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 death, life, salvation

You will be swallowed up

It’s one or the other. There is no need to make it more complex than it is.

Swallowed by death,

Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it. (Isaiah 5:14 KJV)

Swallowed by life,

For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (2 Corinthians 5:4 ESV)

The difference between being swallowed by death or life is repentance of sins and falling onto Jesus. He is mighty to save. Be saved today.

Posted in africa, ebola, God's attributes, justice, pestilence, salvation

Ebola may be out of control, but God is never out of control

I’ve reported on the Ebola outbreak in prior weeks. It is officially an epidemic now. The facts as reported in the past day or so are:

WaPo: Ebola, Portraits of Grief

–This outbreak is actually the first Ebola epidemic the world has ever known. (CDC)
–CDC teams are deployed from the CDC 24/7 Emergency Operations Center (EOC), activated at Level 1, its highest level, because of the significance of this outbreak. (CDC)
–There have been more than 4,300 cases over the past six months. (source)
–More than 2,400 people have died from the virus (source)
–There has been a consistent mortality rate of 55.8% mortality rate. To compare, the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic had a 2.4% mortality rate.
–There is no approved cure in this outbreak. (source)
–Nations with cases in the current epidemic have been Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. (source)
–All 26 previously recorded outbreaks have been successfully contained largely by isolating patients but the WHO said cases would continue to rise for at least six more months in an epidemic that has jumped borders and erupted in urban areas. (source)

The above were the facts. Next are two published opinions about Ebola as stated in two articles that caught my eye. They are as follows:

What we’re afraid to say about Ebola

THE Ebola epidemic in West Africa has the potential to alter history as much as any plague has ever done. There have been more than 4,300 cases and 2,300 deaths over the past six months. Last week, the World Health Organization warned that, by early October, there may be thousands of new cases per week in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. What is not getting said publicly, despite briefings and discussions in the inner circles of the world’s public health agencies, is that we are in totally uncharted waters and that Mother Nature is the only force in charge of the crisis at this time.

If I was to re-write the opening line and the closing line from a Christian perspective it would be:

THE Ebola epidemic in West Africa has the potential to fulfill future history as much as any plague has ever done. … What is not getting said publicly, despite briefings and discussions in the inner circles of the world’s public health agencies, is that we are in totally uncharted prophetic waters and that we finally understand that God and only God is in charge of the crisis at this time.

In first opinion piece, I was struck by the person’s outlook that the people who are ‘supposed to know what to do’ … don’t know what to do. Unsolvable problems face the last generation before the Tribulation. How do I know this? Because the world’s global problems are in such a Gordian knot that when the antichrist appears on the world stage with answers the world falls down in eagerness to listen to his solutions. (Luke 21:25, Daniel 11:21).

Secondly, of course the comment that Mother Nature is a force that’s in charge is also interesting, in terms of how the unsaved look at it. Christians know that there is no Mother Nature. God is in control. But…is He sending plagues? Send Ebola? Would a loving God do that? More on that in a moment.

Here is opinion article #2. This is an Op-Ed from Dr Brantly, the American doctor in Western Africa who came down with Ebola, was evacuated to Atlanta’s Emory Hospital for treatment and recovery. He has seen the epidemic from both sides, as doctor and as patient.

American Ebola survivor calls the outbreak “a fire straight from the pit of hell”

Many have used the analogy of a fire burning out of control to describe this unprecedented Ebola outbreak. Indeed it is a fire-a fire straight from the pit of hell. We cannot fool ourselves into thinking that the vast moat of the Atlantic Ocean will keep the flames away from our shores. Instead, we must mobilize the resources needed to keep entire nations from being reduced to ashes.

What if I was to re-write the opening line to say, “Many have used the analogy of a fire burning out of control to describe this unprecedented Ebola outbreak. Indeed it is a fire-a fire straight from bosom of heaven,” would you charge me with being deluded about our “loving God”?

Today’s people, even Christians, have become so used to the concept of a God who is love-only, not love-and. As in, love and wrath, love and judgment, love and anger. All true Christians will proclaim God and not Mother Nature. But to proclaim a God who sends pestilence? Not so much.

