Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translates, “GOD WITH US.” Matthew 1:18-23
Miracle of miracles … how can we even comprehend this story to be true? I really can understand how some of my more skeptical friends say … no way. The Bible is just fairy tale, they say ... another spiritualized version of the Santa Claus story; or as one of my best friends for life recently replied to me; “when I die, all that’s left is dirt.” The great thing about Christianity and living in America is that we can strongly disagree and still love and respect each other. Respect and love for the other person has nothing to do with political correctness or pretending that we respect or consider the other person's beliefs as true or of value. We tolerate each other, but on this subject, each of us believes the other to have believed a foolish teaching. I really can understand why we have irreconcilable differences. Our beliefs and loyalties are committed to rulers of opposing views. One true, one a lie. Good versus evil. Both can never be true.
Think about it. Meditate on it. A recently engaged virgin woman; from a very religious family; impregnated by the Holy Spirit; the child in her womb is God, the Creator of the universe coming to earth in the form of a man; for what purpose … to die on the cross for the sins of mankind; the prospective husband who had not touched his future bride gets a visit from an angel that tells him, “don’t worry about the fact that your fiancé is pregnant … God is inside of her.” Jesus is born and lives a perfect sinless life, performs many miracles, walks on water, raises the dead, and teaches a gospel of peace, love, forgiveness, and repentance; the Messiah will be killed by His own people, whose prophets clearly foretold His coming, but they did not recognize Him; He freely delivers Himself up to suffer the worst of deaths imaginable; buried under guard for three days only to be resurrected from the dead; victoriously ascends into the clouds; and this Savior now waits at the right hand of the Father interceding for His followers who do not deserve forgiveness … but are forgiven, justified, and redeemed and receive eternal life in heaven because He … Jesus Christ , Immanuel, the Messiah, God with us, the Savior of the world paid the penalty for all of the sins of man … once for all.
Are we all part of God’s plan created before time began? Did this all knowing, all powerful, ever present, Creator God, consider my innermost parts before the beginning of time? Am I important to God? ---------------------- Or am I just an accident … dirt, as my friend from childhood believes and contends? And are we actually no more important than the bait we would put on a fishing hook, or a leaf blowing in the wind?
Can you see how those unbelievers see all of this as fiction? The source of the problem is clear to me: "Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don't understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God." 2 Corinthians 4:4
A few days ago, I was in a discussion with a “Christian” friend online who tries to reconclie these opposing beliefs. This is clearly impossible. I asked him the following question: “Hundreds of millions of fossils have been discovered ... but none of them are transitional organism fossils. Fish are fish, birds are birds, cattle are cattle, and T-Rexes are T-Rexes ... in the fossil record. There are no fossils that reflect the gradual change from one animal kind into another." Darwinian evolution is a big lie being taught to our children and grandchildren; and any scientists who question this forced system are singled out, and their career is destroyed. Doesn't this injustice bother you? I asked. He responded with drawings of supposed transitional animals. When I rejected this fantasy as obvious drawings of science fiction … he sent me a series of pictures of human skulls. Obviously they were clearly not transitional fossils and there was no evidence of any linkage other than that they all appeared to be human. I responded with the following: “This shows me nothing --- slug to man is a fantasy. For you to contend otherwise is heretical. Birds are not men ... there is no connection ... period.” He responded; “So you believe all of the fossil remains of early man are fake? “I replied: “nope ... I just don't believe that what they have tried to do with them ... to make them fit into their false theory; but in any event they do not and cannot take you or me; or any other animate thing, for that matter ... from a slug to anything else. I'm surprised you would ask me such a silly question. Creating a hypothesis and then arranging things to try to fit these preconceived notions is not science. It is atheistic wishful thinking.” It is also a violation of true science, and legitimate scientists call this unscientific practice: "circular reasoning." He ended with; “Okie, Dokie” … in other words: “you are foolish, Bob.”
Of course my position is that I have accepted Jesus Christ and all of the other Truths of the Bible by faith ... it is not necessary for me to be able to explain all of that which is beyond anyone's human comprehension ... I am not God.
My final questions to him which he did not answer were: “who do you say Jesus Is? Are Jesus and the Creator one and the same? Or do you think there was no creator? Apparently his answer would be: No Creator ... but I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior. Do you see the disconnect and contradiction? The next question for him would be: how then can you (a Christian) accept these false teachings of men that are contrary to the Truth of God which is your basis for salvation?
“So the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have You seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him, but Jesus hid Himself and went out of the temple.”
Jesus said; “truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am” … and the Jewish leaders tried to stone Him and plotted his death from that point on. Why was what Jesus said so inflammatory to the Jews? Because, in their culture, this was the same as saying; “I am God.” Actually, God called himself “I Am” when He said to Moses; “tell Pharaoh … "I Am" sent you.”
I doubt this Christian will even bother to answer my questions. Similar to the scientists who are rejected because they question Darwinism; he has disregarded me. It is so much easier for unbelievers to write people like me off as foolish. Isn't that also what they did to Noah when he began building the ark? The obvious problem is that if someone does not believe in a creator, then the entire Bible is nothing more than just another fairy tale. Think about it … is it harder to believe God created the universe, the world, and man, and everything in it, as well as the story of Jesus Christ outlined above; or is it harder to believe that man evolved from a mistake in the mud and then trillions of more mistakes happened with the end result: being a slug, and that after a trillion more mistakes it became a crawling or flying creature, and that after a trillion more mistakes it became an ape, and that after a trillion more transitions it became a man?
In a recent post, I mentioned where Bill Maher called Christians ignorant and hypocritical while using the story of Noah and the Ark as evidence. Maher’s logic was that people who believed the Noah story are either ignorant; or that those who say that they are Christians, and that God’s Word is truth, and then disregard the hard to believe Biblical stories ... such as Noah and creation are hypocritical. Maher, an atheist is clearly right. If we say that we do not believe in creation or the story of Noah … then how can we say we believe the (equally hard to believe)story of the virgin birth above, or more specifically … the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ?
Immanuel means: “God with us” … Jesus is not just another Jewish prophet or good teacher here. It is hypocritical to say we trust Jesus as our Lord and Savior, but at the same time accept only those parts of His Truth that make sense from a human perspective. Either God the Creator is Jesus Christ, and either this verse is true, or it is a lie: “and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14. We cannot have it both ways. Either the Savior is the Creator of the universe, or He is not. Either His Truth is absolute Truth, or it is not. Either His Word became flesh and dwelt among us, or it did not.
I am a Biblical fundamentalist in the original sense, and I am proud of it. I believe in the fundamental Truths of the Bible. All of God’s Word is Truth. Everything else is false when it conflicts with this Truth. It doesn't matter what the universities or the scientists say ... when they are contrary to God's truth, it is just so much more babble. To believe in God's Truth is to believe in Jesus Christ … To not believe in this Truth is to not believe in Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian and you have chosen to believe otherwise ... to follow the teachings of men rather than God the Creator, I challenge you this Christmas to reconsider. Jesus has much more for you to learn but you cannot humble the Creator and Savior of the world to the teachings of men. He is your God ... it cannot be the other way around.
To my atheist friend from childhood, as well as my online Christian friends with conflicted beliefs, my prayer for you is that God the Creator, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit will make the Truth clear to each of you. Whether it is the teachings of men or the teachings of God, the belief you receive is always, in the end, accepted by faith. It is not about evidence. This is a faith decision. Place your faith in Jesus Christ totally and completely, this Christmas and always ... and then peace, joy, and blessings beyond comprehension will be yours always throughout eternity.
