AMERICAS CIVILISATION DECAY ACCELERATES

What does civilizational decay look like? On Wednesday afternoon, Americans received a major warning sign that their Republic is teetering on the brink. It came in the unlikely form of a Senate cloture vote — a rather obscure parliamentary procedure that sets up the final passage of a bill in the Senate. But it wasn’t just any cloture vote, and it’s not just any bill under consideration.

I’m talking about the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, it is anything but that if you accept marriage as defined by God, and it just moved one step closer to President Biden’s desk, where it will certainly be signed into law. It passed cloture by a vote of 62-37, as 12 Republican senators joined Senate Democrats to throw “people of faith under the bus” — and possibly into prison.

Whether you realize it or not, marriage is one the best indicators of the health and stability of a nation. Just like buildings societies demand a stable foundation. Without one, they will crumble and crash, leaving a wreckage of human suffering and misery in the ruins.

No matter how hard progressives try to deny it, marriage is the irreplaceable foundation for stable societies. Not just any “marriage” but one man joining with one woman in a permanent, monogamous, committed union and dedicated to caring for any offspring such a union may produce.

Patrick Brown, at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, put it clearly. He explains that:

“But the institution of marriage itself — in law, custom, and tradition — is intimately bound up with the act of creating and raising children. Marriage, at its core, is the social institution most fundamentally oriented towards procreation. It is God’s way, (he said societies way) of harnessing, binding, and supporting the relationship that creates a new life, and it gives the child produced from that union (and his or her parents) the best chance at a stable life.”

Why is marriage the bedrock of society? Because it is how humanity endures throughout the ages, just as God intended for it to be. Jesus, Himself reminds us of the inescapable gravity of marriage.

Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Matthew 19:4-6

Now, Jesus is addressing divorce here, but the principle, which is that God-defined marriage is between one man and one woman for life, applies to the proposed redefinition of marriage that is now sailing through the United States Congress with the so-called “Respect for Marriage Act.” They are trying to separate “what God has joined together.”

If we start unraveling this thread, there is no telling where the stopping point may be. Well, we actually do have a stark and dark preview: “sex change” operations on teenagers at top hospitals around the country, “kid-friendly” drag shows in your small town, and the rise of the acceptance of pedophilia. When you cut the brakes on God’s design for human sexuality and flourishing you can soon expect to fly off the cliff and crash into hell.

Lest I conclude on such a dark note, join me in remembering that just as human history began with a marriage so too it ends with a marriage. The arc of redemption stretches from Genesis 2:21-25, the marriage of Adam and Eve, to Revelation 19:6-9, the “marriage supper of the Lamb,” that is, of Christ and the Church. The Senate, the Democrats, and worthless Republicans may prevail against the definition of marriage and our religious liberty here in America, but God has guaranteed that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18)

However, the Bible reveals it will take Jesus’ return to this earth to restore sanity to the world. First, Jesus comes in the clouds to take His Saints to heaven, and then He pours out His wrath upon an unrepentant world with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements. The severity of God’s judgement is fierce. Below, I reveal what the Bible tells us about the first two trumpet judgements. The judgements escalate in intensity.

We need to warn our unbelieving family members and friends of what they are facing if they do not repent of their rebellion against God and His commandments. Show them how to ask God for His saving grace provided by Jesus. It is only by dying to self and becoming a new creature in Jesus Christ with the Holy Spirit indwelling their spirit can they avoid God’s coming judgement.

The Seven Trumpets
Now the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to blow them. The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up. The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood. A third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed. Revelation 8:6-9


The above is a much-abbreviated version of the original article published at the Standing for Freedom Center. The last three paras. are mine.

The author William Wolfe served as a senior official in the Trump administration, both as a deputy assistant secretary of defense at the Pentagon and a director of legislative affairs at the State Department. Prior to his service in the administration, Wolfe worked for Heritage Action for America, and as a congressional staffer for three different members of Congress, including the former Rep. Dave Brat. He has a B.A. in history from Covenant College and is finishing his Master of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

REAPING A HARVEST OF DEATH AND MISERY

By turning our back on God and His Word we are reaping a harvest of death and misery. God is the creator. God is the source of life. Satan works to destroy life (murder/death).

