"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW: Ch. 6 - The MESSIAH and HIS KINGDOM MESSAGE

By James Fire

While the Beatitudes and Similitudes have been covered in Chapter Five along with more of the Sermon on the Mount, the Sermon preached by our LORD is far from complete; it continues still for another two chapters. 

Thus, this constitutes the longest, continuous teaching by Jesus Christ in Scripture (It’s interesting to note that Levi Matthias whose Gospel account we are now studying was a tax collector; this would mean he would be very skilled at dictation and likely wrote these discourses from the LORD on site while He addressed the people). 

We are about to begin Chapter Six now and there is much to cover.
The chapter begins with and maintains a warning against religious externalism and hypocrisy while also giving instruction on the proper method and purpose for prayer; also benevolence, fasting, forgiveness, service, and perspectives on eternal versus temporal values are considered.

We must remind ourselves that these teachings revolve around the central focus of the Kingdom of heaven, of which the LORD Himself is King; that is the Messiah of Israel. Yet these teachings are also in a profoundly spiritual sense applicable for the church as well, guiding and governing our attitudes and motivations through the power of the indwelling Spirit.
Without further ado then, let us begin the study.
MATTHEW 6:1-2
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.


 Alms refers to charitable donations to the poor, something that the Jewish people were admonished to see to by the LORD Who gave such commandment (Ex. 22:25 and 23:11 for example). However, such charity was not to be paraded before others in a boastful and, or arrogant manner. In this passage the LORD clearly tells His hearers that they were not to give alms to be seen by others but only one chapter earlier, He also told them:

MATTHEW 5:16
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven
.

Is this a contradiction? How can we not allow ourselves to be seen by others doing charitable and good works (MT. 6:1) and at the same time, allow these good works to be seen (MT. 5:16)?

I believe it has to do with the intent of the heart – for those who do such things, seeking the praise and “glory of men” (MT. 6:2) will result in no reward from the Father. Yet those who seek to truly please God will be seen of Him and receive reward from Him, and yet when seen by others, they will glorify God – not the one's doing the good works, because the doers of good works will direct attention to the LORD Who enabled them to do such. 

I believe that when done with the correct motive, people will be rightly directed to give God the glory rather than to those who are simply being obedient and loving towards God. The Holy Spirit, by Whose power we are able to conduct ourselves in these godly ways, Himself always directs attention to the LORD and never Himself (JOHN 16:12-14).

Apparently as the LORD admonished people to not sound a trumpet before themselves when giving, it must have been a practice by some to do this very thing! Quite literally they were “blowing their own horn” to draw attention to how much they were donating for the cause!
Our offerings and service to God must be with the right motives, otherwise they are of no value whatsoever (1 COR. 13:1-8).


We cannot assume that God is pleased by the amount that we give in our offerings on Sunday mornings or to charitable organizations, but by how much of a sacrifice the offering is. Two people could donate twenty dollars each. For one this sum could represent a mere 1% of their income; for another, it could represent 50% and offering it cost them far more than the other. The LORD said as much elsewhere, regarding the poor widow and her two mites (Mk. 12:41-44). 


Yet giving must always be done willingly, cheerfully and from a heart of love for God (2 COR. 9:6-8; PS. 96:7-9).


Religious show in order to impress and to receive honor from others is forbidden then; it's a form of hypocrisy that leads to even deeper and more dangerous forms of pride (PS 10:4; PROV. 11:2; MK. 7:21-23; 1 JN. 2:16). We must maintain purity by none other than the Holy Spirit (1 TIM. 1:5; 2 TIM.2:22). Our prayers, charitable deeds, church attendance, Bible reading, etc. are all to be done with proper motives – for the love and worship of God, not for the love of praise and worship from men! The former will bring eternal glory, the latter only temporary praise.

It's been said before: “Reputation is only what other people think about you; character is who you really are when no one but God is watching your actions.”


MATTHEW 6:3-4
3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly
.



In Eastern culture the right hand is symbolic of approval; whereas the left hand represents rejection. When the LORD told us to not let our left hand know what our right hand is doing, the obvious meaning is that we ought to be discreet in our ministry, not seeking the 'lime light' as it were. Yet I also see how we are to conduct any ministry and service in a manner that will receive approval of our Father and not rejection. Of course any ministry and service we do for the LORD must be by the empowerment of the Spirit and not by our own power, with the motive of love, thankfulness and obedience to the One Who has redeemed us all with His own blood!

We see this very thing in MATTHEW 25:31-46 at the LORD's judgment between the sheep and the goats (note in vs. 33 that the sheep are at His right hand, and the goats are on His left). Likewise we also must seek approval in our ministry to the LORD and the only ministry He will approve of is that which is in accordance to His will (and performed by the anointing of the Spirit) and with a right heart (love, gratitude, obedience; see also 1 COR. 13:1-3; 2 COR. 9:11-13; ROM. 6:16). 

We cannot allow our 'left hand' – the flesh which can never be approved by God, much less received – be involved in ministry as we walk in the Spirit, as it were with our 'right hand'. God promises to reward us “openly” for such quality service accomplished in a humble, Spirit-led manner.

MATTHEW 6:5-6
5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly
.



Prayer is very much the same idea as alms; to be done with right motive and purpose; not for show and to put one's supposed spirituality on display to be admired by others (thus the need for prayer closets and doors to shut us in for privacy).


I was recently asked whether or not it was right to pray over meals in public, at restaurants. Of course it's absolutely acceptable to pray over meals in public (we have a little tradition when my fellow saints and I go out to eat, that the first one served gets the honor of saying the grace), just so long as one's intent is indeed to glorify God and not to impress others with one's facade of spirituality. Attitude is everything in prayer – which must be conducted by the saint with a heart of humility, sensitivity, contrition and seeking to please God and not oneself.
An excellent example of this can be seen in the parable between the publican and the Pharisee:


LUKE 18:10-14
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted
.

The two extremes in the social spectrum of Jewish life in the days of Jesus' earthly ministry: the lofty and extolled position of the Pharisee – the professional 'Law Keepers' who were believed by the people to be in God's 'inner circle' as it were; and the publican who was despised as the lackeys of the Roman Empire, collecting taxes (and then some!) for the government (with a little extra on the side for themselves).


Both men go into the Temple for the purpose of prayer. Take special note of vs. 11!
vs. 11: “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself . . .” 


His prayers were just bouncing off the ceiling! He wasn't even really praying to God (as he no doubt thought he was) but only “with himself”. Notice the boasting that follows in vs. 11 and 12 and how he denigrates others who don't live up to his own hypocritical standards! By vs. 13 we switch to the publican and I get the idea that if we had stayed with the Pharisee, we would have heard more of his boastful listing of all the ‘good’ things he did.

The publican merely asked for mercy, knowing his own heart and understood that he was not worthy of even lifting his eyes to heaven. The LORD underscores that it was this 'despised publican' rather than the self-righteous Pharisee who was justified before God.

The stiff backed pride of the self-righteous and self-esteem will always find them cast down into the dust, whereas the humble, on bent knees shall know the heights of God's grace and mercy as no other can! This is an essential truth for those who desire to be heard of God and to please Him. 


Rather than groveling in the mud and being humiliated until God is smugly satisfied with such and then deigns to perhaps answer a prayer, to be of a humble heart is simply to acknowledge the truth that God in His supreme holiness is Someone we are wholly unworthy of, that we are by nature sinners and if we are to have any dealings with Him, it cannot be based on justice (because if God enacts justice upon a sinner like me, I am doomed!) but on His grace and mercy.

Humbleness is truthfulness by which I admit that I am a sinner worthy of hell, and entirely unworthy of God. By the same token, I can also admit in total truthfulness that I am a saved saint, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, a child of the King and by Jesus Christ's work, one who is wholly acceptable at the throne of God and incredibly honored to address Him as Abba.

