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|Terror Against Israel
Reposted from February 2016 in light of last week’s attack against Israel.
By Tony Pearce
Light For the Last Days Ministries (UK)
From the Winter 2015 Light for the Last Days Newsletter. Used with permission.
Israel is in the grip of a terror offensive as Palestinians have been attacking Israelis with knives and driving their cars at them. Between September 13 and November 30, 2015, 22 Israelis were killed and 215 wounded.
The attacks began after false accusations that Israel was defiling the Al Aqsa Mosque (on the site of the former Jewish Temple in Jerusalem). Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has been telling his people that Israel was planning to destroy the Al-Aqsa Mosque and “change the Arab and Islamic character and identity” of Jerusalem. He condemned Jews for “defiling the Aqsa Mosque with their filthy feet.” Radical Islamist and terrorist elements are calling on Palestinian youth to murder Jews. Statements by Fatah and Hamas have described the attacks as “heroic actions” and “the natural response to Israel”s crimes.”
All of the makes the possibility of a “peace settlement” even more remote. According to a recent poll, the majority of Palestinians don’t want a “two state solution” as proposed by the US, EU, and UN. They want a new “intifada” to replace the whole of Israel with a Palestinian state — preferably, one that now would be ruled by Hamas and jihadi organizations such as Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. Their problem is not with “settlements” or “poor living conditions” but with Israel’s existence. A majority believes that Israel can —and should —be destroyed.
After the Paris attacks, Netanyahu said:
“The time has come for countries to condemn terrorism against us to the same degree that they condemn terrorism everywhere else in the world.”
However, most of the world does not condemn terrorism against Israel but often supports it and turns its condemnation on Israel. In fact, the French government pays millions of Euros every year to Palestinian NGOs whose stated goal is to destroy Israel, thus helping to finance the radicalization of Palestinian society. Just two days before the Paris attacks, Netanyahu took the European Union to task for setting new guidelines for special labelling of goods produced by Israelis in the West Bank, Golan Heights and Jerusalem, which is widely viewed in Israel as a precursor to an economic boycott of Israel. He said:
“The EU has decided to label only Israel, and we are not prepared to accept the fact that Europe is labelling the side that is being attacked by terrorism.”
The world generally does not care about what happens to Israel and sides with those seeking to destroy her. But the Lord does care. Jeremiah prophesied a time when Israel will hear “a voice of trembling, of fear and not of peace.” This is the time of Jacob’s trouble, “but he shall be saved out of it” (Jeremiah 30.4-7).
At this time the Lord says:
“For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds, because they have called you an outcast saying, ‘It is Zion for whom no one cares.”(Jeremiah 30.17)
Remembering the Holocaust – Who Really Killed Jesus? by Tony Pearce
No Peace – No Messiah by Tony Pearce
|Dealing with Shock and Persecution
By Maria Kneas
(author of How to Prepare for Hard Times and Persecution)
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)
Persecution is shocking. It’s cruel and unfair. Why do people punish us for doing good? Why do they hate us for loving Jesus? It just doesn’t make sense. It seems crazy.
It certainly doesn’t make sense to reasonable people who know God and have a biblical standard of right and wrong. In contrast, the devil’s values are upside down, and he is literally insane. He had to be, in order to think he could fight against God and win.
As Christians serve God, they increasingly see things from His perspective. Those who serve the devil (whether knowingly or unknowingly) wind up thinking more and more the way he does.
Many people blame God when cruel and unjust things are done to them. But they are accusing the wrong person. They should be blaming Adam and Eve instead of God. Everything bad that happens to us is initially because Adam and Eve rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden (see Romans 5).(Editor's note: Maria K. is not saying here that we are not responsible for our own sins. Her main point in this article is that God is not the author of sin, and He created a perfect world. Sin began with Adam and Eve, but we are each responsible for our own rebellion and sin against God. Man’s sinful nature and his responsibility for his own sin is clearly illustrated throughout Maria’s book, How to Prepare for Hard Times and Persecution, from which this article was extracted).
Try to put yourself in God’s shoes for a moment. He created a perfect world in which everything was good. Adam and Eve were created as mature adults, ready for marriage. They never had a troubled childhood. They didn’t have any old wounds or scars. They had a closeness to God we can’t begin to comprehend, walking and talking with Him every evening. Their world was beautiful and safe. They were healthy and had wonderful things to eat all around them, waiting to be picked and enjoyed. All of their needs were met, and all of their desires were fulfilled.