Evidence is clear nations that once honoured God’s ways have abandoned/rejected God: unrestricted abortion, euthanasia, indoctrinating children with gender bending ideology, extremist deep green ideology that sees humans as a plague on the earth. The Bible that the world rejects reveals with startling accuracy exactly what is unfolding in our day. In both the O.T and N.T there are many prophecies of the years leading up to Jesus return to this earth first to take His Saints to heaven before pouring out His wrath upon an unrepentant world with the Trumpet and Bowl judgements of Revelation

Only God can reveal what is truly going on in His world. The discovery of DNA and the electron microscope has revealed that the earth is designed for life. Our planet has all the hallmarks of brilliant systems engineering. No thinking scientist can believe that life and the universe happened by random chance.

God has revealed that just as our original ancestors disobeyed God’s command knowing that death would be the outcome. The Bible reveals that another one of God’s created beings (an angelic being now called Satan) also rebelled against God and it was he that deceived Adam and Eve. Note well what Jesus told us about him and all who follow him. Jesus was speaking to the religious leaders of the day. Whom do you follow even if unwittingly?

If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but He sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.John 8:44

Note what Jesus said about Himself and what He said about Satan.

Jesus said to him (Thomas), “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-7

The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.John 10:10-11

GOD the Father, GOD the Son, and GOD the Holy Spirit

Read what Jesus promised His disciples and us that He will provide to enable us to live the Christian life. Our Heavenly Father will send the third person of the Trinity to indwell our spirit. Note also that He acknowledges Satan as ruler of this world.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of this world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father. Rise, let us go from here.John 14:26-31

Article inspired by article in the latest Creation magazine “EXIT GOD, ENTER DEATH CULTURE.” http://www.creation.com

SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN EVANGELISM

What is God calling Christians to do? We are simply to be found faithful in the task of delivering the Gospel message. We are to bring the gospel into our workplaces, friendships, and families, to whomever and wherever. All that is required is to look to where God has placed us and simply to be found faithful to the task of proclaiming the good news to those who are dead in their sins. It requires that we not be ashamed of the good news of the gospel, which includes not being ashamed of the bad news of God’s judgment against sin.

Whatever the result of that proclamation of the gospel may be, whether a hardening or a softening of the heart, God effectually uses this message for His purposes.

Not every instance of proclaiming a message of repentance is designed by God to bring the people who hear it to repentance and faith. In fact, Scripture often demonstrates the opposite is true—that the proclamation serves to condemn the recipients rather than restore them. A great example of this is found in the commissioning of the prophet Isaiah:

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” He said,

Go and tell these people: Keep on listening, but do not perceive; keep on looking, but do not understand. Render the hearts of these people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed.” Then I said, “Lord, how long?” and He answered, “Until cities are devastated and without inhabitants, houses are without people and the land is utterly desolate, the Lord has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, and it will again be subject to burning, like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump Isaiah 6:8-13

As Brevard Childs ( Isaiah. Westminster John Knox Press, (2001): p56). puts it, “Isaiah, the prophet is to be the executor of death, the guarantor of complete hardening. His very proclamation is to ensure that Israel will not turn and repent.” How would you like to be called by God to deliver that message?

Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.Revelation 20:14

If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they will perish in the Lake of Fire, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” Charles Spurgeon

We may not necessarily like the implications of God using our proclamation of judgment and salvation to effectively harden an individual’s heart. We may not believe the implications of this are even fair—but we ought to remember in the midst of everything that we don’t want fair because our idea of what’s fair doesn’t square with God’s.

What’s fair is God condemning every man, woman, and child to eternal destruction in the Lake of Fire. What’s fair is that the only blameless One to have ever existed would not be put to the cross to pay for the sins of others. What you and I desire is mercy and grace, because mercy is not giving people what they deserve, which is condemnation, and grace is giving people what they don’t deserve, which is no condemnation. The gospel is a scandal to the world because it sees the murderer, rapist, racist, and the like, on equal footing with the sweet old lady who doesn’t confess Christ—and offers them all the same grace of God in Christ. What that very simply means is that the gospel is not barred from anyone on the basis of their own doing or choosing, but rather, on the sovereign choice of God Himself. If those who struggle with evangelizing were to focus on the sovereignty of God in evangelism, it would free many a burdened soul up to take joy in the work that God has given them, realizing that whether the person they share the gospel with rejects or receives it, God is glorified in accomplishing His work through the preached word.

