The Silliness of Hiding from God

A few months ago, I started something new in my family: budgeting. I know, the dreaded “B” word, one that I tried for so long to avoid. Assigning every dollar a job and keeping track of every dollar spent has been great in helping us not overspend. With there being so much benefit to this, I thought I would never again go back to the world of spontaneous spending and not tracking each transaction (Yay, YNAB!).

But then, I would make a purchase that I knew I shouldn’t make. I felt guilty for spending the money on things like eating out when we are low on grocery money, or buying a movie just because I’m bored. I realized that when I would make those purchases, I would resist wanting to record the transaction.

I don’t really know why I wouldn’t record it; it’s not like I was hiding it from the bank. Once the transaction has been made, the bank is fully aware of it. The amount available in my account will reflect this transaction, even if I never record it in the budget.

Ultimately, the only person I’m hiding the transaction from is myself. It becomes a pain to reconcile my checking account to the budget when I have transactions that I didn’t track, and eventually I have to track them anyway, so, really, hiding it from my account does me no good.

Because of my guilt, however, I somehow feel better, or at least I think I can ignore the guilty purchase, by not recording it. It really is silly and pointless.

Then, I realized that we end up doing this same silly thing with God. We sin, and then think that we can somehow hide it from God. So, we don’t confess it; we try to hide it and move on with our lives like we never committed that sin.

The entire time, the only person we are hurting is ourselves. It weighs on our conscience, and continues bothering us and sapping away our joy. God already knows that we sinned. Heck, He knew that we would commit those sins before we were ever born. Yet He still chose to save us and love us. We are not really hiding anything from Him, so why don’t we just confess the sin, repent from it, and move on?

Doing this is just part of our rebellious human nature. It goes all the way back to Adam and Eve:

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself” (Genesis 3:7-10 NKJV).

After they sinned, they felt shame, and tried to hide what they did from God. God is all knowing. Can anyone hide anything from Him? Of course not, but we try anyway.

Some people try their best to act righteous in an attempt to hide whatever wrong they have done, but God sees right through this:

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness” (Matthew 23:25-28 NKJV).

The Pharisees would pretend that they were righteous, while still hiding their sin from people and attempting to hide it from God. But Jesus was not fooled. He saw right through their mask and went to their hearts. These are the people that Jesus rebuked.

But those who openly admitted their sin and then repented of their sin, those are the people that Jesus spent time with and praised.

Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:10-13 NKJV).

Basically, it all comes down to this. Yes, you sin. God knows it, so don’t try to hide it. Repent from your sin (turn away from it), and follow Jesus.

Just like you can never hide a transaction from your bank, you cannot hide your sin from God. He already knows about it.

That’s the beautiful thing, though. If you are a Christian, God knew that you would sin before He chose to save you, and He still chose you, despite that – because God loves you.

If you have been avoiding church, or avoiding fellowship with other believers because you feel ashamed for what you have done, know that it isn’t hidden. God already knows about it, so stop letting that be your excuse to not go to church.

If you have been resisting the idea of repenting from a sin as a way to hide it, then know that you are only hiding it from yourself. God knows about it already, so the longer you hide it from yourself, the longer it will weigh down on your conscience and drag you down.

Is there something that you have been trying to hide from yourself that you need to get out in the open?

What is Spiritual Warfare?

Machew is a guest writer to ETM, and as such the views expressed in this article may not be the views of ETM and its staff.

It is incredibly important for the church as a whole to understand spiritual warfare.  Too often Christians delegate their struggles to their flesh not realizing that much of what you think and feel doesn’t originate from you at all.  We have a very real enemy that will stop at nothing to get you to convince yourself with his lies to undermine your walk with Jesus and to make destructive decisions in your life.  For this reason, I write this article.

Before I start with Spiritual Warfare, I need to lay down some Biblical Context:

We will start in Genesis:

Genesis 1:26-30 (NASB)(emphasis mine)

26Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

27God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

28God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.

29Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;

30and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.

So what is the point I want to make in this passage? God gave Adam and Eve delegated authority to rule over the Earth. We all know how this story ends, the devil comes in the form of a serpent and Adam and Eve eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and they fall because of sin. The devil had no authority over the Earth before the fall. So how did he get his authority?

When Adam and Eve came into agreement with the devil’s assessment of reality, they sinned. And because there was no atonement for sin at the time, they were separated from God and their agreement with the devil essentially handed over their delegate authority over the Earth to the devil. (John 12:31, John 14:30, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Matthew 4:8-10)

Next I will give some basic groundwork to what spiritual warfare is.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NASB)(emphasis mine)

3For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh,

4for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.

5We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,

So according 2 Corinthians spiritual battles happen in our mind and thought life. Why is this the case?

In Matthew 4:8-10 Jesus is tempted by the devil, as the devil offers Jesus all of the kingdoms of the world if he bows down to him and worships him. The devil still had the authority and rulership over the Earth from Adam and Eve. But after the resurrection of Jesus, He says to His disciples in Matthew 28:18 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me

If Jesus now has “all authority” over the Earth, this means that the devil now has no authority. Jesus took back Adam and Eve’s authority from Satan. He was able to do this because their sin was now completely atoned for.

So the question you probably have now is: “How then is the devil able to do so much evil on the Earth?”

The question to ask is: How did the devil gain authority in the Garden of Eden?

He hasn’t changed his strategy at all. Look at 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 again. The battle is in our mind. The weapons formed against us are thoughts and speculations that exalt themselves above the knowledge of God. Why are these weapons used? Because the devil needs your agreement in what he wants to do before he has authority to do it. Jesus gave back authority over the Earth to humans. Before Jesus dies on the cross He states the following to His disciples:

Matthew 16:19 (NASB)

19I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

So the devil is able to steal, kill, and destroy when humans come into agreement with what he says (thoughts, emotions manifested from thoughts).

This is what 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 is talking about when it says the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. The fortresses that it is referring to are areas in our thought life that we are in agreement with the devil. The devil builds on your current agreements with him, to bring in more deception into your life. Essentially the agreement with the devil (fortress) is a place where he can hide in your life and have authority in that area of your life. This fortress is what the enemy hides behind to assault you with more lies, to try to gain more ground in your life.

So to review: The devil is only able to operate on the Earth through human agreement.

So what does this mean?

The devil is only able to operate in your life through your agreements with his lies, and the agreement of lies that the people in authority over you believe (ie: parents, teachers, government authorities).

This is why it is so important to constantly be studying and filling your heart and mind with the Word of God. The Word of God is what reveals deceptions you are believing, that allow the enemy into your life, and the lives of those under you.

Hebrews 4:12 (NASB)(emphasis mine)

12For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

For this to work though, you need to be born again and filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s help is a necessity in understanding the Bible and to know how it applies to everyday life.  Only through the Holy Spirit does the truth of the Bible penetrate your heart and actually change you (2 Corinthians 3:6, John 16:13, John 14:16-17, Romans 8:27, Isaiah 11:2, Ephesians 1:17).

The current situation we face is having a whole world of people where most people are not born again, and the devil is able to wreak havoc over the Earth because people are constantly in agreement with him. But God has given believers the keys to His kingdom. God’s Kingdom is superior to this kingdom(the Earth), and Jesus tells us to model our prayer like this:

Matthew 6:9-10 (NASB)(emphasis mine)
9″Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.

10’Your kingdom come

Your will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

So then we are to bring the dominion of God’s Kingdom to Earth (God’s government/way of doing things), whether it be through the salvation of others, loving the unlovable, giving all of your possessions, or worshiping Him through praise. In the words of Matthew 6, His “…Kingdom Come…Will be done…On Earth As it is in Heaven.” So if it is happening in heaven it should be happening here. If it is not happening in heaven it shouldn’t be happening here. When God’s kingdom is brought to Earth it enforces what Jesus did on the cross and destroys the work of the devil in our lives, and in the lives of others. Spiritual warfare cannot be won by human strength as 2 Corinthians 10 tells us, but as indicated, only by divinely powerful weapons. And we have no divinely powerful weapons by ourselves. But we do have God’s Word; whether it is from the Bible, something God has spoken to you recently, or something God told you before. God always backs up His Word with the resources of His superior Kingdom. But just reciting God’s word isn’t enough!

