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Report: Persecution of American Christians up 133% between 2001 and 2016

Groom, Texas Credit: maciek/Flickr/Creative Commons

Groom, Texas Credit: maciek/Flickr/Creative Commons

A report recently released by First Liberty Institute (FLI) entitled “Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America” outlines the growing number of attacks on religious liberty in America.

Founded in 1972, First Liberty Institute fights for religious liberty in the US through advocacy and litigation by providing pro-bono legal defense to those being persecuted or discriminated against for their faith.

According to the organization’s report, the number attacks on Christians jumped by 15% between 2015 and 2016.

Since FLI started tracking attacks on religious liberty in 2001, the number has increased by 133% over the following five years. In 2011, FLI reported 600 attacks on religious liberty and by 2016 the number had reached 1,400.

FLI’s CEO Kelly Shackelford noted that the cases they cited are just the ones that were published. She described them as just the “tip of the iceberg” as many cases of faith persecution and discrimination are simply not reported.

This is not even referring to the number of attacks on Christians that now routinely take place in the comments sections of many websites and forums, including Christian ones.

Perhaps one of the most difficult things for a Christian to do is to respond to these  insults in love. I have seen Christians aggressively match insult with insult when attacked by atheists and others.

Some things Christians say in retaliation is cringe worthy.

And if I am honest, at times I feel a similar urge to fight back. It is so easy to react and get caught up in the hate.

Peter writes:

23 When they hurled their insults at him [Christ], he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:23 NIV)

When Jesus was insulted (Greek loidoreo), He did not retaliate (Greek antiloidoreo) means simply he did not respond in a similar manner — with insults in return.

We are seeing today what Philo (20 BC-50 AD), an ancient Jewish Greek philosopher who lived in Jesus’ day, referred to in his book Hubandry as “insult duels.” This is when people went toe to toe in public forums insulting each other, often in the most vile ways.

Instead, Jesus calls for Christians to pray for those who persecute or hate you:

28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:28 NASV)

Though I believe God answers prayer, I think praying for those who hate us actually does Christian more good. It is a tool the Holy Spirit uses to help us forgive and not to react.

According to its website, last year FLI handled 388 legal matters involving faith persecution successfully resolving 90% of its cases.

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Pray that God will bring down North Korea’s strongman

People in Pyongyang, North Korea watching Kim Jong-un on a TV broadcast in 2015. Credit: Uwe Brodrecht/Wikipedia

People in Pyongyang, North Korea watching Kim Jong-un on a TV broadcast in 2015. Credit: Uwe Brodrecht/Wikipedia

12 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 6:12 NASV)

In his classic passage on spiritual warfare, Paul says a Christian’s battle is not against flesh and blood but rather rulers and powers that rule in darkness and the heavenly places.

One of the world’s flesh and blood strongmen is North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, 33. His brutal treatment of North Koreans including purging his own family, have made him one of the most evil despots on earth.

But as we look at territorial spirits that rule over countries, we know their primary goal is to control political leaders.

Strongmen like Kim Jong-un are being propped up and manipulated by satanic forces. His brutality is a reflection of satanic origins. That is the real force controlling North Korea.

Kim Jong-un rules through fear and intimidation and is threatening the world with nuclear attacks and for the second time recently fired a ballistic missile over Japan.

But as we pray for God to bind the spiritual strongman of a country, this will often result in a change of government.

When the prophet Daniel prayed for the restoration of Israel to their homeland while in Babylonian captivity, God dispatched an Angel with an answer to the prophet’s prayers.

The Angel was hindered for 21 days by the prince of Persia, a satanic territorial spirit. But then the Archangel Michael stepped in to help, allowing the Godly angel to break through (Daniel 10:12-13).

After delivering the message, the Angel told Daniel:

20 Then he said, “Do you understand why I came to you? But I shall now return to fight against the prince of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince of Greece is about to come. (Daniel 10:20 NASV)

Having delivered the message, the Godly angel returned to fight the Prince of Persia which I believe led to the pulling down of the spiritual strongman over Persia.

This in turn led to King Cyrus (600 – 530 BC) over throwing Astyages, the father-in law of Cyrus’s dad. According to historians, Astyages had even ordered his grand son Cyrus killed while he was  a boy, but instead the man hid Cyrus and had him raised by a shepherd.

After pulling down the spiritual strongman, Cyrus became leader of the might Media-Persian empire. Though not a believer, God referred to Cyrus as His shepherd and His anointed (Isaiah 44:28 – 45:1).

Many historians believe that Cyrus was one of the greatest and most benevolent leaders in world history.

There was even a spiritual spin-off to this pulling down of Persia’s spiritual strongman. After defeating Babylon, Cyrus allowed Israel to return to the promised land. The Persian King even provided financial aid to help Israel rebuild Jerusalem and  the temple.

I believe there is a spiritual shaking going on North Korea and this may be a sign that God is prepared to pull down the spiritual strongman over that country that would lead to Kim Jong-un being removed as leader.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, a defector from North Korea, whose name was withheld, said many North Koreans are turning to Christ.

He added that people are rejecting the notion that Kim Jong-un is a god, an opinion actively propagated by the government.

In 1948, when  Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, became leader of North Korea he assigned himself supernatural powers. These super powers were apparently passed on to his son Kim Jong II who took over in 1994. These include 11 holes-in-ones the first time he stepped on a golf course.

These divine powers were then passed on to his son Kim Jong-un who became the current leader of North Korea in 2011. According to North Korea propaganda, Kim Jong-un was driving vehicles by age three and winning yacht races by age nine.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, the defector who is part of a group called the Worldwide Coalition to Stop Genocide in North Korea said:

“In the past, the people were told to worship the Kim family as their god, but many North Koreans no longer respect Kim Jong-un.”

He added that despite horrid persecution that includes torture, execution and death/slave camps, many are turning to Christ. Before he defected from North Korea, the man said he had been a member of North Korea’s growing underground church.

  • Prayer Alert: Pray for North Korea that God will bring down the country’s strongman.

Some prophet are now calling us to pray for North Korea. As I was preparing this article, I received an email this morning not only calling people to pray for North Korea, but how to pray:

Sources:

Moved by the Hand of God

Swan Quarter, North Carolina Credit: Ingrid Lemme/Wikipedia

Swan Quarter, North Carolina Credit: Ingrid Lemme/Wikipedia

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NASV)

We live in a fallen world where sin and natural disasters run rampant. This was not the world God intended for us, but it is the one man chose. People ask how could God allow this to happen, my answer it is the life we wanted.

Though the world is no longer good, there is a promise in Romans that God will work things together for good in difficult times for those called by God.

Perhaps this story out of a hurricane that hit North Carolina in 1876 involving the Providence Methodist Church in Swan Quarter best illustrates this verse. Today, it still has as its motto: “Moved by the Hand of God.”

Sign for The Providence Methodist Church, Swan Quarter, North Carolina Credit: Department of Agriculture/Flickr/Creative Commons

Sign for The Providence Methodist Church, Swan Quarter, North Carolina Credit: Department of Agriculture/Flickr/Creative Commons

The story vetted by Snopes started two years earlier in 1874 when the congregation wanted to build a church on land owned by a man named Samuel Slader.

The land was high and would offer protection from the flooding in this area regularly battered by storms. But Slader had other plans and was not interested in selling this prime location near the town’s water front.

The congregation was forced to build at a less favorable location.

Over the next year and a half, they built a typical wood structure church with a tall steeple. Days before they were ready to dedicate it a hurricane hit the area on September 16-17, 1876.

Five feet of water surged inland out of Pamlico Sound lifting the church off its brick foundation causing it to float in the churning water.

According to reports, the church floated down a road and bumped into a corner store owned by George Credle on what is today Oyster Creek Road and US 264 Business street.

After hitting the store, the church verged to the right and slowly moved down the street. It bobbed in the water sailing for two blocks until it reached the corner of Church street.

The building took another left turn, crossing Carawan Canal where it finally got stuck on the higher elevated property owned by Samuel Slader. People reported that before it settled the church actually spun around so the front door was facing the street.

With the church now sitting on the very property the congregation had tried to purchase, Slader eventually took this as a sign from God and sold the land to the congregation.

Due to this miraculous provision, the church changed its name from Methodist Episcopal Church South to The Providence United Methodist Church. They eventually built a larger brick building on the property but kept the miracle church as a reminder of God’s provision.

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Letting go of your unrealistic expectations of others

Credit: Arjan Olsder/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Arjan Olsder/Flickr/Creative Commons

For three days I battled with the expectations I had put on a particular person in our church. I would relinquish the expectation and then take it back. I fought with this expectation for three days and equally long nights.

I was practically foaming at the mouth. By the end I was frazzled and worn out.

My expectations were a weight on my mind and I was unable to release them.  A heaviness fell on me making it almost impossible to relinquish them.

It was a tug-a-war of letting go and then pulling back, over and over in my mind.

I had to put an end to this struggle and the hopes, fears and expectations that had become tangled up in my mind. I had become a prisoner of the expectations I had put on someone else.

Selena C. Snow, a Clinical psychologist in Rockvileed, MD, says expectations are potentially damaging because they set us and others up for failure.

She adds that “unrealistic expectations assume a level of control, that we don’t actually have in a situation.”

And because of this, we repeatedly feel disappointment when people fail to meet our expectations. This is particularly true of our children.

Unrealistic expectations are rigid and don’t leave room for  flexibility or creativity. We presume that there is only one way that God can fulfill our hopes and dreams.

We put God in a box and people too.

Unrealistic expectations are heavy on our shoulders. We think that a person should know what we are feeling. We also presume that we know what is going on in the person’s life in whom we placed our expectations.

There could be things happening that we are totally unaware of.

When people fall ‘short’ of our expectations, we must remind ourselves that we also have fallen short of God’s expectations, yet the Lord extends mercy and grace towards us.

“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

Similarly, we must extend mercy and grace to those who fail to meet our expectations.

This is particularly true in church settings. Dr Bill McRae, President of Toronto’s Tyndale University, wrote:

“We are not doing well, when it comes to managing expectations in church settings, our expectations are poorly managed. We don’t know how to manage our expectations.”

He encourages us to practice compassion towards those who fall short of our expectations be it church leaders, family members or even friends. We must learn to give room for flexibility and change in our hopes and expectations of others.

According to Dr. McRae when our expectations get out of control, it can produce anger and anxiety. Failed expectations can also cause sadness and shame for the one who has disappointed us and fallen short of our hopes.

In one instance, I realized that my expectations were causing sadness and feelings of shame in that person.  This spoke to my heart and my need to be compassionate and understanding towards those that I put these heavy expectations on.

Ultimately, I didn’t have enough faith to believe God could work things out in His timing. I remember in one situation, I had finally convinced myself to let go of the string attached to my expectation of a particular person and situation in our church.

As I watched it float upwards, in my mind’s eye I saw the words “I GOT THIS”  written across the front of the balloon. I had given it over to God.

Two days later a totally unexpected answer came as God fulfilled it in His time and way.

In a life filled with trials and testings, where leaders and others failed to meet his expectations, David understood one thing:

“My soul wait thou only upon God, for my expectation is from Him.” (Psalm 62:5)

Did hurricane Irma confirm Exodus 14:21?

Tampa Bay filled with water Credit: tarobot/Flickr/Creative Commons

Tampa Bay filled with water Credit: tarobot/Flickr/Creative Commons

Tampa Bay’s bay is normally filled with ocean and fish, but on Sunday morning, September 10, 2017, some residents of Tampa were seen walking out into the bay. It was so dry people weren’t even sinking into the mud.

It is a result of a rare phenomena called a bulge that can occur in the eye of a hurricane. The low pressure in the center essentially acts as a suction sucking up the water and along with its winds converging into the center, the water begins to pile up at the core of the hurricane.

This results in dry land in areas around the storm.

And  it didn’t just happen in Tampa Bay, a similar event took place in the Bahamas where water was essentially sucked away exposing miles of beach once covered with water.

Bahamas-based Twitter user, @Kaydi_K, reported:

 “‘I am in disbelief right now… This is Long Island, Bahamas and the ocean water is missing!!! That’s as far as they see #HurricaneIrma”.

Washington Post meteorologist Angela Fitz explained what happened this way:

“In the center of the storm, where the pressure is lowest and the winds are converging, water piles up. Low pressure is basically a sucking mechanism in the sense that it draws the air inward. When the pressure is exceptionally low and the winds are very strong, it can create a bulge of ocean water under the center of the storm.”

Some wondered if this is what took place at the parting of the Red Sea recorded in the Book of Exodus.

Trapped between the approaching Egyptian army and the Red Sea, Moses struck his rod over the sea and a strong westerly wind came up. It blew all night pushing the water back allowing the Israelis to cross safely.

21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord swept the sea back by a strong east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided. (Exodus 14:21 NASV)

Of course an immediate cessation of wind would cause the water to surge back, which it did engulfing the Egyptian army trying to cross later.

We also see hints that a similar thing happened when Joshua crossed the Jordan river during flood season (Joshua 3:13-16).

Though there is no mention of a wind, we read:

16 the waters which were flowing down from above stood and rose up in one heap, a great distance away at Adam, the city that is beside Zarethan; and those which were flowing down toward the sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, were completely cut off. So the people crossed opposite Jericho. (Joshua 3:16 NASV)

Notice how the Bible says the water “rose up in one heap.” The Hebrew word for heap (ned) is not a complicated word it means simply to pile up. Though there is no mention of a wind at the crossing point, there may have been at the city of Adam.

In 2010, scientists working with the US National Center for Atmospheric Research released a video simulating how a strong wind could have parted the Red Sea allowing Moses and Israel to safely pass over on dry land.

They calculated it would have only required sustained winds of 63 mph to part the sea. Hurricane Irma had winds of 175 mph.

They even discovered a potential location where it could have occurred.

If you want to see the impact wind can have on water, watch the video below showing how wind reversed a waterfall on the coast of England causing the water to flow backwards up the cliff.

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Foot prints in the sand disrupting evolutionary theory

Credit: Michael Mazzamuto/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Michael Mazzamuto/Flickr/Creative Commons

The discovery of human footprints embedded in sedimentary rock on the island of Crete a couple of weeks back is causing major problems for those promoting evolutionary theory.

Somebody was basically taking a leisurely walk on a beach that later hardened into rock.

According to those who have studied the 50 feet of tracks, these footprints basically match today’s human foot print with a large big toe and the ball found on the heel. Both of which are not found in apes that have distinctly different feet.

Human footprints on Crete. Credit: Phys.org

Human footprints on Crete. Credit: Phys.org

But here is the problem. Based on the fossils discovered in nearby sediment, evolutionists believe the human footprints are 5.7 million years old.

This is disrupting the theory that man evolved from apes somewhere in Africa. As the National Post noted the discovery suggests “human ancestors may have existed in Crete at the same time as they evolved in Africa.”

Of course, Crete is closer to the Biblical origins of humanity, the Middle East. The discovery also has humans existing with much older animals, again this is not a problem for people who believe God created man and animals at the same time.

But it is is causing a major headache for evolutionists. They hate facts getting in the way of theory.

Despite a similarity to today’s modern human foot, to get around this problem they classified the Crete feet as being from hominims, a branch between ape and human.

But as one creation scientists wryly noted this means that if you support the theory of evolution, the human foot has not changed for nearly 5.7 million years — a miracle in itself.

This is not even the first time this has happened. Human foot prints found in Tanzania presented exactly the same problem.

A 75 foot trail of human foot prints were discovered in 1978 in a layer of volcanic ash believed to be 3.75 million years old. This was also impossible, because it made the human footprints older than the infamous Lucy discovered in 1974 and classified as a hominim — australophithecine.

How could a human be older than the half man, half ape Lucy that he or she supposedly evolved from?

Referred to as the Laetoli footprints, a 1983 article in New Scientist magazine said they were “indistinguishable from those of modern humans.” While an article in a 1990 Natural History article said if the “footprints were not known to be so old, we would readily conclude that they were made by members of our genus.”

Let me summarize what is being said here: though these are identical to modern human footprints, our theory of evolution says they can’t be human, therefore they are not human footprints.

So they relegated the Laetoli footprints to an older ape-like branch of humans to make them part of their evolutionary belief system.

The footprints discovered in Crete are even more problematic because they are apparently even older.

Talk about disrupting the evolutionary timeline.

We have all seen the drawings of apes progressively evolving into a walking upright man over millions of years found in high school text books around the world.

If evolutionists are concerned about accuracy, they will now have to put a human at the beginning of this drawing, that slowly de-evolves down to an ape, then then back to human.

But I doubt we will see that any time soon.

Of course, a second issue for Christians is the millions of years typically thrown out by evolutionists. But facts are even challenging this premise.

