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    Mark of the beast

     

    This article is one of a 15 part series on a lot of the main end time events that will be occurring - leading up to the visible return of Jesus Christ back to our earth. This article will be on the extreme importance that any Christian who is still living during the time and rule of the Antichrist - that he or she not take the mark of the Beast. In the first article on this series I did titled "Basic Overview of Main End Time Events", I gave you the verse on how the False Prophet will set up a system on how he and the Antichrist will try to get everyone to receive the mark of the beast on either their foreheads or their right hands. The verse then goes on to say how no one will be able to buy or sell anything without this mark. The verse also says that anyone who will not worship the Beast will be killed. Due to the importance on this one issue, I'm going to go ahead and restate this verse. I will then give you the verse on God's warning regarding this specific event. This verse is talking about the False Prophet and what he is going to do. Here is the verse: He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. And he causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. His number is 666." (Revelations 13:15-18) Now here is the real scary part. God Himself says in Revelations that none of His people are to receive this mark of the beast. If they do, they will end up coming under His wrath that will be released upon the earth during the latter part of the Tribulation. God then pronounces what is the most dire warning imaginable if any of His people receive this mark. He flat out says that in addition to suffering His wrath that will be poured out during these last days - that they will also end up in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone where the Antichrist, the False Prophet and Satan will eventually go. In other words, you will go straight to hell when you die - no if, ands or buts about it! Let these words sink in to your memory banks and don't ever forget them in the event that there is no Rapture and the Tribulation takes place in our lifetime. Here is the verse giving all of us this dire warning: Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name." Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." (Revelations 14:9-11) Notice the very graphic warning that God gives in reference to ending up in the Lake of Fire and Brimstone. You will end up in this place and the smoke of your torment will ascend forever and ever with no relief ever. This horrible torment will last day and night forever and ever! Bottom line - all Christians who get caught up in this predicament will have to be willing to lay down their lives for God and Jesus. In other words, you will be martyred for your faith. This will be the ultimate test for any Christian to pass. I really believe that God put this warning in writing in His Word because he knows a lot of His people may get weak and scared if they are approached with this choice by the Antichrist. But each Christian will simply have to override any fears or doubts that they may have, believe what the Word of God has to say about the matter and be willing to die for their faith in Jesus. If they do not, their eventual end will be too horrible for any human words to describe. I have already done an article on the possibility of a Rapture. Hopefully, there is going to be a Rapture of God's saints before the Tribulation starts, and we will not have to go through any of these horrible events. If there is a Rapture, then the saints that the Bible mentions that will be persecuted will be the people that get saved after the Rapture occurs. It's almost as if God may be saying to the ones that get saved after the Rapture - "You all had your chance to accept My salvation before the Rapture and turned it down. Now that the Rapture has taken place, you now know that My people were telling you the truth about My message of salvation. Now I will accept any and all who willing to come to Me, but you will have to prove yourself to Me by being willing to die for your faith in Me by refusing to worship or receive the mark of the beast." If all of these events occur in our lifetime, I believe God will use all of us to get the message out to as many people as possible in order to save as many people as He possibly can from all of these horrible events. If their is going to be a Rapture, then it obviously is going to be the first train out, and God will try and get as many people warned, saved and on that first train as He possibly can. But the sad reality is that there are a lot of stubborn people out there who will not accept God's free gift of salvation the first time around and they are going to have to suffer the consequences for not doing so. Hopefully, they will accept God's gift of salvation through His Son the second time around after all of the saints have been Raptured - but then it will cost them their physical lives by being martyred for refusing to accept the mark of the Antichrist. Pray that none of your loved ones miss the first train out if there is going to be a Rapture. If by chance they miss the Rapture, let them know they are NOT to take the mark of the beast if they are ever faced with having to make this choice. God the Father could not make things any more clear than by the way that he has the above verses worded out. Do not tempt your eternal fate with Him if you get caught in this predicament. He means exactly what He is saying with that verse - and there will be no second chance to right this wrong once you die and cross over. Your fate will have already been sealed by that time. Heed the words of this verse - and do not take the mark of this blasphemous creature if you are faced with having to make this choice.

         
    Matthew 6 33

     

    : Matthew 6:33 (King James Version) 33.But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. We all want to love God more than anithing and give Him the priority in our live's but......The truth is that most of us aren't there yet. Why? maybe because we don't know that we love other things more than we love God. Love isn't something you can show or give with word's but with your acts. If we love God more than anything means that God is our priority and if God is our priority means we work harder to reach and do God's will within our live's compare to our own goals we set to reach. So if God's will is our priority we should feel the urge to fulfill God's will, the same or even a greater as the urge of paying our bills, eating, studing, working. Our priority is what we evaluate we must do first. Does this means we need to leave everything and go praying and fasting?"NO"but it means to let our choices we make during the day be guided by God."What? does it mean that we need to pray everytime we are going to make a choice?"NO"and"Yes" praying is comunicating with God, we dont need to be a special possision to pray, we kan also walk and talk with God. All this is nice to say, but can it be done?"Yes, Jesus showed us that it can be done when He lived as a man between us" Our main problem is that we don't know what God want. So our first stap is getting to know God, Jesus and the Holly Spirit and the getting to know the way they see the things of this world and what they think about them. We can get to know God by reading the Bible and talking(praying, worshiping) to Him. So by reading the bible and praying we get to know God, that means the more we read and the more we pray the faster we get to know God. So if God is our priority than reading the bible and praying is our priority . So if God's will is our urge, than geting to know His will is our urge, than reading the bible and praying is our urge. So if reading the bible and praying is our urge, than we do them the most we can. If God is our priority, everything else is less important but still important. So what must we do? What we need to do is stop trying to fit God's will in your sheme and make God's will your sheme, stop looking for time that is left to pray and read the bible;and start reading the bible and praying and do the rest in the time that is left. If we want to seek God 2 hours a day, than wehe divide the other less important but important things within the 22 hours left in our day, if the day is not long enough don't make God's time less, but something else becase God will is our priority. Who Love's God does His will, So if we love God, His will is our priority. God Bless you all in the nae of Jesus. visit our site at : ourbibleverse Bible Verses