His Word Becoming Who We Are:

When we read the Bible, have relationship with Him through prayer (conversation), and meditate on what He has said or is saying, it opens our hearts to receive His Word and Truth. Truth that we only believe conceptually or intellectually will falter when tested. But Truth that has become a part of us deep down in our core, our very being, and heart can never be shaken. This is why we are not only supposed to hear and read the Word but receive it implanted into our hearts (James 1:21). And as James 1 describes the Word of God given to us will be tested but proven true to us by experience through perseverance in the testing trial. Once we have God’s Word truly implanted in us, because it has proven to be true under testing and trial, no argument, emotion, or lofty thing will ever be able to get us to doubt what God has said. And we are then able to stand firm, in boldness, and in confidence against the devil’s lies. When we are able to fully believe God’s Word deep in our very being, we are finally actually fully capable to “Submit…to God” which is when God uses His divinely powerful weapons, giving us what we need to “Resist the devil” causing him to “flee from you” (James 4:7) Until we truly believe what God has said and have the faith to believe it, it is impossible to submit to God(specifically submitting to what He has said to us). As Hebrews 11:6 says it is impossible to please God without faith.

God brings every believer through this process for our benefit, that His Word would literally become a part of us, so that we would become the walking Word of God. God’s plan is that we would literally become the image of the Living God. The devil has no weapon that works against this kind of believer.

Blessings,

Machew

Do you really believe?

What we believe, as Christians is crucial.  Faith is what salvation and our relationship with Christ are based on, and faith has everything to do with what we really believe.

So I ask you, do you really believe that what you believe is really real?

And Abram believed the LORD, and the LORD counted him as righteous because of his faith.  (Genesis 15:6)

Do you really believe in the gospel message, or do you just acknowledge it without having faith in it?  Sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between the two.

We can demonstrate the difference between faith and belief with a chair.  You can look at a chair and say you believe that if you sit in the chair it will hold your weight, but you do not really have faith in it unless you go over and sit in the chair.  Only then do you display that you have faith the chair will hold you.

That is a decent analogy, but how exactly does it apply to our faith?  I sit my butt in a pew at church every Sunday, isn’t that showing that I have faith?

My favorite analogy is that of two guys getting onto an airplane.  Both are greeted by a flight attendant addresses them with a smile on her face saying “there is a high probability that this plane will crash during this flight.  You will want these parachutes.”  (At this point I would be getting off the plane personally, but these guys are tough, they can handle the risk.)

So they get on the plane, but only one guy puts on the parachute.  He isn’t scared at all, not hanging on for dear life, he just put on the parachute and went about his business.  The other guy just tossed the parachute in the back of the plane and went about his business.

Now I ask you, which of these guys had actually believed the plane might crash?  The guy who put on the parachute, right?  How do you know he had faith?  It is because of his actions; he acted according to what he believed.

So how do we apply this to our Christian faith? By our actions.  You can tell one who has faith because he acts like it.

Actions of faith

Faith saves us, but only faith that produce actions.

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”(James 2:17)

Avoid Sin!

The number one action that shows a person really believes in God is how they live their life; a life of righteousness.

Sin is serious, but we tend to down play, to make it seem like it is really nothing.  To us it may be nothing if we lie, cheat, watch pornography, are a homosexual, have sex outside of marriage, or any other sin. To us, these may seem like nothing, but to God they are horrible!

We can see this all through the old testament.  Read the laws and you will see there are huge penalties (i.e. death) for sinning.  Why?  Because God really hates sin.

The New Testament still talks about how much God hates sin and demands we avoid it.  One passage we will look at is the book of 1 John.

God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all. So we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth. (1 John 1:5-6)

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did. (1 John 2:1,4-6)

These passages should make it clear, living for God means we will avoid sin.

Loving God

I really want to focus on verse five of the passage above. “But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him.” (1 John 2:5)

We do not avoid sin to gain salvation or impress God, but because we love Him.  I buy gifts for my wife from time to time, not to impress her or try to win her love, but I do it because I love her.  In the same way, we must live our lives absent of sin (as much as humanly possible at least, more on this in a minute).

To understand why this is an act of love towards God we need to understand more of what sin is, or more importantly who God is.

God is perfect, no darkness is in Him, no sin, no blemishes; everything about Him is absolutely perfect.  God is Holy, set apart.  And to sin is to do something contrary to His nature.  Sin is horrible.

Sin is an incredibly disgusting act in the sight of God that goes against His perfect holiness.  Even the best we can do, most righteous deeds, are nothing more than “filthy rags” to Him (Isaiah 64:6).  How much more filthy are our sinful deeds to Him?

Our sin also hurts God.

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)

Jesus was tortured, literally tortured, beaten, and killed, why? Because of our sin.  And you can honestly tell me that you want to choose to live in sin over living for God, and that God is okay with it?

One way we justify this is to separate the act of sin from the person committing the sin.  We say “Love the sinner, hate the sin.”  I think Leonard Ravenhill brings a fresh perspective to this topic.

“I don’t believe there is a man on the whole TV that preaches salvation. They preach forgiveness. Forgiveness is not salvation. … “Oh you know the Lord loves you just as you are.” Well then why get changed? Commit adultery as much as you like. He still loves you. Be a cheat, be a liar, be a thief, and be a failure. He still loves you. But there’s a scripture. Isn’t it the Psalms 7… where it says “God is angry with the wicked every day.” I heard somebody quote today “God loves you but hates your sin” that’s bunken. God hates you for committing the sin. Is God going to take your sins and judge them at the Judgment and leave you alone?”

This is why, if we love God, we must avoid sin.  If we don’t then we are just fooling ourselves.

If you are living in sin right now, as in purposely doing something you know is wrong, then you are choosing sin over loving God.  Christians are ambassadors, we take the name of God and we represent Him on this Earth, you are saying that you want Him to be the Lord of your life.  Yet you choose your filthy disgusting worthless sin over Him?

That fact alone has to disgust God greatly!

Living in Sin vs slipping up

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we will ever be perfect this side of heaven, for we are still in these sinful bodies.  What I am talking about is the purposeful, intentional, and continuous choice to sin.

No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:9)

The choice to keep looking at pornography, the choice to keep watching those shows on tv that have “questionable” content, the choice to sleep with someone you are not married to.  It is your lifestyle, things you choose to keep on doing.  You cannot have a lifestyle of sin and serve God at the same time.

You Must Make God Number One

To sum it up, you absolutely MUST make God first in your life.  There is no way around it.  Jesus did not die on the cross to save us from sin just to allow us to continue sinning.  He freed us from sin so we could stop sinning, so we could serve Him.

God Built: Forged by God – Book Review

I have heard a lot of good things about Steve Farrar but never personally read one of his books until now.  God Built: Forged by God, in the Bad and Good of Life is a very interesting and thought provoking book.

This book goes in depth into the life of Joseph and looks at why each event in his life happened.  From his betrayal by his brothers, to being sold into slavery, to being a chief slave, to being thrown into prison, to being handed the keys of Egypt, Joseph had a life of more downs than ups.  But Joseph acknowledged that everything in his life was orchestrated by God.  Which gets to the main point of this book, the sovereignty and providence of God.

“But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. … And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God;” Genesis 45:5,7-8

This book challenged my beliefs on how much God is in control of every detail of our life, and every event, even the bad ones.  It has challenged my views that God does not just allow bad things to happen, but He put them there.

Praising God in the storm

Many will get offended and defensive when I say that, but those are usually the same people who sing that it is “God who gives, and takes away.”  This is a belief that we have acknowledged but never really thought through the implications of.

It is God who gives and takes away; He has a purpose for everything, we just need to learn to accept it and keep following Him regardless of if we see the good in a situation or not.  God had a purpose to allow Joseph to go through what he went through, and He has a purpose for what we are going through.

