Category: America

THE COMING STORM

A great little article from David Wilkerson focusing on the fact that is shaking us right now. We need to be about His will as the time is very short! Keep looking up!

 

When a sleeping child must be awakened, a loving parent takes him by the shoulders and gently shakes him. If the child doesn’t wake up immediately, the shaking becomes a bit firmer. The parent insists, because he knows the child will suffer if he doesn’t wake up on time.

That is precisely what God is doing right now—both to America and to the world. At first, He shook us very tenderly but now His shaking has become violent, because He has not succeeded in awakening us.

The Lord began to literally shake the earth with earthquakes in the late 1980s. A quake in Armenia wiped out almost that entire province. A quake in Japan measuring 6.9 nearly destroyed an entire city. Then came the horrible quake in San Francisco, with more following almost daily in that area. Quakes hit the West Coast constantly, from northern California to San Diego and down into Mexico.

Isaiah prophesies that God will one day rise up and shake the whole earth: “Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty . . . and turneth it upside down. . . . All joy is darkened, the mirth of the land is gone. . . . When thus it shall be in the midst of the land among the people, there shall be as the shaking of an olive tree” (Isaiah 24:1, 11, 13). God is going to shake the earth as if it were an olive tree—till every bit of fruit falls.

Ezekiel says that when God’s fury arises, He will shake all that can be shaken: “All the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground. . . . And I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 38:20 and 23).

The writer of Hebrews says: “Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. . . . That [only] those things which cannot be shaken may remain” (Hebrews 12:26-27).

God is going to shake everything in sight so that He is revealed as the only unshakable power!

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3341

Life After An EMP Attack: No Power, No Food, No Transportation, No Banking And No Internet

 

Most Americans do not know this, but a single EMP attack could potentially wipe out most of the electronics in the United States and instantly send this nation back to the 1800s.  If a nuclear bomb was exploded high enough in the atmosphere over the middle part of the country, the electromagnetic pulse would fry electronic devices from coast to coast.  The damage would be millions of times worse than 9/11.  Just imagine a world where nobody has power, most cars will not start, the Internet has been fried, the financial system is offline indefinitely, nobody can make any phone calls and virtually all commerce across the entire country is brought to a complete stop.  A nation that does not know how to live without technology would be almost entirely stripped of it at that point.  Yes, this could really happen.  An EMP attack is America’s “Achilles heel”, and everyone around the world knows it.  It is only a matter of time before someone uses an EMP weapon against us, and at this point we are pretty much completely unprepared.

The sad thing is that we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars hunting down “terrorists” in caves on the other side of the globe and we have been told that because of “national security” it is necessary for our private areas to be touched before we are allowed to get on an airplane, but our government is doing essentially nothing to address what is perhaps our biggest security vulnerability.

What would you and your neighbors do if the power went out and it did not ever come back on?

What would you do if an EMP attack happened in the middle of the winter and you suddenly were not able to heat your home any longer?

What would you do if all the electronics in your car got fried and you simply could not drive anywhere?

What would you do if all the supermarkets in your area shut down because food could not be transported across the country anymore?

What would you do if you were suddenly unable to call your family and friends for help?

What would you do if you were suddenly unable to get the medicine that you needed?

What would you do if your debit cards and credit cards simply did not work any longer and you could not get any of your money out of the bank?

What would you do if all of these things happened all at once?

A single EMP attack would be the worst disaster that the United States has ever seen by far.

An electromagnetic pulse could potentially fry the vast majority of all the microchips in the United States.  In an instant, nearly all of our electronic devices would be rendered useless.

Yes, the federal government knows all about this.  The following excerpt is from an April 2008 report by the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack….

“The consequences of lack of food, heat (or air conditioning), water, waste disposal, medical, police, fire fighting support, and effective civil authority would threaten society itself.”

Most of us have become completely and totally dependent on electricity and technology.  Without it, most of us would be in huge trouble.

The following is how an article in the Wall Street Journal described the potential consequences of an EMP attack….

No American would necessarily die in the initial attack, but what comes next is potentially catastrophic. The pulse would wipe out most electronics and telecommunications, including the power grid. Millions could die for want of modern medical care or even of starvation since farmers wouldn’t be able to harvest crops and distributors wouldn’t be able to get food to supermarkets. Commissioner Lowell Wood calls EMP attack a “giant continental time machine” that would move us back more than a century in technology to the late 1800s.

It wouldn’t be so bad if we had the knowledge and the infrastructure to live the way that they did back in the 1800s, but today that is simply not the case.

Dr. William Graham was Ronald Reagan’s science adviser and the chairman of the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack.  Dr. Graham believes that in the event of a large scale EMP attack, the vast majority of Americans would either freeze, starve or die from disease.

According to Graham, in the aftermath of an EMP attack life in America “would probably be something that you might imagine life to be like around the late 1800s but with several times the population we had in those days, and without the ability of the country to support and sustain all those people.”

Would you be able to survive?

All of those big bank accounts may never be able to be recovered after an EMP attack.  Your money might be instantly fried out of existence.

The following is what Graham believes would happen to the financial system in the event of an EMP attack….

“Most financial records are stored electronically. ATMs, which depend upon both power and telecommunications, would not be available; banks, which try to back up records but in general aren’t strongly aware of the EMP problem, would face the problem of unprotected storage and computer systems”

This is the danger of having a financial system that is so dependent on technology.  We may wake up one day and find that all the money is gone.

But if an EMP attack actually happened, the biggest concern for most of us would be trying to figure out how to survive.

The president of the Center for Security Policy, Frank Gaffney, is convinced that a single EMP attack could result in the deaths of the vast majority of the population of the United States….

“Within a year of that attack, nine out of 10 Americans would be dead, because we can’t support a population of the present size in urban centers and the like without electricity”

Are you starting to get a feel for the scope of the problem?

The sad thing is that so much could be done to protect this country from an EMP attack.

Right now, most vital U.S. military infrastructure has at least some protection from an EMP attack.

But the general population has been left completely and totally vulnerable.

It has been estimated that the entire power grid could potentially be protected for about 20 billion dollars.  Considering the fact that we have spent over 400 billion dollars in Afghanistan, I think that we could afford it.

We have spent our national security dollars very, very badly and someday it is going to come back to bite us in the rear end.

Right now, other nations around the world are working feverishly to develop EMP weapons.  The following is from a statement by Dr. Peter Vincent Pry to the United States Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security on March 8th, 2005….

Russian and Chinese military scientists in open source writings describe the basic principles of nuclear weapons designed specifically to generate an enhanced-EMP effect, that they term “Super-EMP” weapons. “Super-EMP” weapons, according to these foreign open source writings, can destroy even the best protected U.S. military and civilian electronic systems.

But it is not just Russia and China that have been developing “Super-EMP” weapons.  According to Newsmax, it is believed that North Korea may have tested a “Super-EMP” weapon back in 2009….

North Korea’s last round of tests, conducted in May 2009, appear to have included a “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting enough gamma rays to disable the electric power grid across most of the lower 48 states

Remember, all it would take is one strategically placed EMP attack to wipe out this nation.

