This may sound strange-but it is a fact that death is not the worst thing that can happen to a believing Christian.Pastor Tozer is speaking, of course, of physical death. All people, both believers and nonbelievers, will experience physical death unless we’re still alive here on Earth when Jesus returns. However, only nonbelievers (those without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ) will experience the second death - an eternity in hell separated from God. This eternal state is also known as "eternal death" or "spiritual death". This should not be confused with the state of being "spiritually dead", the current condition of a nonbeliever, and the former condition of believers prior to being regenerated (made alive in Christ) by the grace of God (Eph 2:1-10).
I can recall the first time I heard that statement, in a quiet conversation with Harry M. Shuman, for many years the president of the international Christian and Missionary Alliance. He was a soft-spoken yet forceful man of God, rich in the wisdom of God’s Word. We were talking of the serious issues of life and death. When he had something especially important to say, Dr. Shuman had an unusual way of lowering his voice and tilting his head just a bit. I can see him yet as he looked out from under his shaggy brows straight into my eyes.
"Remember, Tozer," he said, "death is not the worst thing that can happen to a person!".
For the Christian, death is a journey to the eternal world. It is a victory, a rest, a delight. I am sure my small amount of physical suffering has been mild compared to Paul’s, but I feel as Paul did: "I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far!" (Php 2:23)
Of course, only those drinking the Obama Kool-aid actually believed any of the claims about the policy. Most reputable economists predict that ObamaCare will greatly increase the deficit at a time when the feds are already broke.
On a personal note, we finally received our insurance options for the coming year. The policy we had previously carried was discontinued due to increased costs brought on by Obamacare. The policy that we were forced to settle on featured a higher monthly premium, much higher deductibles instead of a low co-pay, and less coverage. I have not yet verified whether or not our doctor will accept the new policy. I have a request for BHO and his comrades. Please stop helping us. We can't afford it.
So, now the issue of whether the feds can force us into the program will be decided by the "un-biased" Supreme Court. Why doesn't this make us feel any more confident?
Another subject related to the fed's out of control spending is that of the creation of a so-called Super Committee to come up with some budget cuts. In picking the toons for the Fall update, I had to wade through hundreds portraying the committee as being a deadlocked failure. I chose to exclude all other than the one below because I consider this to be the biggest non-story of the year. Only those who believed the promises from BHO regarding Obamacare would be naive enough to believe anything good could come from this idea. By including such members as John Kerry and Patty Murray, Harry Reid guaranteed that the committee would either be deadlocked, or deliver a "partisan solution" that would consist primarily of tax increases and defense cuts.
Many people complain about the gridlock in congress, but I actually prefer it to the alternative. Compromise would normally be preferred, but there are so many Socialists and Marxists currently masquerading as Democrats (or we should say Democrats of a generation ago), that the situation can only be fixed by an election purge. We must vote for candidates who will stand up for the constitution and traditional values, not for candidates who will compromise with those attempting to destroy our country.
To take Jesus Christ into your life without reservation is to accept His friends as your friends and to know that His enemies will be your enemies! It means that we accept His rejection as our rejection. We knowingly accept His cross as our cross.We must pray for and encourage those who are living and serving in those areas that are not friendly to Christ. What shall we say however, about professing Christians (not just preachers) who live in lands still relatively from from persecution? Many have compromised their beliefs and become so entangled with this present world that their faith is barely recognizable. Christians used to view the world as a battlefield, but too many now consider it a playground instead. Rather than holding to the historical doctrines of the Faith, many have now embraced a hybrid creed, interbred with worldly ideology.
If you then find yourself in an area where Christ has no friends, you will be friendless, except for the one Friend who will stick closer than a brother. I made up my mind a long time ago. Those who declare themselves enemies of Jesus Christ must look upon me as their enemy, and I ask no quarter from them! And if they are friends of Christ they are my friends, and I do not care what color they are or what denomination they belong to.
If the preachers would faithfully tell the people what it actually means to receive Christ and obey Him and live for Him, we would have fewer converts backsliding and foundering.
Preachers who are not faithful one day will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and answer to a faithful Savior why they betrayed His people in this way!
We as the Church are called to be holy and set apart, to stand firmly on biblical principles when confronted with moral, ethical and spiritual issues; whether in the social, political, religious or any other realm. We can not remain neutral. We must choose whom we will serve, a choice that leads to either life or death (Dt 30:19). We must say with Joshua, "as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord" (Jsh 24:15).
We are called to transform the world, not to assimilate into it.
The following is an incredible video shot during the 2010 Operation Enduring Freedom campaign. Justin appears in several locations, but is most visible firing from a compound at about the 6 minute mark and sitting in the second row about 7:15 into the video. Happy Birthday and Semper Fi to all the Marines!
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matthew 5:9Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
A word. A slight. A look. A forgotten birthday or anniversary. A piece of gossip about us - yes, it was true but no, it didn't need to be spoken. Things happen to us every day, from minor to major, that could serve as an excuse for vengeance. And each time something hurtful happens, we have a choice to make: Will we be a peacemaker or a revenge seeker? Will we inflame the event with the fire of revenge or will we smother it with the blanket of peace?
Let's assume you've been hurt purposefully. What should you do? God said, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live" (Ezekiel 33:11). Substitute whatever you're tempted to do in retaliation for the word "death" in that verse and you'll get God's counsel on your contemplated course of action. God said that vengeance is His; He will repay (Romans 12:19). And Paul wrote that we are to do everything possible to "live peaceably with all men" (Romans 12:18). When we choose to forgive instead of fight, we are bringing peace to the world.
If you are faced with the choice of seeking peace or seeking vengeance today, choose peace. Receive the blessing of God in return for spreading the peace of God.
The noblest revenge is to forgive - Thomas Fuller
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary:
“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Rom 12:14-21)
Kim earned his undergraduate degree from Louisiana State University in Shreveport and his Masters and Doctor of Ministry degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He has served churches in Louisiana and Mississippi during his 35 years of ministry. Dr Hall has served on the Executive Board and the Mission Funding Committee of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. He has served in numerous positions with the Collin Baptist Association. He also has served as a chaplain for the Plano Police and Fire Departments. He has been active in missions worldwide. He is the founder of Advance International, which partners with New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and the IMB to provide theological education to Christian leaders in remote areas of the world.To say that Kim was well-loved would be a vast understatement. His memorial service at Hunter's Glen was standing-room only, overflowed via video to other rooms as well as an internet feed for his international friends and others who could not make the trip. Under the lordship of Christ, Kim was a man of unique vision, reaching out to all peoples without compromising the integrity of the Word of God. Hunters Glen Baptist will continue to reap the benefits of Kim's God-given visions for years to come.
Dr Hall was preceded in death by his parents Dr. Luther & Floriene Hall. He is survived by his loving wife and partner in the ministry Martha Miller Hall, loving son Hunter Hall and wife Becky Merrick Hall, loving son Daniel Hall and his fiancé Jessi James. Two beautiful grandchildren Carson and Saige Hall, siblings; Gladden & Lydia Hall Willis, Bob & Myrna Hall Tarver, David & Madeline Hall and Joey & Judy Hall and many nieces and nephews.
