TODAYS LATEST WORLD NEWS ARTICLES, DAILY SCRIPTURE, AND NEWS CLIPS SUNDAY DECEMBER 03rd 2017

DAILY SCRIPTURE:

 

1Cor. 10:26 For the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof

 

GROUNDED IN REASON … THE FOUR FACTORS OF FAITH

Gracethrufaith.com – Jack Kelley

If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. Luke 17:6

Abraham had waited 20 years for the son God had promised him. He and Sarah even had a son with the help of a surrogate mother, but the Lord had told him Ishmael was not the son He had promised.  Finally Isaac was born, the one through whom God would bless all mankind (Genesis 21:12).  But some years later, before any of these blessings came to pass, God directed Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering. Though heart broken, Abraham took Isaac to the place the Lord had picked out, built an altar there and placed his son upon it (Genesis 22:1-10).

The Prophet Elijah was beside himself. The Israelites kept vacillating between worshiping God and Baal. Their indecision was driving him crazy and he let them know it. “How long will you waver between two opinions? If God be God then worship Him. But if it’s Baal, then worship him.” After much prayer he arranged a public demonstration. Challenging the priests of Baal to a contest, he had two altars built and two bulls slaughtered and placed on the altars. The people gathered to watch. Then he told them that whichever god sent down fire to consume the offering is the one they should worship. Everyone agreed, and the priests of Baal began calling their god.

All morning long they danced, cut themselves with knives as part of their religious ritual and called out to Baal.  During the afternoon Elijah began taunting them, suggesting their god was perhaps busy or traveling or in the bathroom, and they became even more ecstatic in their worship, but alas, no fire. Then about sunset Elijah had his altar doused in water three times and began to pray, reminding God of their earlier agreement (1 Kings 18:16-37).

The court was in a panic. The King of Babylon had just ordered the execution of all his advisers for failing to interpret a dream. Daniel, like the calm in the midst of a raging storm, promised the King’s assistant that he would interpret the King’s dream, thus saving the lives of all the advisers. Then he ran home to pray with his friends. He hadn’t a clue as to what the dream was or what it meant, and was counting the Lord to tell him (Daniel 2:1-18).

What’s Reasonable?

I think it was Josh MacDowell who said we don’t have to check our brains at the church door to worship God.  Christianity is a thinking person’s religion, and our Lord expects us to use the intellect He has so generously given us. The examples I’ve given above are meant to illustrate that point.

When Abraham took Isaac to Mt. Moriah, he reasoned that since God had said all His promised blessings to Abraham’s descendants would flow through Isaac, then if Abraham sacrificed him there, God would have to raise him from the dead (Hebrews 11:17-19). He knew that God could not break the covenant promise He had made. As he placed Isaac on the altar, God stopped him and told him to use a ram that was caught in a nearby thicket instead. Then Abraham and Isaac understood that they were acting out a prophecy of the time when the Lord would offer His only Son as a sacrifice for sin on that same spot. Abraham named the place “Jehovah Jireh” the Lord will provide, and from then on it was said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided”  (Genesis 22:11-14).

When Elijah received his directions during a private prayer, he reasoned that God, Who longed for the Israelites to come back to Him, would not embarrass him in public (1 Kings 18:36). His faith in God’s integrity allowed him to officiate over one of the greatest grandstand plays of all time. When he began praying, God sent the fire and it consumed the sacrifice, the altar, the water and even the stones around it. The Israelites turned back to God and a three-year drought that God had sent as a judgment on the people ended that very day (1 Kings 18:38-46).

Daniel was a prince in Israel, one of those in the line of succession for David’s throne, when at about age 16 he was taken hostage to Babylon. The year was 605 BC and Babylonian King Nebuchnezzar had just defeated Egypt and Assyria, making him ruler of the world. After laying siege to Jerusalem, he took Daniel, his three friends, and some others hostage to assure the compliance of the now vassal King of Israel.

Once in Babylon, the King put the Jewish teenagers into a training program, as was his custom with foreign royalty, to teach them the Babylonian system and culture. The King was impressed with their intelligence and when they graduated, he appointed them to his body of advisers. When the senior members of this group couldn’t interpret the King’s dream, he issued an extermination order for the entire group.

Daniel reasoned that God hadn’t put him in such an influential position with the Babylonian King just to see him executed, so he took a leap of faith by telling the King’s assistant that he could interpret the dream. And sure enough, after the prayer session with his three friends, the Lord gave Daniel the interpretation in a vision (Daniel 2:19). The King was so impressed that he elevated Daniel to ruler over the entire province of Babylon and head of all his advisers. Daniel’s three friends were named chief administrators over the province of Babylon (Daniel 2:48-49).

