but not in us.

Here are 13 reasons Christians don't have to be afraid.

Here is an essay about Faith in Crisis

I started with a news reference to a hideous situation in anther country. I end with reminding us to keep our noses to the grindstone and our heads focused on working for Him who is Light. No matter how dark things got for Noah, he nailed his nails and bent his planks one by plodding one. He never stopped working until the LORD said 'get in the boat and I shall shut the door'. (Genesis 7:13, 16). We should never stop working until the Lord calls us with the trumpet of God and the voice of the archangel and a shout, "Come up here!" Yes it is getting dark. But soon the Light cometh! Noah persevered, let us take comfort in his righteous act as our example. Noah is an heir of righteousness (Hebrews 11:7).

Here is Encouragement for Christian Laborers — J.C. Ryle (1816-1900), "Expository Thoughts on Matthew"
“Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” – Matthew 11:11

“Do we know what it is to work for Christ? Have we ever felt cast down and dispirited, as if we were doing no good, and no one cared for us? Are we ever tempted to feel, when laid aside by sickness, or withdrawn by providence, ‘I have labored in vain, and spent my strength for nought?’ Let us meet such thoughts by the recollection of this passage. Let us remember, there is One who daily records all we do for Him, and sees more beauty in His servants’ work than His servants do themselves. The same tongue which bore testimony to John in prison, will bear testimony to all his people at the last day. He will say, ‘Come, ye blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ And then shall His faithful witnesses discover, to their wonder and surprise, that there never was a word spoken on their Master’s behalf, which does not receive a reward.”
The dead may eat the dead but the living will dine with the eternal Savior at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! Your reward who is Jesus Christ will come for His bride, and darkness for us will be no more.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Updated--Was Iran's nuclear facility sabotaged in a devastating blast?

This has not been confirmed yet and it may never be, but it seems that the incident may indeed have happened. I waited to publish anything about it because it lacked independent confirmation, and World Net Daily isn't the best of sole sources.

**Update**Joel Rosenberg wrote today that there finally IS confirmation: "Not a single major media outlet in Iran, Israel, the U.S. or elsewhere reported on the story at the time, much less confirmed it. Iranian officials flat out denied there had been any explosions. This led to concern that Kahlili’s report was unreliable and that this was all mere rumor. Now, however, Israeli security and intelligence officials are indicating that there was, in fact, such an explosion."

Israeli minister welcomes report of huge blast at Iran nuclear plant
Israel’s Home Front Defense Minister Avi Dichter on Sunday welcomed a report that Iran’s Fordo nuclear facility had been rocked by a huge explosion. The report was published Friday on the website, under the sensational headline: “Sabotage! Key Iranian nuclear facility hit?” It claimed that a blast deep within Fordo last Monday “destroyed much of the installation and trapped about 240 personnel deep underground,” citing information from former intelligence officer Hamidreza Zakeri, who it said used to work with the Islamic regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and National Security.

The article claimed the blast “shook facilities within a radius of three miles,” that Iranian security forces had “enforced a no-traffic radius of 15 miles,” that the Tehran-Qom highway was shut down for several hours after the blast, and that, “as of Wednesday afternoon, rescue workers had failed to reach the trapped personnel.” It said US officials were aware of the reported blast. There was no independent confirmation of the claims. Nonetheless, Israel’s biggest-selling daily Yedioth Ahronoth led its Sunday paper with the report on the alleged blast, which it said might be “the most significant incidence of sabotage in the Iranian nuclear program to date.”

Asked about the story, Dichter said, “Any explosion in Iran that doesn’t hurt people but hurts its assets is welcome.”
Iran had been close to making a nuclear bomb. For a while in Israel it looked as though the nation was going to initiate a strike on Iran in order to stop their progress toward it. Attaining a bomb is a red line the nation's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said they will not allow Iran to cross:

The Israeli people are both encouraged and weary. They are encouraged that their economy, though slowing, is still ahead of many other nations in the first world. They are encouraged that their recent discoveries of gas, oil, and gold will enable them to become self-sufficient and even an exporter. They have enjoyed relative military success with the installation and protection of Iron Dome and David's Sling. They have enjoyed relative stability with Netanyahu, the longest serving PM in their history.

However, they are weary of the real threats to their existence. Iran's plans to make a nuclear bomb- and use it, wearies them. Lebanon's constant willingness to aid any and all who want to transfer arms through their country is a problem. The Gaza Strip is a conduit for the same from the south. Syria's chemical weapons are a huge problem. Even if Assad uses chemical weapons solely inside Syria, remember, the distances are not great in the Middle East. Damascus is only 47 miles from Israel's Golan Heights. Residents of Israel living even at the center of the nation are still not far from any potential leak-over from the warring and bloody nation of Syria. Even Turkey has asked NATO for permission to receive Patriot missiles and to set them up at their border with Syria, just in case a missile accidentally or on purpose comes their way. Those missiles are now set and operational. Syria's conflagration spilling over to Israel is a very real possibility.

To that end, Israel made another red line promise today--
Israel vows Syria strike at any sign of chemical arms transfer
Any sign of Syria's grip on its suspected chemical weapons slipping as it battles an armed uprising could trigger Israeli military strikes, Israel's vice premier said on Sunday. Silvan Shalom confirmed a media report that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had last week convened security chiefs to discuss the civil war in nearby Syria and the state of the country's chemical arsenal. The meeting, held on Wednesday, had not been publicly announced and was seen as especially unusual as it came while votes were still being counted from Israel's national election the day before, which Netanyahu's party list won narrowly.
Joel Rosenberg was interviewed a few days ago as the votes from Israel's election were being tallied. he has context and background for what it all means. He discussed-

* the fascinating outcome of the Israeli elections, what the results were, what they mean, and what they say about the trendlines in Israeli society

* the rise of Yair Lapid and his new secular Yesh Atid (“There is a future”) political party in Israel, now the nation’s second biggest party.