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; but have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. But if our gospel be hidden, it is hidden to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn [upon them]. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:1-6
Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Earlier today, I got a call from a friend who had been reading a post on this blog. After telling me that she had learned much and enjoyed the many posts, she asked: “don’t you like Rick Warren?” whose recent statements and decisions were the topic of a recent post. I replied; Of course, I like Rick Warren very much. He is clearly one of the most Godly committed men I have ever met. But, we are all human, I can be wrong ... and so can Rick Warren. The fact that I don’t agree with him, and that I think he made a wrong turn in his ministry has nothing to do with whether I like or respect him. Just so that there is no confusion here as to where I stand I must say: I do not want to offend Pastor Warren or any of my friends who are his followers. But as a Christian, I hope after reading my posts they will reconsider their plans.
This is a BIG deal! Rick Warren's best seller: Purpose Driven Life introduced his "50 year" global P.E.A.C.E Plan and has been translated into 52 languages. According to his website, more than 500,000 evangelical churches are partnering in what I believe has become an unbiblical ecumenical effort. Warren subsequently expanded that model from an exclusive endeavor of Christianity to one requiring the support of all religions.
The "P" in his P.E.A.C.E. plan originally stood for "Planting Churches" as the key antidote for curing the world's ills. Later, however, before a panel and audience of representatives of the world's religions, Pastor Warren changed the "P" from "Planting Churches" to "Promoting Reconciliation" If his intent was to reconcile the world through the ministry of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I would be in wholehearted agreement. But reconciliation with false religions is not the ministry of reconciliation that each of us have been given as our personal ministry and mission in 2 Corinthians 5. To not challenge this well meaning but false leading, would be for me to not follow my calling and commitment to Christ.
In 2 Corinthians 4 and 5, Paul discusses this ministry of reconciliation we have all been given. When Paul says: “seeing we have this ministry” he is referring to our call as ambassadors for Christ with a ministry of reconciliation “as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God” This is not about reconciling the world’s religions with Christianity. It is Christ reaching out to all men and women through Christians by the power of the Holy Spirit; and reconciling unbelievers one by one to the Creator of the universe. The one and ONLY Savior of humankind. Christ is providing eternal life ONLY through His grace and sacrificial death on the cross for our sins. There is only one place in His plan for other Gods, and their religions: eternal hell. The unrepentant followers have two choices: reconciliation; or eternal condemnation. Many would say this is harsh and yes it is, but it is exactly what the Bible teaches ... nothing more, nothing less. Is this legalistic or judgmental? I do not believe so. We all have the exact same spiritual problem, and there is only one solution: Jesus Christ. For me to teach or promote anything other than this truth would be hypocritical, deceitful, and the worst thing I could possibly do. We are all the same, all equal, with the same problem, and same solution.
Christianity is easy for all to understand, treats everyone fairly and equally, and discriminates against no-one. We are not allowed to rewrite God's plan of salvation to fit our own personal needs, desires, beliefs, or religions. I am confident Pastor Rick Warren would agree with me on these points.
“As we have received mercy, we faint not” This phrase makes it clear that we do not deserve the good fortune of eternal life with God in Heaven … it is His free gift by grace; we have been saved and entrusted with this ministry. Paul did not deserve his ministry and neither do you or I … but we each have the same ministry that Paul was given, whether we step up to the challenge or not is another question. We faint not speaks to the courage it takes to stand up to the false teachings of the world and the schemes of the god of this world. His goal and plan is to lead people away form Christ and the truth of the gospel. It is our challenge to stand firm … and to not form alliances with spiritually doomed religions. It is not easy to stand firm when those we love might think we appear foolish. It is much easier to remain silent and to be politically correct. Tolerance and political correctness does not make a false religion true. Silence only encourages those we care about to possibly continue on the wrong path. Only when I challenged the false teachings of Mormonism did my friends turn to the good news of Jesus Christ. No one wants to be viewed as legalistic. But Jesus said; “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. When we start seeing ourselves as Christ sees us … others will see Christ through us. We are to be ministers of the Spirit of righteousness and the love of Christ.
“But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully” What are the hidden things of dishonesty that are tools that the enemy uses to bring us defeat as ministers of the gospel? Hypocrisy, our daily walk, manipulations of God’s word, contrary teachings of the world, false religions. I could write an entire post on this one sentence. Each of us must do a personal review of what we believe and why we believe it. Is it consistent with what God’s Word and the Holy Spirit lead us to understand as truth? Or is it the plan of a well meaning pastor or teacher? False teachings at the seminary level are leading a generation of pastors away from Biblical inerrancy. Faulty translations and manipulated paraphrases are being used to distort the Bible’s original meaning, and promote popular ideas; and the next thing you know we have a “green bible.” The Bible is not hard to understand if one is being led by the Spirit of Truth. If not, it is impossible to understand or accept … and that is the problem. We are to be ministers of the gospel; ministers of reconciliation. We need to keep our vision focused on Christ and His purpose for us.
“But by manifestation of the truth, commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. To commend is to: represent as worthy, qualified, or desirable; or to recommend the gospel of Christ to those God brings before us. That is our mission. A primary mission of the church should be to make this clear to every believer; and to teach and equip each believer in how to present ourselves as worthy of this lifelong ministry God has given each of us. God wants to move on peoples hearts through our words and our walk by the power of the Spirit of Truth.
But if our gospel be hidden, it is hidden to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn [upon them]. Certainly clinics that are ministering to the sick in the name of Christ can be used to lead the lost to eternal life in Christ. This is a commendable ministry of living the love of Christ. But not if these clinic caregivers are housed in a mosque or temple and manned by Muslims or Buddhists. This verse is very telling regarding the subject at hand. The enemy of Christ, “the god of this world” Satan has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that the truth of the gospel will be foolishness to them. Only when Christ removed the veil and opened my eyes to the truth was I able to understand the deceptions and false teachings of the evil one. Those who have chosen to fall under the power of lust and pride; are under the control of the enemy. This includes both the caregivers and the recipients of care. They could be sincerely helping people day after day in a clinic but it will be for the wrong reasons … if not for Christ.
They will be giving the sick water but not the "living water" provided by Christ at Calvary.
For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. This verse needs no explanation. Like I said; the gospel is easy to understand when the Spirit of Truth is guiding you.
A special thanks to Ana C. for inspiring this post. God Bless you my friends, Bob
Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3
The principle of reckoning is to have faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ. To reckon is to believe and stand upon established truth. We are to believe in what Christ has already accomplished ... your salvation and eternal life, here and now. The act of reckoning is to stand on the biblical truth. “You have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God” is a key principle in establishing spiritual growth and progress. Reckoning our position in Christ “you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God” and becoming spiritually focused “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” are key steps to physically living “in the world” but not being controlled by and “being of the world.” When we understand these facts we can rise above the cares of the world and it’s temporary problems and temporary solutions. This is what sets Christians who are Biblically focused apart from those who are lost in the cares of the world ("a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways). This is a key element to experiencing the Peace that surpasses all understanding" ... another amazing blessing to be reckoned upon that Jesus has promised to each one of us who have received His free gift of eternal life.
This truth (Reckoning) is an important key to resting in Christ.
My previous post clearly demonstrates the difference between being focused on Christ who is the solution; and relying on the plans of men which are often well meaning but counter productive spiritually. What could possibly be wrong with converting empty buildings of worship of various religions and cults into health centers that provide much needed medical treatment to billions of poor people throughout the world? You tell me when you read this statement from a world renowned Christian pastor: “I am not concerned about your motivation in doing good … as long as you do good." This reinforces the lie that keeps billions of religious and non-religious people blinded to the truth and from turning to Jesus Christ: a works based salvation. Once again, I am not saying this is not a worthy rallying point for good people worldwide to get behind. But I am saying we cannot follow Christ and join together with false religions at the same time. This like all other worldly solutions is temporal. Better than doing nothing ... but we cannot call it Christianity.
Our calling is to preach the gospel to the world ... leading to eternal salvation through Jesus Christ.
