Do the Dead Return to Visit the Living? By Robert Hawes
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God..." - 1 John 4:1
Recently, I came across a disturbing idea being advocated by some well-known Christian authors whom I otherwise respect: namely, the notion that there are "godly ghosts," that is, spirits of dead Christians who sometimes return to visit the living. Evidence cited in favor of this idea includes the fact that Christian author C.S. Lewis believed that the spirit of his dead wife returned to comfort him in the wake of her passing, as well as a tale recounted by J.B. Philips concerning how the ghost of C.S. Lewis appeared to him, encouraging him when he was working on his translation of the New Testament. In another recent example, the father of popular Christian TV minister Perry Stone claimed that the ghost of a friend appeared to him and commissioned him for the ministry. Other examples could be cited as well, including various stories in which the godly dead allegedly returned to help the living in some way or to settle affairs they were unable to conclude in life.
In keeping with this, "godly ghosts" theorists argue that it's possible that not all spirits of the departed reside in either Heaven, Hades (the NT equivalent of Sheol), or "Abraham's Bosom"; instead, they speculate that some human spirits may be roaming the earth in a type of limbo (possibly what the Bible terms "outer darkness"), and that this may be why people have reported that ghosts often seem confused, tend to be found near places where tragedies have occurred, and usually appear sorrowful and tormented.
The Bible certainly teaches that there is what we might call a "spirit world," an unseen realm in which both good and evil spirits operate, and it is clear from scripture that these spirits interact with mankind to various degrees; but I have to caution that there is absolutely no scriptural justification for the belief that spirits of the dead can or do return and manifest themselves to the living. It is my belief that all encounters with what are believed to be "ghosts" are actually demonic manifestations designed to deceive mankind into accepting delusions about the spirit world and the questions surrounding life after death.
- Scripture Forbids "Calling up" the Dead
Leviticus 19:10 and Deuteronomy 18:10 specifically forbid consultations with mediums: those who communicate with the dead on behalf of the living (what we call "Necromancy" today):
"Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God."
"There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead."
Thus it seems very unlikely that God would permit, or even facilitate, that which he has strictly forbidden.
Nevertheless, one proponent of the "godly ghosts" theory argues that such verses prove that communication with the dead must at least be possible, otherwise God would not have forbidden it, but this is not necessarily the case. As we can see from Deuteronomy 18:10, God forbade contact with persons who were involved in a number of occult practices, including calling up the dead, but he did not offer commentary on the validity of those practices or on how they were performed. A surface reading of the text might lead one to believe that occult practitioners have some sort of natural ability that enables them to successfully divine, perform acts of witchcraft, or to cast spells, but other passages of scripture suggest that these things are actually accomplished by the power of demons.
A ready example of this is Acts 16:16-21, where Luke provides of an account of how the apostle Paul cast a spirit of divination out of a slave girl who "was bringing her masters much profit by fortune-telling" (KJV). After the demon was cast out of the girl, she no longer had the power of divination (Acts 16:19).
For this reason, it is entirely likely that "the dead" that are conjured in the practice of Necromancy are actually demons, and not departed spirits at all. Indeed, in I Samuel 28, when King Saul was trying to communicate with the departed prophet Samuel, he specifically sought out a woman that had "a familiar spirit"in other words, a demon (I Samuel 28:7). Obviously, Saul thought that the practice itself was validthat is, that mediums were actually able to conjure the deadbut it's clear from his words that he realized that a demon was necessary to facilitate it. Strangely enough, he does not seem to have considered that the demons involved in contacting the dead might not be mere facilitators, but might actually be impersonating the spirits they were supposed to be contacting. It seems rather odd to trust an evil spirit to act in good faith, but Saul was desperate at the time (more on this later).
Thus, it seems unlikely that God issued the command to avoid those who "call up the dead" because they are actually able to do it. It seems more likely that he gave this commandment in order to keep his people from being deceived by evil spirits.
- Scripture tells us that the Dead are not aware of the World of the Living
"For the living know they will die; but the dead do not know anything, nor have they any longer a reward, for their memory is forgotten. Indeed their love, their hate and their zeal have already perished, and they will no longer have a share in all that is done under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 9:5-6
"Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol [the grave] where you are going." - Ecclesiastes 9:10
"Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish." - Psalm 146:3-4
If, as the Bible indicates, the dead are not aware of what takes place in the world of the living, it's rather difficult to see how they could be contacted, conjured, or otherwise summoned by mediums from the living world. How can you hear or respond to a voice from a reality that is hidden to you? Indeed, for those who believe that the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke chapter 16 represents an actual account rather than a parable or an allegory, the situation becomes even more complicated:
"Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried. In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.' But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'" - Luke 16:22-26
It's difficult to understand how spirits of the dead could be summoned to return to the world of the living when they are incapable of crossing a physical barrier between two different parts of their own domain! If the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus references actual events, then it is clear that spirits of the wicked dead cannot leave the confines of their imprisonment in Hades, and that even spirits of the righteous dead cannot simply come and go as they please. Angels carried Lazarus to Abraham's Bosom, implying that he could not reach that place on his own from the world of the living, and thus making it almost certain that he could not return on his own, either.
Furthermore, note that the rich man asked Abraham to return Lazarus to the world of the living in order to warn the rich man's brothers about the place of torment that awaited them beyond the grave. He did not ask that Lazarus be permitted to contact the living, but rather that he be sent to them. This strongly implies that the dead cannot communicate with the living from the underworld; at least it is certain they cannot initiate contact from there, and thus it is also highly doubtful that they can be conjured from there by the living.
- Saul and the "Ghost" of Samuel
What then of the story of Samuel's spirit being called up by the witch of Endor in I Samuel 28? Was this the true spirit of Samuel, or a demonic impostor?
The account in I Samuel 28 is controversial, and for good reason. In this account, the Philistines were readying themselves for battle with Israel. Saul, who had long been in rebellion against God, was desperate for help, but God was not answering him, and the prophet Samuelwho had anointed Saul king over Israel and used to serve as a guide to himwas dead. So in his desperation, Saul asked his servants to find a woman who could call up the ghost of Samuel for him.
Then said Saul unto his servants, 'Seek me a woman that has a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her.' And his servants said to him, 'Behold, there is a woman that has a familiar spirit at Endor.' - I Samuel 28:7 (KJV in modern English)
Once again, a "familiar spirit" is another term for a demon. In other words, Saul wanted his men to find a demon-possessed woman for him to inquire of, with the expectation that the spirit within this woman would contact Samuel and that Samuel would speak to him through the woman. In other words, he was looking for a medium who would speak to him for Samuel just as people ask mediums today to convey the words of dead relatives and friends at séances. Another word for this is type of intermediary contact is "channeling." This is exactly the type of activity that God had forbidden in the Law of Moses, and it was at least one area in which Saul had been obedient to God, as he had nearly wiped out the mediums in Israel. Indeed, he was forced to disguise himself so that the medium would not recognize that he was the king, and he had to assure her that she would not be punished:
"Then Saul disguised himself by putting on other clothes, and went, he and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night; and he said, "Conjure up for me, please, and bring up for me whom I shall name to you." But the woman said to him, "Behold, you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off those who are mediums and spiritists from the land. Why are you then laying a snare for my life to bring about my death?" Saul vowed to her by the Lord, saying, "As the Lord lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing." - I Samuel 28:8-10
Saul then asked the woman to bring up Samuel for him, and the Bible records that, "when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice." Many have supposed that she cried out because she was expecting a demon and was startled when it was actually Samuel who appeared, but a careful reading of the text does not support this. Consider for a moment: What is the very first thing the woman said to Saul after she cried out?
"You are Saul."
Again, Saul had killed all of the mediums and sorcerers in Israel, and as we saw in verses 8-10, initially the medium did not even want to perform this act of necromancy for fear of her life. She cried out because the spirit within her revealed that the man who had come to her was actually the king she feared so greatly.
Moving on, there is another important detail in this story that we should note: the witch never identified Samuel by name. When Saul asked her what it was that she saw, she told him: "'I see a divine being [Hebrew - elohim]...an old man coming up, and he is wrapped with a robe.' And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground and did homage." The witch did not identify Samuel, and Saul did not actually see this spirit; Saul assumed that the spirit was Samuel based on the medium's description; and given that the woman was a medium, the spirit would have spoken through her as well, just as spirits commonly speak through mediums today.
Are we really to believe that Samuel took his robe to Hades with him? Was Samuel an old man in spirit form? I believe it is more plausible that the demon deceiving Saul presented itself in a form that Saul would recognize: as the old man whom he had known in life.
It has been argued that the text itself identifies Samuel, but I would remind readers that this account was written down based on the testimony of those who were with Saulnone of whom actually laid eyes on this spirit. I am not arguing that the text is in error; only that it is an account that was based on the testimony of witnesses. It is, undoubtedly, an accurate account of what they believed took place and how things appeared to them. This is a type of chronicle, a Hebrew government record, not a divine revelation.
There are similar examples of this sort of perspective in scripture:
In Genesis 18, the Lord appeared to Abraham with two angels, yet the text repeatedly refers to all three of them as "men," which is certainly what they appeared to be to Abraham, Sarah, and Lot, as well as the men of Sodom, who also saw them and referred to them as "men" (see Genesis 19:5).
