Archive for April 18th, 2006

Re-Post: Nearing Midnight for April 17th (Part 2)

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

Prophetic Ethnic Conflict

This generation has witnessed stage setting for the last days, as predicted by Jesus and the Old and New Testament prophets. None is more relevant than the prophetic stage-setting we are watching in this crucial hour of last-time human history.

The prophecy of relevance has been in the stage-setting process for decades, even centuries. But, the 20th and 21st centuries have moved ahead preparation for this particular foretelling as perhaps no other era. The process is part of dynamic rearrangements that will eventuate in configuring the world for man’s most horrific military conflict-the war called Armageddon.

Jesus himself gave the prophecy as part of the Olivet Discourse while sitting with His disciples overlooking the Temple Mount: “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation…” (Matt. 24:6-7).

The prophecy we need to look at in this most fascinating time in history is the prophecy Jesus gave that foretells that nation will rise against nation in an unprecedented way just before He returns to set up His Millennial Kingdom on Planet Earth. When giving only a cursory glance at these words, we think that yes, that’s certainly true. Many a nation has risen against another nation just during the past several decades. There have been many wars, and other wars are looming. But, is this the kind of “nation against nation” reference Jesus specifically gave in His discourse upon the Mount of Olives?

To answer this, we must look at the Greek language-the language from which the New Testament was translated into English. Jesus was in actuality saying that these uprisings would be unusual, in that they would be based in ethnos-the Greek word, here, for “nation.” They would be ethnic in origin. They would pit ethnic, or racial group, against racial group.

It is equally true that ethnic factors have been the cause of many wars throughout the centuries. The Arabs and Jews-as a matter of fact, many ethnic peoples against the Jews–marked the conflicts of Old Testament times. Almost without exception, those early wars were “ethnic” in origin.

Things have not changed. Arabs and Jews still have the ethnos factor at the heart of their differences. And, never in history has the conflict been more virulent-in rhetoric, if not in fact. The Islamic nations-mostly Arab-are blood-vowed to push the Jews into the Mediterranean Sea and to wipe the Jewish race from the planet. Some Arab leaders of the past and other leaders -e.g., the Iranian-continue to want all Jews expunged from the region, and even off the planet. They have made it their national policy, through their oratorical invectives. There have been conflicts in the century just passed involving peoples of the Caucuses, the Balkans, etc., and horrific slaughters in Africa, and other places-all based upon ethnic differences.

Now, this hemisphere is experiencing the early effects of ethnic struggle. The latest is more and more pitting those of Mexican descent against, particularly, Caucasian types, while the protests over immigration laws escalate. These uprisings aren’t spontaneous, but are fomented, obviously, by those who have ulterior motives-other than to see that illegal immigrants get a chance to start new lives in the most materially blessed nation in human history.

I have my personal thoughts on the politics of all of this, which I will keep to myself, except to say that some political entities are showing a total disregard for their national well-being by wanting to just ignore the laws on these important immigration matters, and extend unlimited amnesty to those who have entered America illegally.

Point is, Jesus said that a great, swelling uprising involving ethnic strife would grow to be a major crisis during the Tribulation era-that last seven years just before He returns to put an end to all of the conflicts at Armageddon (Rev. 19: 11).

This ethnic disturbance we are witnessing each day in our headlines is, in my view, something to watch closely, so far as being observant for prophetic signals is concerned. The unrest constitutes yet another indicator of where this generation might stand on God’s prophetic timeline. We can say with a degree of certainty based upon study of God’s Word, and belief in the Pre-Trib Rapture of Christ’s Church, that because of the burgeoning ethnic unrest, in conjunction with all of the other indicators we see interjecting themselves with growing intensity and frequency, Jesus’ shout, “Come up here!” can’t be far distant. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

Re-Post: Nearing Midnight for April 17th (Part 1)

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

Words Have Meaning

During the past week, Iran has been pressing hard on the rhetoric accelerator. It first shocked the world by proclaiming it had enriched a small amount of uranium. It followed this announcement with a series of threats against Israel and nations that would get in its way – including America.