Then along came the serpent, who was the world’s first con artist. He talked them into rebelling against God.
When everything was perfect, both Adam and Eve fell into sin. That is a hundred percent rate of failure. Now, if having everything be perfect doesn’t work, then what is the only alternative? Suffering. Hardship. Death. Discovering we desperately need God.
My mom wrote a poem about the shock and challenge of having normal life suddenly be radically changed in painful and confusing ways:
(by Frances Morrisson)
Suddenly the Everyday
is wrenched away.
Lord, please guard and grow
the fullness of my love and trust in You.
When all I know is set afloat today,
pilot my boat and nudge me to
the harbor of the Narrow Way
There let me find a clearer, newer view
where all that’s upside down
resolves; makes sense; steady in the light of love and Trust in You.
“Wrenched away” is a good description of what persecution feels like. This applies to a Christian baker who has been threatened with prison because he refused to bake a wedding cake for a homosexual marriage,1 and it also applies to a Christian in the Middle East who is beheaded because of his faith. It’s shocking, and something inside us cries out, “This can’t be happening!” There is distress and grief, pain and confusion.
Obviously, what the baker suffered is not as serious as being beheaded, but it’s still a shock. There is a difference in the degree of severity of the persecution, but it’s a gut-wrenching event for the people involved in both situations. Comparing it to animals, it is better to be attacked by an angry bobcat than by a man-eating tiger. However, either way, there is a lot of suffering involved.
The best antidote for shock, pain, and suffering is the Word of God. It is also the best guide for how to respond to the challenges of life. Therefore, I am going to quote a lot of Scripture in this chapter.
The Bible tells us that Christians should expect to be persecuted. However, until recently, American Christians were usually treated well. This feels normal for us, but it is unusual in terms of the world today since many countries have serious persecution. Now Christians in the United States (and Canada too) are suffering for their faith. For Americans, this is shocking, but according to the Bible, we should not be surprised:
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23)
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. (2 Timothy 3:12)
Remember the word that I said unto you. The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. (John 15:20)
We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:35-37)
The good news is that God enables His people to endure persecution. His grace is sufficient to get us through the trials and tribulations, and if we love Him and put our trust in Him, then He will make whatever we go through work out for our good:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
According to the Bible, God uses trials and tribulations to build godly character in us. This is good fruit in our lives, and it will be a blessing for us and for others. The suffering is temporary, but the rewards will be eternal:
Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. (1 Peter 4:12-14)
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:2-4)
[W]e glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope. (Romans 5:3-4)
Jesus told us it is a blessing to be persecuted for His sake. Now in terms of my emotions, I have real difficulty with that. I want to avoid suffering, and it pains me to see others suffer. However, God sees the big picture. I don’t. God knows what He is talking about.
My perspective is limited by my natural fears. Therefore, I need to take God at His word and believe Him, in spite of the fact that what He says goes against the grain. Here is what Jesus said:
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
I am not at the point of being able to “rejoice” or be “exceeding glad” if I am persecuted, or if people I know and love are persecuted. However, I can tell God, “This does not feel like a blessing to me, but You say that it is a blessing. Please change my heart, and enable me to see it the way that You see it.”
There is a story about a little boy who was with his father during a terrorist attack. There was gunfire, shouting, and confusion. When it was all over, the father asked his son, “Were you afraid?” And his boy answered, “No, Daddy. You were holding my hand.”
That’s the way we need to be with the Lord.
God is faithful. He loves us. He promises He will always be with us. And He knows what He is doing. He sees the really big picture. We can’t comprehend it yet.
(by Maria Kneas)
The God who made the earth
Has always loved us.
Before we drew a breath,
Our heart was known.
God created us
To live with Him forever,
To sing and dance
With joy before His throne.
Our time on earth is hard,
But it is fleeting.
No matter how things seem,
God’s always there.
He’ll guide us and protect us
And watch over us,
And take away each tear and fear and care.
And when the toil and pain
And fear have ended,
When sorrow’s gone,
And all we know is love,
Then we and God
Will celebrate forever,
Rejoicing with the saints in Heaven above.
