Posted in church, jesus, john macarthur, repent, revelation

Why the evaporation of America’s cultural Christianity is a good thing

John MacArthur wrote in his monthly letter why the deflation of the bloated Christianity we see in America is allowing the true Christianity to shine. Here is an excerpt from his monthly letter, and then below that, despite the encouraging news, a warning for the Church.

In light of recent headlines, court cases, and cultural trends, over the past few months you’ve probably heard—or said—something like the following: 

Our culture is spinning out of control.”
I can’t believe how fast the moral slide is happening.”
We’re living in a different nation than the one I grew up in.”
I think persecution of Christians is coming . . . soon.” 

Without question, the cultural Christianity many of us grew up with has vanished. There is no collective Christian consensus wielding any significant power in this country today. In fact, the more that true Christians endeavor to speak and live biblically, the more we are being labeled as extremists, homophobic, and intolerant. Truly we are aliens. We foresee a day when being a faithful Christian will cost us or our children dearly, and in ways we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. 

So is there any good news? Certainly. We know that God will use even the current hostilities and the climate of impending persecution for good (Romans 8:28). For years I’ve been concerned by the church’s pursuit of cultural change through political and social activities. Large swaths of Christians have placed enormous time, energy, money, and hope in the wrong things. Hand in glove with that thinking, a superficial, cultural Christianity has blurred the clear lines between the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of this world. Pragmatists in evangelical pulpits have softened the hard demands of the gospel, making discipleship sound easy and grace sound cheap. As a result, churches have been filled with religious, superficially moral, self-righteous people who don’t understand the gospel and are self-deceived about their true spiritual state. 

But with the façade of cultural Christianity shattered, biblical Christianity is beginning to stand out in a way it hasn’t in our lifetime. Scripture teaches and church history confirms that the Body of Christ is most potent and most effective when it simply speaks and lives the gospel without equivocation or apology. With the mask of superficial Christianity pulled down, I believe the best days for the spread of the true gospel are ahead of us.

Read more at the link.

With that said, though it’s true that as the cultural church shrinks and thus there are wonderful opportunities for the church global to share the Gospel and to show out living in a doctrinally pure manner, the moral purity of the Church leaves much to be desired. In a wonderful sermon of two parts, John MacArthur is preaching about Calling The Church To Repent.

There are two parts, and the transcript for both is coming soon. He is preaching from verses in the one place the Bible reveals where the Lord is calling the church to repent, Revelation 1:1-3. The warnings to those actual churches are also actual warnings to us today. The warnings were earned by the various churches due to a list of identified problems listed in the scripture. The churches’ problems were:

  • sexual immorality
  • idolatry
  • absorbing the pagan culture
  • tolerating sin
  • compromise
  • hypocrisy
  • false teaching
  • seduction by error
  • deception
  • preaching for money

This is a list that should be familiar to all of us. Many churches, unfortunately, engage in one or more of these same issues that the first century Revelation churches were engaging in. No, we haven’t built a golden calf to worship idolatrously, but we have built football stadiums, paint ourselves like pagans, and skip church regularly during football season to cheer for sports instead of worship our God. We also worship ourselves, and we have constructed many other idols that compete with God. The rest of the church’s sins are exactly the same today, which is why they should be familiar to us now in the twenty-first century.

In his sermon, Dr MacArthur said that it’s unusual to hear of a pastor calling his church to repent. It’s even more unusual to hear of an entire church repenting, he said, or broken over their hypocrisy, or sorrowful over their compromise, or repudiating their tolerance of the pagan culture, and so on. Though many people think the safest place in the universe is the church, MacArthur said, it’s not so. Jesus is intensely interested in the church, and when He sees problems, He makes threats. This should be a concern to all churches claiming the blood of Christ, and all churches as a whole should do their utmost to adhere to biblical and moral purity.

Please tune in to the sermon and then go on to part 2. It’s worth it.

Posted in billy graham, false teacher, gospel, jesus, repent

Billy Graham turns 97 today, please pray he repents before he dies

The Bible records many truly devastating promises from the Lord Jesus Christ, Messiah, Creator, Judge. There are two which are particularly weighty on my heart. One is from Revelation 14:16,

So he who sat on the cloud swung his sickle across the earth, and the earth was reaped.

Are there any four words anywhere more devastating? “…the earth was reaped.” All wicked flesh crushed under the weight of the holy gavel.

The other terrible promise is this:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

Billy Graham is just such a one as these. He is at grave risk for standing before the Lord he claimed to serve, only to learn that despite his longevity, despite his seemingly ‘mighty works’, the Lord never knew him. All the crusades, all the fist pounding podiums, all the books written- it was all a sham, all for nothing, all as filthy rags.

