Pray Without Ceasing

One of my favorite books of the Bible is Nehemiah. I like how he prays. He gets scared, so he prays that God will help him do the right thing through his fear.

You can tell Nehemiah prays frequently because his prayers suddenly burst out while writing about his adventures in Jerusalem.

He breaks the narrative to ask God to punish the bad guys and to remember him for all his good works. Prayer is all over the book of Nehemiah. He was in a tough spot, lots of enemies. Lots of hard work and lots of sinners to work with. He needed God’s help.

Nehemiah is an example of what our lives should be. Caught up in a larger purpose, facing the enemy, continuing the work and constantly seeing our need for God’s assistance.

I think we’ve lost much of the beauty of prayer because we rarely do things that require us to ask for help. We’re too safe and comfortable, doing our thing. Apathetically pursuing nothingness.

We read “pray without ceasing” and immediately look for some theological loophole to make it mean what we don’t want it to mean. “There’s no way we can pray all the time. This is referring to the Spirit’s intercession.” Then why does he tell us to do it if it’s already being done?

When we aren’t living our lives as continual sacrifices to the Lord we certainly won’t be praying without ceasing.

Nehemiah is alive. Nehemiah prays. I like Nehemiah.

Ryan Schallenberger

An 18-year old straight-A student has been arrested for trying to blow up his school. His reasoning for his attempt is “He told the sheriff he wanted to die and go to heaven and once he got there, he wanted to kill Jesus.”

This backs up one of my stereotypes in life: never trust anyone who gets straight A’s.

The Dung Gate

Malchiah is an Old Testament priest I can’t help but feel a connection to. As far as I know, he is no relation to me or my family, but something tells me he should be.

Malchiah returned to Jerusalem under the Babylonian captivity to rebuild the city. He stood with Ezra when the Law was read to the people. But his true fame comes from his job: the restorer of the Dung Gate.

Sure seems like if I were a priest returning to Jerusalem to serve my Lord and rebuild the Holy City of Zion, I’d miss out on the Beautiful Gate or the Fountain Gate project and instead get stuck with the Dung Gate project. Nice. Thanks. Glad I gave up the wife and kids for this.

Interesting tidbit about the Dung Gate, this was the gate that they carried dung through. No seriously, it was. The road that left out of the Dung Gate went to the Valley of Hinnom otherwise known as Gehenna.

It was the flaming pile of garbage that Jesus compared Hell to. Without a Dung Gate there would have been no illustration for Hell. Thanks Malchiah. See ya on the flip side my brother.

Jesus Ultrasound

An Ohio woman has an ultrasound picture that appears to have an image of Christ on the cross in it. She’s not sure if she’s going to sell it on eBay yet or not. She views the image as a good sign.

“People say maybe my baby is gonna be blessed and maybe it is a good sign,” said Sledge. “I don’t know, I’ve done wrong in my life, maybe he’s forgiven me early.”

And, to fulfill one of my key points to get your own appearing of Christ, she’s been going through some hard times lately.

“Maybe it’s a sign of a good pregnancy or maybe we’ve just been through so much it’s a sign that everything is gonna be okay. After the initial shock it’s like God is here even when you don’t know it.”

People want to believe. Too bad they are more willing to believe a coincidence than God’s actual real life revelation in the Bible.

Remnants

Old Testament history illustrates New Testament doctrine. Or at least that’s how I like to view it. A consistent pattern develops in the OT: God tells Israel to do stuff and they do part of it. The part left undone comes back to bite them. Always.

*God tells them to wipe out the nations in their land
**Israel leaves some, some enlisted as servants. They always come back to attack.

*God tells them to get rid of all their idols.
**They don’t. Several high places are left and soon enough Israel is right back serving them full-force.

*God forbids marriage to foreign women.
**They marry foreign women who bring their gods with them, entangling Israel in idolatry.

This lesson serves a purpose: Flee the bad because the bad will get you. God calls His people “saints.” Saints are sanctified people. To be sanctified means to be “set apart.”

Paul repeats the OT teaching “come out from among them and be separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17). If we allow parts of our old life to stick around, little pieces of the world we cling to, they will come back later to nail us and bring us down a very bad path with very bad endings.

Sanctification will ultimately be an all or nothing deal. The more all or nothing we are now, the more God will be able to use us now.