And as I spend time in secret, praying to Abba Father, He in His tender generosity “rewards [me] openly”.

MATTHEW 6:7-8
7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him
.

“. . .vain repetitions . . .” is an interesting phrase, particularly in light of the current resurgence of contemplative prayer.
The words “vain repetitions” means “to stutter, to prate tediously, to repeat over and over, to use many idle words, to babble.”

In the Contemplative Prayer/Spirituality Movement and the broader association of the Spiritual Formation Movement*, the repetition of key words and, or phrases is the very means by which one enters into an altered state of consciousness, an emptying of one’s mind (“vanity”) and in so doing, receive visions, inspiration, knowledge from 'God'. It is Hindu-style meditation practices dressed up in Roman (“desert fathers”) Catholic clothes and by no means is it contemplative (which involves thought) nor is it prayer (which is communication with God). It is a dangerous occult technique which can actually invite demonic influences, oppression or even possession or at the very least, spiritual deception.

* See this article by AMOS37 ministries on how Spiritual Formation books and practices are becoming mandatory on Bible college campuses and seminaries!

While Roman Catholic churches are picking up this practice from its ancient shelf and dusting it off for modern use, Evangelicals are shockingly accepting and participating in these spiritual exercises!

For more on this, reserve some time later on and see the following four articles:


IS THIS CHRISTIANITY TODAY? ANCIENT-FUTURE HOLY WAYS OR HERESIES?

BEWARE OF PRAYER – Of the Contemplative Kind: Part One

BEWARE OF PRAYER – Of the Contemplative Kind: Part Two

MYSTICISM IN THE CHURCH: CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER And Her Evil Sisters



MATTHEW 6:9-13

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen
.

On the issue of prayer, I have often pondered the functionality of prayer. Many have asked before, If God already knows our needs, then why do we need to pray? Others bring up the fact that if we all exercise our free will, then how do our prayers affect them as we direct our intercessions to God for the purpose of repentance and salvation?


While we may uncover some answers from the Scriptures to these and other questions relating to prayer, there are many other things about this legitimate and God-ordained spiritual exercise that we will never know in the course of this life time; perhaps once we arrive in heaven, in our glorified state we shall have the wisdom to understand the finer, more mysterious elements of prayer.
For now, we know that we are obedient to God by praying to Him on all things. Prayer is a form of worship in that we are giving something to God, namely our attention, our petitions, our submission and our acknowledgment of His supreme and almighty power.

After our LORD told us what prayer should not be (“vain repetition”), He then goes on to tell us what it should be by giving us a model to follow. Note in vs. 9 the LORD says, “After this manner therefore pray ye . . .” This is not (necessarily) a prayer that we should pray verbatim, but a guide to show us how to pray. 


It's perplexing to me that right after the LORD told us not to pray in vain repetitions that people have turned this model prayer into that very thing (here I am addressing the tradition of the rosary and how they will repeat this and other prayers with persistent redundancy)!

9 "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name."


Prayer should always be prefaced with worship. Our hearts and minds should be wholly directed to the One with Whom we have to do, and be uncluttered of the daily baggage of our routines so that our focus is not distracted in any way. Worshiping God prepares our hearts and minds for this holy duty and privilege, and so as our LORD stated: “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed (holy) be thy name...” 


This is not some abstract 'God' as a kind of impersonal force; nor is this a tyrannical pagan god that demands the sacrifice of the proverbial virgin to be plummeted down an angry volcano, until It is sated in the blood of the victim.
This God we worship is a Father to us. The very nurturing, caring, providing and protecting nature of a father is amply and best demonstrated by God Himself. The very best of fathers ever found anywhere on this planet offer mere glimpses of the perfect Fatherhood of God.


It's in this very spiritual truth: “Our Father Who art in heaven” that should bring to us a settled, restful and powerful peace of mind, knowing that any need or even crisis that we will ever face is something that we can bring to the attention of our Father (Who loves us supremely) Who art in heaven (the domain where God visibly demonstrates His almighty power over all His creation).


This God as the Almighty and Holy and Wise and Loving Father has both the motive and ability to care for us in the best way that He knows (and Father knows best!) – growing us up with spiritual maturity, stamina, faith, integrity and a heart that reflects His own.


“...hallowed be Thy Name.” Names have often reflected the nature and character of a person in biblical history. The Name of God is holy, and this is His essential nature. His nature is one which is the very opposite of evil and sin (EX. 3:15; 20:7; 33:19; DEUT. 16:2; 1 SAM. 17:45; 2 SAM. 7:26; PS. 20:1, 5, 7; PS. 29:2; PS. 96:8; 102:5 and many other references).



This is why sins are not merely 'mistakes' but heinous crimes against the very Sovereign, Holy and Almighty Throne and Government of heaven. Sin is spiritual treason which will not and can not be tolerated by the God of holy justice.
Any and every crime against His throne must meet with justice and due penalty and as the Scripture states, “the soul that sins it shall surely die” (EZEK. 18:4). Scripture clarifies this kind of death that the unsaved shall suffer, namely “the second death”:


REVELATION 20:6, 14
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death
.

REVELATION 21:8
8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death
.


Ray Comfort of Living Waters ministry often asks people on the street in his interviews: “Have you ever once in your life told a lie?” To which he invariably hears “Yes” in answer. “What does that make you?” Ray asks. Answer: “A liar.”


Note the list above and observe how “all liars” are also going to suffer this second death. Perhaps now we can see how any chance of gaining approval from God and the blessedness of heaven are IMPOSSIBLE by our own human efforts. Our salvation is in JESUS CHRIST ALONE, BY HIS GRACE (EPH. 2:8-9)!


It's really a profound truth that we have no idea what its like to live in a totally holy environment, completely pure of any sin, or corruption or evil, but this is not only the domain of God, it is the very essence of His being!
We saints long for holiness (or we should at any rate!) because it’s as we grow in grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 PET. 3:18) we grow in holiness and are then able to have more intimate fellowship with our LORD and Savior. 


It's a prayer that's worthy of our time to petition God in bringing the church back to a conviction, yearning and walking in holiness and purity because without it, we will never see His face (MATT. 5:8; HEB. 12:-15). Thank God that we are positionally imputed the holiness of Christ in His righteousness and salvation (ROM. 4:4-11, 20:24); may we yield to His work in us and grow in what saints of old have referred to as 'practical holiness', that is, holiness for every day living!

10 "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."


We the church are kings and priests to our God and so it is entirely suitable to pray that His kingdom would come and fill this fallen world, taking the reign back from the god of this world (Satan) and establishing His domain of righteousness. This is what it’s all about: God dwelling with us, having fellowship with us and governing this world with us, His bride at His side. For Israel, this kingdom represents the kingdom of David, or the kingdom of Israel (“the kingdom of/from heaven”) and it shall see its fulfillment (See 2 SAM. 7 and PS. 89 for Scripture on the Davidic Covenant, covered previously in this study) once the Messiah returns and replenishes the earth with reborn splendor.

The kingdom shall NOT be established by the church that would take power away from the nations, compelling them to follow the ways of the LORD in some form of utopian, ‘Christianized’ society as the Dominionists* and Emergents** believe. The kingdom shall be established when the Messiah (“the stone cut without hands” arrives and decimates the one world order ruled by the Beast of Revelation; see DAN. 2:34, 44). Instead, the kingdom established by the Messiah shall be freely given to His saints (DAN. 7:27).

* Dominionism Exposed by Deception in the Church ministry

** See Lighthouse Trails ministry for information on Emergent Church and New Spirituality information; also look at articles here on TTUF using the search engine.