I cannot say that God is sending Ebola specifically to West Africa, nor can I say He is sending it for this reason or that reason. I do not know the mind of God. But I know the character of God, and I know the history of God as it’s revealed in the bible.

His character is such that in the past He has sent (or allowed) pestilences to consume Israel’s enemies. He has sent pestilence to consume Israel, to punish. Look at Habakkuk 3:4-5,

His radiance is like the sunlight; He has rays flashing from His hand, And there is the hiding of His power. Before Him goes pestilence, And plague comes after Him. 6He stood and surveyed the earth; He looked and startled the nations. (Habakkuk 3:4-5)

Matthew Henry commentary says of the verses,

After describing the splendour of the theophany, the prophet now turns to the purpose and effects of God’s appearing. He comes to avenge and judge, therefore before him went the pestilence. Before him stalks plague, to punish his enemies and the disobedient, as in Egypt, in Canaan (Exodus 23:27; 1Samuel 5:9, 11); and among his own people (Numbers 11:33; Numbers 14:37, etc.; Leviticus 26:25).

God could be directly sending this plague…pestilence…disease, whatever olde or modern word you want to use. Or He could be allowing satan to spread it. Or He could be allowing microbes to do what they do naturally, multiply. The reason I’m interested is because the doctors are saying it is the first Ebola epidemic in history, that there is no approved cure, and that it has such a high mortality rate.

There was a terrible outbreak of bubonic plague in the 1300s and in the 1600s. Modern science has put the likely death rate average over its entire geographic area at 45-50%. In the first of the two mentioned outbreaks, half of the population of Paris died. 40% of all of Egypt died. And so on. In the current Ebola epidemic, a 55.8% death rate is very high. The rapidity and potential geographic spread due to fast modes of travel makes the potentiality of seeing those rates and even higher arise again.

We do know that in the Tribulation there will be plagues that kill a quarter of mankind. (Revelation 6:8, Matthew 24:7).

The point of this essay is to point to who God is. Yes, God is love, but God is also wrath,. He hates sin above all.
God said in times past,

I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will leave you childless. Plague and bloodshed will sweep through you, and I will bring the sword against you. I the LORD have spoken. (Ezekiel 5:17)

This occurred. Do we think that modern sanitation practices and shiny needles full of medicine would prevent such a plague from happening again? Do we think that we are any better people, that the LORD would not be angry with our sin? Our apostasy? Do we think that He would send plague to His own chosen people in Ezekiel times, but let us slide?

But if God was loving, why would He send this to us? Even to unbelievers who haven’t had a chance to “accept Jesus” yet? Proverbs 1:25-26 says,

And you neglected all my counsel And did not want my reproof; I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes,

Matthew Henry again,

I also will laugh at your calamity,…. By way of retaliation, measuring measure for measure; even as they scorned him, and delighted in their scorning, now he in his turn will “laugh” at them and their distress; which act is ascribed to the Lord by an anthropopathy; see Psalm 2:4; signifying that he should not at all pity them, show no compassion to them, and have no mercy upon them; but rather express a pleasure and delight in displaying the glory of his justice in their destruction: the plain sense is, that no favour would be shown them,

He will glory in displaying His justice. That is also our God. The prophet Habakkuk says of Jesus in the Old Testament, Before Him goes pestilence, And plague comes after Him. He displays His love, and He displays His justice.

Ebola threatens to destroy Sierra Leone and Liberia
The virus is spreading like wildfire. A German Ebola expert tells Deutsche Welle, that it will not be possible to contain the virus with the measures that have been taken so far.

His statement might alarm many people. But Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit of the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg told DW that he is losing hope, that Sierra Leone and Liberia will receive the necessary aid in time. Those are two of the countries worst hit by the recent Ebola epidemic. “The right time to get this epidemic under control in these countries has been missed,” he said. That time was May and June. “Now it will be much more difficult.”