         
    Matthew chapter 24

     

    The chapter of Matthew 24 is one of the most misunderstood chapters in the Bible. Most believe that this chapter has to do with our wars, day and age however this is not the case. In fact Billy Graham use to say, “Matthew 24 is knocking at your door.” When trying to understand scripture you must be careful how you apply the message. Trying to make everything in the Bible to fit to these days and times will surely get you into trouble. In this article we will be discussing the first part of the chapter which deals with the destruction of Jerusalem that happened around 70 AD; several years before the United States was a country. It was written by Matthew about the events that would happen in the apostles’ future. It would be helpful for you to read the first part of the chapter in Matthew 24 to understand the article. The ministry of Christ was in full force. Some Jews believed and began following Jesus however most didn’t. Even the ones that thought it might be possible that Christ was their expected Messiah still went against him. Christ forewarned the apostles and all those present, when you see the abomination of desolation as spoken by the prophet Daniel, meant it was time for them to get out. See Dan. 9:27; 11:31; 12:11. The abomination that causes desolation. (cf. Lk 21:20.). The abomination would be the order that came from the Emperor to place statues in the temples of themselves to be worshipped. The temple would be desolate, as there will be no more worship in it. It would be the end of the Jewish state. Fleeing to the mountains would be a great place to hide but if it’s a nuclear attack in the United States it wouldn’t matter if you hid in the mountains. The rooftops were flat in those days and often traveled on by foot making escaping easier. There was not time to come down from the roof top to get your things. Some also slept on the rooftops in those days and if they did it would be easier to get up and flee. Do not go back and get your clothes. Get out of dodge. Mothers with children would make it even harder to leave. It would be better for the war not to take place in the winter as the rivers would be frozen and impassible. With modern day transportation we can get anywhere in the winter so what would it matter if the attack happened in the winter? So then it doesn’t make any sense when you apply it to the 21st century. Hopefully the Romans didn’t make their attack on a Sabbath because the city gates of Jerusalem would be closed as always on a Sabbath. Neh. 13:19. The darkened moon and falling stars are signs that a nation has fallen or great political change. This figurative language is used in the same way with the fall of other nations. Is. 13:10; 34:4-6; 51:5-6 Jer. 4:1-6; 23-28; Ezek. 32:7-8; Joel 3:15-16; Nin. 1:1-5; Amos 8:1-2, 9. The destruction of Jerusalem was predicted by the Old Testament prophets. Micah 3:12; Zech. 14:4. There was about to be a great change in the law that would change their lives and the lives of the Jews forever. Why the war? First off we cannot forget the mighty hand of God. The Jews for years had been going against God. They wouldn’t listen to God anymore and many Jews were committing murders, persecutions and idolatry. Any nation that forgets about God will be its demise. Prov. 14:34; Ps 9:17. Because of the Jews defiance and rejection of their own Messiah, the war happened just as the prophets predicted it would. Is. 53:3. The Jews hated the Roman Empire and this is the reason they started the war. As far as they knew they weren’t thinking about the hand of God. The Jews wanted political and religious liberty. Rome wanted to have control over everything. Rome wanted to oversee the day to day life of the Jews. The Romans would come in and steal from the temple as well as the procurators who would collect all the taxes for the entire empire. In collecting the tax whatever they collected over the amount due and would line their pockets with the rest. The political tension and religious expectations grew. Finally in 70 AD Titus led the revolt to siege Jerusalem and later became emperor. Some were killing themselves in a suicide battle as it would be better to be dead then to be taken and sold into slavery. What happened to the Christians? Eusebius and his book Ecclesiastical History, wrote that the Christians fled to Pella. Pella is located in the modern day Jordan, which is about two and a half miles east of the Jordan River. He also said they fled because of divine revelation in which they received. This would mean the warning that is recorded by Matthew in chapter twenty-four as well as the other gospels. Jesus did say that some would be put to death, (Lk 21:16) but this he says would happen before the siege of Jerusalem. It is possible that not many perished because they remembered and heeded the warnings given by the Lord.

         
    Mini skirts to church

     

    Have you noticed that many of the new churches today allow their congregation to wear pretty much what ever they want to church? Even some of the pastors wear Hawaiian shirts instead of suits and ties. Some members might arrive wearing jeans with holes in them and flip-flops. Others might be sporting t-shirts with that have controversial statements on them. Would Jesus approve? I used to attend this church back in my hometown that had an unspoken dress code that didn’t allow the women to wear any long pants to church. Only dresses and skirts that fell far below the knee. The men only wore dress pants and shirts, or suits with a tie. I really liked this church, but I was finding that trying to get ready to go was really tough for me because somehow I could never put together the right clothes! I normally never wore dresses that length so my selection was difficult at times unfortunately, even though I did specifically buy the clothes just to wear to church. Okay I’m not a fashion model or anything, but I just wanted to fit in! I admit, maybe it seems like not dressing up might somehow be disrespecting the Church and maybe even God himself. I have thought about that, but I really think that there has to be a happy medium somewhere. If you’re going to attend a church, it seems right or should I say “proper” to dress in a way that would be pleasing to Jesus. Imagine him sitting in a pew next to you. Wouldn’t that really bring the appropriate attire issue into perspective? But my theory is as long as you dress respectfully and you are there to learn the good word of God, then it’s what is in your heart that really matters.