The statement above makes much sense from a politician who represents those under his leadership from various viewpoints, and who freely believe many different religions and philosophies. But our call as Christians is to be ministers of reconciliation to the lost of the world … not disregard or reinforce their false beliefs and positions. This is where our loyalties come into question. How do your loyalties line up? God, family, self, others, country, environment. There are those who think country and environment should come first; and that our allegiance to Christ and our country should be humbled to the needs of the greater good and our role and responsibilities as citizens of the world. I am sensitive to those priorities; but never in a way that diminishes my Christ given mission and life purpose; and secondarily, my allegiance to my country. First and foremost, I am an ambassador for Christ with a ministry of reconcilliation ... nothing more, and nothing less.
Once we have clarity on our position and how to become spiritually focused following the leadership of the Holy Spirit rather than following feelings, lusts and pride, and the teachings of men; we can truly experience the victory, peace, joy and rest that Christ promises us ... and these promises of Christ are to be reckoned and realized as reality here and now. Our Christ-centered priorities become clear and the cares of the world lose importance in comparison. Providing aid to the sick should be critically important to us all when the love of Christ guides us and controls us. But how much more important is the eternal salvation of those same souls. Sharing Christ with them is the most loving thing we could ever do for anyone ... we have the ability to share with them the "living water" that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ promises everyone.
When Paul uses the example of milk and meat in 1 Corinthians 2:14-3:2, he is giving an example of entering into oneness of mind and purpose with Jesus Christ versus living the same way as we did before the victory and salvation that Christ provided. “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual men, but as to men of flesh, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food (meat); for you were not yet able to receive it. Indeed, even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like mere men?"
We do not need to walk anymore as mere men. We have the choice to reckon the truth of God's Word as it applies to those who have received the gift of eternal life. We also have victory over our old habits, lust, pride, sin and fears. But we can only have victory in those areas, as we set our mind on Christ and on the things above; and our current position in Christ. Trying to get there as a result of good works is a false teaching that leads to failure, despair and loss. The Holy Spirit will direct us and guide us into His rest … moment by moment, how to live the love of Christ. We must come to understand that here and now … “our life is hidden with Christ in God in the heavenlies. Then our work will be motivated by the Love of Christ; rather than striving after the goals and plans of men.
“The reason so many Christians are not living from their heavenly position in the Liberator is that they are not yet established in the truth of their freedom from the influence of the world. There is a process of reckoning that must be followed: believing Christ's promises to be true ... here and now. Until we know and reckon on the truth of our having died out from under the control of our old nature, we cannot exercise intelligent faith in counting that:
1. we are a new creation in Christ Jesus. 2. we are alive to God in Him. 3. our life is hidden in God through Christ
Once we are established positionally, we will then become established experientially. When we learn to fix our mind on Christ and rest in Him in the heavenlies, we will not be oppressed by self, circumstances, and situations here on earth. Our spiritual position is not down here, praying and pleading for help from Him up there. Just the opposite! We do not need to go to Him for help, but we rest in Him as the All-sufficient One. We do not bring Him down to our level for our use; we abide in Him at His level ... us humbled to Him for His use. Christ is our Christian life; therefore as we grow spiritually we become more like Him. Our father has already glorified us in Christ; our Lord's return will bring about the manifestation of that finished work. “and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” Romans 8:30. Reckon this truth. Count on it and rest in it. For our citizenship is in heaven; from which also we wait eagerly for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory” Philippians 3:21 Recommended reading: The Reckoning That Counts … by Miles J. Stanford
I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. John 11:25.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him. John 14:6-7
The Question for the Canyon's Edge
Have you been there? Have you been called to stand at the thin line that separates the living from the dead? Have you lain awake at night listening to machines pumping air in and out of your lungs? Have you watched sickness corrode and atrophy the body of a friend? Have you lingered behind at the cemetery long after the others have left, gazing in disbelief at the metal casket that contains the body that contained the soul of the one you can't believe is gone?
It is possible that I'm addressing someone who is walking the canyon wall. Someone you love dearly has been called into the unknown and you are alone. Alone with your fears and alone with your doubts. If this is the case, please read the rest of this piece very carefully. Look carefully at the scene described in John 11.
In this scene there are two people: Martha and Jesus. And for all practical purposes they are the only two people in the universe.
Her words were full of despair. "If you had been here ... " She stares into the Master's face with confused eyes. She'd been strong long enough; now it hurt too badly. Lazarus was dead. Her brother was gone. And the one man who could have made a difference didn't. He hadn't even made it for the burial. Something about death makes us accuse God of betrayal. "If God were here there would be no death!" we claim.
You see, if God is God anywhere, he has to be God in the face of death. Pop psychology can deal with depression. Pep talks can deal with pessimism. Prosperity can handle hunger. But only God can deal with our ultimate dilemma—death. And only the God of the Bible has dared to stand on the canyon's edge and offer an answer. He has to be God in the face of death. If not, he is not God anywhere.
Jesus wasn't angry at Martha. Perhaps it was his patience that caused her to change her tone from frustration to earnestness. "Even now God will give you whatever you ask."
Jesus then made one of those claims that place him either on the throne or in the asylum: "Your brother will rise again." Martha misunderstood. (Who wouldn't have?) "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
That wasn't what Jesus meant. Don't miss the context of the next words. Imagine the setting: Jesus has intruded on the enemy's turf; he's standing in Satan's territory, Death Canyon. His stomach turns as he smells the sulfuric stench of the ex-angel, and he winces as he hears the oppressed wails of those trapped in the prison. Satan has been here. He has violated one of God's creations.
With his foot planted on the serpent's head, Jesus speaks loudly enough that his words echo off the canyon walls. "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:25).
It is a hinge point in history. A chink has been found in death's armor. The keys to the halls of hell have been claimed. The buzzards scatter and the scorpions scurry as Life confronts death—and wins! The wind stops. A cloud blocks the sun and a bird chirps in the distance while a humiliated snake slithers between the rocks and disappears into the ground.
The stage has been set for a confrontation at Calvary. But Jesus isn't through with Martha. With eyes locked on hers he asks the greatest question found in Scripture, a question meant as much for you and me as for Martha. "Do you believe this?"
Wham! There it is. The bottom line. The dimension that separates Jesus from a thousand gurus and prophets who have come down the pike. The question that drives any responsible listener to absolute obedience to or total rejection of the Christian faith.
"Do you believe this?"
Let the question sink into your heart for a minute. Do you believe that a young, penniless itinerant is larger than your death? Do you truly believe that death is nothing more than an entrance ramp to a new highway? "Do you believe this?"
Jesus didn't pose this query as a topic for discussion in Sunday schools. It was never intended to be dealt with while basking in the stained glass sunlight or while seated on padded pews.
No. This is a canyon question. A question which makes sense only during an all-night vigil or in the stillness of smoke-filled waiting rooms. A question that makes sense when all of our props, crutches, and costumes are taken away. For then we must face ourselves as we really are: rudderless humans tailspinning toward disaster. And we are forced to see him for what he claims to be: our only hope.
As much out of desperation as inspiration, Martha said yes. As she studied the tan face of that Galilean carpenter, something told her she'd probably never get closer to the truth than she was right now. So she gave him her hand and let him lead her away from the canyon wall.
"I am the resurrection and the life.... Do you believe this?" from God Came Near by Max Lucado ==================================================================================
So many of us (as many as 90% of Americans) say; "I believe" ... but do you really believe? Do you really "KNOW" what you believe? Of course you say: I believe Jesus died on the cross for my sins. But take note, my friend ... the scripture says: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it ... And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-5,14.
The truth of the Bible is not a multiple choice question. To believe some; and reject that which we don't understand or like ... is an insult to God; How can someone say; that they believe in Jesus, but reject: "apart from Him nothing came into being, that has come into being"? A primary reason Christians are often called hypocrites by unbelievers is that they say they believe, and then do the opposite of what the Bible teaches; or they reject the truth they do not like or agree with; or that which does not make sense to them. This is man being the god of his own beliefs system. In fact ... they are creating their own religion with Jesus and His salvation fitted in.