Moses records for us in Exodus 33 that God appeared to him, covering Moses with "his hand," and allowing Moses to see his "back parts" but not his "face"; yet other scriptures indicate that God is "invisible," "a spirit," a being without physical form, and that no one has ever seen him (John 1:18; 4:24, Colossians 1:15, and I Timothy 1:17). Clearly, God appeared to Moses in some sort of representation, a physical manifestation, but not his true essence. Yet, on the surface, the text appears to read as if God actually has a physical body.
When Mary Magdalene saw Jesus after his resurrection, she initially thought he was the gardener (John 20:15).
In Mark 16:5, the women who came to the garden tomb on the morning of the resurrection saw "a young man" when they looked into the tomb. Luke 24:4 mentions "two men" at the tomb. John 20:12 makes it clear that the "men" the women saw at the tomb were angels, but in the other accounts they are actually called "men." This does not mean that Mark and Luke were in error, just that they recorded what the women literally saw and reported themselves.
These accounts also demonstrate to us that spirit beings can assume physical form, appearing, speaking, and even eating as human beings do. Thus it is entirely possible for an evil spirit to have impersonated Samuel. Again, I remind the reader here that Saul assumed that the entity the medium contacted was Samuel, and even today occultists warn practitioners of the magical arts that spirits often lie and misrepresent themselves. Indeed, in I Kings 22:19-23, God actually permitted a lying spirit to speak through the mouths of prophets in order to lure King Ahab to his death.
Furthermore, consider that Samuel was one of the most righteous men spoken of in the Old Testament. In Jeremiah 15:1, God places him in the same category as Moses, who was the greatest of all of Israel's prophets. Would such a righteous man have broken the commandment of God by communicating with Saul through a demon-possessed witch when God had specifically forbidden this practice, knowing that witchcraft is particularly detestable to God? Would God himself have facilitated this kind of contact in violation of his own commandment?
Neither of these options seems likely.
What then of the fact that the spirit told the truth when it prophesied that Saul would die in battle the following day?
Demons are notorious liars, but they do not always lie. The Pythian priestesses of the ancient world were renowned for their ability to predict events and "see" at a distance, and were even consulted by kings. The slave girl that the apostle Paul cast the demon out of in Acts 16 must have been correct at least part of the time, otherwise she wouldn't have made her owners very much money! Consider also that the Egyptian priests who opposed Moses and Aaron were able to perform genuine miracles, yet they did not do so by the power of God. And again, remember how an evil spirit was used to do the will of God in 1 Kings 22. It's clear from the account of Saul and the witch of Endor that "Samuel's" prophecy of doom absolutely unhinged Saul (I Samuel 28:20-23), and probably aided in his defeat the next day.
- Other Alleged "Ghosts" of the Bible
- A Ghost on the Water
"Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." - Matthew 14:22-27
The Greek word translated "ghost" here is "phantasma," which Strong's defines as meaning: "an appearance, an apparition, spectre." The KJV renders this word as "spirit." Young's Literal Translation renders it "apparition."
Does this passage constitute biblical proof that ghosts exist, because this is what the disciples believed they were seeing?
It certainly demonstrates that Jesus' disciples believed in what we could call "ghosts" or "apparitions," but it does not tell us what they believed these things to be. It does not seem that they believed them to be good, however, as their immediate reaction was one of fear. It is also evident from other passages of scripture that the Jews knew that demons existed, and it may well be that they assumed that a "phantasma" was a visible manifestation of such a spirit. People in the Bible tended to react in fear when angels appeared to them as well, though, so it is difficult to say for certain what they may have believed a "phantasma" to be. The text does not offer commentary on this subject.
Furthermore, even if the disciples believed that a "phantasma" was indeed the spirit of a dead person, this does not mean that they were correct in that belief. The Jews of Jesus' day were mistaken about a number of things, as Jesus demonstrated in his disputations with the leaders of the day. Indeed, the Bible tells us plainly that the sect of the Sadducees did not believe in spirits at allnot even in angels. Greco-Roman culture, which dominated Judea at this time, was, as the apostle Paul comments in the book of Acts, "very superstitious," and the Bible is clear that the Jews were prone to picking up the beliefs and practices of the nations that surrounded them. Belief in ghosts as spirits of the dead may have been part of the superstitions they had absorbed from the dominant culture of the day. Since at least the time of the Exodus, they had believed that mediums could summon the dead, and even this was likely a belief they had picked up from the Egyptians (Egypt being the primary home of the "Mystery" religions at that time).
- The Appearance of Moses and Elijah
Three of the gospelsMatthew, Mark, and Lukedescribe an event known as the "transfiguration," when Jesus was revealed in glorified form in the presence of Peter, James, and John. All three gospels also agree that Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus at this time. Does this then prove that spirits of the departed do in fact return on occasion?
Jesus himself partially answers this question for us in Matthew 17:9 "As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying 'Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead."
Jesus referred to his transfiguration, and the accompanying appearance of Moses and Elijah, as a "vision." "Vision" is translated from the Greek word "horama," which can refer to "spectacles" in terms of unusual sights (such as how Moses' sighting of the burning bush is referred to in Acts 7:31), symbolic representations (such as Peter's vision of the sheet lowered to him from heaven in Acts 10), and to glimpses of the future (such as Paul's vision of Ananias healing him of blindness in Acts 9:12, and the vision of the man from Macedonia saying "Come over and help us," in Acts 16:9).
So, given the three possible usages of "horama," which was the transfiguration? Was it a "spectacle," a symbolic representation of some kind, or a glimpse of the future?
There are some clues that I believe provide the answer.
Six days prior to the transfiguration, Jesus told his disciples: "Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom" (Matthew 16:28). Matthew then immediately relates the transfiguration story in chapter 17, verses 1-13. All of the original twelve apostles are dead, so Jesus could not have had in mind his actual second coming when he said this, given that his coming has not yet taken place. Furthermore, he said "some of those standing here." Some, not all. And, of course, he took only three of the twelve with him when he went up onto the mountain.
In light of this, it makes sense that, when Jesus referred to some of his disciples not experiencing death until they had seen him coming in his kingdom, he was referring to Peter, James, and John witnessing his transfiguration. Therefore, the vision of his coming must have been a glimpse of his future glory. This would also mean that the vision of Moses and Elijah was also a glimpse of how they would appear in the future, given that human beings are not glorified until the time of the resurrection, when Christ comes again:
"And, behold, two men were talking with him; and they were Moses and Elijah, who, appearing in glory, were speaking of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem." Luke 9:30-31
"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then you shall also appear with him in glory." Colossians 3:4
"So also is the resurrection of the dead. It [the body] is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory" I Corinthians 15:42-43
Peter refers to the transfiguration in II Peter 1:
"For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to him by the Majestic Glory, 'This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased'and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention" II Peter 1:16-19
This is also what he is likely referring to in I Peter 5:1 "Therefore I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed"
Peter testifies that he saw exactly what Jesus said "some" of his disciples would see prior experiencing death: that is, the Son of Man coming in his kingdom, a glimpse of the glory yet to be revealed.
In other words, there is every reason to believe that what Peter, James, and John saw during the transfiguration was a glimpse of the future, of Christ glorified and of Moses and Elijah also glorified as they will be during the Millennium, after the resurrection. It was confirmation of Jesus' identity and of his mission. It does not require that the ghosts of Moses and Elijah were actually present at the time; indeed, how could it, given that it presents Moses and Elijah "in glory" when neither has yet been resurrected?
In my opinion, there is no biblical reason to believe that "spirits of the dead" can or do return and contact the living. In fact, I believe this is a very dangerous idea. It is my conviction that all "ghosts" are demonic spirits bent on deception.
One "godly ghosts" advocate I engaged with some time ago protested against the idea that all ghosts are demons by arguing that it made no sense for a demon to pretend to be C.S. Lewis and appear to J.B. Philips in order to encourage him in his translation of the New Testament. Why would a demon do a good deed by encouraging a Christian minister in his work? Why would a demon appear to Perry Stone's father in the guise of a friend and commission him into Christian ministry?
In reply, I ask the following: why would a demon cause the slave girl of Acts 16 to follow Paul and his friends around, saying to the people of the city: "These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation."?
Were Paul and his fellow disciples servants of the Most High God? Yes. Were they proclaiming the way of salvation? Yes.
So why would an evil spirit bear witness to the gospel? That it did so is beyond question. Evidently, demons can and will do what we consider to be good things when it suits them.
The question is, why?
One answer readily suggests itself: a demon might tell the truth, or possibly appear in the guise of a "ghost" to do a good deed, if, by doing so, it can gain the confidence of those who hear of it, and thereby set them up for deception in the future. The slave girl of Acts 16 had a solid reputation as an accurate fortune teller, and was respected in the eyes of the people of the city. Her apparent testimony to the truth of the gospel could have presented a trap for new Christian converts in the city, as they would have been predisposed to believe what she said. The demon working through her could then have begun to lead them astray, thereby perverting the gospel and destroying the work that was being done in that region.
By the same token, Lewis, Philips, and Stone are well known in Christian circles, and are respected by many. Their association with ghostly phenomena lends the subject a kind of credence it could not otherwise enjoy, and thereby presents a great danger. If Christians, particularly leaders and respected authors and speakers, are led to understand that their dead Christian friends and relatives may well be able to interact with them"Hey! It happened to J.B. Philips!"they could be opened up to powerful demonic deceptions. They might even begin to seek out such experiences on their own. I could even see the rise of "Christian mediums," those with prophetic gifts who could take it upon themselves to contact the dead on behalf of believers, thinking it a "safe" means of facilitating such communications.
