Dalton Thomas of FAI does a good job of explaining the Mark of The Beast, its timing, and putting it, and current events in perspective. Dalton will challenge many on their view of God and how He operates in His world e.g. God allows the persecution of believers during the prophesied end times tribulation period. What Jesus had to say to the Church at Thyatira is pertinent in this regard.
“Only hold fast what you have until I come. 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... ” Revelation 2:25-26
It will be a time of great patience and endurance for believers. We overcome the Beast by following in the footsteps of our crucified Saviour, even to martyrdom.
The Holy Spirit gives us access to the mind of Christ. The Holy Spirit disciples us with the mind of Christ and brings us into spiritual maturity. Jesus told us that we would accomplish the impossible because the God of the impossible abides within us.
The Holy Spirit wants to be involved in every aspect of our lives. He produces the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness, goodness, kindness and self control. He will also make available the Gifts of the Spirit (all nine) as needed to do whatever task is before us. Gifts of the Spirit are not earned by our merit but are God-given to those who desire them. There is no such thing as a secular job for Christians. With the Holy Spirit resident in our lives, all is sacred. If we ask, He will assign spiritual gifts to a job, regardless of where we work or what realm of society we’ve been given influence over, ministry happens! In other words, when an auto mechanic, architect or housewife becomes spiritually in tune, he/she is in the work of ministry.
You are an overcomer! If you take hold of the truth that Jesus made it possible for your Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to enable you to conquer anything that stands in your way, you’ll begin to harness the power that overcomes crises, transforms lives, and radically shifts culture.
At least 5 Christians have been killed for their faith in India during a surge of violence over the past two months. Voice of the Martyrs radio host Todd Nettleton has the latest on the tragic deaths — and their inspirational stand for Jesus in the midst of violent persecution. Just further evidence that we are in the prophesied last days before Jesus returns
A young woman in the Khunti district of Jharkhand has become the fifth victim in a string of Christians killed in India because of their faith.
The woman, 25-year-old Suman Munda, was found dead on July 19 in a deserted place near her home, according to Vatican News. Just one month earlier, on June 24, another Christian, 27-year-old Ramji Munda, was killed outside a village in the Khunti district. Speaking out about Munda’s murder, Bishop Binay Kandulna said, “It is a matter of serious concern because the state witnessed a Christian man killed only last month in the same district.”
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14
Thank God that Todd White’s faith has changed radically in just a matter of months. He is now preaching a gospel of repentance.
“When you come into the Gospel because you came in for a better life,” Todd explained, “you’ve come in for the wrong Gospel. When you come to Jesus because He’s gonna give you this and He’s gonna give you that, you really didn’t surrender. See, what you’re saying is, ‘I’ve come to get this.’ What you’ve done is a taste test to see if it’s true. It’s the same thing as getting a buzz: ‘Well, I’ll try this Jesus thing. Maybe there’s a buzz in it.’ That’s not Jesus.”
He went on to preach, “Your goal as a Christian is to be conformed to His image, is to be transformed into His image, into His likeness, and to actually walk like Christ walked. Jesus didn’t despise sinners, but He hated sin and He addressed it all the time.”
White told the congregation he has been spending time recently poring over the words of New Zealand-born minister Ray Comfort and 19th century theologian Charles Spurgeon.
Sixteen years after coming to Jesus, the Lifestyle Christianity pastor — a former drug addict and atheist — said he is just coming to realize the importance of preaching the law of God, because doing so reveals our need for a savior in Jesus.
“Here’s the deal,” he told the audience. “One day, you and I are going to all face the Lord. It’s the truth! Are you guys with me? Is this too much? I’ve been going through it, buddy. I’ve been in a new place to bring the reality of the law into a witness, to show a person their need for grace. How can you want to be found if you don’t know you’re lost? How can you want to see if you don’t know you’re blind? How can you want to live if you don’t know that your dead?”
It’s necessary to preach not just a “God has a wonderful plan for your life” message, but one that is more holistic, one that reveals our sinfulness and God’s holiness.
White said he has felt like he hasn’t been preaching “the whole Gospel. “I repent,” he said emphatically.
