Popular images reveal Heaven to be a final destination of tranquility and peace, almost a boring place, to where we go when we die, a glorious retirement home far, far away.
John the Revelator had a much different vision of Heaven; he “looked, and, behold, a door was open in Heaven.”—Rev 4:1
John walks us through Heaven’s door by writing of fantastic images, which are far from serene and placid.
The Throne Room of God is a war room, from where the Lamb that was Slain strategizes against the Dragon (the Devil). The City of God, the New Jerusalem, is engaged in a great struggle with the City of Man, Babylon. Angels are battling with demons. Twenty-four elders of the faith are teaming with strange beasts and mighty angels.
The ages old struggle between good and evil is vividly portrayed by John as he reveals from a heavenly perspective the warfare between the Church and the World. Sometimes the Church has the upper hand and other times the World is reigning. John describes the grand struggle from Jesus Death and Resurrection to his glorious and triumphant return–and beyond.
Three times in The Revelation we hear this phrase applied to the Almighty – “Who was, and is, and is to come.” As God is the God of the past, the present and the future, so John describes with vivid symbols mysterious and frightening events that have happened, that are happening and that will happen in Heaven and on Earth over a span of millenniums.
Join us in our study from the Smock living room at 7 AM, June 19, for an unveiling of Heaven. Why wait until death, when John offers us a tour de force of the heavenly kingdom now!
The spiritual realm is all around us. We are encompassed by a great cloud of witness; they are not afar off. This study is an opportunity to have the eyes of your understanding opened.
Paul gives us the key to entering into this open door in Heaven, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”—Col 3:1-2.
“For I know him (Abraham), that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring on Abraham that which he has spoken of him.”—Genesis 18:19
Abraham set the standard for all fathers to put God first. God rewarded Abraham for his obedience and Abraham became a great and powerful nation, and through him all the nations of the earth are blessed.”—Gen 18:18
Abraham through the sacrifice of his son, Isaac, blessed the nations. Since Jesus sacrifice, all the nations of the earth, which believe, are blessed through the apple of his eye, which is the church.
Children are you keeping the way of the LORD and doing justice and judgment? That is how you may bless and make happy all God-fearing fathers.
To Make America Great Again we need strong fathers, obedient children, and a church without spot or wrinkle. A nation is only as strong as its families and its churches.
Atheists do not make a distinction between Jews who could become indentured servants for six years then freed the seventh year, and pagans who could be enslaved for a life time.
This skeptic claimed that a man could sell his daughter as a sex slave according to the Book of Exodus. Exodus 21:7-8 does speak of a father who might sell his daughter as a “maid servant” to a prosperous man to be his wife or to be his son’s wife. If she was to be the son’s wife, the master was to treat her as a daughter. These laws protected the girl from sexual exploitation, and gave her the opportunity to improve her station in life.
The atheist also objected to the passage in Exodus 21 where if a man beats his servant to death, the master is to be punished with death; however, if the servant survives a day or two the master shall not be punished because the servant is his property. I suppose that the assumption is that if the servant survives for a few days it was not the master’s intent to murder but to discipline. So it is enough punishment to the master that he has lost valuable property.
Slavery was not part of God’s original plan for man; but when man sold himself to the slavery of sin and idolatry, God used chattel slavery as a form of judgment. Men can forfeit their right to freedom through sin. God’s man, Moses, was the greatest slave emancipator of history. Slavery is only a sin if it goes beyond God’s regulations of the institution. The Bible is not written primarily to promote outward social change. It promotes change from within by motivating men to love their fellows, even their enemies.
Critics of the Bible’s position on slavery are usually statists, who would make us all slaves of the socialist state. They sell out their own freedom; because they do not want to take on the responsibility of providing their own food, clothing, shelter, and health care. Slaves living under Biblical regulations, compared to the slaves of pagans like the Egyptians and Romans, were treated relatively well. They may well have had better provisions than many freemen.
Statists prefer the promises of the security under socialism over the high risks involved in freedom. Many Americans are forfeiting their freedom by their refusal to govern themselves in the light of “the laws of Nature and Nature’s God.” Such people are not truly American; they tend to be internationalists, like Master Obama.