         
    Miracles what the bible has to say about them

     

    It was a miracle! How many times have you heard someone say that? Probably hundreds of times. But they don't really mean that it was a miracle – what they really mean is that the event they witnessed was amazing, improbable, or inexplicable. But are there real miracles? Have there been times that the natural laws of the universe, such as gravity, or even death, have been stopped, changed, or reversed? To find the answer to this question, we must turn to the Bible. Fact #1: Jesus performed many miracles In the four gospels, we find many instances were Jesus performed miracles, such as “Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see.” (Matthew 12:22) Perhaps one of the most famous of Jesus' miracles was the raising of Lazarus from the dead, which we read about in John 11: “Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days...Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" 44The dead man came out.” Fact #2: Jesus performed these miracles to prove that he was God In the book of Acts, Peter says that “Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.” Fact #3: Jesus gave authority to his disciples to perform miracles In Matthew 10:1, we're told that Jesus “called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil[a] spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.” Fact #4: God has given authority to his servants at various times to perform miracles The Bible has many stories of miracles performed by God's servants – Moses, Elijah, Elisha, and others. The question is – does God still empower his followers to work miracles in his name? That is a tough question. The answer is beyond the scope of this article, but I hope that you will think and study the Bible to find the answer!

         
    Mission trip basics

     

    A popular proverb say’s “one small good deed is better than the thousand grandest thoughts”. Mission trip travel applies rightly to this saying. Traveling on mission requires traveling not for one’s own joy and recreation but for much more noble cause of giving and serving humanity. Happiness does not always relate to receiving gifts and services, on the contrary even serving others give a serene sense of pleasure to the person who has done some kind of charity. Even the thought of being able to serve someone less fortunate and being able to bring a smile on the face of some suffering from any kind of short comings increases the self esteem of any individual. All these divine thoughts have lead to an ever-increasing number of mission trips throughout the world. Apart form going for recreational vacations during the holidays spending time on mission trips is growing popular each day. Christians all through the world are realizing the importance of serving people who have lesser resources to live and are surviving under very unhealthy conditions. Men who are enjoying wider facilities in life and have been lucky to be a part of well-developed societies now want to serve the less fortunate as a way of thanks giving to Christ. Mission traveling emphasizes on helping the under privileged mainly by way of physical work. If the church organizing the trip can afford the costs incurred it may pay the money required for transportation to and fro to the destination. In case the organizer of the mission trip is not capable of bearing the costs involved it is the responsibility of the travelers to bear their own personal costs. Also the responsibility of personal food and expenses lies on travelers’ shoulders. Anyone going for mission trip needs to properly vaccinate himself from all types of diseases such as yellow fever, typhoid, hepatitis, malaria and other similar illness because the chances of being infected on these remote sites may be there. One should not expect any kind of luxury during traveling, they must be ready to sleep in their sleeping bags or tents and eat whatever is available without any fuss. The sprit is always of devoting time and energy for others and not for personal fulfillments. Travelers of mission trip should be prepared to face the hardships of life they must be ready for any type physical work which may be of construction or cleaning the area manually or any other similar activity. Many a times people who are from medical background may be asked to go to remote places where there are less number of doctors and treat the patients with utmost dedication. Popular places for mission traveling are the Caribbean, Africa, Inner parts of America, India, Australia and other backward countries. Missionaries throughout the world because of their noble cause are also offered discounted rates for traveling to their destinations. Also for food and lodging facilities men on mission work are offered services at discounted rates. There are people who have sacrificed their entire life to serve others and become lifetime missionaries. Not only Christians it’s always desirable for everyone else to at least once in lifetime experience the joy of mission traveling.

         
    Mormon videos no longer on the sidelines

     

    Though the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ('the Mormon Church') currently has 13 million members worldwide, it remains one of the most misunderstood religions. With the growth of the Internet, many common misperceptions have been perpetuated as inaccurate information has often been forth by critics of the Mormon faith. As a result, Elder M. Russell Ballard, one of the twelve apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, recently encouraged members to join the conversation online. Instead of simply allowing others to define the beliefs of the Church, he stated that members of the faith should step forward to answer questions online. "We cannot stand on the sidelines while others, including our critics, attempt to define what the Church teaches," he said. Ballard continued by specifically mentioning the use of 'new media' as a way to share views. With the rapid growth of online video, video-sharing websites like Youtube have become a central place of discussion concerning the Mormon Church. Though many videos, including some of the most popular, do not accurately portray Mormon beliefs or history, a dramatic shift appears to be underway as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are increasingly becoming involved in the online discussion. For example, one Youtube user 'lds9999' remarks on his profile, "I am here on Youtube because I believe in spreading truth, making available positive resources, and helping people understand what members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe." A similar message is echoed on hundreds of similar Youtube channels by other members of the Mormon Church. Recently, the Mormon Church was again brought into the spotlight as Mitt Romney, a Mormon, ran for the presidency of the United States. Romney's faith became a target from both secular and religious groups. Speaking about this issue, Mormon sociologist Armand Mauss said, "I think there is going to be a wholesale reconsideration with how Mormons should deal with the latent and overt anti-Mormon propaganda. I don't think the Mormons are ever again going to sorrowfully turn away and close the door and just keep out of the fray." With nearly 20,000 videos about the Mormon Church currently on Youtube, and dozens more added each day, this online venue appears to be attracting the interest of Mormons and millions of others around the globe.

