Tuesday, April 30, 2013

What is apostasy? Will there be revival or apostasy in the last days?

I hear so many people saying that the last days will come a revival. They pray for revival, they expect a revival, they promise a revival. Of course, no one is denying that revival is good. The more people that come to the Lord before they die, the better.

But the bible doesn't even hint at any such thing happening in the last days. Just the opposite is going to happen, and is happening. People will not be coming to the Lord in droves, they will be fleeing from the Lord in droves.

Dr. Andy Woods wrote a terrific essay on this topic titled The Last Days Apostasy of the Church (Part 1)

I am excerpting two paragraphs of it here, and I encourage you to go to the link and read it in full. The second paragraph, below, gives the reason why it is sooo important to completely understand why apostasy, and not revival, is God's end time program.
Apostasy refers to a departure from known or previously embraced truth. The subject of apostasy has little to do with the condition of the unsaved world, which has always rejected divine truth and therefore has nothing from which to depart. Rather, apostasy pertains to the spiritual temperature within God’s church. While some might think that apostasy relates to some external factor such as whether the economy is up or down, the subject of biblical apostasy relates to internal church conditions.

Because comprehension of what Scripture reveals concerning apostasy is critical toward completely understanding God’s end-time program, this series will develop several general characteristics of apostasy. They include the following: apostasy is a sign of the last days, is warned against repeatedly in the New Testament, impacts every major doctrine, is internal, knows no limits in terms of who becomes involved in it, can happen quickly, is satanically energized, is destructive, makes life difficult for the man of God, and can be guarded against.

more at link

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sunday Martyr Moment

Sorry this is a day late.

Foxe's Book of Martyrs. According to this summary from Christian Book Summaries,

Writing in the mid-1500s, John Foxe was living in the midst of intense religious persecution at the hands of the dominant Roman Catholic Church. In graphic detail, he offers accounts of Christians being martyred for their belief in Jesus Christ, describing how God gave them extraordinary courage and stamina to endure unthinkable torture.

From the same link, the book's purpose was fourfold:
  • Showcase the courage of true believers who have willingly taken a stand for Jesus Christ throughout the ages, even if it meant death,
  • Demonstrate the grace of God in the lives of those martyred for their faith,
  • Expose the ruthlessness of religious and political leaders as they sought to suppress those with differing beliefs,
  • Celebrate the courage of those who risked their lives to translate the Bible into the common language of the people.

Whose occupation was that of a toll-gatherer, was born at Nazareth. He wrote his gospel in Hebrew, which was afterwards translated into Greek by James the Less. The scene of his labors was Parthia, and Ethiopia, in which latter country he (tradition says) suffered martyrdom, being slain with a halberd in the city of Nadabah, A.D. 60.

A halberd is this:

Israel: A Nation waiting to exhale

Israel is God's chosen nation. He created a people from Abraham to be His people, to bear His spiritual fruit, and to be His everlasting trophy. That is His history with them.

Israel's history with God is less holy and less even-keeled. They clung to Him. They left Him. They were punished by Him. They clung to Him. They left Him. They were punished by Him. They clung to Him. They left Him. They were punished by Him. They clung to Him. They left Him. They were punished by Him. They clung to Him. They left Him. They were punished by Him. They clung to Him. They left Him. They were punished by Him. They clung to Him. They left Him. They were punished by Him.

And so on.

One of the ways God punished His people was to use another nation to overrun the Israelites, or to defeat them in war, or just to harass them endlessly. This excerpt from the short essay "God's providential use of other nations" explains,
The Use of Righteous Nations

The Lord can use a righteous nation to overthrow a wicked one. This certainly was the case in Israel’s early history when God led his people into Canaan and commanded them to destroy the tribes of that land (Deuteronomy 20:16-17). The ultimate potential redemption of humanity was at the root of this moral surgery. The failure of the nation to carry out completely the instructions was a source of severe hardship in the years that followed.
The Use of Wicked Nations

Jehovah may use an evil nation to chastise a relatively better one. There is no question but that the nations of Assyria and Babylon were far worse than both Israel and Judah, yet the Lord employed both of these pagan powers to punish his people who gradually (and sometimes more than gradually) were drifting into apostasy.
The essay goes on to use the verse from Acts in which Paul explains, perhaps, God's thinking on why He does this,

"And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, (Acts 17:26-27)."

Here is a biblical example of how God used a nation. For example, Judges 10:6-8,

"And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and
Baal statue 1200BC, Wikipedia
the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him. And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon. And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead."

The long and unsettled history of Israel has made them weary today. They want peace. They want security. They want peace and safety. But it is not to be, yet.

"While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape." (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

Even today, with Israel's military prowess tested and proven again and again, enemies all around Israel either harass them constantly or are in a war-like state of their own. (Below, Jerusalem at night)

Just a few of the headlines showing Middle East boiling point-
Syria PM survives assassination car-bombing
Claims of Hezbollah getting chemicals
And now some Albanian Islamists are joining the Syrian war. "In recent months, the “Albanian world,” which consists of five contiguous states (Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro), has been increasingly interested in what is happening in Syria and the controversy over whether Albanians should go fight there."

This is interesting because in the future Gog-Magog war, described in Ezekiel 38-39, a coalition of nations surprise attacks Israel. Part of the coalition will be Russia and the Baltic states, of which Albania region is a part. I wrote about the Chechen connection to Gog-Magog when the Boston bombers were revealed to be Chechen.
Iraq getting more murderous, unrest permeates
They pulled the license of the news organization Al Jazeera and closed the border with Jordan.
Egypt pulling out of talks, protesting Israel's nukes

All around Israel, tiny Israel, monster nations are at war, either with themselves, with each other or with Israel.

Israel is a nation that is still holding its breath. Peace and safety hasn't come yet. It is not on the horizon, either. Prophecy says there will be another war, and this one Israel would lose. If it wasn't for their holy God, that is. God uses nations once again in His providential manner to make His point-

"And I will set my glory among the heathen, and all the heathen shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid upon them. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward. And the heathen shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity: because they trespassed against me, therefore hid my face from them, and gave them into the hand of their enemies: so fell they all by the sword. According to their uncleanness and according to their transgressions have I done unto them, and hid my face from them." (Ezekiel 39:21-24). Below, what Armageddon might look like...

Israel is waiting to exhale. Hold on a while longer His people! Turn from your heathen ways and cling to your Holy God. His promises never fail. Your weariness will lead you to making deathly decisions, such as accepting the antichrist as savior, (Dan 9:27) and eventually, the armies of the world will encamp around you to fight the very LORD Himself at Armageddon. (Revelation 16:14-16; Zechariah 14:2). But He is trustworthy and will save a remnant, (hiding out at Bozrah/Petra, Isaiah 63:1) and will ensure peace for all in the Millennium Kingdom. (Zechariah 14:11). This is what's coming for you, O Israel!

The Glory of the Lord Fills the Temple!

"Then he led me to the gate, the gate facing east. And behold, the glory of the God of Israel was coming from the east. And the sound of his coming was like the sound of many waters, and the earth shone with his glory. And the vision I saw was just like the vision that I had seen when he came to destroy the city, and just like the vision that I had seen by the Chebar canal. And I fell on my face. As the glory of the Lord entered the temple by the gate facing east, the Spirit lifted me up and brought me into the inner court; and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the temple." (Ezekiel 43:1-5).

Peace will flow like a river!