Most of college students have no appreciation of freedom. They have freedom confused with license. They would make us all slaves of Master Obama. Personally, I do not care to become a part of Obama’s Plantation with it social planners (overseers) from the Democratic Party.
Some of the objection and even resentment of Jesse Duplantis spending 54 million on a jet air plane is a failure of people and Christians in particular to either understand or appreciate basic principles of economics, especially as it relates to capitalism and investment. Folks we are not talking about a zero-sum socialist game, where one person’s gain is another person’s loss. Or as other critics of capitalism put it, “The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.”
Value is not an arbitrary sum determined by fiat nor is it determined by the labor involved in producing something as Marx taught. Real value is all in your mind. It is how much you want something. And the way to determine how much you desire something is to see what you are willing to trade for it. Jesse wants the plane badly and he claims that Jesus wants him to have it, Jesse is willing to trade 54 million dollars for the desire of his heart.
If two parties trade, both voluntarily, obviously, both parties think that their wealth increased. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t have willingly traded. And if both sides think they got more value than they gave up, then, since it is all in their head anyway, they did! And BINGO! wealth is increased.
Jesse or at least his ministry will be richer if he gets the funds to buy his jet. When he pays Dassault Aircraft 54 million, Dassault will think they got the best of the deal in that they would prefer to have the money than the plane or an inactive assembly line and Jesse thinks he got the best of the transaction because he would prefer the plane to the dollars.
Think of all the jobs Dassault is providing for its workers, since Jesse wants his jet. The laborers and technicians now have more money to buy their modes of transportation, perhaps they will purchase some American made trucks.
Think of the job Jesse provides for his pilot and his mechanic to take care of the plane. The hamper where he stores the plane will profit. Jesse claims he will save money by not having to make additional fuel stops by landing in parts of the world where fuel is more expensive.
Jesse’s saving is gain for the American economy and for the gas and oil companies, thus helping to make America wealthy again, which could result in Trump getting reelected. Everybody, is thinker bigger now that we have a builder instead of a socialist who never creates any wealth but merely redistributes existing wealth.
Jesse will be able to travel with his team of musicians and other helpers to his ministry thus providing them jobs and opportunities to be a blessing and save more souls wherever he flies.
I could go on and on concerning the wealth that is going to be created by Jesse getting his jet. So, don’t deny Jesse his blessing; it will create wealth and I will take wealth over poverty any day. Hey, I might end up talking myself into sending an offering. On the second thought, maybe the Lord is saying something about a jet to me; I need to start listening more carefully.
Did you watch the Memorial Service at Arlington with the President presenting the wreath and his moving remarks?
When the President was introduced, he was wildly cheered by the people attending, which I assume was mostly made up of military families. They love the President.
The President paid tribute to Bob Dole (94) and the oldest survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack (106); both stood with the help of attendants and waved. He also honored the fallen heroes, whose families were present.
The son of one of our heroes is graduating from Liberty University and is going to join the armed forces and serve like his father did.
An about 8-year-old boy, who has become a friend of the President, was dressed sharply in a full marine uniform with cap and all. Earlier he had introduced the President to his father at his grave sight in Arlington.
Sara Huckabee Sanders, who is a hero in her own right, loomed behind these families. She takes bullets for the President from the snipers of the press in the W.H. briefings every day. And believe me, she knows how to fire back like a machine gun cutting them down one by one.
The President, as he always does in his ceremonial duties, struck just the right tone. I remember the media and Trump’s other political opponents during the campaign constantly questioning whether Donald Trump, with his politically incorrect and outspoken words and sometimes even personal insults, would be able to handle the official responsibilities of a President.
Candidate Trump assured everyone that he was raised well and knew how to behave when necessary. Those of us who were early on the Trump train knew this and had no doubts.
Reagan was also good in presidential rituals; however, he did not have the unique ability to get off script to connect with individuals and families that Trump has.
President Trump referred to God often in his speech and he reassured the families that their valiant and sacrificial husbands and fathers were “looking down from Heaven” with approval.
After all, did not Jesus say? “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”—John 15:13. These men laid down their lives for God, Country, and their comrades at arms.
After the ceremony ended the President, Secretary Mattis, generals, and other dignitaries spent time with the families.
