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Halloween – Invazia păgână

Published on Oct 18, 2013

Precizări — film documentar Halloween – invazia păgână

Am postat acest documentar pe contul meu de YouTube, ca o dovadă a ceea ce reprezintă, cu adevărat, sărbătoarea de Halloween. Filmul are 45 de minute și este realizat în Statele Unite, acolo unde această sărbătoare se află ” la ea acasă “.

În calitate de persoană implicată în educarea copiilor și a tinerilor din Comuna Vărăști, mă simt dator să atrag atenția asupra aspectelor oculte existente în substratul acestei sărbători.

Începem să percepem Halloween-ul ca pe un bun prilej de distracție ( așa se explică atracția exercitată de această sărbătoare ).

Adevărul e însă altul. Ea e o sărbătoare 100% păgână, ocultă, ,,ziua când morții, fantasmele părăsesc mormintele…”. Ea e cea mai mare sărbătoare a slujitorilor satanei: vrăjitori, spiritiști sau sataniști. Americanii au dezvoltat o adevarată industrie legată de această sărbătoare. Se achiziționează cu această ocazie accesorii macabre: măști, costume de vampiri, diavoli, dragoni, zombi, leproși, schelete și nelipsiții dovleci, ajungându-se până la vânzări de o jumatate de miliard de dolari anual. Vânzările filmelor horror cresc în această perioadă, promotorii filmelor de groază speculând și ei interesul mare pentru acest praznic. Industria filmelor horror exploatează la maxim setea de senzații tari, dovedind nepăsare față de psihicul omului, căruia nu-i oferă nimic altceva decât angoase.

America face cu ocazia Halloween-ului pregătiri mai mari decât de Crăciun sau Paște. Copiii se costumează în stil horror, se amuză prin sperieturi și merg (colindă) din casă în casă pentru a primi prăjituri. Tinerii, mai curajoși, merg în cimitire în miez de noapte și se distrează făcând spiritism. S-a constatat că în noaptea Halloween-ului se săvârșesc foarte multe crime în Statele Unite.

De altfel, din documentar reiese că la întrebarea “Cum ați vrea să serbați Halloween-ul?”, 80% din elevii americani de clasa a IV-a de la o școală au răspuns zâmbind : “Aș vrea să omor pe cineva…” Acesta este impactul sărbătorii !

De nu vom fi cu luare-aminte, copiii noștri își vor forma treptat gustul pentru macabru, ocult, sadism și violență (îi ajută în acest sens desenele animate cu monștri, jocurile agresive pe calculator, filmele horror și cărțile pentru copii, deja clasice, din seria Harry Potter, etc.).

Răul este mult mai uşor acceptat atunci când este oferit sub chipul jocului, iar adorarea maleficului în această zi are o influenţă negativă asupra comportamentului copiilor. Toate „accesoriile” acestei sărbători îi familiarizează pe cei mici, dar şi pe tineri, cu răul, agresivitatea, grotescul şi chiar cu crima. Sondajele efectuate în această perioadă spun că cei care sărbătoresc Halloween-ul sunt foarte predispuşi spre agresivitate şi violenţă.

Vă invit la vizionarea acestui film documentar, cu speranța că ceea ce vom vedea aici ne va ,,îngrozi” (în sensul pierderii legăturii noastre cu Dumnezeu ) cu mult mai mult, decât sărbătoarea în sine. Iar ca precizare finală, indiferent de modul în care vom organiza și vom celebra (carnaval, concurs, paradă, etc ) semnificația sărbătorii nu va putea fi anulată.

prof.Constantin Cosmin

Post Scriptum

Avem curaj să fim altfel?

Creştinismul este religia iubirii, a bucuriei, a luminii, Dumnezeu Însuşi este iubire. Suntem gata să ne lepădăm de Dumnezeu? (Căci orice îmbrăcare în hainele răului, chiar şi „de formă”, este o lepădare de Dumnezeu…). Să nu uităm că pământul acesta strămoşesc, care ne sărută picioarele atunci când îl străbatem în trecerea grăbită, este stropit cu sângele strămoşilor noştri, care au păstrat de multe ori cu preţul vieţii credinţa în Hristos şi în Biserică. Toate aceste „împrumuturi” din Occident (Valentine`s Day, Halloween etc.) nu au legătură cu tradiţia noastră creştin-ortodoxă. Tentaţia copierii pentru a fi „în rând cu lumea” este mare. Însă vă îndemn, dragii mei, aveţi curajul să fiţi altfel decât ceilalţi! Aveţi curajul de a nu vă lăsa manipulaţi, de a vă întreba ce sărbătoriţi atunci când preluaţi cu ochii închişi o „tradiţie” care nu prezintă garanţia celor lăsate de bunici.
În final, vă doresc să deveniţi aşa cum spune părintele Teofil de la Mănăstirea Brâncoveanu – Sâmbăta de Sus: „înfricoşător de buni”, adică sfinţi! Aceasta întrucât “copiii lui Dumnezeu nu se deosebesc cu nimic de fiii întunericului, decât prin iubire”, cum spune Fericitul Augustin.

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Panoramas and 3D Tours of the Most Beautiful Places Around the World!
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This is a one e-mail you will want to save. 

