December 2014 archives of www.christconnection.net down below
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2014
SEEKING A SPOUSE
Divorcees often write wanting me to validate that they bear no guilt or blame for the divorce: that they were "right" and their spouse was "wrong".
I'm not here to judge or condemn anyone.
And ONE PARAGRAPH does not tell me the whole story of what really went on between you and your wife, or between you and your husband, day in and day out.
However, I am here to help.
If, indeed, she was a domineering woman, who always wanted to get "her way" and step all over you, then she bears AT LEAST PART OF the blame.
The SAME GOES FOR HIM, if he exhibited those traits.
They often complain that, after divorce, their spouse immediately shacked up with someone else, neglected the children, or went "into the bar scene",which indicates that he or she probably ISN'T Christian.
Born-again believers have AS MUCH BUSINESS MARRYING UNBELIEVERS, as Jesus marrying Satan.
Paul says, clear as crystal, NOT TO BE "unequally yoked" with unbelievers as THERE CANNOT BE ANY FELLOWSHIP BETWEEN LIGHT AND DARKNESS (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).
You CAN'T POSSIBLY SAY IT any clearer.
While this covers ALL FORMS OF human fellowship, it PARTICULARLY APPLIES TO MARRIAGE, which is THE MOST BINDING, CONSEQUENTIAL, AND INTIMATE FORM OF human fellowship.
Our PERSONAL COMMUNION with Christ is THE most important relationship we will ever have - bar none.
Therefore, if you CANNOT SHARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON IN YOUR LIFE -- your own commitment to Christ -- with your spouse, you're ASKING FOR TROUBLE - RIGHT FROM THE START.
If he or she DOESN'T BELIEVE the Bible is the INSPIRED, INERRANT Word of God, you haven't got a chance.
If he or she belongs to a so-called "Christian" CULT (Mormon, Church of God, Church of Christ, Jehovah's Witnesses, Christian Science, Seventh Day Adventist, etc.), you stand to have as much happiness as if you married the devil himself.
While marrying a BORN-AGAIN Christian is NO GUARANTEE of a perfect marriage, of lasting happiness, or that IT WON'T END IN DIVORCE, it's FAR BETTER than marrying an unbeliever, and you stand A MUCH BETTER chance of having a lasting, relatively happy marriage.
In divorce there's usually plenty of "blame" ON BOTH SIDES.
My advice is: STOP assigning "BLAME" TO ANYONE.
That WON'T SOLVE ANYTHING.
You're divorced. You're probably better off, since you shouldn't have married him or her to begin with.
Forgive her or him. Then FORGIVE YOURSELF.
ACCEPT IT. DEAL WITH IT. AND MOVE ON.
LET IT GO!
Jesus DOESN'T WANT US TO LIVE IN CONDEMNATION OR CHAINED TO OUR "PAST" (and, believe me, we ALL have a "past").
He wants you to enjoy the FREEDOM OF THE SPIRIT, enjoy your relationship WITH HIM, and MOVE FORWARD.
Divorcees are often marginalized and treated as "second rate" Christians by the religious establishment.
If you are born-again, I want to ASSURE YOU that Jesus HAS FORGIVEN YOU.
He will NEVER rub your divorce in your face. NEVER!
And that IN CHRIST there's no "second rate" ANYTHING.
Jesus LOVES YOU just as much as He loves any of His children.
If you want a happy marriage -- should the Lord tarry much longer, which I doubt - and regardless of whether you're seeking a mate for the first time or after divorce...
A GOOD MARRIAGE BEGINS by YOU having a solid, deep and ever-deeper spiritual relationship with Christ.
And by INVOLVING His HOLY Spirit and His Word in EVERY major decision you make.
... Including THE SELECTION OF your spouse.
Not only will that make YOU a better husband or wife, it will give you the Wisdom and necessary guidance in choosing a partner FOR LIFE.
Grace and Peace be with you.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2014
Everything in Eden was great until that dumb Eve ate the forbidden fruit and gave it to her husband, right?
Let me tell you WHAT REALLY HAPPENED in Eden:
There was NO ONE LIKE Adam on earth.
Adam was ALONE (all one) and sought HUMAN company (Genesis 2:20).
God took a cell out of Adam and cloned a feminine Adam (Genesis 2:22).
Their original names, before they became known as Adam and Eve, were Ish and Isha (Genesis 2:23).
Adam was INITIALLY happy to have company.
Here's what made him UNHAPPY:
"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; MALE AND FEMALE created he them. And God blessed them, and God said TO THEM, BE FRUITFUL, AND MULTIPLY, and REPLENISH THE EARTH, AND SUBDUE IT: AND HAVE DOMINION OVER the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth" (Genesis 1:27-28).
Adam had not factored in the dominion part. He wanted the Godhood and Dominion ALL TO HIMSELF.
He didn't mind having THE COMPANY OF another human (who was MADE OF him).
But he had gotten used to EXERCISING ALL THE DOMINION over this earth (Genesis 2:19-20).
He was unwilling to share that dominion EVEN WITH HIS OWN FEMININE SELF, who was now present in a different body.
Adam was especially UNHAPPY when, as Ish and Isha, he and Eve immediately began reproducing sons of God, not in the flesh, but IN SPIRIT (Job 1:6; Luke 20:36; Romans 8:14,19).
Now he would have to share dominion of the earth, not only with Isha, but WITH ALL OF THEM.
Those "sons of God" later became (unfortunately), the nephillim ("fallen ones") mentioned in Genesis chapter 6.
That's WHY Adam DIDN'T instruct Eve.
That's WHY he INTENTIONALLY KEPT KNOWLEDGE FROM HER.
That's why he ALLOWED HER to be deceived by Satan.
He wanted to sabotage her and prove that Eve was INFERIOR and UNFIT TO RULE, so he could go back to having ALL the dominion on earth TO HIMSELF.
That's WHY Eve misquoted the Word to Satan (Genesis 3:3).
She HAD NOT BEEN PROPERLY INSTRUCTED by her selfish husband. (And you wonder WHY I so love Scripture today?)
That's WHY Satan WAS ABLE TO deceive her: because SELFISH Adam DIDN'T TELL her that she, too, was God.
So, she bought THE LIE that God was "separate" and UNREACHABLE UNLESS she took matters into her own hands (Genesis 3:4).
That's how Satan deceived her into THINKING that GOD was withholding something good and desirable from her, when in reality, IT WAS ADAM who was WITHHOLDING IT.
And what, precisely, did Satan tempt her with?
The very same KNOWLEDGE that Adam - ON PURPOSE - had kept hidden from her (Genesis 3:5-6).
That's WHY Adam just STOOD THERE and said nothing, and ALLOWED Satan to deceive Eve.
The Bible says he was STANDING RIGHT THERE WATCHING and HEARING what was going on -- with ALL THE POWER ON EARTH to vanish that creep into oblivion -- YET ALLOWED HIM TO DECEIVE the woman --- ON PURPOSE!!! (Genesis 3:6)
He WANTED HER TO FAIL.
He wanted to PROVE her DISOBEDIENT, DISLOYAL and UNWORTHY of the Godhood and Dominion that had been given her, so he could HAVE the whole earth TO HIMSELF.
Adam COULD HAVE BEEN THE FIRST perfected human.
He WAS NOT DECEIVED as Eve was (1 Timothy 2:14).
Even AFTER Eve ate the pomegranate, Adam WAS STILL SINLESS -- EXACTLY as Jesus was in His human form.
NOT PERFECT, BUT SINLESS.
Actually, BETTER off, because Adam still had the glory. Jesus HAD TO take it off.
Jesus, being 100% God, had to strip Himself of His glory and, BEING SINLESS, appear on this earth AS just another FALLEN human.
Adam COULD HAVE died for Eve back then, redeemed her, become perfected in Love, and PUT A STOP to sin RIGHT AT THE START -- STOPPED IT RIGHT ON ITS TRACKS --and AVOIDED these 6,000 years of SENSELESS SUFFERING and earthly misery.
But that would have taken him back to square one: sharing dominion of the planet with her, who was taken OUT OF him.
So he REFUSED TO redeem her.
It's bad enough he DIDN'T instruct her.
It's bad enough that he DIDN'T protect her.
That having ALL THE AUTHORITY ON EARTH AND KNOWING FULL WELL WHAT WAS GOING ON -- he ALLOWED Satan to deceive her, and DIDN'T STOP HIM from lying, NOR STOP HER from eating the freakin' fruit.
He made it even worse by eating THE FREAKIN' FRUIT HIMSELF!!!
THEN, when God held HIM accountable, THE SELFISH COWARD BLAMED Eve for it!!!
Despite the fact that he had watched everything transpire, and KNEW EXACTLY what would happen.
Yet he BLAMED HER!!!
... And also BLAMED GOD!!!!!!!
"The woman YOU GAVE ME"... (Genesis 3:12)
He took NO RESPONSIBILITY WHATSOEVER! Just like many "Adams" refuse to take ANY responsibility today!
Since Adam was NOT WILLING TO DIE for Eve JESUS HAD TO COME - as LAST Adam - AND DO IT Himself (1 Corinthians 15:22,45).
Glory to Jesus for all eternity, world without end! Amen.
God had, in fact, given Adam THE IDEAL feminine companion, IDEALLY SUITED for him (Genesis 2:18).
And Adam blew it.
Jesus, praise His Name forever, did individually for Eve, and collectively for the Church, EVERYTHING that self-obsessed Adam SHOULD HAVE DONE FOR HER, and DIDN'T:
He thought it NOT robbery to be equal with God.
He didn't see Godhood as something to grasp and not share (Philippians 2:5-7).
He became OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH (Philippians 2:8).
Unlike Adam who contaminated ALL his physical descendants with his sinful human blood, JESUS SHED HIS SINLESS BLOOD, forever removing sin from us (Hebrews 9:12,26; Revelation 7:14).
Praise His Name!
Jesus LOVED HER to the point of SACRIFICING HIMSELF for her (Ephesians 5:25).
He loved her AS HIS OWN BODY (Ephesians 5:28).
He instructs and imparts KNOWLEDGE to her (Luke 11:52; Romans 8:14; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 3:18).
He NOURISHES her and CHERISHES HER, as that egotistical wimp failed to do (Ephesians 5:29).
THAT'S HOW our Jesus became the first, and so far -- THE ONLY -- PERFECTED HUMAN (Hebrews 2:10).
THAT'S WHY God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is ABOVE EVERY NAME: that at the Name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH AND UNDER THE EARTH, and THAT EVERY TONGUE ACKNOWLEDGE that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:9-11).
Adam PREMEDITATEDLY betrayed his own wife.
By doing so, he undermined his own authority and INEVITABLY betrayed and demoted HIS OWN SELF.
It's amazing HOW LITTLE HAS CHANGED in 6,000 years.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2014
THE SUBMISSIVE WIFE
The submissive wife is ONE OF THE WORST MYTHS perpetrated by religion on Christians and society at large.
Matter of fact, as of today, I'm including it in the "10 Lies Your Preacher Told You" section.
And I apologize to both, men and women, for not doing it sooner.
Very often some male writes complaining about an "unsubmissive" wife.
Paul's advice to married couples in 1 Corinthians 7 and Ephesians 5 HAS BEEN GROSSLY DISTORTED by the misogynistic religious establishment.
They're the same ones who BAN women from ministry - when the New Testament is REPLETE with women ministers - then turn around and ASK WOMEN to financially support THEIR "ministry".
RELIGION has turned Paul's counsel into a disproportionate, one-sided equation, where the MAN IS SUPREME RULER and the woman is to be TOTALLY SUBMISSIVE, a mere doormat, with no say on anything, who is to smile and say "yes" to ANYTHING and EVERYTHING her husband does or says.
She, according to religion, is supposed to PUT UP WITH ANY crap he pulls: just grin and bear it.
That is NOT what Paul said.
Ephesians 5:21 BEGINS by saying:
"Submit yourselves ONE TO ANOTHER out of reverence for Christ".
Last time I checked "one to another" means that the wife is to "submit" to the husband AND THE HUSBAND IS TO SUBMIT TO THE WIFE - IN THE REVERENCE OF CHRIST.
In context, WHAT DOES "the reverence of Christ" mean?
Since this was written to Christian couples, it means IN THE REVERENCE OF THE CHRIST that LIVES IN HER and IN HIM.
If he or she is NOT ACTING in line with THE INNER CHRIST, the "submit" part goes out the window.
The word "submit" in the original Greek means "to place (rank) oneself under another".
It is THE SAME WORD used in 1 Corinthians 16:16 where Paul says (to ALL Christians, male and female):
"Let ALL YOUR THINGS BE DONE WITH LOVE.
I beseech you, brethren, (you know the house of Stephanas, that it is the firstfruits of Achaia, and THAT THEY HAVE DEVOTED THEMSELVES TO THE MINISTRY OF THE SAINTS,)
That YOU SUBMIT YOURSELVES UNTO SUCH, and to every one that works with us, and labors." (1 Corinthians 16:14-16)
It has NOTHING to do with being a doormat.
It has NOTHING to do with "putting up with" unchristian crap.
It has NOTHING to do with keeping your mouth shut and not being able to weigh in, or express dissent, especially when the other person is talking or acting like a total jerk, and NOT like Jesus.
Especially when he or she FAILS TO RECOGNIZE the Jesus THAT LIVES IN YOU.
THEN -- and ONLY THEN -- Paul says "wives submit yourselves to your husbands AS TO OUR LORD" (Ephesians 5:22).
Verse 24 again says "Therefore AS THE CHURCH IS SUBJECT TO Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing".
In order for the wife to "submit" to her husband "as to the Lord", the husband must exhibit Christ-like demeanor.
If he is an abusive, inconsiderate jerk, you can't expect any normal wife to submit to him as she would TO CHRIST.
The ONLY REASON the Church is in TOTAL submission to Christ is because our Savior is BEYOND WONDERFUL.
Because we can TRUST HIM 100% to ALWAYS have our best interest at heart.
Because WE KNOW - beyond doubt - that He LOVES US AS MUCH AS He loves Himself.
Because HE PROVED IT by offering Himself TOTALLY in Sacrifice for us.
NOW COMES THE "HUSBAND" PART, which religion conveniently shoves aside:
"Husbands, LOVE YOUR WIVES, EVEN AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH, and GAVE HIMSELF FOR IT...
So SHOULD MEN LOVE THEIR WIVES AS THEIR OWN BODIES. HE THAT LOVES HIS WIFE LOVES HIMSELF.
For NO MAN EVER YET HATED HIS OWN FLESH; BUT NOURISHES AND CHERISHES IT, EVEN AS THE LORD THE CHURCH" (Ephesians 5:25, 28-29).
Unless a husband loves his wife AS CHRIST LOVES His Church, to the point of being willing to give his life for her, unless he loves her as "HIS OWN body", and UNLESS he nourishes her and cherishes her AS THE LORD the Church, HE HAS NO RIGHT to EXPECT her to submit to him, much less as she submits to Christ.
Paul's ENTIRE TEACHING on this subject - addressed to Christians -- PRESUPPOSES THAT the husband is ACTING like Christ, LOVING his wife as Christ loves the Church, nourishing and CHERISHING HER, as Jesus does His Bride.
If he is, then THE BLESSED Bride SHOULD HAVE NO PROBLEM submitting to her husband, and she SHOULD - by all means - submit HAPPILY to him.
If HE'S NOT DOING ANY OF THE ABOVE, if he DOES NOT HAVE THE SAME LOVE AND ATTITUDE TOWARD HIS WIFE AS CHRIST DOES FOR HIS CHURCH, then he's got NO RIGHT WHATSOEVER TO EXPECT - MUCH LESS DEMAND - that she be submissive.
I know that's not what many of you want to hear, but it's THE TRUTH.