For the church the kingdom is represented by the kingdom of God, which includes the kingdom of heaven, but also all other aspects other than those that involve the Earth. Once the Earth and Heaven of the present (old) order are passed away and a New Earth and New Heavens are created, all shall be submitted to the kingdom of God just as the Son will then be subject to the Father in all things (1 COR. 15:28).


Once God's will shall be done perfectly in the Earth with no variation or distinction from His will being accomplished in heaven, the manifestation of His Kingdom will be realized. The very fact that rebellion and evil are still very much among us means that God's perfect will is not accomplished here, but once Satan, and sin as well as evil and corruption are done away with, such perfection will be unimpeded! Thank You LORD!


11 "Give us this day our daily bread."

Daily provisions are petitioned for here; note it is not weekly or monthly, but daily. Why is this so? Perhaps because the LORD desires for us to keep uppermost in our minds how very dependent we are upon Him. We cannot even breathe but by His Divine provision. Our needs represent more than merely the physical, but the spiritual as well: thus “bread” here may connote “the bread of Life” (JN. 6:35 – the Word of God – as much as or even more so than physical bread.
Consider the words of Job:

JOB 23:12
12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food
.

Just as the children of Israel were commanded by the LORD via Moses to go out in the morning and gather manna for their daily provisions (See EX. 16:1-36), so too we are to gather in the Word of God for our daily spiritual nourishment. It’s vital that this partaking of God’s Word be on a daily basis, for the Word is all in all to us: our Light and Love, our Bread and Water, our Milk and Meat, our Refuge and Strength, our Counsel and Comfort and so much more!

Who doesn’t need these things on a regular, daily basis? What saint among our ranks can prosper without feeding on this truly heavenly manna? Never mind if you cannot understand everything you read in the pages of Scripture – the LORD will provide understanding in all that you are required to know in order to conduct yourself among the days challenges and opportunities. Understanding of the Word, if followed by obedience, will lead to greater and deeper understanding.

Daily then let us subsist on the Bread of Life, seeking first God’s Kingdom for our lives and our loved ones, and all other provisions shall be added to us by our LORD’s omnipotent Hand.

12 "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."

Our LORD said that the one who is forgiven much is the one that loves much (LK. 7:47), and since the LORD has forgiven us ALL of our trespasses, which were nailed to His cross at Calvary, then our love for Him is great! For the sake of this LORD of ours that willingly sacrificed Himself on our behalf, we are motivated to forgive others of their comparatively smaller offences.

Now to put this in perspective, there are those who’ve been the victim of rape; others have conceived children together, and perhaps the biological mother without the consent of the father had an abortion; deep and bitter wounds are inflicted upon those who get a divorce – these and others are obviously and seriously tremendous issues. How can one find it in their hearts to forgive their offenders in such desperate cases?
Humanly speaking, this is practically impossible. Yet in the light of our own offenses against the Infinitely Holy God, these grievous acts, terrible though they be, are not to be compared to those transgressions against the Holy Throne of God. Yet through the LORD Jesus Christ, we are completely and absolutely forgiven of these trespasses, being declared “not guilty” by our Holy Judge, and beyond this, given the Spirit of God, transformed from sinners to saints, from heinous rebels to beloved children by the act of the Spirit of grace!

The Spirit of God can and will enable us to forgive even the worst of crimes committed against us and, or the ones we love. For those who tremble in weakness, unable to find it in their own will to offer such forgiveness, call upon the Name of the LORD and He shall hear your plea and grant you the power by His Spirit to render forgiveness, even to the undeserving.

Forgiveness frees the offended from shackles of bitterness and hatred, even if it does nothing for the offender; but in the best cases, such an expression of mercy has a profound effect on both.
For a real life example of this, read the story of Corrie Ten Boom and how she offered forgiveness through the power of Christ to a concentration camp guard who was personally responsible for much of the misery that Corrie and her deceased sister had endured for so long.

See also LK. 17:3-4; LK. 23:34; ACTS 13:38; ACTS 26:18; ROM. 4:6-8; 2 COR. 2:10.

13 "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

The LORD is a strong tower and refuge for us (PS. 46:1; PROV. 18:10), He who presides over all of the affairs of our lives, observing each and every turn upon every road we will travel on. He knows every pitfall, every occasion of stumbling, every opportunity for sin – and we may petition for His protection and guidance in avoiding such temptation. The best way to deal with temptation is to ‘not be there when it happens’. That is to say, “. . . put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof (ROM. 13:14)”.

There are safeguards and blessed parameters we can establish about ourselves through the wisdom and prudence of God, and He has offered us valuable lessons for such in His Word, by the life time examples and experiences of saints who’ve gone before. Such as David of the Psalms:

Six Lethal Levels Leading Into Sin

Not only has the LORD, our Deliverer rescued us from the power of sin, death and hell, but also from the power of “the evil one” and his kingdom of darkness:

COL. 1:12-14
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins
:



The Kingdom belongs to the King; the power belongs to the Almighty; the glory belongs to God – and so it is a worthy expression that ends this model of prayer for us disciples.

In this model prayer we have the opening address to God as our Father, recognizing Him as the authority that reigns from heaven (vs.9).
We bring adoration to Him Who is Holy, for His very Name is hallowed (vs.9).
We petition Him for the kingdom to come, for we understand that until it arrives, this world shall continue further into perdition and depravity in ever increasing and destructive ways (vs.10). 


God’s will is the very best, and once His will is accomplished on Earth and indistinguishable to His will as it is done in heaven, this world will indeed be a paradise (vs. 10).


Man has had thousands of years to prove his abilities of self-rule . . . and has failed miserably! Thus the kingdom and the will of God are most assuredly needed and necessary, for we are as sheep without a shepherd (MK. 6:34)!
We petition the LORD for our needs for He is the LORD Adonai – He who is Almighty in His abilities to provide for any need (vs. 11-12).


We seek His guidance and counsel through this perilous journey of life, surrendering our will for His and following where ever He leads – so that we may safely traverse this world and avoid – in as much as we are willing to die to self – the teeming and tempestuous temptations (as well as the tempter!) all about us (vs. 13).
This model prayer ends as it began – with praise and adoration for our worthy LORD (vs. 13)!

Now that we have completed the examination of this model prayer and all the blessings thus far revealed in Chapter 6, we shall stop here and continue on in verse 14 in our study of MATTHEW. Until then, the LORD Bless and Keep all of you saints in JESUS Name!
Read more!

Monday, November 18, 2013

TYPHOON RELIEF EFFORT IN THE PHILIPPINES



TYPHOON RELIEF EFFORT:

Jane Marie Arabiana was a child seventeen years ago, when she was "adopted" by my husband through Compassion International in the Philippines. Now an adult, Jane Marie has renewed contact with us, her "American Family", and we are seeking help in collecting donations for the relief effort to aid those who have been devastated by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).  The TRUTH Under Fire has join the effort along with Whitestone Christian Fellowship and are asking for your help!

Those devastated by the recent typhoon are in desperate need. There are hundreds of thousands of displaced Filipinos. In some areas, there is total devastation. No water, no food, no medical supplies, no shelter, no communication. Literally, everything is wiped out. If you watched the news, you have seen the shocking pictures.

Jane Marie has offered to receive donations on behalf of her local church, The Independent Baptist Church of the Philippines in Cebu City. They are actively involved in collecting and purchasing supplies such as water, food, basic hygiene care, clothing and other necessities to be loaded on trucks and shipped to the more devastated areas.

Our desire is to get these donations into the hands of workers on the ground, to those who can provide relief immediately...and that every penny be spent on the victims.

If you would like more information about donating directly to the Philippine Relief Effort, please message me in our Facebook group, or my personal page.

