The Appropriate and Biblical Response to Homosexuality

What could be a more hot-button topic today than homosexuality and Christianity? 

Yet, it is one that continues to require ample supplies of wisdom, direction, patience and understanding.  Since all four of those things come from God, let’s take a look at what His word says.

Have you ever read the book of Leviticus in the Old Testament of the Bible?  You wouldn’t be alone if you said no.  In fact, much of the Old Testament is skimmed or skipped entirely by Christians.  However, if you are going to know God, His righteousness, His commands, His judgement, and His love, grace, and mercy, you must read the Old Testament.

Leviticus is admittedly difficult to read.  It is the law as given by God to Moses and the Israelites.  What one needs to understand about the law given in Leviticus, is that it is God’s law.  Since God is the God of the Universe, His law applies to all peoples, whether they accept that or not.  One can argue that until they are blue in the face, but it won’t change the reality of it.  God’s law is not outdated or meant only for the Israelites, while the Church is somehow relieved from its authority.

Christ came to fulfill the law, NOT abolish it (Matthew 5:17-18).  He also promised that not one bit of it will pass away until all of it is fulfilled…which won’t be until man once again lives in the presence of God as Adam and Eve did in the beginning.

Now what does God’s law say about homosexuality?  Leviticus 18:22-24* says the following:

“You are not to lie with a man, as with a woman—that is an abomination.  You are not to lie with any animal to defile yourself with it, nor is any woman to give herself to an animal, to lie down with it—that is a perversion.  Do not defile yourselves in any of these things, for in all of these ways the nations which I am casting out before you were defiled.  The land has become defiled, so I will punish its iniquity, and the land will vomit out its inhabitants.”

God clearly states here that homosexuality is an abomination.  In fact, He lists it as part of the reason the land of Canaan was defiled, and so the people living there were cast out and Israel given the land in their place.

Two chapters later, God says this:

“If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination, and they shall surely be put to death.  Their blood shall be on them.  If a man takes a wife and her mother, it is wickedness.  They shall be burned with fire—both he and they, so that there may be no wickedness among you.  If a man lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you are to kill the animal.”  Leviticus 20:13-15.

In these two examples, God has declared that homosexuality, (as well as bestiality,) is an abomination.  In one passage, He focuses on the sins and punishment of nations who allow the practice of homosexuality.  In the next, He focuses on the personal sin of it, and the punishment of death as a result.

Lest anyone consider this to be void after the coming of the Messiah, even after the earlier explanation, open your Bible to Romans chapter 1.  The Apostle Paul, author of over half of the New Testament, wrote the following in verses 18-32:

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. In unrighteousness they suppress the truth, because what can be known about God is plain to them—for God has shown it to them. His invisible attributes—His eternal power and His divine nature—have been clearly seen ever since the creation of the world, being understood through the things that have been made. So people are without excuse—for even though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. Instead, their thinking became futile, and their senseless hearts were made dark. Claiming to be wise, they became fools. They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image in the form of mortal man and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things.

Therefore God gave them over in the evil desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies with one another. They traded the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to shameful passions. Even their women exchanged natural relations for what is against nature.  Likewise the men abandoned natural relations with women and were burning with passion toward one another—men committing shameful acts with other men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

And just as they did not see fit to recognize God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what is not fitting.  They became filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents. They are foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree—that those who practice such things deserve death—they not only do them but also approve of others who practice the same.”

Homosexuality is labeled as shameful, and deserving of penalty.  I included the entire passage, because I want you to see the first section which states that God put in man the sense of right and wrong, and has made Himself visible in the world He created, therefore there is no excuse for saying that one does not know that God has declared homosexuality as wrong.  Those who deny God, also harden their hearts to understanding the truth of right and wrong within us.  That is the choice we all make.  However, one must understand that with the choice to deny God and His truth, comes the consequences of doing so.  We are all still held accountable for our sins (wrongdoings.)  The only way to avoid the penalty of death for them is to believe that Yeshua (Jesus), God’s son died to take that death penalty for us, and accept His salvation.

With this Biblical base, what is the Christian to do about homosexuality?  We need to recognize it as sin, an abomination before God.  This makes living the homosexual lifestyle unacceptable…for the Christian.  For the unbeliever, the non-Christian, “God gave them over to the depraved mind.”