Some time later these three, who we know as Sahdrach, Meshach, and Abednego were sentenced to death for refusing to worship a pagan idol the King had fashioned. They reasoned that God could save them from the punishment due them but even if He didn’t, it was better to die in faith than live in idolatry (Daniel 3:16-18). Bound and thrown into a roaring furnace, they were joined there by one whose form was like the Son of God. When the King called them out, only the ropes that had bound them were burned. The King published an edict requiring all his subjects to honor the God of Israel (Daniel 3:19-30).

Many years later, when he was an old man, Daniel himself was accused of refusing to worship the King. At sunset he was thrown into a den of hungry lions as punishment. All night long he sat there while the lions got hungrier and hungrier. Daniel’s moment by moment faith sustained him until morning when the King released him, again honoring the God of Israel (Daniel 6:16-23).

Daniel and his friends reasoned that the God Whom they honored with their faithfulness would not dishonor them by withholding His.

Adult Lessons From Children’s Stories … The Four Factors of Faith

These children’s stories always encourage me and I could go on talking about them until you stop me. But my point here is to draw attention to one fact. In each case, the people involved had to think their way through a pretty serious situation. And when all their emotions screamed for them to act one way, they applied a huge dose of reason to justify acting differently.

In doing so they demonstrated four tools for us to apply when facing a faith-testing situation. We’ll call them the Four Factors of Faith.

1.They knew God’s will and understood His ways.

2.Their leap of faith was based on sound reasoning.

3.They asked His help early and often.

4.They trusted Him for a successful conclusion.

Based on man’s definition of the word, there was nothing reasonable about the faith of these men, and that’s why I didn’t title this study “A Reasonable Faith.” A faith grounded in reason is extreme in every sense of the word. In fact, most would call it unreasonable.  But it’s the kind of faith that’s available to us for use when circumstances require it.

More Examples

When Jairus, the synagogue ruler, was told not to bother Jesus anymore about healing his daughter because she had died, the Lord told him, “Don’t be afraid, just believe, and she will be healed”. He did and she was (Luke 8:49-56).

When Peter asked the Lord to bid him come out of the boat and walk across the water, Jesus said, “Come,” and Peter did (Matt.14:28-29).

When the disciples told Jesus they only had five loaves of barley bread and two small fish to feed as many as 10,000 people (Matt. 14:21), Jesus gave thanks and told them to start passing the food around. They did and there was enough left over after everyone was finished eating to fill 12 baskets. (Mark 6:32-44)

These are not reasonable requests to make. And yet the Lord made them, giving each one the faith to obey, and seeing them safely through the situation.

But the most unreasonable thing of all is the one He reserved for us. He tells us to believe that He became a man, lived a sinless life, and died for all the sins of mankind. Then He rose from the grave to walk among His followers again. He did all this to purchase a pardon that He’s promised to grant without condition or exception to all who choose to accept it. Finally He invested us with the faith to trust Him in this, the most important choice we’ll ever make (Ephe. 2:8-9), and promised to see us safely through to a successful conclusion, eternal life with Him.

If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably made that choice. And that means you’re betting your eternal destiny on Him. You’re OK with this because you understand His will and know His ways. Therefore, your leap of faith is based on reason. You pray often, and are trusting Him for the successful conclusion He promised.  The Four Factors of Faith make yours a faith grounded in reason.

 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us,  set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come (2 Cor. 1:21-22). 11-01-14

 

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MIDDLE EAST WAR LOOMING THE BUILD UP TO PSALM 83 AND GOG OF MAGOG WARS EZEKIEL 38:

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BATTLE MAY BE BREWING IN SINAI BETWEEN AL-QAEDA, IS GROUPS

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/11/egypt-al-qaeda-jund-al-islam-attack-wilayat-sinai.html

It looks like affiliates of the Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda could go to war with each other in the Sinai Peninsula, though at this point the battle would be lopsided.

In an audio recording released Nov. 11, al-Qaeda adherent Jund al-Islam declared war on much larger Wilayat Sinai, which is associated with IS, and claimed responsibility for the Oct. 11 attack on a Wilayat Sinai vehicle that killed the four passengers. Jund al-Islam is vowing to eradicate Wilayat Sinai members if they do not repent and abandon what it calls “Baghdadi law,” which it says violates Sharia in part because it targets civilians and fellow Muslims.