"Then he led me back to the bank of the river. As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes." (Ezekiel 47:6b-9)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Woman ordained as Catholic priest

How bad is rebellion? Are there degrees of falsity? Is it like Animal Farm, all animals are equal but some are more equal than others? All rebellion is bad but some rebels are worse than others?

Catholicism is a false religion. Catholics who hold to Catholic dogma are not saved. Yet it gets worse, with the move from the top down, from Pope Francis down to rogue women, to ordain women as priests and/or place them in higher positions. It's rebellion wrapped up in more rebellion, hypocrites behaving falsely. They wax worse deceiving and  being deceived. Rebels rebelling in yet more rebellion.
Kentucky woman ordained as priest in defiance of Roman Catholic Church
In an emotional ceremony filled with tears and applause, a 70-year-old Kentucky woman was ordained a priest on Saturday as part of a dissident group operating outside of official Roman Catholic Church authority. Rosemarie Smead is one of about 150 women around the world who have decided not to wait for the Roman Catholic Church to lift its ban on women priests, but to be ordained and start their own congregations. In an interview before the ceremony, Smead said she is not worried about being excommunicated from the Church - the fate of other women ordained outside of Vatican law.

"It has no sting for me," said Smead, a petite, gray-haired former Carmelite nun with a ready hug for strangers. "It is a Medieval bullying stick the bishops used to keep control over people and to keep the voices of women silent. I am way beyond letting octogenarian men tell us how to live our lives."
And that last statement sums it up. They say "I'm not letting a man tell me what to do." Their same attitude is held toward God. They are not letting God tell them what to do. Disobedience from His ways and His word always results in catastrophe for the rebel, and I am so sad that this woman is leading other women down a very perilous path.

Do you see the hypocrisy below? The woman priest seems to submit to God but she is only making a show, for she already declared she does not submit to men who hold a doctrinal opinion alternate from hers. She is ultimately rebelling though seeming to submit. And yet the whole thing is a hypocritical endeavor because the entire Catholic Church is false. She is already not submitting. It is what Jesus said,

"Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven." (Matthew 6:1)

"And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others." (Matthew 6:5)

The problem is, her attitude of dismissing men who are in authority (though Catholic priests and Pope have no authority) infects Christian denominations in a flood. Christian Caine, Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, and many others not as well-known are ordained and/or function as pastors despite the fact that the bible prohibits women from that office.

Women pastors / preachers? What does the Bible say about women in ministry?"

So with women Catholic priests you have an unbibical position falsely created by the false Catholic Church, absolving sins as an "alter Christus". The Catholic doctrine of 'alter Christus' means another Christ, and that is who they believe priests are. It is why they say they have the power to absolve sin. Yet 2 Corinthians 11:4 says that if anyone comes and preaches another Christ, let him be accursed.

And it only makes matters worse to say that a woman is 'another Christ'. God revealed himself as a man. Much like William P. Young in the blasphemous book, The Shack, who presented God as a woman, and the Holy Spirit as a woman, it is equally wrong to say a woman can be another Christ.

The false ones change what Jesus said, but no longer content with that, they now change who He is.

The only way to combat that in your own life is to know who He is. Read the word, that is where God revealed His Son to us, and it is the only place where we can be sure of the truth. The truth of who Jesus is is not contained in visions, nor dreams, nor other religions, but only in holy scripture.

And once you know who Jesus is, you can know who you are, and you won't be deceived by people coming along whispering ... 'I'm another Christ, let the men be damned'.

USA bad, puppies good: two postcards for sale in North Korea; earthquakes, Syria chemical weapons

Don't forget about North Korea. They still hate us.

Photo by David Guttenfelder, National Geographic

The scare of earlier this month seems to have died down. Only it hasn't, it just isn't being reported all that much. Goodness, the US media has the attention span of a gnat. Look, North Korea! Over there, Lindsey Lohan! Wait, the White House Correspondent's Dinner! Oy.

North Korea is still busy moving missiles, reports the UK Guardian.
"North Korea has moved two short-range missile launchers to its east coast, apparently indicating it is going ahead with preparations for a test launch, a South Korean news agency reported. Seoul and its allies have been expecting some sort of missile launch during weeks of heightened hostility on the Korean peninsula."
Sooo, China ordered more troops to the border of North Korea.
"China is reportedly beefing up its military presence on the North Korean border amid heightening tensions in the region. The troop mobilisation is said to be taking place along with deployment of dozens of tanks in the strategically important border region with North Korea, which is separated by the Yalu River. The Chinese military is on high alert over the ongoing tensions in the Korean Peninsula."
Just thought I'd let you all know that it is still going on over there. Lindsey Lohan notwithstanding.

This week there has been some reporting from main stream news outlets that Syria has used chemical weapons. However, those reports started leaking out a month ago. I reported on Israel's claim that chemical weapons were used in Syria back on March 19. Israel's claim got a huge ho-hum from the world. But now that a defected Syrian General is telling the world that he was ordered to use them, the world is being forced to face it. So the UN dips a toe and cautiously investigates. The US and UK are "treading cautiously."

Ignoring it, is my opinion. They went into Libya pretty fast, as I recall.

Joel C. Rosenberg reports that Israel is closing in on the end of their patience with Iran and their nuclear program. He wrote this week, "Close confidante of Netanyahu warns “it’s now or never” for military strike on Iran: Analysis." The article opens this way:
"Tzachi Hanegbi — a close, trusted, long-time personal friend and confidante of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – made remarks on Tuesday at a security conference in Tel Aviv that did not make news in the U.S. But they should have. Hanegbi explained that the time for sanctions and diplomacy and covert options to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat is over, and the time for Israel to use its military option has come. “It’s now or never,” said Hanegbi, ”and the option of never does not exist.”
However later, the guy was told to stay mum on all that. And that is the news from the 'epicenter'.

Speaking of earthquakes, I'd noticed that in previous years there had been a huge increase in quakes in the 6.0-6.9 magnitude. Then this year a severe drop-off. Since 2003, quakes in that magnitude had exceeded the United States Geological Survey's own annual average. See here:

The dearth of 6.0+ quakes has continued into 2013. I had wondered what was up. Apparently I was not the only one who wondered. This article's title poses quite the interesting conundrum:
A global murmur, then unusual silence
"In the global aftershock zone that followed the major April 2012 Indian Ocean earthquake, seismologists noticed an unusual pattern. The magnitude (M) 8.6 earthquake, a strike-slip event at intraoceanic tectonic plates, caused global seismic rates of M=4.5 to rise for several days, even at distances thousands of kilometers from the mainshock site. However, the rate of M=6.5 seismic activity subsequently dropped to zero for the next 95 days. This period of quiet, without a large quake, has been a rare event in the past century. So why did this period of quiet occur? In his research presentation, Fred Pollitz of the U.S. Geological Survey suggests that the Indian Ocean earthquake caused short-term dynamic stressing of a global faulting system. Across the planet, there are faults that are "close to failure" and ready to rupture. It may be, suggests Pollitz and his colleagues, that a large quake encourages short-term triggering of these close-to-failure faults but also relieves some of the stress that has built up along these faults."
Aha! We know from the bible that the earth will shake and totter continuously throughout the Tribulation. (Isaiah 24:20, Matthew 24:7). Upcoming earthquakes of increasing magnitude are prophesied to occur. For example, there will be one in Jerusalem that will kill 7,000. (Rev 11:13). A huge one will occur that is predicted in Revelation 6:12 that will submerge all islands and crumble all mountains. In between the earthquakes will continue in diverse places. (Luke 21:11).