This post was extracted from an article by Grayson Gilbert, A Lesson from Isaiah on the Sovereignty of God in Evangelism  July 23, 2020, http://www.patheos.com

WORLD VIEWS CONTRARY TO GOD’S WORD

Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” Isaiah 46: 9– 10

This verse tells us that GOD at the very beginning laid out his plan for mankind. God controls history and He has given us this history, past, present, and future in the Bible. Much of God’s Word is prophecy and fulfilled prophecy proves it was inspired by God and yet rather than Scripture being the basis upon which everything else is judged, it is fast being relegated by the world to the realm of myths and fables and by much of Christianity, it now takes second place to the prevailing cultural canons.

Central to this issue is that many view the Scriptures as a source we can go to in order to support what it is we truly believe about the world around us, rather than revelation given by God Himself that reveals the world for what it is. Some even affirm that Scripture is the lens through which we must understand the world—yet have adopted worldviews opposed to Scripture itself. Thus, arguments using the Scriptures are in abundance, but when push comes to shove, what wins out is not what the text says, but historical, sociological, psychological, and anecdotal arguments (and often, emotionally manipulative ones at that). All of these systems are seen as a lens through which one can and should interpret the Scriptures, especially as they seemingly fall silent on some of the predominant cultural issues in our day.

available from http://www.creation.com

It is increasingly rare to find Christians who will agree that the systems of thought concerning the issues of race relations, LGTBQ + narratives of identity, gender roles, etc., are under the domain of darkness and yet they are totally contrary to God’s commandments. The apostle John expresses it clearly when he says that the love of this world is incompatible with genuine faith (1 John 2). In this, he is not merely speaking to the things we typically gravitate towards in our understanding of “the world.” He is not solely identifying a love of possessions, power, prestige, and wealth—he is identifying a system of thought that denies God’s sovereignty. The apostle James likewise draws attention to this reality when he takes to task the adulterers and adulteresses guilty of making friendship with this world, which is at enmity with God (James 4:4). Jesus told us that the world would be like this prior to His second coming.

Many so-called Christians are seeking a sort of ecumenism with these various systems of thought the world holds dear. This, rather than God Himself, is what captures the hearts and minds of professing Christians. The Word is no longer the central, dominating focus of the church. It is claimed to be; it is preached as such; it is taught this way in our academic institutions—yet in practice, the Word is not sufficient to substantively inform us how we ought to think and even act on these matters. Instead, the broader church is integrating various disciplines from this world in a manner consistent with the mantra “all truth is God’s truth,” yet without subjecting these disciplines to the ultimate authority of the Scriptures. Yet they claim to do so. Compromising with evolution and billions of years is the stand-out example. How can you have death and suffering before mankind when God’s Word tells us that the world was perfect at creation and mankind’s rebellion is what brought death and suffering to the world?

On paper then, you can find one who is socially and theologically conservative, yet in practice, they embrace ideologies born out of socially and theologically liberal frameworks. These things become sufficiently “Christianized,” or draped in the language of redemption, yet at its core, it is a fundamental denial of many plain teachings of Scripture. For example, an elder candidate is not considered exclusively on the basis of the biblical criteria outlined in the pastoral epistles, but in part, includes things like diversity quotas. God’s Word is not considered the ultimate guide.

When we get into the issues of systemic or institutional racism, hegemonic power, white guilt, generational guilt, etc., the same can be said. The debate is not over the facts representative of each case, but the values of the people interacting with these facts. In more plain language: It isn’t about the truth of what objectively happens, nor the truth of the Biblical text in relation to those facts, but what emotions have been felt regardless of either. This is why one can continue to see riots even after the acquittal of officers based on the evidence at hand, yet likewise why you can see cultural commentators, pastors, and various others, comment on the injustice of it all when the verdict doesn’t match their anticipated outcome. One’s reaction dictates the truth, rather than the truth dictating how one then responds.