Even though Kim served at Hunters Glen for over 20 years, his influence and love for others was felt worldwide because of his great passion for missions. His vision was that HGBC would involve all the multi-ethnicities of our community by the year 2020 in such a way that the various groups would retain their culturally specific opportunities, yet integrated in order that all members at times could come together for worship as one unified body of believers. Under Kim's leadership, this program was well underway with the establishment of local Chinese, Indian, Russian, Iranian, Spanish and Korean churches. Kim was also instrumental in the establishment of multiple international churches, particularly in Russia. The HGBC staff members remain steadfastly committed to this vision.
For those who would like to help further Kim's vision, memorials & donations can be made to the above-mentioned Advance International, which provides needed training to those serving the Lord in places where there is little to no access to theological education. We miss you Kim, but look forward to seeing you again one day.
Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 1Cor 15:20-23
My workload is beginning to level off, and I even got to watch some college football this weekend. I'm also teaching a Bible study class again and have several new articles in progress for the blog and the main website. In the meantime, here's an outstanding video from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association containing an excellent blend of graffiti and the Gospel.
These toons, including a tribute to the fallen Navy Seals, media hypocrisy, and a focus on the economy and jobs, have been archived at August 2011 Toon Review.
For those who have yet to secure their salvation, or for others that are unsure, the most important step is to make sure of your eternal destination. Once Jesus returns, it will be too late (Mt 25:1-13). For information on how to deal with this critical matter, see How to Know for Sure that You're Going to Heaven.
For believers, we turn to the last writing by the Apostle Peter just before his martyrdom. In the first two chapters of his second epistle, he testifies to being an eyewitness to the events and teachings of Jesus, and to the reliability of Scripture. He then profiles false teachers, against whom he warns his readers to be on guard. In the final chapter, he turns his attention to the last days, explaining that the heavens and earth have been stored with fire, awaiting the final judgment. He then writes of Jesus’ return:
But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. (2Pe 3:8-10)Peter then asks a question which reveals his true purpose for writing about the last days, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?”. He then proceeds to answer his own question, “You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God…” (2Pe 3:11-12).
Therefore, we must not become complacent, but continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as we live our lives in eager expectation of his return. As Adrian Rogers once said, “We ought to be living as though Jesus died yesterday, rose this morning, and is coming back this afternoon”.
When Jesus ascended back into heaven after His first advent, He sent the Holy Spirit to guide and empower us to live our lives worthy of our calling within this world, yet also set apart from it. We are also encouraged to live righteously because of the hope He has given us. This “hope” is not merely a “wish for”, but a confident assurance that all of God’s promises for us will be fulfilled according to His perfect plan, a plan that can’t be altered by the forces of this world. The word “hope” is mentioned over 150 times in the Bible, such as hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. (Rom 5:5). As Christians, we have inner peace, fellowship with other believers, unseen angelic helpers, a purpose for living, and the one true God that we can call upon at any time. We also have the assurance that God will work all things for good for those who love Him (Rom 8:28).
To summarize this trilogy of articles, we can say that no one knows the exact day or time that Jesus will return, so we are to be watchful and prepared by living holy and righteous lives. We should balance our study of Biblical prophecy within our overall study of the Scriptures. Finally, while the media and others are in full panic as current events unfold around us, we as Christians can be confident that God is in sovereign control of all that is happening, and of all that will transpire between now and the last day.
Next, we’ve finally completed our William "Poet Bill" Childers Poetry section that began about three years ago. Bill had published one book of poetry, Integrity of The Spirit, Escaping The Mind-Game!, and was working on his newest, to be tentatively called Leaves from the Acorn Tree. Unfortunately, health issues delayed, then finally canceled this project, so he graciously gave us the transcripts to publish on our website instead.
I met Poet Bill via one of my best friends, a Dallas Police Officer during the time that Bill was their precinct chaplain. Bill served as a USMC tank gunner in the Korean War before becoming an ordained Minister with the Methodist Church. He then returned to active duty with the US Navy for 21 years, including a year in Vietnam as a Chaplain with the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines. After returning home to the First United Methodist Church in Dallas, Bill eventually retired but continued to teach Sunday School, where he often read his poetry and played his guitar. He even wrote a few songs.
Shortly after we met, his health failed and he was placed in assisted living. During my last visit, he told me how he couldn’t understand “the fuss some people made” over his poetry. He never thought of his poetry as anything special. As we talked about our various writings, we discovered a common experience. We both worked hard on many writings of which we were proud, yet they often were met with a ho-hum from readers. At other times, we wrote things out of a “sense of duty” that we didn’t think much of, only to receive glowing feedback from many folks. We could only explain this by God working though our imperfect efforts, proving once again that our works often return void, yet His never do.
After this last visit, I was sorry to hear that Bill was transferred to an out of the area facility, so we lost touch about two years ago. At the time, I had only published a small percentage of his poems. His computer had crashed, and I only had paper copies of the transcripts. I typically won’t publish anything by others on the website without reading it first. Since I’d never developed an appreciation for poetry, and didn’t know much about it (other than the Hebrew poetry of the Bible), I started to break my rule by scanning and running OCR software on the poems. I’m now very glad I didn’t. By re-typing them, I was able to read them in depth and discover many additional details about Bill since he wrote extensively of his life within his poetry.
Poet Bill wrote stories about his life, his friends, his family, his military service and so much more. I was very blessed to know him, even for a very short time. Yet, for those who knew him, it almost seems as if he’s still here every time we read one of his poems. We are very proud to publish Bill’s poetry and hope they bless our readers as much as they have us.
Our toons this month include the economy, jobs, debt deal and more. See the archive at July 2011 Toon Review. Enjoy and continue praying for our nation.
These articles came out when Mr Trump was flirting with the idea of running for president. He later declared that he is not running, but has said that he might change his mind. Mr Brady’s article was primarily political in nature, reporting the support that Mr Trump might find support among evangelicals due to his conservative positions on some of the issues. The article then provided many quotes from sources identified by the author as “key national Evangelical leaders”. In our opinion, the most accurate quote comes from Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council who stated:
“Given Donald Trump's background in the gambling industry and his flamboyancy, one would not think he would be a fit with Evangelical voters. However, given the wide open field of candidates, strong statements that Trump has recently made on core social issues combined with an overarching desire to see a new occupant in the White House, he may find support among social conservatives.“This is all we wish to say about the political aspect of this issue. Instead, we’d like to focus on the second article, and examine Mr Trump’s claim to be a Christian. The Christian Post article states:
Potential GOP presidential contender Donald Trump opened up about his faith during an interview with a Christian network, saying he is a Christian and that he's a "Sunday church person."After this article came out, I heard many people say (often with an amazed expression), “I didn’t know that Donald Trump was a Christian.” To which I usually reply, “Neither did I… and I still don’t know”. I’m then often asked, “What makes you think he’s not?” In reply, I usually say something to the effect of, “I’m not saying that Mr Trump is not a Christian. I don’t know him personally so I’m only basing my thoughts on the news accounts, which provide very little evidence either way”.
“I believe in God. I am Christian. I think the Bible is certainly, it is THE book. It is the thing," Trump told Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody.