Scientists are now routinely discovering soft organic material — blood, blood vessels, cartilage — in dinosaur bones thought to be a hundred million years old.

In 2016, an Italian scientist looking at 75 million year old dinosaur bones from Canada discovered blood. Sergio Bertazzo from Italy’s Imperial Museum told the English newspaper, The Guardian:

“One morning, I turned on the microscope, increased the magnification, and thought ‘wait – that looks like blood!’

They immediately presumed it was human blood, but tests showed it wasn’t and concluded this was actually the dinosaur’s blood.

This wasn’t the first time soft organic material was found in dinosaur bones that is now routinely found in dinosaur remains around the world.

So how could there still be soft, organic material in bones thought to be nearly 100 million years old. It can’t, if it is actually that old.

The problem compounded when they carbon dated the organic material inside these dinosaur bones dating 16 different samples between 22,000 to 39,000 years of age.

They were not the tens of millions of years old that evolutionary theory required them to be.

However, what is not widely promoted in evolutionary text books is that fossilization can take place in a matter of a few years. Fossilization is no indicator of age.

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Territorial Spirits: The bay of pigs

The Sea of Galilee, Israel Credit: Cajetan Barretto/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Sea of Galilee, Israel Credit: Cajetan Barretto/Flickr/Creative Commons

In my series on Territorial spirits, I have been talking about the hierarchical structure in the demonic realm where satan has put evil spirits over countries and even provinces or states within a country and I suspect cities as well.

In his classic explanation of spiritual warfare, Mark says to plunder a house you must first bind the spiritual strongman (Mark 3:22-27).

As we explained earlier, the region of Palestine ruled by Pontius Pilate was broken up into three provinces or states ruled by a Tetrarch.

Having just dealt with the ruling evil spirit in Capernaum (the Tetrarch of Herod), the next encounter with a territorial spirit takes place in Mark 5: 1-20 in a region called the Gerasenes.

In a very unusual way, this second encounter shows the demonic’s connection to territory on earth.

The story actually starts a few verses earlier. The disciples were on the shore of the sea of Galilee, when Jesus said “Let us go over to the other side” (Mark 4:35).

By crossing over, the disciples had actually entered the country called the Gerasenes.

They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gerasenes. (Mark 5:1 NASV)

This loosely knit alliance, also known as the Decapolis (Mark 5:20), was made up of ten free Greek cities wedged between the Tetrarchs of Philip and Herod Antipas. Subject to the Governor of Syria, this group of Greek cities had joined together to form a powerful economic union which the Jews strongly resented.

This was completely new political territory that would have its own ruling spirit. One Jewish writer sarcastically stated that Decapolis was a favorite haunt of demons because of the number of backslidden Hellenistic Jews living there.

In fact, the spiritual battle (pulling down of the strongman) in the Gerasenes started long before Jesus’ boat hit the beach. As the disciples were crossing the lake they were broadsided by the sudden appearance of an enormous storm.

After the disciples woke Jesus, Mark tells us the Lord rebuked the wind (Mark 4:39) and uses the same Greek word as he did to describe Jesus’ “rebuke” of the unclean spirit in the Capernaum synagogue (Mark 1:25).

The word means to censure, accord blame and to reprove and is a technical term used to describe God’s powerful divine rebuke and threat.

According to Jewish tradition, the authority to “rebuke” belongs to God and a select group included Abraham, Elijah, Enoch and David.  Even the Archangel Gabriel when contending for the body of Moses did not directly adjure satan but said, “The Lord rebuke you” (Jude 9).

Then Jesus takes the unusual step of ordering the storm to “be still” which literally means “be muzzled” as if He was addressing the source of the storm itself.

Why did He do this?

The answer is found in the book of Job. We know from this ancient sacred text that Satan has the power to control the weather and the Lord recognized the storm for what it was – satan’s frantic attempt to repulse the Jesus invasion.

As a new political territory with its own territorial spirit overseeing it, Jesus and the disciples were about to be paid a courtesy call by the area’s irate demonic landlord.

As soon, as Jesus and the disciples’ boat touched the shore, a deranged man charged them from out of the tombs located nearby.

When He got out of the boat, immediately a man from the tombs with an unclean spirit met Him, (Mark 5:2 NASV)

About a quarter of a mile south of the ruins of Gersa, one of the 10 cities in this economic union, is a steep bluff that plummets to the shore. This area is covered with limestone caverns and caves where people buried their dead and is no doubt the area referred to in the gospels.

Because of their inability to control this homicidal and suicidal man (Mark 5:3-5; Matthew 8:8), the terrified people drove him into the tombs.

After approaching Christ, the man fell to his knees and Jesus began to deal with the unclean spirit inside him.

The first thing we notice is the power struggle taking place between Christ and the demonic.

For He had been saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” (Mark 5:8 NASV)

The verb tense implies that Jesus had already ordered the unclean spirit to come out several times and to this point the evil spirit had resisted Christ’s command.

These types of power confrontations should not surprise us. In Ephesians 6:12, the apostle Paul describes the conflict with satan’s realm as a wrestling match — two foes pitted against each, struggling to throw their opponent to the ground.

Then Christ commanded the evil spirit to reveal its name.

And He was asking him, “What is your name?” And he *said to Him, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” (Mark 5:9 NASV)

Perhaps, the Lord was puzzled why it had been able to muster such a vigorous, though ultimately hopeless, defense.

The spirit answered “Legion,” naming itself after the brutally efficient Roman army, which terrified and subdued the then known world. A legion was a regiment of 6,000 troops — a mighty army in those days, suggesting this was a battalion of demons.

This term hints at an organizational structure in the demonic realm.

But then an incredible thing happens.

10 And he (the evil spirit) began to implore Him earnestly not to send them out of the country. (Mark 5:10 NASV)

What a puzzling statement, the evil spirit pleads with Jesus not to be sent out the country.

They were not beseeching Jesus to remain in the man, but were desperately negotiating to stay in Decapolis.

Why was it so important to stay in this country?

Because this was the territorial spirit for this political jurisdiction. It was in charge and being cast out of this territory would translate into a humiliating defeat for satan’s kingdom and the dethroning of another strongman.

It shows, that the strongman’s house was not the possessed man but a specific political region or territory and that evil spirits simply use these individuals as their central command from which to enforce this rule.

But like Capernaum, this demonic stronghold would be pulled down as well.

When the spirit asked Jesus for permission to enter a herd of 2000 pigs feeding nearby, Jesus allowed it. Presuming just one pig for each unclean spirit, it represented a substantial force, reflecting the numbers needed to control a territory not one individual.

Moments later this frenzied group of squealing hogs swarmed down a steep embankment, hurtling themselves into the sea, and effectively out of the country (Mark 5:13).

Robert Peterson, a missionary in Borneo, also noticed a similar connection between evil spirits and a geographical location. In his book, Roaring Lion, Peterson says he was personally involved with a young boy who was declared insane and sent to a hospital, a long distance away.

When the boy arrived the doctor found nothing wrong with him and declared him sane. Peterson says everything was fine as long as the boy stayed in the area around the hospital. But once he returned home, the villagers were almost immediately forced to put him in chains to control his violent outbursts.

Peterson said, “experience points to the fact that some demons are forbidden to leave their assigned areas, thus when the possessed leave the area assigned to the demons, the demons have to leave the victim.”

Read more in this series:

Joel Osteen and the Gimli Glider

Joel Osteen Credit: Faith Church.com/Flickr/Creative Commons

Joel Osteen Credit: Faith Church.com/Flickr/Creative Commons

On August 26, 2017, Hurricane Harvey landed in Texas. Houston was badly damaged, and one of the casualties was Lakewood Church and its pastor Joel Osteen. One of the biggest news stories from Hurricane Harvey was the pastor’s refusal to let victims of the storm shelter in the church building.

This may sound strange, but I think I agree with Joel Osteen. If you are wondering, I live very far from Houston, in Canada, and no one asked me to write this.

These are some of my reasons:

  1. Disaster management includes shelter that is designed for occupation. A huge church is not a dormitory and it may put people at risk. In 2005 Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and people moved into a covered stadium. It was unsanitary, the police lost control, and criminals moved in with guns. People had to be rescued by force from the shelter.
  2. Feel-good self-serving charity is always wrong. Victims need useful help; donors don’t need a reward. I once managed a charity “mission” in a big city, and one day a woman drove up with a car full of old newspapers. She said they were for the homeless men to read, and she drove away looking proud and happy. I knew the men needed warm socks and sandwiches and I threw the papers in the garbage.
  3. No religion wants sacred places converted to dormitories. Church, mosque, synagogue, temple, shrine, ashram or pagoda; no one wants that. Houston has many worship places, and they were not all criticized for failing to become dormitories. The criticism was all focused on one church and one pastor.
  4. The parking lot was probably more valuable than the building. A large paved area could be a helicopter landing pad, a staging area for vehicles like trucks, ambulances, and buses, and possibly a site for an emergency medical unit. A two-hour bus ride and a motel room in another city are better than a night in the bleachers.
  5. The church would be open to lawsuits, real or fake, and would suffer damage, probably uninsured. If I was on the board of Lakewood Church, I would vote no.
  6. Christian kindness is always personal; given by us, not them. If a disaster hits your area, do you have a spare bedroom or a couch someone could sleep on? Could you offer someone a ride or buy them a cup of coffee? We can never unload our responsibilities and our feelings of guilt on some bug church somewhere.

That’s what I think; so what went wrong?

A decision was made in a storm. “It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” It’s another Gimli Glider.

I train commercial drivers, and I know they will make a bad decision just before an impact. Panic twenty seconds out is a tragic accident. A crisis plan, like a fire drill, needs to be made before it is needed.

Gimli is a small town north of Winnipeg, in Canada, with a closed Air Force base converted to a drag strip.

In 1983, the metric system was new in Canada and someone put half of the fuel needed into a Boeing 767 because of confusion with measurement. The flight was from Montreal to Edmonton, a huge distance, and the plane was doomed. In that crisis, the pilot was able to glide safely onto the drag strip with no engine power. The story became a movie: Gimli Glider

The bad news is, next time, the plane will crash and everyone will die. On-the-spot crisis control is always dangerous.

If you have reasons to criticize Joel Osteen, remember, he is us. I don’t know any place of worship, in any religion, that is ready for a disaster; and the critics and haters are always ready to pounce. The world today powered by Internet gossip, with lawsuits, insurance claims, and fraud. I don’t know what hurts worse, the lawsuits or the slander.

This was reality for the first Christians:

You, however, have observed my teaching, my conduct, my purpose, my faith, my patience, my love, my endurance, my persecutions, and the sufferings that came upon me in Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra. What persecutions I endured! Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. Indeed, all who desire to live godly lives in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and imposters go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:10 to 13)

Crisis planning and management is a professional skill, and I don’t want to oversimplify here, but Christian churches are easy targets these days. Already, one large church in my city has gone under because of fraud; the building is now a community center. They didn’t see it coming.

And doing good is a skill that comes with planning and practice. It is the persistent work of a lifetime.

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. (Galatians 6: 9 and 10)

US solar eclipse: Sign or coincidence? You decide

Photo from Hurricane Harvey, August 30, 2017 Credit: John Chandler/Flickr/Creative Commons

Photo from Hurricane Harvey, August 30, 2017 Credit: John Chandler/Flickr/Creative Commons

The total eclipse of the sun that cut a swath across the US on August 21, 2017 from Oregon to South Carolina has certainly garnered more than its share of attention in recent weeks with some wondering if it was a sign from God.

The Bible often connects solar eclipses with end times events (Amos 8:9). In the book of Genesis, we are told that the heavens were created to be a sign to people. God would speak to us through solar events:

14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; (Genesis 1:14 NASV)

However, eclipses are not an unusual phenomena. They happen regularly. However, the US has not seen a similar total eclipse fully crossing the country for 99 years.

Are all eclipses a sign? Probably not. But to suggest none of them are is equally wrong.

If this eclipse was God speaking to America, what has happened since:

Hurricane Harvey, Landfall August 24-25, 2017

Of course most are aware of the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey when it hit the US overnight on August 24-25, 2017 dumping a record 51.88 inches of rain.

It was the first major hurricane to hit the US since 2005. It resulted in 71 deaths (70 in the US and one in Guyana) and the rescue of 17,000 people including displacing 30,000 others.

Hurricane Harvey began developing in the Atlantic on August 17, 2017. Perhaps it was just a coincidence that the total solar eclipse passed over Harvey as it was forming.

North Korea fires ballistic missile over Japan, August 29, 2017

In what is described as unprecedented, North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan on August 29, 2017. The rogue nation has been sabre rattling for months, but this alarming move resulted in Japan issuing a warning to its citizens about the launch of the Hwasong-12 medium range ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload.

Japanese president Shinzo Abe said:

“This reckless act of launching a missile that flies over our country is an unprecedented, serious and important threat.”

Many believe, that North Korea leader Kim Jong-un was backing up a previous threat made to attack the United States’ territory of Guam, if provoked.

Jesus warned that conflicts would mark the end times:

You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes (Matthew 24:6-7 NASV)

And there are passages describing end times events that seem to suggest nuclear weapons:

12 Now this will be the plague with which the Lord will strike all the peoples who have gone to war against Jerusalem; their flesh will rot while they stand on their feet, and their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongue will rot in their mouth. (Zechariah 14:12 NASV)

Of course, the prophets who saw people’s flesh peeling off them while they were still standing would have no understanding of a nuclear attack and simply tried to explain it in words people of the day would understand — a plague.

Idaho earthquake swarm, September 2, 2017

On Saturday, September 2, 2017, Southeast Idaho was hit by nearly 100 small earthquakes and another 41 over the following few days.

Referred to as an earthquake swarm, nearly 20,000 people (as far away as Salt Lake City, Utah) reported feeling the largest tremor that hit 5.3 on the Richter scale on Saturday.

There was no damage or reported deaths, however, experts say these could be a warning that a larger earthquake, maybe as high as 7.0, is looming. It would be 50 times more powerful than a 5.3.

In an interview with the Idaho State Journal, Idaho University Geologist Dr. David Pearson said:

“There is most likely not going to be a larger earthquake, but there is the possibility of a larger one. I don’t want to say everything is fine here because there’s the possibility it won’t be.”

Of course, earthquakes are  one of the signs that Jesus pointed to as marking the end times:

11 and there will be great earthquakes, and in various places plagues and famines; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:11 NASV)

UPDATE: In an article posted this morning, the Idaho State Journal reports that the earthquakes are intensifying with 20 more this morning, bringing the total to 200.

Solar Flare, September 6, 2017:

What probably isn’t as well-known is the massive solar flare that hit the world on September 6, 2017. Similar to the Hurricane Harvey, it was the largest solar flare to hit the earth in the last 12 years.

There were actually two X-class solar flares. The first called X2.2 was the largest seen in three years, but three hours later it was followed by a larger X9.3 flare, the largest seen since 2005.

That second flare actually disrupted high frequency radio communications for a full hour and as well low-level navigation communication . Flares are essentially massive explosions on the sun caused by a build up of magnetic energy. It results in a massive ejection of coronal mass.

There is a reference in the Book of Revelation that some wonder could be the result of a similar solar event or explosion:

Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory. (Revelation 16:9 NASV)

 

Financial earthquake, reported September 7, 2017

There was also a tremor in the financial industry when a major credit agency, Equifax, reported one of the largest cyber hacks in American history. Though the hack took place between May and July, it was not reported until September 7, 2017.

Equifax allegedly discovered the hack on July 29th.

Some estimate that personal data from nearly 143 million Americans (half the US population) was stolen in the attack. The information ranged from addresses, credit card numbers, social security numbers and even driver licenses.

In an interview with the Financial Post, cyber security expert Paul Martini said:

“This is massive. This overshadows any breach that we have seen to date – not just in volume, the size, but the type of data that was in that data base.”

Massive Mexico earthquake, September 8, 2017

A massive earthquake registering 8.1 hit the southern coast of Mexico on 12:49 AM Friday, September 8, 2017. The quake occurred about 50 miles off shore and its tremors were felt a thousand miles away in Mexico City.

The quake that even triggered a small tsunami, destroyed a number of major buildings in the town of Juchitan.

To date, over 32 people are reported killed with many injured.  It was the largest earthquake to hit Mexico in the last century and was even larger than the quake that hit Mexico in 1985 that resulted in thousands of deaths.

In the Book of Revelation, severe earthquakes are mentioned five times. Here is one:

13 And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven. (Revelation 11:13 NASV)

Hurricane Irma, Landfall September 10, 2017

Classified as a category 4 hurricane with steady winds of 130 miles per hour, Irma made landfall in Florida at 9:10 ET this morning.  The winds are snapping Palm trees in half. Millions of people have already evacuated and we won’t know the full extent of its damage for a few hours.