* the “complicated” relationship between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu and the nuances of U.S.-Israeli relations

* the interesting trend of Netanyahu’s interest in the Bible, including why he recently started a Bible study in the Prime Minister’s residence

* the deep secularization of the Israeli society, and the serious lack of interest in the Word of God among most Israelis (I noted Amos 8:11, “‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord. ‘when I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the Lord.”)

* the latest status of the Iranian nuclear threat and whether Netanyahu is more or less likely to order a preemptive military strike in 2013.

It lasts a little under an hour.

In a little- reported fact, Jordan's King Abdullah was left red-faced at a top-notch economic summit when he tried to put forward the notion that Hamas was softening on its stance toward Israel. Abdullah said that the organization has softened its policy toward Israel and would be more realistic if coming to the peace negotiations table. Abdullah was left red-faced when Hamas immediately refuted that notion and said that their only goal was resisting Israel, forever.

The military belligerence of many nations is not abating but increasing. Iran vowed that any attack on Syria is an attack on Iran. China and Japan are still boxing circles in their initial foray in the China Sea, with Japan boosting military presence where the two nations are disputing over islands. North Korea is ready for their next nuclear test with NK's leader vowing strong action if anyone interferes with it. Turkey warns against Israel-Cyprus gas deal.

The number of headlines where militaristic leaders are "vowing strong action" or threatening retaliations is growing by the day. Jesus said that the end time would be characterized by wars and rumors of wars. (Matthew 24:6).

Anyone knows that when you make enough threats and lay enough ammunition down, at some point it will ignite. We know from prophecy, that it will (Isaiah 17, Psalm 83, Isaiah 19, Ezekiel 38-39, Matthew 24:6).

During this present time of threats and potentialities, rather than worry or crumble under the weight of uncertainty as to when it will all blow up, and whether we will be here on earth for the first part of it, we can simply pray for strength. In his interview, Rosenberg said that this is a time of purification of the church. We surely are being purified as the dross rises to the top and the Refiner removes it. We can let our worries bubble up to the top and allow Jesus to remove them, leaving us more holy and pure than before. Look at this last time on earth as an opportunity to submit more deeply to Jesus and allow Him to purify us. It will be a glory for Him to do this and a better trophy of grace for His name.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fish tornado phenomenon photographed by Octavio Aburto

Awesome photo! Whether it is the Aurora Borealis with beach dinoflagellates photo I'd put up a few days ago, or this undersea fish tornado, the earth and the universe constantly amaze me. Our Creator is to be praised, for His intellect, creativity, and beauty. That He created man to have communion with Him and to be the worker of His garden (Genesis 2:15) is such a gift. reports, "Photographer and marine biologist Octavio Aburto captured this amazing photo of the at Cabo Pulmo National Park in Mexico, in the course of studying the courtship behavior of a species of Jack fish. He titled it “David and Goliath.”

The photo has left many in disbelief, though the sheer magnitude of its wonder. So Octavio Aburto has released the video of the jackfish courtship behavior to satisfy the curious and the skeptical.

The photographer hopes that your wonder at seeing "Goliath" will spark you to think more about the environment, and that is all well and good. I hope it will spark you to think more about the Creator, and His magnificent hand which created ALL that exists. And He did it in 6 days. Praise His mighty name!

"Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable." (Psalms 145:3)

Hallelujah, we shall rise!

Watch the whole thing- the kid near the end and the baby at the end are great.

Now, as for levitate...if you ever bungee jumped, parasailed, hang glided, ultralighted, or in any other way left the earth for a fleeting few seconds, it sure feels great, doesn't it?!

As Old Leonardo Da Vinci said, "Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

Born again Christians are looking forward to the moment when gravity ceases to be a reality for us, where our bodies are raised imperishable, (1 Corinthians 15:50-55; 1 Thessalonians 4:17) and we are caught up through the first heaven, the second heaven, and up to the Third Heaven, to where Jesus has prepared a place for us.

“The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.” ― [J.M. Barrie, The Little White Bird]
Barnes Notes eloquently describes the moment when our faith takes wing-" 'Shall be caught up' - The word here used implies that there will be the application of external force or power by which this will be done. It will not be by any power of ascending which they will themselves have; or by any tendency of their raised or changed bodies to ascend of their own accord, or even by any effort of their own will, but by a power applied to them which will cause them to rise. ...the expression is one of great sublimity, and the scene will be immensely grand."

Friday, January 25, 2013

Clear the decks, weekend reading is ON!

We are getting clipped by the icy rain that is more to our north. Our school let out an hour early, and we all scurried home.

I stopped at the Post Office and wonder of wonders, my large book order from Amazon (thanks to a reader) had come in! Is there anyone happier than a geek on a Friday afternoon, ready to hunker down for the weekend with tea and blankets and good books? By herself? Nope!

So what did I get?

1. Twelve Ordinary Men, John MacArthur. Contrary to popular belief, we do not have to be perfect to do God's work. Look no further than the twelve disciples whose many weaknesses are forever preserved throughout the pages of the New Testament. Jesus chose ordinary men - fisherman, tax collectors, political zealots - and turned their weakness into strength, producing greatness from utter uselessness. MacArthur draws principles from Christ's careful, hands-on training of the original twelve disciples for today's modern disciple - you.

2. Twelve Unlikely Heroes, John MacArthur. What kind of people does God use to accomplish His work? Far from the children’s tales depicted in picture books and nursery rhymes, the men and women highlighted in the Bible were unnervingly real. They faltered. They struggled. And at times, they fell short. Yet God worked through them in surprising and incredible ways to accomplish His purposes. Scripture does not hide their weaknesses, caricature their strengths, or spin their stories as a display of human nobility. Instead, it describes these heroes of the faith with unflinching honesty and delivers an unexpected ending: “God is not ashamed to be called their God” (Hebrews 11:16).