The leaders of Iran have been so busy making bombastic statement for Western consumption, I don’t see where they find the time to manage domestic affairs. An advocate for military action against Iran must feel like a game show contestant inside one of those glass wind booths filled with money. There are so many malicious statements up for grabs, it would be difficult to reference them all. Here are a few quotes that struck me as the most noteworthy.

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel a “rotten, dried tree” that will be destroyed by “one storm.” “Like it or not, the Zionist regime is heading toward annihilation,” said Ahmadinejad at a conference supporting the Palestinians.

Unfazed by his critics, he repeated his previous line on the Holocaust, saying: “If such a disaster is true, why should the people of this region pay the price? Why does the Palestinian nation have to be suppressed and have its land occupied?”

Ahmadinejad sees Israel as the main foe: “The existence of this (Israeli) regime is a permanent threat” to the Middle East. “Its existence has harmed the dignity of Islamic nations.” He concludes by saying, “that Palestine will be freed soon.”

Not to be outdone by his political leaders, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards has joined the fray. General Yahya Rahim Safavi said Iran could defeat any American military action over its controversial nuclear program. “You can start a war but it won’t be you who finishes it,” said the general.

“The Americans know better than anyone that their troops in the region and in Iraq are vulnerable. I would advise them not to commit such a strategic error,” he told reporters at a conference in Tehran.

“I would advise them to first get out of their quagmire in Iraq before getting into an even bigger one,” General Safavi said with a grin. “We have American forces in the region under total surveillance. For the past two years, we have been ready for any scenario, whether sanctions or an attack.”

I get the growing sense that Western leaders regard Iran’s tough talk as being intended to remain as empty threats. This group seems to believe that Iran will, at the last minute, give into a diplomatic solution.

Adolf Hitler made very similar threats against the Jews in Europe. Nobody believed his menacing speeches until it was too late. I don’t think we have the same level of public denial as we saw during Hitler’s reign, but because the stakes are so much higher, the failure to act can result in far deadlier consequences.

What the folks at the UN, the State Department and various other think tanks fail to realize is the destruction of Israel is part of Satan’s master plan. The devil would gladly sacrifice Iran for the chance of being able to annihilate the Jewish state.

Even someone who is not a student of Bible prophecy needs to realize that words have meaning. Evil actions begin with evil thoughts. As long as Iran continues to spout evil thoughts, the evil deeds will soon follow.
— Todd

Bible Story Murals

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

If your church is looking for a unique way to bring the Word of God to it’s children and young people, take a look at Doug Westbrook’s Bible Story Murals. Each mural is based on the hand painted originals Mr. Westbrook painted at Central Baptist Church in Houston, Texas and represents a different well known Bible story.
They are available on durable vinyl wallpaper for easy installation.
Click here for more information

Jesus Loves Me

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

One of my commentators sent me this and I thought it was too precious not to share with all of you.

“Before Easter, I was talking with my kids about the meaning of Easter. My four year old understands that Easter is when we celebrate Christ’s ressurection. So, when asked what Easter means, he answers “It’s when Jesus rose from the grave.” My two year old is too young to understand, so I told him just to remember Easter means “Jesus alive”. On Easter Sunday morning, we were in the car on the way to church and my husband asked the boys what the true meaning of Easter is and the oldest gave his answer “when Jesus rose from the grave” and my 2 year old sat there for a minute and finally he said “means Jesus loves me”. I cried, because even though he is only two, he is so right. The cross means Jesus loves me and God made it so simple for us to understand that even a 2 year old can get it right! Praise the Lord! I just thought I would share that with you – it really blessed me – you know what they say…’Out of the mouths of babes….'”