But how can this be? you ask. How can a man live so long and speak of Jesus so much and not know Him? This set of verses shows us that it is possible. The Pharisees spoke with Jesus face to face, knew Jesus was from God (John 3:2) and they witnessed His many miracles, and yet they refused to believe. And not only that it is possible, there are MANY who will tragically and eternally discover that they had missed the mark all their years. People underestimate the power of how deeply sin blinds us. We are totally blinded to sin and to the deceptions of our own heart. 
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)
So far we have learned about the how and that not only is is possible to labor for Christ, use His name for their works, and yet not be saved, we have learned that this verse is a reality for MANY.
Now, why do I say that it is a likelihood for Billy Graham? There are many reasons, if one cares to look and examine what the Bible says compared to what Mr Graham has said and believes.
Here is one web page with a list of compiled facts and their references which demonstrate the troubling theology and personal behavior of Mr Graham. If this link goes dead, here is another one.
I can understand that the approach the evangelist takes is different from the one the pastor takes. The two men have different roles. Despite that difference, however, the message remains the same. Sin-death-Jesus-blood-cross-wrath-resurrection-ascension-glorification. This is the message. This is the Gospel.
Mr Graham deletes critical components from the message. For example, the blood.

And then there is Graham’s preaching what he says and what he does not say. Graham is famous for exhorting people to “commit to Christ,” but precious little is said regarding “repentance” over sin. It is a much easier gospel than what Jesus preached. And there is precious little said of atonement through the blood of Christ. Perhaps this helps explain: in a letter dated Feb. 29, 1968, Rev. W. H. Martindale, Spiritual Counselor of Graham’s home office, wrote: “Mr. Graham believes that we are saved through the blood of Christ; however, this aspect of Christian doctrine he does not emphasize in his messages. This is the duty and prerogative of pastors.” If Graham does not emphasize “salvation through the blood of Christ,” then we can only ask which Jesus he is preaching. It plainly is not the Jesus of the gospel. (source)

Mr Graham also deletes from the Gospel message the exclusivity of Christ as the only way to salvation. In 1978 McCall’s Magazine interview, Mr Graham said that,

In a January, 1978, interview with McCalls Graham said, “I used to play God, but I can’t do that any more. I used to believe that pagans in far-off countries were lost were going to hell if they did not have the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached to them. I no longer believe that. I believe that there are other ways of recognizing the existence of God through nature, for instance and plenty of other opportunities, therefore, of saying “yes” to God.” (source)

Romans 10:13 says, “for everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 
Romans 8:1 says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Graham’s words were not a one-time mistake. They are not a statement spoken unwisely by an aging evangelist. They are firmly held beliefs Mr Graham has spoken or written about since 1960 when he wrote the same in his Decision Magazine. He said it again in 1997 to Robert Schuller, on a defunct television program called the Hour of Power,

Billy Graham was interviewed on television by Robert Schuller, a noted infidel widely recognized for his alteration of historic Christian doctrine. Part 1 was an approximately 7-minute-long broadcast in Southern California on Saturday, May 31, 1997. The following is an exact transcript of an excerpt close to the end of this broadcast. 

SCHULLER: Tell me, what do you think is the future of Christianity? 

GRAHAM: Well, Christianity and being a true believer you know, I think there’s the Body of Christ. This comes from all the Christian groups around the world, outside the Christian groups. I think everybody that loves Christ, or knows Christ, whether they’re conscious of it or not, they’re members of the Body of Christ. And I don’t think that we’re going to see a great sweeping revival, that will turn the whole world to Christ at any time. I think James answered that, the Apostle James in the first council in Jerusalem when he said that God’s purpose for this age is to call out a people for His name. And that’s what God is doing today, He’s calling people out of the world for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world, or the Christian world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they’ve been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus but they know in their hearts that they need something that they don’t have, and they turn to the only light that they have, and I think that they are saved, and that they’re going to be with us in heaven.

So the noted and celebrated evangelist believes that a person can never hear the Gospel, can be outside the body of Christ, not even know Jesus, and be saved? Graham believes the Body of Christ comes from outside Christianity? Aren’t the folks who believe these things the very people we’re called to evangelize? Not be the evangelist?
Matthew 10:33 also make a devastating promise: “but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
Dr John MacArthur spoke of this interview and Graham’s false view four times in detail over the years, herehere, and here. Also here:

Then he went on to say, “I’ve met people in travel situations that have never seen a Bible, heard about a Bible, never heard of Jesus, but they believed in their hearts that there is a God and they’ve tried to live a life that is apart from the community in which they live.” Is that enough? You might not be surprised to hear the Pope say that. But you might be surprised to hear Billy Graham say that.

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
And there’s this essay from a faculty member at Westminster Seminary, titled The Myth of Influence

Evangelicals who succumb to the myth of influence do so in part because of their own flawed theology. They have developed theologies which depart from the rich biblical theologies of the Reformation. 

