Category: FAITH

MEDITATION FOR THE CHRISTIAN

Millions of people around the world meditate-why don’t Christians? My guess is that, apart from the sheer business of our existence, many Christians consider meditation to be an occultic, suspicious practice reserved for those wrapped up in Eastern religions: something the good Christian should steer well away from.

The truth is that meditation is something we can and most definitely should engage in, with great benefits to our physical, mental and spiritual well-being, and at the same time honoring God and doing exactly what He wants us to do! But what exactly is meditation?David, a “man after God’s own heart”, wrote in the Psalms about meditating on God (example Psalm 63). The word “meditate” is translated “think” in the NIV:

On my bed I remember you;
    I think of you through the watches of the night (verse 6).

The meaning of the word includes, according to Strongs, “The act of thoughtful deliberation with the implication of speaking to oneself-meditate”.

Jesus Christ said that we are to love God with our whole being, including our minds (Luke 10:27). God tells his people to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).

We’re all busy trying to further our lives, and working to make things happen, and we forget that Christ…God…is not only in our life but is our life (Colossians 3:4). Without our God there is no life. Isn’t it a good idea, then, to think about Him?

In Eastern meditation the goal is generally (I confess I am no expert) to lose oneself, and to abandon your individual self and your connection with the world around you. I can see physical and emotional benefit in this. However, God instructs us to love Him with our minds, and as in the case of David, the goal and the focus is not to forget self, but to seek God, to know Him, and to consider deeply who and what He is and who we are in relation to Him.

At least once a day, get comfortable, get quiet, turn the TV and the phone off, and think about God. It’s not about what we want Him to do for us (although He cares). It’s not about us being “spiritual” or babbling to Him. It’s not even really, as some say, about us “listening” to hear what God has to say, except through His written Word. It’s about us knowing that He is there, that He is amazing beyond our comprehension, that He is our creator and sustainer, and that our life is entirely His.

PREPARING FOR THE FUTURE

Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth (Luke 21:34-35).

(I chose the picture for a little levity in an otherwise serious subject)

From my communications with family and old friends, and from news reports, I see constantly that the people of my country of origin, the United Kingdom, are for the most part under the spell of misinformation and propaganda. The difference in the United States is that we have some alternative media which is able to inform us of the other side of things, whereas, in the UK and probably most of what was once the “free world”, there is only now one story being told through media, education and pop-culture: the rest is banned as “hate-speech”. Its the story which prepares the way for the “man of lawlessness”. It’s the story which is leading the beneficiaries of those millions who gave their lives for freedom towards a global tyranny which will be worse than what Hitler dreamed of.

While I lived in the UK, I believed the lie that President Reagan was senile and stupid and was going to start the third world war by opposing Communism. At a middle point in my political understanding, then living in the US,  I visited the UK when Bush was president, only to be set upon by many, while I tried to discuss soccer or the latest marriage or divorce in my circle, for the evils of America and its support for Israel. Israel, that tiny nation struggling for survival in the midst of a sea of Islam. And how much further on in that direction we all are now.

Now it isn’t just a case of news organizations being a little biased: they’re in full propaganda and lie mode. They’re achieving far more among those under their spell than Putin could ever hope to achieve. The news mainstream media people are largely guilty of dividing the people of the United States, and seem to have no qualms about fomenting violence if necessary, or bringing down a president elected by the people to oppose their lies and a corrupt bureaucracy. Now it’s getting serious…very serious. And before long, if they have their way, posts like this will be illegal, and classed as “hate speech”. Social media sites are already censoring views like mine.

The BBC, the “auntie” I was raised on in the sixties and seventies, is now fully in the camp of the Islamo-socialist movement-the movement which ultimately threatens us all with tyranny and constriction of thought. The two are only bedfellows until they collectively get the upper hand. Then the latter will discover that the former is even less open to tolerance than itself.

Trump has attempted the impossible, and I greatly admire him for it. He has tried to set the clock back, and has done an admirable and fantastic job of it. He has attempted to restore patriotism, the rule of law, national borders, individual freedom and responsibility, while at the same time making the economy boom. In the process, he’s incurring the wrath of Humanis Globlili-the wealthy elites who think they have a right and a duty to direct us all. And of course, behind it all is the much larger spiritual dimension. As I wrote in a recent post, Trump is unwittingly God’s man in place to stall the march of evil on the world. He is the tool of the one “holding back” the advent of that Man of Sin.

