Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thyatira, The Corrupt Church

Of the seven churches addressed by John, the fourth church, Thyatira, is the smallest yet it received the longest message. (Rev 2:18-29) This corrupt church was located 42 miles inland from the Aegean Sea in an alluvial plain between the Hermus and Calcius rivers . There were no natural geographical formations like steep mountains or deep rivers to provide it with a good base from which to defend its position. Its sole purpose was to act as the first line of defense in front of a hostile advancing army and to hinder their movement while the kingdom's main forces were mustered deeper behind the battlefront.

The history of thyatira consists of being controlled by the leading powers of the time, whether it was Alexander’s Greece, the Pergamon Kingdom, Antiochene empire, or the Roman Empire. Because it was so easily overrun, for most of it's history it remained a relatively small city compared to that of Ephesus and Pergamum. However, after Rome introduced Pax Romana, it settled into becoming a fairly peacefull city that boasted more trade guilds than in any other Asian city of its time. From excavated coins it is evident that guilds of carpenters, tent makers, bakers, bronze smiths, wool workers, potters, linen weavers, tanners and the famous dyers of purple were all active in the city. Lydia the seller of purple was from this city (Act 16:14). We do not know if this church was founded by Lydia or not, but it did grow in time to be a very wealthy church. Unfortunately it probably grew wealthy because of its members compromising their values by listening to the advice of a certain prophetess.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Scotty Beam Me Up!

It seems like some men around the world think that
getting a sexually transmitted disease is a badge of honor not shame. It truly is sad that we do not shame those
who participate in activities that can lead to a lifetime of pain and suffering for some. But like the days of Sodom and Gomorrah, evil is considered good, and good is considered evil. Just as Paul warned Timothy about when he wrote,
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. 2Timothy 2:1-4
So here we are in 2009 where homosexuality is not just accepted as normal sexual behavior, but it is touted by many as a healthy lifestyle. If they get married at all, men and women treat marriage like high school dating by getting married then divorced then married again without even considering the consequences. Churches even condone these practices by allowing those who practice such immoral behavior to even be priests. Now we have a portion of the world's male population looking upon sexual diseases as if they are a badge of honor, not shame. Check out this story from Sweden, “Chlamydia helps young men feel more 'manly': Swedish study

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Christ's Message to the Church of Pergamos

In my ongoing review on the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, I began by sharing my understanding of certain aspects of the end times and how I see them. Then last week I started a review of the letters Jesus dictated to His disciple John while he was a prisoner on the island of Patmos. This week I will cover the letter to Pergamos, the compromising church.
The Roman historian Pliny called the city of Pergamum the most illustrious city in Asia because of all its statues, temples, monuments, and public buildings. Strategically located high on a humped or cone shaped hill that dominated the Caicus plain, Pergamum had an excellent view of the sea and distant mountain ranges making it an important military town that was fortified and well defended. Both Smyrna and Pergamum were a part of the same kingdom ruled by Attalus III, who was shrewd enough to help Rome defeat the Seleucids during the Punic Wars. When Attalus died in 133 BC he bequeathed his domain to the Roman Empire. Thus Pergamum realized a partnership with Rome that would last the duration of the Roman Empire’s dominance in Asia.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Messages to the Churches of Revelation

While a prisoner on the island of Patmos John was visited by Christ who told him, "What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea." He was told to address each letter to “the angel of the church”as represented by seven stars which were the angels of the seven churches, and the ”seven lampstands” which were the seven churches. (Rev 1:20) Popular opinion says that the angel refers to the person who publicly represents the church as its leader. Some however have put forth the opinion that the angel represents an emissary or messenger sent from each church who visited John while he was in prison as Paul was visited while imprisoned in Rome.
But I have received everything in full and have an abundance; I am amply supplied, having received from Epaphroditus what you have sent, a fragrant aroma, an acceptable sacrifice, well-pleasing to God. (Phil 4:18)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Have you ever just wanted to say Do Wah Ditty and couldn't remember the words?

I just wanted to put this here for the love of my life, my wife



If I knew how to write a song
I’d write one everyday
It would say that I’m in love with you
And why I feel this way

It would have to say you’re pretty
And as rare as a desert rose
It would say you’re a looker
From your head down to your toes

You are funny, dainty, fragile
And as feminine as can be
You’re smart charming lovely
And everything to me

You’re my comfort when I’m lonely
You’re my peace when I need rest
Of all the women I’ve known
I must rate you the best.

You’re the orchard in the jungle,
you’re the better half of me
You’re all of this and so much more,
you mean the world to me

Still so much is left unsaid,
It would take me far to long
I know how much I love you,
If only I could write a song.

by, Stormbringer

Monday, August 10, 2009

Saturday, August 8, 2009

My Understanding of The End Times

As I watched the events of the week unfold before my eyes, I was struck by the way we as a nation have been transformed from a fairly stable capitalist Republic into a very shaky Socialist state almost overnight. Then as I prepared my outline on the seven churches of Revelation for my Sunday sermon, I found myself reading the term paper I wrote in seminary class a few years back on the book of Revelation. Considering the speed at which things have evolved in the past year, it is my opinion that what I wrote back then is relevant to today's discussion. Remember, I wrote this four years ago when George Bush was still our President, and Barack Obama was still an absentee voter in the Illinois state senate. Well, here is the summary I wrote for that term paper.