The turn around is amazing as in May of this year, Todd spoke out against a documentary series that condemned the prosperity Gospel and his preaching of it. At the time, he rebuked the show, “American Gospel: Christ Alone,” as “demonically inspired.” And he was quick to reject the suggestion he was “a heretic.”
On Facebook, the creators of the series said they “are obviously very encouraged” by White’s “change of direction in this area, and pray that this is sincere and not just a response to pressure.”
They have also invited White to sit down for an interview for the third installment of the “American Gospel” documentary series, set to release next year.
An important message for Christians on the words of warning Jesus spoke to the His disciples about how some Christians will be so enamoured with the things of this world that like Lot’s wife, they will not want to leave, look back and miss being taken up to heaven at The Rapture. Two angels lead Lot’s family out of Sodom and likewise God’s angels take the Saints to heaven to protect them from the Wrath of God that is poured out on an unrepentant world at the Trumpet and Bowl judgements.
“But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:26
“Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. On that day, let the one who is on the housetop, with his goods in the house, not come down to take them away, and likewise let the one who is in the field not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.” Luke 17:28-32
Another excellent message from Nelson Walters. One you need to share widely with members of your church group.
Iran is facing a wave of internal turmoil and covert attacks that are undermining the radical regime’s nefarious plans. Even as the violence escalates, hope is rising among Iranian citizens who are finding salvation in Jesus Christ.
Whether it’s the exploding coronavirus, mysterious fires at nuclear and military facilities or protests, Iran’s ruling Islamic clerics are facing unprecedented challenges as the regime tries to maintain an iron grip on the nation.
All this comes against the backdrop of ongoing government protests and a remarkable revival that’s witnessing thousands of Muslims turning to Christianity in the midst of COVID-19.
“That’s why we are calling this a pandemic of hope,” said Mike Ansari, who runs Mohabat TV, one of the most popular Christian satellite channels in Iran.
Ansari told CBN News that Mohabat TV is recording 10 times more online salvation’s than this time last year.
“We are registering around 3,000 personal decisions by Iranian Muslims to leave Islam for Christianity during this revival,” Ansari said.
That’s 3,000 people each month who’ve decided to follow Jesus Christ since the pandemic began in March.
“People in Iran are just not happy the way their economy is going, the way the government is robbing them of their national resources and exporting Shia Islam to the neighboring countries, so they just don’t trust their government,” said Ansari.
The large number of people leaving Islam is causing a backlash against the church. Dozens of Christians have been arrested and imprisoned for responding to the gospel message since March.
“During these critical times for the regime, there’s a tendency, historically, for the regime to really crack down on religious communities like Christian converts, and we see that today,” Nader told CBN News.
Iran is one of the world’s most dangerous places for Christians. Yet, Christianity is growing faster in Iran than in any other country in the world.
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14
“There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven… You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your lives.” Luke 21:11, 17-19
Millions of locusts have now descended upon Sardinia triggering leaders to declare a state of natural disaster and pleading for immediate action. In what many are describing as resembling a biblical plague, locusts have reportedly stripped large areas of the island’s agricultural regions of crops, in what the World Bank has already been branded the most serious such invasion the world has faced in 70 years according to Express news.
I have already posted several stories on locust plagues devastating first many countries in Africa then the Middle East now they have descended upon Europe.
The report stated the epicentre is formed by the municipalities of Orani, Ottana and Bolotana in the Tirso valley. The locusts arrived from the Mideast and Africa, where 23 countries have experienced similar devastation. The President of Reclamation Consortium of central Sardinia, Ambrogio Guiso is warning that roughly 13 thousand hectares of land had been impacted.
He went on further to state: “We ask for the immediate establishment of a control room so that the locust problem can be tackled with preventive actions. “We think that in concert with the other bodies in charge and with the coordination of the Region, concluded Guiso, an important preventive work can be done, with actions that must start now.”
Farmers have impacted the most and have limited options for mitigating the destruction caused by the vast numbers of locusts, other than burning fields to destroy the pests. Franco Saba, Mayor of Ottana, said: “Current damages must be compensated and preventive action has taken place to prevent the phenomenon from happening again in the next few years.” The cost of damage is still progressing – but Mr. Saba suggested it could run into millions of euros.