How, then, are we to respond to practicing homosexuals?  There are two answers for this.  Our response is dependent on whether or not the person is a believer or unbeliever.

Yeshua said, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:60).  Also in Matthew 8:22 – But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

This is a topic that needs to be fleshed out thoroughly for a true understanding.

Homosexuality and Christianity.  Two life views that have butted heads for centuries.  What is the appropriate Biblical response of the Christian towards homosexuality?

 

As I prayed about writing this article, this phrase played repeatedly through my mind, “Let the dead bury their dead.”  I knew it was the Holy Spirit telling me that we need to leave the dead, the unbelieving, to their own ways.  It is not for us to change them, or require them to live by the commands of God that we adhere to.  It was as though God was saying to me, “Let them do what they will do.  You worry about what I have for you to do.”

This was confirmed in more of Paul’s writings.  In his first letter to the Corinthians he wrote:

“I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people.  Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.  But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.  For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside?  Do you not judge those who are inside?  But those who are outside God judges.  Therefore ‘put away from yourselves the evil person.’”

Two things are in this passage.  First, we are not to judge the unbeliever, the outsider, who is living the immoral life.  That judgement is left to God.  Since there are numerous records of God’s judgement on those who defile His commands throughout the Bible, we can safely say that Paul’s words are true.  We are also not to avoid them or disassociate with them.  Paul was clear in this, as it would mean we would have to leave the earth.  It is impossible to completely seclude oneself from the unbelieving of this world.  On the other hand, we are to avoid company with those believers who are living the immoral lifestyle.  There are other passages of the Bible that speak of how to confront a believer who is living in sin.  Disconnecting yourself from them, and them from the church, is the last step when they have refused to repent and turn from their sinful ways.

It seems clear that the Christian is indeed instructed to judge our brethren when it comes to sinful living, which includes, but is not exclusive to, the life of homosexuality.  And if necessary, cut ties with them until the person repents of their ways.  However, it is also clear that we are not to judge the unbelieving homosexual for their immorality.  God will do that in His own time and in His own way.

In the meantime, we can certainly “go and preach the kingdom of God.”  We can, and should, share with unbelieving homosexuals the love that God has for them, and the salvation from sin (all sin) that is offered through the blood of Yeshua.  If and when, they accept that salvation, then let the Holy Spirit convict them and begin changing them.

As for our brothers who practice this lifestyle, we must confront them, and implore them to repent.  It is wrong to change the message of God’s word.  Galatians 1:9 says, “As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”

It is a dangerous path to change and distort God’s word to mean what one chooses it to mean.  God’s word is clear in its stance on homosexuality.  To say that being gay is okay because one believes that they are, or because one wants to support a friend or family member who says they are, is following a dangerous slippery slope.  Once one verse is changed or denied, there will be another, and another.  Soon the Word of the righteous God will be the word of sinful men, with no inherent worth.

Read the Scriptures.  Abide by them.  For in them is our salvation, as well as our judgement.

What then can we do about our brothers and sisters? Pray. Pray, pray, pray.  I firmly believe that people are not born gay. I also do not believe that it is a sickness or a crossed wire somewhere. I believe homosexuality is the cause of a great deception by the devil. Remember that he is the father of lies and the expert at mixing just enough lie with truth to make it all seem good. But just because you put a dash of hot sauce in your sugar cookie dough, does not mean your cookies will come out right. That little dash will ruin the whole batch. We must pray that God will help them to discern the truth from the lie, and seek to return to Him, for He is truth.

 

*All Bible passages taken from the New King James Version of the Bible (NKJV).

God’s Dream Come True

Isaiah 46:9-10 (TLV) – “For I am God—there is no other.  I am God, and there is none like Me—declaring the end from the beginning, from ancient time, what is yet to come, saying, “My purpose will stand, and I will accomplish all that I please.”

Have you ever wondered why if God knows everything—past, present, future—why did He create the earth in the first place?  He had to know that Satan would rebel, that Adam and Eve would fail the test, and He would have to take the form of His own creation in order to sacrifice Himself for our salvation.

When Cain killed Abel, why didn’t God stop there?  Why did He provide another son, Seth, through whom salvation would eventually come?

