“It’s not about Jesus!” He screamed at me “it’s about yourself!”
“@#%*! stop talking about Jesus! #%*# self! #%^* self!”
This man was screaming at me literally within seconds of me beginning to preach today. He was so angry that at one point he looked like he was going to run at me. That was a little disconcerting to be honest. But I kept preaching as the joy of the Lord began to rise in me. The woman he was with held him back as his veins bulged and he kept screaming at me until she managed to lead him around the corner and they’d gone. Most of what I could hear him saying was foul language and the word “self”. Talk about a manifestation of the spirit of this age!
I am always encouraged when someone screams like that. I know that may sound strange but there are a few reasons for why I find it encouraging:
It shows me that we are getting through to the unseen realm and having an impact
It draws a crowd to hear the gospel
It breaks off of me the fear of man like nothing else does
The joy that comes from being abused for Jesus’ sake is supernatural and inexplicable
So much happened today! Here is just some of it:
The anointing fell as one of the ladies chalked Isaiah 55:6 on the ground and I was preaching
A witch accosted us and told us we are making people feel bad about themselves and that she has never sinned and in fact, she is truth
A young homosexual couple called me over. They were under conviction. They seriously asked me questions about how to be saved and if it meant giving up homosexuality
A young woman who was open to the gospel gladly received a Bible and would like to keep in touch
God gave me physical grace to preach. Having had an ulcerated oesophagus for the last 3 weeks I struggled at first. My chest was heaving like I was severely unfit and I could only speak for a few minutes. Then my sisters prayed for me and I was able to preach.
There were six of us there and each one functioned in her/his part of the Body of Christ as one. That was a special blessing. (Psalm 133:1,2)
We were told by some “official” that we shouldn’t be chalking there. This is because we had a lady with us whose first time it was on the street. She had received Isaiah 55:6 specifically for the chalking and there was a real anointing to it. Thus, predictably, the enemy was trying to shut it down.
One of the team doing a great job preaching
Finally, our chalking ended up on the news because immediately after we left the station there was a huge protest in that very spot. Thus hundreds of people would have read it at the station and many more on the news.
Source: abc.net.au Our chalking can be seen in blue
Praise the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
Love Him to bits.
“Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you knot know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4
This is strong language…..Adulterers….Enmity with God…
Obviously friendship with the world is serious business in God’s eyes.
Definition of “The World”.
We all know John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”
So God does love the world. However in this sense the scripture is talking about the world of people that Jesus died for. It was God’s love for all men under heaven that prompted Him to send His Son into this world to redeem us from the curse of sin and death that entered in with Adam.
However James 4:4 is talking about “the world” as a system. A system that is opposed to God.
The World is Opposed to God
Just as the devil is opposed to Christ and the flesh is opposed to the Spirit, so the world is opposed to all that is of the Father.
It takes its place in the “unholy trinity” as the very antithesis of all that is of the person of God the Father. This opposition to the Father manifests in a determined effort to undermine the Bible, especially Genesis. The creation account, the Flood have come under heavy fire in the last few years, even from Christians.
The World is Independent of God
The world system is not only opposed to God, it is also independent of God.
It is the spirit behind this system that attempted to build the Tower of Babel as a way to reach heaven without God. It is the spirit of independence. It is the same spirit that drives the UN and all other organisations that attempt to play “god” in this world and to re-define “good” and “evil” independent of His laws. It is the reason that God warned Adam and Eve about partaking of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
“The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” Psalm 2:2,3
Choosing the way of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is the way of opposition, independence and rebellion to God. Remember that to eat of that fruit was a sin, a breaking of a direct command of God not to partake of it.
The world is a system that is totally separate and apart from God. It’s a system that says “we don’t need God and His laws” and then makes their own.
The World is in Rebellion to God and His Laws
It is a system that rises up in defiance of God the Father, as Creator and Sustainer of Life.
God created male and female in His image and told them to be fruitful and multiply. This world system calls into question gender and sexuality. God says there are two genders. The world says there is a sliding scale with multiple gender possibilities. God says to male and female to pro-create, to bring forth life. This world says homosexuality is fine and promotes it as a way of keeping the human population under control.