Take for example the Jasper family.  One day while the father was playing around with his five year old son their go cart flipped over, killing Cooper, the five year old boy.  Along with all of the pain that goes with loosing a child they never took their eyes off of God. They knew that it happened because God wanted it to happen, and this freed them to worship God even in the darkest of moments instead of tearing their family apart with anger towards God or blaming each other.  (Check out their story made into a documentary)

Working for God

Having a better understanding of who God is and how God controls everything also helps us in our day to day life, not just during the bad times.  When working at a job, God put us in that job, if we like it or not we are still working for God so we need to give it our best.

Joseph was literally a slave, but he worked hard to serve God and he ended up becoming the top slave in the house, in control of everything.  Then he got demoted, sent to prison, but his attitude and willingness to serve God meant that he was recognized by the jailer and was put in charge over his area of the prison.

When God puts us in our own dirty jobs, even for years at a time, we need to endure it with a positive, Godly attitude.  That will help us learn the lesson that God may have for us in those situations, and it will be a good witness to those around us that God may want us to minister to.

God’s Control… and Evil

One of the questions that is often brought up when discussing this topic is if God is in control of everything, then that means He made sin and makes us sin.  Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones has an answer for this, which is explained in a bit more detail in the book.

The great problem is this: if God does govern and control everything, then what is his relationship to sin? All I can do, in answer, is to lay down a number of propositions that are clearly taught in Scripture.

The first is that sinful acts are under divine control, and occur only by God’s permission and according to his ultimate purpose (Genesis 45:8).

The second is that God restrains and controls sin (Psalm 76:10).

The third is that God overrules sin for good (Genesis 50:20).

My last proposition is that God never causes sin, nor approves of it, He only permits, directs, restrains, limits, and overrules it.  People alone are responsible for their sin (James 1:13-15).

You are built by God

All of this is meant to show you that you are built by God, the way you are and the plans He has for you in the future.  It is about us being men, manning up to our responsibilities and living how God wants us to live, because He built us for a purpose.

Your past mistakes and hardships were not mistakes, they were engineered by God to make you who you are.

I would recommend this book to most people, and at only $8 for the hard back at Amazon it is in a price range for most people as well.  So pick it up!

Are you being controlled by the subtlety of sin?

“Then let it see the Crystal Shard and destroy it,” Entreri remarked, and he felt a twinge then as Crenshinibon (the Crystal Shard) cried out.

“Why?” Jarlaxle asked suddenly, and Entreri recognized that his ever-opportunistic friend had heard that silent call.

“Why?” the assassin (Entreri) echoed, turning to regard Jarlaxle fully.

“Perhaps we are being premature in our planning,” Jarlaxle explained. “We know how to destroy the Crystal Shard now – likely that will be enough for us to use against the artifact to bend it continually to our will.”

Entreri started to laugh.

“There is truth in what I say, and a gain to be had in following my reasoning,” Jarlaxle insisted. “Crenshinibon began to manipulate me, no doubt, but now that we have determined that you, and not the artifact, are truly the master of your relationship, why must we rush ahead to destroy it? Why not determine first if you might control the item enough for our own gain?”

“Because if you know, beyond doubt, that you can destroy it, and the Crystal Shard knows that, as well, there may be no need to destroy it,” Entreri played along.

“Exactly!” said the now-excited dark elf.

“Because if you know you can destroy the crystalline tower, then there is no possible way that you will wind up with two crystalline towers,” Entreri replied sarcastically, and the eager grin disappeared from Jarlaxle’s black-skinned face in the blink of an astonished eye.

“It did it again.,” the drow remarked dryly.

“Same bait on the hook, and the Jarlaxle fish chomps even harder,” Entreri replied.

This is a scene from a fantasy book “Servant of the Shard” by R. A. Salvatore.  (Hang on with me, I promise I am going somewhere redeeming with this!)

There is a magical item, called Crenshinibon, or the Crystal Shard.  This is an evil item of great magical power, and a mind of its own.  Whoever possesses the item can use its power, but the Crystal Shard uses the promises of power and fame or whatever other weakness the wielder has to manipulate that person and bring him or her under its own control.

Earlier in the book it tried to work through Jarlaxle, making him do things he normally would not do because of the influence of the Crystal Shard.  Eventually he ends up making a crystalline tower, a powerful tower the Crystal Shard needs to make it stronger.

Jarlaxle, determined to be ruled by anything finally regains control, and goes to destroy the tower.  And he starts to succeed.  As the tower starts to fall he feels victorious over the object and then starts to think things.  “Now that I am in control I can destroy the tower whenever I want, so really there is no need to destroy it right this second.  In fact, two towers would be nice.”  Suddenly a second tower appears.

How temptation deceives us

These two events in the book, where Jarlaxle is wanting to destroy the tower and ends up with two towers, and then later on the way to destroy the Crystal Shard decides that you don’t really need to destroy it if you know you can destroy it, both remind me of temptations that we face.

How often have you been trapped in a sin, yet you believe that you have control of it?  You get to the point where you convince yourself that you can quit at any time, and of course since you are in control of when you can quit you decide not to quit.  Who is really in control there?

Just this once

Often times this appearance of control comes in the form of “just this once.”  You will compromise and commit this sin, just this one time.  How often has just this once turned into just one more time?

Anytime it comes to sin and temptation there is no room for compromise, no room for control at all.  The more you think you have control over your sin the more it really controls you.  You say you have control while it has you in chains preventing you from exercising that apparent control.

Joseph gives us the best example of how to deal with such temptation.  Flee.

But it happened about this time, when Joseph went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the house was inside, that she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled and ran outside – Genesis 39:11-12

Sin has no place in the life of a Christian, no matter how small it may seem.  Finding ways to get away with sin, small or large, will end with sin sinking its hooks deeper into you.

Sure you quit looking at pornography for a day, so you can quit at any time, you convince yourself as you bring up more pictures on your computer.

Or one that has hit close to me, reading your Bible every day.

It is amazing the thoughts that go through my mind regarding the time I know I should spend in the Bible and praying.  I do great reading the Bible every day and then one day I miss it.  The next day I think to myself that I can start reading again at any time, but today is busy, so I will do it tomorrow instead.

The next thing I know a month has gone bye and my Bible has done nothing but collect dust.

You will come up with any excuse to not read your Bible and convince yourself that it is okay because you can start again at any time, yet you don’t.  Your mind will work over time to come up with excuses why it is okay to keep sinning, to keep speeding, look at pictures of pornography, curse, watch a movie you know you shouldn’t – just this once.  Yet if you were really in control of the situation you would have done the right thing in the first place.

Imagine a roller coaster, you are sitting in the car going along the track, with a steering wheel attached. You turn left just as the track turns left and the car goes left, so you think you are in control.  It is not until you try to turn right when the track turns left that you realize you have no control.

The BIble tells us that we cannot have two masters (Matthew 6:24), so we must choose.  Choose now to follow God and to repent of your sin. Do not play games to tempt yourself.  Flee all temptation, God will always give you a way out.

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. – James 1:13-15

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. – 1 Corinthians 10:12-13

The next time you are debating not reading the Bible, thinking it is because you are choosing not to but can start again after lunch or tomorrow, think about how subtlety the sin will try to control you.

The next time you are thinking of continuing in that sin, whatever it may be, remember that you are not in control of it, but you can flee it.

Did Jesus exist in the beginning with God?

I have been a follower of Jesus for years and have spent a lot of time reading His Word, so I sometimes forget that not everybody knows the basic beleifs of Christianity. I take it for granted that people just believe the stuff every Christian should know.

Take for example this simple question, “Did Jesus exist in the beginning with God?” Before anything was created, before time, did Jesus exist in the beginning? I asked sixteen professing believers I work with this question, and was shocked at how few knew the answer.  Twelve of those sixteen did not believe that Jesus existed in the beginning, and was just the first created thing.

Did Jesus exist in the beginning?

John 1:1-2 simply states this when it says

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.