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 Victoria Falls, ZambiaVenezuela, Surroundings of Angel Falls, VenezuelaAngel falls, VenezuelaKalyan Minaret, Bukhara, UzbekistanMiami, USALas Vegas, USALake Powell, USAManhattan, New York, USAGolden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, USAMillennium UN Plaza Hotel, New York, USAOahu, Hawaii, USALas Vegas, Nevada, USAMillennium UN Plaza Hotel, New York, USAGolden Gate Bridge, USAStatue of Liberty, New York, USAManhattan, New York, USAHollywood, California, USASan Juan and Colorado rivers, USAGoosenecks, Utah, USAMono Lake, California, USAMillennium UN Plaza Hotel, New York, USAChicago, Illinois, USALos Angeles, California, USAKiev, UkraineAy-Petri, UkraineDubai, UAEDubai, Islands, UAEPalm Jumeirah, Dubai, UAEBangkok, ThailandSankt-Moritz, SwitzerlandCape Good Hope, South AfricaCape-Town, South AfricaMoscow, MSU, RussiaMoscow, Kremlin, Bolotnaya Square , RussiaMoscow, RussiaMoscow Kremlin, Russia55.748765;37.540841, RussiaMoscow City, RussiaKremlin, Moscow, RussiaMoscow City, RussiaTrinity Lavra of Sait Sergius, RussiaSaint-Petersburg, RussiaNew Jerusalem Monastery, RussiaSaint Petersburg, RussiaNovodevichy Convent. Moscow, RussiaRamenki,Moscow, RussiaMKAD, Moscow, RussiaMoscow, RussiaMoscow, RussiaKrokus Expo Center, Moscow, RussiaMoscow Region, RussiaMoeraki Boulders, New ZealandFiordland, New ZealandNepal, NepalMaldives, MaldivesKuala-Lumpur, MalaysiaGrimsvotn, IcelandAmsterdam, HollandNeuschwanstein Castle, GermanyEgyptian Pyramids, EgyptHong Kong, ChinaThe Iguassu Falls, BrazilTwelve Apostles Marine National Park, AustraliaSydney, AustraliaBuenos Aires, ArgentinaEgyptian Pyramids, Egypt


 

 

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What does it mean to live in habitual sin? – Tim Conway

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rn4p-Kv1Bb8

Let go of your in or Perish – Tim Conway

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4SQSQHUZR8

uploaded on Jul 20, 2009

MP3: http://illbehonest.com/Let-go-of-your-Sin-or-Perish-Tim-Conway

Grace Community Church
San Antonio, Texas
http://www.gccsatx.com

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English: Loyalist Affluence? This appears to b...

English: Loyalist Affluence? This appears to be a wealthy merchant’s house in the village of Cardington, Shropshire. Some of it dates from the middle 16th Century, but in fact most of the house was built in the 1940’s using architectural antiques for period detail. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Thanksgiving and the Challenge of Affluence

 

Dr. Mark Hendrickson

 

Grove City College

 

November 24, 2008

 

Throughout recorded history, most human beings have been poor. Poverty has been the norm and affluence the exception. Given a choice, most of us would rather be affluent than poor, but in this year of jarring financial losses, many of us are realizing that affluence can be fleeting [“… riches certainly make themselves wings.” (Proverbs 23:5)]. Affluence presents its own challenges, beyond simply the challenge of how to retain it.

 

Affluence can be the beginning of the end of a great civilization. Consider this famous outline, attributed to Alexander Tytler (1748-1813) of the sequential stages of a civilization:

 

From Bondage to Spiritual Faith,
From Spiritual Faith to Great Courage,
From Courage to Liberty,
From Liberty to Abundance,
From Abundance to Selfishness,
From Selfishness to Complacency,
From Complacency to Apathy,
From Apathy to Dependency,
From Dependency back into Bondage.

 

If “Abundance” (i.e., affluence) is the zenith of a civilization, is it possible that we have passed that point and have entered a stage of civilizational decline?Economically, affluence seems to have dulled our work ethic. Many Americans have a sense of entitlement, feeling that somebody owes them “the good life.” In other countries, hundreds of millions of humans have recently climbed out of poverty. Should we resent or fear these “nouveaux riches?” No, they deserve our respect—and in some cases our admiration—for having emulated the hard work and frugality common to earlier generations of Americans.

 

Another sign that affluence has lured us off track has been the proliferation of high-leverage derivatives and aggressive hedge funds. Somewhere along the way, Wall Street forgot the purpose and value of capital. When invested in a productive business, capital blesses one’s fellow man by increasing the productivity of labor and bringing prices down for consumers while raising wages for workers. Recently, though, capital has become so abundant that financiers “invested” paper wealth for the sole purpose of generating more paper wealth, none of which contributed to the production of real wealth that uplifts people. “Behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).

 

Affluence has corrupted our politics, too. We began to take affluence for granted and assumed that everyone should have it. This led to a vast system of transfer payments that consumed capital. To “spread the wealth,” politicians made lenders issue mortgages to Americans that they couldn’t afford, thereby producing the housing bubble that has devastated our economy.

 

One of the most destructive byproducts of our affluence has been the decline in birth rates. We have fallen in love with the beguilingly easy life that affluence affords to such an extent that we shun the demanding and expensive (though richly rewarding) task of raising children. Like a spreading plague, native populations in wealthy countries like Spain, Germany, France, and Japan are contracting rapidly. The European countries rely on Islamic immigrants to fill jobs and finance their government retirement programs. Even the U.S. population borders on shrinking were it not for immigration. I used to provoke environmentalist zealots by telling them that capitalism was the cure for overpopulation, since capitalism generates wealth and most people aren’t willing to procreate their families out of affluence, but I never dreamt that capitalistic America would flirt with societal suicide.

 

Finally, the greatest challenge posed by our unprecedented affluence is that the rise of affluence has been mirrored by a fall in religious commitment. Indeed Proverbs warned us of this risk: “… give me neither riches nor poverty … Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain” (Proverbs30:8,9). Many Americans have been lulled by affluence into relegating God to the background. Who needs God when you’ve got it made, right?

 

Ah, but do we “have it made” when trillions of dollars of monetary wealth can be quickly wiped out in global financial implosions? There may be a silver lining in our recent losses. As the financial crisis demonstrates that government is incapable of saving us from human errors, we can anticipate a spiritual revival, by which Americans once again turn to God, not the false idol of the state, to provide for our needs.

