How is being a Christian in Syria different than in America…

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Who is Jesus, Really???

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Can we be really honest for a second? I mean, can we all put away all of our preconceived opinions and look at some facts? Can we have a mature discussion without getting our feelings hurt? After we look at all of the facts it will be easier to make an intelligent, informed determination on what is correct. Are you really interested in determining the truth?

This may sound like a simple question to many of you, but I want to talk about who Jesus is. I’m sure most of you have probably already made a determination about Jesus. I’m sure many of you feel that nothing could change your mind about Him. But I believe there are many out there that have wrong information about who, exactly, Jesus is.

Most people that identify with the Christian faith argue that Jesus is the Son of God. They are relentless about presenting Jesus as God. Muslims would argue that Jesus was a prophet like Mohammad, but he is not God. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe Jesus was Michael the archangel before his earthly incarnation. Mormons believe that Jesus is a god, and that we all can become gods too.

With so many different perspectives on whom Jesus is one thing is abundantly clear…we can’t all be right. What can account for the large variety of perspectives and divergent views? Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 11 that false apostles and deceitful workers disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. Paul continues in verse 14, “No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.” The bottom line is this. Jesus and Paul both warned extensively about people that would try to hide or pervert the truth. Most of these false teachers and prophets appear to be good, honest truth seekers, but that is just wishful thinking. We need to discover the truth. Our very lives depend on what we think of Jesus. John 8:24 says:

Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.

In order to discover the truth, we need to read the Bible and let the Bible interpret the Bible. Together, let’s see what the Bible says about Jesus.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Genesis 1:1

I am sure it would come as no surprise to God-fearing people to hear that God is responsible for creation. The Bible does not just attribute creation to God, however. The Bible specifically identifies Jesus as the creator.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. John 1:1-3

You might be asking yourself at this point “It says the Word was with God, and the Word was God, where is the mention of Jesus?” John explains in great detail the return of Jesus in the book of Revelation. John sees Jesus coming back in all His glory and identifies Him as The Word of God.

His name is called The Word of God… And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Revelation 19:13,16

What else does the Bible say about the Word of God? John 1:14 says:

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.

The book of Isaiah gives some great insight into the true nature of Jesus. Isaiah chapter 9 is a popular “Messianic Prophecy” that gives information to the Jews about the coming Messiah. It says:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Did you catch that? The child that would be born is called Mighty God and Eternal Father. How can a child be called those names? He cannot, unless that child is God. Not a god, but The God. Some may argue that Jesus Himself never called himself God. Actually, there are many occasions where He did just that. Phillip asks Jesus to show him the Father. Jesus responds:

He who has seen Me has seen the Father
John 14:9

Jesus also stated that “I and the Father are One.” When the religious leaders questioned Jesus about Abraham, Jesus said:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I AM.” John 8:58

This statement was a reference back to Moses’ encounter with God at the burning bush. Moses asked God who he should tell the Israelites had sent him. God answered:
I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” In this very short statement Jesus was able to draw a connection between Himself, and the “I AM” of the Old Testament. The religious leaders of the day did not miss this and wanted to kill him for blasphemy.

Do you know what God the Father said about Jesus? The writer of the book of Hebrews records some statements that God made about Jesus.

But of the Son He says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.
Hebrews 1:8

Of Jesus, Colossians 2:9 says “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” It certainly appears that the Bible, religious leaders, disciples, God the Father, and even Jesus Himself recognized Him as a member of the Godhead. Shouldn’t we be able to do the same?

The Bible describes Jesus as the beginning and ending, the first and the last, the Holy One of Israel, I AM, the Prince of Peace, the Angel of the Lord, the Alpha and Omega, the Righteous Judge, the Living One, the Lamb of God, the Rose of Sharon, the Name above every Name, Wonderful, Counselor, Emanuel, God with us, Faithful, True, the Way, the Light, and KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

The Jewish Problem…

There is a very strong narrative being stated repeatedly that the residents of Gaza are living in occupied territory. “Free Palestine” is the mantra heard around the world to give the impression that Israel is the aggressor and wants to dominate the region of Gaza. Many on the left have taken up the banner to fight for the “poor and oppressed people of Palestine.” Jihadists across the globe can be seen with signs calling for Israel to stop the killing of innocent women and children. Where are those that are willing to speak out against the real reason Israel is forced to act? Where are those with an intellect smart enough to see through the false accusations of Israel’s enemies?

No country would allow neighboring countries to bombard its cities and not respond with military action. Here is the reality. Hatred of the Jewish people is in the Qur’an. Muslims are instructed to not make friends with Jews or Christians, and that Jews descended from apes and pigs. In one Hadith Umar reported Mohammed as saying “You will fight against the Jews and you will kill them until even a stone would say: Come here, Muslim, there is a Jew hiding himself behind me; kill him.” Sahi Muslim Book 41, number 6981.