Now think about this. Since Jesus and the Word are one and the same ... with God the Creator revealing Himself to us in different ways; and He says: He is Truth and His Word is Truth ... then it is the ultimate hypocrisy to believe Christ on the one hand and reject Him or His Word ... on the other hand. For example: if you do not believe Jesus raised Lararus from the dead, then what is your basis for believing that Jesus can deliver you from death, and into eternal life. All of God's word is truth, or our entire belief system crumbles. That includes the stories of creation, Noah, Jonah, Lazarus and the thousands of other miracles, prophecies, and claims included in the Bible that are difficult for us to understand. God is all knowing and all powerful ... it is sad that men are so prideful that they would think that they know better than the wisdom and knowledge of the creator of their human brain ... the same brain that creates a thought? His power becomes reality for each of us when we have faith in all of who He is and what He has done. Bob
Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS”; and again, “THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS.” 1 Corinthians 3:18-20
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him....And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:15-17
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11
Certainly the world is all about solving its problems without the God of the Bible. Yet many professing Christians are rushing to remedy the world's troubles in ways that are without the support of Scripture, some even in contradiction to what the Scriptures teach. Rick Warren's global P.E.A.C.E. plan is one of many programs and teachings that, for the most part, cannot be reconciled with God's prophetic Word. It is Warren's "50-year plan" to cure global issues such as "pandemic diseases, extreme poverty, illiteracy, corruption, global warming, [and] spiritual emptiness" (see www.thebereancall.org). He claims that his social-works agenda developed from his reading of the Gospels--that Jesus gave him the model that was the antidote to the five biggest problems on the planet. Warren subsequently expanded that model from an exclusive endeavor of Christianity to one requiring the support of all religions. The "P" in his P.E.A.C.E. plan originally stood for "Planting Churches" as the key antidote for curing the world's ills. Later, however, before a panel and audience of representatives of the world's religions, he changed the "P" from "Planting Churches" to "Promoting Reconciliation".
Warren announced unequivocally that the universal problems cannot be solved "without including people of faith and their religious institutions". He told his audience at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland (1/24/08) that the various houses of worship are needed for distribution centers of resources to help eradicate global problems. His shift, however, to an ecumenical program that includes Islamic mosques, Hindu temples, Jewish synagogues, and other religious establishments as participants in meeting social needs may impress the world, but it is contrary to what God says in His Word. The God of the Bible is an exclusive God: "I am the Lord, and there is none else, and there is no God beside me" Isaiah 45:5. There is to be no participation with the purveyors of false gods. The Apostle Paul tells us we are not to be "unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" 2 Corinthians 6:14-15.
Rick Warren's "ill-curing" ecumenical agenda is illogical as well as unbiblical. How can his game plan for remedying "spiritual emptiness" work with those who promote a false spirituality? Peter tells us, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name [Jesus Christ] under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Jesus himself declared, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" John 14:6. If there is no other true God but the God revealed in the Bible, and if salvation comes only through Jesus Christ-as the Scriptures declare-then all other gods and all other ways of salvation are false, with no hope for their followers. Yet Warren told his Davos religious audience that he was not concerned about their motivation in doing good, "as long as you do good." Tragically, he reinforced the very lie that keeps billions of religious people blinded to the truth and from turning to Jesus Christ: works salvation.
The influence of this fix-the-earth program is staggering. Warren's best-selling Purpose Driven Life (30 million copies- plus sold worldwide) introduced his "50- year" global P.E.A.C.E Plan and has been translated into 52 languages. According to his website, more than 500,000 evangelical churches are partnering with him in his unbiblical ecumenical effort.
Although Warren's attempt to solve the world's problems is more than misguided, it's not the only prophecy-denying, earthbound enterprise that's gaining followers today. Rob Bell, in his book Velvet Elvis, reflects the "fix the earth" eschatology of nearly all Emerging Church leaders: "Salvation is the entire universe being brought back into harmony with its maker....But we can join a movement that is as wide and as big as the universe itself. Rocks and trees and birds and swamps and ecosystems....God's desire is to restore all of it....The goal isn't escaping this world but making this world the kind of place God can come to. And God is remaking us into the kind of people who can do this kind of work."
Brian McLaren, arguably the best-known emergent leader, has a low, if not distorted, view of biblical prophecy, as do most of his peers in the Emerging Church Movement. He regards the Book of Revelation as "literature of the oppressed" to inspire "each generation," rather than God's warning of future events and judgments to come upon mankind.
Those future events and judgments are clearly at odds with the agenda of solving the world's problems and turning it into a paradise. McLaren declares: "In this light, [that is, removing the prophetic aspect of the Book of Revelation] Revelation becomes a powerful book about the kingdom of God here and now, available to all." He believes, as does Rick Warren (who also has a low view of prophecy), that it is necessary for all the religions of the world to work together for the greater good of society: "I think our future will also require us to join humbly and charitably with people of other faiths--Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, secularists, and others--in pursuit of peace, environmental stewardship, and justice for all people, things that matter greatly to the heart of God." That sentiment, although pleasing to the flesh, is far removed from the "heart of God" and His Word.
Restoring or preserving this planet as a rallying cause in the church has far exceeded the biblical principle of stewardship today and has become an earthbound mindset. Scripture is quite clear that any abuse of what God has provided for mankind is sin. Yet some are using the Bible erroneously to support their unbiblical agendas. Eugene Peterson, in his 10-million-bestselling The Message Bible, has no qualms about distorting the Scriptures for "the cause." He translates John 3:17 to say that Jesus "came to help, to put the world right again," rather than "that the world through Him might be saved" (meaning the salvation of souls-KJV). He then promotes the ecological Green Movement by adding the adjective "green" to Romans 15:13: "Oh! May the God of green hope fill you up with joy...."
Marketing Bibles is big business today, and where there's a "cause," there's usually an attempt to come up with a Bible that implies that the agenda is supported in Scripture. The Green Bible is just one example. It is presented in conjunction with the Sierra Club, The Humane Society, and the National Council of Churches' Eco-Justice Program. It features an introduction by arch-heretic Archbishop Desmond Tutu and contributions by emergent leader Brian McLaren and theologian N. T. Wright, both of whom preach "redeeming the earth." Sales promotions claim that because the Bible mentions the earth twice as often as "heaven" and "love," it "carries a powerful message for the earth." That rationale is both delusionary and deceptive. The "powerful message" of the Bible is the "good news" of what God has accomplished to reconcile man to Himself that we might spend life everlasting with Him. This present earth plays a very minute part in God's eternal plan.
Sadly, increasing numbers of believers are attempting to secure their lifeboats to our Titanic -- like earth for the purpose of redeeming it. Instead, our "agenda" needs to line up with the biblical mandate of evangelist and soul winner John Harper (read An Unlikely Hero)
There is no redemption for this earth--only for its people.
Lord, give us that same love for the perishing that You gave to Your servant John Harper, and, by Your grace, use us according to Your Word. ... excerpted from The Temporal Delusion, part 2 by Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon The Berean Call ================================================================================
Where does this all lead when we carry this logic it to it's end? Well recently an advocate of the social justice gospel, and the emerging church legalistically judged me, questioning my Christianity because I did not support, and often speak out against Obamacare. This Christian member of Rick Warren's church quoted Jesus' parable of the sheep and the goats out of context (I might ad) and implied that I was a goat, and would be dealt with accordingly when I stand before Christ. I am waiting for him to question my salvation in a similar way due to my stand against the global warming hoax.
Eugene Peterson's ignorant distortion of God's word, and his use of the term "the God of green hope" shows how far these paraphrases have twisted the truth to fit personal agendas. Also the fact that they would create a green bible shows how desperate the environmentalists are to promote their false religion disguised as a bible.