THAT is what Paul REALLY, and FACTUALLY, SAID.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2014
THEY JUST DON'T GET IT
During this past week, I had opportunity to watch some of the Jesus programs offered on secular TV, including the Discovery and History channels.
I may dislike a lot of what they say, but can't stand the alternative which is to watch the boring, rote, artificial, over-acted fare served on "Christian" TV.
They presented Jesus as everything from "just another" miracle worker, to a social reformer, distressed over His own poverty, and that of His people, to a politically minded rebel who dared challenge the military and religious establishments of His time.
They just DON'T GET IT.
I had to chuckle when they compared Jesus to a guy NO ONE'S EVER HEARD OF named "Honi the circle drawer".
Honi's ONLY "claim to fame" is that he supposedly drew a circle on the earth and told God that he would stand in that circle until He sent rain. The rain, supposedly, came shortly after.
The story is found in the Talmud, which may or may not be true. There's also a brief mention in Josephus, where he's called by the name Onias.
Even if it was true, and even if the rain DID COME SUPERNATURALLY from God (as opposed to from nature), you have to be TOTALLY DISHONEST and RIDICULOUSLY PREJUDICED to even THINK OF comparing that to Jesus' many miracles, which included:
- Casting out demons (Matthew 12:28; Mark 1:27,39).
- Turning water into wine (John 4:46).
- Healing the sick, and the crippled (Matthew 10:8; Mark 5:25; Luke 17:11-17)).
- Restoring sight to the blind (Matthew 9:29-30; John 9:25-26,32).
- Multiplying food (Luke 9:13-17).
- Walking on water (Mark 6:49).
- Raising the dead, including Himself (Matthew 28:6; Mark 5:40-42; Luke 7:13-15; John 11:39-44).
Jesus performed -- and STILL DOES! --MANY GREAT miracles, but He is not a mere "miracle worker".
Unless you want to throw Salvation into the mix, His primary mission on earth WAS NOT to simply "perform miracles" - even as great as they were and are.
Of course Jesus disliked that the multitudes were poor, overtaxed and oppressed by the Romans.
But He didn't come primarily to improve their finances.
(Pssht... Promise me you won't tell any of the "prosperity preachers")...
In fact, He told His disciples "the poor YOU HAVE ALWAYS with you" (Mark 14:7).
Of course Jesus DIDN'T LIKE the ruthless Roman military machine, or their pagan religion and customs.
But He didn't come to topple the Roman Empire.
Although He DID CONQUER IT 290 years after His Resurrection without armies, swords or spears. Praise His Name forevermore!
Of course, He TOTALLY DISAPPROVED of the Jewish religious hierarchy and practices, as He boldly proclaimed, calling them "hypocrites" and a few other "choice" adjectives to their faces (Matthew chapter 23), but He didn't come to establish YET ANOTHER religion.
JESUS CAME TO DIE (Matthew 12:40; John 15:13; Philippians 2:9-11).
That was the MAIN objective of His earthly mission.
And it's THAT GREATEST of objectives that all these CONFUSED and ill-informed, so-called "historians", "archaeologists" and "theologians" TOTALLY MISS:
He came to die, not for Himself, but FOR OTHERS.
He came to GIVE HIS LIFE a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).
He came TO SEEK AND TO SAVE those who were lost (Luke 19:10).
He came TO PAY IN FULL the penalty and price that God's Divine Justice demanded for ALL our sins (2 Corinthians 5:19,21).
That price was paid - to the last denarius - with His own sinless, pure, and Divine Blood.
He paid a debt He DID NOT OWE, because we owed a debt we COULD NOT pay.
He came TO SAVE US because WE COULDN'T save ourselves.
Not then, not now.
He came to save us because NO ONE ELSE COULD (Acts 4:12).
Until these "learned scholars" FACE THAT reality, they'll keep making fools of themselves by presenting A FALSE JESUS, of their own making, spun by their depraved imaginations.
Either Jesus is the one and only God and Savior, who CHANGED THE WORLD -- IS ABOUT TO CHANGE IT AGAIN -- LIVES FOREVER, and is still transforming lives each day, or He's just a nice historic anachronism.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2014
WHERE'S THE JUSTICE?
This is the question that a brother, who came out of Armstrong's cult and put his faith in Christ, recently asked me.
He was concerned about all the evil people in the world who terrorize, torture, murder, traumatize and marginalize others.
He said "I believe in the free gift of Salvation through Christ, but I also believe in His Justice and I believe that He will punish those who harm others."
He understood that if one of these evil people gave his heart to Jesus, he would be saved. But, he asked, WHERE'S THE JUSTICE.
I assured him that UNSAVED individuals will be punished proportionately to the harm they inflicted on others (Luke 12:59; Hebrews 10:31).
That although there are notable exceptions -- like Saul of Tarsus, who persecuted Christians, threw them in jail, had them killed, tortured, and forced them to blaspheme the Name of Jesus (Acts 26:10-11), then suddenly and miraculously became the Apostle Paul -- those who harden their hearts to such degree will rarely seek Christ.
That Jesus will PERSONALLY WIPE ALL TEARS from our eyes (Revelation 7:17; 21:4).
That when the Millennium ends - and we enter eternity - there won't even be ANY MEMORY of this world's suffering (Isaiah 65:17; Romans 8:18).
And that those who have been evil and turn to Christ have their sins washed away, are credited the righteousness of God Himself, and are saved to the uttermost - just like the rest of us who totally trust Jesus for Salvation.
That while there may be consequences for their evil acts IN THIS WORLD, as far as God is concerned, IF they give their hearts to Jesus and are truly born-again, they'll get away Scot free.
So WHERE'S THE JUSTICE?
It's in Jesus Christ.
He IS our justice (Jeremiah 23:6).
When He went to the cross, God put on Jesus THE INIQUITY OF US ALL - ALL of mankind's sins, from Adam's to the last sin committed on earth (Isaiah 53:4-6).
There have been A LOT OF EXTREMELY EVIL PEOPLE. Jesus paid for ALL of their sins, as well as for the sins of everyone else.
Consequently, the price our Lord paid, and what He suffered, is UNIMAGINABLE.
But He PAID IT ALL - IN FULL.
Jesus, through the Sacrifice of Himself, TOOK ALL THE PUNISHMENT FOR EVERY SIN, and SATISFIED DIVINE JUSTICE, ONCE AND FOR ALL (Hebrews 9:12).
Jesus CREDITS US HIS OWN Righteousness when we surrender our hearts to Him, and trust Him to save us COMPLETELY and FOREVER (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 4:24).
I reminded this brother that - although by human standards our sins may not be as heinous as someone else's - WE HAVE ALL SINNED and come short of God's glory.
God wants EVERYONE to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
Jesus IS the Truth (John 14:6).
He came NOT to condemn, but TO SAVE (John 3:17).
And He commanded us TO LOVE even our enemies!
If you've ever asked these questions...
Ask God to give you the Grace to forgive, FORGET, and LET GO OF the past.
Even as Jesus forgave His executioners (Luke 23:34).
The "past" can only hurt you when you insist on clinging to it.
Such forgiveness is supernatural and only comes from the Spirit of God.
But when it happens, the sufferings of the "past" are gone, guaranteed.
When it happens (John 16:33; 1 John 4:4; 5:4), you OVERCOME THE WORLD.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 26, 2014
THE WICKED & THE JUST
Sometimes we are asked why people who are desperately wicked seem to thrive and prosper, while God's people struggle just to make ends meet.
Why are people like Ayman Al Zawahiri and Fidel Castro blessed with longevity, while Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. are taken out so early in life?
Life, to put it bluntly, IS NOT fair.
Obviously, and despite certain similarities, there are also unique circumstances to each specific case.
We live, after all, in a sinful, corrupt, fallen realm with over 7 billion people, and where yet each person -- and surrounding circumstances -- is unique.
Consequently, there's no such thing as a "one size fits all" answer.
However, the Word of God does shed some light on these often disturbing issues:
WITH REGARDS TO THE WICKED (UNSAVED):
1. Peter said "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. INSTEAD HE IS PATIENT WITH YOU, NOT WANTING ANYONE TO PERISH, BUT EVERYONE TO COME TO REPENTANCE" (2 Peter 3:9).
2. Psalm 73 is "must read" for anyone who's ever contemplated these questions, as it puts this whole earthly experience into perspective:
A psalm of Asaph.
1 Surely God is good to Israel,
to those who are pure in heart.
2 But as for me, my feet had almost slipped;
I had nearly lost my foothold.
3 FOR I ENVIED THE ARROGANT
WHEN I SAW THE PROSPERITY OF THE WICKED.
4 THEY HAVE NO STRUGGLES;
THEIR BODIES ARE HEALTHY AND STRONG.
5 They are FREE FROM COMMON HUMAN BURDENS;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they CLOTHE THEMSELVES WITH VIOLENCE.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.
11 They say, "How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?"
12 This is what the wicked are like- ALWAYS FREE OF CARE, THEY GO ON AMASSING WEALTH.
13 SURELY IN VAIN I HAVE KEPT MY HEART PURE and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 ALL DAY LONG I HAVE BEEN AFFLICTED, and every morning brings new punishments...
16 When I TRIED TO UNDERSTAND ALL THIS, IT TROUBLED ME DEEPLY
17 till I entered the sanctuary of God; THEN I UNDERSTOOD THEIR FINAL DESTINY.
18 Surely you place them on slippery ground; YOU CAST THEM DOWN TO RUIN.
19 How SUDDENLY ARE THEY DESTROYED, Completely swept away by terrors!
21 ...When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And EARTH HAS NOTHING I DESIRE BESIDES YOU.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds".
WITH REGARDS TO THE RIGHTEOUS (SAVED):
1. The first biblical answer is self-explanatory:
"THE RIGHTEOUS PERISH, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and NO ONE UNDERSTANDS THAT THE RIGHTEOUS ARE TAKEN AWAY TO BE SPARED FROM the EVIL to come." (Isaiah 57:1)
NONE OF US KNOWS what will happen to us, or to someone else, tomorrow, the next day, next week or next month.
But God knows.
When someone we love is taken -- and regardless of HOW they are taken into the spirit realm -- IT WOULD HAVE BEEN FAR WORSE HAD THEY BEEN ALLOWED TO STAY LONGER ON EARTH.
2. Paul flat out said that, for someone who is born-again, IT IS FAR BETTER to "depart" and be with Christ than to exist on this earth (Philippians 1:23):
"For to me, to live is Christ and TO DIE IS GAIN." (Philippians 1:21)
3. "ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER for good to those who LOVE God, to those who are called according to His Purpose" (Romans 8:28).
"ALL things" means ALL things (the good, the bad, the ugly, and the somewhere in between.
4. Last but not least, there's that extremely comforting and reassuring verse (Romans 8:18) from wonderful Paul:
"For I reckon THAT THE SUFFERINGS OF THIS PRESENT TIME ARE NOT WORTHY TO BE COMPARED WITH THE GLORY which shall be revealed in us."
There's SO MUCH that we don't know. Our Father, on the other hand, KNOWS EVERYTHING.
He sees "the big picture". We only see what's in front of our eyes.
After all is said and done, we must ultimately TRUST our Daddy's Wisdom.
He ALWAYS KNOWS BEST.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 25, 2014
ONE SOLITARY LIFE
This poem was written by the late Dr. James Allan Francis (1864-1928). I love to read it, especially at Christmas. To this day, I can't do it without getting all "choked up". I've done some very minor editing, and would like to share "my version" with you.
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in still another village, where He worked in a carpenter shop until he was thirty.
Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book.
He never held an office.
He never had a family or owned a house.
He didn't go to college.
He never visited a big city.
He never traveled two hundred miles from the place where he was born.
He never had a TV show.
He never made any movies.
He NEVER asked for money.
He didn't own great buildings.
He never had a private airplane.
He never amassed great wealth.
He did NONE OF THE THINGS one usually associates with greatness.
He had NO CREDENTIALS BUT Himself.
He was ONLY THIRTY THREE when the tide of public opinion turned against Him.
His friends ran away.
He was turned over to His enemies and went through the mockery of a trial.
He was NAILED TO A CROSS between two thieves.
While He was dying, His executioners gambled for His clothing, the only property He had on earth.
When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed tomb.
TWENTY ONE CENTURIES HAVE COME AND GONE, and today He is THE CENTRAL FIGURE of the human race, and the Leader of mankind's progress.
All the armies that ever marched,
All the navies that ever sailed,
All the parliaments that ever sat,
All the kings that ever reigned put together...
...Have NOT AFFECTED THE LIFE OF MAN ON THIS EARTH, let alone FOR ALL ETERNITY, as much as THAT One Solitary Life.
Glory to the King of kings and Lord of lords! Hallelujah to the Eternal God!
Praise You, Lord Jesus! We adore you. Thank You, and Happy Birthday!
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 24, 2014
MIGHTY GOD, PRINCE OF PEACE
"For UNTO US A CHILD IS BORN, UNTO US A SON IS GIVEN: AND THE GOVERNMENT SHALL BE UPON HIS SHOULDER: AND HIS NAME SHALL BE CALLED Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
OF THE INCREASE OF HIS GOVERNMENT AND PEACE THERE SHALL BE NO END, upon the throne of David, and upon HIS KINGDOM, to order it, and to establish it WITH JUSTICE AND WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM THIS TIME FORTH EVEN FOREVER..." (Isaiah 9:6-7)
For two millennia, Christians have seen A CLEAR depiction of Jesus the Messiah in this passage.
However, traditional Judaism - which rejects Jesus -- DOES NOT.
They claim that we have "misunderstood" this passage, and that it refers to Hezekiah, former king of the Kingdom of Judah.
They base their dishonest claims on three lame arguments:
1. The name Hezekiah which means "strength of Yahweh"
2. That there's no record (or so they say) in the New Testament that Jesus was called "wonderful", "counselor", "everlasting Father" or "prince of peace".
3. That Jesus (they say) has no kingdom on earth.
While it is true that the name Hezekiah means "strength of Yahweh" -- and while Hezekiah was a godly and benevolent king who tried his best to eradicate idolatry -- Hezekiah does not REMOTELY fit the description given in Isaiah.
Hezekiah comes from two Hebrew words: chazak meaning "strong" and Yah which stands for Yahweh.
However, the words used in Isaiah 9:6 are the ENTIRELY DIFFERENT words el gibbor meaning, "mighty God".
Had the Holy Spirit intended this for Hezekiah, He is perfectly capable of inspiring the words chazak Yah or Ḥizkiyya, instead of el gibbor.
NO ONE has EVER called Hezekiah "el gibbor" or "Mighty God". BILLIONS have called Jesus by that title, and are still doing it today.
So much for that chunk of religious hypocrisy...
Our Jewish friends are also guilty of applying a DECEITFUL, SELF-SERVING double-standard:
If they posit that Jesus was never called "Wonderful", "Counselor", "everlasting Father" or "Prince of Peace", then THE SAME criterion SHOULD BE APPLIED TO HEZEKIAH:
WHEN was Hezekiah called by those titles in the Old Testament, or ANYWHERE ELSE?
Jesus, on the other hand, IS CALLED "Wonderful".
"But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the WONDERFUL things He did and the children shouting in the temple courts, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were very displeased".
"The man answered and said unto them: Why, THIS IS A WONDERFUL THING, that YOU DON'T KNOW FROM WHERE HE IS, AND YET HE HAS OPENED MY EYES."
"But The Counselor, The Holy Spirit-Whom the Father Will Send Him IN MY NAME--WILL TEACH YOU ALL THINGS and remind you OF EVERYTHING I HAVE TOLD YOU."
1 John 2:1:
"My little children, these things write I unto you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, WE HAVE A COUNSELOR ADVOCATE with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous".
Jesus is called by this title TOO MANY TIMES to include in this message, for A FULL LIST go here:
"Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because He not only had broken the Sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God."