 

As we celebrate Thanksgiving this year, we can turn to God in gratitude for what is truly valuable—the joy of loving families and friends; the privilege of living in what is still one of the freest countries on earth, where, through our consecrated lives, we can once again prove “Blessed is that nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalms33:12); and the comfort and assurance of the divine promise, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

 

If we remember that our true wealth isn’t material, then we are rich indeed, and have much for which to be grateful. “Blessed be the Lord who daily loadeth us with blessings” (Psalms 68:19).

 

And Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 


 

 

 

Dr. Mark W. Hendrickson is a faculty member, economist, and contributing scholar with the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.

 

Related Links

           The Powerful Influence of Affluence (theologyaspoetry.wordpress.com)

 

 

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My House Shall Be Called A House Of Prayer by Jim Cymbala

http://youtu.be/U79YOKje2zU

The work and ministry of sermonindex can be encapsulated in this one word: REVIVAL. sermonindex is not a organisation, business, or any attempt by man to build something for God. It is rather a expression of a heart burden to see the Church revived and brought back to holiness, purity, and power with God. “The mission of SermonIndex is the preservation and propogation of classical vintage preaching and the promotion of genuine biblical revival to this generation.” To download more sermons visit SermonIndex at: http://www.sermonindex.net

Great sermon.Pastor Jim Cymbalia is always the best. New York’s finest. He is a straight forward no nonsense Pastor. He is the kind of Strongman that will always speak out against heresy.Who can not be tied up. While doing it in love and truth. I used to live in Brooklyn.

I was once a member of the Brooklyn Tabenacle as a new Christian when they were in still in their building on Flatbush Avenue.

Good Bless

 We saw this you tube video last night at our chuch and I was BLOWN AWAY by this pastor’s message. Thank you for the post AND PRAY people of God, PRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

https://ioan17.wordpress.com/2011/11/05/a-house-of-prayer-by-jim-cymbala/

Part of the sermon is written next:

My house shall be called a house of prayer – Jim Cymbala

Reblogged from http://rodiagnusdei.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/my-house-shall-be-called-a-house-of-prayer-jim-cymbala/

More resources/online books on PRAYER

Jim Cymbala is Pastor of Brooklyn Tabernacle. This message was given at a Gaither’s Praise Gathering on October 14, 1994.

  • In fact, the book of Revelation says that when the 4 and 20 elders fall at the feet of Jesus, they have these golden bowls and you know what’s in the bowls? This incense, that is so fragrant to Christ. It’s the prayers of the saints. What must prayer be to God that He keeps it in bowls? Just imagine when you and I pray kneeling or seated and we really open our hearts to God, somehow those things are kept.

  • We have, in the day we live in, a lot of revisionism going on. But, it’s not coming from Washington, it’s coming from the church. We’re revising what a church is today. The Bible says, the early church, they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine and in fellowship, and in the breaking of bread and in prayers. Now we’ve revised that and said, “If you can get people for 1 hour on Sunday morning in the building, that’s the church”. That’s not the church.

  • In the history of revivals down through the ages, whenever things have grown crass and commercial and secular and hard and worldly, God sends a revival. And what’s always the sign of the revival? Behold, they pray.

  • Therefore come boldly to the throne of grace so that we might receive grace and mercy to help us in our time of need. It does not say ‘therefore let us come to the sermon’. We, in America have made the sermon the centerpiece. God never intended the sermon to be the centerpiece.The preacher, if he does his job is supposed to get people to come to the throne of grace. Why? Because it’s at the throne of grace that God gives grace.

  • Every Gospel singer, and listen up because you’re gonna answer up one day, because God’s gonna say to you ‘Did you bring people to where the action was, at the throne of grace? If you just entertained, if you just tickled and  had a warm fuzzy moment, woe unto you because at the throne of grace God could have changed their life.

  • That’s an awesome thought, that we’ve created religion, kind of our own, and sometimes “His house shall be called a house of prayer’ – in a lot of churches and in a lot of services, you have everything but prayer. You have talks, reading, talent, choir, and my wife conducts the choir, so I’m all for those things. But, do you get what I’m driving at? If it doesn’t end up with somebody touching God and praying, who are we kidding?

  • God has chosen prayer to be the one conductor, the one channel for all of God’s blessings- the channel is prayer. In other words, God has this table set for us and He sees Jay and Amy and He knows exactly what they need to raise that child (of theirs). And He has His table spread with every kind of wisdom and grace and strength that they could possibly need, but He says, “The only way you can get it is to pull up to the table and taste and see that the Lord is good. And pulling up to the table is called prayer.

  • God doesn’t tell us, “Pray, because I want people to pray”, but He says, “Pray, because I have all kinds of things for you. When you ask, you shall receive”. In other words, this is not legalism, “Get in there and start praying”. It should be, “I need Thee, oh, I need Thee, every hour I need Thee. God, do You see what I am facing? Help me Lord”

I want to talk about something so vital, and yet it’s so simple. It’s so familiar to us that that’s the danger. I want to give you one of the most strange and stunning pictures of Jesus, found anywhere in the Bible. Of all the portraits that you have seen painted, there is no portrait found in the Bible stranger. We see Christ on the cross, we know Christ is the good shepherd, we know Christ walking on the water, we see Christ sitting at the well with the woman in Samaria, but in your wildest dreams can you picture this? Have you ever wondered why God would put this in the Bible, not just once, but twice.

‘And so they came into Jerusalem and Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple. And He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves and He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. And then He taught them saying, “Is it not written My house shall be a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves.” And the scribes and the chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him for they feared Him because all the people were astonished at His teaching. When evening had come He went out of the city.’

