Jesus spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and applied the clay to his (blind man's) eyes, and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” So he went away and washed, and came back seeing. Therefore the neighbors, and those who previously saw him as a beggar, were saying, “Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?” Others were saying, “This is he,” still others were saying, “No, but he is like him.” He kept saying, “I am the one.” So they were saying to him, “How then were your eyes opened?” He answered, “The man who is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes, John 9:1-41
Jesus’ Hand Will Touch You Too By Max Lucado
The old guy at the corner hasn’t seen him. The woman selling the figs hasn’t either. Jesus described him to the scribes at the gate and the kids in the courtyard. “He’s about this tall. Clothes are ragged. Belly length beard.”
No one has a clue.
For the better part of the day, Jesus has been searching up and down the Jerusalem streets. He didn’t stop for lunch. Hasn’t paused to rest. The only time his feet aren’t moving is when he is asking, “Pardon me, but have you seen the fellow who used to beg on the corner?”
Finally, a boy gives him a lead. Jesus takes a back street toward the temple and spots the man sitting on a stump between two donkeys. Christ approaches from behind and places a hand on his shoulder. “There you are!” I’ve been looking for you.” The fellow turns, and, for the first time, sees the one who let him see. And what the man did next you may find hard to believe.
John introduces us to him with these words.
“As [Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind from birth” (Jn. 9:1). This man never saw a sunrise. Couldn’t tell purple from pink. The disciples fault the family tree. “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?”
Neither, the God-man replies. Trace this condition back to heaven. The reason the man was born sightless? So “the works of God might be displayed in him”. Selected to suffer. Talk about a thankless role. Some sing to God’s glory. Others teach to God’s glory. Who wants to be blind for God’s glory? Which is tougher—the condition, or to discover it was God’s idea?
Jesus spat on the ground.
The cure proved to be as surprising as the cause. “[Jesus] spat on the ground and made clay of the spittle and applied the clay to his eyes”.
The world abounds with paintings of the God-man: in the arms of Mary, in the Garden of Gethsemane, in the Upper Room, in the darkened tomb. Jesus touching. Jesus weeping, laughing, teaching…but I’ve never seen a painting of Jesus spitting.
Christ smacking his lips a time or two, gathering a mouth of saliva, working up a blob of drool, and letting it go. Down in the dirt. (Kids, next time your mother tells you not to spit, show her this passage.) Then he squats, stirs up a puddle of…I don’t know, what would you call it?
Holy putty? Spit therapy? Saliva solution? Whatever the name, he places a finger-full in his palm, and then, as calmly as a painter spackles a hole in the wall, Jesus streaks mudmiracle on the blind man’s eyes. “Go wash in the pool of Siloam”.
The beggar feels his way to the fountain, splashes water on his mud-streaked face, and rubs away the clay. The result is the first chapter of Genesis, just for him. Light where there was darkness. Virgin eyes focus, fuzzy figures become human beings, and John receives the Understatement of the Bible Award when he writes: “he came back seeing”.
Come on, John! Running short of verbs? How about “he raced back seeing”? “He danced back seeing’? “He roared back whooping and hollering and kissing everything he could for the first time see”? The guy had to be thrilled.
We would love to leave him that way, but if this man’s life is a cafeteria line, he’s just stepped from the sirloin to the boiled Brussels sprouts. Look at the reaction of the neighbors. “‘Is not this the one who used to sit and beg?’ Others were saying, ‘This is he,’ still others were saying, ‘No, but this is like him.’ He kept saying, ‘I am the one’”.
These folks don’t celebrate, they debate! They have watched this man grope and trip since he was a kid, you’d think they would rejoice. But they don’t. They march him down to the church to have him kosher-tested. When the Pharisees ask for an explanation, the-was-blind beggar says: “He applied clay to my eyes and I washed, and I see”.
Again, we pause for the applause, but none comes. No recognition. No celebration. Apparently, Jesus failed to consult the healing handbook. “Now it was a Sabbath on the day when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes…the Pharisees were saying, ‘This man is not from God because he does not keep the Sabbath’”.
Will no one rejoice with this man? The neighbors didn’t. The preachers didn’t. Wait, here come the parents. But the reaction of the former blind man’s parents was even worse.
They called the parents of the very one who had received his sight, and questioned them saying, “Is this your son, who you say was born blind?” Then how does he now see?”
His parents answered and said, “We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind; but how he now sees, we do not know; or who opened his eyes, we do not know. Ask him, he is of age, he will speak for himself.” His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be the Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.
How can they do this? Granted, to be put out of the synagogue is serious. But isn’t refusing to help your child even more so?
No one saw him.
Who was really blind that day? The neighbors didn’t see the man; they saw a novelty. The church leaders didn’t see the man; they saw a technicality. The parents didn’t see their son, they saw a social difficulty. In the end, no one saw him. “So they put him out”.
And now, here he is, on a back street of Jerusalem. The fellow has to be bewildered. Born blind only to be healed. Healed only to be kicked out. Kicked out only to be left alone. The peak of Everest and the heat of Sahara, all in one Sabbath. Now he can’t even beg anymore. How would that feel?