Islam mandates that humanity is separated into two groups, Muslims and kafirs. Jews, Christians, Pagans, Atheists, and polytheists are all kafirs. They are all to be invited to Islam. If they choose not to convert, they are given two options. They may choose to save their lives and live as dhimmis, that is, natives living in land that is ruled by God’s Law, Sharia Law. If neither of those options appeals to them, they are killed.

It is not just people that are divided under Islam; the world too is broken up into two types of land. Dar Al-Islam is “Land of Islam.” This is land that has been conquered by Islam. Dar Al-Harb is “Land of War.” This is land that needs to be conquered so Sharia Law can be implemented. Israel had been a land of Dar Al-Islam, but has reverted back to Dar Al-Harb and ultimately controlled by the Jews. This is a huge problem for the Islamists that want to eliminate the Jews and control the land of Israel once again.

Another false idea being spread is that Islam is a religion of peace; it is the radicals that have corrupted or hijacked the religion of Islam. But who are the radicals and what do they believe? The majority of groups listed on the United States FTO list (Foreign Terrorist Organizations) have similar goals. These groups have no common nationality. They are linked only by their devotion to the Islamic supremacist ideology, that is the re-establishment of the Islamic Caliphate and the implementation of Sharia Islamic Law.
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What is Sharia Law? Sharia Law is Islamic Law based on the Qur’an and the Hadith. It spells out exactly how Muslims are supposed to act. It also spells out how Muslims are supposed to treat Jews and Christians. Some Muslim groups try to conceal what the true nature of Islam is. They contend that Jihad means to struggle; this is a “personal,” inner struggle they maintain.

According to Umdat al-Salik, Reliance of the Traveller, A book on Islamic law from the Shafi’I School, “Jihad means to war against non Muslims…signifying warfare to establish the religion.” The text goes on to claim that the scriptural basis for defining the term Jihad comes from the Qur’an.
1. “Fighting is prescribed for you” (Qur’an 2:216)
2. “Slay them wherever you find them” (Qur’an 4:89)
3. “Fight the idolators utterly “ (Qur’an 9:36)

“I have been commanded to fight people until they testify there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” In addition, according to Islamic Law, apostates are killed and there is no indemnity for killing an apostate.

If one considers the attack by Al-Shabaab at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi in light of dictates of Sharia Law, some of the mystery fades away when we hear that they were quizzing the shoppers to see if they knew the name of Muhammad’s mother. The “terrorists” were simply separating the Muslims from the Kafirs. They were warring against the unbelievers.

If you think the “radicals” are acting crazy now, just wait until you hear what Sharia Law says the Caliph will do. Once again, according to Umdat al-Salik, the objectives of jihad are spelled out for us. “The Caliph makes war upon Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians provided he has first invited them to enter Islam in faith and practice, and if they will not, then invite them into the social order of Islam by paying the non-Muslim poll tax…the war continues until they become Muslim or else pay the non-Muslim poll tax.”

For the sake of Israel, for the sake of America, for the sake of the world, it’s high time we identify the enemy. We need to unite the free world against the threat of Islamic supremacy and Sharia Law. We have only ourselves to blame if we choose not to fight for the freedoms we enjoy.

Are you a ‘believer in exile’ — I invite you to try God, again

By Anne Graham Lotz
Published September 08, 2013
FoxNews.com

Have you tried God?

Did you used to go to church?

Why aren’t you going to church now?

Without implying you are a statistic, research indicates that 83% of all American adults consider themselves to be Christian, but the majority of them are unchurched.

Why?

The primary reason people avoid church, pollsters say, even though they consider themselves Christian, is because of wounds they have received within the family of faith.

Has that been your experience? Is that why you are hanging out on the periphery of God’s people?

I understand. I, too, have been driven from church fellowship by wounds that were inflicted on me by other church members.

The primary reason people avoid church, pollsters say, even though they consider themselves Christian, is because of wounds they have received within the family of faith.

I have found myself living as a “believer in exile,” not running from God, but tired of putting up with those who call themselves by His name, yet behave in an ungodly manner.

Jesus understands, too. It never ceases to amaze me that the most vicious lies, the most violent attacks, the ultimate rejection of Jesus, came not from the Romans or the Greeks or the pagans or the secularists, but from Israelites who were considered, by themselves and others, the children of God. God’s people.

One primary reason I have not forsaken my own Christian faith is that I know Jesus “gets it.” He was literally wounded…crucified…by very religious people who considered themselves God’s representatives on earth, but were nothing of the sort. They were wicked, sinful pretenders.