All this speaks to the scientist's notion that the earth's quake faults are about to fail. It's because they are.

Pray, live for Christ, and look up, for our Redemption draweth nigh.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Discernment lesson: The sin of inaction

We know we sin. We sin all the time, every day. There is none who does good, no, not one. (Psalm 53:3, Romans 3:12).

The bible is the only reliable barometer for how to act. There are many explicit commands for do and don't, and some gray areas in the generalities which the Holy Spirit helps us with to interpret what to do in any given situation.

So when we sin, we repent to Jesus, our High Priest, (Hebrews 8:1) who makes intercession for us at the throne. (Romans 8:34). Jesus is faithful to forgive us and that is an amazing praise to His mercy and His glory.

However, failing to act is just as much of a sin as acting in the wrong. Both are sins and both need repentance. In both cases, failure to repent sears the conscience and we travel further away from Jesus. James 4:17 explains it ever so clearly:

"So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it,
for him it is sin."

Just in case someone out there wants to make a case that it doesn't mean what he thinks it means, Luke 12:47 follows it up, John 9:41 confirms it, and 2 Peter 2:21 cements the deal. Inaction is a sin. Gill's says it clearly:

"The omission of a known duty, as well as the commission of a known sin, is criminal."

MacArthur says there are three problems with the sin of omission as James outlined in verse 17. "...this is the sin of disobeying God's will. First, ignoring God's will...secondly, defying or denying His will and thirdly, disobeying it."


When we fail to do the good we know we must do it is actually disobeying God's will. The entire Word testifies to the danger and ruin that happens when people fail to perform God's will. Like Nike says, "Just do it," but in our flesh we don't. We delay, rationalize, ignore, or simply pretend that it's not our concern.

Barnes Notes explains the James verse:

"If he understands what his duty is; if he has the means of doing good to others; if by his name, his influence, his wealth, he can promote a good cause; if he can, consistently with other duties, relieve the distressed, the poor, the prisoner, the oppressed; if he can send the gospel to other lands, or can wipe away the tear of the mourner; if he has talents by which he can lift a voice that shall be heard in favor of temperance, chastity, liberty, and religion, he is under obligations to do it: and if, by indolence, or avarice, or selfishness, or the dread of the loss of popularity, he does not do it, he is guilty of sin before God."

I'm going to conjecture a bit here, but I can imagine what the congregation at Thyatira went through. Let's
look at the verse, one which I believe is a life action experience of what James was talking about. We find it in Revelation 2:20-21:

"But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality." (Revelation 2:20-21).

There's a lot going on here but mainly Jesus is condemning the people at Thyatira, an actual church of John's day, because they knew something was wrong in their church and they did not do anything about it- for a long time. See, all the time Jesus gave the false prophetess time to repent, He was giving His sheep time to address the problem.

I can imagine how hard it may have been for the people at Thyatira. The false prophetess may have been well-liked. Maybe she was very popular and loved and they thought that were doing the loving thing by not 'stirring up trouble' or 'making a controversy'. Perhaps she was well-connected and they did not want to infringe on the money flow, rationalizing that with the money, they could really do some good things. Perhaps they didn't know who should address the problem, or how, saying "I'm not a leader, I'm not an elder...it's someone else's God-given task to open this can of worms." Whatever the reason, the false prophetess had been around long enough to have birthed spiritual daughters. This means in my opinion that her false teaching was now infecting a second generation of foxlets, (Revelation 2:23) who were going out and carrying the seed of corruption with them.

Jesus charged the false prophetess but He also charged the people who knew she was teaching and doing wrong but failed to act.

Being tolerant is not loving- to JESUS. We tend to forget some important truths. First is this- no matter how much we love a person, we must love Jesus more. (Matthew 10:37). Love toward a fellow believer isn't the sole barometer for whether we act. It isn't even an important barometer for how or why we act. Jesus said we must love HIM MORE. When we act on behalf of Jesus at the seeming 'expense' of others, we are honoring Him by putting Him first. All good will flow from this. (Romans 8:28).

If we fail to act because we love that person more than Jesus, what we are actually doing is setting Jesus aside. All bad will come from that. Where Jesus is dishonored, He will do no mighty work there. (Mark 6:5).

So as hard as it may have been for the people at Thyatira to confront the false prophetess with her sin, it would have been much better to do so. If there is an issue in your church or in your family somewhere that needs addressing, or there is a false doctrine being accepted in your church, or the pastor or a leader is engaging in a gross ethical violation, whatever it is, and the person performing the sin is not addressing it, you must risk the confrontation.

Failure to do so actually encourages the wicked, (Ezekiel 13:22) and his sin of commission and your sin of omission combine to do an even darker work of evil. Ezekiel was warned about failing to do his duty. If Ezekiel had received a word from the LORD and failed to speak it, he was performing a sin of omission and he would be liable. (Ezekiel 3:16-21).

Paul discovered that a gross sin was being tolerated by the Corinthians and he laid into them, and said they ought to mourn and to confront the man performing the sin! (1 Corinthians 5:1-8).

We are not engaging in a right view of fellowship when we allow someone we love to continue in their sin. It is a wrong view of fellowship with each other but most importantly it is a wrong view of fellowship with the sweet Savior, who is the Head of the Church.

No one likes it, but we must risk the confrontation. Paul did, with Peter.

"But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned." (Galatians 2:11).

Paul loved Peter enough to understand that his own failure to confront his brother would lead to his brother's condemnation and leave blood on his own hands. Show no partiality. We must - in all meekness- look AT sin, not away from it, and lovingly call for repentance. And yes, it is our business:

Charles Spurgeon said,
"Did I not hear someone in the company say, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” I know that gentleman! I heard his voice years ago. His name is Cain and I have this to say to him—it is true that he is not his brother’s keeper, but he is his brother’s killer . Every man is either the keeper of his brother, or the destroyer of his brother! Soul-murder can be worked without an act or even a will—it can be and is constantly accomplished by neglect!"
Do not encourage the wicked, leave your brother condemned, and open a space for satan to waltz into. Instead, risk the confrontation, honor Jesus, retrieve your brother from condemnation, and reject the wicked. Operating within His will is always better!

Friday, April 26, 2013

The "God told me" crowd - satan's tares are doing very bad things to the church

Why did Paul so often tell his people to persevere? We often suppose that it was because of the persecution they were undergoing, and that is surely true. But there is another reason, also.

"It is so hard, to know - that's why the work of the church is difficult. The work of the church isn't difficult because of what Satan's doing in the world, it's difficult because of what Satan's doing in the church." ~John MacArthur, sermon, "The Faith that does NOT save".

Here is a biblical example of what satan is doing in the church- the Parable of the wheat and the tares

The Parable of the Weeds
"He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:24-30)

This is an amazing and potent parable. There are a lot of ways to go with looking deeply into this, but I'll restrain myself. The main thing is the obvious point: satan will steal into the kingdom of God by stealth and APPEAR to be wheat and not a weed. This will be a successful tactic until the harvest.

Therefore we can say that though some of the more obvious satanic tactics are destructive to the kingdom- such as Benny Hinn and Todd Bentley's false healings, and false teaching like Islam and Buddhism, the more destructive tactics use quiet, secrecy, and stealth. They closely match the true faith.

The more Christian-appearing the tactic, the more successful satan will be. Most of western Christianity is somnolent, like a satiated picnicer taking a nap in the summer sunshine. Just can't keep his eyes open.