[In the interview], Trump shared that he used to attend First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica Queens. "I'm a Protestant, I'm a Presbyterian. And you know I've had a good relationship with the church over the years. I think religion is a wonderful thing. I think my religion is a wonderful religion.”
When asked by Brody where he stores all the Bibles people send to him, Trump said that he keeps them in a "very nice place" since his Manhattan location doesn't allow him to keep all the mail he receives. "There's no way I would ever throw anything, to do anything negative to a Bible, so what we do is we keep all of the Bibles," said Trump. "I would have a fear of doing something other than very positive so actually I store them and keep them and sometimes give them away to other people."
As for church attendance, the host of NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" indicated that he makes an effort. ”Well, I go as much as I can. Always on Christmas. Always on Easter. Always when there's a major occasion. And during the Sundays. I'm a Sunday church person. I'll go when I can.”
In examining Mr Trump’ statements, he first says “I believe in God”. To many people, we would ask “Which god?” but his additional comments leads us to believe he is indeed referring to the true God of the Bible. It is not clear how much, or how little he knows about God, but mere acceptance of His existence only qualifies one to be a demon (James 2:19). Mr Trump does state that “I am a Christian”, but merely making this statement only puts him in the same company as Barack Obama and over 80% of Americans who claim to be a Christian. When follow-up questions are asked (which evidently was not done in Mr Trump’s case), we find the number of possible true Christians drops by more than half.
Mr Trump relays how he keeps his Bibles in a “very nice place”, but gives no word on whether he actually reads them. He also spends much time talking of his church denomination and attendance (Christmas, Easter and special occasions). Aside from good deeds, church attendance is one of the first things mentioned by most people when attempting to give evidence of their Christianity. For example, after meeting and attempting to witness several times with Mr Obama, Franklin Graham stated “For [Mr Obama], going to church means he’s a Christian. For me, the definition of a Christian is whether we have given our life to Christ and are following him in faith, and we have trusted him as our Lord and Savior. That’s the definition of a Christian; it’s not as to what church you’re a member of. A membership doesn’t make you a Christian.”
Similarly, we have the article, Newt Gingrich: Why I Became Catholic, that appeared to coincide with Mr Gingrich campaign launch. The difference with Mr Trump's article is that Mr Gingrich’s article only chronicles his choice of denomination and does not address the issue of whether or not he is a Christian. Mr Gingrich writes
Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to the United States in April of 2008 was a turning point for me. The Holy Father presided over solemn vespers with the U.S. bishops in the Crypt Church at the basilica in Washington. Callista’s choir was asked to sing for Pope Benedict at vespers, and as a spouse, I had the unique opportunity to attend the papal visit and was deeply moved by the occasion.Mr Gingrich’s article was primarily about his journey toward the Roman Catholic faith, but the timing suggests that it was also written for political gain (as was Mr Trump’s interview). Some have suggested that if Mr Gingrich had run into the equally peaceful and happy Dalai Llama, he might have become a Buddhist instead. We find this highly unlikely sine there aren’t 40-50 million Buddhist voters in our country. It remains to be seen if this article will help him to erase his divorce problems, since his 6-year extra-marital affair with Callista was a primary cause of the breakup of his second marriage.
Catching a glimpse of Pope Benedict that day, I was struck by the happiness and peacefulness he exuded. The joyful and radiating presence of the Holy Father was a moment of confirmation about the many things I had been thinking and experiencing for several years.
That evening I told Msgr. Rossi [Walter Rossi, rector of the basilica in DC] I wanted to be received into the Catholic Church, and he agreed to join Callista [Mr Gingrich’s third wife]as my sponsor. Under his tutelage, I studied the Catechism of the Church over the next year and was received into the Church in March of 2009 in a beautiful Mass at St. Joseph’s on Capitol Hill.
This all said, the primary objective of this two-part article is not to focus so much on Mr Trump and Mr Gingrich, but to caution Christians to be alert for false Christians. Before I go any further, let me say again that Mr Trump and Mr Gingrich may both be Christians, but we should be careful to assume this without evidence. Let me further say that, this is not written so that Christians can respond with condemnation, but so that we do not miss a witnessing opportunity.
As we mentioned above, less than half of those professing to be Christians are actually saved. It is very sad that, upon their physical death, so many will hear Jesus say, “Depart from me, I never knew you” (Mt 7:23). Perhaps even sadder still is the fact that many of these lost people genuinely believed that they would go to heaven, and the saddest part of all is that, many true Christians might have missed witnessing to them because we also assumed that they were saved.
The Scriptures tell us that only God can truly know the heart (Lk 16:15), but we can also know blatantly false Christians (Mt 7:20, Titus 1:16) by their actions. Unfortunately, the Bible also speaks of a more difficult case, that of those who are difficult to distinguish from true Christians (Jesus’ parable of the wheat and tares in Mt 13:24-28). So, we must be ever vigilant in our evangelism.
We’ll get much deeper into this issue in Part 2. The link will be posted here when completed.
Bloodmoney is a documentary (now available on DVD) that exposes the greed-driven politics of the abortion industry. Despite claims that the pro-abortion movement exists to help women, in reality it is little more than a vast money-making enterprise.The film also reveals many other closely guarded abortion industry secrets such as the racist agenda of Planned Parenthood, clinics performing abortions on non-pregnant women so they can still make money, first hand evidence of multiple doctors conspiring to cover up botched abortions to avoid law suits, and much more.
Narrated by Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, this film exposes the truth behind an industry that has harmed untold numbers of people and taken the lives of 50 million innocent children. In the film Dr. King speaks not only from the perspective of a post abortive woman, but as a civil rights leader about the injustice of abortion.
“Bloodmoney brings startling revelation to the forefront of the pro-life battle and exposes the true agenda behind the abortion industry. This film is truly part of the plan to set the captives free,” – Dr. Alveda King, director of African American Outreach, Priests for Life.
The film also features interviews from Carol Everett a former abortion clinic owner, as well as from pro-life leaders such as Frank Pavone, Joe Scheidler and others. This documentary film examines abortion in America, from the inception of Planned Parenthood to Roe v. Wade and the denial of when life begins. The makers also look at the profitability of the abortion clinics that keep this barbaric practice going. Finally, it shows the devastating effects abortion can have on the women that have them, and the continuing fight to save the lives of innocent babies.
The following is an excellent video of Carol Everett, former abortion provider and clinic operator, speaking about abortion in the film.
We must be familiar with these facts and spread the news in order to help young women be able to make an informed decision in their time of crisis.
Nationally, the most interesting item I encountered was the US News story of a new Harvard University study suggesting that Democratic political candidates should skip July 4th parades since the events are right wing celebrations. According to the article from the liberal news site,
A new Harvard University study finds that July 4th parades energize only Republicans, turn kids into Republicans, and help to boost the GOP turnout of adults on Election Day. “Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation's political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party,” said the report from Harvard.The liberal professors then proceed to offer these so-called “three key findings”.
“The political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century. Survey evidence also confirms that Republicans consider themselves more patriotic than Democrats. According to this interpretation, there is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican Party. Fourth of July celebrations in Republican dominated counties may thus be more politically biased events that socialize children into Republicans,” write Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott and Bocconi University Assistant Professor Andreas Madestam.