In a video, posted on Facebook, Actor Kirk Cameron former star of the ABC sitcom Growing Pains said:

“When he puts his power on display, it’s never without reason. There’s a purpose. And we may not always understand what that purpose is, but we know it’s not random and we know that weather is sent to cause us to respond to God in humility, awe and repentance.”

Others are warning that another hurricane, Jose, could be building and may be heading for the US. Potential landing spot would be New York.  America hasn’t been hit by a hurricane for 12 years and now two have hit in one year and a third, Jose, and perhaps even a fourth, Katrina, may be on their way.

CNN reported on what meteorologist Philip Klotzbach had to say about the unusual events taking place in the Atlantic this year:

“This is the first time on record that the Atlantic has had two hurricanes with winds of more than 150 mph at the same time, Colorado State University meteorologist Philip Klotzbach said.”

So was the August 21st total eclipse a sign to America or coincidence? I am not claiming to know the mind of God in this matter. Each of us have to come to our own decision on this.

Whatever the case, God’s intent is not to judge America, but to draw Americans back to Himself.

Sources:

China forbids children from attending church

Li River, China Credit: Charlie fong/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Li River, China Credit: Charlie fong/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

According to reports coming out of China, several provinces have stepped up their persecution of the Church by prohibiting children from attending religious services.

Recently, over 100 churches in the Chinese province of Zhejiang received notice that minors can no longer attend any type of religious activity including church and summer camps.

In some jurisdictions, parents were required to sign papers saying their children will not be attending religious services. Officials threatened parents with legal action if they disobeyed.

This is not the first time Zhejiang officials had taken a hard-line against Christians. In late 2015, officials ordered the removal of all crosses on government-run churches. When Christians protested, some were arrested and several churches destroyed.

It is uncertain how widespread this recent edict is, but Amnesty International reported receiving news on this prohibition from around the country.

In Hunan province, politicians stated they will be investigating both government-run churches (both Catholic and protestant) and the underground churches to make sure they are not providing religious training to minors.

Speaking on behalf of Amnesty International, researcher William Nee stated:

“China is in the midst of a religious revival and the current government seems concerned that religion could be a means through which foreign values may penetrate into China and ultimately affect its political stability.”

Since Xi Jinping has become China’s president in 2012, the government has taken a hard-line against Christians, stating publicly that members of the government’s ruling communist party can no longer be Christians.

It also limits the number of people that can be baptized in churches that are part of the government-run Three-Self movement. Because of the severe restrictions that China has put on these government-sanctioned churches, many have gone underground.

It is obvious by its over-reaction, the government is concerned about the rapid growth of Christianity in that communist country.

In 2010, Pew Research estimated there were 68 million Christians in China and said this could potentially reach 70 million by 2050. However, Purdue sociology professor Fengang Yuang, an expert on Chinese religion, says the number of Chinese Christians is much higher and could reach 160 million by 2025 and 247 million by 2032.

And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:5-6 NASV)

Sources:

Are you a people-pleaser?

Credit: Nick Kenrick/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Nick Kenrick/Flickr/Creative Commons

Giving and pleasing look exactly the same on the outside but they both come from a different place or motivation of the heart.

They even feel different because giving comes from a positive space and people-pleasing comes from a negative one.

Stacey Martino, a relationship expert, refers to people-pleasing as ‘the kiss of death’ because we are giving from a place of insecurity (our need for approval and to be valued).  We are doing it for the wrong reasons and this creates resentment.

People-pleasing drains you emotionally because you really didn’t want to do it in the first place. You just did it to please someone. And if we experience rejection it magnifies our resentment. An internal explosion is not to far away.

Giving comes from a positive place of optimism hopefulness, passion, gratitude, joy and desire to bless. People-pleasing comes from a place of insecurity, doubt, worry, jealousy, disappointment, blame or boredom.

Ultimately, people-pleasing stems from our need to be loved and valued. It is rooted in insecurity.  We don’t know our true worth and value in God’s eyes and because of this we will go looking for it.

I had a people-pleasing addiction and needed to learn the difference between giving and pleasing.

For me, and I am making myself vulnerable, it was a way of getting the leadership of my church to notice me. At first, I didn’t even realize that was the reason I was doing it.

The speaker at a conference I attended a few years ago, said it clearly. when we overdo our giving, it draws attention to you but not in the way you want.  It is like a neon sign over your head that says, please love me!

I had an addiction to people-pleasing, and often went overboard because of my need to be approved and valued by the leadership. But it was not their problem, it was mine!

This was such a wake up call and exposed my need for people particularly in leadership roles to acknowledge me. It exposed my greatest fear — rejection.

It had become so ingrained in me that I didn’t even know I was doing it. The light came on when I heard the speaker say, “you are just saying to people, please love me!”

The key is to understand your motivations for doing something. Are you doing it because you genuinely want to help someone and no recognition is necessary, or are you doing it to gain approval and you desperately need to be acknowledged for what you did.

Recognizing our people pleasing tendencies will help us establish healthy boundaries.  It allows us to focus on the things in our lives that really matter and deserve our attention.

Simply put, people-pleasing is a distraction that pulls us off course and away from our purpose, our loved ones and our relationship with God.

I am loved, accepted and valued for who I am right now by my Heavenly Father.  My value and worth has been secured through the cross where Jesus shed his blood for my  failure to please God by my own works.

I can walk and shine on because my value does not depend on the approval and opinions of man.

We end up wasting our time and energy trying to prove our value and worth to others.

Take action from the side of giving, not pleasing.

There is a verse in the bible that talks about giving and the motivations of the heart.  Although it’s referring to financial giving it gets to the root of why we do things.

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)

 

Territorial Spirits: Border wars in Brazil

Sao Paulo, Brazil Credit: Leandro Centomo/Flickr/Public Domain

Sao Paulo, Brazil   Credit: Leandro Centomo/Flickr/Public Domain

I have been looking at how demonic territorial spirits try to control countries and even regions within a country such as a province/state or even a city.

In Jesus’ day, Pontius Pilate was the fifth prefect of Palestine, a region that today makes up much of modern Israel. In turn, Palestine was divided into three districts ruled by a Tetrarch — Samaria, Galilee and Ituraea.

In my previous article, I looked at a deliverance that took place in a synagogue in Capernaum a  major administrative center in the District of Galilee controlled by the Tetrarch Herod Antipas, the son of Herod the Great.

After casting an evil spirit out of a man in a Capernaum synagogue, Mark says that the strong man or evil spirit controlling that area was pulled down (Mark 3:22-27).

After that happened, Mark records what quickly followed (Mark 1:28 – 2:15). There were healings (Mark 1:40-43; Mark 2:1-11), many demons being cast out (Mark 1:32-34) and several people saved (Mark 2:13-14) including Matthew who served as a tax collector for Herod.

As Christ’s disciple, Matthew would go on to write one of the gospels.  In Matthew 13:57-58,  he records what happened when Jesus went to Nazareth. Matthew says that Jesus could not do many miracles there because of their unbelief.

The Districts of Palestine

What a contrast, in one area revival was taking place and another area just a few miles away was completely barren.

The map on the right shows the three districts or states of Palestine.

As we look closely, you will see that Nazareth (underlined in red) is right on the border of the District of Samaria and the District of Galilee.

A few years back, I read a curious story written in a missionary publication called World Map.

In his article, Ralph Mahoney tells of an interesting experience told to him by a missionary based in Uruguay distributing tracts in a little town that sat on the border of Uruguay and Brazil.

The main street was the actual border between these two countries. Due to the village’s isolation, there were no restrictions in crossing the main street, or moving from one country to the next.

One Saturday morning, the missionary was distributing tracts on the Uruguayan side of town. The people either refused the tract or if they did take it quickly glanced at it, then crumpled it up and discarded it.

After spending a couple of fruitless hours he decided to pop over to the Brazilian side. He began handing out tracks and was amazed by the dramatic change, suddenly people were not only taking his tracts but many were intently reading them.

Thinking he was imagining things, he proceeded back to the Uruguayan side of the street. Again he found the people resistant to the tracts.

Puzzled by what was going on, he put this phenomena to a test.

A woman approached him on the Uruguayan side, so he offered her a tract which she immediately refused. When he noticed her cross the street into Brazil, the missionary put himself on an intercept course with the woman on the Brazilian side.

When she passed in front of him again, the missionary offered her a tract a second time. The woman not only took the tract, but she thanked him profusely for it.

Fascinated by what had occurred, the missionary repeated the experiment, each time with basically the same results.

Why, the missionary wondered, would people be so open to the gospel on the Brazilian side of the street and then those same people be so closed to the gospel on the Uruguayan side.

He later remembered a particular involvement he had in a Bible school in Argentina. After weeks of intercession, a powerful prophetic word was delivered, stating that the Lion of Judah had prevailed and that Argentina’s strong man had been broken.

It started a revival in Argentina, that briefly spilled north into Brazil, but stopped abruptly at the border of Uruguay.

For some reason, this move of God hit an invisible barrier and could go no further.

In this little border town, as the people moved between Uruguay and Brazil, they were moving from darkness into light and their response to the gospel showed how significant that was.

Sources:

  • World Map Digest (Burbank, Ca.) March/April 1983

Read more in this series:

 

The Aedile: Erastus of Corinth

Modern day Corinth Credit: Qweasdqwe/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Modern day Corinth Credit: Qweasdqwe/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Though the Apostle Paul mentions him twice and Luke once, we don’t know that much about Erastus. But still we know more about him than most of the associates that ministered with Paul.

22 And having sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while. (Acts 19:22 NASV)

20 Erastus remained at Corinth, but Trophimus I left sick at Miletus. (2 Timothy 4:20 NASV)

23 Gaius, host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer greets you, and Quartus, the brother. (Romans 16:23 NASV)

It was clear from the passage in Acts that Erastus joined Paul on some of his missionary journeys. The passage in 2 Timothy tells us that he was based in Corinth, but the Romans verse provides the most tantalizing clue when Paul says he was a city treasurer (Greek oikonomos which means administrative supervisor, steward, treasurer or manager).

Since Paul wrote the book of Romans while at Corinth, and this along with Luke stating Erastus remained  at Corinth, it is generally believed Erastus was a city manager in Corinth.

This meant he was not only a man of political influence, but undoubtedly very wealthy.

And this is where it gets interesting because in 1929, archaeologists working in the ancient ruins of Corinth discovered an inscription mentioning a man named Erastus on a paved area near an old theater.

The inscription carved into a partly destroyed piece of limestone pavement reads:

Erastv, Pro. Aed. S. P. Strvit

Written in abbreviated form, it literally means:

“Erastus for his aedileship laid the pavement at his own expense.”

Corinth followed the traditional Roman political system. The city was ruled by a council. Beneath the council was an elected chief magistrate, and below the magistrate were two aediles.

The aediles were managers responsible for city maintenance – streets, public buildings and market place and as well collecting revenues from these venues. At times they also worked as judges.

Those seeking the position of aedile would make promises of what infrastructure they would build if selected. In addition, aediles were expected to pay the city a fee if selected.

In turn the person would make his living through the taxes and fees he imposed as an aedile.

It was a prestigious position and this same Erastus of Corinth is actually cited in other writings of the day. John Chrysostom, Basil and Epiphanius each refer to this same Erastus revealing how important he actually was.

Of course, many wonder if the Erastus who was member of the Corinthian church is the same Erastus found inscribed in the pavement in Corinth. Though Paul does not give Erastus the title of aeidile, most are convinced they are undoubtedly the same person.

First, we know Erastus was based in Corinth and the plaque itself dates to the time Paul was in Corinth.

Secondly is the reference to Erastus’ political position in Corinth.  While the plaque describes Erastus’ as an aedile, his actual title, Paul takes a slightly different approach describing what he did.

Paul was basically saying he was a senior administrator in the Corinthian government and certainly one of the top political positions in the city.

Finally, Erastus is a rarely used name. Since it is uncommon, finding two people with the same name, in the same city and holding a similar position is more than a coincidence.

Most conclude this is undoubtedly the same person.

But there is another side story to this. Erastus was a name commonly associated with slaves at the time. So people who were not slaves tended not to use the name for their children.

This makes it interesting, because archaeology shows that it was common for Corinthians to free slaves and appoint them to important political positions such as aedile. They have found several references to these freed slaves being used in similar ways such as Babbius Philinus.

These people would be indebted because of their freedom and were expected to award their patrons accordingly. It was one way for the elites of the city to control the managers.

In 1 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul uses the official term describing this particular form of emancipation when he says:

21 Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. 22 For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman (Greek apeleutheros); likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men. 24 Brethren, each one is to remain with God in that condition in which he was called. (1 Corinthians 7:21-24 NASV)

In this passage, Paul refers to the “freedman.” It is the Greek word “apeleutheros” and literally means “freed person,” and refers to a slave who had gone through the official process of “manumission” and been legally freed from slavery.

If Erastus was a slave he would have gone through this before he could become an aedile. If this is the case, it suggests that Paul may have subtly used Erastus’ life as an illustration of what Christ has done for us.

As for Erastus, some wonder if he eventually left his position of prestige and wealth to join Paul on his missionary journeys.

Aediles were expected to regularly and publicly honor the heathen gods while holding such prestigious positions.  When Erastus became a Christian, it would have been awkward to continue this practice.

But having been freed, Paul says that such a person is now Christ’s slave suggesting Erastus may have eventually left it all behind to serve Christ.

Sources:

What is the big deal with Fentanyl?

Credit: Dennis Yip/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Dennis Yip/Flickr/Creative Commons

I did not know this, but I am living in the center of a world crisis of biblical proportions. People around me are dying, and the numbers of deaths are large, in the thousands, and growing rapidly. Governments don’t seem to have an answer, and the crisis is spreading.

Have you heard of Fentanyl? It’s a prescription drug that you can buy cheaply and legally, in most places, and it’s an opioid like heroin and morphine. Drug dealers love this stuff. They add it to more expensive and illegal drugs to provoke more addiction in their customers. It grows their business and saves them money, and I live in western Canada, one of the most blighted regions. Who knew?

Fentanyl was developed in a lab in 1959, as a legitimate pharmaceutical. Carfentanil was developed soon after and used by veterinarians; as a sedative for elephants.

The potency of morphine is the control measure, and Fentanyl is fifty times more potent; and Carfentanil is 10,000 times more. That number is not a typo. Police officers are at risk from the dust when they make drug busts. The state of Nevada plans to use Fentanyl to execute criminals.

In 2002 a terrorist group seized a theater in Moscow, Russia, with 850 hostages. The Russian military pumped knock-out gas into the building and ended the siege, with the death of about 170 people. They won’t admit it now, but there are persistent rumours that the Russians used Fentanyl as the knock-out gas.

This drug is so powerful it can be used as a weapon of mass destruction, in a war; and we’re all in trouble if terrorists start using it.

I went to a bad high school with lots of drug problems, and one of my good friends damaged his brain on LSD. A friend from another place had a stroke from LSD use, in his early twenties. A respected co-worker died of lung cancer after recovering from meth addiction.

And I have been close to severe alcoholics, including some who got high from aerosol cans of Lysol. They sat in a circle on the ground, in the winter, and sipped from a nail hole.

All of this makes me sad, and now I won’t even drink a glass of wine or take aspirin. I have my personal PTSD, but I know that we are all about to face a monster that will make those memories fade. I predict that someone you know will die a horrible death from a fabricated designer drug like Fentanyl. Brace yourself.

Fentanyl is just the beginning. These new chemicals are not just drugs, they are recipes. If a scientist had not developed a new drug in 1959, I would not be writing this and the world would be a better place. Now scientists are more skilled, and they will find newer and more dangerous recipes, and criminals will sell them to us; or terrorists will use them on us. We can’t un-ring the bell, the milk will never go back in the bottle.

Our best scientific progress has brought us to this.

I remember my personal unhappiness when I was in high school. The weak drugs around me then wrecked my friends and I have no answer, even today. I can’t spout a preachy solution to addiction.

The Bible says we live by faith: “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)

That neatly describes how I became a Christian back in high school. The push came from school, not from my parents or their church.

And I am sure that we are all about to be tested, even the atheists. Human progress and science are great things, but I know that people are corrupt. You may disagree, but watch for an ambulance in your neighborhood.

And I trust that God will give you peace if you have already been hurt by this monster.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Muslim cleric warns of explosive growth of Christianity among Iranian youth

Qom, Iran where many of the youth are turning to Christ. Credit: Graeme Wood/Flickr/Creative Commons

Qom, Iran where despite a strong Islamic influence many youth are turning to Christ. Credit: Graeme Wood/Flickr/Creative Commons

Iranian Christian news agency, Mohabat News, confirmed what many are reporting that there has been an extraordinary number of Iranians coming to Christ.