(This is an excerpt from How to Prepare for Hard Times and Persecution)
|DRESS REHEARSAL FOR A FALSE REVIVAL? – Evangelical, Charismatic, Emerging Leaders, & Pope Francis Unite for “Together 2016” in Washington, DC
photo: from a still shot from video on Reset 2016 site; used in accordance with the US Fair Use Act
According to a news release from PRWire titled “Pope Francis To Address Americans At National Mall Event ’Together 2016’ With Special Video Message,” Pope Francis will be joining (via video) evangelical leaders such as Ravi Zacharias, Luis Palau, Michael W. Smith, and Josh McDowell, emerging-church leaders such as Francis Chan, Ann Voskamp, Jennie Allen (IF), and Mark Batterson (Circle Maker) and charismatic leaders such as Sammy Rodriguez and Hillsong for an event motivated by a goal to bring unity to all those who “love Jesus.” The event is called “Together 2016,” subtitled Fill the Mall.
Nick Hall, the organizer of the event who hopes to draw one million people to the National Mall on July 16th, stated: “Together 2016 is about laying aside what divides us to lift up Jesus who unites us.”1 Hall told one news source, “We are coming together in historic unity to pray for a reset for our nation.”2
It’s been over fifteen years since contemplative pioneer Richard Foster shared his vision of Catholics and evangelicals coming together3 and over two decades since Chuck Colson helped author a document titled “Evangelicals/Catholics Together.”4 It’s been over a decade since Rick Warren announced his hopes to bring about a second reformation that would include people of different religions.5 In more recent days, evangelical leaders such as Beth Moore,6 Franklin Graham,7 and Kenneth Copeland8 have played their parts in helping to remove the barriers between the evangelical/Protestant church and the Roman Catholic Church (something the Catholic Church calls the New Evangelization program9).
According to the Bible, we know a time is coming when a global one-world religion will serve alongside a global one-world government, both of which will reject Jesus Christ as the Messiah and Lord. Whether they realize it or not, the leaders and musicians participating in Together 2016 are helping to make that global religion a reality as they participate in this ongoing relay race of breaking down the walls that divide different faiths in the name of unity at all costs.
Right now, in America, evangelical and charismatic leaders are calling for a nation-wide revival. But will their revival be a revival from God; or will it be a false revival? And is Together 2016 nothing more than a dress rehearsal for this false revival?
|Silence—The Language of God? (And Some Folks Promoting it)
By Ray Yungen
For many years during my research, I would come across the term contemplative prayer. Immediately I would dismiss any thought that it had a New Age connotation because I thought it meant to ponder while praying—which would be the logical association with that term. But in the New Age disciplines, things are not always what they seem to be to untrained ears.
What contemplative prayer actually entails is described very clearly by the following writer:
When one enters the deeper layers of contemplative prayer one sooner or later experiences the void, the emptiness, the nothingness . . . the profound mystical silence . . . an absence of thought.1
To my dismay, I discovered this “mystical silence” is accomplished by the same methods used by New Agers to achieve their silence—the mantra and the breath! Contemplative prayer is the repetition of what is referred to as a prayer word or sacred word until one reaches a state where the soul, rather than the mind, contemplates God. Contemplative prayer teacher and Zen master Willigis Jager brought this out when he postulated:
Do not reflect on the meaning of the word; thinking and reflecting must cease, as all mystical writers insist. Simply “sound” the word silently, letting go of all feelings and thoughts.2
Those with some theological training may recognize this teaching as the historical stream going back centuries to such figures as Meister Eckhart, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Julian of Norwich.
One of the most well-known writings on the subject is the classic 14th century treatise, The Cloud of Unknowing, written by an anonymous author. It is essentially a manual on contemplative prayer inviting a beginner to:
Take just a little word, of one syllable rather than of two . . . With this word you are to strike down every kind of thought under the cloud of forgetting.3
The premise here is that in order to really know God, mysticism must be practiced—the mind has to be shut down or turned off so that the cloud of unknowing where the presence of God awaits can be experienced. Practitioners of this method believe that if the sacred words are Christian, you will get Christ—it is simply a matter of intent even though the method is identical to occult and Eastern practices.
So the question we as Christians must ask ourselves is, “Why not? Why shouldn’t we incorporate this mystical prayer practice into our lives?” The answer to this is actually found in Scripture.
While certain instances in the Bible describe mystical experiences, I see no evidence anywhere of God sanctioning man-initiated mysticism. Legitimate mystical [supernatural] experiences were always initiated by God to certain individuals for certain revelations and was never based on a method for the altering of consciousness. In Acts 11:5, Peter fell into a trance while in prayer. But it was God, not Peter, who initiated the trance and facilitated it.
