Category: The Church

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

Church in the End Times: Apostasy and Cultism

I am attaching a great article by Dr. David Reagan from Lamb and Lion ministries. We are the Last Days church. Part is Philadelphia and the other is Laodecia. Enjoy!

There is much talk going around these days about how unified, triumphant and glorious the Church will be in the end times right before the return of Jesus. This pollyanna image of the Church is certainly attractive, but it does not correspond with what the Bible prophesies.

 Apostasy

 The picture of the Church in the end times that is portrayed in the Bible is not a very pretty one. For one thing, the Bible prophecies that the Church will be racked by apostasy. Jesus prophesied that “many will fall away” (Matt. 24:10). Likewise, Paul said the Anti-Christ cannot be revealed until “the great apostasy” takes place (II Thess. 2:3).

 Paul reveals the source of the apostasy in II Timothy 3:5 — “Men will hold to form of religion but will deny its power.” The fulfillment of this prophecy began in the 1920’s with the ascendancy of the German School of Higher Criticism. This school of thought, which quickly swept American seminaries, advocated that the Bible should be approached like any other piece of literature — with a critical eye. The concepts of the special inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible were rejected. The Bible came to be viewed as Man’s search for God rather than God’s revelation to Man. As a human product, it was considered to be full of myth, legend, and superstition.

 This assault on the integrity of God’s Word opened the floodgates of apostasy. Before long Christian theologians and ministers were laughing about the virgin birth of Jesus, discounting His miracles, casting doubt on His resurrection, and flatly denying His second coming.

 As the uniqueness of Jesus was downplayed, many denominations began to embrace the damnable doctrine of Universalism. And that is where we are today, caught up in the midst of a gross apostasy which says, “Believe what you want. The important thing is to be sincere. There are many roads to God.” All of which makes a liar of Jesus who said: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:16). The result is that there are a lot of sincere people who are sincerely going to Hell.

 Cultism

 A second set of prophecies warn that the Church will be assaulted by cultic deception in the end times. Jesus emphasized this point repeatedly in His Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:5, 11 & 24). And Paul underlined it in the strongest possible language when he wrote: “The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (I Tim. 4:1).

 The fulfillment of these prophecies began in the 19th Century with the rise of Mormonism and its demonic teaching that Jesus is the brother of Lucifer, one of thousands of Gods created by the super god, Adam, an exalted man. The Jehovah’s Witnesses were next on the scene with their perverted teaching that Jesus is the Archangel Michael.

 This century has witnessed the rapid multiplication of the cults, just as prophesied. Today, lifelong Christians who do not know why they believe what they profess to believe are being sucked into the cults by the tens of thousands.

 Equally appalling is the direct penetration of the Church by cultic doctrine. Well known Christian leaders are advocating the ancient Shamanistic practice of visualization as the key to prayer. Others are teaching one of Satan’s oldest lies — that those who have been born again are “little gods.”

 The latest cultic fad is the concept of Satanic salvation; namely, that we do not owe our salvation to the blood Jesus shed on the Cross but rather to some imaginary torment which He suffered at the hands of Satan for three days in Hell. And then, of course, there is Masonry, the oldest form of cultic penetration of the Church, with its secret blood oaths, its works salvation, and its Universalism.

 The degree of cultic penetration into the Church is perhaps best illustrated by two recent events.

 Church in the End Times: Confusion and Worldliness

 Confusion

 A third group of prophecies indicate that in the end times the Church will be assailed by doctrinal error. These are doctrines that do not damn the soul but which confuse and weaken the spirit.

 In II Timothy 4:3-4, Paul says: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.” There are many popular myths in Christendom today that either rob people of the power of their faith or else deceive them into practicing a presumptuous faith.

 The winds of doctrine (Eph. 4:14) are blowing through the Church at gale force and believers are being tossed here and there by the waves, all in the fulfillment of prophecy.

 Worldliness

 A fourth characteristic prophesied about the Church in the end times is that it will be compromised and corrupted by worldliness. The prophetic picture of this worldly church is found in Revelation 3:14-22, where the church at Laodicea is described.

