In times of great political change, major cultural transformation, and social upheaval like you and I see today, we have to remember that God is in control.
This is of extraordinary comfort to the Christian. God knows His people and He cares for them.
That is the story of Scripture and of history. And that is your story. He will not leave or forsake you – that is one thing you can be certain about.
There is not one square inch of all creation over which God is not sovereign. He governs all things; He ordains all things. He sits above and behind all things and gives all things their meaning – including the government.
Daniel 2:21 tells us: “He changes times and seasons, deposes kings, and sets up kings.”
Romans 13:1: Paul said: “there is no authority except God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God.”
God can’t be shut out of government.
Some want to say, “No, this is a secular society and God cannot come in.” But it’s not possible. It matters not whether the people in government have faith or not. God was, and is, already there.
And you and I are in a rare situation today – it’s called a democracy.
That means as Christians in this nation, you and I can be a voice of righteousness when leaders are weak, failing, or evil. It means you and I have an opportunity to speak up. We can tell the truth. We can mobilise.
Some may say, “Does political action really matter? Shouldn’t we just preach the Gospel?” My response would be: “Why can’t we do both?”
You and I need to be whole Christians. We need to be Christians who live and speak the Gospel in the workplace, in the community, and in the public squares. That’s when people will ask, “What’s different about you?” and they’ll come on the journey towards Christ.
That is desperately needed right now. YOU are needed right now – to be salt and light in a society that is gripped by uncertainty.
In difficult times the work of God becomes more urgent, not less. People need to hear the truth with more urgency and clarity because the stakes are higher.
You and I are called to speak of Christ, represent Christ, and do good. To be salt to stop the decay, and light to drive out the darkness.
Democracy is a precious gift we can use to be the voice that our leaders sometimes are not.
And that leads me to the upcoming elections. If you want to know how you should vote, I will tell you … Vote for righteousness.
Don’t vote for the widest motorway or the biggest welfare cheque. Vote at a macro level for right and wrong.
Obviously, it’s never a perfect choice. But vote for the one who you truly believe will promote that which is good, and restrain that which is evil, more than the other. That’s what the government is meant to do!
ACL is here to inform you, equip you, and mobilise you to be a voice of truth and righteousness at a time when there are many conflicting messages, and when our government is making critical decisions for our nation.
Keener is not one to throw ideas against walls to see if they’ll stick. Keener is one of the best-known scholars of the Bible and early Christianity in the world today. He is careful with his research and documents everything. The point of the book, as the back-cover states, is to demonstrate via examples “that miraculous works of God, which have been part of the experience of the church around the world since Christianity began, continue into the present.”
This stated goal is admirably accomplished by Dr. Keener. He commences the book by addressing a few preliminary questions. What is a miracle, anyway? Why do some people assume that miracles don’t happen? Do many people witness miracles? Do only Christians report Christian healings?
He then launches into the main portion of the book in which he briefly relates the details of hundreds of well-attested miracles, but especially healings. This middle section comprises about 75% of the book proper. At the end of the book, Keener addresses a few more key questions people often wonder about miracles. Why don’t we see more miracles in the West? What is the role of faith? What about when healing is temporary? What does the Bible say about non-healing?
I appreciate Keener’s candid honesty in acknowledging that most blind people who have received prayer are still blind, and most dead people prayed for are still dead (pp. 137, 202). He comments, “What we call miracles are still the exception rather than the rule,” (p. 221). But his main point is that whether you or I have personally witnessed a dramatic miracle or not, many significant and verifiable miracles have occurred and still occur in answer to the prayers of God’s people all around the globe.
One other thing I appreciate about this book is Keener’s acknowledgment that more dramatic miracles occur more frequently on the frontlines of Christian evangelism than they do where the church is well-established (pp. 31, 33 135, 183, 201, 203). He still affirms, however, that such dramatic miracles sometimes happen in the West, too (pp. 151, 203).
Practically, this book reminded me to stay expectant when I pray. In any way He chooses, and at any time He chooses, God may do something momentous to display His glory and help those who witness His mighty acts of mercy to trust Him more fully.
“I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings, you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday ... Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place – the Most High, who is my refuge – no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. ” Psalms 91:1-6, 9-11
Now, this magnificent poem does not necessarily mean that the faithful – those who dwell “in the shelter of the Most High”– will not get the pestilence or suffer the other afflictions mentioned.