Now, the Bible has many pictures of Jesus Christ and to me, none is stranger. The Lamb of God, the one who came to take away the sins of the world, the gentle loving Jesus who as the good shepherd puts the Lamb on His shoulders and brings it home, and yet in this portion of Scriptures we see Jesus physically emoting in a way that is really hard  for us to picture. That He would actually take tables and overturn them, throw money on the ground, that he somehow, all by Himself , with no armed helpers, the disciples were passive in this, that He would stop people from carrying their merchandise and just by word of authority said, “Get out of here! You can’t bring that through the court. Get your business out of here’. I mean, it’s an amazing picture of Jesus Christ.

The loving Jesus that we know, we thing that anybody that would be that irate and physical must mean that they’re not in the Spirit.  But this is Jesus Christ. What’s strange about this is that this is not the first time that this has happened. The Bible tells us in John 2, that in Jesus’ first visit to the temple, after He began His public ministry, when He was about 30 years old He did the same exact thing and the Bible tell us there that He made a whip out of cords and used this cord and this whip to actually physically thrash them out of the temple. It’s 2 years later from there and now He’s getting ready to face calvary and He comes back to the temple and He cleanses it again.

Wy would God put something so stunning in the Bible- that He would go into the Holy Temple of God and get so physical and so irate and say, “You’ve made it a house of merchandise, you’ve made it a den of thieves. Get out of here! Is it not written ‘My Father’s house shall be called a house of prayer’?  What’s odd about all of this is that the people who were in there belonged there. The people who were selling the animals had to be near, because there was no way to offer the sacrifices prescribed in Leviticus and the books of Moses unless somebody could have those animals available for you. So those people belonged there. But they have put a gouging uplift on the price. They were making money hand over fist, taking advantage of the fact that they were the ones who could assist so they were hiking the prices up. And the moneychangers, you had to pay the temple tax if you were a good Jew. You couldn’t use Greek or Roman money, you had to actually use special coins that were minted in Jerusalem itself. So those moneychangers were there to take your money from wherever you came from and you changed your money so you could make the proper donation. But, they were once again, tacking on big time profit. And the people carrying stuff through the temple, actually the writers of that time tell us that instead of going around the temple, they said, “Let’s take a shortcut and they went through the court of the Gentiles, right through the temple. Carting their stuff, making the House of God a shortcut.

And Jesus, with his whip made of cords, and Jesus, somehow, physically with his presence and His authority just thrashes them out of there and kicks them all out. Before I get to my main point, it does remind us that all of us who are involved in singing and choirs and preaching the Gospel, and pastoring churches and you who are Sunday school teachers – boy does that challenge us to remember that it’s not ‘if’ you are doing God’s work, it’s ‘how’ you do God’s work. For the Bible tells us that one day Jim Cymbala is going to stand at the judgment seat of Christ and God’s gonna ask me why I pastored the Brooklyn Tabernacle and with what spirit? You see, these people were in the temple, but they didn’t have the spirit of the temple. They were supposed to be there to assist people to worship and to come into God’s presence, and they were there but they were out of synch with the whole purpose that God had for the place called the House of the Lord. They were doing the job but they were making big time money and they were greedy and they brought a secular spirit into a sacred place. They were crass businessmen coming into something that God said “My house has been called a house of prayer. You made it a den of thieves, out with you “. Awesome thought.

And in a day when Gospel music and Gospel preaching and Gospel work can become so mechanical oriented toward ‘me, myself and I’, it reminds all of us today, here at the Praise gathering, that as we go back to our duties, we have to do God’s work with God’s spirit. We ave to do God’s work and approach it with God’s heart because one day, the Bible says I’m gonna stand in front of the One whose eyes are like fire. It’s the spirit that you are doing it in, doing it for the glory of God, doing it because I really care about those people in New York City. I mean, am I preaching just to put on a show? Or does my heart really radiate with God’s love? And am I saying the things He wants me to say, with the spirit He wants me to say them?

The Bible says that when Jesus went into the temple, He reminded them, “This is not your house. This is my Father’s house. And my Father’s house has to be run my Father’s way, and when you touch something sacred in a secular way I’m going to kick you all out of here”. And even though He’s not walking thourgh churches today and kicking people out, there is gonna come that day when Paul says we will all stand at the judgment seat of Christ and we’re gonna have to give a review to the Lord and we will be reviewed about why we did what we did and how we did it.

But that’s not my main point. Not only on the crass business side of money because it’s so easy to make Gospel work for a living and that’s what these people were doing. They weren’t interested in people getting in contact with God, they were making a living out of it. But as we do God’s work, we must not rob the glory that is only due to Him. Whatever we do and whatever we say, the Lord wants to remind us through this- That all the glory and all the honor must go to Jesus Christ.

What provoked Jesus?

But the thing that really provoked Jesus into this tirade was this: He said, “you men don’t even understand about my Father’s house. You’ve given your opinion about  the temple, but the temple does not belong to you. My Father’s House shall be called a house of prayer and you’ve made it a den of thieves. “

This is the first principle of religion. Jesus said- the atmosphere of my Father’s house is supposed to be prayer. The atmosphere around the things of my Father must be that aroma of people opening up their hearts and coming to my Father in worship, and in petition, and in supplication. And instead of keeping and aiming at that atmosphere and understanding my Father’s purpose, you’ve made it a place just to make a buck. So, out with you.