When we get to issues of gender roles, or whether or not you should identify as a gay Christian a la Revoice, the presenting issue is much the same. Objective biblical reality is not considered; the norm is the prevailing cultural dogma, draped in biblical garb. In either case, the subjective interpretation of reality informs the objective reality rather than the other way around—but the phraseology and language still bear intrinsic Christian likeness. Thus, you can have one who affirms one thing on paper, yet is a wildly different thing when the terms are defined and it is put into practice— it is this that reveals whether or not we truly take God at His Word, and therefore, whether or not we truly believe God’s Word is sufficient and authoritative on these things.

One of the things the recent pandemic, social unrest, and even political unrest has revealed, is what professing Christians genuinely believe about Scripture—not simply in its content, but in its nature and purpose. It has likewise revealed just how much the broader church has made friendship with the world, not just in those easy-to-identify idols of the heart we so often draw focus to like sex, money, and power, but in the embrace of the worldview this age expresses, which does not come from the Father. Much like any time of theological crisis, the solution is much the same: the people of God must return to being a people of His Word. We must approach the text as if God is truly speaking to us and He means what He says, otherwise, we will be driven by the ever-changing winds of cultural dogma.

adapted from “Why Churches Go Woke: They Deny The Sufficiency Of Scripture”  July 28, 2021, by Grayson Gilbert http://www.patheos.com

A NEW HEAVEN AND A NEW EARTH

Albert Wolters concisely and persuasively demonstrates that God’s plan for righteous humanity to live on and reign over an uncursed earth was not thwarted by Satan or by man’s sin. God never revoked or abandoned His original great commission for us to rule on a perfect earth to His glory. The last chapters of the Bible promise that His original design—as revealed in the first chapters and greatly enhanced and magnified through Christ’s work—will indeed be fulfilled on the New Earth. Having fallen on mankind’s coat-tails, Earth will rise on our coat-tails—resurrected humanity will occupy and rule a resurrected earth. This is the full gospel of the Kingdom, and it is vital to a biblical worldview, which alone explains the Bible’s description of Christians as those who are “looking forward to a new heaven and new earth.”

Al Wolters writes, “[God] hangs on to his fallen original creation and salvages it. He refuses to abandon the work of his hands—in fact, he sacrifices his own Son to save his original project. Humankind, which has botched its original mandate and the whole creation along with it, is given another chance in Christ; we are reinstated as God’s managers on earth. The original good creation is to be restored.”

Moreover, prior to the White Throne judgement and the new heaven and the new earth, the promises God made to Israel that their Messiah will rule and reign from Jerusalem over all the nations will also be fulfilled in Jesus during His Millennial reign after the battle of Armageddon and Satan is bound in the Abyss for 1000 years.

And He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him so that he might not deceive the nations any longer until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be released for a little while.Revelation 20: 2-3

They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years.Revelation 20:4-5

To my knowledge, Albert Walters does not address Jesus’ Millennial reign prior to the White Throne judgement. Nevertheless, Albert’s other penetrating insights help us to stop redefining the gospel in narrow and shallow, and individualistic terminology and assumptions that discredit the breadth and depth of God’s redemptive plan.

Regardless of theological leanings, anyone reading this book will undoubtedly find it a treasure trove.

DELIVERANCE OF MANKIND FROM SERVITUDE TO SIN AND THE TYRANNY OF SATAN

The rule of the God of this World, Satan is coming to an end. As we see the prophesied lawlessness abound in a world that has turned its back on God we know we are in the time Jesus spoke of as a sign of His second coming to earth first to rescue His Saints and then to pour out His wrath on the unrepentant.

The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9

“”And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.Matthew 24:12

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to himLet no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 3-4

Are you prepared for the coming tribulation that will precede Jesus second coming? Even more important are you doing what God has called you to do in these last days? The Holy Spirit will guide your steps if you ask Him. Be like Micah, do as God directs you by the power of the Holy Spirit.

But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin.Micah 3:8

PRO ABORTION DEMONSTRATORS

Senator James Lankford states the truth about the obvious: “Do you find it odd that in federal law we protect an eagle egg acknowledging that’s an eagle inside that egg, and we protect a turtle egg saying we acknowledge that’s a turtle inside that egg, but we allow the destruction of children?”