I was disappointed when Fox News continued its inane chatter during the prayer and the Battle Hymn of the Republic. I switched to C-Span to catch the end of the prayer and all the rest of the religious aspects of the ceremony. C-Span will be doing reruns of the ceremony throughout the day. I recommend that if you missed it to tune in.
Campus or Street? Because my husband and I preach in the open air, sometimes we are wrongly called street preachers. Street preachers usually have it harder than us. Here are the differences
1. On the street, there is no place for a crowd to gather or sit
2. On the street, people are often under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
3. Because of the above, there is little opportunity for storytelling, Biblical explanations and Q&A on the streets; but these are a big part of campus preaching.
4. The hardest thing about campus preaching is developing a repertoire of mini-sermons and stories to hold the attention of unbelievers.
5. Both campus and street preachers are masters of the one-liner. Both get questions!
6. Both campus and street preachers see great fruit from sideline conversations
7. Both street and campus preaching are vital.
Have you done either or both? Which do you prefer and why?
For science to continue to advance there must be a continued recognition that the physical world is real and that it functions according to natural/physical laws.
The Christian religion has a word view the fortifies the idea that there are physical laws within the universe, that are discoverable and understandable.
Also, Christianity values and rewards truth and honesty, which any true scientist must respect. Thus, the Christian religion, when obeyed, keeps the scientist honest.
Christianity with its emphasis on learning (building the greatest universities of the world) ushered in the age of science; most of the men, who made the early scientific breakthroughs, were men of faith.
Pentecost Sunday memorializes the Christian festival celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit on the disciples ten days after Jesus’ Ascension, held on the seventh Sunday after Easter. Pentecost is a Greek word meaning fifty, Easter +49 days.
Last week I visited Bethel Church in Redding, which acknowledged Mother’s Day as most churches do, which is fine. Unfortunately, even Pentecostals rarely celebrate the Day of Pentecost, which is Biblical. We celebrate Christmas and Easter but usually not Pentecost.
Negative comment on my eyewitness report of the Bethel claimed that the church represents New Age mysticism. Pentecost ushered in a New Age, the Church Age with a mighty mystical experience, when the 120 were filled with the Holy Spirit accompanied with the evidence of speaking in tongues.
I spoke on the subject of Pentecostal at Praise Chapel in Yuba City; and did a FaceBook live stream.
We need a fresh outpouring of the Holy Ghost. Pentecost as not merely a historical event; the Holy Spirit is ever present to endue the Church with power to make Her great and powerful once again. The Church should be the dominating influence in America and the world; we need revival and Pentecost is the key.
Play it again, dear Jesus.
“Finally, sir, I may be permitted to say that all his moral nature was based on profound religious convictions. While making no ostentatious professions of religion, and not a member of any church, his mind, liberalized by the reading of modern science and philosophy, yet clung to the primal truths of Christ’s teaching—God, virtue, and immortality. In the charter of the new university he prohibits sectarian instruction, but requires the teaching of “the immortality of the soul, the existence of an all-Wise and beneficent Creator, and that obedience to His laws is the highest duty of man.” After his son’s death his thoughts turned with increasing solemnity to contemplate the vast issues of the eternal life.
Like ancient Cato, as reported by Cicero, he might have said:
Glorious day, when I shall remove from this confused crowd to join the divine assembly of souls! For I shall go not only to meet great men, but also my own son Cato. His spirit, looking back upon me, departed to that place whither he knew that I should soon come, and he has never deserted me.
If I have borne his loss with courage, it is because I consoled myself with the thought that our separation would not be for long.
In whichever of its many aspects we contemplate the life of LELAND STANFORD, as a successful and honorable merchant, as a great chief of industry, as a patriotic war governor, as a Senator of the United States, as a wise and generous philanthropist, he reveals himself as a unique and commanding figure in our country’s history and a noble type of American manhood. ”
Peace to his ashes and honor to his memory!”
Bethel Church in Redding, California has a congregation of 8000 in a town of 92,000. I am impressed, whenever I see that many people spending two hours in church, plus there are other things going on throughout the week. Many of the multitude are not mere pew sitters but they are active in the ministry.