By definition, a mystic, on the other hand, is someone who uses rote methods in an attempt to tap into their inner divinity. Those who use these methods put themselves into a trance state outside of God’s sanction or protection and thus engage in an extremely dangerous approach. Besides, nowhere in the Bible are such mystical practices prescribed. For instance, the Lord, for the purpose of teaching people a respect for His holiness and His plans, instated certain ceremonies for His people (especially in the Old Testament). Nonetheless, Scripture contains no reference in which God promoted mystical practices. The gifts of the Spirit spoken of in the New Testament were supernatural in nature but did not fall within the confines of mysticism. God bestowed spiritual gifts without the Christian practicing a method beforehand to get God’s response.
Proponents of contemplative prayer would respond with, What about Psalms 46:10? “Be still, and know that I am God.” This verse is often used by those promoting contemplative prayer. On the surface, this argument can seem valid, but once the meaning of “still” is examined, any contemplative connection is expelled. The Hebrew meaning of the word is to slacken, cease, or abate. In other words, the context is to slow down and trust God rather than get in a dither over things. Relax and watch God work. Reading the two verses just before Psalms 46:10 puts it in an entirely different light from that proposed by mystics:
Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.
This isn’t talking about going into some altered state of consciousness!
It should also be pointed out that being born again, in and of itself, is mystical. But it is a direct act of God, initiated by Him—the Holy Spirit has regenerated the once-dead spirit of man into a living spirit through Christ. Yet, we notice that even in this most significant of experiences when one is “passed from death unto life” (John 5:24), God accomplishes this without placing the individual in an altered state of consciousness.
We can take this a step further by looking at the day of Pentecost recorded in Acts, chapter 2 where those present were “all filled with the Holy Ghost” (vs. 4). Notice that they were “all with one accord in one place” (vs. 1) when the Holy Spirit descended on them. From the context of the chapter, it is safe to assume this was a lively gathering of believers engaged in intelligent conversation. Then, when those present began to speak in other tongues, it was not an episode of mindless babbling or vain repetition as in a mantra. Rather it was an event of coherent speech significant enough to draw a crowd who exclaimed, “we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God” (vs. 11). Other observers who suspected they were in an altered state of consciousness said, “These men are full of new wine” (vs. 13). Notice that Peter was quick to correct this group in asserting that they were all fully conscious. Would it not then stand to reason that their minds were not in any kind of altered state? Next, Peter delivered one of the most carefully articulated speeches recorded in Scripture. This was certainly not a group of men in a trance.
So, through the lens of perhaps the two most meaningful mystical experiences recorded in the New Testament (i.e., being born again and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost), an altered state of consciousness was never sought after nor was it achieved. In fact, a complete search of both Old and New Testaments reveals there were only two types of experiences sanctioned by God where the recipient is not fully awake—namely dreams and visions—and in each case the experience is initiated by God. Conversely, every instance of a self-induced trance recorded in Scripture is adamantly condemned by God as we see summarized in the following verses:
When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. (Deuteronomy 18:9-11)
An examination of the Hebrew meanings of the terms used in the above verses shows that much of what is being spoken of is the invoking of spells. And a spell, used in this context, refers to a trance. In other words, when God induces a trance it is in the form of a dream or a vision. When man induces a trance, it is in the form of a spell or hypnosis.
And remember, nowhere in the Bible is the silence equated with the “power of God,” but the “preaching of the cross” (I Corinthians 1:18) most certainly is!
1. William Johnston, Letters to Contemplatives, p. 13.
2. Willigis Jager, Contemplation: A Christian Path, p. 31.
3. Ken Kaisch, Finding God, cited from The Cloud of Unknowing, p. 223.
Some People Who Are Promoting the “Silence”
“What you need is stillness and silence so that the sediment can settle and the water can become clear.”–Ruth Haley Barton
, “Beyond Words”
“I do not believe anyone can ever become a deep person [intimate with God] without stillness and silence.”–Charles Swindoll, So You Want To Be Like Christ? Eight Essential Disciplines to Get You There, p. 65“The basic method promoted in The Cloud is to move beyond thinking into a place of utter stillness with the Lord … the believer must first achieve a state of silence and contemplation, and then God works in the believer’s heart.”–Tony Jones, The Sacred Way, p. 15
“Progress in intimacy with God means progress toward silence…. It is this recreating silence to which we are called in Contemplative Prayer.–Richard Foster, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 155
“It is through silence that you find your inner being.”–Vijay Eswaran, In the Sphere of Silence, excerpt from website.
