drinking from His cup

The Last Supper – Philippe de Champaign c.1652

 

”Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?”


μάρτυς
martus
mar’-toos
Of uncertain affinity; a witness (literally [judicially] or figuratively [generally]); by analogy a “martyr”: – martyr, record, witness.

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and Greek Dictionary


Hebrews 2:14-16

14.  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;
15.  And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
16.  For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

In this portion of the Holy Scripture, the writer to the Hebrews is telling his readers why it was imperative hat God became a man. If the Creator was to dye for the creation,  He must Himself, take on flesh and blood, in order to redeem those condemned under the penalty of sin. Believest thou this?

The devil’s power is in the realm of sin and the sting of sin is death, but for the believer in Christ, neither hath any power. So for those, who all their lifetime were afraid to die, no longer in bondage to that fear.

Fear is the emotion that is synonymous with terror. It is quite the norm to fear someone or something that is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat. But in the case of the believer, there resides a Spirit, and that Spirit is greater than one’s fear.

We see evidence of this Spirit in the first century (AD33) witness of Stephen. The account of this testimony can be found in the book of the Acts of the apostles, 6:8-7:60. Stephen was arrested for being a follower of Jesus Christ and doing great wonders and miracles among the people. In his only defense, he gave credence to the fact that Jesus of Nazarath was Yeshua ha Mashiach.

When the religious folk heard such a testimony, they were cut to the heart and they gnashed on him with their teeth in anger. But Stephen, being full of the Holy Ghost (the Spirit that conquers the fear) did not see the dire straits of his circumstance, but looked steadfastly toward heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.

The word of God tells us that Stephen was cast out of the city where he was stoned calling upon God and saying “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit”.

This same Spirit was alive and well in the believer’s in the 16th century as well…

 

Thomas Hawkes (Hauker)

Thomas Hawkes came from a respectable family in England. Serving as a page at the court of King Edward VI, he was known as a handsome young man with gentle manners. When he became of age, he entered the service of the lord of Oxford, where he remained for some time, being liked by all the household.

When King Edward died, religion changed, and protestants began to be in danger. Rather than change his faith, he left his position with the lord of Oxford and went back to his own home. Having married while in Oxford, a son was born to him not long after he returned home.

He did not want the child baptized by a Catholic priest and so he put off the baptism for three weeks. His enemies on hearing this, had him brought before the magistrate charged with being unsound in religion. After a hearing he was sent to London and tried before the bishop of London who after being unable to get Hawkes to recant his faith, placed him as a prisoner in the Gate-house of Westminster.

During Hawkes imprisonment, various plans were tried to make him recant – but all proved useless. Thomas’s constant answer to all who spoke to him on the subject was “I am no changeling.” When responding to the Bishop of London who urged him to give up his faith, he said: “No my lord, that I will not, for if I had a hundred bodies I would suffer them all to be torn in pieces rather than I will abjure and recant.”

Unable to get him to recant, they passed the awful sentence of death upon him. To this he firmly replied, that he would rather suffer death than renounce his faith in the gospel.

While in prison waiting till he be taken to the stake, Hawkes was allowed to see his friends. Several of them asked him if it would be possible for him to give them some token to show that a man could suffer the fire without despairing. Hawkes promised, “by the help of God, to show them that the most terrible torments could be endured in the glorious cause of Christ and his gospel, the comforts of which were able to lift the believing soul above all the injuries men could inflict.”

It was agreed between them that if the pains of burning were bearable, the martyr should lift up his hands toward heaven before he died as a signal to his friends.

On April 10, 1555, Thomas was led to the place of execution, where he mildly and patiently prepared himself for the fire, being fastened to the stake with a strong chain about his middle. He addressed the multitude of onlookers, including his accusers, pointing out the sin and dreadful consequences of shedding innocent blood.

