PRAY THAT YOU MAY HAVE A HUNGER TO READ GOD’S WORD

PRAY THAT YOU MAY HAVE A HUNGER TO READ GOD’S WORD

“And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us:
And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” [1Jn 5:14,15]

Is it God’s will that we read, meditate and delight in His Word?

Then let us seriously pray for that.

Love
Brother Mike

THINGS THAT TRULY MATTER

THINGS THAT TRULY MATTER

A philosophy professor stood before his class and had some items in front of him.

When class began, wordlessly he picked up a large empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full? They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them in to the jar.

He shook the jar lightly .The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks. He asked his students again if the jar was full? They agreed that yes, it was.

The professor then picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students answered with an unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this is your life.

The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

The pebbles are the other things in life that matter, but on a smaller scale. The pebbles represent things like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else. The small stuff.

“If you put the sand or the pebbles into the jar first, there is no room, for the rocks. The same goes for your life.

If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, material things, you will never have room for the things that are truly most important.

Pay attention to the things that are critical in your life. Play with your children. Take your partner out for dinner. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.”

Take care of the rocks first -the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just pebbles and sand.

And from a Christian perspective I would add that to me the ‘rocks’ are first ‘The Rock of all Ages’ – my Lord Jesus Christ, and then His body the Church and then my wife and kids . . . . everything else is really pebbles and sand, or as the wise man put it – is vanity and vexation of spirit – a grasping for the wind! [Ecc 1:14]

“For in Him (Jesus) dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
And ye are COMPLETE in Him, which is the Head of all principality and power!” [Col 2:9,10]

Praise the Lord!

Your servant for His sake
Michael Jeshurun

GOD WILL JUDGE AMERICA!

GOD WILL JUDGE AMERICA!

Michael Jeshurun

There is a remnant of God even in the United States of America, and we praise God for that, but for the most part the USA is as godless and wicked as the world was in Noah’s day and in the days of Lot!

And the American nation is more accountable because she has had more light, more true Gospel, more genuine Christianity than any other nation on the face of the earth. But because she has rejected that light and forsaken her faith, she is in the same state today as backslidden Israel was in the days of Jeremiah.

The Bible predicts that in the Last Days “evil men and seducers will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). This is surely the case with America. She has gone from bad to worse, which is why we believe that her final judgment is at hand. In fact, if you paused for a moment and considered prayerfully the things that are taking place in the USA you would see that she is already being judged for her backsliding! – By natural disasters, economic ruin, the threat of terrorism and mass shootings, etc.

“For they have sown the wind, and they SHALL reap the whirlwind!” [Hosea 8:7]

Like we said above although there are still many true believers in the U.S., as a Nation she has forsaken God. This is her most grievous sin:

Pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness!” [Ezk 16:49]

“My people have committed evil; they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters” (Jeremiah 2:13).

“Thou hast forsaken Me, saith the Lord, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out My hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary of relenting!” (Jeremiah 15:6).

The Word of the Lord is very clear, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” (Galatians 6:7). For the most part God blesses or judges individuals or nations by letting them reap what they themselves have sown. When He judged ancient Israel, He told her,

“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God, and that My fear is not in thee, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 2:19).

As a judgment on people that have forsaken Him, God will cause the things that they once gloried in to become things of which they are ashamed:

“As they increased and prospered, so they sinned against Me: therefore will I change their glory into shame” (Hosea 4:7).

Although the Bible makes it very clear that Sodomy, (i.e. Homosexuality and Lesbianism), is an abomination to God, it has increasingly gained acceptance and even popularity in America today. Until finally now the Supreme Court has ‘legalized it’! This is last nail in the coffin!

“They walk in lies, they strengthen also the hands of evildoers . . . they are all of them unto Me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah” (Jeremiah 23:14).

“The show of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! For they have rewarded evil unto themselves” (Isaiah 3:9).

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh!” [Luke 21:28]

“He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” [Rev 22:20]

GOD WANTS ME TO ACKNOWLEDGE MY NEED OF HIM

GOD WANTS ME TO ACKNOWLEDGE MY NEED OF HIM

Michael Jeshurun

My dear brother Glen Berry of ‘Living truth Ministries’ recently sent me a little paper he had been led to write on the Christian’s response to this Corona Virus pandemic. I heartily agree with all that he said. Here’s an excerpt from his little tract –

In our scenario, let us imagine our Lord Jesus Christ and His small group of apostles in Jerusalem amidst such a pandemic as WE are now facing. Let us see each of the apostles pastoring a Christian assembly. Let us see them each possibly as having been exposed to those WITH the virus that is so highly contagious.  Let us also suppose that just possibly a small percentage of each of the congregations (assemblies) also have been exposed among the Christians. SO WHAT IS THE CHRISTIAN THING TO DO?  Think, dear Christians.   What would be the Christian thing for YOU, individually, to do even if there was a slight possibility that YOU had been exposed?  Does not our Lord teach us to consider the welfare of others even above our own welfare and wishes?!!!!  TOTALLY ASIDE  FROM WHAT ANY GOVERNMENT MIGHT TAKE IN HAND TO RESTRICT OR NOT RESTRICT, what should WE do without governmental involvement do to help and think of the welfare of our fellow man, be they friends or enemies??  Are you beginning to get the point I am trying to make?

To continue: You just could not imagine Paul, for example, thinking he might be a carrier, refusing to quarantine himself RATHER THAN  going to “church meeting” where all would me mixing closely together. Remember, this virus, probably man-man–but whether is is or not–it is highly contagious and is airborne.  So can’t you imagine that all the apostles would voluntarily, even without the government, put their meetings and gatherings on temporary hold, for the sake of the health of all, and for the good of the public??  And don’t you think this action would be even at the command and the endorsement of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself?!!!

So, ChristianTHINK and PRAY.  “Let a word to the wise be sufficient.”

Now THAT my friend is a word in season. This is not the time to argue that all of this is a ‘Conspiracy’ by the ‘Illuminati’ and the Government has a ‘hidden agenda’ behind all this etc. Neither is it the time to quote scriptures out of context like one babe in the Lord asked me the other day, “But Brother Mike doesn’t the Lord say, “to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man”? He sure did! But when He said it, there wasn’t an airborne  pathogen on the loose taking people’s lives! And incidentally, our Lord was not there giving a discourse on ‘physical hygiene’ but was speaking of spiritual defilement as the context shows. [see Matt15:18-20]

And so yes, I wear my mask when I venture out, maintain ‘social distancing’ and regularly wash my hands with soap as advised. But my faith and hope to keep myself safe from the virus is not in any of these. Especially when I read every day of the number of nurses and doctors who are draped in the best protection gear available in the medical profession, and are taking every possible precaution known to medicine who notwithstanding  have contracted the virus!