Justice? Punishment? God? We do not know specifically what God is doing but what we do know is that it is time to repent and fall at the feet of Jesus. Nationally and/or individually, the safest and most God-glorifying route is to acknowledge who God is, in all His aspects. Ask forgiveness of sins. That is the real enemy- sin. God hates it because it keeps His people from glorifying Him and enjoying Him forever. Sin keeps us from His love.

Another aspect of God’s personality is His forgiveness. Though the news about Ebola is dire, the best news of all is this

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

Posted in messiah, salvation

"Who do you say that I am?"

Who is Jesus?

Is He a prophet? Is He Elijah? Is He a nice, moral man with a few good things to teach?

Who you say Jesus is determines your eternal destiny.

Jesus went out, along with His disciples, to the villages of Caesarea Philippi; and on the way He questioned His disciples, saying to them, “Who do people say that I am?” They told Him, saying, “John the Baptist; and others say Elijah; but others, one of the prophets“. (Mark 8:27-28)

What ho, Mormon, who is Jesus?

Source

Mormons: “Mormons do not believe in the Trinity as we understand it. They believe that God and Jesus were separate physical people” who dwelled on the earth, [former Mormon Beth Johnston said. “God was Jesus’ father, and both men died“.

Muslims say Jesus (Isa) was a Messenger, a Prophet, not deity, never crucified.

As-salamu alaykum, O Muslim, who is Jesus?

O People of the Book! Commit no excesses in your religion: Nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a messenger of Allah, and His Word, which He bestowed on Mary, and a spirit proceeding from Him: so believe in Allah and His messengers. Say


not “Trinity” : desist: it will be better for you: for Allah is one Allah: Glory be to Him: (far exalted is He) above having a son. To Him belong all things in the heavens and on earth. Quran, Chapter 4 The Women An-Nisa: Verse 171

Shalom, good Hebrew. Who is Jesus?

Judaism teaches that it is heretical for any man to claim to be God, part of God, or the literal son of God. The Jerusalem Talmud (Ta’anit 2:1) states explicitly: “if a man claims to be God, he is a liar.”

Wiki Commons

And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” (Mark 8:29)

The exclusivity of Christianity as the sole way to salvation is an eternal truth.

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)

Jesus is the Messiah, the promised One, the savior of all humankind.

And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 16:17)

Anyone who rejects Jesus as Messiah…King…Lord…Savior…Forgiver of sins, will not go to heaven. They remain in their sinful flesh, and will be damned.

I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. (1 Corinthians 15:50)

Between the sinful, perishable flesh, and the sinless imperishable kingdom which the gates of hell shall not prevail against, is a great gulf fixed–

And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ (Luke 16:26)

Except that while they are still living, you may cross from perishable to imperishable by and through Jesus, by confessing Who He Is.

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

Posted in jesus, rapture, salvation

Rapture: "Where did all the people go?" What will the world say in explanation?

Many readers of this blog have asked in email or Facebook messages, what I think the government or the ‘powers that be’ will say to a fearful and wondering population after the rapture. With millions of people having suddenly evaporated, the disappearances will have to be explained somehow. I’m often asked to speculate on what the response will be. I know many of you wonder, too.

This is because once the Light has broken into our stony hearts and conformed us to the image of Christ, it is soooo hard to see life any differently. The presence of the Holy Spirit in us makes everything suddenly so clear about our sin, our condemnation, and our destination before we knew Him. We wonder how it is that so many will STILL refuse to believe, despite the world’s most massive sign, ever.

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:19)

So we know many will still reject. We wonder what kind of explanation will be offered that could satisfy a lost and unbelieving world.

The rapture will be an event unprecedented in human history. The Flood was a global catastrophe, but there were only 8 people alive to witness it and the aftermath. The rapture will be the opposite. A few will be taken and the multitude will be left behind to witness the aftermath. Christians who are alive and Christians who are dead will be taken instantly, in the twinkling of an eye, to meet the Lord Jesus in the air (1 Corinthians 15:52). Of course, we have no way of knowing for sure what will be said in the aftermath. The Church will be gone.