John Singer Sargent: the Chess Game
Along those lines, I'd like to bring your attention to an excellent article by TA McMahon. It delves specifically into who and how the subtleties of satan are especially brought to the fore in the current Charismatic movement. The excesses of this movement are going to be addressed by the conference later this year called Strange Fire. The reasons we need to confront this strange fire movement of satan are spelled out here.

Meanwhile, this essay by Mr McMahon outlines just how devastating it is to our faith when we listen to people who CLAIM TO SPEAK FOR GOD.  He writes, "The root fallacy of the movement is the view of how one receives communication from God. ... in practice this false teaching elevates what (supposedly) God has spoken to them as equal to or above what is written in the Scriptures. It goes far beyond someone stating that he "believes" that the Lord has impressed something upon his heart."

To be clear, this is the crowd who says things like -

"God told me"
"God revealed to me"
"I have a word from Jesus"
"I had a vision and He said..."

John MacArthur says of this kind of activity:
"God told me . . . “ has be come the anthem of the Charismatic Movement. Strange private prophecies are proclaimed by all kinds of people who evidently believe God speaks to them. ... that the Bible is not our final source of God’s revelation but simply a “witness” to additional revelation that God is giving today. Williams is declaring that Christians can add to the Bible—and that they can accept others’ additions to Scripture as normal and conventional. He believes the Bible is a “model” for what the Holy Spirit is doing today to inspire believers."
Today's 'God told me' crowd includes Mark Driscoll, Beth Moore, Kim Walker Smith of the band Jesus Culture, Steven Furtick, Todd Burpo, Joyce Meyer and many others.

The impact of these direct revelation, Charismatic excesses can't be overstated. Please take a moment to read the article.

It begins this way:

They Claim to Speak for God (Part 1)
T. A. McMahon
"A very large part of Christendom in the United States is enamored with those who claim to speak for God. If you think that’s an overstatement, simply tune into some of the programing on Trinity Broadcasting Network or some of the other cable religious networks. What you will see are churches filled with thousands of Christians hanging on to every word of a man or a woman who is declaring what God has just revealed to him or her. The content ranges from the mundane to the bizarre. To some observers who are fairly well versed in the Scriptures, what they are hearing and seeing is laughable. But that's a tragic reaction by some who are forgetting that many of those being led astray by the so-called new prophets and apostles are their brothers and sisters in Christ."
"Not only is such a cavalier attitude wrong biblically, but it is extremely shortsighted and therefore blinds a person to the seductions and ultimate deceptions that are involved. In this series of articles we want to present a wider view of what's involved with those who "claim to speak for God," demonstrating that it's far more than a few delusional zealots but rather a host of men and women, ministries, and movements that have an agenda and methodologies, all of which are contrary to the Word of God."
The sad part is that today's "God told me" people are not just fringe Pentecostals but as you can see from  the above list, conservative evangelicals who should know better. Even sadder, the movement has swept up many multitudes of conservative youths too.

I'll end the same way I started, with the quote

"The work of the church isn't difficult because of what Satan's doing in the world ,it's difficult because of what Satan's doing in the church."

You can be a sleepy sunshine napper like this-

Thomas Mora Picnic, Wrentham, MA c. 1900
Or you can wake up, put on your armor, and look around, like this,

I am reminded of the song of Deborah. In Judges 5:12, Deborah incites Barak to carry off as his prey the captive Canaanites and their sheep and cattle-

“Awake, awake, Deborah! Awake, awake, break out in a song! Arise, Barak, lead away your captives, O son of Abinoam."

Gill's Exposition explains,

"Awake, awake, Deborah, awake, awake, utter a song, &c. Either perceiving some languor and remissness in her spirits, while she was delivering this song, and therefore arouses herself to attend to this service with more ardour and zeal; or rather finding herself more impressed with a sense of the great and good things the Lord had done for Israel, calls upon her soul to exert all its powers in celebrating the praises of the Lord, and therefore repeats the word awake so often as she does."

Be not languorous and accept the false teaching of the 'God told me' crowd! Be diligent to know your bible well enough to see the very 'fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel' on its glorious pages. Awake and arise!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The angel of the Lord encamps around you

Boy, the headlines are getting hard to read, aren't they? Not the articles, no, I dispensed with them long ago. But just headlines alone, are enough to make me shudder while my heart is breaking. So I quit that too.

Many people say to me they are ready to go. Even more say "not yet." But those who aren't ready to see Jesus aren't saying so because they want to witness to one more person...see their family saved...finish a mission. It's because they are attached to the world.

Don't be.

Look what the Lord our Holy God promises to us:

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
(Psalm 34:4-7)

Have you sought the Lord? The more you seek Him, the more you want Him. If you're feeling unsteady on your feet, or attached to the world, it may be because you have not sought the Lord.

And look what you get if you seek Him! He listens to you, answers, and delivers you from all your fears! Pretty good deal.

Looking to Him will make us radiant because He is the Light. Looking to the world will make your face dark. Your countenance will fall. (Genesis 4:5). But looking to the Light will make your face radiant, not the least reason is because you will have been delivered from all your fears. Sweet deal again.

The angel of the Lord is Jesus, most interpreters interpret. They say so because "The angel of the Lord speaks as God, identifies Himself with God, and exercises the responsibilities of God (Genesis 16:7-12; 21:17-18; 22:11-18; Exodus 3:2; Judges 2:1-4; 5:23; 6:11-24; 13:3-22; 2 Samuel 24:16; Zechariah 1:12; 3:1; 12:8). In several of these appearances, those who saw the angel of the Lord feared for their lives because they had “seen the Lord.” Therefore, it is clear that in at least some instances, the angel of the Lord is a theophany, an appearance of God in physical form."

What could be better than that? O, to be encircled by the protection and love of Jesus! Brother and sister, we have it. Look to Him and He will encamp around you.

Looking to the Lord and seeking Him means praying, reading the bible, attending worship, thinking about Him, singing praises to Him, following Him, and obeying Him, among other ways. Look to Him, He is your all in all.

Headlines are nothing. Jesus is everything.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A soldier's life: earth is our camp and we're homesick for home

What was life for a soldier during the Civil War in camp? Authors Brooke C. Stoddard and Daniel P. Murphy, Ph.D tell us-
Soldiers in the Civil War did not see battle every day, or even every week. Most were inactive about 75 percent of the time, thanks to the hurry-up-and-wait nature of warfare. During these down periods, the typical day started at 5 A.M. during the spring and summer months and 6 A.M. during the fall and winter. Soldiers were awakened by reveille, roll call was taken by the first sergeant, and then everyone sat down to breakfast.

Much of a soldier's life is waiting around for orders
During the rest of the day, soldiers engaged in as many as five two-hour drill sessions on weaponry or maneuvers. Most soldiers found these drills extremely boring and tedious; they wanted to fight, not practice, though they realized the drills could mean the difference between life and death when fighting did occur.

Soldiers also cleaned and readied the camp, built roads, dug latrines, gathered wood for cooking and heating, and sometimes foraged for food to supplement their meals. Letters from home kept them going.

[They engaged in] recreation to help them while away the rest of the hours. Those who were able wrote long letters home or read books, magazines, and newspapers when they could get them. Others played cards or engaged in various sports, such as baseball, boxing, and cockfighting.

Of all the hardships soldiers faced in camp, homesickness was probably the most rampant and difficult to cure.

It is the same for a Christian soldier. Exactly the same. We are all called to persevere in the battle, but the battle isn't always at the same pitch every day. While waiting for orders, we go to work, have leisure, engage in drills and practice (corporate worship, study, and prayer). We live for letters from home, which of course is the bible.