After Hawkes had made a prayer, pouring out his soul unto God, the flames were kindled around him, and soon blazed with such fierceness that his speech could not be heart by the flame’s intensity. As the fire burned a long time, his skin was drawn together, and his fingers were consumed, and having not moved, the people thought him dead. Suddenly and contrary to all expectation, Thomas, mindful of the promise he had made to his friends, raised his hands still burning with flames high above his head, and, as if in an ecstasy of joy, clapped them together three times.

A great shout followed this wonderful circumstance, and then this blessed martyr of Christ, sinking down into the fire, gave up his spirit.

The story above, was a compilation from several online sources and the book Jesus Freak –  VOM (Voice Of The Martyrs)Jesus Freak –  VOM (Voice Of The Martyrs

World Christian Trends AD30-AD2200; interpreting the annual Christian mega census, is a report that was compiled by David B. Barrett and Todd M. Johnson in 2001. The report estimated that some 69,420,000 Christians have been martyred between AD33 and AD2000. [1]

While we can’t guarantee the exact number, as there is a lot of muddy water in the statistics, the same is true in cataloguing the murder of the unborn in America since 1973. But we can rest assured of this one fact, Christ knows exactly each and every one that has falling to such horror and they will most assuredly be met with just recompense on that day.

We are living in a day in which we see an vehement unleashing of the anti-Christ spirit. It is pouring its vengeance out against anything associated with YAWEH, whether it be Israel or the Christian faith. This violent spirit is gaining preeminence throughout the world, while all along the church in America is lying in the midst of it’s slumbering-religious spirit. I am afraid that by the time the church in America realizes that the opposition is at its very door step, it will be too late to make preparation to stand.

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the spirit saith!

brother malachi

[1] Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
World Christian trends, AD 30-AD 2200 : interpreting the annual Christian megacensus / David B. Barrett, Todd M. Johnson ; associate editors, Christopher Guidry, Peter Crossing. p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-87808-608-0 (alk. paper)
1. Church history. 2. Christian sects. 3. Ecclesiastical geography. 4. Christianity—Statistics.
I. Barrett, David B. II. Johnson, Todd M. III. Guidry, Christopher. IV. Crossing, Peter.

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something that is etched in stone can not be redefined

 

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redefine [ˌriːdɪˈfaɪn] verb (tr)

to define (something) again or differently

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

 

Have you ever heard the idiom ‘etched in stone” or ‘cast in stone’?

The meaning of the idiom speaks to something that is definite and fixed.  Both expressions allude to the work in sculpture, with the first, from the early 1500s, using the verb cast in the sense of pouring and hardening some material into a final form, and the second cutting or corroding a permanent design. Hence something that is ‘etched in stone’ is permanent and cannot be changed.

 

In this ever changing day we are living in, it seems NOTHING is ‘etched in stone’. The morals of a society that have endured for nearly 237 years is no longer profitable. As this same morally eroding society seeks to satisfy the lust of the flesh, the dictates of one’s mind is subject to the same whimsical spirit.

I have listed some evidence of this spirit.

 

Article posted, Wed- 22 Aug.2012 on the Christian Institute ‘Boris Johnson backs redefining marriage’.

 

The article states the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has recorded a video for a homosexual marriage campaign group saying he supports a redefinition of the institution.

In previous years Boris Johnson has warned of potential negative impacts of same-sex marriage and criticized the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

In 2001, Mr. Johnson wrote that “if gay marriage was OK – and I was uncertain on the issue – then I saw no reason in principle why a union should not be consecrated between three men, as well as two men, or indeed three men and a dog”.[1]


Some years back Mayor Johnson had some pretty strong convictions about what constituted marriage as well as the negative impacts of homosexuality upon a society, but has since recanted his stand, and now endorses the idea that marriage needs to be “redefined”.

The second article was posted on The Prison Planet entitled ‘Canadian Medical Association Redefines Human Life’ The Canadian Medical Association, the largest association of doctors in Canada, has redefined human life. On August 15, as reported by LifeNews, delegates to the CMA’s general council voted to pass “a resolution supporting the current wording of the Criminal Code which states that a child ‘becomes a human being within the meaning of this Act when it has completely proceeded, in a living state, from the body of its mother.’ ” The CMA resolution is intended to support the nation’s criminal code, which defines an infant as a human being only after the infant is born.