"Jesus said unto him, Have I been so long a time with you, and yet have you not known me, Philip? HE THAT HAS SEEN ME HAS SEEN THE FATHER; and how say you then, Show us the Father?"
John 10:30: "I and the Father ARE ONE"
1 John 5:7
For there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit: and THESE THREE ARE ONE.
PRINCE OF PEACE:
BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS: for they shall be called the children of God.
PEACE I LEAVE WITH YOU; MY PEACE I GIVE YOU. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
"For HE IS OUR PEACE, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of partition between us...
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; to make in himself of two one new man, SO MAKING PEACE...
And came and PREACHED PEACE to you who were afar off, and to them that were near."
As we just demonstrated, traditional Jews are DEAD WRONG.
In fact THERE CAN BE NO PRINCE OF PEACE BESIDE JESUS because, unlike conventional earthly kingdoms, which come into being through military conquest, His Kingdom has been expanding and growing, FOR 2,000 YEARS - WITHOUT spears, swords, armies or violence - and IS STILL GROWING!
Glory to JESUS forever!
EVERYONE, except for a few Jewish religionists, has forgotten Hezekiah and don't even know who he was OR THAT HE EVEN EXISTED.
On the other hand, THE ENTIRE WORLD KNOWS about JESUS, and uses a calendar based on HIS BIRTH.
Since the first century Jesus HAS BEEN CALLED BY EVERY ONE OF THOSE TITLES, NOT THOUSANDS BUT MILLIONS -- perhaps even BILLIONS -- OF TIMES.
Furthermore, Jewish hypocrites conveniently fail to note that Matthew 4:16, IN THE NEW TESTAMENT, EXPRESSLY QUOTES ISAIAH CHAPTER 9 in reference to Jesus:
"And leaving Nazareth, he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the seacoast, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali:
THAT IT MIGHT BE FULFILLED WHICH WAS SPOKEN BY Isaiah the prophet, saying,
‘The land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;
The people who sat in darkness saw great light..
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matthew 4:13-17; Isaiah 9:1-2)).
Therefore, the Jewish premise that this passage has never been applied to Jesus is wrong -- as we've just proven beyond question -- and the assumptions on which their objections are based are BLATANTLY FALSE.
As for Jesus NOT having a kingdom, I would argue that anytime someone has over TWO BILLION ADORING subjects, encompassing EVERY NATION ON EARTH, and willing to serve and obey Him, often at the cost of THEIR OWN LIVES, He has a Kingdom.
However, there's more:
IN CONTEXT, Isaiah 9:2 says that THE GREAT LIGHT OF this "child born", of this "Son given", called "Mighty God" would "shine in Galilee".
WHEN did Hezekiah's light shine in Galilee?
In fact, it was DURING Hezekiah's reign over Judah that THE 10 NORTHERN TRIBES, including the territory of Galilee, WERE TAKEN CAPTIVE by the Assyrians.
They remain "lost" to this very day.
There's NO WAY in heaven, hell or earth, that this could be Hezekiah.
WHEN has Hezekiah's kingdom, met the requirement of Isaiah 9, verse 7:
"OF THE INCREASE OF HIS GOVERNMENT AND PEACE THERE SHALL BE NO END?"
WHEN has it been established "FROM THIS TIME FORTH EVEN FOREVER" (Isaiah 9:7)?
Hezekiah's kingdom, IN FACT, ENDED in the 7th century B.C.
He has ZERO kingdom and ZERO subjects today.
HOW can his kingdom be "forever", when it ENDED in 687 B.C.?
Jesus' Kingdom, on the other hand, has lasted for 2,000 years and IS STILL GOING STRONG, ONLY TO GET STRONGER.
JESUS - AND ONLY JESUS - meets EVERY requirement in Isaiah 9 and PERFECTLY fits its description.
Jesus preached the Kingdom of God. That Kingdom has been growing ever since in the hearts and minds of believers, and is about to overtake this earth.
His Kingdom HAS NO END (Luke 1:33).
The baby born in Bethlehem IS THE ONE AND ONLY Mighty God and Prince of Peace.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 23, 2014
SOMETHING ABOUT MARY
Of all the biblical characters, NO ONE is more controversial, and divisive, than Jesus' mother Mary.
There's NO MIDDLE GROUND where this woman of God is concerned: religious people either IDOLIZE HER calling her "the mother of God" and worshiping her, or try to make her less than she actually was and is.
While some Catholics (not all) go overboard and turn Mary into a goddess, evangelicals often do not give Mary the credit she richly deserves.
She was A VERY YOUNG girl when Gabriel appeared, about age 13, since it was customary for Jewish girls to be betrothed BEFORE reaching puberty, when they were around 12½ years old.
And we KNOW, from Scripture, that she was betrothed to Joseph (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:27)
She could have disbelieved or resisted Gabriel's announcement that she would be the mother of the Messiah, but instead showed outstanding maturity and humility by saying "look, I'm the Lord's servant: be it done unto me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).
She TRUSTED God and thought little about herself: After all, she could have been repudiated by Joseph her betrothed once he found out about her pregnancy (Matthew 1:19-20).
Worse, she could have been STONED TO DEATH, since that was the Torah-prescribed penalty for adultery and fornication (Deuteronomy 22:22-24).
God obviously KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING when He chose Mary, among all the Jewish maidens, to be the mother of the Messiah.
Let's take a closer look at Mariology.
Our teaching may not change widespread religious brainwashing, but for those who seek Truth -- IN SPITE OF MAN-INVENTED RELIGIOUS DOGMA -- such Truth is found in Scripture:
1."MOTHER OF GOD"
Is Mary the VIRGIN mother of the HUMAN Jesus?
Is she the "mother of God"? No.
In order to be "mother of God" she would have had to exist PRIOR TO God. That would make Mary GREATER THAN God and Supreme Goddess.
God is Spirit (John 4:24). He is from everlasting to everlasting (Psalm 90:2), hence, has NO MOTHER.
Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, did call Mary meter tou kurios mou "the mother of my Lord", but NOT meter tou Theos mou "the mother of my God" (Luke 1:43).
The title "mother of God" was officially bestowed on Mary by the religious hierarchy at the First Council of Ephesus in the 5th century A.D.
If you still want to call her "the mother of God" because of habit and because Jesus IS God, IT'S STILL WRONG TERMINOLOGY. However, I don't part fellowship with anyone over such semantics: just keep in mind that Jesus' Spirit HAS NO earthly MOTHER.
2. THE VIRGIN BIRTH
The doctrine that Jesus was born of the VIRGIN Mary is ABSOLUTELY TRUE and TOTALLY Scriptural (Luke 1:27, 34).
It's also ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL FOR SALVATION (Hebrews 4:15).
3. THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION
The doctrine that Mary herself was conceived WITHOUT original sin IS FALSE, HERETICAL, and TOTALLY UNBIBLICAL:
It was INVENTED by Pope Pius IX in 1854, based entirely on his own alleged "infallibility".
That means that NO ONE - Catholic or non-Catholic - believed it for the first 19 CENTURIES of Church history.
This false doctrine contradicts God and CONTRADICTS MARY HERSELF who pointedly stated that God is "her Savior" (Luke 1:47).
A person with NO ORIGINAL SIN would have NO NEED WHATSOEVER FOR "a Savior".
There's ONLY ONE HUMAN EVER CONCEIVED WITHOUT ORIGINAL SIN because the Blood that ran through His veins is God's own holy, untainted Blood, and His Name is Jesus (1 Peter 1:18-19).
4. MARY'S ASSUMPTION INTO HEAVEN
Did Mary have a private rapture?
Roman Catholic dogma teaches that the Virgin Mary "having completed the course of her earthly life, WAS ASSUMED BODY AND SOUL INTO HEAVENLY GLORY".
I've no problem with Mary or any other believer having a personal rapture: however there's nothing in the Bible, history, or even tradition, to suggest this is true.
This doctrine was INVENTED by Pope Pius XII on November 1, 1950 (a mere 63 years ago), again by exercising "papal infallibility".
We have in fact, not one but TWO tombs for Mary: one in Ephesus where she is said to have traveled with the Apostle John, and another in Jerusalem.
The latter, which BELONGED TO the Roman Catholic Church, was promptly sold to the Armenian Church in 1950 upon the Pope's aforementioned unilateral proclamation.
As you can see, so-called "papal infallibility" can both change old doctrine and invent new doctrine, at the drop of a hat.
5. MARY'S "PERPETUAL VIRGINITY"
While the VIRGINITY of Mary until the birth of Jesus is entirely and unequivocally biblical, the so-called "perpetual virginity" of Mary is NOT taught ANYWHERE in the ENTIRE BIBLE.
Since it's NOT in the Bible that means it was INVENTED BY MAN.
The problems with Mary being ALWAYS a virgin, to the day she died or ascended to heaven, are numerous:
A. Matthew 1:25 EXPLICITLY STATES that Joseph didn't "know" (have sex with) Mary UNTIL after she gave birth to Jesus.
That is crystal-clear.
B. After Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary had FOUR SONS AND AT LEAST TWO DAUGHTERS.
Their sons' names, according to the Gospels, were James, Joseph, Simon and Judas (Matthew 13:55-56; Mark 6:3; Galatians 1:19).
C. In John 7:2-10 His brothers are mentioned again, challenging Jesus to show Himself publicly at the upcoming Feast of Sukkot, since they (at the time) DID NOT believe in Him.
D. In Acts 1:14 we find those brothers with Mary and other disciples in the Upper Room in communion with each other and in prayer.
E. Galatians 1:19 clearly refers to James as "the brother of our Lord".
The Greek word USED in all of these passages is adelphon (singular), or adelphoi (plural) meaning ONLY "brother(s)".
F. Roman Catholic theology claims that Jesus' brothers were actually his COUSINS.
They claim that the Greek language doesn't have a word for "cousin" and thus used the word adelphos (brother).
That is TOTALLY FALSE.
The word adelphos is ALWAYS translated "brother", NEVER "cousin".
In Mark 13:55 and Matthew 12:46 Mary and Jesus' brothers were outside the house where Jesus was preaching and were calling Him.
Don't you find it A BIT ODD that Mary would constantly go around and hang out with Jesus' "cousins"?
Mary's own COUSIN, Elizabeth, was not called her adelphi, but rather her sungenis:
Completely different word.
You can see the different Greek words for family and relatives in Luke 21:16 "you will be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends".
The Greek words are, respectively, goneon (parents), adelphon (brothers), SUNGENON (relatives, including cousins) and philon (friends).
Having said all that, if you still CHOOSE TO believe Mary is "perpetually" a virgin, knock yourself out.
What people believe or disbelieve about Mary's virginity AFTER she gave birth to Jesus is IRRELEVANT. It has NOTHING to do with Salvation.
Mary deserves OUR ETERNAL gratitude, love, respect, and honor, NOT OUR WORSHIP.
Fact is, WE WILL ALL BE "PERPETUAL SPIRITUAL VIRGINS" in the hereafter (Matthew 25:1-12; 2 Corinthians 11:2).
Mary is in heaven.
If you (REGARDLESS OF RELIGION or lack thereof) want to be with Mary, you better follow her example by RECEIVING JESUS INTO YOUR HEART as ONLY Savior and God, and TRUSTING HIM ALONE for Salvation.
Have a "Mary" Christmas.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2014
The question "what does Christmas mean to you?" has become an unfortunate religious cliché.
What it means to you, me, or anyone else is IRRELEVANT.
The REAL question is "WHAT DOES CHRISTMAS MEAN?"
WHAT does Christmas ACTUALLY mean?
Oh, that's easy: It means the Birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
Yes. It certainly means THAT.
But there's more to it than the birth of a cute baby boy.
Christmas means more than angels, and shepherds, and wise men.
It means more than Mary and Joseph and the now infamous inn.
It means more than Christmas carols, eggnog and mistletoe.
It's more than Nativity scenes, Christmas trees, getting together with family and loved ones, and exchanging gifts.
What Christmas REALLY means is that God GAVE EVERYTHING for you.
He couldn't find anything or anyone GREATER THAN Himself, and so He gave Himself TOTALLY to you.
Christmas means that God gave ALL for you.
He didn't even hesitate.
ALL OF GOD was in that cute baby born on that beautiful, starry night.
ALL OF GOD was still in that young man who grew up in Nazareth and worked in a carpenter shop.
ALL OF GOD was in Jesus, the 33-year old man WHO DIED ON THAT AWFUL CROSS, and spilled His sacred, PURE, SINLESS Blood for your sins and mine.
ALL OF GOD was in Jesus when He spent THREE DAYS AND NIGHTS IN HELL ITSELF - THE VERY HELL that you and I should have suffered for our rebellion.
ALL OF GOD was in Jesus WHEN HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD TRIUMPHANT OVER Satan, SIN AND DEATH.
ALL OF GOD was still in Jesus 40 days later when He ASCENDED TO HEAVEN and sat at the Right Hand of the Father.
AND ALL OF GOD IS STILL IN JESUS TODAY, WHEN YOU INVITE HIM INTO YOUR HEART AND RECEIVE HIM AS YOUR SAVIOR, LORD AND GOD (Colossians 2:9).
It MEANS that ALL OF GOD wants to LIVE IN YOU!!!
How ANYONE on this rotten planet CAN REFUSE THE GIFT OF GOD HIMSELF - the ONLY ONE who can make the earth RIGHT AGAIN - is beyond my comprehension.
God wants you to HAVE ALL OF HIM!!!
He wants to give you THE GREATEST Christmas gift of all - Himself!
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2014
When Mary, carrying baby Jesus, and Joseph came to Bethlehem, it was the busiest time of the year in Israel.
It was in the month of Tishri, during Autumn's High Holy Days of Yom Teruah (Tishri 1), Yom Kippur (Tishri 10) and Tabernacles (Tishri 15).
All Jews were commanded by law to "go up" to nearby Jerusalem during the Feast of Tabernacles.
That particular year there was the added pressure of the census, commanded by Caesar Augustus, where everyone had to return to the place of his birth in order to register (Luke 2:1-5).
Since Jerusalem is about 7 miles north of Bethlehem, no doubt, many weary travelers would stop over in Bethlehem, on the way to Jerusalem.
While they were in Bethlehem, Mary went into labor.
They knocked at the Inn's door and there was no room... so they were sent to a hut (sukka), used during the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot) which in Christian tradition -- due to the fact there were some animals around -- became a "stable".
That was baby Jesus, 2,000 years ago....
Fast forward to our time, and you find a fully grown, resurrected, glorified Jesus, and what's He doing?
He's STILL KNOCKING at the door of your heart :
"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears my voice, and opens the door,I will come in to him, and will eat with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20).
Jesus wants to COME IN.
He won't FORCE His Way in.
He didn't do it as a baby; He won't do it as a man.
Jesus MUST still be invited. He must be WELCOMED.
Is there room INSIDE YOU,in YOUR HEART, for the Savior?
Is there room in your "IN" (one "n"), or will you send Him to the stable?
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2014
WHO WERE THE WISE MEN?
In Matthew's Gospel, we read that the Wise Men from the East were led to the Christ child by a star (Matthew 2:1-2).
Who were these "wise men", and what caused them to follow such star, in the first place?
The Greek word for "wise men" used in Matthew is magoi.
They were a group of high-ranking politicians and sages from the Parthian Dynasty in Persia (modern day Iran: Yes, that Iran).
They were familiar with the Prophet Daniel's teachings about the Messiah King because Daniel had been -- at one point in his life -- Prime Minister of the Persian Empire.
The State Religion in Persia, at the time of the Messiah's birth, was Zoroastrianism. Zoroaster had been a disciple of Daniel, and had even included some of Daniel's prophecies and teachings in his "sacred" book Zen Avesta.
The Magoi were, undoubtedly, familiar with Daniel's prophecy, recorded in Daniel 9:24-26 that the Messiah King would be born and appear in Israel 483 years after a certain decree, authorizing the rebuilding of Jerusalem, was issued.