When the world had rejected Him so completely that every thought and intent of the heart was evil, why did He go through the trouble to destroy every living creature…except for Noah, his family, and enough animals to start over again?  Why didn’t He just wipe the whole thing out and just say, “Forget it!”

The painstaking care God took to create, and then ensure the continued existence of His creation insists that there is a purpose beyond plain sight.  He spent thousands of years preparing for, and then establishing a nation through whom He would send His salvation.  At the same time, He used that nation to demonstrate to the world, both then and now, how very much we need Him and just how far He was willing to go to for us.

Story after story in the Bible shows us the character of God.  He walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  He shared His plans with Abraham.  He called Moses friend.  He adopts anyone who chooses to receive His salvation and calls us His children, and the brothers of His Son, Yeshua (Jesus).

The answer to the “why” is in God’s character, and what He showed us about Himself in the Bible.  Why did He bother with this enormous, elaborate plan to create a world that would reject Him, and turn against Him?  Because He loves us, and He wants a relationship with us.  But not a forced relationship.  God wants a relationship that is based on truth, faith, trust, love, and choice.  God built a world that would hate Him for a time, so that He could have an eternity with those who chose to love Him.

Before God said, “Let there be light,” He saw the pain and death of sin.  Before he breathed life into the nostrils of man, He saw the hands that would drive the spikes into His wrists.  But when He closed the door of the Ark, with only eight people and a bunch of animals inside, He saw eternity with those who would faithfully choose Him over the world, and love Him with all their hearts, minds, and souls.

God didn’t give up.  He didn’t quit before He began, and He didn’t scrap the lot of us to start over from scratch…because He loves us that much.  Every single tiny detail of His plan must be fulfilled so that, in the end, we will be together with Him.  He planned for us, worked for us, and sacrificed for us.  We are God’s dream come true.  We are what He has worked and longed for from before the very beginning.  How profound, and how humbling is that?

Why does He love us that much?  That is beyond me, but it is enough to know that He does.  With a heart, overflowing with His love, I sing:

Oh, how He loves you and me, Oh how He loves you and me. He gave his life, what more could he give?
Oh, how He loves you; Oh, how he loves me; Oh, how he loves you and me.

Copyright: 

1975 Word Music, LLC (a div. of Word Music Group, Inc.)

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16 TLV)

Child Sacrifice in the United States

A startling epidemic has spread across the United States.  What once was a Christian nation has now turned a blind eye to the horrific sacrifice of children.  Brutal executions of children are happening in alarming numbers all across this once great nation, as they are offered up to unknown gods in ritual ceremonies.  Young children are taken from their mothers, cut open, organs removed, and left to die in these grisly acts of worship.  It is absolutely shocking and unthinkable that this type of cult behavior has been allowed to continue!  In the past three years, over a million children have suffered this terrible fate.

In a nation where organizations seek regularly to find support to feed and clothe hungry children in other parts of the world, I find it unbelievable that we are ignorant to the practice of ritual child sacrifice right here in our own backyards.  The only reasonable answer to this must be that people simply are not aware of what is going on.  What other possible explanation could there be?  It cannot possibly be that it is a known fact, and simply ignored. Ignorance is bliss is not for a time like this!!

I find this deplorable, and I know that you will, too.  Not only is this horrifying to my human mind and sensibilities, I know that it is something that defies God.  He warned time and again throughout the Old Testament to not follow in the ways of the pagan nations who sacrificed their children to false gods.

Deuteronomy 12:31 is an example.  In this verse, God says, “You shall not worship the LORD your God in that way; for every abomination to the LORD which He hates they have done to their gods; for they burn even their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.”  I am pretty sure it matters not by what method a child is sacrificed.  It is an abomination.

God spoke through the prophet Ezekiel to the Israelites who centuries later had been doing exactly what He had warned them not to do.  Chapter 20:31 says, “For when you offer your gifts and make your sons pass through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols, even to this day.  So shall I be inquired of by you, O house of Israel? As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “I will not be inquired of by you.”  God would not hear their prayers as a result of their idol worship, which specifically included sacrificing their children.

Woe to the United States for allowing the same!  We must take a stand and put an end to this abomination lest we, too, lose the ear of GOD!!

Stand to end abortion today, the sacrifice of children on the altar of Self.