3. Foxe's Book of Martyrs: For nearly two - thousand years courageous men and women have been tortured and killed because of their confessions of Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. This updated edition of Foxes Book of Martyrs contains stories of persecution up to 2001. Stories of heroic courage and overcoming faith. Stories of love of God and Christ. Stories of the amazing grace of God that enabled men women and children to endure persecutions and often horrible deaths.

4. God's Wisdom in Proverbs, Dan Phillips. God’s Wisdom in Proverbs is written brilliantly at a level that will challenge anyone who is interested enough in gaining wisdom and understanding to be serious in that quest. Readers will range from serious students of Scripture to casual lay readers on their way to a more serious approach to Scripture. It explains the wisdom of Proverbs (and the biblical nature of wisdom per se) in a clear, readable fashion that will be extremely helpful to everyone from students entering the academic world for the first time, to new parents seeking biblical insight into the process of child-rearing, to anyone in a position of responsibility or leadership. I recommend it for all who are tired of the superficial, self-centered themes that have filled evangelical pulpits and bookshelves for the past three decades (or more). If you are hungry for biblical material, God’s Wisdom in Proverbs will feed your appetite.”—PHIL JOHNSON, executive director, Grace to You

5. Drive By Pneumatology. Todd Friel, et al. 42 lectures. Pneumatology is the theological study of the Holy Spirit which seeks to answer who the Holy Spirit is and what His function is in the world. Drive By Pneumatology will provide a thorough, thoughtful and Biblical presentation on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. But Drive By Pneumatology goes beyond the who, what, where, when and why of the Holy Spirit and is very practical: • How do I get more of the Holy Spirit? • How can I be led by Him? • How do I get more fruit of the Holy Spirit?

6. When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin. In a small town square of a sleepy Georgia town, seven-year-old Annie sits at her lemonade stand, raising money for her own heart transplant. At a nearby store, Reese flips through the newspaper, thinking about the latest boat hes restoring. As a beat-up bread truck careens around the corner, a strong wind blows Annie's money into the road. Reese looks up in time to see Annie's yellow dress fluttering in the wind as she runs into the road. What happens next will change both of their lives forever. Richly atmospheric and evocative, with the kind of characters that move into your heart and take up residence, Charles Martins new novel will resonate with fans of God-haunted southern fiction, and with anyone who enjoys a solidly crafted, heart-touching story.

7. The Racketeer, John Grisham. Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of this country only four active federal judges have been murdered. Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five. Who is the Racketeer? And what does he have to do with the judge’s untimely demise?

I love to read. It was my first, best, and is my most enduring joy. I learned to read early, and dove head first into books, all the time, every day. I read Nancy Drew and Harriet the Spy and The Saturdays. A Wrinkle in Time and The Secret Garden. I read Little House on the Prairie books tucked inside my algebra text. It didn't fool the teacher. I read under the trees in the next door cemetery (so quiet there). I read on the school bus, in my bedroom under the eaves of the small Cape Cod house we lived in, I read at pep rallies. I read.

Even as an adult I was never without a book. I felt naked without one tucked into my purse or backpack. Heavens to Betsy, what if I was stuck at a doctor's office waiting room for a long time, with nothing to read?! That was a fate worse than death. Not something even to consider.

Even as an adult, my tastes gravitated to historical fiction but usually more often toward the non-fiction of the topic I was involved in at the time. When I ran for office and got involved in civics in my community, I read civics books. When I ran the newspaper as editor/publisher, I read journalism books. When I was getting my Master's in education, I read literacy books. (The ultimate egghead? Reading literacy books about literacy?)

When I was saved by the grace of God at age 43, my sanctifying walk took up quickly. Fiction books fast became unpalatable, due to language, themes, or immorality. Christian fiction, especially for women, is often too sentimental and badly written. Sorry to say that, but it is.

So mostly I read essays online or doctrinal books. I was excited when a friend recommended the Charles Martin books. Martin is a Christian author and his books are apparently well-written. Also, I love books by John Grisham! I enjoy stories of legal beagles and as an author he is consistent, the books are well written, and wonder of wonders, the tale is always absorbing. I thought his last book, The Litigators, was one of his best in years. But I've read all of Grisham's books and I was bereft for a long time with no good books on the horizon. So now I am excitedly I'm looking forward to a just plain good reading session this weekend.

What a great Savior, who knew that the intersection of my love to read and the inevitable disappointment at having devoured and finished a book would eventually collide. In reading the bible, God the author is consistent, the books are well written, and wonder of wonders, the tale is always absorbing. The difference here is that I can never devour and dispense with the Good Book! It always has something to say and there is always more to digest!

I haven't read these books yet, obviously, but they are by well-known credible authors and they have good reviews. I'll review them after I read them but if you're looking for some good reads, and some good texts to fill our your library bookshelf, I can say with fair amount of certainty that in these, I don't think you will be disappointed.

I plan to wrap up in a blanket, keep the teapot endlessly warmed, and crack open the Grisham right after supper. My weekend is about to begin, and as ole Si Robertson says, it's on like Donkey Kong!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Obama: Lord of the Flies

Drudge has an interesting photo-montage at his home page just now.

The Telegraph UK has a story one how often flies land on or buzz near Obama:

"Barak Obama provides landing pad for fly"

This really isn't an academic question. The Lord of the Flies is real.
Question: "Who was Beelzebub?"