We understand one of the false explanations that may be given is that it is new technology being tested. It may also be proposed that the government explains that the disappearances are due to space beings of a higher order (i.e aliens) taking all the bad people (i.e Christians).

I watched a rapture movie last night on Youtube. It was produced in 1981, and like many in the genre, is low budget with cheesy special effects. It is called “Years of the Beast.” Never mind that it is hosted on Youtube by someone calling herself “Apostle” Mary Thomas, it is the theater version of the 33 year old movie, credits and all. Internet Movie Database has the scoop on it, including some viewer reviews.

The synopsis reads: College professor Stephen Miles (Gary Bayer), his wife, a young girl, and a drifter (Jerry Houser) are suddenly faced with a society where money is worthless, food is scarce, your neighbor is your enemy and oppression reigns. The four must survive a world of earthquakes, natural disasters, looters, corrupt officials and the Anti-Christ in power.

In the movie, after the rapture we saw the people left behind watching the news, and the newscasters tried to explain the disappearances in exactly the above ways. They said it was new technology, or aliens. Another explanation was no explanation, “We just don’t know what we are dealing with yet, that is why the entire planet must come together as a family…” an explanation which of course paved the way for the antichrist.

However two of the main characters are discussing the event in their truck as they drove along. They were hashing over the above given explanations. One said to the other, ‘what do you think?’ And the actor playing the drifter (Jerry Houser) said,

“Someone told me it is a hoax. That the radical Christians dug up their friends
and went into hiding.”

Now THAT is a biblical explanation! It is the first proposed explanation I’ve heard that might be the actual reason given for the rapture. Read Matthew 28:13-18. It is the report of the Guard to the chief priests. Jesus had resurrected and of course His body was no longer in the tomb.

While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ 14And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

In the Movie Years of the Beast, the adult daughter and son in law drove from Seattle to her father’s farm to find out why her dad was not answering the phone. They couldn’t find him. They waited some days and then they came across his clothes in the chair, his watch and wedding ring next to them. They realized what had happened, and they ran out to the family cemetery plot behind the house. They were running to check if her mother’s grave had opened. It had.

Human depravity is a powerful thing. The priests and Pharisees and scribes and Sadducees were standing in front of Messiah, recipients of His teaching, miracles, love, discipling, and yet they rejected. The power of the human mind to remain embedded in darkness even when a powerful sign is right in front of us is something most people can’t fathom, whether they are saved or unsaved.

Therefore, yes, people will believe whatever explanation is offered as to where the Christians went. Personally, I don’t believe there will be so very many alive that will go. The world will be in chaos, yes, but the world will easily paper over the disappearances and get on with business, the business of rejecting Christ all the way to the grave.

So let us turn from this speculation, as interesting as it is, and ask the eternal question: are YOU ready? Christ’s return in the air to gather His elect could happen at any moment. It could happen now, or tomorrow or next week. Never put off what you can do tomorrow what you must do today.

For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.” Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:1-18)

Posted in conversation, encouragement, john bunyan, pilgrim's progress, salvation

We all have a pulpit. How do we use it?

I read an interesting list of points an author made about John Bunyan’s conversion. John Bunyan was the writer of Pilgrim’s Progress, a book many say is the greatest book ever written, apart from the bible. It is without doubt a literary masterpiece. It has stood the test of time since its publication in 1678. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious English literature in history. And the man who wrote it was raised as an atheist.

In Geoff Thomas’ essay titled “John Bunyan,” Mr Thomas wrote,

“John Bunyan had no family influences encouraging him to become a Christian. … In June 1644 when he was 16 his mother passed away and four weeks later his sister died. Eight weeks after his mother’s death his father remarried and in 8 months his wife gave birth to a boy whom his Royalist father named ‘Charles’. Four months earlier John had left home and had joined the Parliamentary Army fighting against King Charles. There was little affection between son and father. How then did John Bunyan become a Christian? There were ten factors which all played their part, great and small:”

One of these factors caught my attention-

Bunyan was stirred by the godly conversation of Christians.
He would work in Bedford and eat his bread with some Christian women who tailored their conversation for his ears. They talked of their own sin, the new birth, and the love of Christ. Bunyan listened intently and later wrote, ‘They spoke as if joy was making them speak. They were to me as if they had found a new world,’ and he often sought them out and sat with them.