This world undermines the very laws of nature. Breaking the laws of nature always brings death.
The Tree of Life and the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. The fruit of one is Life, the fruit of the other is Death.
This world is in open defiance to God. The spirit behind it knows that God is its enemy. God knows the world is in enmity to Him. It seems that it is only the believers who struggle to realise this truth.
The World System Has its Own Philosophies and Principles.
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” Colossians 2:8
God has His principles, laws and the way of salvation clearly laid out in His word, the Bible. But this world rejects God’s Word and instead promotes the philosophies of man, which are opposed to Christ. Atheism, psychology, nihilism, post-modernism, you name it, they are philosophies of man and each are totally opposed to God and His Word.
These philosophies of man essentially become counterfeit gospels which are opposed to the true gospel of Christ. Satan promotes them through the media, social media, books, TV, Hollywood and false Christians.
And yes that includes psychology. This deception has infiltrated the Christian church and taken the place of true Biblical counselling, deliverance from demons and healing. Do not be deceived, it is a counterfeit of the gospel of Christ and brings believers in to bondage rather than setting them free. I am aware at how deeply this has rooted itself in the Church and so I encourage further study of the roots of psychology. Briefly, it is founded and rooted in atheistic philosophy and no amount of applying Biblical words to this philosophy will change the fact that it is of man and is opposed, and therefore in enmity, to the gospel of Christ.
Man’s principles in his “gospel” include: tolerance over truth; love over sin; self over Christ; and the salvation of this planet over the salvation of man.
This World is Under Judgment
This world is under judgment my friends.
No amount of recycling and “climate change” theory will save it. It began in the garden of Eden. When man fell into sin, so too the creation fell with him. God cursed the ground at that point. Praise God that Jesus came and redeemed fallen man from the curse of sin, but this world has not be redeemed. This world and all its systems and man-made philosophies are under God’s judgment and are reserved for fire.
Jesus said “Now is the time for judgment on this world…” John 12:31
The unleashing of God’s wrath on this world because of sin is only being held back by one thing – His Word.
“…the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”
But at the moment we can see the birth pangs of judgment are beginning all over the world. Jesus warned us of increasing earthquakes, pestilences, wars, rumours of wars and huge deception in Matthew 24.
Friend of God or Friend of the World?
God considers friendship with the world spiritual “adultery”. We cannot be divided, we are either a friend of God or a friend of the World.
Jesus is ever faithful to His Bride and He in turn wants us to be faithful to Him – the lover of our souls.
Just as a husband would be jealous if his wife had eyes for another man, so too “the Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously” (James 4:5) for our undivided, wholly devoted love. And who can blame Him? He has laid down His life for us! How much more should we be faithful to such a loving and gracious God?
Therefore “come out from among them and be ye separate.”
We are in the world, but we are no longer of the world. We are other-worldly now. Our true home is in heaven, not on this earth. Therefore I encourage you to look up, enlarge your vision. Be a Friend of God, rather than a friend of this world.
Let us be like Paul and be able to say:
“But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galations 6:14
“We profess to be strangers and pilgrims, seeking after a country of our own, yet we settle down in the most un-stranger-like fashion, exactly as if we were quite at home and meant to stay as long as we could. I don’t wonder apostolic miracles have died. Apostolic living certainly has.” — Amy Carmichael
At this time there is a lot of discussion going on about “The Shemitah”. So what is it and why should we be interested in it?
Before I begin to answer these questions, I want to mention that the notes which follow will not attempt to cover this subject in great detail but will try to give a brief outline about it, so that readers will have a better idea of what it is. For anyone wanting to study it in greater depth, I would refer them to the many good publications available giving more detail about the Shemitah.
A Day of Rest
Without stating the obvious, everybody knows that the week consists of seven days – from Sunday, the first day of the week, through to Saturday the last day of the week. In the Book of Genesis we read that after six days, when God had finished His creation, He rested on the seventh day, blessed it and made it holy (Genesis chapter 2 verses 1 to 3).
When God rested on the seventh day following His creation, He thereby established the seventh day as a day of rest and holiness. But it was not until the Israelites had left Egypt in the Exodus that we learn where, for the first time, they were commanded to observe the Sabbath. There we read that the Sabbath was to be a day when the Israelites ceased any worldly activities, rested and devoted the day to the Lord; the Lord laying down severe penalties for anyone who did not observe it (Exodus 31:14 – 15).
