‘storms of faith and fury’

This image provided by NOAA shows Hurricane Gustav taken at ...

August 30.2008

Déjà vu… those living along the Gulf Coast are watching very closely a formidable storm that is positioned just south of Cuba. Hurricane Gustav a category 4 storm with wind in excess of 150 mph will make landfall somewhere along the Gulf of Mexico within 48-60 hours. Just yesterday was the 3rd year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina that made landfall along the Mississippi / Louisiana gulf coast on August 29, 2005 leaving in its wake a path of death and destruction. To not make preparation for such an event could leave one seriously lacking if not consumed.

___________________________________________________

Living along the gulf coast of Alabama, during the months of June through November bring the high probability of experiencing a hurricane at some time or another. Atmore is positioned approximately 45 miles inland. This has always been somewhat of a reprieve when the storms do move inland, but on September 16th, 2004, Hurricane Ivan, a category 3 storm (130 mph + winds) made landfall just west of Gulf Shores Alabama just after midnight. There’s an ominous spirit about these storms, especially when they make their way inland in the black of night.

During the course of the night the storm trekked due northward placing Atmore on the Northeast quadrant of the storm. For those readers unfamiliar with Hurricanes, the Northeast section of the storm eye wall is the most powerful; hence the saying “the northeast is the beast” All the towns in this track of the storm experienced winds of 120 – 130 mph for in excess of 3 hours. Needless to say, the morning’s light brought to revelation the utter devastation that was not such seen for over 100-year. Yet in the midst of catastrophic property loss, we can thank the Lord that there was no loss of life. Praise The Lord!

The forces associated with the storms of nature pale in comparison to the awesome power that is possessed by God. The seven hours spent in the darkest of night, listening to the wind howl with the ferocity of a train and hearing the trees fall with the thud of certain devastation, makes one consider, if it were not for The Lord’s mercy and grace, the frailty of man would be consumed amidst the storms adversity. It gives one ample opportunity to consider, what and why is this happening and what can be taken away from this experience?

Nahum, chapter 1:3-6 says “the Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and will not acquit the wicked; The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein, who can stand before his indignation? And who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him”. So from God’s word we can surmise that God has a plan and purpose in the storms of life.

For the sake of application I want us to consider two storms that are recorded in the scriptures. The first is found in the gospels of Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41 and Luke 8:22-25 We will see the Lord used this storm to shore up His disciples faith, hence this was a Storm of Faith.

STORM of FAITH

In this story we find the disciples with our Lord in a boat crossing the Sea of Galilee. In the midst of the sea, there arose a great storm of wind, insomuch that the waves beat into the ship. The gospel of Luke states the storm was so treacherous that “the ship was filled with water and they were in jeopardy”.

The disciples were afraid and came and found their Lord asleep in the hinder part of the ship. Their question was “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” I must admit, I can understand their fear, especially in the midst of the storm. At three o’clock in the morning when the winds are beating vehemently upon your home and trees are falling in through the roof on your house, it’s easy to wonder, does the Lord realize what is going on, or does He even care?

He Cares

Even though Christ was asleep in the hinder part of the ship He was fully aware of the raging storm, and yes, He cares! The Lord had Moses to tell His people as they were about to cross over Jordan and would most certainly meet the obstacles of the inhabitants of the land, that they “were to be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” cf: Deuteronomy 31:6 The same encouragement was given to the believers in the letter to the Hebrews 13:5

We can rest assured no matter what road we traverse or what storm encompasses our lives, the Lord is aware of every obstacle and He is there! He cares. In the seventh verse of the first chapter of Nahum; while the storms will come the Spirit states “The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble, and he knoweth them that trust in him. This means that Christ is with us, yes, even in the midst of the storm. Cast your care upon Him for HE CARES FOR YOU. 1 Peter 5:7

He Calms

In the case of the storm on the Sea of Galilee, He calmed the sea; “Peace Be Still” and the sea ceased its raging, but some times He allow the storms to rage on that we might find Him faithful. Rest assured, if He does not calm our storm He carries us through it HE IS FAITHFUL.

