Category: The Church

What would happen if Christians took to the streets……..

Given what we have seen in the Muslim world recently supposedly over a video defaming Mohammed and Islam, would it be so out of the ordinary then if Christians rose up world wide and rioted and attacked over the following…..However, Christians do not behave that way they follow their Master! People we live in a world full of double standards!

Grand ayatollah: Jesus an illegitimate child

Muhammad’s existence creates ‘high place’ for ‘son of Miriam’

Published: 22 mins ago

by Reza Kahlili

Iran’s mullah-dominated regime, even as it was damning the recent video on the Prophet Muhammad as an insult to the sanctity of Islam, has unleashed a ferocious attack on Christianity.

Grand Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani, a prominent Shi’ite source of emulation and a Twelver, in condemning the insult to the Prophet, not only insulted Pope Benedict XVI but also Jesus and Miriam, stating that if it were not for the Quran, Jesus would not be worthy of God’s heavens.

Khorasani, in a long statement quoting several verses from the Quran published Friday in Hawzah News, the official site of the seminaries in Qom, Iran, claims the only reason Jesus is regarded as holy is due to the Quran and Muhammad.

“Hey, clueless pope who has chosen silence (on the Muhammad video), answer this: If there was no Quran, then as the Bible and the Torah have it, Jesus the son of Miriam is a bastard and a bastard will be forbidden from the heavens of God, and so the high place of Jesus is due to the existence of the Prophet Muhammad as the last prophet by God,” Khorasani said.

The grand ayatollah likened Muhammad to the sun that shines on humanity and cannot be diminished.

“The Prophet is the light of God and everlasting and that Allah, among all of His prophets, only compares himself to Muhammad and clearly calls him the last of His prophets with the most complete and righteous religion,” Khorasani said.

The Quran, the last book of God, removed the burden of “adultery” from Miriam and sanctified the birth of Jesus, Khorasani said. “The ignorant Christians burn the Quran and don’t understand that the result will be that Jesus becomes an illegitimate child.”

Khorasani had previously called the Bible wrong and unjust, a book that does not reflect the words of God but rather one that has been altered.

The U.N. General Assembly will again hear Muslim arguments this week over a proposed international law against blasphemy, this time spurred on by the Muhammad video. But such a law would also have to address Khorsani’s views.

See Khorasani’s statement below, or at this link.

A member of the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution in Iran, Hassan Rahim Pour Azghodi, a noted ideologist and theorist of the Islamic regime, in a similar attack against Christianity on Thursday said, “The most corrupt individuals in (Christian) communities are their religious leaders and priests; however, in Islamic societies the most pure are the clerics.”

Azghodi praised the Islamic Awakening (Arab Spring) in the region, crediting the Islamic Republic of Iran for its success, and said Islam is the only expanding religion and that even Christians are converting to it.

“The Christian society today is the most corrupt with its behavior, and the West has the filthiest culture in the world, where savagery and voluptuousness are the two clear distinctions of it,” the ideologist said.

Azghodi, in an earlier speech on the Islamic regime’s State TV, had called for an international jihad to destroy the West.

Iranian clerics have been concerned about the spread of Christianity in Iran as tens of thousands have converted to it. Most Iranians resent the clerics and Islam, which have suppressed them since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Many have formed churches in their homes to spread the word of Christ, which Islamic officials call “the enemy’s efforts” to establish “house-churches.”

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, not only ordered the burning of tens of thousands of confiscated Bibles, calling it an unholy book, but also ordered the Intelligence Ministry to clamp down on converts, according to a former Revolutionary Guards intelligence officer who has defected to a Scandinavian country.

“The Guards intelligence has assigned a unit in major cities across the country with the order to infiltrate (the Christian) groups, identifying pastors and the members, then make arrests, forcing them under torture to agree to appear on TV and confess to criminal activities in having connections to Israel and America,” the source said. “Lashing the bare feet of those arrested with cable wires is one method of torture used. Other tortures include spouses of the arrested converts (being) brought in and beaten in front of them, while others are kept in total darkness in dungeon-type cells for weeks with no human contact, so that they lose sense of time.”

International pressure forced the regime to recently release Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who was jailed under a death sentence for three years on the charge of apostasy. Many more Iranian Christian converts remain jailed across Iran.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4191

JOHN THE REVELATOR SAW THE RAPTURE BELIEVING CHRISTIANS HATED BY THE FALSE CHURCH!

 

WHO WOULD HAVE BELIEVED THAT THE RAPTURE OF THE SAINTS COULD BE SO REJECTED AND HATED? The modern sin loving crowd that has hijacked the Christian churches is determined that they can reform a blasphemous world into the kingdom of God on earth. It is utterly insane, or worse, the theology of the Antichrist. While the Middle East is rushing toward Gog and Magog, the religious world is rushing to a “Jesus” that has lost His way. This is the “Christ” that Jesus Christ called an imposter and deceiver.

John saw the drunken church and declared the triumph of those chosen saints, so hated by the religious world. They are making war with the Lamb of God and are too blind to see their folly. “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And he saith unto me, the waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” (Rev. 17: 14-15) They have convinced the multitudes that we Rapture loving people are enemies, but Jesus called us His “chosen, called, and faithful.” We will be, UP THERE WITH HIM, by His side when He judges the whore church.

It is hard for people to digest the truth about “liberal Christianity.” To watch this new brand of the church world is heartbreaking. A Baptist church not far from me recently dedicated twenty babies on a Sunday morning. Eighteen of the couples were unmarried. A pastor of the denomination that took our old building away, through legal avenues, is preaching in my old pulpit against the rapture. Jesus Christ prophesied of this hour in unmistakable terms. “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. … Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” (Matt. 24: 4-5, 9-10) He also promised that they could not stop the preaching of the true Gospel.

I love the thrill of being a last day minister and standing tall against apostasy. We live for the future, not the present. You will note that, in chapter seventeen of Revelation as the Spirit reveals the apostate church, the chosen saints are already with the Lord. It says in speaking of the King of Kings, “and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” (Rev. 17: 14b) At the same moment John is viewing the “apostate church left behind.” They hate us now, and will do so even more when they look up and see us with Him.

Apostle Peter leaves no doubts when he speaks of this company of misdirected teachers. “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.” (II Peter 3: 3-7) Peter names the two truths that are rejected by the new sin-friendly believers, the Rapture and the Judgment. It is easy to understand that a sin-friendly atmosphere has no room for a Rapture of the saintly or a Judgment of the left behind.

The Holy Ghost continued to declare, by Peter, a clear warning. “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” (II Peter 3: 8-13) How can anyone doubt that the glorious ending of the Church is triumphant?

