Daily Archives: January 10, 2014

Top Five most important events in the Mideast in 2013.

Joel C. Rosenberg's Blog

Middle-East-map>> To listen to a radio interview I did on these “Top Five” events, please click here and go to the podcast dated January 13, 2014.

This column — originally posted on December 31st — is getting a lot of response, so I’m reposting it for those who may have missed it.

(Washington, D.C.) — It was a dramatic year in the Middle East. Here is my list of the Top Five most important events in the epicenter in 2013:

  1. Syrian death toll keeps climbing amidst horrific civil war & chemical weapons use in Damascus.
  2. Iran beguiles West with “charm offense” as it moves closer to the Bomb.
  3. Saudis preparing to purchase Pakistani nuclear warheads.
  4. Egypt’s counter-revolution brings down the Muslim Brotherhood.
  5. Israeli leader declares Bible prophecies coming true in our lifetime.

What follows is a brief explanation of each development and why I believe they are so significant.

1.) SYRIAN DEATH TOLL KEEPS…

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Evaluating Holy Water Part 3 – Chapter 4

Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely...

(For those who have stumbled upon this post, this post is part of a series.  Here is part 1.  Here is part 2,  you’re reading part 3, here’s a modified part 3 on the Cripplegate, and part 4: an announcement of changes made to the book.)

 

***Update as of January 14th, 2014 – Mr. Viola has recognized that his opening of the fourth chapter was unclear and has agreed to re-write the section in question.  I’ll address more as time goes on.***

 

***Update as of January 31st, 2014 – Mr. Viola’s edited book is now up and online.  Make sure to check out this link***

So far, we’ve looked at chapters 1-2 of Pouring Holy Water on Strange Fire, as well as chapter 3.  Now we’re getting into the main course of the book, Frank Viola’s exploration of the New Testament…

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8 Signs You are a Victim of Spiritual Abuse

t’s time to start being on the lookout for spiritual abuse!

I have no doubt that you have heard of physical and emotional abuse. But a form of abuse that many people are unfamiliar with is spiritual abuse (specifically in a religious setting). While more attention has been given to this in recent years through the writing of books and articles, it is still ignored.

Unfortunately, it is very common in conservative Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches (IFB). It’s time to shed some light on this issue.

Let me make two precursory comments. First, I am sure this problem exists elsewhere outside of Independent Baptist circles, but I have no experience elsewhere. I speak to what I have seen. Second, not every Independent Baptist Church is guilty of this. Many are not. Many fight against this. Many are loving, biblical churches.  Not all of them deserve to be added to this pot.

Since you may be unfamiliar with what spiritual abuse is; here are 8 warning signs that you are being abused spiritually.

Read more: http://www.jeremywallace.net/8-signs-you-are-a-victim-of-spiritual-abuse/

“I’m Better Than You”: The Sin of Pride

 

Tim Challies writes with extreme personal candor when he acknowledges his sin of pride—specifically the pride of thinking, “I’m better than you.” Now, before we all gasp, and think, “We’re better than that prideful Challies,” perhaps we should read his post and read God’s Word and reflect on how we struggle with self-centered arrogance.

As counselors, we must address this issue. Tim insightfully shares why dealing with pride matters:

“It matters because while God calls us toward Christlikeness, we prefer to call others toward us-likeness. God calls us to hold all things up to the light of his Word, while we prefer to hold all things up to the light of our own judgments and our own determinations. Ultimately, we all long for conformity to us rather than to Christ.

This makes us useless counselors. We are useless counselors unless we can counsel from Scripture and toward holiness rather than from our own arrogance and toward conformity to us. This makes us miserable because we are always convinced life would be easier and better if only others were more like us.”

Read the rest of Tim’s arresting post at I’m Better Than You.

Why Do Christians Tolerate Such False Teachers?

Zwinglius Redivivus

A South African preacher made his congregation eat grass to ‘be closer to God’ before stamping on them.  Under the instruction of Pastor Lesego Daniel of Rabboni Centre Ministries dozens of followers dropped to the floor to eat the grass at his ministry in Garankuwa, north of Pretoria after being told it will ‘bring them closer to God.’  His controversial methods have drawn criticism from thousands of people although members of his congregation swear by his methods – he is said to have claimed that humans can eat anything to feed their bodies and survive on whatever they choose to eat.

That’s insane.  It’s ridiculous.  And it has no foundation in either scripture or theology.  Why, oh why, do Christians tolerate such false teachers?  Are they really so ignorant that they’ll follow anyone who says anything, no matter how absurd?  If so, they need an intervention.  [HT to Michael Acidri for mentioning the…

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Why Is the Prosperity Gospel Attractive?