         
    Mother teresa faith depression and the work of god

     

    "I am told God lives in me -- and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul." --Mother Teresa In 1979, Mother Teresa, a Roman Catholic nun and founder of the Missionaries of Charity received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway. She was instrumental in starting charity missions around the world, teaching people about helping the poor, and traveling to many different countries to help the needy. With the help of donations from the public who believed and supported her faith, she performed humanitarian works in the slums of Calcutta, India. Years ago, Calcutta was a picture of poverty, hopelessness, and distress. Considered as the “Saint of the Slums,” she treated lepers, beggars, and the poorest of the poor with cleanliness and dignity. These individuals experienced social anxiety because of their infirmities and needed someone to nurture them. Mother Teresa arrived and became an inspiration to the sick, the victims, the discriminated, and the homeless. She gave the world a moral example that was accepted across cultures, classes, and religions. But just like any mortal being, Mother Teresa was not immune to doubts and fears. Recently, reports were released about Mother Teresa's struggles in life. In those reports, it was told that Mother Teresa also felt the absence of God in her life and in her work. Written in the 1950s and 1960s, the letters revealed that she too had troubling and painful times in her life. The challenges led her to question the impact of her work and her faith. The absence of God seemed to have started at the time she started tending to the poor and dying in India. The letters depicted a state of deep and abiding spiritual pain, a clear indication that she experienced stress and anxiety. In some of her letters, she compared the experience in Calcutta to hell. In some of her writings, Mother Teresa expressed her doubts about the existence of God and heaven. Some critics of religion have sensationalized the letters and used it to justify their Atheistic beliefs, as part of their attempt to destroy or weaken the faith of others. It is true that one does not need to live and endure the slums to understand why human beings are being treated as rejects and refuse. Try watching the television and see the unfortunate third-world country dwellers that live under bridges and suffer from malnutrition. Watching news about the number of women being raped and abused throughout the world can only make one question the existence of God. How can a supreme being allow such injustice? Can there be a God in the midst of all the pains, deaths, and tragedies in the world? Many find it difficult to believe in a God who seemed so distant. But it is also quite unfair to think that there is no merit in faith and spirituality just because a saintly figure such as Mother Teresa had expressed doubts about her own faith. If anything, the story behind Mother Teresa's struggles with faith is proof that we are human and that having doubts and fears is simply part of being human. In fact, almost all believers experience a period of spiritual crisis. Often times, these periods of trial have even become the turning point for a person seeking for greater spiritual enlightenment. After all the pain and depression, doubters become even more fervent believers of the faith. Personal losses, unanswered prayers, abuse of spiritual authority, and natural disasters are only some of the factors that have caused people to doubt their faith or their belief in God. So many questions remain, but one answer remains clear. The God who created the world and the universe exists. History and human experience undeniably points out to a Supreme Being who is all-powerful as well as faithful to those who truly believe.

         
    Muhammad cartoon free speech

     

    Many in the Muslim community are in an uproar over a Muhammad cartoon appearing in newspapers across Europe. One such Muhammad cartoon depicts the Islamic prophet wearing a turban containing a bomb. If you write for a living, you probably have made judgment calls regarding what you will write and how that information will be conveyed. Definitely, I am of the “free speech” mind, but I must tell you that there are enough fanatics in this world who would seek the death of others in the name of their beliefs. While I enjoy covering information of a religious nature I am loathe to printing or republishing anything that offends someone’s religion, no matter how much I may disagree with it. Why is that? Because I don’t want to have any part in causing someone’s injury or death because of something I wrote or displayed on one of my sites. The Muhammad cartoons fall within this particular category. Some have seen an element of truth in the Muhammad cartoon depictions. Interestingly, the leadership of Iran is now promoting a Holocaust cartoon contest as their response to the Muhammad cartoon controversy. Where will all of this stop? I am not sure, but let’s hope — and pray — that it doesn’t cost additional lives. Free speech is fine, but when riots and death come out of it, you have to wonder. The Muhammad cartoon controversy will likely linger, but it may eventually point to deeper problems between the secular West and Islam.

         
    Murphy s law we know check out josh billings law

     