You may know all too well. I know of a man who has buried four children. A single mother in our church is raising two autistic sons. We buried a neighbor whose cancer led to heart trouble that created pneumonia. Her health record was as thick as a phone book. Do some people seem to be dealt more than their share of bad hands?
If so, Jesus knows. He knows how they feel and he knows where they are. “Jesus heard that they had thrown him out and went and found him”.
In case the stable birth wasn’t enough. If three decades of earth walking and miracle working is insufficient. If there be any doubt regarding God’s full-born devotion, he does things like this. He tracks down a troubled pauper.
The beggar lifts his eyes to look into the face of the one who started all this. Is he going to criticize Christ? Complain to Christ? You can’t blame him for doing both. After all, he didn’t volunteer for the disease or the deliverance. But he does neither. No, “he worshiped him”.
And when you see him, you will, too.
Just as he came for the blind man, Jesus is coming for you. The hand that touched the blind man’s shoulder will touch your cheeks. The face that changed his life will change yours.
from Next Door Savior by Max Lucado ================================================================================
Has God performed miracles in your life? How did your friends react?
Years ago as a new Christian in business, I was hopelessly lost financially and my atheist business associate asked me; "what are we going to do now, angle man?" My response was the only one I had; "I have no angle here my friend, at this point, we will just need to trust God." My friend replied; "If your God delivers us from this, I'll believe in him." In the months that followed, a savings and loan wrote a check for over one million dollars to bring our business current, and temporarily become our partner. I said to my friend; "this is a miracle, do you remember what you said about trusting my God?" ... "Oh, this is just a lucky coincidence, he replied" Needless to say, I am still witnessing to my atheist friend.
Get ready, these are troubled times .... many miracles are about to happen. Are you ready to be a witness?
Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-20
Have we entered the beginning of the end times?
From a human perspective this is not a subject that I want to talk about. It’s much too … negative.
I would much rather write about how to live the love of Christ. But I do not think we have the option to ignore the reality that is in front of us. Certainly half of the world would say that my conclusions are foolishness. I don't wish these things to be true. But God clearly warns us and He tells us to stand firm against the forces of darkness. To stand firm we must first clarify the plans of the enemy. When I consider Biblical prophecy and the reality of the way things appear to be playing out, this is all fairly obvious to me; but political correctness says; “don’t go there.” Oh, Well ... I am in a contrary mood this morning. So here is today’s question:
If you were the evil one, what steps would be on your “to do” list?
Attack the Bible and Christians: This is the first order of business. Scott and Jean Adam, and Phyllis Macay, and Bob Riggle were on a mission to deliver Bibles to remote villages throughout the world. Their boat was captured by Islamic terrorists who executed them for no apparent reason, in the midst of ongoing negotiations for their release. We will probably never know if this evil was an act against Christianity and the Bible. But we can be sure that the order to kill was given supernaturally by the enemy of Christ, the devil. The direct conflict between Christianity and Islam is closer to home than you might think. In Dearborn Michigan, four Christian missionaries were arrested for passing out free copies of the gospel of John and witnessing to Muslims as they entered a city sponsored event: Arab Fest. They were told that their actions were in violation of Sharia Law. Obviously the resulting lawsuit will surely result in huge liability and penalties for the city of Dearborn.
This should not come as a surprise to any of us. For the plans of the evil one to proceed, the Bible and Christianity must be persecuted. He will use any secular or religious means to accomplish his plans. The attack on anything Biblical is to be expected in these times. The types of attacks noted above are obvious to all. Unfortunately, the enemy is a schemer and he is very crafty. The attacks that are most often not noticed are from within the church, or from a secular view, sold to us as: “for the good of all.” When this: "for the good of all" logic is carried to its end, you have the unending attack on Christmas …and the next thing you know, we can’t even teach basic values or good character qualities to our school children, because values are deemed religion and some think this a church/state issue. Well, when are we going to apply that same foolish logic both ways? Atheism is a religious philosophy also, and it has a set of anti-values that are taught religiously in our public schools daily.
False values have infected our society to the point that moral relativism for example has blurred the lines to the point that many professing Christians now have been deceived into not believing: "God’s Word is Truth." And that foolishness has even spread to “Christian churches” where world renowned Christian pastors are promoting joining together with Islam and other anti-Christian religions to promote world health. This is apparently an easy step to take when one concludes that God’s Word needs to be viewed from a secular perspective (for the good of all). I am convinced God does not want Christians to give any validity to false religions whatsoever. God loves all people, but He abhors and denounces all false religions and philosophies. Our primary purpose as Christians is to lead others to Christ, not solve the world’s governmental problems. Matthew 28:18-20 The devil is the father of all lies and his lies will become more deceptive as the end draws near. John 8:44 When we stand against these lies as commanded, we will come under attack.