“Being poor is a sin” (Robert Tilton).

“If we please God we will be rich” (Jerry Savelle).

“God wants his children to wear the best clothes…drive the best cars and have the best of everything; just ask for what we need” (Kenneth Hagin, Sr.).

These are some bewildering but common statements from “prosperity gospel” preachers. Their god is a sort of cosmic entrepreneur who can be used, by tithing and offering, to attain what really matters: a prosperous life in merely earthly terms.

Read More: http://feeds.9marks.org/~r/9marks/blog/~3/3oC3Pr4EeB8/why-prosperity-gospel-attractive

Do Not Be Surprised… This ‘n’ That (10 January 2014)

  • There are a few things you can do if you’re snowed in and bored. For instance, you can make a snow shark.
  • “Others may squirm, but it takes a real dispensationalist to say, ‘The Bible simply never commands the church to give anything to the poor of the world, other than the gospel.'”
  • 9Marks reviews Joel Osteen’s book, Break Out!
  • Speaking of book reviews, Elizabeth Prata examines Beth Moore’s Things Pondered.
  • On loving God by loving His Word.
  • This would not be an ideal way to die.
  • Are you eagerly awaiting the Savior?
  • Someone who seems to already functionally be an atheist is going to live like an atheist for a year. And this makes headlines why?
  • Here is your weekly dose of adorable.
  • Refresh your Greek in 15 minutes a day.
  • Come to think of it, this is a good question.
  • I’ve been hungry for brownies.
  • Michael Kruger has been challenging the television documentary “Bible Secrets Revealed.”
  • And speaking of Michael Kruger, listen to this conversation between him and Dr. James White as they discuss sola Scriptura, canon and Rome.
  • Why John MacArthur still preaches the Bible.

 

  • Ruth’s redeemer:

Source: http://www.donotbesurprised.com/2014/01/this-n-that_10.html

Police Arrest US Street Preacher in Scotland for Calling Homosexuality a Sin

Scottish police arrested Tony Milano, a U.S. preacher and former Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff, for breach of the peace and for using “homophobic” language in the condemnation of sin.

Pamela Geller in Breitbart News: The Islamization of America in 2013

Since I wrote my book Stop the Islamization of America and established the Stop Islamization of America initiative of my organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), we have seen increasing accommodation and submission to Islam in the United States. This past year was a particularly good year for Islamic supremacists, who are working furiously in this country to impose Sharia (Islamic law) — and in particular, the blasphemy laws under the Sharia.

Read More: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/01/09/The-Islamization-of-America-in-2013

The Anointing: Benny Hinn vs. the Bible

He must have been having a bad day.  I mean, it’s tough being Benny Hinn.  Penthouse suites and private jets and limos and fine cuisine—it’s gotta get tiring after a while, doesn’t it?  All the security and hassle with being a superstar.  Gotta give the guy some slack, right? In this clip Hinn is in Kiev, Ukraine a few years ago.  And, we are told, “the anointing” fell, or, was distributed, by Hinn himself.  And his suit jacket, it seems.  And the appropriate music, in the appropriate key, with the appropriate bodies strewn about the stage at the proper places, shaking and gyrating at the appointed times as well.  And in charge of it all is Benny Hinn, large and in charge.  Barking orders at his staff, security people, and the crowd.  Evidently, the Spirit responds to Benny’s orders, too, as he sets up each new experience of the “anointing,” which he defines as…tingling in the right hand that he has had you raising for like five minutes.  (Try that at home—it works every time!).  Here is the clip:

Read more: http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2014/01/10/the-anointing-benny-hinn-vs-the-bible/

Questions about God: Why Does God Allow Good Things to Happen to Bad People?

 

This question is similar to its opposite: “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?” Both questions refer to what seems to be the perplexing injustice we witness every day. The 73rd Psalm is our answer to the very same questions that also tormented the psalmist. Finding himself in terrible distress and agony of soul he writes, “But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (Psalms 73:2–3).

The writer of this Psalm was a man named Asaph, a leader of one of the temple choirs. Obviously, he was not a wealthy man, but rather one who had dedicated his life to serving God (see 1 Chronicles 25). But, like us, he had experienced some difficulties and questioned the injustice of it all. He watched the evil people around him living by their own rules, enjoying all the wealth and pleasures of the world and piling riches upon riches. He complains, “They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills” (Psalms 73:4–5).