Regarding Rick Warren's Plan: I have been an admirer and student of Pastor Rick Warren for over 25 years. As a result, I thought long and hard before posting this article. But I am afraid he has stepped away from his churche's founding principles of 1. the great commission and 2. the greatest commandment. I truly respect what Rick Warren and Saddleback have accomplished for the cause of Christ, and his heart for the Lord. But on this issue, I am convinced that he has confused his priorities to the detriment of God's Word, and is leading committed Christians down the wrong path. If you doubt the validity of this conclusion ... read for yourself the Pew/Warren interview where pastor Warren discusses these specific issues and more. Warren/Pew interview. In the interview he explains his exit strategy from Saddleback Church and his new plan which has already begun. He refers to himself as a liberal. His negative description of Conservative Christian Fundamentalists as “having stopped listening” ... and he lumps us together with Islamists, atheists and other false religions (apparently meant as an insult), and to tickle his liberal audience; but in reality it is a compliment ... since to stop listening to unbiblical worldly counsel is actually what the Bible teaches Biblical Christians to do. "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2
His plan to use churches worldwide as clinics during the week to heal the sick is brilliant, from a worldly human perspective; and IF there were many true gods who created the universe and multiple valid religions and paths to eternal life ... I would say this makes sense spiritually. But the Bible is clear. According to the God that Pastor Warren has committed his life to serve; most of these other religions he is lining up with to fulfill his plan are false religions, worshiping false gods. To join together with them is clearly contrary to what the Bible teaches; as noted in the above scriptures. BOTTOM LINE: The end ... clearly WILL NEVER NEVER EVER ... justify the means.
What will the Islamists do when our medical missionaries lovingly witness to sick and lost Muslims … cut off the Christian’s heads, or stone them to death? Our mission of sharing the gospel and planting churches is a thousand times more important than promoting reconciliation of false religions; or showing false religions and atheists how to heal the sick. We must pray for Pastor Rick Warren that God will make the truth of His Word clear to him. Bob
“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. “But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. John 15: 19-21
And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Mathew 28:18-20
These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
We cannot have heaven on earth by minimizing Christ and His plan. Following plans that blend false religions with Christianity for the "common good" and "environmental stewardship" are not plans from Jesus Christ ... this is clearly a scheme of the false god of this world.
Here is a clip that the atheists, ACLU, Seasons Greetings, and Happy Holidays only crowd; as well as the anti-Jesus Christ advocates most surely did not appreciate.
People are shopping at Macy's in Philadelphia, Unaware that anything out of the ordinary was going on UNTIL 650 opera singers who had secretly infiltrated the crowd as shoppers took their cue ... Click Here
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him....And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. --(1 John 2:15-17)
Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11
This post addresses a troubling trend within Christendom today. Our concern is that if professing believers in Jesus Christ are hung up on the temporal aspects of life on earth, then they are caught up in a delusion at best. They are missing the heart of what God wants for them, and, at worst, they could be unwittingly contributing to the kingdom and religion of the Antichrist.
The current trend of men with good intentions focusing on the priorities of the world and temporal things is not a new condition in the history of the world--or the church, for that matter. From the tower of Babel on, humanity has attempted to create a utopia and build a kingdom, either independent of God or, allegedly, in the name of God but for its own end. For those who call themselves Christians, there is a simple test to discern whether they have fallen prey to such a delusion: are their thinking and actions consistent with what the Word of God says about the kingdom of God, the rapture of the church, the prophetic end-time warnings of the Word, the final plight of the world in rebellion, and the eternal destiny of those who love the Lord?
The mark of a true Christian is that he or she conforms to what the Scriptures teach. Those who conform to the goals or agendas of the world, either personally or by participating in organized programs that compromise what the Bible teaches, although they may indeed be believers, are nevertheless drifting away from the faith (Hebrews 2:1). This means that one's temporal fruitfulness in Christ and eternal rewards will be adversely affected--but not one's eternal future with Jesus, which was secured by our Lord's full payment for all our sins.
The Bible doesn't make an esoteric issue or a cryptic mystery of what lies ahead for life on this planet. It simply and clearly informs us as to what has taken place in ancient times and what will take place in the future.
From the time of man's first sin against God in the Garden of Eden to our present day, the effects of that sin spawned a progressive evil among mankind. Early on, in response to the proliferation of wickedness, God destroyed all but eight people in a worldwide flood (Genesis 6). Sin has not abated as it continues to separate man from God. Since the days of Noah and his family and their repopulation of the earth, there have been few instances of collective obedience to God. Even among a people chosen of God to whom He would send His Messiah to save the world from sin's consequences, obedience was only sporadic, concluding initially with the rejection and crucifixion of God's anointed Savior, Jesus Christ.
All of that was known to God before the beginning of time, as well as what He would do for mankind in keeping with His unfathomable love for His created beings. His solution for reconciling man to Himself was first indicated after the fall in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15,21) and then foretold by the prophets throughout the Old Testament. God's Savior would become a man through a virgin birth. He would be the God-Man and a suffering Servant, whose sacrificial death would pay for the sins of mankind. His resurrection from the dead certified that the infinite penalty He suffered for a condemned humanity was acceptable in satisfying God's perfect justice.
In the Book of Acts, after commissioning His disciples to share with the world the good news of His salvation, we read of Christ's ascension from the Mount of Olives to heaven and of His future return to that same place (Acts 1:8-11). Both Old Testament and New Testament prophets tell us about significant events that will take place here on earth prior to the Lord's return--and afterward: the destruction of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the Jewish people (Deuteronomy 28:64; Leviticus 26:33); the re-gathering of the Jews to the land of Israel from their worldwide dispersion (Isaiah 11:11-12; 43:6; Ezekiel 20:33-38; 36:24) the return of Jesus for His bride, the church, and His catching believers up to Himself to take them to the wedding in heaven (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18); the seven years of the Great Tribulation, involving worldwide catastrophes that will follow the Rapture of the saints (Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:21-22); the Antichrist's rise to dictatorial leader of the world (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4; Revelation 13); the pouring out of God's wrath upon the earth during the seven years of tribulation (Revelation 6-19); the nations of the world turning against Israel to destroy it (Joel 3:1-2,9-15; Ezekiel 38); the return of Jesus from heaven with His saints, and the destruction of those who have sought to annihilate Israel (Zechariah 12); Jesus' setting up of His throne in Jerusalem and ruling the earth from there for 1,000 years (Revelation 20; Isaiah 65:17-25), and the healing of the earth from the devastation that took place during the Great Tribulation (Isaiah 11:1-10; Ezekiel 47:1-12). At the close of the Millennial reign of Jesus, He will put down a worldwide rebellion led by Satan (Revelation 20:7-9). All those who have rebelled will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 14-15; 21:8). The heavens and the earth will dissolve, and God will form, in perfection, new heavens, a new earth, and a new Jerusalem for those who love Him, and where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:7,10-13).
Just as all the prophecies related to the first coming of Jesus were fulfilled in the smallest detail and with 100 percent accuracy, we can be absolutely sure that the biblical prophecies regarding the future will be just as accurate. Furthermore, they spell out spiritual and physical conditions that will take place. One thing that should be obvious from the prophetic scenario above: this world has a temporal purpose that is incredibly brief compared to eternity. To miss that is to lose sight of the fact that a believer is a "sojourner" here whose "[citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20).