It is impossible to deny the pre-tribulation Rapture and the seven years of the Great Tribulation without being anti-Israel. The prophetic future of Jerusalem and the Jewish people is intimately tied to these doctrines. This large and growing company of liberal revisionists are clearly identified in the masterpiece we call the book of Revelation. Here is what the Father gave to Jesus and Jesus revealed to John who then wrote the Book. “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.” (Rev. 3: 9) As Rapture-ready saints, they hate us now, but they will bow before us very soon.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4113

SERMON: REDISCOVERING THE POWER AND PURPOSE OF BIBLE PROPHECY — Part 1

 

REDISCOVERING THE POWER AND PURPOSE OF BIBLE PROPHECY — PART 1

* In Luke 12:51-56, the Lord Jesus said these words: “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three.They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” And He was also saying to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming,’ and so it turns out.And when you see a south wind blowing, you say, ‘It will be a hot day,’ and it turns out that way.You hypocrites! You know how to analyze the appearance of the earth and the sky, but why do you not analyze this present time?”

* In the first century in the Roman-occupied land of Israel, people were living in a time of great anxiety. They were worried about their own future. They feared war and drought and famine and natural disasters. They desperately wanted and needed a Savior. Yet Jesus rebuked them. Why? He scolded them for having all the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures that told them so many details about who the coming Messiah would be, but not carefully studying those prophecies in the Word of God. They weren’t observing the prophecies and comparing them to current events. They weren’t “connecting the dots.” They weren’t realizing the power or purpose of Bible prophecy.  Thus they were missing the fact that Jesus Himself was the Messiah,  was standing in their midst, and was ready, able and willing to save them from their sins and their sadness.

* Today, we, too, are living at a time of great anxiety. People are worried about their own future, and the future of the world. There is a growing threat of a major war breaking out soon in the Middle East between Israel and Iran. Various nations in Europe are collapsing economically. The American economy is in deep trouble and we are facing the very real threat of fiscal and moral implosion. We’ve seen an explosion of violence and a murder wave even in small towns in America. We’re facing all manners of natural disasters, including terrible drought, historic fires, and now another serious hurricane aimed again at the Gulf Coast.

* What’s remarkable is that all of these trends here in the U.S. and around the world are consistent with Bible prophecies about the “last days.” We are seeing End Times Bible prophecies coming true all around us, all of which tell us that we are steadily approaching the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Yet far too few people are studying the Word of God. They aren’t connecting the dots. They don’t understand the power and purpose of Bible prophecy. Thus they are missing the fact that Jesus Christ is calling them to Himself. He wants to save them from their sins and sadness. He came to offer the free gift of eternal life, and abundant life. And He’s coming back in person soon. 

* Personally, I’m fascinated with Bible prophecy, and have been for most of my life. I write non-fiction books and speak around the world about prophecy because it intrigues me so much and I feel compelled to share these truths with anyone who will listen. At the same time, I also write novels based on the premise, ”What if?” That is, what if certain prophecies were  to come true in our lifetime? What would that look like? What would that feel like? I don’t know for certain when or how these events will come to pass, but novels allow me to play a ”war game,” as it were. They allow me to get people thinking about what these prophecies are and considering what they mean and how they could affect our lives.

* I believe it is vitally important that people rediscover the power and purpose of Bible prophecy — now more than ever – and this is what I’d like to speak about for the next two nights.

* Unfortunately, many pastors, priests and ministry leaders here in the U.S. and around the world are not teaching Bible prophecy — as I see it, there are four major reasons for this.

First, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a lack of belief in the power of God’s Word. Sadly, many pastors today don’t really believe the Bible is the inspired, infallible, authoritative Word of God. The Lord Jesus once remonstrated the Pharisees because they were misinterpreting Scripture. He said, “You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matthew 22:29) Too many pastors and priests today are the same way. They not carefully studying the whole Bible. They’re not trying to understand the “whole counsel of God.” (Acts 20:27, KJV). They don’t really believe that prophecy comes from God, and therefore they don’t teach these prophecies or help people understand why God gave us prophecy. Yet Bible prophecies are so exciting because they are intercepts from the mind of the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful God of the Universe. Prophecies tell us what is on the heart of God. They warn us to stop certain behaviors, and encourage us to be holy and walk more closely with the Lord. They are also storm warnings of future events. They tell us dramatic events that coming, and how we should get ready and be prepared to be found faithful and worthy when those moments come. Prophecies call us to serve Christ with boldness and courage so we will not be ashamed when we stand before Him face to face in the not-too-distant future. The Bible says that God gave us prophecies to build up and encourage followers of Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote, “One who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation….One who prophesies edifies the church.” (I Corinthians 14:3, 4b) Isn’t that what every believer needs, to be built up, encouraged and consoled?

Second, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a lack of knowledge of — and sound training in — Bible prophecy. There are many, of course, who do believe that the Bible is the very Word of God. However, for a variety of reasons they have never taken the time to study prophecy carefully on their own, and/or weren’t taught it in any detail or depth in seminary or Bible college or seminary. Thus, they understandably feel unprepared and inadequate to help people unpack the truths of these Scriptures. Some prophecies are, of course, complicated and confusing. Some of the names mentioned in prophecies (like “Gog” and “Magog” and “Gomer” and “Put” in Ezekiel 38-39) are strange and obscure. It takes some historical detective work to determine what these things mean, and some pastors decide they neither have the interest nor the time to do the research and teach their congregations clearly and accurately, so they avoid teaching prophecy all together. I understand this, and I’m doing my best to create resources — and point people to other excellent resources that have been helpful to me — to help pastors study and teach prophecy. Because now is the time to rediscover the power and purpose of prophecy. The Bible is clear that God will bless those who study and teach End Times prophecy, and we should be faithful in doing just that. The Apostle John wrote, “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it, for the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3) Amen.

Third, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a fear of being lumped in with “prophecy nuts” and those who peddle sensationalism. Admittedly, there are, in fact, many nuts who try to teach prophecy. They misinterpret the Scriptures. They draw erroneous conclusions. They sensationalize. And thus they bring dishonor and discredit to themselves. Pastors are right to avoid such false teachers, and to avoid creating an appearance of cheapening the Word of God in these ways. But just because some teach Bible prophecy wrongly, or badly, is no reason for solid teachers to avoid the topic. There are those who teach false regarding the Gospels and the epistles, too. But a good pastor wouldn’t dare skip teaching correctly these books of the Bible. On what basis, then, do we have the right to avoid teaching whole books of the Bible — Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Revelation, among others — just because some charlatans are out their misleading people? Indeed, we should be teaching solidly on prophecy all the more because of the nuts who are out there. We shouldn’t cede the battle for hearts, minds and souls to the nuts. The Apostle Paul told Timothy, “Preach the word: be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” (2 Timothy 4:2-3)

Fourth, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a lack of understanding of the times in which we live and the increasingly close return of Christ. At the same time, there are many sincere pastors who love Jesus and love the Word of God but somehow are just not gripped by the remarkable moment of history that we’re in, and the urgent need to prepare men’s hearts for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ for the Church. More than ever, we need pastors who are like the sons of Issachar, “men who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” (I Chronicles 12:32) More than ever we need pastors who will obey the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ who told us to not be obsessed with understanding the future of the weather, but rather to understand “this present time” and prepare the people under our care to walk with Christ more closely and obey Him more faithfully as the Day of His return for us draws ever nearer.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4100

COULD THERE BE ANOTHER GREAT AWAKENING?