Attack Israel: Satan’s attack on Israel is an assault on the heart of God. The scriptures are clear. Zechariah 12:1-5 Israel will come under attack by the forces of evil. One thing is clear in regards to all of the uprisings in the Middle East. The creation of peaceful democracies is secular wishful thinking ... but highly unlikely. All of the current developments will not turn out well for Israel. There will be attacks. It is only a matter of time. I am convinced plans are being drawn as you read this post. Those who stand with Israel are standing with the God of the Bible, and they will win. Those who stand with the attackers are standing with the forces of evil, and they will lose. This is sometimes hard for some Christians to accept because Israel is to a large degree, a secular state. But we must make no mistake: The Jewish people are God’s chosen people. He has made a covenant with Israel, and will deliver Israel and its allies in the end. The deliverance will be supernatural, and many secular and religious Jews will recognize Christ as the messiah and turn to follow Him, at that time. Genesis 12:1-3
So what is predictable as we watch the current uprisings? I am convinced most of the Arab nations currently in turmoil will fall under the leadership of Sharia law, and in time join together to attack Israel. The difficulty here is that the rioters are calling for freedom and democracy, and we all want that. But the problem is that the religion that guides the thinking of the majority in these countries has defined our western form of freedom and democracy: as the enemy … the great Satan. In the end, the majority of Muslims will stand with radical Islam, not the democracies of the western world. I would like to believe otherwise, but I am convinced that this would be naïve, and contrary to where scripture predicts.
My study of Islam has led me to conclude that at its core, Islam is driven by the by the example of Mohammed. He was not a man of peace and love. His rise to power was not by winning elections or followers hearts, but by the use of armed force. Mohammed averaged an event of violence on the average of every six weeks for the last nine years of his life. His rule was very similar to other absolute rulers. Politically, Islam adheres to many of the tenets of Fascism which includes: An authoritarian political system with a strong leader who is glorified; mass demonstrations play a key political role; totalitarian rule without an opposing political party; and militaristic rule advocating the use of force to advance the ideology. I don't see much room for freedom and democracy there, do you? Sharia law fits with this Fascist political ideology perfectly. Anyone who objects is simply beheaded, stoned, or shot. (270 million innocents killed). Islam’s political purpose is for the entire world to be under Sharia law. It is predicted Europe will be controlled by Islam within 30 years due to an 8-1 Muslim birthrate imbalance. We cannot simply apply the religious protections and freedoms that we hold dear to the political reality of Islam.
Destroy freedom and democracy in America: The devil hates everything that is good about America. So why is the world’s greatest nation not mentioned in end time prophecies? Why does God not use America in the fight against evil? As things appear to be evolving, I am convinced America will see its current position of world dominance neutralized during the coming decade. As I have written previously, the USA’s biggest threat is from within. The philosophical divide that America now struggles from is our greatest danger. The battle between followers of Cultural Marxism, and conservative American values will spread from the capital of Wisconsin to streets across America. The mainstream media is already calling for an Egyptian style revolt as the far left news promotes it's Cultural Marxist ideology. Both sides of this battle are entrenched. This war will not likely end before the economic catastrophe accelerates, and forces everyone’s attention to refocus. When the weight of these internal struggles, are combined with worldwide economic turmoil; the Islamic conflicts; and defending our borders … the weight of it all will cause America to step back internationally. This crisis may also be impacted by the rapture of Christians as foretold by Jesus Christ. Matthew 24:15-31
Is this the beginning of the end times? These things point to the end times, but quite honestly; I don’t know.
So how do you prepare for a tidal wave like in the above picture? “For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be. Matthew 24:37-39 Christ could return tomorrow or 100 years from now. But I will tell you what I do know. Millions of Christians appear to be like the SLEEPER CELLS we have often seen depicted in spy movies. "A little sleep, a little slumber" Proverbs 6:9-11 Some would say they are not Christians at all. On that point we can disagree. Many others are faithfully following Christ, but the main point is: SLEEPER CELLS and I say this to everyone, believers and unbelievers alike: WAKE UP!
The Rapture could happen at any time. UNBELIEVERS … you do not want to be left behind. BELIEVERS: you do not want your unbelieving friends and relatives to be left behind. Now is the time to witness to them. WAKE UP!
If you and millions of others should disappear … the UNBELIEVING need to understand why. Our skeptical friends who have rejected Christ and the truth … it is time to talk to them again and again. It is only natural for us to ask ourselves “what should I do to protect my family from potential economic crisis? But eternal life is an issue that is a THOUSAND times more important …SLEEPERS … WAKE UP!
“And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. “And He will send forth His angels with A GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other. Matthew 24:15-51
Please forward this post to everyone you know. God bless you my friends, Bob
Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. Genesis 2:24-25
Four Pillars of a Godly Marriage Severance; Permanence; Unity; Intimacy
After we have established that God the Creator must be at the center of the marriage, we will now move to the foundation stones of a Godly marriage. Also Read:The Redeemed Marriage
This teaching works like magic. When it is followed carefully, marital problems disappear. Couples who have been struggling daily for years suddenly tell the counselor; “Thank you, but we don’t need any more counseling” That sounds dangerous, you might say. Well, it is dangerous ... if the couple falls back into their old ways. But, as long as God’s Word and the Holy Spirit are at the center of the marriage, and the Four Pillars are firmly established, I am convinced a victorious marriage is certain.
All couples considering marriage should follow this teaching carefully. Also buy the book: Strike the Original Match by Charles Swindoll. The best investment you will ever make for your marriage.
For the pastor or counselor, here is how the Teaching is applied. Explain the importance of God as the head of the marriage as outlined in The Redeemed Marriage. Once you have a commitment by the couple, then walk through the explanation of the Four Pillars and then ask each person to grade their marriage in each area including trusting God’s Word in their marriage. You will quickly learn that in most cases, couples fail on three or more of the five principles. A commitment to make the necessary changes in each area will quickly place God in control of the marriage, and the problems will dissolve.