We're moms, dads, youths, and regular people, living a Christian life ... living in camp, joshing with other soldiers, cleaning our armor and longing for home, until called upon to launch into action. And do you know what that action is?

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:13)

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:4)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

We are not loudly pronouncing binding and loosing in Jesus's name in public places. We do not exorcise demons from every bush. We do not prayer walk a location to assess the enemy's capability. We do not map out the demonic strongholds in a place and gather to scream prophecies at them.

We pray, stand, and resist. We do this because our High Commander has won the battle. The battle is His.

Yes, earth is our camp and sometimes camp life is boring. Sometimes there is a long time between skirmishes and sometimes soldiers enter skirmishes that last a long time. It is an enduring and tiring war, outlasting our lifetimes, unless the Lord comes and raptures us. As President Abraham Lincoln said at the conclusion of the United States Civil War-
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Read that with understanding that when Lincoln says 'nation' we understand that nation to be the kingdom of God. Understand the soldiers who died and are buried here precede us in the long battle. And indeed, the world as Lincoln says, does not like what we do but they cannot ignore it and cannot forget it. We have a great task, and it is our measure of devotion to our Commander that these soldiers who went on before us have not died in vain and that one day, the kingdom of Jesus shall not perish from the earth but shall endure forever.

Will there be Christians saved after the rapture?

A question I'm asked quite often is "Will there be Christians after the rapture?" If the Holy Spirit is taken away from the earth, how will He draw men to salvation?

Lars Justinen, "Robe of Righteousness"

These are good questions and I'll do my best to offer scriptural answers.

The first basis to answer this is to understand that God has plans. I think we all agree on that. Jeremiah 29:11 reveals that God has plans for Israel. Isaiah 14:26 reveals that God uses nations to fulfill His plans. Amos 3:7 reveals that God has plans and that He reveals them to His prophets (and in the NT, through the Holy Spirit Who set them down in the bible).

photo credit: khalid almasoud via photopin cc
In addition, God's plans are different for His people & His nation Israel; and the church who is His bride. This is called dispensational biblical interpretation. You can read about this doctrine here in succinct fashion-

"What is dispensationalism and is it biblical?"

and here

"What are the seven dispensations?"

All it means is that God has different plans for Israel and the Bride. Ultimately however, His plans merge in general by His grande redemptive plan. No matter what dispensational epoch we lived in, we will all be trophies of His grace for all eternity. And how we all get there is the same (Old Testament believers from Adam, to Noah, to Moses to Abraham to Anna- through belief in and faith of the promise of a coming savior; for New Testament believers, from John and Peter, Mary, Paul, and on through to today's born again believers throughout the world, belief in and faith of the promise of an already risen savior).

Secondly you have to understand that the rapture will occur prior to what the Jews call the Time of Jacob's Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7) and known to New Testament believers via the Olivet Discourse Matthew 24 as the Tribulation and Great Tribulation. I am not going to argue this fact, it is explicitly and implicitly set out in scripture that this is so. I have written about it at least ten times on this blog. Search in the search box above for 'pre-trib' and many results will come up.

Once you understand that the Age of Grace in this dispensation will end with the rapture and then the tribulation begins, we also can go on with answering the post's main question. Will there be Christians after the rapture?

Yes. There will be Christians after the rapture.

Biblical proof of this is myriad. For example, Revelation 4:1 seems to be the pivot point in the Book's largely chronological unfolding of events. The first three chapters are letters to actual churches of John's day outlining praise and/or condemnation of their deeds. This section of Revelation is also a metaphor for believers in days of yore and us today in church, as to what Jesus will praise or condemn in our corporate worship life. As we begin Revelation 4:1 we read from then on, 'These are things which will take place after'. By Revelation 5, the seals are about to be opened and we are told, gloriously

“Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5)

In Revelation 6, when He opened the fifth seal unleashing the wrath of God, we read:
"I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been."
Those who were slain for God and their witness are Christians. They are not Christians from the Age of Grace because the Christians were raptured before the beginning of the Tribulation. These are souls who had come to saving knowledge of Jesus as Savior afterwards. How do I know this? Because all Christians were raptured prior to the wrath. The Bride is not appointed to wrath. (1 Thessalonians 5:9). The wrath begins in Revelation 6:1.

Another question that is asked is, how did they become Christians after the rapture if the Restrainer had been removed? This question is in reference to 2 Thessalonians 2:6. The Restrainer mentioned here is the Holy Spirit. One of His ministries is to restrain the devil in raising up the man of sin before his time.

MacArthur explains,
So he says to the Thessalonians...you know this, you know that there is a force, a supernatural force that keeps Satan from doing what he would otherwise want to do. Listen, you think the world is bad now, you haven't seen anything yet. Fortunately if you know Christ you won't see it, but in the day of the Lord when the restrainer is gone and all hell breaks loose, the world will see what happens when God does not restrain Satan in his plans.
In Genesis chapter 6 there is an important verse, verse 3, "Then the Lord said, My Spirit shall not strive with man forever." What you have here is a concept. The Holy Spirit battling against wicked men. And God says My Spirit isn't going to do that forever. My Spirit isn't going to fight your wickedness forever. It wasn't long until He drown them all, right? And I think you have there the work of the Holy Spirit that is a restraining work. The Holy Spirit was battling against the flood of wickedness in the ancient world. In Acts chapter 7, one other verse that shows us the Spirit's ministry in this kind of area. In Acts 7:51, "You men who are stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit." Now here again [in 2 Thessalonians 2:6] you have the Holy Spirit battling against sin, battling against iniquity, battling against evil, trying to restrain, as John tells us, to convict in John 16. (more here)
photo credit: Viqi French via photopin cc
So the Christians who are part of the Bride are whisked away before the wrath begins. Christians who come to faith after wards are not part of the Bride though they are appointed to eternity as well. The man of Sin is unveiled and the total saturating sin as it was in the Days of Noah repeat, (Dan 9:24) except worse. Yet Christians still come to saving faith. That is because though the restrainer is not holding back sin nor the man of sin any more he is still drawing men.

God supernaturally seals 144,000 super evangelists (Revelation 7:1-8) and by Revelation 9, a great multitude of the redeemed are standing before the throne and praising Him!

God also sends an angel flying at mid-heaven to pronounce the Gospel (Revelation 7:6) and the result is that by Revelation 7:12 there are saints enduring in the faith.

None of this would be possible if the Spirit had not drawn them. (John 6:44, John 6:65). Even during the Tribulation the Father, the Son and the Spirit are working in perfect unity to perform His plan and to redeem trophies of grace for His glory!

Finally, of course there are Christians who come to faith after the rapture, because it is those believers who are alive - in the flesh- and left upon the earth who enter the Millennial Kingdom. GotQuestions explains,
Matthew 25:31-46 is another passage that should be considered. This passage is commonly called the separation or judgment of the sheep and the goats. The sheep and goats refer to righteous and unrighteous Gentiles. Christ will judge the unrighteous Gentiles (goats), and they will be cast into the lake of fire for eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46). Therefore, no unbelieving Gentile will survive to live on into the millennial kingdom. The righteous Gentiles, or sheep, will live on into the millennial kingdom. Read more
The Lord our God is a God of steadfastness to His persecuted ones. He sent His Son to be persecuted and die for our iniquities, and thus the finished work of His salvation to the elect was completed when God exhausted His wrath in Jesus.