‘they tailored their conversation for his ears.’ How important it is, to speak of Jesus in truth for known hearers and unknown hearers! The women must have seen the Spirit working in Bunyan, and they made a choice to and selflessly not speak of the carnal or mundane or the personal, but of the joy of His grace!

They were living this:

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (Colossians 4:6)

Gill’s Exposition says,

“let grace be the subject matter of your speech and conversation. When saints meet together they should converse with each other about the work of grace upon their souls, how it was begun, and how it has been carried on, and in what case it now is; they should talk of the great things and wonders of grace, which God has done for them, which would be both comfortable and edifying to them, and make for the glory of the grace of God”

Jason L. Sanders wrote this week,

Preachers Aren’t The Only Ones With Pulpits

Parents carry a pulpit with them. And from it, thousands of times a day, we preach a sermon to our kids. Whether the sermon is a good one or a bad one, we can be sure of this one thing.

Whether we are preachers exhorting in church, parents teaching our children, or two simple Puritan Christian ladies serving lunch to an obviously tortured soul, we have the privilege and the responsibility to speak ‘as if joy was making us speak.’

What glory it brings the Lord when we intentionally speak of the riches of His grace. Hearers known and unknown to us, Christian and perishing, listen to us and our Spirit-carried words,

For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. (2 Corinthians 2:16)

For John Bunyan, the ladies’ words were the aroma of life to life (‘he often sought them out and sat with them‘). Therefore season your conversation with love, joy, and salt, and watch with admiration and joy where He carries your words. For we all have a pulpit.

For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)

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 allah, grace, Obama, salvation, sin

UPDATE from Todd Friel. Bowe Bergdahl’s Father Invokes Allah In Arabic- Obama smiles triumphantly

I have not followed the Bowe Bergdahl issue. I know little about it. Bowe Bergdahl is America’s only known prisoner of war. Apparently Obama secured this detained and ailing soldier’s release by swapping five Taliban detainees — and leaving most of Congress in the dark. As Congress has become more upset at the President’s sudden and unilateral action, it appears as the story unravels, that the soldier may or may not actually be a deserter- not a hero.

I don’t follow the ins and outs of politics anymore. I have limited time and limited emotional capacity, so I try not to fill it with incidental things of life. I stay focused on work, my local church, the people I interact with, and studying the bible, prayer, and writing, etc.

I have to admit also that my distaste for our current occupant of the Oval Office aids me in keeping me from looking too closely at our American machinations at home and abroad.

However, something on Allen West’s website came to my attention. When Obama held a press conference with the soldier’s father, Bob, and the father was speaking, the father spoke in Arabic. They were just a few words, but there you go. Allah was one of the words. Here is former Congressman and Lt. Colonel Allen West’s report of the incident.

First words of Bergdahl’s father at White House were Arabic
Clare Lopez is a former CIA operations officer, a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on Middle East, national defense, WMD, and counterterrorism issues, and a friend of mine. She emailed me this morning a very poignant analysis that only someone knowing language and Islam could ascertain. She wrote:

“What none of these media is reporting is that the father’s (SGT Bowe Bergdahl’s father Bob) first words at the WH were in Arabic – those words were “bism allah alrahman alraheem” – which means “in the name of Allah the most gracious and most merciful” – these are the opening words of every chapter of the Qur’an except one (the chapter of the sword – the 9th) – by uttering these words on the grounds of the WH, Bergdahl (the father) sanctified the WH and claimed it for Islam. There is no question but POTUS knows this.”

Folks, there is a lot to this whole episode — like Benghazi — that we may never know. And this is not conspiracy theory, it is truth based upon Arabic and Islamic dogma and tradition. And here’s the video if you have any questions.