Brother Mikhail and I entered the sanctuary about 30 minutes before the service started and there was a line stretching across the altars of trained disciples praying for peoples’ needs from the previous service.
The Bethel House is built on prayer. Outside the church building there is a hill top chapel devoted to 24-hour prayer with large windows overlooking a beautiful vista. The garden surrounding the prayer chapel makes it an ideal place for prayer walks. There must have been 25 folks praying inside and outside the chapel 30 minutes after the service ended.
The worship team played contemporary music; I was not familiar with any of the songs; however, the lyrics were definitely directed towards the Lord. The music was not too loud. There were two dancers, waving banners throughout the worship time, which lasted for 40 minutes. People were very much entering in to the praise period.
One of the pastors encouraged the congregation with two words “fresh grace” and “breakthrough.” He then asked the congregation to pray in the context of the two words and lay hands on neighbors. Two women prophesied briefly over me. One quoted from Philippians 3, “forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”
There was an offering taken and buckets passed; there was no pressure or promises of return connected with the offering. The church is in the process of building a new campus; hopefully, within the next three to five years. It appears they are making wise use of their finances.
One of the pastors spoke on the plans of the church to rent an old ornate movie theater downtown. They anticipated they would be filling it with 1000 worshipers each Sunday. They told downtown merchants, especially restaurants and coffee shops that they might want to stay open on Sundays, because they will be encouraging their people to eat or shop before and after services. Bethel has a vision to bringing prosperity to the city of Redding, as the church prospers.
A lady of the church, who had been connected with the ministry for over 20 years, asked all the single mothers with children at home to stand. She honored the moms for fulfilling a very difficult task. We were encouraged to give money directly to these dozen women. They were quite moved by the compassion the congregation demonstrated.
Senior Pastor Bill Johnson was not in the service. Pastor Eric introduced his wife Candance as the speaker. I suppose since it was Mother’s Day the ministry wanted a female perspective. Her theme was on building, “Strong People, Strong Families and a Strong City,” thus showing the Dominion or Kingdom Now perspective of Bethel.
Candance testified that she had been saved in an A/G church at fifteen and soon after went on a mission to Mexico. From then on, she had a burden for missions. She went through some of the YWAM program and later graduated from Bethany College of the Assemblies of God in Santa Cruz, where she met her husband. She initially had difficulty dealing with the isolation of Redding, since she had a vision for the nations of the world.
Candance warned that there may be seasons in our life, when our situation does not make sense; meanwhile we must praise and trust God. She spoke of longsuffering being a fruit of the Spirit. Eventually, with the rise of Bethel’s Revival Training School of thousands of students from all over the world, God brought the nations to Bethel, thus she could now reach into the world from Redding.
She reminded us of the faith of Abraham and Sarah, who had to wait for 25 years for their Isaac, which shows that we need to believe what God says. This is important in a church with so much emphasis on the prophetic word to individuals.
One of the pastors made an altar call for salvation, healing and deliverance after Candance’s message. Scores of people responded.
Steve Conn an old friend from Praise Chapel Redding, where I had ministered last time in 1991, joined us in the service. I had not seen him since speaking in his church; however, we have been in contact on Face Book. We walked to the Prayer building after Church where Brother Steve, Brother Mikhail, and I took communion just among the three of us.
This is an outstanding work; the emphasis is that revival is associated with the supernatural. In Acts 8, Philip the Evangelist had a revival in Samaria. “The people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spoke, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.”—Acts 8:6.
Bethel is getting world-wide attention because of the reports of the supernatural in their services and multitudes are coming to know the Lord.
I did not hear or see anything bizarre or weird in the three hours we spent on the church grounds. I would caution Christians not to judge the ministry based on its critics on the internet; most of whom have not first-hand observed the ministry. Much of the criticism comes from cessationists, who teach that spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing ceased with the apostolic age.
There are always the critics. There are those who have put out videos and writings against my ministry on the Internet, that misrepresent what The CMUSA is all about, which is reaching out for the salvation of souls.
I am now in Yuba City, CA, hosted by an old pastor friend, Chris Madsen. He said this evening, “From my experience, the critics are the ones who have little success in the ministry.”