In the Bible it was common for pagans to sacrifice to Molech or Baal, gods made of wood and stone.  Gods who could not hear, speak, or act.  They certainly had no power over anyone or thing.  Today, the god to whom children are sacrificed is Self.  Self can hear and speak, because it is us.  We have come to lift up our own personal humanity to god-like status and sacrifice those to whom Yeshua said, “Let the little children come to me;” those who God finds precious in His sight.  Woe to Self, and those who worship her!!

May God have mercy on those of us who stand against her!!

Scripture from *NKJV – New King James Version

PEOPLE NEED A SAVIOR

Are you saved?  If you were to die today, how do you know you would go to Heaven? 

When I was a kid growing up as a Baptist in a large Midwestern city, these were probably the two questions I heard the most.  Baptists then were all about evangelism.  People needed to get saved.  Period.  I truly have fond memories of joining the adults from our church to go knocking door-to-door to witness, hand out tracts, and ask those two questions.  We were people on fire and determined to win as many souls as possible for the Lord!

I don’t know if the 1970’s were a time of worldwide revival, or if that was just how Christians were…or maybe just how Baptists were.  But there is something wrong today when there appears to be none of that, or at least precious little.  Of course, the world has become a much more dangerous place.  I recognize that, so I don’t think we really need to go banging on doors.  We are just as likely to get our heads banged on in return.  But I do think we have lost the fervor, the fire to seek the salvation of souls.

During my teen years, my family switched denominations.  At some point, I recall someone telling me that “we don’t use the word ‘saved,’ it makes people uncomfortable and confuses them.  Saved from what?  People don’t think they need to be saved.’”  I was an impressionable youth and went along…for a LOT of years.  I think about that little conversation today, and I wonder, “What in the world were you talking about???”  I realize now that it was just another way that Satan has watered down the effectiveness of the Church, and in truth, of the whole Gospel message.  The whole reason Yeshua (the Hebrew name of Jesus) came to earth WAS TO SAVE!!!!  Every human being on the planet NEEDS TO BE SAVED!!!!  And the ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN IS SALVATION through Yeshua Messiah.  The Church was given one directive-  to go preach the Gospel…the message that brings the good news…a SAVIOR has come and died to SAVE the world.

Let’s take a look at what the Bible says.  In Psalm 68:20, King David said that “God is the God of salvation.”

In Luke 2:11 the angel announces, “For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” This was the good news, of course, that was for all people.

When the Apostle Peter gave his incredible speech in Acts chapter 5, he quoted the prophet Joel and said (vs. 21), “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

Yeshua, Himself, said in John 3:17 – “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”

Ephesians 2:8 – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Titus 2:13 – “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,”

Acts 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  [Side note:  This is the reason I call Jesus by His Hebrew name, Yeshua; His given name…given before the time of His birth by God, Himself.]

Hopefully, I have given enough samples to illustrate that the word “saved,” and its derivatives have a Biblical foundation when it comes to the Gospel message.  We are saved from the power of sin over us; the slavery to sin (Romans 6:6-7).  We are saved from the punishment of death as a result of our sins (Romans 6:23).  And we are saved from the wrath of God against the non-believing/in-saved sinner (Romans 5:8-11).

Why would we think that we can express the salvation message better than the authors of the Bible?

Here’s the bottom line-.  Yeshua commanded us to go into all the world preaching the gospel and making disciples of all nations.  We need to tell people they need to be saved, and explain what they need to be saved from.   We need to introduce them to the Savior, and lead them into salvation.

Look at the people in this world.  They are seeking a savior!  You and I know that drugs, alcohol, sex, video games, over-eating, excessive shopping, material possessions, etc., etc., etc. will provide nothing more than temporary escapes from the troubles of this world.

PEOPLE NEED A SAVIOR, and we have the answer! 

We know the one and only Savior who can deliver them from this world of despair, and He is not meant to be kept secret.  We were not commanded to become complacent, and slowly and carefully develop a strong relationship with someone waiting for the perfect time to tell them about Jesus.  But that is exactly what we do.

How many people do you know who have died without ever having been told about what Yeshua did for them because you were waiting for the right time to speak up.  There are four people who immediately come to my mind.  How many came to yours?  Even if it is one, that is too many.  Salvation has become the best-kept secret the world has never known—while we secret-bearers sit back in our Lazy-boys and rest in the knowledge that we are safe.