If you would like to make a donation, please do so through Paypal to the following account:

Paul Kisly - pwk5@cornell.edu -

All donations will then be sent through Western Union directly to the Philippines, in care of Jane Marie. She is our trusted contact, and will facilitate the transfer of funds directly to the relief effort through the Independent Baptist Church in Cebu City.

Will you prayerfully consider contributing to this effort? We pray that local churches in the Philippines will rise to the challenge, minister to the needs of the suffering, and share the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ!  May we see the Hand of God at work, and may we see the outpouring of the love of God to the suffering people in the Philippines, through the Church.

Read more!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW: Ch. 5 - The MESSIAH and HIS KINGDOM MESSAGE

By James Fire

Chapter 5:31-48

We now conclude chapter Five in Matthew in this fourth and final part; we begin this segment by addressing the issues of divorce, oath taking, non-retaliation protocols and others as well.
Let us return to the mount where the LORD is giving His sermon, picking up at verse 31 . . .


MATTHEW 5:31-32
31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.


Here is the standard that the LORD upholds regarding the sacredness of marriage (See Matt. 19:3-9). In God’s eyes the marriage ‘unit’ of husband and wife become ‘one’ (a singular unit) and that which God has joined together, humans should not set apart.

We know that God’s work will always produce godly fruit, and if indeed any joining brings forth godly fruit, we can be assured that such joining is God’s holy work in matrimony. If no such godly fruit is forthcoming, repentance is in order, but if this does not occur, such a marriage can never produce fruit for the glory of God.
*~While Moses did permit a writing of divorcement among the people, the LORD Jesus explained that this was due to the hardness of the people’s hearts, but “in the beginning it was not so”. He referred to Adam and Eve, and how He “called their name Adam” (Gen. 5:2), referring to their humanity in general, but specifically how they two became one (Mark 10:6-9).

The foundation and stability of any nation is the family unit. The families of any nation are the building blocks which establish the house of a country. The core of any family is the marriage, and the marriage, according to the plan and good will of God is comprised of husband and wife – there are no alternatives to this plan, no option ‘B’.

The model of husband and wife mirrors the relationship between Christ and His bride, the church. Each have their respective roles – the church is to love, follow, obey and serve the LORD, while the LORD commands, leads, ministers to and loves the church to the point of laying down His very life for her!

This is why homosexual couplings and marriages cannot hope to receive the blessing of the LORD.
This option ‘B’ does not rightly reflect the relationship of the marriage partnership. Having either both males or both females, one has a model of ‘two Christs’ or ‘two churches’; an anti-thetical and unbiblical model of marriage. Of course since the legalizing of ‘gay marriage’ in this nation (and nations across the globe) a plethora of options has opened up – multiple partners, union with minors (children), even bestiality is not considered ‘off limits’ any more!

Unchecked sin and rebellion inevitably leads to confusion and lawlessness, resulting in a chaotic ‘anything goes’ mentality which in turn leads to the absolute ruin of any society that adopts it.


When the marriage and family in households are destroyed, this will eventually de-stabilize and destroy any nation’s freedom and prosperity, particularly in the spiritual sense. This is why one of the objectives in establishing a Socialist state of the Marxist sort is the ruination of the marriage (and family) so that children will become wards of the State, rather than look to their own parents as the authority and caretakers in their lives.

Needless to say, God hates divorce and the destruction it brings. In as much as any marriage is a type or model of Christ and His bride, a divorce ruins the example of this modeling and is both a mar and an affront to God’s institution of marriage.


This is why a call must be made for all parents to repent (particularly fathers!) who are guilty of selfishness and ego, to lay down their lives before God and confess their negligence in their responsibilities as husband and wife: to live their lives pleasing and obeying God’s Word, to lay down their lives for one another by yielding to the Spirit of God in all things, and to conduct their duties as parents in raising their children in the “fear and admonition of the LORD” (See Ephesians 5:1-6:9; 1 Cor. 7:1-16).

Those who have suffered through a divorce know how bitter and sorrowful an experience it can be; it seems that the children invariably blame themselves for it, believing that if they had only behaved better, their home would have been safe. As a result of divorce, children often begin to adopt rebellious ways, expressing their hurt and anger for the betrayal that they feel – how they were ‘let down’ by their parents.
The married couple themselves, who were ‘one in the eyes of the LORD’ being divorced, have in a spiritual sense, splintered themselves, causing damage psychologically and emotionally. Relationships with other (future) partners can often suffer due to past experiences and pain.

Many statistical studies have shown that children of divorced parents have a greater risk of divorce themselves than those whose parents have remained faithful. Young married couples whose parents on both sides have divorced show the highest and most likely risk of divorce.


There are situations that are not in accord with God’s perfect will, the ideals of which the Bible speaks clearly on, and Christians ought to understand what their obligations as well as their options are in such situations.
Is it right for a Christian to seek a divorce from an unsaved spouse? Or vice versa? What if both partners enter into marriage as unsaved souls, but afterwards one comes to faith; can divorce then become a valid option?

For answers to these and other questions please review the following article (Note: Not all statements made here are necessarily endorsed by TTUF) –

On Christian Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage

MATTHEW 5:33-37
33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Once again, we hear the LORD say, “…ye have heard that it hath been said . . .” and this of course was due to the fact that very few could read the Scriptures in those days, as they were written in Hebrew, and only the religious leaders could read Hebrew (in those days in Israel most people spoke Aramaic or even Greek). Thus they could only hear the priests and scribes read to them (mostly in synagogues) from the Word of God. Distancing the people from the Scriptures allowed for ‘editing’ by the reader and by doing so, caused misunderstandings and uncertainty among the people.

Yet the LORD Jesus came to ‘set the record straight’ as it were, and tell the people: “But I say unto you . . .” Not only did this clarify the intent of the Scriptures, stripping them of the religious and Talmudic interpretations of countless numbers of rabbis, which the leaders in Israel weighed them down with; but this also showed the people that the LORD was THE authority over what the Word meant in its literal sense. Indeed, the Word was explaining the Word!

On the issue of oath taking and swearing (as in a legal instance for example), people are not to appeal to higher authorities in seeking to legitimize one’s own statements; rather one should endeavor to be a truthful person of integrity so that their word alone carries legitimacy, without the unnecessary appeal to those authorities and powers established by God.
How often we have heard children in seeking to convince their parents of their earnest statements employed the “I swear to God” exclamation?

We Christians of all people should be truth sayers, and always couple such with grace (John 1:17) and love (Eph. 4:15).

PSALM 15:2

He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart
.

ZECHARIAH 8:16

These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates
:

EPHESIANS 4:15

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ
:

Christians should be well known as those who walk (live) in truth and whose very integrity exemplifies truth.
If we are to engage in spiritual warfare (a necessity in our day and age!) then an essential piece of our armor is the belt of truth (Ephesians 6:14). Integrity may be seen as ‘internal truth’ and rules the life of a believer (note Psalm 15 quoted above).

MATTHEW 5:38-42
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.
41 And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.
42 Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away
.


The issue raised here is that of evil, vengeance and retaliation. Note that the smiting referred to is on the right cheek, not the left. Why is this significant? Since most people are right handed, any strike on a person’s right cheek would have to be back-handed; a gesture meant more for insult than for physical harm.

This is not to say that if we are assaulted violently because of our love and allegiance to Christ that we should “resist . . . evil” and yet Christians ought not to assume that self defense or that of our loved ones is prohibited to us. We are only obligated to conduct ourselves as ambassadors of Christ where our witness in the Gospel is concerned and any hateful response to Christ in us, should be met appropriately as such ambassadors (obviously this does not include assault and battery due to robbery, rape; marital, senior or child abuse). See Romans 12:17; also Lev. 19:18; Prov. 20:22; 1 Peter 3:9.