The agency, that monitors Iranian news, said the confirmation came in an unusual way. It reported that an Islamic cleric in the Iranian city of Qom publicly warned about the spread of Christianity in that city particularly among the youth.

Qom is one of the most Islamic cities in Iran and if there are concerns about the growth of Christianity in that environment, then what is happening in  the rest of the nation?

Ayatollah Alavi Boroujerdi, who works at an Islamic seminary in Qom, stated, “accurate reports indicate that the youth are becoming Christians in Qom and attending house churches.”

It was even reported that the son of an Islamic cleric based in Qom became a Christian.

According to Mohabat News, this is not the first time an Islamic cleric in Iran warned of Christianity’s growing influence in that country.

A year earlier, another Ayatollah, Makarem Shirazi based in Mashhad, said that youth were turning to Christ in his city. His pronouncement resulted in the secret police stepping up efforts to close down house churches in Mashhad that they estimated at upwards of 200. It also resulted in the arrest of several Christians.

Several other senior Islamic clerics have also expressed concerns in recent years about Iran’s  growing Christian population, sparking the Iranian government to shut down church buildings.

However, this move simply resulted in Christians moving to house churches where due to growing persecution, believers employ several tactics to avoid government detection. This includes keeping the size of the meeting small and moving from house to house. They also stagger people’s arrival so not to attract attention. In some meetings, they just mouth the words of worship songs to avoid being heard.

Iranians are turning to Christ for a number of reasons. Many are tiring of the repressive Iranian regime and women in particular are finding more freedom in Christianity. In fact, many of the house church leaders are women.

Christian ministries are also using satellite TV to broadcast the gospel into Iran and other parts of the Middle East. This allows people to hear about Christ in the privacy of their homes. Eventually, they seek fellowship with other believers.

Of course, when the New Testament church came under persecution, the Holy Spirit moved through miracles, signs and wonders resulting in the rapid growth of the early church.

One of the unique ways that God is drawing Muslims is through dreams and visions. One former Middle East Muslim who turned to Christ told Open Doors USA that more Muslims are becoming Christians through this method than direct evangelism.

The man who went by the name Ismail spoke of the dream he received:

“I saw a white face and heard a voice: ‘Follow Me.’ Nothing more. But it was enough. I made the decision to follow Him (Christ).

Centuries earlier, the prophet Joel said that God would pour out His Holy Spirit in the end times and speak to people through dreams and visions. However, no one, including myself, suspected this would be a method of evangelism drawing tens of thousands of Muslims to Christ.

“It will come about after this
That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;
And your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your old men will dream dreams,
Your young men will see visions. (Joel 2:28 NASV)

Iranian officials have tried to counter Christianity’s rapidly growing influence by pouring millions of dollars into Islamic teachers and materials particularly directed at the youth. However, it seems to be having the opposite effect as disillusioned youth are turning to Christ in increasing numbers.

In 2006, the Iranian government said there were 106,000 Christians in their country of 78 million. However, this number is suspect. Since it is against the law for Muslims to become Christian the government did not include those type of conversions or any estimates of the size of the underground church that is also illegal.

In 2015, Open Door USA estimated there was over 450,000 Christians in Iran. However, if recent reports are accurate, this number is probably low.

Sources:

Watch Gospel music ring out at Hurricane Harvey rescue shelter

Gospel singer Victoria White and others entertained people taking shelter from Hurricane Harvey in the Lone Star Convention and Expo Center in Conroe, Texas, north of Houston.

The song was videoed by volunteer Joni Villemez-Commeaux.

White works as an admission counselor at Sam Houston State University. She was ministering with Outreach Missions who was raising support for the victims of Harvey.

White’s powerful voice emanated in the hall as others joined the singing. So far the video posted on Facebook has been viewed over 12 million times.

The death toll for the storm is now nearing 40 and includes the rescue of 13,000 people trapped by the rapidly rising waters that hit Houston and area.

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129F (53.7C) — setting a heat record in Iran

Ahvaz, Iran Credit: HOSSEIN MTP/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Ahvaz, Iran Credit: HOSSEIN MTP/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

I may have to eat my words, a quaint way of saying I was wrong.

In a post a few months back, I was talking about some hot weather the earth experienced this past June, when locations in both the US and England were experiencing near record temperatures.

I found it interesting because in the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John saw extreme heat as one of the judgments that God would pour in the earth in the end times:

The fourth angel poured out his bowl upon the sun, and it was given to it to scorch men with fire. 9 Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory. (Revelation 16:8-9 NASV)

In my earlier post, Turning up the Heat, I noted that though it was extremely hot in these areas of the world in June, they were not temperatures records and because of that I stated:

“I do not believe the recent heatwaves are the temperatures that John saw in his vision. It was hotter twenty years ago in Arizona and hotter 40 years ago in England.

I suspect the heat blast that John envisioned will shatter all records.”

Well, I will officially eat my words because this past June that is exactly what happened.

French meteorologist Etienne Kapikian reported that temperatures in Ahvaz, Iran hit 129F (53.7C), shattering temperature not only in that country but also for all of Asia. Once humidity was factored in the temperature was closer to 142F (61.1C).

It was hot enough to set a frying pan on the street and fry up a steak . One food website even recommended 129F when cooking a medium-rare steak.

I have also wondered if many of the judgements envisioned in the Book of Revelation would occur in the Middle East around Israel.

However, even with this extreme heat it was still only the second highest temperature ever recorded on the earth. That record was set on July 10, 1913 in Death Valley, California when temperatures hit 134F (56.6C).

If man-made C02 emissions are the cause of Iran’s recent heat, then what caused the record temperature in 1913?

Predictably many blamed the extreme heat on man-made CO2 emissions and ironically the Apostle John noted that after the heat hit people “did not repent as to give Him glory.”

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Has Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan become a Christian?

Louis Farrakhan at a press conference in Iran. Credit: Tasnim News Agency/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Louis Farrakhan at a press conference in Iran. Credit: Tasnim News Agency/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Christian Post (CP) recently reported on a curious video posted to Youtube last week by Louis Farrakhan, the former leader of the Nation of Islam. It suggests the controversial leader may have become a Christian.

Farrakhan, 87, gave up leadership of the 50,000 Black Muslim group in 2006 due to ill-health. He was suffering the after effects of prostate cancer.

William Fard started the Nation of Islam in 1934 and during the 1970s it had upwards of two million members. The organization holds to the tenants of Islam and believers that Allah is the only god. Some believe Fard was the Muslim Mahdi, the Islamic equivalent of a messiah.

Farrakhan became involved with the Nation of Islam after a brief career as a professional musician. In the mid-70s, he even served as a Sunni Muslim Imam for about three years.

As early as 2015, a video shows Farrakhan talking about Jesus as the Redeemer though at the time he said Jesus was a Muslim.

However, in the video posted recently Farrakhan seems to have a new perspective on Christ:

“I thank God for guiding me for 40 years absent my teacher (Elijah Muhammad). So my next journey will have to answer the question. I’m gonna say it.

I know that my Redeemer lives.

I know. I’m not guessing that my Jesus is alive. I know that my redeemer liveth and because he lives I know that I, too, will pass through the portal of death yet death will not afflict me.”

Farrakhan went on to say:

“So I say to the devil. I know I gotta pay the price for what I have been teaching all these years. You can have the money, you can have the clothes, you can have the suit, you can have the house, but me you can’t have.”

With this second statement, CP wondered if the former Nation of Islam leader was now rejecting his earlier beliefs and pointed to the possible Christian influence of Bishop Larry Trotter who pastors Sweet Holy Spirit Church in Chicago.

In a second Youtube video, Farrakhan was seen visiting Trotter who had been hospitalized due to sickness after visiting Israel.

However, nothing is for sure as Muslims also accept Jesus as a prophet. Because of this, CP approached Farrakhan for clarification on his statements, but had not received a response at the time the article was published.

In some ways, it reminds me of the controversy surrounding Nebuchadnezzar II who led  Babylon between about 605 BC and 562 BC. He is considered one of the great kings in Babylonian history and was responsible for invading Judah and sacking of the Jewish temple.

He is also the king referred to in the book of Daniel.

After being taken into captivity, Daniel rose up to a leadership position in Babylon and along with other Jews, had a profound spiritual impact on Nebuchadnezzar.

Several times Nebuchadnezzar referred to Jehovah as the true God leading some to wonder if he might have become a believer.

When Nebuchadnezzar received a dream of what nations would follow after him, only Daniel was able to interpret it causing Nebuchadnezzar to proclaim:

47 “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.” (Daniel 2:47 NASV)

At this point, Nebuchadnezzar simply added Jehovah to a list of gods he believed in. But he seems to have given Jehovah the highest prominence.

Nevertheless, this declaration didn’t stop Nebuchadnezzar from creating a golden image of himself and requiring people to worship it. When Daniel’s friends were caught not bowing, they were tossed into a furnace.

After an angel appeared and miraculously spared their lives, the Babylonian king stated:

29 Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation or tongue that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego shall be torn limb from limb and their houses reduced to a rubbish heap, inasmuch as there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.” (Daniel 3:29 NASV)

Then when Nebuchadnezzar received a second dream, Daniel interpreted it warning the Babylonian king he needed to acknowledge the hand of God in his life. However, he refused and was struck with insanity for seven years.

After Nebuchadnezzar finally came to his senses, he seems to have made a firmer declaration about Jehovah:

“How great are His signs
And how mighty are His wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom
And His dominion is from generation to generation.

37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise, exalt and honor the King of heaven, for all His works are true and His ways just, and He is able to humble those who walk in pride.” (Daniel 4:3, 37 NASV)

Some believe at this point, the Babylonian king became a believer and we may actually see him in heaven.

However, others are not convinced suggesting through this whole process Nebuchadnezzar was just including Jehovah as part of the pantheon of Babylonian gods.

It is something we won’t know until we reach heaven.

Sources:

Territorial Spirits: Plundering the strongman’s house

Bodian Castle, East Sussex, England Credit: Antony McCallum/Wikipedia

Bodian Castle, East Sussex, England Credit: Antony McCallum/Wikipedia

In our series on Territorial spirits, we are discussing how satan has a hierarchical structure in the satanic realm and has put evil spirits over countries (Daniel 10:13) and I suspect provinces or states within those countries and even over major cities.

These evil spirits often align themselves with natural political divisions as they seek to influence the political agenda throughout the nation.

Both Mark (Mark 1:21-27) and Luke (Luke 4:31-37) talked about Jesus delivering a man of an evil spirit in a synagogue in Capernaum, a major administrative center for the District of Galilee, a state within Palestine.

It was an unusual encounter because it was only one of a handful of times that an evil spirit spoke to Christ during a deliverance. I suspect this ability to speak represented its power in the demonic realm.

I am also convinced that evil spirits represent higher ranking fallen angels while demons represent the foot soldiers. But the word demon is also a generic term that describes the satanic realm, much in the same way the word ‘soldier’ can refer to both privates and higher ranking officers.

After casting out the evil spirit, Mark explains what happened in Capernaum by writing about another incident that followed closely on the heels of this deliverance. To try to diffuse Christ’s growing popularity, the pharisees accused Jesus of casting out evil spirits by the power of Beelzebub, a higher ranking evil spirit (Mark 3:22-27)..

Jesus responds to this absurd claim by asking how could satan’s kingdom stand if higher ranking evil spirits were casting out lower ones. By this Jesus implied that casting out spirits weakens the satanic realm over an area.

Then Jesus adds:

“But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.” (Mark 3:27 NASV)

He says to plunder a strong man’s house you must first bind the strongman.

In the parallel teaching in Luke (Luke 11:14-28), the strongman is portrayed as being “fully armed” guarding his house (v. 21) and  Jesus adds that only when you take away “the armor on which he had ruled” (v. 22) can his home be plundered.

This military imagery certainly falls in line with what we know to be the role of territorial spirits.

Then to avoid any confusion of who the strongman was, i.e. it was not Herod who was the tetrarch over the District of Galilee, Jesus clarifies that when an evil spirit is driven out of a man, it gets seven spirits, more evil than itself, to try to recapture the house (Luke 11:26).

The strongmen are certainly ruling satanic angels. Even in this we see a ranking based on evilness, which by implication meant more power. It also shows that satan is prepared to marshal together a significant spiritual force to retake lost spiritual territory.

But one aspect of this teaching that sticks out is Christ’s claim if we bind the strongman his house can be plundered.  Though Capernaum was not the capital city of Galilee, it did serve as a regional capital within Galilee and would have a ruling spirit in charge of this particular city and the administrative area it controlled.

Spiritual plunder

But what does it mean to plunder the house of a territorial spirit? Because of the spiritual nature of this kingdom, we are obviously not talking about silver and gold.

After the evil spirit was cast out of the man in the Capernaum synagogue (Mark 1:21-27, the spiritual strongman was effectively bound and Jesus plundered the area.

In rapid succession, the next few verses in Mark list Christ’s spoils (Mark 1:28 – 2:15).

First came the miracles of healing. Jesus healed Simon’s mother-in-law who was sick with a fever (Mark 1:29-31).  Next was a leper (Mark 1:40-43). Then there was a paralytic lowered through the roof in the house where Jesus was ministering (Mark 2:1-11).

There were also other healings to many to list.

Secondly we see demons being cast out (Mark 1:32-34). Though we have no record of exactly how many there were, the text clearly implies a several deliverances. With the high-ranking angel gone, the lower level demons quickly fell.

But perhaps the most significant event was when Jesus preached the gospel and a number of tax collectors and sinners followed him (Mark 2:13-14).

One in particular stood out.

Matthew worked for the IRS and may have been one of Herod’s key men in the area. He would have collected the road tolls as well sold the fishing rights to the fisherman in Capernaum. Having Matthew give all this up to follow Christ symbolized the utter collapse of the spiritual stronghold for the region.

Jesus was plundering every aspect of Satan’s kingdom. What we see happening in Capernaum was basically revival as people were being healed, delivered and saved.

It shows for revival to take place, the spiritual strongman for the area must first be bound through prayer.

Read more in this series:

 

Living in the eye of the storm

Eye of the hurricane Isabel as seen from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Wikipedia

Eye of the hurricane Isabel as seen from the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Wikipedia

In the midst of a raging hurricane that can have winds upwards of 250 kms an hour (Category 5) it has an eye that is typically between 30 km to 50 km wide.

It is a place of calm. There are often no clouds allowing you to see the sun and blues skies. The wind is light. A person would never know there is a brutal storm raging beyond the horizon.

This is the ‘eye of the storm.’

The world is in utter chaos today and as Christians we must live in the eye of the hurricane.

So how do we do this?

In Matthew, Jesus talks about having a single eye and this is the key to living in the ‘eye of the storm:’

“The light of the body is the eye; if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.” (Matthew 6:22)

In this verse Jesus says if we have a single eye, our whole body will be full of light. It can have blue skies in the midst of a raging storm and brooding skies.

The commentaries say the spirit of man is the candle (or lamp) of the Lord. It is our conscience, moral center where we discern right from wrong.  It lights our way in a darkened world.

But how does the single eye fit into this.

The famous 18th century preacher Charles Spurgeon defined it this way:

“Our ‘spiritual eye is faith’ and it needs to be ‘single’ literally focused on one thing. It is by faith that he [the believer] walks, not by natural sight but by the sight that is yielded to him by his spiritual eye – faith.”

We keep ourselves calm in a storm with the single eye of faith. In the midst of a world full of turmoil, anger, hatred and confusion we look beyond the natural. We must focus our eyes on eternity.

We cannot have divided sight with one eye looking at world events and becoming caught up in the swirling mass of confusion, doubt and fear and the other trying to see God.

Picture one eye fixed on earth and the other eye fixed on heaven.

Awkward!

With this type of double vision one loses their footing and falls.

Both eyes must have an intention to view life through the eyes of faith.

We must choose to live in the ‘eye of the storm’ walking through our day with a single focus  marked by faith. Our gaze is heavenward with glimpses of eternity and the resurrection and life that is promised after death.

The great 18th century preacher Charles Spurgeon said faith to the spiritual man is his eye.

It is by this eye one sees invisible things that the natural eye cannot see. It looks beyond our natural circumstances:

“Who gives life to the dead and speaks of the non-existent things that (He has foretold and promised) as if they already existed.” (Romans 4:17)

I use this verse often as I pray for my kids. It helps me to not get caught up in the circumstances surrounding their lives. I look beyond that to envision and pray for them with the eye of faith.

It is by faith that we live in the eye in the storm.