MY protection cometh from the LORD which made heaven and earth! As said the Psalmist, “I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. But THOU hast saved us from our enemies, etc” [Psalm 44:6,7]

Speaking of His Church God says, “For I, saith the LORD, will be unto her A WALL OF FIRE ROUND ABOUT, and will be the glory in the midst of her!” [Psalm Zech 2:5]

While the promises of the Lord’s protection abound in His Word, I do not take any of these for granted, but always ACKNOWLEDGE my weakness and the need for His protection. A lot of Christian folk presume that ‘God will do it anyhow’, but my Bible commands me to ASK and have my requests made known. There are two reasons for this – one, to constantly remind myself of my need of Him and two – God himself seeks to be thus acknowledged. This is why scripture abounds with petitions and admonitions to humbly ask – “ASK and it shall be given unto you” [Matt 7:7], “Ye have not because YE ASK NOT” [Jam 4:2]  and “Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving LET YOUR REQUESTS BE MADE KNOWN unto God”. etc [Phil 4:6]

Consider the food which God daily provides us. The Master used many illustrations to assure us that our heavenly Father knoweth that we have need of these things and so feeds us as He does the fowls of the air; notwithstanding when the disciples pleaded that He teach them to pray, He taught saying, “After THIS manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name . . . and give us this day our daily bread etc.” [Matt 6:9-11]

God knows better than me that I need Him to protect me from viruses, disease and plague, and yet He wants me to ACKNOWLEDGE the same! That age old admonition still holds good – “In ALL thy ways ACKNOWLEDGE HIM, and He shall direct thy paths!” [Prov 3:6]

Remember blind Bartimaeus whom our Lord healed? He kept yelling “Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me” as our Lord was passing by.  And our Lord had mercy on him and commanded His disciples to call him, and when he had come, our Lord asked him, “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?” Wasn’t that obvious? And yet our Lord wanted him to humbly ACKNOWLEDGE his need specifically. And thankfully Bartimaeus was humble enough to acknowledge his need and was healed then and there! [Mark 10:47-52]

In my early years as a Christian I used to snicker at Christians who prayed for the ‘Lord’s presence’ to go with them whenever they set out on a journey. I used to think, what do they mean “Lord may Thy presence go with us”? Are they not aware that God is ‘omnipresent’ filling both heaven and earth? It wasn’t until I read one of Brother Philpot’s sermons where he speaks of the TWO ‘presence of the Lord’ spoken of in scripture that I understood how right my older brethren were in beseeching the ‘Lord’s presence’ to ‘go with them’.

Let me explain – There are TWO “presence of the Lord” which the Bible speaks about! One is the UNIVERSAL PRESENCE OF LORD, wherein He is present everywhere and whereby He sees all things in heaven and earth! This is the PRESENCE which David speaks of, when He said “Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from Thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there”! [Psalm 139:7,8]

But there is a MANIFESTED PRESENCE OF THE LORD, which the Bible speaks of too! This ‘manifested presence’ is when God appeared and manifested Himself at different times to His people! For example, to Solomon and his people in the dedication of the temple! [see 2Chron 7:1]

This is the same PRESENCE which Jacob, waking from his sleep, said: “Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not”. [Gen 28:16]

And the name of the city from that day shall be, ‘JEHOVAH SHAMMAH’ The LORD is there”! [Ezk 48:35]

This same MANIFESTED PRESENCE is the one spoken of, when the Master said – “Where two or three gather together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them”! [Matt 18:20]

This same MANIFESTED PRESENCE is the one spoken of when the Scripture says – “Jonah fled from the PRESENCE OF THE LORD, and went down to Joppa”! [Jonah 1:3]

Obviously Jonah could never flee from the UNIVERSAL PRESENCE of the Lord, for the Lord is everywhere in that sense and fills heaven and earth! But there is a MANIFESTED PRESENCE of the Lord, and that “PRESENCE” is what Jonah fled from, as the Scripture records!

And THAT is the ‘PRESENCE’ which even un-repenting backsliders avoid! They try and stay as far away from the Bible as much as they can, for in the reading of the Scriptures the Lord at times manifests His presence! They avoid Christian fellowship, for where two are three gather together in the Lord’s Name, His manifested presence is there! Only the broken repenting backslider comes back to read God’s Word and into the fellowship of the saints! (I ought to know)

So when Christians pray, “Lord please go with us, as we take this journey” etc! It is NOT inconsistent to pray like that! Not if you understand the distinction between HIS UNIVERSAL PRESENCE and HIS MANIFESTED PRESENCE!

“My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest!

And he (Moses) said unto Him, If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence”! [Exodus 33;14,15]

May the presence of the Lord and the ‘wall of fire’ that comes with it protect and keep us and our loved ones from this deadly Virus, that we may continue to serve Him and talk of all His wondrous works! [Ps 105:2] Of Mary of old the Lord said, “She hath done what she could.” [Mk 14:8] Let us also do what WE CAN to keep ourselves protected from the virus and trust God for what we cannot. Let us confess with Jehoshaphat that, “we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but OUR EYES ARE UPON THEE!” [2Chron 20:12]

Praise ye the LORD!

 

WHAT IS GOD UP TO WITH CORONA?

WHAT IS GOD UP TO WITH CORONA?

Erick Raymond

“God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.” (John Piper)

I appreciate this quote because it reminds us of our limited perspective. We simply cannot see all that God is doing. But even above blind spots, we have capacity issues. Not only is God doing more than we can see, but he is also doing more than we can fathom. Therefore the first steps in Christian humility have to be in the path revealed by God’s Word. In it, we are given a divine intel briefing that helps us to know what’s going on.

Take the current pandemic, for example. If I had a buck for every time someone postulated as to what God was doing in this situation, we’d be making our church budget. There are mysteries here that we simply do not know. But there are things revealed that we do know.

Amid this current trial, we don’t know all of the things God is doing (the 9,997 things, for example), but we do know of at least three. As you and I encounter various trials, we know that God is doing these three things in our lives. In James 1:2-4, we find how what a surprising servant trials are in the hand of God.

 GOD IS PURIFYING OUR FAITH

James writes that trials test our faith (James 1:3a). The testing here has to do with a purifying or proving process. The apostle Peter brings out the nuance of the Word with a bit more texture:

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Pet. 1:6-7)

The parallel is clear, trials purify our faith like fire purifies gold or other metals. Doug Moo, in his commentary on James, writes, “The difficulties of life are intended by God to refine our faith: heating it in the crucible of suffering so that impurities might be refined away and so that it might become pure and valuable before the Lord.”

To make the point further, James’s point isn’t so much about verifying the presence of faith, but testing the already present faith and making it stronger. This is what trials do.

As we lift our eyes over the horizon of self-quarantines and our ears over the continuous news reports, we hear the Word of God speak personally and practically to us.

 What is God doing during the trial of the Coronavirus? He is purifying the faith of this people.

 GOD IS CREATING ENDURANCE

When we become a Christian, we aren’t instantly zapped with maturity. Instead, God uses the sweaty and painful work sanctification to mold and make us like Jesus. Trials then produce the spiritual fortitude, the endurance that God uses to make us persevere in him.

The other day I went out for a run. While I was motivated by getting outside, enjoying the sun, and getting some fresh air, my actual goal was to get some exercise. As I got going, I felt faster. I remember thinking that I’ve improved since my last run. Then I made a right and suddenly felt a bit slower. It was harder. What happened? I turned into the wind. What was previously at my back was now in my face.

This brings up a question: were the wind and hills good for me? I guess it depends on my objective. If I was trying not to sweat, then no, they weren’t. But, if I was trying to get faster and build endurance, then they most certainly were good. It depends on the objective.

This is like trials. God brings the stiff-headwinds of adversity and the hills of difficulty in our lives to build endurance. He aims to make us more and more like Jesus. This takes work. And it takes the shape of trials. Sanctification takes place in the context of pushing through adversity. Crushing the head of Satan under our feet is hard work (Rom. 16:20). God uses trials to make us more endure.