Let's look at the verses carefully.
Severance: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother” Here God has given us the first key to a happy and successful marriage. Leaving father and mother is the first big step a man or woman must take to maturity; but how many marriages do you know of where one or more parents are still applying undue influence over their married son or daughter. When my wife first became aware of this principle, she had a conversation with her mother that brought her mom to tears. But this isn’t just about our parents and their control and influence in our lives. And it is not about not honoring, or not respecting our parents. God’s word is quite clear on that issue. It is about establishing the priorities in our lives … God first; and our mate second. Anything, everything, and everybody else must fall in line behind God and your mate. When we consider marriage, we cannot allow our parents, siblings, religion, church, mentor, pastor, coach, education, mission, career, employer, hobby, habits, lusts, pride, sin, friends, best friend, goals, plans, beliefs, feelings, fears, finances, wants, needs, desires or anything or anybody come between us and our spouse. Did I miss anything? If yes, include it.
Now consider your marriage in relation to each of those points. Is anything standing between you and your mate? If yes, and the truthful answer is most often yes … remove or neutralize it, by applying the Biblical instruction that speaks to the issue. Bring it out in the open and come to a resolution once and for all. Sever it. Does that mean you need to walk away from your hobby, goal, career, best friend or church? Maybe, but more likely an understanding is in order, by both you and your mate. After Jesus Christ, you and your mate need to be first to each other … end of story. Remember, be careful what you demand or ask for. Your mate is due 100% from you as well.
Permanence: “and shall cleave unto his wife” A pastor friend once told me a story of a bride talking to her bridesmaid on her wedding day. “Aren’t you afraid; the friend asked?” The bride thought for a moment, and then replied; “no, if it doesn’t work out, I can always get a divorce.” What kind of odds do you give that marriage? 0%. Permanence means until death, no matter what. Life is a series of ongoing challenges and problems. Marriage is a commitment to meet those problems together. Divorce is not an option. Marriage is a covenant. This is an agreement between God and the couple in which God makes certain promises and requires certain behavior from each person in return. If we are serious about putting God at the head of our marriage … this is where trusting God as the head of our marriage begins.
God’s Word is very clear with his answer about divorce. "Take heed then to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. For I hate divorce, says the LORD, the God of Israel" Malachi 2:13-16. "And Jesus said: some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all? And He answered and said, Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together; let no man separate.” Matthew 19:3-6.
What about in the case of adultery, a woman asked me. If my husband cheats on me, our marriage is over, she said. You have a covenant with God. He has direction for you both in His Word. He is the one you must answer to in the end. Has God forgiven you; and what about your husband, I asked? Yes, He has forgiven us both, she replied. Well then I would suggest you both pray to Jesus and ask Him; “what would He have both of you do?” His solutions will be clear to both of you.
Permanence is both confining and freeing at the same time. When we view our marriage as a finished act, it is similar to our relationship with Christ. Christ has forgiven our sins past, present and future and He will always be there for us, no matter what we do or don’t do. You are living a redeemed life. We have been justified as a result of what he did on the Cross. A redeemed marriage is also finished. When we see our mate as Christ sees us … forgiven and forever, in the past tense, it removes the insecurity, fears, and jealousies that hinder the peace and joy Christ promises. It is finished. My wife and I know our marriage is until death … no matter what. There is never ever someone else around the corner to take our place. When I understood that my commitment to her was a covenant with God, my marriage gained new power and authority that it never had previously.
Permanence means: forever and ever and ever, no matter what, no exceptions, everlasting covenant, eternally redeemed, justified, God ordained … end of subject.
Unity: “and they shall be one flesh” This verse explains who you and your mate are. What you believe. When you look back on your lives together … the hope is that this will define you as a couple. Unified means there is no room in a Redeemed Christian marriage for contrary beliefs and philosophies. It is our job and commitment to determine the truth and both stand upon the truth. I realize that this can cause problems with the politically correct and tolerance crowd, but they have the right to their beliefs and the Redeemed couple has the right to theirs. This is America. James Carville and Mary Matalin, I wish you all the best, and if your marriage plans work … more power to you. I didn’t say there is only one way. But I believe there is only one way, directed by God in His Word. Unity gives direction. It is empowering. It is critical that couples be sure they are unified on godly direction and then hold each other accountable. God’s Word is what gives our unity power. A couple that agrees to cheat on their taxes, or commit sexual immorality is not blessed simply because they are unified. We are talking here about a couple determining their beliefs, goals, plans, values and commitments … establishing these commitments with the support of God’s Word, writing them down, and agreeing to stop ... and together, to think before they act. Christian Redeemed Marriages must be unified together with God ... and His Word must guide their decisions and daily activities. A Christian couple considering marriage will easily identify most potential problems in advance when the unity test is applied.
Intimacy: “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.” This absolutely speaks to sexual intimacy. I plan to write much more about this in a future post, but let me just say that woman was created with a purpose in mind. "And the LORD God said; it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." Genesis 2:18. Continuous, ongoing, intimate, relations is God’s plan for a married couple. Man and woman are to be one. You and your mate need to settle this question before marriage, so that temptation and sin will not come between you. God’s word is clear. “The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Stop depriving one another, except by agreement for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer, and come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” 1 Corinthians 7:1-5.