“This book [In the Sphere of Silence] is a wonderful guide on how to enter the realm of silence and draw closer to God.”–New Age sympathizer, Ken Blanchard
“[G]o into the silence for guidance”–New Ager, Wayne Dyer, ATOD p. 18 (from interview with Wayne Dyer, Portland, OR., 3/27/97)
“While we are all equally precious in the eyes of God, we are not all equally ready to listen to ‘God’s speech in his wondrous, terrible, gentle, loving, all embracing silence.’”–Richard Foster, Prayer, Finding the Heart’s True Home, p. 156.
“When one enters the deeper layers of contemplative prayer one sooner or later experiences the void, the emptiness, the nothingness … the profound mystical silence … an absence of thought.” –Thomas Merton biographer, William Johnston, Letters to Contemplatives, p. 13.
“In the silence is a dynamic presence. And that’s God, and we become attuned to that.”–Interspiritualist, Wayne Teasdale, Michael Tobias, “A Parliament of Souls in Search of a Global Spirituality” (KQED Inc., San Francisco, CA, 1995), p. 148.
“One of the great things silence does, it gives us a new concept of God.” – Calvin Miller, from Be Still DVD
“God’s Word is so clear that if we are not still before Him, we will never truly know, to the depths of the marrow in our bones, that He is God. There has got to be a stillness. We’ve got to have a time to sit before Him and just know that He is. We live in such an attention-deficit culture, and we’re so entirely over stimulated, so much coming at us at once, one image after another, that if we are not careful, we are going to lose the art of meditation.” Beth Moore, from Be Still DVD
“Kierkegaard, probably the greatest Protestant Christian mind of all time, said … “If I could prescribe only one remedy for all the ills of the modern world, I would prescribe silence.”–Peter Kreeft, from Be Still DVD
“To be still means not only that you make a time to sit with God, but a time for your mind and your heart to be still also. Then God can meet you and fill you with His presence and His Word.”–Henry Cloud (CCN) from Be Still DVD, “Being Still: Helpful Hints with Dr. Henry Cloud”
“What does stillness really mean? Is stillness just something physical? Or is it mental? Is it spiritual? Is it emotional? There’s so many levels of stillness that we need to practice. And know. Be still and know. Know what? You know, there’s something that comes with the assurance of being still. You’re no longer practicing or exerting effort.” Michelle McKinney Hammond, from Be Still DVD, “Contemplative Prayer: The Divine Romance Between God and Man”
“[S]ilence is one of the great spiritual disciplines. And in fact you’re not going to get very far in contemplative prayer unless you know how to be silent. And by that I mean that you really are comfortable with it and you’re practiced in it.” Dallas Willard, Be Still DVD, “Fear of Silence”
“First, you must remember that when you go into solitude and silence, your basic goal is to do nothing. Yes, nothing!”–J.P. Moreland, “How Spiritual Disciplines Work: Solitude and Silence as Spiritual Disciplines”
“It is to this silence [contemplative prayer] that we all are called.”–Henri Nouwen, The Way of the Heart, p. 66.
“God’s first language is silence.”–panentheist monk Thomas Keating, Intimacy with God, p. 153.
ANTHONY DEMELLO EXPLAINS HOW TO GO INTO THIS SILENCE THAT SO MANY TALK ABOUT – WITH THE MANTRA:
To silence the mind is an extremely difficult task. How hard it is to keep the mind from thinking, thinking, thinking, forever thinking, forever producing thoughts in a never ending stream. Our Hindu masters in India have a saying: one thorn is removed by another. By this they mean that you will be wise to use one thought to rid yourself of all the other thoughts that crowd into your mind. One thought, one image, one phrase or sentence or word that your mind can be made to fasten on. Anthony de Mello, Sadhana: A Way to God (St. Louis, the Institute of Jesuit Resources, 1978), p. 28.
|Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga Infiltration of Major School Systems: A Look Into ‘Mindful Kids Miami’ and ‘Breathe for Change’ Madison
By Lois Putnam
Miami-Dade County Schools Partner with Mindful Kids Miami
Miami-Dade County Schools (Fourth Largest School District in the U.S.A.) is being transformed into a mindfulness-yoga school system through its partnership with Mindful Kids Miami, and its mindfulness lady leader–Valerie York-Zimmerman.
Yes, grades Pre-K through 12, students as well as teachers and administrators will be instructed in mindfulness meditation. Training centers have been set up all over Miami even in the sanctuary of the “most progressive church in the city”–Riviera Presbyterian Church (USA). Recently Riviera adherents proudly held up a banner reading, “We All Are God’s Beloved Children: No Exceptions!”