Personally, I believe that we are living in the end times, and Yeshua is standing on the edge of Heaven just waiting for the word.  When He comes back, that’s it.  Game over.  But even if He doesn’t return next week, over the summer, or for another 150 years, every single day people die, and the majority of them die without having been saved.

Paul said, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”  (2 Corinthians 6:2b).

*All Scripture passages taken from the New King James Version of the Bible.

In the past couple weeks I have read a number of articles about the growing satanic worship movement in the United States.  Satanist clubs are being set up in schools in order to balance out the effect of Christian clubs.  A great symbol being set up in Central Park in New York City that honors Baal.  Whhhaaaaat??  Add to that the article which spoke of the decline of Bible reading within the church and the rise of Christians who don’t even know what the Bible teaches about major issues of the day…not that it isn’t in the Bible.  It is. People just don’t read it to know.  Add to that the fact that many church leaders no longer preach from the Bible, and some do not even mention the name of Jesus!!!

We live in a world where children are no longer educated at home, nor in the church,about the core of Christian belief.  They have no standard on which to base any belief, and so the minute it is challenged by something that sounds good, they crumble. 

Our entire society no longer has a standard by which it can know right from wrong.   

How is all of this paving the way for the Antichrist? Simple.  The Bible tells us that he will be a man who is pleasing to look at (appearing stronger or greater than others).  One who will speak well (using pompous words, able to speak in a very convincing manner).  People will follow him in droves (they will be in awe of him and will worship him).  It will not matter who he is, what he stands for, or what his background is.  He will be powerful, successful, proud, and deceitful.

But it will be enough that he will know the words the world wants to hear, and they will follow blindly.  To read these descriptions for yourself, and I encourage you to do so, read the following:  Daniel 7:20-21, 24-27; Daniel 8:23-25; and Revelations 13:3-18.  Remember that the antichrist is symbolically represented as a horn and as a beast.

As the dumbing down of society and of Christians worldwide continues, the door is opening wider and wider for the pompous, arrogant, strong, convincing, powerful, successful, but deceitful and evil antichrist to step foot into a position of leadership that will turn the whole world to follow him like little puppies.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again.  If Christians are not reading their Bibles, how will they know when false teachers, preachers, prophets, and eventually the antichrist, teach them lies against God and His truth, and lead them to belief and worship of someone other than YAHWEH, the one true God? 

If you change the characteristics of God, whether to make Him who you want Him to be, or whether it be from ignorance, it makes no difference.  If you have changed Him, then you do not worship Him.  You worship a god of your own making, and that god cannot offer salvation because he is not real.  Study your Bible.  Know without a doubt who YAHWEH is and why you put your faith in Him.  And in so doing, you will guard your hearts and minds from the deceptions that come increasingly more and more each day.

If we think things are bad now, I don’t believe we will have long to wait before we watch in horror (hopefully watch, and not participate) in the glorification of the man who will declare himself to be god and demand the world worship him.  BE ON YOUR GUARD!!!  Take responsibility for your own soul.  Educate yourself!  READ THE BIBLE…READ THE BIBLE…READ THE BIBLE!!!!!

#ReadtheBIBLE  Let’s make this hashtag go viral!!!

As the Church Goes, So Goes the USA: The Inextricable Link, Purpose, and Final Hope

Election day in the United States was nearly two weeks ago. Everywhere I looked I saw people mourning the loss of their nation.  There was an air of resignation, dismay, even doom as people battled hard to change minds and votes.  The decision has been made, and not everyone is happy.  There is unrest among the losing team.  And even among the winners, there is an air of uncertainty.  Below are the words I wrote on election day, before the results were in.  I pray that as you read, you will be blessed by this message of hope.

Many who have found peace on this day do not have it because they are confident in the choice of their vote.  They do not have it because they know that God is in control and that He will restore America to its former greatness.  They have the peace that passes all understanding knowing that America is in decline, and that it will never be great again, BECAUSE God is in control.  The United States of America is not, and has never been, intended to be the end time focus of the world.  

Israel is.

In fact, it is widely agreed upon that the United States isn’t even mentioned in any of the end time prophecies in the Bible.  But the United States has had a purpose in God’s sovereign plan.  And it was/is an amazing, incredible, humbling plan!