But the intimacy we talk about here is so much more as well. The biggest challenge for couples is that men and women are wired so differently. Those things that are typically important to women are not relevant to men and vice versa. In the redeemed marriage two are now one, and the other’s desires needs and opinions take on new importance. Honesty and trust brings new levels of intimacy in marital communication. A couple can now gain depth that only are released when the assurance of severance, permanence, and unity begin to guide and direct our thinking, priorities, and actions.
The love of Christ will control this redeemed marriage in ways never imagined possible. Live the love of Christ … give Him control now and live The Redeemed Marriage.
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:14-21
If you or someone you know needs Biblical Counseling, contact me at: email@example.com God Bless you my Friends, Bob
Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.
Underground links to the Nazis began during the 1930s and were close during the Second World War, involving agitation against the British, Jewish immigration to Palestine, espionage and sabotage, as well as support for terrorist activities orchestrated by Haj Amin el-Hussaini in British Mandate Palestine, as a wide range of declassified documents from the British, American and Nazi German governmental archives, as well as from personal accounts and memoirs from that period, confirm. Reflecting this connection the Muslim Brotherhood also disseminated Hitler's Mein Kampf and The Protocols of the Elders of Zion widely in Arab translations, helping to deepen and extend already existing hostile views about Jews and secular Western societies generally. Wikipedia
Islam wishes to destroy all states and governments anywhere on the face of the earth which are opposed to the ideology and program of Islam regardless of the country or the nation which rules it. The purpose of Islam is to set up a state on the basis of its own ideology and program … the objective of Islamic jihad is to eliminate the rule of an un-Islamic system and establish instead an Islamic system of state rule. Islam does not intend to confine this revolution to a single state or a few countries; the aim of Islam is to bring about a universal revolution. Sheikh Maulana Maududi
In new Egypt, beware the Brotherhood By CLIFFORD D. MAY President, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, A policy institute focusing on terrorism and Islamism
Amid a whirlwind of news, analysis, and commentary blowing out of Egypt, one Twitter post stands out. An Israeli tweeted: "Dear Egyptian rioters, Please don't damage the pyramids. We will not rebuild. Thank you." A good joke always contains a nugget of truth. This one contains two. The more obvious is the reminder that Egyptians and Jews have an intertwined history, going back to antiquity "when Israel was in Egypt's land," as the spiritual made famous by Paul Robeson phrases it, the days when the ancestors of many of today's Israelis were slaves to pharaohs.
The less obvious implication is this: Israelis – and not just Israelis – are concerned that Egypt's revolution could be commandeered by radicals. Might such Islamists view the pyramids as the Taliban viewed the ancient stone Buddhas of Bamiyan – a shameful relic of the pagan past?
You can't rule it out. In 1999, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar issued a decree in favor of the preservation of the statues, noting that since there no longer were any Buddhists left in Afghanistan – we'll leave aside how that happened – there was no danger anyone would actually worship these graven images.
But many Afghan clerics disagreed, saying that the Buddhas – even if they were just photographed by foreign tourists – were nonetheless "against Islam." And so, in March 2001, the Taliban used anti-aircraft guns, artillery, and anti-tank mines to turn them into rubble. By then, Mullah Omar had changed his mind. "Muslims should be proud of smashing idols," he said. "It has given praise to God that we have destroyed them."
Six months later, Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar's honored guest, would celebrate the worst terrorist attacks ever carried out on American soil. With him would be Ayman al-Zawahiri, then and now his top deputy, an Egyptian who had joined the Muslim Brotherhood at age 14. With bin Laden and al- Zawahiri in spirit would be Mohammad Atta, the 9/11 terrorist team leader and hijacker-pilot of American Airlines Flight 11 which he crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Also an Egyptian, Atta had joined a Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated organization in 1990.
Do the Egyptians demonstrating in Tahrir Square appreciate how threatening the Muslim Brotherhood is to the freedom they hope to win? I recently was on "Power and Politics," a serious Canadian television show, along with Dina Guirguis, a bright young Egyptian woman currently resident at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Understandably enthusiastic about Egypt's revolution, she also was dismissive of those who "hyperventilate" about the possibility that it could be appropriated by the Muslim Brotherhood and similar groups.
I really didn't want to rain on her parade. I make no brief for Mubarak, whose goal has been to create a pharaonic dynasty, not leave a democratic legacy. But I couldn't help but recall that exactly 32 years ago I was in Iran covering an upheaval very similar to the one now taking place in Egypt. And I knew young people very much like Dina – smart, educated in America and Europe, secular, liberal, and excited about the fall of the Shah and the prospect of a new, free, democratic, and prosperous Iran. They firmly believed that Ayatollah Khomeini not only tolerated them – he valued them. After all, the revolution succeeded because, for the first time, the radical clerics had been joined by students, merchants, socialists, communists, and other groups.
Before long, Khomeini and his followers had all the levers of power in their hands. My friends were sent to the gallows and the prisons or – if they were lucky – managed to flee into exile.