And who was the Word? Just a few verses later John clearly tells us

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’” (John 1:14-15)

Who was it that became flesh to dwell among us, the only begotten of the Father (John 3:16)? Who was it that John bore witness to? It was Jesus. Jesus existed in the beginning with God, and not just existing with God, but Jesus was God in the beginning! (He is still God today of course. 🙂 )

Isaiah the prophet heard a message from God where God the Father said

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘ I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God. (Isaiah 44:6)

God is the First and the Last, nothing existed before God and nothing will exist after Him, He is it, the first and the last. In Revelation Jesus identifies himself as ” I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” (Revelation 22:13) The Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the greek alphabet, in English it would be the A and the Z. There are no letters before A, and none after Z. Jesus is the first and last, the beginning, and the end.

How is it that both God the Father and Jesus can be the first and the last? This is only possible because Jesus is God. Remember what John 1:1 said, “The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Both are God, both are one being, one diety, even though they are individual.

I Am

In the Old Testament God would refer to himself as simply “I Am” (Exodus 3:14). That in itself is an awesome statement, which I will cover in a future article. Jesus later when talking to the Jews told them “Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”” (John 8:58). Jesus is not only saying that he existed since before his physical birth on earth, but he is identifying himself as being God, as being the I Am. Jesus again identified himself as the I am when he was being arrested in the garden. The soldiers asked if Jesus was “Jesus of Nazareth” and Jesus replied in such away that the soldiers fell to the ground. “Now when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground.” (John 18:6)

Jesus is the Creator

When God is creating man He says “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness;” (Genesis 1:26). Who is God talking to here? Who is God refereing to by saying “Us” and “Our”? God is not a single being but three, completely seperate beings, three deities that are the same. The Word was with God and the Word was God (John 1:1). This is an example of how Jesus did exist in the beginning.

Not only was Jesus with God in the beginning, before creation, but Jesus is the creator. John 1:3 says “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” Jesus did not come to die for his Father’s creation, but his own. Isn’t this amazing? Jesus knew what he would have to go through, he knew all of the suffering he would face before he created us, yet he still choose to do so!

Why is this important?

The final question I want to look at is why is it important that Jesus existed in the beginning with God?
If Jesus did not exist in the beginning with God, then you must conclude that Jesus was not God and therefor could not live a perfect life and die for our sins, or you must conclude that God can make other gods. If God could make other gods then it makes God a lot less unique in the universe and we could claim that there are other gods to follow and Jesus isn’t the only way.

No, Jesus had to be God, part of the Trinity, One God.  As we read and study the Bible, and as we get to know Jesus closer, we cannot help but conclude that Jesus did indeed exist in the beginning with God.

Theistic Evolution

A huge debate going on right now is on the topic of Naturalistic Evolution (also known as Neo-Darwinism) and Intelligent Design.

Advocates of evolution seem to have the popular view, or at least they are the loudest, since if you ask most people they assume that evolution is the only theory on the origin of species. According to the movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, even mentioning another side of the argument can cause many to lose their job, which continues to promote the idea that evolutionary theory is the only theory out there.

But there is another theory, Intelligent Design (I.D.). Intelligent Design is often times viewed as a “religious” or “theological” view, but it isn’t. It is a scientific theory that states that certain things in nature are so complex that it is impossible for them to come to where they are in a fully natural way. This tends to be a common belief among Christians as Christians believe that the God is the designer.

One other theory, called Theistic Evolution. This theory states that God used evolution in the creation of the world. This is mainly a way to try and merge what the mainstream scientists believe with what the Bible says.

Theistic evolution however, is nothing more than an attempt to harmonize God’s perfect Word with man’s imperfect thoughts. Let’s look at what the Bible states on this issue.

Origin of Man

Genesis 1:26-28

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

According to this passage man is an intentional creation from God, made in a distinct way different than the rest of the animal kingdom. None of the other animals were ever created with the description of being made in the image of God.

Another interesting point, is that when God created every animal, He spoke them into existence, but man, God formed man with His hands, and then breathed the breath of life into them.

Genesis 2:7

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

According to evolutionary theory:

Human evolution, or anthropogenesis, is the part of biological evolution concerning the emergence of Homo sapiens sapiens as a distinct species from other hominansgreat apes and placental mammals.

Where the Bible says that Adam is a specific man created by God distinct from all the other animals where evolution says that man emerged from other animals in the animal kingdom and eventually became a distinct species. These views are completely in contradiction. Jesus mentions Adam as being a specific individual, so if we say that Adam was not an actual created person then we say that Jesus is lying.

So when your world view challenges what the Bible says, which will you decide is right?

Origin of Death

Pay careful attention to this point, because it involves one of the basic fundamental beliefs of Christianity.

1 Corinthians 15:21-22

For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

Romans 5:12

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—

The Bible is clear that Death is a product of sin, a product of one man breaking God’s laws. This world was intended to exist without death, and one day we will return to the perfect state of the world.

The theory of evolution states something quite different. According to evolution, death has been around for millions of years, and it is necessary for natural selection to take place. Death is a natural process a part of the natural world.

Don’t miss that point, according to evolutionary theory, death is a natural process necessary for life to evolve, but according to the Bible death is unnatural, it is a product of our sin. If death is a natural product that God created from the beginning for the process of evolution then Jesus’ death would be in vain, because it would not be a penalty for sin it would be a natural process.

Jesus knew no sin

Hebrews 4:14-15

Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Isaiah 53:5, 12

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
And He was numbered with the transgressors,
And He bore the sin of many,
And made intercession for the transgressors.

2 Corinthians 5:21

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

So if you believe in Theistic evolution, then Jesus’ death was for nothing, it couldn’t have been a penalty for sin, it couldn’t be Him paying that penalty for us, and we are lost still. This whole concept is deeply important to our salvation. In the old testament it was the slaying of a lamb that would be sufficient as a sacrifice, again, the death of an innocent would cover the sins of man.

So when your world view challenges what the Bible says, which will you decide is right?

7 Days of creation is in the wrong order

Day 1: God creates the world and light
Day 2: God creates the sky, and separates it from the ocean
Day 3: God creates dry land and plants
Day 4: God creates the sun and moon
Day 5: God creates sea creatures and birds of the air
Day 6: God creates land animals and man
Day 7: God rested

Some say that God used evolution but that each day was really a representation of a long period of time, thousands or millions of years per day. But we have a problem here, plants are created before the sun is, and we all know plants can’t survive and reproduce without sunlight. Also, Birds of the air are created before land animals, and according to evolutionary theory birds evolved from land animals.

So does this mean that man lived with dinosaurs? Just read the last two chapters of Job where God talks about 2 “prehistoric” creatures that Job is actually looking at, or search or lake beds where we find men’s footprints along side dinosaur footprints.

Also, when God created the plants, and each animal, He commands them to reproduce according to their kind. According to neo-Darwinism each animal reproduces and eventually creates a different kind, this is completely against what the Bible says.

So we have a big discrepancy here, these two accounts of creation cannot mix at all.

Biblical Age of the Earth

Genesis 5 gives us a detailed account of how old the age of the earth is. This gives us 2 important pieces of information. For one it shows that the Bible considers these people to be literal humans, giving them specific dates that the were born and died on. Neo-Darwinism blurs the line of when the first human appeared, there are several stages of advancement and there is no distinction of when the first human appears in history.

Also this tells us clearly how old the earth is. We know that Adam was created on Day 6, “And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth” (Genesis 5:3).

Seth was born when Adam was 130 years old, so he was born in the year 130. “Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begot Enosh.” (Genesis 5:6). Enosh is born when Seth is 105, since Seth was born in the year 130 we can easily calculate the year that Enosh is born (130 + 105). Enosh is born in the year 235.

This process can be repeated, Genesis 5 goes all the way to Noah, and then you can continue through other chapters of the Bible such as Genesis 10 and Matthew 1. Not all chapters give an exact date, but you can easily estimate the life of one person. Through this process you can estimate that the Earth is aproximately 6,000 years old. Obviously not long enough for macro-evolution to create life.

If the Bible meant for the Genesis account to be taken as an analogy or a symbol, then it wouldn’t give such details. Doing this research is very interesting, you can see how the lifespan of people was much larger before the flood, so we can assume that something major happened in the flood that changed the climate so humans couldn’t live as long. These are all interesting topics to consider and research but they are outside the scope of this blog.