But an EMP weapon is not the only danger that can produce this type of effect.  The truth is that a really bad geomagnetic storm could also potentially produce almost as much damage.

This is something that everyone knows is one of our biggest vulnerabilities and it is something that we can make preparations for.

Yet the Bush administration and the Obama administration have just stood there and have done nothing.

Our idiocy is astounding.

General Eugene Habiger, the former head of U. S. Strategic Command, has said the following about the possibility of an EMP attack in the future….

“It is not a matter of if, it is a matter of when.”

Remember, this is something that could cause millions times more damage than 9/11 did.

Instead of molesting old ladies at airports and chasing goat herders around the mountains of Afghanistan, perhaps we should be addressing our largest security vulnerabilities.

But that would require using some common sense.  Sadly, common sense seems to be in very short supply in Washington D.C. these days.

So if the government is not going to do anything about it, that means that it is up to you to prepare yourself and your family.  This world is becoming very unstable and disasters can strike at any time.

We all saw what happened after Hurricane Katrina.  The government response was a nightmare.  An EMP attack would be millions of times worse and the federal government probably would not even be able to get you and your family any assistance.

You would truly be on your own.

So are you ready?

This is yet another reason why the number of preppers in the United States is exploding.  A lot of people can see how the world is changing and they understand that the federal government is not going to come through for them when the chips are down.

An EMP attack could end life as we know it at any time.

It is a glaring security vulnerability and the entire world knows that it is there.

I hope that you are getting ready, because the government certainly is not.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3216

Chrislam Update

Rick Warren blames the messenger

Exclusive: Joel Richardson reacts to pastor’s response to criticism over Muslim partnership

Published: 13 hours ago

By Joel Richardson

Pastor Rick Warren has responded to those who have criticized his methods regarding outreach to Muslims, which includes joining together with Muslims for the purpose of interfaith social projects.

Warren’s response came in the form of an interview on Pastors.com, a site sponsored by Warren’s ministry. An editor’s note at the beginning of the article states that Warren is “often the target of unfair criticism and unfounded rumors.” Being among those who recently published my criticisms of Warren, I would like to touch on just a few portions of his response both to give Warren credit where he is due credit, and to request his accountability where he has been less than honest or forthright and where there has been found to be more than mere unfounded rumors.

The first question in the interview concerns whether or not Christians and Muslims worship the same God. Warren’s response here was solid:

“Of course not. Christians have a view of God that is unique. We believe Jesus is God! We believe God is a Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Not three separate gods but one God. No other faith believes Jesus is God. My God is Jesus. The belief in God as a Trinity is the foundational difference between Christians and everyone else. There are 2.1 billion people who call themselves Christians … whether Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Pentecostal, or Evangelical … and they all have the doctrine of the Trinity in common. … Christians have a fundamentally different view of God than Muslims. We worship Jesus as God. Muslims don’t. Our God is Jesus, not Allah. Colossians 2:9 – ‘For in Christ dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.’”

Warren should be acknowledged for making such a clear statement that will, no doubt, be viewed as divisive by Muslims as well as the ever-so-vocal and perpetually offended religious pluralists. Good job, Rick.

On the other hand, I still cling to the opinion that Warren should have issued a correction for his previous linguistic/theological gaffe when he rounded out his prayer at the Obama inauguration with the following: “I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life – Yeshua, Isa, Jesus [spoken with a Spanish pronunciation], Jesus – who taught us to pray. …”

Of course, this is old news and many have debated the issue already, but the simple fact of the matter is that Warren’s use of “Isa” was a significant rookie mistake. This was not something a leader of Warren’s stature should be making at a such a high-level event. Again, for those who may have forgotten what all the hubbub was about, Isa not simply an Arabic way to say Jesus, but rather the Quranic and Islamic way. The proper and most common Christian manner to say Jesus in Arabic is Yasu.

This is not nitpicking. The Isa of the Quran is not a real historical person, but rather an anti-Christ polemical creation. The mythical Isa of Islam is not the Son of God, is not one of three in a trinity, did not die on the cross and is returning to abolish Christianity and, by most accounts, to slaughter a substantial number of Jews, as well. For these reasons I still believe Warren should retract his usage of this word. I think that despite his relative refusal to apologize to his critics, he might find that a little bit of humility, rather than the Pharisee-pointing he seems to use quite easily, might go a long way.

Next, Warren denies that Saddleback Church has entered into any form of “partnership” with Muslims, calling this claim “flat out wrong” and even accusing Jim Hinch, reporter for the Orange County Register, of false reporting.

This is nonsense. Warren and other Saddleback pastors are on record expressing that they fully believe in partnering with people of other faiths to accomplish various social projects, including combating stereotypes, war, poverty and corruption. At the 2009 Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) conference in 2009, Warren declared to an audience of Muslims:

“Now I was asked to speak to you about how Muslims and Christians can work closer together for the greater good, in our world. And I will tell you that I am not interested in interfaith dialogue, I am interested in interfaith projects. … And there are a lot of things that we could do together, but tonight I would quickly want to mention four things. Can we work on these things together? And I know we can. … Some problems are so big you have to team tackle them.”

Beyond this, Tom Holladay, a pastor at Saddleback, was quoted in the article as saying, “This is us serving our own community with Muslims here in Orange County. … We realize we don’t agree about everything and we’re very open about that. … You just recognize the differences and recognize the points where you can work together.”

While Warren may be irritated concerning the criticisms he has received on this issue, his protests are not genuine – and he has only himself to blame. In fact, in my opinion, Warren owes reporter Jim Hinch an apology.

The next issue concerns the notion that Saddleback church members involved in the “King’s Way” outreach project agreed not to evangelize or convert the Muslims with whom they are building friendships. Again, Warren calls this claim “flat out wrong” and blames Hinch for false reporting.

The problem, again, is that the statement did not come from Hinch, but from Jihad Turk, the Muslim spokesman with whom Warren’s church is working. It was Turk who said, “We agreed we wouldn’t try to evangelize each other. … We’d witness to each other but it would be out of ‘Love Thy Neighbor,’ not focused on conversion.” If Warren would like to state that Turk is wrong, this is fine, but accusing the reporter of false reporting was completely out of order.

Extending his defense, Warren passionately declared:

[A]s both an Evangelical and as an evangelist, anyone who knows me and my 40-year track record of ministry knows that I would never agree to “not evangelizing” anyone! I am commanded by my Savior to share the Good News with all people everywhere, all the time, in every way possible! Anyone who’s heard me teach knows that my heart beats for bringing others to Jesus.

I certainly hope this is true. I am genuinely cheering for reports of former Muslims being baptized at Saddleback, renouncing Islam, Muhammad and the Quran, while confessing the Jesus of the Bible. I love Muslims and desire more than anything to see them come to faith. In fact, it is precisely because I love Muslims so much that I hate Islam so deeply. This is not always an easy line to walk. And I agree with Warren that many so-called Christians are far quicker to express hatred of Muslims than to love them.

Yet I also think is fair to be somewhat skeptical of Warren. I think it was entirely fair to ponder the comments made by Warren’s own neighbor and friend, Yasser Barakat. Barakat says that he lived next to Rick and was friends for over 12 years before he even realized that Rick was a famous Christian pastor. Ironically, according to Barakat, this was not discovered until he invited Warren to learn more about Islam. How ironic!