UPDATE, Todd Friel. 56 seconds, another good word from Todd to ponder:

We Americans have been blessed. For the most part we have had leaders who have willing hearts, attitudes of service, and a desire to do the best for our nation and their fellow citizens. Oh, sure, we’ve had bumblers (Jimmy Carter) some bad ones (James Buchanan), some whose personality did not fit the demands of the job (Ricard Nixon), but overall we never had an inkling that the man whom fellow citizens had elected to office was actually an enemy working against them and did not care at all about their best interests.

Until Obama.

In my opinion, he is a traitor, working actively with satan to dismantle our nation. And that makes me sad, because I love this nation. I mourn for the soldiers who must perform under such a Commander in Chief. I feel empathy for the impoverished ones, the fatherless and the widows in this climate of coldness and rising crime and chaos.

I have felt this way for 7 years. But so what? In looking at nations since the first nations formed in Genesis, 7 years of living under a man who isn’t working for Jesus and isn’t even working for the best interests of the citizens is a tiny, microscopic mite in the historical scheme of things. What about Pharaoh, who let his own people die out of pride? What about invading armies into Israel, killing children? What about Herod and the Massacre of the Innocents? Nero?

What about Germany’s historical shame of Hitler, someone they elected? What about every dictator who ever lived; Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Manuel Noriega, Genghis Khan… Actually, monarchies and dictatorships have been the historical norm for governments. And given man’s depraved state, it is only natural that sinful men do sinful things, and even ‘good’ dictators turn bad.

So who are we to have pity parties over one man for a few years, even while our nation is still one of the wealthiest on the planet? Here is THE question I asked myself: am I more willing to pray for Obama, an obviously lost and hell-bound man, than I am willing to complain about his motives? Am I more willing to complain about Obama than I am to praise Jesus?

I have to admit that I don’t pray for him as much as I should. Well I hardly ever pray for him, if I’m honest. And this is despite the fact that the bible says we must pray for our leaders. It is despite the fact that for 42 years I was a sinner like Obama, and only now I am released from the power of sin by Jesus’ grace. As it is written in 1 Timothy 2:1-4,

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

We should not get all tangled up and angry when sinful people do what they normally do: sin. This goes for even our leaders, whom sometimes we set apart as somehow higher, more noble, less sinful. But the lost are just that, lost. A lost man smiles when another prays to a false god. A lost man smiles when his plans for evil seem to be coming true. But God means all evil for good to those who love Him. (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28). It is by God’s grace that we even know that He means it for good, having the Holy Spirit in us to illuminate the bible’s meaning to us in the verses which declare it so.

As for Obama, all our leaders, any leader, or every sinful person, “Their foot shall slide in due time.” (Deuteronomy 32:35). Obama can smile triumphantly all he wants, but the only triumphant smile I will give is the one if in the Lord’s purpose and plan, He calls Obama to salvation. I once was a sinner like the president, smiling when false gods were mentioned. If he is saved, we will be brothers in grace. THAT calls for a smile of triumph.

Posted in Father, grace, holy spirit, irresistible grace, salvation

The Irresistible Grace of the Father and its role in Salvation

I had resisted the pull from the Father toward the cross and His moment of justification. (John 6:44). I was not successful, obviously. But I vividly remember the feeling that I was OK about the concept of God but not OK with the sin and the blood of Jesus. It was just too weird. Of course we know the bible teaches that Jesus’ general call to the world (Matthew 22:14) was not an effectual call for each person upon it. (Romans 8:28). My thoughts and opinions of the matter didn’t figure into His process of salvation for me one iota.

I remember feeling like I was being drawn somewhere, (John 6:65) but kicking and screaming. I used to liken it (mentally) to the science fiction use of the famous “tractor beam.”

The 1960s show Star Trek used the tractor beam a lot, with ship engineer Scotty always yelling they were caught in it and they couldn’t get out no matter how many shields they put up or how much force they turned the engined up to. Star Wars too.

We’re caught in a tractor beam! It’s pulling us in!” ―Han Solo, Star Wars

In “Star Trek,” tractor beams were often used to pull spaceships and other objects closer to the focal point of the light source attached to another ship. The term came from a 1931 science fiction story where the author had used the term “attractor beam”.

