Friend, are you unable to read the Bible, that is, make sense of it? Or do some parts make sense, but others, such as Leviticus or Revelation or Romans seem totally bewildering? Are you desiring to go deeper, or reach a higher ground, spiritually, but your difficulty in comprehending scripture is holding you back? It may well be you need to consider that the Bible is essentially Messianic--that is, it exists to tell you about the Messiah and Savior, and virtually everything in the Bible points to Him. With this understanding, you are on your way to unlocking the scriptures and opening the door to Yeshua--for they are, in truth, a living Person, Jesus (Yeshua), who delights in His Name, the Word (John 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
Did you know the Bible, Old and New Testaments, came on scrolls such as this in the picture? When unrolled, they could be more than seventy feet long! you rolled it up at one end while unrolling and reading the other end--I am guessing since I have never read a scroll! This system worked well for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, though tablets of fire-baked clay were used in ancient societies such as Assyrians and Babylonians and other Middle Eastern civilizations, inscribed (while the clay was still moist!) with a wedge-like writing pen that produced writing called cuneiform, said to be invented by the ancient Sumerians of lower Mesopotamia (now southern Iraq). Eventually, the book form came into use, particularly through the invention of the printing press in Europe toward the end of the Middle Ages. Now thousands of books could be printed in a short time, as well as pamphlets and booklets. Once the possession of a few, and of great cost that prevented most people from ever owning one, a book could be printed and sold for a fraction of its former cost when it was in the form of a scroll made of parchment (specially treated animal hide) or papyrus (a writing paper made from pressed papyrus grass stems).
How can we take a book so for granted after hearing this? Particularly so precious a book as the Book of God--the Bible? Yet how do we treat the Bible? Take a look! How few Christians even bother to carry a Bible--or take one with them to church! You can see at a glance who really values the Bible if you watch those entering the church doors--they either carry a Bible or they don't, they either esteem the Bible as their most valuable possession, or they don't. When you have a church full Bible-totin' members, you can be pretty sure they are Berean-type Christians--the noble sort of believers who seek to study the Word of God, because they hold it their most precious possession. Christians in Paul's day did not have this privilege, as the Bible still consisted of rare individual scrolls, and no one church had all of the books of the Bible on hand, to be sure. Individuals had to be rich, very rich, to possess books, much less the Bible books. Christians of Paul's day would think we are fabulously rich, to own and treat so carelessly our wealth of Bible books, as if they are of no greater value than other books in this world. Our ignorance is a primary reason for our careless modern attitude toward the Bible--but not the whole reason. Attitude toward what is precious can also be determined by our attitude toward God. Esteeming God rightly, we will also esteem His Word, the Bible, the truth of which saves our souls from the eternal punishment sinners deserve.
We can read accounts of the sinking of the Titanic, and it is interesting how lightly some passengers treated their life-jackets (cutting them open to examine the cork for the fun of it), while others fought and killed to keep theirs. How would we treat the Bible if we really believed our spiritual lives and even our physical well-being depended on the Word of God?
For a brand-new film based on the Book of Esther that will entertain and challenge everyone, without wondering and worrying about a low rating (it is PG)--go to the place to get the names of theaters nearest you, and type in your zip code for your area's listing (you are also asked to call local theaters and ask if they will be showing the film called "A Night With the King":
"Where is that guy coming from?" A Discussion of Important Issues and Influences on the Instructor, by Duane L. Smith
"Culture Warrior," by Bill O'Reilly (go to www.amazon.com, or any bookstore), which details the unconditional, all-out war being waged against America's Judaeo-Christian foundations by secular progressives (also called secular humanists, or better: "secular retrogressives").
"Smith Wigglesworth," Apostle of Faith, biography by Stanley Howard Frodsham, Radiant Books, Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, Missouri
"George Muller, Man of Faith and Miracles," biography hy Basil Miller, Bethany Fellowship, Dimension Books, Minneapolis, Minnesota
"Tortured for Christ," autobiography of Richard Wurmbrand, Diane Books, Glendale, California
"Hope for Man in a Hopeless World," by Basilea Schlink, Bethany Fellowship, Dimension Books, Minneapolis, Minnesota
"Glory in the Church, the Coming Revival," by Edward E. Hindson, Thomas Nelson Publishers, New York/Nashville
"Czechmate," autobiographical account of imprisonment of author in a communist country for Bible smuggling
"The Everyday Guide to "God," A to Z Listing of God's Attributes, with Scriptures, by Amy Ng Wong, Humble Creek Publisher, Uhricksville, Ohio
"The Complete Book of Bible Lists," by H.L. Willmingon, Tyndale House, Wheaton, Illinois
"God Sent a Man," the story of Joseph, by Carylye B. Haynes, Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C.