Some evangelicals have embraced the myth of influence out of an Arminian view of salvation. Since salvation ultimately depends on the consent of the free will, many theological compromises are justified in order to gain a hearing and move the unbeliever. Other evangelicals are motivated by a defective doctrine of the church. They see the church, not as an essential institution in God’s economy founded on and regulated by his Word, but as a helpful support group for the individual Christian in his walk of faith.
Both of these theological weaknesses surface in Billy Graham. His Arminianism is clear. (7) His weak doctrine of the church is seen in his sending inquirers back to false churches

Did you know that? In an effort to ensure high attendance and in order not to rock the boat with local churches, the Billy Graham Crusades were always designed to work with any church, including Synagogues and Catholic churches? And that seekers streaming down the aisles once they were “counseled”, were sent back to their false churches?
Mr Graham also says he personally believes in the virgin birth but that such a belief is not necessary for salvation; that aliens exist on other planets but they are not in rebellion against God and therefore don’t need His blood; that the Roman Catholic Church has the same Gospel as the Protestant Church; that evolution is a possibility; and that baptism regenerates the soul. 
Here is a quote from an interview program:

Islam is misunderstood, too, because Muhummad had a great respect for Jesus, and he called Jesus the world’s greatest prophet except himself, and therefore I think we are closer to Islam than really we think we are. (David Frost, On May 30, 1997)

Through simple longevity and staying power, plus popularity, Graham’s apostasy has escaped many. This gentleman, Christopher J.E. Johnson, made remarks that I also would like to state clearly as my beliefs also:

It sounds like Billy Graham is a real Christian, and it’s also why I believe he’s one of the most deceptive men of our day. Due to quotations like this, I have had many objections to my statements about Billy Graham and his teaching of false gospel; so many I found it necessary to write a full-length article about him. Billy Graham may SAY these things on stage, but he doesn’t truly believe them.  

Because people tend to take extremes and take my words out of context, I want to make it clear that I am NOT saying people have not been truly born-again saved at a Billy Graham event. I am NOT saying all people who work in the Billy Graham organization are apostates. I am NOT saying Billy Graham has never preached a good sermon. However, what I AM saying is that we have VERY little evidence of Billy Graham’s faith in the Jesus Christ of the Bible, and a LARGE amount of evidence that he believes in a false, new-age idol he calls “Jesus Christ.”

This evidence is present on video, in articles, and in interviews. Graham’s age has given us numerous opportunities to see and read and watch his statements regarding Jesus and the way to salvation. We have an ability in this day and age of the world wide web to not only research this evidence for ourselves but also to watch his apostasy from his earliest days to the present day, over 81 years of his alleged Christianity.
I say these things with no glee and no shred of joy. It grieves me to see a soul go down to Sheol. It is a heartache to watch streams of seekers flow down the aisles of a Billy Graham crusade and know that they will be re-consigned to darkness, thanks to the pragmatic, popularity seeking ecumenical evangelist known as Billy Graham.
I urge you to seek out the information I’ve presented. Confirm it. Compare to the Bible. Remember that we are warned that many ministers of light will come in and devour the unwary. (2 Corinthians 11:14, 1 Peter 5:8). Meanwhile I pray Mr Graham comes to repentance. The Lord has already graciously prolonged his days.
Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call upon him while he is near;
let the wicked forsake his way,
and the unrighteous man his thoughts;
let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him,
and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:6-7)
————————————————
Further Reading
Billy Graham: The Man and his Message. Video of a talk delivered by Cecil Andrews of Take Heed Ministries.
Posted in glory, idols, jesus, nepal, repent, wrath

Everest/Nepal quake: "I don’t know where somewhere else is"

On Saturday, April 25, a powerful “7.9 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal,” reports the UK Guardian. The latest update states that the-

“death toll has risen to more than 2,500. More than 5,000 people have been injured. Powerful aftershocks today between Kathmandu and Everest unleashed more avalanches in the Himalayas and caused panic in the capital, where hospital workers stretchered patients out into the street as it was too dangerous treat them indoors.”

O Nepal, your Buddha cannot help you.
Repent and turn to the Living God: Jesus the Christ. Source.

Videos of the quake occurring at Base Camp Mt. Everest are starting to surface. This video appears to show the quake and avalanche as it is occurring. Warning: The video contains strong language. The videographer says the “F-word” numerous times. At the beginning he emerges from his tent, saying, “The ground is shaking!” Then he sees the white wall of ice and snow coming and the chaos (and profanity) begins.

The UK Guardian reports: At least 17 people believed to have been killed on Everest, and 61 injured, by an avalanche which left mountaineers calling for helicopter assistance to evacuate the most badly wounded.

In this report, the computerized news reader quotes a witness, who said,

Everybody [the climbers] are pretty much in rescue mode. But this is different from an independent climbing accident where people can be rescued and taken somewhere else. I don’t know where somewhere else is.”

And that is what broke my heart. The widespread devastation in Nepal due to the quake is terrible and it will take the country some time to recover. I watched another video of the immediate aftermath in Katmandu and the people were screaming and terrified, rubble all around and nowhere to go for safety. Worse is the man’s surprised and terrified reaction on Base Camp Everest, the world’s tallest and mightiest mountain, when he perceived the ground under him was shaking. A strong and massive mountain like Everest, just shaking like a bowl of jello.

This video below really is shocking. It shows an aftershock, in neighboring Tibet. It is not the original quake and it is not in Nepal, so you can imagine the shaking that went on there. It is footage from CCTV-

But worst of all is…The Tribulation. Plagues, war, famine, chaos, meteors, and earthquakes and more will be common. Common. By the grace of God, the humanitarian organization World Vision is already on scene in Nepal. In the Tribulation, no one will know where “somewhere else” is. No one will be flying in with medical kits and compassion, for sin will be running rampant, and even if they could fly in, resources will be too scarce…and then another disaster will hit and that will be that.