Though no group has come forward yet, Wilayat Sinai is a top suspect in the Nov. 24 bombing and shooting attack on a Sinai mosque that killed more than 300 people and injured at least 100. Area villagers reported Wilayat Sinai had threated them a week before the attack.

Jund al-Islam also declared war on the Egyptian army, which it described as an “apostate.” 

Jund al-Islam first gained notice, briefly, in Sinai on Sept. 11, 2013, when it claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing attack on the military intelligence headquarters in Rafah, Egypt, that killed six soldiers and wounded 17 others. This was the only terrorist operation claimed by Jund al-Islam in Sinai.

So where has Jund al-Islam been since 2013? Nowhere, really, until it began receiving a small influx of disillusioned members of Wilayat Sinai.

Wilayat Sinai began as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis in 2011, a group that espoused the same basic ideologies as al-Qaeda. But it gradually became more extreme, influenced by IS. In 2014, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis pledged loyalty to IS and changed its name to Wilayat Sinai. Some of its members wanted no part of the transition and defected to Jund al-Islam (Soldiers of Islam).

A resident of the town of Shabanah told Al-Monitor she knew of such a member.

“In mid-2014, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis terrorist organization attacked the house of a neighbor known [in the village] for his hard-line Salafist-jihadi ideology. They searched his house, and we heard them threatening him,” she said on condition of anonymity.

“A few days later, the Egyptian army raided the house of our Salafist neighbor but did not find him. He had disappeared, and we later found out he had defected from Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis after refusing to pledge allegiance to IS.”

Abu Ahmad al-Sawarka, an expert on jihadi groups in Sinai, told Al-Monitor that some 20 people defected from Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis around that time, for that same reason.

According to Sawarka, those who split from Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis and joined Jund al-Islam remained loyal to al-Qaeda, because they believed IS relies on extremism in killing civilians, breaking the tenets of jihad.

Asked why Jund al-Islam kept such a low profile, he said the group lacks members and equipment and has been weakened by Wilayat Sinai, which declared that Sinai is subject to IS’ influence and whoever does not respect that will be targeted.

A researcher who focuses on Sinai and the affairs of armed groups there told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that both the disappearance and recent reappearance of Jund al-Islam are based on guidance from al-Qaeda’s No. 1 man in Egypt, Hisham Ashmawi, aka Abu Omar al-Muhajir. He is an elite officer who was dismissed from the Egyptian army for embracing jihadi ideology, and who split from Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, pledging allegiance to al-Qaeda.

The researcher, based on his study of the situation, said Ashmawi asked members of the ragtag group to disappear for a while and develop their combat capabilities to be able to fight IS. Ashmawi and some dissidents went to Libya to train and recruit before returning to Egypt, while others hid in the desert of central Sinai.

The source suggested that Ashmawi is seeking the return of al-Qaeda to Egypt through small groups spread in different areas: Jund al-Islam in Sinai; Ansar al-Islam in the Western Desert, which carried out an Oct. 21 ambush of police in Giza province; and the Mourabitoun, who are Salafist jihadis affiliated with al-Qaeda and are spread across Egypt.

Also, the researcher pointed out that Jund al-Islam’s threat of eradicating IS in Sinai is blown out of proportion, given the former’s small size. The real purpose behind the statement, he said, is to attract new fighters, rebuild the group and return to the battlefield in Sinai.

Why now? The researcher said Jund al-Islam saw that Wilayat Sinai was grappling with difficult conditions as a result of IS’ defeat in Iraq and saw this as an ideal time to stage a comeback. Also, he said, Wilayat Sinai has suffered heavy losses over the past four years at the hands of the Egyptian army and has lost members to the Tarabin tribe, one of the strongest tribes in Sinai. Add to this the siege imposed on the organization by Palestinian movement Hamas that, with the Egyptian army, prevented smuggling operations and funding from reaching IS and banned Gazan fighters from moving in and out of Sinai.

The Jund al-Islam statement shows the group is trying to attract Sinai citizens who are sick of the daily violations, slaughter and torture committed by Wilayat Sinai. “There is conclusive proof of attacks committed by … the Wilayat Sinai group against Muslims in Sinai,” the statement said.

The group also hopes to recruit citizens who have fallen prey to the Egyptian army’s violations, especially those who were forcibly displaced from Rafah. The statement said, “The tyrants displace the people of Rafah while the apostates erect checkpoints at every corner of Sinai.”