Asaph was looking at these people who didn’t have problems. They could pay their bills. They had plenty to eat and plenty of luxuries. But poor Asaph was stuck with directing the choir and trying to live godly. And to add insult to injury, it didn’t seem to be getting him anywhere. He began not only to envy these people, but even to question God as to why He would allow such a thing to happen!

How often do we find ourselves relating to Asaph? We dedicate our lives to serving God. Then we witness the wicked, the ungodly people around us get new cars, luxurious homes, promotions, beautiful clothes, and take fabulous trips, while we struggle to pay the electric bill. The answer lies in the rest of the psalm. Asaph envied these evil people until he realized one very important thing. When he entered the sanctuary of God, he fully understood their final destiny: “When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies” (Psalms 73:16–20). Those who have temporary riches on earth are in reality spiritual beggars because they do not have true riches—eternal life.

There are many times when we do not understand what is happening to us, nor do we understand how providence works. When Asaph entered the sanctuary of God, he began to see that there was no need for him to be envious of the prosperity of the wicked because their prosperity is in reality an illusion. He began to comprehend that the ancient deceiver, Satan, had played tricks with his vision and used lies to distract him from the reality of God. Upon entering the sanctuary, he realized that prosperity is a fleeting fulfillment, a fashion show of what is to pass away, like a pleasant dream that pleases us only for a little while but when we awaken, we realize it was not real. Asaph rebukes himself for his own stupidity. He admits to being “senseless and ignorant” to envy the wicked or to be jealous of the perishing. His thoughts then returned to his own happiness in God when he realized how much more joy, fulfillment and true spiritual prosperity he had in the Creator.

We may not have everything we want here on earth, but we will one day prosper for all eternity through Jesus Christ our Lord. Whenever we are tempted to try the other road, we should remember that the other road is a dead end (Matthew 7:13). But in all truth, the narrow road before us through Jesus is awesome and is the only road that leads to eternal life. That should be our joy and our comfort. “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge …” (Psalm 73:25, 27–28)

We need not concern ourselves when good things seem to happen to bad people. We only need to keep our focus on our Creator and enter into His presence every day through the portal of His holy Word. There we will find truth, contentment, spiritual riches and eternal joy.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Life Decisions: Should a Christian Use Social Networking Tools (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Blogs, Etc.)?

 

Hundreds of millions of people are running toward social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to participate in the relational components of the Internet. Are these networks the next big mission field or an enormous waste of time? Should a Christian participate in social networking? The answer to these questions should be determined by whether we can honestly ask God to bless and use our actions for His own good purposes. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). If we are willing to let God use our participation for His glory, we have freedom to participate.

Christians who choose to participate in social networking should be aware of the negative aspects of social networking. It should be remembered that not everyone on the Internet has pure motives, and we should use safety precautions, utilize the privacy settings, and be selective as to who is accepted as a “friend” or “fan.” Parents should regularly interact with their children and be active participants in their child’s use of social networking sites. In addition, Christians should be aware of the danger of the narcissism (excessive self-love and preoccupation with self) inherent in self-oriented sites. Studies have shown that overuse or wrong motives in social media participation can breed narcissism. When we rely on social media sites primarily to promote ourselves or draw attention to ourselves, it is time to take a step back. It’s wise to utilize accountability, encouraging spouse, family members, and Christian brothers and sisters to view our social networking activity and hold us accountable. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens his friend’s countenance.”

It’s also important to understand the impact our status, photo, comments, or blog posts may have in the future. It should be remembered that social networking sites involve publishing to the entire Internet, including family members, current and future employers, college admissions personnel, etc. The ramifications of any statements, both now and in the future, should be considered. It should be assumed that everything written is permanent and viewable by everyone. Furthermore, while maintaining relationships is important and healthy, addiction is not. Limiting the amount of time we devote to these social networking sites is both healthy and wise.

On the other hand, there are definitely positive aspects of social networking. For the Christian, social media sites can be an enormously productive mission field. Reconnecting with old friends and increasing our sphere of influence can lead to evangelistic opportunities unavailable elsewhere. Social media allows us to reenter the daily lives of people we may have lost contact with and open up new avenues for sharing Christ. As such, we can influence the views of others by what we post, bringing encouragement and spiritual guidance to others and using friends lists or Facebook status updates to pray regularly for friends and their needs. “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24–25).

Finally, social networking sites can engage spiritual seekers on the Internet, meeting those seekers where they are. Just like face-to-face evangelism, we can establish credibility and authenticity in the seeker’s natural and comfortable environment, and then build on that foundation and share the love of Christ with new online friends.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Holidays: What Sort of New Year’s Resolution Should a Christian Make?