There will be nowhere else to seek healing, refuge, comfort. The disasters that will plunge the world into darkness, chaos and sin will be occurring one after another. If you can horrifyingly imagine the Nepal Quake on Saturday and the Banda Aceh tsunami the next day and meteors fly in on Monday and a plague ramping up on Tuesday…that is what it will be like for the people left behind to face God’s wrath during that period. Where will they go? To whom will they turn?

Jesus.

He certainly offers salvation  now, in the Age of Grace. In the Tribulation, God’s wrath will be poured out but He will have mercy on those who repent and give Him glory. (Revelation 11:13). He will offer salvation then in His Day of Wrath just as He does now. His compassion will be still evident in the Tribulation when He sends an angel to fly at mid-heaven during the Tribulation to proclaim to the people,
And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Revelation 14:7.

It is good advice we can take now. You do not want your worst enemy to go through it.

Share the Gospel with someone today, so they will hear and perhaps believe. The time coming, soon many think, will be horrific beyond belief, a thousand Nepal quakes all at once… and no one will know where “somewhere else is.”

But those who turn to the Living God will always have refuge in Him and a home in heaven.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Further Reading

Nepal earthquake: Traumatized nation copes with a panorama of devastation

Posted in repent, terrorism

Truth in photos: Church Curmudgeon, Haaretz terrorism map, winnowing photo, prepare

Some truths in pictures today.

This photo appeared in the Israeli Newspaper Haaretz

The Lord will return to thresh, winnow, separate, and burn the chaff… Here is an actual photo from Palestine from the 1890s of the process. The oxen, yoked equally or else they would not pull in unison, drag the sledge. The sledge pulverizes the wheat stalk, separating the wheat from the outer husk. This is called threshing. The action takes place on a circular threshing floor. Then the men take a winnowing fork and pitch the ground-up chunks into the air, and the wind blows the chaff away. The wheat grains fall back to the ground. Repeat.

His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:12)

The Lord is returning soon. Prepare. You will need more than milk and bread.

Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14b-15)

Posted in beth moore, fortune telling, glory cloud, labyrinth, mark batterson, repent, sorcery, witch

Reason #2,543 not to be a Beth Moore follower (or Bill Johnson, Kim Walker Smith, Ken Hagin etc…) Divination!

Phil Johnson

I was listening to Pastor Phil Johnson preach an Old Testament passage this morning. Pr. Johnson is the Executive Director of John MacArthur’s site, Grace to You. I love when Johnson preaches the Old Testament and also the Psalms. He adds quite a bit of context from history, culture and even topography so the listener fully understands the scenes passing through our minds so as to picture it with detail.

The passage this morning was an overview of 2 Kings 1, “Fire From Heaven.” A short synopsis is that King Ahaziah is on the throne of Judah. Ahaziah is a descendant of King Ahab, and the LORD had already spoken that eventually, no descendant of Ahab’s would live. He would wipe them all out. No mean feat, as Johnson said, Ahab had 70 sons.

There was a battle, and Ahaziah stayed behind in his castle. His castle was not so safe after all, for Ahaziah fell through the lattice from a high place, incurring critical injuries. Though God is still God is Israel, and Elijah is still prophesying, Ahaziah’s apostasy, or worse, ignorance of the One True God, was so deep that “he sent messengers, telling them, ‘Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover from this sickness.'”

Therein lay the crux of the matter.

First, let’s see the LORD’S response:

Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them, ‘Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron? Now therefore thus says the LORD, You shall not come down from the bed to which you have gone up, but you shall surely die.‘” (2 Kings 1:3-4)

Ahaziah was not so ill that the LORD could not have healed him if He chose, prolonging his life until His prophecy would be fulfilled at a later time. Alternately, Ahaziah could have died instantly upon falling through the lattice.

The reason Ahaziah was going to die at that time was because he sought an oracle from another god.

God is deadly serious about not indulging in oracles, divination, predictions, sorceries, or anything similar. Consulting mediums is the major reason of what cost King Saul his kingship, his dynasty, and his life. (1 Chronicles 10:13–14). Consulting another god is what cost King Ahaziah his life.

EPrata artwork

When you come into the land that the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD. (Deuteronomy 18:9-12).

An abomination. In the Hebrew the word abomination used here also means detestable and loathsome. In that verse, the LORD hates 9 things in particular:

  1. offers child for sacrifice
  2. diviners
  3. tells fortunes
  4. interprets omens
  5. sorcery
  6. charmers
  7. medium (King Saul’s sin, 1 Samuel 28)
  8. necromancer
  9. inquires of the dead

Offering a child in sacrifice refers to the biblical practice of Molech worship where parents would cast their child into the belly of Molech which was an oven, and the child would be burned alive. Parents who did this wanted a better life. Today some have likened Molech-sacrifice to abortion.