For Jews, Saturday is the Sabbath, the day of rest, the day set aside to worship God. The word Sabbath is a Hebrew word meaning rest. Christianity has moved away from Saturday worship to Sunday worship. I am not going to go into any discussion here about which day is the right day to worship, especially as I believe that we as Christians should anyway be continually worshiping our God and not reserve that for only one day in the week.
A Year of Rest
So while we understand that every seventh day should be regarded as a Sabbath, what is not as well known is that every seventh year is a Sabbath year. (I use the present tense because it is a permanent requirement by the Lord even though it is not properly observed today.) In Leviticus chapter 25:1 – 4, we read where the Lord commanded the children of Israel that, when they came into the land He was to give them, the land itself was to observe a Sabbath to Him. They were to work the land for six years “But in the seventh year the land is to have a Sabbath rest, a Sabbath to the Lord”.
Not only was the land to lie fallow, but the year was to be kept separate because, unlike any of the previous six years, no work was to be done: no sowing, planting or gathering was to take place. The lands, fields, vineyards and groves were to be left to the poor and anyone could eat from them (Exodus 23:10 – 11). In ancient times this could be easily done, but in this modern world it would be much more difficult to achieve and would be a somewhat radical undertaking. Yet the Lord commanded it and would undoubtedly prosper those who abide by it.
The Sabbath Year and Connection to God’s Judgment
In Leviticus chapter 26 the Lord tells the Israelites that He will bless them if they keep His commands: these include references to the land. However, as He did with His commands concerning the keeping of the Sabbath day, He also told them that He would punish them if they disobeyed Him regarding the rest the land was to receive, again laying down punishments they would get in the event of disobedience. In verses 33 to 35 of Leviticus 26, the Lord clearly told them what sort of punishment they could expect if they disobeyed His commands regarding the land. He said: “I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins. Then the land will enjoy its Sabbath years all the time that it lies desolate and you are in the country of your enemies; then the land will rest and enjoy its Sabbaths. All the time that it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not have during the Sabbaths you lived in it.”
Many years before they were taken into captivity in Babylon, the prophet Jeremiah was given a word from the Lord warning the Israelites that because of their disobedience they would go into captivity in Babylon for seventy years. They were also told that when the seventy years were completed they would return: their punishment would be over because the land would have received the rest it had been denied previously (Jeremiah 25:11 – 12).
It is an interesting historical fact that the Israelites were in the land for 490 years: from the time they occupied the land until they were led away in captivity to Babylon. In that 490 year period there were seventy Sabbaths. We know that the Israelites were in captivity in Babylon for seventy years, as prophesied by Jeremiah in chapter 25:11 – 12, that being their punishment and also the time required for “the land to enjoy its Sabbath years all the time that it lay desolate and they were in the country of their enemies.”
The Lord’s Release – Shemitah
In addition to the requirement to observe Sabbath years, the Israelites were also required to cancel all debts on the last day of each Sabbath year. The Lord commanded that on the last day of the Sabbath year, all debts were to be cancelled. In English this is referred to as “the Lord’s release” (Deut. 15:1 – 2). It is from the Hebrew for “release” that we get the word “Shemitah”. In the Hebrew calendar the last day of a Sabbath year is Elul 29 which, by the Gregorian calendar, falls mainly during the month of September, although on a few occasions it occurs during the first few days of October.
Although the last day of the seventh year was called the Shemitah, in time the whole year was referred to as the Shemitah year. The Shemitah is a reminder that God is the source of all blessings; both spiritual and physical and when God is removed from life then removal of the blessings will also follow.
The Shemitah and Israel Now
Now that many Jews are back in most of the land, and are themselves in control of it, do they observe the Lord’s requirements for the Sabbath year and the Shemitah day? The answer is basically no, although there are examples of some who have done so and are known to have prospered from it. However, the majority do not but, with the help of rabbis, many amongst them who are convicted to try to keep the Shemitah year and day, resort to all sorts of manoeuvring to get around the biblical requirements. For instance, some schemes involve “selling” land to foreigners or special courts at the beginning of the Shemitah year, continuing to work the land, and “buying” it back at the end of the year. They have devised similar schemes regarding the release of debts on Elul 29! The idea behind these schemes is that the law applies to Jews and not to foreigners or special courts; the latter being regarded as acceptable because they are not individuals, so are not bound by the Lord’s decrees.