The current circumstances bring some stiff headwinds, don’t they? Most things in life are made more difficult. Plans are canceled. Finances are drying up. People are ill. Future plans are in doubt. Lifestyles are being restricted. Church ministry has radically changed. This is difficult.

 What is God doing in the midst of this trial? He is building endurance in his people.

GOD IS MATURING HIS PEOPLE

According to James, this brings about maturity. God uses these trials to make us more like Jesus. Think about it: perfection comes at the end. And God means to get his people to the end. So how does he do it? One tool in the divine toolbox is a trial. These various trials push us more and more into Christ.

In a couple of other passages in the New Testament, we see this reflected.

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope (Rom. 5:3–4)

Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. (2 Thess. 1:4)

Notice how Paul pivots off the suffering to praise God. He is worshiping while they are suffering. This would be strange if we didn’t have this crucial piece of information: God is using difficulty for our good. Hard does not mean bad. In fact, in many cases, it means blessing.

 What is God doing in the midst of this trial? He is maturing his people.

WHEN GOD ANSWERS OUR PRAYERS WITH TRIALS

Sometimes we pray and ask God to grow us and make us more like Jesus. Then to our surprise, we find ourselves neck-deep in a trial. So we pray and ask God to take it away. But what if it was God who brought the trial as the answer to our prayer for growth? John Newton’s hymn I Asked the Lord is appropriate to consider here:

I asked the Lord that I might grow
In faith, and love, and every grace;
Might more of His salvation know,
And seek, more earnestly, His face.

‘Twas He who taught me thus to pray,
And He, I trust, has answered prayer!
But it has been in such a way,
As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that in some favored hour,
At once He’d answer my request;
And by His love’s constraining pow’r,
Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, He made me feel
The hidden evils of my heart;
And let the angry pow’rs of hell
Assault my soul in every part.

Yea more, with His own hand He seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe;
Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
Wilt Thou pursue Thy worm to death?
“‘Tis in this way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou may’st find thy all in Me.”

God is not only doing more than we can see; he is doing more than we can fathom. But of the infinite number of things God is doing, we can be sure that amid trials, he is doing these three things in our lives: he is purifying our faith, creating endurance, and he’s maturing us. For this reason, we can count it all joy when we encounter various trials (James 1:2).

 

OUR RESPONSE AS CHRISTIANS TO THE CORONAVIRUS

OUR RESPONSE AS CHRISTIANS TO THE CORONAVIRUS

Warrren Peel

Self-isolation; pandemic; super spreader; coronavirus; COVID-19. Just a few of the words that have become part of everyday conversation in the weeks since the first outbreak of a novel coronavirus was reported in Wuhan, China on 31 December 2019. As of today there are 83,650 confirmed cases and have been 2,858 deaths worldwide, although those statistics are changing constantly and the cases of infection are thought be experts to be much higher than have been reported. Of course there is reason for concern, but how should we as Christians respond to an event like this? How can we be salt and light?

1. WE SHOULD BEAR WITNESS TO THE PEACE OF GOD

Christians are to be characterised by peace in the face of anxious circumstances. Is 26:3-4, ‘You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord for ever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.’ Where does the Christian’s peace come from? From staying our minds on God and trusting him. Whenever trouble threatens we need to stay our minds on the Lord. We need to remind ourselves of the many great truths about him that we have learnt through countless sermons and hours of Bible studies and reading.

We believe, for example, in the sovereignty of God. That’s something we need to stay our mind on as this virus spreads to every country and comes closer to our doors. We believe that the Lord is King over all the forces of nature. Psalm 29 tells us that the Lord sends forth his voice (as he did in the beginning at Creation) and nature obeys. Verse 10 says he sits enthroned over the flood; the Lord sits enthroned as king for ever. The word for flood is the word used of the great flood in Noah’s day — a fearful disaster that engulfed every nation and every creature with the breath of life in its nostrils. Yet the Lord was in control of that, bringing his good and righteous purposes to pass.

As the Lord asked Job in Job 38:8-11 ‘. . .who shut in the sea with doors when it burst out from the womb, when I made clouds its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band, and prescribed limits for it and set bars and doors, and said, “Thus far shall you come, and no farther, and here shall your proud waves be stayed”?’ God sets limits not just for the waves but for everything in the universe. The waters of the flood are often a symbol in Scripture for evil — but they are not outside of the Lord’s will. Viruses, no less than the waters, are subject to his mighty will. As R. C. Sproul used to say, there cannot be a single maverick molecule anywhere in the universe that is outside of God’s sovereignty.

Not only is the Lord sovereign, but he is infinitely wise. Rom 11:33, ‘Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!’ That means not only that he knows what is best, but that he knows the best way of bringing about what is best.

The Lord is also gracious. He is sovereignly working all things for the good of his people. Rom 8:28, ‘And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.’ That’s something we need to stay our minds on, if we want to know perfect peace. God knows what he is doing — and what he is doing is working all things for his people’s good. We may not always understand the details of God’s plan, but we know that it is perfect. Who knows how the Lord will use this disease in China, for example, where the Christians of Wuhan and many other places have put themselves in harm’s way to show practical love and help to the people of their city. This comes at just the time when the Chinese authorities are cracking down on Christians; new regulations came into force on 1 February which ‘will require religious leaders and organisations to display complete devotion to the Chinese Communist Party.’

We know too that the Lord has ordained the exact number of our days. Ps. 139:16, ‘. . .in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.’ Nothing in all creation can alter the time and the manner of our death–it will be whatever the Lord in his sovereign, wise and gracious will has ordained. It cannot be brought by ‘bad luck’ causing us to get infected and die ‘before our time’. We are immortal until our work is done. So Jesus tells us not to worry, because it will not add a single hour to our lifespan (Mt. 6:27).

2. WE SHOULD BEAR WITNESS TO THE COMING JUDGMENT OF GOD

Pestilences are one of the ‘signs of the times’ Jesus mentions in Luke 21:10-11, ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.’ These things will characterise the approach of the return of Christ. Of course these things have always been true of human history, but in the parallel passage in Matthew 24:8, Jesus describes these things as the beginning of the birth pains. As a birth approaches the contractions are closer together, more intense, more painful. Isn’t that the point about the signs of the times? As we draw closer to the Lord’s return, these things become more frequent, more intense, more painful? So we are kept alert, in a constant state of readiness for the Lord’s return, without ever being able to predict a specific date. It is always imminent, but never predictable. Every generation will think, with genuine cause, ‘It could happen in my lifetime’.

Every outbreak of pestilence, whether a localised epidemic or a global pandemic, should remind us of the Lord’s words, and force the question upon us, ‘Am I ready for Christ’s return? Have I bowed the knee to Jesus as Lord? Am I living the faithful, godly life he has called me to? Will I be put to shame at his appearing?’ The coronavirus should impress upon us afresh that this world is passing away, that history is not going round in circles but heading towards a great and terrible Day of judgment. It should drive us to pray and to witness to the lost around us with ever greater urgency.