Our responsibility then, as Bereans (Acts 17:11), is to search the Scriptures and compare the movements, programs, agendas, and so forth, that are being promoted today in the world--and especially in Christendom--with what is foretold in God's Word. That will tell us what we may support and what we need to disregard--or even stand firmly against (Ephesians 5:11). ... excerpted from The Temporal Delusion, part 2 by Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon The Berean Call ===================================================================================
The prophecy outlined here is a most excellent illustration of God's time-line for His Royal Priesthood from beginning to end. Prophecy predicted where mankind has been, where he is now, and where he will be throughout eternity. We live in confusing times. When we look to God's prophecy, He clarifies where we are in His plan, and what our next steps must be. For example, we know with absolute certainty that those who disregard or stand against the nation of Israel are doomed and will suffer God's wrath; and those who support Israel and stand with her will receive God's multitude of blessings. The affairs of the world are pulling us in many directions, but there is only one certain path that God has laid out for all believers in Jesus Christ. We must be Bereans. We must watch carefully ... so that we are not led astray by the enemies of Christ. As I am confident you will understand in my next post millions of Christians are sincerely following the direction of Christian leaders down a path that is contrary to the direction Jesus Christ has prepared for us. Our children and grandchildren are likely to be led astray also, if we do not warn them, and show them God's truth and His path ... the only path to righteousness, freedom and eternal life for them. Bob
These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Dueteronomy 6:6-7.
As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he … Proverbs 23:7
A wise man once told me that if I would categorize all of the activities of my life, they would easily fit under one of the following three headings: Becoming, Relating, and Achieving. This idea was insightful to me because when I developed these three lists, I couldn’t find any of my activities that did not fit on one or the other of the lists. I have concluded that most people have never been given much formal training in how to excel in any of these three areas. When we look at where most Americans have ended up, it is clear that what you are about to read is not often taught in universities. Since the vast majority of us fail miserably at one of our main goals: ending up with a measure of financial security, I would like to talk here about: achieving … financially. Most of us are allowing our lives to be guided with faulty knowledge, no vision and no plan.
This post is a continuation of A Simple Life … be sure to read it first to understand the proper context.
So what basic foundational principles do I wish my parents and society had taught me to be better equipped to have success, happiness and victory in the world?
1. That the Bible is the foundation of everything in life and that the New Testament is God’s plan and His New Covenant for me. The gospel of Jesus Christ. Understanding God’s plan and purpose, the Biblical doctrines of Sin, Judgment, Love, Forgiveness, Grace, Justification, Reconciliation, Sanctification, Mission, Ministry, and my Position in Christ are the very essence of life. All of the answers to Becoming, Relating and Achieving are found here. 2. As a free American I am glad I was taught the importance of love and respect for my country, and all of it’s founding principles. 3. The importance of our health, through diet, exercise and responsible living is foundational to everything we do. 4. Education is critical ... especially reading and looking deeply into the truth is a key element to forming and shaping our mind and gaining wisdom. As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he … Proverbs 23:7. This verse establishes the critical importance of gaining knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. 5. Money management is a key to our success and happiness. If we do not understand and apply these rules in the financial areas of our lives, we will become a slave to finances. Understanding and diligently applying these financial principles is critical to becoming a ruler rather than a slave to our finances. The rich rules over the poor, And the borrower becomes the lender's slave. Proverbs 22:7
Understanding and teaching these foundational principles should a a first priority in training up all of our children.
We will now focus on the Miss-use of credit. My success at a young age was largely due to leveraged credit. With limited assets to start with, I had no idea that there was a better way that would bring far better results and very limited risk. The more successful I became, the more credit I was offered. Inflation was high and it was easy to borrow and double my money annually. A big mistake was that I had no idea that I was putting my assets at risk. When we finally forced to sell business, there was over a million dollars owing on our lines of credit. Although all my payments were current, the lenders were forced by federal regulators to call the loans due in full. This forced the sale of my assets at the worst possible time. But now that I understand better how bank financing and compound interest works, I understand that my loss was far greater that I ever imagined at the time.
To bring this discussion into a perspective that almost anyone can relate to, let’s just look at the financing of my first two luxury cars. At the time, I leased the most expensive Mercedes Benz on the market. When converted into today’s dollars my Mercedes roadster would be priced at over $150,000. But for the sake of keeping this estimation in the real world, let’s consider the lease of a 2010 BMW 5 series GT at a cost of $64,325. This is a typical purchase for a businessman similar to where I was then, in today’s world. According to Cars.com, on a five year lease the monthly payment will be $862.35 with $6,500 down payment. At the end of the first five years, I turn my car in, and sign up for a similar lease. How much did my two cars cost me over a ten year period? $116,482. Wow that sounds horrible, doesn’t it? Yes, for the cost of a car … especially when you consider that I did this for 30 years and that the two Mercedes I first bought were much more than this estimate in today’s dollars.
But the bigger question is: how much would I have now if I had invested the cost of those cars over the same 10 years at a 7% return? Answer: $234,089. And what if I left that money alone compounding at a 7% return until today with no additional deposits? How much would be in my account … right now? Answer: $1,340,257. Now that I know how much my cars actually cost me over the years (millions), I think I want to go back to riding a bicycle. Do you get the point? Everything you buy has a much higher cost when you consider the future value of the money spent. Consciously considering the financial steps we take leads to freedom. We must learn, understand, practice and teach these truths to our children.
I know you might be saying; that doesn’t apply to me because I would never have leased a car for $862 per month. But as a loan officer over the past 15 years, I can assure you that the vast majority of people pay that amount or more in combined interest on their cars and credit cards and at much higher rates than the lease factor I used. You might say that the car is fully tax deductible. I would respond by asking: have you considered tax free cash flow for the rest of your life? That idea kind of minimizes the value of tax deductions, don’t you think? You might also say that I pay cash for my cars, or I buy with a loan, not a lease. I could easily demonstrate to you that when those methods of payment are used that the end result is basically not much different from the lease. The main difference with cash is the time involved it takes you to save the money, and when you pay for an auto with your cash, you lose the investment return on your capital.
Well then, what is the point of my example? We all need cars, don’t we? Of course we do, this isn’t about cars. It is about paying interest. Quite simply: Americans have been lulled into becoming the slave of the lenders. We have been seduced into buying things that we do not need, with money that we do not have. When the interest and taxes are calculated, for most of us there is quite simply nothing left at the end of the month. Like the IRS, who gets paid up front, we need to pay ourselves first and save, and then take over the role of the bank.
So what else do all of us need to do? Figure out a way to break free from the bondage of paying interest, and put interest to work for us instead of against us. We are not alone … our entire society is guilty. Our government has also bought into the lies of the moneychangers. I know that for many reading this, every dollar you have is going to pay the bills for past purchases and past commitments. But there is a better way ... everyday, other people are deciding to free themselves from these: buy now on credit schemes. The money problems were established over a long period of time, and your solutions to get free will take time to implement.
When I consider the future value of a couple of cars over a ten year period, I shudder to think of the total money that I have paid to banks and lenders for goods and services that I did not need over the past 25 years. For the few of you who think this doesn’t apply to you I ask; Are you on a course that will result in tax free cash flow for the rest of your life at retirement? Well this is what we are talking about; for you, and your children, and your children's grandchildren. There is a road to financial freedom and victory that has been hidden from all but a privileged few. A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children. Proverbs 13:22.
Am I saying we shouldn’t buy cars and computers and the other basic necessities of life? No, of course not, but what I am saying is that interest either works against you; or for you; 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Banks have been practicing these principles for hundreds of years. Those who figure out how to put this power to work for them rather than against them have become converted from a slave to a master. We all have the option to choose to be in control of our financial future. We need to learn how to become victorious over our financial lives and teach our children and our grandchildren the keys to financial freedom. These are very hard times in America. I know there are many of you reading this that think that getting free is just not possible for you … but it truly is an option that is available for almost everyone. These are challenging times. My most recent career as a loan broker has been destroyed, but I have no fear. Our God has promised us victory and I believe Him. We can all live victoriously when we get out from under the bondage of paying interest to the master. “The problem in America isn’t so much what people don’t now; the problem is what people think they know ... that just ain’t so” – Will Rogers
The love story you won't see in James Cameron's movie version of Titanic
The Titanic was no run of the mill ship. It was the epitome of luxury and power advertised as "a floating hotel, a small town at sea." John Harper and his family waved fondly at thousands who gathered to watch it set sail. Later on as the orchestra played John Harper stood on the deck in the afterglow of the sunset watching the red western sky, he said, It will be beautiful in the morning. At 11:40 p.m. a giant iceberg scraped the starboard side of the world's biggest man-made moveable object. The deck was showered with ice, as it buckled the sides ripping open six watertight compartments. The sea poured in and the stern of the huge ship began to reel upwards. A few minutes later a deep rumble could be heard echoing from the holds of majestic queen of the White Star fleet.