The point is that the Bible is clear on the creation account, it gives specific details and the gospel message itself is founded on the very beginning, that God created us unique and different than the animal kingdom, making us with souls where other animals don’t have souls. It is because of our sin that death is in the world and it is for that very reason that Jesus was able to come and live a sinless life, and die taking our place on the cross, He took our place under God’s wrath.

Conclusion

Theistic evolution however, is nothing more than an attempt to harmonize God’s perfect Wordwith man’s imperfect thoughts

The main reason people do try to mix these theories is because evolution is popular right now, but the popular scientific theories are not always correct. We need to rely on God and not man.

For those who think that this means we check our brains at the door and follow the Bible blindly, you couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many websites on Intelligent Design that talk about the science that proves that there must be an intelligent force behind the creation of everything. We as Christians know who that intelligent force is.

Check out some other resources such as http://apologetics.org, or subscribe to a podcast called Darwin or Designwhere they discuss these issues and interview some top scientists on a weekly radio show. If you have questions feel free to ask us at http://www.EternalTruthMinistry.com

Don’t compromise your beliefs just because someone says they have evidence to the contrary, we know from courts that both sides have evidence, but both are not correct, just because you have evidence doesn’t mean you have all the facts about the evidence. Look into all sides for yourself, know the facts for yourself. God gave you a mind, use it.

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The Breath of God

Genesis 2:7 “Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.”

The breath of life… When man was first created, he was created special, different than the rest of the animals in the world.

For all of the other animals, God spoke them into existance. God said a word and there they were. But with man, God formed man by hand, and then God breathed into the man. We are litterally hand crafted by God, which is a cool thought if you really think about it.

When God breathed into man, He breathed into man man’s spirit. It’s this breath that brought us to life physically.

2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;”.

The phrase “inspired by God” litterally means “God-breathed”. The scripture was breathed by God, and it is the breath of God to us.

Just like God breathed physical life into us, for us to be spiritually alive we must also have God’s spiritual breath. Without us reading the Bible, our spirit is dead, just a clump of dirt. It takes the breath of God to make us alvie, so why do we ignore the Bible so much?

If we do not read the Bible on a regular basis, we will be spiritually dead, never growing or having a relationship with Christ, and that, is very dangerous.

Make sure you don’t let your spirit die. Read the Bible daily and see what the Spirit of God breathes onto you today.

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101 Last Days Prophecies

The Bible predicts many specific signs that will culminate in the last days. Notice that none of these prophecies are vague. Also consider that Jesus indicated these signs would arise concurrently (pretty much at the same time), gaining momentum like birth pains, as His return draws near (Matthew 24:33-34, Matthew 24:8).

Though many of these prophecies won’t climax until the Tribulation period, our generation is the first to see every trend in place. As the final seconds of this age tick away, these events will come into even clearer focus.

Keep in mind as you read this list that these prophecies were penned 1900 to 3500 years ago!

1. False Bible teachers would be money hungry. They would be smooth talkers, have many followers, and slur the Christian faith (2 Peter 2:1-3).

2. Mankind would be capable of destroying all life (Matthew 24:21-22). Consider that when Jesus made this prediction the armaments of His day were swords and spears. But today, with nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, it is possible to wipe out all flesh on planet earth.

3. The use of nuclear weapons anticipated (Zechariah 14:12).
The neutron bomb melts (dissolves) its victims –
just as Zechariah predicted 2500 years ago.

4. There would be a global cry for peace (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

5. The Antichrist would use (false) peace to destroy many (Daniel 8:23-25). With all the problems facing mankind, multitudes are looking for a “savior” to usher in peace and prosperity without moral accountability. The Antichrist will promise the world such a peace if they follow him – but his intentions will be sinister.

6. Damascus would be destroyed (Isaiah 17:1, 14; Jeremiah 49:23-27; Amos 1:3-5). Damascus, Syria is increasingly in the news and is extremely anti-Semitic. Many terrorist organizations have their bases in Damascus. God declares that they will become a ruinous heap because they have violently taken what was not theirs.

7. Chaotic weather would be prevalent (Luke 21:25-26). Jesus foresaw “the seas and the waves roaring” in the last days. He also likened these signs to birth pangs (Matthew 24:8). The Greek word odin, often translated as sorrows in Matthew 24:8, literally means birth pangs.

Furthermore, the apostle Paul reminded us that the creation itself will be delivered from the curse at the end of the age (Romans 8:21). And that the “the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs” (Romans 8:22).

As delivery draws near, birth pangs always increase in both intensity and frequency. Therefore, the creation itself would travail as the time of delivery draws near. Of course chaotic weather has always existed, but there are indications that we are witnessing an increase in strange weather.

8. Global communications foreseen (Revelation 11:9-10; 17:8).
The Bible predicts that the entire world will “see” certain events unfold.

The invention of the television and the deployment of global satellite networks during the 20th century allow news to travel the world at the speed of light for the first time ever. Remember that in the apostle John’s day, news traveled at the speed of horseback.

9. The Christian gospel would be preached as a warning to all nations (Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10). Today, portions or all of the Bible have been translated into over 2,300 languages and dialects covering over 90% of the world’s population.

10. There would be a move toward a global government (Daniel 2:40-44; 7:23; Revelation 13:7-8). The former Roman Empire – which encompassed present-day Europe – would revive and eventually dominate the world.

The European Union has steadily moved forward in its attempt to unite Europe politically and economically. It has succeeded in creating a European parliament, a court, and a common currency.

11. Literal Babylon (formerly called Babel) would reemerge in the land of Shinar – known today as Iraq (Zechariah 5:11; Genesis 10:10; Genesis 11:1-9; Isaiah 13). Saddam Hussein spent over 20 years and many hundreds of millions of dollars rebuilding the city of Babylon.

12. The possesion of Jerusalem would be at the center of international turmoil (Zechariah 12:3). Almost daily the world news reports on the conflict over Jerusalem.

13. The fact that God once flooded the earth (the Noahic Flood) would be denied (2 Peter 3:5-6). There is a mass of fossil evidence to prove this fact, yet it is flatly ignored by the scientific world because of its uncanny implication.

14. Increased interest in vegetarianism anticipated (1 Timothy 4:3-4). The New Age Movement has swept the globe during the past 40 years popularizing this.

15. Many wars would erupt (Mark 13:7-8). According to Project Ploughshares, there are about 40 armed conflicts in the world today.

16. The earth would be filled with violence (Luke 17:26; Genesis 6:11-13). In the United States alone, violent crime has increased nearly 500% since 1960.

Fifty years ago abortion (the violent murder of an unborn child) was illegal in most countries. Today abortion is legal in most countries and 50 million children are aborted each year.

Jesus also predicted that there would be fearful sights (Luke 21:11). The Greek word translated fearful is phobetron, which can also be translated terror. According to the U.S. State Department, between 1981 and 2000, there were 9,179 international terrorist attacks.

17. Knowledge would increase (Daniel 12:4; Isaiah 11:9). Specifically, this is referring to an understanding of Bible prophecy, but also an increase in scientific knowledge is implied.

18. Despite an increase in scientific knowledge, deadly diseases (which the Bible calls “pestilences”) would be prevalent (Matthew 24:7).

Emerging diseases such as AIDS, Ebola, Hanta virus, Dengue, West Nile, SARS, etc., underscore this fact. Ironically, just a few decades ago, some scientists were forecasting that advances in medicine might soon eradicate deadly diseases.

19. There would be technology capable of tracking the world’s population and commerce (Revelation 13:16-17).

20. Despite technological advancements, famines would be common (Luke 21:11; Revelation 6:5-8).

21. The ancient city of Petra (Sela – the rock city) in Jordan would exist and become the refuge for the fleeing Jews during the Tribulation (Isaiah 16:1-4; Matthew 24:16; Revelation 12:6, 14).

In 1994, Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty making Petra a potential refuge for fleeing Jews.

22. Russia (Magog) would rise as a military power and lead a surprise attack on Israel just prior to the final seven years of this age (Ezekiel 38). Today, most of the southern states of the former Soviet Union are both military powerhouses and Muslim.

23. Turkey (Meshech) would also turn on Israel in the same surprise attack (Ezekiel 38). In November of 2002, Turkey elected a pro-Islamic party to govern the country.