It is striking how frightened so many people are by this virus. It has shaken the world, perhaps especially the economically developed nations of the world, where people feel immune and secure against so many dangers. But now they are confronted by a force that their wealth and medical advances cannot save them from; there is no vaccine at present, nor is there likely to be any time soon. This virus is no respecter of persons. It cannot be contained. The world is at its mercy. And yet the vast majority of people will not contract this disease, and the majority of those who do will not die from it. How much more terrified should people be of the judgment of God when it sweeps over them suddenly, unstoppably, affecting every person who has ever lived, no matter where in the world they are? This pandemic, and every pandemic, is a small, pale shadow of the ultimate judgment of God.

And yet there is a vaccine for God’s judgment. There is a cure. But it is only found in Jesus Christ, who bore the full effects of the virus of our sin to deliver that cure.

CORONAVIRUS IN THE LIGHT OF SCRIPTURE

CORONAVIRUS IN THE LIGHT OF SCRIPTURE

Michael Jeshurun

“And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” [Dan 4:35]

This verse tells us that there is an army in heaven which God controls. But what of the armies of the earth? Even a cursory reading of the Old Testament will show that God controls the armies of the earth as well. Consider just a few verses –

“This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that THE MOST HIGH RULETH IN THE KINGDOM OF MEN, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” [Dan 4:17]

“And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I DELIVERED THEM INTO YOUR HAND.” [Joshua 24:11]

“The horse is prepared against the day of battle: BUT SAFETY IS OF THE LORD.” [Prov 21:31]

“And THE LORD STIRRED UP AN ADVERSARY unto Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king’s seed in Edom.” [1Kings 11:14]

Now the Scripture not only speaks of the angelic armies and human armies as being under the control and disposal of the Lord God, but even the army of insects and pests which devastate crops and vegetation needed for man’s sustenance are owned by God as HIS ARMIES!

“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, MY GREAT ARMY WHICH I SENT AMONG YOU.” [Joel 2:25]

But what of germs, viruses, bacteria and the like which we cannot even see? Are these too controlled and disposed by this great and terrible God? Are these disease and plague causing organisms too under His control? What saith the Scripture?

“For by Him (i.e. Christ) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and FOR HIM:

And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.” [Col 1:16,17]

Yes dearly beloved, Nothing moves in this universe without God. “Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?” [Amos 3:6]  Even if you translated the ‘evil’ in this verse as trouble, disaster or calamity as some versions do, the fact remains that GOD IS DIRECTLY INVOLVED IN THESE CALAMITIES.

Almost every verse which speaks of plague or pestilence in the Old Testament is directly attributed to God. Do a Word study on that and see for yourselves. Here is just one to whet your appetite – “I HAVE SENT AMONG YOU THE PESTILENCE AFTER THE MANNER OF EGYPT: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto Me, saith the LORD.” [Amos 4:10]

The beloved Spurgeon too believed and taught the same thing –

“I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes – that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit as well as the sun in the heavens – that the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as the stars in their courses.

The creeping of an aphid over the rosebud is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence – the fall of sere leaves from a poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche. He that believes in a God must believe this truth.” – C.H. Spurgeon

What does all this mean with regard to the current affairs of the world? Is the pandemic of the Coronavirus a judgment from God? I for one believe that it is! “As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so THE CURSE CAUSELESS SHALL NOT COME!” [Prov 26:2] Read that again in case you didn’t get it right the first time. “The curse CAUSELESS shall not come”. As Eliphaz the Temanite  said, “affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground!”

Trouble and hard times in the life of a Christian SHOULD BE a time of ‘inquiry’. While it is true that all affliction is NOT the consequence of personal disobedience or sinful conduct, nevertheless the child of God is called upon to seek the ‘WHY’ of it. There is a CAUSE for every effect, and a REASON for all God’s dealings.

Amongst the many signs before the ‘end shall come’ which our Lord foretold, one of the significant ones was that “iniquity shall abound, and the love of many shall wax cold!” [Matt 24:12]. If you haven’t noticed that iniquity has now abounded to Biblical proportions, you’re either living under a rock or you’ve just plain gone to sleep spiritually. [Eph 5:14]

There was a day when sinners were either afraid or ashamed of their sin and did what they did in the dark; but NOW every Sorcerer, Satanist, Witch and Warlock, not to mention every sexual pervert of every sort have come out of their closet and are demanding their ‘rights’! And many nations, even those who were once ‘Christian’ have given them those rights!

Back in the day Christians would stay away from the movie house, and so the Devil brought it to their living room in the form of the television which for the most part is in fact ‘The Devil’s Pulpit’! But that wasn’t enough, because in most homes parents usually kept a strict watch on what was viewed on TV and had some restrictions. And so the Devil put the TV in your pocket where every form of sin one lusts after is only a click away. Whether it is his rebellious Rock or Rap music, or foul mouthed Soap Operas or serials or just plain soft or hardcore Pornography . . . it’s all just a click away. Tim Challies in his article on Sexual Detox says, “Today it is actually far more difficult to avoid pornography than it is to find it.”

Incidentally the Lord said that THIS would be the state of the world at large just before His coming – “Likewise also as it was IN THE DAYS OF LOT; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.” [Luke 17:28-30]

Here’s another one –

“Then said he unto them, Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and PESTILENCES; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven. . . . Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” [Luke 21:10,11, 25-27]

“Men’s hearts failing them for fear” you can see that everywhere now. Just this evening the ‘Chief of Police’ came on our national television and said that though crime has been curbed to a great extent as a result of people staying indoors, the suicide rate has drastically gone up. . . i.e. people who are without God in their lives are just plain scared! I have said this many times before but it bears repeating: that the world will not continue in this hunky-dory frame of mind for long, for the sole reason that SIN HAS TO BE DEALT WITH. And beloved, sin has now truly reached biblical proportions! And God is not going to sit around and wink at all these abominations doing nothing about it. Even way back before the destruction of the world by the flood one of the things He said was, “My Spirit shall not always strive with man!” [Gen 6:3]

There comes a time when God does say, “enough is enough!” He specifically says, “I WILL punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” [Isa 13:11] And THIS my dear is no ‘idle threat’! God always makes good His threatenings. And just following this verse the Lord says, “And I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.”

This dearly beloved is talking about you and me – His elect. While the difficult times that are coming upon the earth will cause men to despair with even their hearts failing them for fear; God is simultaneously working in the lives of His elect to purge them and strengthen their faith. This is always the pattern in history – i.e. while the trials and tribulations that come upon the world make the non-elect more and more rebellious and ungodly it makes the elect more strong and dependent on their God.

“Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” [Dan 12:10]

“For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.” [Isa 60:2]

Whatever pandemic, whatever financial recession or shortage of food supply may engulf the earth you can be sure that the Lord has His eyes upon YOU – His chosen ones. EVERYTHING in the world transpires with an eye on God’s elect!

So continue to trust Him, and cast all your cares upon Him for He careth for you. [1Pet 5:7] Recall all the past contingencies that He has brought you through. Scripture assures that God will not cast away His people whom He foreknew. And whether you feel like it or not do spend some time reading your Bible and listening to encouraging meditations and sermons, after all Faith does come by hearing the Word of God.

“All things work TOGETHER for good to them that love God and are the called according to His purpose”! [Rom 8:28]

“But all these things, however trying to our minds, however hard to bear, however painful to our flesh, are decreed to “work TOGETHER“.