Harvest America is tomorrow night. Watch it & pray for America!

Exclusive: Greg Laurie urges Christians to pray for sovereign work of God across nation

by Greg Laurie

The Assyrian city of Nineveh was one of the most wicked places on the face of the planet, renowned for its violence and cruelty. And despite a pretty weak message from the original chicken of the sea, the prophet Jonah, the people of Nineveh turned to the Lord en masse and repented of their sin. As a result, God spared them and extended their days.

Could God do that for the United States of America? I believe he could. Have we ever had a revival in this country before? Yes, we have. In fact, we have had a number of them.

The first Great Awakening took place in the 1700s, before the Revolutionary War. Led by such men as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield, some 25,000 to 50,000 people came to Christ between 1740 and 1742. That may not seem like an impressive number, until you consider the population of that time, which was approximately 300,000.

The second Great Awakening, from the 1790s to 1840, was led by many, including Charles Finney. This was the time of the Wild West, where the law was disregarded and sexual sin was rampant. But then the camp meetings began, held in the middle of the woods and attended by thousands of people. No one was updating their Facebook pages or sending out Tweets about where these meetings were being held. Yet thousands and thousands of Americans attended them, and many came to faith.

The roots of the third Great Awakening were unique. This revival, from 1857 to 1859, started with a 48-year-old man named Jeremiah Lanphier. A businessman in New York City, Lanphier felt burdened for his city and his country. So he started a prayer meeting on Fulton Street. Initially it was attended by only a handful of people. But then the stock market crashed, and soon his meeting was overflowing with praying New Yorkers. Not much later, the city was filled with people praying every day at lunchtime. The theaters on Broadway were filled with Christians who were praying for the city and for the nation. Within six months, 10,000 people were gathering together daily for prayer in New York City.

It is reported that 50,000 New Yorkers were converted in three months. And during a single year, the number of reported conversions throughout the nation reached an average of 50,000 a week. When it was all said and done, some one million people came to faith. And it all began with Jeremiah Lanphier and his little prayer meeting. He wasn’t a preacher. He wasn’t a missionary. He was just a Christian who wanted to start praying.

I think you also could classify the Jesus Movement of the late-1960s and 1970s as a genuine American revival. And I was privileged to have a front-row seat to this one.

During the 1960s, the country was in turmoil. Some may look back on the ’60s through rose-colored granny glasses and think those were the good old days. But our country was in turmoil. Bomb drills were mandatory in classrooms. I remember getting under the desk and crouching down. This is what we were to do, they said, in case there was an atomic war.

But then, as we got older, the innocence was shattered when we saw our young president, John F. Kennedy, shot in Dallas. And then Martin Luther King was assassinated. And then Robert Kennedy also was shot and killed. The Vietnam War was raging, and young men were coming back every day in body bags. Protests were breaking out in the streets, and there was anarchy and chaos. The slogan of the day was, “Turn on. Tune in. Drop out.” It was all about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

By and large, the church was ineffective in reaching this youth culture. The church didn’t know what to do. In 1966, Time magazine ran a cover story with a headline that asked, “Is God Dead?” And many liberal Protestant theologians said that indeed he was.

Enter the Jesus Movement. It was a Divine intervention that saved a generation. Time magazine did another cover story, this time with the headline, “The Jesus Revolution.” God touched a man named Chuck Smith to open up the church where he pastored to young hippie kids, who came and heard the gospel. And soon his church was overflowing. Other churches were overflowing as well, because the Jesus Movement was spreading around the globe. In the aftermath of that time, we have seen hundreds of Calvary Chapels start up around the country. Thousands and thousands of churches have been impacted by what God did during this time. For all practical purposes, contemporary Christian music was born during the Jesus Movement, along with contemporary praise and worship.

Some 40 years have passed, and a lot of those young hippie kids are grandparents now. I should know. I am one of them. We thank God for what he did in the past. And we still see the effects of it, because the Harvest Crusades are directly connected to the Jesus Movement. I came to faith during that time. And what we are doing in these crusades is really an extension of what we saw God do back then. In our crusades around the world, we have seen some 4 million people in attendance and some 400,000 people make commitments to follow Christ.

But we need another Jesus Movement today. We need another revival. The prophet Habakkuk wrote, “I have heard all about you, Lord. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. And in your anger, remember your mercy” (Habakkuk 3:2 NLT). Habakkuk was saying he had heard about what God did in the good old days.

We need a spiritual awakening again in America, and we need to start praying for it. It won’t be exactly like it was before. The Jesus Movement wasn’t like the revival before that or the revival before that. It is not something we can organize. It is something for which we agonize in prayer. It is a sovereign work of God. And we need it in our country again.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4065

AMERICA’S 2 CHOICES: JUDGMENT OR REVIVAL

First Billy Graham now Greg Laurie are calling for America to repent and revival to sweep the land or judgement will fall. When will the church in America wake up!

 

America’s 2 choices: Judgment or revival

Exclusive: Greg Laurie cites consequences of removing foundation of absolute truth

by Greg Laurie

What is the future of the United States of America? Are we doomed to go in the way of so many other nations throughout history? Will America end up in the ash heap of history? Or are our greatest days still ahead?

No one can say with any certainty what the future of America is. But I will say this: It is worth noting that in Scripture, the United States is not to be found in the last-days scenario. I am not saying she won’t be there in some way, shape, or form. But there is no clear passage of Scripture that identifies the superpower known today as the United States of America. So it makes me wonder where we are. In Scripture, the greatest nation on earth is conspicuously absent from the world stage during the end times.

 

We do know this much. Rome was once the reigning superpower on the face of the earth. It had the most powerful military anywhere. But before Rome collapsed externally, she collapsed internally. And I think we would do well to look at the soul of our country right now. I am for a strong military and for taking seriously any foreign threats. But having said that, what about an internal collapse?

Will Durant, who wrote an excellent book on the history of Rome, had this observation about its fall: “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has first destroyed itself from within.”

The difference between Rome and the United States is that this country was initially built on a Judeo-Christian foundation. But we have strayed dramatically from the original vision of our Founding Fathers that produced this wonderful thing we call America. What once was freedom of religion seems to have now become freedom from religion. We have succeeded in getting God out of our schools, out of our sporting events, out of our public places and out of our workplaces.