24. Iran (Persia), Sudan (Cush), and Libya (Put) would also partake in the surprise attack on Israel (Ezekiel 38).

Anti-Semitism in the Arab world is rampant. According to the Koran and Hadith, all Muslims are commanded to kill Jews, Christians, and non-believers in Jihad (holy war) unless they convert to Islam (Surahs 9:5 and 47:4; Volume 1, book 2, numbers 24 and 35).

25. Ironically, Egypt and Jordan would not participate in this surprise attack (Ezekiel 38). Astoundingly, they are the only two Arab nations that have signed a peace treaty with Israel. Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 and Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

26. Birds of prey would eat the dead flesh of the enemy armies that fall in battle against Israel (Ezekiel 39:4, 17; Revelation 19:17-21).

It is a little known fact that Israel is the bird migration capital of the world. In fact, 500 million to 1.5 billion birds fly over Israel each spring. During the fall migration an estimated 1 to 4 billion birds traverse Israel. Many of these migratory birds are raptors – carrion (dead flesh) eating birds of prey. In fact, 34 species of raptors migrate over Israel.

27. Great signs from heaven predicted (Luke 21:11). Both natural and supernatural phenomena in the earth and sky appear to be increasing.

28. The sun would scorch the inhabitants of the earth (Revelation 16:8-9). Though this prophecy is clearly a divine judgment on unrepentant mankind, it is interesting that a compromise in the earth’s atmosphere due to nuclear war or other ecological disaster could facilitate this judgment.

29. The nation Israel would be born in one day (Isaiah 66:8).
On May 14, 1948 Israel became a nation.

30. The Jews would begin to regather in Israel (Jeremiah 31:7-10; Ezekiel 37:21-22; 38:8). 5.4 million and counting!

31. The Jews would regain control of biblical Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:6; Luke 21:24).
This happened in 1967!

32. The Eastern Gate would remain closed until the Messiah returns. At Christ’s Second Coming, He will enter Jerusalem through the now sealed Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 44:1-3). Today, as predicted, the Eastern Gate remains sealed.

33. The nation of Israel, which had been divided into two kingdoms since the time of Solomon (950 B.C.) – Israel in the north and Judah in the south – would be one united nation in the last days (Ezekiel 37:15-17, Ezekiel 37:22). At present, as predicted, Israel is one nation.

34. The returning Jews would have no king in the last days (Hosea 3:4-5). Amazingly, not only is Israel no longer a theocracy, but today the Jewish state is governed by a democracy comprised of some 30 political parties.

35. During the diaspora (the dispersion of the Jews to the four corners of the globe), Israel would become a wasteland (Deuteronomy 29:23-28; Ezekiel 36:8-11; Ezekiel 36:33-36). During the past 1900 years Israel became a nearly uninhabited, desolate wasteland.

36. Israel, once a desolate desert, would blossom in the last days and export produce to the world (Isaiah 27:6; 35:1-2; Ezekiel 36:34-36). Israel’s increased rainfall and world-renowned irrigation technology have caused the land to blossom.

Incredibly, as predicted, they currently export 800 million dollars worth of fresh produce each year.

37. Israel would once again plant vineyards on the mountains of Israel (Joel 3:17-18; Amos 9:13). Today, sweet wine flows from the Golan Heights and many other vineyards on the mountains of Israel.

38. The last days Jews would plant forests of trees. The Bible even specifies the variety of trees – cedar, acacia, myrtle, oil, cypress, pine, and box (Isaiah 41:18-20). This has happened in our day.

39. Though Israel would be the focus of many fulfilled prophecies, most Jews would remain blind to the fact that Jesus is their Messiah until the very end (Luke 19:41-42; Luke 13:34-35; Romans 11:25-26).

40. The Euphrates River would be dried up (Revelation 16:12). Today, the massive Ataturk Dam in Turkey, completed in 1990, can hold back the Euphrates to a trickle.

41. Asia (the kings from the east) would be capable of deploying a 200-million-man army during earth’s final days (Revelation 9:14-16; 16:12). Bear in mind, in Jesus’ day there were only an estimated 170 to 400 million people on the entire planet.

42. Population explosion predicted (Revelation 7:9, 14). The apostle John, who wrote the Book of Revelation, was told the number of an army in the last days – two hundred million (Revelation 9:16). This was the approximate population of the world at that time.

That John also beholds “a great multitude which no one could number” coming out of the Great Tribulation at the end of the age (Revelation 7:9, 14). indicates an enormous number of people on planet earth in the last days.

43. The nations would bud (Luke 21:29-33). In Scripture, the tree is often used figuratively of a nation (Ezekiel 31:3-6; Daniel 4:20-22). During the past century we have seen the end of the colonial era and the rapid growth in the number of newly formed independent nations.

44. Egypt, one of the world’s greatest ancient civilizations, would exist in the last days – but only as a lowly third world nation (Ezekiel 29:14-16). Today, as predicted, Egypt remains an impoverished nation. To show how amazing this prophecy is, compare modern Egypt with the tiny nation of Austria. Egypt has ten times more land area, and a population eight times greater then Austria. Yet, Epypt’s Gross Domestic Product is only one-fifth of Austria’s GDP.

45. Earthquakes occurring in diverse places predicted.
(Matthew 24:7).

46. Marriage would be forbidden by many (1 Timothy 4:3). The Bible states that marriage is honorable among all (Hebrews 13:4). Despite this, the Catholic Church forbids their 400,000 priests 800,000 nuns, and numerous bishops, cardinals, nuns, and monks from marrying. The Orthodox Church, as well as Hindus, Buddhists, and other religious groups also impose mandatory celibacy for certain orders.

47. Deceptive signs and wonders would abound
(Matthew 24:24; 2 Thessalonians 2:9).

48. Youth would become increasingly rebellious
(2 Timothy 3:2-3; Mark 13:12).

49. There would be many involved in travel (Daniel 12:4). Prior to the industrial revolution, few individuals traveled beyond their community. Until recently, horse, foot, and boat were the only modes of transportation. Yet, in our day millions travel to and fro great distances every year.

50. The rise of anti-Semitism worldwide anticipated (Joel 3:2; Zechariah 12:2-3). In the 1940s, Hitler tried to exterminate every Jew. And in the final 3 � years of the Tribulation, Antichrist will turn on the Jews and attempt the same.

51. Jesus said Christians would be hated for His name’s sake (Luke 21:17; Revelation 6:9-11; 20:4). The banning of the Bible, prayer, the Ten Commandments, nativity scenes, Christmas songs, etc., reflects this trend. Also consider that more Christians were martyed during the past century than during any other period in history.

52. Humanity would become increasingly materialistic and lovers of pleasure (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

53. Homosexuality would be flaunted at the end of the age (Luke 17:28-30; Genesis 19).
Ask your grandparents if there were such things as Gay Pride parades in their day.

54. The Hebrew language would be restored (Zephaniah 3:9). Remarkable, but today Hebrew is once again the official language of Israel.

Ultimately, when Christ returns to set up His kingdom, all people will share one speech. Not only will one language be restored, as it was before Babel (Genesis 11:1), but all people will call on the Lord with one accord.

55. The Ethiopian Jews would return to Israel (Zephaniah 3:10).
At least 60,000 Ethiopian Jews have returned during the past 20 years.

56. Substantial wealth and luxuries foreseen (James 5:1-3; Revelation 3:17; Revelation 18). It is interesting that 40 years ago some authorities forecasted that the growing mass of humanity was so quickly depleting the world’s resources, that many resources would be exhausted in a few decades. Yet today, vast material wealth and luxuries are in abundant supply – just as the Bible indicated 2000 years ago.

57. Despite increases in wealth, disparity between the wealthy and poor would continue to increase (Revelation 6:6). In Scripture, oil and wine often denote luxurious abundance (Proverbs 21:17; Joel 2:24; Revelation 18:13). Therefore this prophecy indicates that the wealthy will continue to flourish while the poor can scarcely afford bread.

Thirty years ago, the world’s richest 20% had 30 times the income of the poorest quintile. Today the ratio is 60 to 1. That means that the top 20% account for 85% of the world income, while the bottom billion’s share is only 1.4%.