They do not work SINGLY, but they work TOGETHER with something else. It is like my watch. The wheel that turns the hand is not the same wheel that is moved by the spring; but one wheel works within another wheel, and one cog catches in another cog, until at length, the time of day is shown upon the dial. So with respect to our afflictions, our exercises, the trials of our minds, the various disappointments and perplexities we have to endure; they do not work singly, but together with something else; and it is by this working together with something else that they produce a divine and blessed result.

But what is that with which they work? The grace of God in the soul. The wheel of providence works with the wheel of grace; and the wheel of grace works with the wheel of providence; and together a blessing is the result.

In this word lies the mystery–they work TOGETHER!” – J.C. Philpot

 Interestingly the NIV leaves out the word “TOGETHER” and reads –
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. [Rom 8:28]

I threw my NIV in the trash a long time ago!

 

 

5 LESSONS FROM SPURGEON’S MINISTRY IN A CHOLERA OUTBREAK

5 LESSONS FROM SPURGEON’S MINISTRY IN A CHOLERA OUTBREAK

Pastor Geoff Chang

As reports of the coronavirus spread around the world, pastors and church leaders are discussing how they should respond to the outbreak. Throughout church history, many pastors have worked through similar challenges. As a young village preacher, Charles Spurgeon admired the Puritan ministers who stayed behind to care for the sick and dying during the Great Plague of London in 1665.

In fall 1854, the newly called pastor of London’s New Park Street Chapel pastored the congregation amid a major cholera outbreak in the Broad Street neighborhood just across the river.

How did Spurgeon respond?

1. HE PRIORITIZED LOCAL MINISTRY.

Spurgeon wrote:

During that epidemic of cholera, though I had many engagements in the country, I gave them up that I might remain in London to visit the sick and the dying. I felt that it was my duty to be on the spot in such a time of disease and death and sorrow.

Spurgeon’s popularity had grown throughout the Fenland villages outside Cambridge during his pastorate at Waterbeach. Even after arriving in London, he continued to be invited to preach in those villages throughout the week. During the outbreak, however, Spurgeon recognized his responsibility to be present with the sick and dying. This was not a time to be an itinerant preacher; this was a time to focus on caring for his church and the community in which he lived. He would not outsource this task to his deacons or other church leaders, but remained in London in order to fulfill his duty.

2. HE ADJUSTED HIS MEETINGS, BUT CONTINUED MEETING.

The Broad Street Cholera Outbreak of 1854 occurred in August and September of that year, and its effects were felt in the weeks and months to come. The neighborhood where Spurgeon’s church met was not quarantined, so they were able to continue meeting throughout those months. Interestingly, no record of the sermons Spurgeon preached during those days remain. Perhaps the outbreak forced the congregation to adjust some of their previous practices, including the transcription of sermons. Additionally, Spurgeon was likely too busy in those days to edit sermons for publication.

Yet we know that the congregation continued meeting during those days, because the church’s minute books contain records of congregational meetings throughout fall 1854. In those books, amid all the pastoral challenges of the outbreak, Spurgeon and his deacons continued to receive new members, pursue inactive members, observe the Lord’s Supper, and practice all the other normal activities of a church. Not only that, but in retrospect it was particularly during this time, when news of death raged all around the city, that Spurgeon found Londoners most receptive to the gospel:

If there ever be a time when the mind is sensitive, it is when death is abroad. I recollect, when first I came to London, how anxiously people listened to the gospel, for the cholera was raging terribly. There was little scoffing then.

In other words, not only did Spurgeon gather his church amid the outbreak, but he saw in these gatherings a uniquely powerful opportunity for the gospel.

Given our current limitations, our greatest opportunities will likely come in the aftermath of the outbreak, when (in God’s mercy) the church is once again able to gather. Those gatherings of the church will not only be a sweet reunion of God’s people, but also a tremendous opportunity for preaching the gospel to those desperately looking for hope.

3. HE CARED FOR THE SICK.

As the pastor, Spurgeon not only continued to gather his church, but he also made himself available throughout the week, working tirelessly to visit the sick and grief-stricken:

In the year 1854, when I had scarcely been in London twelve months, the neighborhood in which I labored was visited by Asiatic cholera, and my congregation suffered from its inroads. Family after family summoned me to the bedside of the smitten, and almost every day I was called to visit the grave.

In these visits, Spurgeon prayed with the sick and grieving, and pointed them to the hope of the gospel. But more than just bringing gospel content, his presence communicated something of God’s comfort to his people. Though these visits were often full of fear and grief, there were also glorious occasions of faith and joy:

I went home, and was soon called away again; that time, to see a young woman. She also was in the last extremity, but it was a fair, fair sight. She was singing—though she knew she was dying—and talking to those round about her, telling her brothers and sisters to follow her to heaven, bidding goodbye to her father, and all the while smiling as if it had been her marriage day. She was happy and blessed.

While pastors are limited in their ability to be physically present with their people in the current outbreak, they must continue to remain in touch with their people, especially those who are must vulnerable. Through the use of technology and others means of communication, we have the responsibility to shepherd our people through this trial.

4. HE WAS OPEN TO NEW EVANGELISTIC OPPORTUNITIES.

Spurgeon did not limit himself merely to visiting members of his congregation, but was willing to visit “persons of all ranks and religions”:

All day, and sometimes all night long, I went about from house to house, and saw men and women dying, and, oh, how glad they were to see my face! When many were afraid to enter their houses lest they should catch the deadly disease, we who had no fear about such things found ourselves most gladly listened to when we spoke of Christ and of things divine.

On one occasion, at 3 a.m., Spurgeon was summoned to visit a dying man. Surprisingly, this was not a Christian, but someone who had opposed him:

That man, in his lifetime, had been wont to jeer at me. In strong language, he had often denounced me as a hypocrite. Yet he was no sooner smitten by the darts of death than he sought my presence and counsel, no doubt feeling in his heart that I was a servant of God, though he did not care to own it with his lips.

Spurgeon went right away, but by the time he arrived, there was little he could do.

I stood by his side, and spoke to him, but he gave me no answer. I spoke again; but the only consciousness he had was a foreboding of terror, mingled with the stupor of approaching death. Soon, even that was gone, for sense had fled, and I stood there, a few minutes, sighing with the poor woman who had watched over him, and altogether hopeless about his soul.

Not every evangelistic opportunity will result in dramatic conversions. But during times of disease, surprising opportunities may arise. Therefore, take advantage of any opportunities you have to preach the gospel to those who are afraid.

5. HE ENTRUSTED HIS LIFE TO GOD.

As Spurgeon gave himself to this pastoral work, he soon grew physically and mentally exhausted. He also began to fear for his own safety. Amid his fears, though, he learned to entrust himself to God and to his faithfulness:

At first, I gave myself up with youthful ardor to the visitation of the sick, and was sent for from all corners of the district by persons of all ranks and religions; but, soon, I became weary in body, and sick at heart. My friends seemed falling one by one, and I felt or fancied that I was sickening like those around me. A little more work and weeping would have laid me low among the rest; I felt that my burden was heavier than I could bear, and I was ready to sink under it.

I was returning mournfully home from a funeral, when, as God would have it, my curiosity led me to read a paper which was wafered up in a shoemaker’s window in the Great Dover Road. It did not look like a trade announcement, nor was it, for it bore, in a good bold handwriting, these words: “Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.”