 

Christmas was once, at least to some degree, a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Now, “Merry Christmas” has turned into “Happy Holidays” and “Seasons Greetings.” And some have replaced the word “Christmas” entirely with terms like “Winter Solstice.”

Then there is Good Friday and Easter, which are days to remember the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. These have been turned into Spring Break. It seems we are pushing against those values.

But here is the thing we need to remember: The freedom we now enjoy was built on the foundation of absolute truth. And when you remove that foundation, this freedom actually can turn into anarchy. We see our country today saying, “Well, we don’t want to live by those standards anymore. We don’t like the idea of a family consisting of a man and a woman who are married for life. We don’t like the idea of things being right and things being wrong. We want to live according to moral relativism, where we can all choose our own truths.”

It reminds me of a fish named Oscar that I once had. He literally was an Oscar – the Oscar fish. When I was a kid, I collected tropical fish. While other kids were out playing baseball, I was adding to my fish collection. I loved fish. And so I had one of these Oscars, which are very aggressive. Even when it is little, if you introduce an Oscar into an aquarium of larger fish, it won’t be long until it is running the whole place. The Oscar fish will be chasing the other fish around.

Well, my Oscar got bigger and bigger. And one day when I came home from school, he was not in the tank. I thought, Where did he go? Where does a fish go? And then I saw Oscar. He was lying in an open drawer right beneath the tank, covered in birdseed. (I also had a parakeet.) Oscar’s gills were still moving, so I grabbed him, rushed him over to the bathtub, turned the water on, and threw him in. He came around, and I returned him to the aquarium. And as I recall, he jumped out a few more times.

Oscar wanted out of that place. He wanted to get to the outside world. But it wasn’t working for him there in the birdseed. He needed intervention from his owner, who knew what was best for him.

In the same way, America needs Divine intervention. We need God’s help. After the horrific tragedy of 9/11, I remember how so many Americans turned back to God. I remember the prayer vigils on street corners and members of Congress spontaneously breaking into “God Bless America” on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. I remember how churches, including the one where I pastor, were filled to capacity in the aftermath of 9/11. People were saying, “What do we do? We need God’s help. We don’t know what is happening.” So we have seen people in our country turn to God in the past.

But here is my belief about the future of the United States. I think we have two choices before us: one is judgment and the other is revival – a spiritual awakening. If we do not have revival, then I think judgment is inevitable.

As Peter Marshall, chaplain of the U.S. Senate from 1947 to 1949, once said, “The choice before us is plain, Christ or chaos, conviction or compromise, discipline or disintegration.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4037

Today and Forward…OR has it begun?

2 Thessalonians 2:3-4Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

2 Timothy 3:1-7This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

2 Timothy 4:1-4I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom. Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

2 Corinthians 11:13-14For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

Revelation 6:1-8 “And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.

And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.

And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.”

Lately, I have been paying more and more attention to all the things taking place around this world. Most of what I have seen, has been here in the USA, but, then again, this is where we live and we would feel the impact greater on those situations closet to us. All the shootings and murders, the obvious thefts by ordinary citizens everyday, things that 50 years ago would have never taken place, except by someone with an obvious mental handicap. We watch as the Leaders of our own country, squander the wealth of the nations citizens, bring us to the brink of financial and economic collapse. Rather than working to create jobs here for the welfare of our own citizens, these same individuals work to out-source these jobs, to the point of economic collapse for families and eventual ruin. We watch as our President bows (Literally) to the people that are killing our sons and daughters in the Armed Forces, stationed across the globe. We ideally standby as this same President and Members of Congress, take possession of the funds every American has set aside for old age and retirement, then place the proceeds into their own pockets. We like to call all these individuals the 1%’ers. We fall all over ourselves with Actors and the like to the tune of millions and millions of dollars, yet, are they worth that? The vast majority of people are not willing to assess themselves and take responsibility for their own actions, they prefer to blame others. They are on welfare because they don’t want to work, they fain disability to facilitate this lifestyle, regardless of the effect on the economy. And then expect everyone to see them as a “True stand-up sort of guy”! What’s worse they lie to themselves to the point they actually believe their own lies!

“Last days” and or “Perilous Times”?! Do you think we are there yet? Where does this period of time begin and then where does it end? Do you believe it could be taking place as we speak? Consider the Drought, the subsequent increase in the cost of food, are we beginning to see the effects of the “4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse” as in the third Horseman? And now, what about all the diseases that are increasing in magnitude? We have a Sexually Transmitted Disease know as Gonorrhea (quite common even into the Vietnam era) that has mutated to the point, we may not have an antibiotic to cure it! That brings to mind MRSA or “Methicillan Resistant Staphylo-coccus Aureious” that has few antibiotics left that will treat it successfully. It also brings to mind that days of the “Aides Epidemic” in gay men and now we MUST be willing and accepting of the “Gay Lifestyle”? And these are but a few examples of our current situations! There are many, many others! Question is, what are we doing about them?!

How about the current “Apostasy in the Churches”?! Where are the Preachers of old, “That Old Time Religion”?? Evidently money is more favorable than finding Peace and Contentment in our lives, or preparing for our Eternal lives, after this life! No one wants to hear about Jesus Christ anymore, He is passe’ now, Old-Fashioned as is His Holy Word the Bible. We want our Treasures now, this very instant, we don’t want to wait or prepare, we don’t want to save, we want to spend, even when we have nothing to spend, we have “Plastic”! We see the children we have conceived, grow to be war-mongers filled with hate, suffering from deep depression, addicted to drugs, alcoholics, Blasphemers, wild, “lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God”! OOPS!! I am so sorry, I may have stepped on a few toes there! It’s more important that we exude Political Correctness, than the truth. We mustn’t say anything that could “Bashing” anyone or their lifestyle! We must “Evolve” and become more “Tolerant” of whatever someone else thinks is so important, regardless of the “End Effect”. We should never evoke the God of Creation, because he’s so…”Whatever you wish to fill in there”.

Yet the Preachers are telling us that “All of us will EVENTUALLY make it to Heaven, because we all worship the same God!” YEAH!!!……RIGHT!!! Lets check that in 100 years, okay?!

“Oh darn, there I go and step on a few more toes! Ohhhhh, their going to get all upset with me!!” We need to go back and RE-READ the first 5 verses on the first page, okay! That my Friends is indeed the Word of God talking to us, telling us how things are going to be! Not, how we would LIKE them to be!

“Perilous Times in the End of Days” Do you think that means even the Born-Again Believers will suffer? Absolutely! The difference is, we have the Lord to go to and ask for Help, assistance and the Wisdom and Discernment of HIS word to help us through it. We are PROMISED that HE, Jesus Christ, God, the Eternal Creator of all, will NEVER leave us or desert us! Those that are not saved to Jesus Christ, do not have that. For them, the unsaved, they have so many days right now where they will experience HOPE. Hope that they will endure another day, another bad experience, another failure. Problem is, they better enjoy that HOPE, that they experience right now! In HELL there will not be any HOPE of any kind, it will not exist there, minute after minute, hour after hour, eon of time after eon of time, there will be NO end to the torment and suffering. The Likes of which we have no imagination to conceive!