Answer: “Beelzebub” is the Greek form of the name “Baal-zebub,” a pagan Philistine god worshiped in the ancient Philistine city of Ekron during the Old Testament times. It is a term signifying “the lord of flies” (2 Kings 1:2). Even archaeological excavations at ancient Philistine sites have uncovered golden images of flies. It was later on that the Jews changed the name to “Beelzeboul,” as used in the Greek New Testament, meaning “the lord of dung.” It referenced the god of the fly which was worshiped to obtain deliverance from the injuries of that insect. Some biblical scholars believe it was also known as "the god of filth" which later became a name of bitter scorn in the mouth of the Pharisees. As a result, he was a particularly contemptible deity and was used by the Jews as an epithet for Satan.
More here

"And all winged insects are unclean for you; they shall not be eaten." (Deuteronomy 14:19)

"He spoke, and there came swarms of flies, and gnats throughout their country." (Psalm 105:31)

"Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer to send forth an evil odor; so does a little folly outweigh wisdom and honor." (Ecclesiastes 10:1)

Just sayin' ;)

Of Obama, Hitler, and Antichrist types

Russia Today is a good newspaper. I often discover things about my nation that the US newspapers do not report. All that a totalitarian state needs is two things, a compliant media and a gullible citizenry. More on the latter in a second, but of the former, if the media is not accurately reflecting the government back to the population then it makes it all the easier to become gullible.

So in RT as the paper is known, there was this pictorial representation of their headline about the economic state of the US nation:

I thought that was funny. Not the default thing, which will all likelihood actually happen, but that the American electorate voted for "change" and we got it.

I mentioned before that the US citizenry are frogs slowly being boiled. That metaphor relates to the (untrue) notion that if you put a frog in boiling water, he'll howl and try to escape. But if you put a frog in cold water and incrementally turn up the water to boiling over time, he will complacently sit there until it is too late. Though scientifically untrue, the story is an apt metaphor for the inability of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually.

I've said that in order to measure progress toward the ultimate end, mentally stand in a giant bible. Look back from the end to see where we are now. We don't know what will happen tomorrow but we know for sure what the end will look like. That is when His fixed truth tells us that by the very last years, a totalitarian state will exist all over the world. There will be a one-world religion along with thought crime, one world economy along with starvation for the masses who do not comply in taking the Mark of the Beast, hyper-surveillance via technology and betrayal by neighbors and family.

It will be awful. But the fact is, it will happen. Worse, there will be technology available to support the implementation and maintenance of it all.

So look from the perspective of Revelation then, back to today and see how close we are, and even further back to before Obama was elected, then a bit further back to your youth. If you are over 50 years of age you see how quickly we have gone from the land of the free to the land of the oppressed. It is the same if you live in other countries. The UK's surveillance of private citizens has increased dramatically...Economic oppression in other nations...all lead to the same thing. We are boiled frogs about to die, metaphorically speaking.

In the early 2000s when I was a journalist, in any civic discussion where the person mentioned Hitler it was instant grounds for getting roundly drummed out of the debate. According to Godwin's Law, you lost the debate instantly if you mentioned Hitler. Also known as Godwin's Law of Nazi Analogies, it states that "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches. In other words, Godwin observed that, given enough time, in any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope—someone inevitably makes a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis. ... Godwin's law applies especially to inappropriate, inordinate, or hyperbolic comparisons of other situations (or one's opponent) with Nazis... falling foul of Godwin's law tends to cause the individual making the comparison to lose their argument or credibility." (source).

However, with the bible's prediction of a totalitarian state in place immediately prior to His Second Coming, it will happen eventually. I find it interesting that the comparison to Hitler and/or Stalin is being made quite constantly now, and no one is citing Godwin's Law.

But first let's go back to the bible. The Old Testament is replete with types of men who foreshadowed the Christ. Who, in effect, were Christ-types. Just as there were Christ-types, there were also antichrist-types. AW Pink write a book on The Antichrist, and in chapter thirteen he enumerated at least ten men who in his biblical opinion were types of antichrists foreshadowing the real one to come.

Daniel 11:21-35 predicted Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and that passage is also a dual prophecy for the final antichrist. Antiochus IV was the 8th Seleucid King of Greece and the first to call himself god. 'Epiphanes' means 'visible god' or 'god manifest.' Antiochus outlawed Jewish religious rites and traditions kept by observant Jews and ordered the worship of Zeus as the supreme god. This was anathema to the Jews and when they refused, Antiochus sent an army to enforce his decree. Because of the resistance, the city was destroyed, and many were slaughtered. (source)

We know from Roman history that the Caesars began calling themselves gods and so it was with the Greek kings too. The final antichrist will cause all to worship him and to demonstrate that worship by receiving a mark on their hand or forehead. (Revelation 13:15-18). It seems that all the best dictators these days call themselves god and require proper worship from the people. (Obama hasn't called himself a god but he hasn't refused the title when others called him one, either. Maybe he thinks of himself as a demi-god.)

In recent secular history the antichrist type that most frequently comes to mind is Hitler. By 1923 Hitler looked to Italy and saw the rising popularity of Mussolini. Taking the hint, Hitler looked increasingly to a strong man who would rescue Germany, too. He was still speaking of leaders, plural, but it soon became obvious that he meant himself as the sole rescuer, and he wasn't going to share the political power- or limelight- with anyone. On May 4, 1923, Hitler gave a speech, in which he said,
"What can save Germany is the dictatorship of the national will and national determination. The question arises, is the suitable personality to hand? Our task is not to look for such a person. He is a gift from heaven, or is not there. Our task is to give the dictator, when he comes, a people ready for him!" (Source: Hitler, 1889-1936: Hubris  By Ian Kershaw)
By 8 weeks later, Hitler was saying that only a man with personality could save Germany, not the decisions of Parliament. But isn't it spooky that the path to dictatorship first involves getting a people ready to accept him? We have seen an antichrist-type in Obama in that the people who have been primed accept the cult of personality and willingly follow the one who dismisses Congress and shreds the Constitution. Nothing happened in Germany that wasn't without the vote of and later the willing acceptance of the people-at-large. It happened incrementally enough that they were frogs in boiling water before they knew it.

In preparing the people, God is sovereign. Satan is at work readying his children of darkness, but because they refused to believe the truth, it is God Who allows them to accept the lie. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).

Now, we have gone for many years with a Congress and not a king, and the people fully understood that the twain were different. Our elected leaders were just that- leaders. But remember Antiochus- suddenly he decided that he was not just a king, but also a god, blending those two offices into a deadly combination.