There is no evidence of an increased likelihood of identifying as a Democrat, indicating that Fourth of July shifts preferences to the right rather than increasing political polarization," the two wrote.
We would argue however, that attendance at patriotic events is the “effect” of a person’s political, social and cultural inclination. That is, those people who are patriotic, Republicans, and conservatives (those recognizing the authority of the constitution) are much more likely to attend the Independence Day parades.
Another “surprising discovery” in the report (at least to the liberal professors) is that the impact of the parades is not temporary, but permanent. The Harvard report stated “Surprisingly, the estimates show that the impact on political preferences is permanent, with no evidence of the effects depreciating as individuals become older”. This statement reinforces our conclusion, since liberals tend to be driven by emotion and feelings, so any patriotic impact would be short-lived.
Now, we don't want this article to be a blanket criticism of all liberals (those who reject traditional authority). I have several very good friends who lean liberal on many issues, but also are very patriotic. For the most part however, many liberals are more at home on holidays such as Cinco de Mayo or others that promote foreign, international or global interests. The most radical are more comfortable at a “flag-burning” event than at a “flag-waving” one. This usually stems from the commonly held belief that American exceptionalism is the root of all evil and the source of the world’s problems. Thus, they feel guilty about our prosperity and freedom, and feel the need to apologize to the rest of the world rather than encouraging other countries to follow our model. We will further investigate typical liberal attitudes toward our country in another post to be uploaded shortly and linked from here.
We’ll close this article by noting that, religious conservatives recognize that we ultimately owe our freedoms to God rather than to a human source such as government. Any freedoms given by government can also be taken away by government. True freedoms come only from God.
The first is actually a holdover from May that didn’t make it into our 2011 Memorial Day Tribute.
Moving to June, the tolerance police continue to run wild, insisting on tolerance for everything except Christianity.
Our toons this month include the Fast and Furious, the economy, and others. See June 2011 Toon Review for the archive. Enjoy and God Bless.
The Bible is the mind of God, and reveals the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to supply you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s chart.Despite attempts throughout history to ignore, ridicule or even eradicate the Bible, it continues to live on long after its critics go to their graves. It also continues to transform the lives of all who believe and are unashamed of its message (Rom 1:16). Although the heavens and earth will pass away, God’s Word will live forever (Is 40:8, Lk 21:33), continuing to accomplish His purpose (Is 55:11).
Here Paradise is restored, heaven opened, and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be open at the Judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibly, will reward the greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its contents.
Dave has written a concise book in order to examine and answer many of the most common questions, doubts and fears expressed by both Christians and non-believers. He maintains a great balance in his sources, using logic to reason from Scripture, history, philosophy, science, and personal experience to provide clear and relevant answers for these questions. It is also evangelical and even devotional at times.
Each question takes the form of “Why should I trust Jesus …?” To name a few, Why should I trust Jesus when there are so many other spiritual paths, when I not sure that God is real, when I’ve been let down so many times, when life is going great or in the midst of suffering and death, when I failed so many times, and several other common questions that most of us have asked at one time or another.
Read the entire Why Trust Jesus review, including a chapter-by-chapter analysis and more.
On this Memorial Day, we remember and honor those who have paid the ultimate price to preserve our freedoms. Yet, as we look around at what our country is becoming in the last few decades, we have to ask, “Is this what they died for?” Several years ago, Dr D James Kennedy preached a sermon entitled The Twilight’s Last Gleaming in which he stated:
Memorial Day is a day when we remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, who have given their lives that we might enjoy the life and the freedom we have in America today. How prone we are to forget—to forget the terror that filled the hearts of young eighteen- and nineteen-year-old men when they landed on the beaches of strange islands that until a few weeks before they had never even heard of; to forget the anguish and blood of those who lay wounded in foxholes. All of that is forgotten in the midst of our modern pleasures.There's not much that we'd like to add to Dr Kennedy's words at this time, but we'll briefly comment on a couple of related topics. First, the election season must be beginning. Mr Obama actually laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier earlier today instead of sending a representative as in previous years. Once that was out of the way, he then headed out to the Fort Belvoir golf course for his ninth golfing weekend in a row. We wonder, where are the media members who constantly denigrated President Bush for his occasional golf outings before he gave up the game early in his presidency out of respect for the families of those killed in Iraq?
One person wrote a striking Memorial Day letter-to-the-editor of a newspaper. The person asked: “What would the veterans who died in World War I, World War II, Vietnam and Korea—by the hundreds of thousands—say if they could see the lifestyle in the United States today? Would they say, ‘Is this what I gave my life for? Was it worth this?’”
In the decades since these died in battle, much has changed in America. Never in the history of the world, one writer said, has any nation so quickly jettisoned its system of belief. We have forgotten or rejected our nation’s Christian foundation and, as such, we are witnessing the demise of Christianity in America.
In less than fifty years, we have seen our Christian principles sift through our fingers like sand. The United States Supreme Court has banned from public schools prayer and Bible reading. We have removed the Ten Commandments from courthouses and pulled the plug on prayers at graduations and football games—each step has stripped our culture of the Christian roots of this nation.
A recent survey reveals that only 13 percent of Americans believe in all of the Ten Commandment… Morality is in steep decline and traditional values have become passé. The country many servicemen died to defend so that faith, family, and freedom would be upheld is quickly vanishing. “Is this what they gave their life for?” the letter-to-the-editor asked. Is this the America for which soldiers sacrificed?
Much of the blame for where our nation stands morally falls at the feet of Christians. America is in a moral crisis, and yet some Christians are “playing” church. The soul of our nation is at stake, and yet some of us have turned a blind eye to the moral decay gripping our culture.
The day may come when our grandchildren ask, “Whatever happened to Christianity in America?” It is sure to happen, unless we get down on our knees and earnestly pray. As we remember the great sacrifice made by so many hundreds of thousands, may we rededicate our lives to this nation and to those spiritual truths that made it great.
We may not give our lives on some bloody field or trench or rice paddy, but may God make us heroes of the faith who will be faithful to Jesus Christ, who will return our country to Christian values, who will be living heroes as brave as those who died for our country—those whose footsteps we follow in battle, those we remember.
Next, we got some good news this year when federal District Judge Lynn Hughes granted a restraining order inhibiting Veteran Affairs officials’ attempt to prevent the Rev Scott Rainey from mentioning Jesus’ name during Memorial Day prayers at Houston National Cemetery. After a warning from the judge, Assistant US Attorney Fred Hindrichs informed the court that VA would drop their demands
Finally for Christians, as we are honoring the brave soldiers that gave their lives for our country’s freedoms, let us not forget our Lord Jesus Christ who sacrificed His life so that we might enjoy freedom from the bondage of sin the second death (eternal separation from God). Instead, we have the gift of eternal life. Thank you Jesus, and God Bless our Troops.