God created everything for us to enjoy, that we would HIS people and HE would be our God! So on that note let me say this, THAT is the reason for us being here! A big Black line exists, with Jesus Christ on one side and satan on the other and our only decision is to decide which side you want to be on. THAT IS THE REASON FOR THIS LIFE OF OURS! That one single decision will dictate where we spend the rest of Eternity (Forever).

Go ahead call it that “Old Time Religion” or even “The Straight and narrow way of Life”! Call me a “Bible Thumper” or a “Jesus Freak” that’s okay with me! I am both of those things and happy as a lark to be those as well. When my Life ends or when the Rapture of the Church of Jesus Christ takes place, I KNOW where I will be, with my Lord and Savior!

Jesus Christ has written the Words HE has chosen for me, in my Heart and there they will forever remain. I am branded, I am humbled, I am forgiven, I am washed clean and I am able to come before my Father in Heaven and rest in His hands. I am not afraid to die and actually speaking, I can’t wait for HIM to come for me! Fear? What’s that? I no longer have to deal with that, or worry about it, it does not exist in my Life, because Jesus Christ, My God, my Lord and Savior, holds me and I sleep like a baby.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4014

BILLY GRAHAM: ‘FINAL CALL’ FOR AMERICA TO REPENT

 

Believing God will allow him to live to 95, famed evangelist Billy Graham is making his “final call to America to turn to God.”

Timed to coincide with his 95th birthday, Graham is calling people in the United States and Canada to repentance as part of the “My Hope with Billy Graham” evangelistic outreach set for the week of Nov. 7, 2013.

Unlike his famous stadium crusades over the past six decades, Graham is asking Christians to invite family, friends and neighbors to their homes to watch the “Living Room Crusade” on their televisions, tablets or smartphones as part of a massive grassroots effort to ignite a spiritual awakening in North America.

In what is expected to be the largest undertaking in its 60-plus year history, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association hopes to mobilize millions of Christians to register as host “Matthews” at www.myhopewithbillygraham.org and undergo training to learn how to share their faith with others.

“We have seen God visit our nation in powerful and transformational ways in the past,” Preston Parrish, vice president of “My Hope with Billy Graham,” told WND.com. “We are praying this will be a real moment of revival and awakening and transformation across our nation.”

The announcement comes as Graham – whom Parrish described as “very sharp and keen mentally” at age 93 – released a letter last month entitled, “My Heart Aches for America.” In the letter, Graham recalled how his late wife Ruth once expressed concerns about the “terrible downward spiral of our nation’s moral standards” – exclaiming, “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Graham wondered what his wife would think of America today – noting millions of babies have since been aborted and “self-centered indulgence, pride and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle.”

“My heart aches for America and its deceived people,” wrote Graham, who has preached to more people – 2.2 billion – than any other Protestant in history and has provided spiritual counsel to every president from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush. He received Barack Obama in his home in 2010.

“The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance. In Jonah’s day, Nineveh was the lone world superpower – wealthy, unconcerned and self-centered. When the prophet Jonah finally traveled to Nineveh and proclaimed God’s warning, people heard and repented. I believe the same thing can happen once again, this time in our nation.”

Anne Gimenez, the national chairperson of America for Jesus – The Awakening, says similar revivals have occurred in the past in America and Europe during other times of declining morality and spiritual darkness.

“I think Billy Graham’s idea is genius,” says Gimenez, whose organization expects hundreds of thousands of people to gather at Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 28 and 29 to pray for another Great Awakening in the United States. For more information, log onto www.afj2012.org. “We’ve been waiting for an idea that would spark America into revival and perhaps this is it.

“America and the world seem to be in a state of growing apostasy and unbelief. Atheism and agnosticism is growing by leaps and bounds. In history, when there is great darkness engulfing the world, there is also the opportunity for a great light to come – the gospel light. And so at this time when we seem to be spiraling downward into spiritual darkness, it is the ideal and opportune time for a great spiritual awakening.”

Graham’s letter comes as a growing number of spiritual and political leaders have made similar calls for repentance, stressing that the nation is in a downward spiral of economic decline, corruption, immorality, secular humanism and attacks on religious liberty.

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Harbinger – The Ancient Mystery that holds the Secret of America’s Future,” says the fact Graham released the letter at “this point in his life” and “at this moment in America is very significant.”

“Billy Graham has been a pastor to presidents and the most famous evangelist in the world for the past several generations. For such a word to come from such a voice is stunning,” says Cahn, the senior rabbi at the nation’s largest messianic congregation, the Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, N.J. “He is giving the nation a prophetic warning.”

“His words match the overcall message and call of ‘The Harbinger,’ that America is in rapid departure from God and His ways – that it now stands in danger of judgment and the signs that appeared in judgment of Israel are now reappearing on American soil. And yet no matter how dark it gets, there is still hope for mercy and room for redemption, but that redemption can only come through the repentance and prayers of God’s people.

“The other thing that’s striking about Billy Graham’s warning is that it comes at the same time when believers across the nation are sensing this very same thing and when leaders are increasingly calling for prayer and intercession for America. ‘The Harbinger’ ends with a call for prayer, repentance, and revival among God’s people. That all these things are converging at the same time is significant.”

In fact, the most in-demand Christian video around today is “Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,” the video that explains the message from “The Harbinger.”

The Graham crusade also comes as several organizations are planning prayer gatherings, evangelistic festivals and other events over the next year.

Starting Sept. 28 and continuing through Nov. 6, 40 Days to Save America is calling for repentance, prayer and fasting in the 40 days prior to the presidential election. For more information, log into http://40daystosaveamerica.com.

This event and others follow The Response when Texas Gov. Rick Perry declared Aug. 6, 2011, a day of prayer, fasting and repentance. He invited fellow governors to attend the event at Reliant Stadium – saying it was time to “convene the leaders of each of our United States in a day of prayer and fasting, like that described in the book of Joel.”

Luis Cataldo, the director of The Response and an intercessory missionary at the International House of Prayer, says when a “father of the faith like Billy Graham” issues a letter of this magnitude it has to be taken seriously.

“When he says America is in trouble, we have to repent,” Cataldo says. “He’s gone through global wars as a spiritual shepherd. He’s seen a bunch of stuff and he’s saying America, ‘We have to repent.’ This may be our last chance to repent. We’ve turned away from God and God is just, loving and right to bring judgment.”

Even more significantly, Cataldo says, God is now awakening the church through a convergence of political and spiritual leaders calling the nation to prayer, fasting and repentance.