I believe this anecdote was sufficient to make us ask if Warren is truly as committed to winning his neighbors to Christ as he claims in public. Of course, I want to be fair, and my purpose here is not to judge Warren, but again, I will say that if after 12 years of living next to Warren, Barakat had not been invited over to Rick’s house to learn more about the Christian faith, then Warren was not loving his neighbor, nor fulfilling his role as an evangelist – unless, of course, Barakat explains that Warren had always been quite open about his faith after all and that Barakat had, like Turk and Holladay, and Warren, also misspoken.

In the end, I’m sure that Warren’s response will be sufficient to comfort his church members, but in the lack of any genuine acknowledgment of responsibility on his part or of other Saddleback pastors, and in the abundance of casting his critics as false reporters, pharisees, or false-Christians, I am concerned. My hope is that Warren will use the recent round of criticisms as an opportunity for some introspection and an adjustment of his approach and methods to a more biblical model, rather than hardening himself against those who have expressed some very legitimate concerns.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3213

THE KEYS TO REVIVAL IN AMERICA

Great article from Greg Laurie around the keys to revival in America. Please read and pray for America and her people.

The keys to revival in America

Exclusive: Greg Laurie identifies critical spiritual weapons that trump political ones

Greg Laurie

Greg Laurie is the senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., one of the largest churches in America. He is also the featured speaker for Harvest Crusades, large-scale evangelistic outreaches that have been attended by more than 4 million people around the world since 1990. Greg is heard internationally on the daily radio broadcast,

There is a lot of talk about who the next occupant of the White House will be. And while I believe that Christians should find a candidate who represents a biblical worldview as much as possible and then vote for that candidate, we also need to understand at the same time that no congressman or congresswoman, no senator, or no president can turn our country around.

It is not a political answer America needs; it is a spiritual answer. And the only real answer is a spiritual awakening. A revival must hit America. The classic verse that is often quoted on this subject was given initially to the nation of Israel, but it applies to our nation as well:

 “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV).

We want God to heal our land. But notice that God said, “If My people who are called by My name …” (emphasis added). When God looked at a nation that was having problems, he pointed his finger at his people. So often we are quick to point out all of the problems in our culture. But God essentially says, “You know, I have kind of been looking at you – you who are called by my name.” The question is, are we experiencing spiritual revival?

God was saying that if you want to turn a nation around, then his people need to live as they should.

That first-century church turned their world upside down. And the question arises, is that where we are today? I think, sadly, the answer is no. In a time when we need to engage our culture with the one truth that has any hope of transforming it, many in the church have turned away from the answer.

One pastor wrote a book questioning the biblical teaching on hell. Of course, that got a lot of press coverage, because many members of the media don’t believe in what the Bible teaches. Therefore, they embrace the idea of a so-called evangelical preacher saying that he was not certain that what we have always taught and believed about hell is really accurate.

Then I read about a pastor of a megachurch who said recently that he thinks the terms “saved” and “born again” should no longer be used in preaching because our culture doesn’t understand that. And a Christian blogger who is very popular questioned the whole idea of evangelism.

Now, I expect this kind of behavior from nonbelievers. But when I see it from people in the church, it causes me to be concerned. To these misled people and those who would follow them, I would say this: There has never been a time when it is more significant for us to warn people about the reality of hell and tell them that, yes, they need to be “saved” and “born again.” And yes, we need to do it through evangelism.

C. S. Lewis said, “All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.” The gospel message is eternal. It never goes out of date. It never goes out of style.

Is the church today, like the church of the first century, changing their world and turning it upside down? Or, is the world turning us upside down? Think about the daunting challenge the church of the first century faced. They had no political base … no voting bloc in the Roman Senate … no emperor of Rome who was sympathetic toward them.

These first Christians did not out-argue the pagans; they outlived them. Christianity made no attempts to conquer paganism blow by blow. Instead, the Christians of the first century outfought, outlived and out-prayed the nonbelievers. And that is because they recognized their weapons were not physical; they were spiritual. We don’t read that the Christians armed themselves and led a revolt against Rome. Rome had the most powerful military on the face of the earth at that time. No, the first-century believers decided to fight fire with fire. They recognized it was a spiritual battle, and so they used spiritual weaponry.

And what is that spiritual weaponry God has given us to fight the battle today? It is primarily prayer and the preaching of the gospel.

The problem is that we don’t use this weaponry. We use political means or other avenues as we try to solve problems, and it is like attempting to extinguish a forest fire out with a squirt gun.

The Bible gives us an account in Acts 12 of a particularly difficult time in the early church. Herod had James, the brother of John, murdered. He had Peter imprisoned. So what did the church do? Did they organize a boycott of all products made in Rome? Did they develop a campaign to have Herod overthrown? No. They actually did something that we don’t do enough of these days. They prayed. We read in Acts 12, “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church” (verse 5). Though all doors remained closed, one was still open: the door of prayer.

As D. Martin Lloyd-Jones said, “Of all of the blessings of Christian salvation none is greater than this, that we have access to God in prayer.”

How things change as a result of powerful prayer. God will always have the last word. Acts 12 opens with James dead, Peter in prison and Herod triumphing. But it closes with Herod dead, Peter free and the Word of God triumphing. It’s not over till it’s over. That is the power of prayer.

So let’s use the spiritual weapons that God has given us. Let’s start praying.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3069

THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL: Lessons from Daniel chapter 5

Great study from Joel Rosenberg from Daniel chapter 5 on fate of America and the coming war in the Middle East. Pray that you are found worthy of protection by our Lord in these times of trouble. Keep looking up!

“Is America in a ‘Nebuchadnezzar moment’ (where we still have an opportunity to repent and be restored), or a ‘Belshazzar moment’ (where God removes His favor from us and turns out the lights)?”

Joel C. Rosenberg, Jacksonville Pastors Conference, January 29, 2012 

 “The Pastor and the Future” — that’s what I’ve been asked to speak about tonight, and I cannot think of a more important subject to close this conference. You and I are living in one of the most dangerous moments in the history of the United States….in the history of Israel and the Middle East….in the history of the Church. Yet at this very moment when so many people are so anxious about the future, too many pastors are shying away from teaching Bible prophecy.

  • Some, because prophecy has been sensationalized in the past and they rightly resist such cheapening of God’s Holy Word.
  • Some, because they’ve never really carefully studied Bible prophecy and feel unprepared to teach it to their congregations.
  • Some, because they’ve lost sight of the power of prophecy – prophecy is an intercept from the mind of the all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful God….prophecies are storm warnings from the future….not to frighten us but to motivate us – to get us ready for what is coming, and to help get others ready…..prophecy is given to encourage and exhort the Church to repentance….to holiness and purity….to prayer and fasting….to sharing the Gospel and making disciples….to pastor training and church planting….prophecy tells us we are going to be shaken….why?….to wake up the Church….to wake up the nations….to wake up Israel….because the Day of the Lord is coming, and surely it is near….and God love us and He wants us to be ready.