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
Luke 18:14-16

‘Freedom Rally’ to Dispel Separation Myth

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

I have blogged about this repeatedly. For those who may not realize it, the so-called “wall” between church and state does not actually exist. Where this statement comes from is a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Church. The Baptist were concerned that under the Constitution, they would become a “subjugated” religion, since most of the officials in government were Presbyterians. Jefferson assured them that the government would not pass any laws assisting the Presbyterians or any other religous group over them. He used the words “separation of church and state” in that letter.
If one studies the Constitution, one will not find any mention of a “wall” or “separation of church and state”.
Here is what it actually says:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
Notice that part “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”. That means that the government will NOT make a government religion, like the Church of England was during the 1700’s. Let’s go on. It also says “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.
Let me ask this and then I’ll post the article.
What do people think that prohibiting Chistians to worship in schools and public forums is? I’ll tell you what it is. It is the “prohibiting the free exercise thereof” and is blatently against the law according to the Constitution.
Wake up America!

(AgapePress) – Concerned Christians will gather in a Connecticut community on Tuesday for a rally to address the political, cultural, and religious impact of the so-called “separation of church and state.”
The “Celebration of Freedom Rally” takes place in Danbury, which is where the phrase “separation of church and state” originated in a letter penned by President Thomas Jefferson in 1801 in response to Baptists’ fear that the U.S. government was going to establish the Congregationalist Church as the official denomination of the new nation. Jefferson’s reference stated that the government should have no say in the affairs of the church, and — contrary to popular myth — was never intended to keep God out of government.
Coach Dave Daubenmire is national director of Minutemen United and founder of Pass the Salt Ministries. He says the time has come to tear down the false wall of separation of church and state.
“In 1947 Hugo Black sowed that seed of separation of church and state. We are now picking the crop. The fruit has come due,” Daubenmire explains. “We’ve seen what’s happened when God has been removed from government. And we want to go fall on our face, repent, spend three hours downtown in Danbury, educating America, educating Connecticut on exactly what it was Thomas Jefferson meant.”
Jefferson’s statement, says Daubenmire, has been mischaracterized for decades, with virtually no rebuttal from the Church in America. “As long as we have pastors and church leaders who are fearful of the government … as long as we have a church leadership that thinks we have to bow the knee to government, this will never turn,” he says. “And we believe that when we walk out of Danbury, Connecticut, on April 18, something unbelievable has happened in the spirit and America will never be the same.”
Daubenmire points out that people “have to understand that government is below God; [that] God is above government, [and] that our rights come from God.”
Prior to the rally there will be a prayer service at the site of the original Danbury Baptist Church. Among those scheduled to speak at the rally are Rev. Flip Benham, national director of Operation Save America, Rev. Rob Schenck of the National Clergy Council, and the founder and CEO of the Fellowship and Association of Christian Teachers, Greg Thompson.

Attorney: 8th Circuit’s Graduation Prayer Ruling Discriminates Against Christians

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

Please support these groups and individuals who are fighting to keep the rights Christians have had for hundreds of years and but are now loosing to liberal courts.