¿Cómo el espíritu de Jezabel capta una nación

Washington DC Credit: Jason OX4/Flickr/Creative Commons

Washington DC Crédito: Jason OX4/Flickr/Creative Commons

English Version: How the Spirit of Jezebel captures a nation

Al principio de su visión de los últimos tiempos registrados en el libro de Apocalipsis, el apóstol Juan proporciona mensajes a siete iglesias de Asia -Ephesus, Esmirna, Pérgamo, Tiatira, Sardis, Filadelfia y Laodicea.

Sabemos iglesias existían en estas ciudades durante los días de Juan y en cierto modo parece que está frente a situaciones que tienen lugar cuando escribió este libro mientras desterrado en la isla de Patmos.

Pero el Libro de la Revelación era una visión profética del tiempo del fin – de los acontecimientos futuros que culminarían en el regreso de Cristo.

Debido a esto, muchos creen que las advertencias que Juan envió a las siete iglesias también son proféticos y revelan los ataques demoníacos las iglesias de los últimos tiempos se enfrentarán.

Uno de ellos consiste en un ataque por el Espíritu de Jezabel.

En el capítulo dos, Juan describe una situación que tiene lugar en la iglesia de Tiatira que implica una mujer llamada Jezabel.

20 Pero tengo esto contra ti: que toleras a esa[a] mujer Jezabel, que se dice ser profetisa, y enseña y seduce a Mis siervos a que cometan actos inmorales y coman cosas sacrificadas a los ídolos. (Apocalipsis 2:20 NBLH)

Ella había usurpado la autoridad profética y el gobierno en la iglesia y fue líder en la enseñanza y miembros de la iglesia por el camino de la inmoralidad sexual.

No creo que la mujer Juan describió en realidad fue llamada Jezabel, pero sí creo que estaba siendo influenciado por el espíritu de Jezabel y este es el punto que Juan está conduciendo hacia su casa.

Mediante el uso de ese nombre, el apóstol estaba apuntando a los lectores a otra Jezabel – una princesa fenicia.

En 1 y 2 Reyes, leemos sobre el matrimonio del rey Acab a Jezabel. Era un matrimonio concertado destinado a solidificar un tratado de paz entre Israel y Fenicia (1 Reyes 16:31).

Pero este matrimonio era en realidad una invasión apenas velado de Israel, no por las tropas físicos, sino más bien espirituales fuerzas demoníacas.

Cuando Jezabel llegó a ocupar su lugar al lado de Acab, trajo con ella – 400 profetas de Asera (también conocidos como Astarté) y 450 profetas de Baal.

Estos falsos profetas representados dos dioses poderosos del panteón religioso fenicio. Jezabel estaba dirigiendo una fuerza demoníaca súper cargado combinando la maldad espiritual asociado con otras dos deidades antiguas.

Jezabel estaba allí para hacerse cargo de una nación.

Mientras Israel se prepara para entrar en la tierra prometida, Moisés habló de los dioses e ídolos que pronto encontrar.

Ofrecieron sacrificios a demonios, no a Dios,
A dioses que no habían conocido,
Dioses nuevos que vinieron recientemente,
A los que los padres de ustedes no temieron.
(Deuteronomio 32:17 NBLH)

Los ídolos en sí eran simplemente piedra y madera, el verdadero problema era los malos espíritus detrás de ellos que estaban cumpliendo su deseo de culto a través de estos ídolos (Mateo 4: 9).

Casi inmediatamente, Jezabel estableció dos templos idólatras – uno en cada una de las capitales de Israel – los centros de poder político.

Se estableció un templo a Baal en Samaria y uno para Asera en el palacio principal, donde residían Acab y Jezabel en Jezreel. Los 400 profetas de Asera comieron con Jezabel en su mesa ( 1 Reyes 16: 32-33 ; 1 Reyes 18:19 ).

Creo que el Espíritu de Jezabel es uno de los principados, sean gobernantes el Apóstol Pablo se refiere cuando habla de la batalla contra los creyentes el reino espiritual satánica.

Porque nuestra lucha no es contra sangre y carne, sino contra principados, contra potestades, contra los poderes (gobernantes) de este mundo de tinieblas, contra las fuerzas espirituales de maldad en las regiones celestes.(Efesios 6:12 NBLH)

La palabra ‘reglas’ traducida ‘principados’ en la King James es la palabra griega “arjé”. Se refiere a gobernar ángeles satánicos que tienen fuerzas por debajo de ellos. En este caso, Jezabel tenía espíritus malignos asociados con el culto de Baal y Asera en un papel secundario.

El espíritu de Jezabel es único en que su objetivo es invadir y conquistar países y organizaciones tales como iglesias por usurpar la autoridad desde el interior. Es un golpe militar contra una invasión hacia el exterior.

Debido a la asociación de Jezabel con la hembra en el Antiguo y el Nuevo Testamento, muchos se centran en la historia las mujeres. Sin embargo, es importante darse cuenta de Jezabel no es una mujer, sino más bien un espíritu demoníaco que influye por igual a ambos sexos.

Después de Jezabel llegó ella tomó su lugar al lado de Acab. Por todas las cuentas que ella era una mujer atractiva (2 Reyes 9:30). Ella utiliza el sexo para seducir a Acab y que no era sólo sexo con ella, creo que organizó múltiples socios para su esposo Acab.

Ciertamente no hubo nadie como Acab que se vendiera para hacer lo malo ante los ojos del Señor, porque Jezabel su mujer lo había convencido.(1 Reyes 21:25 NBLH)

Jezabel hace con el control

Tenemos una cuenta interesante en ( 1 Reyes 21: 1-16 ) que establece las bases para la eventual toma de poder de Jezabel.

Al lado del palacio de Acab en Jezreel era un viñedo perteneciente a un hombre llamado Nabot. Acab vio que todos los días al pasar fuera de su palacio. Cuanto más lo vio, más la quería.

Finalmente, el rey se acercó a Nabot le pregunta si estaría dispuesto a intercambiar su propiedad por uno mejor que el rey propiedad o tomar el equivalente en dinero. Acab ofreció un acuerdo que Nabot que no pudo rechazar. Pero el agricultor se negó.

“El Señor lo quiera”, dijo (v 3), “lo que te dé la herencia de mis padres.”

Cuando los israelitas entraron en la tierra prometida, cada familia recibió la tierra como su herencia a perpetuidad. Dios les prohíben la venta de la tierra a cualquier otra persona (Levítico 25: 23-28), lo que garantiza que las generaciones futuras no se verían obligados a la pobreza.

Acab no manejar el rechazo muy bien. Estaba deprimido, se negó a comer y ciclomotor alrededor del palacio como un niño pequeño. Cuando Jezabel finalmente encontró Acab, él estaba acostado en la cama mirando a la pared (v 9). Ella le preguntó lo que había sucedido

Después de Acab dijo a su esposa sobre la negativa de Nabot, dijo Jezabel, “Levántate ser feliz, te daré la viña de Nabot de Jezreel.”

En su comentario respetada en el Antiguo Testamento, CF Kiel y el estado F. Delitzsch que debido a la orden de las palabras en 1 Reyes 21: 7, este verso se traduce más exactamente, “I (si no lo tienes el valor suficiente para actuar) a procurar te la viña de Nabot de Jezreel “.

En ese momento, Jezabel envió una carta a los ancianos y los nobles de la ciudad donde vivía Nabot ellos al mando de encontrar dos personas que acusan a los agricultores de maldecir a Dios y al rey. Los dos hombres se entregan sus palabras asesinas, y los ancianos ordenaron Nabot a ser lapidada.

Con el propietario ha ido, Jezabel le dijo al rey a tomar la tierra. Que podía parar ahora?

Esta cuenta revela que Jezabel había tomado el control de Israel en cuatro áreas críticas.

Cuando el Espíritu de Jezabel trata de hacerse cargo de una nación, se trata de ejercer influencia en cuatro áreas específicas:

La descomposición de la familia

En este incidente, vemos en este punto la relación entre Acab y Jezabel había degenerado de uno de los cónyuges a la de una madre cuidando a su hijo. Esto se debió en gran parte a Acab abdicar de su papel dado por Dios como líder de la familia y el rey de Israel.

Como Acab estaba en su cabeza mala cara, mirando a la pared como un niño de cinco años, Jezabel intervino como su madre comprometiéndose a hacer las cosas mejor.

Acab ya no estaba tomando en su responsabilidad como un hombre y líder de la nación. El espíritu de Jezabel busca destruir la estructura de la familia como Dios manda que le permite operar tanto con un marido y mujer.

¿Cuántas familias en los Estados Unidos son huérfanos por el divorcio o las mujeres solteras de quedar embarazada y obligado a criar a sus hijos por su cuenta.

Y no se trata sólo de Estados Unidos. De Inglaterra Oficina Nacional de Estadísticas informó que en el año 2012 , el 47,5% de los niños nacen de madres solteras. Si esta tendencia continúa, esperan que más de la mitad de los nacimientos este año será en los hogares de las mujeres solteras.

Después del tiroteo de la policía de 2015 Terrance Walker , 21, Wisconsin Sheriff David Clarke, un hombre negro, respondió a las quejas de que esto era sólo otro asesinato o af hombre negro por un oficial de policía.

Walker armado con una pistola se había presentado en una boda a su novia estaba asistiendo y el pastor llamado a la policía.

Cuando llegó la policía, Walker huyó. Una cámara muestra el cuerpo del joven detenerse a recoger lo que la policía dijo que era una pistola caído, cuando fue luego muerto a tiros por la policía en su persecución.

En lugar de criticar a la policía, Clarke dijo que los críticos deben tratar con el problema real:

“La principal causa de esto es hogares padre ausente. Entonces, ¿qué vamos a hacer en términos de tener crianza más eficaces, más papel modelado, los padres más comprometidos en la vida de estos jóvenes negros de modo que no tenemos este comportamiento “.

Cuando se le preguntó a responder a las críticas de los disparos por la madre de Walker, Clarke ha añadido:

“Bueno, ¿qué dijo su padre? Ya sabes, siempre escuchamos lo que dice su madre. Ya sabes, mira, madre ama a su hijo, todos conseguimos eso. ”

Tomar el control político

La segunda cosa Jezabel hizo fue tomar el control político. Ella envió la carta a los nobles principales (hombres) y ancianos en nombre de Acab con el sello real.

Jezabel estaba usurpando el poder de Acab.

El sello fue creado por un anillo de sello con una imagen en él que se superpone a una carta y otros documentos Royal pulsando en arcilla húmeda o cera.

Jezabel ahora tenía suficiente control en Israel, que podía tomar decisiones en nombre del Rey. Ella había robado la autoridad del rey. niveles inferiores de gobierno intimidado por Jezabel cedieron dócilmente a sus demandas ostentosos.

Aunque en este caso Jezabel utiliza el sello de Acab para hacer valer su autoridad, la evidencia arqueológica sugiere que el final estaba operando bajo su propia autoridad.

El Dr. Marjo Korpel es un especialista en el Antiguo Testamento con sede en Holanda. Se analizó un antiguo sello descubierto en Israel durante la década de 1960. Él está convencido de las letras en la gran sello dañado muestra que en realidad pertenecía a la reina Jezabel.

Jezabel tenía su propio sello.

Esta fue la misma conclusión que el arqueólogo Nahman Avigad había llegado a después de descubrir el sello en un mercado de antigüedades en 1964.

El sello adornado era dos veces el tamaño de la mayoría de los sellos que indican una persona de muy alto rango. También utilizó motivos comunes a las mujeres. Aunque dañado, Korpel creía que lee el “sello de Jezabel.”

En un comunicado de prensa que anuncia el hallazgo, Korpel dijo:

“La Biblia describe a la reina Jezabel como una mujer que, en el fondo, ejerció una enorme influencia, incluyendo a su marido ( 1 Reyes 21:25 ). Ella ve la oportunidad de doblar los asuntos del país a su voluntad por medios tortuosos, incluyendo el uso de sello de su marido (1 Reyes 21: 8) para forjar letras. Sin embargo, ahora parece haber poseído su propio sello, lo que le permitió tratar los asuntos de forma independiente de Acab. Con el tiempo, Jezabel llegó a un mal final. Los profetas de Israel, la acusaron de la prostitución, el asesinato, la idolatría y la hechicería. Ella se hizo a sufrir una muerte horrible “.

Jezabel hace con el control judicial

Los ancianos a las puertas representan el sistema de justicia en Israel ( Deuteronomio 16:18 ) y sirvieron como jueces del país. Las personas con problemas o disputas traerían sus casos a los ancianos de decisión.

En este caso, Jezabel manipulado el sistema usando la ley de Israel, que prescribe la pena de muerte por blasfemia ( Deuteronomio 13: 9-14 ) y la necesidad de dos testigos para hacer el palo acusación ( Deuteronomio 17: 6-7 ).

Cuando Jezabel ordenó a los ancianos para encontrar testigos falsos que había corrompido el sistema de justicia a cumplir sus órdenes. Los jueces encontraron voluntariamente falsos testigos para asegurar el veredicto tenía la apariencia de legalidad.

Cuando estamos orando por nuestro país, hay que recordar a orar por nuestro sistema de justicia, que puede derribar las sentencias que afectan a la naturaleza espiritual de una nación – positiva y negativamente.

Esto es particularmente importante en Canadá y los EE.UU., donde muchos afirman que el activista, los jueces no elegidos están tomando el control de distancia de nuestros funcionarios elegidos.

Jezabel hace con el control espiritual

Lo último que Jezabel trata de hacer es controlar la vida espiritual de la nación. Este espíritu decide lo que es cristiano y lo que no lo es y trata de manipular la fe de las personas.

En su carta a los ancianos y los nobles de la ciudad, Jezabel ordenó a estos líderes para proclamar un ayuno de toda la ciudad. Estos ayunos fueron llamadas al arrepentimiento – en este caso sobre supuesta blasfemia de Nabot.

Observe cómo ella trató de vergüenza a Israel por este supuesto pecado. Toda la ciudad tuvo que arrepentirse. El espíritu de Jezabel utiliza esta táctica la culpa y la vergüenza.

Estas llamadas se realizan normalmente por los profetas (ver 1 Samuel 7: 6 ). Por sus acciones, vemos que Jezabel había tomado el control espiritual y profética de la nación. En el exterior, esta llamada al arrepentimiento apareció tan espiritual, pero cubrió una oscuridad terrible.

En nuestro contexto moderno, Jezabel desea redefinir lo que significa ser un Cristiano, mover a la gente lejos de su verdadera fe bíblica – un falso cristianismo.

La destrucción fue completa. Pero no duraría, como Dios eventualmente tendría la última palabra y entregar a la nación desde el Espíritu de Jezabel ( 2 Reyes 9: 31-33 ).

¿Le han disparado últimamente?

Credit: Richard Cassan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Crédito: Richard Cassan / Flickr / Creative Commons

English version: Have you been triggered lately

¿Le han disparado últimamente? El diccionario urbano define esto como “Getting lleno de odio después de ver, oír o experimentar algo que no se puede soportar.” En mi experiencia, una persona disparada no es responsable de su ira. culpa de otra persona abrió la puerta de su rabia y ahora podía pasar cualquier cosa.

Recientemente, un comediante Kathy Griffin posó con una cabeza cortada falsa del presidente Donald Trump, Bill Maher usó la palabra “n” en una entrevista, y Stephen Colbert ha sido criticado por algo crudo. Kathy Griffin, al menos ha recibido graves amenazas de muerte por su delito.

Entonces, ¿cómo la cultura popular descender a la violencia cruda y amenazas de muerte? se desencadenaron personas. Son molesto, por lo general por Donald Trump, por lo que no hay límites a su conducta, y ahora el otro lado se activa y amenazas de muerte hacia ellos. Si esto parece una locura para ti, bueno. Esto es una locura colectiva, y parece ser una cosa en estos días.

Pero los cristianos no hacen esa cosa gatillo, ¿verdad?

Hace muchos años yo era un conductor de autobús en Europa. Me llevó misioneros de verano en las autopistas en un viejo autobús y todavía tengo un claro recuerdo de mi supervisor me dice “yo nunca podría decirle a un extraño que Jesús los ama porque tal vez no lo hace.” En ese momento, tenía que mantener mis manos en el volante y se concentran en la carretera, pero me sorprendió. Esta es la respuesta que debería haber dado:

14 Pues el amor de Cristo nos apremia (nos controla), habiendo llegado a esta conclusión: que Uno murió por todos, y por consiguiente, todos murieron. 15 Y por todos murió, para que los que viven, ya no vivan para sí, sino para Aquél que murió y resucitó por ellos. (2 Corintios 5: 14 y 15 NBLH)

Es fácil de matemáticas, pero el viaje en autobús es una y no sé donde ese tipo fue. Usted tiene un líder espiritual que quiere corregir lo que está mal y le dará el mejor futuro, sea cual sea su conciencia le dice. Somos amados y no molestaba; los planes para todos son buenos.