The group wants to attract Palestinian fighters and people who are hostile to Israel by saying, “The Jews are bombing our residents without any deterrents.”

So far, developments in Sinai indicate that Jund al-Islam is still a weak group, but its latest statement may change the equation if it succeeds in its campaign to attract followers.

 

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 IT IS BEING REPORTED THAT DONALD TRUMP MAY RECOGNIZE JERUSALEM AS THE CAPITAL OF ISRAEL IN DECEMBER

By Michael Snyder, on November 30th, 2017 – theeconoiccollapseblog.com

JERUSALEM IS ABOUT TO BECOME A CUP OF TREMBLING AS TRUMP CONSIDERS HISTORIC MOVE

Is President Trump about to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?   If so, this would be one of the most historic events to happen in the Middle East in a very long time.  Needless to say, the government of Israel would be absolutely thrilled by such a move, while the Palestinians and Israel’s neighbors would not be pleased at all.  In fact, some Palestinians have suggested that if the Trump administration actually moves the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem that it could spark widespread violence or even war.

But Donald Trump promised that he would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel during the campaign, and it looks like he intends to keep his word

A senior U.S. administration official said on Thursday that President Donald Trump is considering recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel without moving the embassy to the Israeli capital, at least for the time being.

Trump wants the recognition of Jerusalem to be a gift to Israel on the occasion of its 70th Independence Day, and he may even announce this recognition by means of a statement to be made by Vice President Mike Pence, who will visit Israel in December.

Pence will be visiting Israel next month, and he is scheduled to deliver an address to the Knesset.  If the Trump administration is going to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it is believed that it may happen at that time.

Israel became a nation in 1948, and so 2018 will be Israel’s 70th anniversary.  There will be independence celebrations throughout the year, and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital as we approach this highly significant time would be considered a great gift to the Jewish people.

For the moment, however, the Trump administration will not be moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.  The White House recognizes that such a move could spark violence in the region, and so administration officials are treading carefully

President Donald Trump and his senior aides are mulling a plan to eventually move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a decision that could derail Trump’s attempts to restart peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

A leading option under consideration: temporarily keeping the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv while also outlining a longer-term strategy to begin the process of moving the embassy to Jerusalem, according to two administration officials. The plan is meant to strike a middle ground on the politically treacherous issue.

We shall see how this plays out, but Vice-President Mike Pence sure sounds optimistic that moving the embassy will actually happen.  Earlier this week, he posted the following message on Twitter

While for the past 20 years, Congress and successive administrations have expressed a willingness to move our embassy, @POTUS Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. #70toIsraelUN

Of course moving the embassy would have very serious ramifications, and without a doubt many those surrounding Trump are advising against such a move

American intelligence circles may caution Trump against the move, warning of the security-related ramifications that could ensue and danger that it could pose to American embassies around the world.

Rumors of Trump’s planned announcement were met with warnings from Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who said during a visit to the US that “the transfer of the American embassy to Jerusalem at this stage will have repercussions in the Palestinian, Arab and Islamic scene.”

I will be even more blunt.  If the U.S. embassy is moved to Jerusalem, there will definitely be violence, and it could potentially move us closer to armed conflict in the Middle East.

But U.S. policy should never be dictated by threats of violence.  Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is the right thing to do, and we cannot allow anyone to intimidate us.  In 1995, Congress passed a law that requires the U.S. embassy to be moved to Jerusalem, but ever since then presidents have used “waivers” to delay the move.

The current “waiver” expires on December 1st, and Trump is expected to sign another one at that time.

But even if the U.S. embassy is not moved to Jerusalem any time soon, the truth is that the next major war in the Middle East seems to be getting closer with each passing day.  Just check out some of the things that have happened over the past week…

-Saudi Arabia just intercepted another ballistic missile that was fired from Yemen.  The civil war in Yemen is essentially a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and the Saudis hold the Iranians directly responsible whenever a missile is fired toward their territory.

-China has announced that they will be sending “elite troops” into Syria to fight alongside the Syrian army in the ongoing civil war that is raging there.

-Just a few days ago, the Pentagon acknowledged that there are approximately 2,000 U.S. troops currently in Syria working with forces that would like to overthrow the Syrian government.

The Middle East is a tinderbox that could literally erupt at any moment.  Most Americans have absolutely no idea how close we are to a major regional war, and let us pray that one does not happen any time soon.