The thing that’s supposed to distinguish Christian churches and Christian people, and Christian gatherings is the aroma and the atmosphere of prayer.  You might say, “That’s not our style, we come from a different tradition.”  ”It doesn’t matter what your tradition is or what my tradition is. It’s His Father’s house.” And His Father says, “In my house, it shall be a house of prayer and supplication”. Now we know that temple is unlike any church. My church building and yours is not a sacred building (like the temple). There are no sacred buildings like the temple. We know that. That temple which sat on Jerusalem, and now the Mosque of Omar sits there was the only place that God said the brazen altar could be put and the animal sacrifices could be given. It was the only geographical spot in the world where the holy place and the holy of holies could be. What I am not trying to say today is that in our churches there’s some counterpart to the temple. We know that. In fact, the BIble says we are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

But what I want to say to you is that God’s work from the very beginning is not like you and I often imagine it. Gods work, God’s house. The Christian religion is always supposed to have the aroma of prayer. Preaching? Yes, but not “shall my house be called the house of preaching”. Music? Yes, but “my house shall not be called the house of music. My house shall be called the house of prayer”. There were choirs, but they were called the house of prayer. There was the reading of the word- “but My house is called the house of prayer”.

So the BIble tells us that when Jesus CHrist died and resurrected and went back to heaven and He began His church, against which the gates of hell shall not prevail  against, He kept the same line running through the formation of the church, which was in His Father’s house. Have you ever noticed that the Christian church was not born while someone  was preaching, but while people were praying? Have you ever noticed that in the 2nd chapter of the Book of Acts, when the church was born, they were doing nothing but just waiting on God and praying? And they were just sitting there and as they were praying  and worshipping and waiting, having heart communion with God and God shaping them and cleaning them out and building faith into them and doing those heart operations that only the Holy Spirit could do? The church was born, the Spirit was poured out. My house shall be called a house of prayer.

In the 4th chapter, Peter and John are arrested and they’re slapped around and threatened and told, “Don’t you dare preach anymore in that Name”. And what do they do? They don’t go and protest, they don’t go to the Supreme Court, they don’t try to get some political leverage – they go back to a prayer meeting. They go back and say, “Behold, o God. Look how they’re threatening us, but, o God we lift our voices together to you, oh God, behold their threats and give your servants boldness that we might preach the name of Jesus, in the name of Jesus. And the place where they prayed, again was shaken and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.

They have this instinct. When in trouble… Pray. When intimidated… Pray. When challenged… Pray. When persecuted… Pray. When you’re in trouble… Pray. In fact, this thing called prayer, whatever it is, it is so unique. It’s not what we’re used to. We talk about prayers, we say prayers. A lot of them are mental prayers. This thing called praying is so deep that when the apostle Paul got converted, and he was first, Saul of Tarsus, this violent persecutor of the church, Jesus appeared to Ananias in Damascus and said, “Go to this man, this Jew, this church persecutor named Saul of Tarsus and pray for him”, and Ananias said, “I know about this man, this man is trouble.” And Jesus said, as if this was proof that everything had changed, “No, Ananias, you can go, for behold he prays”. You can go now because he’s in that room somewhere, blind and waiting for you because he actually, for the first time in his religion life is offering a true prayer. And because he is praying, you can go and not be afraid. It seems as though that was the sign whether somebody was the real deal with God.

That same aspotle Paul, when he writes to Timothy and he wants to encourage him how to do God’s work he says this, “First of all then, before anything else, in your church Timothy, I want supplications and prayers and intercessions and thanksgiving to be made for all men. That’s first of all- it doesn’t matter what your tradition is or what American Christianity says. The word of God says, “First of all I want supplications, because you’ve got to remember Timothy “My house shall be called a house of prayer”. Later on in the same chapter he says, “And then, remember Timothy, I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands and I want them to pray”. That’s the sign of a Christian church. Paul says men praying with holy hands.

In fact, the book of Revelation says that when the 4 and 20 elders fall at the feet of Jesus, they have these golden bowls and you know what’s in the bowls? This incense, that is so fragrant to Christ. It’s the prayers of the saints. What must prayer be to God that He keeps it in bowls? Just imagine when you and I pray kneeling or seated and we really open our hearts to God, somehow those things are kept, they’re so precious to God.

We have, in the day we live in, a lot of revisionism going on. But, it’s not coming from Washington, it’s coming from the church. We’re revising what a church is today. The Bible says, the early church, they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine and in fellowship, and in the breaking of bread and in prayers. Now we’ve revised that and said, “If you can get people for 1 hour on Sunday morning in the building, that’s the church”. That’s not the church.

We can use every device to get people to come for one hour and keep them early and keep it going because people have important things to do on that day. That’s not the story of the Christian church. That might be the story of your church or my church, but that’s not the church that Jesus built. In the history of revivals down through the ages, whenever things have grown crass and commercial and secular and hard and worldly, God sends a revival. And what’s always the sign of the revival? Behold, they pray. The church begins to pray. Prayer preceded it. Prayer kept it going and the minute prayer ended, the Spirit of God lifted and we got back into one of those tougher times for the church of Jesus Christ.

The greatest thing anybody can learn in this building is how to pray. How to call on God so that God intervenes in the situation. What church do you know in your town that takes a prominent night, with all the leadership there and has a prayer service? And we have all these promises: Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be open and all of those promises- call unto Me and I will answer you. You would think the Christian church would say, “Time out! We’re gonna pray because God says when we pray He’ll intervene”. The truth of the matter is, in the city I live in more people are turning to crack than to Christ. There are more people trying crack than are being baptized in water.

Preaching is not going to do it alone and teaching is not going to do it alone. My house shall be called a house of prayer- that’s what brings God’s power and grace into a situation. The proof about that is that in the last 40 years there has been more books written about marriages than in all the preceding 2000 years of church history. Go to any pastor in America and ask him if there are not more problems in marriages today than in any time. We got all the how-tos but what we’re missing is the grace of God. A couple that prays together, stays together. A church that prays together stays together. There will be difficult moments, I am not being simplistic.But God’s word is true: Call upon Me and I will answer you. I will show you things you can’t even imagine. There’s more books on child rearing, ad nauseum. Talk to any pastor, there’s more problem with young people in the church than any time previous. It’s not because we’re lacking knowledge but when the rubber hits the road we need the power of God.