Most interpretations of the “End Times” contain good arguments and can, with enough quotes from the Scriptures, persuade even the best scholars that their claim as to what John’s visions mean, is correct. I have personally spent endless hours in an attempt to get a better understanding of the many prophecies about the end times. With an endless supply of differing opinions available for research and extensive study into the validity of these opinions, I am prepared to agree that the futurists probably come closest to what John saw while on the Island of Patmos. While I do agree with the essentials of the futurist’s beliefs, I must point out that I do not wholly agree in the way many futurists see the events taking place. I do not pretend to know how the Lord will bring about the end, but as I stated I do agree with the gist of the dispensational futurist view of the end times. I just currently disagree with many of their minute details. I say “currently lean” because as my study of the Scriptures continue, along with new insights and unfolding events presenting themselves, in time I might think differently then I do at the present.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Sarahs Choice

It seems that the biggest response I see from questions about the GOP is who will lead. It's quite understandable when you consider that the GOP has not had a real leader since Newt Gingrich. Oh yea we all rallied behind GW, but other than the war on terrorism, he would not lead. Even in his defense of the war he was more willing to get along with the opposition than to defeat them. Well, here we are in mid summer 2009, and we are still wondering who will lead us.

Sad when you consider that the way Obama and his allies in the MSM are attempting to roll over the American people as if we were no more than bums in the street. I kept asking my self, where is the Republican voice? Who will stand up with us, the people, and demand that evil be called evil? Who will dare step on the toes of the anointed one and tell him he is naked? Where is the the voice of reason from the the GOP? Well here she is ladies and gentleman, I give you Sarah Palin, the Bear from Alaska, a Kodiak. Or if you would, a tiger the Democrats cannot tame. Yes a woman who has more gonads then the whole Republican leadership combined.

Beating Down The People

Obama has given the orders and his Chicago style thugs have taken the challenge to the the people to beat them down and force them to accept the Messiah's decrees. During the Presidential campaign we learned many things about Obama that most Americans would not heed. On June 14, 2008 Obama told a crowd in Philadelphia on June 14, "If They Bring a Knife to the Fight, We Bring a Gun, because from what I understand folks in Philly like a good brawl. I’ve seen Eagles fans.” Then a few months later on September 17, he told a crowd in Las Vegas, "I want you to argue with them and get in their face". We even saw Obama's supporters using Chicago style tactics on election day to intimidate anyone who might not vote for him. Black Panthers Intimidate Voters in Philadelphia. So I am not surprised to see what is going on across this country where union thugs are intimidating and beating up Americans who are just practicing their constitutional right of questioning their representatives to Congress.
After all just a few days ago that David Axlerod, Obama's senior advisor, told the Democrats to "Punch back twice as hard". Then just yesterday in front an invitation only fundraiser crowd for gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, Obama said "I don't want the folks who created the mess to do a lot of talking. I want them to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess." Well what do you know, the man who's only experience has been that of a community organizer mow wants to demonize community activism. Welcome to Chicago politics my friends.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Where Are Today's Patriots Who Are Willing To Sacrifice Everything?

In the times we live, I am often reminded of the men who gave all, so that I can enjoy the freedom I do. I guess that is why I get so angry when I see what the current rulers of this country have in store for me, you, and our descendants. Men, greater than I could ever hope to be, offered everything they had in this world, because they wanted freedom for their descendants, us. Freedom that Obama and his socialist friends desire to take away from us all. Well, I have only one question to ask, "Where Are Today's Patriots Who Are Willing To Sacrifice Everything"?
What follows is a what many only read around July 4, but today is a good time to read it again. It is about the sacrifice 56 men offered so that we could be free. As you read what happened to them, consider how afraid we are to even talk about what we must do.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Isaiah, the Fifth Evangelist

In today's message, I would like to broaden your understanding of the book Christ read from while in the synagogue of His home town, Luke_4:16-30 so that you may better appreciate the book written by the Fifth Evangelist. While Isaiah is the most often quoted prophet in the New Testament, his book can be as obscure as it is interesting. Even many Christians will admit they know very little about the book and what it has to offer for their walk with Christ. Other than being familiar with a few famous passages that foretold the advent of Christ Isa_9:6 and his suffering Isa_53:1-12, most people don’t know that there are prophecies that coincide with the book of Revelations. Isa_13:1-13, Isa_14:1-22. Unfortunately, because of their unfamiliarity they miss out on the true gift Isaiah has to offer.

From the beginning of time the Lord had a plan of salvation for mankind, Gen_3:15. "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel."Ecc_3:15 "That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by." However, the first mention of His plan to give us the gift of His Son is Gen_3:15. The last mention of His plan for our salvation is in the book of Revelations, Rev_22:20 "He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming quickly.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus". A promise that may be truly said to every person in every age, Jesus the Judge is at the door. In Isaiah, you will find God's plan for the salvation of mankind Isa_53:10, His plan of judgment for the world, and those who would refuse his gift Isa_13:6-13. His birth Isa_9:6, His death Isa_53:8, and His resurrection Isa_53:10are also foretold within the pages of this book. We can either ignore Isaiah's prophecies like the Jews did or, as Christ taught, we can embrace them.