I used to call this palpable draw ‘the invisible tractor beam’ and now I know it was the Father drawing me to Jesus. I resisted it forcibly.

I was unsuccessful. Thank God!

After I was saved, I was talking with another Christian and I was laughing about my foolishness to resist the Holy Spirit. I said, “I was dragged kicking and screaming to the cross.” They looked at me disdainfully and said “You were not!” I knew I was. The notion that person had, and so many others have, is that we all come to the cross gently and walking on cotton candy rainbows, placidly and willingly. It is such a false view. We resist salvation every step of the way and it is the Father drawing us that gets us there. (So none may boast- Ephesians 2:9)

We resist the grace of Jesus in salvation, we are in a spiritual war in which we are the enemy combatants, and we never, ever seek after righteousness or holiness, in fact we resist it.

I picture Justification as a courtroom where the guilty criminal is hustled by burly bailiffs to stand before the judge in handcuffs for his own safety, the accused yelling he’s innocent, but made to look at the judge and receive his sentence while he writhes against the process. (Sentence: PARDON!). It is all spiritual warfare and none of it is easy or gentle. But Scripture reveals a truth about a call, a summons that cannot be ignored and it cannot be resisted. It is the unyielding summons from God. It is a subpoena to appear before Him in His court for the purpose of being declared righteous… ~John MacArthur

We’re all dragged in the ‘invisible tractor beam’ toward the point of Light, and we all resist – some more than others but resistance is 100% for each person. However just like the science fiction stories say, “Resistance is futile!” lol. Wouldn’t you like to see a behind the scenes view of the process of our own justification, the angels around us, both holy and unholy, and the Spirit doing His work?

My own experience notwithstanding, as I learned by studying the Doctrines of Grace, His grace is irresistible. That is a very good thing, because if we had the strength to resist Him fully we would be sovereign over God. In addition, He would not be God if His will could be thwarted. And finally, none of us would be saved. (Romans 3:11)

Here are three good essays on the Irresistible Grace of the Savior. I’ve included an excerpt from each.

John Piper: Irresistible Grace
“The doctrine of irresistible grace means that God is sovereign and can overcome all resistance when he wills. “He does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand!” (Daniel 4:35). “Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases” (Psalm 115:3). When God undertakes to fulfill his sovereign purpose, no one can successfully resist him.This is what Paul taught in Romans 9:14-18, which caused his opponent to say, “Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?”

“Irresistible Grace – is it biblical?”
“Simply put, the doctrine of irresistible grace refers to the biblical truth that whatever God decrees to happen will inevitably come to pass, even in the salvation of individuals. The Holy Spirit will work in the lives of the elect so that they inevitably will come to faith in Christ. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit never fails to bring to salvation those sinners whom He personally calls to Christ (John 6:37-40).”

John Murray: Irresistible Grace
“When we speak of irresistible grace, therefore, it is not to assert that all grace is irresistible, nor is it to deny the numberless respects in which grace is resisted and resisted to the culmination of resistance in everlasting doom.”

The Doctrine of God’s Effectual Call
Paul understood that he was just grabbed by the neck by God and awakened to the glory of Christ and saved and made an Apostle.

Posted in jesus, righteousness, salvation

A plea for your salvation

This is me, one woman’s plain-language plea for those who read this blog who are unsaved to believe in the Gospel.

We can see God plainly because He has made Himself plain in creation. (Romans 1:19). He has set eternity in our hearts. (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We know it, but we suppress it. Why? We’re sinners.

Because we’re all born sinners and do wrong from even in the womb, (Psalm 51:5), we can’t go to heaven after we die. There IS a heaven, and after-life that lasts forever. So heaven exists but what would make it heaven if we’re all there acting like we are here? It would not be heaven.

Only God is holy, that is, without sin. He does no wrong, He does not lie. He is perfect in righteousness…and we’re not. (1 John 1:18, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Romans 3:10).