In Luke 12:54-56, Jesus rebuked His disciples for not understanding the Word of God and not analyzing the times in which they lived….which is why it is so important that we close this conference by considering “The Pastor and the Future.” So, turn with me, if you would, to Daniel chapter 5. [Read the entire chapter]

What do we see in Daniel chapter 5?

5:1-2 – A pagan nation at the height of its power, and corruption.

5:3-4 – A pagan government and high society drunk with power and consumed with seeking pleasure of all kinds….worshipping the gods of gold and silver and all things material….what do we see in the king’s court?

  • Sexual immorality.
  • Drunkness.
  • Greed and materialism.
  • Idolatry
  • Blasphemy.
  • No care or concern for their history of sin and God’s judgment.
  • No remembrance of God’s grace and mercy for those who repent.

King Belshazzar doesn’t seem to remember or care about the testimony of his forefather, Nebuchadnezzar. Once an evil and terrible king, one of the worst in the Bible, Nebuchadnezzar had then faced the judgment of God. He’d been driven out of the king’s palace, into the wilderness, driven mad and eating grass like a beast. Yet after a time, God relented. The Lord gave Nebuchadnezzar a second chance, and Nebuchadnezzar repented of his horrific sins and gave his life to the One True God. What’s more, Nebuchadnezzar praised the Lord before the entire nation ofBabylon.

Nebuchadnezzar testified before his people: “At that time my reason returned to me. And my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom, and my counselors and my nobles began seeking me out; so I was reestablished in my sovereignty, and surpassing greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” (Daniel 4:36-37).

5:5-6 – So God begins to shake them.

5:7-9 – A mysterious hand appears out of nowhere in the king’s court….mysterious fingers begin supernaturally writing on the wall of the king’s palace….everyone in that room could see the handwriting on the wall….they could all see the hand of God at work…..it terrified them, but it certainly got their attention…..they knew it was important, but they had no idea what is said, or what it meant….so because they were pagans they turned to the so-called “wise men” of the age, but the wise men had no answers.

  • 5:7 – King Belshazzar has two reactions:
    • A physical reaction – he gets physically ill.
    • An emotion reaction – he becomes desperate….he suddenly becomes willing to give massive wealth and power to whoever can help him understand the handwriting on the wall.

5:10-12 – Frightened, desperate, and having run out of all other options, Belshazzar turns to a man with a reputation for being completely different than they….a man described as having an “extraordinary spirit”….a man described as having “knowledge and insight”…a man “in whom is a spirit of the holy gods”…..the man, of course, was Daniel….he hadn’t been invited to the party, mind you…he wasn’t part of their culture….he wasn’t part of their religion….he wasn’t a member of the “in crowd”….and that was the point….in their fear and trembling, they were looking for someone completely different….someone who had a completely different perspective and just might be able to help them.

5:13-16 – Enter Daniel….he is brought into the upper echelons of power and wealth and offered a great reward if he can solve the mystery.

5:17-28 – Daniel doesn’t ignore or resist the king’s request….he doesn’t claim separation of Church and State….he doesn’t self-righteously declare he won’t “dirty his hands” by speaking to government leaders….but Daniel makes clear that he’s not interested in money, power or prestige….he’s not trying to be in their club….he certainly doesn’t want to be part of their pagan culture or corruption….rather, he knows he holds citizenship in another kingdom, yet he also knows that he is God’s ambassador….so he agrees to explain the hand of God to the king and his court….giving all glory and honor to the Lord, Daniel fearlessly makes known the word of the Lord, even at great risk to his own life.

Many in ministry look at Daniel with admiration and want to be like him:

  • He’s handsome (Daniel 1:4)
  • Brilliant (Daniel 1:4)
  • Wise (Daniel 1:4)
  • Sterling reputation (Daniel chapters 1 through 5)
  • Invited into the highest courts of power (the entire book of Daniel)
  • Given great accolades, wealth and authority (Daniel 2:46-49 and 5:29)

Yet let’s be clear: Daniel didn’t seek any of these things….moreover, he knew he could take no credit for these things.

That said, let’s take another look….are you really willing to be a Daniel? Consider the high price of his service to the Lord:

  • He was taken captive from his homeland (Daniel chapter 1)
  • Forcibly given a new home, new name, new diet, new education, new job in a brutal pagan empire (Daniel chapter 1)
  • Arrested, convicted, imprisoned, sentenced to death (Daniel chapter 6)
  • Yet he never faltered….he never wavered….he clung to the Lord….he knew His God….he listened to His God….he was a man of prayer….he understand the Word….he studied God’s Word diligently and carefully (chapter 9 he’s studying Jeremiah!)…..and when God told him to speak, he spoke boldly and without reservation…..he didn’t pull any punches….he did so at great risk, but with great faith and courage.
  • In Matthew 24:15, Jesus calls Daniel “the prophet”….for that is what he was.

How about you?….are you clinging to Christ?….are you on you knees repeatedly throughout the day in prayer?….are you fasting?…..are you listening carefully to the voice of God?…..are you willing to teach God’s Word – all of it, including the prophecies of a future that is coming fast upon us?…..are you ready to stripped of all our worldly possessions…stripped of our identity….arrested…. convicted….imprisoned…. sentenced to death….all for being men faithful to pray and faithful to speak the Word of God in our pagan, corrupt culture? Let us not answer too quickly – let us consider the gravity of this calling in this moment…for these tests may be coming soon.

Now, what was the Lord’s message to Belshazzar via Daniel?

  • 5:18-21 — Belshazzar should have known better…he had seen the sins of his father, and God’s judgment
  • 5:22 – “Yet you…have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this,” Daniel says to the king. “You have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven.”
  • 5:26 – Mene, “God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it.”
  • 5:27 – Tekel, “You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.”
  • 5:28 – Peres, “Your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians.”
  • Why was God judging Belshazzar? Because of Belshazzar’s pride…his vanity….his insolence….his hubris….Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”

Yes, the God of the Bible is a God of grace and mercy and forgiveness. He gives us one opportunity after another in life here on earth to say “Yes” to the Lord Jesus Christ and receive His free gift of forgiveness and eternal life by putting our faith in Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. But eventually there is a point of no return. There is a point in which you defy God too long….go too far….cross a line….and at that point you no longer have the opportunity to repent and receive God’s mercy. At that point, when you least expect it, you have sealed your own fate by rejecting the Most High God…by exalting yourself against the Lord, and you will stand condemned to the fires of hell for all of eternity with no way of escape.

Thus, the Scriptures are clear: Say “Yes” to Jesus Christ now, before it is too late.

  • “And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.” (I John 5:11-12)
  • “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish (die and go to hell forever and ever), but shall have eternal life….he who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:16,18)
  • Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell….Everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 10:28,32-33)
  • Don’t do what Belshazzar did. Don’t keep defying the Most High God. Don’t wait too long to repent and give your life to the Lord. Otherwise there will come a point of no return. You will be weighed in God’s balances and found deficient, and theKingdomofGodwill be ripped away from you and you won’t have another opportunity to be saved. The Apostle Paul put it clearly: “Now is the acceptable time [to get right with God],” he wrote. “Behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

5:29-31 – For some unknown reason Belshazzar kept his word to Daniel and rewarded him for his insight….and God kept His word and before the night was finished, Belshazzar was dead.