"Israel Act III," The Bible and the Mideast in prophecy, by Richard Wolff, Tyndale House, Wheaton, Illinois
"Eric Liddell, Pure Gold," biography of the Chariots of Fire Olympic runner turned missionary to China, by David McCasland, Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan
"C.S. Lewis," Heroes of the Faith series biography, by Sam Wellman, Barbour Publishing, Uhrichsville, Ohio
"A Passion for the Impossible," The Life of Lilias Trotter, by Miriam Huffman Rockness, Discovery House Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan
"Jerusalem Countdown," A Warning to the world, containing a prophetic view of Iran's role in coming world events affecting or centered on Israel, with parallels between Joseph and Jesus tieing in with these events and others of the End-Times, by John Hagee, Frontline (A Strang Company), Lake Mary, Florida
But the young man's life lacked purpose and meaning...until he met Jesus Christ. Then C.T. found a consuming desire to serve Christ and introduce Him to a lost world.
Giving up both his wealth and fame, C.T. began preaching at universities with great success. In 1885, he set sail for China, where he decided he would be a better tool for God if he became more like the Chinese. So, he shaved his head (except for a pigtail), grew the long Chinese mustasche, learned to speak fluent Mandarin, and began to proclaim the Gospel. Vast numbers of people came to know Jesus Christ.
Still, C.T. was not finished. Again, he felt God's call to another distant land. In 1900, C.T. moved his family to India, learned the language, preached the Gospel, and won many to Christ.
Finally, at age 52, he returned to England as a very sick man, suffering from asthma and several diseases contracted while on the mission field.
It seemed that C.T.'s life was almost over...but, he still was not finished.
He had a vision for lost souls of yet another continent--Africa. His friends and family told him he would die if he went to Africa. 'I'll die amnyway,' he replied. So, he journeyed to Africa, learned the languages, preached the Gospel, and for he next two decades--from 1910 until his death in 1931--he brought many to salvation in Jesus Christ.
This was a man who took Christ's command literally--to go and preach the Gospel! C.T. Studd willingly gave up his wealth, comfort, and even his life to share the Gospel. I am sure his reward in heaven in beyond measure."
Sounds like the male version of Lilias Trotter?--only, being an unmarried woman frail in health, she wasn't anything like a strong, muscled young champion cricketeer! The biography of C.T. Studd was a favorite at my Bible school. I and some other Bible School students read it some years back, for it told fascinating details, such as the falling out the mission board back in England had with him over his "cruel" treatment of his parishioneers, tribal leaders particularly, in West Africa. He doubted their sincerity as born-again, converted Christians--and everyone thought him extremely mean-spirited to forbid them holy communion and Christian fellowship. He stuck to his guns, though the mission board was scandalized by his unwavering, stubborn refusal to accept the native converts as real Christians--until finally the news reached them C.T. Studd was dead right after all in his spiritual diagnosis. You see, C.T. Studd had seen through the expert lip service of these suave, play-acting "saints." Caught and exposed by the litmus test of the Holy Spirit, the West Africans confessed to the evangelist they were nothing but base hypocrites and heathens, and right then a real revival and mass conversion took place in their truly repentant hearts. It was glorious what true men of God they became from that moment on! From that event, the whole vast region of West Africa was evangelized, and millions came to know Christ--whereas, if the misguided mission board in England had gotten its way over the issue of "Christian compassion," who knows what might have happened? Millions of African souls, apparently, would have gone straight to hell and damnation if the mission board had prevailed and C.T. Studd had buckled under. Thank God, for this courageous man of God who stuck to his convictions despite all the misconceptions fine Christian people had about him! Quite possibly, Nigeria alone has more genuine Christians than Britain and Western Europe, from whence C.T. Studd came. And that very area is sending forth missionaries, some of them going to Britain, Russia, and the U.S., where they are revitalizing Christian faith and establishing leading congregations--all fruit quite possibly of the sacrificial decision of a certain English cricketeer and rich playboy who gave it all up for Christ and the Gospel.
Why do I wonder these things? The fizzled campaign against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and an absurd UN-brokered cease-fire and peace-keeping mission that will never succeed (thanks to the "iron fist, kid gloves" diplomacy and approach of Israel's present prime minister, Mr. Omert) are the least of Israel's woes. She has, indeed, other woes on the front burners, such as the fairly recent, utterly suicidal, US-forced, Sharon-brokered "land for peace" swap that resulted in Gaza and the homes and businesses of Jewish residents being turned over to Hamas terrorists, thus giving them a free rocket launching pad into the heart of Israel. Yet another is the damage done by Hezbollah both to Israel's cities, its economy in the north of the country, and in propaganda victory secured by an undefeated Hezbollah. However, there is a problem developing within Israel that poses an even greater threat to Israel's security than Hamas, Hezbollah, and the various failed policies of Mr. Omert's administration and party--it is, namely, Sodom's spirit.