No, it doesn't have to be that way in Egypt. It helps that the Muslim Brotherhood apparently has no charismatic leader, no Egyptian Khomeini. But it's also true, as Omar Suleiman, now Egypt's vice president, told FBI Director Robert Mueller five years ago (according to WikiLeaks disclosures), that the Muslim Brotherhood has spawned "11 different Islamist extremist organizations, including Egyptian Islamic Jihad," which today is a dominant faction of al-Qaeda.
So the question now is what can be done to help those who sincerely want a free, democratic, and prosperous Egypt, and what can be done to prevent anti-democratic forces from hijacking whatever democratic processes may be put in place – as the Khomeinists did in Iran in 1979, as Hamas did in Gaza in 2006, and as Hezbollah is doing in Lebanon right now with little resistance from the U.S., or Europe, or – needless to say – the U.N.
If the Muslim Brotherhood is made to compete in a war of ideas, there is a decent chance it will lose. It's one thing for the Brothers to proclaim: "Islam is the solution!" It's another for them to explain why it's okay if their policies scare off tourists and investors and lead to wars Egypt may not win, while deepening poverty and decreasing freedom for the vast majority of Egyptians.
Of course, Iran's rulers, Hezbollah, and Hamas do not rely on op-eds and television debates to advance their arguments. They murder those who disagree with them.
Stalin mused, "Death solves all problems – no man, no problem." The Muslim Brotherhood goes further. Just last year, its "Supreme Guide," Muhammad Badi, gave a sermon in which he said it was his hope and plan to raise "a jihadi generation that pursues death, just as the enemies pursue life." As a campaign slogan, that may not be as catchy as "Hope and Change." As a campaign strategy, it conveys distinct advantages.
And just last week, Kamal al-Halbavi, a senior member of the Brotherhood told the BBC that he hoped Egypt soon would have a government "like the Iranian government, and a good president like Mr. Ahmadinejad."
Americans don't have enormous leverage to influence events on the ground in Egypt – but neither are Americans without leverage. Surely, we can and should identify those who are sincerely fighting for freedom and democracy and support them. This would begin to level the playing field. Apologists for the Muslim Brotherhood invariably talk about the organization's wonderful "social programs," its provision of food and medicine to the poor. Where do you think the money for all that comes from? Bake sales?
It is in Egypt's national interest – and America's, and, yes, Israel's – that Egyptians such as Dina Guirguis achieve their dream: opening a space for freedom and democracy in the heart of the Arab and Muslim Middle East. We do them no favor by not telling them this hard truth: Their most determined opponents are on the barricades with them.
In new Egypt, beware the Brotherhood By CLIFFORD D. MAY. The Orange County Register February 11, 2011.
For a deeper history of the Muslim Brotherhood with links to Adolph Hitler, Nazi Germany and the CIA ...(Read Here)
All who stand against Israel will suffer dire consequences.
Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah. 3“It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it. 4“In that day,” declares the LORD, “I will strike every horse with bewilderment and his rider with madness. But I will watch over the house of Judah, while I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. 5“Then the clans of Judah will say in their hearts, ‘A strong support for us are the inhabitants of Jerusalem through the LORD of hosts, their God.’ Zechariah 12:1-5
For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. 1 Corinthians 15:9-10
When Grace Goes Deep By Max Lucado
The prodigal son trudges up the path. His pig stink makes passersby walk wide circles around him, but he doesn't notice.With eyes on the ground, he rehearses his speech: "Father"—his voice barely audible—"I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am not worthy to be called your son." He rehashes the phrases, wondering if he should say more, less, or make a U-turn to the barnyard. After all, he cashed in the trust fund and trashed the family name. Over the last year, he'd awakened with more parched throats, headaches, women, and tattoos than a rock star. How could his father forgive him? Maybe I could offer to pay off the credit cards.
He's so focused on penance planning that he fails to hear the sound of his father...running! The dad embraces the mud-layered boy as if he were a returning war hero. He commands the servants to bring a robe, ring, and sandals, as if to say, "No boy of mine is going to look like a pigpen peasant. Fire up the grill. Bring on the drinks. It's time for a party!"
Big brother meanwhile stands on the porch and sulks. "No one ever gave me a party," he mumbles, arms crossed. The father tries to explain, but the jealous son won't listen. He huffs and shrugs and grumbles something about cheap grace, saddles his high horse, and rides off. But you knew that. You've read the parable of the gracious father and the hostile brother. Luke 15:11-32
But have you heard what happened next? Have you read the second chapter? It's a page-turner. The older brother resolves to rain on the forgiveness parade. If Dad won't exact justice on the boy, I will. "Nice robe there, little brother," he tells him one day. "Better keep it clean. One spot and Dad will send you to the cleaners with it." The younger waves him away, but the next time he sees his father, he quickly checks his robe for stains. A few days later big brother warns about the ring. "Quite a piece of jewelry Dad gave you. He prefers that you wear it on the thumb." "The thumb? He didn't tell me that." "Some things we're just supposed to know." "But it won't fit my thumb." "What's your goal—pleasing our father or your own personal comfort?" the spirituality monitor gibes, walking away. Big brother isn't finished. With the pleasantness of a dyspeptic IRS auditor, he taunts, "If Dad sees you with loose laces, he'll take the sandals back." "He will not. They were a gift. He wouldn't...would he?"