What new "revelations" might these "ghosts" bring? What new ways of interpreting scripture? What guidance might they offer? I'm sure it will sound wonderful at first, and may be packed with scriptural truths, just as the girl in Acts testified accurately regarding Paul and his gospel message. Satan is a master con man, and con men are willing to string a victim alongsometimes for long periods of time, in what is known as the "long con"until the time comes when they can spring their trap with maximum payoff. It may well be that the evil spirits that make inroads into the church through ghostly revelations will exercise great care in sticking close to the scriptures for a long time, and will not deviate significantly until they have their audiences thoroughly deceived and an especially good opportunity to destroy large numbers of believers presents itself.
Think it can't happen?
"But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons." I Timothy 4:1
The height of this falling away will take place during the Great Tribulation. While discussing the terrors and pressures of those days, Jesus warned us that "false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect" (Matthew 24:24). Believers under great strain during those days will be tempted to rely more on the word of respected Christian authorities than on the Word and Spirit of God (already a serious problem in the church), and if those they are depending upon to guide them are under the influence of evil spirits (as Paul warned in I Timothy 4), the result could be catastrophic for many.
The biblical record teaches that the dead are unaware (at the very least of what occurs in the world of the living), and is particularly clear that when God wants to send his people a message, he does so through human prophets, by the Holy Spirit, or by the hand of an angel. There is no record of him sending a "ghost" to deliver a message to a living person. The idea of "godly ghosts" is extra-biblical and, in my opinion, extremely dangerous.
- Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible.
Robert Hawes is the author of "In Search of God: A Look at Life's Most Essential Question," as well as many articles on various subjects ranging from politics to theology and Christian apologetics. His blog is: http://takeupyourcross73.blogspot.com.
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DOES EVIL EXIST ONLY AS PART OF HUMAN NATURE? By ralph jackson
Most people will agree that evil exists but the majority cannot accept that evil comes from the outside and is placed there by a living devil. We see the atrocities of human against human and attribute the evil they do to each other as inherent in humanity. But by making evil a condition of our natures we believe its origin.
The universe was quiet; everything was in harmony with a loving creator God sustaining millions of worlds in their orbits and protecting those immortal beings who live on them.
Lucifer, the bright and morning star was the most beloved of the created angels. He had the most melodious voice and all the angels loved to hear him sing. They adored him, almost as much as they loved God Himself, but only to God did they bow down and worship, as worship could only be given to the omnipotent One. Because of Lucifer's adoration by millions of the angels, he began to feel more important that he really was. He questioned why he was not allowed into the council of God on matters pertaining to things, which were only for non-created beings. Only God, His Son and the Holy Spirit could be involved in such matters. Little by little Lucifer became dissatisfied with his position and coveted a more important role in heaven. As he grew more and more dissatisfied, he started to make his feelings known to other angels. When God held a council to discuss with His Son and the Holy Spirit about making ta new planet - he Earth, Lucifer questioned why he could not be involved? Lovingly the Father told him why but this did not satisfy Lucifer. He made it clear to everyone who would listen to him that God was unfair in His dealings with His creatures. He questioned the love of God and doubted His justice. In reality, Lucifer was envious and felt that he was as important as the Son of God and he should have been included in the work of creation. The more he thought about not being included, the more his character began to change. He was still adored by millions of angels and it was to these that he murmured and complained how he had been treated. God was very patient with Lucifer and counselled him many times. Lucifer on more than one occasion saw his error and withheld his complaining for a time. However, his envy of the Son of God was deep routed therefore it did not take long to spring up in his heart again. Not long after God had created the Earth and placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Lucifer openly rebelled against God. He had persuaded millions of angels that God was not a just God and therefore could not be trusted to rule the universe. God, in His sorrow, cast Lucifer and the angels that followed him, out of heaven. (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:1-19; Jude 6; 2 Peter 2:4)
IN THE LIKENESS OF GOD
The Earth was to be a special creation. Humanity would be made in the image of God Himself and molded by His own hand. Not only would humans look like their creator, He would breath His Spirit into the body of Adam giving him the same attributes as God Himself. Within mankind would be the ability to create and to pro-create, something both the angels and other worlds could not and did not need to do.
God foreknew that Lucifer would rebel and try to usurp His position as the God of the Universe. Because of Lucifer's dissatisfaction, many of the angels that he had tried to persuade to rebel had remained loyal to God, but doubt had been planted in their minds. It therefore became necessary for God to let Lucifer continue his quest to gain worship for himself. Therefore the Earth would become the stage on which to carry on the battle of good versus evil and humanity would be the prize.
After God created Adam and Eve and placed them in the Garden of Eden there was peace for the newly created couple who where enjoying their new existence. They loved God, with whom they openly talked and walked with upon the earth. We do not know how long it was after the world was created, that God cast out Lucifer and his dissenting angels to the Earth, but it was not long after their fall from heaven that Lucifer began his plan to take over the new kingdom. He looked upon the beauty and peace of God's creation and his jealousy grew stronger. He had been excluded from the planning of the Earth, the Moon, Sun, Stars and Planets therefore his heart turned to hatred for God and this hatred would be directed at those who resembled God. He purposed in his heart to destroy all that God had made and to make it look as though it was God who had caused all the problems. He was now Captain of millions of fallen angels who would carry out his orders. He did not know in the beginning were his plans would take him, but nevertheless he was determined to prove that God was unjust by whatever means, foul or fair. In Satan's mind, persuading Adam and Eve of God's injustice would be the first step towards bringing God down from His throne.
THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL
God had instructed Adam and Eve that every tree in the garden was good for food, with only one exception. God instructed the human pair that if they ate of the tree of 'The Knowledge of Good and Evil', they would lose their lives. He made it very clear to Adam and Eve so they would not fail to understand the serious consequences if they failed to obey His command.
TREE OF LIFE
Inside the garden was also the 'Tree of Life'. Adam and Eve were created mortal; they did not have inherent immortality. To live forever, they had to eat the fruit of the tree of life once a month. Satan was aware of this when he tempted Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. He knew that if Adam and Eve could be persuaded to disobey God, their allegiance would no longer be to God but to himself. He thought God would destroy the pair for their disobedience and therefore prove to the watching universe that God was, as he (Satan) had said, a vengeful and unjust God.
A NEW PERSPECTIVE ON GOD
When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they saw things differently. They had not known or understood what evil was until they had eaten the fruit of the tree. God had wanted to protect the pair from knowing evil, as any loving father would want to protect his or her child from harm, but Satan twisted God's love for His created beings to make Him look oppressive.
Adam and Eve knew what they had done was wrong. Before they ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were naked in the garden. They were covered with the light of God and therefore did not know they were naked, but when they had tasted the fruit, the light of God left them and they not only saw their naked bodies, they felt a nakedness within their hearts.
Immediately they found leaves to cover their fleshly nakedness, and hid in the garden hoping that God would not find them and end their lives. They now felt new emotions and this gave them a new perspective on the way they viewed God. All their walks and talks with Him in the garden were now forgotten. The trust they once had now turned to guilt and fear.
GOD CALLS TO ADAM AND EVE
Although God called out to them to ask where they were, He was well aware what they had done and why they were hiding. Nevertheless, to give them the opportunity of repentance, God asked them what they had done to hide themselves? They did not repent, but cast the blame first Eve blamed the serpent and then Adam blamed his wife but ultimately through Adam's words he blamed God. (Gen 3:12).
SATAN LOOKS ON
Satan and his angels were watching and listening to the conversation between God and Adam and Eve. Their faces were full of expectation and smugness as they waited to see what God would do. To their horror, God did not kill Adam and Eve as they thought He would. Instead, He told them to leave the garden and become wanderers on the face of the earth. Eve would bear children and Adam would till the ground for food to keep them alive. Even though God expelled them from the garden, His love for them had not ceased. He would also help them through the forthcoming trials they would be put through by Satan. He put enmity between the devil and mankind's seed. (Gen 3:15). Satan was deflated. God had shown love for those who had disobeyed Him. He had not killed them as he thought and now God had put into mankind's character the seed of hostility towards the devil. Satan wanted man to worship him, but God's love is so great for His creatures, He gave a way of reconciliation to the disobedient pair. They would worship only God and instruct their children to do the same. (Gen 3)
BARRED FROM THE TREE OF LIFE
On leaving the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve and all of their offspring would be barred from access to the tree of life. They were not immortal. Only God has immortality, this is one of His incommunicable attributes, along with His Omniscience, Omnipresence, and Omnipotence, which belong only to God. Mankind can never possess these godly attributes. Now they did not have access to the tree of life, their bodies would slowly decay. The substance with which God formed mankind was of the wet dust of the earth. God made man of clay and breathed His breath (Spirit), into man's nostrils, and man became a living being. Time erodes matter. After expulsion from the Garden of Eden, all things on this earth now became subject to time. Animals, insects, birds, plants, trees began to die. Although still sustained by God, the Earth itself started to groan as it aged. The corrosion of all things had begun. The organisms and bacteria that once sustained life were changed and began to fight each other both within and outside the host body. The air, once pure oxygen, would eventually fill with toxins reducing the world's oxygen content. To remind humanity what it had lost, the Garden of Eden remained on earth for a time, its access barred by an angel with a flaming sword. It is not known how long it remained before being removed to heaven. Adam and Eve had eaten freely of the fruit of the tree of life, therefore their life span was much longer than today. It took Adam 930 years until he finally died. His many children and their children's children lived long lives. Methuselah was the oldest recorded human, living for 969 years. As time moved on and the human family became more diluted, the lives of those who lived after the flood, reduced until it reached the average age the human family lives today. (Gen 5).