The Holy Spirit continues to draw all those people whom God had written in the Lamb's Book of Life before the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8, 1 Peter 1:20, Matthew 25:34). No matter when a believer lived or will live, in the Garden in the Age of Innocence, the Age of Conscience which was pre-flood, the Age of Human Government which was post flood, Age of Abraham and the Promise, during the Age of Law with Moses, the Age of Grace which is the Bride, or the Millennial Age to come, if your name is in the Lamb's Book of Life you are His trophy of grace and will never be set aside, lost or otherwise disowned.

As Paul says in Romans 8:23,
"And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."
So yes, Christians will come to faith after the rapture, as they will also in the Millennium age after that. What a wonderful eternity we will have, sharing and listening to the stories of His graceful redemption of humans throughout the ages, all the while praising the Holy Spirit who worked throughout to draw men unto the God of Salvation! (Hosea 13:4)

Lars Justinen, "Robe of Righteousness"

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Removing ads from Facebook and Youtube, and profanity filter

If you are like me, appealing to the Spirit for ever more sanctification, this will mean that you are increasingly sensitive to the things of the world being evil and eternities apart from God's holy standard. I can't think of what it must have been like for Jeremiah or Paul to endure seeing and being around evil every day. Paul was upset a lot of the time, and Jeremiah simply wept. How about Jesus, who was totally holy and sinless, being amid all the earth's sin! Ow! What He endured for us!

In my own way, I also am aggrieved by sin. I hate seeing profanity, looking at television commercials that are licentious even if the program I'm watching is clean. Facebook and Youtube have become crowded with ads that are sometimes not too healthy to see. Though I'm careful to follow clean speaking people on Twitter, occasionally they will retweet something that has a curse word in it. It is all the more starkly vivid for having been absent from my life. It's jarring when you see or hear those words. So what to do?

Greasemonkey. In the web browser Firefox, there is an add-on you can enable which will allow you to customize web pages to your liking, as long as you can find the script someone has written who feels the same as you. Apparently, a lot of people felt the same as I do about Facebook ads and Youtube ads, because there were a lot of scripts some people had written that wiped out the ads on both those pages. Simply adding greasemonkey does not stop the ads, it only provides the platform for adding scripts which will do that job for you.

Here is how to do it-

1. In Firefox, search for and then add-on "greasemonkey"
2. Restart Firefox
3. See monkey icon on top menu bar. Click once to see the drop down menu. Choices are 'greasemonkey options, 'manage scripts', 'get new script', 'web sites' etc.
4. Click on "web sites'
5. This will take you to Greasemonkey's website, userscripts.org. From there you can search for scripts that other people have written which customize web pages in some way. Search for Youtube no ads, or Facebook no ads, whatever you want.
6. Of the search results, look at the reviews. I tend to like 4 and 5 star reviews. Once you find one that is satisfactory to you,
7. Click on 'source code' at the top of the page, which will bring you to the page of the actual script
8. Copy the script
9. Go back to Greasemonkey icon
10. Click on the monkey and click on "new user script"
11. A pop up will come up, allowing you to name it. I named mine No ads Facebook HA HA HA. Lol. Then at the bottom of the popup it asks "add from clipboard? and say yes.
12. That is it! The script is now installed. The next time you go to your website that you just customized, it should be working. I have been ad-free on FB and Youtube for two days now and it is a relief!

It literally only took me half an hour from not knowing Greasemonkey existed to having installed three new scripts and no more ads.

As for the profanity filter, that took a little tweaking because of the unintended consequence. LOL. Get this- I was happy knowing I was not going to see any more profanity. Then I went to the John MacArthur Grace to You page to listen to a devotional about the use of the word raca in Matthew 5:22. It was titled "*** and the Name Caller." Huh? Oh, I get it, the word the asterisks were blotting out was hell.

It turned out that hell is used a lot in my own writing (which the profanity filter blotted out,) and on others' Christian websites, not as a curse but when using the word to describe the place. I went back into the userscript, found the word hell that it was banning, and deleted it fromthe script. Problem solved.

Except not.

Later, I was googling "clean television shows" and one result popped up in someone's recommended list that looked like this

"The *** Van *** Show"


Oh, I get it. Dick Van Dyke. Hm, two more banned words in the script, apparently. HA HA I found a clean tv show that my profanity filter wouldn't spell out the title of. Irony!

Oh well, still needs tweaking I guess. Obviously there are two meanings to some words that can be used as a curse. If this gets too onerous I can edit the script. Other than that, so far so good!

I had mentioned this on my Facebook account and others had asked me to explain how I did it so I thought maybe here also would be a help to someone. I think you can use greasemonkey with Safari and one or two other browsers, but not Chrome. You can look it up.

I have seen no ads on FB nor Youtube since I installed it and I could no be happier. Oh, eventually FB and YT will likely write a script of their own to get ads back in, and then some layperson will write another script getting around that and post it. But maybe we will be raptured by then and never have to deal with unholiness again! Hey, a gal can hope...

Monday, April 22, 2013

"The need for Discernment", Average Us, Glenn Beck

So sorry for the short blog today. I am in the middle of something and I can't concentrate on anything else right now...again, apologies. Here is a starter paragraph from Mike Gendron at Proclaiming the Gospel. It is an excellent essay. I recommend reading the entire piece.

The Need for Discernment
Written by Mike Gendron on 18 April 2013.

"When asked, "What will be the signs of your return?', the Lord Jesus mentioned several signs, but he repeated one sign three times. There will be false teachers, false prophets and false Christs who will deceive even the elect if possible (Mat. 24:4,11,24). Knowing this we must examine everything carefully so that we can hold fast to that which is good and abstain from every form of evil (1 Thes. 5:21). We need to identify and expose religious leaders who are servants of the devil carrying out his goal is to deceive the world (2 Cor. 11:13-15)."

more at link.

Here is a new blog I've found which I like very much. It is called Average Us. Recent entries have been
--Why Pastors Shouldn’t Teach Tithing">Why Pastors Shouldn’t Teach Tithing
--Why People Hate
--Fourteen Reasons Hell Scares Me

Glenn Beck fulfilled his promise to go public with an angle to the Boston Marathon bombing, which he had stated would have the potential to bring down the United States because of a massive coverup. He updated it here with more details. I admire Mr Beck;s fervency in love for our country and doing all he can to bring truth tot he public. I remind Christians however (and Mr Beck is a Mormon, and thus not a Christian) that our home is heaven, and undue national fervency over our nation is unwarranted. We love America, but we love our heavenly home more. Which nation are we doing more for? Please don't get wrapped up in details of government conspiracies and coverups. They exist. But the truth is ever harder to find with a compliant media and because of the days in which we live. One cold go crazy trying to get to the bottom of a quicksand pit, all the while taking our eyes off Jesus and what we should be doing for HIS kingdom.

"Stating heresy IS the heresy"

I put the title in quotes because I read that sentence this week on a blog somewhere. It is so true. (I wish I could remember who wrote that, because I'd give full credit!)

Today, even 'daring' to point out heresy makes me the heretic; I'd like to share a comment on a older essay that I received last night and my response. It is a conversation that is becoming all too common these days.

I had written a series about the modern-day Gnostics, people who claim to have ecstatic experiences with the Jesus of heaven in their bathroom, living room, bar, car, zoo or any other place, and ascribe to Him and/or the Spirit something that He would not say or do. However, many people are not only believing these experiences on its surface, with no scriptural checking, they seek after and find their own experiences. They claim the experiences are as good as or better than scripture. This is dangerous. Once satan unhitches you from checking these things against scripture, you're a sitting duck for his wiles. Remember, you're no match for satan, he is the craftiest creature in the Garden. (Genesis 3:1-2).