A few years ago I was praying about the rapidly increasing rate of brutal persecution of Christians, particularly in the Middle East.  Honestly, the rise of ISIS terrified me.  God spoke one line to me during that time of prayer.  I have been praying and seeking the meaning behind it ever since.  He said, “You are Joseph.”  What I did know immediately was that He was referring to Joseph, son of Jacob, who was sold into Egypt by his brothers only to end up saving his entire family from destruction decades later in a great famine.  Beyond that, I had no other understanding.

“You are Joseph” has been on my mind and in my heart ever since.  I have prayed and prayed.  Did God mean that I was somehow going to be a place of safety for my own extended family?  Did He mean that the state I living in here in the US would be a place of safety for people, particularly Christians?  Was it broader than that?  Is the United States Joseph, and we are a place of refuge for persecuted Christians from other lands around the world?  I didn’t know, so I continued to pray and wait on the Lord.

It wasn’t until I was sitting in church this Sunday where Pastor has been preaching a series on the entire book of Genesis (we started this time last year, and it has been incredible, by the way).  Sunday’s focus was on the reuniting of Joseph with his brothers.  Suddenly God began to speak to me and slowly on flushed out the meaning behind the word He gave me so many years ago.

Joseph is the United States, or more specifically, the Church in the United States While there are similarities to the stories, it is not an exact parallel.  Allow me to explain.  In pain and despair, Joseph was sent to a land other than his home.  But God had a plan, unknown to Joseph at the time, to use him to save the land, and especially, the family from whom the Messiah would come, from a famine that He foreknew decades in the future.  The first settlers to come to America from Europe were Christians.  They fled because they were being persecuted by the state-run church.  Unbeknownst to them, God had a plan to use them to preserve His Church, and to save it from the famine of the Spirit and the Word which resulted from the influence of the government.

In Matthew 28:19-20 Yeshua commanded His disciples (the fathers of the Church) to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey God’s commands.  The Church, under state rule, had become corrupted to the point it was no longer capable of fulfilling this command.  God preserved a remnant by sending it to a new land from which missionaries in greater numbers than any other nation have been sent out to all the world doing exactly as Yeshua commanded.  In Matthew 24:14 (TLV), while explaining the signs of the end times, Yeshua said this, “This Good News of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”  Last year I heard a report on Christian radio from a missionary outreach organization (who’s name I cannot remember) which said that approximately 10% of the world was currently still unreached with the Gospel, but that 10% was expected to be reached within ten years or less.

While God has preserved the Church to carry out His command, He has also used the United States as a safe haven for Jews.  The state of Israel was re-established thanks in large part to the leadership of the United States in the late 1940’s.  And we have been one of their strongest allies for decades.  However, now is coming the time when Israel must stand alone, as is prophesied in Ezekiel.  During the end times, the United States will not be a powerful force able to stand by Israel’s side.

Today, as the Church comes closer and closer to fulfilling its command from Yeshua, its influence declines, and along with it, declines the United States of America.  The mission for the Church is drawing to a close, and so is the need for the United States to be a powerful force on the world stage.

Knowing this, what should the Church expect in the near future?  Regardless of the outcome of today’s Presidential Election, we can expect a sharp decline in our freedoms of speech and religion.  Just as the Israelites lost favor and freedom in Egypt after Joseph was gone, so we will lose favor and freedoms here in the United States.  We already see the beginning of that, and it will continue.

But also as Egypt suffered God’s judgment for the mistreatment of His chosen people, so this nation will meet with God’s judgment for its mistreatment and rejection of Yeshua’s Bride, the Church.  Prepare yourselves.  Remember that Israel was affected by the first 3 of the ten plagues on Egypt, then God exempted Israel from the rest.  I don’t know what God’s judgment on America will look like.  I suspect we will know it when we see it.  In the end, Israel was bodily removed from Egypt, guided to their Promised Land by Moses.  And soon, very soon, we too will be bodily removed and guided to our Promised Land, the place where Yeshua has gone to prepare with many mansions.  We will be guided by Yeshua Himself!

REJOICE Brothers and Sisters!!!  Our mission is nearly complete!  When it is, WE GET TO GO HOME!!!!!