They also knew, from their own history, that such decree had been issued by their king Artaxerxes in the 20th year of his reign, which would be 449 B.C.
Therefore, knowing Messiah would offer Himself in Sacrifice for the sins of mankind as an adult, they could pretty well calculate the approximate window of time in which His Birth would take place.
They also knew that, even prior to Daniel, another prophet from neighboring Mesopotamia, named Balaam, has prophesied the coming of a special Star that would herald the Birth of the Jewish King:
"... there shall COME A STAR out of Jacob, and a Scepter (as in a King's Scepter) shall rise out of Israel... Out of Jacob shall come He that shall have dominion"... (Numbers 24:17, 19).
Therefore, since around 6 B.C. these wise men would have been on the lookout for that special star to appear, announcing the birth of the King of kings.
Using that formula, plus the benefit of hindsight, we, too, can make a pretty accurate calculation:
449 B.C. + 483 years places the Crucifixion in the spring (Passover) of 34 A.D., the beginning of Jesus' public ministry in the autumn of 30 A.D., and His Birth on Tishri 15, 0 B.C.
Of course, there's REALLY NO SUCH THING AS a "year ZERO", However, THERE IS SUCH YEAR in our modern Gregorian calendar.
This is in perfect agreement with the Gospel of Luke which informs us that Jesus began His public ministry "on the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius" (Luke 3:1). Tiberius Caesar began his reign in 14 A.D. So, the 15th year of his reign, and beginning of Jesus' ministry, would be 29-30 A.D.
Isn't it amazing that over 2,000 years later, we can rely on the Bible to pinpoint these things with such degree of accuracy? Oh, how I love the Word!
The wise men came to Jerusalem saying they had seen "HIS Star" on the East.
Do we know what the star looked like? Absolutely. It was no ordinary star. It was the Magen David (Star of David), which consists of two triangles, one pointing downward, symbolizing God Incarnate coming down to earth (Immanuel, "God with us"), the other triangle pointing upward, Messiah elevating man back up to God (Revelation 22:16).
It was a well established fact that the Messiah, King of the Jews, would be born from the Davidic Dynasty (1 Kings 2:45; 9:5; Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:32).
Daniel, no doubt, would have passed this information down to his disciples in both the Babylonian and Persian court, including Zoroaster.
These Magoi or "wise men" from Persia were clearly seeking the Redeemer and were close enough to God that He could communicate with them in dreams to return to Persia by another route, without reporting back to evil Herod (Matthew 2:12).
I can almost see Daniel smiling from his "elder" seat in the heavenly court, and rejoicing that even before Peter, Paul, or anyone else got to them, GENTILES had found -- and actually SEEN -- the Jewish Messiah through his teachings.
His many sufferings as a youth, his deportation from his beloved Jerusalem, and exile into Babylon, had not been in vain, after all.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 19, 2014
THE CHRISTMAS TREE
Just like there are those who hate Christmas and would do away with anything associated with this holiday, including the worship of Jesus, there are those who hate the Christmas tree, Christmas ornaments and wreaths.
They CLAIM the origins of the tree and wreaths are pagan and attribute it to the Druids.
Druids were a priestly class that existed in Britain, Ireland, Gaul and other parts of Western Europe from around 500 to 200 B.C. and practiced human sacrifice.
They CEASED TO EXIST 200 YEARS BEFORE Jesus was born. We're living some 2,200 PLUS years AFTER their demise. If you, however, consider yourself Druid, and want to worship Saturn, and dedicate tree branches to him, that's your problem.
You need to repent and give your heart to Jesus.
Sadly, there are Christians who have been intimidated by ignorant naysayers, looking for some historical or "biblical" excuse to shun the Christmas tree, and make the rest of us feel guilty for having one.
Some have quoted Jeremiah 10:2-6, TOTALLY OUT OF CONTEXT, as "justification" for not having a Christmas tree.
Problem is, when Jeremiah wrote his Book -- in the 7th century B.C. -- there were no Christmas trees and NO CHRISTIANS, since Jesus had not even been born.
No one even KNEW what Christmas was, since Jesus was born some 600 years AFTER Jeremiah wrote his prophecy.
So, clearly, Jeremiah wasn't referring to Christmas trees, but to IDOLS MADE OF WOOD CUT FROM TREES. In fact, Habakkuk 2:19 and Revelation 9:20 say THE VERY SAME THING in reference to IDOLS made of wood.
So much for that lunacy.
Is the Christmas tree pagan? Absolutely NOT.
Jesus was Jewish.
JESUS' REAL BIRTHDAY is Tishri 15, which is the Hebrew Feast of Sukkot, a/k/a Tabernacles (John 1:14).
God COMMANDED... repeat: GOD COMMANDED the children of Israel TO CUT TREE BRANCHES from palm, myrtle, willow or citron trees) and dwell in temporary huts made out of those tree branches (Leviticus 23:40).
They've been doing it, IN OBEDIENCE TO GOD'S COMMANDMENT, since at least 1,200 B.C., LONG BEFORE Jesus was born, and LONG BEFORE there were any Druids.
And, following God's EXPLICIT ORDERS, they continue doing it to this very day.
If you've ever seen a Sukka (hut) and Jewish decorations used during Sukkot, you will notice they are strikingly similar to what Christians call Nativity Scenes: Tree branches are reminiscent of our Christmas trees. They are used for decorative purposes and often shaped into decorative wreaths.
Jews also use RED POMEGRANATES as decorations of which our tree ornaments -- which originally were ALL red and round in the shape and color of pomegranates-- are mere copies. See Sukkot symbols above.
So the idea that the tree's origins are pagan is BOGUS. It's a bunch of malarkey invented by religionists, intent on making everyone miserable, including themselves.
Unlike ignorant Christians, Jews know their torah.
Try going to Jerusalem and telling Jews that decorating huts WITH TREE BRANCHES during Sukkot is "a pagan custom".
After they're through laughing at your ignorance, chances are they'll run you out of town, claiming YOU'RE THE ONE WHO'S PAGAN for muttering such idiocy.
As the Christian faith grew and spread AMONG GENTILES, the Jewish symbols of Sukkot were gradually ADAPTED by gentile communities to the celebration of our Lord's Nativity and became the Manger or Nativity Scene, the Christmas tree, ornaments, and Christmas wreaths.
For Christians, since at least the 6th century A.D., the Sukkot tree branches became Christmas trees symbolizing the forbidden tree in the Garden of Eden.
Originally, all the ornaments were round and red, resembling pomegranates, which is one of the biblical symbols of our redemption [1 Kings 7:18-20, 42; Song of Solomon 4:13; 6:11; 7:12].
The ornaments (round and red as pomegranates) symbolize the forbidden fruit which our forefathers ate and which, in turn, brought sin into the world.
That, in turn, was THE REASON that God sent His Son into this world, to REDEEM US.
The Christmas tree is also a reminder of the tree on which Jesus, as a grown man, would be hung (crucified), to atone for our sins [Galatians 3:13].
Last but not least, it signifies that by dying on that tree and rising from the dead, Jesus became the Tree of Life to all who receive Him [Genesis 3:22; Revelation 2:7; 22:2].
So, this business about the Christmas tree being "pagan" is a bunch of baloney!
Like everything else that religion and religionists INVENT, it's FEAR-BASED.
Fear doesn't come from God (1 John 4:18).
Fear comes from Satan (2 Timothy 1:7).
Nobody forces anyone to put up Christmas trees. Nobody forces anyone to celebrate Christmas. If you want to skip this HOLY (set apart) Day to honor Jesus, be my guest.
But don't heap your unbelief, fear and condemnation on others who, WITH A CLEAN CONSCIENCE and grateful heart, washed in the Blood of Jesus, CHOOSE TO honor Him and rejoice in His Incarnation.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2014
MAKE IT SPECIAL
I love EVERYTHING about Christmas. Everything!
Love the sights, sounds, the smells, and the holiday cheer.
Love the decorations, trees, lights, carols…
The ornaments, wreaths, bells, sleighs, Nativity scenes…
The gift giving, the pictures, the Christmas cards, the food, the cookies, the gingerbread houses, the fruitcake (believe it or not), the weather, getting together with family and friends, and even love the shopping…
Religious kill joys can send all the dumb messages calling it “pagan”…
They can invent all the theories about the origin of Christmas trees and wreaths…
They can say that’s not really the day on which Jesus was born (I agree)…
They can complain all they want about it being too “commercialized”…
I DON’T CARE.
I’m going to CELEBRATE IT, REGARDLESS of what ANYONE says or thinks.
It’s NEVER WRONG to celebrate Jesus.
He should be celebrated and worshiped EVERY SINGLE DAY on the calendar, without exception (Psalm 113:2-3; 115:18).
“Sing unto the LORD, bless His Name; proclaim His Salvation DAY AFTER DAY.” (Psalm 96:2)
Gee, I don’t read anywhere that we should make an exception on December 25.
“EVERY DAY will I praise you; and I will honor your Name FOREVER AND EVER” (Psalm 145:2).
If UNSAVED religious legalists have nothing better to do than attack this holiday and call it pagan, that’s THEIR PROBLEM.
If they can get GOD to CHANGE HIS WORD and say it’s “pagan” to celebrate and worship Him on December 25th -- or ANY OTHER DAY -- I’ll consider it.
Since God NEVER CHANGES, and His Word NEVER CHANGES, good luck with that (Psalm 119:89).
What is truly sad is that there are THOUSANDS of our brothers and sisters in places like Iraq, Syria, and North Korea, who WOULD LIKE TO celebrate Christmas, and CAN’T because they’re being horrifically oppressed, persecuted and butchered.
It will be A GRIM Christmas for many of them.
Jesus PREDICTED that this would happen in the closing moments of this age (Revelation 6:9-11).
And yet, these self-centered religious losers don’t care, don’t even say a prayer for them, don’t share the incomparable Gospel of Grace with anyone, nor bring any souls to Salvation – HOWEVER, THEY INVEST THE TIME AND EFFORT to attack the celebration of our Savior’s birth.
May God forgive their blindness, pettiness and stupidity.
There’s one thing about Christmas that I love more than ALL THE REST COMBINED:
…Celebrating Jesus. Adoring Him.
…Remembering the wondrous Birth of our God and Savior.
…Reading and re-living the beautiful Story of that first Christmas.
And ALL THE NAYSAYERS IN THE WORLD can’t take that away from me.
Nor can they remove THE JOY of knowing that God – the Creator and Sustainer of the universe – LOVED His Creation SO MUCH (LOVED ME – and YOU so much) that He came in human form, as a tiny babe, to right the many wrongs we’ve done on this earth.
Praise His Name forever!
This will probably be THE LAST Christmas we get to celebrate on this earth, at least for a while…
I want to encourage you to MAKE IT EXTRA SPECIAL.
Do it all: from the decorating to the baking, to the cooking, to the shopping, to the time shared with loved ones, to the gift-giving, FOR HIS GLORY.
And take some time to sip some eggnog or warm apple cider, sit on your favorite chair, appreciate our Savior and THANK GOD for the freedom and many blessings that are still ours.
Take time to ENJOY JESUS as never before.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2014
Jesus' Birth is always miraculous.
Wait a minute, you mean His one-time Birth in Bethlehem as a human baby was miraculous.
No, I mean His HUMAN Birth is ALWAYS MIRACULOUS.
Jesus wasn't just born in Bethlehem in the fall of "0" A.D.
That's THE FIRST TIME He was born as a human.
He's been born in human form MILLIONS OF TIMES since.
Just as it happened at the very start of the first century, His Birth is always brought about by the Holy Spirit's supernatural intervention:
The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, THE HOLY ONE TO BE BORN will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35).
That's PRECISELY what happens when an individual is BORN-AGAIN:
"But as many as RECEIVED Him, to them He gave power TO BECOME SONS OF God, even to those who believe in His Name, WHO WERE BORN, NOT OF BLOOD NOR OF THE WILL OF THE FLESH, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, but of God." (John 1:12-13)
Jesus wasn't born just that one time in Bethlehem. That was merely THE FIRST TIME that the Word BECAME flesh.
He's become flesh millions of times since, and is born ON A DAILY BASIS in the heart of each individual who is born-again of the Spirit (John 3:5).
Every time a soul, somewhere on this planet, comes to saving faith in Christ, that Jesus, THAT SAME JESUS, takes on human form and BECOMES FLESH.
Did He not say that He Himself WOULD LIVE IN us? (John 14:23)
Did He not say that He'd be with us ALWAYS and NEVER LEAVE US? (Matthew 28:20)
1 John 3:2 puts it this way:
"Beloved, NOW WE ARE THE SONS OF God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; for we shall see Him as He is."
When He appears, that's when the Jesus that was born in us WILL ALSO APPEAR IN US, consuming this false human appearance that WE THINK we are.
Have you given Jesus YOUR HEART?
Do it now-- and He will BECOME FLESH in you,the same way He became flesh that wondrous night in Bethlehem.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 16, 2014
THE ANNUNCIATION - PART TWO : HAS GOD FORGOTTEN ?
If Genesis 3:15 is correctly called the proto evangelium (First Gospel), then Luke 1:26-33 must be called the déftero evangelium or Second Gospel.
Because THE PROMISE that God made to THE WOMAN in Genesis 3:15 that HER SEED (NOT Adam's, but HERS) WOULD CRUSH SATAN'S HEAD was fulfilled with the Annunciation by Gabriel of the Savior's birth to THE WOMAN Mary, by the Holy Spirit, WITHOUT natural, male seed:
Read the beautiful, timeless words from Luke's Gospel:
"‘HOW will this be' Mary asked the angel, ‘SINCE I AM A VIRGIN?'
The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, THE HOLY ONE TO BE BORN will be called the Son of God.
Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.
For NO WORD from God WILL EVER FAIL.
‘I am the Lord's servant', Mary answered. ‘May YOUR WORD TO ME BE FULFILLED'. Then the angel left her" (Luke 1:34-38).
Almost 4,000 earthly years had passed since God made that BLESSED PROMISE in the Book of Genesis.
I can't help but wonder how dejected and disillusioned many Israelites and Jews must have felt during those calamitous years of slavery in Egypt, of deportation from their land, of suffering, slaughter, injustice, destruction, oppression and unending wars.
Doubtlessly, some of them thought that God HAD FORGOTTEN His Promise.
I know this because Christians have waited less than 2,000 years for our Lord's promise to "receive us unto Himself" (John 14:3), and MANY ARE CONSTANTLY DOUBTING whether He will keep His Promise -- just because certain things HAVEN'T happened when and as THEY THOUGHT THEY SHOULD.
Jews waited 4,000 years!!!
That's FOUR MILLENNIA -- DOUBLE the time you've waited -- just to catch THE FIRST GLIMPSE OF the Messiah Savior.
But God, who is SUPREMELY FAITHFUL, and WHOSE WORD NEVER FAILS -- as Gabriel so firmly reminded Mary -- KEPT HIS WORD, by bringing the Savior into the world thru THE SEED OF THE WOMAN, the VIRGIN-BORN Jesus.
He kept His Word THEN, and He'll keep it IN OUR TIME, in THIS end-time generation:
The BODY of Christ came into this world thru THE WOMAN, and He will leave this world THE SAME WAY He came (Revelation 12:1-5).
MONDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2014
"And IN THE SIXTH MONTH the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
And the angel came in to her, and said, Hail, YOU THAT ARE HIGHLY FAVORED, the Lord is with you: BLESSED ARE YOU AMONG WOMEN.
...And the angel said to her, Fear not, Mary: FOR YOU HAVE FOUND FAVOR with God.
And, behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give to him the throne of his father David: And HE SHALL REIGN over the house of Jacob FOR EVER; AND OF HIS KINGDOM THERE SHALL BE NO END." (Luke 1:26-33).