    Young men and women attending Bible schools and seminaries are usually required to take at least one course in the art and science of preaching. This kind of study is called homiletics and deals with the purpose and structure of the sermon. Students are taught different types of preaching such as expository, which is to simply read the scriptures in a narrative form and expound on its most basic meaning. They are taught hortatory preaching which is the form of preaching aimed at exhortation and strengthening the believer. Several other methods are taught as well and it is from one of these methods that this article has its basis and its overall impetus. The kind of preaching I am referring to is “refutation preaching.” Refutation preaching as its name implies serves to refute some doctrine or teaching that has previously been established and generally accepted. Often these previously established teachings have been based on the scriptures themselves. Still other teachings have gained acceptance through oral communication. When believers hear one another confirming a particular saying, spiritual principle or doctrine it is often accepted without any further investigation. Refutation preaching or teaching is by no means a modern phenomenon. It is as ancient as the prophets of Israel who employed it often. The priests would often encourage the people to tithe, attend church and show honor to them while the lives of their constituents were obviously out of tilt with Gods will. The prophets would appear and “refute” the commonly accepted and much loved teaching of the priests by saying that the people needed less sacrifice and ceremony and more repentance and confession. This did not make them very popular and often the prophets were thought to be on the outer fringes and not to be taken too seriously. Their teachings were categorized as heresy, fantasy and sometimes lunacy. Many times the prophets were explicitly instructed to warn the people that a familiar saying they all verbally exchanged was displeasing to God. These sayings were referred to as “proverbs.” Similar to today’s hackneyed popular sayings, after investigation they often prove to be insubstantial and inaccurate. Two Prime examples can be found in Ezekiel’s prophecies. 22 Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, the days are prolonged, and every vision faileth? 23 Tell them therefore, thus saith the Lord God; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision. 24 For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel. 25 For I am the Lord: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord God. (Ezekiel 12:22-25) 2 The word of the Lord came unto me again, saying, What mean ye that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, the fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? 3 As I live, saith the Lord God, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. 4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. (Ezekiel 18:1-4) Among the great refutation preachers Jesus Christ stands far above them all. He challenged commonly accepted interpretations of the written word and he shook down many of the oral traditions and popular sayings that were so common in his day. Jesus often spoke in the following way... 21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time... (Matthew 5:21 / Matthew 5:27 & 28) 22 But I say unto you... (Matthew 5:22 / 5:32 / 5:34) 31 …It hath been said… (Matthew 5:31) Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time... (Matthew 5:33) Jesus used refutation when he was tempted of Satan in the wilderness... 6 ...for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee... 7 ...It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (Matthew 4:6-7) This kind of refutation is more refined as it is discernment between two scripture passages. Both were authoritative and wholly inspired of God but one was petted, preferred and protected above all others dealing with the same subject. This preferred passage was used as a ploy to attain the evil intention of its bearer that in this case is the devil. In other cases it is often some very sincere Christians. Over emphasis of a scripture passage was another problem Jesus dealt with through refutation. An example of this is seen in the Pharisees' attempt to foil the teachings of Jesus on the subject of divorce. The Pharisees tested Jesus with a question from the Law of Moses... ...Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? (Matthew 19:7) Jesus replied with... ...Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives... (Matthew 19:8) They had elevated the writings of Moses on this subject to a “command,” but Jesus reduced it to permission or toleration with his answer. Jesus actually refuted the dead written word with a living word of the Holy Spirit. He refuted their lopsided approach to this doctrine with a balanced reply from the Spirit and the Word but in any event it was refuted. The apostle Paul also refuted the teachings of the Jewish Christians who were frequently falling back to the Mosaic Law for their salvation. Today preachers are using refutation to overturn the false teachings and heresies but little is done to refute clichйs, popular sayings and the obvious errors of teaching and doctrine that are so common among the true believers. Because common teachings are often not well scrutinized either against the scriptures or common sense you may be laboring like others under a faulty theology. Checking what you believe against the rest of the Bible is a good place to start correcting the problem. You may not change your entire understanding of the Bible but you will be challenged to look closer and deeper at what you have heretofore accepted as basic truth and doctrine. You will be forced to make sure of the foundations of your Bible understanding. This will strengthen you and then perhaps you will be able to agree with Josh Billings who said... “I'd rather know a few things for certain then to be sure of a lot of things that just aren't so.”

         
    Mystical or mind over matter the truth about magic spells

     

    Civilizations all over the world have always relied on their faith in spiritual or mystical powers to accomplish truly amazing feats. Long before modern medicine came on the scene, most health concerns were traditionally handled by applying a dose of spirituality, voodoo, witchcraft, astrology, or psychic power from any number of paranormal sources. Hundreds of years ago, one simply couldn’t get through the day without help from the “unseen” world. Of course, that was in the “dark ages” before we were enlightened by the miracles of modern science. But is it wise for people today to scoff at all that seemed to work for so many people, for so long? In a world where mainstream religion is often mocked, it’s easy to laugh at those believe in the powers of the paranormal, occult, magic, psychic or new age remedies. We often label them as misguided kooks or blind followers of today’s trendy Hollywood scene and counter-culture. But as humans, it is built into our composition to search for truth, and solutions to the many problems we face. And let’s face it, today’s world is filled with day-to-day problems that we strive to overcome… issues dealing with love, money, health, just to name a few. Life is a difficult struggle for millions of people worldwide who seek relief, and solutions to their problems by turning to magic spells. Just go to Ebay and do search on love spells or magic spells. You’ll find an endless potpourri of psychics and spell casters who can make your problems disappear, or bring you amazing results for just a few dollars. Think that’s funny? It gets better. When asked, most people who buy these spells will tell you that they really work… and they do. So how can a love spell performed by a psychic actually attract a soulmate to a lonely person seeking a love partner? Did that money spell really make that struggling secretary get a job promotion and a salary raise? And what about that healing spell that cured my neighbor’s back pain? The unbelievers will likely point to coincidence, some sort of logical explanation, or attribute the results to simply “mind over matter.” But those who believe in psychic powers and the paranormal world think otherwise – there must be a spiritual or metaphysical helping hand involved. As a self-professed psychic and paranormal expert, who has studied spirituality, psychic phenomena, and the art of spell casting, I personally believe that there is much more to this than meets the eye. Most mainstream religions accept the power of prayer as a way to receive blessings, protection and goodness from spiritual sources. Even medical professionals are now recognizing that an individual’s faith and beliefs can play a major role in improving quality of life and health. However, while many doctors will admit that there is some benefit to holistic and alternative medicines, you’ll be pressed to find any who will publicly encourage seeking answers from a psychic or magic spell. There has always been a stigma in going to a fortune teller, psychic or spell caster, which keeps people from easily accepting their virtues. As an industry, the psychic business has brought on much of this skepticism itself. Shoddy late night television infomercials for psychic readings, con artists or carnival fortune tellers are the images that come to mind for many, when they think of psychics. Just look at how astrology and other psychic-related ads have that tiny disclaimer at the bottom that says “for entertainment purposes only.” It’s about as phony as pro wrestling, right? Well, don’t be too quick to agree. There are more people than you think who use money or love spells on a regular basis, in an attempt to restore a bad relationship, or gain financial freedom. And these are folks from all walks or life, professions, income levels, religious affiliations and nationalities. Sure, some may rely too much on seeking guidance and help from the psychic world, but most of them are die-hard believers of the occult and would not have it any other way. They will tell you that these spells work for them, their lives have been enriched, and you are the foolish one who doesn’t know what you’re missing. People always ask me, “Are these spells real? I mean, can they actually make things happen that I can’t do on my own?” If spells can do what they claim they can do (improve love life, attract more money, better luck at gambling) then the answer has to be “Yes.” A spell that does what it is supposed to do has got to be real. Of course, it helps if you have a positive outlook, and believe that the spell can truly help you. But if the spell delivers results, then it has to be real. Believers will tell you that those who refuse to open their minds to the possibilities of magic spells and spiritual solutions will never know what they are missing. Perhaps it is the unbelievers who are experiencing “mind over matter,” only their mindset is narrowly fixed on the opposite end of the belief scale. Why limit your world to just the few things you can see and touch? After all, what you see isn’t always what you get. © 2005 KPS Services.