Question: Why did God write on the wall?

It was too late for that king — and that kingdom — to repent. Why, then, did God sent the message? To warn to those Babylonians who were in the room with Belshazzar, and to warn the entire nation of Babylon….and to warn us down through the centuries: Listen to the voice of God….read the Word of God….don’t harden your heart….understand the “handwriting on the wall”….understand that God is trying to wake you up….get your attention….draw you to Him….motivate you to serve Him….don’t wait too long….repent of your sins and receive Christ as your Savior while there is still time.

Today, we can see the handwriting on the wall once again….in Israel and the Middle East….and here in the United States….God is trying to get our attention….will we listen, or harden our hearts?

The Future of Israel and the Middle East

As followers of Jesus Christ, we can see the handwriting on the wall in theMiddle East. We know what it says, and we know what it means: a terrible war is coming to the epicenter. God is going to shake the people of theMiddle East. He wants them to wake up and realize their real and desperate and urgent need to receive Jesus as their Messiah, Savior and Lord. Jesus doesn’t want anyone in the epicenter to perish and go to hell. He wants them to all to be saved. 

The Good News is that more Muslims and more Jews are coming to faith in Jesus than ever before in history. But it’s not enough for the Lord. Too many people are still resisting Him. So in His mercy He will continue shaking them in hopes that they will listen and repent like Nebuchadnezzar, not rejecting Him to the very end like Belshazzar.

Will the coming war be a prophetic war (like Ezekiel 38-39, the “War of God and Magog”), or just a really terrible geopolitical war? Of that we cannot yet be certain. But clearly the most dangerous corridor in the world is between Tel Aviv and Tehran. The leaders of the free world say Iran could have the Bomb by the end of 2012. Yet the nations of the world refuse to take decisive action to neutralize the Iranian threat. But make no mistake: if Iran’s mullahs get the Bomb, they could do in six minutes what it took Adolf Hitler six years to do – kill six million Jews. Today’s Sunday New York Times magazine story suggests Israel and Iran may very well go to war in 2012.

The handwriting on the wall is clear – the question is: What will we as believers do about it?

  • Will the Church demonstrate the love and courage necessary to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the Middle East with clarity and compassion before it’s too late? If we really love the people of the epicenter, that’s exactly what we should do.
  • Will the Church do everything possible to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in theMiddle East– to pray for them, to visit them, to equip them, to assist them, to stand with them, come what may? Will we help the persecuted believers in the region? Will we train the pastors and help them plant new churches? Or will we ignore them, abandon them, refuse them in their hour of need? Again, if we love them, we will serve them.
  • Time is short, and the handwriting on the wall is clear.

The Future of America

The handwriting on the wall is also clear here in theUnited States. We as followers of Jesus Christ know full well thatAmericais in grave danger — not just at risk of decline but of outright collapse.

  • We now have more than $15 trillion in debt….100% of our GDP….but we are facing $65 trillion in unfunded liabilities…..we are on the Titanic, heading for the icebergs, and too many inWashington are saying, “Speed up!” not, “Turn around!”
  • The Bible warns us not to go into debt, yet we continue to defy Him.
  • We are defying God in other areas, too.
  • 53 million abortions
  • Legalized homosexual marriage
  • A pornography industry that makes more than ABC, CBS and NBC combined.

How much longer will the Lord wait before He lets us reap what we’ve sown? Is God going to give us another chance, or is He finished with us? Is America in a “Nebuchadnezzar moment” (where we still have an opportunity to repent and be restored), or a “Belshazzar moment” (where God removes His favor from us and turns out the lights)? Honestly, I’m not certain.

The good news is that God moved powerfully in this land in the early 1700s with the first “Great Awakening,” a series of amazing spiritual revivals that woke up the Church and rescuedAmerica. God moved powerfully again in the early 1800s with the “Second Great Awakening” that was even more transformative.

The question now is: Will God give us a Third Great Awakening? I don’t know, but I hope so. That’s why I’ve written the book, Implosion. But I can’t wait until June when it releases. I feel compelled to start talking about these issues now because they are so important. We need to be on our knees praying and fasting and pleading with God to have mercy on us. Yes, Washington and Wall Street and Hollywood bear much blame for the mess we’re in. But so does the Church.

There are 340,000 churches in the United States. They are all supposed to be shining cities on a hill. They are supposed to be lights in the darkness. But in too many American churches, the light is growing dim. In some churches, there is no light at all. We desperately need a revival of the Church to save this country. Nothing less will do.

Even if we elect godly, principled, wise and courageous leaders to the presidency, the Senate and the House in 2012, this won’t be enough to keep us from implosion. It’s still important, don’t get me wrong. But won’t be enough. We need a supernatural movement of God to rescue us, or this nation will collapse economically, morally and culturally. 

On Saturday, June 16th, we will host the national “Implosion” simulcast….a three-hour program for churches all across the country….I’ll teach for about an hour on these issues, and then take 2 hours of questions in a live format…we’ll talk about how much trouble we’re in, and we’ll talk more about the Great Awakening and the Second Great Awakening and see if there are lessons we can learn and apply to our own time….I hope you and your churches will consider joining us for this.

Conclusion

The world is fearful and confused. Millions across the globe can see the handwriting on the wall. They know something is terribly wrong. They sense something terrible is coming. But they cannot read the handwriting or understand what it means. That’s your job. That the mission of the pastor, the man of God who knows the Word of God and is charged with teaching the Word of God. It is your job to analyze these present times in the light of God’s Word, in the light of Bible prophecy, and help the Church and the pagan world understand what God is saying….before it’s too late.

Too many pastors, however, are asleep to the trend lines. They are unable – or unwilling – to see how much danger the people of the Middle East are in, and how much danger the people of the United States are in. But now is precisely the time to call the Church, and the nations, and Israel, back to the God of the Bible…..now, while we still can.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3041

False Prophets and False Doctrine

We need to be alert as we have prominent Christian leaders like Joel Osteen, who is pastor of the largest church in America, saying that Mormons believe the same thing Christians do in regard to Christ. This is simply not the case. And now we need to really be in prayerful consideration in regard to how we vote if in fact Mitt Romney, a senior Mormon leader – Bishop at one time, becomes the Republican nominee for president.

These two articles should help in that consideration set!

January 16, 2012 9:40 AM

Osteen: Romney “believer in Christ, like me”

Play CBS News Video

(CBS News) 

Pastor Joel Osteen, one of America’s most popular religious figures, said on “CBS This Morning” that GOP candidate Mitt Romney believes in Jesus like he does.

“What I see about Governor Romney is that he says, ‘I believe Jesus Christ is the son of God, he’s raised from the dead and he’s my savior.’ I see him as being a believer in Christ, like me.”

Charlie Rose said, “That’s enough for you?”

“That’s enough for me,” Osteen said. “There’s differences in all religion. I realize Mormonism is different from Christianity, but you know what, he’s a man of faith and values. And to me, that’s strong.”

 

The Theological Differences Behind Evangelical Unease With Romney

 

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

 

Published: January 14, 2012

 

The Rev. R. Philip Roberts, the president of a Southern Baptist seminary in Kansas City, Mo., is an evangelist with a particular goal: countering Mormon beliefs.