Born in Scotland on May 29, 1872, John Harper became a Christian 13 years later. His life was challenged by adversity and punctuated by tragedy. Throughout it all faith was his anchor. As a toddler he fell into a well nearly drowning. By the time he was seventeen he was preaching and trained at the Baptist Pioneer Mission in London. In his mid twenties he was swept out to sea and six years later he was stranded in the middle of the Mediterranean on a leaky ship. By 1896 he established the Paisley Road Baptist Church that began with 25 members. Happily married he soon became a widower raising his daughter Nina after his wife died. A little over a decade later his small parsonage had grown to 500 members. An evangelist John possessed a deep passion for souls. As a pastor he would often spend the whole night pacing up and down the aisle of his house of worship praying for church members by name. He professed the simplest of doctrines saying that it was "the Word of God."
The early spring of 1912 found the Scottish pastor looking forward to the voyage across the Atlantic to the Moody Memorial Church. For £33 he booked his passage and excitedly began to pack. His six-year-old daughter Nina would be accompanying him as well as his sister Jessie Wills Leitch who would tend to Nina as her nanny. John Harper and his small family boarded the Titanic as 2nd Class passengers at Southampton on Wednesday 10th April 1912, destination: Chicago Illinois United States.
Jessie had been awakened by John. Grabbing the sleeping Nina from her berth she took her on deck clad only in her little night gown, wrapped in a blanket and then again in Jessie's cloak. The Carpathia located sixty miles away rescued both girls who had made it safely to the life boats. As Jessie stood shivering in the cold night air a woman insisted on throwing a heavy ulster over her. They would spend the night huddled in the corner of the ship's library. Nina and Jessie would not learn the fate of John until they arrived in New York.
By the breath of God frost is given
Harper scrambled up the deck calling, "Women, children and unsaved into the lifeboats!" Someone told him there was an explosion but in reality the ship was breaking in half. People began jumping off the decks and into the dark ocean below. While other people were trying to buy their way onto the lifeboats John Harper flung himself into the 28-degree water. Over 1500 people jumped or fell into the icy water and as hypothermia quickly set in many died of exposure. Only six of the 1,500 people in the water were eventually rescued, one by one each gradually drowned or froze to death.
Harper gave up his lifejacket to one man and was seen swimming frantically from one passenger to another offering the salvation of Christ. Survivors report that he then began witnessing to anyone who would listen. John Harper clung to a board for nearly an hour listening to the feeble cries as he called out trying to comfort the frightened.
The Titanic disappeared three hours later into the inky, bitter waters of the North Atlantic. Even after the great ship was at the bottom of the sea, the newspapers announced that the Titanic was "absolutely unsinkable." The headline in New York Evening Sun the following afternoon read: "All Saved From Titanic After Collision." When news of the disaster exploded around the world. The unsinkable Titanic had sunk, a wail of sorrow swept through the civilized world at the thought of over a thousand lives being lost. Survivor Eva Hart, about the same age as Nina at the time said in an interview before her death in 1996, "The wreck of the Titanic is a monument to man's arrogance."
Hold me up in mighty waters
A message soon arrived at John Harper's church saying, "Miss Leitch and Nana (sic) arrived well. Lost everything. When they were taken to the upper decks the women and children did not know it meant separation. No opportunity for farewells. We have no hopes Mr. Harper is rescued." Sometime perhaps later that month Jessie Leitch's wrote a brief account for the grieving parishioners of the church where John Harper was heading. It was found between two pages in the minute book for the executive committee of the Moody Memorial Church, near the minutes for April 17, 1912. :
About midnight Mr. Harper came to our stateroom and told us that the vessel had struck an iceberg. While I was dressing he went to learn further particulars, and returned to say that the order had been given to put on the life belts. We did so, and, picking up Nana (sic) in his arms, he took her up to the deck. There the women were ordered to the upper deck. I had to climb a vertical iron ladder, and Mr. Harper brought Nana (sic) after me up to the ladder, and the men at the top lifted her up to me again.
There was no opportunity for farewell, and, in fact, even then we did not realize the danger, as we were assured again and again that the vessel could not sink, that the Olympic would be alongside at any minute, and that the women and children were to be put into the boats first and the men to follow, and that there were boats sufficient for all. Our boat was well manned- it was the eleventh to leave the vessel.
After about half an hour the Titanic went down. We were about a mile away, but even then I hope and expected that Mr. Harper was in one of the other boats, many of which reached the Carpathia before ours did. How eagerly I looked for his face on the deck as we approached that vessel, but when all the boatloads had come abroad I feared the worst.
The last day we spent on the Titanic was Sunday. Mr. Harper asked me to read the chapter at our morning family prayers, and later we went to the Sunday morning services. The day was quietly and pleasantly spent, and when Nana (sic) and I went to look for Mr. Harper at about 6 o'clock to go to dinner I found him earnestly talking to a young Englishman whom he was seeking to lead to Christ. That evening before we retired we went on deck, and there was still a glint of red in the west. I remember Mr. Harper saying, "It will be beautiful in the morning." We then went down to the staterooms. He read from the Bible and prayed, and so he left us.
I caught hold of something and clung to it for dear life, the wail of the perishing all around was ringing in my ears. (Hears Ship Strike Iceberg)
Of the half dozen survivors that were rescued from the icy waters that night, one of them was a young man Harper had spoken to while they floated among the debris. Historian Elesha Coffman tells about John Harper's last convert:
Four years later a Scotchman rose in a meeting in Hamilton, Canada, and said, "I am a survivor of the Titanic. When I was drifting alone on a spar that awful night, the tide brought Mr. John Harper, of Glasgow, also on a piece of wreck near me. 'Man,' he said, 'are you saved?' 'No,' I said. 'I am not.' He replied, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.'
The waves bore him away; but, strange to say brought him back a little later, and he said, 'Are you saved now?' 'No,' I said, 'I cannot honestly say that I am.' He said again, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,'3and shortly after he went down; and there, alone in the night, and with two miles of water under me, I believed. I am John Harper's last convert. (Sacrifice at Sea)
When the Titanic sank John Harper was 39 years old. He had preached numerous times in Ulster, especially East Belfast not far from the Harland & Wolff shipyards where the Titanic was built. There were many heroes that fateful night aboard the Titanic and one was Pastor John Harper. In 1922 the Harper Memorial Baptist Church in Glasgow, Scotland was renamed for the evangelist. John Harper's body was never recovered.
Lessons to learn from this true story:
1) The preciousness of the human soul: John Harper gave his dying moments to seeing that his fellow passengers were converted to God. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36)
2) The sufficiency of Jesus Christ alone for salvation from the penalty and chains of sin: John Harper mentioned no one else. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)
3) The act of faith that secures salvation, without works or sacraments etc., of any kind: And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8)
4) The unexpectedness of the hour of death: Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. (Proverbs 27:1) Be ye also ready... (Matthew 24:44)
Many Americans think of Thanksgiving as a wonderful time to celebrate getting out of school for a long weekend, and eating a great dinner. Or, maybe they think it is the start of the Christmas holiday season. What is the real meaning behind Thanksgiving?