Canadian Physicians for Life decried the action, calling it shameful and unethical. Dr. Will Johnston, president of that organization, said that “every Canadian doctor knows that the unborn child is a live human being…. CMA delegates worry about children not exercising enough or not wearing bicycle helmets, while over one hundred thousand children go missing from our playgrounds every year because they were killed by abortion.” [2]


If God has possessed our reins and covered us in our mother’s womb and set us apart for His own purpose, it must be the inhabitant of the womb IS a human being.

It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant an educated society can be!

The next is an email from the Christian Anti Defamation Commission I received on March 21, 2013. It seems the ‘delusional spirit is alive and well in the States. The article is testimony of a prominent conservative Republican leader and controversial pastor who have both come out in support of homosexual marriage. Both men used the teachings of Christ as a reason to affirm these “marriages.”

Senator Rob Portman from Ohio released a statement announcing his changed view on homosexual “marriage” after learning that his son was living a homosexual lifestyle. In it, he claims the shift was in part because of his faith and what he reads in the Bible.

"I wrestled with how to reconcile my Christian faith with my desire for [my son] to have the same opportunities to pursue happiness and fulfillment as his brother and sister," he continued. "Ultimately, it came down to the Bible’s overarching themes of love and compassion and my belief that we are all children of God …We conservatives believe in personal liberty and minimal government interference in people’s lives. We also consider the family unit to be the fundamental building block of society. We should encourage people to make long-term commitments to each other and build families, so as to foster strong, stable communities and promote personal responsibility."

 

In another announcement, Pastor Rob Bell, founder and former pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church located in Grandville, Michigan, stated that he supports homosexual marriage. “I am for marriage. I am for fidelity. I am for love, whether it’s a man and woman, a woman and a woman, a man and a man.” [3]


In a March 2013 Christian Post interview with Rob Bell, the former mega church pastor said at Vanderbilt University that he doesn’t believe God is some far away notion that people in the real world need to always be reaching out to, but that the whole world is filled with God’s presence.

"God is with us. God is for us. God is ahead of us," the author said.

During his speech, Bell shared of AA meetings he attended as a young pastor that greatly affected him.

"While he is not an alcoholic, he said that in those meetings he was able to stop pretending that he had life figured out. Instead he could simply accept that God cared for him with all his flaws,". [4]

Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/news/rob-bell-talking-about-god-can-get-ugly-91969/#1fh4coeCoM8fvX85.99


The third principle of the Alcoholic Anonymous 12-Step program is that one (the alcoholic) must step out in faith. It is only a matter of being willing to believe. Through the process of the 12 steps, AA states that belief turns into faith. We carry this faith into the rest of the steps by being willing to believe. We must begin to have faith it will work.

So what does AA say the alcoholic must believe in? The alcoholic must make a decision to turn his/her will and lives over to the care of God as they understand Him.

This is a very dangerous principle. God is not a lump of clay that an individual can flop on a potters wheel and fashion Him into whatever we want Him to be. A thought process whereby we can make God whatever our mind desires to conjure up, no matter what good we think may come from it, is not the work of the Spirit of Truth.

Consider the events following God’s deliverance of the nation Israel from Egypt. Moses was on Mount Horeb for 40 days receiving the words of God. The people had become discouraged and requested that Aaron would make them a god, which would go before them. Exodus 32

Aaron took of their golden earrings and melted them down and fashioned a molten calf of gold, to which they bowed down and worshipped and said “these be thy gods, O Israel which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt”. One’s mind does not make God what we want Him to be, He is what He is and He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and cannot change.