Listen to the promises: Therefore come boldly to the throne of grace so that we might receive grace and mercy to help us in our time of need. It does not say ‘therefore let us come to the sermon’. We, in America have made the sermon the centerpiece. God never intended the sermon to be the centerpiece.The preacher, if he does his job is supposed to get people to come to the throne of grace. Why? Because it’s at the throne of grace that God gives grace and mercy.

Every Gospel singer, and listen up because you’re gonna answer up one day, because God’s gonna say to you ‘Did you bring people to where the action was, at the throne of grace? If you just entertained, if you just tickled and  had a warm fuzzy moment, woe unto you because at the throne of grace God could have changed their life.

Pastor Cymbala, did you bring the people and dazzle them with your footwork and did you try to be clever or did you make Jesus wonderful, so that they could come to the throne of grace? Therefore, let us come boldly to the throne of grace. That’s why Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father, so that He could make a way, so that me with my problems could go and receive grace and mercy to help me.

That’s an awesome thought, that we’ve created religion, kind of our own, and sometimes “His house shall be called a house of prayer’ – in a lot of churches and in a lot of services, you have everything but prayer. You have talks, reading, talent, choir, and my wife conducts the choir, so I’m all for those things. But, do you get what I’m driving at? If it doesn’t end up with somebody touching God and praying, who are we kidding? We need the Lord.

My wife writes music and directs the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir  and she neither reads nor writes music. She’s never been trained. I’ve never been to seminary or Bible College but I ended up with 18, 20 people in New York City on a street that was so depressing- drugs, inner city culture and then I said, “Am I gonna live in this Christian fantasy about what God once did and then what God’s gonna do one day, but then your life goes by and you never see God doing anything.” And your life passed by with that kind of talk.   Now someone asks, “Brother Jim, you know you don’t get everything you ask for, it has to be in God’s will”. I understand all of that, but we can’t use little theological dodges to get away from the fact that a lot of people don’t have things that God wants you to have right now, but over my life and yours He writes today: You have not, because you ask not.

God has chosen prayer to be the one conductor, the one channel for all of God’s blessings- the channel is prayer. In other words, God has this table set for us and He sees Jay and Amy and He knows exactly what they need to raise that child (of theirs). And He has His table spread with every kind of wisdom and grace and strength that they could possibly need, but He says, “The only way you can get it is to pull up to the table and taste and see that the Lord is good. And pulling up to the table is called prayer. In other words, God doesn’t tell us, “Pray, because I want people to pray”, but He says, “Pray, because I have all kinds of things for you. When you ask, you shall receive”. In other words, this is not legalism, “Get in there and start praying”. It should be, “I need Thee, oh, I need Thee, every hour I need Thee. God, do You see what I am facing? Help me Lord”. And as we pray, He is faithful to His word and supplies.

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Trusting God in the Good Times

By David Jeremiah

      If the earth’s axis were not tilted 23 degrees 27 minutes away from a line perpendicular to the plane of the earth’s rotation around the sun, there would be no seasons on our planet. When the earth tilts toward the sun, it’s summer. When tilted away, winter. Spring and fall are transitional seasons which separate winter and summer. If the earth’s axis were perfectly vertical, we would only have one season all year long.

      Living on the equator, you miss the dazzling colors of fall, a cozy fire in winter, a garden in spring, the beach in summer. Many folks love the seasons’ variety–especially the summer season!

      Summer is America’s favorite season–homemade ice cream, a tan, sandals, cooking out, the beach, summer camp, long days, short nights, and the kids welcome NO SCHOOL!

      From September to May, the average family’s life revolves around the children’s school activities. So summer has become a breathing space for needed “R&R&R&R&R” –Rest, Relaxation, Recreation, Reflection, and Refurbishment–vacations, yard work, house repair, family time, winding down from a frenetic pace.

      While summer is a season, it’s also a state of mind. We go through periods in life which are summer-like–when life is just plain good. We don’t always plan the arrival of summer seasons or know when they may leave, but everyone experiences periods of prosperity and goodness. Calendar summers, as well as the summers of our spiritual lives, raise a question for Christians: Where does our focus go during the good times of life?

      When experiencing sickness, financial pressure, rocky relationships, and other anxieties, we focus on God, never letting Him out of our sight as we cry out for relief. But, what does it mean to walk by faith in the good times, the summers of our spiritual life? It’s easy to lose our normal focus from June through August. But, do we face the same temptation–spiritually speaking–when, as the sultry song says, “Summertime, and the living is easy. Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high?”

      Summertime Distinctives. How do I know when I’m in a spiritual summer season? Like the calendar summer season, we get contented and subtly find ourselves thinking more about the blessings than the “Blesser”–enjoying the gifts more than the Giver.

      Summertime Distractions. During the school year, life revolves around clocks and calendars. But in the summer, we often break those disciplined routines and become distracted. In the spiritual summer seasons of life, when we find ourselves with extra money, our thoughts may become materialistic. Good health can lead to carelessness about diet and exercise. No crisis?–a temptation to ignore devotional time. Things that make summer seasons enjoyable can also become big distractions.

      Summertime Dangers. God warns of danger when we live in the blessing of God--“Beware . . . Do not forget the Lord . . . when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them . . . and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up” (Deuteronomy 8:11-14). The greatest danger in the summertime season of life is forgetting who is responsible for the good life we are enjoying.

      Summertime Directives. What evidence should we look for in a Christian to determine if he is still walking by faith during the good times in life, still focused on God? Scripture points to one compelling attitude: gratitude for the blessings of God. “When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you” (Deuteronomy 8:10).

      If you are in a summer season of life right now–a time when things are going well and going your way–is there evidence that you are continuing to walk by faith? Let thanksgiving to God be on your lips for every good and perfect gift which has come down from above (James 1:17). Remember the 23 degree tilt–there is no such thing as an endless summer, literally or spiritually. So stay close and stay grateful to God in the summer seasons of life

 

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Seduction: A Primer for Persecution?