So I refuse to let religious phonies destroy my heart for the One who loves me, who understands and feels my pain, and who draws close to me when I am wounded. I refuse to be robbed of life’s greatest treasure—a personal, permanent, passionate relationship with God through faith in Jesus, and the healing of wounds that He offers.

As painful and devastating as wounds inflicted by God’s people can be, they have made me more determined to authentically live out what I believe.

I am deeply motivated to know God. I want to know Him as He truly is, not through the distorted reflection of those who call themselves by His name. And I want to make Him known to others as accurately, winsomely, clearly, and compellingly as I can.

And God is knowable. He has declared that He is light. (1 John 1:5) Since one of the primary characteristics of light is that it makes itself visible, God is saying He has made Himself visible.

He can be clearly seen in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. And He can be seen in the pages of the unique revelation of Himself, which we call the Bible.

If your focus in on the people of God, the Light can seem dim or even dark. So don’t look at them. Look at Him.

Try God…again.

Anne Graham Lotz, is author of ten books. Her latest is “Wounded by God’s People: Discovering How God’s Love Heals Our Hearts.” She is president and CEO of AnGel Ministries, a non-profit organization that undergirds her efforts to draw people into a life-changing relationship with God through his World. Lotz is the daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/09/08/are-believer-in-exile-invite-to-try-god-again/#ixzz2eJgMuEXK

“The Apostasy”

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II Thessalonians 2:3

“Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first…”

Modern day prophecy teachers frequently steer their followers to look at the condition of the culture in America as proof that the return of Jesus is near. Now I am in agreement that the return of Jesus is near, but their attention on American culture needs to be refocused.

Merriam-Webster defines “apostasy” as a renunciation of religious faith. Has the United States made a renunciation of Christian faith? Certainly many in America have. One could even make the argument that our government is hostile to Christianity. But According to a 2008 Gallup poll, 78% of Americans identify themselves as Christians. Although many may not be living their lives as Christ would, their backslidden ways, although problematic, are not renunciations of their Christian faith.

So what is this apostasy Paul is warning us about in the letter to the Thessalonians?

In order to understand what Paul was referring to we need to look to the Middle East. When prophetic verses in the Bible are evaluated in light of history and the Middle East everything begins to come in crystal clear.

Christianity continued to spread throughout the Middle East and Europe on the heels of Paul’s three missionary journeys. Churches sprang up throughout the world. It was not until the introduction of Islam that the apostasy began. Today in the Middle East Islam dominates the region. Christianity has been decimated. The apostasy, or falling away, Paul talked about has been in full force for over 1,400 years. If only those apostates had heeded Jesus warning:

Matthew 24:13

“But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”

To understand how this happened to the Christian world we need to understand what motivated the Islamists and what the Christians had to endure after the introduction of Islam to their living environments. Islam is supremacist by nature. The Qur’an states that Islam must reign supreme. Through Jihad and the introduction of a group of rules governing the living conditions for Non-Muslims Islam easily pounded submission into the consciousness of the infidel.

The Islamists that moved into new territories typically gave occupants of a given culture three options. Option number one was to convert to Islam. The second option for the occupant was execution if they would not convert to Islam or submit to Islamic authority. The final option was for those who did not want to convert to Islam but were willing to submit to the authority of Islamic law. These people were willing to live as second-class citizens and abide by Islamic rules governing their way of life and behavior. They also had to pay a poll tax called the Jizya. This was in accordance with Islamic Law.

Qur’an 9:29

“Make War on those who have received the Scriptures [Jews and Christians] but do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day. They do not forbid what Allah and His Messenger have forbidden. The Christians and Jews do not follow the religion of truth until they SUBMIT and pay the poll tax [Jizya], and they are HUMILIATED.”

These second-class citizens, Dhimmis, were a great source of revenue for the Islamists. Dhimmis also had a variety of restrictions imposed on them by the Islamists. These rules (sometimes called the Treaty of Omar, Pact of Umar, or Conditions of Omar) restricted the Dhimmis from:

  1. Building or repairing churches
  2. Worshipping the God of the Bible publicly
  3. Displaying crosses or Bibles
  4. Clanging cymbals, ringing church bells, or singing hymns that Muslims may hear.
  5. Riding on horses
  6. Proselytizing
  7. Blasphemy (Any statements critical of Mohammed or Islam)

These rules of Dhimmitude also had some requirements for the infidel:

  1. Dhimmis must maintain a humble attitude
  2. Dhimmis must cut the hair from the forehead
  3. Dhimmis must wear certain clothes and a belt to identify themselves
  4. Dhimmis must offer lodging for Muslims
  5. Dhimmis must keep homes lower than Muslim homes.