If you travel to Nazareth today, you'll find not one, but TWO "churches of the Annunciation" :
One is Roman Catholic, named Basilica of the Annunciation, and was constructed over A CAVE which, according TO TRADITION, also served as Mary's home and where Gabriel made the all-important announcement.
The other is Greek Orthodox, named either Annunciation Church, or St. Gabriel's Church, built over A SPRING where, according to Eastern Christian TRADITION, the angel Gabriel delivered the world-changing, life-changing message.
This took place, presumably, as Mary went to the spring to draw water which she'd later bring home.
Obviously, BOTH traditions CANNOT BE correct.
Which is the right one?
Based on Scripture, I favor the Eastern Orthodox view simply because THEY WERE THERE long before the Romans, and because THE SPRING MAKES A LOT OF SENSE, since we have Scripture after Scripture that refers to Jesus as A SPRING of "living water":
"With joy you will draw water FROM THE SPRINGS OF SALVATION." (The Hebrew word used for "salvation" is haYeshua)
"My people have committed two sins: THEY HAVE FORSAKEN ME, THE SPRING OF LIVING WATER, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water."
"Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust, because they have forsaken the LORD, THE SPRING OF LIVING WATER."
John 7:38 (Jesus speaking):
Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, FROM WITHIN THEM WILL FLOW RIVERS OF LIVING WATER."
Here's a PRIME EXAMPLE of WHY we DO NOT formulate DOCTRINE based on tradition.
Traditions can be correct or incorrect. The Word of God is ALWAYS right.
To those who INSIST ON elevating "traditions of men" to the level of authority and inerrancy of God's written Word, I say:
You do so TO YOUR OWN PERIL and self-deception.
We do know, unequivocally, from Scripture, that Jesus was born on the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles).
Jesus was Jewish, and the entire Bible both, Old and New Testaments, WAS WRITTEN BY JEWS.
The very Jewish John says that "the Word BECAME flesh and (literally) TABERNACLED among us" (John 1:14).
This begs the question: if He was born on Sukkot, and Mary's pregnancy lasted approximately 9 months, WHEN did Gabriel's Annunciation take place.
If we count 9 Hebrew months backward from Tishri 15 (Sukkot), we find that the Annunciation would have taken place, sometime during the 8-day Feast of Hanukkah.
This is significant for TWO reasons:
1. Hanukkah is referred to by Josephus, and known in Jewish circles as, the Festival of Light (Antiquities, Book 12 Chapter 7, para. 7)
According to Jewish tradition, that's when the sacred oil (Exodus 27:20) that lit the temple lamp (menorah) miraculously lasted 8 days. We don't know whether that story is true or not.
How appropriate, then, that the miraculous Birth of THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD would be announced during that special time.
Historically, Hanukkah (Kislev 25) is when God's temple was recovered and purified.
How significant that the Birth of the Redeemer, who'd BUY BACK God's Temple, recover it, and PURIFY IT FOREVER WITH HIS BLOOD, would be announced during Hanukkah.
2. The historically accurate Book of 2 Maccabees specifically tells us that Hanukkah -- which is NOT one of the moedim (Feasts of the Lord) established in Leviticus 23 -- was celebrated in REMEMBRANCE OF Sukkot which also lasts 8 days (2 Maccabees 10:5-7).
Therefore, Gabriel's Announcement DURING Hanukkah would signal that the Messiah's Birth -- who'd PURIFY God's human Temple and REDEDICATE IT TO Himself -- would take place on Sukkot.
How beautifully accurate is the Word of God!
Glory to Jesus!
How BLESSED are we to have THIS INEXHAUSTIBLE TREASURE available to us !
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2014
ELECTIONS IN ISRAEL
As badly as our U.S. government is divided, it pales by comparison to Israel's.
There are so many political factions in that tiny nation that it's hard to keep track. It's also very difficult to govern with such little consensus, and with so many often conflicting agendas.
As a result, Prime Minister Netanyahu has called for new elections, which are due to take place on March 17, 2015.
It's no secret that I like the Prime Minister. He's smart, he's tough, he's politically savvy, and people underestimate how difficult it is to balance Israel's best interests with the demands and pressure exerted by the hostile leadership of the United States on our supposed "closest ally".
If you read or listen to Western media, defeat for Mr. Netanyahu in the coming elections is practically a certainty.
If you watch or read Israeli media, although nothing at this point can be 100% certain, it's a different story.
Of course neither media is remotely aware of what is coming on Israel in the very near future.
WHOEVER ends up being Prime Minister will have an UNENVIABLE job.
Because he or she will have to deal with the Antichrist, will see his country defeated in war for the first time since its rebirth in 1948, and his people murdered, raped, plundered, taken captive, fleeing into the Judean wilderness, hated, despised, totally abandoned by their "allies", and viciously persecuted.
Here's the passage from Jeremiah 30:4-24 that puts this precarious time into perspective:
"And these are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and concerning Judah.
5 For thus says the LORD; We have heard a voice of TREMBLING, OF FEAR, AND NOT OF PEACE.
6 Ask now if a man can give birth to a child: WHY DO I SEE EVERY MAN WITH HIS HANDS ON HIS STOMACH, AS A WOMAN IN LABOR, AND ALL FACES ARE TURNED PALE?
7 Alas! FOR THAT DAY IS GREAT, SO THAT NONE IS LIKE IT: IT IS EVEN THE TIME OF JACOB'S TROUBLE; BUT HE SHALL BE SAVED OUT OF IT.
8 For it shall come to pass in that day, says the LORD of hosts, that I WILL BREAK HIS YOKE FROM OFF YOUR NECK, and will burst your bonds, and FOREIGNERS SHALL NO MORE ENSLAVE THEM:
9 But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them.
10 Therefore FEAR NOT, O my servant Jacob, says the LORD; NEITHER BE DISMAYED, O Israel: for, lo, I WILL SAVE YOU from afar, and your descendants from the land of their captivity; and Jacob SHALL RETURN, AND SHALL BE IN REST, AND BE QUIET, AND NONE SHALL MAKE HIM AFRAID.
11 For I am with you, says the LORD, to save you: For I WILL DESTROY COMPLETELY ALL THE NATIONS WHERE I HAVE SCATTERED YOU, Only I WILL NOT DESTROY YOU COMPLETELY.
But I will chasten you justly and will by no means leave you unpunished.
12 For thus says the LORD, Your bruise is incurable, and your wound is grievous.
13 There is none to plead your cause, that you may be bound up: you have no healing medicines.
14 ALL YOUR LOVERS (allies) HAVE FORGOTTEN YOU; they seek you not; for I have wounded you with the WOUND OF AN ENEMY, WITH THE CHASTISEMENT OF A CRUEL ONE, FOR THE MULTITUDE OF YOUR INIQUITY; BECAUSE YOUR SINS WERE INCREASED.
15 Why do you cry over your affliction? Your sorrow is incurable because of the multitude of your iniquity: BECAUSE YOUR SINS WERE INCREASED, I HAVE DONE THESE THINGS UNTO YOU.
16 Therefore ALL THEY THAT DEVOUR YOU SHALL BE DEVOURED; AND ALL YOUR ADVERSARIES, EVERYONE OF THEM, SHALL GO INTO CAPTIVITY; AND THEY THAT PLUNDER YOU SHALL BE PLUNDER, AND ALL THAT PREY UPON YOU WILL I MAKE A PREY.
17 For I will restore health unto you, and I will heal you of your wounds, says the LORD; because they called you an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeks after.
18 Thus says the LORD; Behold, I WILL BRING AGAIN THE CAPTIVITY OF Jacob's tents, and have mercy on his dwelling places; and the city shall be built upon its own mound, and the palace shall stand in its proper place.
19 And OUT OF THEM SHALL PROCEED THANKSGIVING and the voice of them that make merry: and I WILL MULTIPLY THEM, AND THEY SHALL NOT BE FEW; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small.
20 THEIR CHILDREN ALSO SHALL BE AS BEFORE, and their congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress them.
21 And THEIR NOBLES SHALL BE FROM THEMSELVES, AND THEIR GOVERNOR SHALL PROCEED FROM THE MIDST OF THEM; and I will cause him to draw near, and he shall approach unto me: FOR WHO IS THIS THAT DEVOTED HIS HEART TO APPROACH UNTO ME? says the LORD.
22 And you shall be my people, and I will be your God...
23 Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goes forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked (Antichrist).
24 The fierce anger of the LORD shall not return, until he has done it, and until he has performed the intents of his heart: IN THE LATTER DAYS YOU WILL UNDERSTAND IT."
It breaks my heart to say it, but that's what's about to hit unsuspecting Israel SHORT-TERM.
The GOOD NEWS is that, after those 42 months are over, a glorious Messianic era of peace, plenty and security will begin that will see ALL Israel reunited in the Promised Land.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2014
There's a host of so-called "Christian" denominations that have turned sin into God.
They may not say it in so many words, but they and their reps teach that JESUS ALONE is NOT sufficient to save us.
That our sins and our works AFFECT our Salvation.
That they affect it to the point that, even if we receive Christ into our hearts and are born-again, OUR SINS CAN STILL SEND US TO HELL.
If they do, then THEY ARE MORE POWERFUL than Jesus.
If they do, then THEY (sins) ARE GOD.
There's NO WAY to circumvent that truth.
Unfortunately, the very Evangelical denominations WHO TRIED, at one point, TO BREAK FREE FROM THAT HERESY, have fallen into the same trap.
Most Pentecostals, for instance, believe salvation can be lost BY SINNING.
If you believe that heresy, YOU'RE CONTRADICTING Scripture, and SAYING that Jesus' Blood is INSUFFICIENT to SAVE ETERNALLY.
You're also making SIN your God.
By doing that you're negating Jesus' Deity, undermining the Gospel, and CASTING DOUBT on Jesus' Sovereignty.
After all, if SIN is greater than Jesus, then who's to say that Buddha isn't greater, or that imaginary "god" Allah isn't greater or, for that matter (perish the VERY THOUGHT) that Satan isn't greater?
Most Evangelicals talk out of both sides of their mouths, causing the current CONFUSION EPIDEMIC plaguing the Church:
One the one hand they say Jesus died for our sins, and that Salvation is BY FAITH ALONE.
On the other hand, they say that IF YOU'RE HOMOSEXUAL you CAN'T be saved.
The sin of homosexuality, then, MUST BE GREATER THAN JESUS.
Because, according to these heretics, HOMOSEXUALITY has more power to damn than Jesus has to save.
Salvation is not about how "good" or "bad" we are. It's about HOW GOOD, GRACIOUS, GREAT, POWERFUL and MERCIFUL God is.
Those who teach such religious crap ARE NOT ministers of Christ: they are inept and uncaring HIRELINGS, religious salesmen, denominational reps.
They don't understand the REAL Gospel.
They just don't get the GOOD news about God's Grace, namely:
"That God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, NOT COUNTING people's SINS AGAINST THEM" (2 Corinthians 5:19).
They are the blind leading the blinder.
And Jesus said BOTH would fall into the pit (Matthew 15:14).
They are the ones who talk about "cheap Grace".
How can Grace (undeserved GOODNESS from God) be cheap, WHEN IT COST THE BLOOD OF GOD HIMSELF to procure?
They're the ones that PUT FEAR, instead of SAVING FAITH, in the hearts of their hapless congregations and followers, by "cautioning" that if they commit "certain sins" they may "lose" the GIFT of Salvation that God gave them.
They're the ones that teach THE LIE that you can be saved now, and UNSAVED 20 minutes later, according to your behavior.
I don't know about you, but I have never "lost" ANY gift, even those given BY SINFUL MORTALS:
I've never "lost" a birthday gift, an anniversary gift, a going away gift, or a Christmas gift.
NO SINFUL MORTAL has ever asked me to RETURN their gifts, or TAKEN THEM BACK.
Yet insecure hirelings regularly accuse our HOLY AND MOST GRACIOUS heavenly Father of doing PRECISELY that.
They accuse Him of CHANGING HIS MIND every 15 minutes: now you're saved, now you're not, now you're saved again because you repented, and... Oooops ! YOU LOST SALVATION AGAIN by committing that sin.
When God's Word says that He NEVER changes (Hebrews 13:8; James 1:17).
When He says that His mercy and His righteousness ENDURE FOREVER (Psalm 106:1; 111:3).
When He says that Salvation is HIS GIFT and that His gifts CANNOT BE REVOKED (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 11:29).
The teaching that Salvation can be lost is a bunch of RELIGIOUS COW MANURE.
It is spawned by Satan, the father of lies.
It robs God of His Supremacy, the INCOMPARABLE Gospel of Grace OF ITS UNIQUENESS, and REDUCES the Christian faith TO THE INFERIOR LEVEL OF ANY world class, FALSE religion.
After all, THEY can't guarantee anyone salvation and, according to these jokers, NEITHER CAN JESUS.
If we CAN'T TRUST GOD TO KEEP US SAVED AND SECURE FOR ETERNITY, then WHO can we trust?
The ONLY alternative to eternal security is ETERNAL INSECURITY.
Insecurity is A FORM OF FEAR.
Fear DOES NOT COME FROM God (2 Timothy 1:7).
Fear has TORMENT (1 John 4:18).
Therefore, the ONLY alternative to eternal security is ETERNITY IN TORMENT.
Every so-called "minister" of the Gospel who preaches that false doctrine, DOES NOT BELONG IN the ministry.
They need to REPENT of their IDOLATRY and teach THE TRUE Gospel of Grace: once saved ALWAYS saved.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2014
TAKE IT BY FORCE
"And from the days of John the Baptist until now THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN SUFFERS VIOLENCE, AND THE VIOLENT TAKE IT BY FORCE" (Matthew 11:12)
This passage from Matthew is one of the most difficult to understand:
ALL the English translations that I've seen are INACCURATE and AWFUL.
WHAT THE HECK was Jesus talking about?
Was Jesus, the Prince of Peace, who taught TO LOVE EVEN OUR ENEMIES,
CONTRADICTING Himself and ADVOCATING violence?
Perish the very IDEA.
There's NOTHING about "violence" in that verse.
The Greek words translated "violence" and "violent" actually mean "FORCE".
Keeping in mind THE LIMITATIONS OF fractured human language, the MOST ACCURATE translation into English IS:
"Since the days of John the Baptist until now the Kingdom of Heaven HAS BEEN FORCEFULLY ADVANCING and the forceful SNATCH IT UP FOR THEMSELVES".
Since John the Baptist the Kingdom of Heaven HAS BEEN FORCEFULLY ADVANCING.
Compare to Revelation 6:2 where King Jesus goes forth on a white horse "CONQUERING (ADVANCING His Kingdom) and to CONQUER" (COME OFF VICTORIOUS)"...
THE FIRST PORTION of Matthew 11:12 alludes to Micah 2:13:
"The one WHO BREAKS (FORCES) OPEN THE WAY (in context, TO THE SHEEP) WILL GO UP BEFORE THEM; they will BREAK THROUGH THE GATE and go out. Their King will pass through before them, the Lord AT THEIR HEAD."
An old midrashic teaching is THE KEY to understanding the FIRST PORTION of the verse.
Rabbinic interpretation - which in this particular instance IS CORRECT - says that the ONE WHO BREAKS OPEN THE BREACH (to FORCEFULLY ADVANCE God's Kingdom) is Elijah and the King is the Messiah.
Elijah came first in the person of John the Baptist to (FORCEFULLY) BREAK OPEN the breach for the sheep to GO OUT INTO the GREEN PASTURES in God's Kingdom.
And the King who GOES BEFORE US ADVANCING His Kingdom AS THE HEAD of His collective Body is Messiah Jesus.
Now, let's examine the SECOND PART of the verse:
"and the forceful SNATCH UP (the Kingdom) FOR THEMSELVES".