Nickey Gumbel, vicar (pastor) at Holy Trinity Brompton in London, recently recorded a podcast with Canadian Pastor and thought leader Carey Nieuwhof. Gumbel developed the world-famous Alpha Courses and has decades of experience with in-person small groups. Like so many, he never considered online groups as a viable option and only transitioned his church’s small groups to online when forced by the coronavirus pandemic. A few short months later, he is a true believer in online groups and their advantages. You can listen to the whole podcast here. (He starts talking about online groups around 29:55).
According to Gumbel, here are nine ways that online groups are actually better than in-person groups:
1. Everyone is more relaxed. Think about it: instead of walking into a strange environment, everyone is sitting in their favorite chair at home, they’ve got their coffee or tea (or whatever) fixed just the way they want, and they’re in their comfortable clothes. All of this puts a person at ease, leading to better discussion.
2. Everyone is in their own home. For most, home is a place of solace, and it’s much more inviting to join a group while at home. Some actually have a reluctance to walk into a church building or someone else’s home, so this can be an incredible advantage.
3. Travel time is cut down. This isn’t as big of an issue in smaller towns where distances are reduced, but in larger urban environments, travel time can be a groups killer. For instance, the average commute time where I live (Northern Virginia) is about an hour each way. Adding another meeting with travel time on top of that can be a huge hindrance. Online groups eliminates the travel time.
4. The total meeting time is shortened and cost reduced. Because travel time is eliminated, the total meeting time is shortened, making it easier for people to commit to a group. Cost of Zoom for each group, max $20 a month.
5. Childcare becomes so much easier. Unless your small group meets on Sunday morning at church when children’s activities are going on, childcare for young families can be a deal breaker for in-person groups. Gumbel shared about a single mom that was able to join an online group precisely because it was online and she didn’t have to try and arrange childcare for her kids.
6. The conversation flows better because everyone knows each other’s names. Even in groups that have met for awhile, people aren’t confident that they know everyone’s names. This can lead to reduced interaction out of fear of getting someone’s name wrong. When you’re on an online group meeting like Zoom, everyone’s name appears by their screen. As simple as that sounds, this is actually a big deal. Everyone knows everyone’s name!
7. There’s an easier out if you don’t like the group. People like to have an exit strategy before they try something new (like a small group). Think about the hurdles facing someone debating whether or not to try out a small group for the first time: they’re walking into an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. If they don’t like the group, they’re stuck there at least for the rest of the meeting, longer if they feel a social obligation to continue. With online meetings, there’s an easier out: just get off the call. This easier out actually incentivizes people to try something new.
8. People tend to be more open online than in person. Call this the social media effect. Have you ever noticed how people tend to share more openly (even when they shouldn’t) online? It’s as if the screen gives them a sense of transparency where they can share how they really feel. This works for online small groups as well. Gumbel shared in his podcast interview that after leading in-person groups for decades, he was shocked at just how quickly his new online group shared and how quickly they went deep.
9. Group dropout rates are reduced. A final positive aspect that Gumbel noted was that in his short time leading online groups, the dropout rates seem to have reduced. In any in-person group you start, the number you start with is hardly ever the number you finish with. It’s too easy for people to talk themselves out of getting dressed up, getting back in their car after a long day’s work to go to small group. If you’re not feeling well, if you’re got a lot to do, if childcare falls through (or any number of other things), you miss the group. With an online group, people tend to stick longer, leading to reduced dropout rates.
Article by Josh Daffern in Patheos (www.patheos.com) 9 Reasons Why Online Groups May Actually Be Better than In-Person Small Groups.
God is in control of all events in His world. Covid 19 did not take Him by surprise so we need to ask what is God doing and how can we get in step with Him. We are meant to be overcomers and game changers. We know that in the last days, church will be as it was in the Book of Acts, all believers involved in the Great Commission. As Nickey Gumbel has found Zoom Home Group meetings work so let us learn from his experience.