That spirit has spread over the whole world. It is so pervasive and has received such powerful backing from societies and governments in so much of the world that it is becoming a global phenomenon. Middle Eastern societies have struggled with it for many centuries particularly (for that spirit has always held the Middle East as its homeland). There is a certain amount of tolerance in Islam for it, though the politically correct view of Islam presently abhors or discourages homosexual activism. Homosexual chattels (good looking young boys) were always being used by some Muslim men since the time of Mohammed (used "in a pinch" if women were not available as sex partners). I know this because I have travelled in Muslim countries of the Middle East, and lived for a year in Muslim Turkey. It is apparent that there is a "Don't tell, we won't ask" sort of policy, comparable to the U.S. military's, in place in Muslim societies, though I believe the vast majority of Muslim men would probably reject homosexuality if the issue became a public choice for them. I believe this because I never encountered a single homosexual in Muslim societies, nor saw any--they are so few and have not yet come out of the closet in Muslim society.
This is just the opposite from secular-humanist societies and nations, where demonstrations of "Gay Pride" take place routinely in virtually all the major cities. In these nations, tolerance is god, so not only tolerance is preached to the children in the schools, but "participation" in the so-called "alternative" or "homosexual lifestyle" is even being sanctioned and encouraged.
So far I should not be saying anything you do not know or have not frequently observed yourself. Israel is, however, no different--that, I find, is a most disturbing development. Satan has obviously chosen to use this important weapon in his arsenal of WMD's to destroy all nations with it, and has focused his attention on Israel, particularly because the Jews are God's Chosen People, and their land is a divinely, everlasting Covenanted Land which he intends to defile, degrade, and ultimately to destroy off the face of the earth in his vain attempt to make God's Word a lie.
In Michael Hines' article, "Worldpride Rising, Israel struggles with the 'gay rights' agenda," published in the Jerusalem POST Christian edition of August 2006, the Israeli courts are singled out as the backers of the world homosexual agenda's move to take Israel, and, particularly, its children. He warns, "Whatever happens [in the battle of Jerusalem's valiant mayor to keep the WORLDPRIDE activists from staging a parade], few appreciate that WorldPride is actually a sideshow--a catalyst at best, to draw attention to the battle brewing in the Israeli corridors of power as a tolerant, pluralistic democracy grapples with its fundamental identity as a Jewish state. It is a clash where traditional Jerusalem meets Tel Aviv hedonism." But it is far more too. Hines continues. He tells how the new Israel Education Minister Yuli Tamir has plans to start [now back in August] a project to promote homosexuality in all Israeli state schools from first grade onwards. "Meanwhile, the tourism ministry is working on plans to promote Tel Aviv as 'the gay capital of the world'."
But there is even more coming down the pike. Hines states: "...one veteran conservative activist in Jerusalem familiar with the details of the proposed curriculum put it more bluntly. 'School children would be told not only to embrace the lifestyle as an acceptable alternative [to heterosexual, monogamous marriage between one man and one woman], but would be openly encouraged to experiment with their sexuality before deciding whether they're straight or gay.'"
If this is not sickening enough, Hines addes this development to the disgusting spectacle of so-called WorldPride: "'The Youth Are Here,'-the parade's international teen gathering at the Israeli Knesset on August 7--is geared toward, in the organizer's own words: 'all boys and girls, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, friends and UNSURE BUDDIES, aged 15 to 25 [EMPHASIS is Hines']'."
Follow the "money trail"! The international WorldPride-Sodomite movement means big bucks in the pockets of Israeli hoteliers and restaurant owners and all sorts of businesses catering to tourists. Consequently, the 3 billion a year tourist industry in Israel favors encouraging the Sodomites to come and make Tel Aviv their capital. As Hines wryly observes, "It was a dramatic departure from Tourism Minister Isaac Herzog's more familiar talk of picturesque Galilee hilltops and 'the land where Jesus walked,' in a CNN Business Traveler special in June."
Surely, after this report of Michael Hines [and you are encouraged to read the entire article in the Jerusalem POST Christian edition, August 2006, pages 14-15], is there any doubt that we are in the Latter Days, which the Bible describes as being "as in the days of Noah" when all manner of violence and immorality was rampant? The spirit of Sodom was no doubt just as active then, as it is now, targeting the youngest children in public schools of Israel and in other secular-humanist dominated nations. As a righteous, holy Almighty God did back then in Noah's time to Noah's generation, will He not do to this equally depraved, defiant generation, lest Noah's generation rise up in the Judgment to declare they were unfairly treated when we are not treated the same as they were?
Friend, the Good News is that Jesus came to save sinners, and Sodomites qualify as sinners, whom He died and shed His blood to save! Jesus saved me, and so I know He can save anyone. I know I was worse than any Sodomite--and could write the book on evil, except that God has forgotten all my sin, forgiving me, and cleansing me forever clean in His sight. What He graciously did for me, His substituting for me in His suffering and death on the Cross, taking my sin's full penalty for me upon Himself, He is eager to do for you--if you still need His forgiveness and salvation.