Readers of my blog will know that I wrote a series of posts on the subject of the rapture of the Church. I was for twenty-eight years an adherent to the “pre-millennial” view. I now am convinced that the evangelical world is holding to a false hope. Oh, the rapture is coming, to be sure, but not yet. Before it will come many events which most Christians in the West do not expect to ever see. Ask those in other parts of the world-in the Middle-east, in China, North Korea, and large parts of the Islamic world, and they will tell you, from their prison cells or their hidden back-street meeting places, that there is no freedom for them to worship, or to express any faith, and that many of their loved ones have been martyred. Such things are not reserved for those “left behind”.

Christian ministers in the West are not preparing their flocks for what will come, when God sees fit to allow it to come-perhaps soon, or perhaps later. And how can we prepare anyway? Well, for a start, we can face the fact that there is a growing movement against the Christian faith and all that it holds dear. Expect it to be ramped up as soon as the devil’s politicians regain power-maybe this time for keeps. Then we can face the fact that there will be no early escape before any of us suffer persecution: that’s head-in-the-sand wishful thinking, and faulty Bible interpretation. Our guide is the Word of God, as written originally, and not what today’s false prophets and false churches are telling us. That’s our daily food, our sustenance.

Finally, we can look to the future and to heaven and to our God, who controls all things, and who will restore the world to the way it should be. Those of us who have accepted his only Son, Jesus Christ, will be a part of that restoration.

 

 

RAPTURE 31: PREPARING TO STICK AROUND

I’ve been publishing excerpts from my book on the rapture* I’ve covered such subjects as the wrath of God, the testimony of John in Revelation, and what Paul did and didn’t say about the subject. Here is the final out-take…

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PREPARING TO STICK AROUND

The obvious consequence of the thesis of my book, if it’s correct, is that at some time in the future Christians still alive will have the privilege and the blessing to represent their Lord, to a world literally sliding into the abyss. They will witness some of the most incredible events of history. They will plainly see God-and the devil- at work. They will see first-hand the fulfillment of the words of God, and become so assured of its truthfulness that their courage and sense of hope in eternity will grow in leaps and bounds. They will have the honor and blessing of representing the Savior who has represented them in the world and in front of the Father. Their faith and deeds in those times will give them an all the greater resurrection, and if they remain alive until the coming of Jesus, they will never taste death but will be changed to immortality in an instant.

On the other hand, of course, they will likely be faced with challenges that we in the modern West have never had to consider facing, while many throughout history and in the modern world have. Their faith will be tested severely, as will their will to endure. They will be confronted with almost overpowering deception. They will be forced to take the word of God at face value and to trust like they’ve never trusted before.

Will the events of Revelation overtake the entire world? Its testimony is that they will. However, there’s some evidence that some of the world will for a time resist the trend of governance as dictated by Antichrist. It’s likely that there will be nowhere to hide for long for anyone who may think to do so, except perhaps in some very remote part of the earth not under the gaze of satellite and drone technology, or prying eyes loyal to the kingdom of the beast. In this case, the one hiding would be failing to be the witness to a dying world that he or she has been called to be at such a time.

For those who are new to the subject and who perhaps aren’t sure where they stand with God, and to those who don’t know what’s required of them in order to escape the wrath of God, there’s no doubt that the most important thing to know and to react to is the gospel of Jesus Christ. It might be of value to even those of us who call ourselves Christians to refresh our minds on the gospel. So here it is for all of us.

WHAT IS THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST?

The Greek word translated “gospel” in the New Testament means “good news”, and in the context of the Bible the gospel is the “good news” about Jesus Christ. But what exactly was and is that good news, and what does it mean for us? In answer to the second question first, read what Jesus said:

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life (John 5:24).

The Bible speaks of a love-gift from God. That gift is forgiveness of all our sin, and eternal life. The gift-if we accept it for ourselves-takes us from being subjects of God’s wrath into eternal life, even though for now we are in mortal bodies. Here is Paul’s first-century definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which he had given his life to, despite all opposition and threats, having once been a persecutor of Christians:

Now brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time….Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also…(1 Corinthians 15: 1 – 8).

The gospel is here spelled out for you. Accept it, believe it, pray it, confess it, and live it.

WHAT WOULD I DO?

I’ve been thinking about what I would do were I to see or hear of a man ascending the temple mount in Jerusalem and claiming to be God or his representative. What could I do? I have to eat. I have to support my family. I can’t just run off somewhere and hide-I wouldn’t know where to go anyway. The response to the knowledge that I was in the end times proper would have to be a predominantly spiritual one.

My first and most important reaction would be prayer: deep, serious, sincere and constant prayer for myself and my loved ones, and for all those living through the same trial. Secondly, praise: praise because God is God, and because I would be seeing my Lord very soon.