Bill Warner makes this observation in his book, A Self-Study Course on Political Islam:

“The actual attitude of Islam toward the dhimmis was more contempt than hatred, and over time the dhimmis disappeared. They either left or converted. It was too hard to be a second-class citizen, and the extra taxes were a burden. As time went on, both Christians and Jews became more Arabic in their outlook; they started to treat women as the Arabs did and their customs became more and more Islamic. Finally it was easier to accept Islam as their religion and stop all the pressure and contempt.”

These people were true apostates. They had renounced their faith completely. Jesus warned us to endure to the end. He warned us that we would be hated and experience persecution. Many failed to heed Jesus’ warnings. That is how the apostasy has come and how Islam has come to dominate the once Christian world of the Middle East.

Here is the point. It appears that Christians have two options available when confronted with Islamic governance. Christians may choose to maintain their faith and NOT submit to Islamic authority. Many have chosen this path

Rev 6:9-11

“I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.”

The other option is to follow the words of Jesus:

Matthew 24:13

“But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.”

 Apostasy should NEVER be an option!

 

Will The U.S. Dollar Fail and Be Replaced By A One World Currency?

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“The economy is crumbling…the Dollar will fail and be replaced…the U.S. economy will be handed over to the antichrist.” If you have ever read anything about Bible prophecy I am sure you have heard statements such as this. These types of comments are uttered so often one would think they are actually written about in the Bible. The people who write and read the books that make these sorts of statements claim that they are; but are they really?

I believe it is high time for people who call themselves Christians to learn to discern information that they hear and read in books from information actually written in the Bible. Christians need to stop carrying the torch for those that are basing their beliefs on things that are not validated by Scripture.  This view about the U.S. economy is a case in point.

Bible teachers that write and speak about Bible prophecy continue to parrot each other and repeat the same “bad” information so often that Christians treat these positions as if they are based in Biblical Truth. To disagree with them would be to “disagree with the Bible.” I reject that assertion. If we are all seeking the Truth of Scripture we need to be discerning enough, and mature enough, to follow the information to a logical conclusion, even if it contradicts our preconceived positions.

This is especially true in the case of Bible prophecy. A challenger to ones preconceived views is often viewed as a “heretic,” just because the view has been held as “Biblical Truth” for such a long time. I will address many of these false “truths” in the course of writing this blog.

To be sure, our economy is in shambles. Our debt is out of sight and our impotent government continues to make the Dollar weaker. Is this indicative of a fulfillment of Bible prophecy, or is it just more evidence of a rouge and fiscally irresponsible government?

What we must first understand is that the Bible is a collection of books with the Middle East as its focus. Americans have been conditioned to view the Bible through American lenses. We need to change our glasses and view the Bible the way God intended it to be viewed. Most of us grew up with an “American” view of the Bible, but the focus of the Bible is always on Jerusalem, Israel, and the nations surrounding Israel. That is why books written about the United States and Bible prophecy should have empty pages. The United States is not the focus of God’s prophetic plan. Read your Bible if you do not believe this, not the books written by prophecy teachers.

Now, onto to our case study. How do these teachers come to conclusion that the U.S. economy will fail and the U.S. Dollar will cease to exist? The first problem associated with the idea that the U.S. Dollar will fail is the idea that the antichrist will rule over the entire world. This is false for a number of reasons. Walid Shoebat addressed this very topic in a wonderful article entitled Where is America in Bible Prophecy?  These prophecy teachers conclude,  “If a one-world-government controls the economy, they will implement a single form of currency. After all, isn’t that what the European Union did?” In addition to this view of a one-world-government, there is one verse that prophecy teachers use to show a single world monetary system and the collapse of the American Dollar.

Rev 13:17

17 “and he provides that no one will be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.”

Now I ask you…is there any place in this verse that talks about the U.S. Dollar or any other currency? The fact is, this verse is discussing individuals inability to purchase items NOT because of the currency they hold, but because of their allegiance and loyalty to Jesus. Let me put it this way. It does not matter what currency you hold when you enter Costco to shop. In the Untied States the Dollar is used. In Mexico, it is the Peso. The important thing needed in order to shop at Costco is not the currency. If a shopper does not have a Costco Card, the shopper will not even enter the store to shop. In the same way, followers of Jesus will not be able to buy or sell under this system.

I recently talked to a missionary visiting our church from Chad, Africa. His ministry was to Muslims in the area. I asked him what the attitude towards Christians was as a result of the Arab Spring across the Middle East. His response was a little bit surprising. He mentioned how the Muslims he dealt with were not violent towards them, but they were forced to buy all of their supplies from Muslim businesses. Is it such a stretch to think that the Islamists would not even allow Christians to purchase items from them? This is already happening in many areas of the Muslim world.

This is just one verse that is used to perpetuate a wrong view of Biblical Eschatology. As Christians, we need to be diligent to study God’s Word and distinguish fact from fantasy. It won’t be easy; there are many that are entrenched in a false narrative that they have been following for years. I know, I was one of them.