The effect upon my heart was immediate. Faith appropriated the passage as her own. I felt secure, refreshed, girt with immortality. I went on with my visitation of the dying, in a calm and peaceful spirit; I felt no fear of evil, and I suffered no harm. The Providence which moved the tradesman to place those verses in his window, I gratefully acknowledge; and in the remembrance of its marvelous power, I adore the Lord my God.

Here, Spurgeon does not promise that no Christian will ever die of sickness. Rather, the Christian “[need] not dread [sickness], for he has nothing to lose, but everything to gain, by death.”

Once again, pastors must exercise wisdom and take appropriate precautions as they care for the sick. At the same time, our security cannot finally be in those precautions; it must be in God. As we entrust our lives to him and faithfully carry out our responsibilities, we have an opportunity to demonstrate what hope and peace look like in the midst of death.

ORDINARY MINISTRY IN EXTRAORDINARY TIMES

In many ways, Spurgeon’s example during the cholera outbreak of 1854 follows the pattern of normal pastoral ministry on every occasion. Pastors are to be present with their people, care for the suffering, be faithful in evangelism, and model trust in God through it all. The main difference is that during an outbreak, there is a heightened reality of suffering and death. Therefore, the work becomes more intense and urgent, and the opportunities for the gospel multiply.

Certainly, our task in looking to church history is not simply to copy all that was done before. This coronavirus outbreak presents unique challenges that previous pastors did not face. We need to exercise wisdom appropriate to our current day. But the core of our ministry remains: preach the gospel.

Speaking in 1866, amid another cholera outbreak, Spurgeon gave this charge to pastors and all other Christians:

And now, again, is the minister’s time; and now is the time for all of you who love souls. You may see men more alarmed than they are already; and if they should be, mind that you avail yourselves of the opportunity of doing them good. You have the Balm of Gilead; when their wounds smart, pour it in. You know of Him who died to save; tell them of Him. Lift high the cross before their eyes. Tell them that God became man that man might be lifted to God. Tell them of Calvary, and its groans, and cries, and sweat of blood. Tell them of Jesus hanging on the cross to save sinners. Tell them that: “There is life for a look at the Crucified One.”

Tell them that he is able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by him. Tell them that he is able to save even at the eleventh hour, and to say to the dying thief, “Today shalt thou be with Me in Paradise!”

 

MARK THEM WHO DENY THE EXISTENCE OF A REAL PERSONAL DEVIL AND AVOID THEM

MARK THEM WHO DENY THE EXISTENCE OF A REAL PERSONAL DEVIL AND AVOID THEM

 Michael Jeshurun

I recently received a ‘friend-request’ from someone who appeared to be a Christian who believes in the doctrines of Sovereign Grace and Predestination. I happily accepted their request after reading a post on their page which read –

“Predestination is true, Jesus did not die for everyone, Jesus died only for His bride, the church. God makes man born again according to His will, without the Holy Spirit, man cannot please God . . .” And another quote which read – “Everything happens according to God’s will, & whatever God wants to happen will happen, & those who are God’s have no choice but to obey Him, because God will do whatever it takes to bring His people to Him”.

But a little later I noticed posts on their page denying the existence of a personal Devil, the fall of Satan and the existence of demons, etc! Being a little busy at the time, I failed to investigate further, until another dear Brother and friend brought this up and asked me concerning these things. A link provided by this Christian-friend who was denying the existence of Satan and demons led me to the Heretical Christadelphian Home page!

Besides denying the existence of a Personal Devil, here is a little something more of what they believe from their own mouth –

“We’re a network of Christian believers world-wide who through careful study of the Bible have come to conclusions that separate us from mainstream Christianity. We believe in salvation by grace; eternal life on earth in the Kingdom of God, to be established by the Lord Jesus Christ at His return; in the Lord Jesus as God’s Son, BUT NOT “GOD THE SON” OR A PRE-EXISTENT JESUS AS TAUGHT IN THE COMMON DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY, which we reject; in taking full responsibility for our sins, and NOT BLAMING ANY PERSONAL SATAN FIGURE, WHOM WE FIND NOTHING OF IN THE BIBLE; the Bible being the inspired word of God WE FIND NO EVIDENCE THERE NOR ELSEWHERE FOR THE EXISTENCE OF AN IMMORTAL SOUL, ‘HELL’ AS A PLACE OF FIRE AND TORMENT ETC (RATHER DOES ‘HELL’ REFER SIMPLY TO THE GRAVE); and we urge people to do as the Bible says and be baptized by full immersion in water. You can read more about us in the “About us” section”.   [Cap letter emphasis mine]

So there you have it beloved! Straight from the horse’s mouth –

The Lord Jesus is not God, there is no Trinity, your soul is not immortal and there is no place called Hell!

But in this short write-up let us just confront the error that is being pushed on Facebook – i.e.

Satan is not a Fallen Angel, there are no Demons, There is no such entity who ‘Tempts man’ and there is no one who accuses saints before God!

Satan was not always Satan! He was once an ‘Angel of light’ who fell taking a third of the angels with him. The Master said –

“I beheld Satan as lightning FALL FROM HEAVEN”! [Luke 10:18]

If you quoted this verse to a Christadelphian, he would at once say, “but actually the original Greek says this and in the Hebrew it actually means that blah blah . . .

Beloved, while a little knowledge of Greek or Hebrew is profitable, we ought to bear in mind that God did not write the English Bible for the Greek scholar, but for the common ploughman, the coal-heaver and the peasant! Don’t ever let heretics deceive you by saying the original says something else!

Commenting on this verse above, John Gill writes – “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven; meaning, that this was no news to Him (Jesus), nor any surprising event, that devils should be cast out of men, and be in a state of subjection; for as He existed as the eternal Son of God before his incarnation, He was present, and saw him and his angels fall from heaven, from their first estate, their habitation of bliss and glory, down to hell, upon their sin and rebellion, as violently, swiftly, and suddenly, as the lightning falls from heaven to earth . . .”

This is what Christians have all along believed, because THE BIBLE TEACHES IT!

“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, who deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him”. [Rev 12:7-9]

The Christadelphian heretics even deny that there is any sort of conflict between the angels, for after all, the devil and demons according to them are just disease and mental illness!

I write this as an Ex-Satanist! Don’t let these dupes deceive you into believing this LIE! Satan is REAL and so are his demons! And if you’ve been a real Christian for any length of time you know what I am saying is the truth!

There is no Satan and there are no demons? Try telling that to a Satanist, a Shaman, a wizard or better still someone who has witnessed a demon possessed man – “And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not. (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: BECAUSE MANY DEVILS WERE ENTERED INTO HIM. And they besought him that He would not command them to go out into the deep.

And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that He would suffer them to enter into them. And He suffered them. THEN WENT THE DEVILS OUT OF THE MAN, AND ENTERED INTO THE SWINE: AND THE HERD RAN VIOLENTLY DOWN A STEEP PLACE INTO THE LAKE, AND WERE CHOKED”! [Luke 8:27-33]

The Apostle speaks of the fall of Satan when he says, do not appoint a novice as an elder lest “lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil” or as the NASB has it – “so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. [1Tim 3:6]

Again commenting on this John Gill says – “it is better to understand it of Satan; and then the meaning is, either lest such an one fall under the censure and condemnation of the accuser of the brethren; or rather lest he fall INTO THE SAME CONDEMNATION AND PUNISHMENT THE DEVIL IS FALLEN INTO, THEIR CRIMES BEING ALIKE. For it seems from hence, that PRIDE WAS THE FIRST SIN OF THE DEVIL, AND THE CAUSE OF HIS APOSTASY FROM GOD; being elated with his own knowledge, strength, and dignity; and not being able to bear it, that the human nature should be advanced above that of angels”.