The ex-prodigal then leans over to snug the strings. As he does, he spots a smudge on his robe. Trying to rub it off, he realizes the ring is on a finger, not his thumb. That's when he hears his father's voice. "Hello, Son." There the boy sits, wearing a spotted robe, loose laces, and a misplaced ring. Overcome with fear, he reacts with a "Sorry, Dad" and turns and runs.
Too many tasks. Keeping the robe spotless, the ring positioned, the sandals snug ... who could meet such standards? Gift preservation begins to wear on the young man. He avoids the father he feels he can't please. He quits wearing the gifts he can't maintain. And he even begins longing for the simpler days of the pigpen. "No one hounded me there."
That's the rest of the story. Wondering where I found it? On page 1,892 of my Bible, in the book of Galatians. Thanks to some legalistic big brothers ... Paul's readers had gone from grace receiving to law keeping.
I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who in his love and mercy called you to share the eternal life he gives through Christ. You are already following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who twist and change the truth concerning Christ.... Galatians 1:6-7
Joy snatchers infiltrated the Roman church as well. Paul had to remind them, "But people are declared righteous because of their faith, not because of their work" Romans 4:5
Philippian Christians heard the same foolishness. Big brothers weren't telling them to wear a ring on their thumb, but they were insisting "you must be circumcised to be saved" Philippians 3:2
Even the Jerusalem church, the flagship congregation, heard the solemn monotones of the Quality Control Board. Non-Jewish believers were being told, "You cannot be saved if you are not circumcised as Moses taught us" Acts 15:1
The churches suffered from the same malady: grace blockage. The Father might let you in the gate, but you have to earn your place at the table. God makes the down payment on your redemption, but you pay the monthly installments. Heaven gives the boat, but you have to row it if you ever want to see the other shore.
Your deeds don't save you. And your deeds don't keep you saved. Grace does. The next time big brother starts dispensing more snarls than twin Dobermans, loosen your sandals, set your ring on your finger, and quote the apostle of grace who said, "By the grace of God I am what I am" 1 Corinthians 15:10
From Come Thirsty by Max Lucado ======================================================================
Water For a Thirsty Soul
We must never allow anyone or anything to rob us of the peace and joy Christ has promised us. We can never lose our salvation in Christ.Jesus paid for all of our sins ... past, present, and future on the cross at Calvary. "It is finished" meant exactly that; once for all of us, forever. Our old self has been crucified with Christ and our eternity is secure in him.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ, by grace you have been saved, and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:4-9
We cannot do by good works what Christ has already accomplished forever and ever on the cross ... "raise ourselves up with Him and seat ourselves with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" It is finished ... we have been crucified with Christ!
But what if a person much like the prodigal son, turns away from God lives a sin filled life, and never returns to the father ... is his eternal salvation still secure ... you ask? Well we cannot know in that case. Only God knows. My friend would say you will know them by their fruit. But I say, only God will know them by their fruit. If the mind of man is desparately wicked, how can we know? You see, I am not convinced that I am qualified to clearly identify Godly fruit. Men can be very crafty in packaging their outward appearance. It is possible that someone never trusted Christ in the first place, but that is for God to decide. Our role is to pray for our fellow man , not judge him.
I was once told a story about a couple who went to their Baptist church to pray to receive Christ the day before they joined the church of Scientology, so that in the event that Jesus really is God, then they would be covered. Will their prayers to Christ save them? Clearly they never knew Christ, you say? Well wait a minute ... I do not know what really guided them, and neither do you. This is a second hand story. It appears ... that this couple was playing games with God, and apparently insincere, but even then ... I do not know the intentions of their heart.
And one thing I do know ... I wish that ALL would be forgiven and saved, even the ignorant, sinful and manipulative.
Some things we will never understand ... but this I do understand: "But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace." Romans 11:6 God Bless you my friends, Bob
Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.
But the one who has heard and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house on the ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great. Luke 6:46-49.
Is your marriage all you hoped it would be?
Do you believe that if both you and your wife were willing to take certain steps that your marriage could be remarkably better? If your answer is yes, as is the case ninety percent of the time, why are both of you not taking those important steps?
I had a talk the other day with a very wise man on the phone and he asked me a question that zeroed in on an important question for most of us. “Have you ever wondered why when two people work hard at the same job, have the same training, perform basically the same tasks, both giving it their apparent best; and one has great success and the other fails miserably? I’ll be honest with you my friend, I replied; “I don’t know why.” His answer in fact was clearly something that I did know, but obviously needed to hear again; “SKILLS.” One person has skills that the other does not.
This leads me to today’s Question for you: “Why do many people have a happy and fulfilling marriage and so many others who seem to be trying just as hard fail miserably?”
The answer is basically the same as the wise man’s above: … those with the happy and successful marriages have learned skills and are responsibly applying these skills; those failing are very often basically self-centered and are unconsciously following their feelings, lust, and pride to failure.Some have been taught what to do and are committed to doing it; … others have not listened, and are not practicing the proper skills. I have watched the solutions we will discuss here applied and succeed in remarkable ways over and over again. Some would call it miraculous. I believe it is just the way marriages are supposed to be in God's kingdom.