ALL MANKIND MUST EVENUTALLY DIE!
The Bible tells us after each person lived, that he died? God had said to Adam and Eve that eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil would kill them. Because of God's love and mercy, and much to the dissatisfaction of Satan and his angels, He didn't kill Adam and Eve instantly. But they did eventually die and so do all their offspring. Satan had said in the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve would not die, but they would have their eyes open and they would become as gods. In other words, they would live forever. (Gen 5). Who was proven right? God or Satan? Although proven wrong Satan did rest on his laurels. Working through the minds of learned men he eventually gave them a new philosophy, which suited his purpose and perpetuated his original lie - 'You will not die but become like gods'. (Gen 3:5).
BABYLONIAN AND GREEK PHILOSOPHY
When men rejected a Creator God, they began to look for the meaning of life and death. Taking much of the Babylonian philosophy, Greek philosophers formulated the idea that the body is evil and should be got rid of. Only the spirit of mankind is good. If mankind could be free from the body, then the spirit could roam freely and find its peace. This philosophy says the spirit (soul) of man is immortal and departs the body at death. It is only a gateway to another form of life in the spirit world. You can read the Bible from cover to cover and you will not find any mention of a 'conscience' spirit after death. There is one story, (The Rich Man and Lazarus), which many use to prove life in the spirit world. This story however, is a fable used by Jesus to illustrate the huge gulf between heaven and hell. Jesus knew His listeners were steeped in Greek philosophy, so to appeal to their understanding He used a fable as an illustration to say to them: "Even if someone rose from the dead, they would not listen to him". This was a reference to His resurrection after His death on the cross.
Over the centuries, the Greek philosophy that had infiltrated Jewish thinking, eventually found its way into Christianity. It is now ingrained into the psyche of most of the world.
DID ADAM AND EVE LIVE ON AFTER THEIR DEATH?
When Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden they eventually died. They did not become gods or live forever. How do we know this? Because God, speaking to the Godhead, said in Gen 3:15:
"Because the man has become like one of Us, (capital U), to know good and evil. And now, lest he put his hand out and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"
If Adam and Eve were inherently immortal they would have no need of the fruit of the tree of life to live forever. Neither would there have been a need for a 'Plan of Salvation'.
PLAN OF SALVATION
God had formulated a plan of salvation. In this plan, He would sacrifice His Son on the cross of Calvary to save mankind form eternal death. If mankind had an immortal soul, then Jesus need not have died. Mankind's immortal soul would have returned to God and there they would have lived in heaven with Jesus. There would be no need for a resurrection of the body from the grave. Why come back to Earth to claim a perishable body when you are living in paradise as a spirit being? The Bible says that 'the dead no nothing' they have no more a reward for anything under the Sun. (Eccl: 9:5-6). Jesus calls death a sleep. (John 11:11). Separated from our earthly bodies we die. We fall asleep. Time stands still for the dead. Even if a thousand years have passed, the dead do not know it. When Christ leads the angels to raise the dead at the resurrection of the Just, those of us who have slept in the ground or have been lost at sea, or even cremated, will be woken from a dreamless sleep. We will rise in the bodies we lived in on this earth during our mortal life. As each one rises to meet Jesus in the air, our bodies will be transformed into our new heavenly bodies. These will never die. This is when we receive our immortality. (1 Thes 4:12-18).
A CUNNING FOE
The devil is very cunning. Our superstitious ancestors saw the devil as a horned being with a forked tail. Today he has become invisible but not inactive. Through men of evil he continues the fight for this planet. He causes wars, death and destruction using men and women as his tools. Anyone who says he exists is branded a deluded fool. He has turned the world upside down. What was good is now believed to be evil and what was evil is now considered good. Those who are supposed to use the oracle of God His Written Word, now preach that much of it, particularly the book of Genesis is just a fable. They have capitulated to scientific theories, which need as much faith to believe in as the belief in a Creator. The god of this world has blinded their minds and they are leading their flock to destruction. Soon they will see the error in their understanding. (Jer 23:1; 4:23-26; Ezek 34:2
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Jesus Christ-Answer To All Your Questions By Ngozi Nwoke
What questions do you have that are bugging you? Where will you go first to get answers to those questions? Where you get your answers determines what you know, believe and do. People have received answers from the wrong sources and these have cost them a lot, sometimes their lives. This article emphasizes Christ as the answer to all of your questions.
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life..." - John 14:6 (NKJV)
When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, "Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net." And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking - Luke 5:4-6 (NKJV)
People have a lot of unanswered questions and unsolved challenges that are weighing them down. Some questions can't be disclosed by the individuals. Some people are even afraid of the answers they may get. To have questions or challenges is normal; the issue is where you get your answers or solutions.
Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE! If you are looking for a way to or out of a thing or situation, Jesus is the answer. And if you desire to know the truth about anything, Jesus is the answer. Also, if you desire a thing or situation to come alive, Jesus is the answer. There is nothing hard or difficult for Him. There is no impossible case with Him (Luke 18:27). Jesus is the answer for the world.
God, creator of the world, has a manual for the world and so has the answers to all of your questions and has positioned Christ as the channel to them (John 14:6). Anybody who bypasses Christ is bypassing his answer and ultimately his joy, peace and victory.
You may have gotten somewhere without consulting Jesus, however, if you had consulted Him you would have been farther than where you are presently. Nobody can tell you better than your maker. People's experience or suggestions can never be compared with God's answers. The Lord Jesus is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (Revelations 1:8). He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Therefore, there is no question you will ask Him that He doesn't know the answer.
It's left for you to go to Him in prayers and consult Him concerning that issue. All He wants is for you to believe in Him, expect answers from Him, and to be ready to obey Him, for you to have victory and success in life.
Luke 5:1-11 gives an account of Peter's encounter with "the Way". Peter, an experienced fisherman, toiled all night with his brethren but caught nothing. But when he obeyed the words of Christ and launched his net into the deep, he caught the quantity of fish that was beyond his imagination. Jesus knows the way!
Paul recounted his encounter with "the truth" in Acts 26:1-29. He was zealous for God, thinking that he was pursuing the truth only to discover that he was chasing shadows. When he encountered Jesus, his eyes of understanding were opened, he knew the truth, followed the truth and today he is still celebrated. Generations after him sit at his feet through his letters to learn from him.
In Luke 7:11-17, a widow encountered "the Life" and received her dead son back to life. And in the name of Jesus, the cripple at the beautiful gate received life in his legs and started walking (Acts 3:1-10). Ultimately, encounter with Jesus reconciles you back to God and your spirit-man comes alive (Romans 6:3-11).
In conclusion, Jesus is the answer you are looking for, search no more. It's time for your sorrows and woes to end. Ask Jesus to reveal Himself to you as the answer to your questions. Humble yourself and go to Christ in faith and your story will keep speaking even after you have gone.
Ngozi Nwoke Is a teacher and a counselor. A product and distributor of love. She has a passion to teach people how to enjoy God's love and fellowship for more fulfilling life. Want more fulfilling life? subscribe for free email updates today. http://stepswithgod.com
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Three Powerful Weapons Battling Islam's Cultural Jihad By Dannie Hawley
Horrific images of the violent jihad carnage frequently explode on viewing screens around the world now, even coming from Europe and America. But, not all jihad focuses on barbarous acts of cruelty. The Islamic jihadists have developed another strategy specifically for the western world. Initially, fear overwhelmed me as I realized how far into their grip America has fallen. Hope revived when I remembered we have three powerful weapons battling Islam's Cultural Jihad.
Before unveiling the arsenal, let's define the plan and briefly discuss the strategy.
The word jihad means struggle against an enemy. The Muslims see the world in terms of two houses: the House of Islam and the house of War. All non-Muslims are in the second house. Jihad is the struggle against the House of Waralso called the House of Evil.
Until September 11, those of us living in the west set the threat aside. Nothing so barbaric as jihad would ever come to our shores. In reality, the jihad in America began with what seemed an innocuous visit between one member of the Muslim Brotherhood and then-President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953. When the brief encounter ended, the clock began ticking. The goal: To turn America and Canada into sharia-compliant countries.
While the radical jihadists prefer the violent methods because the take-over is more quickly accomplished, the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood demonstrate an incredible patience as they work through the phases of the cultural, stealth, or civilization jihad. These terms are used interchangeably.
Keep in mind; all jihad has the same purpose, world domination by Islam.
Cultural jihad is the process of infiltrating a non-Muslim country with the express intent of turning the culture to one organized and administrated as a sharia-compliant country. Wearing down local, State and national authorities in every sector of society takes time and must be done calculatedly.
The Islamic culture is governed by sharia, which is much more than a set of judicial laws. Dictionary.com defines sharia as "the body of canonical law based on the Koran that lays down certain duties and penalties for Muslims." Sharia affects every sector in the life and government of a civilization.
Let's move to the plan for cultural jihad.
Until 2004, our government didn't know a specific plan of cultural jihad had been going on in America for more than fifteen years. Imagine the surprise when the routine traffic stop resulted in the FBI recovering a cache of files belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood (MB).
Among the boxes, the authorities found a document, written by a member of the Board of Directors of the Muslim Brotherhood in North America and a senior leader of Hamas, entitled, An Explanatory Memorandum: On the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America. Within the Memorandum, the investigators discovered the following section: Understanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America.
The document outlines their mission and the role of the brothers in the United States as follows:
"The process of settlement is a 'Civilization-Jihadist Process' with all [that] the word means. The Ikhwan [members of MB] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."