(AgapePress) – A civil liberties attorney is objecting to a federal appeals court’s decision to side with a former teacher who complained about prayers at a graduation ceremony in an Arkansas school district.
The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in favor of Steve Warnock in his dispute with the De Valls Bluff School District, but denied his request to stiffen penalties against the district. The ex-teacher had argued that a 2004 baccalaureate ceremony violated lower-court injunctions by including prayers by ministers, and the appeals court agreed with him, rejecting counter arguments that the baccalaureate ceremony was a student-organized event.
Warnock won an earlier lawsuit accusing the school district of discriminating against him because he is a non-Christian teacher. But attorney John Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute, believes it is the court that has shown bias in this case. He feels the Eighth Circuit’s ruling discriminates against Christians.
Public events and speeches should not have to be censored or excluded “just because someone mentions Jesus’ name,” Whitehead insists. However, he points out, many special interest groups and liberal organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union apparently disagree and are willing to fight to make sure any Christian references to or expressions of Christian faith are silenced.
Such organizations purportedly fight for Americans’ civil liberties, the Rutherford Institute spokesman notes, “but one thing that I think we really have to understand is that Christians pay taxes, and I don’t think it’s time for Christians to be second-class citizens.” If freedom in America is to be maintained “for everyone, including Christians, Jews and others,” he asserts, “we have to stand up and fight. This is not a time to be weak or to avoid an issue.”
After all, Whitehead emphasizes, in cases like the one involving the De Valls Bluff School District and other school systems like it, Christians’ right to pray or express their faith on campuses and in other academic settings is at stake, “and there are so many children in those schools.” Based on the Eighth Circuit Court’s ruling and similar ones, he feels the outlook for America’s children and their children “does not look good.”
The central issue in the debate, the pro-family legal advocate contends, is the question of whether Christians are going to be able to say Jesus’ name in public in America. “And if you want to be able to do that,” he says, “you’re going to have to fight the cases.”
Hopefully, Christians can win those cases, Whitehead adds, “but it’s going to be uphill. It’s going to take time. But anything worthwhile takes time, and it usually takes a fight.” And, although the Eighth District erred in siding with Steve Warnock, the constitutional attorney points out that the courts have not always decided in the former teacher’s favor.
Last year, Whitehead notes, in Warnock’s case against the Arkansas school district that had employed him, a federal jury ruled against the former teacher. The jury found that he had failed to show he was fired by the district because of his allegations of religious discrimination and complaints about Christian prayers.

Texas School District Caves to Parents’ Call to Shut Down Bible Club

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

The school systems still don’t get it. It is against the law to discriminate against Christians.

(AgapePress) – A Christian student group may have to sue a public school district in Texas over a dispute regarding use of school facilities.
The Grapevine/Colleyville Independent School District (GCISD) recently told Students Standing Strong, a student-led Bible study club, that it would have to pay fees to hold a previously approved club meeting on school grounds, sign a rental agreement, and obtain a one-million-dollar insurance policy. Administrators also informed the club it would be banned as a non-curricular student group. Notice of these requirements was given to the club on the Friday before a Monday meeting (April 10) of the club.
Liberty Legal Institute, located in nearby Plano, says the district’s demands that the club sign a rental agreement and relinquish its status as a student club are in direct violation of the Equal Access Act. Liberty Legal brought that fact to the district’s attention in a demand letter that outlined the club’s constitutional rights and sought to resolve the matter quickly and without litigation.
The letter may have had the desired effect — in part, at least. Kelly Shackelford, Liberty Legal’s chief counsel, says although the club was allowed to use school facilities without charge on that Monday, the issue has not been settled — and a lawsuit is still possible if the discriminatory practices continue, he says.
“We know this is going to be a long-term problem,” the attorney says, “because what we have here is a district that is doing everything in its power to discriminate against these kids because they’re meeting for good reasons and doing good things.”
According to the Liberty Legal spokesman, the district does not impose fees and rental agreements on other student clubs. But because Students Standing Strong is a religious group, he says, the district is “just hunting and looking for some way to throw hurdles in their way.”
Shackelford says it is “sad” what the district is doing to the club. “These are good kids,” he says, noting that the group became an issue with administrators after several parents complained about the Christian club.
“The small group of parents is complaining because this group is so successful and it’s a Christian group,” he explains. “And they’re asking the school district to stop them, which is against the law.”
But instead of standing up to the parents and explaining that the district does not discriminate against any clubs, Christian or not, Shackelford says GCISD is “going along and trying to figure out ways to discriminate.”
“And if they do it again,” he warns, “we’ll go to court, if necessary, to protect these kids’ rights to meet, to encourage one another in their faith, to sing, and to do things that they’re doing that the school should be happy that they’re doing.”
Shackelford says it is unfortunate, but apparently district officials are more worried about a small group of parents than they are about protecting the rights of the student-led club.