A partir de ese viaje en autobús que he aprendido a apreciar la honestidad de mi amigo. Jesús Indiferente-amor-que-más cristianos son demasiado comunes y su influencia es destructivo, pero que no les gusta llamar la atención. La actitud es, “si puedo encontrar ningún fallo con ustedes, puedo abusar”.

En mi familia tengo varios primos que abandonaron. Cada uno hizo algo ofensivo, que dio el resto de nosotros algo de que hablar, y el círculo más pequeño creció como los delincuentes encontraron nuevos amigos. Hace unos años hice un recuento, y los náufragos son más numerosos que los justos, también conocidos como los que no han sido capturados todavía. Estoy tratando de ser divertido, pero esto es muy triste para mí.

Hace dos mil años, los enemigos de Jesús se dispara, por lo que le crucificaron y se rieron de él cuando murió.

39 Los que pasaban Lo injuriaban, meneando la cabeza 40 y diciendo: “Tú que destruyes el templo y en tres días lo reedificas, sálvate a Ti mismo. Si Tú eres el Hijo de Dios, desciende de la cruz.”

41 De igual manera, también los principales sacerdotes, junto con los escribas y los ancianos, burlándose de El, decían: 42 “A otros salvó; a El mismo no puede salvarse[a]. Rey de Israel es; que baje ahora de la cruz, y creeremos en El. 43 En Dios confia; que Lo libre ahora si El Lo quiere; porque ha dicho: ‘Yo soy el Hijo de Dios.’” 44 En la misma forma Lo injuriaban también los ladrones que habían sido crucificados con El. (Mathew 27:39 a 44 NBLH)

Esa es una historia de disparo temprana. Ellos podrían abusar de Jesús de ninguna manera porque la puerta a su rabia se abrió. Lamentablemente, todos tenemos la misma naturaleza humana y vestirse comportamiento cristiano en la teología no podemos ocultar que la verdad.

Muchos se han perdido de nuestras familias extendidas, círculos de amigos, e iglesias. La respuesta de Dios es que el delincuente se arrepienten, y para otros perdonar y restaurar, que es un concepto extraño en este mundo.

31 Sea quitada de ustedes toda amargura, enojo, ira, gritos, insultos, así como toda malicia. 32 Sean más bien amables unos con otros, misericordiosos, perdonándose unos a otros, así como también Dios los[a] perdonó en Cristo. (Efesios 4: 31 y 32 NBLH)

Entonces, ¿quién es Zoroastro?

Zoroaster temple in Iran Credit: Bastian/Flickr/Creative Commons

Plo de Zoroastro en Irán Crédito: Bastian / Flickr / Creative Commons

English Version: So Who is Zoroaster?

Hace unos tres mil años, probablemente en los tiempos de David y Salomón en la Biblia, un hombre llamado Zoroastro o Zaratustra comenzó a predicar acerca de un Dios, y una gran fuerza del mal en el mundo.

Su hogar era probablemente cerca de Afganistán y su enseñanza llegó a dominar todas las personas iraníes, desde el norte de la India a Grecia, en Europa. Información sobre los tiempos y lugares es sobre todo perdido, pero los estudiosos coinciden en que alguien trató de convertir a la gente a Dios, en el centro de Asia, hace muchos siglos.

De acuerdo con Tabari, un musulmán sunita que vivió hace unos mil años, Zoroastro del antiguo profeta de Irán era de Israel y discípulo de Jeremías, o viaja con un profeta hebreo. Sabemos que los persas eran a menudo amable con Israel y su templo en Jerusalén.

Reyes de Persia (Irán) ordenó la reconstrucción del templo de Jerusalén:

Entonces el rey Darío proclamó un decreto, y buscaron en los archivos donde se guardaban los tesoros allí en Babilonia. Y en Acmeta, en la fortaleza que está en la provincia de Media, hallaron un rollo en el que estaba escrito lo siguiente: Memorándum: (Esdras 1: 1 y 2 NBHL) … para que puedan ofrecer sacrificios agradables al Dios del cielo y orar por la vida del rey y de sus hijos.“ (Esdras 6:10 NBHL)

Daniel y sus amigos, y Nehemías eran altos funcionarios cercanos a los reyes persas, y Ester era una mujer judía devota y también la Reina de Persia.

Cuando Jesús nació, los magos, conocidos como magos, viajaron desde el este para encontrar al niño Jesús. En su tierra natal, Dios habló con ellos y se escuchó y obedeció, con gran riesgo personal y de costes; y cuando encontraron a Jesús, lo adoraron. Magi eran seguidores de Zoroastro.

Más tarde, los persas se opusieron a los cristianos de Roma, ya que se opusieron a los romanos, pero aceptaron los cristianos orientales en los países bajo su influencia como Armenia y Georgia.

Entonces, ¿qué pasó con la antigua religión de Zoroastro? Fue conquistado en su mayoría por el Islam y obligado a asimilar. Un remanente se mantiene, sobre todo en Irán y la India, y la comunidad es progresiva y próspera en la India, con muchos destacados científicos y líderes industriales. Tata Group está emergiendo como una de las empresas industriales líderes en el mundo, con sede en la India y fundada por una familia de Zoroastro.

Otra rama es Yazidis que están siendo perseguidos por ISIS en Irak. Además, los iraníes que fueron convertidos por sus conquistadores musulmanes en su mayoría siguen el Islam chiíta y tercamente siguen siendo diferente de la mayoría sunita. La terrible violencia en Siria e Irak y Yemen es en su mayoría chií contra sunita.

Algunos grupos chiítas veneran Zoroastro como un profeta de Dios, al igual que la fe Bahai que surgió de Islam iraní. Hoy en día hay informes de creciente interés en Zoroastro y el cristianismo entre los iraníes y los kurdos, que son iraníes étnicos. El crecimiento explosivo de las comunidades cristianas es una preocupación para la República Islámica de Irán. Las semillas mantienen la germinación.

Entonces, ¿quién es Zoroastro? Puede ser que nunca se sabe los detalles porque su legado ha sido suprimida durante siglos. Estoy convencido de que muchos siglos atrás, alguien trató de convertir el centro de Asia a Dios y creo que la obra de Dios no se puede deshacer.

Si usted cree en las fuerzas espirituales, que pueden explicar la creciente inquietud en Turquía, Siria, Irak, Irán, Afganistán y la región. Las guerras civiles y millones de refugiados muestran una gran inquietud. He conocido a gente de esas regiones, en mi trabajo y en las iglesias cristianas en Canadá, y mi impresión es que tienen un sentido de anhelo, en las cosas espirituales.

Dios va a alimentar su hambre.

Cuando llegó el día de Pentecostés, estaban todos juntos (unánimes) en un mismo lugar, y de repente vino del cielo un ruido como el de una ráfaga de viento impetuoso que llenó toda la casa donde estaban sentados. Se les aparecieron lenguas como de fuego que, repartiéndose, se posaron sobre cada uno de ellos. Todos fueron llenos del Espíritu Santo y comenzaron a hablar en otras lenguas, según el Espíritu les daba habilidad para expresarse.

Había Judíos que moraban en Jerusalén, hombres piadosos, procedentes de todas las naciones bajo el cielo. Al ocurrir este estruendo, la multitud se juntó; y estaban desconcertados porque cada uno los oía hablar en su propia lengua.

Estaban asombrados y se maravillaban, diciendo: “Miren, ¿no son Galileos todos estos que están hablando? ¿Cómo es que cada uno de nosotros los oímos hablar en nuestra lengua en la que hemos nacido? Partos, Medos y Elamitas, habitantes de Mesopotamia, Judea y Capadocia, del Ponto y de Asia (provincia occidental de Asia Menor),  (Hechos 2: 1 a 9 NBLH)

Darwin y las vacas escocesas

Scottish Highlander ganado crédito: Llo

Scottish Highlander ganado crédito: Lloyd / Flickr / Creative Commons

English Version: Darwin and the Scottish cows

Charles Darwin desarrolló su teoría de la evolución para el origen de la especie cuando se dio la vuelta al mundo en un barco llamado el Beagle. En ese viaje, en 1834, exploró el valle erosionado del río Santa Cruz, en Argentina y él comentó sobre el curso de los siglos y la erosión gradual que produjo el valle.

Ahora sabemos que un GLOFs (glaciar de los lagos de valles de inundación) se produjo cuando un glaciar de hielo bloqueó el río cerca de las montañas y represado una enorme reserva. Cuando el agua entró por el hielo, la GLOFs erosionado el valle de forma rápida, probablemente en día.

Cuando era un niño, viajé con mi familia en el estado de Washington, y me di cuenta que el interior seco tenía cientos de canales de agua erosionadas, todo seco, y vi probablemente la caída de agua más grandes del mundo, Dry Falls, cuatro veces las el tamaño de las cataratas, en un valle erosionado profunda. Entonces supe que algo muy grande había sucedido.

En la década de 1920, un geólogo llamado J. Harlen Bretz nombrado esa región en el estado de Washington Canalizado Scablands y afirmó había producido una inundación masiva. Se oponía a unos cuarenta años por sus colegas que decían sus ideas eran exagerados y bíblico.

Antes de morir, él ganó la discusión y ahora es un héroe de Ciencias Geológicas. A la edad de 96 en 1979, dijo “Todos mis enemigos están muertos, por lo que no tengo a nadie a regodearse.”

Ahora sabemos que un glaciar formó un embalse, lago glacial Missoula y el GLOFs erosionados por lo menos 2000 millas cuadradas / 5.200 kilometros cuadrados de Scablands. El caudal del río Columbia fue equivalente a todos los ríos del mundo, multiplicado por diez, y un barranco erosionado ha encontrado 200 pies de profundidad, en alta mar en el suelo del océano. Esos son proporciones bíblicas.

Entonces, ¿por qué los evolucionistas no les gusta inundaciones de este tipo? Haz una vaca escocesa.

En las tierras altas de Escocia, las vacas son de cuernos largos y de pelo largo. Son un modelo primitivo de camítico Longhorn, importado por los antepasados ​​de los antiguos edad de piedra. Piense en un dinosaurio entre las vacas.

Cerca de agricultores escoceses desarrollaron razas como el Aberdeen Angus que se supone debe hacer hamburguesas mejor sabor, y Ayrshires y Belted Galloway, y los caballos de Clydesdale, y esos perros terrier blanco y negro.

La cría de animales es la evolución hecha por el hombre, y que sólo ocurre con las condiciones uniformitarias graduales. distritos agrícolas con generaciones de la paz y la estabilidad producen nuevas razas. lugares ingobernables como las tierras altas tenían constante guerra de clanes y el ganado ladrón. Si su vaca mostró signos de mejora, que no sería el suyo por mucho tiempo. El lema para mi familia Highland es “no toque el gato, sino un guante.” Eso explica el modelo de la Edad de Piedra perdurable para las vacas.

En 1980, los científicos dirigidos por Luis Alvarez propuso que el evento K-Pg o extinción KT que acabó con los dinosaurios después de un asteroide golpeó la Península de Yucatán en México, y ese escenario es ampliamente aceptada hoy en día.

La nueva ciencia de la Catastrophism afirma ahora que la era de los dinosaurios está enmarcada por el Acontecimiento de extinción Triásico-Jurásico al principio y el K-Pg al final. Al parecer, la historia de la Tierra está llena de compensaciones muerte masiva llamados eventos de extinción, las extinciones en masa, o crisis bióticas. Esta ciencia de la interrupción es nuevo y los términos son fluidos.

La teoría de Darwin requiere un universo que se extiende por inmensos períodos de tiempo sin interrupción, y ahora la ciencia ha eliminado esa posibilidad. Sabemos que la Tierra tiene una historia tortuosa .

Entre los científicos seculares, el interés en los eventos de extinción está creciendo debido a la preocupación por el cambio climático y el calentamiento global. Se nos advierte que los seres humanos están perturbando la vida en la Tierra, al igual que en los tiempos antiguos y que podríamos terminar como los dinosaurios.

La historia de la creación en la Biblia tiene períodos de tiempo identificado con el término hebreo “Yom”. Sea o no un Yom es exactamente 24 horas es una discusión para otro momento, pero el patrón más grande en la Biblia son los ecosistemas que se suceden, con distinta pausas entre; plantas – vida de mar – aves – los animales terrestres.

Alguien, hace cuatro mil años describe un patrón que nuestros mejores científicos sólo han empezado a aprender en los últimos cuarenta años.

Diluvio de Noé es un evento de extinción, y también lo son los eventos profetizados en libros de la Biblia como Ezequiel, Daniel y Apocalipsis. Jesús dijo acerca de nuestro futuro “Porque habrá entonces una gran tribulación, tal como no ha acontecido desde el principio del mundo hasta ahora, ni acontecerá jamás. 22 Y si aquellos días no fueran acortados, nadie se salvaría; pero por causa de los escogidos, aquellos días serán acortados.“ (Mateo 24: 21 y 22 NBHL).

Algo muy grande va a suceder.

Señor, Tú has sido un refugio para nosotros
De generación en generación.
Antes que los montes fueran engendrados,
Y nacieran la tierra y el mundo,
Desde la eternidad y hasta la eternidad, Tú eres Dios.

Haces que el hombre vuelva a ser polvo,
Y dices: “Vuelvan, hijos de los hombres.”
Porque mil años ante Tus ojos
Son como el día de ayer que ya pasó,
Y como una vigilia de la noche.
Tú los has barrido como un torrente, son como un sueño;
Son como la hierba que por la mañana reverdece;
Por la mañana florece y reverdece;
Al atardecer se marchita y se seca. (Salmo 90: 1 – 6 NBHL)

The white pebble

Credit: Mikhail Noel/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Mikhail Noel/Flickr/Creative Commons

In his exhortation to the Church at Pergamum in the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John warns that they were dwelling in the place where Satan had his throne (Revelation 2:13), but urges them to overcome.

But then the Apostle makes the odd statement that those who overcome will receive secret manna and a “white pebble” with a new name written on it.

17 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’ (Revelation 2:17 NASV)

Many of us are familiar with the story of God providing Israel manna in the wilderness and the “hidden manna” may describe the manna put inside the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 16:33–34).

But what does the white stone refer too?

There are many opinions on this.

Some wonder if it refers to the semi precious stones embedded in the High Priest’s  breastplate (Exodus 28:12). Others suggest it describes the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written that were whitewashed with lime giving them a white appearance (Deuteronomy 27:2-8).

However, according to Thayers the word “psephos” refers to a small pebble worn smooth by handling. This certainly does describe a tablet large enough to hold the 10 commandments.

I believe we receive a clue of what John is referring to in another passage where “psephos” is found:

10 And this is just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them. (Acts 26:10 NASV)

At first glance, it is difficult to see where the word  “psephos” translated pebble or stone is located in a verse describing how Paul cast his vote against the Christians to persecute them.

You don’t see it until you understand the word “psephos” can also be translated “vote.”

In ancient Rome, stones were used as ballots. Judges used stones when they were handing out the verdict of a person accused of a crime.

When bringing down his decision, a judge would place either a white or black stone in a box. A white stone indicated the judge had acquitted the person of the crime, while a black stone reflected guilt.

Using this analogy, John says believers will receive a white stone because they have overcome and are acquitted of their sins because of the redeeming work of Christ.

They are not guilty.

Then John speaks of a new secret name being written on the stone. Some believe this may describe a new name for Christ, but more likely it refers to the new name God gives the believers who have remained steadfast in their faith.

Several times throughout the Old Testament, God changed the names of His servants to reflect a new promise or purpose for their lives — Abram became Abraham (Genesis 17:5), Sarai became Sarah (Genesis 17:15) and Jacob became Israel (Genesis 32:28).

The nations will see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory;
And you will be called by a new name
Which the mouth of the Lord will designate. (Isaiah 62:2 NASV)

Who do British Jews consider their biggest threats?

London Bridge tower highlighted Credit: Wikipedia/cmglee

London skyline with The Shard, a glass office tower and former the London Bridge tower highlighted Credit: Wikipedia/cmglee

Using YouGov, a survey company, the British organization Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) has conducted an annual survey of English attitudes towards Jews since 2015.

Perhaps the most disturbing fact to come out of this year’s survey is that over the past two years a third of the Jews living in England had considered leaving due to the growing antisemitism in that country.

The survey also found that 25% do not believe Jews have a long-term future in England with a further 21% stating they were uncertain. However, this was still better than what they see going on across the English Channel when 35% said they did not believe Jews have a long-term future in Europe and 24% stating they were unsure.