If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.
2 Timothy 2:21

Jesus Mosaic

An 83-year old man is building the western hemisphere’s largest mosaic of the face of Jesus. It is being built on the ceiling of San Francisco’s Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

The mosaic is made up of two million pieces of glass about the size of a fingernail. The face will be 23-feet from the top of his head to his chin.

When asked how he could top the massive project, Andrews responded: “You don’t. This is really primo.”

Indeed. He feels closer to God in making it and hopes everyone who sees it will feel the same way.

Genes And Noah

A new genetic study has concluded that humanity almost went extinct. The few remaining people lived near Africa. Shortly after their almost extinction they began to spread out all over the world to repopulate it!

I kid you not. It’s in our genetic code. More proof for the book of Genesis, or more proof that mankind has always been on an upward evolving process?

Women: God’s Preparation For Man

It used to bother me, back when I was young and immature, so impatient with life. But now, after repeated trials, I have gained maturity and patience. I can wait quite well now.

Here’s the test I’ve been enduring for nigh on 12 years now.

Wife: Are you ready to go?
Me: “Yup” I say on my way out the door.
Wife: OK, just a minute. I have to go to the bathroom.
Me. “OK” as I come back in the door and sit down and read a book.
Wife: Oh, are we going inside? I should do my hair.
Me: “OK” as I finish another chapter and move on to the next.
Wife: Oh, I was gonna make some tea. I always get so cold there.
Me: “OK.”
Wife: Have you seen my sunglasses?
Me: Yup, I put them in the car for you.
Wife: Ahh, where are my keys?
Me: In your coat.
Wife: Why are you reading, I thought we were going?

I get lots of reading done. My wife gets all her stuff together and transforms into a lovely woman and there’s really no point going out the door with anything but. It works out great for both of us.

It has also taught me great lessons in patient continuance in well doing as we wait for the Lord (Romans 2:7). He asks us if we’re ready, “Even so! Come quickly!” Bring it Lord!

Then He waits. “Oh, wait, I was gonna save a few more people.” “Oh, wait, have you seen my Word lately?”

He waits and we wait. The Bride is being perfected and soon enough, we’ll be ready. Until then, keep reading the Word.

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.
2 Thessalonians 3:5

Padre Pio Rises From The Dead

Padre Pio was a popular saint in Italy who had the stigmata–the bleeding wounds of Christ on his body. He died forty-years ago. To celebrate the anniversary of his death, the infallible Roman Catholic Church decided to dig up his body so the faithful could pray to him.

Apparently being under dirt takes away some of your prayer answering power or something. They also wanted to see how Pio’s body was doing. The stigmata was gone but otherwise, he’s looking good, not a day over 40-years dead.
art.padrepio.afp.gi.jpg
Praying to saints is one of the doctrines of the Catholic Church that Protestants have a big problem with. There is one mediator between God and man–Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). All believers in Christ are God’s royal priesthood and saints, so one saint’s prayers don’t have more pull than another saint’s prayers–God is no respecter of persons.

But, as with most Catholic doctrine, it undermines the supremacy of Christ. If I need a saint’s intercession it means Christ’s isn’t good enough (Hebrews 7:22-25). I have a problem with that, as does God.

Joel Rosenberg On Food Shortages

Joel Rosenberg is an author who has hit the big time with his thriller novels. He also wrote a book entitled Epicenter showing how he is able to predict world events base don biblical prophecy.

He was chatting with CNN’s Glenn Beck last night about the recent reports of wheat shortages and so forth and whether this fits biblical prophecy. Short answer: yes. Long answer: go here to read it.

He talks about global warming and Revelation talking about the sun burning up a third of the earth’s vegetation, etc. I don’t know about that. I do know that The End is getting near and that I’m ready. Speculation is a fine diversion in the meanwhile.

Rosenberg will be on Beck’s show all week I guess.

Life On One Planet

I was talking with a friend the other day about all the planets and how there is only human life on one of them. In the huge universe, God has focused on one planet. It seems like a waste!

However, when I thought about it more, it seemed to me this is one example of creation showing us how God operates.

Why did God only choose one nation, Israel, among so many? Why does He only save people who believe in Jesus Christ?