Trump’s greatest achievement: the conservative-dominated Supreme Court on Friday overturned the landmark 1973 “Roe v. Wade” decision enshrining a woman’s right to an abortion.

Abortion rights activists in Portland, Oregon protest after the US Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, overturning the right to abortion.

As a result, abortion rights defenders fanned out across America Saturday (local time) for the second day of protest against the Supreme Court’s thunderbolt decision. After protests went late into the night, several hundreds of people thronged the streets outside the fenced-off Supreme Court again Saturday, in hot summer weather, carrying signs that read “War on women, who’s next?” and “No uterus, No opinion,” and “Is it too late to abort Amey Coney Barrett“, What happened yesterday is indescribable and disgusting,” said Mia Stagner, 19, a political science major in college. “Being forced to be a mother is not something any woman should have to do.”

Twin demonstrations were also getting underway in Los Angeles — one headed to city hall and the other to the federal courthouse — with dozens of smaller rallies planned from coast to coast.

President Joe Biden — who has likewise voiced concerns the court might not stop at abortion — spoke out again Saturday against the court’s “shocking decision.”

“I know how painful and devastating the decision is for so many Americans,” said the president, who has urged Congress to restore abortion protections as federal law, and vowed the issue would be on the ballot in November’s midterm elections.

The fact that abortion is an abomination to our Creator is of no consequence to the President and now the majority of Americans. Persecution of Christians who hold to all of God’s values will only increase as a result. The persecution already being leveled against the five Supreme Court judges that voted to overturn Roe v Wade is evidence enough. What is happening is exactly what Jesus told us would happen in the “end times” prior to His return.

MOST PEOPLE DESIRE TO BE THE GOD OF THEIR UNIVERSE

Sadly, most people simply have no genuine desire to submit themselves to the God who declares all things to be under His rightful jurisdiction. Thus, the natural disposition of most is to cast off the fetters of an antiquated belief system they no longer desire to subscribe to. The reality is that true Christianity has become an antiquated belief system to most.

What we are witnessing is the same sin as our federal head, Adam, who simply rejected the will of His Creator in favor of expressing his own sinful desires. In the case of Adam and Eve, they also played the blame game – blame-shifting responsibility on something or someone else. Indeed, Adam blamed God Himself. Likewise, Eve blamed Satan (manifesting as a serpent).

He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:24

ADAM: “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Genesis 3:12

EVE: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” Genesis 3:13

However, we are without excuse for rejecting God and His values.

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. His invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.Romans 1:19-20

I have come to be more and more convinced that the vast majority of those who reject the Christian faith do so on the basis of intellectual laziness, intellectual dishonesty, or simple ignorance. Evolution has been a major stumbling block for many but the evidence now for complexity and design in biology and the universe is overwhelming. They either don’t care to find the answers, they don’t care to hear the answers, or, they don’t know where to even begin. If the latter is the case and they earnestly desire to know God and the truth, the Holy Spirit will convict them and provide the means for them to find the truth about God and His Son. The means may well be you as one of His disciples.

And when He (Holy Spirit) comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.John 16:8-11

No one can live the Christian life unless they have repented of their old life, died to self (baptism), and received the Holy Spirit to enable them to live the Christian life.

When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that He will take what is mine and declare it to you.John 16:13-15

UNDERSTANDING YOUR SUFFERING

If we recognize God’s sovereignty, particularly over Satan’s work, it changes our perspective about our lives and suffering.

Satan and God intend the same suffering for entirely different purposes, but God’s purpose triumphs. Satan sought Job’s ruin and loss of faith; God sought Job’s refining and faith-building. The very thing Satan intended for Job’s destruction, God intended for his betterment and ultimate reward (though certainly at a terrible cost).

2 Corinthians 12:7 gives us a striking picture. We see God sending a physical disability for His purposes and Satan sending the same disability for his. Paul says, “To keep me from being conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given to me a thorn in my flesh.” If the text stopped here, it would be obvious who gave the thorn in the flesh—God, who wanted to keep Paul from becoming conceited. Certainly, the devil would not lift a finger to prevent Paul from becoming conceited.