While Bell was speaking at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco about his new book ‘What We Talk About When We Talk About God’, he made this comment…

“I would say that the powerful, revolutionary thing about Jesus’ message is that he says, ‘What do you do with the people that aren’t like you? What do you do with the other? What do you do with the person that’s hardest to love?’” he replied. “That’s the measure of a good religion, is you can love the people who are just like you; that’s kind of easy. So what Jesus does is takes the question and talks about fruit. He’s interested in what you actually produce. And that’s a different discussion. How do we love the people in the world that are least like us?”

 

[1] http://www.christian.org.uk/news/boris-johnson-backs-redefining-marriage/

[2] http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/canadian-medical-association-babies-not-human-till-after-birth

[3] http://defendchristians.org/commentary/the-times-they-are-a-changin/

[4] http://global.christianpost.com/news/rob-bell-talking-about-god-can-get-ugly-91969/#1fh4coeCoM8fvX85.99

so great a love for God and His word

holybiblewarning

vom groups extreme devotion

“Take her furniture, and search the house for Bibles!” said the commanding guard. Tears filled Mrs. Lu Ying’s eyes as she watched four Communist guards ransack her home.

    “I found it!” yelled the guard. But just as the guard held out the Bible to give it to his commanding officer, Mrs. Lu Ying bravely grabbed it back from him.
    “This book contains all I need to know about my dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and I do not want to part with it,” she said passionately while holding her Bible close to her chest.
    “Take her outside,” yelled the commander. “We’ll see how long she wants to hold on to her book about Jesus.”
    The four Communist guards took Mrs. Ying into the street, mocked her, spat on her, and beat her until she could no longer stand. “Do you still believe in your book of myths?” laughed the guards.
    Through a swollen, bleeding mouth, still holding her Bible, Lu Ying repeated her statement of faith.
    The guards grabbed an iron bar and smashed the bones in her hands, causing her now crippled hands to lose their grip. The Bible fell to the street and was confiscated.
    Nearly twenty years later, a mission courier delivered Mrs. Ling a Bible. Her eyes filled with tears. She clutched it with her deformed hands and whispered, “This time I’m not letting go.”

It makes me wonder what fuels Mrs. Lu Ying’s desire to hold to God’s word with such great intensity while immersed in such persecution?

In America there is so little commitment to the Word of God and yet we can freely carry it, at least today, without government opposition. One has got to wonder what fuels this spirit as well.

After careful consideration, I strongly believe this is what Mrs. Lu Ying understood.

Heb 12:25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall no we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:

Heb 12:26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.

Heb 12:27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.

Heb 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

He 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

I would to God, this same spirit would be found among the people of God in America.

Prayerfully consider helping place bibles in the hands of people that are hungry for God’s word.

 

biblesunbound

 

Voice of the Martyrs through Bibles Unbound places Bibles in the hands of people like Lu Ying. Please consider supporting them financially… that is the easy part. To get the bible into the hands of people like Mrs. Ying is not as easy. For people like Lu Ying to possess it, can cost them everything, even there very life.

In the rich blessing of Christ-

brother malachi

pray for america

 

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A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. So it is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool who has no heart for wisdom.            -Brother Malachi

The scripture teaches us 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

The obstacle to our desired petitions (prayers) is the lust of the flesh. “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts”. Jas 4:3

Sometimes the hardest thing to pray for, is the will of God. America should consider Daniel’s prayer for his nation…

Dan 9:3 and I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek [by] prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes.

Dan 9:4 And I pray to Jehovah my God, and confess, and say: `I beseech Thee, O Lord God, the great and the fearful, keeping the covenant and the kindness to those loving Him, and to those keeping His commands;

Dan 9:5 we have sinned, and done perversely, and done wickedly, and rebelled, to turn aside from Thy commands, and from Thy judgments:

Dan 9:6 and we have not hearkened unto Thy servants, the prophets, who have spoken in Thy name unto our kings, our heads, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.

Dan 9:7 `To Thee, O Lord, [is] the righteousness, and to us the shame of face, as [at] this day, to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, who are near, and who are far off, in all the lands whither Thou hast driven them, in their trespass that they have trespassed against Thee.