This is certainly paving the way for further Jewish migration to Israel, an event prophesied in the Old Testament centuries earlier:

“Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and bring them back to their pasture… (Jeremiah 23:3 NASV)

Perhaps not surprisingly 37% of Jews state that they now hide their Jewish heritage when going out in public in England. This includes either avoiding wearing a skull-cap or Star of David.

In response to this, CAA stated “This is a strong sign that British Jews expect to be discriminated against or even harassed or abused if people know that they are Jewish.”

But perhaps the most surprising result for me took place when the survey asked Jews to rank the source of their fears or persecution.

Predictably, they listed Muslim extremism as their biggest concern with 79% ranking it as either their primary or secondary concern.

But what caught me a bit off guard was who placed a very close second — 72% of Jews listed the far left as either their primary or secondary concern. In fact, nearly a third of the Jews listed the far left as a bigger concern than Muslim extremists.

The survey also showed that 80% of Jews believe the left-leaning British Labour Party has anti-Semitics in its ranks.

Meanwhile, the far right placed a distant third with only 37% putting them as either their primary or secondary concern.

The survey also found that 81% of Jews believe the growing antisemitism in England is being fueled by the media’s anti-Israel  bias. Politicians were not much better with 78% of Jews stating they had seen anti-Semitic political comment.

I think Christians can see themselves in this survey with many feeling a similar intimidation about being open about their faith in public. In recent years, I have also seen a growing antagonism towards Christians particularly among those in the media and the left side of the political spectrum.

Sources:

Territorial spirits: D-day in Capernaum

Ruins of the Great Synagogue of Capernaum Credit: UNESCO/Wikipedia

Ruins of the Great Synagogue of Capernaum along the shores of the Sea of Galilee Credit: UNESCO/Wikipedia

In a previous article in this series, we discussed the Book of Daniel that talks about evil spirits over nations — Prince of Persia and the Prince of Greece.

But if satan has a hierarchy would it stop here. Could evil spirits be installed over states or provinces and even major cities within a country?

In Mark 1:21-27, Jesus entered a synagogue in Capernaum to teach. Located on the western edge of the sea of Galilee, the city was in the District of Galilee (v 28).

28 Immediately the news about Him spread everywhere into all the surrounding district of Galilee. (Mark 1:28 NASV)

Pontius Pilate was the fifth prefect of Palestine, a region the equivalent of modern Israel. He succeeded Herod the Great, a brutal man and the one who ordered the murder of all boys 2 years and younger around Nazareth in an effort to kill the Messiah.

Palestine in turn was divided into three regions each ruled by a Tetrarch. The word Tetrarch meant a division of four but referred to any number of political divisions and is today’s equivalent of the governor of an US state or the premier of a Canadian Province.

One of the Tetrarchs beneath Pilate was Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. He was the Tetrarch of Galilee and continued his father’s murderous legacy by beheading John the Baptist. This was also the Herod that Pilate sent Jesus to be judged.

Capernaum functioned as a major administrative center for the District of Galilee.  It had a tax collection force indicating its strong economic importance. One of the major sources of income for the Tetrarchs was the sale of fishing rights, which the tax collectors brokered to the fisherman of the area.

There was a large military base near Capernaum as a local centurion had his son healed by Jesus (Luke 7:6). There were different levels of Centurions with the lowest rank being a commander over 80 soldiers with a support staff of 20.

There is no indication of how high up this centurion was in the Roman army, but his ability to construct a local synagogue (Luke 7:5) suggests a senior ranking officer. This would make it a large military post, which reflected the importance of Capernaum in the natural and political realm.

When Jesus showed up in the Caperanuam synagogue, the presence of God was so strong that an unclean spirit was forced to reveal itself.

There are only a few instances in the gospels where evil spirits spoke to Jesus. This is one of them and it suggests that this evil spirit had a higher authority in the satanic realm:

“What business do we have with each other, Jesus of Nazareth. Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are the Holy one of God.” (Mark 1:24 NASV)

Jesus immediately rebuked the spirit, telling it to be quiet and commanding it to leave the man (v 25). But even in this, you see the power-struggle taking place as the man convulsed and cried out when the unclean spirit departed.

The people in the synagogue were shocked by this display of  raw power. “He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him,” they said (v 27).

Not only was Jesus demonstrating his power and authority, but he displayed it openly to the Jewish religious community. But was there more going on than delivering one man from an evil spirit?

Mark: The principle of the strongman

In order to explain what happened at Capernaum, Mark records the accusation that the scribes made against Jesus on the heels of this deliverance.

With people being increasingly awestruck by Christ’s deliverance ministry, the scribes, pharisees and Sadducees, were forced into the unenviable position of trying to defuse Christ’s growing popularity.

What better way of souring Christ’s image than by accusing Him with being in league with the devil. They theorized that Jesus cast out demons and evil spirits because he had authority from a more powerful evil spirit – Beelzebub (Mark 3:22-27).

This again reflects a hierarchy in the demonic realm.

Jesus answered this accusation by pointing out how silly that idea was. In the parallel account recorded in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus asks the obvious question, if satan cast out his own demons, how long would his kingdom stand (Luke 11:18)?

This clearly implies that the casting out of this evil spirit weakened the satanic realm in this area.

In Luke 11:20, Jesus added, “But if I cast out demons by the finger of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.”

In simple military terms, Jesus was alluding that the Allied forces had landed — it was D-day as Jesus dealt with the spiritual strongman of the area.

“But no one can enter the strong man’s house and plunder his property unless he first binds the strong man, and then he will plunder his house.” (Mark 3:27 NASV)

There were two other major cities in the District of Galilee — Tiberias and Sepphoris. Herod Antipas built both cities that served as headquarters for Herodian officials. These cities are not mentioned in the gospels suggesting that Jesus avoided them

Because of this, I suspect that Jesus may have dealt with the evil spirit or strongman that ruled Capernaum, not necessarily the full district of Galilee.

Read more in this series:

 

Riots in Charlottesville … and Darwinian Evolution?

Charlottesville, Virginia protest August 2017 Credit: Evan Nesterak/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Charlottesville, Virginia protest August 2017 Credit: Evan Nesterak/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

We know about the demonstration in Charlottesville Virginia. Groups described as Right Wing gathered and demonstrated for their beliefs. The trigger was a threat to remove monuments to leaders of the Confederacy in the American Civil War, more than a century and a half ago. That war was fought with muskets and sabres and horses, and the good guys won.

The demonstrations were ugly, with symbols and language that related to Hitler and the Nazis, and the Klu Klux Klan. Counter demonstrators gathered, including some dangerous violent people.

It all ended when allegedly a car driven by a man with a history of mental illness rammed into a crowd of counter demonstrators, killing a woman and injuring 19 others. Two police officers also died when their helicopter crashed as they monitored the demonstrations.

It was a terrible day.

To understand what was happening, some researchers brought up Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.

Really.

A survey was sent to members of the alt-right supporters asking for their opinions about human evolution.

Angry people were asked who was more or less evolved, in their opinion. Of course, they rated their enemies as less evolved and more ape-like, and people like themselves as ideal modern humans. The assumption is that their belief in evolution made them into monsters.

For evolutionary scientists, there is one big problem with the survey; evolutionists are not supposed to ask those questions because they are taboo. This is the dark side of evolutionary theory that we are supposed to avoid and ignore like it never happened.

If we believe in a purely evolutionary development of species, it is logical that some people are superior, more evolved, and others are obsolete and doomed to extinction. Hitler was the poster child for that branch of Darwinian thinking, with his master race of tall blonde-haired and blue-eyed super men, and on the other side, the Jews who were killed by the millions.

I live in Canada and we have a history of eugenics, sterilizing children through surgery, if they were considered biologically inferior and unfit to reproduce. We also forced native children into boarding schools. We didn’t tamper with their biology, but we tried to evolve them psychologically and culturally.

The government has apologized for both of those mistakes.

We also had a government minister, Frank Oliver, who selected immigrants that he thought were best adapted for life in Canada. In school, we read proud history lessons about “the Men in Sheepskin Coats” or Ukrainians.

Today we have the largest concentration of Ukrainians outside of their homeland, including my mother in law. They are good neighbors and the food is delicious, but the dark side is that others were forbidden to immigrate, even when they had the legal right. We wanted a properly evolved society.

In 1914, a Japanese ship arrived in Vancouver with immigrants from India, but they were rejected and sent back. It’s called the “Komagata Maru incident” from the name of the ship.

I wanted to be an archeologist when I was young, so I earned a degree in anthropology. In the university, we were told that biological evolution was a fact for human origins and certainly not true for modern humans. So yes and no, and if we broke that rule, we could be expelled in disgrace.

The Bible tells us:

“You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So, every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7: 16 to 20)

That is an unwanted argument. Good scientific ideas will produce a better world with human progress but Darwinian evolutionary thinking has produced some bad ideas and human misery.

The truth is clear to me; God our creator is alive and He evolves us all into better people, if we trust Him. It’s a different kind of evolution.

For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has torn down the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing in His flesh the law of commandments and decrees. He did this to create in Himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace and reconciling both of them to God in one body through the cross, by which He extinguished their hostility. (Ephesians 2: 14 to 16)

Total eclipse — sign or coincidence?

Partial eclipse of the sun that took place on May 20, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah Credit: Thephatphilmz/Wikipedia

Partial eclipse of the sun that took place on May 20, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah Credit: Thephatphilmz/Wikipedia

There is a total eclipse of the sun taking place tomorrow in the United States. It will touch down in Oregon around 10 am and make a 70-mile wide swash across America ending in South Carolina at around 2:50 PM.

Some of the people living in 12 states will see the total eclipse with every US state witnessing a partial eclipses.

We are living in very troubling times both in the US and around the world and many in America have wondered if this eclipse is a sign from God for the US.

When God created the heaven and earth, we are told the stars in heaven would serve as signs:

14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years; (Genesis 1:14 NASV)

The Hebrew word translated sign  ‘o-tot’ is used a number of times in the Old Testament as an indicator. It described the mark God put on Cain so no one would seek revenge (Genesis 4:15) and battle banners for the tribes of Israel (Numbers 2:2). It is also used as a reminder of past events that speak of God’s faithfulness in the future (Exodus 3:12).

Signs are also used in the sense of a warning such as the time when God struck down the sons of Korah when they rebelled against Israel’s High Priest Aaron. Their censors were used as plating for the altar as a ‘sign.’

38 As for the censers of these men who have sinned at the cost of their lives, let them be made into hammered sheets for a plating of the altar, since they did present them before the Lord and they are holy; and they shall be for a sign to the sons of Israel.” (Numbers 16:38 NASV)

And certainly when speaking of the end-times, Jesus warned that there would be signs in the heaven particularly related to the sun, moon and stars:

25 “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, (Luke 21:25 NASV)

And of course many of the prophets spoke of the darkening of the sun as a sign that would take place at the end of the age (Joel 2:10; Amos 8:9; Revelation 6:12).

But as many have pointed out, eclipses of the sun are not an unusual event. Partial eclipses happen on a regular basis. Total eclipses are not so common, but also take place regularly. The last “total eclipse” to completely sweep across the US took place 99 years ago in 1918.

But coincidentally the total eclipse taking place on August 21, 2017 is also happening during troubling times in the US and this may change everything.

In the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus tells the story of a man who had been robbed and left for dead along the road.

31 `And by a coincidence a certain priest was going down in that way, and having seen him, he passed over on the opposite side; (Luke 10:31 YLT)

Coincidence in English refers to an incident that seems arranged but is simply the luck of the draw meaning any appeared connection is accidental.

The Greek word ‘synkyrian,’ translated ‘coincidence’ by Young’s Literal Translation and ‘by chance’ in the NASV, gives the appearance that the priest’s arrival at the scene of the crime was simply happenstance, a coincidence.

However it may not be as simple as that.

According to Gotquestions.org, the Greek word ‘synkyrian’ is a compound word combining two Greek words ‘sun’ and ‘kurios’. The first part of this word, ‘sun,’ means to bring together and the second half ‘kurious’ means ‘supreme in authority’ and suggests a divine element in the bringing together.

Coincidences have a funny ability to catch a person’s attention. We note them.

Is it possible there are ‘divine coincidences’ intended to catch our attention?

If so, could a full eclipse of the sun during very troubling times in the US and even the world be a sign or warning?

Sources:

Características de un intercesor: Persistence más importante que la amistad

English version: Characteristics of an intercessor: Persistence more important than friendship

¿Por qué Dios no responde a mi oración? Esta cuestión afecta a muchos cristianos. Oramos y no sólo no hay respuestas, nos preguntamos si Dios incluso nos escuchó.

Cuando nos fijamos en los evangelios, leemos una serie de parábolas que Jesús enseñaba en la oración. Quiero mirar específicamente a uno de ellos y extraer un principio clave de la oración exitosa.

La cuenta se encuentra en Lucas 11: 5-13. Este parable- siguiendo los pasos de la enseñanza de Jesús sobre la oración del Señor -es sobre un hombre que inesperadamente tenían visitantes aparecen en su casa a altas horas de la noche. Sin comida para ofrecerles, el hombre aparece al lado de la casa de un amigo para pedir prestado un poco de pan.

Era tarde por la noche y su vecino no estaba interesado en despertar a su hogar para satisfacer las necesidades de este hombre.

A pesar de que el vecino estaba obviamente molesto por la intrusión tarde-noche, el hombre pidiendo pan no dejaría hasta que recibió lo que necesitaba. Era igualmente obvio que el vecino escuchó al hombre, pero optó por ignorarlo.

Entonces Jesús hace esta impresionante – incluso controvertido – declaración:

Les digo que aunque no se levante a darle algo por ser su amigo, no obstante, por su importunidad (insistencia) se levantará y le dará cuanto necesite. (v 8 NBLH).

Lo que es tan sorprendente acerca de este verso es que Jesús dice persistencia es más importante para el logro de la oración contestada que incluso una relación con Dios.

Esto de ninguna manera implica que el cultivo de una relación con Dios no es importante. Pero cuando se trata de la oración, la persistencia es la clave.

Jesús refuerza esta en el verso 9 dicho:

“Así que Yo les digo: pidan, y se les dará; busquen, y hallarán; llamen, y se les abrirá. (NBLH)

En los márgenes de mi New American Standart Version, los tiempos de estos verbos se explican completamente “seguir haciendo”, “siga buscando,” y “seguir llamando.”

¡Persistir! ¡Persistir! ¡Persistir!

Claramente, Jesús está impulsando la importancia de la persistencia en la oración incesante. El hombre se negó a salir y siguió golpeando y llamando hasta que su vecino estaba obligado a darle el pan – si no por otra razón que la de deshacerse de él.

¿Quién sabe cuánto tiempo el hombre se paró frente a la puerta, pero estaba cada vez más claro que el vecino, el hombre que pide pan no iba a dejar de fumar hasta que consiguió lo que quería.

Un intercesor tiene que ser tenaz.

Características de un intercesor: ¿Va a disturbios en las calles?

Foto: Thomas Marthinsen/Foter/CC BY-NC-SA

English Version: Characteristics of an intercessor: Will you riot in the streets?

En un post anterior , hablé de la parábola de Jesús sobre la oración. Se trataba de ejecución en el de una mujer con un juez corrupto ( Lucas 18: 2-8 ). Era un pasaje interesante como las palabras griegas retratados intercesión como poco más que una pelea callejera.

Como Jesús concluye esta enseñanza, Él quiere separar claramente nuestro Padre Celestial por el carácter de la juez y dice:

¿Y no hará Dios justicia a Sus escogidos, que claman [Boao] a El día y noche? ¿Se tardará mucho en responderles? ​​(V 7 NBLH)

Cuando el juez de la justicia se vendía al mejor postor, Dios quiere llevar a la justicia a aquellos que claman por ayuda. Donde los jueces corruptos retrasar la justicia ya que se necesita un toque sutil de dinero para abrir puertas, Dios quiere responder rápidamente.

La palabra griega para “llorar” usada aquí es “Boao.” Es una palabra llena de emoción – la ira y la frustración. Que significa gritar y elevar una queja.

Para entender la profundidad del significado “de Boao”, tenemos que ver cómo se utiliza en otros versos.

“Boao” se usa en Hechos 17: 5-6 , cuando los Judios de Tesalónica – molestos por Pablo y Silas que estaban predicando el Evangelio en esa ciudad – salieron a las calles en protesta. La turba carga a través de los estrechos pasadizos “gritar” (Boao) que necesitan Pablo y Silas que habían trastornado el mundo para ser eliminado.