It doesn’t seem right that He is so exclusive and yet our planetary system shows us that’s the way God works. Deal with it.

Rather than judging God and His wasteful attitude toward people (not-yet-glorified piles of dirt—Psalm 103:14), take care of your soul.

Fake Greetings

“Hey, how’s it going?”
“Good. How are you?”
“Good.”

We’ve all been part of this opening dialogue thousands of times in our lives. We all say things are going “good” and we are lying.

Or are we? I have found an example of this in the Bible that would seem to give sanction to our inane greetings as not so much lies but rather formalities. Allow me to paraphrase:
From 2 Kings 4:26-28

Elisha’s servant: Hey, how’s it going?
Shunammite woman: Fine.
Elisha’s servant: How’s the husband?
Shunammite woman: Fine.
Elisha’s servant: How’s the kid?
Shunammite woman: Fine.
Elisha’s servant: Good, good. Here’s Elisha, you wanted to speak to him.
Shunammite: Hey, prophet of God! Why is my son dead?

That is so weird! Why answer “It is well” when your son just died? See, biblical sanction for inane greetings.

Go ahead and lie, no one wants to hear your problems anyway.

Priest On Balloon Flight

You know those publicity stunts churches do to get people into their doors? Stuff like throwing pies at the pastor or eating goldfish? Well, you gotta be careful with these things. I don’t know for sure that’s what this was, but it sure sounds like it could have been.

A priest in Brazil decided to take a flight with hundreds of helium-filled party balloons. It didn’t go so well. He was reported missing eight hours later!

Rev Adelir Antonio de Carli took off from the port city of Paranagua on Sunday afternoon, wearing a helmet, thermal suit and a parachute.

Isn’t it sort of hard to address a guy like this as “Rev?” Helicopters and boats have been searching for his body near some coast with busted balloons on it. Goodness. Sure hope lots of verses were memorized for this stunt or something.

Jordan Baptisms

Stranger Christians than I think it is more spiritual to be baptized in certain places. Take the Jordan River, for instance. This is where Jesus was baptized, so if you really want a cool baptism go get dunked in the Jordan.

Thousands of weird Christians have done this over the years, so many that it is drawing some concerns by the Israeli government. Apparently, there is a steep bank to the river that has caused many people to get hurt in the past.

So they closed the river to baptisms!

Instead, they set up tubs of river water and pumped water from the Jordan into showers on the riverbanks. Some pilgrims were upset, but others were content to be near the holy site.

Oh man! I would be ticked off big time if I paid to go over there to be baptized only to take a bath in dirty river water others have used. I’d be doubting my salvation if I were baptized in a tub rather than the real deal.

Doing God’s Word

God likes people to listen to Him, not sure if we’re aware of that or not. The Bible is fairly consistent on the point. Observe the following consequences for not listening to God:

*A great nation will be reduced to a small remnant (Deuteronomy 28)
*A kingdom will be ripped away from a king (1 Samuel 15)
*A nation will be destroyed (Jeremiah 12)
*A lion will eat the disobedient man (1 Kings 20)
*Their water will be poisoned (Jeremiah 9)

Seems God is making a point. Perhaps we like to think that this was the Old Testament mean God, not the one we have now.

I’d be all for that, if it were true. However, God promised to be the same, “immutable” is the good theological word. He won’t send a lion to eat you or poison your water, but He still holds His role of Judge. He promises the following things to the disobedient:

*Flaming fire and everlasting destruction (2 Thessalonians 1)
*Indignation and wrath (Romans 2)
*A consuming fire will come (Hebrews 12)
*Fire in the day of judgment (2 Peter 3)
*Vengeance of eternal fire (Jude)
*Eternal fire and brimstone (Revelation 21)

Seems to me that we might want to know God’s Word and start doing it. Just a thought.

Jesus In New York Hospital

Jesus was in a Florida hospital last week blessing the hurting and diseased of Florida. Apparently, His work there went so well He moved into another hospital.

As we know, the pope was in New York last week, so it only makes sense that Jesus would move closer to His Brother.

Junior Rodriguez, 31, a cab driver receiving care for anemia, said he noticed the quarter-sized face of Jesus when he looked up from his bed one day in St. John’s Queens Hospital, the New York Post reported Sunday.