Dan 9:8 `O Lord, to us [is] the shame of face, to our kings, to our heads, and to our fathers, in that we have sinned against Thee.

Dan 9:9 `To the Lord our God [are] the mercies and the forgivenesses, for we have rebelled against Him,

Dan 9:10 and have not hearkened to the voice of Jehovah our God, to walk in His laws, that He hath set before us by the hand of His servants the prophets;

Dan 9:11 and all Israel have transgressed Thy law, to turn aside so as not to hearken to Thy voice; and poured on us is the execration, and the oath, that is written in the law of Moses, servant of God, because we have sinned against Him.

Dan 9:12 `And He confirmeth His words that He hath spoken against us, and against our judges who have judged us, to bring in upon us great evil, in that it hath not been done under the whole heavens as it hath been done in Jerusalem,

Dan 9:13 as it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil hath come upon us, and we have not appeased the face of Jehovah our God to turn back from our iniquities, and to act wisely in Thy truth.

Dan 9:14 And Jehovah doth watch for the evil, and bringeth it upon us, for righteous [is] Jehovah our God concerning all His works that He hath done, and we have not hearkened to His voice.

Dan 9:15 And now, O Lord our God, who hast brought forth Thy people from the land of Egypt by a strong hand, and dost make for Thee a name as at this day, we have sinned, we have done wickedly.

Dan 9:16 `O Lord, according to all Thy righteous acts, let turn back, I pray Thee, Thine anger and Thy fury from Thy city Jerusalem, Thy holy mount, for by our sins, and by the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Thy people [are] for a reproach to all our neighbours;

Dan 9:17 and now, hearken, O our God, unto the prayer of Thy servant, and unto his supplication, and cause Thy face to shine on Thy sanctuary that [is] desolate, for the Lord’s sake.

Dan 9:18 `Incline, O my God, Thine ear, and hear, open Thine eyes and see our desolations, and the city on which Thy name is called; for not for our righteous acts are we causing our supplications to fall before Thee, but for Thy mercies that [are] many.

Dan 9:19 O lord, hear, O Lord, forgive; O Lord, attend and do; do not delay, for Thine own sake, O my God, for Thy name is called on Thy city, and on Thy people.’

B’Shem Yeshua HaMashiach

brother malachi

the word of a wise man in foolish hands

“The Church is the totality of those who are predestined to blessedness. It includes the Church triumphant in heaven… and the Church militant or men on earth. No one who is eternally lost has part in it. There is one universal Church, and outside of it there is no salvation. Its head is Christ. No pope may say that he is the head, for he can not say that he is elect or even a member of the Church.”  – John Wycliffe

John Wycliffe was an English Scholastic philosopher, theologian, lay preacher, translator, reformer and university teacher at Oxford in England, who was known as an early dissident in the Roman Catholic Church during the 14th century. Wikipedia

Born: 1328, Hipswell

Died: December 31, 1384, Lutterworth

Education: The Queen’s College, Oxford

John Wycliffe is called “The Morning Star of the Reformation”. He was the first person to translate the Bible into the English language in the 1380’s. Consider the fact that he lived nearly a century before Gutenberg invented the printing press, his New Testaments and Bibles were of course, hand-written manuscripts. In his day, Wycliffe was given more attention as a controversialist than a translator.

Wycliffe, was well-known throughout Europe for his opposition to the teaching of the organized Church, which he believed to be contrary to the Bible. As a church militant of sorts, his writings propagated the idea that the “Holy Scripture contains all truth and, being from God, is the only authority”.

Other comments taken from his writing “dominion founded by grace”“it is not necessary to go either to Rome or to Avignon in order to seek a decision from the pope, since the triune God is everywhere. Our pope is Christ.”… gives the impression that he was anti-church. In all of his controversies, he was a loyal churchman. Historical renderings of Wycliffe’s life reveals his problem was with religion, not the church.

One would think that the church would welcome and embrace the word of God, certainly not oppose it, but that is not historically been the case.