This is the first time the Lord spoke of a savior for mankind and He did so at the very dawning of the gospel day. No sooner was the deadly poisonous wound given than the remedy was provided and revealed. The Lord had planed from the beginning that the one who was first deceived would be the one through whom the guilt of the world would fall. Since sin is handed down through the man, the sin nature of man was not handed down to the Messiah. So He is truly the unblemished Lamb whom the Lord accepted as the perfect sin offering. One can even glean from the Scriptures that the Lord had a plan for salvation even before He spoke the heavens and the earth into existence.

I called Isaiah the “Fifth Evangelist”, and I did so because Isaiah described what would happen to Christ for our salvation in such a way that one would think he had a front row seat at Golgotha. Not even John, the most beloved and only apostle to witness His crucifixion, wrote as detailed an account as Isaiah did. No, Isaiah the Prophet was not present, instead he received a first hand account from the very One who would suffer on that cross. So when you look at the way Isaiah spoke of future events, as if they were in his past, it’s easy to see why he is often referred to as either the fifth Evangelist or the first Apostle of Christ.

Isaiah's first reference to the Messiah is not a prophecy of His birth but a prophecy that the Jews would reject Him Isa_6:9-10. When you look at the traditions of the ancient writers you find that very seldom is the birth or childhood of a famous person mentioned. The Jews were exceptions in that they often mentioned the day of birth, but it was a man's accomplishments as an adult that gave the scribes a reason to write about him or his childhood. While Isaiah foretells many aspects of what the Messiah's life would entail, such as His birth Isa_7:14, His ministry Isa_9:1-2, and His many miracles Isa_35:5-6, it is the Lords rejection by the Jews that Isaiah mentions first. Without the Jews rejection of Christ the gentiles would not have been saved, thus it only makes sense that this would be the first prophecy Isaiah mentions. So just as they rejected the Lord time and time again throughout their history, they would also reject the very One they looked forward to for salvation.

Like many other prophets, Isaiah was also rejected and ultimately murdered by those he was sent to by the Lord. Christ would even allude to these rejection and murder in his parable of the absent landowner. Matt 21:33-44Isaiah came bearing a plan, given by God, for the restoration of the remnant of Israel who would truly return to Him. This plan also included the redemption for all mankind as Isaiah repeatedly pointed out Isa_11:10, Isa_49:1, Isa_53:10-12, Isa_59:15-16. Through Isaiah's writings, the Jews should have known that the Lord was also sending the Messiah to save the hated gentiles. As we now know, the Jews would be the first to persecute the Christians. Even before they crucified their Messiah they were expelling his believers from the sanctuaries John_9:28-34. Isaiah also conveys to us the compassion the Lord has for His chosen people and His desire for their redemption. Isa_65:19, Isa_65:24.

What an amazing prophecy! Long before I was born God knew I would be knee deep in transgressions against Him, and even before I called on His name he came to my rescue. When God destroyed the world by water, Noah and his family needed an
Ark designed by God Himself to survive the Flood. As Christians, we realize that we also need a type of an Ark and for us that Ark is Christ. Through Isaiah, God gives us the blueprints for that Ark. Unlike the Ark that saved Noah and his family however, the Ark Christians depend upon was completely constructed by God. It is this Ark that was promised from the day Adam and Eve ate from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”.Gen_3:1-7 Isaiah wrote about this some 760 years before the birth of Christ. Throughout the Bible we have evidence of the Lord's promises, and all we need to do is have faith in those promises, just as we have faith in the promise Jesus gave Nicodemus . “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. Jhn_3:16 For those who are skeptical about the timing of these prophecies, the evidence we have is backed up by many overwhelming facts as to the Historicity of the Scriptures. When the “Dead Sea Scrolls” were discovered, it was learned that the current translation of Isaiah has not changed through the years, other than a few nondescript grammatical errors. But probably the best proof of God's promises is the fulfillment by Jesus of the more than 120 Isaiah prophecies about the coming Messiah. Along with hundreds of other Old Testament prophecies fulfilled by Jesus, I believe it takes an act of mental ignorance to ignore the prophetic evidence of God's faithfulness to follow through on His promises.

As for me, I have no reason to doubt the future fulfillment of the Lord's remaining promises. By studying Isaiah and his many prophecies, I have learned to see what they really represent; the Eternal as opposed to the temporal. The when, where, who, and how are just temporal, but the Eternal is what is promised and that is where my hope lies. My faith through the grace of God has allowed me to be washed by the Blood of the Lamb. My parched soul has been renewed by the life giving water flowing from the Rock that follows me through this desert of sin called the world. My salvation was paid for Christ' victory on Calvary, and I am assured of eternal life because of His resurrection. While I anxiously await His return so that I may enjoy an eternal rest in His Glory, I invite you to join me by accepting Christ as your Lord and savior.

I pray that those who have ears to hear will hear His voice and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.