58. Stress would increase because of selfishness (2 Timothy 3:1-2). In verse 1 of 2 Timothy 3, the Greek word chalepos can be translated perilous or difficult or grievous or stressful. The main reason for this stress is because “men will be lovers of themselves.”

59. Religious cults would mushroom (Matthew 24:5, 11; 2 Peter 2:1).
Numerous cults have emerged in these last days.

60. The returning Jews would once again use the ancient shekel for commerce (Ezekiel 45:12; Amos 8:5). Amazingly, the shekel is now Israel’s official currency.

61. A large asteroid or meteorite predicted to hit the earth during the Tribulation (Revelation 8:10-11). In 2002, an asteroid the size of a football field passed extremely close to Earth, remaining undetected until days later.

62. Nuclear energy foreseen (Revelation 8:10-11). While this prophecy is clearly a divine judgment, it is interesting that an asteroid or comet strike could easily breach nuclear power plants which are commonly located near large bodies of water. This would contaminate (make bitter) vast waterways.

63. Plans to rebuild the temple in Israel anticipated (Revelation 11:1-2; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4; Matthew 24:15). Preparations by the Temple Institute are nearly complete.

64. A red heifer without blemish must be born and sacrificed to purify the temple in Israel (Numbers 19:2, 3, 5, 9). A kosher red heifer was born in 2002 and remains without blemish!

65. The temple sacrifices would be reinstitued in Israel in the last days (Daniel 9:27; Daniel 12:11). Daniel foresaw the Antichrist ending the daily sacrifices. Therefore, the Jewish sacrificial system must have first been restored in the last days.

Currently, the Temple Institute has created all the temple furniture and vessels. There are also several hundred young Jewish men in training for the Levitical priesthood.

66. In the last days, Israel would be surrounded by enemy Nations. (Psalm 83:4-8).

67. Israel would remain invincible except during the Great Tribulation (Zechariah 12:6-9). Even during those last 3 � years, when it looks like Israel will be destroyed, the Lord shall deliver Israel from the hands of her enemies. (Jeremiah 30:3-7; Zechariah 14; Mark 13:14-20).

Since 1948, Israel has been attacked in three major wars and six lesser wars, yet despite being vastly outnumbered, they have destroyed all attacking foes.

68. In the last days, fallen angels would mingle with mankind (Luke 17:26; Genesis 6:1-4). This may account for the explosion of ET/Alien abduction reports during the last 50 years.

69. The majority of those in the last days church would be lukewarm, wealthy, complacent and would be vomited into tribulation (Revelation 3:14-16). Polls reveal that a high percentage of professing Christians deny that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. Many even deny that Jesus is God.

70. There would be a move towards a one-world religion.
(Revelation 13:8,12; Revelation 17).

71. Many would say that Christ is in the “secret chambers” or “inner rooms” in the last days. (Matthew 24:26). According to the Catholic Church, Christ is in the inner rooms of hundreds of thousands of Catholic churches – either in Eucharistic tabernacles or in Eucharistic monstrances. Jesus also warned that this deception would be acompanied by great signs and wonders (Matthew 24:23-27). Currently, Eucharistic miracles are reported around the globe.

72.
A woman, who is an impostor, would call herself “queen” and head the global counterfeit church in the last days (Revelation 17; 18:7).

Tens of millions follow the apparition of Mary, who claims that she is the Mother of the Church, the Lady of All Nations, the Co-Redemptrix, and the Queen of Heaven and Earth.

73. The woman would also embody a great city set on seven hills (Revelation 17:9, 18). The Queen of Heaven is considered the Mother of the Roman Catholic Church which has its headquarters (the Vatican) situated on seven hills. As the Catholic Encyclopedia states, “It is within the city of Rome, called the city of seven hills, that the entire area of Vatican State proper is now confined.”

74. In the last days, this wicked woman would go out over the face of the whole earth. She would be associated with a global curse. Her final destination would be Babylon – in the land of Shinar (Zechariah 5).

Interestingly, the apparition of Mary claims that she will soon travel through the entire world saving those who look to her.

75. This female impostor would come in Christ’s name seducing His followers to commit idolatry (Revelation 2:20-22; 17:4,5).

The apparition of Mary encourages millions to bow down to her statues and visit her shrines. Worldwide, she also stresses the importance of worshiping the Eucharist.

76. The Lady of Kingdoms would deceive God’s people.
Ultimately, the Lord would expose her true identity (Isaiah 47).

It is provocative that an apparition of Mary entitled “The Lady of Nations” has initiated Catholics to petition the pope to declare her Co-Redemptrix. Nearly 7 million petitions have been sent to the pope urging him to declare her Co-Redemptrix.

77. Epidemic drug use predicted (Revelation 9:21). The Greek word translated sorceries is pharmakeia which refers to drug use, both illegal drugs and mind-altering drugs.

78. Sorceries – referring to witchcraft, magic, or occult practices used to enchant and deceive – are also anticipated in the last days (Revelation 9:21; Revelation 18:23; Isaiah 47:9-15; Micah 5:10-15)

79. Israel would be partitioned by other nations (Joel 3:2; Daniel 11:39). This has been a top priority for the United Nations since Israel’s statehood. Currently, the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and Gaza, have been divided up into Jewish and Palestinian settlements.

80. A global arms race would occur (Joel 3:9-14; Revelation 16:14).
Never in history have so many nations stockpiled armaments.

81. Atomic fission anticipated (2 Peter 3:10-12). The Greek word translated elements is stoicheion which refers to the Greek letters: alpha, beta, gamma, etc. These are fundamental particles and rays of the atomic nuclei which are emitted from a molecule during radioactive decay. Peter predicted these elements would “melt with fervent heat” when the earth and the heavens are “dissolved” by fire. Today we understand that if the elements of the atom are loosed, there would be an enormous release of heat and energy (radiation).

82. Financial systems would depend on numbers not cash (Revelation 13:17-18).

83. Environmental devastation of the planet foreseen (Revelation 11:18). Our generation has done more to ravage the environment than any previous generation.

84. A global economic system would exist ( Revelation 13:17; 18:3, 11 , 19 , 23 ). Today, globalists in every level of government are seeking to unite the world. Connecting the world monetarily is crucial to their goal.

85. There would be “signs in the sun” (Luke 21:25).
This could refer to the increase in sunspots and solar flares.

86. Many would call themselves the Christ (Matthew 24:5). Jesus was an itinerate preacher who never traveled outside the tiny nation of Israel and He had the audacity to say that many would come in His name, claiming to be the Christ. And yet today, multitudes within the New Age Movement, Eastern religions, and the cults call themselves the Christ.

87. God predicted that His name would be great among the nations (Malachi 1:11; Philippians 2:9-11). As we begin the 3rd millennium, nearly 2 billion people profess to be Christians.

Ironically, over one billion Muslims regard Jesus as the Christ and the only sinless prophet, though they deny His claims that He rose from the dead and that He is divine.

Most of the remaining population regard Jesus as the greatest prophet and teacher ever. As foretold, no other name compares to the fame ascribed to Jesus Christ.

88. Jesus predicted that even after heaven and earth pass away, His words would never be forgotten (Luke 21:33). As we near the end of the age, we see that Christ’s words remain as accurate, renowned, and relevant as they were 2000 years ago. Today, Bible societies distribute approximately 600 million Scripture portions or entire Bibles every single year.

89. Despite the Bible’s numerous warnings and last days prophecies, most people would be taken off guard when these events culminate (Luke 21:35-36; 1 Thessalonians 5:2).

90. All true followers of Christ would suddenly vanish – raptured (caught up) by God to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

A false explanation will deceive the unsuspecting masses (2 Thessalonians 2:9-12).

Today many apparitions, angels, ETs, cults, and New Agers are offering a counterfeit explanation for this soon to take place event.

91. After the Rapture (during the Tribulation), innumerable multitudes from every nation would wake up and turn to the true Jesus of the Bible and be saved (Revelation 7:9-17).