Can you guess what the Greek word for "snatch" (or "take by force") is?
It's THE SAME WORD used in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 that says we shall be "CAUGHT UP" (raptured) to "meet the Lord in the air".
We HAVE TO RAPTURE Jesus AND HIS KINGDOM INTO US BEFORE HE RAPTURES US INTO HIMSELF!
What a beautiful picture of both initial Salvation (the born again EXPERIENCE) and FULL SALVATION, which takes place when WE SEE JESUS AS HE IS, are transformed INTO IMMORTAL BEINGS and CAUGHT UP (raptured) into Jesus.
We MUST forcefully (energetically) SNATCH Jesus INTO US (receive Him and PULL HIM INTO OUR INNERMOST BEING)... THAT'S what makes us "born again".
That's what Paul meant by "TAKE HOLD OF eternal Life" (1 Timothy 6:12)
We must "rapture" Jesus INTO US, BEFORE He raptures us INTO HIMSELF!!!
Man, if THAT doesn't excite you...
Have you raptured Jesus?
He IS heaven, you know...
Heaven's more than just a PLACE.
He IS A PERSON.
Those who "go to heaven" are those who HAVE HEAVEN in their hearts.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2014
IF THE TRUTH OFFENDS YOU
One thing that I immensely dislike about religious people is their utter disregard for the Truth.
They DON'T CARE about the Truth.
They care ONLY about what they WANT TO believe:
They'll zero in on their pet doctrine and turn blind eyes and deaf ears TO ANYTHING else.
Even if God says it.
Even if it can be PROVEN beyond any doubt.
They are OFFENDED BY the Truth, because they DON'T LIKE the Truth.
They DON'T WANT THE TRUTH.
They have deceived themselves into the fantasy that they can "vote" on what they like and don't like and THAT will MAKE IT true.
God is God and Truth is Truth, NO MATTER WHO likes or dislikes it.
God's Word is true, WHETHER ANYONE likes it or not.
We DON'T GET TO VOTE ON Eternal Truth: He is THAT HE IS.
And God, I assure you, won't change His Word because you happen NOT TO like what it says.
Those who REJECT Truth are SLAVES.
They are IN BONDAGE to their own fabricated religious delusion.
And, sooner or later, it will bite their behinds.
Those who hate Truth will never be free.
Because according to Jesus, it's THE TRUTH - and ONLY THE TRUTH - that sets us free.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2014
Every born-again believer needs to look at Scripture through FRESH eyes.
As a child, I was taught some Bible STORIES by Roman Catholicism.
I didn't even know those stories had come from the Bible until after I was 10 years of age.
That's when I first learned THERE WAS a Bible.
I vividly remember the experience as though it happened yesterday: the surprise and awe of learning that God had left us His Word in written form.
I also remember wondering WHY I hadn't heard about it before.
HOW can GOD - the Creator and Savior of the universe - leave us His Word, His instruction, His THOUGHTS, ON PAPER, and NO ONE TALKS ABOUT IT?
NO ONE even seems INTERESTED.
At about 8 or 9 I had briefly attended Sabbatical school where the Seventh Day Adventists taught me NO SCRIPTURES, and NOT A WORD ABOUT Salvation, but rather about the great evils of smoking and drinking: that my lips should never touch even "ONE DROP of liquor".
Do I favor drinking and smoking?
No. I'm not that stupid.
However, YOU CAN ENTER the Kingdom of God with deteriorating lungs and as drunk as a fermented grape.
You CAN'T enter with AN UNREGENERATE HEART.
At 11, while still very much Roman Catholic, the Lutherans briefly got hold of me:
They MADE ME memorize Scripture for the first time.
Who the hell thought of a catechism that makes an 11 year old memorize 2 Peter 2:14, I'll never know:
"they have eyes full of adultery and cannot cease from sin".
But whoever it was, he was NOT PROMOTING his denomination founder's CORRECT doctrine of "sola fide" (faith only).
In my 20's I was "taught the Bible" from different religious points of view by several evangelical brands.
Last AND LEAST, in my early 30's I was "taught the Bible" from a Messianic Jewish perspective.
I am not saying that what I heard in my 20's and 30's was all worthless.
God's Word never returns void.
And I am ETERNALLY grateful to those who presented the Gospel of God's Grace to me and brought me to personal, intimate knowledge of my God and Savior Jesus the Messiah.
I'm also EXTREMELY GRATEFUL to those who taught me about the infilling of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the Spirit, and the Jewishness of our Lord.
However, I would be lying if I said that I benefited from everything they taught me.
I've had to UNLEARN A LOT of things.
What happened after Messianic Judaism?
After nearly every denomination and group under the sun took a crack at me...
THE HOLY SPIRIT got hold of me.
I have since spent COUNTLESS hours, sometimes ‘round the clock, ALONE with God, reading, studying, meditating God's Word, comparing Scripture with Scripture, and LISTENING to the Spirit's INNER Voice.
The first thing the Holy Spirit impressed upon me was this:
I want you to look at the written Word with FRESH EYES.
I want you to ABANDON ALL preconceived ideas and read Scripture AS THOUGH YOU'D NEVER READ IT OR HEARD IT BEFORE.
NOT what you heard some denomination teach.
NOT what you heard some preacher preach.
NOT what you heard some theologian say that "the Bible says".
But WHAT IT ACTUALLY says!!!
That's when the scales began to fall from my eyes.
That's when I began to realize JUST HOW DECEPTIVE and CORRUPT the various religious systems are.
ALL of them!
Of course, to the extent that some actually lead souls to Salvation (Jesus), some are far better than others.
But they're still corrupt, ineffective, ambiguous and FULL of man-invented "rules".
They're all A FAR CRY from our Lord's evangelistic model, that of His disciples, or even from that of the Early Church.
If you want THE FREEDOM of the Spirit that ONLY the Spirit of God and the Word of God can bring, then STOP LISTENING TO SINFUL MORTALS, STOP BELIEVING in religions and THEIR SELF-SERVING INVENTIONS:
Receive Christ into your heart, TREASURE His Presence within you, look at His WRITTEN Word WITH FRESH EYES - as though YOU HAD NO IDEA what it says, as though you WERE READING IT FOR THE FIRST TIME - and PAY ATTENTION TO the Spirit inside you.
Jesus PAID TOO HIGH A PRICE for our freedom, only for us to become once again ENSLAVED by religion.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2014
"But EVEN IF WE, OR AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN, PREACH ANY OTHER GOSPEL TO YOU THAN THAT WHICH WE HAVE PREACHED to you, LET HIM BE ACCURSED" (Galatians 1:8)
"For MANY DECEIVERS are entered into the world...Whoever GOES BEYOND, AND ABIDES NOT IN THE DOCTRINE OF Christ, DOESN'T HAVE God...
IF ANYONE comes to you, and BRINGS NOT THIS DOCTRINE, DON'T RECEIVE HIM into your house, neither bid him God speed:
For he that bids him God speed IS PARTAKER OF his evil deeds" (2 John 1:7-11).
Brothers and sisters, you can't say it ANY CLEARER.
And yet we regularly get emails from Christians asking about supposed "lost" books of the Bible, and extra-biblical literature:
"What do I think of this or that "book"?
Is it inspired Scripture?
Is it part of the Bible?
What I find appalling and ludicrous is that these individuals have MINIMAL knowledge of Scripture at best.
I KNOW THIS from previous correspondence and questions they've asked.
(I CAN'T POSSIBLY remember everything, but I do remember A LOT).
It's also PROVEN by the fact that THEY DON'T EVEN KNOW which books are part of the Bible and which aren't.
The question that immediately comes to mind is:
This person DOESN'T EVEN KNOW what WE'RE CERTAIN is inspired Scripture, and he or she is delving into UNCERTAIN, UNINSPIRED "books"?
If they DON'T CARE about what GOD(for sure) has to say,WHY would they care about WHAT SOMEONE ELSE wrote?
What on earth are you doing, "Christian", reading the Book of Enoch, the Apocalypse of Peter, the Book of Jubilees, the so-called "Gospel of Thomas" and ANY OTHER so-called "gospel", WHEN YOU DON'T KNOW THE REAL GOSPELS ???
Paul told us, clear as daylight, that IF ANYONE - even himself or one of the disciples, or even AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN (hello, Mormons) brought us ANOTHER "gospel", that he or she IS ACCURSED.
John said DON'T EVEN OPEN THE DOOR NOT WELCOME IT INTO YOUR HOME.
If you do, you become PARTAKER (participant) in their evil deeds.
I DON'T KNOW WHICH PART OF THAT doesn't get through to some of you.
Well, Martel, you've obviously READ those books yourself, or you couldn't tell me if they're true or not...
True. I've read them for three reasons:
1. I'm quite knowledgeable of Scripture and SOLIDLY ESTABLISHED on God's Word (Glory to Jesus) and therefore I AM EQUIPPED to judge what contradicts His Word. Most people, unfortunately, AREN'T.
If I DIDN'T HAVE these qualifications I WOULDN'T EVEN GO NEAR THEM.
I read these books AFTER being A STRONG Christian and having a STRONG BIBLICAL foundation, NOT when I was a beginner in the faith.
2. I NEED TO KNOW their content so that when people like you ask about it, I can give INFORMED answers.
3. I DON'T FORMULATE DOCTRINE based on those books, but on THE Book.
SOME extra-biblical books like 1 and 2 Maccabees, the Epistle of Barnabas, and others contain valuable HISTORICAL INFORMATION and provide insights into the beliefs, culture and general mindset of the time.
By the same token, SOME of those books ARE FULL OF LIES that contradict Scripture and are DOWNRIGHT SATANIC.
And if you don't know which are and which aren't, YOU SHOULDN'T GO NEAR THEM.
How can you GO A-WHORING AFTER religious crap when you HAVE -- and TOTALLY NEGLECT -- THE INVALUABLE, ETERNALLY TRUE, INERRANT Word of God?
That's like salivating after cheap rhinestones WHEN WE HAVE A RARE, FLAWLESS and PRICELESS DIAMOND.
As Marilyn Monroe used to say "diamonds... diamonds... I DON'T NEED rhinestones"...
Don't be a rhinestone cowboy. Don't allow any compromisin' to enter your horizon:
STICK TO the Spirit-inspired, TIME-TESTED, WRITTEN WORD OF GOD, and let liars and those who love lies, wade knee-deep in religious manure.
Otherwise, DON'T COME TO ME for answers.
Because THE ONLY REASON I can answer your questions and concerns about those books...
THE ONLY REASON you COME TO ME for answers is...
BECAUSE I KNOW THE BIBLE.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 8, 2014
PRAISE IS PRIVILEGE
In John 4:23-24 Jesus makes the most astounding declaration:
God IS SPIRIT. And He SEEKS worshipers who'll worship Him IN SPIRIT, spirit to Spirit.
Praise not only GIVES our Father WHAT HE SEEKS...
Praise NOT ONLY PLEASES Him...
Praise is GREAT privilege.
It's also A MAJOR key to victory in any circumstance we face.
But you don't understand, my husband/wife left me...
But I lost my job...
But a loved one passed away...
But I'm having financial difficulties...
But I lost my business...
But I lost my home...
But I'm estranged from my loved ones...
But I feel all alone...
But I feel my life has no meaning...
(Praise WILL BRING MEANING to your life, GUARANTEED).
But I don't understand why this or that happened...
But I didn't deserve that...
But I'm in declining health...
But I just had the worst year of my life...
I'm not belittling what you have gone through, or may be going through.
I know the pain, the distress, the anguish, the hardship are VERY real.
I understand all too well, 'cause I've been there myself.
All I'm telling you is that PRAISE is YOUR KEY to victory.
It may be "HARD" TO START praising God in spirit, from the depths of your being, but well worth the time and "effort".
In fact, WITH A LITTLE PRACTICE, it will become effortless and spontaneous.
PRAISING JESUS is LIFTING HIM UP.
When you lift Him up, you AUTOMATICALLY lift yourself up BECAUSE HE LIVES IN YOU!!!
He's NOT "out there" 3 billion light years away in the far blue yonder, as religion would have us believe.
He's RIGHT INSIDE YOU.
Didn't He PROMISE NEVER to leave us or forsake us?
HE MEANT IT.
He's INSIDE YOU -- ALL THE TIME.
You got problems?
PRAISE YOUR WAY OUT OF THEM.
Don't sit there moaning, moping and feeling sorry for yourself.
THAT - I promise - won't solve ANY THING.
It'll just make you more depressed and aggravate whatever circumstance you may be facing.
Jesus is our Victory.
He is THE solution.
He is THE WAY out of your situation.
USE His Name, His Authority and His Blood - which no form of evil can resist -- and PRAISE HIM.
One more thing:
When EVERYTHING is GOING WELL in your life...
When everything COMES UP ROSES...
PRAISE HIM there, too.
Jesus is worthy of our HIGHEST, CONSTANT, non-stop praise.
Let everything that has breath...
PRAISE THE LORD!
God may enjoy our praise, but we're the main beneficiaries.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2014
SIN HAS CONSEQUENCES
In this 7-message series, we have UTTERLY DESTROYED, WITH SCRIPTURE and human logic - and from every conceivable angle - the false doctrine that Salvation can be lost.
These messages will be available as the "Eternal Salvation" package, which we will send free of charge to anyone who requests it, needs it, or has questions about it.
Instead of going back and forth 10 rounds with each person, which eats up so much of my time, this is how I will deal with those who think they've lost their Salvation from now on:
I can't EXPLAIN IT ANY BETTER, CLEARER, or more CONCLUSIVELY, than I have in these 7 messages.
Salvation CANNOT - under ANY circumstance - be lost.
You either HAVE SALVATION, and NEVER lost it.
Or YOU NEVER HAD IT to begin with.
If you still CHOOSE to believe that "you've lost" Salvation, then YOU'RE JUST STUBBORN, and I'm sorry to say "you're on your own".
However, I would be remiss if I didn't say that SIN HAS CONSEQUENCES.
Yes, Jesus REMOVED all sin for all time. No question about that.
He REMOVED OUR SINS as far as the east is from the west.
Glory to Him forever, He is NOT COUNTING sins against us.
But SOCIETY STILL IS.
Sin CANNOT make A BORN-AGAIN PERSON lose his or her salvation, but sin HAS SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES HERE ON EARTH:
If you steal, chances are you'll be arrested.
If you deal drugs, you may get killed.
If you murder, you may be put to death by lethal injection or some other method.
If you engage in homosexual activity, fornication or adultery, you're defiling the temple of God (your body, in which Christ lives) and you may catch a serious, incurable disease.
If you have an abortion, you're destroying another human being, destroying the Image of God in which he or she is made, robbing that person of his or her potential in Christ, and it may haunt you the rest of your life.
If you cheat on your spouse, you'll cause her or him - and any children involved -
tremendous anguish, wreck their lives and wreck your marriage and your family.
And, for what?
For 15 minutes of pleasure that you won't even remember in a month?
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER the 15 minutes are over?
Is it REALLY worth it?
DON'T BE stupid.
You're NOT AN ANIMAL that acts on pure instinct, WITHOUT THINKING.
THINK BEFORE you "leap" into something that you'll regret for the rest of your life.
If you're BORN-AGAIN, it's NOT that Jesus DIDN'T remove those sins.
It's NOT that He's counting sins.
It's NOT that you'll lose your Salvation, or that such sins will change where you spend the afterlife.
It's that sin STILL HAS SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES in THIS earthly realm.
It's that SIN ALWAYS COMES WITH A HUGE PRICE TAG ATTACHED.
There are PRACTICAL, REAL, and very serious consequences of sin HERE ON EARTH.
However, THE GRAVEST consequences of sin are:
For UNSAVED people, that sin WILL send you to hell, UNLESS you get saved.
For SAVED people is that sin hinders our relationship with Jesus and OUR SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT.