His Word

His faithfulness is found in His Word. In Mark and Luke’s account, we see that Christ said to His disciples “let us pass over to the other side of the lake”. The Word of God had already determined that they were to arrive on the other side. Nothing was capable of keeping God’s Word from coming to pass. So it is with the Will of God for our lives. God will faithfully carry us through the storms of life that we might be about His purpose in us. cf: Hebrews 13:20-21. HIS WORD IS TRUE.

The second storm I would like for us to consider is found in the Old Testament Book of Jonah. The story is found in Jonah 1:3-15. In this storm God’s fury is meeted out on a prophet who was disobedient to the simple command to go and “preach unto Nineveh the preaching that I bid thee”. Oft times in God’s word we see willful disobedience and rejection to God whether it is by an individual or a nation results in that individual or nation is subjected to a Storm of Fury.

STORM of FURY

In this storm, God uses it to get Jonah’s attention. God’s instruction to Jonah was simple- “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me”, but Jonah rose up to flee from the presence of the Lord. Because of Jonah’s disobedience, not only was he affected by the storm, but all those that were with him. While the storm is raging we find the mariners afraid and working fervently to relive the ship of it’s wares, lest they sink and die, but we find Jonah was fast asleep in the hinder part of the ship. It is a scary picture of a disobedient individual (nation) content and satisfied in their sin. Absolutely no conviction!

It is hard to ignore the numerous storms of this hurricane season; is God having His way in the whirlwind and the storm? One cannot deny that we are a nation that has forsaken the True & Living God and are in essence fleeing from the presence of the Lord. It may be that God is attempting to get our attention.

In 1 Timothy 4:1-2, “the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrine of devils”. We believe this is a reference to some in the church. If the church is fleeing from the presence of the Lord and giving heed to doctrines of devils, we can only imagine what the world will tolerate. What will it take for God to get our attention? It says in verse two that their conscience is though it has been seared with a hot iron; a desensitized conscience, which means there is no conviction about their condition. They lay fast asleep in the hinder part of the ship. God has no choice but to send the Storm of Fury.

We like Jonah, must repent, and sacrifice unto the Lord the voice of Thanksgiving; and pay that we have vowed (be obedient) unto Him. Salvation belongeth unto the Lord. There is always hope for the individual or even the nation that has fled from the presence of the Lord: “if my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land”. 2 Chronicles 7:14

___________________________________________________

My friend, I would like to leave you with one thought. If you were facing a storm that could devastate not only your well being but that of all of your family, wouldn’t you make the necessary preparation to have everything that would hopefully sustain you through this trying event?

In the case of a hurricane, we insure we have ample non-perishable foods, water, batteries, candles, that our generators are functional and enough gas to last a week, and most importantly that our insurance policies are current, yet many a folk give no consideration to making preparation in the event the storm takes their life.

One must make preparation for eternity and that sustenance is found in none other than Jesus Christ. Please don’t allow the storm of eternity make landfall without having given serious consideration to God’s Messiah…. Yeshua ha Massiach. Please consider.

malachi

‘ignorance personified’

pelosi&obama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever wondered what ignorance looks like? Here’s what it sounds like…
Excerpts Democratic + Catholic + Senate = pro-abortion  OneNewsNow

Nancy Pelosi was interviewed by Tom Brokaw on Meet The Press this past Sunday. Question from Mr. Brokaw to Speaker Pelosi..

“If he [Obama] were to come to you and say, ‘Help me out here, Madame Speaker. When does life begin?’ — what would you tell him?” Brokaw inquired.

Speakers Pelosi’s answer to Mr. Brokaw..

“I would say, as an ardent practicing Catholic, uh this is an issue that I have studied for a long time, and what I know is over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition,” Pelosi answered. “And…Saint Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is that it shouldn’t have an impact on a woman’s right to choose.”

I think one can figure out the problem here… ‘the doctors of the church’.

Pelosi is looking in the wrong place for answers therefore she is finding wrong answers. Ignorance personified!

My dad always taught me that if you let ignorance speak long enough, it will sooner or later manifest itself. It can not hide forever as long as the mouth is running.

malachi

‘the city of perpetual ‘moral’ decadence’

  

If one ever has the opportunity to visit ‘The Golden Gate City’- San Francisco, they would definitely want to visit the Golden Gate Bridge in all of its splendor, especially during the night time hours. It truly does take on it’s ‘golden’ ascription, in all of it’s glory.