Now, Valerie York-Zimmerman, devotee of famed mindfulness zealot Jon Kabat-Zinn, passionately shares mindfulness practices everywhere she goes. And just what does this partnership between MKM and M-DCPS involve? And what will the children/teachers of Dade County be subjected to? To begin read about its “Inner-Journey Poster” below.
Ponder This MKM Poster: MBSR Teachers/Administrator Course for 2015-21016
A colorful printable poster designed to hang in faculty rooms touting the Mindful Kids Miami’s pilot program for professional development for its classroom educators and administrators shows the MKM and M-DCPS logos side by side at the top of the poster. Just below the logos is a serene beach scene complete with a sacred stone stack.
Stating the official agenda of MKM, the poster declares, “Mounting scientific evidence supports mindfulness-based programs help teachers reduce stress and burnout, anxiety disorders and depression, and improve immune function, attention, memory, executive function, compassion,
resilience, among other benefits.” Click here to continue reading.
|Three Songs to the "Underground" Church in North America
Courtesy of Understand The Times, International
Please Listen To Theses Songs (Click title and open in media player)
Still Some Left
I Don't Fit In
I Wish I Had Your Life
Go to his web site
|Spiritual Warfare: The Unseen Foe Behind Rising Evil
By Berit Kjos
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron..." 1 Timothy 4:1-2
We don't hear much about spiritual warfare these days. Most churches seem to ignore the reality of Satan and the evil he inspires. God's warnings about fellowship with the world's alluring thrills doesn't fit the contemporary image of Jesus as a tolerant, easy-going friend.
Since the 18th century's birth of the "Age of Reason," an increasing number of "enlightened" Western leaders and influential "change agents" have tried to discredit the Bible and silence believers. More recently, a vast number of politicians, media masters and educators have joined this war against biblical truth and Christian values.
No wonder our public schools are becoming bastions of atheism, immorality and -- spreading fast -- the promotion of Islam. Like the persecuted Jews during and after Hitler's holocaust, today's Jews and Christians are facing hatred and rising persecution for standing firm in their faith.
It's no secret that Satan's lies have sparked wars and cruelty through the ages. Ever since Eve chose to follow her own feelings rather than God's wise guidelines, humanity has faced assaults from "the evil one" -- often through his willing pawns. Call him the Devil, Deceiver, Satan, or serpent; it doesn't matter. It's all the same ruthless oppressor:
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world…" Revelation 12:9
From the beginning, this invisible fiend has been seeding doubt, depravity, despair and death. Through the ages, he has inspired idolatry, witchcraft, deadly curses and magical arts that were used to control people and corrupt cultures. He lost some ground during America's Christian era, when -- by God's grace -- our nation was relatively free from such dark forces. But our times are changing fast, and once again the captivating forces of evil are mesmerizing vulnerable children as well as adults.
In 2014, Fox Network launched a new TV series that glorifies Lucifer; marketed with pro-Satan tweets:
"The more subtle side of satanism in Hollywood entertainment is now a thing of the past, as primetime television airs blatantly evil shows like the upcoming Fox drama Lucifer, which glorifies the goings about of the 'lord of hell'; after he fictitiously leaves the lake of fire and retires to Los Angeles.
"The premise behind the absurd drama, which is set to release in 2016, centers around so-called 'Lucifer Morningstar' and his new life as the owner of Lux, an upscale nightclub located in the City of Angels.... 'It's only fitting, then, that this modern-day show produced by satanists would portray Lucifer as a type of benevolent god... to take the place of the real God.... Whether you believe what the Bible says or not, this is the clear-as-day implication of this upcoming show that will soon be watched by presumably millions of people."
This world is changing fast, and we must prepare for the challenges ahead. Our children need to know and remember warnings like these:
"There shall not be found among you any one that... that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.... For all that do these things are an abomination unto the Lord..." Deuteronomy 18:10-12
Satan knows well that no nation can maintain true freedom apart from God's moral law. Quenched by propaganda, hedonism and distorted views of God's Truth, the biblical values that made America kind, generous, honest and successful are now fading fast -- even in churches. Some years ago a youth pastor sent me this conflicting message:
"I am a strong Christian and love the Lord with all my heart. The problem is I really enjoy reading the Harry Potter books and nothing about them conflicts with my spirit..."