Satan used this Psalm in his temptation of Jesus (Matthew 4:5-7), trying to get him to invoke its promise that angels “will bear you up” by throwing himself off from the pinnacle of the Temple. But such an interpretation, Jesus points out, would be to put God to the test, violating Deuteronomy 6:16.
But those who trust God as their refuge will be delivered from the evil of the pestilence and from fear of it.
Look at these promises of God to David. They are yours if you hold fast to God in love.
“Because He holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect Him because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life, I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” Psalms 91:14-16
Miracles are taking place in Ukraine, despite the horror of war, according to the Deputy General Secretary of the Ukrainian Bible Society. Anatoliy Raychynets, who is based in the capital Kyiv, says more and more people are turning to Christianity to find light in the darkness since the Russian invasion began, and he says the power of God is preventing even worse devastation.
Day by day, women with small kids are running here outside our office in the streets to find the basement bombing room to hide themselves there. Many people are crying out to help them to get out of Kyiv.
“Many people haven’t eaten for 3 or 4 days. There are many elderly people living in apartments around my office who cannot go outside because of illness. They just sit inside waiting for a miracle that someone will come to them. They call us “Angels!” when we find they need medical help and bring medicine and bread.” Despite the risks, Raychynets and his team help distribute food and medical supplies to local people, along with Bibles and resources. He says that many people ask for the Bibles, even if they haven’t previously had a faith. “Yesterday we were in a park to deliver bread to elderly people who were coming together and waiting for us so that they could have fresh bread. I always have Bibles in my car so that children can have Bibles for the bomb shelters and I can distribute to basements where people, ladies and children are hiding themselves. But one lady saw the Bibles in the car and asked to have one.
“There were about 80 or 90 people there and they just came to the car and asked for the Bibles. One man stood there with bread in one hand and the Bible in the other. He said ‘I think the Bible is more important than the bread. I have never prayed before. I have never been to church.’ He was about 70 years old and had never read the Bible. But he said he knew now was the time to come to God and be closer to God. “We meet so many people like that. Over the last two weeks here in Kyiv we are seeing people who had never had a Bible before, never prayed before, but who are now asking for us to pray for them on the streets, at homes, everywhere. “People are searching for their faith because they know a miracle has to happen to resolve this situation. We don’t see any diplomatic or other solutions, we just know and understand deep inside only God can make some changes and stop this horrible war.”
But even in the amidst of the horrors of war, Raychynets says God is at work and miracles are happening. “We are very grateful to all of you who are standing with us in prayer and solidarity. I want to tell you that with prayer we see so many miracles. I have seen personally many miracles over the last 16 days – when bombs or rockets have fallen but not exploded and lots of lives have been saved because of that. Russian tanks have been left because they were empty of fuel and soldiers have run off. “In Odessa, in the Black Sea, there has been a storm for four days and ships couldn’t come closer to the city to shoot rockets. So prayers are already bringing results and miracles are saving a lot of lives.” Even as a Pastor, Raychynets says it is difficult to see so much pain and suffering.
This difficult situation is already changing our nation and changing our attitude to life. People are standing together, people are helping each other. I see so much of God’s love, in spite of war here. I think that Ukraine will come out of this situation like a real Christian nation that believes in God. It’s very evident that God does use catastrophes for His purposes and sadly they are needed to bring people to understand what is truly important in life. God is in control of His world and only His eternal purposes are of real significance.
Think about how Joshua felt when God told him to lead the Israelites into Canaan, drive out the pagan inhabitants, and secure the land as a homeland for His people.
In the natural, this would seem to be an impossible task but the key of course is revealed in the following Scripture:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.Joshua 1:9
God does not commission us without the promise of His presence and provision. We only have to be “strong and of good courage.”
How would you like to be Noah, being told to build an enormous boat as God was going to destroy every living creature on the earth save those on this boat Noah was to build. We are simply told that “Noah did this; he did all that God had commanded him”Genesis 6:22
How Long Was the Ark?
At approximately 510 feet long, it would take nearly one and a half football fields to equal the Ark’s length. That’s big enough that NASA could lay three space shuttles—nose to tail—on the Ark’s roof!
How Tall Was the Ark?
The roof of Noah’s Ark was more than 50 feet from the ground—higher than a modern four-story house. That’s plenty of space for three extra-tall inner decks as the Bible describes.
The Ark had the same storage capacity as about 450 standard semi-trailers. A standard livestock trailer holds about 250 sheep, so the Ark had the capacity to hold at least 120,000 sheep.