Catherine Millard writes:
We can trace this historic American Christian tradition to the year 1623. After the harvest crops were gathered in November 1623, Governor William Bradford of the 1620 Pilgrim Colony, “Plymouth Plantation” in Plymouth, Massachusetts proclaimed: "All ye Pilgrims with your wives and little ones, do gather at the Meeting House, on the hill… there to listen to the pastor, and render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings."
This is the origin of our annual Thanksgiving Day celebration. Congress of the United States has proclaimed National Days of Thanksgiving to Almighty God many times throughout the following years. On November 1, 1777, by order of Congress, the first National Thanksgiving Proclamation was proclaimed, and signed by Henry Laurens, President of Continental Congress. The third Thursday of December, 1777 was thus officially set aside:
"…for solemn thanksgiving and praise. That with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their Divine Benefactor;… and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them (their manifold sins) out of remembrance… That it may please Him… to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety under His nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth of 'righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost'…" Then again, on January 1, 1795, our first United States President, George Washington, wrote his famed National Thanksgiving Proclamation, in which he says that it is…
"…our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue is… our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experienced…" Thursday, the 19th day of February, 1795 was thus set aside by George Washington as a National Day of Thanksgiving.
Many years later, on October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, by Act of Congress, an annual National Day of Thanksgiving "on the last Thursday of November, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens." In this Thanksgiving proclamation, our 16th President says that it is… "…announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord… But we have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, by the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own… It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people…"
So it is that on Thanksgiving Day each year, Americans give thanks to Almighty God for all His blessings and mercies toward us throughout the year.
So, remember, that although Football, partying, and food – lots of it – have taken a forefront in our modern observance of Thanksgiving Day, let’s take a moment to reflect on what we ought to REALLY do on that day: it’s the same thing we ought to do on each and every day of our lives – give thanks to Almighty God for His love and gifts – the greatest of which is the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ, who atoned for our sins.
The year is 1910 One hundred years ago. What a difference a century makes!
Here are some statistics for the Year 1910:
The average life expectancy for men was 47 years. Fuel for this car was sold in drug stores only. Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub. Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone. There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads. The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph. The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower ! The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour. The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year .. A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, A dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year. More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME . Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which Were condemned in the press AND the government as 'substandard.' Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen. Coffee was fifteen cents a pound. Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo. Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason. The Five leading causes of death were: 1. Pneumonia and influenza 2. Tuberculosis 3. Diarrhea 4. Heart disease 5. Stroke The American flag had 45 stars .... The population of Las Vegas , Nevada , was only 30!!!! Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented yet. There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day. Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write and Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.. Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all available over the counter at the local corner drugstores. Back then pharmacists said, 'Heroin clears the complexion, gives buoyancy to the mind, Regulates the stomach and bowels, and is, in fact, a perfect guardian of health' ( Shocking? DUH! ) Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help .... There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A. !
I am now going to forward this to someone else without typing it myself. From there, it will be sent to others all over the WORLD - all in a matter of seconds! Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years. IT STAGGERS THE MIND thanks to Linda Blume
OBAMA USING EXECUTIVE ORDERS TO IMPLEMENT RADICAL AGENDA By Dick Morris
Does President Obama plan to move to the center in response to his overwhelming rejection at the polls on November 2nd? No way! Instead, he is moving to implement, through executive action, two of the most controversial items in his 2010 agenda — a carbon tax and pollution permit system and a ban on the use of secret ballots in union elections. Through executive action by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Obama Administration is planning to effectuate both policies without asking Congress.
Never mind that he couldn’t persuade even a top heavy Democratic Congress to pass either program. Or that public opinion polls show massive rejection of both measures. Or that each is a sure job killer by itself — and together, they are even worse. This arrogant, ideologically-driven radical is determined to have his way and the public be damned!
The EPA is currently soliciting public comments for its plan to use the Clean Air Act of 1970 to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. The Clean Air Act, as the name indicates, is designed to fight against pollution — unhealthy chemicals that are belched into the air by smokestacks. It was passed to fight sulfur dioxide, particulates, nitrous oxides and other chemicals that cause human diseases. To use it to fight carbon dioxide — which we all breathe without ill effects — because of concerns about global warming — is a perversion of the law.
Worse, because the Clean Air Act is designed to protect public health by measuring aggregate pollution in each geographic area, it limits economic development in communities where the pollution levels exceed prescribed standards. But carbon dioxide doesn’t poison anyone. It makes no sense to ban factory expansion in areas where the nature of the industries is that there will be high carbon dioxide levels (like oil area of Texas and Louisiana). But that’s what the EPA plans to do, virtually making economic growth illegal in large parts of the United States.
Meanwhile, Craig Becker, the former chief counsel of the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) — now the head of the NLRB — has secured a 3-2 majority party line majority to repeal the Dana decision which mandates secret ballots in unionization elections. The NLRB will rule that if a majority of workers check off that they want a union on cards then the union will automatically be approved without a secret ballot vote of the entire workforce. Currently, if a majority of the workers sign the cards, a secret ballot vote is then triggered. Frequently, the union loses these elections, proving that the card check off is subject to coercion and bullying. The Democratic majority in the Senate wouldn’t approve the card check change so the NLRB is planning to accomplish the same objective administratively, trapping workers into unionization they would reject if afforded the opportunity to vote by secret ballot.
Both the pollution permit/carbon tax and the forced unionization proposals will be job killers. The U.S. has maintained its 25% share of global manufacturing by replacing workers with energy driven machines. In the past ten years, the number of manufacturing employees has declined by 33% but our production has risen by 50%. But automation takes energy — lots of it — by taxing energy, we are eliminating the strategy that has preserved our jobs. And massive unionization of the private sector will also drive out our jobs. Since 1990, unionized manufacturing jobs have declined by 75%. But non-union manufacturing jobs have actually risen over the same period by 15%.
After he lost Congress in 1992, Bill Clinton, too, resorted to executive orders to maintain his momentum as president. With Congress unwilling to pass anything he proposed, the president canvassed the Administration for ideas that could be implemented by executive orders. A very productive period followed during which tobacco regulation, higher educational standards, affirmative action reform, and other key measures were implemented without asking Congress’ permission. But Clinton’s executive orders were on subjects on which Congress had not voted. They did not contradict the express will of the body. Obama is using the strategy to act in direct defiance of Congressional action. He is passing ideas Congress refused to pass, even when he had huge majorities.
Obama will live to regret these moves. Republicans in the House will defund these actions and insert legislative language making it a crime to spend appropriated funds to implement them. By this strategy, all of the controversial Obama legislation will be at issue during the budget fight — taxes, Obamacare, cap and trade, and card check. The more these issues are inserted into the budget fight, the greater the chances of Republican victory.
So President Obama has not learned the lessons of 2010 and likely never will. By Dick Morris ===================================================================================
This comes as no surprise to me. But it certainly shows why President Obama needs to be removed from the White House. He has no concern for the constitution, the views of congress, or the will of the American people. He is driven by his ideology, plain and simple. A message on election day only results in him withdrawing into a position of denial. He knows what is best for us and will give it to us, regardless of whether we need it, or want it, ... or not. The people he has put in charge of the EPU and the NLRB are radical anti-Americans and whether they are allowed to remain in America let alone step foot in the white house should be the issue; rather than them implementing legislation that destroys our economy and the creation of jobs in America.
often contradict the wisdom of the world. Since we have been programmed by the world ... we have come to accept these worldly ideas as truth ... but when we consider God’s perspective ... we come to understand ... "the Lord's ways are not our ways"
Don't just read these writings ... meditate and pray over God's Word ... Listen to the Holy Spirit ... and be transformed by renewing your mind. He who died on our behalf wants you to ... allow the love of Christ to control you ... so that you might become ... the righteousness of God in Him.
Be an Ambassador of Christ ... with a ministry of reconciliation. Share God's eternal Truth and Love ... with everyone He brings into your path.