It can be seen the very first time God gave His word to the nation of Israel. It was met with a rebellious and stubborn spirit. The people of God not only opposed  His word, they supplanted it with a religious doctrine that would satisfy nothing more than their own, vain, religious spirit.  This is the same spirit that was evident in the day of Wycliffe, and we see that same spirit is alive and well in this dispensation we are living in.

vom extreme devotion – ‘Satan Tried to Get Rid of John Wycliffe’s Message’

On a cold English morning in 1428, men traipsed irreverently through the graveyard. One of them, finely dressed in religious robes, said, “Here it is. Dig it up. Let’s get this over with.”

When the shovels finally hit something solid, the man in fine clothes stood by, idly watching, and said, “Open it.”
“But, sir, he’s been in there fifty years!” replied one of the diggers. “There can’t be much left!”
The religious leader shuddered and then shrugged off his irritation. “Then pull the whole thing out. We’ll burn it all.”
What could have angered this man so much? Why dig up the man’s body fifty years after his death to ceremoniously burn him as a heretic? Around 1376, John Wycliffe had published the doctrine of “dominion as founded in grace.” This highly controversial message states, “The gospel alone is sufficient to rule the lives of Christians everywhere.”
Wycliffe had also begun translating the Latin Vulgate Bible into English and distributing it secretly in pamphlets and books. He continued this work until his death in 1384, one hundred thirty-three years before the Reformation.
“Dump the ashes in the river,” the man ordered as the fire died down. “That should be the last we hear of John Wycliffe and his teachings.” One hundred more years would pass before it was legal to read an English Bible.

Opposition to Wycliffe had nothing to do with the man, but his message…The religious folk of Wycliffe’s day were nothing less than pawns in the hand of the devil. The lust of their father, they were doing. Their vitriolic hatred for Wycliffe and the word of God did not only burn hot while he was alive, standing before their councils, but was just as vehement forty-four years after his death.

Words from the Psalmist… “from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me. They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance. They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground.”

“Dump the ashes in the river… that should be the last we hear of John Wycliffe and his teaching”, conversely, the world is still hearing from John Wycliffe and his teachings.

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. So it is senseless to pay tuition to educate a fool who has no heart for wisdom.

He that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith!

brother malachi

if God is real, why does He allow His people to be martyred?

The Murder of St. Peter the Martyr, 1509, Giovanni Bellini.

I’ve come to believe that God, in his wisdom, allows martyrdom in every generation in part because, without them, the reality of Christ’s death for us becomes increasingly blurry. . . . As we look at [the martyrs], the mist that sometimes enshrouds first-century Golgotha is burned away, and we see . . . the Lord nailed to the cross.

MARK GALLI – senior managing editor Christianity Today

I have tracked the persecution of Christians for a number of years, so I was intrigued by this quote from Mark Galli, senior managing editor for Christianity Today. Even though I have some reservations with the entire quote, Galli does address a spiritual deficiency that the believer must constantly guard against… forgetting what God has done for us. For scriptural support read Deuteronomy 8:10-20.

The lesson is this, when God allows His people to enjoy abundant blessings, we tend to envelope ourselves in the pleasure of the blessing and not only forget how we got to where we are, but we begin to convince ourselves we are responsible for the outcome.

WARNING: Blessing is the greatest enemy for the people of God, unless they keep the blessing in its proper perspective. It should alarm the church in America that ‘BLESSINGS’ seems to be its spiritual focus.

Galli’s quote may be apropos for the church in America, in that the vast majority of the people attending church with some regularity, very rarely if ever, give thought to the work of God at Golgotha, but this is quite the contrast for our brothers and sisters in the rest of the world. “Taking up their cross and following Jesus is a normal way of life.

I was reading the VOM’s Extreme Devotion post about an Iranian pastor who had escaped to the West. In Iran, arrest and police harassment were common experiences. This pastor had lost his home and job because of his faith. Now living in the West he was free to live and worship wherever he wished. How could he long for the days of persecution. “Sometimes I miss those days”, he said, “because I was so alive. I felt every day that Jesus was with me.” Very few faithful church attendees in America  would echo these sentiments.