We are pleased to announce that the 8-hour 2011 Troopathon event is scheduled for June 23. This cutting edge live webcast event will bring together talk radio hosts, film and television stars, musical guests, military families, pro-troop groups and many more. Last year’s participants included Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin (see Ms Palin’s May 2 tribute to the troops at Colorado Christian Universary), US Navy SEAL Ben Smith, John Bolton, Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski, Laura Ingraham, Dennis Miller, Sean Hannity, Tom Osborne, Kelsey Grammer, Rush Limbaugh, and many more. This year’s lineup will be announced soon.
The goal of this charity fundraiser is to send the largest ever shipment of care packages to our brave men and women of the armed forces serving overseas (last year’s Troopathon raised almost $700,000). Each package includes a personalized message and consists of items that our troops have requested such as sun-screen, Gatorade, deodorant, coffee, snacks and much more. These are basic items that most of us take for granted, but are a real treat that makes a soldier's life a little easier while they are far from home.
We are honored to have participated in the associated blogger competition each year since its inception in 2009. In this friendly contest, military supporting bloggers battle it out to see who can raise the most sponsorships for care packages that will go to our brave troops putting their lives on the line fighting Al Qaeda, the Taliban and others in order to insure the freedoms that we enjoy. This year, we’re on “Team 6” (as in SEAL team SIX).
If you choose to donate, we request that you click on the banner above to purchase your care package. We receive no commission, and all purchases are tax-deductable. Thank you very much for your support. God Bless our Military.
See the archive at May 2011 Toon Review. Enjoy and continue praying for our brave troops.
From the US Department of Defense website:
President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a single holiday for citizens to come together and thank our military members for their patriotic service in support of our country.As the proud father of an active US Marine, I salute and say a heartfelt “Thank You and God Bless” to all the dedicated members of our Armed Forces. Despite the inept leadership of our politicians, our troops remain far and away, the finest on this earth.
On August 31, 1949, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day to replace separate Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force Days. The single-day celebration stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under one department -- the Department of Defense.
After high school, William worked as a firefighter and gained somewhat of a reputation because of his great speed. One day in 1833, as he was playing baseball on an sandlot in Chicago, a scout from the White Sox saw him and signed him to a contract. William was a great fielder, but not a good hitter, but his speed forced many opponent's errors, and his stolen base count was second only to Ty Cobb at the time.
Unfortunately, William’s career was marred by drinking, and he spent a lot of time on skid row. One night however, as he staggered down a street, he heard a Salvation Army group singing one of his mother’s favorite songs, “Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight?”. Later that evening he wandered into the Pacific Garden Mission and gave his life to Christ. Soon after, William left the baseball diamond, turning down a $5000 monthly salary in baseball for the pulpit that paid about $85 a month.
Throughout his career, it is estimated that William preached to hundreds of millions and became the most successful evangelist of the early twentieth century. The combination of his celebrity background, business sense, and period of poverty attracted every class of people. Indeed, there were so many people being saved as a result of William's fiery preaching (250,000 to over a million by some estimates) that hundreds of pubs and bars were closing. Some even said that he was the most amazing evangelist since John the Baptist.
Yet, for the thousands of sermons preached by William Ashley (Billy) Sunday, one of the most famous was entitled “Motherhood”. Remembering his own saintly mother, he said
Being a king, emperor, or president is mighty small potatoes compared to being a mother. Commanding an army is little more than sweeping a street compared with training a boy or girl. The mother of Moses did more for the world than all the kings that Egypt ever had. Oh, you wait until you reach the mountains of eternity, then read the mothers’ names in God’s Hall of Fame. I tell you women: Fooling away your time, hugging and kissing a poodle dog, drinking a cocktail, and playing cards is mighty small business compared to molding the life of a child.The entire Motherhood sermon can be read on our main website.
In the video, G.O.S.P.E.L stand for “God Our Sins Paying Everyone Life”.
Last year a Jimmy Carter appointed federal judge declared the day of prayer unconstitutional, but a recent ruling by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the constitutionality of the law. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, based in Chicago, ruled 3-0 that the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) and its plaintiffs do not have standing to continue their challenge of the 1952 congressional act that declared an annual National Day of Prayer.
This year, millions will participate in organized events to be held in thousands of public venues where citizens will unite in prayer for America and its leadership. This year’s theme, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” is based on Psalm 91:2, which states, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For a wealth of information, or to find a National Day of Prayer event in your area, visit the National Day of Prayer website.
The official 2011 National Prayer is by Joni Eareckson Tada, Honorary Chairman.
Almighty God, you are our Mighty Fortress, our refuge and the God in whom we place our trust. As our nation faces great distress and uncertainty, we ask your Holy Spirit to fall afresh upon your people — convict us of sin and inflame within us a passion to pray for our land and its people. Grant the leaders of our country an awareness of their desperate need of wisdom and salvation in You until sin becomes a reproach to all and righteousness exalts this nation.With all the uncertainty in the world, along with the most anti-Christian administration in history currently in power, our country needs our prayers more than ever. The following is a video released by the Walton County Florida chapter.
Protect and defend us against our enemies and may the cause of Christ always prevail in our schools, courts, homes, and churches. Lord God, send a spirit of revival and may it begin in our own hearts.
Remember America, we pray. Remember the foundations on which this country was built. Remember the prayers of our nation’s fathers and mothers, and do not forget us in our time of need.
In the name of our Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
This year, I found myself spending some time reflecting on the two thieves who were crucified alongside of Jesus. We find the story in Luke 23:32-43.
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.In particular, I was contemplating how the one thief came to recognize Jesus as the Messiah. It was certainly not due to physical appearances. Here was Jesus, beaten and bloody, barely recognizable as a man, much less as a god, being executed as a common criminal. Those who insist that baptism and good works are necessary for salvation contend that the thief had become a believer and was baptized sometime in the past. They argue for this scenario based solely upon the fact that the Bible does not specifically deny this. This argument from silence however, is most unlikely since the meticulous author Luke would likely have mentioned such an important detail. In addition, the thief himself never even hints at this and offers not only an appeal, but a confession of faith as well. The only plausible explanation for the thief’s confession is the divine illumination and power of the Holy Spirit.
The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
This should be a lesson for us today. A major objective in many of our modern market driven churches is to increase their membership roles. The salvation of those who join is often optional. Numerous churches however, are honestly seeking to save the lost. Many spend major bucks with marketing consultants in their quest to attract perspective members. While we should be looking at various means of attracting people to church, I’d like to offer my best advise free of charge: Preach the Gospel and rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. I’m convinced that this method will not only result in increased membership, but also accomplish the more important goal of leading others to salvation in Christ.
The Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans that I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believe…(Rom 1:16). I don’t know if many modern churches are ashamed of the Gospel or have just lost faith in its power. Some believe it to be old-fashioned, simplistic and out-of-date. It is thought that, if we are to reach people these days, we must be more relevant to our modern sophisticated culture. Yet, we would be hard pressed to find a more simplistic and basic message than the one offered over and over by Billy Graham. Furthermore, we can readily see the results.
I recall a story from few decades back, when Billy was already seeing hundreds and thousands come to Christ with each crusade. One evening, he preached what he thought to be his best sermon yet, but it produced little results. Afterward, he was approached by one of his staff who asked him why he failed to mention the cross in his sermon. Billy initially got angry, thinking “who is he to tell me how to preach?” Later in his hotel room, Billy came to the realization that the staffer was right, and resolved never to preach again without mentioning the cross.