         
    Narcissism and evil

     

    In his bestselling "People of the Lie", Scott Peck claims that narcissists are evil. Are they? The concept of "evil" in this age of moral relativism is slippery and ambiguous. The "Oxford Companion to Philosophy" (Oxford University Press, 1995) defines it thus: "The suffering which results from morally wrong human choices." To qualify as evil a person (Moral Agent) must meet these requirements: 1.. That he can and does consciously choose between the (morally) right and wrong and constantly and consistently prefers the latter; 2.. That he acts on his choice irrespective of the consequences to himself and to others. Clearly, evil must be premeditated. Francis Hutcheson and Joseph Butler argued that evil is a by-product of the pursuit of one's interest or cause at the expense of other people's interests or causes. But this ignores the critical element of conscious choice among equally efficacious alternatives. Moreover, people often pursue evil even when it jeopardizes their well-being and obstructs their interests. Sadomasochists even relish this orgy of mutual assured destruction. Narcissists satisfy both conditions only partly. Their evil is utilitarian. They are evil only when being malevolent secures a certain outcome. Sometimes, they consciously choose the morally wrong - but not invariably so. They act on their choice even if it inflicts misery and pain on others. But they never opt for evil if they are to bear the consequences. They act maliciously because it is expedient to do so - not because it is "in their nature". The narcissist is able to tell right from wrong and to distinguish between good and evil. In the pursuit of his interests and causes, he sometimes chooses to act wickedly. Lacking empathy, the narcissist is rarely remorseful. Because he feels entitled, exploiting others is second nature. The narcissist abuses others absent-mindedly, off-handedly, as a matter of fact. The narcissist objectifies people and treats them as expendable commodities to be discarded after use. Admittedly, that, in itself, is evil. Yet, it is the mechanical, thoughtless, heartless face of narcissistic abuse - devoid of human passions and of familiar emotions - that renders it so alien, so frightful and so repellent. We are often shocked less by the actions of narcissist than by the way he acts. In the absence of a vocabulary rich enough to capture the subtle hues and gradations of the spectrum of narcissistic depravity, we default to habitual adjectives such as "good" and "evil". Such intellectual laziness does this pernicious phenomenon and its victims little justice. Note - Why are we Fascinated by Evil and Evildoers? The common explanation is that one is fascinated with evil and evildoers because, through them, one vicariously expresses the repressed, dark, and evil parts of one's own personality. Evildoers, according to this theory, represent the "shadow" nether lands of our selves and, thus, they constitute our antisocial alter egos. Being drawn to wickedness is an act of rebellion against social strictures and the crippling bondage that is modern life. It is a mock synthesis of our Dr. Jekyll with our Mr. Hyde. It is a cathartic exorcism of our inner demons. Yet, even a cursory examination of this account reveals its flaws. Far from being taken as a familiar, though suppressed, element of our psyche, evil is mysterious. Though preponderant, villains are often labeled "monsters" - abnormal, even supernatural aberrations. It took Hanna Arendt two thickset tomes to remind us that evil is banal and bureaucratic, not fiendish and omnipotent. In our minds, evil and magic are intertwined. Sinners seem to be in contact with some alternative reality where the laws of Man are suspended. Sadism, however deplorable, is also admirable because it is the reserve of Nietzsche's Supermen, an indicator of personal strength and resilience. A heart of stone lasts longer than its carnal counterpart. Throughout human history, ferocity, mercilessness, and lack of empathy were extolled as virtues and enshrined in social institutions such as the army and the courts. The doctrine of Social Darwinism and the advent of moral relativism and deconstruction did away with ethical absolutism. The thick line between right and wrong thinned and blurred and, sometimes, vanished. Evil nowadays is merely another form of entertainment, a species of pornography, a sanguineous art. Evildoers enliven our gossip, color our drab routines and extract us from dreary existence and its depressive correlates. It is a little like collective self-injury. Self-mutilators report that parting their flesh with razor blades makes them feel alive and reawakened. In this synthetic universe of ours, evil and gore permit us to get in touch with real, raw, painful life. The higher our desensitized threshold of arousal, the more profound the evil that fascinates us. Like the stimuli-addicts that we are, we increase the dosage and consume added tales of malevolence and sinfulness and immorality. Thus, in the role of spectators, we safely maintain our sense of moral supremacy and self-righteousness even as we wallow in the minutest details of the vilest crimes.