There is an allusion to Satan’s fall in Ezekiel 28, where it is written –

“Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. THOU HAST BEEN IN EDEN THE GARDEN OF GOD; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: THE WORKMANSHIP OF THY TABRETS AND OF THY PIPES WAS PREPARED IN THEE IN THE DAY THAT THOU WAST CREATED. THOU ART THE ANOINTED CHERUB THAT COVERETH; and I have set thee so: THOU WAST UPON THE HOLY MOUNTAIN OF GOD; THOU HAST WALKED UP AND DOWN IN THE MIDST OF THE STONES OF FIRE. Thou WAST PERFECT IN THY WAYS FROM THE DAY THAT THOU WAST CREATED, TILL INIQUITY WAS FOUND IN THEE. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee”. [Ezek 28:12-17]

Though reference is made to the king of Tyrus, I am in agreement with Jonathan Edwards that this passage is also a reference to Satan!

Because the king of Tyrus was not an ‘anointed cherub, he could have never been in Eden the Garden of God, Tabrets and pipes were not prepared in him in the day that he wast created!

And watch this, IT COULD NEVER BE SAID OF THE KING OF TYRUS –a pagan king, who was a son of fallen Adam – “THOU WAST PERFECT in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee”!

The children of Adam are not perfect ‘till iniquity is found in them’, but rather are they as David was, “conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity, and they go astray as soon as they be born speaking lies”! [Psalm 51:5; 58:3]

BUT NOT SO THE DEVIL!

And consider this – if the Devil never actually fell, but was as some suppose CREATED an evil being, then you are charging God of unrighteousness for creating an evil being and then punishing him in hell for the evil he commits! THIS IS NOT THE GOD OF THE CHRISTIAN!

Oh, retorts the heretic, but did not Christ say – “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer FROM THE BEGINNING, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him”. [John 8:44]

What is “the Beginning” meant here? We quote John Gill again – “the phrase, “from the beginning”, does not intend the beginning of his own creation; for he was created a holy creature, was in the truth, though he abode not in it; and was in an happy state, though he lost it: nor strictly the beginning of time, or of the creation of the world, which were some days at least before the fall of man, when the devil commenced a murderer; but it being very near it, therefore this phrase is made use of: the Syriac version renders it, “from Bereshith”, which is the first word in the Hebrew Bible, and is frequently used by the Jewish Rabbins for the six days of the creation; and if Adam fell, as some think, the same day he was created, it might be properly said that the devil was a murderer from thence”.

And incidentally, Christ said that HELL is a real place ‘prepared for the Devil and his angels’! [Matt 25:41]

Satan and his demons are real, beloved, and the Christian’s warfare is with THEM, NOT with humans who persecute us or heretics who are used by Demons!

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against PRINCIPALITIES, AGAINST POWERS, AGAINST THE RULERS OF THE DARKNESS OF THIS WORLD, against spiritual wickedness in high places”! [Eph 6:12]

The Apostle warns us to be sober and vigilant! Why? Because there are mental illnesses going around seeking to devour you?! Get real!

“Be sober, be vigilant; because YOUR ADVERSARY THE DEVIL, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom RESIST STEDFAST IN THE FAITH, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world”! [1Pet 5:8,9]

Enough said! In your spare time, please pull out your Concordance and your  King James Version and do a study on Satan and the various names he goes by, that in itself should open your eyes to who you are dealing with –

For the record, Satan is called in the Bible  – Diabolos, Beelzebub, The Dragon, The Old Serpent, The Wicked One, The God of this world, The Prince of this world, The Prince of the power of the air, The Accuser of the brethren, The Tempter, The Adversary, Abaddon, Apollyon, The Enemy, and The Avenger etc

Satan is no mental illness, my friends, but a VERY POWERFUL ANGEL who wars with the saints [Rev 13:7], tempts the saints [1Thes 3;5] and accuses the saints before God [Rev 12:10] . . . but shall finally be crushed under the feet of God’s saints [Rom 16:20] for Christ has overcome him and so shall everyone who is a part of Christ’s body!

For greater is Christ who is in the Christian, than the devil who is in the world! [1Jn 4:4]

“And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time”! [Rev 12:10-12]

Christadelphians, as we have seen, depart from orthodox Christian teaching in numerous ways. They deny the Trinity, they deny the deity of Christ and the personality of the Holy Spirit. They have a seriously deficient view of the atonement and also believe in a salvation by human merit. You will discover that these are common doctrinal aberrations among the cults.

ASH WEDNESDAY, LENT AND WEEPING FOR TAMMUZ (2020)

ASH WEDNESDAY, LENT AND WEEPING FOR TAMMUZ (2020)

Michael Jeshurun

 Let me say this right up front that if you already know the origins of ‘Shrove Tuesday’, Ash Wednesday, the Forty days of Lent and Easter Sunday but still stubbornly insist on observing them, then you show yourself to be nothing but a nominal ‘Christian’ like the Roman Catholics, The Church of England or any one of the majority of ‘Baptist’, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches who have a name that they live but are dead! [Rev 3:1] [Note: Not all Baptists observe these Pagan Practices]

For those real Christian Brethren who have just come to know the Lord and are searching their Bibles diligently to find whether these things be so [Act 17:11], I must tell you that you will not find them in the BIBLE. Neither the Apostles nor the Early Church observed these things. So WHERE do they come from?

‘Shrove Tuesday’ or Mardi Gras as it is commonly known literally means “Fat Tuesday” in French [called Pancake Tuesday in England] and is associated with the Roman Catholic custom of Lent. But is it taught in the Bible? Would God want Christians to observe it?

The idea behind Mardi Gras or carnival celebrations is that people overindulge before giving up something for Lent, which begins the following day with Ash Wednesday. [Lent is the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern and some Protestant churches as a period of penitence and fasting.]

Lent was a time of penance, of fasting, of abstinence.  Folks abstained from all sorts a good stuff including meat. They also gave up eggs and dairy products. So on Tuesday, the day before the start of the Lenten fast, folks cleared out their cupboards of all the foods they could not have for the next 40 days. They cooked them up and ate like pigs. In essence THEY FEASTED BEFORE THE FAST.

Unlike New Year’s, Christmas, Halloween, St. Valentine’s Day and other pagan holidays that are celebrated by the secular, non-religious world, the Lenten season is observed by dedicated religious believers.

From Ash Wednesday to Easter, many solemnly mark their foreheads with ash, “fasting” [or abstaining from certain foods or physical pleasures] for 40 days. This is done to supposedly imitate Jesus Christ’s 40-day fast in the wilderness [Matt. 4:1-2]. Some give up smoking. Others give up chewing gum. Still others give up over-eating or cursing. People vow to give up anything, as long as it prepares them for Easter.

People who observe Lent may be religious, dedicated and sincere—BUT THEY ARE SINCERELY WRONG!

Let us examine Lent, its practices and customs, its historic and religious origins, and its true meaning from the Bible’s perspective, not from the “traditions of men” [Mark 7:7-9].