“It’s almost as though the Lord is trying to awaken the church and is now bypassing the church and going to government officials,” Cataldo says. “Gov. Perry, (Kansas) Gov. Sam Brownback and other leading government officials are calling for Joel 2 solemn assemblies. They are doing it because there is a spiritual crisis in America.”

Billy Wilson, executive director of the Awakening America Alliance and the Center for Spiritual Renewal, says the alliance representing a coalition of 300 Pentecostal and charismatic ministers is partnering with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as it prepares for the crusade.

“We are very excited about Dr. Graham”s desire to speak at this stage in his life to our nation,” Wilson says. “Obviously, Dr. Graham’s voice in America is one of the strongest of perhaps the last two generations of Christians. We are honored to partner with him and ‘My Hope with Billy Graham.’”

At this time, Wilson says America finds itself in perhaps the place of greatest spiritual need in its history.

“We find ourselves in a 21st century world where in many ways our future and destiny is at stake,” Wilson says. “Really, the only hope for America is God’s grace and His covering over our nation. That only comes when God’s people humble themselves and pray, and sometimes we forget the last one – turn from our wicked ways. The call for righteousness among Christians and the church in America should be very strong in every pulpit across the nation right now.”

“My Hope with Billy Graham” is a massive effort to reach people across the United States and Canada with the “good news of God’s love,” Parrish says.

Since 2002, Graham’s son, Franklin, and grandson, Will Graham, have spoken at “My Hope” evangelistic festivals in 57 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. More than 305,000 churches have participated and more than 10 million decisions for Jesus have been recorded

“Now, in 2013, there is a broad sense of conviction and urgency about the timeliness of this important project in the U.S. and Canada,” Parrish says. “We want to help people in North America understand in a fresh way the love God has for them and the forgiveness and eternal life he offers them in the person of Jesus Christ.”

Following a simple biblical model, the outreach combines the reach and excitement of a nationwide media event with the power of personal relationships. Under the guidance of their local pastors, Christians across these two countries will open their homes to share the Gospel message with friends, family, colleagues and neighbors using different media programs featuring Graham’s message, popular music and real-life testimonies.

“The idea is part of the biblical pattern for us as Christians to be showing God’s love to the people around us,” Parrish says. “The most loving thing we can do for someone else is not only to give them food and water, but to give them the message that has given us hope for eternal life.”

The outreach is modeled after the biblical story of Matthew. After accepting Jesus’ call to follow Him, Matthew invited friends into his house to meet the person who changed his life, Like the Apostle Matthew, Christians in North America will invite their guests into their homes to learn about Jesus using prime-time television, while others will gather at a coffee shop or the park to watch the program on a tablet or smartphone. They will then share their own story of how they met Jesus and invite their friends to pray to receive Jesus. Each host will follow up with new believers and encourage them to become part of a local church.

With “My Hope with Billy Graham” and other events and outreaches planned in the coming months, Wilson says he has great hope for the spiritual future of North America.

“We may be on the edge of a new Great Awakening right now, to be honest,” Wilson says. “Though things look dark, that has always been true in America before every great spiritual movement. This was true before the First Great Awakening, the Second Great Awakening and the other awakenings. In that darkness, God’s people united in prayer to turn the tide. If we unite together in prayer, I believe we can see a new Great Awakening and I believe what Dr. Graham is trying to do can be very effective – but only if God’s people really humble themselves, pray and repent in this season.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3969

The Crown of Righteousness

 

In many churches, those members who study Bible prophecy are relegated to the lunatic fringe or dismissed out-of-hand for wasting their time trying to divine the future.

The Bible says that there are other rewards, or crowns, set aside for those that dedicate themselves to Christ in a number of different theological disciplines.

Not so. Christians that study prophecy are not trying to “divine the future” – they are earning the “Crown of Righteousness” promised to all those that love His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8)

The Judgment Seat of Christ is the place where all of the deeds that individuals have done after they have become Christians are revealed and examined to determine whether they be good works or whether they be bad.

Let me emphasize that the word “bad” refers not to sin, but to deeds that are worthless according to His purpose.  Whether or not they were sin is irrelevant – all sin is forgiven at the Cross — but every deed has consequences.

The Bema Seat evaluation, therefore, is based upon whether the works that have been done are worthwhile or whether they are worthless.

The Greek word translated as the ‘judgment seat’ of Christ is the Greek word ‘bema’.  During the Greek Olympics of Paul’s day, the judge would sit on the ‘Bema Seat’ situated along the finish line.  His judgment was to determine who won the gold, who won the silver, who won the bronze, who came in fourth, fifth, etc.

Note that the only ones judged at the Bema Seat are those who cross the finish line.

The Bema Seat is reserved for believers — those who successfully completed the ‘race’ and specifically to determine their running order and to award their prizes.  Unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne.

Scripture teaches that after these works are judged, rewards will be given if the works are worthy. There will be no rewards if the works were unworthy — but that is not the same thing as being condemned.  

“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED; yet so as by fire.” (1st Corinthians 3:15)

Salvation is based on whether or not you trust that Jesus Christ made full payment for your sins, as He promised He would.  While we will stand before the Judge as judicially ‘righteous’ — that righteousness is Christ’s alone.

But it is freely offered to whosoever will accept it by faith.

Once we stand before the Bema Seat, our rewards are determined — not our punishment.  Our punishment, although richly deserved, has already been borne by our Savior.  Now, we are judged according to our works on behalf of the kingdom.

There are those who argue, “You know, I don’t think we ought to talk about our rewards.  We ought to serve the Lord just because we love Him.”

I agree.  We ought to serve Him because we love Him, but we have every right and reason in the world to strive to warn our rewards.

Our rewards are based on our works – but not our salvation.

“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” (2 Corinthians 3:14)

First, let’s look at the different crowns available to the believer.  There is the ‘incorruptible crown’ — what one might term a crown of self-denial. 1st Corinthians 9:24-27 teaches:

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

Not everybody will receive the crown of self-denial.  Each of us is gifted with certain strengths according to some predetermined purpose of God.  In other words, some things are harder for some than they are for others — according to God’s purposes — not our own.

We are judged according to how hard we try.

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (1st Corinthians 12:4-7)

There is also the Crown of Rejoicing — the ‘Soul Winner’s Crown’.

 “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord.” Note that Paul is addressing people as a ‘crown’. He is saying to those whom Paul has led to Christ, “You are my joy now and you will be my crown by and by.” (Philippians 4:1)

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?”

Translated literally, it reads, “are not even you, in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ when we stand before Him?”

“One of these days,” the Apostle says, “we are all going to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, and when we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, you Philippians, and you Thessalonians, are all going to be elements of my crown.”