         
    Neither is there healing in any other name

     

    The entire context of Acts 3 and 4 is the healing of the lame man at the Temple Gate. This is the occasion of Peter’s declaration that his level of power or holiness had nothing to do with it. His actions, however, demonstrated that using Jesus’ name for healing had everything to do with the healing of this helpless man. One verse in these two chapters, Acts 4:12, contains a hidden key to healing by faith. This key is hidden because of the words translated by our English words salvation and saved. You see the translators gave us this: Acts 4:12 12 Neither is there SALVATION in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be SAVED. (KJV) They should have given us this: Acts 4:12 12 Neither is there HEALING in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be HEALED. (KJV) Why is this? You see the Greek word for saved and salvation is also one of the Greek words for healed. In other words, saved and healed are translations of the same basic Greek root. Now, this Greek root is used here in this verse. In this context, however, this Greek root has nothing to do with the salvation of the soul. This context pertains to the healing of the lame man at the Temple Gate. Read it for yourself and see. The plan, method, necessity or even a question of salvation never occurs in this context. Therefore, Acts 4:12 above would be more in line with the facts of the context of these two chapters if the verse had read thus: “Neither is there HEALING in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be HEALED.” In other words, God gave no name for our healing except the name of Jesus. When our “arm of the flesh” has failed, the name of Jesus will work because that is the name God left us for our healing from the start. Thank God for medical science. They are God’s gift to us. Nevertheless, those times they can’t come through for us, we still have the all powerful name of Jesus. Mark it well. There is no other name for healing. This is God’s doing. There is no other name for healing. Truly, “neither is there healing in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be healed.”

         
    Noah s flood

     

    The Flood of Noah is one of the centerpiece arguments for young-earth theology. Because of this, I have been asked what I believe the Flood of Noah was like. To answer this question, let us first look at what the Flood is not…it is not the event that has been described by the young-earth theorists. There is no possible way the Flood could produce the rock record we see, nor could the flood produce all the coal layers, oil reserves, or chalk layers that we see in the rocks. If you want to explore these topics first, click on them to examine them in closer detail. Was the Flood Global? This is probably the biggest question I get asked. This will be a short answer to such a big question, but…no. You may ask how I can believe in an inerrant Bible if I don’t believe the Flood was global. The Bible says the waters covered the entire face of the earth (Gen. 7:19). However, when considering any writing, one must take into account the author’s point of view. What is the author of Genesis’s point of view? He is writing the story from the viewpoint of the witnesses, or, mankind. At the time of the Flood, mankind was still limited to the Middle East. Therefore, if you wipe out mankind, which all existed in one geographic area, you could easily say the Flood was global, since everywhere that man lived, it was flooded. Does that mean that North America was flooded? Think of it this way. You are in your house, and a flood comes and covers your entire house, leaving you sitting on your rooftop, with no land in sight. This flood event may not be global, or, over the entire surface of the earth, but to you, it is definitely ‘global’, for your entire world, all the land that you own, all the land that you can see, is flooded. Or, think of it from Noah’s viewpoint. All the flood stories from around the globe originated from Noah, since all mankind is descended from him. If you are Noah, on the Ark, floating around with no land in sight for months on end, you too would certainly call the Flood global. Therefore from his viewpoint, global would be the correct word, even though there is no proof that the Flood actually covered the entire earth. If the Flood was global, there is no proof that it covered the entire earth, either geologically or from writings, including the Bible. It was certainly ‘global’ from Noah’s viewpoint, but we can’t be certain that he completely circled the globe to prove that it was indeed global. Food Supply In Genesis 8:11, the dove that Noah sent out brought back an olive leaf as proof of dry land. Let’s look a little closer at this from a young-earth perspective. In order to prove the Flood, and the necessary erosion that took place in order to deposit all the rock layers we see today, two young-earth theorists, Baumgardner and Barnette, worked out a simulation of the current patterns and speeds if the entire globe was covered in water.(Footnote 1) The important thing to note here is that the water currents were at least 131 feet per second, or more than 89 miles per hour! (Actual speeds varied between 89 MPH and 194 MPH). At that velocity, all previously existing trees would have been torn from their roots, and there would be no living trees or plants to survive the flood. So, where did the olive leaf come from? It would have to be a leaf from a seedling which the dove brought back, because none of the pre-existing trees would have survived. Since none of these trees could have survived, there would have been no plant food for any of the animals (or Noah) to eat. How did the plant-eating animals survive after they were released from the Ark? The young-earth model cannot answer this. How did the meat-eating animals survive? They would naturally have to immediately feed on the plant-eaters, which would have made them extinct within a matter of weeks. The young-earth global flood model again fails to answer this. However, if the Flood were local, not global, then the animals would merely have to migrate a short distance to find food. Clearly, the local flood model is the only one which can logically explain survival of animal species after the Flood of Noah. Wildlife Ranges What about the other continents…where they flooded? Was Australia flooded? If so, how did the wildlife there, such as Koalas and Kangaroos, get to Australia from the Ark? Did they swim across the sea? Of course not. If they migrated from Noah’s Ark, you would expect Koala and Kangaroo populations to exist all along this migratory route…but they are only located in Australia. A young-earth flood model cannot explain the wildlife habitat ranges that we see today in Australia, nor the other continents. Dinosaurs Young earth theorists are quick to use dinosaur graveyards as evidence of Noah’s Flood. They claim the dinosaurs herded together, and then were quickly buried. However, this explanation is not feasible. The dinosaur graveyards referred to are mostly in North America, in sediments in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Montana, and Canada. However, looking at the positioning of the rock layers, there are thousands of feet of sediment below these layers that the young-earth theorists claim were deposited by the Flood. To make this more understandable, let’s look at the Grand Canyon. Steven Austin, in his book Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe, claims the Canyon rocks represent those which were deposited during the rising waters phase of the Flood (Figure 4.1). The “Late Flood”, or receding water rock deposits, are the Mesozoic sediments. It is interesting to note that all the dinosaur fossils, including the mass graves, are Mesozoic in age. This means that all the dinosaurs died in the receding water phase of the flood. However, it is clear from Genesis 7:21-23, that all life was killed during the first 40 days of the Flood. Some young-earth theorists will argue that the bodies floated around, and eventually sank, based on various factors as body size, density, and so forth. However, this cannot be true, because the dinosaur footprints all exist in the same Mesozoic rock layers, as do all the dinosaur coprolites (fossilized dinosaur poop), and fossilized dinosaur eggs. Clearly, the dinosaurs were alive and well, after the declaration in Genesis 7:21-23 that all living things were killed during the first forty days of the flood. Clearly, the young earth flood model cannot explain the dinosaur fossil distribution in the rock record. However, if one accepts a local flood event, with the dinosaurs having lived over 65 million years ago, there are no problems. Conclusion The young-earth flood model falls flat on its face when compared to the rock record. There is no global, geological evidence for a flood, nor can the young-earth model explain animal survival when there was no food supply, animal distribution ranges, nor dinosaurs which survived the first forty days of the flood. The old-earth explanation can handle all these problems. You can believe in an old earth, and still believe in Noah’s Flood. It was not “global” over the entire earth, but it certainly was “global” if you were in Noah’s shoes. FOOTNOTE: 1 Baumgardner and Barnette (icr. org/index. php? module=research&action=index&page=researchp_jb_patternsofcirculation)