Under the Old Testament, the judicial system was very strict and according to just Law; the Christian is commanded to a higher standard of grace as is demonstrated in these verses. We are to “turn the other cheek” and offer our cloak when sued for our coat. On such legal matters where offenses are committed against one another, the apostle Paul had given the Corinthian church an admonition and rebuke as found in 1 Cor. 6:1-8.
Roman soldiers had the authority to commandeer a passing traveler to carry their gear while on the road – thus, compelling to “go a mile” is the obligation that any in the Empire would have to fulfill at the bidding of the military. Yet the LORD tells us to “go with him twain”.

We love and serve “the God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10), and as we follow Him, we are to do likewise, and exhibit grace to others (remembering that grace by definition is “unmerited (undeserved) favor”).
Peter once asked the LORD:

MATTHEW 18:21-22
21 . . . Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?
22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven
.


It was the custom and teaching of the religious leaders in Israel that one should feel obligated to forgive others no more than three times. Peter decided it would be to his merit to suggest seven times (twice that of the religious requirement, plus one to spare!). Yet the LORD Jesus ‘maxed out’ by saying seventy times seven – or 490 times! Can we then justify ourselves if someone offends us 491 times or was the LORD making another point?
It’s an interesting number that He used; where else do we see this number 490? The obvious reference is to the seventy weeks of Daniel, at the conclusion of which, the LORD returns, sets up His Kingdom and brings about Judgment Day when every wrong ever committed will be redressed with appropriate punitive actions taken – apart from those who have trusted the LORD Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior.

Of course if someone were to ask or borrow from us all that we have, we must balance this admonition from the LORD towards charity with our stewardship over that which the LORD has entrusted to us, and allow His wisdom to guide us in the depth and to the degree of charity to bestow on the needy.


MATTHEW 5:43-44
43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you
;


The Roman Empire was considered the ultimate enemy of Israel, whose leaders chaffed at the idea of being a mere province, when they desired the restoration of glory to their nation as in the days of old. They wanted their Messiah warrior who would overthrow their enemies and re-establish the kingdom.
And yet here was Jesus, admonishing them to “. . . love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you . . .” etc, etc.

A message they did not relish, and so they killed the Messenger. However, we the church empowered by the Holy Spirit are able to hear this admonition and obey it – certainly not by our own power, but by God’s enabling grace.

Forgiving As The Messiah Forgave

Also consider the following:

Still Learning To Forgive by Corrie Ten Boom


The love of God is far more powerful than the hatred generated by human beings or even fallen angels; the LORD only looks for hearts yielded and willing to be used as vessels of said love, and affect the lives of those who would otherwise never know the love of God and be changed by it.


MATTHEW 5:45-48
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect
.



Just as children inherit the character traits of their parents, we too will share in the character traits of our Heavenly Father; that being the case, we will conduct ourselves similarly when confronted with cursing, hatred, violence and persecution. The natural man (unregenerate) will naturally respond favorably to love, to blessing, to benevolence; yet we who are regenerated by the Holy Spirit shall respond just as our Heavenly Father responds to the evil of this world – sending sun and rain, blessing and gifts to all, not in the sense of approval, but in unmerited favor that exemplifies the nobility, goodness, kindness and generous good will of God.
Apart from the grace of God such high ideals are impossible; only the perfect can obey such directives. This must lead any thinking person to conclude that it’s impossible to obey such lofty, actually celestial ideals as these.

I can remember my mother telling me she read the Bible with a neighbor friend of hers (before I was even born) and when she read verse 48 of this chapter, she slammed the Bible shut with anger and frustration, saying, “What’s the use? I can’t do this!”
And she was right! Within the parameters of our human condition such things are impossible – we could never be perfect even as God the Father is perfect.
Only Christ Jesus, God the Son is perfect to such a degree, and its by faith we trust that He will work that perfection (spiritual maturity) into us as we grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:19; 2 Peter 3:18; Heb. 6:1).

Perfection in this sense refers to a spiritual maturity in full fruition; it represents the child of God that has yielded completely to the ministry of the Spirit in the conforming of the saint perfectly to the image of the Son of God so that there is no visible distinction between the LORD and the Christian.
Have any of us arrived at this highest paramount perfection? Paul admitted he hadn’t:

PHILIPPIANS 3:11-13


11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before
,


Once the resurrection of the saints has occurred, whereupon we receive our glorified and incorruptible bodies, our redemption will be completed; we shall no longer struggle with our sin nature, because such is inherent with our natural bodies as the progeny of Adam and the fall he brought to the human race.
Yet we are not to become idle and wait for perfection to come on that Day; but like Paul “reach forth” and –

PHILLIPIANS 3:14-15


14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you
.


This is in no way apprehended by the Christian other than by the agency of the Holy Spirit and being conformed to the very image of Christ by dying to self-will and allowing the resurrected Life of Christ to reign in us, transforming us.

ROMANS 8:29-30


29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified
.

ROMANS 12:1-2


I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God
.


This is nothing short of the very sanctification of the saint, the ongoing, perpetual, never ceasing action of grace (in action) in the life of the believer that is conforming us – our character, our conduct, our words and manners to the LORD Jesus Christ, despite the ongoing pressure of this sinful world to conform us from without to the rebellious attitudes and actions of fallen humanity. This conformity is acting upon us from outside, while the transforming power of God happens within us – our minds as a result of His indwelling Spirit and grace.

Essentially then, we saints are in the mode of being perfected by process while looking forward to the Day of our redemption (of our bodies) when we shall obtain complete perfection in Christ.

ROMANS 8:22-23


22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body
.


Thus ends (finally!) our study in Matthew’s Gospel, chapter five. Let me extend my thanks for your patience in waiting for this installment as it has been some time in waiting since the last one!
May the LORD Jesus bless us with Himself, in increasing ways of His manifestation of the transforming power of His grace, in bringing about our increased sanctification and Christ-likeness to our blessing and the blessing of those with which we live out our lives! Amen!
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Saturday, October 5, 2013

This Little Church Went To Market

by A.M. Kisly

The evangelical church of today is surrounding itself with man-centered philosophies and teachers that are presenting a diluted social gospel, ripe for itching ears. 

"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
" (2 Tim 4:3-5)

In a little book called, "This Little Church Went To Market", Mr. Gilley confronts today's believer about the unbiblical methods used to evangelize the lost and thereby altering the course of biblical Christianity.  Rather than stay with the only true standard of doctrine and spiritual growth found in scripture alone, unbelievers are being misled by false evangelism, unchallenged by the gospel, not convicted of sin, provided with a comfortable (worldly) environment where they can be entertained and fed pop psychology sprinkled with Christian terminology.  This is not the gospel of salvation.  This is not the truth we are to feast on.  This junk will do nothing more than feed the fleshly desires of sinners. 

These churches are mass producing false converts with false doctrines for the sake of "church growth" and mega churches which line the pockets of false teachers. 

 
One reviewer said, "This book is a damning indictment of the market-driven churches that are so popular today. Having extensively studied the issues Gilley writes about in this book, I am comfortable saying that this is the best introduction to "the church in the age of entertainment" that I have read. Gilley contends that the church has sold out to our culture so that the influences of the culture have become the influences in the church. The most significant forces pressing against the church are entertainment, market driven philosophies and psychology. These three are largely absent from the Bible, yet are startlingly prevalent in evangelical churches."

 
As I was listening to an interview online by Search the Scriptures radio broadcast, with Tom McMahon and his guest, Gary Gilley (author of the book)
I realized that there cannot be enough warning and admonition against false teaching and false teachers deceiving so many.    This book is being freely offered by the author in pdf format, and because of the importance of the message, we are making this free offer available to all of you.