Divination is having implied power to learn secret things via various methods such as hydromancy (through water), cast bones, cast arrows, divining rod (Ezekiel 8:17 alludes to) & etc. Hepatoscopy is divining via the liver (of a dead animal), which Ezekiel 21:21 says the King of Babylon engaged in. Today occult practitioners use Tarot Cards, chicken bones, crystals, crystal ball, palm reading, Ouija boards, horoscopes and the like.

The International Bible Dictionary says of divination,

“The word “divination” itself, from deus, “god,” or divus, “pertaining to god,” carries with it the notion that the information obtained came from deity.” Astrology is a kind of divination, via peering into secret things of ‘god’ via the alignment of the stars.

Mediums AKA Fortune tellers AKA witchcraft AKA soothsayers AKA necromancers (Leviticus 19:31) are persons who act as go-betweens from this world to the world of spirits. These occult practitioners claim ability to communicate with the dead or with spirits or  familiars, bringing messages back and forth between the two realms. The ‘spirits of the dead’ are actually demons impersonating Grandma, and thus are lying spirits. In Luke 16:18-31 we are given information that the dead stay in their abode, a great gulf is fixed between Hades and Paradise, and it is alluded to that none escape from either location to return and commune with the living. (The Witch at En-Dor’s conjuring of dead Samuel is a sole exception- to drive home the point that if you do this, you will die.) As an aside, remember the 1960s TV show “Bewitched” Samantha the witch’s mother was named En-dora.

Mark Batterson’s The Circle Maker book is a modern practice of the ancient art of witchcraft. I explored that issue in-depth here. Contemplative prayer is another re-packaged mystical-occult practice.

Charmers, #6,is an interesting occult practice. Psalm 58:5 Jeremiah 8:17; Ecclesiastes 10:11 and mention them. Charmers are occult practitioners who are also known as are whisperers, who by their voice engage in spells so that the hearer becomes spellbound and will do as the charmer wishes. Snake charmers would play their instrument, usually a flute or other high-pitched sound and the snake wold be drawn to the charmer, stop about two feet from him, rear its head, and sway in time to the music. Afterward they would lay docile at his feet. (Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, Volume 9, by McClintock & Strong).

In the bible the intended audience was a snake, in modern times it could be any person who uses his voice to cast a spell over his audience. For example, many women attending Obama’s speeches became spell-bound, swooned or fainted at the sound of his voice.

An interpreter of omens, according to the Holman Bible Dictionary, is defined-

The Israelites were prohibited from interpreting omens (Deuteronomy 18:10). Pagan prophesy employed reading of omens (Numbers 24:1, Ezekiel 21:21). As Lord of history, God frustrates the plans of “liars” who interpret omens … The faithful witness of Christians in the face of opposition is likewise an omen or sign pointed to the salvation of believers and the destruction of God’s enemies (Philippians 1:28).

Also many of those who were now believers came, confessing and divulging their practices. And a number of those who had practiced magic arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. (Acts 19:18-19)

An interpreter of omens would be the same as a diviner. For example, a person would sacrifice at a pagan temple, and an interpreter would divine the meaning of the way the person’s animal burned, the way the bones lay and such.They would extract secret meaning from these ‘omens.’

Modern examples of ancient pagan/occult practices may be seen today on CBN, when one of the hosts says “I’m getting a word of knowledge from the other side that someone listening is going to be cured of a backache.” Or channeling, which seems to be very popular with Neale Donald Walsch of Conversations with God, Saran Young of Jesus Calling and Beth Moore of When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, whereupon they allow their bodies to be possessed for a time by a spirit which delivers information that the authors translate into a book allegedly full of extra-biblical spiritual insights from the other side. Circle makers are engaging in witchcraft. Prayer labyrinth walkers are doing something pagan, ritualistic, and unbiblical. People like Bill Johnson of Bethel Church and Kim Walker Smith and Beth Moore and many others who say they have entertained God Himself or Jesus in other dimensions through astral travel or visions, and returned with information or predictions to give the body of believers are diviners, witches, soothsayers, fortune tellers. Inviting conjuring glory clouds, gold dust falling, feathers drifting down is nothing more than people practicing wizardry.

Source Pixabay free photos

I have written about these practitioners of the demonic occult before, and we can take no pleasure in knowing that though God’s hand has mercifully stayed their execution, eventually they will face Him and the consequences of their sins. Saul did. Ahab did. Jezebel did. Ahaziah did. I am sorry for these people that they will more than likely be one of the many saying on His Day, “Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ (Matthew 7:22). And He will say to them depart from m, I never knew you…

However in returning to the 2 Kings passage, let’s turn from the practitioners to looking at Ahazia’s followers. His subjects, army men whom Ahaziah sent to meet Prophet Elijah to hear Elijah’s message.

Then the king sent to him a captain of fifty men with his fifty. He went up to Elijah, who was sitting on the top of a hill, and said to him, “O man of God, the king says, ‘Come down.’” 10But Elijah answered the captain of fifty, “If I am a man of God, let fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty.” Then fire came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty. (2 Kings 1:9-10)

Pulpit Commentary:

Now, Ahaziah, the son of the wicked Jezebel, had challenged Jehovah to a trial of strength by first ignoring him, and then sending a troop of soldiers to arrest his prophet. Was Elijah to succumb without an effort, or was he to vindicate the majesty and honor of Jehovah?