Please do not delay taking God's free gift of life-transforming salvation by grace alone. Regarding this depraved, Sodomite, secular-humanist Western Civilization of ours, the clock of Divine Judgment is ticking, with the minute hand poised momentarily on 11:59 just before the stroke of doom at midnight.
You must read the rest of Nicky's story yourself, or see the move, telling how he was finally set free in the most unlikely way by the most unlikely person--a tall, skinny, country pastor sent by God into the inner city with the revolutionary message of God's unconditional love.
Now, in previous comments on this subject, we have mentioned the existence of a certain "Voo Doo queen" in New Orleans, and how we heard her boasting before the hurricanes struck down the levees and wrecked the city that she wasn't going away, she would pray the hurricanes off (or use magic) to divert them as she successfuly did (she claimed) in the past.
Well, something went wrong with her spirits this time--they lost control or must have been asleep or busy elsewhere, apparently, and "her" New Orleans was destroyed, sweeping away her Voo Doo throne and base of Satanic operations. But now I am sorry to say I hear Voo Doo (and perhaps its queen) is back, with the re-starting of the Voo Doo Music Festival! Isn't this incredible? Did New Orleans learn nothing--absolutely nothing from the disaster?
We must, as Chistians, pray for this poor, ignorant, sin-enslaved city, that the Gospel spread and take real control, instead of Voo Doo and its demons from hell. The New Orleans people praising this festival have no idea what they are asking to happen once again to them--the repeated destruction of New Orleans.
How can God protect a city returned to Voo Doo and magic and spiritism like a dog returns to its vomit? As the Bible gives ample record, God will not always hold back judgment and destruction, for there is a spiritual law, like gravity, that applies to those who continually break it. The law is the wonderful moral law of God--and it is specified, point by point, in the Ten Commandments--the only basis of any life-preserving, life-protecting society. Break this moral law, and you and I will reap what we sow. New Orleans (not because it was more wicked than other U.S. cities, for that is debatable when you compare Nola with San Francisco and Seattle, but because it WAS wicked, was allowed by God's mercy to suffer the consequences of its breaking of the moral law, after decades and decades of mercy and restrained judgment. Finally, to save SOME out of this wicked city, the hurricanes were allowed to take their course by Divine Mercy. Nature does not distinguish between good and bad cities, of course, and God is not a vengeful God in the least--but offend the moral law instituted by a loving God for mankind's preservation, offend and break it repeatedly and contemptuously for as long as you want, and it will recoil and smite you with death and terrible destruction--writing "Alas, you brought it on yourselves!" over your heap of rubble.
It is actually a severe but divine mercy to allow such a thing to happen--that some might be saved and come to know a loving Jesus Christ the Savior, and not all perish in their sins, seving their lord and slavemaster, Satan. Someday Nola will not exist, but the souls--they are immortal, and their destiny is more important than a material city anyday!
It is not a "Great City" as the political mind likes to call it for the sake of gathering political support. It is only a "Great City" if the people turn back to God and serve and honor God and Christ. Until then, it is a glittering harlot perched on the banks on the Mississipi, beckoning souls to moral destruction with her alluring and deceptive charms. Please go to "Doors of Life" by Bryan Schroeder, which describes this harlot of the world as a Door of the World. The Door of the World is followed by another he identifies that lead to death and destruction, the Door of Flesh (or Human Desire and Selfishness). And the third door is the best, the Door of God's Love which, when chosen, leads to eternal life.
While on this subject of premeditated murder, we need to pray--would you join me and my mother?--for Saddam Hussain, and his two henchmen in mass murder (one is his half-brother), all three condemned to be hung for their murder of over 100 innocent Shiites, the sentence finally given in their case by the trial judge in Iraq (I first wrote, tellingly, "Babylon."). Now everyone knows Hussain attack his neighboring states of Kuwait and Iran on both sides of him and is responsible for at least a million deaths in the ranks of his neighbor's armies, and routinely murdered hundreds of thousands, used gas warfare and bombs on Kurdis villages, and routinely tortured young girls and children to death--after they were raped, of course. He also executed fathers while their children and wives were forced to watch. No cruelty was spared his victims. Graveyards all over Iraq are bursting with the bones of his mass killings (and he is still heartily defended in this country and loved by many of his Sunnite minority in Iraq!) But this paticular massacre of Shiites after an assassination attempt on his wretched life was well-documented and easily adjudicated. If only he knew Jesus loves him--despite his crimes and murders. Has nobody ever told him, so that he might have a chance to be saved? If anyone can yet reach him--tell him! He needs to know the Savior, Jesus, who is His only Hope.--Ed.