It also ROBS US of the joy of DELIGHTING IN Jesus and enjoying a deeper knowledge of Him.
All Christians, myself included, have sinned NUMEROUS TIMES AFTER receiving Christ.
I'm not proud of it, and WISH I hadn't.
But it's one thing to fall into sin AT A GIVEN MOMENT because of WEAKNESS OF THE FLESH.
It's one thing to have a bad religious experience, become disillusioned, turn TEMPORARILY "away from" God and eventually, come to our senses, repent and comport ourselves most of the time as Christians SHOULD.
It's ANOTHER THING TO TAKE CALCULATED ADVANTAGE OF God's Grace.
It's ANOTHER THING to SEEK SINNING, ON PURPOSE, NOT BECAUSE you had a moment of weakness, but because YOU DON'T CARE: After all, "I know Jesus has my back and I can't lose Salvation".
If that is your attitude, IT IS WRONG.
You have THE RIGHT DOCTRINE, but the WRONG ATTITUDE.
The New Testament tells us NOT TO use God's Grace to DELIBERATELY and PREMEDITATEDLY CONTINUE in sin.
"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But DO NOT USE YOUR FREEDOM TO INDULGE THE FLESH; rather, serve one another humbly in love" (Galatians 5:13).
"What shall we say, then? Shall we CONTINUE IN SIN so that grace may increase? God forbid!" (Romans 6:1-2)
There's NO QUESTION that Jesus already REMOVED ALL those sins.
The REAL problem is NOT with the sinning, the problem is IN YOUR HEART.
If you can be SO CALCULATING and CALLOUS about sinning, KNOWING THE TERRIBLE PRICE that God HIMSELF paid to redeem you from sin, SOMETHING IS WRONG.
HOW can you be born-again, have the HOLY Spirit living IN YOUR HEART, and ALL YOU THINK ABOUT - from the moment you open your eyes to the moment you close them - IS SINNING?
HOW can you SAY that you "know Jesus" and have that UTTERLY SELFISH, COLD-HEARTED attitude day, after day, after day, month after month, after month?
HOW can you be born-again, have the HOLY Spirit living IN YOUR HEART, and HAVE NO REGRET WHATSOEVER about DISOBEYING the very God WHO LIVES IN YOU?
HOW can you be born-again, have the HOLY Spirit living IN YOUR HEART, and you're not the least bit bothered by engaging in activities that YOU KNOW are NOT pleasing to our Lord?
HOW can you be born-again, have the HOLY Spirit living IN YOUR HEART and give NO THOUGHT to Jesus, but ALL you ever think about is sinning?
HOW can Jesus LIVE IN and RULE YOUR HEART when you show UTTER DISREGARD for His Will, and you ACTIVELY and PRESUMPTUOUSLY SEEK sin and disobedience?
HOW can Love Himself LIVE IN YOU, yet YOU DON'T CARE about harming or hurting your neighbor, when love "does no harm to its neighbor"? (Romans 13:10)
For those who claim to be saved, and have such attitude, my advice is:
EXAMINE YOUR HEART.
I'm not judging you or condemning you.
Only Jesus can judge your heart and determine if you're really saved or not.
All I'm saying is, that's NOT normal, typical BORN-AGAIN behavior.
That is VERY UNCHARACTERISTIC OF a person WHO REALLY KNOWS Christ.
According to Jesus Himself, a lot of people, who CLAIM to be Christians will come to Him and say "DIDN'T we do this or that IN YOUR NAME"?
And His reply will point out THE ONLY SIN that sends ANYONE to hell:
I NEVER KNEW you (Matthew 7:22-23).
You played the "Christian" role to a T, you SAID you were Christian, you ACTED IN FRONT OF OTHERS as though you are Christian, but I NEVER ENTERED YOUR HEART.
You NEVER RECEIVED me into the deepest parts of your being.
You SAID one thing but LIVED another way ALL THE TIME because YOU NEVER REALLY GAVE ME YOUR WHOLE HEART.
YOU NEVER SURRENDERED YOUR LIFE to Me.
Those who have that PERSISTENT UNCHRISTIAN attitude, are LITERALLY playing with fire.
You can fool the pastor, you can fool the congregation, you may fool your spouse, friends and family, and you may fool me.
But you CANNOT fool Jesus.
NOT FOR ONE microsecond.
To those who have such PERSISTENT attitude, I say again:
EXAMINE your own HEART.
And if you're NOT 100% CERTAIN of Salvation, then repent, and rededicate your life to Christ, AND MEAN IT - FROM YOUR HEART.
Salvation is not about parroting "the right words", it's ABOUT ACTUALLY RECEIVING CHRIST INTO OUR HEARTS.
Words MEAN NOTHING UNLESS they come FROM THE HEART.
Salvation is forgiveness and deliverance FROM sin. It's NOT license to sin continuously and recklessly and "get away with it".
Salvation is about His HOLY Spirit PENETRATING the deepest RECESSES OF OUR BEING (Romans 8:9).
It's about Jesus RULING and REIGNING IN our hearts and lives.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2014
"I WANT OUT"
As I accessed our own YouTube channel recently, I noticed that next to our video entitled "Forgiven Forever", there was a video entitled "Is eternal security BIBLICAL?"
It caught my eye simply because it's SO RARE to find ANYTHING on YouTube that truly is BIBLICAL.
I watched the video only to hear the guy GIVE HIS OPINION.
Not ONE verse from the BIBLE was given to support his claims.
There goes the "BIBLICAL" part.
Instead, it was filled - as so much of the Kristian fare offered these days - with "I BELIEVES".
"I believe" God would do this, and "I believe" God would do that...
There goes HIS CREDIBILITY.
NO ONE should believe anything BECAUSE ANOTHER MORTAL - myself included - believes it.
We SHOULDN'T CARE AT ALL about the opinion of mortals with regards to our Salvation.
OPINIONS are NOT the Truth.
JESUS is the Truth.
We should believe WHAT JESUS said.
If He DIDN'T say it, we SHOULDN'T believe it.
If it CONTRADICTS the Bible, WE MUSTN'T believe it.
This man's OPINION is that if any believer tells God that "he wants out", God made man a "free moral agent", and that, therefore, God would grant his wish, and he or she would lose his or her salvation.
Unfortunately, this MORTAL OPINION is not proffered only by this fool.
I've heard it taught MORE THAN ONCE on Kristian TV, and by some very high profile individuals.
I UTTERLY REJECT that FALSE teaching.
Because it CONTRADICTS God.
God gave man free will, UP TO A POINT.
What I mean by that is: He gave man the ability to CHOOSE his eternal destiny.
Generally speaking, as long as man chooses NOT to receive Jesus, the choice CAN still BE CHANGED and that person (mercifully) still CAN GET SAVED.
Once man MAKES THE CHOICE to receive Christ, and DOES, the choice is IRREVERSIBLE.
It's also IRREVOCABLE.
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE for anyone who REALLY KNOWS Jesus, has been born again, experienced His Presence, partaken of His Holy Spirit, and His Divine nature, TO FALL AWAY (lose their salvation) (Hebrews 6:4-6).
But I'll let Jesus speak for Himself:
"Jesus answered: ...My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I GIVE THEM ETERNAL LIFE, AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH; NO ONE WILL SNATCH THEM OUT OF MY HAND.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; NO ONE CAN SNATCH THEM OUT of my Father's hand." (John 10:25-30)
"NO ONE" would have to include the individual who, hypothetically speaking, "wants out".
Unless you want to argue that he or she ISN'T "someone".
He says it again in John 17:12:
"THOSE THAT YOU GAVE ME I HAVE KEPT, AND NONE OF THEM IS LOST, except the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled" (John 17:12).
"All that the Father gives me will come to me, and WHOEVER COMES TO ME I WILL NEVER CAST OUT" (John 6:37).
He won't cast them out EVEN IF (hypothetically speaking) they were foolish enough to request it.
Given the choice of BELIEVING WHAT JESUS SAYS or believing THE UNBIBLICAL OPINION of a SINFUL, MORTAL, it's a no-brainer:
I BELIEVE JESUS.
Ephesians 2:8-9 says that Salvation is ‘THE GIFT OF GOD".
According to Romans 11:29 "THE GIFTS and callings of God ARE IRREVOCABLE".
They CANNOT be revoked. Therefore, Salvation, which is A GIFT of God, CANNOT be lost, UNDER ANY circumstance.
Period. Case closed.
To sum this up, I have ONE MORE Scripture:
"LET GOD BE TRUE, and EVERY MAN A LIAR".
So much for the "I believes".
So much for the OPINIONS of lying MORTALS.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2014
When was the last time YOU OFFERED ANIMAL SACRIFICES for your sins?
When was the last time that YOU offered ANIMAL SACRIFICES for your sins?
You're kidding, right? Christians HAVE NEVER OFFERED animal sacrifices for sin...
The term "willful sin" is mentioned ONLY ONCE in the ENTIRE Bible, STRICTLY IN CONNECTION TO ANIMAL SACRIFICES.
And yet, we get message after message from terrified Christians THINKING that, because they went on a sinning spree AFTER receiving Christ, they have committed this hideous sin.
The term appears in the Book of Hebrews.
The word "Hebrew", according to the dictionary, MEANS:
"A member of an ancient people living in what is now Israel DESCENDED FROM THE PATRIARCH Jacob, grandson of Abraham. After the Exodus (1300 BC) they ESTABLISHED THE KINGDOMS OF Israel and Judah, and their scriptures and traditions form the basis of the Jewish religion".
Do you see the word "gentile" mentioned ANYWHERE in that definition?
How about the word "Christian"?
I didn't think so.
And yet AN ENTIRE "Christian" theology has been fabricated around a term USED ONCE in the ENTIRE Bible, and addressed ONLY to Hebrews or JEWS.
That "theology" is pure HERESY.
The Book of HEBREWS, as its VERY NAME indicates, was written TO JEWS, NOT GENTILES, NOT CHRISTIANS.
There are 15 OTHER epistles addressed TO GENTILE Christians.
This ONE epistle,plus James' Epistle, were addressed TO JEWS who had come to faith in their Jewish Messiah.
Jews HAD LIVED 1,500 years under the Law given at Mount Sinai.
That Law REQUIRED both, works AND ANIMAL SACRIFICES for sin.
Those ANIMAL SACRIFICES HAD TO BE OFFERED, TWICE A DAY, EVERY SINGLE DAY... DAY AFTER DAY AFTER DAY... YEAR AFTER YEAR, AFTER YEAR... (Exodus 29:39; Numbers 28:4; 1 Chronicles 16:40).
The ENTIRE Book of Hebrews draws a contrast between Law and Grace, between the Old Testament and the New, between ANIMAL SACRIFICES offered under the Law, and Jesus' PERFECT SACRIFICE, which FREED US from the Law.
IN CHAPTER 8, Paul talks about how the Jewish High Priest had to offer those NEVER-ENDING ANIMAL SACRIFICES for men's sins.
IN CHAPTER 9, he draws a contrast between those NEVER-ENDING ANIMAL SACRIFICES and Jesus' PERFECT, ONCE AND FOR ALL SACRIFICE for our sins.
Hebrews 9:12 says about Jesus: "He DID NOT ENTER BY MEANS OF THE BLOOD OF GOATS AND CALVES; but he entered the Most Holy Place ONCE AND FOR ALL by HIS OWN Blood, having obtained ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR US".
"ETERNAL" MEANS NEVER ENDING.
If Jesus has OBTAINED ETERNAL, NEVER-ENDING REDEMPTION FOR US WHO RECEIVE HIM AND TRUST HIM, HOW CAN IT POSSIBLY SAY IN THE NEXT CHAPTER, THAT IF WE SIN "WILLFULLY" AFTER RECEIVING HIM, WE'RE ETERNALLY LOST???
It DOESN'T SAY that.
It has NEVER said that.
And it WILL NEVER say that.
Hebrews 10:1-2 says:
"... (THE LAW) CAN NEVER,BY THE SAME (ANIMAL) SACRIFICES REPEATED ENDLESSLY YEAR AFTER YEAR, MAKE PERFECT those who draw near to worship. If it could, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins".
Verse 10 of that chapter says: "we HAVE BEEN MADE HOLY (PERFECT)through THE SACRIFICE OF THE BODY OF Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL".
If the Sacrifice of Jesus made us HOLY AND PERFECT, ONCE AND FOR ALL, how can it say a few verses later that if we sin after RECEIVING Him, we're lost?
The controversial verses in Hebrews 10:26-28 say:
"if we (HEBREWS) SIN WILLFULLY after that WE (HEBREWS) have received the knowledge of the truth...
IN CONTEXT, WHAT "WILLFUL SIN" is Paul referring to?
The sin that SOME JEWS wanted to commit of RECEIVING JESUS as Savior, yet INSISTING that THEY STILL HAD TO CONTINUE LIVING UNDER THE LAW AND OFFERING ANIMAL SACRIFICES.
Paul was simply saying: You CAN'T have it both ways:
If Jesus' Blood, death and Resurrection FOREVER made us perfect, WE DON'T NEED THE LAW, WE DON'T NEED ANIMAL SACRIFICES, we DON'T NEED ANYTHING ELSE.
If, after clearly understanding that Jesus' Sacrifice has removed ALL SIN for ALL TIME,they WILLFULLY INSISTED on CONTINUING TO OFFER ANIMAL SACRIFICES, they were effectively REJECTING Jesus' Sacrifice, His death on the cross, as IMPERFECT and INSUFFICIENT to save, since it had to be "supplemented" with ANIMAL SACRIFICES.
They were NOT trusting Jesus for Salvation. Hence they were NOT saved, but LOST.
According to Hebrews 10:29, those who think that Jesus ISN'T sufficient to save, and who INSIST on continuing to offer ANIMAL SACRIFICES, have:
A) TRODDEN the Son of God underfoot.
B) Counted the Blood of the (New) covenant, Jesus' OWN BLOOD, wherewith that person WAS SANCTIFIED an unholy thing, and
C) Done SPITE to the Spirit of Grace (the Holy Spirit).
That's WHY they're irretrievably lost. Because they HAVE REJECTED Jesus' Sacrifice and there remains "NO MORE SACRIFICE for sin" (Hebrews 10:26).
AFTER THE PERFECT, ETERNALLY SUFFICIENT SACRIFICE OF HIS PERFECT SON, GOD WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY OTHER SACRIFICE FOR SIN.
Consequently, if Jews KNOWINGLY AND WILLFULLY, CHOOSE to live under the Law and offer ANIMAL SACRIFICES, they're LOST, because now there's NO OTHER SACRIFICE -- besides Jesus - that God will accept.
That's what that verse is saying. That's what it has said for the past 2,000 years.
It is talking STRICTLY TO JEWS. It has NOTHING to do with Christians committing sins after receiving Christ.
IT'S NOT EVEN ADDRESSED TO Christians.
When was the last time that you, FEARFUL Christian, OFFERED AN ANIMAL SACRIFICE for sin?
Since you haven't, the term "SIN WILLFULLY" DOES NOT APPLY TO YOU, and HAS NEVER applied to you.
Period. Case closed.
Romans 8:1 (ADDRESSED TO GENTILE Christians):
"There is NOW NO CONDEMNATION to those who are IN Christ Jesus".
What part of "NO CONDEMNATION" doesn't your little pea-size brain get?
Better luck "condemning yourself" next time.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 3, 2014
IS SIN GOD ?
Gee, what a STUPID question!
HOW can you even ASK?
I agree. It IS STUPID.
And yet, I'm going to PROVE that this is WHAT RELIGION TEACHES, and what MANY CHRISTIANS BELIEVE.
The worst part is THEY'RE NOT EVEN AWARE that this is what they REALLY believe.
I'm not just talking about some religious cult like the Seventh Day Adventists, so-called Church of God, so-called Church of Christ, Christian Science, Jehovah's Witnesses, or Mormons.