Free Book Offer:
 

This Little Church Went To Market, by Gary Gilley - pdf download

Search The Scriptures 24/7 Radio Program:

Search The Scriptures 24/7 with T.A. McMahon - Guest: Gary Gilley, Pt. 1 

Search The Scriptures 24/7 with T.A. McMahon - Guest: Gary Gilley, Pt. 2 










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Sunday, September 22, 2013

THIRD WAVE TSUNAMI OF DECEIT (RIDING The THIRD WAVE INTO The LAST DAYS)

THIRD WAVE TSUNAMI OF DECEIT - Economic Aspect of the Third Wave

We now begin a third article dealing with this Economic Aspect of the Third Wave. Next we shall consider the work and thoughts of Amitai Etzioni, an Italian intellectual and political commentator and a university professor tenured at Columbia and Harvard and his familiar notion of ‘The Three Legged Stool’.
From the writings of Amitai Etzioni:

The Three-legged Stool: A mandatory partnership between the public sector (government), private sector (business), and social sector (community, churches, etc.) -- managed through Global Standards and laws established by national and international governments.”

While governments across the world search for a new political synthesis, the theoretical debate has offered little to those interested in a new framework for progressive politics. This [is] . . . what the Third Way really means, and roots it in a communitarian vision of the good society. It argues that such societies achieve a dynamic balance between state [public sector], market [private sector] and community [social sector]....”


If the idea of a three legged stool sounds familiar to you, it’s because it should! Rick Warren of “Purpose Driven” infamy has long talked of this ideology
in his so-called ‘P.E.A.C.E.’ plan (it’s worthy of note that Mr. Warren currently serves as one of Obama’s spiritual advisors, as does Jim Wallis of Sojourners) that Tony Blair is very enthusiastically endorses (and Rick Warren of this particular Brit).

One very stark implication of this Third Wave movement is that your government’s political involvement where you are concerned will be directly related to your wallet and where you attend church. Authority in these three spheres will merge until what you believe at church will have direct ‘cause and effect’ interaction with your government’s attitude and treatment of you, and this will affect your financial life.

The process of manufacturing this Third Wave will involve the restructuring of government itself, group dialogue at the local, state, national and global levels (but with the intent by the power elite to ‘manage’ such dialogue towards their own goals) and effect moral culture, and family values and concepts.

Who will be steering the world into this Third Wave? It looks like the United Nations will be manning the helm and this, with the approval of statesmen and other officials (elected or more likely appointed leaders); whether it remains as the global leader or if it resolves to the European Union (the ‘reformed Roman Empire’ that is spoken of in Daniel 2:25-45; 33, 40-44) or if the EU will be pulling the UN’s strings, is yet to be seen.


Reviews of Etzioni's latest book: From Empire to Community: A New Approach to International Relations

"It underlines the need of the legitimating United Nations also to seek hard power to enforce its resolutions. As an echo of Kant's Perpetual Peace, Etzioni leads us to the ‘good society' based on both the Western legal tradition and social duties deriving from moral suasion. Etzioni is a bridge-builder by the grace of God."

~ Per Stig Møller, Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs


"Amitai Etzioni has constructed a coherent communitarian vision of international relations. From Empire to Community is a pioneering work of vital importance to the formation of a new way of international thinking, relevant to policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic…Amitai Etzioni's new book offers us an inspiring example of the out-of-the-box thinking that is needed to confront these challenges…and launches a crucial debate about the sort of world we are leaving to future generations and how we can best manage problems and grasp opportunities, in ways that are deemed legitimate by both American and European societies."

~ Jan Peter Balkenende, Prime Minister of the Netherlands


"In From Empire to Community, Amitai Etzioni applies his communitarian approach to international affairs and foreign policy, attacking liberals to his left and neo-conservatives to his right. He offers a provocative and thoughtful alternative to the triumphalism that has dominated recent discussions about the future of American foreign policy."

~ Joseph S. Nye, author of Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics

"His vision of a potential East-West synthesis is particularly compelling. Better still, he is not afraid to tackle the very real challenge of creating genuine institutions to govern a potential global polity. A valuable read for anyone interested in the future of global governance* (emphasis mine)."

* - The preferred term for ‘new world order’ these days.

~ Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dean, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.

As has been said so many times in history, in so many words, “Show me the money!” And it’s the money of any economy and its intrinsic value that will drive the politics and functionality of its government, as well as the prosperity of the people.

Since its inception, the EU has fluctuated in its GDP and over all productivity levels. Western Europe has generally and historically comprised of the wealthier nations, while Eastern Europe the poorer; much in the same way that the United States has traditionally been more powerful economically than Mexico or even arguably Canada.

After these many years it seems that the economically weaker aspect of the EU has been a drain on the wealthier nations that have tried to bolster them up, but alas, Spain and Greece are still in a woeful state. The EU is not the golden goose that it was promised to be.
There is then, considerable question about whether or not a potential North American Union (with its own weak ally to the south) would fare any better. Even with such agencies as NAFTA and GATT (as previously discussed) appear to absorb more financial power than they generate, granting a mere pittance to Mexico by way of American jobs transported there, thus weakening our own economy (This is something I didn’t understand about the WTO and University students protesting the Twin Towers in NYC while it was being built back in the 70’s. Those students understood the ramifications of the WTO and how it would prove instrumental in taking the heavy industrial jobs in America off shore to poorer nations where their wages would be less than half of their American counterparts; and by this means they would be ‘progressive’ and ‘share the wealth’ – familiar terms today).

Whether one speaks of national American institutions like the IRS or the Federal Reserve or these particular Agreements and border-straddling policies or the globally enabled WTO, the IMF, the Trilateral Commission, the many United Nations Economic entities on an international level, there is an apparent centralization of financial power that flows upward (the famous old expression, “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer”), sucking dry an ever shrinking middle class and leaving a much poorer lower class in its wake – much like the centralization of governmental power as we have witnessed in our nation for more than five decades now.

What will the power elite do with their ever increasing financial power?


As Ron Ewart of News with Views puts it:

“…The forces trying to control and restrict us and remove our liberties, are not only very powerful, they are international in scope. This Global Cabal of Colluding Entities includes central banks, governments, intelligence communities, large industrial complexes, big corporations, powerful non-governmental organizations (NGO's) and big labor. Those forces, in spite of our alleged Constitutional protections, can spy on you, lock you up indefinitely without charging you with a crime, fine you into bankruptcy, take away your property and your money, or literally make you disappear, especially if you threaten their efforts to control the flow of money and the global economy.”

This Third Wave and its three aspects of religion, government and economics can be seen as a living body: the religious aspect would be its heart; the governmental aspect, its mind; and the economic aspect, its muscles and bones. And the body of global governance via communitarianism is flexing its muscles!

The engagement of this global governance is about to commence all around the world and what we as Christians realize is that when persecution struck the church any time in history, it was virtually always the (many times, pagan) religions that struck out at her. The New Spirituality forming up will likewise oppose biblical Christians and the truth that we wield as will its successor, Babylon, Mystery, Mother of Harlots (Rev. 17th and 18th chapters) and will literally be ‘in league with the devil!’

Thomas Horn* comments in his article from News with Views:

*TTUF does not necessarily endorse all the views of Mr. Horn, but have cited him here as this information is accurate and valid.

“. . . it is not difficult to see how “fleshy gloves” such as U.S. presidents may be unaware of their role as chess pieces on a terrestrial game board sliding in and out of position as they are moved by “the god of this world” toward the phantasmogoric end game (see 2 Corinthians 4:4). If researchers like Dr. Monteith are correct, and world governments are to this day influenced by such dark angelic powers, the elite who head the current push to establish a New World Order are directly connected with an antichrist system whether they know it or not**.
“With vivid testimony to this, Satan offered to Jesus all the power and glory of the kingdoms of this world. He said, “All this power [control] will I give thee, and the glory of them [earthly cities]: for that is delivered unto me: and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine” (Luke 4:6–7).”