 

Mr. Roberts has traveled throughout the United States, and to some countries abroad, preaching that Mormonism is heretical to Christianity. His message is a theological one, but theology is about to land squarely in the middle of the Republican presidential primary campaign.

 

As the Republican voting moves South, with primaries in South Carolina on Saturday and in Florida on Jan. 31, the religion of Mitt Romney, the front-runner, may be an inescapable issue in many voters’ minds. In South Carolina, where about 60 percent of Republican voters are evangelical Christians, Mr. Romney, a devout Mormon and a former bishop in the church, faces an electorate that has been exposed over the years to preachers like Mr. Roberts who teach that the Mormon faith is apostasy.

 

Many evangelicals have numerous reasons, other than religion, for objecting to Mr. Romney. But to understand just how hard it is for some to coalesce around his candidacy, it is important to understand the gravity of their theological qualms.

 

“I don’t have any concerns about Mitt Romney using his position as either a candidate or as president of the United States to push Mormonism,” said Mr. Roberts, an author of “Mormonism Unmasked” and president of the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, who said he had no plans to travel to South Carolina before the voting. “The concern among evangelicals is that the Mormon Church will use his position around the world as a calling card for legitimizing their church and proselytizing people.”

 

Mormons consider themselves Christians — as denoted in the church’s name, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yet the theological differences between Mormonism and traditional Christianity are so fundamental, experts in both say, that they encompass the very understanding of God and Jesus, what counts as Scripture and what happens when people die.

 

“Mormonism is a distinctive religion,” David Campbell, a Mormon and an associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame who specializes in religion and politics. “It’s not the same as Presbyterianism or Methodism. But at the same time, there have been efforts on the part of the church to emphasize the commonality with other Christian faiths, and that’s a tricky balance to strike for the church.”

 

On the most fundamental issue, traditional Christians believe in the Trinity: that God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all rolled into one.

 

Mormons reject this as a non-biblical creed that emerged in the fourth and fifth centuries. They believe that God the Father and Jesus are separate physical beings, and that God has a wife whom they call Heavenly Mother.

 

It is not only evangelical Christians who object to these ideas.

 

“That’s just not Christian,” said the Rev. Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary, a liberal Protestant seminary in New York City. “God and Jesus are not separate physical beings. That would be anathema. At the end of the day, all the other stuff doesn’t matter except the divinity of Jesus.”

 

The Mormon Church says that in the early 1800s, its first prophet, Joseph Smith, had revelations that restored Christianity to its true path, a course correction necessary because previous Christian churches had corrupted the faith. Smith bequeathed to his church volumes of revelations contained in scripture used only by Mormons: “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” “The Doctrine and Covenants” and “Pearl of Great Price.”

 

Traditional Christians do not recognize any of those as Scripture.

 

Another big sticking point concerns the afterlife. Early Mormon apostles gave talks asserting that human beings would become like gods and inherit their own planets — language now regularly held up to ridicule by critics of Mormonism.

 

But Kathleen Flake, a Mormon who is a professor of American religious history at Vanderbilt Divinity School, explained that the planets notion had been de-emphasized in modern times in favor of a less concrete explanation: people who die embark on an “eternal progression” that allows them “to partake in God’s glory.”

 

“Mormons think of God as a parent,” she said. “God makes the world in order to give that world to his children. It’s like sending your child to Harvard — God gives his children every possible opportunity to progress towards this higher life that God possesses. When Mormons say ‘Heavenly Father,’ they mean it. It’s not a metaphor.”

 

It is the blurring of the lines between God, Jesus and human beings that is hard for evangelicals to swallow, said Richard J. Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, an evangelical school in Pasadena, Calif., who has been involved in a dialogue group between evangelicals and Mormons for 12 years and has a deep understanding of theology as Mormons see it.

 

“Both Christians and Jews, on the basis of our common Scriptures, we’d all agree that God is God and we are not,” Mr. Mouw said. “There’s a huge ontological gap between the Creator and the creature. So any religious perspective that reduces that gap, you think, oh, wow, that could never be called Christian.”

 

Mormons tend to explain the doctrinal differences more gently. Lane Williams, a Mormon and a professor of communications at Brigham Young University-Idaho, a Mormon institution, said the way he understands it, “it’s not a ‘we’re right and they’re wrong’ kind of approach. But it’s as though we feel we have a broader circle of truth.

 

“My daily life tries to be about Jesus Christ,” he said. “And in that way, I don’t think I’m much different from my Protestant friends.”

 

In a Pew poll released in late November, about two-thirds of mainline Protestants and Catholics said Mormonism is Christian, compared with only about a third of white evangelicals. By contrast, 97 percent of Mormons said their religion is Christian in a different Pew poll released this month.

 

Mr. Mouw said that only a month ago he was called to Salt Lake City to mediate a theological discussion about Mormonism among four evangelical leaders who had collaborated with Mormon leaders to pass the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage in California. After two and a half days of discussions, the group was divided on Mormon theology, Mr. Mouw said.

 

“Two concluded that while Mormons are good people, they don’t worship the same God,” Mr. Mouw said. “Two concluded that Mormons love Jesus just as the evangelicals do, and they accepted the Mormons as brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

“That’s the split,” Mr. Mouw said, “and it’s very basic.”

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2948

‘Real’ Christian Churches in US Forced to Go Underground Soon?

Christian churches in America will soon be forced to go underground if they want to stay true to their beliefs and to God, a conservative broadcast commentator warned.

Longstreet, a 30-year veteran of the broadcasting business, recently explained his opinion on the Right Side News, first clarifying that only “real” Christian churches will have to do as he predicted.

“In the past three decades, or so, many of the mainline Christian churches have slipped away from their foundation on the Holy Scriptures and adopted more and more secular tenets and leftist, politically correct, philosophy until they have become only a shadow of the true followers of Christ,” he penned on Tuesday.

“In my opinion, those denominations can no longer claim to be ‘Christian’ churches simply because – they are not.”

A few years ago, the U.S. Army veteran had left his own denomination for the same reasons, seeing that it had chosen to forsake the tenets of the Bible and the Good News of the Gospel.

Though he admitted that he was in no way a “better Christian than any other follower of Christ,” he believed that many of the mainline denominations in America today were nothing more than social clubs with franchises nationwide.

“Their pastors ‘preach’ feel good ‘sermonettes’ about the environment and things like ‘social justice.’ In my opinion, that is not the mission of a church that purports to follow Christ. In fact, Christ, Himself, spelled out the mission of the church in what we refer to as The Great Commission.”

The Great Commission stated in Matthew 28:18-20 reads: “Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

That commission from Christ is the sole reason why the church exists today, Longstreet stressed.

“To fulfill that mission the church must stand firmly upon the foundation of the Holy Scripture and the teachings of the Christ. That means insisting that the standard(s) set by Christ are, and remain, the guiding force behind everything the church does … that means pastors are compelled to preach that those things the Scripture marks as sin are duly, and publicly, noted from their pulpits as SIN. If a church is reluctant to do this, or refuses to do this, then, in my opinion, that church is not a Christian church.”