I find Galli’s quote still leaves the believer somewhat short sighted of what Christ expects from His followers. “As we” only see what the martyrs endure, it gives us in America nothing more that a faint picture of the events of Golgotha. This blurry view of Golgotha is then overwhelmed by the seeming blessings the church enjoys in America. But when we endure the same level suffering that Christian (Iranian pastor) all around the persecuted world are enduring, we not only live the events of Golgotha but see with all clarity the very LORD of Calvary.

So to understand why God allows His people to suffer as martyrs we need look no further than the scripture…

 

“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. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.”  John 15:18-25

So what was Jesus telling his disciples?

The world hates the believer- 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.

This is a hard saying… who can understand it? We, in America, understand little about the world hating the believer. Now I am not speaking to the isolated incidences where there are certain individuals and even groups that hate what the church represents, but overall the church in America does not experience the hatred of the world.

The only explanation is that the church in America is so immersed in the world, that it is little more than a religious extension of the world. We could liken it to Hinduism in India, Buddhism in East Asia or Islam in the Middle East.

This is not the case in the rest of the world. To name the name of Christ or call oneself a Christian in most of Asia will put one in jeopardy. Jeopardy of loosing ones job, their material possessions, subject to beatings, imprisonment and even death. In other words, most professing Christians in America would not fit the bill in other parts of the world, nor could they endure the opposition the body of Christ is confronted with on a daily basis in North Korea, China, etc…

This hatred of God is a willful rejection of Him and His Christ- But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.But now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.

It is important that we clear the religious fog that shrouds Christianity in America. Many associate Christianity with religion… religion with God. That is not the case at all. Christianity is NOT a religion. Christianity is comprised of individuals that are Born Again by the Spirit of God, resulting in these same individuals being placed spiritually into the Body of Christ. These individuals (Christians) which have been born again make up the True Church mentioned in the Word of God. Therefore a better description of Christianity would be that of a living organism instead of an organization. Just because someone is a member of a religious institution or attends a church with regularity does not make one a Christian. Just because an organization espouses a religious doctrine is no guarantee that they even know God. In fact if they do not align themselves with the Word of God it is evidence that they do not know God or His Christ, hence not born again or Christian at all. For there is no other name under heaven whereby a man may be saved… Jesus The Christ

Now when we think of religions that oppose the word of God, Wiccan, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Atheism, etc…comes to mind. What is very alarming, and becoming more common place, is the rise of this anti-Christ (religious) spirit in the church (organization not the organism) in America.

Just to reiterate, the anti-God / anti-Christ spirit can be borne by the likes of Methodist, Baptist, Lutherans, Catholics, Assemblies of God, etc…We could liken them to the religious folk of Jesus day. They were not only ignorant of God’s word but opposed His Christ at every turn, seeking to eradicate Him from their society.

The evidence that there are religious folk that hate God in the church can been seen in the opposition of His word. If the word of God is hated, the Word that was made flesh would receive the same if he were to stumble into the temple (church) today. This is a hard saying but he that hath ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith.

The servant of Christ is the only one left that the hating world can touch- If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you.

Time and time again we saw the religious leaders of Christ day move to take up stones to kill Him. This vehement hatred came from there father the devil. The lust of their father they desired to do .

Now Satan cannot touch God, for He is the Creator and Satan the creature. He can not touch Christ as He is seated at the right hand of the Father. This only leaves His body. It’s a trickle down effect and the Christian (the body of Christ, the believer) is the only one left for the world to persecute.

If you follow the persecuted church, the persecution is not because of the churches criminal activities or any wicked deeds they have done. They are persecuted simply for associating themselves with Jesus-Christianity. This vehement anti-Christ spirit prevailing in the world today can only kill the body but are not able to kill the soul, but the believer is commanded not to fear him; rather fear Him which is able to destroy both the soul and the body in hell.