Then I would immerse myself in the Word of God. I don’t just mean the prophesies, I mean all of the Word, since it’s all there for our spiritual well-being and growth. It’s there to show us what Truth is and what is true. It’s there for our encouragement and for our strengthening against opposition. The most intense warning of Jesus Christ to his disciples during the Olivet Discourse was of end-times deception, and as Paul also warned of an intense deception which will affect the entire unbelieving world, it will be imperative for believers alive at that time to know the truth of God’s word, so that they can recognize deception and not be fooled by it, as the rest of the world will be. In fact, it’s clear to the Bible believer even now that the majority of people in our world are blinded to the truth, and that manipulators and liars and schemers already hold sway over the masses.

Godliness is the exact opposite of what our present-day godless world is working to normalize. While we’re saved from our sins by faith, we need to remember that:

…without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

Holiness is what our holy God is looking for in us, along with humility towards Him, and sin is what he’s going to judge the world for. Having an attitude of godliness is vital in our outlook on life, both now and in that future time when we see the signs of coming judgment. We are to be set apart, and certainly to not join in with what the world is already accepting as a normal way of life. We will then increasingly stand out from the crowd, which is what our God expects of us (2 Corinthians 6:17). We’re to make a point of not following the godless flow of the unbelieving world.

PERSECUTION.

If the time comes for us that we have to face serious persecution, we need to remind ourselves that countless believers through history have already had to deal with the same thing. Even in our present world, there are entire nations which not only suppress Christian witness and worship, but physically persecute believers. It’s nothing new. And of course, we need to remember the sacrifice of Jesus himself, who died at the hands of men who thought they were doing a good thing. He said:

Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20).

However, he also said:

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more” (Luke 12:4).

Persecution is not the wrath of God against his own people, it’s the wrath of man and of the devil, neither of which can do any lasting harm to us. Our God is going to give us eternal life, and any persecutors, if they don’t repent, are going to be judged. We really are in a win-win relationship with our God, thanks to his Son Jesus Christ.

Jesus never promised us a trouble-free life, but he did tell us to patiently endure if the need arises. He told the church in Smyrna, about to suffer persecution:

Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown”(Revelation 2:10).

I would say that in that time of tribulation, and for who knows how long before it (and probably even now in many circles) it will be wise to not fully trust anyone, except the Lord himself. There will be a large measure of betrayal and broken trust when the world is in the mood to follow Antichrist and his very own brand of political correctness, which, I personally suspect, is already at work. Do not fully trust your denomination or spiritual leaders: your first priority when it comes to truth is the Bible. Read it for yourself, while praying for God’s guidance-don’t just let someone else interpret it for you.

Finally, remember that for the believer in Jesus Christ the future is unfailingly bright and eternal. We cannot lose-we can only win, and enjoy perpetual bliss of fellowship with our Creator and his Son, and with each other. There is no lasting loss to come-only gain.

*ALL LEFT BEHIND: THE CASE AGAINST A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE, by Nicholas Fisher. Available in paperback or electronic form.

TRUMP: THE EYE OF THE STORM

Even Trump himself, when campaigning for election, was unaware of exactly what his attempt to become the US president was going to unleash…

O ye of weak knees and uncertain disposition: be warned that I do hold strong views on our political climate and our future, herein represented..!

Trump’s election and presidency, as tumultuous as it has been and will continue to be, is actually the eye of the hurricane of current history, though it may not feel like that to him. The tumult has been forced upon him and upon all of us as a backlash from all those in high places whose wishes were upset by a pesky election. Under the former “leader of the free world”, President Obama, the United States was being changed “fundamentally”. It was intentionally being weakened, in preparation for what the grand schemers of the world have in store for us all. Trump’s success, first in being elected, and then in making the economy boom against all prognostication, was the opposite of what they wanted, hence the rabid and hateful opposition to him since the day he descended the escalator to announce his intention to run for office.

How could Trump have known that he would be at the center of all the forces vying for the hearts and minds of the Western world-whose unseen, leading instigator is the Enemy of mankind himself? Globalists, socialists, communists, self-serving politicians, anti-Christian religious zealots, worldviews, moral-haters, the uninformed, the misinformed, West-haters, God-haters, plotters, the disgruntled, the cynical, the lawless, the envious, the super-rich who have no interest in what the voters want: all fight and scratch and kick and scream and scheme to remove Trump from their path so that their own ends can be achieved in the world. Yet there he is, for now, protected from their claws by the One who holds all of history-and the future-in His own hands.

Please don’t misunderstand me- I know that Trump is no holy man, and no savior on his own. Instead he is the man of the moment: the man being used by God to temporarily hold up the movement towards world government; the man chosen to be the thorn in the side of those surreptitiously taking us where most of us never wanted to go.