Now, compare Mr Graham’s method with that in many of our modern churches. After ignoring the Gospel during the sermon, the church then resorts to “easy” techniques during the “invitation”. After being careful to not offend anyone by mentioning the fact that we are sinners (the very reason that we need a Savior), visitors are told they can accept Jesus and join the church by “coming down to the front”, or “if you too embarrassed to walk to the front, just slip out to one of our ushers along the back or sides, or if this is too much, simply lift up your hand and we’ll contact you”. What’s next, installing moving sidewalks like we find in airports?
We find another familiar story in Luke 18:35-43.
As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”We thus see a beggar crying out to Jesus (“Son of David” is a recognition of Jesus as the promised Messiah). The surrounding crowd admonished him to be quiet. We can just imagine the comments, “stop making a scene”, “you’re embarrassing yourself”, “have some dignity” etc, but recognizing his own helplessness, he shouted even louder until Jesus healed him both physically and spiritually.
He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?”
“Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.
Those who understand will recognize that we’re all like that beggar. Adrian Rogers used to say that witnessing was simply one beggar showing another beggar where to find food. Notice also that the beggar didn’t have to be humanly persuaded to come to Christ. In fact, those surrounding him were actually discouraging him from calling out to Jesus. So, when the Holy Spirit truly regenerates a person, surrounding hardships won’t be able to keep them from Jesus. In many countries, there are people coming to Jesus despite being threatened by death.
I’m certainly not saying we should discourage or make it more difficult in our churches for people to come to Christ, or that we shouldn’t explore various means of attracting perspective members, but these techniques should be supplementary to, rather than a substitute for the Gospel. We must first and foremost preach the truth and allow the Holy Spirit to work. I’m convinced that, as people realize their true state and are persuaded by the power of the Spirit, we could string barbed wire across the aisles and many would still find a way to Jesus.
We are saved by placing our faith and trust in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Making a public profession by walking to the front and/or joining a church is a step of obedience, but is not the basis of our salvation.
I’m also not saying that churches should merely go through the “Roman Road” each week. This article only addresses the evangelistic function of the church. Members must also be discipled by a balanced teaching of the other historical doctrines of the faith. We'll take up this topic in future articles.
The illustration is courtesy of the very talented Dan Nuckols of Dan’s Pulpit.
This occasion was inspired by a similar event held by believers from Faith Church of Budapest, Hungary.
Before we go any further, I’d like to clarify the meaning of "prophecy" as used in this post. The chief Biblical use of the word “prophecy” entails forth telling, that is to accurately proclaim God’s message or Word, with primary application on the present times. Thus, anyone who can properly interpret and elucidate God’s word by the illumination of the Holy Spirit is a prophet. In this article however, we’re referring to the other Biblical meaning of prophecy, that of foretelling or predicting the future.
The Bible tells us that “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2Tim 3:16-17). This statement alone confirms the importance of studying Biblical prophecy. Over one-fourth of the Bible was prophetic at the time each book was written. Over half of the roughly two thousand documented prophecies have already been fulfilled without error, so we can be confident that the others will likewise be fulfilled in the future. Therefore, the study of prophecy familiarizes us with God’s plan for the ages, protects us from the deception of false teachings, and gives us confidence for the future. It is also evangelistic and apologetic in that, our studies impart in us the urgency to share our faith in whatever time we have left, and enhances our knowledge of doctrine which further equips us to defend the Faith. In addition, much of the proof of Jesus as the Messiah rests upon fulfilled OT prophecy.
So, we easily see that we should not neglect the study of Biblical prophecy. Nevertheless, we’d like to offer a few comments on balancing the study of prophecy with the study of other Biblical doctrines.
When studying systematically, we generally maintain a pretty good balance between most of the topics such as the Bible, God, Christ, the Holy Spirit, Man, Sin, and Salvation; although some erroneously minimize the essential study of the Church. With the study of Eschatology (last things) however, many tend to go to one of two extremes, either outright neglect or becoming so preoccupied with prophecy that the other doctrines are practically ignored. We’ve already mentioned several reasons not to overlook the study of prophecy, so we'll make a few remarks on the latter case.
One glance at the number of teachers and internet sites devoted exclusively to prophecy (some Biblical, others not so much) gives us a hint of its popularity. Most people are fascinated by the unknowns of the future, so it’s easy to see how we can easily become engrossed in the study of prophecy while overlooking the other Biblical doctrines, but we must be careful to avoid this trap. For one thing, our understanding of prophecy will be sorely lacking without a good working knowledge of the other essential doctrines.
Some folks might ask, what about those scholars who specialize in the study of prophecy. We are grateful for those who have dedicated a good part of their research time to Bible prophecy, but keep in mind that the more orthodox ones had already developed sound doctrine based upon all Scripture prior to their decision to specialize. For example, well known pastor and author Tim LaHaye, who has written many books on prophecy including the Left Behind series, had already researched and written many other books on a variety of other Biblical topics, and continued to study the entire Scriptures while concentrating on prophetical writings. Therefore, before anyone decides to “specialize”, they should become very familiar with the whole of Scripture.
This last statement also applies to other Biblical and related subjects other than prophecy. Many times, I’ve been in a Christian bookstore and overheard a customer ask for books on a topic such as predestination, non-Christian cults, or some gray area that doesn’t affect any major doctrines. After a minute or two, it often becomes obvious that the customer has little overall Bible knowledge. While a few these areas of study can be somewhat profitable after we obtain a solid Biblical foundation, they will be of little use to anyone with limited understanding of the Scriptures and, in some cases, can be outright dangerous. For example, David Jeremiah, a very respected pastor and author once testified that he was never so relieved to finish a project because, as he researched the occult for an upcoming book, he could feel the dark forces attempting to draw him in. We must be firmly anchored in historically orthodox doctrine prior to venturing into secondary topics.
I can speak from experience about wasting a lot of study time during my younger days. I began seriously researching Biblical doctrine about twenty years ago. Rather than consulting with experienced orthodox pastors and teachers, I set out on my own. I would often gauge a topic based upon interest rather than importance or truth. Unlike many others that fall into this trap, I had read the Bible most of my life, so I was fortunate enough to discern that many things that I was reading were not correct, but because I had yet to spend enough quality time studying the basics, I had no idea how to respond to these errors. Therefore, I decided that I must first become very familiar with orthodox Biblical doctrine before branching out into these side issues. Even today, I study the Bible daily, adding the study of an additional four to six books on rotating days. In an attempt to stay well rounded, I choose books from different categories such as Systematic Theology (includes prophecy), Church History, Apologetics, Prayer, Hebrew Heritage, Christian Philosophy, Evangelism, Christian Living, Spiritual Warfare etc.
In summary, we recommend that everyone first become well grounded in the historical Biblical doctrines of the Faith (which also includes the basic study of prophecy). Then, for those who are called to devote additional study time to Biblical prophecy, go for it. Just remember however, while you are spending time trying to determine who or what the third toe on the right foot of the image in Daniel 2 represents, don’t neglect your other Bible studies.