 

Take up your cross and follow me-

The persecution that the body of Christ is meeting head on did not take God by surprise. In fact He told His believers it would come and the reason they would experience it.

It is in the midst of this grievous suffering that we get a sweet, in depth, intimate vision of Jesus Christ. This may seem sadistic at the surface, but it has scriptural support.  The body and the soul of the believer belongs to the LORD, and He is God!

 

But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned [him]: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:55-60

When Christ exhorts us to take up ‘our cross’ and follow ‘Him’, rest assured He does not expect us to carry the cross, He will carry the cross for us. He has already carried His own and is fully capable of taking ours.

For my brothers and sisters that are suffering for the cause of Christ, rest assured, He is strong an faithful and will not leave you to your own!

Prayerfully consider the voice of Justin…

“If you are scourged or beheaded as a criminal, do you believe you will still ascend to heaven?” asked Rusticus, the city official.

“I believe that if I endure these things I shall have what Jesus promised me,” Justin said. “For I know his gift of life stays with all who remain in him, even until the end of the world.”
“Do you think then that you will receive some reward there?”
“I do not think it; I know it. I am certain of it.”
Rusticus sat back with impatience. “You must agree to offer a sacrifice to the gods.”
Justin stood unmoved. “No right-thinking person slanders communion with God by going to the godless.”
Rusticus had had enough. “Unless you obey, you will be mercilessly executed.”
“I know if I die for his testimony that I need not fear. I count dying for such a reason to be our salvation and confidence before Christ.” Justin answered.
The others who stood with Justin said, “Do what you will, for we are Christians and do not sacrifice to idols.”
Rusticus pronounced the sentence on the Christians who refused his demands. “These people, who have refused to sacrifice to the gods and do not obey the dictates of the emperor, shall be scourged and beheaded according to the law.”

Justin was a wise man… he listened to the voice of truth.

brother malachi

‘December 25th- nothing more than a religious holiday’

   fatima

 

We are living in a day when Christ is being attacked on every front. From Christmas trees and parades to Happy Holidays. Every mention of Christ has  conveniently been removed so not to offend. The last bastion on this front is Christmas Day, December 25th, the commemoration of the birth of Jesus, by not only those in America, but all over the world.

Consider the message the angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph….

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

How can one not see the irony…. we are living in a day when we are doing everything within our strength to push God away from us.

Another irony I would like the reader to consider…. celebrating Christmas while completely ignoring the birth of Christ? The thought that there are those in the world that want to take Christ out of Christmas should not alarm us as Jesus told His disciples this would be the case. The world does not know Him and in fact it hates Him. It is my opinion that He would be crucified again if He traversed the earth today. So to make the celebration more palatable to the flesh we have fashioned ourselves a Christmas that can be celebrated by those that don’t even know Jesus the Christ.

The question that I would like for us to consider, is how would the religious folk of this day receive Him if He was in the world today?

There is nothing more that ruffles the spiritual dander of religious folk  than fooling with their religious traditions. Just ask the Pharisees and teachers of religion in Matthew 15. It is rather scary to think that religious traditions could keep one from seeing the very Christ standing before them.

All my years of studying the scriptures, I have found it a very interesting point that God never gave us clear understanding as to the actual date of the Messiah’s birth. Quite the contrary with regard to His death.

It may be that the death, burial and the resurrection is the crux of the matter… the origin and spiritual depth of Christmas… when Christ is born again in an individual’s heart.

The only question one must consider my friend, is has He found room in your heart? If not, what a joyous and memorable Christmas this would be for you it you would receive the gift of salvation through Him.

Christ can be taken out of Christmas, in fact He has by many who profess to know Him as Lord and Saviour, but when He is born again in the heart of an individual, no man can remove Him from that place.

God bless the brothers and sisters that are suffering for the cause of Christ and His gospel.

malachi

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    "Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me." Martin Niemoller

    Who will speak for those who can't speak for themselves?

    “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this’, does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your life know it? Will not He repay each one according to what he has done?” Proverbs 24:11-12