And what of the future? America is said to be the world’s “great experiment”; the “republic if you can keep it” (Benjamin Franklin). Its rise is the first time in all of history where the right to associate, to speak one’s mind, to pursue happiness and prosperity, to have a say in the running of the country, and to practice religion would be protected-in principle if not in practice. If you’re not a believer in the words of God as recorded in the Bible you may think that humankind will find a way without the founding principles of America; that ultimately humanity will solve its problems and that freedom will reign due to reason and correct “education”. I am not of that variety. It’s my conviction that humanity would have destroyed itself many times over by now, given the freedom to do so. 

God’s plan as spelled out in Scripture has been severely misrepresented within the Church. I have been one of those misinformed. But here, very briefly, is what I see for planet earth when considering what the word of God is clear on, mixed with a measure of my own informed observation and speculation…

The Bible says that the nation of Israel would be re-born after a long period of time during which the people of Israel would wander the earth. That has happened in recent decades. It says that the nation will boom and prosper in the short time it is free to do so. It would be hated by the nations of the world, and its ancient capital claimed by nations around it. The scene of Armageddon is in the land of Israel. Trump has temporarily halted the progress of those around the world-the EU, socialist politicians in America, and people of a certain religion-working to wrest Jerusalem from the Jews. This is one of the big reasons he is hated by the globalists, who are also in control of most of our media-a media which should be free and impartial but which has a determined agenda.

Globalists want us all to sing cum-bi-a together, forget our Christian beliefs and our patriotic leanings, give our money to them and to those who have poor political systems and philosophies, and dismantle our borders, so that all the above can be achieved without a struggle. Judeo-Christian morality is a road block to the socialist dream of governing us all into subservience while they hold all the power and all the money. Trump has also put a few wrenches in the works on that front. Once Trump is gone, for whatever reason, a certain religion is to be favored over the Christian faith because its more dedicated members will deal with the problematic obstructionist Christians. Obama had already worked on that effort, so that as Isis raged across large areas of the middle east, mainly unchecked, many of us wondered if this was the prophesied time beginning.

Once globalists and socialists achieve their political hegemony, world “peace” will be imposed upon us; a sort of “pax-anti-Christiana’, fulfilling prophesies of the “man of lawlessness”; the embodiment of the Enemy of God and man on the earth. Their dreams are as futile as standing on the shore of the ocean and telling the tide not to come in.

We’re all in for a pretty rough ride, once God’s restraining hand is taken away. And lest you think I’m making it all up:

And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8).

God is God, and His plan, and His plan only, will succeed.

IS IT REALLY “ALL GOD”?

Jesus Christ said that without him we can do nothing (John 15:5). Clearly he was speaking of things we may do for the kingdom of God. Without Jesus we are powerless to achieve anything for him or which is pleasing to the Father. But is it really the case, as some insist, that he does it all: that everything we do is only his doing and not ours?

I’ve heard this phrase many times in my Christian life: “It’s all God”. I’ll willingly agree that without Him we can do nothing, and that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. That really is “all God”. My only qualification there would be that we have to respond to the gospel. Calvinists insist that we can’t even do that, because, they say, that would be “works”. We’ll save that issue for another day. Today we’re asking if we as believers can do nothing whatsoever for God because it’s all God’s doing.

Salvation is by faith, and then the Spirit of God works within us to want to do what’s right, and empowers us to do what’s right. Anything done by or in the flesh or for our own gain is unacceptable to God-it has to be inspired by the Spirit in us and for His glory. However, the Christian life is teamwork. If we make no effort in it, we remain as spiritual babies. We negate the work of the Spirit. We fail to produce spiritual fruit, and we bury our talent so that nothing is gained by it. That’s the fact of the matter. If it were really “all God”, we would be robots and would have no mind of our own. We would not be choosing to follow Christ or choosing to do what’s right: we would be driven to do it by the Lord.

If we as believers fail to help the one in need, or fail to worship the Lord, or fail to turn away from sin, whose fault is it? God’s? Are we failing because God isn’t doing what He should be doing in us? No, it’s our own fault for not walking in the Spirit, for not learning to walk in His ways, and for not making the effort to do what we  should do. Believers who have been told that it’s “all God” are more likely to not appreciate their role in the Christian walk.

There are so many ways in which this subject could be approached scripturally. But it seems to me pretty obvious that when Paul told his flock to “walk in the Spirit”, the word “walk” requires some sort of effort on our part. Scripture is full of guidance, advise and commandments to us concerning what we should and should not be doing to live out our Christian faith. If there were no effort required from our own will there would be no need for all those things. Didn’t James say that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-26)?

With that in mind, I bring your attention to the words of Peter, who made the matter crystal clear for us:

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3-11).