In addition, the Bible indicates that after a chastening period (the Tribulation) multitudes from Egypt to Assyria (Iraq and surrounding nations) would call upon the name of the Lord and be saved (Isaiah 19:16-25).

Today, the seeds of the gospel are being spread in every nation – including the Middle East!

92. In the last days Israel would have a peace treaty in place that the Antichrist will confirm and eventually break (Daniel 9:27).

Currently the world’s governments are striving for an Israeli peace treaty.

93. The final generation would be open to receiving a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads (Revelation 13:16). Consider how the up and coming generation is tattooed, pierced and marked with all kinds of insignia.

94. Some professing Christians would give heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1). This generation has witnessed the explosion of apparitions and other “heavenly visitors” that are embraced by professing Christians even though their doctrines contradict the Word of God.

95. People would reject the sound doctrine of the Word of God and follow the doctrines of men that appeal to their own lusts ( 2 Timothy 4:3-4; Acts 20:29-30).

Jesus also predicted that there would be many hypocrites within the church (Matthew 24:48-51; Matthew 7:22-23).

96. Many would forsake the Ten Commandments as a moral code:
blaspheming, committing adultery, disobeying parents, stealing, lying, coveting, etc.
(Matthew 24:12; Revelation 9:21).

97. Idolatry would be pervasive (Revelation 9:20). An idol is anything that competes with the attention due only to our Creator. Money, position, pleasure, a person, possessions, and any created thing can all become idols (Romans 1:18-25; 2 Timothy 3:1-4).

98. Blasphemy would be common (2 Timothy 3:2; Revelation 16:9, 11, 21).

Consider how often people use their Creator’s name (God or Jesus Christ) as a curse word. What they have done is liken the One who is the source of every blessing (eyesight, sunsets, food, family, friends, etc.) to a four-letter curse word.

Fifty years ago, Hollywood seldom used God’s name in vain.
Today, nearly every movie includes blasphemy.

99. Sexual immorality would be rampant (Jude 18; Revelation 9:21).

Keep in mind, Jesus said whoever looks to lust has already committed adultery in his heart (Matthew 5:28). Therefore, God equates Internet porn, lustful movies, TV shows, and magazines to fornication.

100. Men would sear their conscience so they could continue in sin (1 Timothy 4:2).

The conscience is where God reveals right and wrong.
Con means with and science means knowledge.

Therefore we sin “with knowledge” when we ignore God’s moral law and violate our own conscience.

101. Men would mock the warning signs of the end of the age saying,
“These signs have always been around” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
The Bible even reveals their motivation, they love lust.

There are many more last days prophecies (several too detailed for this brief list), however these 101 demonstrate that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. It is true that some of these signs have been around for millennia. But only our generation has witnessed the coming together of every one of these events. Contrast the Bible’s 100% track record with other self-proclaimed prophetic sources and there is no comparison. The false prophets typically repackage and plagiarize the Bible’s prophecies for the unsuspecting masses, or they make so many vague prophecies that one is bound to be fulfilled. Nostradamus did both.

Jesus also predicted that when these signs begin to happen that some men would be paralyzed with fear (Luke 21:26), while others would look up with hopeful expectation (Luke 21:28). Which camp do you fall into? If you’re fearful, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that God will judge every man who breaks even one of His laws. Have you ever blasphemed your Creator’s name? Lied (white lies and fibs count)? Stolen (cheating on a test or taxes is stealing)? Looked with lust? If you have answered “Yes” to these questions, then by your own admission, you are a blaspheming, lying, thieving, adulterer at heart. And we have only looked at four of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20).

That’s how God sees you. Keep in mind, God sees every secret sin of your past as if it just occurred. Nothing is hidden from His holy eyes. Also remember that Jesus rebuked the pious religious leaders of His day because, though they appeared good on the outside, inside they were prideful hypocrites. They were trusting in their own “goodness,” but the Lord saw their heart. No matter how upright we may appear on the surface, all of us have broken God’s holy commandments and need the Savior. Please listen to your conscience. You know you are guilty, and therefore will end up in hell. That’s not God’s will. In fact, God “is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

The good news is that God has made a way to freely forgive us so that we may spend eternity with Him in heaven. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). God desires a loving, eternal relationship with each person – free from sin, fear, and pain. Therefore, He sent His Son to die as our substitute on the cross. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Jesus never sinned, yet He bore all our sins on the cross. All who turn from their sins and call on His name will be saved. That is awesome news!

If these signs alarm you, thank God, because the Lord wants to wake you from your spiritual slumber and give you eternal life. To repent of your sins and place your trust in Jesus Christ, make Psalm 51 your prayer. Then read your Bible daily, obeying what you read. God will never let you down.

Courtesy of an article on http://livingwaters.com

Extreme Faith

Extreme is becoming a fairly common word in today’s society. There are extreme sports where people have the mentality of “No Fear” to do incredible stunts and actions. They do it for various reasons, an adrenaline rush, to be popular, or they just lost their mind. But these people constantly risk their life to be extreme, even after seeing others be paralyzed or killed in motorcycle accidents or parachuting. Still the risk for them is worth the adrenaline rush or popularity.

The definition of extreme: “Being very far from the center of public opinion”

Similar words to extreme: extremist, fanatic (or fanatical), rabid, radical, revolutionary, revolutionist, ultra

Opposite words: conservative, moderate, temperate; conventional, orthodox, traditional; liberal, progressive

So now I’m asking you a question, in your relationship with Christ, do you have a “No Fear” extreme faith? Or are you a “middle-of-the-road” Christian?

Let’s take a look at what extreme faith is.

Genesis 22:2-3

He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”

So Abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and Isaac his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which God had told him.

God made a huge demand here, one that none of us would take lightly. And what was Abraham’s response? Did he plead with God and beg that something else be done? No, Abraham had such an extreme faith in God, that he would do ANYTHING that God told him to do, no matter how bad. Of course we all know that this was a test that Abraham passed, but he passed only because of his faith in God.

Our faith is what allows us to follow God. Without faith, we would not believe and would not follow him. Especially when it gets hard to follow.

We need to have an extreme faith in God and reveal it in many ways. Do you have enough faith to know that if you pay tithes that God will provide for you? Do you have enough faith to live your life for God more than for “stuff”? Stuff will always fail you. Your car will break down, no matter how cool or expensive it is. Your clothes will wear out, and your friends will fail you. But God will never break down and will NEVER fail you! He is actually worthy of putting faith into, but still it seems hard soemtimes.

Do you have such an extreme faith that you would tell others about Him? What’s the worst that is going to happen if you ask others if they believe in Jesus, and if they don’t then lead them through the importance of it? Let’s look at Acts 16:23-25

When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely;

and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them;

Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown into jail and still they could not be silenced. Not only that, they started to praise God! How little faith or devotion do we have today where we stop talking about Jesus if someone looks at us funny? Stop cowering in a room surrounded by other Christians and get out there and spread the Word!

A word of warning here. Hearing this will make a lot of people feel bad about themselves, like you have failed God or feel like you are a coward. God choose you like you are, so don’t feel that way. You can’t fail God because He already knows what’s going to happen; He already knows what you will and will not do.

Beating yourself up for what you have or have not done in the past will only hinder your work in the Lord. Get over the past and get busy. We have too much work to do to feel bad for ourselves.

Acts 8:26-27a

But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.)

So he got up and went;…..

God told Philip to go, and what did he do? He got up and went. The result was that he happened to meet a eunuch on the road and witnessed to him. He witnessed to the eunuch “And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him.”

The Eunuch was saved because Philip had faith, heard the call and answered it.

The point is don’t feel ashamed or bad for your past, even if you have been a bad witness. Instead, have an extreme faith and get up and go. Don’t feel bad for not going in the past, go now! Even if you don’t witness to every person you meet (which is highly unlikely) just witness! Everyday make sure that you are living a life that is a witness to others. You are an ambasador to God, act like it. Represent Him.

And have an extreme faith, not extreme faith in your motorcycle jumping across a canyon, but faith that God will save those who follow Him and the faith that says “I will stand up for God, even to the death.”

Carry your cross, every day. Everyday ask yourself, do you have extreme faith?