This happened again, so that 100 men, followers of Ahaziah were consumed.

Phil Johnson:

But Elijah’s fire from heaven was meant by God as a public display of divine vindication, and a public judgment against an evil regime that sat on Israel’s throne, opposing Jehovah and all He stood for. Such extreme wickedness called for a breathtaking, awe-inspiring judgment.

The judgment fell upon Ahaziah but it also fell on Ahaziah’s followers, whose who followed the king, supported the king, and were an arm of the king in evil deeds.

But the third company of 50 men acted different than their predecessors.

Again the king sent the captain of a third fifty with his fifty. And the third captain of fifty went up and came and fell on his knees before Elijah and entreated him, “O man of God, please let my life, and the life of these fifty servants of yours, be precious in your sight. (2 Kings 1:13)

Here the men have an attitude not of command but of submission. Phil Johnson:

But the third group of soldiers is a reminder that “God . . . gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). God’s mercies are never exhausted, and those who humble themselves before Him and confess their sins can always find mercy.

In today’s Age of Grace, I am not saying that Beth Moore or Sarah Young or any of the modern occult practitioners will be consumed by fire. Jesus came not to destroy but to save. It is a different age. Final judgement is coming and until then, His mercies are manifold and opportunities for repentance are many. The same is true for these “teachers'” followers. Those who participate in their evil deeds, who buy Beth Moore books hoping to gain insights into the knowledge of God apart from the bible, or listen to Kim Walker Smith’s visions about Jesus apart from the bible, or believe CBN’s ‘word of knowledge’ are participating by proxy with the practitioners’ occult evil deeds.

The first two groups of fifty men believed the king to be the highest authority and took to arrest the man of God. The third group of fifty men believed Elijah as the proxy for the highest authority and submitted to God.

God always looks favorably on humility and repentance. He looks unfavorably to the proud and stiff-necked.

Do not practice divination-by-proxy by following those who practice it. If you have been doing so, if you repent, God gives grace to the humble. Amanda Bowers repented, publicly, of her Beth Moore and Henry Blackaby following.

Harold Camping, predicter of the end of the world by specific date (fortune telling), did.

Sunny Shell did, too, not so much for following a diviner but publicly repented for something else.

You don’t have to repent publicly if you haven’t taught anything publicly to be repenting of, but the glory here is pointing to several real and recent examples of where the Spirit showed these people the error of their ways and in repenting gave glory to Him, just as the third group of 50 soldiers did. The idea is that God awaits a contrite heart, a seeking heart, a submissive heart. He is a great God who is literally a consuming fire -to the men of Ahaziah- but he is a loving Father to His children who seek  to practice not occultism, but righteousness.

Posted in encouragement, love, repent, salvation, sin

Big sin? Big God!

“I was sinking deep in sin…” goes the first line of an old song. (Love Lifted Me, 1912)

Mixed media collage, plus digital overlay. By EPrata

No matter how deep in sin a person is, no matter how low…no matter if they are in the gutter, or even one foot down the shaft of the gates of hell (like I was)

God’s arm is not too short to lift you from it!

He won’t make you wait. He won’t toy with you. If you call out to the Lord to save you and forgive your sins, He will, instantly. If you are saved but have sinned or strayed, and you call out to the Lord to forgive you, He will, instantly.

He was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him. ‘You of little faith,’ He said, ‘why did you doubt? (Matthew 14:29-31)

Posted in repent, salvation, sin

Never forget what sinners we are

The actual wickedness of men’s lives bears a very small proportion to what is in their hearts. But when lust is inwardly cherished, it will break forth into outward sin. Those who tempt others to drunkenness never can be their real friends, and often design their ruin. Thus men execute the Divine vengeance on each other. Those are not only heated with sin, but hardened in sin, who continue to live without prayer, even when in trouble and distress.”
~Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Hosea 7:1-7

Gustav Kaser said of icebergs,

Think of an iceberg! Only about 1/7th rises above the surface of the water. The remaining 6/7ths are under water and not visible to the human eye. A human being is comparable to an iceberg.

The wickedness we see above the surface is only a small proportion to what is in our hearts…

Therefore, praise God that He sent His Son! Jesus lived a sinless life. He died shedding His blood for those appointed to salvation, and pleased with His Son, God raised Him to life on the third day. Now instead of staggering under the weight of all my sin, that which is seen and that which is unseen below the surface, Jesus sees it all, and He saved me anyway. Now I have His righteousness declared upon me by God. As long as I am in this sinful body breathing air on earth, I have been released from the power of sin via the Holy Spirit indwelling me. I have the glorification to look forward to, when I’m no longer even in the presence of sin.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)

Posted in francis, pope, repent, unforgivable sin

Irony alert: Pope warns mobsters: Hell awaits

Here is a headline from Drudge:

 Pope warns mobsters: Hell awaits

AP Photo/Andrew Medichini
2009 photo AP/Alessandro Fucarini

Pope Francis has a warning for Italy’s mobsters: They will go to hell if they don’t repent and renounce their “blood-stained money and blood-stained power.”