Here is what the commenter said:
the only falsehood idea i see is your own these people have a love for god that you people would not understand how dare you judge them for thier love of christ the fruit of what they are doing is bringing them to christ how dare you judge them like the pharisee did to jesus christ you are the ones that will be called to account for your actions against your fellow
See? It is heretical these days to say that any person's "experience" checked against scripture and coming up short, is in fact the heresy, not the other way around. Here is my reply:
Fervency does not equal salvation. Even the demons believe- and tremble (James 2:19). Actually, they are further along than the Gnostics, because with their alleged experiences of 'hanging out' with Jesus, they don't even tremble!

Simon the Magician SAID he loved God, even followed Philip for a long time, fooling even Philip, who had baptised Simon! (Acts 8:1-25)

I am NOT judging them like Jesus judged the Pharisees. Judgment to the eternal fire only belongs to Christ. However, I AM judging their doctrine, matching up what they say against the bible. That is something John definitely says to do-

"Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”" ESV

The NLT says, "Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.""

Your condemnation of me urges me to judge by appearances, but that is not biblical. So, how does one judge righteously? But comparing what they say and do to scripture. We can detect fruit, the fruit of the Gnostics is bad, coming from a bad tree. Just because someone says they love Jesus, does not mean they do.

Paul called many to account, so did Peter, John,etc. Failing to hold so-called believers to the holy standard is unloving.

Here is an essay written by Pastor Paul which speaks to the issue. He begins it this way:

" Evil Becoming More Evil "
"Wouldn't it be great if we could just throw open our arms and embrace anyone and everyone who claimed to be Christian. It should be like that but most of us know it isn't. So many people who claim to be Christian are stating their family tradition and not their personal relationship with Jesus. They haven't a clue what it is to live in the Spirit or to have anything to do with God except when they are in some kind of trouble. Even then the name of Jesus is used more as an exclamation than a plea for help. ... This is vital for us so we do not allow ourselves to be enticed away by those who claim Jesus but don't live Jesus. Paul warned Timothy:"

But evil people who pretend to be what they are not will become worse than ever, as they fool others and are fooled themselves. (2 Timothy 3:13)

Heed the warnings in the bible. Don't fall for the notion that stating heresy IS the heresy. Honor Jesus by being a Berean and looking into these things.

It is becoming such a problem, that John MacArthur, Phil Johnson, Conrad Mbewe, RC Sproul, Steve Lawson, and Nathan Busenitz organized a second Master's Seminary conference to specifically address these exact issues. It is called "Strange Fire" because when someone accepts false experiences as real, or touts their own false experiences as from the Spirit when they are not from the Spirit, ti is akin to offering strange fire before the LORD.

I encourage you to go to the website and learn more about the conference, go here to find links all together in one place, or go here, where there is a thoroughly scriptural explanation as to why they plan to "Confront the Charismatic Movement."

Are YOU offering strange fire before the LORD?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Martyr Moment

I am reading Foxe's Book of Martyrs. According to this summary from Christian Book Summaries,

Wiki photo of John Foxe, 1517-1587
Writing in the mid-1500s, John Foxe was living in the midst of intense religious persecution at the hands of the dominant Roman Catholic Church. In graphic detail, he offers accounts of Christians being martyred for their belief in Jesus Christ, describing how God gave them extraordinary courage and stamina to endure unthinkable torture.

From the same link, the book's purpose was fourfold:
  • Showcase the courage of true believers who have willingly taken a stand for Jesus Christ throughout the ages, even if it meant death,
  • Demonstrate the grace of God in the lives of those martyred for their faith,
  • Expose the ruthlessness of religious and political leaders as they sought to suppress those with differing beliefs,
  • Celebrate the courage of those who risked their lives to translate the Bible into the common language of the people.
 James, Timon, Parmenas, and Philip

James the son of Zebedee and Salome was the elder brother of the Apostle John. He was the first of the 12 Apostles to be martyred (Acts 12:2). His martyrdom may have been a fulfillment of what Jesus foretold about him in and his brother John (Mark 10:39).

It was ten years after the death of Stephen that the second martyrdom took place; for no sooner had Herod Agrippa been appointed governor of Judea, than, with a view to ingratiate himself with them, he raised a sharp persecution against the Christians, and determined to make an effectual blow by striking at their leaders. The account given us by an eminent primitive writer, Clemens Alexandrinus, ought not to be overlooked. As James was led to the place of martyrdom, his extraordinary courage impressed one of his captors to such a degree, that he fell on his knees before the Apostle, asked his forgiveness, and confessed he was a Christian too.

He said that James ought not to die alone, whereupon they were both beheaded.

Thus did the first apostolic martyr cheerfully and resolutely receive that cup, which he had told our Savior he was ready to drink. Two of the seven deacons, Timon and Parmenas suffered martyrdom about the same time; the one at Philippi, and the other in Macedonia. These events took place A.D. 44.

Ten years later, Apostle Philip is said to have been scourged, thrown into prison, and crucified at Hieropolis in Phyrigia.

Please pray for our brothers and sisters today enduring prison, beatings, and executions for the name of Jesus.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Is Israel Hiding a Major Bible Era Find?

I had noted previously that there seemed to have been a LOT of biblical-era finds this month

--Mysterious stone structure at the bottom of the Sea of Galilee
--Rare 2,000-Year-Old Mikveh Uncovered in Jerusalem
--Archaeologists in Iraq find ancient complex near Ur, home of biblical Abraham
--Well-Preserved Wine-Making Facility Found in Southern Israel

The links to each one of those above are at the main link above. Now this from Arutz Sheva / Israel National News, and I'm posting this article in full.
Is the State Hiding a Major Bible Era Find?
Makor Rishon says authorities are keeping lid on what may be a royal castle from David's time.
For unknown reasons, Israeli authorities are keeping lid on an archaeological find that may turn out to be a royal castle from David's time, reports Makor Rishon newspaper.

According to the paper, the site was identified by Binyamin Tropper, of the Kfar Etzion Field School. As he descended into a cave in the area of southern Jerusalem, he identified what professionals know as "a proto-aeolic capital" connected to a column.

The capital – which is the decorated stone at the head of an ancient column – dates back to the Biblical era, according to Field School Director Yaron Rosental. Only 30 such capitals have been found in Israel so far, and only five of them were found in areas in which Biblical-era kings lived.

Unlike all of the other proto-aeolic capitals found in Israel – this one is not separate from the column but connected to it.

"For reasons that are not completely clear," the newspaper writes, "several authorities in Israel have decided to silence the find, which may mark a breakthrough in the perception of the period of King David and his son, Shlomo [Solomon], and of the entire Judean kingdom.

The capital "apparently indicates that an entire temple of castle is buried beneath it," the newspaper adds. However, when Rosental contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority to inform them of the find, the person he spoke to simply said – "Yaron, good for you. You found it, but we already are aware of it. Now forget about the whole thing and keep your mouth shut."

Rosental said that he later found out that the IAA had known about the side for 18 months. He said that no digging has taken place since then, and that even steps like cordoning off the area to prevent damage to the rare find, have not been taken.

Rosental calls this "a scandal" but says that no less worrisome is that the state appears to have plans to move the separation fence between Israel and the PA in a way that will leave the site in the PA's hands,

According to Rosental, excavation of the site has potential for uncovering a complete castle from the Judean kings' period, for the first time ever. "We appear to have a complete castle here," he said. "Those who came after it did not know of its existence." The details found inside could be "amazing."