One could not visit the city and miss the chance to ride on one of the many ‘cable cars’ that has become a famed tourist attraction for over a hundred years.

With the invention of the Segway (two-wheel personal transporter), one may now spend the day touring the streets of San Francisco or Sausalito along the water front at the Fisherman’s Wharf, only to end the day with a visit to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory.

If one is really lucky they will find themselves dinning in at the Cliff House overlooking the Pacific Ocean before turning in for the evening.

A wonderful day as a tourist in San Francisco….. eh?

All of these events are what has made San Francisco a world renown tourist attraction, and rightfully so, but something has happened, and the city has taken a turn, and that for the worse.

 

Two “sisters” at Holy Redeemer Church in San Francisco

      sisters-holy-redeemer.jpg 

                The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

San Francisco’s Dolores Park on Easter Sunday

   

   

San Francisco is now known for much more than the Golden Gate Bridge, the Fisherman’s Wharf, the famed cable cars, Alcatraz and  the Golden Gate Cookie Factory. Their reputation has now been soiled with the likes of a rebellious homosexual spirit.

If you make your way along the streets of the San Francisco’s Dolores Park on Easter Sunday, you will find yourself entangled in the vile activities of the ‘Twisted Sisters’ and their (homosexual) likes.

Or if by chance make your way down Folsom Street in the neighborhood of 7th – 12th streets, the last Sunday in September, you shall find these abominable acts are not only going on unabashedly before God, but any and everyone walking the streets are exposed to this moral decadence and that even to the eyes of children. It ought not to be my friends.

The scripture teaches that “because justice is not executed speedily upon and ‘evil work’, that the hearts of the son of men is fully set in them to do evil”. Ecclesiastes 8:11

The truth of the scripture is resounding loud and clear, for now San Francisco is working to add to this degradation of spirit that is associated with sexual immorality and moral decadence of the greatest degree.

San Francisco to vote on prostitution prosecution.. OneNewsNow

Petitioners have succeeded in getting a measure on the November ballot that would ban prosecution of prostitution cases.

The proposal would also ban the San Francisco police department from allocating funds for the investigation and prosecution of sex workers. “The laws in California, on their face, prohibit prostitution,” explains Dacus. “It’s a criminal act. This is just another attempt by the city of San Francisco to usurp the law.”

 

          

It appears to be no end to this downward spiral of moral decadence that has consumed the streets of San Francisco, until a judgment likened to that of Sodom & Gomorrah.

“God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. He rebuketh the sea, and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the rivers: Bashan languisheth, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languisheth. The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies. What do ye imagine against the LORD? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time.” Nahum 1: 2-9

If you have any reservations to the validity of God’s Word, read the historical accounts of Nineveh. His word will not return unto Him void.

malachi

‘it shall never die, believest thou this?’

 

prayer

Photo Used by Permission – Christian Photos.net                   

Information about the Photographer                                             Name: Jouni Paavilainen  – Finland|fi

 

I was looking around WordPress and ran across an article by Micah Mayo that was posted on 06.24.2008. The title of the article was…

 

Is Christianity Dying, and Is That A Bad Thing?

As a pastor of a small community church, I was intrigued by the title of the article so took a gander.

Now Micah’s post was the results of an article he ran across on Telegraph.co.uk that spoke abut the possibility of Christianity dying within a century in Britain.

Christianity ‘could die out within a century’- telegraph.co.uk

The article is based upon research conducted by the Orthodox Jewish Organization Aish which said Buddhism seems to be the religion of choice and that over Judaism and Islam. Christianity seems to be taking the biggest hit while Islam is enjoying a season of prosperity and “is expected  to increase from one million today to 1.96 million in 2035”.

The outlook for Judaism and Christianity is much bleaker; the article states that “church attendance (Christianity) is declining so fast that the number of regular churchgoers will be fewer than those attending mosques within a generation. It clearly demonstrates that religion, including Judaism, is becoming unattractive to the British public.”