The Purpose of Lent

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, “the real aim of Lent is, above all else, to prepare men for the celebration of the death and Resurrection of Christ…the better the preparation the more effective the celebration will be. One can effectively relive the mystery only with purified mind and heart. The purpose of Lent is to provide that purification by weaning men from sin and selfishness through self-denial and prayer, by creating in them the desire to do God’s will and to make His kingdom come by making it come first of all in their hearts.”

On the surface, this belief sounds sincere. However, IT DOES NOT AGREE WITH THE BIBLE, GOD’S HOLY WORD, the only source of true spiritual knowledge and understanding [John 17:17]. God, through the apostle Paul, commands Christians to “continue you in the things which you have learned and have been assured of, knowing of whom you have learned them; and that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” [II Tim. 3:14-17].

First, understand that the “celebration of the death and Resurrection of Christ” to which the preceding quote refers is so-called “Good Friday” and “Easter Sunday”— HOLIDAYS DEEPLY ROOTED IN ANCIENT PAGANISM. They were instituted by mainstream Christianity in order to counterfeit and replace the Passover season.

Second, the Bible says that we are purified—cleansed, set apart and made pure in God’s sight—by the shed blood of Jesus Christ [Heb. 9:11-14, 22; 13:12]. This, along with faith [Acts 15:9] and humbly submitting to and obeying God [James 4:7-10] through His truth and prayer [John 17:17; I Tim. 4:5], makes us clean before God. NO AMOUNT OF FASTING, ABSTAINING FROM PHYSICAL PLEASURES OR ANY OTHER FORM OF SELF-DENIAL CAN PURIFY US!

Pagan Origins of Lent

Lent was never observed by Christ or His apostles. He commanded His disciples to “Go you therefore, and teach all nations…teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” [Matt. 28:19-20]. And Lent or Easter was not one of them!

Alexander Hislop wrote in his book The Two Babylons: “The festival, of which we read in Church history, under the name of Easter, in the third and fourth centuries, was quite a different festival from that now observed in the Romish Church, and at that time was not known by any such name as Easter…That festival [Passover] was not idolatrous, and it was preceded by no Lent. Lent was not observed by the first century Church! It was first addressed by the church at Rome during the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325, when Emperor Constantine officially recognized that church as the Roman Empire’s state religion. Any other form of Christianity that held to doctrines contrary to the Roman church was considered an enemy of the state.

Today, Lent is used for “fasting from sin and from vice…forsaking sin and sinful ways.” It is a season “for penance, which means sorrow for sin and conversion to God.” This tradition teaches that fasting and employing self-discipline during Lent will give a worshipper the “control over himself that he needs to purify his heart and renew his life.”

However, the Bible clearly shows that self-control—temperance—comes from having God’s Holy Spirit working in the life of a converted mind [Gal. 5:16, 17, 22]. FASTING—OF AND BY ITSELF—CANNOT PRODUCE GODLY SELF-CONTROL.

Paul warned against using self-denial as a tool to rely on your own will. He called it “will worship.” “Wherefore if you be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are you subject to ordinances, [touch not; taste not; handle not; which all are to perish with the using;] after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honor to the satisfying of the flesh” [Col. 2:20-23].

GOD DID NOT DESIGN FASTING AS A TOOL FOR PENANCE, “BEATING YOURSELF UP” OR DEVELOPING WILL POWER: “Is it such a fast that I have chosen? A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Will you call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the Lord? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? Is it not to deal your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor that are cast out to your house? When you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you hide not yourself from your own flesh?” [Isa. 58:5-7].

God’s people humble themselves through fasting in order to draw closer to Him—so that they can learn to think and act like Him—so that they can live His way of life in all things. Notice what the prophet Jeremiah wrote: “Thus says the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, says the Lord” [9:23-24]. Fasting [and prayer] helps Christians draw closer to God.

Coming from the Anglo-Saxon Lencten, meaning “spring,” LENT ORIGINATED IN THE ANCIENT BABYLONIAN MYSTERY RELIGION. “The forty days’ abstinence of Lent WAS DIRECTLY BORROWED FROM THE WORSHIPPERS OF THE BABYLONIAN GODDESS…Among the Pagans this Lent seems to have been an indispensable preliminary to the great annual festival in commemoration of the death and resurrection of Tammuz” [The Two Babylons].

Tammuz was the false Messiah of the Babylonians—a SATANIC COUNTERFEIT OF JESUS CHRIST!

The Feast of Tammuz was usually celebrated in June [also called the “month of Tammuz”]. Lent was held 40 days before the feast, “celebrated by alternate weeping and rejoicing.” This is why Lent means “spring”; it took place from spring to early summer.

The Bible records ancient Judah worshipping this false Messiah: “Then He brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord’s house which was toward the north; and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz” [Ezek. 8:14-15]. THIS WAS A GREAT ABOMINATION IN GOD’S EYES!

But why did the church at Rome institute such a pagan holiday?

“To conciliate the Pagans to nominal Christianity, Rome, pursuing its usual policy, took measures to get the Christian and Pagan festivals amalgamated, and, by a complicated but skillful adjustment of the calendar, it was found no difficult matter, in general, to get Paganism and Christianity—now far sunk in idolatry—in this as in so many other things, to shake hands” [The Two Babylons].

The Roman church replaced Passover with Easter, moving the pagan Feast of Tammuz to early spring, “Christianizing” it. Lent moved with it.

“This change of the calendar in regard to Easter was attended with momentous consequences. It brought into the Church the grossest corruption and the rankest superstition in connection with the abstinence of Lent” [The Two Babylons].

Before giving up personal sins and vices during Lent, the pagans held a wild, “anything goes” celebration to make sure that they got in their share of debaucheries and perversities — WHAT THE WORLD CELEBRATES AS MARDI GRAS TODAY.

Pagan Abomination masked as Christianity!

God is not the author of confusion [I Cor. 14:33]. He never instituted Lent, a pagan observance connecting debauchery to the supposed resurrection of a false Messiah.

God commands His people TO FOLLOW HIM—NOT THE TRADITIONS OF MEN. God’s ways are higher, better than man’s [Isa. 55:8-9]. Men cannot determine for themselves right from wrong or how to properly worship God. Why? Because “the heart [mind] is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” [Jer. 17:9], and “the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps” [10:23]. God designed us and gave us life. He knows how we are supposed to worship Him.

To be a Christian and properly serve God, you must live “by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” [Matt. 4:4], recognizing that His Holy Scriptures “cannot be broken” [John 10:35].

GOD COMMANDS CHRISTIANS TO FLEE FROM THE PAGAN TRADITIONS AND CUSTOMS OF THIS WORLD [REV. 18:2-4], CURRENTLY LED AND DECEIVED BY SATAN THE DEVIL [II COR. 4:4; REV. 12:9].

Lent may seem like a sincere, heartfelt religious observance. But it is deeply rooted in pagan ideas that counterfeit God’s plan.

God hates all pagan observances [Jer. 10:2-3; Lev. 18:3, 30; Deut. 7:1-5, 16]. They cannot be “Christianized” or made clean by men. That includes Lent.

If you are a true Christian you would say with David- “Through thy precepts I get understanding: THEREFORE I HATE EVERY FALSE WAY”! [Psalm 119:104]