It is difficult for us to think of people in terms of a crown, but Paul emphasizes that the Philippians and the Thessalonians, among others, are the crown which he expects as an award to him at the Judgment Seat of Christ.”

James 1:12 identifies the ‘Crown of Life’: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.”

Notice the word “temptation.”  That is a broad word.  Sometimes it means a solicitation to evil–that is, you are tempted to commit murder, or you are tempted to commit adultery.  It is a solicitation to evil.  Sometimes it is a reference to a test that God permits you to go through as a kind of ‘refinement by fire’.

The Lord Himself also speaks of the Crown of Life reward, promising: “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

‘Faithful unto death’ is not a condition of salvation — salvation comes by grace through faith in the efficacy of Jesus’ sacrifice for sin at the Cross.  Keep in mind that the only ones that will stand before the Bema Seat are ALREADY saved by grace.

The Crown of Endurance won’t be given to every believer — the Scriptures say of even those who receive NO crowns, as previously noted, “he shall suffer loss: but HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED; yet so as by fire.”

There is the Crown of Glory — the crown of the ‘undershepherd’ or the ‘pastor’s crown’.

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1st Peter 5:1-4)

Not every pastor or undershepherd will receive this crown, either. There are those who will fail the test of ‘willing service’ or those who set themselves up as ‘lords over God’s heritage’ instead of being examples to their flocks, or those who fail to feed their charges with God’s Word.

Finally, there is the Crown of Righteousness.

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” (2nd Timothy 1:8)

Those who study prophecy, those who dedicate themselves as watchmen on the wall, ready to give the warning of His soon appearing, will receive the Crown of Righteousness from the Righteous Judge at the Bema Seat.

Literally, the Crown of Righteousness means ‘a crown for doing right.’ Paul is saying, “I have loved the appearing of the Lord.  Because I have loved the appearing of the Lord, I have fought a good fight; I have finished the course; I have kept the faith.”

Note what Paul did NOT say.  He did NOT say, “If you keep the faith, you will receive the Crown of Righteousness.”  Instead, he says, “If you love His appearing, you will.”

Personally, I am not certain that I will receive the crown of self-denial.  I am not too sure that I keep my body under control enough to deserve this reward.

I am not too sure I will win the soul winner’s crown, although it is one I really, really hope to earn.

I am not sure that I will get the Crown of Glory — as an undershepherd, I have many shortcomings.

I pray for the Crown of Life for enduring life’s trials — but I am not certain that I have endured them with the long-suffering love of Christ as I should.

So I am not sure about that one, either.

But I am hopeful of the Crown of Righteousness — it is the easiest one to get.  My righteousness is not my own, but that of Christ’s, and my love of His soon appearing is an all-consuming passion.

The point to it all is this: We will all one day stand before the Bema Seat — but the Bema Seat is where we are judged for our rewards.

Whether or not I receive all — or even any — of the rewards that are available to me as a believer, I have the certain assurance that, even if I suffer loss, I will still enter heaven, even if it is ‘as if by fire’.

And so will all those who have trusted Jesus for their salvation.

“Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your’s.”

“And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” (2 Corinthians 3:22,23)

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3965

Dispensationalism

Great article explaining dispensationalism to us by Jack Kelley! Keep looking up!

 

Dispensationalism – This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley – www.gracethrufaith.com

I’ve been answering questions from so many people for so long that I sometimes forget not everyone who comes to the site has read all of them. As a case in point, I recently answered a question about the flood where I said it was the second in a series of seven times where mankind would violate the terms of an agreement with God and bring judgment upon themselves. I didn’t think any more about it until I received several questions from people asking what I was talking about and could I list the other six times. I realized they hadn’t read the several answers I have posted over the years on the theological system I follow called dispensationalism.

What Is Dispensationalism?

Dispensationalism is a method for interpreting the Bible. The Greek word from which we get dispensation appears only 7 times in the New Testament and is only translated as such in four of those, all by Paul and all in the King James (1 Cor. 9:17, Ephes. 1:10, Ephes. 3:2, Colossians 1:25). Other meanings of this word are stewardship, administration, and economy.

What Do Dispensationalists Believe?

A dispensationalist believes that throughout history God has dealt with humanity in different ways at different times as part of the process of revealing His character and His plan for mankind, and calls these different periods dispensations.

For example, while salvation has always been by faith, the way to salvation through much of the Old Testament was through Israel and required obedience to the Law as well. That is not the case during the Church Age. And while eternal security is promised to the Church, it was not promised to Israel. Neither was the Holy Spirit sealed within Old Testament believers as is the case with believers in the Church (Ephes. 1:13-14). Therefore the way God dealt with Israel in the Old Testament took place during a different dispensation than His dealings with the Church in the New Testament. Get the idea?

This is one of the reasons I’ve given in support of my position that Eternal Security won’t be available to post rapture believers. The last seven years before the Lord’s return (Daniel’s 70th Week) will be a time when God deals primarily with Israel again, as He did in the Old Testament. He promised Israel these seven years and has yet to provide them. Daniel 9:24-27 explains this and tells us a temple will be built in Israel during that time, and that animal sacrifices will once again be offered on its altar. While these things were required during Old Testament times they would be both unnecessary and undesirable now unless the Church Age first comes to an end, something that will happen with the rapture. This is why so many dispensationalists believe the rapture will happen before Daniel’s 70th Week begins.

Some say that dispensationalism is a relatively modern system of theology first proposed by John Nelson Darby in the mid 1800′s. But evidence that the early church believed in the principles of dispensationalism can be found in the 2nd Century writings of Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. Justin Martyr saw four distinct periods (dispensations) and gave them the names of the principle players, Adam to Abraham; Abraham to Moses; Moses to Christ; and Christ to Eternity. Irenaeus also saw four periods, from the Creation to the Flood, from the Flood to the Law, from the Law to the Gospel, and from the Gospel to Eternity.

More recently most scholars have settled on seven dispensations. Each one has begun with an agreement between God and man that man has subsequently broken, causing the agreement to fail and requiring a judgment. Here are the seven dispensations in chronological order.

1) Innocence … Between the Creation and the Fall of Man in the Garden. God interacted freely and personally with Adam and Eve during this period. Then they broke the only rule He had given them (Genesis 3:11-13) and were expelled from the Garden. Sin entered the world.

2) Conscience … Between the Fall and the Flood, God allowed man’s conscience to govern his behavior without Divine interference. Because of the sin nature passed down from mankind’s first parents, the result was that “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5). God pronounced judgment upon the world and destroyed all but 8 members of the human race in the Great Flood.

3) Human Government … from the Flood to Abraham. After the flood God told Noah to go forth and replenish the Earth (Genesis 9:7). Noah’s descendants disobeyed God’s commandment, setting about instead to build a great city and tower from which to study the stars (Genesis 11:4). God confused man’s language, causing them to stop building the tower, and scattered them throughout the world (Genesis 11:8-9).