Based on the research and the interpretations of the data, it appears that Christianity is drying up on the vine so to speak.  The telegraph article goes on to say that “according to Religious Trends, an analysis of religious practice in Britain, the huge drop off in attendance means that the Church of England, Catholicism and other denominations will become financially unviable.”

At least from all visible appearance, it looks like Christianity is dyeing!

__________________________________________________

Now Micah’s post took these thoughts and drew some very interesting question….

“Is Christianity dyeing, and is it a bad thing?”

First off Christianity can not die… it is Life and that in Christ. Micah hit on this point; “Our entire faith, hope and really our lives are centered around that Death is not the end of things, but a beginning.”

We can see this is evident in what Jesus told Martha, the sister of then dead (physically) Lazarus. cf:John 11 When Martha met Jesus before He entered into Bethany, Jesus told Martha that her brother would rise again. Martha thought that Jesus spoke of the last day, but clearly Jesus wanted Martha, Mary and all of us to see something that is paramount for those who come to faith in Christ.

Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? John 11:25-26

An interesting footnote to the words of Christ, is that you never find the word death associated with the believer after the resurrection of Christ, for to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. So in reality, when a Christian is martyred or leaves this physical realm he / she is not dying, they are just stepping into eternity and that prepared by their faithful Lord and Savior.

So if the believer never dies, Christianity can not die. It is only religion that is dyeing and that maybe at an alarming rate. But to think that Christianity is dying is a misunderstanding for he that believes on Him, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and believeth on Him, shall never die, believest thou this? Religion is not life, it is death, and how can something die that was never alive? For except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 

malachi

‘the religious police…. worse than the vilest criminal’

Saudi Arabia: Muslim Father Kills Daughter for Converting to Christianity. The article was posted on 08/13/2008 on Persecution.org International Christian Concern.

The article states that the father worked for the mutaween (Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice).

___________________________________________________

The Mutaween (Arabic: مطوعين‎ muṭawiʿiyn; variant English spellings: mutawwain, muttawa, mutawallees, mutawa’ah, mutawi’, mutawwa’) means “volunteer” in Arabic is commonly used as a casual term for the government-authorized or -recognized religious police (or clerical police) of Saudi Arabia. More recently the term has gained use as an umbrella term outside the Arab-speaking world to indicate religious-policing organizations in Islamic countries with at least some government recognition or deference, who enforce varied interpretations of Sharia Law. Wikipedia.org
___________________________________________________

While reading of the mutaween and their attempts to police religion, my mind was taken back to the religious police of our Lord’s day…

I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.   Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 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. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. John 8: 37-45

Now the religious police massacred themselves under a sorted fronts, but they all have a spirit that is birthed in religion and that of their father, ‘the devil’.

They hate Truth and the Lord of it and seek to destroy the Spirit of Truth that has taken up His abode in the children of Truth, while all along thinking they do God’s service, they fulfil the lust of their god ‘the devil’.

Pray that the children of Light will stand in the midst of darkness.

malachi

Oh Christendom! by William Penn

 

Crystal Cathedral, designed by architect Philip Johnson, afternoon. Garden Grove, Orange County, California, USA (color)

Over 10,000 panes of glass cover Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, home of Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power.

Oh Christendom!
by William Penn

It is at that day proud and luxurious Christians shall learn that God
is no respecter of persons; that all sects and names shall be
swallowed up in these two kinds, sheep and goats, just and unjust; and
the very righteous must have a trial for it; which made that holy man
cry out, “If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly
and the sinner appear?” (1 Pet 4:18). If their thoughts, words, and
works must stand the test, and come under scrutiny before the imperial
Judge of heaven and earth, how then should the ungodly be exempted?
No; we are told by Him that cannot lie, many shall then even cry,
“Lord, Lord!” set forth their profession, and recount the works that
they have done in his name, to motivate Him to mercy, and yet be
rejected with this direful sentence, “Depart from me, you workers of
iniquity; I know you not” (Mat 7:23). As if He had said, Depart from,
you evil doers; though you have professed me, I have never known you; your vain and evil lies have made you unfit for my holy kingdom. Go
away from here and go to the gods whom you have served; your beloved lusts which you have worshipped, and the evil world that you have so much coveted and adored. Let them save you now, if they can, from the wrath to come upon you, which is the wages of the deeds you have done.