“And God said to Noah, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh, for the earth is filled with violence through them. Behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks. For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die. But I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every sort into the ark to keep them alive with you. They shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground, according to its kind, two of every sort shall come in to you to keep them alive. Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and store it up. It shall serve as food for you and for them.” Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.” Genesis 6:13-22
Are you confident that God is with you wherever you go? He will be if you are obedient to His commands. Moreover, you will know if you are not being obedient because you will experince His discipline. What form that takes varies widely but repentance is required to get you back on track. This is a word usually not spoken of in apostate churches.
Do you want times of refreshing from the Lord? If you do then repent.
Is Jesus enthroned in your life? Is allegiance to King Jesus central to your life? If not, then it is unlikely you will rule and reign with Jesus in His Millennial Kingdom.
An important and neglected part of the Gospel Message is Jesus return to this earth to fulfill the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants and the prophecies of the O.T. prophets that has Israel’s Messiah ruling and reigning over all the nations of the earth from a totally renovated/restructured Jerusalem. How many pastors are talking about the need for Christians to prepare now to rule and reign with Jesus on this earth.
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5:9-10
“Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:4-6
Moreover, Jesus and the Saints will need to rule with a rod of iron even though we are told Satan is bound for one thousand years . The curse has not been lifted off this earth. This earth still has one thousand years of existence in its fallen state before it is finally destroyed with fire. Jesus will rule and reign on this earth for one thousand years and then the unthinkable happens Satan is released and he gathers an enormous army from those who are living under the reign of King Jesus and His Saints to come against them. It is not a battle, fire comes down from heaven and destroys them. Even with Jesus and the Saints ruling on this earth in what must seem like paradise in comparison to today people will still rebel against God reigning over them just as Satan and one third of the angels did.
This earth and heaven is then destroyed and what follows is the second resurrection of the dead, the White Throne Judgement and only thena New Heaven and Earth where sin/rebellion is no more along with no more pain, suffering and death.
Ruling with a rod of iron in Jesus Millennial Kingdom
“The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.” Revelation 2:27
“From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron.” Revelation 19:15-18
What will life be like in the Millennial Kingdom? Does God reveal in His Word what it will be like? Yes He does, and I will be revealing much of it on this website as I believe this is what God has called me to do with the final years He has allocated for me on His Earth. I am presently working on a new website http://www.millennialkingdom.net where House Church leaders in particular will be able to access PowerPoint sermons and videos on the Millennial Kingdom.
To encourage you to search God’s Word for information on the Millennial reign of Jesus on this earth, we will take a look at what the Scriptures say about the new Jerusalem. Did you know the entire world will be restructured when the wrath of God is poured out with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements? Did you know that the new Jerusalem will be on the highest mountain in the world?
“The cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. Then every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.” Revelation 16:19-20
“It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it,” Isaiah 2:2
“It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it,” Micah 4:1
The mountain’s great height emphasizes Jerusalem as the centre of world authority, for all the nations will flow to it.
The millennial Jerusalem is nine times larger than the current city.
Jerusalem – A new city, A new name – The Lord is There, A new Temple
The temple is located outside the city, in the northern section of the sacred land given to the priests and it alone is bigger than the current city of Jerusalem.
The millennial Jerusalem sits on the highest plateau and has two rivers flowing out of its east and west sides. A totally new construct.
The land surrounding Jerusalem will have been transformed into a plain. It will run from Geba in the north to Rimmon in the South. The plain will contrast with the then highly lifted Jerusalem. (Zechariah 14:10)
Geba and Rimmon/Beersheba marking respectively the northern and southern limits of Millennial Israel. (2 Kings 23:8)
I hope the above has encouraged you to do your own research: Isaiah and Ezekiel are replete with information on the Millennial Kingdom. You will note that I have quoted from Isaiah, Ezekiel, Micah, Revelation Zechariah and 2 Kings in the above post. I will be posting more on the Millennial Kingdom in the months ahead as the “end times” prophesied events continue to play out.
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Luke 22:42-44
This is the most challenging prayer of all. Here we have Jesus asking His Heavenly Father to remove the coming experience of suffering and death on The Cross. Thank goodness Jesus added the postscript, “not My will but Your will be done” otherwise all of us would be consigned to Hell on Judgement Day.
When the German Christian mystic Meister Eckhart would pray he would qualify whatever he brought before God with the following words. “Lord, give me nothing but what you will and do Lord whatever and however you will in every way”.