 

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 EXACTLY HOW REVELATION 2 RINGS TRUE TODAY

Shane Idleman – https://www.charismanews.com/opinion/68489-exactly-how-revelation-2-rings-true-today

Although Revelation was written nearly 2000 years ago, it rings true with resounding clarity for churches today. In Revelation 2, Jesus addresses a church in Pergamos that compromised doctrine and was silent about sin. They were motivational and encouraging, but powerless against breaking Satan’s grip.

While Pergamos was soft on sin and compromise, churches at the opposite end can be critical and judgmental sin-sniffers. Neither attitude or position is pleasing to God.

The compromising, silent church often lacks boldness; it’s easier to be passive. But it’s not healthy, wise or God-honoring. Jesus lovingly challenges the silent compromisers in this church: “You’re a nice church-you feed the homeless and reach out to those in need-but I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality” (see Rev. 2:14).

The silent church allows false teaching because they don’t want to rock-the-boat. They are liberal in twisting or reinterpreting the truth, or they avoid it all together. This is where the word “liberal” comes from. “Can’t we all just get along?” is their rallying cry. The pulpit may not be dead (as it was in Ephesus) but it will be misled. Pastors of these churches are cheerleaders but never coaches. They encourage but rarely convict. Like a thermostat, the pulpit affects the spiritual temperature of the church. The leaders of this church keep the thermostat comfortable: “Come on in … the temperature is perfect: not hot with the realities of hell and not cold with boredom.”

What if God’s Word remained silent about sin? What if worship lyrics and preaching failed to convict? What if those who offer counsel simply listened but never challenged? What if law enforcement never enforced the law? You see where I’m going with this: the true church that Christ built cannot remain passive or silent about sin.

Granted, Matthew 7:5 sheds much needed light. Jesus said, “You hypocrite! First take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Our sinful tendency is to point out the flaws in others. With this in mind, a first step toward confrontation begins with removing our plank first. Words seasoned with grace coming from a merciful heart-carry power and weight. Words from a critical, judgmental spirit will hurt and destroy.

Now on to The Doctrine of Balaam. The lesson here is that you cannot curse what God has blessed. However, free choice, fueled by compromise and liberalism, can entice followers to leave God’s protection by disobeying Him. People can harm themselves when enticed by fleshly and sexual appetites. Where might you be compromising? Ask God to help you see clearly.

The Pergamos mentality may please men, but it does not please God. There is a very troubling trend toward moral compromise in the evangelical church. I’ve witnessed soft-porn images on Christian websites, questionable movie clips played during sermons, and youth pastors talk about their favorite sexually charged movie with the youth, all under the guise of “relating” to the culture. Wake up, Pergamos!

The church in Pergamos, and many today, still “have there those who hold” to false doctrine-that purity and holiness do not matter. Reader Harris once challenged a congregation about power and purity: “Those who want power, line up to my right. Those who want purity, line up to my left.” The congregation lined up 10 to 1-for power! It’s no secret why we lack New Testament power-because we lack New Testament purity. Our silence about sin and obedience is deafening.

I’ve learned that the little compromises lead to the big problems. How do little compromises begin? “It’s just one drink! A little flirting is not a big deal. It’s a harmless glance … or two. We’ll make a little money on the side-no one will get hurt. I’ll buy just one more prescription to get through this week. Kids sports will be over in a few years-then we’ll get back to church.” And on and on it goes.

Most walk away from Christ not because He fails them, or because the Word of God proves to be untrue, but because of the love of this world (gratifying the flesh). In short, the doctrine of Balaam. We cannot overlook the seriousness of this issue. Jesus said that the worries and desires of this world, along with the deceitfulness of wealth, come in and choke the Word of God, making it unfruitful (see Mark 4:19).

The passion we once had for the purity of God’s Word can easily be exchanged for the pollutants of the world. What we put into our mind affects our relationship with God at a very deep level. Remove the “little” compromises before the “big” problems are born. Jesus adds. “If you don’t remove them or deal with them, I will…and you may find yourself fighting against Me” (paraphrasing Rev. 2:15).

We cannot love both Christ and this world. Carnality destroys our relationship with Him and genuine fellowship with other believers. It destroys our prayer life as well. A carnal Christian does not pray, really pray and seek the heart of God. A deep prayer life exposes facades and crushes hypocrisy. Carnality also destroys spiritual power and hinders the infilling of the Spirit. It also affects our home life. In short, everything that God calls us to be is compromised.

In closing, remember how subtle sin is. Woe be to the church who is silent and compromises God’s standard. They may find themselves in the same spiritual condition as Samson: “He knew not that the Spirit of the Lord had departed from him” (Judg. 16:20).

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