 The seven churches depicted in Revelation 2 and 3 are symbolic of seven periods of church history. The church at Laodicea, the last to be presented, is representative of the type of church that will prevail in Christendom at the end of the Church Age.

 The picture is a pathetic one. The Church is apathetic, neither hot nor cold. The apathy is a product of the Church’s adoption of a worldly attitude expressed in the words, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.” Jesus responds with a scathing rebuke: “You do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”

 In fulfillment of this prophecy, our churches today are filled with cultural Christians who have accepted Jesus as Savior but not as Lord. They are schizophrenic Christians who walk with one foot in the Church and the other in the world. They are carnal Christians who shout “Hallelujah!” on the weekend but who live like pagans during the week. They are greedy Christians in pursuit of health, wealth, and power. The Cross and its message of sacrifice is as offensive to them as it is to the world.

 Judgment

 Because of the apostasy, heresy, cultism, and worldliness that the Bible says will characterize the end time Church, the Bible prophesies that the Church will come under judgment. In Revelation 3:19 Jesus says to the church at Laodicea, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline.”

 The glitzy, overindulgent church of the last few decades is now tasting the judgment of God. Sin is being exposed. Religious empires are being dismantled. The Lord is calling us from the Cadillac to the Cross. Through discipline, the Spirit is motivating us to humility, righteousness and holiness.

 Judgment has begun in the House of the Lord, where it always begins (Ezek. 9:6 and I Peter 4:17). The Lord is disciplining His Church as a prelude to the pouring out of His wrath upon the world.

 Church in the End Times: Hope and Exhortation

 The Latter Rain

 Is there any good news about the Church in prophecy? Yes, there is. The incredibly good news is that the Bible prophesies a great pouring out of God’s Spirit in the end times to empower those who are receptive to stand against the onslaught of Satan.

 The prophecy is found in Joel 2:28-30. Because this prophecy was quoted by Peter in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost to explain the phenomenon of tongues (Acts 2:14-21), many have assumed that it was fulfilled on that day. That assumption is erroneous.

 The context before the passage (verses 18-27) makes it clear that there will be two outpourings of the Spirit (the “early and latter rain”) and that the final outpouring will occur after the Jews are regathered to their land and re-established as a nation. Also, the context after the passage (verses 31 & 32) indicates clearly that the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy will occur at the time of the Second Coming.

 We have been in the period of the “latter rain” ever since the re-establishment of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948. The Spirit is being poured out, and the gifts of the spirit are being manifest in a way unparalleled since the First Century. The praise and worship of the Tabernacle of David are also being restored to the Church to further empower it for spiritual warfare.

 This great anointing of the Spirit is producing a remnant that is immersed in the Word, committed to righteousness, crucified to self, dedicate to prayer, surrendered in worship, zealous for evangelism and yearning for the soon return of Jesus. It is this remnant that will usher in the Lord’s return on a cloud of praise.

  A Modern Day Prophecy Concerning the Church

 Printed below is an excerpt from a prophecy given by the late Stanley Frodsham, former editor of the Pentecostal Evangel. The prophecy was delivered at the Elim Bible Institute Summer Camp Meeting in 1965.

 “When I visit My people in mighty revival power, it is to prepare them for the darkness ahead…Take heed to yourselves lest you be puffed up and think that you have arrived. Many shall be puffed up as in the olden days…

 Listen to the messengers, but do not hold men’s persons in admiration. For many whom I shall anoint mightily, with signs and miracles, shall become lifted up and shall fall by the wayside. I do not do this willingly; I have made provision that they might stand. I call many into this ministry and equip them; but remember that many shall fall. They shall be like bright lights, and people shall delight in them. But they shall be taken over by deceiving spirits and shall lead many of My people away.