 

The Message

by T.A. McMahon

Original source: TheBereanCall.org
(July 2011 Newsletter Cover)

For the last three decades, Dave Hunt and I have addressed many trends and teachings that have influenced the evangelical church, particularly in the United States . Our concern has focused primarily on unbiblical beliefs and practices that were turning Christians away from the Word of God. Twenty-five years ago, we wrote The Seduction of Christianity, a rather controversial book that was motivated by feedback from those who had read Dave’s earlier books and had watched the film documentaries to which I had contributed in the early eighties. Some dealt specifically with religious cults (Cult Explosion, The God Makers, etc.). Responses from Christians who read those books and watched the films, however, alerted us to the fact that the cult beliefs that we identified were also being taught in their churches, which were being influenced by leading Charismatic and Word/Faith teachers. Those same false teachers were also spreading cultish doctrines throughout the country on Christian television networks.

One of the principal false teachings at the time was the belief that godhood could be attained by created beings. Though that is foundational to Mormonism (“As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become”) and Hinduism (self-realization is realizing that man is God), it had worked its way in various forms and methods into different “Christian” movements, teachings, and practices. Much of it was promoted by extreme Charismatics, but it was also finding its way into conservative evangelical churches through so-called Christian psychology (with its emphasis on self and self-esteem, leading to the exaltation and deification of self). Of course, the lie that man could become a god was the cornerstone of Satan’s seduction of the human race (Genesis:3:1-5).

In his war against those who have committed their lives to the true and living God, Satan, as God’s chief adversary throughout history, has majored in seduction and persecution. Although persecution would seem to be more effective in its prohibition of Christianity than seduction (and it certainly generates more fear), it is far less productive for the Adversary in achieving his objective. The saying that “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church” has been demonstrated throughout church history. Martyrdom and other forms of persecution have always increased and/or strengthened the body of Christ. The same, however, cannot be said for seduction.

Believers in the United States have never experienced significant religious persecution–certainly nothing like what has taken place in China, India, or throughout countries controlled by Islam. Historically, true Christians in the West as far as Europe have suffered violence from the Caesars of Rome, the Church of Rome, and Communism, among others, but a comparable level of persecution has yet to reach the shores of North America.
On the other hand, spiritual seduction has proliferated here and has shipwrecked the faith of many within Christendom.

Unlike persecution, there is not even a remote value associated with seduction; it is spiritually debilitating and deadly. Stories abound of those believers who have survived and been strengthened in their faith during the persecution they suffered in communist countries only to have their walk with the Lord devastated after they escaped to the West. They could endure persecution but they could not resist seduction.

The thesis of this article, which is that seduction will ultimately bring about persecution, is intimidating for me personally. Why? Partly because Dave and I have only rarely addressed the potential for persecution in the U.S. and partly because it’s only beginning to show its nasty head here. Then why write about it now? From my observations, increasing signs point to a pending clash between the professing–and even true–Christians who will conform to the world by compromising biblical teachings and those who will remain steadfast in the faith. Nevertheless, I put little value in my observations unless I’m confident that they reflect what the Scriptures teach. Nor should anyone who reads this article.

Following are seven pertinent verses (among others that could be given) that have influenced my observations and this thesis:

In Matthew:24:4, Jesus warns that the last days prior to His return will be a time of religious deception: “Take heed that no man deceive you.” He adds (v.24) that the deception will be so great that if it were possible the very elect could be deceived. In Matthew:7:13-14, Jesus refers to the “strait gate” and “narrow way” that leads to life and announces that “few there be that find it.” Luke writes (18:8) the sobering words of our Lord regarding the time of His return: “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith upon the earth?” Since His Second Coming is for the purpose of judgment and to save Israel from annihilation, His words here seem better suited to His coming for His bride in the midst of a professing Christianity that has joined the apostasy. The Apostle Paul gives this insightful explanation as to how apostasy could manifest among those who call themselves Christians:
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables”
(2 Timothy:4:3-4).

Sound doctrine will not be endured in the last days because many who have been fed the milk of scriptural truth have already been weaned away from it, i.e., seduced, by their own lusts and by false teachers. More than that, sound doctrine will become an issue that will foster division among Christians. Paul instructed the Roman believers to identify those who teach things “contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them”
(Romans 16:17).

It’s clear that believers who desire to stand firm for the teachings of God’s Word will be at odds with Christians whose beliefs and lives are not conformed to the Scriptures.

Bibles

Could division over doctrine result in persecution? Both history and the Word of God indicate as much. In the Book of Acts, we are told that “there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem ” (Acts:8:1). It involved violent assaults, imprisonments, and deaths, and the issues were doctrinal–pitting those who fiercely defended the religious traditions of men against those who followed the teachings of Jesus the Messiah. Persecutions continued as Christians who stood firm in the doctrine of Christ refused to bow down to the deified Caesars or conform to the pagan rituals of Rome. They became vicious entertainment for those who packed the coliseums to see them burned and torn apart by animals. Later, a “Christianized” Rome persecuted those who attempted to reform Roman Catholicism. From there, doctrinal inquisitions and trials by torture proliferated against the “protestants” and other biblical non-Catholics. Today, persecution continues against believers in Islamic countries and in those places in the West where Roman Catholicism still controls the society, such as cities, villages, and even some states in Mexico and South America.