Success is certain when we put Christ first. Failure surely comes to those who refuse to do what they need to do. These skills, when learned and applied; work for newlyweds, as well as those who have been married for thirty years. So read carefully, memorize God's instructions, and come to agreement with your mate, and watch as your marriage is transformed … right before your eyes. And forward this post to every couple you know. They will thank you for it.
This brings us to the first key point to having a Redeemed Marriage. Both partners must agree to submit the leadership of their life and marriage over to the Lord Jesus Christ. God must be the final authority in your marriage. A foundational principle in Biblical counseling is that positive results are absolute when a person is willing to trust in God and live by his Word; but to follow our feelings, flesh, and pride just as surely leads to failure and misery. But what about all of the other religions, and what they teach ... you ask? I can’t speak for them, but I can say Christianity is monotheistic. Sorry about that ... you teachers of tolerance and political correctness. There is only room for one God here. All other teachings and philosophies must be humbled to God's Word. Although this is an exclusive club, everyone is free to join or go their own way; but you must follow the rules. Rule number one: No Other Gods, which leads to the question: “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” Luke 6:46-49. There are millions who fall into this category: "I am a Christian, they say as they choose to do whatever they want and follow whatever philosophies they choose. The definition for these people is: HYPOCRITE.
Are you beginning to see the power of the lesson you are about to learn? With God as the head of your marriage ... He is the power! His promises are absolute. You can both now stand together, confidently, on His Truth. Don’t even bother to move on until both you and your spouse establish your position here. This point is the foundation to all of life, and especially marriage. A marriage going in the wrong direction is doomed to fail. Can you imagine the certain result when a couple is going in two different wrong directions … at the same time? All those who have experienced this dilemma will gladly warn you of the miserable results. Without a total commitment by at least one, this counsel will not work. I have sat in front of a Christian couple where one person said; “absolutely, I want Jesus and His Word as the final authority in our marriage” and the other said; “no way.” I have also listened to a man who agreed to put God as the final authority in his marriage … only to be caught by his wife in an adulterous act ... the very next day. I have witnessed one person trust Christ, and watched as their foolish mate lost everything to an affair, before he finally turned back to Christ and his faithful wife; who was waiting for him. But most people when they see the power of this message, trust God with the leadership of their marriage, and experience the greatest victory imaginable. So which way is it for you?
Will you commit to do what God’s Word leads you to do; or will you follow your feelings, lust, and pride?
If you and your mate both answered: “I will trust God” … congratulations. Now you must understand what that means. God is the final authority of all disagreements, disputes, and major decisions. Through prayer and the study of His word He will make your path clear. Once, God makes his will known to you … you have both agreed to follow. Trust Him and rest knowing He will never forsake you or desert you. Here is the promise: Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6. This is so simple and true. Why is it so hard to follow? Because when you have two people, both who were born self-centered; and both want what they want. Both living for God is the only solution that never fails.
And be sure that you know this: Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” so that we confidently say, “THE LORD IS MY HELPER, I WILL NOT BE AFRAID. WHAT WILL MAN DO TO ME?” Hebrews 13:5-6. I have pointed to this verse to demonstrate how easy it is to have a false god in the middle of your marriage, and not even realize it. If money and all of the things that you have bought on credit are now controlling your life and your decisions, remove these false gods, so that you can think straight and submit to your Creator and Lord.
For more clarity, let’s look closer at various definitions of the word redeemed: To buy back, or repurchase. To free from what distresses or harms, … an example here would be to free from captivity by payment of ransom; or to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental. Also, to be released from blame or debt, and to free from the consequences of sin. Next we have to change for the better or reform, repair, and restore. To free from a lien by payment. And lastly, to atone or redeem an error, and to offset the bad effect of bad judgment and to make something worthwhile. We are excited to be redeemed by the blood of the lamb in our personal life ... but we also need to pray for and live out a redeemed marriage.
Do you see the pattern here? Many of us have allowed ourselves to fall into excessive debt. During these troubled economic times, these debts only lead to problems and troubles that force us to submit our attention to a false god. In the opening verse Jesus talks about building your house on a solid foundation so that when the flood occurs, your house will stand. A house that is built upon loans that cannot likely be repaid is standing on a false foundation that is headed for trouble. Since America’s leaders have built our entire society on a financial house of cards, everyone in America is now in jeopardy. Only the Lord can deliver us from this predictable calamity.
Individually, our problem is: “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” I stand guilty. I am a loan broker, and I fell for the allure of my own product. If we lose that which we never really owned … we are actually better off. He has promised; “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself: perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. A marriage that stands with the redeemer as it's Lord will surely stand redeemed. And he has promised: “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13. http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif To Him be dominion forever and ever. WE MUST MAKE HIM LORD. Not just say it … do it. He is sovereign and the supreme authority; He has the power of governing and controlling us; we are no longer our own, He has the right of possession, use, and control of our lives; based upon what he did for all of us at Calvary. You can have a victorious redeemed marriage but it must be on God’s terms. When we say I am redeemed but then unconsciously go our own way, this is both foolish and hypocritical.
I will ask you once again … Will you commit to do what God’s Word leads you to do; or will you follow your feelings, lust, and pride?
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.