A young woman who called herself "a solitary witch" wrote this revealing message:
"I am a Harry Potter fan for several reasons. ... You are not just drawn into the story but into that world. Then through talking about them with fans you fall further and further in love with the characters, you analyze them and worry about them until they feel real to you. Then you have, in a way, become a part of that shared universe, and it is a wonderful place to be."
What a cruel illusion! When a nation turns from God's ways to decadence and imaginary thrills, our Lord withdraws His blessings and protection. And when Satan has his way, calamity reigns. Remember, the evil one rules a hierarchy of like-minded demonic beings:
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers , against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God , that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Ephesians 6:12-13
That "evil day" may already be upon us. It's beginning to bring fear and oppression to wayward America -- as it did to the persecuted Christians in the Middle East. And now, with today's massive movement of migrants who -- like some of our leaders -- despise both Jews and Christians, our world is changing faster than ever. What's more, Western countries like America, the UK and Germany are still hosts to unthinkable occultism and secret societies. Some of those empowered servants of darkness may well join tomorrow's tyrants.
Are we prepared to "stand firm" in Jesus Christ, wearing His Armor as we face the challenges ahead? Can we count on our Lord and King to win this battle on behalf of His people?
Yes we can! God always wins -- even when the victory looks more like defeat to us! He is the sovereign Lord and King over all, and His wisdom and long-range plans for our lives far surpass our finite understanding. Everything is under His command:
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
With our limited insights into His heavenly plans, we may be tempted to complain. To resist that lure, we need to trust God, know His Word, and remember His Wonderful Promises. No matter what challenges we face, He is with us - strengthening our faith and training us to endure! For,
"...in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us." Romans 8:37
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil....
"Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness; and shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit..." Ephesians 6:10-11, 14-18.
- Fox Network launched a new "TV series that glorifies Lucifer; marketed with pro-Satan tweets."
- This was a personal note from a private person.
- This was a personal note from a private person.
Used with permission from Kjos Ministries.
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Israel and Replacement Theology
At a time when a clear and biblically sound understanding of Bible prophecy is most important, we find the church, paradoxically, having less knowledge of it, especially as it relates directly to Israel. Most evangelical Christians throughout history have supported the Jews and the modern state of Israel, but things are changing. The church, from its infancy, believed God had a future plan for Israel based on Scripture (Acts 3:19). This plan included the national restoration of Israel to the same land from which they were eventually dispersed. As time went on and the church drifted further and further away from her Jewish beginnings, many began to erroneously believe the church had replaced Israel. But in this day and age when we see biblical prophecy being fulfilled on such an unprecedented and unparalleled scale—with God’s continual protection and restoration of the Jews to their land, there should not be those who walk in disbelief with regard to God’s promises. But there are!
A growing number within the church are holding to the position that Israel as a people and a nation has no further place with God and that Israel is eternally cast off for their rejection of the Messiah. They believe national Israel no longer has a future in any part of God’s plan. They also believe all the promises given to Israel have not only been revoked but transferred to the church and that the church is now the “true Israel.” Some even go so far as to make disparaging and untruthful remarks, which suggest the Jewish people are now no longer a “chosen people of God” and are cursed because of their unbelief or that they have inherited all the curses of the law found in Deuteronomy 28–33.
They believe all the blessings belonging to Israel have now been transferred to the church, but they neglect to include the curses found in Deuteronomy 28. If one is going to lay claim to the blessings of Deuteronomy 28, then one must lay claim to the curses as well. Nor can we live under the Old Covenant and the New Covenant at the same time. But, these teachers would strip the Jews of the inheritance God pledged to them (and never revoked) and apply all these blessings to themselves. But God sees through the arrogance, and jealousy, that is being rekindled in these last days. Ironically, those who have taken such a stance have proclaimed curses on themselves, for God said He would curse those who curse Israel. Deuteronomy 28 is a conditional covenant of Moses that God extended to the nation of Israel, but we would do well to hold fast to the New Covenant of grace that has now been extended to both Jew and Gentile.
Adherents of this Replacement Theology teaching claim the church was already in place in the Old Testament and was an assembly of believers. Therefore, the church, in their mind, becomes the continuation of Israel. Since Pentecost of Acts 2, the term “Israel” now refers to the church, they say. However, if one takes a closer look at how the words in the Book of Acts are used, one will see this is not so. If this is true, then why are there so many distinctions made between Israel and the church throughout the Book of Acts and why are so many distinguishing statements also made throughout Paul’s epistles? Such inconsistency can only originate from a man-made doctrine built on a false presupposition at best.
