Category Archives: Christianity

Churches: Fellowships Without Fellowship (Part 10)

 

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” (C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters)

We have to keep in mind that the Great Tribulation will be a seven-year time period, which begins in peace. A man of peace – the Antichrist – will forge a peace treaty that will be accepted by most Christians, Jews, Muslims, and nations. This will stop the wars – nations fighting against nations and kingdoms against kingdoms.

The peace treaty will be so strong that the Jews will be allowed to build a temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem and carry out daily sacrifices. I know – it’s hard to imagine this ever happening again, but it will!

This peace treaty will be in effect for three and half years until the Antichrist sets up the image of the beast in the Temple and stops the daily sacrifices.

Now, don’t go thinking the three and half years during the peace treaty will be a time for Christians to sit around a campfire, strumming a guitar and singing, “Kumbaya My Lord.” No! I believe it will be a time when churches will be pressured to accept compromises – small at first, but increasing in severity as time passes – in order for them to survive.

How do I know this?

This is what the Communists did in China with their Three Self Patriotic Movement. The same Satan who authored the suffocating rules on the Three Self Churches will attempt to do the same on our traditional churches. All of it will be done under the guise of tolerance and keeping the peace.

Then, BAM!

Many traditional churches and believers will be preconditioned through the gradual slope of compromises into accepting the mark of the beast.

“Home fellowships are persecution proof and are the only viable form for underground churches. We believe in the years to come, we will see increasing restrictions on our ability to meet together, to worship together and to pray with each other.” (Chuck Missler)

(Continued in Part 11…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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Prayers for the American Church (10/16/2018)

Christ Church Stellarton

Photograph of Christ Anglican Church, Stellarton, NS. Taken the morning of October 28, 200

 

On the first Pentecost, a sound came from heaven like a rushing mighty wind, filling the house where one hundred and twenty believers waited for something to happen in Jerusalem. Then, divided tongues of fire sat upon each person.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:4)

The one hundred and twenty believers walked outside, still speaking in tongues. Devout Jews heard these believers and thought they were drunk.

Peter said, “These are not drunk, but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. (Acts 2:17-18)

What happened at the first Pentecost was only a partial fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. The Spirit was not poured out on all believers nor did every son and daughter prophesy. It only fell on one hundred and  twenty believers.

Even the Azusa Street Revival and the Charismatic Revival – as great as they seemed at the time – were only partial fulfillments of Joel’s prophecy. The Spirit was not poured out on every believer.

My prayer today:

Lord, help the American church to believe and pray for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit on every believer; thus fulfilling Joel’s prophecy.

Join me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for the American church.

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Prayers for America (10/11/2018)

“The devil made me do it!” (Flip Wilson)

The recent Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford brouhaha underscores a dismal situation for most American Christians: our lack of spiritual discernment.

So that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes. (2 Corinthians 2:11 NASB)

Sadly, we American Christians are ignorant of Satan’s schemes. You see, we allowed the accuser of the brethren (Satan) to manipulate us into being his pawns on social media and elsewhere for dividing the Body of Christ.

Somehow, we have to eventually realize that many of our problems in America are caused by the kingdom of darkness. Our only hope is to follow the King when He leads us so we can advance the Kingdom of God in our nation.

My prayer today:

Lord, open our spiritual eyes so that we can submit to You and then resist the devil. (Based on James 4:7)

What do you think and has the Lord spoken to you today?

Join with me on Thursdays to fast and pray for America.

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Churches: Fellowships Without Fellowship (Part 9)

Using Chapter 24 of the Book of Matthew as our End-Times timeline, we read that the Anti-Christ will commit the abomination of desolation in verse 15.  This was prophesied by Daniel and Jesus tells us to understand his prophecy about this event.

Will believers and the Church still be on the earth at that time? Yes, because Jesus will not return for the Church and believers until verses 30 and 31.

Now, there are timelines in the Book of Revelation, but they’re not always chronological, according to chapters and verses. Some of the text is out of order and must be lined up with other books in the Bible.

Okay, with the above words as guidelines, what will be one of the church’s biggest problems in the End-times?

He [the Antichrist] causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. 18 Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. (Revelation 13: 16-18)

After the “abomination of desolation” takes place, the Antichrist will persecute and kill Christians and Jews. His biggest weapon to bludgeon people into obeying him and his government will be the “mark of the beast.” No one will be able to buy food or medicine or gasoline or whatever without the mark.

Can Christians just rely on His grace and take the mark of the beast, while tossing a wink toward God? You know, Daddy loves me anyway, right?

Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. (Revelation 14:9-10)

I am an eternal security believing Christian, but because of my fear of the Lord, I would never want to cross the line against these verses nor would I suggest others to do it. What might eventually happen to believers? I don’t really know nor am I interested in finding out. Just obey His words!

So, what can believers do to protect themselves?

(Continued in Part 10…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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Prayers for the American Church (10/9/2018 )

Christ Church Stellarton

Photograph of Christ Anglican Church, Stellarton, NS. Taken the morning of October 28, 2005

“There is no Christian victory or blessing if we refuse to turn away from the things that God hates. Even if it is accepted in the whole social class and system of which you are a part, turn away from it. Even if there is something that has been accepted by our whole generation, turn away from it, if it is evil and wrong and an offense to our holy and righteous Savior. ” (A. W. Tozer)

My prayer today:

Lord, open the eyes of the American Church so we realize that we can’t  serve God and mammon at the same time. (Based on Matthew 6:24)

Join me on Tuesdays to fast and pray for the American church.

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Churches: Fellowships Without Fellowship (Part 8)

 

Fifty percent of American Evangelical Christians attend a church with 300 or more members. So, unless you live in a rural area of our country, the odds are high that you attend a church of this size or larger.

Okay, here’s something for you to consider the next time you attend a service:

After you sit down, look at the people in the row ahead of you, to the left and right of you and also behind you. What are their names? What are their children’s names? Do they have problems or needs? Are you willing to share your life, home and finances to help them with their needs? Are you willing to die for them?

Do you really believe that these same people would be willing to answer “yes” to the above questions for you and your family?

If your answers to the above questions are “I don’t know” or “No,” then you attend a church that falls far short of the New Testament model in the Book of Acts.

32 All the believers were united in heart and mind. And they felt that what they owned was not their own, so they shared everything they had. 33 The apostles testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and God’s great blessing was upon them all. 34 There were no needy people among them, because those who owned land or houses would sell them 35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need(Acts 4:32-35 NLT)

Maybe you’re thinking the traditional American church has outgrown the blueprint of the early church in the Book of Acts. If that’s your thinking and your comfort zone right now, then you need to read the next few articles in this series.

(Continued in Part 9…but if you want to read all of the parts to date, you can go here.)

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Inside Israel

Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is —

“Also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the Lord for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest.  And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.  You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month.  You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.’ ” So Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the Lord.(Leviticus 23:39-44)

Greetings AGAIN, dear brothers and sisters.

May The Lord be glorified and blessed, and may you be blessed and encouraged, even though you did not expect to hear from me YET AGAIN during this cycle of fall feasts.

But today is ‘Simchat Torah’ and  the singing and dancing around the Torah scrolls that we watched from our merepesset (balcony) this morning  (because the singing and dancing was in the square across the street, outside) brought joy to my heart. Perhaps I can speak words of joy and we can provoke one another to seek more of Him.  The songs calling for Messiah to come still ring in my ears.  HE IS coming AGAIN!

Reasons that I’m writing again:

Last night I spoke with a friend in New York, the one friend that I am still in contact with since high school.  What a story, but no I won’t tell it.  Suffice it to say that after I met Him and after she was in the Moonie cult for many years, she gave her heart to Him.  When we spoke last night, she reminded me that they had been with us during the fall feasts a number of years ago, while I was finishing up radiation treatments.

I had forgotten, but she had not, and she told me how it had changed her forever, sitting in our sukkah with various people, both His and those not yet His. And also watching the march of the nations, the believers from all over the world singing and dancing through the streets blessing the people. And then, Simchat Torah where men and women dressed in white lifted the Torah scrolls in the air and danced through the streets singing.

She, like me, being raised Jewish in New York City, had not witnessed this type of joy growing up, and it branded her forever.

That came on top of another sister telling me that she had gone to the parade and witnessed it first hand and experienced the wonder that I had described in the past. The hearts of the locals lining the road being lifted higher and higher on the blessings of the believers from around the world, marching in colorful costumes of their countries through the streets.

Interestingly, this takes place at the same time the UN General Assembly is meets yearly, bearing “civilized witness” to the curses of the nations against Israel.  One is cursing by throwing accusing lies and here are the believers, standing on the Eternal Word of God and casting blessings before them.  It IS truly a wonder, an exchange that happens which only He could initiate.

So, even though I participated in far less ‘activity’ this year, even though I was neither at the parade, nor did we have our own sukkah. But here it is again, Simchat Torah, and I could only write one more time!