Here is the end of their work that built upon the sand; the breath of
the Judge will blow it down, and woeful will the fall be. Oh! it is
now that the righteous have the better of the wicked which made an
apostate cry, in old time, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and
let my last end be like to his” (Num 23:10).

For the sentence of the righteous [those had found everlasting peace
and confidence while on earth] is changed, and the Judge smiles. He
casts the eye of love upon his own sheep, and invites them, saying,
“Come, you blessed of my Father” (Mat 25:34); those, who through
patient continuance in well-doing, have long waited for immortality.
The Judge tells them that you have been the true companions of my
tribulation and cross, and, with unwearied faithfulness, in obedience
to my holy will, valiantly endured to the end, looking to me, the
author of your precious faith, for the recompense of reward that I
have promised to “they who love me, and faint not.” Oh! enter you into
the joy of your Lord, and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from
the foundation of the world.

Oh Christendom! My soul most fervently prays, that after all your
lofty profession of Christ, and his meek and holy religion, your
unsuitable and unchristian life may not cast you out at that great
judgment court of the world, and lose you so a great salvation at
last. Hear me once, I implore you: can Christ be your Lord, and you
not obey Him? or, can you be his servant, and never serve Him? “Be not
deceived, such as you sow, shall you reap” (Gal 6:7). He is not your
savior while you reject his grace in your heart, by which He should
save you by purification. Come, from what has He saved you? Has He
saved you from your sinful lusts, your worldly affections, and vain
conversations? If not, then He is not your savior! For, though He is
offered a savior to all, yet He is actually a savior to those only
that are saved by Him; and none are saved by Him that live in those
evils by which they are lost from God, and which He came to save them
from.

Article posted by: SermonIndex.net

malachi

‘a man of like passions?’

                    

 

Such hatred for a man and those who have decided to follow His gospel. 

These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. John 15:17-19

 

In the midst of such hatred Pastor Zhang loves as his Lord commands and the world hates as He said they would.

 

Inspiration for Olympic Prayer Band Arrested-Voice of the Martyrs

Pastor Zhang “Bike” Mingxuan, known for traveling across China on a bicycle to evangelize, was arrested by Chinese police just two days before the Olympics began. Pastor Bike was the inspiration for the recent partnership between The Voice of the Martyrs and China Aid Association to create the Olympic Prayer Band.

Learn More about the Olympic Prayer Band here

Pastor Asks for Prayer Band
Earlier this year, Pastor Bike pleaded with VOM staff to ask Christians to pray for persecuted Christians in China during the Olympics. The pastor voluntarily preaches the gospel openly in China despite being persecuted. He has asked for his identity to be revealed to bring continued attention to the persecution of Christians in Communist China.

Thanks to Pastor Bike’s inspiration and the commitment of concerned Christians across the United States, more than 800,000 prayer bands have been circulated. On Aug. 6, Pastor Bike was arrested while trying to deliver medicine to his ailing wife. His wife and another pastor were also arrested. We have also learned this week that Chinese officials are opening a full investigation of the Olympic Prayer Bands that were distributed to house church members within China. Despite this increased pressure from Chinese authorities, Chinese Christians continue to ask for prayer and to make their plight known.

Order your Prayer Bands today!
As the Olympics goes on, the harassment of Chinese evangelists continues to increase. Please help remind others to pray for persecuted Christians like Pastor Bike by ordering your prayer bands today!

More about Pastor Bike
Pastor Bike, president of the Chinese House Church Alliance, rode his bike more than 10,000 miles, visiting 24 Chinese provinces to introduce nonbelievers to Jesus Christ. Armed with a Bible and his business card, which declared “Believe in Jesus, Earn Eternal Life,” Pastor Bike brought the gospel to thousands of people. He and other Chinese evangelists have been repeatedly harassed by Chinese officials during this Olympic year. Please pray for the release of Pastor Bike and his wife.

________________________________________________________

Pray for Pastor ‘Bike’ and those of like faith that meet out such faith for the cause of the gospel.

malachi