In other words, the MB expects the Muslims inside America to wage a civilization jihad in order to turn the culture into a sharia-compliant country. They'll do this by infiltrating and influencing the government, the courts, the business community, the media, the schools, and the churches.
Can't happen in the west? The folks in the U.K. said the same thinguntil it did. On September 14, 2008, the government of the United Kingdom instituted a dual court system for the neighborhoods populated by Muslims. The authorities had been worn down until all real resistance to the Muslim system of persuasion collapsed.
The sharia-compliant judges decide all civil cases, even those brought against the churches and Christians already living in those neighborhoods.
Not in America! Oh, but it already is. At least fifty court cases have been decided by a sharia-compliant judge, using the Koran as his standard of law. The man had a right to beat his wife senseless because she disagreed with him. The Koran forbids her rebellion.
American public school systems have already become involved in the infiltration. While all things related to Christianity have been eliminated from our public schools, I'm aware of two high schools that are enforcing the teachers' use of the Koran and Muslim Statement of faith in their classes. Likely there are others across the States.
In Maryland, one father was threatened with arrest if he set foot on the campus of his daughter's high school. The military veteran wanted his daughter to be exempt from the requirement of the World History teacher. Against her own Christian beliefs, she is expected to memorize and recite the Muslim Statement of Faith and learn the five pillars of Islam.
In the eyes of Islam, to recite the Statement of Faith in the presence of two witnesses makes the person a Muslim, regardless of why they recited it. When she refused, she received failing grades for every assignment, thereby affecting her grade for the class. The case is still being fought.
In Virginia, a Christian father objected to the calligraphy assignment that forced his daughter to write out the Muslim statement of Faith, using the Arabic script. The suggestion is that some other verse may be used to practice calligraphy with Arabic script that has nothing at all to do with Islam. Surely, the verse from an Arabic Bible would satisfy the requirement. The latest I could find gave the teacher the right to decide what happens in his classroom, period. Do it or fail the assignment.
Incarcerated Muslims complained that the food served in American prisons didn't comply with the Muslim dietary laws. The government responded. Now, all food complies; all meat has been offered to Allah with a blessing by the Imam. Non-Muslim prisoners have only one choiceeat the Muslim food or go hungry.
There are many such examples of cultural changes slowly infiltrating our country, but who cares about this stuff, right?
Remember the story of the frog put in a pot of cold water? As the temperature of the water gradually increases, he doesn't perceive the danger he's in. The frog boils to death without ever attempting to leave the deadly pot.
This is the amphibious illustration of cultural jihad. The waters have been heating so slowly, many of our leaders haven't seen the danger, preferring to remain politically correct at any cost. Just don't make waves.
Last week I listened to a member of the Muslim Brotherhood being interviewed about the situation in Belgium. Forty percent of the students in the public school system in Brussels are Muslim children. Twenty-five percent of the population in all big cities in Belgium are Muslims. There are no-go enclaves where sharia law is practiced all over Belgium.
He pointed out the fact that Europeans have only 1.4 children, as compared with the eight children born to each Muslim family. At that rate, by 2030, the country will have more Muslims than non-Muslims just by population. He boldly declared that when that happens, they'll declare sharia law and that's it. It'll be an Islamic, sharia-compliant country. Little wonder Belgium is resisting the addition of any asylum-seekers from Syria.
According to last month's statistics, America's birth rate is 1.25. Belgium's problem can easily become ours. The MB continues slowly increasing the pressure in every sector of society while their population increases eight times faster than ours.
The five phases outlined in the MB's document entitled, "Phases of the World Underground Movement Plan," reveal the strategy used in a cultural jihad. These are the phases written in the MB's document:
Discreetly and secretly establish leadership. (It's no surprise that the first organization established in America was the Muslim Student Association (MSA) in 1963. MSA has 50,000 chapters around the USA and Canada.)
Gradual appearance on the public scene. exercise and utilize various public activities.
Escalation phase, prior to conflict and confrontation with the rulers, through utilizing mass media.
Open public confrontation with the Government through exercising the political pressure approach.
Seize power to establish Islamic Nation under which all parties and Islamic groups are united.
The retrieval of information gleaned from news broadcasts over the past years paint a gruesome picture for America. Can you recognize the poor frog enjoying the warming water, oblivious to the death knell ahead? That's us, but it doesn't need to be. It's not necessary to let political correctness grow that tolerance vine to strangle the life out of the liberties our forefathers fought so hard to establish, and our military gave so much to guard for us.
Christians, it's time to arise! Jump out of that water and take up your weapons! We have three powerful weapons battling Islam's cultural jihad. Let's put them to use and declare we're not going to just let it happen.
As with all weapons of war, soldiers need to know their weapons inside and out. However, knowing isn't enough. If the soldier doesn't take up arms and move out to use the tools, he's still going to lose the battle, right?
The Bible says that "the weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds" (II. Cor. 10:4 NIV) Our weapons don't fire gunpowder-filled shells, but we still need to know the weapons well, and exactly how God wants them to be used.
Our battle with Islam is a spiritual war. God's made provision for us to win. We need only to use the weapons he's given us.
One: Anointed, courageous pastors
Not all Bible-believing pastors can be included in this category. I've heard some really meaty sermons from eloquent speakers, but it's clear that they are playing it safe. Political correctness censors their messages. Those anointed for the End Times preaching aren't found in every pulpit.
Please, don't rush out and change churches. That's not what I'm suggesting at all. If your pastor is one who preaches his heart from the bible, stay put. You need his teaching, too.
There seems to be a small group of courageous pastors God has anointed to bring us hard truth related to the enemy's activities in our world today. God is using them on a global scale via the internet to be sure we're not caught unaware.
It's written in the Bible that God's people perish for lack of knowledge. With instant access through Google, we need only to turn our online time to bringing ourselves up-to-date on what's happening. I use Google to confirm any tidbits I read/hear that are new or unexpected. I'm constantly being astonished at what's been happening right under our noses, which has sharpened my prayers for our nation and the world.
What I'm suggesting is that you remain faithful to your local church, but check in with the online broadcasts of a couple of those searching the news alongside the Bible to fill in the current status of our nation and our world. Here are two I recommend:
Pastor Jack Hibbs, California
Though Pastor Jack is a dynamic and authoritative preacher himself, he often invites experts to share the current status on events happening in Israel, as well as what Christians need to know about Islam.
On January 20, 2016, guest speaker Jay Smith, shared the message, "Jesus, the hope for the Islamic world."
While on the church's website, stay in the archives and listen to Amir Tsarfati, a Jewish Believer in Jesus. Amir always has great and timely information when he pops over from his home in Israel.
You can subscribe to Pastor Jack's podcast, so you'll get each message right to your IPhone, like me, or your iPad. You'll find the church's podcast in iTunes, Calvary Chapel Chino Hills.
J.D. Farag, the Aloha Pastor
Bet you already figured out J.D. lives in Hawaii. If you pictured a laid-back speaker with a meditatively slow speaking style, you got J.D. right. Unless, of course, what he's sharing about the world events has riled him, Then, his volume and speed pick up.
J.D. broadcasts weekly Mid-East Prophecy Updates online, via his website or YouTube channel. Using the Bible as his standard for measuring the times in which we are living, J.D. reviews the week's news events in light of specific Scriptures.
Two: Bold, committed Christians
Honestly, I had knees knocking when I faced the barrel of an AK-47 years ago, but in spite of my own weakness, God's grace emboldened me. I trust that He'll do it every time.
When I learned Pastor Jack had to hire bodyguards due to the many death threats his stand for truth has brought, I thanked God for Pastor Jack's courage and breathed a sigh of relief God hadn't called me to do what he's doing.
When I learned of the trouble other bloggers have had in trying to enlighten their readers as to the truth about Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood, my heart rate increased, and I felt a bit of panic coming on. The fact is that, to a Muslim, anyone who speaks negatively about Islam has committed blasphemy, even if it's the truth. The penalty under sharia is death.
That's why you're not hearing President Obama admit that the terrorists are Islamic terrorists. To do so would fall under committing blasphemy.
The Bible says that the truth will set us free. If the Christians would take a stand for the rights and privileges our Constitution affords us as American citizens, remembering that our forefathers used the Bible to develop the Constitution and bill of Rights, the truth we stand for would keep us free.
I decided to take a stand against the bullying of the Muslim Brotherhood and post this information. This is our country, and in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob we will trust.
With God's amazing grace, I will be a bold, committed Christian. I'll continue to study His Word and investigate what I'm learning from his courageous pastors. I will not look the other way in the interest of political correctness and let our rights be taken from us.
Three: Fervent, effectual prayer--God Answers
All of us are called to pray for our leaders and for our country. In fact, the Bible also tells us to pray for our enemies. You can do that praying in the hidden places of your own homes, or in the prayer room at your local church. Just pray and keep praying. It's our most powerful weapon against the cultural jihad.
Praying for Jesus to reach the hearts of those taught to hate and kill us in lands far from our shores is well worth our efforts. Last year alone, sixty million Muslims came to faith in Christmany because of specific dreams God gave them.
Through the fervent efforts of Christian prayer warriors, God is turning the hearts of radical jihadists towards Jesus. The testimonies of other Muslims who've discovered the love of Jesus is bringing new life to the many lost warriors of Islam. Go online and you'll find many testimonies to build your faith.
Kamal Saleem is one of the radicals ordered to wage cultural jihad against America. Among the Christian organizations endorsing him is Focus on the Family. Here's a brief look at his story:
Four-year-old Kamal listened to the words of the Koran when his mother read to him. At their dining table in Lebanon, he learned that he would one day bring honor to his family by being a martyr for Allah. At seven, his training with automatic weapons began in a PLO training camp. In his early-twenties, the Muslim Brotherhood sent him to America as part of the warriors for the cultural jihad already in process.
Kamal wanted to live in the Bible Belt because he wanted to war against the strongest believers. His mission: to bring them all to convert to Islam. God had other plans for the young radical's life.
Through the witness of Christian medical workers caring for him after a serious car accident, Kamal discovered the lies his Islamic leaders had told him about American Christians. They didn't show him that they hated him and wanted him dead at all.
It's an amazing story that you can hear Kamal tell in just eight minutes.
Kamal Saleem's story has been published by Simon and Schuster under the title, The Blood of Lambs.
I recommend a YouTube video of Kamal sharing shocking revelations of what's really happening in America today. A real eye-opener that answers a lot of questions. The title of his message recorded during a church service is,
Kamal Saleem Warns of the Islamization of America Part One and Part Two
The Muslim Brotherhood has launched an aggressive attack against America. Our leaders appear disinterested in altering the course of the river of change that soon will overflow the boundaries of the Constitution. They're prepared to let us drown in the Islamic sea of sharia to preserve political correctness and not offend our attackers.
We need not lie down and let the worst case scenario just happen. Lets' be a part of the fight. We can begin using the three powerful weapons battling Islam's cultural jihad right now.
Dannie Hawley has served in the foreign mission field since May 1984. Her experiences around the world have challenged her to boldly live as a Christian under the spreading reach of Islam. Dannie's blog: www.goldennuggetsandsilvermusings.com
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24 Gold Coins By Femi Onabanjo
"Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12)
Benjamin Franklin once said, "Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of". Time is the currency of life. Every day you receive a fresh supply of it to trade with. Each day comes with 24 precious hours (gold coins) for each of us without exception. Every one of us has this equal opportunity daily and even poor utilization of yesterday's supply does not disqualify anyone from receiving their full share today. How tragic it is, then, to misuse such Grace day after day, month after month, year after year! Have you taken stock of the value of the time you have been given? How many gold coins have you received since the day you were born? A hundred thousand? Two hundred thousand? Maybe more. Now imagine that you obtained a loan of that same amount from the bank. Would you be able to give a justifiable report of how you have used it? Do you not feel a burden to show results for what you have been given?
Everything you need is within something you already have, and that thing is time. If you are willing to pay the price and invest those coins in exchange for something of value, nothing will be beyond your reach. This brings us to the question: On what are you spending your gold coins? Are you squandering them? Or burying them in the sand, like the man who was given one talent (Matt. 25:18)? Do you appreciate the value of your coins? If you did, you would be like the woman who lost one of her coins and did not stop searching for it until she found it (Luke 15:8). What is the value of an hour to you? If you lose an hour of your day, what does it mean to you? Perhaps you do not even flinch at the thought (after all you would still have twenty-three hours at your disposal). Recall that the woman who was searching so diligently for her coin still had nine other coins in her possession. But that didn't stop her from recovering the missing one.
Some of us are missing not just hours, but years, from our lives. Through poor decisions, avoidable mistakes, bad friends, wrong advice and a number of other reasons, we have taken a wrong turn on the road of life and ended up in a ditch. We have lost so much time that we believe our lost years are beyond redemption. But listen! Hear the voice of God's promise echoing from the pages of scripture "I will restore to you the years which the swarming locust has eaten" (Joel 2:25). It is never too late to correct a mistake. Never too late to start afresh. Never too late to finish well. You can rise again. You must rise again. In fact, you must rise now. "There is hope for the tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots won't stop growing" (Job 14:7). As long as you are alive, you have hope. Even a living dog is better than a dead lion (Eccl. 9:4). There is no reason to give up when you still have hope. All you need to do is ask for help from the Giver of time. He controls the times and seasons. He controls time and chance. He can give you a new start.
With this new beginning, the privilege of time (and the opportunities it provides) takes on new meaning. You are aware of the great potential of those coins. You realise you must decide what to do with them. No longer will you allow chance, circumstances or others make the decisions for you. You know it's time to be accountable, to be responsible; time to really live. Every coin that leaves your hand is now an investment. You are thinking, not in minutes now, but in days, weeks, years, even decades. You are thinking 'future' and not 'present'. Tomorrow and not today. This, my friend, is how to treat your priceless coins; as precious seeds to be sown. Do not assume it will be fun to deny yourself of certain privileges and sacrifice some pleasures for the promise of tomorrow. Ps. 126:6 however assures you of a good return on your investment "He who goes forth and weeps, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him". Could there be any greater encouragement than that? Indeed, there will be pain in the sacrifice but it will be overshadowed by the joy of the reward. You will give up precious things like your comfort, sleep, fun and games, food (yes, that inclusive), and some other things not on this list. But more precious will be your harvest when it comes.
You must already know some areas of your life where you need to do some sowing, places in which you must invest some gold coins. Some areas may require a few gold coins, others several more. Whatever the price is, pay it now. You will not always have gold coins to spend. Eccl. 12:6-7 reminds us that one day our bodies will return to the dust of the earth, and the breath of life will go back to God, who gave it to us. What account will you give, then? What will be your reward? The answer lies in your hands. In what you do with your gold coins.
Lord and Giver of time, please forgive me for how I have squandered my gold coins. I ask that You redeem the time I have lost and give me a new start, new opportunities and new Grace. As I begin, now, to invest this treasure, I thank You in advance for the harvest that I will reap. Amen.
Femi is a Christian who desires to be fruitful for God. He wants to contribute to the growth of the Kingdom and to this end, it is his joy to freely share whatever the Lord lays on his heart for the benefit of others.
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Sorrow By Kathleen Curry
She was desperate, out of breath, confused. Another round of fire just barely missed her as she banked hard to the right.
For years, hundreds of years she had enjoyed a good relationship, now, in the same words they used to say to welcome her, they cursed her and tried to eradicate her. Her heart was broken; shattered into a million tiny pieces. She would forgive them if only she knew what was wrong.
Finally she spied a tall tree that provided some cover. She needed time to rest, to plan.
She dive bombed the tree and scattered all the birds that had been sitting contentedly in it. She then flew with them for a short ways hoping it would draw the people off. She was winded and had to rest. After she landed and got some of her strength back, she began to inspect her perch.
Fluttering in the breeze on a flagpole next to her perch was a flag.
"Hello, Eagle." The flag opened a conversation. " I am 'Glory', what do you go by?"
Eagle straightened up trying to look her best. Not many of her kind had been lucky enough to meet a flag. This was, indeed, a great honor. "I am called 'Sorrow;' " she responded.
"Interesting name, but fitting given the circumstances," replied Glory.
"Can you tell me what is going on with the people?" Sorrow inquired. "I have always had such a good relationship now I dare not be seen."
"You are wise to stay out of sight. There is a movement among the people. The leaders of it include the President himself, and then others who have names people like to follow, like Clinton, Reed, Roberts, just to name a few."
"I had been warned about Reed and Roberts but the others, I thought they had sworn an oath to protect and stand my what we represent. I simply do not understand"
Glory and Sorrow stopped their conversation as cries came from below. Sorrow spied the goings on first and began to hiss and cry in anger and fury.
"Sorrow, what is it you see?" Glory asked.
"They have another of your kind, your sister. A man is stomping her, trying to grind her into the road. Another, oh no, I, I cannot watch! Another has lit it ablaze! I must go! I must try to help her! "
"Wait, Sorrow, do not go. That is my sister, 'Stars 'n Stripes.' If you go down you will only be hurt or killed yourself. As much as my heart breaks"
Screams from Stars 'n Stripes rose in bone chilling horror and Glory could not continue. Finally the screams died out as Glory's sister was no more.
Glory did not flutter in the wind, she hung like a tired dishrag. She grieved for her sister and for the country both of them represented.
"Glory, I am so sorry. I wish I could have saved her." Sorrow whispered softly as a tear fell from her eye. "How did things come to this? I do not understand."
Flag was quiet a moment and then began: "Years back, the people signed a document that began:
'We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.'
They had just come through a terrible war for independence and were trying to set up their own government. This was an experiment that had never been tried before and the civilized world was waiting, watching for this fledgling government to fail.
She almost fell in the mid eighteen hundreds when the war called 'civil' was waged. Father fought son, brother against brother. Again, it almost destroyed the country, but the people reunited and she regained her strength. But hatreds and rivalries went on and hate groups and supremacist groups formed such as the KKK and later on the Neo-Nazi's. They caused great sadness for those who were the object of their biases, but as a whole, the country moved forward.
Apologists for the minority groups, such as blacks, rose and at first, their cause was good and just. But then, as equality was achieved, these same apologists became interested in self, in power. No longer did they truly represent their people, only the money and power such a position could offer.
The success of the country allowed the people to relax. The state had taken over education, medicine for the least able, offered welfare for those who could not provide for themselves. The people began to move away from a reliance on God or adherence to His laws and precepts.
Once they began to move away from God, their downward spiral began.
Oh to be sure, there were some shining moments and here and there were pockets of revival of faith in God and patriotism; especially right after Pearl Harbor and then after the Twin Towers, but more and more people were listening to those who said what they wanted to hear rather than what they needed to hear.
The success of the country allowed the people to relax. The state had taken over and education, medicine for the least able, offered welfare for those who could not provide for themselves. The people began to move away from a reliance on God or adherence to His laws and precepts.
Groups claiming to do a public service did a huge business in abortions and selling baby body parts, women were pressured into believing these things were their rights. Others wanted special rights depending on skin color, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs. After a while, this country became almost the opposite of what it's Declaration of Independence and Constitution described. These changes were explained to the people by claims that these are "living documents" and as such can be changed with the times. This rendered them useless for guiding the country and the party in power got to set its own rules.
Sorrow, the eagle looked at "Glory" the flag and there were tears in Sorrow's eyes.
"Why do you cry?" asked Glory. Things change, people change.
"Yes," Sorrow said softly. "Things change, but the people have given up a priceless gift that they will never get back. They have given up the blessings this land has known for over two hundred years' they have given up their freedoms that so many fought and died for; and they have given up their future."
Glory ws quiet for a moment and then said, "There was once a man named Khrushchev. He was from Russia, then known as the USSR. He was famous for banging his shoe on the table. He said that the communists would conquer America from within. I think his exact words were:
'We will take America without firing a shot ... we will bury you!
"We can't expect the American people to jump from capitalism to communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have communism.
"We do not have to invade the United States, we will destroy you from within.'"
"I fear he was right."
Sorrow bowed her head in agreement and that one tear turned into two and three and four.
"May what was the miracle of America rest in peace. I must leave this place, Glory. I fare you well."
"Good luck, Sorrow, perhaps you will find a better place." Glory responded wishing she too could leave this place of anger and hatred.
Kathy Curry kafrak.com
Kathy is a retired teacher in SW Florida who enjoys writing about politics, faith in Jesus Christ, and other topics as they seem timely. www.kafrak.com
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The Day The Mainstream Media Died By Dr. Henderson Ward
Mark the day, and remember what you did during it; Monday, 4th April 2016. It is the day historians will look back and see as the day when the proverbial "last straw that broke the canel's back" was applied to the dying Mainstream Media.
True, the Mainstream Media was ailing for a long time, and some even remarked that it was dead to a point of preparing its obituary, but somehow the moribund entity refused to roll over and die; even when it was obviously mortally wounded. The enormous growth of social media was to the Mainstream Media what Kryptonite was to Superman, and the reputation and standing of feckless, grovelling, armchair journalism had seemed to push it beyond recall. But still the bloated corpse in rigor mortis still kept kicking.
Not any more.
Today, people taking their information, education or even entertainment from the Mainstream Media has to be from another world, or are dotty beyond belief, or are so brain-washed or brain-dead (same thing really when you think of it) that they could not distinguish their posterior (I was tempted, for a moment, to use a word that rhymes with pass) from their elbow.
Monday, 4th April 2016 was the passing away of the Mainstream Media, and with no tears the world, especially social media, has said, without sympathy and without condolences, the words appended to all such events. Rest In Peace.
Every human being on this planet, with an IQ above ten, knows that the Mainstream Media cannot be trusted, and that it is owned by the rich and works for their interest, and that the supine journalist bark to the tune of their paymasters even as they vomit their trash all over their dwindling readership and viewers.
These facts were brought home to me, like a sledgehammer blow to the face, when after the US invasion and overthrow of president Saddam Hussein of Iraq in 2003, Wolf Blitzer on CNN asked the question, and ran the headline to his viewers, "WHICH COUNTRY SHALL WE INVADE NEXT?" Imagine that, a member of the Mainstream Media asks his viewers to tell the USA which country it should invade and destroy next.
The idea that the Mainstream Media gives you the proper information to enable you to make informed decisions, and hold enlightened opinions, or even merely to know what's going on, is the sickest joke going the rounds. What it gives is misinformation, hype, naked propaganda and shows dismissive contempt for human intelligence.
And all of this came supersized and wrapped in ribbons on Monday, 4th April 2016.
Monday, 4th April 2016 was the day for the world-wide trawl of the so-called Panama Papers. The Panama Papers are an unprecedented anonymous leak of 11.5 million files from the database of the world's fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. The files contain information showing how the rich and famous from across the world hide their money to avoid paying taxes, and launder dirty money.
But here is what you need to know and think about carefully.
Out of the 11.5 million files not a single time was the name PUTIN mentioned. As you know President Putin is the democratically elected leader of Russia, proud to call himself a Christian, the scourge of homosexuality and lesbianism in his country, and a strong voice opposing decadence at home and abroad.
Yet the fact that Putin was not mentioned once in the files did not stop the Mainstream Media from using his picture and the word "corruption" in all their productions across the West, even here in the Caribbean, to smear him by linking him to a friend of his, a cellist called Sergei Roldugin, who was named in the files.
It is a long and a fancied tradition of the "Gutter Press" to smear those it does not like by linking them to their friends, who might have committed some offence. When the Mainstream Media has fallen to this level, it is time that decent people abandon it, as millions have already done, and find more acceptable outlets of information.
So the question must be asked, why would the Mainstream Media with so much fresh, newsworthy information acted in such an appalling manner with regards to the so-called Panama Papers?
First, the Mainstream Media is owned by rich people, like Rupert Murdoch, billionaire, like Ted Turner, billionaire, like Bill Gates, billionaire, like Michael Bloomberg, billionaire, and some of the richest and biggest companies in the world, like Comcast corporation, like Time Warner, Inc, like CBS Corporation, like Bertelsmann AG.
It is known that rich people and rich corporations engage in massive tax avoidance and often with the complicity of wannabe-rich politicians and acolytes and fawning regulators.
Lest we forget the way regulators and governments deal with rich people (whom they regard as friends), we should remember one man; Bernard Madoff. Madoff ran an investment Ponzi scheme that cheated its investors out of 18 billion dollars and he pleaded guilty to 11 Federal Felonies, and admitted to turning his business into a massive Ponzi scheme. On June 29, 2009, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison for his crimes.
The factor most notable about Bernard Madoff's fraud was that the regulators, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), had previously conducted multiple investigations into Madoff's business practices, but had not uncovered the massive fraud. It took Madoff to admit to his children his massive fraud on December 10th , 2008 before they reported the matter to the authorities causing the FBI to charge Madoff with fraud on December 11th , 2008.
Second, governments have a long history of colluding with the rich and famous, and will only act if not to do so is embarrassing, or could seriously damage the government. All over the world the rich act as if they are above the law, do things that are criminal and get away with them, and generally throw their weight around without normal constraint.
Individuals tend not to run foul of the government because of the likely consequences of retribution. But the Mainstream Media knows its freedom of speech is guaranteed nearly everywhere in the world, and yet they are spineless in revealing the truth about their rich citizens because they are terrified of dishing the dirt on their own employers.
Timid, supine and boot-licking the Mainstream Media would rather smear someone overseas, who is impervious to their malign influence, rather than name and shame the culprits in their midst, and try to clean up their own backyard. They kick to death their poor and weak and elevate the criminal rich to the lofty heights of esteem and prominence.
Another reason for the death of the Mainstream Media is that it is incapable or unwilling to speak truth to power to friendly governments.
How many in the Mainstream Media pointed out on Monday, 4th April 2016 that the most serious tax-avoidance and money laundering schemes are carried out in countries friendly to or under the sovereignty of the USA or UK? Check for yourself the situation in countries like British Virgin Islands and the Cayman Islands and you will see why the USA and Britain often speak of a special relationship.
So what is the Christian to make of all of this?
1. The world is dominated by evil; because it is under the influence and control of Satan: "In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." (2 Corinthians 4:4))
2. The rich pollute nearly everything they touch, and only a slim few will transcend their class and avoid perdition: "And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:24)
3. Hollywood is part of the Mainstream Media and has been spewing toxicity for decades. Watchful Christians need to be more selective in their viewing and reading habits being mindful of God's requirements: "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." (Philippians 4:8)
4. Christians should stay close to the commendation of David: "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me." (Psalm 101:3)
With reference to the Panama Papers, it is quite likely that in the coming days and weeks the Mainstream Media may catch up with the rest of social media, but it has crossed the Rubicon, and it will surprise no one if its rigor mortis kickings extend for a considerable time.
Books by this author you may wish to read.
THINGS EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW (e-book)
Volume 1 Five tough facts to be faced
STAND UP TO THE DEVIL (e-book)
Volume 1 You must first identify him
BASTARD: A STORY OF REDEMPTION(e-book fiction)
ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD'S CLOCK (Hard copy)
ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD'S CLOCK (e-book)
You Will Find These Books BELOW
Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013
Trust No One By Steve Countryman
To trust someone is to place your trust in them. There are different levels of trust just as there are different kinds of friendship. You typically trust a friend and trust even more that of a close or best friend. Your trust may be in there opinions or feelings. You trust professionals based on their abilities in their fields of expertise. You trust your teachers in school that the facts you were told were true. You trust that when someone in authority quotes rules or laws to you that they know what they are talking about.
To trust in man is to be disappointed. For no man or woman is perfect and sooner or later that trust will turn to disappointment. The truth is that trust is often broken just as facts are subject to change. If you trust in facts to be the truth then you're going to be disappointed! Look at why Galileo was thrown in prison. He believed and taught that the earth rotated around the sun and not the other way around. The "truth" of that day was wrong and Galileo was right.
Your beliefs are directly tied to those things that you truly trust! You cannot believe in something that you don't trust in. Likewise, you cannot trust in something that you don't believe in!
So where do you place your trust? Who do you trust? What do you base your "core beliefs" in? Do you trust in your government or your leaders? Do you trust in the media to tell you ALL the truth? Do you trust EVERYTHING you read or see on the Internet? Do you allow others to form your opinions and trusts?
Of ALL the things to trust in the single most important thing has to be where you spend eternity. Where do you put your trust in your eternity, your teachers/professors, world theology, your best friend or your family members? Is it in your local church? Is it in your pastor? Or do you put your trust in those TV evangelists to guide you to eternity? Do you allow others to tell you what the Bible says about your future? Do you trust that the Bible is the absolute Word of God? If so then why would you allow someone to spoon feed you the Word as they want to interrupt it? Can you trust them to do so correctly? Would you bet your eternal life on them? When was the last time you picked up your Bible and searched through the scriptures to verify what someone told you?
Proverbs 3:5-6 "5Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." Psalm 28:7"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him." Psalm 32:10"Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him."
Psalm 91:2 I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust." His Word says "trust in the Lord", it doesn't say trust in God and man but in God alone.
Trust no one! As messed up as the world is today don't let it dictate to you where you will spend eternity! There is only One God and His name is NOT Allah, Buddha, Krishna or Divine Mother. His name is Jehovah God and the ONLY way to God is through His Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth! That is THE TRUTH that you can put ALL of your trust in
My name is Steve and I was born and raised in a good Christian home in Phoenix Arizona. In 2004 God spoke to me to let me know that He would start sharing things with me that I would share with others. Little did I know how powerful and meaningful those things would be! Thank you Lord!!
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Did You Know That The Battle IS Already Won? By Deborah Lassiter
Am I the only one who finds it hard to have courage in the midst of a battle or a problem? At times adversity, work struggles, relationships pretty much life in general ,I have found, requires a particular amount of courage and strategy just to make it through the day let a lone a lifetime.
Prior to becoming a disciple for Jesus Christ I would run from person to person asking the infamous question, "What should I do now?" when problems descended upon me,and my faithful Christian friends, and family would respond, ever so gently, after listening to my problems,
"I will pray for you." at the time I didn't quite understand, and so all I could do was cry, because that was AKA for...there is nothing we or you can do except pray about it. It is humbling to know and accept that your hands are tied, and that there is nothing to do , physically, when life's tragedies come hurdling towards you. I have come to understand now in my life that if one doesn't know who God is or what all of his awesome resources could do for in and for your life it becomes even harder to hear someone say the phrase 'I will pray for you.'
The tears that I would weep when I was ignorant to his magnanimous power, but now all I can do is worship him when I hear that truth why? because I know prayer works, and can work mightily in your life too if you choose to indulge in it on your road towards your battles; for my friend what I have learned along the way is that the battle has already been won!
Courage , nonetheless, is hard to muster up after you have been beat down, in your spirit, by set backs and disappointments, but for many who desire to go to the next level in their lives courage and strength with a side order of confidence, are ingredients that will be needed on your journey to success. As I pondered about this I could not help but think of Joshua, in the bible, a man that grew up watching his predecessor Moses find courage, somehow, to deal with the Pharaoh of Egypt when he confronted him to free the Hebrew slaves. Joshua also watched as Moses handled all the complaints along with all the grumbling and complaining of two million Hebrews as they crossed the desert. Joshua, witnesses Moses part the Red Sea so that the Hebrews could cross on dry land while the the sea closed up when the Egyptian soldiers dared to follow after them. Joshua, I am sure, had many stories and experiences to draw from, for strength, when Moses died and appointed Joshua the leader over the Israelite's.
While Moses was alive we read, in scripture, that Joshua was one of the 12 spies that was sent to check out the land that God promised Abraham so long ago, and we also discover, in scripture, that Joshua is one of the two that came back declaring , along with Caleb, that the land could be taken. We see leadership and warrior qualities in Joshua right from the beginning, and so when he is appointed the next leader we , the reader, understand why, but upon Moses' death Joshua had to be so scared; for their leader was gone ,and now there was just him to carry on the baton of faith.
Joshua had to wonder how did Moses do it all these years, and how did Moses stand up under the pressure of leading over 2 million, unruly, Israelite's to a land that they were scared to take over even though God had already promised it to them. How does a leader encourage, empower,and impart his wisdom to a nation ,and to a people, that just can't seem to see the larger picture nor the vision that has been placed before him?It is this scripture, I believe, that gives us the answers to what we have been searching for...
"After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses' aide: "Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them--to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you: I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of Law depart from your mouth;meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." ( Joshua 1:1-3 & 1:5-9)
Praise God in all his glory for , according to this scripture, Moses never did any of these miraculous miracles on his own; it was Moses choosing to submit to God's will for him and the nation of Israel. Moses never chartered new territory without God going before the Israelite's first, and now we ,the reader, can better understand how Moses was so successful for it was always God that went before him, and therefore he was never alone in battle.
I believe God new that Joshua was fearful,anxious, and scared, but God promises, in this transition, to be with him just like he promised Moses when he started on his journey so long ago. To hear from the mouth of God that he is indeed for you, and not against you had to be music to Joshua's ears, but we also see that God asks something of the man who He would be behind and support. God asks that Joshua not only be courageous and strong, but to also obey all the laws that Moses gave him and the Israelite's while they were in the wilderness. God tells Joshua to never let the word of God depart from him mouth, and to meditate on it day and night so that his actions , his worship, and his praise to him would line up with all that he would say and do with the nation. God says to Joshua that it is then, and only then ,by your obedience to these instructions, that all will go well for you; and you will be successful just like my servant Moses.
Beloved a lot of people say that they are serving the Lord, but they have not committed to obeying him. God told Joshua not to let the laws Moses taught him depart from his mouth, and so I ask you ,beloved, have you done the same? After Joshua heard this from the Lord I suspect it was easier to be strong and courageous for the Lord said that he would never leave him nor forsake him, and with God for him who, can I ask, could be against him?
Joshua goes on to do amazing things, and if you don't believe me I challenge you to read it for yourself, but know that in your own life when you are faced with the mountains of fear that might come against you, the challenges that come with stepping out there and doing what has never been done before--if you serve the Lord with all your soul, heart, and mind and meditate on his word, day and night so that it is written on the tablet of your heart ,you too will line up with the will that God has for your life.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart lean not on your own understanding acknowledge Him in all your ways, and He will make your path straight." (Proverbs 3:5 &6)
God is the great physician, and when we are scared and not sure which way to turn I'd like to encourage you to turn to the word of God where you will find your revelation, your healing, a direction with courage, strength, and confidence to take you onto the next task God might have for you life.
Rest assured that God will do his part, but we as followers and lovers of his word must commit to doing our part too because, God is who he says he is, and so for those that believe in him he is also for you, and not against you.
For Joshua understood that God will also go before them so he need not fear nor shrink back because with God on your side the battle has already been won.
D.C. Lassiter is the founder of DCL Ministries highlighting random acts of kindness(R.A.O.K.), author, soon to be radio host April 3, 2016 on blog talk radio; Dovetales with Deborah, and playwright
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An Easter Meditation-2016 By William Ryzek
I hate death. I hate it because it's just not supposed to be here. It flies in the face of God and His creation. How could the living God, the God Who is Life, create anything other than life and how is it that death remains to this day the destroyer of life?
Most Christians believe that deaths appearance in creation is the fault of our parents, Adam and Eve; it was not there 'in the beginning' when the Living God made everything 'good'. Since we are all connected to the first Adam we all sin and every sin carries the death sentence. But, death is not confined to just human experience but robs the essence of all living things thereby reducing them to coldness, darkness and decay. We see this everywhere around us; dying forests, dying oceans, dying atmosphere, dying earth, dying animals and, it seems to me, all this is on the increase.
However, death extends far beyond mere natural things because it is a supernatural phenomenon, an eternal death (called the "second death" by Jesus in Rev 2:11) and every person confronted by the truth of the Gospel therefore makes a spiritual life and death decision. Christians choose the life demonstrated by Jesus' resurrection, the final and complete overcoming of death. Paradoxically, Christians live to die, a dying to self, a narcissistic self driven by hubris and through this 'death' experience the resurrection life of Jesus now and for eternity.
The only alternative view is that death is the final, inevitable, necessary result of blind evolutionary, materialistic and purely 'natural' processes. Buying into this 'creation story' generates a 'nauseating nothingness' (see Sartre's Being and Nothingness) forcing an already dead person (it may take decades, but we are all born dead) to forge some kind of self-defined 'meaning' out of a terrifying meaninglessness. The nearly universal lawlessness, terror, societal disintegration, political mayhem and constant war shows the kind of 'meaning' humanity has come up with.
Dismissing the Gospel and the message of Easter as some kind of religious fairy-tale, wishful thinking, or an irrational denial of the "natural order of things" is to already have chosen death over life. Anyone so choosing remains the enemy of God and continues hating God (see Romans 5:10). All who reject Him will eventually discover that natural, physical death is not the end after all, that their soul, which they probably deny exists at all, is forever separated from the Living God, the Source of eternal Life, Joy, Peace and Happiness.
So, what's the point of all this? Those of us who have chosen life over death through Jesus must bring the message of life to all who remain dead. It is a formidable task for the enemies of God and champions of death, both natural and supernatural, are arrayed against us. But, we know this war was already won the day the Son of God arose from the dead and makes our victory today assured. Armed with this knowledge and faith, the gates of hell cannot prevail against us and we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. We can rejoice at these words of Paul this Easter Day:
Romans 8:3139 (NKJV)
31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
"For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter."
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
William Ryzek, PhD has been both a pastor and academic for several years. He has published articles in various magazines and newspapers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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