But Paul continues to describe the thorn in the flesh as “a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” Two supernatural beings, adamantly opposed to each other, are said in a single verse to have distinct purposes in sending Paul a thorn in the flesh. God’s purpose is not to torment him, but to keep him from becoming conceited; Satan’s purpose is to torment him, likely in the hope of turning him from God. Whose purpose will be accomplished? Who will win?

Paul says, in the next verses, he asked God three times to remove the “thorn,” but God refused. He did, however, reveal the purpose behind Paul’s unanswered prayer: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

How did Paul respond? ”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

Paul rejoiced in his afflictions. Why? Because he knew God had a sovereign and loving purpose.

Joseph’s brothers intended his suffering for evil; God intended it for good.

Satan intended Job’s suffering for evil; God intended it for good.

Satan intended Jesus’ suffering for evil; God intended it for good.

Satan intended Paul’s suffering for evil; God intended it for good. In each case, God’s purpose prevailed.

Satan intends your suffering for evil; God intends it for good. Whose purpose in your suffering will prevail? Whose purpose are you furthering?

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

Satan attempts to destroy your faith, while God invites you to draw near to Him and draw upon His sovereign grace to sustain you.

Some Christians constantly assign this mishap to Satan, that one to evil people, another to themselves, still others to God. Sometimes they are right, but how can they be sure which is which? 2 Corinthians 12 makes clear that God works through everything that comes our way, no matter whom it comes from. If God can use for good “a messenger of Satan,” then surely He can use for good a car accident or your employer’s unreasonable expectations.

You might not know whether demons, or human genetics under the Fall, or a doctor’s poor decision, or God’s direct hand have brought about your disease, but you know as much as you need to—that God is sovereign, and whether He heals your body now or waits until the resurrection to heal you, He desires to achieve His own good purpose in you.

Adapted from the article ‘Whose Purpose in Your Suffering Will Prevail?’  Feb. 3rd, 2022, by Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries (EPM)

ALFRED DEAKIN’S LIFE AND PRAYERS

How times have changed. Read about a wonderful leader of old. However, know for certain God appoints our leaders and we usually get the leader we deserve, certainly the leader that will fulfill God’s purposes. Even the Antichrist’s appearance will be at God’s appointed time.

Alfred Deakin was Australia’s second prime minister. He was one of two prime ministers who held the position three times from 24 September 1903 to 27 April 1904, 5 July 1905 to 13 November 1908, 2 June 1909 to 29 April 1910 Deakin was a founding father of Federation, along with Edmund Barton.

Older Sir Walter Murdoch - Melbourne Uni

Walter Murdoch (great uncle to Rupert Murdoch of News Corp) was a young man and a journalist for the Argus when he met Alfred Deakin. Deakin was also journalist for the Age during his 20’s.

In 1923, just 4 years after Alfred’s death, Pattie asked Walter to write a biography on her husband. “Alfred Deakin: A Sketch” became a masterpiece of writing. Murdoch who became a close family friend and admirer of Deakin writes:

“Some piece of writing of mine had the good fortune to please him; and it was entirely characteristic of the man that he should at once sit down and write me some generous words of praise; for he was ever the helper and encourager of young men…” “It was impossible to spend a dull moment in his company…he had the power of loosening the tongues of others…men showed themselves at their best in his presence. He understood before you had half finished your sentence… his talk, when at his best, was like sparkling wine. I think his charm as a companion was due not so much to the richness and brilliancy of his talk, but to the fundamental friendliness that shone through what he said, – there was something winning and affectionate in his nature” (page 289 “Alfred Deakin: A Sketch” by Walter Murdoch)

Walter Murdoch at Alfred's retreat - Pt Londsdale
Pattie, Alfred and grandson Wilfred - Pt Londsdale retreat

Alfred Deakin’s Prayer No 9

“God grant me the virtue of sincerity and the voice of truth that without fear or falsity I may speak the word and do the deed best for this country and its people. Let me shake off self and ignore success, let me be guided sufficiently to guide others and gifted to perform the most necessary service.”

“To this make my private aims absolutely subordinate and my private life sure and harmonious as a sure pedestal from which I may utter my message. Let this be Thy message and Thy will and grant that as it’s mere mouthpiece I may repeat it without admixture and without regard to the welcome it may procure for me. God help me to help” 13th Feb 1892″

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