Today, remember the promise of Yeshua, “What I am leaving with you is shalom—I am giving you my shalom.  I don’t give the way the world gives.  Don’t let yourselves be upset or frightened.”  (John 14:27, CJB).  Don’t look for peace and comfort in the election results or anything else in this world.  We have peace of a whole other kind!!!  We know God’s purpose, and we know God’s plan.  Don’t mourn this world too much.  Everything worth loving here will be hundreds of times better in Heaven!!!

Come quickly Lord Yeshua!!!!!  Amen!

Why Does God Test His People?

Last week my number 3 son had an altercation with a teacher.  She had given an assignment without explaining the instructions, and when the students turned them in done incorrectly, she gave out F’s…to nearly half the class.  Then, after promising to put that grade on the first quarter report, where it would be quickly absorbed, she changed her mind, and made it the first grade of the second quarter;  my son flipped his wig.  He is very concerned about his grades, and takes pride in receiving good ones.  He also does not respond well when he feels he is being treated unfairly.

That incident brought back memories of my own teacher training.  I remember being taught that giving any kind of assignment, quiz, or test is as much a test of the teacher as it is the students.  If a large percentage of students fail, then I must have either not communicated something correctly, or didn’t teach it in a way that they were able to learn it.  So the purpose of a test is dual fold, to see what the students have learned, and to see if the teacher has taught successfully.

Skip ahead to this week.  I was driving down the road listening to a preacher on the radio, as I often do with my many hours of windshield time.  He was talking about the Gentile woman who pleaded with Yeshua to cast the demon out of her daughter.  Yeshua said, “Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

To which she replied, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children’s crumbs.”  (This story is from Mark chapter 7.)  The pastor explained that Yeshua was testing this woman to see what she would do.

I wondered, “Why does God test people?  He is all-knowing, so He knows what they are going to do anyway.  What is the purpose?”  Then the Spirit spoke to my heart.  God doesn’t test us because He wants to see how we are going to react.  He is not checking to see if we will have enough faith in Him, or if we will be obedient.  God is not like a teacher who uses a test to make sure that He is doing a good job with us.

God tests His people for our own sakes.  It is to allow us to see how He will respond when we are obedient.  It is so that our faith can grow further when we witness how He fulfills His promises when we trust Him.  God tests us so that when we pass with flying colors, we have a deeper understanding of who He is, and a strengthened relationship with Him.

Genesis 22:1-2 (NKJV) – Now it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham, and said to him, “Abraham!”  And he said, “Here I am.”  Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah and offer him there as a burnt-offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”

If you have read your Old Testament stories, you know that Abraham took Isaac to the mountains, built an altar, bound his son, and laid him on the altar.  Just as he was about to bring down the blade to Isaac’s heart, God stopped him, and showed him a ram that was caught in the nearby thicket.

So, Isaac was spared and Abraham called that place YAHWEH Yireh, which means The Lord Will Provide.  Abraham’s test was of obedience.  He passed, and as a result, he learned two lessons. The first is that God provides for His people.  The second is that God blesses obedience to Him.

Genesis 22:15-18 (NKJV) – Then the Angel of the LORD called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said:  “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son—blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore, and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.  In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

God has given man free will to obey or not obey.  But that doesn’t change the fact that He is almighty, all-knowing, all-seeing God.  Abraham had the option of disobeying God, but he chose not to.  Because God knows the end from the beginning, He knew that Abraham would choose obedience.  The test was not so God knew that Abraham would be obedient, but so that Abraham would know how God would respond to his obedience.

In Luke 8, Yeshua calmed the storm before the eyes of a very frightened group of disciples.  It was a test.  Was it so that Yeshua would know if the disciples believed that He had the power over the wind and the seas?  No!  He already knew their level of faith.  He knew the heart of each one of them, and how close, or far away each of them was to accepting that He was indeed the Messiah.  He used the test to show them in another way that he not only had the power of God, but that He was himself, God incarnate.

The next time you find yourself being tested, seek to learn what God is revealing to you about who He is; His character, His power, His love, His mercy or grace…what is it that you need? Watch how He responds to your response to the test.  Are you blessed?  Is your faith strengthened?

“But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  Deuteronomy 4:29 (NKJV)

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