That same sudden shift will occur in the Tribulation also.

"A defining moment in the general tribulation period is described by Jesus in Matthew 24:15, where He describes an incident that immediately brings about a terrible series of events: “So when you see standing in the holy place 'the abomination that causes desolation,' spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—“ (Matthew 24:15). Once this “abomination of desolation” occurs, “Then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will (Matthew 24:21)."

This abomination includes several things, including the sudden shredding of the covenant he'd made with the many, (Daniel 9:27; Daniel 11:31; Daniel 12:11) and another is that he takes his seat in the holy places and exalts himself as god. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4). In effect, he does as past dictators have done, saying, "Hey everyone, I'm boss, forget the promises I've made before, I'm god and you must worship me. I'll say what happens from now on."

Back to the Hitler-references for a minute. They are occurring more often these days. For example,

Tyrants using children as props and propaganda (RE- Sandy Hook Massacre & Obama)

She survived Hitler and wants to warn America

The Hitler comparisons aren't escaping notice in Israel, either. From today's Israel's Arutz Sheva:

State School President Under Fire for Obama-Hitler Comparison
The President of the Ohio State Board of Education has come under fire for comparing policies of President Obama to those of Hitler.

In a recent piece on Washington's blog he wrote,
In the classic history of Nazi Germany, They Thought They Were Free, Milton Mayer writes:

"What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

"This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.

Similarly, America has - little by little - gone from a nation of laws to a nation of powerful men making laws in secret. Indeed, even Congress doesn't know half of what others are doing.
Do I think Obama is the antichrist? No. Do I think he is an antichrist-type? A million times yes. The key piece in this essay is what Hitler said in 1923- "Our task is to give the dictator, when he comes, a people ready for him!" To that end, Obama, and satan, are doing an admirable job.

You might be interested in a 2007 essay by Naomi Wolf, called Fascist America, in 10 Easy Steps. I wrote about it on my other blog in 2008. Calling America 'Fascist 7 years ago seemed fringe-extreme. Nowadays it is the near-reality.

You might also be interested in The Futile Search for a Secular Savior

But most of all, Christians are interested in the Savior! Far from secular futility and doomsday darkness, he is Light (1 John 1:5-10). We look to Him because He looked out for us:
The Eternal Watcher is looking over the vast ocean of life, not that he may spy out the vessels which sail along proudly in safety, but that he may see those who are almost wrecks. “He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profiteth me not; he will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.” Our Lord was more moved at the sight of sickness than of health, and wrought his greatest wonders among fevers, leprosies, and palsies. This is the end and object of the gospel, namely, to save the unrighteous; the God of the gospel is he that “justifieth the ungodly,” “for when we were yet without strength, Christ died for the ungodly.” “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon entitled "The Sinner's Savior," delivered October 1, 1876

Pray that the world will turn their eyes from roaming futilely in the dark for a secular savior to seeing His light and salvation come for them!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Apostasy and tolerance: both are bad. Read the bible to find out more

In December, I read that the UK "census shows number of people in England and Wales who are not religious has risen to 14.1 million, almost double from 2001."

It got me thinking about faithlessness and what we are told about in 1 Timothy 4:1

"Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,"

I always found it interesting that the verse reads 'the Spirit expressly says'. In other translations it reads 'the Spirit clearly says', and 'the Spirit explicitly says.' One would think that the Spirit is always clear and expresses exactly what He wants to say. I mean, it would still be authoritative enough if the verse read "The Spirit says that in latter days..." But that adverb 'expressly' always gets me. In interpreting His word when I come up against something like that, I come to a full stop. If the Spirit expressly says something, then it behooves us to pay attention to it.

The Greek word for 'expressly' is an adverb which is a derivative of rheo, meaning "command." OK, that's pretty strong.

So the upshot is the Spirit commands us to know and understand that in latter days some will depart the faith.

We can rest assured, that God's numbers are not diminishing. It isn't a weak religion where people can come and go and God #fail. Not at all. Whom He saves is saved. If they depart from the faith they are actually demonstrating that they never belonged to God in the first place. (1 John 2:19).

Oftentimes a departure from the faith is called apostasy. We are told that apostates will increase in number just before the Second Coming (Of Jesus, Not Obama. Sorry, I had to get that in there). 2 Thessalonians 2:3 has the verse:

"Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,"
The Holman Bible Dictionary defines apostasy as "the act of rebelling against, forsaking, abandoning, or falling away from what one has believed.

Old Testament The Old Testament speaks of “falling away” in terms of a person's deserting to a foreign king (2 Kings 25:11; Jeremiah 37:13-14; Jeremiah 39:9; Jeremiah 52:15). Associated ideas, however, include the concept of religious unfaithfulness: “rebellion” (Joshua 22:22); “cast away” (2 Chronicles 29:19); “trespass” (2 Chronicles 33:19); and “backslidings” (Jeremiah 2:19; Jeremiah 8:5). NAS uses “apostasy” in Jeremiah 8:5 and Hosea 14:4 with the plural in Jeremiah 2:19; Jeremiah 5:6; Jeremiah 14:7."
It seems clear to most of us that the Lord is revealing that many who adopted a form of godliness but had denied its power (2 Timothy 3:5) are being stripped of their falsely spiritual cloak and are being revealed for whom they actually are.

An essay recently on iCNN, the citizen input channel of their news media's online arm, recently published an essay that has reportedly garnered the second highest number of hits ever. 

Why I Raise My Children Without God

Posted on January 14, 2013, it has received 9,100 comments. Over 60,000 have recommended the essay on Facebook. A competing essay on iCNN titled "Why I raise my children WITH God"...has received a tenth of the number of comments and a third fewer recommends on Facebook.

People are apostatizing, and rapidly. The gap is widening so there can be no fence straddlers for very much longer.