Speaking of Daniel, his OT book is filled with various prophecies given during the sixth century BC, some that came to pass over the next several centuries (primarily during the Intertestament period) and others that still await their fulfillment during the last days. In the final chapter, Daniel asks the angel for more information concerning the end times prophecies. The angel basically tells Daniel to go his own way (Dan 12:9) and not concern himself with the extra details that are sealed up until the end. This does not mean that we should not have a healthy interest in prophecy, but we should not become so obsessed with the future that we fail to faithfully carry out our faithful duties in the present. This will be the subject of our third and final post in this trilogy.
Update: Part 3, Present Living in Light of Prophecy is loaded.
With so much war, turmoil, disease, natural disasters, and economic uncertainty in the world today, a common question being asked is, “Are we living in the end times?” Theologically speaking, the “end times”, or “last days” began about 2000 years ago with the first advent of the Christ (Heb 1:1-2, 1Jn 2:18). I believe what most people mean by the question however, is “Will Jesus return during our lifetime, or soon thereafter?”
When Jesus’ disciples inquired about the time and circumstances of his return, He replied, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains” (Mt 24:4-8). He then elaborates and illustrates further throughout the chapter, including making references to the OT book of Daniel.
Looking at history, we find many wrong predictions regarding the end of days. In the second century, a Roman priest predicted Jesus would return in 500AD based upon the dimensions of Noah’s ark. Many predicted the end would come at the beginning of 1000AD and 2000AD simply because of the year number. Others predicted 1033AD or 1533AD based on a crucifixion date of 33AD (Christ was crucified either 30AD or 33AD). Archbishop Ussher forecast a particular day in 1644 while others predicted 1666 because of the number of the beast. Jehovah’s Witnesses guessed 1874, 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and 1984 before announcing they would make no further predictions. In our modern times, a popular book in the 80s gave 88 reasons why Jesus would return in 1988. When this failed, the same author wote another book offering 89 reasons why the rapture would occur in 1989 (which didn’t sell many copies for some odd reason). Just this year, Harold Camping set his latest date for the rapture when his previous predictions failed to come true. This is just a few of the predictions that have been made throughout history, so maybe we should look instead at what Jesus himself had to say on the subject.
Regarding the time of his return, Jesus says “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.” Mt 24:36-41.
Just before his ascension, they asked Him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority” (Ac 1:6-7).
So, we know that Jesus will definitely return (1Th 4:16-17), but we can only speculate whether the Second Advent will take place in our lifetime, shortly afterward, or at a date in the distant future. The signs are certainly evident, and there are no additional events that have to occur before His return. In addition to those already mentioned, we’ve witnessed a great increase in knowledge (primarily from technology) and the resettling of the Nation of Israel in the Promised Land. We’ve also seen more major wars in the last hundred years than in the past two millennia. Furthermore, just in the last ten years or so, we seen an unprecedented amount of natural disasters and human crisis such as war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, hurricanes (Katrina), tsunamis (Japan), earthquakes (China), AIDS, Swine flu, famines, and economic collapses. We also see the current administration in America virtually abandoning Israel as other countries line up against her. With the current conditions surrounding us, it’s difficult to imagine the world lasting much longer.
On the other hand, many men who were much smarter than me, such as Martin Luther (early 1500s) and Jonathan Edwards (mid 1700s), thought Christ would return in their lifetimes. Therefore, while I believe Jesus’ return is likely to be relatively soon, it could still be hundreds of years away. This uncertainty however, should make us no less diligent in our Christian walk. As I once heard it so well stated, we should prepare for a journey of a thousand years, but be prepared to abandon ship at any moment.
Update: Part 2, The Study of Bible Prophecy - in Perspective is loaded. In this post, we discuss the study of prophecy within the context of our overall Bible study practice.
Update: Part 3, Present Living in Light of Prophecy is loaded.
See the archive at March 2011 Toon Review. This month focuses primarily on the UN and foreign policy.
During this time, we were able to finish several projects on our main site. We made some headway on our Bible Book Intros section, consisting of Brief Surveys, Historical Backgrounds, Timelines, Main Themes, Outlines, Interpretation Challenges and more for each book of the Bible. We still hope to finish all the books in the next two years or so. We also just uploaded a major article Can America Claim the Promises of 2nd Chronicles 7:14? in our Bible Commentary and America’s Christian Heritage sections that also examines how the Old Testament applies to Christians today. We invite you to visit our What’s New page for other recent writings.
Thanks again for all the support and God Bless.
As reported in The Marine Times:
Buckles, who also survived being a civilian POW in the Philippines in World War II, died of natural causes Sunday at his home in Charles Town, biographer and family spokesman David DeJonge said. He was 110. Buckles would have wanted people to remember him as “the last torchbearer” for World War I, DeJonge said Monday.During the trip to attend the ceremony for Gen Pershing in 2008, Mr Buckles noticed memorials for WWII, Korean, and Vietnam veterans, but nothing for the heroes of WWI. David DeJonge became the president of the The World War I Memorial Foundation and made Mr Buckles the honorary chairman.
Buckles had been advocating for a national memorial honoring veterans of the Great War in the nation’s capital and asked about its progress weekly, sometimes daily. “He was sad it’s not completed,” DeJonge said. “It’s a simple straightforward thing to do, to honor Americans.”
On Nov. 11, 2008, the 90th anniversary of the end of the war, Buckles attended a ceremony at the grave of World War I Gen. John Pershing in Arlington National Cemetery. He was back in Washington a year later to endorse a proposal to rededicate the existing World War I memorial on the National Mall as the official National World War I Memorial. He told a Senate panel it was “an excellent idea.” The memorial was originally built to honor District of Columbia’s war dead.
More than 4.7 million people joined the U.S. military from 1917-18. As of spring 2007, only three were still alive, according to a tally by the Department of Veterans Affairs: Buckles, J. Russell Coffey of Ohio and Harry Richard Landis of Florida. The dwindling roster prompted a flurry of public interest, and Buckles went to Washington in May 2007 to serve as grand marshal of the national Memorial Day parade. Coffey died Dec. 20, 2007, at age 109, while Landis died Feb. 4, 2008, at 108. Unlike Buckles, those two men were still in basic training in the United States when the war ended and did not make it overseas. The last known Canadian veteran of the war, John Babcock of Spokane, Wash., died in February 2010. There are no French or German veterans of the war left alive.
Buckles served in England and France, working mainly as a driver and a warehouse clerk. An eager student of culture and language, he used his off-duty hours to learn German, visit cathedrals, museums and tombs, and bicycle in the French countryside. After Armistice Day, Buckles helped return prisoners of war to Germany. He returned to the United States in January 1920.
In 1941, while on business in the Philippines, Buckles was captured by the Japanese. He spent more than three years in prison camps. “I was never actually looking for adventure,” Buckles once said. “It just came to me.”
In spring 2007, Buckles told the AP of the trouble he went through to get into the military. “I went to the state fair up in Wichita, Kansas, and while there, went to the recruiting station for the Marine Corps,” he said. “The nice Marine sergeant said I was too young when I gave my age as 18, said I had to be 21.” Buckles returned a week later. “I went back to the recruiting sergeant, and this time I was 21,” he said with a grin. “I passed the inspection ... but he told me I just wasn’t heavy enough.” Then he tried the Navy, whose recruiter told Buckles he was flat-footed.