4) Promise … from Abraham to Moses. God promised Abraham a homeland for his descendants (Genesis 17:8) and a son for him and Sarah (Genesis 17:15-16). But they grew tired of waiting and produced a son on their own, who they named Ishmael (Genesis 16:1-2.15). When God’s promised son Isaac was born, Ishmael was sent away (Genesis 21:8-13) causing enmity between the Jews (descendants of Isaac) and Arabs (descendants of Ishmael) that continues to this day. After Mohammed, a descendant of Ishmael’s, founded Islam this enmity took on religious significance and became even more intense.

5) Law … from Moses to Jesus. God gave Moses the 10 Commandments and promised the Jews a life of peace and plenty in a Kingdom of their own if they obeyed (Exodus 19:5, Exodus 20:1-17). After repeated periods of disobedience which included rejecting their Messiah King, God withdrew His offer of the Kingdom and expelled them from their land (Matt. 21:43, Luke 19:41-44).

6) Grace … from Pentecost to the Rapture, the Church Age. No longer requiring righteousness through works, God granted a righteousness by grace through faith in the completed work of Christ to all who accept, whether Jew or Gentile (Romans 3:21-24). Most will not accept and will be punished through eternity.

Note: It’s important to realize that Grace didn’t replace Law, it just interrupted it.  Law has another 7 years to run, called Daniel’s 70th Week (Daniel 9:24-27), which fills the time between the Rapture and the 2nd Coming. During this time all the nations to which Israel has been scattered will be completely destroyed and Israel will be disciplined in preparation for receiving the Kingdom (Jeremiah 30:4-11).

7) The Kingdom … the 1000 Year Reign of Christ that begins with the 2nd Coming. This time Israel will accept the Kingdom offer (Zechariah 12:10, Zechariah 14:8-9). Satan will be bound (Rev. 20:2), all unbelievers will be expelled from the planet (Matt. 25:41-46), and God will once again dwell in the midst of His people (Ezek. 43:6-7). You’d think man could finally live in a manner pleasing to God. But he can’t. With the exception of Israel, the world will rebel against God and His people. God will send fire to consume them all (Rev. 20:7-10).

What Is God’s Purpose In This?

I think the overarching purpose of these seven dispensations is to demonstrate that there are no conditions under which natural man can behave in a manner acceptable to God. Only the Church is able to do so and then only after being perfected in the rapture. This why Paul wrote that after the end of the Millennium when it comes time for Jesus to present the kingdom to the Father, He will first destroy all dominion, authority and power (1 Cor. 15:24).  As we enter eternity neither mankind nor the angels will ever have the desire or ability to disobey God again. That’s why there isn’t an eighth dispensation called Eternity.

Two of the major changes that dispensationalism as we know it today brought upon the post reformation world were the return to a literal interpretation of Scripture, especially where it deals with prophecy, and the realization that there’s a distinct difference between Israel and the Church in the End Times. It’s the best tool I know of for determining the context of a passage and understanding who its intended recipients are. (Reform theology does not adhere to a literal interpretation of Scripture, treats end times prophecy as allegorical, and blurs the distinction between Israel and the Church to the point where some claim the Church has replaced Israel in God’s plan making Israel an unnecessary part of our times.)

Most dispensationalists believe in a pre-tribulation rapture followed by Daniel’s 70th week with its accompanying judgments and a literal Kingdom of God that will begin with the 2nd Coming and last for 1,000 years. During this time Israel will be God’s Kingdom on Earth while the Church will be God’s Kingdom in Heaven.

So this is what dispensationalists believe. It’s what I believe and is the theological foundation for all the articles and answers to be found on this site. This is why I said the Great Flood was the second in a series of seven times where mankind would violate the terms of an agreement with God and bring judgment upon themselves.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3722

Nigeria: Islam is on the Attack against Christians

John 16:2b, “… the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God.”

Matthew 10:22, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

 “The Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram is allegedly planning to declare holy war on Southern Nigeria, where most Christians are concentrated, and might use food poisoning tactics to kill as many as possible, according to the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

‘We have information and documents to show that this is a Jihad being sponsored and we have our documents to show where they have dispatched 2,000 people to prepare for Jihad to South East, 2,500 to South-South and about 2,000 to South West,’ said Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, CAN Chairman and Anglican Bishop of Enugu Diocese.

The organization also warned that Boko Haram, responsible for killing hundreds of Christians since 2011 with church bombings and shootings, is planning to lace meat in these southern areas with poisonous powder. CAN specifically warned residents to be careful about eating suya, which is a shish kebab-type food that can be made with various types of meats.

According to a report from Vangard, Bishop Chukwuma said: ‘We are warning our people to be careful of suya because we have now heard that they will start poisoning people through suya. They know the suya they give themselves in the North and suya they give to the people in the South. So people should be careful of suya.

‘That is part of the information available to us now. There is a powder that is now being imported which they will spread on suya and after two weeks it will start eating your liver and other organs. We have gotten that information also.’

Boko Haram directly admitted in a recent statement to wanting to wipe out Christians from Nigeria and establish Islamist rule.”

Revelation 13:15, “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”

Acts 14:22b, “… ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.’”

ICC – “International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that members of the Nigerian Islamic group, Boko Haram, plan to make the month of June ‘the bloodiest month yet’ in terms of attacks on Christians and promise more bloody attacks on Christians in the coming days.

The Islamists revealed their plan in their statement to Sahara Reporters, a New York based online news agency yesterday. In the past three weeks alone, more than 100 people have been killed in suicide bomb attacks by Boko Haram and the ensuing clashes between Christians and Muslims.

‘I can’t dismiss the rumor and I can’t 100 percent accept that it will happen. But because of the trend of events, there is every possibility that something like that will happen,’ said Rev. Lawi P. Pokti in an interview with ICC. Rev. Pokti is the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Bauchi state.

‘We should pray and watch. We should also remember that Jesus said in the world there is tribulation but with Him there is peace,’ said Rev. Pokti in his message to Christians in Nigeria.

Addressing the Nigerian security officials, Rev. Pokti said, ‘My message for Nigerian security is that they are called to serve the Nigerian nation so they should do it without religious bias. They should defend the nation irrespective of one’s religion so that peace will prevail in the nation.’

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, said, ‘This latest threat by Boko Haram to mass murder Christians is extremely alarming. The Nigerian government has utterly failed to protect its citizens from attacks by Boko Haram. It has been years since Boko Haram declared war against unarmed Christians. Where is the Nigerian government when the country is descending into a devastating civil war? It is high time for Nigeria to deploy all its military forces to crush Boko Haram. Boko Haram must be destroyed before it is allowed to destroy Nigeria. We also call upon our supporters to call Nigerian government officials and strongly urge them to prevent the attacks by Boko Haram.’

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3678