We know what atheism is. It is people like the woman who wrote "Why I Raise My Children Without God", they are people who never believed in God in any form for any time because they theorize that God does not exist. They have great faith in their theory.

It seems clear that we also know what apostasy is. It is people who (seemed to) believe for a time, and then abandoned any pretense of believing in their version of God. Muslims can apostatize. Buddhists can become apostate. But for the purposes of this essay, we are discussing people who claimed to believe in a risen Jesus as savior, but after a time, abandoned that belief and either went on to something else or simply became what they always were: atheist or agnostic.

But I have another question about who an apostate might be.

I wrote recently about old Eli, the temple priest whose record in the bible never revealed a sin that he personally committed, but he and his sons were killed for the sons' sins. The sons were taking money from congregants, taking the choicest meats, and then taking women. Eli was not participating in this travesty, but he knew about it, and did nothing. That last thing is what God seemed upset about. The sons were killed for their part in the sinful behavior and Eli was killed because he didn't do anything about it. (1 Samuel 2:29, 1 Samuel 3:13.)

What God said to Eli was that Eli was honoring his sons above God. I think we forget who we sin against, when we sin. All sins are against Jesus. (Psalm 51:4). The prodigal son said to his father that he'd "sinned against heaven, and against you." (Luke 15:21)

In Revelation 2:21 Jesus said he had something against the church at Thyatira. "Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols."

They knew there was sin, they knew the sin was destroying their church, and they did nothing about it. So Jesus had a condemnation for them. If it was today they would probably sit around saying "touch not God's anointed" and "judge not" and "aren't we so humble, in our tolerance." Tolerance in the wrong direction is actually a sin. Think about it.

Paul condemned a situation in Corinth, where a man had his father's wife. Paul condemned the sin and severely chastised the person performing the sin. But the church body was also chastised for tolerating it. Paul called them arrogant.

"You are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn?" (1 Corinthians 5:2)

Paul chastised them for boasting. The Corinthians were going around boasting about their gifts and their status and their works, and yet they were tolerating a gross sin. Their boasts were resting on a corrupted pedestal. If it were today, I would venture to say that they'd be boasting about their tolerance and their humility not to "judge."

So the question is, is a person apostatizing if he tolerates gross sin but does nothing about it? Like Eli, Thyatira, and Corinth? If a person can tolerate such sins against Jesus and not do anything about it, are they actually loving Jesus as they should? Are they growing lukewarm, or even cold? If a people who actually know what sin does to a person, allows a person to continue in that sin, do they love that person if they do nothing to help them?

Does a false tolerance and an overdone spiritual correctness mean that love is growing dim? That they are apostatizing?

I don't know if the definition of apostasy can be given to that kind of behavior. I'm just asking. I do know that Jesus condemned it the three biblical examples I used. At root, it means that they honor the sin more than they honor Jesus.

After Jesus threw out the moneylenders in the temple, "His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” (Psalm 69:9; John 2:17)

Barnes Notes says, "Its meaning is, that Jesus was affected with great zeal or concern for the pure worship of God. The zeal of thine house - "Zeal" is intense ardor in reference to any object. The "zeal of thine house" means extraordinary concern for the temple of God; intense solicitude that the worship there should be pure, and such as God would approve. Hath absorbed me, or engaged my entire attention and affection; hath surpassed all other feelings, so that it may be said to be the one great absorbing affection and desire of the mind."

No matter what the exact definition of apostasy, zeal for God should consume us. Is our worship pure? Are we intensely concerned that no leaven is spoiling the lump? (The charge Paul gave to the Corinthians in the above passages). Do we tolerate a devastating pattern of sin in our own life, or in our church? You are not doing yourself, Jesus, or your brethren any favors by adopting a false sense of humility and refusing to address obvious and entrenched sin in God's house. The bible is clear on that.

Dearest ones who have addressed sin, or tried to, in God's house, He understands the toll zeal takes:

"My zeal wears me out, for my enemies ignore your words." (Psalm 119:139)

The writer of Hebrews lets us know that there is nothing Jesus hasn't gone through first that He isn't intimately familiar with in us. (Hebrews 2:17). He understands the toll it takes to be zealous for God, and He has made many promises to those who persevere in the purest worship they can offer, the most zeal they can give, and the best attempts at rooting out sin. Here is one of those promises-

"He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken." (Isaiah 25:8)

Take heart. He is coming soon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What's up with the Obama worship?

So this weekend brought the Inaugural ceremonies to acknowledge Obama's second term as President of the United States. I'll say right off the bat, that it is my opinion gained through observation of the times (secular and biblical) that Obama is America's judgment. I believe he means ill for the nation and has been and will continue to dismantle it. Just so you know my stance at the outset ;)

Even a hermit would notice that there seems to be something different about the people's reaction to Obama, who, after all, is just a politician. In his earliest campaign days in 2007 and 2008 people saw in him a unique charisma capable of transfixing his audience and causing actual fainting. Even early on, the charisma exceeded adoration and plunked itself firmly into the land of physiological reaction (fainting, swooning, screaming) and Messianic language. This article's from 2008-

"Call it the Barack Obama traveling salvation show – campaign rallies and speeches that seem like the secular counterpart of tent-meeting revivals and evangelistic sermons common in the U.S. a century ago. And, in apparent similarity to the religious enthusiasm of that bygone era, some of those coming to hear the Democrat presidential candidate “preach” his message are fainting as he speaks."