The conservative commentator lamented that in America, pastors were afraid of preaching from the Scriptures, worried about the consequences – lawsuits, slander, or even embarrassment.

“It is a very real threat, especially to the evangelical church in America,” he added. “As a result, those churches which hold true to the Gospel, now feel that they must consider meeting in secret for Bible classes, for worship services, or other Bible centric gatherings.”

Even the government in America has criminalized biblical preaching and prevented thousands of churches and clergymen from practicing their faith without threat of penalty from the authorities, he charged.

“The Christian Church, I believe will be driven underground in America, as it has been in other nations around the globe. Otherwise, it will cease to exist in this land many firmly believe was founded by Christians,” Longstreet concluded.

“As much as it pains me to say this – America is no longer a Christian nation. At least, America’s government no longer governs by men and women who base their convictions on the Judeo-Christian code of laws and beliefs.”

Kevin Lewis, associate professor of Theology and Law at Biola University, shared some of Longstreet’s concerns.

“Today, the term evangelical is diluted,” Lewis told The Christian Post. “We now have ‘Liberal-Evangelicals,’ ‘Neo-Evangelicals,’ and ‘Post-Conservative Evangelicals,’ which are simply not with the classic evangelicals on doctrinal and cultural issues.”

Though there were still many women and men faithfully serving the Lord, they were in the minority.

Nonetheless, the Biola professor saw the decline of true Christianity and growing persecution of the church as an opportunity.

“Given past salvation history, I believe we will see more lost battles. But we also know that when the enemy actually touches the church, the people of God will awaken from their happy, evangelical slumber and seek new leadership. The current leadership is simply not doing the job necessary to win; and past leadership has failed.”

For Lewis, the “increased slouching toward Gomorrah in the church and culture” was a reflection of poor leadership from the evangelical Protestant church.

“I think the coming attacks will produce a search for new leadership. And it will then be the time for the unapologetic, biblically centered leaders to arise and take charge, both in the church and state.”

To remain “above” ground in America, the Protestant church needs to equip and train a new generation of Christian leaders in every sector of life, from the field of medicine to law.

“The Protestant church has lost the concept of ‘vocation’ and how it applies to each believer,” Lewis explained to CP. “I think there are many people called to be ‘Christian’ lawyers, judges, politicians, police officers, soldiers, medical doctors, etc. As such, as in the past, pastors and church leaders need to seek them out and train them if we want them to lead the government and culture. It is truly that simple.”

Though the Church had done this in the past, they are not doing it now, he noted.

“I believe it is our task to equip that new generation of Christian leadership to be the true biblically centered, scholastic activist leaders God requires. To do that, we need the majority of churches to enthusiastically return to biblical Protestant orthodoxy, which views all of life as ‘Christian,’ not simply the work inside the walls of the church.”

“While the outlook may appear bleak to some apart from divine intervention, there is certainly a way to fix the problem,” Lewis encouraged.

He believes God will spare this generation if Christians take immediate, radical and biblical steps. Those steps include repentance, leadership training and activism – essentially returning to “unapologetic biblical excellence.”

“If not, our children and children’s children will face persecution in America as Christians do in the U.K. and Canada.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2812

Christianity is the Most Persecuted Religion

Matthew 24:9, “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.”

By Milena Faustova – “Christian believers all over the world have found themselves in jeopardy amid massive attacks on Christians and Christianity in the Middle East, North and South Africa and South East Asia. Unless appropriate measures are taken, the Christian civilization will vanish completely, warn the participants in the International Conference on the Freedom of Religion and Discrimination against Christians, which is currently under way in Moscow. The religious forum has brought together representatives of Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Islamic communities and religious experts from Russia and countries of the near and far abroad.

About 100 million Christians worldwide are suffering persecution and thousands die in religious conflicts. The biggest number of persecutions against Christians is taking place in the countries of Africa and the Middle East, said Metropolitan Hilarion, who heads the Russian Orthodox Church’s Foreign Relations Department:

‘In Libya, Christians have been leaving the country en masse following the toppling of Gaddafi’s regime and the coming to power of the National Transitional Council. According to the Open Doors human rights watchdog, 75 percent of Christians have left Libya. Tunisia’s government advocated the principle of religious tolerance before the revolution. Right after the revolution, Christians in Tunisia began to come under frequent attacks and a number of Christian churches were seized and turned into mosques.’

Anti-Christian sentiment has become strong in Egypt, which reports new victims among Christians regularly, and in Iraq. Christian believers come under fierce attacks in Algeria, Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and the Philippines…

The mounting anti-Christian moods were also evoked by a greater role of Islamic radicalism, aggressive missionary work by representatives of different non-Christian sects, and distortions of Christian teachings.”

We will be persecuted for our faith even here in America. It may or may not physical violence but I am attaching a second story out of New York City that sets the precedent that we can no longer have churches renting schools to hold service in! Keep praying and keep looking up!

Court: NYC Can Ban Churches From School Buildings

Dec 5, 2011

By Todd Starnes/TWITTER

The Supreme Court has rejected an evangelical church’s plea to overturn New York City’s ban on renting public schools for religious worship services. That means the city now has a green light to begin evicting congregations who pay rent to use public school buildings for church services.

“The Department was quite properly concerned about having any school in this diverse city identified with one particular religious belief or practice,” said Jane Gordon, senior counsel for the New York City Law Dept. “”The Court of Appeals correctly upheld the Department of Education’s policy not to allow the City’s public schools to be used as houses of worship.  This case has been litigated for 16 years, and we’re gratified that the U.S. Supreme Court has decided not to hear it.  We view this as a victory for the City’s school children and their families.”

The Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case leaves in place a federal appeals court ruling that upheld the city’s policy.

The court case involved the Bronx Household of Faith – a church that paid weekly rent to hold worship services at a public school since 2002. The church, along with five dozen other congregations, was allowed to continue worshipping at public schools pending the outcome of the lawsuit.

It’s a sad day for religious liberty,” said Jordan Lorence, the church’s attorney and senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund. “Churches and religious other groups should be allowed to meet in public buildings on the same terms as other community groups and they’re being denied that in New York City.”

Churches will have to vacate public schools on Feb. 12, 2012.

“What’s odd about this is that of the top 50 school districts in the nation, New York City is the only school district that has a policy banning worship services,” he told Fox News & Commentary. “It does not show respect for religious liberty.”

The immediate impact means dozens of Christian churches will have to find a new place to hold services.

“A lot of churches are going to be homeless,” said George Russ, executive director of the New York Metropolitan Baptist Association. He said about seven of the 220 Southern Baptist churches in the city will be impacted by the decision.

Russ said churches will be scrambling to rent hotel space, banquet halls and movie theatres.

“It’s going to be a lot more money,” he said.

“The odd thing is these guys have blessed the schools they’ve been in,” Russ said. “They all have good relationships with the schools they’ve been in. They’ve purchased furniture for the teacher’s lounge they’ve given video equipment to the schools. They’ve done so many thank-you kinds of projects.”

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that allowing churches to use schools resulted in an “unintended bias in favor of Christian religions” – since most Christian churches worship on Sunday. 