Therefore humans have a problem, don’t we? We can’t do right, having a sin nature, and God is righteous and the bridge is so wide. A great gulf is fixed between us and Him…except that Jesus came to be that bridge. He lived a sinless life as a man, in the days of His flesh He was tempted as we are but overcame it all. He died on the cross as a criminal who had done no wrong, and took on all of God’s wrath and punishment for our sins.

It is true, God is angry with you for sinning. God hates sin. Hates it. (Psalm 5:4). He has wrath about it. He was pleased to crush His son (again are you shocked at this language? It came straight from the bible, Isaiah 53:10). Then, pleased with His Son, God raised Jesus from the dead, and brought Him to glory. Now Jesus is not only the bridge, but the door we can go through to get to heaven.

Picture a car wash. The car is put on the tracks and goes through the building with powerful washing, and emerges the other side sparkling clean. Scrubbed from top to bottom. We don’t get out and scrub the car, it is automatically scrubbed while we do not contribute to the work. Jesus’s blood washes our sins away and if we go through Him we emerge clean by His works and we can go on to heaven.

But how do we get to the car wash? How do we get clean?

Repent.

That means hating your sins and asking Jesus to forgive them. He can and He does. He lived the life on earth and resisted performing even one sin, even one thought of sin. He is qualified to forgive us because He has triumphed over sin, and He took your punishment for them.

If you do not seek Jesus and repent of sins, believing He is qualified to forgive you because He is the resurrected Son of God, then God will reject you when you die and come asking to get into heaven. Those who reject Jesus will be rejected in turn. If God was pleased to crush His sinless Son, (Isaiah 53:10) do YOU think you’d fare any better standing before Him pleading your own sinful case?

It might sound shocking to hear of things like God hates sin or being rejected or crushing His Son. The world certainly teaches that God is [only] love and that heaven is open to all. But I go back to the original, if you go to heaven like you are now, and so does everybody, what makes it heaven? Earth is a terrible place, full of murderers and liars and child molesters. Even if you are not those things, you’re a greedy, coveting, lying, cretin who doesn’t do good and has poison in your heart. If you have ever even had one malicious thought, you’re a sinner. So again, what makes heaven, heaven, if YOU’RE there?

I was a sinner too. I still am, but I asked Jesus to forgive me (Romans 10:9) and in His mercy, He did. He sent the Holy Spirit to indwell me so as to help me resist sin. I still have that sin nature but I am a new creation in Christ. I am IN Christ. You see, once we emerge from that car wash, the track leads straight to Jesus’s arms and He enfolds us to Himself and He is in us and we are in Him. There is no better place to be, than in the One who is righteous, sinless, holy, living and perfect. He will never forsake me nor let me go. No one or nothing can snatch me from his hand.

He will give you the desires of your heart. Your desire is to sin. If you reject Him and won’t repent, He will allow you to fulfill your desire to sin, but that disqualifies you from entering heaven. When you die, you will get your wish to be apart from Jesus forever. You will got to hell. Hell is real and at this very second it is full of people who thought they were saved because they were good. Thought they had the right religion. Thought there was no God, or hell, or heaven.

So repent while it is the day and not the night. Your foot shall slide in due time. Jonathan Edwards described the enormity of an eternal hell:

It is everlasting wrath. It would be dreadful to suffer this fierceness and wrath of Almighty God one moment; but you must suffer it to all eternity. There will be no end to this exquisite horrible misery. When you look forward, you shall see a long for ever, a boundless duration before you, which will swallow up your thoughts, and amaze your soul; and you will absolutely despair of ever having any deliverance, any end, any mitigation, any rest at all. You will know certainly that you must wear out long ages, millions of millions of ages, in wrestling and conflicting with this almighty merciless vengeance; and then when you have so done, when so many ages have actually been spent by you in this manner, you will know that all is but a point to what remains. So that your punishment will indeed be infinite. Oh, who can express what the state of a soul in such circumstances is! All that we can possibly say about it, gives but a very feeble, faint representation of it; it is inexpressible and inconceivable: For “who knows the power of God’s anger?

This is the Gospel from the bible:

The Resurrection of Christ

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)