In 2008, the NY Times remarked on Obama's charisma, calling it a cult of personality, perhaps unknowingly revealing the uniqueness of what is normally simply an attribute had veered into something deeper, and darker.
"Would we call this a cult of personality? Today that term is all around Barack Obama — perhaps because there seems so little other way to explain how a first-term senator has managed to dazzle his way to front-runner in the race for the presidency, how he walks on water for so many supporters, and how the mere suggestion that he is, say, mortal, risks vehement objection, or at least exposing the skeptic as deeply uncool. Charisma, as defined by the early sociologist Max Weber, was one of three “ideal types” of authority — the others were legal, as in a bureaucracy, and traditional, as in a tribe — and rested upon a kind of magical power and hero worship. Philosophers call it “civil religion,” using the language of religion and elevation to talk about your country."
Newsweek editor Evan Thomas, the same Newsweek that created a cover this week of Obama and named him as the Second Coming a few days ago, in 2009 wrote, "brought adulation over President Obama’s Cairo speech to a whole new level on Friday, declaring on MSNBC: "I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above – above the world, he’s sort of God."

Newsweek didn't even bother to use a lower case "G".

This kind of reaction and language to describe Obama's unusual charisma continued unabated from his first appearances in 2007 through to now- where it was revealed this month that the reporter pool was 'treated' to a personal visit at hang-out their bar by Obama and they were all atwitter and a-flurry. It was a group swoon, a reporter said.

The Messianic language popped up again and as mentioned a moment ago, continues to this day. At yesterday's Inauguration Weekend church service the Reverend Braxton said,
Obama, said Braxton, was just like Moses facing the Red Sea: “forward is the only option … The people couldn’t turn around. The only thing that they could do was to go forward.” Obama, said Braxton, would have to overcome all obstacles – like opposition from Republicans, presumably, or the bounds of the Constitution. Braxton continued, “Mr. President, stand on the rock,” citing to Moses standing on Mount Horeb as his people camped outside the land of Israel.
But it wasn’t enough to compare Obama with the founder of Judaism and the prophet of the Bible. Braxton added that Obama’s opponents were like the Biblical enemies of Moses, and that Obama would have to enter the battle because “sometimes enemies insist on doing it the hard way.”
Yet the civil religion as mentioned in the above article surrounding the charismatic Obama goes much further than previously idolized or even idealized politicians, such as FDR or Ronald Reagan. That is because previously "civil religion" language was used by politicians to connect with the people to elevate their nation. But with Obama, civil religion language is used by the people to elevate the politician.

In the same NYT article it is stated, “What is troubling about the campaign is that it’s gone beyond hope and change to redemption,” said Sean Wilentz, a historian at Princeton..."

Without Jesus, what this whole Obama exercise shows us is that people without hope want hope. That people without a savior need a savior. That people who live in darkness will swap their loyalties to any 'dazzling' entity that comes along.

The Newsweek editor's sycophantic adulation of Obama and likening him in 2008 to God and in 2012 to the Second Coming is ironic in the extreme. It shows just how illogical and how deep into the craven psyche they will go in clinging to their false hope. Why? The same political figure that four years ago Newsweek endowed with all trust that he would get the nation out of the economic mess only deepened it, to the point where Newsweek itself has folded as a print publication by the opening of his second term. Yet as Newsweek fades away, they still give him godlike qualities as a Second Coming. With their dying breath they continue to reach out to their false god.

This is all a pale imitation of what will happen when the antichrist comes on the scene. By then, the church will have been raptured. Though the rapture will cause many to come to faith the number of unsaved, sinning, lawless, and ungodly will be running rampant, crawling over the world like cockroaches in the dark. They will love him.

Obama only promised hope and change, and did not deliver. They still love him now, even while the nation is practically living in a refrigerator box by the side of the road. The antichrist will have actual solutions and actually implement them. They will love him more.

They will love him because he will wear out the saints and make war against them. (Daniel 7:21), something the unsaved would really love to do now but the Restrainer is still on the earth. He will speak flatteries (Daniel 11:32) and great things (Revelation 13:5-6).

We have gone beyond mere 'charisma', the kind of human attribute given to likable politicians such as JFK and Reagan. No one ever called them gods or savior or national husband. With Obama's 'charisma' we entered the territory of nearly visible demonic, spiritual warfare. It is a supernatural charisma that sparks worship. The antichrist's appearance will cause exponentially more adoring fans, deeper worship, and more firm adherence to all-things-antichrist. What we see today is nothing compared to what's coming, as creepy as this Obama-worship is today.

"Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false" (2 Thessalonians 2:11). Many translations say " believe THE lie" and interpreters take that to mean they will believe the lie that antichrist is Messiah. It is hard to know for sure, but given the prophetic promise that the world will follow after the beast, (Revelation 13:3), it seems a reasonable interpretation.

When you shake your head at the foolishness of people who worship a man like Obama, think of how it will be when the Restrainer Holy Spirit is gone and they worship an evil man as THE Messiah, not just a god. Given the following that Obama has received and sustained despite the Spirit being on earth, as well as Jesus Christ's Bride, it's easy to see how the coming delusion will be deep and horrific.

The glory of the Lord is that now, we know Him now and we have nothing to fear. The Tribulation saints will know the Lord and will not be seduced by the antichrist, either. The New Living Translation says,

"He will flatter and win over those who have violated the covenant. But the people who know their God will be strong and will resist him." (Daniel 11:32)

I pray you know Him. Jesus is the only Person worth knowing first and foremost. He will help you resist sin, and will take the scales off your eyes to see who the true Savior is!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The world's richest, science's dumbest, weather's worst

Here is some general news which I feel is of prophetic import. This prophetic import is my opinion, of course :)
World’s 100 richest earned enough in 2012 to end global poverty 4 times over
"The world's 100 richest people earned a stunning total of $240 billion in 2012 – enough money to end extreme poverty worldwide four times over, Oxfam has revealed, adding that the global economic crisis is further enriching the super-rich. “The richest 1 percent has increased its income by 60 percent in the last 20 years with the financial crisis accelerating rather than slowing the process,” while the income of the top 0.01 percent has seen even greater growth, a new Oxfam report said. For example, the luxury goods market has seen double-digit growth every year since the crisis hit, the report stated."
This is interesting to me because the Tribulation, though the financial and economic systems will have been crashed and remade into a one world system, will contain the largest gap between rich and poor the world has ever seen. Though millions will be dying of famine and starvation for want of a loaf of bread, the trade in the world's richest luxuries will have been going strong throughout. See the verse indicating the poor in Revelation 6:5-6 and the rich in Revelation 18:9-20.
Brazil rape statistics skyrocket
Reported rapes in Brazil rose by 157 percent between 2009 and 2012; 5,300 rapes in first six months alone
"Reported rapes in Brazil rose by 157 percent between 2009 and 2012, with Rio de Janeiro state recording 16 sexual assaults a day last year, according to official data released Sunday. In just the first six months of 2012, more than 5,300 people -- 90 percent of them women -- were raped in Brazil, which is home to about 194 million people."
This is interesting to me because of the verse in Matthew 24:12 --"And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold."