But the Pope himself is headed for the same destination. He does not live by the faith that was delivered to us, i.e. the unadulterated Gospel. If Pope Francis were to die at this moment, he would be destined for hell, for his condemnation is already upon him. (John 3:18)

Therefore this verse comes to mind,

Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

However, the glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that any mafioso or any Pope can repent and Jesus will forgive. Remember no sin is too great. He will forgive them all … except one. The unforgivable sin is dying in your sins without the one thing that is required: belief in the Son. (John 3:36). When you die, there is no more forgiveness, and God’s wrath is upon you. You will have rejected the pardon, therefore you’re unpardonable. He nailed all sins to the cross when He died on it, and He will forgive any repentant sinner prior to his fleshly death. Jesus is great! He is merciful.

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One Reason Catholicism is a false religion

Are Roman Catholicism and Christianity the same thing?

What is the Unforgivable Sin?

Posted in corvette, earthquake, repent, siloam, sinkhole kentucky, south carolina

Quake in SC; sinkhole in KY with slo-mo footage, and other earth shakings

The earth sure is an active celestial body, isn’t it. There are several volcanoes erupting now, major storms affecting millions, air travel has come to a near-standstill and now a pretty big (for us in GA) quake.

The earthquake happened last night at 10:23 pm. I had closed down my computer and was doing the going-to-bed routine. I had just turned off the light in the living room on my way to the bedroom, and I felt a shaking. The air conditioner began to rattle in the window, the metal clanking against the sill. Outside no trucks were going by. The rattling continued for some seconds, and I said to the cats, “Boys, we are having an earthquake.” Then the neighbor’s dog began barking (who only barks when his mommy comes home) and I knew for sure. Quake.

A few minutes later we received a robo-call from Emergency Management, stating that a quake had occurred in SC, that Madison County residents had felt it, and please don’t call 911.

The quake, a 4.4, downgraded to a 4.1, occurred in Edgefield SC, near the border of GA. The epicenter was 88 miles from were I live.

Interesting!

The USGS put the quake in pink because it is considered a ‘significant’ quake

Small quake in SC felt hundreds of miles away
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – The snow and ice dumped by an unusually severe winter storm were melting, once-frigid temperatures were rising and residents of South Carolina and Georgia finally had begun to relax. Then the earth shuddered. A small earthquake shook both states late Friday, shaking homes and rattling residents hundreds of miles away. The quake happened at 10:23 p.m. and had a preliminary magnitude of 4.1, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s website. It was centered 7 miles west of the town of Edgefield, S.C. , and was felt as far west as Atlanta and as far north as Hickory, N.C., each about 150 miles away. “It’s a large quake for that area,” said USGS geophysicist Dale Grant. “It was felt all over the place.“”

SC is a seismic area, though it seemed to have been sleeping prior to 1886, when a 7.3 quake struck. Wikipedia says that very little to no historical earthquake activity occurred in the Charleston area prior to the 1886 event, which is unusual for any seismic area. A factoid about the SC quake last night from USGS: There were 11,743 responses in 880 zip codes in 53 cities.

USGS explains of earthquakes in the Inland Carolinas Region, that the largest earthquake in the area (magnitude 5.1) occurred in 1916. Moderately damaging earthquakes strike the inland Carolinas every few decades, and smaller earthquakes are felt about once each year or two.

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It’s been interesting to watch some earth happenings this last week. This quake in SC is not the only interesting earth or seismic event happening. There was a quake in Massachusetts a few days ago, too. Actually, a pair of them, which is unusual.

Big Boom: quake’s epicenter in Bliss Corners area of So. Dartmouth
For the second time in just over a month, SouthCoast felt the earth move. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the 2.4 magnitude earthquake was centered about 1.8 miles below ground in Dartmouth’s Bliss Corner area in South Dartmouth. There were no immediate reports of damage from the temblor which hit at 5:46 p.m. Tuesday. But the quake was felt across much of the region with many people taking to social media to share their stories and a number of police departments reporting a flood of calls.

Jeff Price, who lives in Padanaram, said he and his wife heard “a rumble” and then felt their house shake. “It lasted for a couple of seconds,” he said. “It scared the bejabbers out of the dog.”

There were a pair of quakes I read about occurring elsewhere  in New England this week, too. On February 7th, there was a small quake in Mexico Maine, and then one in northern VT/So. Quebec

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There was an interesting event that occurred a few days ago. My blog hits spiked as the search term ‘sinkhole’ was input. Here is the vivid headline from NatGeo:

Kentucky Sinkhole Eats Corvettes, Raises Questions
“Early Wednesday morning a sinkhole opened beneath the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. No one was injured, but the 40-foot-wide (12-meter-wide), 25-foot-deep (7.5-meter-deep) fissure swallowed eight valuable sports cars shortly after 5:30 a.m.”