**The Brotherhood of Darkness

The LORD rejected Satan’s offer, yet another is coming in his own name (John 5:43), and he will take it up!

By the time that the anti-Christ assumes the central role of power, dominating the political and economic aspects, and will hold the attention of the world’s religious devotion and worship, all three aspects of this ‘Third Wave’ will be firmly in his hand. Every human soul on the planet will essentially be enslaved to his will if they ever hope to survive in the physicality of this world and will receive his mark so that they may buy or sell.
In doing so, they will damn their immortal souls to hellfire:

REVELATION 14:9-11
9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name
.



This is one of the reasons why we are producing this series: to demonstrate that these Third Wave Tsunamis are leading inexorably towards the last days scenario in which the political, economic and religious power will be under the authority of the anti-Christ (and the False Prophet), and apart from salvation through the LORD Jesus Christ, there will be no escaping the torment that worshippers of Satan will endure in this world and in the one to come.
Yet even those who will surrender their lives to the LORD will suffer incredible persecution and suffering and martyrdom at this time of the Beast’s global rule (Rev. 6:9-11), but they will gain far greater blessing and reward for doing so, than anything they may suffer and lose in this world (2 Cor. 4:16-18; Rev. 2:8-10).

So, at least as we witness the dismantling of our nation and of the world at large; this ‘brave new world’ that is forming all around us, which bears no resemblance to the world that we grew up in, we will not be taken by surprise. We will understand the progression of this satanic plan to bring about ‘Babylon Reborn’ in all of its sinister splendor and resist its influence in seeking to conform we who are the citizens of heaven, to the ideologies and belief systems of this fallen world.

In the next article, we shall look at how this Economic Aspect of the Third Wave Tsunami is both financing the Religious Aspect just as it is the Political, but also perceive how finances via religion are being used to build this Third Wave.

Until then, Keep your Eyes on the Skies and Don’t Believe the Lies – the LORD Jesus Christ Returns Soon, From on High!
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Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Burden of Damascus

In the following message, Amir Tsarfati shares Israel's importance in history, God's plan for His Chosen People, and how unfolding current events are confirming everything long foretold in scripture. We are exhorted to prayerfully seek to understand how God is working in the Middle East, and how it is His will that we support Israel.

Amir Tsarfati is a Jewish believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was born and raised in Jerusalem and surrendered his life to Jesus Christ after he watched the “Jesus” film during his teens.

He is the director of Behold Israel, (www.beholdisrael.org) a teaching ministry about Israel, Islam, current events and the Middle East. He has consulted work for various law enforcement agencies in the US and has been invited to give seminars on homeland security issues. He is a captain in the Israeli Defense Force Army. He was Deputy governor of Jericho and sat on the panel which negotiated its turnover to the Palestinians. Amir speaks 4 languages, leads tours as a guide and is currently the General Manager of Sar-El Tours. Amir and his family live in Northern Israel.



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Friday, September 13, 2013

A STUDY in ACTS TWO: 42 - FOUR FACETS in the FUNCTION of the CHURCH

FOURTH FACET in the FUNCTION of the CHURCH:

PRAYER – as taught by Josh Boubion

Let’s start off by reading some quotes about prayer . . .

“Work as if you were to live for a 100 years, pray as if you would die tomorrow.”
~ Ben Franklin

“Every great movement can be traced to a kneeling prayer”
~ D.L. Moody

“Our prayers must mean something to us before they be anything to God”
“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work.”
~ Oswald Chambers

“Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is a greater thing”
~ E.M. Bounds

“Satan trembles when he sees the weakest Christian on their knees.”
~ Unknown

“I would rather teach one man to pray, than ten men to preach.”
~ Charles Spurgeon

DO YOU BELIEVE THAT? DO YOU LIVE THIS KIND OF PRAYER LIFE?

I Want to Address Six Points About Prayer:

1. You must come in prayer having a right relationship with God:
Prayer is the greatest gift man can have!
The richest person cannot give you anything that can equal prayer. To talk with the One that spoke this world into existence; Who commanded and the foundations of this world were created; He spoke and created animals, the stars, and man; He Who commanded the Red Sea to part so that the children of Israel could pass through – this God has given us the privilege of prayer!

In the Old Testament times, in the Tabernacle of God, nobody came into the place of the holy of holies; just the high priest once a year (Yom Kipur), and he came in with the blood of the atonement for the sins of the nation. This was a picture of heaven (Heb. 9:16-28).

The Priest would have to be cleansed, and without sin, otherwise he would die! Nobody can come into His presence unless he is perfect. However, nobody is perfect, because we are all sinners: Rom 3:23 (For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God).
Yet the LORD Jesus Christ died on the cross, He shed His blood, and now through Him you can be authorized with the privilege of coming into His presence, to the very Throne of God (Heb. 4:16)!

When a mother sheep died, and had a baby lamb that needed milk, you couldn’t give that lamb to another mother (whose own lamb died); she would not accept it. So what the shepherds would do is to cut some of the wool off the dead baby lamb from that mother and put it on the live baby lamb, and the mother would smell the lamb and say come on in and be comforted and nourished.

Likewise we can now come in to the holy of holies since Jesus covered you by His blood. Its through His Name you are saved and we become members of the Good Shepherd’s sheepfold!

JOHN 14:12-14

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. "If you ask anything in My name, I will do it
.

Nobody has the right to come into the presence of God, no matter how good they feel. Only through Jesus Christ you come in. You come humbly in the Name of Jesus in humility.

2a. You have to come in the Presence of God having a right relationship with people:

MARK 11:22-26 


22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses
.


Whenever you pray for anything you must have the right heart before you can pray. Whatever happened today forgive that person tonight so that your prayers won’t be hindered. God gives us His forgiveness so don’t be a ‘get even’ person, be a forgiveness person.


[Note from J. Fire: I always remember this admonition from a pastor I once knew – “Before you even have the chance to get up out of bed, settle it in your heart beforehand that long before anyone offends you during the day, you have determined that just as Christ has forgiven you all trespasses, that you will likewise forgive them, no matter what, for Christ’s sake.”
There are those who believe that vs. 26 in the above texts is proof that salvation can be lost due to unforgiveness in the heart; yet note carefully that the familial relationship is not negated; it’s our heavenly Father that won’t forgive – yet no one can call God “Father” unless they are born of His Spirit; what is lost here is not oneness in Christ by His Spirit, or “communion”; rather fellowship due to sin. Fellowship can only be restored by acknowledgement of sin and repentance from it.]


1 PETER 3:7

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.


2b. You need to have right relationships with those closest to you! They have to be right before God! 


God observes everything; He hears you and sees your heart, so this short circuits your prayers when you harbor unforgiveness towards others.
It’s like you’re shooting blanks on the spiritual battlefield when you have unforgiveness in your heart and your prayers are then hindered. The way to reload is to go back to that person whoever they may be, admit and say you were wrong (repent and correct the issue)!
Humility is essential in being a man or women of God, such a person can expect answered prayer (Psalm 9:11-13; 1 Peter 5:5). You have to be willing to go and search out that person until reconciliation is made.
Humility is painful but it is powerful. Proud people can’t do this; they walk in shame and experience a life of unanswered prayer.



3. You have to come in with a right request; that is, praying in accord with God’s holy will: 


JAMES 4:3-4 


You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend [it] on your pleasures. Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.