The very first occurrence of the Greek word ekklesia in the New Testament is found in Matthew 16:18. The word “church” (ekklesia, or assembly) is often thought to mean Israel by replacement theologians as a generic meaning for an assembly of worshipers. Thus, they assume the word church is a Greek word for Israel. They believe this is what Jesus the Messiah meant in Matthew 16:18 for the word church (it is only used again in the New Testament Gospels in Matthew 18:17). This would mean there always was the church (i.e., “the church” is Israel continued in the New Testament). However, in Matthew 16:13–20, the word “church” literally means “those called out,” referring to those who confess Jesus is the Son of the Living God—something that was not yet revealed in the Old Testament (this will be further explained as we look at Romans 11). These “called-out ones” are not in reference to the Mosaic Law that was given to the nation Israel but to a whole New Covenant.
In the New Testament, the term is used also in the narrower sense of a single church, or a church confined to a particular place. There is the church in the house of Aquila and Priscilla (Romans 16:5), the church at Corinth, the churches in Judea, etc. As I stated earlier, if one were to keep substituting the word Israel for church throughout the New Testament, they would soon begin to see the problems it would create.
In Acts 8:3, Saul persecuted the “church” from house to house. He certainly was not persecuting Israel.
Acts 2:47: “And the Lord added to the church [Israel?] daily such as should be saved.”
Acts 8:1: “And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church [Israel?] which was at Jerusalem.”
Acts 11:26: “And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church [Israel?], and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”
And in Acts 15:4: “And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church [Israel?], and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.”
The fact that Jews were called out of unbelieving Israel to be part of the church does, in every sense, go against the church being Israel.
In the same way, if one uses the word “church”or “the church” interchangeably for Israel, even more problems occur.
Matthew 2:20 says, “Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel [church].”
Matthew 8:10: “[T]o them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel [the church].”
Matthew 10:6: “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel [the church].”
Matthew 15:24: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel [the church].”
Matthew 19:28: “[Y]e which have followed me . . . ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel [the church].”
Luke 24:21: “But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel [the church].”
Would it not be prudent then to let the word “Israel” mean what God would have it mean in its consistent, designated, biblical
context, and the term “the church” be what God would have it mean in its longstanding, God-given context as well? Click here to read this entire article/booklet.
|A Trojan Horse in the Body of Christ
By Roger Oakland
Understand the Times, International
There is an interesting legendary story from Greek mythology that describes a Trojan Horse. Simply defined, one dictionary states:
[H]uge hollow wooden horse constructed by the Greeks to gain entrance into Troy during the Trojan War. The horse was built by Epeius, a master carpenter and pugilist. . . . The term Trojan horse has come to refer to subversion introduced from the outside. 
Oxford Dictionary says:
A person or thing intended to undermine or secretly overthrow an enemy or opponent: the rebels may use this peace accord as a Trojan horse to try and take over.
I find this Trojan Horse syndrome fascinating in light of the infiltration into the church by heretical and New Age ideas. My experience has been in the Calvary Chapel movement where this is happening; but this is also occurring throughout the Christian church at large. Where there was once sound biblical Christianity, it has been replaced by the current ecumenical movement and the march toward a one-world religion in the name of Christ for the cause of peace. This peace plan is led by man but actually is the plan of Satan to set up his own kingdom on planet earth. According to the Bible, this plan will unfold, but the plan will end when God puts an end to the plan with a sudden destruction (1Thessalonians 5:3).
No doubt, those reading this and other recent commentaries we have sent out will be able to tell that they are very controversial and will be seen by some as divisive. While separating truth from error is a dividing process we undertake when we use the Bible, it does indeed cause division—but division cannot be avoided. Jesus said this would happen—especially in the last days before He returns to earth. If you have read the Bible, you will know there are many signs indicating Jesus’ return is near, isn’t it?
This topic is very deep and very complex. Some who are reading this commentary may think I do not understand what I am writing about. Some say that unity of all faiths is necessary to bring peace to the world. Some say the differences between the faiths do not matter as long as everyone loves everyone. And a growing number of people (including many in the church) are saying that those who are clinging stedfastly to the Bible calling it God’s inspired Word are standing in the way of this peace and love.
Some say Jesus said there is no greater thing than love, which is true (Mark 12:30-31), but he also said: Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division” (Luke 12:51). Jesus knew there is no genuine love in compromising the truth. In context, He was saying that true love is telling those who are deceived they are deceived (i.e., speaking the truth in love). Click here to continue reading.