 

The practice of making New Year’s resolutions goes back over 3,000 years to the ancient Babylonians. There is just something about the start of a new year that gives us the feeling of a fresh start and a new beginning. In reality, there is no difference between December 31 and January 1. Nothing mystical occurs at midnight on December 31. The Bible does not speak for or against the concept of New Year’s resolutions. However, if a Christian determines to make a New Year’s resolution, what kind of resolution should he or she make?

Common New Year’s resolutions are commitments to quit smoking, to stop drinking, to manage money more wisely, and to spend more time with family. By far, the most common New Year’s resolution is to lose weight, in conjunction with exercising more and eating more healthily. These are all good goals to set. However, 1 Timothy 4:8 instructs us to keep exercise in perspective: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” The vast majority of New Year’s resolutions, even among Christians, are in relation to physical things. This should not be.

Many Christians make New Year’s resolutions to pray more, to read the Bible every day, and to attend church more regularly. These are fantastic goals. However, these New Year’s resolutions fail just as often as the non-spiritual resolutions, because there is no power in a New Year’s resolution. Resolving to start or stop doing a certain activity has no value unless you have the proper motivation for stopping or starting that activity. For example, why do you want to read the Bible every day? Is it to honor God and grow spiritually, or is it because you have just heard that it is a good thing to do? Why do you want to lose weight? Is it to honor God with your body, or is it for vanity, to honor yourself?

Philippians 4:13 tells us, “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.” John 15:5 declares, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” If God is the center of your New Year’s resolution, it has chance for success, depending on your commitment to it. If it is God’s will for something to be fulfilled, He will enable you to fulfill it. If a resolution is not God honoring and/or is not in agreement in God’s Word, we will not receive God’s help in fulfilling the resolution.

So, what sort of New Year’s resolution should a Christian make? Here are some suggestions: (1) pray to the Lord for wisdom (James 1:5) in regards to what resolutions, if any, He would have you make; (2) pray for wisdom as to how to fulfill the goals God gives you; (3) rely on God’s strength to help you; (4) find an accountability partner who will help you and encourage you; (5) don’t become discouraged with occasional failures; instead, allow them to motivate you further; (6) don’t become proud or vain, but give God the glory. Psalm 37:5–6 says, “Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.”[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

After 20 Years of NAFTA Poverty, Lawmakers Move to Fast-Track TPP

On the heals of NAFTA’s “20 years of regret” anniversary, U.S. lawmakers are aggressively pushing legislation to fast-track what has been called NAFTA on steroids: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Three powerful lawmakers —House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) — announced legislation (pdf) Thursday that would allow the Obama administration to fast-track approval of this behemoth trade deal.

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REPORT: MAJORITY IN CONGRESS MILLIONAIRES FOR FIRST TIME IN HISTORY

For the first time in history, a majority of lawmakers in Congress are millionaires at a time when Americans feel that Congress and those in the “Boomtown” that is Washington, D.C. are becoming more removed from their everyday lives.

According to a Center for Responsive Politics’s analysis of “the personal financial disclosure data from 2012 of the 534 current members,” 268 lawmakers in Congress had an average net worth of at least $1 million. That was up from 257 from the year before.

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Top 50 list of Christian persecutors

“North Korea remains the most difficult country in the world to be a Christian because it’s an act that is punishable there by death or life in prison,” Fuentes said.

North Korea is thought to have as many as 70,000 people imprisoned in camps that Fuentes likens to the camps in Nazi Germany.

“It’s a sentence that is not just for believers, but the sentence to a concentration camp can be for up to three generations of their family,” Fuentes said. “That’s their parents, their children and their grandchildren. No other country is like North Korea in that way.”

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Why Socialism Is on the Rise

It took capitalism half a century to come back from the Great Depression. It’s taken socialism half that time to come back from the collapse of the Soviet Union. In New York City, avowed socialist Mayor Bill de Blasio has declared that his goal is to take “dead aim at the Tale of Two Cities” — the gap between rich and poor. In Seattle, newly elected socialist city Councilmember Kshama Sawant addressed supporters, explaining, “I wear the badge of socialist with honor.”

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“Kerry Is Just Not in Touch with Reality” – Daniel Pipes

Despite all that’s going on the Middle East – the Iranian nuclear buildup, the violence in Iraq, the shaking of Erdoğan’s rule in Turkey, civil war in Syria, Egypt and Yemen in melt-down mode, Libya unraveling, Tunisia in political crisis – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has one main thing on his mind, and that’s a Palestinian-Israeli accord. Unbelievably, he is paying a twelfth visit to the region on Jan. 13 to pursue this goal.

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