 Hearken diligently concerning these things, for in the last days shall come seducing spirits that shall turn many of My anointed ones away. Many shall fall through divers lusts and because of sin abounding…

 I warn you to search the Scriptures diligently concerning these last days, for the things that are written shall indeed be made manifest. There shall come deceivers among My people in increasing numbers who shall speak for the truth and shall gain the favor of the people. For the people shall examine the Scriptures and say, ‘What these men say is true.’ Then when they have gained the hearts of the people, then and then only shall they bring out these wrong doctrines. Therefore, I say that you should not give your hearts to men, nor hold people’s persons in admiration. For by these very persons shall Satan enter into My people. Watch for seducers!

 Be not deceived, for the deceiver will first work to gain the hearts of many, and then he shall bring forth his insidious doctrines. You cannot discern those that are of Me and those that are not of Me when they start to preach. But seek Me constantly, and then when these doctrines are brought out you shall have a witness in your heart that these are not of Me.

 The minister of righteousness shall be on this wise: his life shall agree with the word and his lips shall give forth that which is wholly true, and it will be no mixture. When the mixture appears, then you will know he is not a minister of righteousness. The deceivers speak first the truth and then error to cover their own sins which they love…

 I desire you to be firmly established in My Word and not in the personalities of men that you will not be moved as so many shall be moved… Diligently inquire of Me when you hear something that you have not seen in the Word, and do not hold people’s persons in admiration, for it is by this very method that Satan will destroy many of My people.”

 An interesting thing about this prophecy is that it was published in Jimmy Swaggart’s magazine, The Evangelist, in October 1987. Later on, the problems encountered in his life and ministries were to serve as a partial fulfillment of the prophecy.

 The message is clear. We must all be on guard spiritually. None of us is immune to deception. Everything must be tested by the Word. If a doctrine fails the test of Scripture, it is to be rejected, regardless of who is teaching it. Our trust is to be placed in the Word and not in men.

 We must stop chasing after men and miracles. A fixation on either will result in deception. False teachers can appear as angels of light. Miracles can be performed by the power of Satan. Our eyes are to be fixed on Jesus, and Him only. Our authority in all things is to be His Word.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3668

DISTRACTIONS IN THE HOLY PLACE

DISTRACTIONS IN THE   HOLY PLACE

by David   Wilkerson | June 14, 2012

[May 19, 1931 –   April 27, 2011]

 

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“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:7-8)

I want to talk to you about mental distractions during prayer and worship, especially in the house of God. Jesus called people hypocrites who came into His presence mouthing words of praise, but whose minds and hearts were preoccupied. He spoke directly to them, saying, “You give Me your mouth and your lips but your mind is somewhere else. Your heart is nowhere near Me!”

What about you? Most likely, you are present in God’s house for an hour every week. Your body is in church but where is your mind? Your mouth says, “I worship You, Lord,” but is your heart a thousand miles away? Where do your thoughts take you during worship and praise?

Do you become preoccupied with family concerns or a business matter that’s been hounding you? How distracted do you get during that hour in church as the congregation draws near to God’s majesty?

It is dangerous to come into God’s house and enter into His presence lightly. “Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified” (Leviticus 10:3). The Lord said to Aaron, “I will not be treated as an ordinary person. If you’re going to come into My presence, you must come before Me sanctified. All who approach My holiness must do so with carefulness and thoughtfulness because of My glory and majesty.”

If your heart is not engaged during worship and your thoughts are not captive to the obedience of Christ, you might as well put a straw man in your seat. At least that is more honest than coming into God’s house with no mind and no heart.

The reason many Christians do not worship with power, excitement and zeal is because they have no intimacy with Jesus at home. Those who have learned to worship and focus privately bring their own fire — a fire ignited in the secret closet of prayer. True worshipers can’t wait to get to church to praise the Lord among His people.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3665

Greatest Church Soon To Be Mega Mosque?