I'm also taking about so-called Evangelicals.
Letter, after letter, after letter comes in CRYING FOR HELP with essentially the same story:
"I came to faith in Christ, then (for a variety of reasons) fell into sin. I committed terrible sins, sinned NUMEROUS TIMES, and I fear that I have lost my salvation".
Or "I came to faith in Christ, but later became involved with drugs, illicit sex, porn, booze, homosexuality, the occult, or a combination of these, and I no longer believe that I'm saved."
THE REASON some feel that way is because YOU BELIEVE that your sins ARE BIGGER THAN Jesus.
You believe that your sins HAVE MORE POWER TO DAMN YOU than Jesus' Blood has POWER TO SAVE YOU.
If Jesus IS God, if He is SUPREME, then Jesus HAS POWER to SAVE US FROM SIN - FOREVER.
He has saved us FROM EVERY SIN: from the moment we were born to the moment we die or are raptured.
He has power to save us TO THE UTTERMOST (to the max), NO MATTER HOW WE ACT (Hebrews 7:25).
If, on the other hand, your sins ARE MORE POWERFUL THAN Jesus, then YOUR SINS ARE GOD.
Think about it...
Jesus IS God. He is THE Almighty (John 1:1).
If your sins have MORE POWER to damn than GOD (Jesus) HAS POWER TO SAVE, then YOUR SINS... ARE GOD.
NO TWO WAYS ABOUT IT.
If such is the case then you need to stop CLAIMING that "you believe in Jesus" and ADMIT that what you REALLY BELIEVE in is YOUR SIN.
Then YOU NEED TO WORSHIP YOUR SIN.
YOU NEED TO TRUST YOUR SIN to ETERNALLY DAMN YOU.
And if that is the case, brothers, sisters, friends, and readers, THERE'S NO HOPE OF SALVATION FOR ANYONE... EVER.
If that's the case, we're all DAMNED AND DOOMED for eternity.
Thank God, and GLORY, GLORY, GLORY to Jesus, that that IS NOT the case.
Make up your minds, confused Christians.
If Jesus ISN'T FAR BIGGER THAN ALL YOUR SINS COMBINED...
If Jesus ISN'T the ONLY Savior - FOR ALL ETERNITY - NO MATTER WHAT we do ON THE OUTSIDE...
If He LACKS THE POWER TO SAVE FOR ALL ETERNITY and FROM ALL SIN- then He's NO Savior AT ALL.
Then He's NEITHER Savior NOR God.
If your many sins HAVE MORE POWER to DAMN you than Jesus has TO SAVE YOU...
Then SIN IS God.
Because sin, according to you, IS BIGGER and MORE POWERFUL than God.
If that's WHAT YOU REALLY BELIEVE then enjoy whatever "time" you got left on this earth, because this miserable earthly existence is THE BEST you'll ever get.
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2014
WHY CHRISTIANS "LOSE IT"
There ISN'T ONE verse - from Genesis to Revelation - that says a believer in Jesus Christ can lose his or her salvation.
The terms "lose salvation" or "lost salvation" ARE NOT EVEN FOUND in Scripture.
WHY, then, is there so much doubt, confusion and FEAR among Christians about losing Salvation?
The main culprits are RELIGION, preachers and mass media.
Jesus WARNED US - IN ADVANCE - that this would happen at the "end of the age":
MANY would come (presumably) "in His Name", even CONFESSING THAT "He is the Messiah"... AND THEY WOULD DECEIVE MANY.
He said this GREAT DECEPTION would come -- NOT from Satan (although he, as the "father of lies", is CLEARLY BEHIND IT) -- but from SUPPOSED Christians !!!
In fact, He gave THIS as THE PRINCIPAL SIGN that His appearing, and the tribulation were NEAR (Matthew 24:4).
He WARNED US NOT TO "be deceived" by these MANY DECEIVERS.
For the most part, Jesus' warning has FALLEN ON DEAF EARS.
Christians ARE FOCUSED ON the wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, and pestilences, BUT OBLIVIOUS to the DECEPTION.
They'll fall for ANY wind of doctrine that suits their fancy, without the slightest regard for whether it is, or isn't, solidly supported by Scripture.
Again: RELIGION, preachers and mass media are the MAIN culprits.
However, INDIVIDUAL Christians ARE NOT entirely off the hook.
They, too, BEAR PART OF the blame.
NO ONE told you to listen to every deceiver on YouTube that decided to post a video.
NO ONE put a gun to your head and forced you to read those "Kristian forums" where every HERETIC and RELIGIOUS IMBECILE can post WHATEVER pops into his stupid head that day.
If INDIVIDUAL Christians were SOLIDLY grounded on BIBLICAL Truth, they COULD NOT BE MOVED from Eternal Salvation in Christ -- NO MATTER WHO or WHAT said otherwise.
Jesus ALSO WARNED about what happens when we build our spiritual house ON UNSTABLE SAND, instead of building it ON SOLID ROCK:
Any wind of doctrine blows, and...
Your spiritual house, built on a feeble foundation, comes tumbling down.
Judging by the many thousands of messages we have received over the past decade, the spiritual house of most Christians ISN'T even built ON SAND, but ON QUICKSAND.
Here's what happens: even to those who attend a worship center where they're taught CORRECT doctrine: once saved, ALWAYS saved...
They hear it.
They MENTALLY receive it.
They NEVER REALLY BELIEVE IT.
They are NEVER, 100% PERSONALLY CONVINCED, DEEP DOWN IN THEIR HEARTS, that if they TRUST JESUS COMPLETELY, He "has their back" FOR ALL THE EONS of eternity.
If they were TRULY, 100% PERSUADED of this marvelous Truth, NOTHING AND NO ONE could ever -- under ANY circumstance -- SHAKE THEM.
WHY aren't they ENTIRELY CONVINCED?
Because they may have "accepted" the doctrine MENTALLY.
But the Truth never became ROOTED in their hearts.
They may have paid LIP SERVICE to "once saved, always saved", but always, somewhere in the back of their minds, they believed that they could somehow "earn", or CONTRIBUTE TO, their Salvation:
That, some way or another, they COULD be "good Christians" and ACT IN SUCH WAY AS to DESERVE IT.
Consequently, when THEY SIN, especially if they've indulged in some sinning spree, they feel "lost".
Because WHATEVER PART they THOUGHT their "good behavior" played in their Salvation HAS JUST GONE DOWN THE DRAIN.
They can NO LONGER "RELY" ON BEING "good Christians".
Their religious "insurance policy" JUST GOT CANCELLED.
And that's when THE TRUTH comes out.
That's when WHAT THEY REALLY BELIEVE manifests:
They DIDN'T really TRUST Jesus COMPLETELY for Salvation.
They DIDN'T REALLY BELIEVE that Jesus DID EVERYTHING NECESSARY to save them eternally.
Although their LIPS may have said otherwise, in their HEARTS they kept believing that their works and their OUTWARD BEHAVIOR played A ROLE IN their Salvation.
And if THEIR BEHAVIOR PLAYED a role in their Salvation - whether large or small - THEN JESUS ISN'T their only Savior.
Repeat: If our works, obedience, and OUTWARD BEHAVIOR play ANY ROLE (big or small) in our Salvation, THEN JESUS ISN'T the ONLY Savior.
If OUTER BEHAVIOR PLAYS ANY ROLE, then Jesus is ONLY a PARTIAL Savior, a CO-SAVIOR along with your good behavior, AT BEST.
There's A HUGE PROBLEM with that belief:
NOWHERE does God's Word indicate that Jesus is PARTIAL Savior or CO-SAVIOR:
He is THE ONE AND ONLY SAVIOR:
"I AM THE WAY, the Truth, and the Life: NO ONE goes to the Father except THROUGH ME" (John 14:6).
If you can find Jesus saying "NO ONE goes to the Father EXCEPT through me AND GOOD CHRISTIAN BEHAVIOR", I'll eat my Bible.
"There is Salvation is NO ONE ELSE: because THERE IS NO OTHER NAME under heaven given among men, BY WHICH WE CAN BE SAVED" (Acts 4:12).
If it says "there is NO OTHER NAME" besides Jesus, by which we can be saved, then "good Christian behavior", WHICH IS A NAME, is DISQUALIFIED from playing ANY role in Salvation.
So are THE NAMES "obedience", "good works", "Sabbath keeping", "law keeping" "10 Commandment keeping", "Torah observant", "circumcision", "water baptism", AND THE NAMES OF ALL "CHRISTIAN" RELIGIONS, as well as the names of their FOUNDERS.
They are ALL equally DISQUALIFIED.
Either Jesus is THE ONLY Savior FOR ALL ETERNITY, or He is NO Savior AT ALL.
That's why in 2 Corinthians 13:5 Paul commands THE CHURCH at Corinth - you know, the one that that presumed of having all the "gifts of the spirit":
"EXAMINE YOURSELVES, WHETHER YOU ARE IN THE FAITH; TEST YOUR OWN SELVES.
DON'T YOU KNOW your own selves, that Jesus Christ IS IN YOU?"
Salvation is CHRIST IN US, PERIOD.
1 John 5:12:
"He that has the Son HAS LIFE. He who DOES NOT have the Son DOES NOT"...
MONDAY, DECEMBER 1, 2014
Jesus' death on the cross and His subsequent Resurrection were, and are, THE DEFINING MOMENT in human history.
God dealt with mankind ONE WAY BEFORE those watershed moments.
He deals with us today in a TOTALLY DIFFERENT manner BECAUSE OF those SUPREMELY important events.
Again: God dealt with mankind ONE WAY BEFORE Calvary and the Resurrection. He deals with us ANOTHER WAY AFTER these most blessed events.
Those TWO WAYS - BEFORE AND AFTER Calvary - are ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.
EVERY SINGLE pastor, evangelist, minister, every Christian denomination on earth, and EVERY INDIVIDUAL Christian, needs to have CLEAR UNDERSTANDING of this eternal and INFINITELY CONSEQUENTIAL Truth.
Those who DON'T, have NO BUSINESS pastoring a congregation, no business calling themselves "evangelists", "apostles", "bishops", "prophets", "ministers", "teachers", "Christian leaders", or ANYTHING ELSE.
Because THIS is THE MOST ESSENTIAL and FUNDAMENTAL Christian doctrine there is.
Those who DON'T have such CLEAR UNDERSTANDING, have NO BUSINESS putting up so-called "Christian" websites on the internet, NO BUSINESS putting up so-called "Christian" discussion forums, where every heresy imaginable is actively promoted, and NO BUSINESS posting videos on YouTube "teaching" ANYTHING.
If you DON'T HAVE CLEAR UNDERSTANDING of this GREATEST Truth, YOU'RE NOT QUALIFIED TO MINISTER or TEACH, period.
And if you're NOT qualified, then SHUT THE HECK UP!!!
A person's Salvation DEPENDS ENTIRELY on A CLEAR UNDERSTANDING of this monumental and ETERNAL Truth.
And yet, we get message, after message, after message from fearful Christians who simply DON'T GET IT.
If they don't get it, THEY are PARTLY to blame.
However, THE BRUNT of the blame MUST BE placed squarely on the shoulders of THOSE IN MINISTERIAL POSITIONS.
They ARE NOT teaching this Truth.
Many of them ARE TOTALLY CONFUSED themselves and HAVE NO CLUE, AND NO ANSWER.
Worse, HAVING NO CLUE, they keep putting out books and videos promoting fear and DIMINISHING Jesus' PERFECT, COMPLETE, ETERNAL Sacrifice for sin.
When Ezekiel 18:4 or 33:8 states that "the soul that sins, it SHALL DIE" is God speaking the Truth?
Scripture shows time and again that sin IS THE CAUSE OF death, both spiritual and physical (Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:56).
Similarly, when Jesus says in Matthew 5:29-30 that if your right eye or right hand causes you to sin you should cut them off and throw them away, because it's better to lose those body parts than having your WHOLE BODY THROWN INTO HELL -- was He speaking the Truth?
Because the OLD Testament WAS STILL IN FORCE, since Jesus had NOT YET shed His Blood on the cross for the sins of mankind.
Did God provide A REMEDY for sin even in the Old Testament?
It was THE BLOOD OF innocent animals: lambs, goats, cows, bulls, and doves (Hebrews 99:22).
Their blood COULD NEVER take away sin (Hebrews 10:4).
However, it TEMPORARILY COVERED sin.
The fact their blood DID NOT TAKE AWAY SIN is UNDISPUTED, because if they HAD taken sin away, they would have been offered ONLY ONCE, and THAT would have been SUFFICIENT (Hebrews 10:1).
Instead, they had to be offered TWICE A DAY, in the evening and the morning, DAY AFTER DAY, AFTER DAY, AFTER DAY... (Exodus 29:39; Numbers 28:4; 1 Chronicles 16:40).
Israelites offered those sacrifices, NON-STOP for 1,500 years.
Again: animal sacrifices DID NOT REMOVE sins, but they TEMPORARILY COVERED sins.
After Jews lived 1,500 years under that system, JESUS APPEARS.
He keeps God's Law to Perfection: the first and ONLY human EVER to do so (Matthew 5:17).
He dies and offers HIS pure, SINLESS, UNCONTAMINATED Blood as ETERNAL, ONCE-FOR-ALL Sacrifice for sin (Hebrews 9:12).
EVERYTHING - and I mean EVERY THING - CHANGED AFTER Calvary.
By ONE Sacrifice HE FOREVER - FOR ALL ETERNITY - FOR ALL THE EONS OF INFINITY - REMOVES SIN (Hebrews 9:26).
He REMOVES ALL SIN, since Eve's and Adam's sin to the last sin that will ever be committed (John 1:29; 1 John 1:7; 3:5).
He rises triumphantly from the dead, sends His Holy Spirit to LIVE in believers, and the NEW Testament KICKS IN:
Those who RECEIVE Jesus into their hearts as God and Savior, and TRUST COMPLETELY in Jesus' Sacrifice FOR SIN to FOREVER save them, are FOREVER saved.
They experience a New Birth from above (a change of their INNER nature).
Again: Those who INVITE Jesus into their hearts, receive Him as ONLY God and ONLY Savior, and TRUST COMPLETELY, 100%, that His Blood, His death and Resurrection FOREVER saves them, they are FOREVER saved.
Those who DON'T are damned, I don't care what "good Christians" they consider themselves to be.
Those who DON'T, GO TO HELL, I don't care HOW "obedient" they thought they were.
They GO TO HELL, I don't care HOW MUCH or HOW WELL they thought they "observed" the 10 Commandments.
They GO TO HELL, I don't care HOW MUCH they observed the Law (Torah), HOW circumcised they were, HOW OFTEN they attended a worship center, HOW MANY "GOOD WORKS" they performed, HOW MUCH they "observed" the 24-hour Sabbath, or HOW they were baptized in water.
These are UNDISPUTED, BIBLICAL FACTS.
If you're in the ministry, and you're not teaching this, START.
THIS is what you SHOULD HAVE BEEN TEACHING all along.
Because there is NO MORE IMPORTANT truth for any human on earth than this:
"God was in Christ, RECONCILING the world unto Himself, NOT COUNTING MEN'S SINS AGAINST THEM" (2 Corinthians 5:19).
Which part of "NOT COUNTING MEN'S SINS" don't you "ministers of the Gospel" understand?
Which part of that doesn't YOUR MAN-INVENTED DENOMINATION get?
God counted sins in the Old Testament because Jesus' Blood HAD NOT YET REMOVED SIN, and animal blood COULD NOT REMOVE IT.
He DOESN'T COUNT SINS in the NEW Testament because Jesus' Blood REMOVED ALL SIN FOR ALL TIME (Hebrews 9:26; Revelation 7:14).
Anything SHORT OF this eternal Truth IS NOT "GOOD News".
Anything SHORT OF this eternal Truth IS NOT the Gospel.
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