Although none of the above has manifested itself substantially in the United States , could such religious persecution take place here? Roman Catholicism has never been in a position to impose its dogmas on the American populace; Islam has o

Dave Hunt

Dave Hunt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

nly begun to control some neighborhoods here with its Sharia legalism (“Terror’s Secret Weapon: Shariah,” Townhall, 1/20/11 ). But what about a scenario of Bible-believing Christians being persecuted by other Christians who will “not endure sound doctrine”? Is that likely? Some who have previewed this article were doubtful that “Christians killing Christians over doctrines” would ever take place here, a law-abiding country where, for the most part, “doctrinal apathy” rules among evangelicals. I tend to agree, yet if someone told me 25 years ago that evangelicals would shift from the then highly influential moral majority/Christian Right to the socialism-oriented Christian Left–I would have laughed. No one is laughing at that reality now (Q&A 1/11). Only the Lord knows how extreme the oppression will become prior to His return for His bride, but there are many forms of persecution, short of martyrdom.

In previous TBC articles, we have addressed significant trends among evangelicals that have “weaned them off the Word,” seducing them into following the ways, means, and agendas of man contrary to the Scriptures (See TBC 3/04 ; 2/05 ; 3/05 ; 2/07 , 3/07 , 9/07 , et al.).
In the midst of that process of compromise, increasing numbers of professing and true Christians have accepted the ideals of the world, including moral, social, and religious tolerance. “Intolerance” in thought, word, or deed of that which the world believes is good for humanity identifies a person as antisocial at least and as bigoted, prejudiced, or a practitioner of hate crimes at worst. Furthermore, what if a social gospel that is based upon “good works” became widely accepted as a better form of “salvation”–one that had the potential to rally everyone together, including governments, the world’s religions, liberal Christians and cults, humanists and even atheists? Everyone, that is, except biblical Christians . What might be the consequences for those who would object to such a world-supported “Christian” development because it did not conform to sound doctrine?

Sound doctrine, i.e., the teachings of the Bible, is what a true Christian is to abide by as one lives his life for Christ. Sound doctrine is the absolute criterion that dictates what beliefs, practices, and programs he can accept and what he must reject. Moreover, Scripture exhorts him to be discerning and steadfast in its teachings:
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness….And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God”
(Ephesians:6:13-14,17).

But would God allow persecution to take place within the church? That’s what Peter seems to be acknowledging:
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”

(1 Peter:4:17).

Judgment, in the sense of correction and strengthening that results from God’s allowing of persecution, as we’ve noted, has always been a part of Christianity. The Epistle to the Hebrews also indicates that persecution is one of the things that God has used as a spiritual pruning and purifying process for Hebrew Christians.

If you’re not sure how (or why) persecution might take place within Christianity, consider these examples: When Promise Keepers enjoyed popularity among evangelical men, it became known that one of its goals was to “break down the walls” between Catholics and evangelicals. Part of that process involved turning churches against ministries that evangelized Roman Catholics. When Rick Warren’s “40 Days of Purpose” began to influence hundreds of thousands of churches throughout the U.S. , long-time members who protested on doctrinal grounds were either disfellowshipped, or threatened with disfellowship, unless they submitted to Warren ‘s program in their own churches (see TBC 10/04 and 9/08 ). To question a pastor or the elders’ support for introducing yoga or “Christianized yoga” in a church has been grounds for disfellowship.

Although the above examples may seem marginal to some, they and other endeavors, including church-growth marketing programs, emerging church methods and mystical practices, ecumenical overtures to Muslims and Mormons, an ecumenical global P.E.A.C.E. plan that involves all the world’s religions, movements aimed at solving the world’s ecological, poverty, and social injustice problems, etc., have driven multitudes of believers to start home churches.

Chrislam

What if you were to preach against the various agendas mentioned above because they were a rejection of sound doctrine? Remember the Apostle Paul’s admonition?
“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ…Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine…”
(2 Timothy:4:1-4).
What would be the reaction among those within and without the church who were supportive of those agendas?

Or what if even without your preaching or protesting it simply becomes known that you are one of those biblical Christians who is intolerant toward other religions, who rejects evolution, who won’t go along with psychology, who is anti-abortion, anti-genetic manipulation, and anti-euthanasia; that you view homosexuality as a sin rather than an alternative lifestyle [Related article: “Biblical Arguments Against Gay Marriage“, at Thoughts.com] and that you are against gay rights and gay marriage? Furthermore, you seem to be out of touch with the acceptable morality of the day (marriage now being statistically a minority as a practice in the U.S. ) by having a “problem” with cohabitation, and it’s been said that you believe sexual abstinence should be practiced outside of marriage. You are suspicious about the alarm over “global warming.” It’s become known that you support Israel against the alleged right of the Palestinians to be restored to the land they [falsely] believe is theirs. How will such a person be dealt with in Christendom–as well as by the world that champions everything that a believer opposes?
The dark clouds of persecution appear to be gathering over the church in the U.S.; signs indicate that the seats of the “coliseum” are beginning to fill with a widely diverse audience (see TBC 1/11) that, at least in a figurative sense, has “a taste for the blood” of those who reject their programs and teachings on the basis of sound biblical doctrine.

[Related article: “An Open Letter to Richmond, VA”, at PilgrimPassing.com]

The seduction of Christianity has created a condition in which biblical discernment and steadfastness in the faith are the exception rather than the rule. Standing for the truth and righteousness of the Word of God while the opposition increases within and without the church can only result in some form of persecution. Paul makes that quite clear:
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution ”
(2 Timothy 3:12 ).

Although that verse may distress some believers, it shouldn’t. Why? Because the beginning of the verse gives a believer the key to receiving the grace to glorify God and to benefit others through persecution: living godly lives in Christ Jesus! That is a believer’s only preparation and it is more than sufficient. Jesus, who is the Word made flesh, gave His disciples this astonishing word of encouragement regarding standing for His teachings: “Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven…” (Luke:6:22-23).

Our prayer is that the Lord Jesus will help us to live godly lives and by His grace remain steadfast in the faith as we look for His soon coming.
TBC

 

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