Security Camera sinkhole footage in slo-mo

Engineers were dispatched to inspect the building and geologists swarmed to the location. OK maybe not swarmed but they certainly were curious. Geologists said the area is in a place ‘geologically primed for sinkholes because it’s in a karst area rife with caves and underground springs.’

They intimated that the incident was really only a matter of time until something like this occurred. In addition to being atop a porous area, “Caves are a common feature in this part of the state,” he says. And we usually see sinkholes here after a hard rain. But as far as I can tell, what happened in this case was that drainage water has been coming off the museum building improperly for some time. And it focused and built up at one point on the soil.”

NatGeo

Sinkholes and earthquakes seem to shake people up more than just about anything, no pun intended. It is more than disconcerting to have walked on what feels like solid ground under your feet all your life only to feel it swaying, shaking, and even turning to liquid. Even worse is seeing that the very ground user us can open up all of a sudden and swallow us. Scarier still is when it happens inside a building. We think buildings are sturdy and can protect us, but we are sooo vulnerable on this earth it isn’t even funny. It was heartbreaking to see such beautiful classic cars tumble into the earth, but it’s so terrible when it happens to a person. Remember a year ago in March 2013 when a sinkhole suddenly opened up under a sleeping family, swallowing a man as he slept in his bedroom?
But Christ challenged the people’s notion that they were morally superior to those who suffered in such catastrophes.
~John MacArthur

“A loud crash, then nothing: Sinkhole swallows Florida man”
The ground just swallowed him up. A Florida man fell into a sinkhole that opened suddenly Thursday night beneath the bedroom of his suburban Tampa home, calling out to his brother for help as he fell, the brother said Friday.”

In Numbers 26:10 those who had contended against Moses and Aaron were gathered and the LORD made the earth open and swallow them.

and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, when the fire devoured 250 men, and they became a warning.”

They became a warning, in other translations, a sign. Pulpit Commentary says, “something made conspicuous in order to attract attention and enforce a warning

“But if the LORD creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the LORD.” (Numbers 16:30)

Matthew Henry said of the Numbers 16 verse,

God has, when he pleases, strange punishments for the workers of iniquity. It was very significant. Considering how the earth is still in like manner loaded with the weight of man’s sins, we have reason to wonder that it does not now sink under its load. The ruin of others should be our warning. Could we, by faith, hear the outcries of those that are gone down to the bottomless pit, we should give more diligence than we do to escape for our lives, lest we also come into their condemnation.

You know, there are curses for those who are disobedient. Deuteronomy 28:46-47 says

The Curses of Disobedience
…”So all these curses shall come on you and pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you would not obey the LORD your God by keeping His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. “They shall become a sign and a wonder on you and your descendants forever. “Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and a glad heart, for the abundance of all things;”

He smote the priests offering strange fire (Leviticus 10:1). Also read Ezekiel 5:15 where the LORD says He will punish Israel as an example, or, 2 Peter 2:6,  where the destruction of Sodom Gomorrah (and Admah and Zeobiim) were an example to the ungodly.

On the other hand, we can’t presume that this incident or that incident is an example of the Lord’s displeasure. Sometimes things happen. The Tower of Siloam is a good example.

When the Pharisees questioned the Lord Jesus, an incident had obviously occurred which were still on the minds of the people. They were still talking about it. A tower had fallen on people and killed 18 of them. Here is the verse and Matthew Henry‘s wise commentary, which we should take to heart regarding sinkholes, volcanoes, earthquakes, or any other sudden disaster or destruction.

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:1-5)

Matthew Henry said,
Mention was made to Christ of the death of some Galileans. This tragical story is briefly related here, and is not met with in any historians. In Christ’s reply he spoke of another event, which, like it, gave an instance of people taken away by sudden death. Towers, that are built for safety, often prove to be men’s destruction. He cautioned his hearers not to blame great sufferers, as if they were therefore to be accounted great sinners. As no place or employment can secure from the stroke of death, we should consider the sudden removals of others as warnings to ourselves. On these accounts Christ founded a call to repentance. The same Jesus that bids us repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand, bids us repent, for otherwise we shall perish.

Ultimately, since everything is under God’s control, He causes or allows it all to happen so that His plan will be executed, everything is a warning.

John MacArthur’s commentary explains, It was the belief of many that disaster and sudden death always signified divine displeasure over particular sins (cf. Job 4:7); [and Numbers 16:30 as above]. Those who suffered in uncommon ways were therefore assumed to be guilty of some more severe immorality.

Jesus did not deny the connection between catastrophe and human evil, for all such afflictions ultimately stem from the curse of humanity’s fallenness. (Gen 3:17-19). Furthermore, specific calamities may indeed the the fruit of certain iniquities (Proverbs 24:16). But Christ challenged the people’s notion that they were morally superior to those who suffered in such catastrophes. He called all to repent, for all were in danger of sudden destruction. No one is guaranteed a time to prepare for death, so now is the time for repentance for all (cf. 2 Cor 6:2).

We live on borrowed time, a sinful earth, and no tomorrow is guaranteed. The answer to the events happening, including the earthquake last night, is…repent.