So in a roundabout way many in Israel today are keeping the requirements of the Sabbath year including the release of debts on its last day. However, religious Jews do not accept these practices and one can only wonder what God thinks about all the scheming going on regarding the land and the release of debts on Elul 29. In the example of the exile to Babylon, we have seen that the Israelites were severely judged and punished when they failed to observe Sabbath years.
The Shemitah and Other Nations
The big question facing us now is: “Does the Shemitah apply to nations other than Israel”?
I cannot find a direct biblical answer to this question although we do know that God does punish gentiles and nations, including Israel, for disobedience towards Him. However, as Jonathan Cahn suggests in his book The Mystery of The Shemitah, throughout history there have been many recorded events that have occurred at the time of the Shemitah, or shortly afterwards, negatively affecting nations; too many to be written off as mere coincidence. These events have taken the form of economic or other problems or the start of wars. The other question we need to consider is whether the Shemitah applies when the Jews are not back in the land and in control of it as was the case before 1948. Even here the answer appears to be yes, especially when we look at the example of developments against the Jews of Germany in 1938, a Shemitah year.
When is the Next Shemitah?
It is important to note at this point, that going back to ancient records, Jewish scholars have been able to accurately identify when the Shemitah years occur. Even as I write now we are coming to the end of the current Shemitah year. It ends on Elul 29th which this year is from sunset on 13th September, 2015, through to sunset on 14th September per the Gregorian calendar; about a month hence.
Before listing some of the “upheavals” that have fallen at the end, or about the end of Shemitah Years, it would be well to consider the timing of the Shemitah years. They begin on Tishri 1, or Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish civil year, and end on Elul 29. It is important to point out here that in the northern hemisphere the Shemitah year begins and ends at the time of the summer harvests. As pointed out earlier this is usually during September.
Notable Events Which Occurred At or Near the End of Recent Shemitah Years
1973. The “Yom Kippur War” – October 6th to 25th. Although the war began badly for Israel, it managed to win that war but it took a heavy toll on Israel and Israelis. More importantly, the longer term aftermath of this war resulted in enormously negative consequences for Israel itself and the world at large – the rise of Arab hegemony. I consider its negative after-effects to equal those of WW1 and WWII.
1987. The big “Black Monday” stock market crash on October 19th occurred only four weeks after the end of the Shemitah year on September 23rd. In this instance the fallout from the crash turned out to be surprisingly small although it took two years for global markets to recover.
2001. The stock market plunge on September 17th and the following global economic and political uncertainty was undoubtedly triggered by the Al Qaida attacks in America on 9th September, 2001. The stock market was immediately closed and reopened on September 17th, the last day of the Shemitah.
2008. The infamous GFC – Global Financial Crisis. The stock market crash happened on September 29th 2008 – Elul 29th!
2015. 13 – 14 September ? ? ? September 17th is the final Day for US Congress to vote concerning the “Iranian Deal” – the deal aimed at curbing Iranian nuclear expansion. It is a bad deal for Israel and other Middle Eastern countries, yet is being promoted otherwise by the US Administration and the key nations involved in the deal – the P5+1.
Everyone can hardly fail to realise that the world is in turmoil, economically, militarily, naturally and spiritually and is surely ripe for judgment. The news is full of it; a lot predicting very difficult days ahead.
Thus the final question we need to ask is: “Are we likely to experience any major negative developments in the world this September or within a short time after the end of the Shemitah year and after the day of the Shemitah on 17th September?”
All I can suggest is: “Don’t be surprised if major upheavals occur during the coming months”.
In closing, I would like to remind readers that, as Christians, we need to remember Jesus’ injunction:
“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28)
Chris, from our fellowship, has an interest in Bible prophecy and from time to time will share his views with us on current events and how they relate to prophecy in our series “Bible Prophecy”.
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