The word "lawlessness" here in the Greek means sin which is breaking God's law, not secular lawbreakers. But the result of sin often leads to secular lawbreaking, in the form of crimes such as rape. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 tells that the last days will be perilous in the extreme.
40% of flights to Paris's main airports cancelled due to heavy snow
"London's Heathrow Airport canceled a fifth of flights on Sunday and airlines scrapped 40 percent of flights to Paris's main airports as snow blanketed parts of Europe, with more forecast."

Avalanche in Scottish Highlands kills 4, injures 1
Four people were killed Saturday when a group of climbers was swept away by a powerful avalanche in the Scottish Highlands, local authorities said on Sunday. A young woman remains in a critical condition with serious head injuries. Large parts of Britain have been affected by heavy snow and strong winds in recent days. Accidents on the scale of Saturday’s incident are extremely rare in the United Kingdom
Nearly 40,000 without power in southeast Michigan, crews contend with frigid temperatures
"It’s a one-two punch for tens of thousands of people without power in southeastern Michigan. Wind gusts up to 60 m.p.h. roared through the area early this morning, knocking out power to more than 100,000 homes and businesses. Now, both powerless customers and utility crews trying to restore electricity have to contend with frigid temperatures moving into the area for the next several days."
I read a report from Scotland in 1990 that said avalanche fatalities were increasing and at that time two killed per year was the norm. Avalanche dangers have only increased from the 1990s as heavy snows increasingly fall on the Highlands as a regular course.

As for the "one-two" weather punch in Michigan, it seems that our weather has been "one-two-three-four-five...punch" of late. We are receiving storm after storm, interruption after interruption. This is expected, as Jesus said that there would be meteorological disturbances the closer to the Tribulation we get. (Luke 21:10-11). Jesus also said that during the Tribulation there will be even worse climatological events, such as drought for three years, no wind blows anywhere, sulfur from the sky, scorching heat that burns men, and more. The birth pangs we're experiencing now seem to indicate the disruptions are increasing in frequency and painfulness in advance of the total waywardnness of the weather during the Tribulation.
Wanted: 'Adventurous woman' to give birth to Neanderthal man - Harvard professor seeks mother for cloned cave baby
Yet this incredible scenario is the plan of one of the world’s leading geneticists, who is seeking a volunteer to help bring man’s long-extinct close relative back to life. Professor George Church of Harvard Medical School believes he can reconstruct Neanderthal DNA and resurrect the species which became extinct 33,000 years ago. His scheme is reminiscent of Jurassic Park but, while in the film dinosaurs were created in a laboratory, Professor Church’s ambitious plan requires a human volunteer. He said his analysis of Neanderthal genetic code using samples from bones is complete enough to reconstruct their DNA. He said: ‘Now I need an adventurous female human.
Since the Fall, it has been satan's desire to reduce man from human made in God's image, to monkey, or even a lower order biological lump, like an amoeba. It has been his desire to mingle the unholy and ungodly with the Godly and the holy so as to pollute anything God has done. The miracle of human birth via God's knitting of him in the womb, to brutal and unthinking neanderthal ape-man, is right up his alley.

Our fight is for the integrity of Genesis 1 and the creation in seven literal 24 hour days. Satan's war wages deep. Look how satan got to Billy Graham:

"How you believe doesn't affect the doctrine. Either at a certain moment in evolution God breathed into one particular ape-man who was Adam, or God could have taken a handful of dust and blowed and created a man just like that" (Billy Graham, 'United Church Observer' 'Sunday Magazine' June 1966).

God blew life into an ape-man? Satanic in the extreme. Billy Graham has always been a liberal compromiser and friend to the world.

 As Ken Ham said today in his essay "The Legacy of Brainwashing",

"Despite their claims to the contrary, atheists use evolution as their religion to replace God. Evolution is a foundation for their set of beliefs about life and how it arose, just as creation, as described in Genesis, is our set of beliefs about how life arose. Atheists blindly hold to evolution because of their rejection of Christ."

Asking a woman to be a biological host for an alleged ape-man goes one step further toward Jesus' prophecy that immediately prior to His coming the days would be like the Days of Noah (Matthew 24:37), when as this passage titles it, there was "Increasing Corruption on Earth"

"When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown. The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." (Genesis 6:1-5)

"Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God" (2 Peter 3:12).

Pray for His soon return, and hasten it. Do not let anyone belittle eschatology. Don't let anyone intimidate you away from knowing the important commands of living in expectation and anticipation of His coming, even looking for it, praying in alignment with it, and speaking boldly of it.

"Let's look at verse 12 and just see the component parts of this tremendous truth. Looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, it's as if Peter is saying you certainly shouldn't be afraid of it, you certainly shouldn't be worried about it, you ought to be like those of whom Paul speaks and with whom he identifies himself in 2 Timothy 4:8, when he talks about those who love Christ's appearing. You ought to be like John who said, "Even so, come Lord Jesus." Like Paul who said, "It's nice to be here, far better to depart and be there." You ought to have a longing in your heart for the coming of the day of God." (source)

Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Prata's Place / Graceful Garlands: Gradual Growth

My title comes from Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland ...