We see with our own eyes how serious it’s getting for Christians, not only in the places it’s always been hard, but now in the places where Christianity has been accepted, or at least, tolerated. The United States, Canada, Australia, these places are becoming increasingly hostile to Jesus people.
There are massive legal battles, soft persecution in the form of banks denying business or trade with Christian companies, and now in Canada, a pastor is jailed and might remain so until his trial, months away.
The lessons here are many, but one thing I’d like to encourage us ladies right now:
As time in your walk with Jesus goes on, after months and years and perhaps decades, don’t let the wonder diminish. The awe-inspiring, breathtaking generosity of a God who hates sin but redeems sinners. Don’t let yourself forget the depravity in which you lived, before salvation. The horror of sin and its ruin on earth. The abhorrence of it to God. The wages of it- death.
But God. But God loves His people and chose to save some. He not only justifies. He not only sanctifies. He not only adopts. He not only feels compassion for us while we were yet sinners. He brings us to His HOME to live in, cleaned, loved, fed, and made righteous. He opens His door to us without hesitation, without reservation, if we repent and fall on His Son Jesus.
I’ve been wrestling with whether to give the Gospel “one more time” to a person who resists and in fact, had blasphemed the other times I’ve shared. I looked up the verse from Matthew 7:6, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”
Though everyone needs the Gospel, when someone has repeatedly rejected it, I think it’s important to choose not to give them further opportunity to blaspheme, nor entrench themselves in further sin at my cause. It’s a hard decision to make in these days of ‘love love love’ and ‘let go and let God’ but God is holy too, and His word warns us to be discriminating about sharing holy things with dogs and swine.
Here is the commentary that helped me clarify what to do, and when-
As the time draws nigh, people less and less look to prophecy as a legitimate study of the Bible. They dismiss the prophetic, are skeptical of it, or simply ignore it. The silence of the pulpits is resounding, and the ignorance of the people is disheartening.
I’d like to spend a bit of time in encouraging us all to study the word, and not to ignore the prophetic. Lambert Dolphin wrote,
“A major portion of both the Old and New Testament is devoted to prophecy- nearly one third of the Scripture. Only four of the 66 books of the Bible are without prophecy-Ruth, the Song of Solomon, Philemon, and 3 John. Even the shortest book of the Bible mentions prophecy (Jude 14, 17-18, which refers to Enoch and the second coming of the Lord). Out of the Old Testament’s 23,210 verses, 6,641 contain predictive material, over twenty eight percent. Out of the New Testament’s 7,914 verses, 1,711 contain predictive material, over 21 percent.”
“Unfortunately, many pastors, priests and ministry leaders here in the U.S. and around the world are not teaching Bible prophecy — as I see it, there are four major reasons for this.”
–First, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a lack of belief in the power of God’s Word. –Second, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a lack of knowledge of — and sound training in — Bible prophecy.
–Third, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a fear of being lumped in with “prophecy nuts” and those who peddle sensationalism. –Fourth, many pastors don’t teach prophecy because they have a lack of understanding of the times in which we live and the increasingly close return of Christ.
Rosenberg fleshes out each of the points.
Prophecy is the very Word of God, spoken by His mouth to His servants. (Revelation 1:1, Luke 1:70). Before the Word was written, He spoke it. The first prophecy was given to Adam and Eve in the Garden as He related to them the curse of the Fall from Grace, but promised a Messiah. (Genesis 3:15).
Poor Jeremiah. God spoke to Him and Jeremiah spoke to the people. Then God told Jeremiah to write the words down. Jeremiah did. However, Jeremiah’s words from God were so ill-received that King Jehoiakim burned the scroll of everything that had been written. The King burned it bit by bit as Baruch read it. The LORD then told Jeremiah to write it all over again, a monumental work, and this time God added words that cursed the king. (Jeremiah 30). God’s word will not be denied.
So prophecy was and is the word of the Lord, whether spoken as it was in the Old Testament or written as it was then and it is now. It will be spoken again, in the Tribulation, when God sends His Two Witnesses to prophesy for 1,260 days. (Revelation 11:3).
Prophecy is extremely important, we are told many times. 1 Thessalonians 5:20 warns us not to despise prophesyings. For example, in 2 Peter 1:19 we are told it is “a sure word.” This is because almost nothing else illustrates His sovereignty more than prophecy. How so?
“And the LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’s hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not.” (Numbers 11:23). He delivers His word and tells us to test it, watch for it. This is because His Word is sure and God knows it will come true.
Pastor Jim McClarty discussed the Irresistibility of God in his 2009 sermon delivered at the Sovereign Grace Bible Conference. He made several wonderful points during his exciting 1 hour sermon, but his second point is the one I’d like to bring to you now. He said,
“God’s irrestibility is demonstrated in prophecy. Prophecy is a risky venture. There are no other major religious pieces of literature in the world that contain the amount of prophecy that the bible does. It’s one of the most unique characteristics of the bible, and it is chock full of prophecy. The reason it’s risky is, you can check it.” (Numbers 11:23, Deuteronomy 18:22).
People often think that the Old Testament times were heavily prophetic all the time. They believe that miracles happened every day and that God talked to the prophets every minute. It is not so. The miracles we read about in the Old Testament were spaced far apart, years, decades, centuries, even. After Micah, there were no prophets for 400 years, until John the Baptist came, and John performed no miracles as Elijah or Moses did. For most of the generations in the OT, they read the scrolls, listened to the priests, and lived lives in submission to Holy God and were waiting for their Messiah to come.
In our day, we read the pages of the Bible, listen to the pastors, and live lives in submission to the Messiah who has come- and will soon come again!
I love prophecy. Now, it is true that people can get carried away with the doctrine of prophecy and/or look at the newspaper and back-date prophecies into news articles. Mr Rosenberg was right that there are nuts who run away with prophecy predictions and claim to hear a word from the Lord as Jeremiah or Elijah did. Fortunately, as Jim McClarty said, we can check the prophecies in the bible. We can rejoice that our Holy God not only is the creator of the universe and the author and architect and finisher of our faith, but His word is sure. He is sovereign and that means, according to Rev. Matt Slick at CARM, “Sovereignty in relation to God means that God has the absolute right to do with His creation as He desires.”
Some verses that support this are as follows: Psalm 115:3, “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.” Isaiah 46:10, “Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying, My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all My good pleasure;”
Faith in God is always trustworthy, even when answers to life’s issues and traumas do not always arrive. We must trust God in spite of what we see. But when we do see, as in prophecy coming true as written in the pages of His word, we rejoice that He is in control and our faith will prosper us.
“And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” (2 Chronicles 20:20).
Back to Basics: What is Hell? Back to Basics: What is the Rapture? Back to Basics: How to Study Your Bible Back to Basics: What is Justification? Back to Basics: What is a miracle? Back to Basics: All about Angels Back to Basics: What is “The Lamb”? Back to Basics: Who is Satan?
Imagine being detained for something you intend to do. Not that you actually did, but only intended. And that intention was to go to church. In British Columbia you could be detained by the police for this intention. Thought police comes to mind. But first-
Here is an update on Pastor James Coates of GraceLife church in Edmonton, Alberta. The church and the attorney representing Coates are not speaking to legacy media right now, but Attorney for Coates James Kitchen, accepted an interview request from Rebel Media reporter Sheila Gunn Reid. It’s at Rumble (a Youtube alternative) and it’s also on Rebel News website.
(Rebel News) – “Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church remains behind bars today. GraceLife, near Edmonton, Alberta, has been the site of Christian resistance to the medical tyranny of public health orders restricting public gatherings including religious services. In Alberta, religious services are limited to 15 per cent of a building’s fire code capacity. The restrictions on attendance are meant to mitigate COVID case counts, even though the numbers have plummeted and hospitalizations are down to less than half of what they were a month ago.”
The Province of Alberta has released many offenders due to a perceived threat from COVID-19, yet holds a Christian pastor whose church has not beent he source of one single COVID case and where cases inhte province are plummeting daily.
Pastor James Coates is being held at Edmonton Remand Centre, which holds the worst offenders. It’s maximum security. These are offenders who have been denied bail, they are murders, rapists, child molesters, gangsters, wife beaters- etc. “I suppose the people amongst us who need Jesus the most. Maybe he can help them,” said reporter Reid. Pray that if it’s not the Lord’s will to release Coates to preach to lost souls on the outside and to minister to members of his church, that that his jail ministry yields converted souls- and all for the glory of God.
A few days ago, Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church in Edmonton Canada, a province of Alberta, was jailed for refusal to comply with COVID-19 health orders because, in Coates’ view, it would have severely restricted his church from functioning in the way the Bible sets forth. This went against his conscience. He preached his sermon last Sunday, and the Royal Mounted Canadian Police (RCMP) asked Coates to turn himself in after the service was concluded. On Tuesday, Pastor Coates did. Here is a short summary of the situation with his church that began in earnest in December-
“Alberta Health Services [AHS] inspector Janine Hanrahan issued an order against GraceLife in December, ordering members of the church and staff wear masks on the property, maintain six feet distance and operate at 15% or less capacity. On January 21, the health department filed court documents to enforce the order through the court system. It specified AHS had the power to jail the minister if he did not comply. At the end of January, AHS issued another order demanding he close the church until it was brought into compliance. Royal Canadian Mounted Police visited Coates following church services twice in February, and told him he would be arrested.” (source). And then he was.
Two of my favorite people in the faith, Justin Peters and Phil Johnson, speak about the recent criticisms against another of my favorite man of the faith, John MacArthur. These criticisms have been asserted by self-professed reporter Julie Roys and others, (some anonymously) who persistently try to damage the reputation of the church of which MacArthur is leading and the people who work and minister there. In a particular case with one detractor, he crafts his vague accusations in the worst way possible and intimates darkly there may be more, without offering evidence. This is the downside of the internet. A craven underbelly of which we should all beware of/
For the people who have questioned this situation and wondered of the character of John MacArthur is really all that it seems, please refer to this interview which sheds light on and offers facts from a person knowledgeable of the situation. Sunshine is the best disinfectant.
I am grateful for these three men, standing for the faith with such grace and patience and for such a long time.
The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18:17)
Apostle Paul told the Corinthians to test themselves. Since Paul was inspired to write it, we should do this as well. It is important to always be mindful of our faith, test it, examine ourselves, and see if we are straying. First, let’s look at the verse to see what it says, then let’s look at the context to see what was happening then and why Paul said it, and last let’s see how to take this test, or make this examination. For some who make an examination, it will reveal a lack of salvation in the first place.
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).