 

Though ostensibly dealing with a building, a recent report demonstrates how Turkey’s populace—once deemed the most secular and liberal in the Muslim world—is reverting to its Islamic heritage, complete with animosity for the infidel West and dreams of Islam’s glory days of jihad and conquest.  According to Reuters:

Thousands of devout Muslims prayed outside Turkey’s historic Hagia Sophia museum on Saturday [May 23] to protest a 1934 law that bars religious services at the former church and mosque.    Worshippers shouted, “Break the chains, let Hagia Sophia Mosque open,” and “God is great” [the notorious “Allahu Akbar”] before kneeling in prayer as tourists looked on.  Turkey’s secular laws prevent Muslims and Christians from formal worship within the 6th-century monument, the world’s greatest cathedral for almost a millennium before invading Ottomans converted it into a mosque in the 15th century.

In fact, Hagia Sophia—Greek for “Holy Wisdom”—was Christendom’s greatest cathedral.  Built in Constantinople, the heart of the Christian empire, it was also a stalwart symbol of defiance against an ever encroaching Islam from the east.  After parrying centuries of jihadi thrusts, Constantinople was finally sacked by Ottoman Turks in 1453.  Its crosses desecrated and icons defaced, Hagia Sophia—as well as thousands of other churches—was immediately converted into a mosque, the tall minarets of Islam surrounding it in triumph.  Then, after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, as part of several reforms, Ataturk transformed Hagia Sophia into a “neutral” museum in 1934—a gesture of goodwill to the then triumphant West from a then crestfallen Turkey.

Even though Hagia Sophia is a Christian center under Islamic domination, several Christian authorities are content seeing it remain a museum, including the Ecumenical Patriarchate, spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians: “We want it to remain a museum in line with the Republic of Turkey’s principles.  If it were to become a mosque, Christians wouldn’t be able to pray there, and if it became a church it would be chaos.”

True enough; one need only recall how back in 2006, when Pope Benedict was scheduled to visit Hagia Sophia, Muslims were outraged.  Then, Turkey’s independent paper Vatan wrote: “The risk is that Benedict will send Turkey’s Muslims and much of the Islamic world into paroxysms of fury if there is any perception that the Pope is trying to re-appropriate a Christian center that fell to Muslims.” Before the Pope’s visit, a gang of Turks stormed and occupied Hagia Sophia, screaming “Allahu Akbar!” and warning “Pope! Don’t make a mistake; don’t wear out our patience.” On the day of the Pope’s visit, another throng of Islamists waved banners saying “Pope get out of Turkey” while chanting Hagia Sophia “is Turkish and will remain Turkish.”

All this is yet another reminder of the Islamic world’s double standards: when Muslims conquer non-Muslim territories, such as Constantinople and its churches—through fire and steel, with all the attendant human suffering and misery—the descendents of those conquered are not to expect any apologies or concessions.  However, once the same Muslims who would never concede one inch of Islam’s conquests are on the short end of the stick—Palestinians vis-à-vis Israel, for example—then they resort to the United Nations and the court of public opinion, demanding justice, restitutions, rights, and so forth.  (See this 2006 LA Times Op-Ed for more on this theme.)

Even in the brief Reuter’s report, evidence of such “passive-aggressive” behavior emerges.  First, this is not about Muslims wanting to pray; it’s about Muslims wanting to revel in the glory days of Islamic jihad and conquest: Muslims “staged the prayers ahead of celebrations next week marking the 559th anniversary of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet’s conquest of Byzantine Constantinople. According to Salih Turhan, a spokesman quoted by Reuters, “As the grandchildren of Mehmet the Conqueror, seeking the re-opening Hagia Sophia as a mosque is our legitimate right.”

Sultan Mehmet was the scourge of European Christendom, whose Islamic hordes seized and ravished Constantinople, forcibly turning it Islamic.  Openly idolizing him, as many Turks do, is tantamount to their saying “We are proud of our ancestors who killed and stole the lands of Christians.” And yet, despite such militant overtones, Turhan, whose position is echoed by many Turks, still manages to blame the West:  “Keeping Hagia Sophia Mosque closed is an insult to our mostly Muslim population of 75 million. It symbolizes our ill-treatment by the West.”

If merely keeping a historically Christian/Western building—that was stolen by Islamic jihad—as a neutral museum is seen as “ill-treatment by the West,” on what basis can Muslims and non-Muslims ever “dialogue”?

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3645