Buckles wouldn’t quit. In Oklahoma City, an Army captain demanded a birth certificate. “I told him birth certificates were not made in Missouri when I was born, that the record was in a family Bible. I said, ‘You don’t want me to bring the family Bible down, do you?’” Buckles said with a laugh. “He said, ‘OK, we’ll take you.’” He enlisted Aug. 14, 1917, serial number 15577.
Bills regarding the WWI Memorial have been introduced in both the US House and Senate, yet neither has passed to date. During a time when Congress can find time to pass tax-payer funded memorials such as an almost $70 million dollar shrine to Ted Kennedy, a $150 million plus airport memorial that services about 20 people per day for John Murtha, and numerous other wasteful projects, it is downright shameful that our legislators can’t establish a memorial to our true heroes that is being paid for primarily by private funds.
Finally, we’d like to say to Mr Buckles and the countless other veterans who have made, and continue to make, great sacrifices in order to serve our country even though their efforts often go unnoticed or taken for granted, “Thank You and God Bless”.
It is true that political and economic conditions had reached critical mass in Eastern Europe and Asia by the late 1980s, but this emergency situation was the direct result of the moral and spiritual crises created by communism’s Marxist worldview. If we are open to the truth about this atheistic worldview, we can easily see that it must inevitably lead to this outcome.
A primary tenet of Marxism is the supposition that God only exists in the imagination of the economically downtrodden; that He is subjectively created as a wishful fantasy to remedy a person’s misery or unhappiness. Thus, while American liberals generally view religion as the root of all evil, a true Marxist would view religion as the imaginary, but ineffective solution to evil, with the primary evil being an unequal distribution of wealth. If one could build an alternative system (under government control); a new world order in which all persons were monetarily equal (except the ruling elite, of course), then there would be no further need for religion. After all, why would someone cling to fanciful thoughts of a joyful hereafter when they could have a utopian paradise in their present life on earth? We, of course, see this "government is the solution to all our problems" theory promoted by many today.
So, for Marxism to work, it must “kill God”, at least in the sense of replacing His memory in the minds of the people with reliance on the government. We’ve seen from history however, that any attempt to eradicate God is always doomed to failure. Just to give a few examples, at the beginning of the fourth century, Roman emperor Diocletian began possibly the most intense empire-wide persecution in an attempt to eradicate Christianity. Yet within a few years, Constantine took the throne and later made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. In the eighteenth century, the French philosopher Voltaire declared that within a hundred years, there would not be a single Bible left on earth. The house where he lived is now a distribution center for Bibles printed in many different languages. Finally, in 1966, the New York Times declared that “God is dead”, but as Ravi Zacharias so aptly noted, the Times was “dancing on an empty grave”.
Another major reason that Marxist socialism is destined to always fail is that it is based on the false assumption that man’s nature is inherently good; that putting man into a better environment will solve all his problems (one glance at the Garden of Eden experience disproves this presumption). It assumes that enough people will be willing to work hard while others are idle, and yet share everything equally. On the other hand, the Free Enterprise system thrives because it is consistent with man’s fallen nature, rightly assuming that most folks won’t work without reward. One of my former pastors, Dr Harold O’Chester from Austin, used to say that he could tell how a person would vote based upon the answer to one question, “Do you believe man is inherently good or evil?” As Adrian Rogers once said,
You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the industrious out of it. You don't multiply wealth by dividing it. Government cannot give anything to anybody that it doesn't first take from somebody else. Whenever somebody receives something without working for it, somebody else has to work for it without receiving. The worst thing that can happen to a nation is for half of the people to get the idea they don't have to work because somebody else will work for them, and the other half to get the idea that it does no good to work because they don't get to enjoy the fruits of their labor.Perhaps the best account of the Soviet collapse is recorded in a book by Barbara von der Heydt entitled Candles behind the Wall: Heroes of the Peaceful Revolution That Shattered Communism. Ms von der Heydt had worked with the first displaced Eastern European refugees in 1989, and much of her account is based on personal interviews with everyday people involved in the struggle against those who were attempting to obliterate any traces of the Faith. She recounts the stories of individuals whose grass roots movements eventually challenged the very core of communism. We recommend everyone read this book who has the opportunity, but we’ll paraphrase a couple of examples here.
One of the stories that stood out to me was the account of Uwe Holmer, an East German pastor who, along with his wife, managed a Christian organization for the mentally and physically disabled. In 1989, Dictator Erich Honecker resigned due to health issues. Honecker was so hated that even his own daughter refused to take him in. Yet, the Holmers finally provided the former tyrant and his wife with shelter even though the pastor’s family was terribly persecuted during his reign. When asked why, Pastor Holmer replied
The Lord has charged us to follow him and to take in all those who are burdened ... to follow his commandment to love our enemies; and to live by the prayer he taught us in these words, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” ... We want to live by Christ’s example.Ms von der Heydt also provides us the inside story on the tense situation outside the Russian parliament in August of 1991. The Soviets had recently lost control of Eastern Europe, so while Michael Gorbachev was in the Crimea, the totalitarian communist party seized control of the government. They dispersed tanks and their troops and surrounded the Russian parliament, trapping Boris Yeltsin and the legislators inside. The world watched anxiously as thousands of freedom-seeking civilians formed a human barricade around the building.
According to Ms Von Der Heydt, it was at this point that Iven Kharlanov and Anatoly Rudenko of the Bible society in Moscow called other Bible societies around the world asking for prayer before coming up with a brave but dangerous plan. They contacted other Christians and drove a truck full of New Testaments to the scene, arriving just as the military was about to storm the building.
Christians took the Bibles and began handing them out to the soldiers quoting Exodus 20:13, “thou shall not kill”. At the same time, others began going tank to tank, handing out the Scriptures and quoting the verse. Ms Von Der Heydt specifically mentions one woman, Shirinai Dossova, walking over to one of the tanks and banging on its side with her bare knuckles until the mystified driver finally opened the hatch. She held the Bible out to him and declared, "It says in this book that you shouldn't kill. Are you going to kill us?" The young soldier was obviously baffled, but nervously took the Bible while saying, "We not intending to kill anybody."
Ms Von Der Heydt also reported that very few of the soldiers refused the Bibles. Some tucked them in a pocket or bag, but others, who probably had never seen one but perhaps may have been wanting one, began reading right away.
Of course, we know from history that the attack on the parliament building was averted and the coup collapsed. Yet to this day, secular historians still puzzle in amazement as to why the almost certain attack failed to transpire. But now, as Paul Harvey would say, we know the rest of the story. It was the Hand and the Word of God.
The Real Issue is a blog of ad Dei Gloriam Ministries. We discuss various issues of spiritual, moral, ethical, political, social, philosophical and economic interests. These issues however, are merely symptoms of the central issue, which is how we view God. What we think of God determines our worldview, through which all our thoughts are filtered. So, while we're discussing the merits of various opinions on cultural topics, keep in mind that ultimately, God is the real issue.The Real Issue Home
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