On Friday night (Erev Shabbat – the festive evening dinner of Shabbat), we were invited to the sukkah of dear friends where we were blessed with the richest of fellowship. One of the many edifying things that happened was that we spoke briefly about dates. The setting of dates and debate about dates and our brother said simply, “I always felt that if a date was really important for us to know that The Lord would have put it into the Bible.” 

My thoughts jumped back more than 40 years to a “hippie” Bible Study that I was attending.  Everyone there was a new believer from the streets we were studying the book of Job.  One fellow, not yet a believer, kept interrupting and asking about dinosaurs.  The man leading the Bible Study wisely (and with authority) turned to him suddenly and said, “If The Lord had thought that they were important …He would have put them in The Bible!”

That silenced the young man who was seeking to sow discord and unbelief into the group of very young sprouts, but instead,  the wisdom of the statement sent deep roots into my heart which I have never forgotten.

And The Lord HAS set dates in His Word.

Not always the ones that we have focused on, but dates were given: “you SHALL do this and you SHALL do that.” It is really a wonder to know the dates that He has set – the holidays and the Shabbat – they are still observed.

That brings us to Simchat Torah.

As you can see in the scripture above, the Lord (through Moses) told us that Sukkot would last for SEVEN days. ThenHe adds:  AND ON THE EIGHTH DAY (you shall have) a SABBATH REST!”

EVERY year there is a bit of a belegan (confusion) among the entire population of Jerusalem as to WHAT day is the last day we eat in the sukkah? Is it Sunday or is it Monday?  Even some of our calendars have it wrong.

So, WHERE DID SIMCHAT TORAH COME FROM?

I decided to do some research.

I found out that the body of information is huge and extremely varied.

SOMETIMES, we are “The people of The Book” but SOMETIMES we are “the people of TRADITIONS.”

We are ALL familiar with Matthew 15:2-6 –

“Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying,“Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition?For God commanded, saying,‘Honor your father and your mother’; and,‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother,“Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— then he need not honor his fatheror mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.”

Thankfully, I really don’t think that this tradition transgresses the commandment of God.  Sometimes our traditions enhance or illustrate The Truth of His Word and Who He Is.  GENERALLY I think that is the original purpose and source of most traditions. But when they go wrong and make the commandment of no effect, it can be hard to let go.  But this is another subject.

AS IT STANDS TODAY: You know that Jews read the Torah (first 5 books of the Bible) according to a yearly cycle set out with weekly portions. Many, but not all, also read a portion of the Prophets at the same time (h’ftorah).

It is in prescribed sections and was established during the dispersion to keep the Jewish body unified although we were scattered around the world.  The rabbinic council in Babylon wielded the most authority and much of Orthodox modern Rabbinical Judaism is derived from the interpretations of the leaders from Babylon.  Indeed, the Babylonian Talmud, the Mishna and Kabala all claim origins from the sages in Babylon (don’t forget, Daniel was there, Ezekiel and many of the other prophets and wise men were looking for a way to keep the Jews in the dispersion from scattering and embracing paganism).

Back to Simchat Torah.

Last night, the yearly cycle of reading ended with the last chapter of Deuteronomy.  People stayed up through the night reading and welcoming the morning with Genesis 1:1, as the cycle has begun again. We have been given The Torah and in it we will rejoice!

According to the sources that I perused, Simchat Torah began to look something like it does now somewhere between the 7th century and the 16th century. That’s a LOT of years.  Here in Jerusalem, I have found that the holidays change color year after year, perhaps just a tiny shade, but the traditions expand and contract.  That should not take me by surprise because The Word IS Alive and Living and HE IS THE WORD and ONE DAY HE SHALL BE RECOGNIZED AS THE WORD MADE FLESH.  We shall TRULY rejoice and worship The One Who IS and WAS and ALWAYS WILL BE THE WORD!

TOTALLY ASIDE BUT CAN’T BE IGNORED:  One last thought and NOT about Simchat Torah.  I saw (and perhaps you did too) a video taken on a cell phone of the approaching tsunami in Indonesia and the vain cries of the man taking the video to the people on the street below to take cover in the building.  He could see the tsunami and they could not.  His cries were mostly unheard or unheeded and he broke into pathetic tears as the people below were swept away as he watched. I wept with him and could only think: “This is exactly how I feel as a believer here! I see the approaching tsunami but who will hear?”

THANK YOU FOR PRAYING FOR THIS PEOPLE…THIS LAND…MY RELATIVES AFTER THE FLESH AND FOR HIS OWN REASONS…IN THE HEART OF GOD.  THANK YOU FOR PRAYING FOR HIS PURPOSES…FOR HIS GLORY ALONE.

Lovingly,

your sister J

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