I was reluctant to quote Eckhart as much of what he had to say has been picked up and misquoted by New Age thinkers but this quote is Biblical.
According to Eckhart therefore, none of our prayers can insist that God give us this virtue, or this thing, or this way of life but rather “Lord give me nothing but your will, and do Lord whatever and however in every way..”
We truly have learnt how to live the Christian life when we come to the knowledge that we are not in control and that God is working out His plans and purposes on His earth. Moreover, in the Bible, His written Word, He has given us a history of His world from its beginning and with prophecy, what He is doing now and will do right up to its end. Our prayers need to get in step with what He is doing on this earth, particularly in our sphere of influence. All prayers need to have the postscript “Not my will but yours be done” and probably our greatest prayer is a simple “Thank You“.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6
The Apostle Paul says that in every single circumstance, we can tell God what we are feeling and, as a result, the Lord will protect our hearts and minds from the weight of this world.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26
Here Paul makes it clear that the indwelling Holy Spirit helps us communicate our requests to God. We can rest assured He is advocating for us in our confusion and lack.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”Colossians 3:1-2
Paul reminds us that our lives are not determined or controlled by forces on this earth. Our security is in Jesus, and that should guide our thinking.
“If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you — you of little faith?”Matthew 6:30
Even if His provision doesn’t look the way we think it should, God can be trusted to meet our greatest needs. How much more can God care for you, for whom He sent His Son, Jesus, to die?
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
While we certainly ought to engage in the world, Paul warns against becoming so consumed by its trappings that we begin to mirror it. Instead, we should set boundaries and see the temporary circumstances around us through the lens of our renewed minds, which come through sanctification as a result of salvation through Jesus.
The Lord is eager to meet us in every situation and circumstance, including when we’re overwhelmed by the constant flow of information fed to us by our newsfeeds. Take some time today to turn off your phone and focus on our priority: Jesus.
Remember as long as Peter kept his eyes fixed on Jesus, he was able to walk on the water. Live eternal now.
Yesterday the 9th of Av began, Tisha B’Av, a sad day in Jewish history, but surely evidence for the fact that God is in control of history on His planet and that He judges nations.
On the ninth of Av day 1445 BC, ten of the twelve spies sent by Moses to search the Promised Land came back with a negative report resulting in the Jews wandering 40 years in the wilderness.
On the 9th of Av 586 BC the first temple was destroyed by the Babylonians.
On the ninth of Av 70 AD the Second Temples was destroyedby the Romans.
On the ninth of Av 1290 ADthe Jews were expelled fromEngland.
On the Ninth of Av 1492ADwas the date designated for all Jews to leaveSpain.
On the ninth of Av1941AD, SS Commander Himmler formally received approval for the “Final Solution.“
If only the Jews, and our leaders for that matter, would read and obey the following Scripture:
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-14
Whilst the date these events occurred (ninth of Av) demonstrates God is in control of history. It also demonstrates the spiritual warfare that is raging on this planet as Satan strives to destroy God’s nation.
God’s word reminds believers that “for those who love God all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28, ESV). Meaning, ultimately, COVID-19 will be good for the church of Jesus Christ. Of all the things believers are promised in scripture, bodily safety is not one of them. In fact, it says the opposite!
We are told by the Apostle Paul that “all who desire to live godly lives shall suffer” (2 Timothy 3:12).
Aside from whatever physical and emotional scars the coronavirus might leave upon the body of Christ, we can be sure that, in time, this event will produce wonderful fruit. As backwards as it may sound, Let’s welcome this reality. It is as Charles Spurgeon once said, “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages”.
The ugly idol of personal safety has plunged its jagged thorns deep inside the hearts of not only American Christians bot those in most affluent nations. Decades of excessive comforts and conveniences have created lazy, self-serving, inward-looking Christians. Many have forgotten how to trust God for provision. Instead, we have looked to ourselves, our stocked supermarkets, our full refrigerators, and our 401ks (pension plan) to provide the assurance that our future’s are secure. Throughout history, God has often allowed outside forces and tragedies to remind His people to look only to Him for comfort and assurance. We should remember this as we wander into the unknown of the Coronavirus pandemic. Lest we forget, the Israelites wandered the desert 40 years as they learned to trust God for daily provisions.
Whatever trials the days ahead may bring, it seems certain our faith will be tested. How will you choose to respond?
Extracted from a great article Christians, COVID-19, and the Dangerous Idol of Personal Safety by Jack Wells, www. patheos .com