“Jews and Muslims generally cannot use school facilities for their services because the facilities are often unavailable on the days that their religions principally prescribe for services,” Judge Pierre Leval declared. “At least one request(ed) to hold Jewish services (in a school building used for Christian services on Sundays) was denied because the building was unavailable on Saturdays. This contributes to a perception of public schools as Christian churches, but not synagogues or mosques.” 

Judge Leval also took issue with the evangelical church’s membership. “Bronx Household acknowledges that it excludes persons not baptized, as well as persons who have been excommunicated or who advocate the Islamic religion, from full participation in its services.” Leval wrote. 

But it all boiled down to a key point, the judges decided. “In the end, we think the board could have reasonably concluded that what the public would see, were the Board not to exclude religious worship services, is public schools, which serve on Sundays as state-sponsored Christian churches,” Leval wrote. 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2790

The Church in America: Do We actually Get It?

I am attaching an article from Dr. Al Mohler concerning Joel Osteen, who pastors the largest church in America, who during a recent interview has stated that Mormonism is another form of Christianity.

This is disturbing to say the least. I believe it shows the decline in the church in this country around remaining firm in our beliefs. We lack a basic understanding of what are the core tenants of our faith! Ebnjoy and keep looking up!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Does Joel Osteen Not Know, or Does He Not Care?

 

By Dr. Albert Mohler
AlbertMohler.com

Here we go again. Joel Osteen is in the news once again, this time for saying that Mormonism is just another form of Christianity. Osteen, pastor of “America’s largest church,” as the media repeat over and over, was speaking to The Washington Times in an interview that covered a variety of issues. It was the quintessential Joel on display.

Speaking to the newspaper on Monday, Osteen said, “I see faith in America at an all-time high.” His comments came just as a major research project detailed a significant loss of vitality in America’s Christian congregations. That loss of vitality can be traced, among other things, to a loss of theological and biblical conviction. Joel, of course, is proof positive that you can build a crowd without building a church. He is not inclined to deal in much theological conviction.

In the interview, he distilled his message in these words:

“Part of our core message is that seasons change, and when you believe, if you don’t get bitter, and you don’t get discouraged, you may not change overnight, but you can get peace.”

He also told the newspaper:

“People need to be reminded that every day is a gift from God, and bloom where you’re planted and be happy where you are, and to make that choice to get up every day and be grateful.”

That message includes some truth, of course – but it doesn’t even come close to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Hell will be filled with people who bloomed where they were planted.

On Mormonism, Joel said:

“I believe that [Mormons] are Christians . . . . I don’t know if it’s the purest form of Christianity, like I grew up with. But you know what, I know Mormons. I hear Mitt Romney – and I’ve never met him – but I hear him say, ‘I believe Jesus is the son of God,’ ‘I believe he’s my savior,’ and that’s one of the core issues.”

“I’m sure there are other issues that we don’t agree on. But you know, I can say that the Baptists and the Methodists and the Catholics don’t all agree on everything. So that would be my take on it.”

Osteen just stated his belief that Mormons are Christians. He then expressed the thought that Mormonism “might not be the purest form of Christianity, like I grew up with,” but he affirmed Mormon statements that Jesus is the Son of God and that He is Savior.

Evaluating Osteen’s boyhood understanding of Christianity would be a project unto itself, given the shifting theology of his preacher father, the late John Osteen.

The main point of concern in Joel’s latest comment is the lack of any biblical standard of judgment and the total abdication of theological responsibility. He relegates doctrinal disagreements between Christians and Mormons to the status of theological debates between Protestant denominations and then includes Roman Catholicism. There are plenty of issues there, and the issues are not the same when comparing Baptists to Methodists, on the one hand, and Protestants and Roman Catholics, on the other. Comparing any form of Trinitarian orthodoxy with Mormonism is another class of question altogether.

Joel reminded the paper’s staff that he has never attended seminary. This is true, of course, but there are thousands of preachers who never had the opportunity to attend seminary who have a sufficient grasp of and commitment to biblical truth that would prevent such carelessness.

By now, it is clear that Joel Osteen’s carelessness is deliberate and calculated. This is not the first time that he has encountered the question of Mormonism. Back in 2007, he told Chris Wallace of FOX News that Mormons are indeed Christians:

“Well, in my mind they are. Mitt Romney has said that he believes in Christ as his savior, and that’s what I believe, so, you know, I’m not the one to judge the little details of it. So I believe they are.”

The little details of it? Mormonism does not differ from historic biblical Christianity in “little details,” and a faithful Mormon would be the first to point this out. Mormonism begins with a plurality of gods, not with the monotheism of the Bible. Jesus Christ is an exalted man – not the incarnate Word. The list of categorical doctrinal differences continues throughout the entire belief system.

The very essence of Mormonism is the claim that historic Christianity is fundamentally in error, and that true Christianity did not exist on earth from the time of the Apostles until Joseph Smith. Mormonism can hardly be charged with hiding their movement’s teachings – the Book of Mormon and the other fundamental texts of the Latter Day Saints are published in plain sight.

In a remarkable exchange with Chris Wallace, Osteen muddied the waters further:

WALLACE: So, for instance, when people start talking about Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, and the golden tablets in upstate New York, and God assumes the shape of a man, do you not get hung up in those theological issues?

OSTEEN: I probably don’t get hung up in them because I haven’t really studied them or thought about them. And you know, I just try to let God be the judge of that. I mean, I don’t know.

Here we face a fundamental dilemma. When Joel Osteen hears a summary of Mormon belief that mentions God assuming “the shape of a man,” does he lack the theological discernment to hear how that differs from biblical Christianity, or does it not concern him? In other words, does Joel not know, or does Joel not care?

In the end, we have to conclude that he does not care enough to know, and that is the greater tragedy for a Christian minister. He doesn’t “get hung up” on doctrinal issues, nor has he “really studied them or thought about them.” His own words indict him.

The Latter Day Saints include some of the most wonderful and kind people we will ever meet. They put a great emphasis on character and on the moral values of our common concern. They talk freely and passionately about their own beliefs, including their beliefs concerning Jesus Christ. Furthermore, they put action behind their commitments, sending their young people on missions and fueling a worldwide movement that remains one of the fastest-growing on the planet.

But their beliefs concerning Jesus Christ are not those of historic Christianity, and their understanding of salvation differs radically from the message of the New Testament. It is the responsibility of every Christian, much less every Christian minister, to know this.

Joel Osteen told The Washington Times that he is constantly “looking for new ways to influence the culture.” Our culture admires those with low theological commitment and high emphasis on attitude. In Joel Osteen’s case, it is the secular culture that has influenced the minister, and not the minister that is influencing the culture.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2640

Be Prepared

While it can mean many things to be prepared, this article I am attaching is talking about being prepared for a collapse of our and the world’s economy. While believers in Christ will be Raptured out beofre the Tribulation it does not mean that we will not experience tough times while we are still here occupying for our Lord.

So get your spiritual house in order, get your phyiscal house in order and be prepared. Do not be found like the 5 follosih virgins in Matthew 25 unprepared.

Enjoy the article. Keep looking up!

Like Chickens Running With Their Heads Cut Of1

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=1818