God does not listen to His enemies who might petition Him in (vain) prayer. You are to have the right request not wrong ones. He will not do anything that will hurt another, or His kingdom, nor will God harm you by answering unwise prayers; He loves you!
Prayer is man knocking on God’s door; the knocking is expressed in asking and seeking. Jesus wants us to ask Him for things and to be persistent in asking and not give up.


LUKE 11:5-13


5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
6 For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
7 And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
8 I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?


We are to continue asking and knocking. This parable addresses a contrast about such a negative ‘grouchy guy’ to a loving Heavenly Father.


v.5-8 Three friends are here portrayed:
1. One is at home asleep.
2. Another arrives from journey.
3. One is asked for bread.


The first gets a knock on the door for a loaf of bread and he answers, “Leave me alone I am in bed already. Its midnight! The door is bolted shut.” Nobody would want to open the door. Nobody wants to get up once they’re sleeping.
“Importunity” in the Greek is only used here, nowhere else in NT; it means “persistence, shamelessness, no regard for others, rude”.


He did not give this man any bread because he liked him, or because he was a good friend but, because he wanted to get rid of him.
So the contrast is of attitude: this man gave from an attitude of being annoyed; but God gives to us from an attitude of love and because He is faithful to His Word.


2 Timothy 2:13 


If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself
.


God’s faithfulness is not dependent on us; we are messed up people; He gives because of His nature of grace and love and tender mercies!
How much more would God give you being that He is a faithful, loving, and kind Father, and our chiefest Friend?

LUKE 11:9-10 


9 And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened
.


“Ask seek and knock”, is a command to continue, constantly praying. Not that you can change God’s mind, or get Him to change His will to do ours. That is not the reason for prayer.


[Dave Hunt once observed that people believe they “can change God’s mind or get Him to do their will if they fast until the answer they want arrives; but that isn’t a prayerful fast, that’s a hunger strike!” J. Fire]


Two Reasons Why We Pray and Continue in them:


1. To show our dependency upon God - as we continue praying we are saying, God I can’t do this without You. So you cry out to God every day and night. It shows us we are insufficient; see 2 Cor 3:5-6 (we are useless by ourselves. There is no good thing in you; that means nothing good can come from you).
2. It shows the faithfulness of God - it brings us to the place where God shows Himself faithful (Lam. 3:23), as we continue praying and asking. He desires to bless you more then you want to be blessed. God desires to show Himself faithful in each of our lives.

LUKE 11:11-13


11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?
12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?


We give good gifts to our children and we are evil (Jere. 17:9) how much more will our Holy and Benevolent Abba Father!


JAMES 1:17 


Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning
.

4. When you pray have faith (trusting, believing).


MARK 11:23-24 


For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them
.


There is nothing impossible for God


HEBREWS 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him
.


•Praising and worshipping God is a form of prayer (communicating to God) and will build your faith, (To enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise; Psalm 100:4).
[Too often when we approach God in prayer, the need or burden seems so overwhelming, but the ‘giant’ isn’t as big as we think – we need the right perspective, and worship of God focuses our attention on Him: His almighty power and sovereignty and majesty. From these holy heights we then gain a proper perspective of our problems and realize from the LORD’s vantage point, these are not giants but midgets! J. Fire]


Learn the promises of God as found in His Word; this will also build your faith (Rom. 10:17). [The Word of God works effectively in our hearts and lives as we sow abundantly with this sanctified seed of the Savior, and from such sowing we can expect abundant harvesting, some of such fruit will be found in the fruit of answered prayer! See 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Cor. 9:6; Gal. 6:8).

5. You have to be able to listen to God in Obedience through Humility.


It’s not about just talking in your prayers but listening prayer. Just open your Bible and see what God has to say. God does not just want to be talked to. But also He wants to talk back to you [Communicating with God is a dialogue, not a monologue!]. Pray to glorify God, to increase your faith, to communicate with God!


-What was your focus today in getting ready to head out from your home and face the day? Was it your exercise program? Or perhaps it was fixing your hair? Checking your stocks and bonds? Getting on the phone and talking to your favorite person?
Or was it in getting into prayer to the Lord and focus our hearts in attention to His Word?
• He is a speaking God.
• Don’t be afraid to listen, when He says “stay!” then stay! Or if He says, “Go!” then go! Or “Speak!” then speak!

6. Hold on, continue praying! Never give up! When you start, continue!


Continue praying for family members, friends, all people till you die.
God is raising up an army; an army that marches as soldiers of the Cross, on our knees.

Some more considerations on prayer by James Fire based on:

LUKE 18:1- 14
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;
2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:
3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary.
4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man;
5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.
6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith.
7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?
8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.


Judges are people of power; by their decisions people’s lives are affected. In many cases the issues of life and death are in their hands. The widow approached this judge because she recognizes his authority, had confidence that he could help her, and didn’t divide her attention between petitioning him and some other recourse of action that might prove helpful.
In our prayer lives its essential that we recognize the authority of the LORD Jesus Christ, place total confidence in Him – no matter what He may decide, regardless if He answers our prayers to our liking or not – and to resort to Him alone and no other, if we are to see spiritual victory in our lives.


There seems a contradiction between the LORD who “bears long” with us who pray day and night, or even months and years (perhaps even decades) and with His promise that we will be avenged “speedily”.
Once again we must remember that we are creatures of time, and God is the God of eternity. From His vantage point all prayers throughout all history (past and future) are heard and answered already from His Holy Throne of Absolute and Sovereign Authority and Power. It’s we who struggle through the burden of our temporal existence and must endure this long distance race with patience (Heb. 12:1).


God doesn’t always respond to our prayers based on our time table, thus we must persevere in prayer (or as the saints of former times would say, “pray it through!”).

On the issue of our prayers being heard of God, we have the parable of the Pharisee and the publican. Its worthy of note to see who our LORD chose as the two examples in this parable: a Pharisee and a publican – the former revered and the latter despised in that society; one esteemed as being wholly worthy to have their prayers heard and the other not even having an audience with the Almighty.
And yet our LORD stated that it was the publican and not the Pharisee that was heard of God and was justified!

Look at this Pharisee praying, and carefully observe what it exactly states: “The Pharisee stood and prayed . . .” before God? No! “. . . thus with himself”! This religious man who made sure every Lawful ‘T’ was crossed and every “I” dotted had an audience of just one – and that wasn’t God! For this man who boasted of all that he did as proof of his righteousness; he compared himself to others and came out on top! He started listing his accomplishments and the way this is stated, one almost gets the idea that if not for the fact that he was ‘interrupted’ as our focus turned to the publican we would have heard a lot more of his self-righteous claims in a spirit of pride.

The publican however wouldn’t even lift up his head, but confessed his sinfulness in a spirit of humility.

Does this mean that God won’t hear us unless we humiliate ourselves and grovel before him long enough until He is satisfied?
Cynics and atheists have long made this claim based on this passage, but this just isn’t the case. People have the wrong idea about humbleness. Humbleness isn’t about thinking of yourself lowlier than you really are (that would be a lie) – it’s thinking clearly about what exactly you are and that in the Light of God’s holiness.


It’s true that I am an absolute sinner, unworthy of God or even a moment of His time; and that I am entirely worthy of hell and eternal punishment based upon ‘my own merit and righteousness’ (a real fantasy)!
It’s also true that I am a saint, a child of God, seen by the Father as completely holy and in just as much right standing before Him as His own Begotten Son, the LORD Jesus Christ – based NOT upon my merit, but on that merit which is Christ’s – transferred to my account by His supreme sacrifice on the Cross! I can say both statements with absolute humbleness and my prayers are heard of the GOD of all creation.

So in our prayer lives – let’s remember in addition to what Joshua Boubion taught about these and all the other important points, these two primary factors for spiritual victory in our prayer closets: perseverance and humbleness!
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