Se les exigen un cambio. Esta es una protesta en toda regla, disturbio borderline – leer los versos a ti mismo.

Agitadores profesionales en máscaras instando a la multitud hacia adelante.

Gritante. Gritos. Enfado. El cantar.

Vidrio roto.

Puños agitando en el aire.

Soldados con cara de piedra con gravedad creciente viendo el RAGE.

Ellos no aceptan un “no” por respuesta. La Biblia dice que su “Boao” agitó la ciudad. Este es el “Boao” – oraciones antidisturbios – que Dios responde también.

En la Septuaginta – la versión griega del Antiguo Testamento hebreo – la palabra “Boao” se utiliza en un varios pasajes que expresan emoción.

  • Después de que Caín mató a Abel, Dios dijo lloró sangre inocente de Abel a cabo (Boao)”de venganza – la ira (Gen 4:10).
  • Cuando el Faraón se volvió sobre los Judios en Egipto, las personas que llaman a cabo (Boao) a Dios – el miedo (Ex 02:23).
  • En Ex 22:21, extraños y al huérfano “clamar” (Boao) ayuda a Dios – la desesperación.

Es evidente que en estas cuentas, no estamos hablando de oraciones suaves pronunció brevemente alrededor de la mesa. Estamos hablando de una intensa, la intercesión llena de emoción.

En 2 Timoteo 1: 6 , Pablo exhorta a Timoteo a “despertar” o “encender de nuevo” el don que Dios puso en él a través de la imposición de las manos del presbiterio. Este es un verso curioso, porque aunque el regalo era de naturaleza espiritual, Pablo dijo a Timoteo era responsable de la activación a través de su propia voluntad.

Del mismo modo, creo que podemos elegir para agitar nuestras emociones en la oración. No estoy sugiriendo, el que ora las victorias más fuertes, pero creo que podemos aumentar la intensidad del propósito de nuestra oración por un acto de nuestra voluntad. La concentración y la intensidad son ingredientes importantes en la oración.

En el huerto de Getsemaní, Jesús participó en la oración intensa hasta el punto de su sudor parecía gotas de sangre ( Lucas 22:44 ). Se trata de “Boao” en su forma más pura.

Hebreos 5: 7 dice de Jesús: Cristo[a], en los días de Su carne, habiendo ofrecido oraciones y súplicas con gran clamor (Boao) y lágrimas al que Lo podía librar de la muerte[b], fue oído a causa de Su temor reverente. (NBLH)

Características de un intercesor: ¿Es usted un luchador de la calle?

Foto kwdesigns/Foter/CC BY-ND

English version: Characteristics of an Intercessor: Are you a street fighter?

Todos luchamos por la oración contestada. A veces nos preguntamos si Dios incluso nos escuchó.

Cuando nos fijamos en los Evangelios, Jesús utilizó una variedad de parábolas para enseñar sobre la oración. Uno se encuentra en Lucas 18: 2-8 – implica una viuda que fue aprovechada por una persona sin escrúpulos y se presentó ante un juez de buscar ayuda legal.

Se nos dice que el juez no temer a Dios y no respetó el hombre (2 v). Era una forma sencilla de decir que era corrupto. Justicia estaba a la venta en esta ciudad.

La viuda aparentemente no tienen los medios para comprar la justicia que necesitaba, por lo que el juez le desanime, pero ella volvía.

El uso de esta historia, Jesús mostró una de las claves para el éxito de oración es orar hasta que prevalece.

La viuda regresó una y otra vez en busca de ayuda. La frase “por un tiempo” (v 4) que Jesús utiliza para describir la longitud de su lucha implica un período considerable de tiempo – para ciertos días, probablemente semanas.

Para el intercesor, la batalla de oración puede extenderse durante varias semanas, incluso meses, lo que requiere repetidas días de intercesión sobre el mismo tema.

Pero había algo más en la historia que sólo esto.

Dios quiere intercesores que le azotarán

Cuando estudiamos la historia, leemos una declaración contundente de por qué el juez finalmente cedió.

Sin embargo, porque esta viuda me molesta, le haré justicia; no sea que por venir continuamente me agote la paciencia[a].’” (Lucas 18: 5 NBLH)

La palabra “molestar” es una palabra compuesta que significa literalmente “traer dolor.” En realidad una de las palabras “kopos” se deriva de una palabra que significa cortar.

Pero la segunda palabra “hupopiazo” traducido “me agota” da sentido a la idea de “traer el dolor.” Denota las heridas y contusiones boxeadores reciben cuando se pelean. En sus notas marginales, la NASV lee “lit. me golpeó bajo el ojo “.

En su sentido más estricto, la palabra significa golpear con un puño y se refiere a cualquier persona que está siendo tratado con dureza.

Aunque puede que no haya knock out golpe en una pelea, el maltrato constante – golpes al cuerpo, disparos en la cabeza, los ojos ennegrecidos e hinchados – agota la fuerza de un boxeador hasta que al final se ha terminado, se debilitó y, finalmente, sólo se da por vencido.

La mujer era, obviamente, en la cara exigiendo justicia del juez. No estoy seguro de lo que todo estaba dicho, pero, obviamente, la viuda tenía cosas que decir sobre el tipo de justicia que estaba dispensando en esta ciudad.

El juez puede haber sido dañado pero las palabras de la mujer fueron conseguir debajo de su piel. Su trabajo consistía en proteger a los inocentes y claramente esta viuda estaba exigiendo el juez simplemente hacer su trabajo. Sus palabras golpean lejos en el espíritu del juez hasta que tiró la toalla, concediendo la lucha.

Sin embargo, Jesús no estaba hablando de un combate de boxeo sancionado gobernado por el Marqués de reglas de Queensberry, Jesús usó esta historia para mostrar la intercesión es una pelea callejera. Sin tabúes.

Aunque Dios no es como este juez, Él nos quiere tirar nuestros golpes de oración, que nuestros golpes, anotando éxitos con lo que podamos.

Con respeto, por supuesto – pero nunca darse por vencido.

Dios respeta un luchador.

Entendiendo Los tiempos y las estaciones: Hombres de Isacar

Two months off /foter/cc_by-nc-nd

Crédito: Two months off /foter/cc_by-nc-nd

English version: Understanding times and seasons: Men of Isaachar

I Crónicas 12:23 – 40 nos da un registro de gran ejército de David que fue montado en Hebrón. Leemos de los miles de guerreros que vinieron de toda raza. Había 6.800 de la tribu de Judá, que lleva el escudo y la lanza y de la tribu de Simeón, 7.100 hombres de gran valor apto para la guerra. La tribu de Zabulón se registró a tener 50.000 guerreros que eran expertos en todas las armas de guerra y que podía mantener a filas.

En medio de esa lista de miles de hombres poderosos, leemos del pequeño número de jefes de Isacar. Sólo 200 hombres, pero no tenían conocimiento de los tiempos para saber lo que Israel debía hacer.   No es necesario un gran número de guerreros para la batalla si no son los que han comprensión de los tiempos y las estaciones. Estos son los que llevan la “estrategia” en su interior que derrotar al enemigo.

Bereanos nobles

El apóstol Pablo encontró una sinagoga de Judios en Berea y descubrió que eran un pueblo que “recibieron la palabra con toda solicitud, escudriñando cada día las Escrituras” para averiguar si el Pablo les estaba diciendo la verdad. Puesto que éstos eran abiertos a la Palabra de Dios, pronto se dieron cuenta de la verdad del Evangelio de Cristo, y “muchos de ellos creyeron” (Hechos 17: 11-12).

Santiago, el hermano de Jesús nos exhorta a “recibir con mansedumbre la implantada (implantada) Palabra, que es capaz de salvar nuestras almas” (Santiago 1:22).

Así que para conocer los tiempos y la temporada s, como los hombres de Isacar hicimos, hay que buscar primero la palabra de Dios, descubrir la verdad de la Palabra y permitir que se implanta en lo profundo de nuestro corazón.

Luz conjuntos de tiempos

En el primer capítulo del Génesis, el primer libro de la Biblia, se registra la historia de la creación. Se nos dice que en el cuarto día, Dios hizo el sol, la luna y las estrellas. Fueron creados para dar luz al día (el sol) y dar luz a la noche (la luna). También se crearon para “regla” – para gobernar o tener dominio. Desde el día y la noche es un factor en el tiempo, vemos la luz establecida Jehová para ajustar los tiempos.

Hay muchas escrituras que indican el Señor ha establecido la sincronización, (ref: Génesis 17:21; 21: 2; Salmo 102: 13; 119: 126).

Desde el comienzo de la creación, Dios ha determinado que habría tiempo y las estaciones. Así como el hombre natural puede observar un cambio de temporada de verano a otoño, por lo que el hombre espiritual puede ver y entender el cambio de estaciones en el reino espiritual. Al comer la Palabra y recibir el Espíritu Santo, el espíritu del hombre se agranda y se pone en alerta a los cambios de estación. Nosotros también entonces, podemos tener la misma unción como los hijos de Isacar.

Cambiar el Times

Daniel sabía que cuando “llegó el momento de los santos recibieron el reino”, el enemigo “ya los santos del Altísimo, y pensará en cambiar los tiempos y la ley” (Daniel 7:25).

¿Por qué la estrategia a veces cambia? Satanás sabe que si se cambia de un tiempo determinado, a continuación, se cancelarán las visiones, sueños y concepciones sobrenaturales.

Es hora de nacimiento

Cuando se activa una unción profética, la revelación se recibe y “cosas nuevas” son concebidos. Hay muchas formas de revelación se recibe a un creyente en Cristo. Puede ser a través de la palabra escrita de Dios. Puede venir en forma de un sueño o una visión nocturna día. Puede venir como una palabra “Rhema” cuando el Espíritu Santo se mueve y habla una palabra de conocimiento a su espíritu. La Biblia también nos dice que vamos a señales en los cielos y en la tierra.

Unción de parto

El don de profecía no puede estar solo, pero necesita la activación del don de dar (la administración) para ayudar a la unción de parto. Este regalo que da es realmente la prestación derecho previsto a la hora programada. Puede ser entrega espiritual a través de la oración y la intercesión, aceite curativo y la alegría de mosto. Se puede administrar de muchas formas naturales con alimentos, ropa y finanzas.

Mientras que la mayoría de los Profetas abrazan riesgo, la mayoría de los dadores huyen del riesgo. Por lo tanto, dadores menudo volver a una agenda humana segura en vez de dar el profeta su último crucero de aceite. Si el enemigo tiene éxito en el cambio de un tiempo determinado, el profético se encontrará con el espíritu Acab y Jezabel.

Hay momentos en que la unción profética y la entrega debe abrazarse. El profeta debe tener cuidado de no correr por delante de tiempo establecido de Dios, y el dador debe preocuparse de apoyar lo que el Señor ha concebido sobrenaturalmente. Muchos de los que voluntariamente dan de sus talentos y recursos se sorprendieron al descubrir que son “parteras” a las cosas nuevas que Dios está creando en la tierra.

Mientras que uno puede tener una fuerte unción en el profético, otro creyente puede tener una mayor unción Dador. Sin embargo, tanto el Profético y el dador de la unción puede operar en un individuo al mismo tiempo. Necesitamos tener nuestros sueños dados por Dios propio individuo, pero también tenemos que ampliar nuestras tiendas de campaña para apoyar las visiones de otros.

¿En qué estación se encuentra? Es este el momento de empujar a través de las viejas visiones y sueños que fueron dadas a luz hace años? O es el momento de ser partera a recién nacido de otra persona? Como nos fijamos en las señales de todo, el Señor puede estar pidiendo que hacer ambas cosas.

_____________________________

Myrna Petersen es un escritor / director que coproduce con otros creadores independientes. Myrna ha escrito contenido para web y revistas; fue autor, traducido y publicado libros; guiones escritos y puesto en marcha una etapa musical. Tiene una amplia experiencia en comunicación y administrativa en los ámbitos comerciales, médicas, gubernamentales y sin fines de lucro. Visita su sitio web en ideationentertainment.ca.

Cada paso que doy

Credit: Michael Mazzamuto/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: Michael Mazzamuto/Flickr/Creative Commons

English version: Crédito: Michael Mazzamuto / Flickr / Creative Commons

31 Entonces, ¿qué diremos a esto? Si Dios está por nosotros, ¿quién estará contra nosotros? (Romanos 8:31 NBLH)

Es tan importante para recordarme a mí mismo que Dios está siempre de mi lado y conmigo en todo lo que hago. Lo que me enfrento, es Dios para mí y lleva el peso más pesado y autoridad en todo lo referente a mi vida.

Cuando el totter del balanceo de la vida me rebota alrededor, sé que Dios es justo a mi lado. Se cuenta con la presencia y la autoridad para inclinar la balanza a mi favor y resolver todo por mi bien.

El rey David entendió esto y toda su vida se rige por la creencia de que Dios era para él.

El Señor está a mi favor; no temeré.
¿Qué puede hacerme el hombre? (Salmo 118: 6 NBLH)

Estoy aprendiendo a armarme de la misma actitud que Joshua que era consciente de la presencia y la autoridad de Dios que llevaba en cada paso que daba en la tierra que Dios prometió a Israel.

Estas fueron las palabras de gran alcance que se hablan a Josué;

Todo lugar que pise la planta de su pie les he dado a ustedes, tal como dije a Moisés.

Sé fuerte y valiente, porque tú darás a este pueblo posesión de la tierra que juré a sus padres que les daría.  (Josué 1: 3, 6 NBLH)

Las personas que lograron grandes cosas para Dios tenía una característica común – que creían que Dios era para ellos.

Cuando siento la duda o el miedo, visualizo Dios fuera de mí, caminando conmigo, paso a paso. Él pone su pie en el suelo y camina conmigo a través de mi día – en el medio de mis ensayos y pruebas.

El Señor está conmigo en los buenos tiempos, malos tiempos, en los valles y en las cimas de las montañas.

Sabiendo que todo el peso de la presencia y la autoridad de Dios está en todos mis pasos me ha cambiado la percepción de Dios.

Sin embargo, como me paso en la confianza y la fe en que habrá algunos temblores, ya que a menudo significa salir de mi zona de confort. Intentar cosas otra vez, donde he fallado en el pasado o tratar algo que no he hecho antes o frente a un desafío inesperado.

Este es mi viaje.

Hay territorio a ser reclamado en nuestras vidas. Hay circunstancias inesperadas ya veces difíciles que nos sacuden.

Podemos temblar, pero el suelo bajo nuestros pies también a temblar y temblar cuando comenzamos a entender la presencia, el poder y la autoridad de Dios que está en nosotros y con nosotros en cada paso de nuestro viaje por la vida.

Ahora hay que dar el siguiente paso vital y creer esto.

Are You living in the present?

Credit: arbyreed/Flickr/Creative Commons

Credit: arbyreed/Flickr/Creative Commons

“Don’t worry about tomorrow sufficient for the day is the evil [trouble thereof]. (Matthew 6:34)

It has become clear the root of my worry stems from trying to plan for what may or may not happen the next day or even the weekend. Every angle is covered.

With my worry I try to control the next day and the day after that.

Elliot’s Commentary has an interesting spin on this verse, when he interprets “don’t worry about tomorrow” as “make most of the present.”

Staying rooted and grounded firmly in the present day and moment will change your life. It allows us to get the most out of today.

I remember one author stating that it is important to stay in the present for ourselves. I immediately discarded the thought. It would be so selfish.

But after prayerful consideration, I changed my mind.

When I am in the present for myself, I am able to discern the voice of God in my life. I am a much better person to live with and able to give of myself easily to those I spend time with.

There is clarity, peace and attentiveness.

Charles Kingsley, an 18th century English preacher, in his sermon The Distracted Mind was referring to Mathew 6:34 when he said:

“Be ye not distracted about tomorrow. Be not divided in your thoughts. Do not distract your attention from today’s work by fearing and hoping about tomorrow.”

When we are not in the present and giving our full attention to the duties of the day we end up carrying the burden and cares of two days instead of one. No wonder we are so worn out at the end of the day — we have worked 48 hours instead of 24.

When we have one foot in the present and the other in the future (next day), we become distracted, torn and divided in our thinking.

Another old commentator from the 17th century wrote:

“And be ye not of double mind. Do not be up in the air – blown helpless hither and thither, by every gust of wind instead keeping on the firm ground, and walking straight on about your business, slowly and partially step after step. Each day he will set about the duty which lies nearest him, with a whole heart and with a single eye, giving himself to it for the time as if there was nothing else to be done in the whole world.” (John Gill’s Commentary)

Let us not lose our footing nor allow ourselves to be blown about by our thoughts, worries and fears into the next day or weekend.

Learning to control our thoughts and keeping them focused on the present helps us get the most out of our day.

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