The IAA confirmed to Makor Rishon that the find is an important one that appears to date to the period of Judean kings. However, the IAA added, the subject is "sensitive" and "requires serious and responsible handing."

The IDF said that it offered the IAA "the full assistance needed" in order to remove the capital and column from the site.
If you can believe it, "there are still, to this day, raging debates between the school of archeologists who claim there was a great Jewish dynasty begun by David and Solomon, and the school that doubts there ever really existed two people by those names," reports the Jewish Press on this archaeological find.

However the Jewish Press also asks this question- "The question is, based on their track record, how respectful would the future owners of the area, the PA [Palestinian Authority], of a site that could prove beyond doubt that it used to belong to a Jewish empire – the very empire the PA officially says never existed."

I think all this is highly interesting. When confronted with truth, they suppress it, not just in their minds but actively on the earth.

From GotQuestions regarding archaeology
"Many secular archaeologists used to say that David was a legendary figure, on par with King Arthur, rather than a historical king. That is, until they found the Tel Dan Stela, a basalt stone dating from the 9th century B.C. bearing David’s name and identifying him as king of Israel. Thus, up until the stela was found, archaeology did not overtly support the Bible’s references to David. But, eventually, it was proved that God’s Word was true all along. David was a real person who was king of Israel, and archaeological naysayers turned out to be wrong.

"Many more archaeological discoveries have substantiated events and people in the Bible. Egypt’s invasion of Israel (1 Kings 14:25); the Assyrian siege of Lachish (2 Kings 18-19); the trade relations between Israel and Sheba (1 Kings 10); the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem; and the reigns of Kings Omri, Ahab, Uzziah, Hezekiah, Ahaz, Jeroboam II, and Jehoiachin (1 and 2 Kings) have all been confirmed by archaeology. And the previously mentioned Dead Sea Scrolls, the discovery of which was one of the most significant of the 20th century, are decisive proof of the reliability of the Bible’s manuscripts."
And this also--
"It is archaeological evidence that provides the best possible physical information on the life and times of the ancients. When proper scientific methods are applied to the excavation of ancient sites, information emerges that gives us a greater understanding of the ancient peoples and their culture and proofs that validate the biblical text. Systematic recordings of these findings, shared with experts worldwide, can give us the most complete information on the lives of those who lived in Bible times. Christian archaeology is just one of the tools scholars can use to present a more complete defense of the biblical narrative and the gospel of Jesus Christ. Often, when sharing our faith, we are asked by non-believers how we know the Bible is true. One of the answers we can give is that, through the work of Christian archaeologists, many of the facts of the Bible have been validated."

Earthquakes this week (UPDATED)

Update, adding one more that happened overnight.
Between April 13 and April 21st there have been 8 9 major quakes (as defined by USGS, quakes above 6.0 magnitude)

2013/04/21 Mag 6.1 IZU ISLANDS, JAPAN REGION
2013/04/20 Mag 6.1 KURIL ISLANDS
2013/04/20 Mag 6.6 WESTERN SICHUAN, CHINA
2013/04/19 Mag 6.0 EAST OF THE KURIL ISLANDS
2013/04/19 Mag 7.2 KURIL ISLANDS
2013/04/13 Mag 6.0 VANUATU

Note- I didn't put all the Kuril Islands quakes marked as a dot because some overlaid each other. I just wanted you to get a rough idea as to where these quakes occurred.

Abba, Father! Crying out to God for the LITTLE things

God provides. He provides the big things. He provided a way to heaven through His Son Jesus Christ for all who would believe. He provides the Holy Spirit to indwell us and help us resist sin. He provides good gifts of the spirit to edify the body and grow in faith. He provides patience in between the time we sin and fail to repent. He provides the earth to live on.

He also provides the lesser things but which are still important, like food and clothing. He said, "Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?" (Matthew 6:26)

Even during the Exodus when the Israelites were marching hither and yon for 40 years, His observance of each person was so detailed, He saw to it that their clothes didn't even wear out and their feet didn't swell or get blisters! (Deuteronomy 8:4).

I had three needs this week. I am extremely frugal with my supply and I dearly attempt to shepherd it well so that the Lord would be pleased. I have little to none left over for personal things.

Earlier this week I said "I need a frame to put this sketch in." A dear friend had sketched for me a biblical scene of the lion and the lamb. It is a fitting artistic rendering because I have an issue with pictures of Jesus. I wanted to put it into a frame but I didn't have any.

Later in the week I said, I am getting low on tee shirts. The weather is warming up and over the winter I'd forgotten I had gotten low on shirts. You know how they get stained or worn or just to small. (That blasted dryer shrinks 'em! ;) I wear them under other shirts in ensuring modesty. Necklines these days are atrociously low. So I wear smaller tee shirts underneath.

Yesterday I said "I need some books..." I have had opportunity to obtain some theological books, and I study those. But the books I meant are the kind where you go outside onto the patio and read a summer potboiler to unwind in the afternoon. I don't like to watch television because the shows are so terrible and even if a show is clean, the ads are awful. I've had a hard time finding clean, good, interesting movies on Netflix. A quiet evening reading is what I had been longing for but haven't had because I've read all my books on the shelf.

So the other day I receive a Facebook message from a local artist. She said "Hey, I still have your artwork here, can you come pick it up?"

Six years ago I participated in a gallery show, and some of my art work was hung. I had forgotten ALL about the pieces I had installed there. I went to pick up the things and there were half a dozen pieces of large and small size, including some I will use for re-framing the piece my friend gave me. Six years is a long time and out of the blue the message came- and suddenly there are frames I can re-use. Wow. Six years.

The gallery was also holding an indoor yard sale, something I'd never have known since I don't travel to that side of town, ever. At the sale there were paperback books for a quarter. I bought three. And also there were tee shirts, $1 each. I bought four.

So for five dollars I had all three needs met.

I am not saying God is a genie who responds to wishes, He doesn't. He is the sovereign and holy God who does what He wills. I didn't "sow a seed" like Jentezen Franklin says to do. I hadn't 'expected' him to 'do great things' in my life as Joyce Meyer tells her audiences. I did not "declare" things to come to pass as Joel Osteen teaches.

I pray to the Lord, read His word, worship Him corporately and privately. I talk to Him, sing to Him, think about Him, thank him, and follow Him. I obey Him too. I have a living and active relationship with Him, and I think it's a close one, because after all, He is my everything.

Now, prayer is an obedient act of dependence on God. Therefore I pray for the big things, salvation, intercession, repentance for others and forgiveness for myself. I pray for the little things too. Didn't He not say "pray in this way"..."Give us this day our daily bread"? (Luke 11:3). The things I'd needed were small needs, and not completely necessary to my life or well-being, but they are in a way part of my daily bread- clean entertainment that's God-honoring, clothing that helps me remain dressed modestly, and framing a gift an artist had drawn that is not an idol but a representation of Him as Lamb of God and Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Bread isn't just food but things that help us in our daily needs.

God does manage provision in our lives down to smallest of details. The Lord provides. After all, He kept the clothing of 3 million Jews from wearing out, for 40 years. His eye was on the threads and straps and sandals of each person! He is a great and mighty God, but He is also our Father. My dad, Abba!

Jesus called God 'Abba'-
"Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will." (Mark 14:36)

The Holy Spirit cries out to God as Abba-
"Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." (Galatians 4:6)

We who are His children by adoption call out Abba, too!
"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15)

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 ...