         
    Normally we do but not today

     

    For a Christmas present, our children pulled their resources and gave the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly a marvelous little vacation in the eastern hills of Tennessee. Upon arrival, we were delightfully surprised with all of our children and grandchildren being there as well. The prospects of the week were simply delightful. I believe with all the children and grandchildren, along with two sons-in-law and one daughter-in-law, there were 13 people in this mountain log cabin. Although there were many wonderful activities to employ our time, the feminine side of this vacationing clan selected shopping is the premier activity. It was not that the male side of our kinfolk were outvoted, we simply had no vote in the matter. So, a day of shopping was before us. If you have ever been to a resort area, you will know certain places called “outlets” dominate the local landscape. Similar to shopping malls in normal communities, “outlets” possess one distinction separating them from the rest of the normal world. Contrary to its name there are absolutely no visible outlets once you get inside. You are not permitted to leave until you have spent all of your money, and then you must promise to return when you have more money. I must confess, I lied and will keep my future accumulation of wealth our little secret. An “outlet” is simply the direction money flows from your wallet. All of it flows out and you better let it. During our particular day at the outlet, I found some other strange incongruities. As our family dispersed to go our own separate directions, I noticed a large store with a sign that said, “Old Navy.” “Aha,” I said to myself, “this should be an interesting adventure for me. (When I start talking to myself, it is a sign I’m about to delve into some mischief.) Although I have never personally served in the military, I do have a great respect for it and an interest in its artifacts. Imagine my great disappointment when I walked into this store and discovered that Old Navy is not a military surplus store. How do people get away with this kind of “bait and switch?” Shouldering my disappointment like the gentleman I am, I exited the store and resumed my pilgrimage. To be quite honest, I have never seen so many things in one place that I don’t want. After awhile, tired of going in and out of the shops, I decided I wanted a nice hot cup of coffee, and a place to sit down and drink it while watching shoppers busily going in and out like a beehive. After all, a hot cup of coffee is a small thing to ask for, unless you order a large. I’m sure that somewhere secluded in the United States Constitution or the Bill of Rights is the right to have a cup of coffee whenever you want it. If not, I propose an amendment right away. Usually I’m a rather nice congenial person, but without my coffee, I turn into a caffeine-deprived wretch. Believe me, it’s not a pretty sight. I went into the first place that offered refreshments. After ordering a cup of Joe to go I was pleasantly greeted with, “I’m sorry. We normally have coffee, but not today.” I was so stunned by this bit of information that I could not think of any clever little quip in response. I visited several other such establishments (if you could call them that and I refuse to reveal what I was calling them at the time) and was cheerfully greeted with similar intelligence. With intelligence like this who needs kindergarten? For several hours I roamed this caffeine-free zone as though I had stumbled into the Twilight Zone. I began mumbling incoherently, my hair disheveled itself and my beard grew three inches in protest of this stressful situation. When everything looked hopeless, I spied a sign which snapped me back to my senses. “The Farmhouse Kitchen.” Everyone knows at the foundation of every farmhouse kitchen in the civilized world is a coffeepot. Before entering this haven-on-earth, I smoothed my disheveled hair, straightened my tie and tried to keep my smile from taking over my entire face. I breathed deeply, opened the door and entered heaven. As soon as I walked in, I noticed the coffeepot way in the back of the store. With the confidence of a man who knows the difference between Old Navy and the Army surplus store, I ordered a cup of coffee. “Oh, I’m terribly sorry, sir. We normally do have coffee, the best in town, but today our coffeepot is broken and we will not be able to get it fixed until tomorrow.” Upon hearing this my smile deserted me and I, for one, don’t blame it. I quickly followed its example and exited the store in worse condition. The promise of coffee, even the best in town, is no substitute to a steaming, hot cup of java in hand, now! I may not be able to count on a cup of coffee when I want it, but there is something I can always count on n now. “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2 KJV.) I like the word “now.”

         
     
         
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