“I was freaking out. There was Jesus looking down on me. This room is blessed.”

Hundreds of patients and employees packed into Room 232 to get a glimpse of Jesus. This will, no doubt, stop the spread of many diseases.

(Don’t forget to email us at jcweddle1 at juno.com for our new e-book Visions of Jesus: everything you want to know about Jesus sightings, including how to get your own.)

Why The Reformers Liked Predestination

I have often wondered why the Reformers (Calvin, Luther, etc) were so big into predestination. Maybe I’m dense, but I’ve just figured it out. It’s because of the Catholic doctrine of salvation.

Here is a quote from Austin Flannery in a book he wrote on Vatican II:

“Man gains such dignity when, ridding himself of all slavery to the passions, he presses forward towards his goal by freely choosing what is good, and, by his diligence and skill, effectively secures for himself the means suited to this end.”

Sounds an awful lot like Arminianism! Catholic doctrine teaches that man saves himself through all his works or works others do for him, it’s his choice to do it. The Reformers would find this troubling in light of their “discovery” that salvation is by faith.

So that’s nice, now I can sleep at night.

Nazi Pope

I am currently reading a book entitled “A Woman Rides the Beast” about the prophecies of John in Revelation 17. The point of the book is that the Catholic Church is the woman riding the beast.

It is quite interesting. Last night I read three chapters about how the Catholic Church and the pope helped notorious Nazi war criminals escape through their Ratlines. Then I see this article this morning:

“Liberal talk show host Bill Maher, whose controversial comments about the pope drew fire from the Catholic community, is planning to apologize Friday night for falsely accusing Pope Benedict XVI of being a Nazi.”

So, never mind the fact that he was a Nazi and that his Mother Church was complicit in helping Nazi war criminals escape. That article is followed up by one detailing the pope’s visit to a synagogue as well as another speech.

“The pope later delivered a speech to other Christian leaders during which he advocated holding the line on orthodoxy within denominations. Allowing individual congregations to interpret the Gospel undermines evangelism at a time when “the world is losing its bearings.”

And what Gospel would that be? The Catholic Church stands up there yacking on about human rights and the sanctity of life with a record for rescuing Nazi criminals and abusing children? It’s incredible really.

Get out while the gettin’s good my Catholic friends!

Deceitful Hearts

First and Second Kings covers the kings that ruled over Israel and Judah. Several of the kings were good and had a description like Asa’s

“But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect with the LORD all his days.”

In other words, Asa didn’t do everything right, but his heart was perfect.

In the Gospels, Jesus goes off on the Pharisees, guys who seemingly did everything right but their heart was corrupt (Luke 16:15).

Consistently the Bible points out the heart’s importance. External actions can be good or bad, but God judges the heart. Doing good is no indication that the heart is good.

Doing good does not make up for a corrupt heart. Nor does having a good heart reduce the severity of sin. The heart is what makes your stand before God. Don’t be deceived.

Jesus Candy

Not only has Jesus shown up in a hospital in Florida, He has now shown up on a piece of candy in Florida. There’s something He’s trying to get across to you Floridians. Go to the article to see a video of the candy.

However, whatever it is He’s trying to get across, the owner of the Jesus Candy doesn’t appear to be picking up on it.

“Maybe if I can get people crazy enough to buy it, I might sell it,” she said. Perry says she isn’t convinced it’s a sign from God, but she still thinks it’s pretty cool.

Wow, when Jesus shows up, you should really know why. Who knows what He’ll do next to get His point across.

UPDATE! One of the AIM’s loyal readers has responded to this post with allegations that this Jesus appearance could indeed be a fraud! Read on!

“This is a outright fraud. I have been eating this kind of candy for same time now. “This candy has been sucked on till they got the appearence they wanted”… The appearence of the candy keeps changing as you suck on it.

Heres a pic of the candy before placing in your mouth (note the original shape, not sucked on yet like the Jesus Candy). FRAUD ! FRAUD ! FRAUD ! Included is a pic I took of the unaldulterated candy.

(If you want to know more about Jesus sightings, how to get them and how to profit by them email to jcweddle1 at juno.com for our free guide to Jesus Sightings: Visions of Jesus!)

What Is Love?

Christians are too quick to give advice. This tendency bothers me. It bugs me when I do it, when others do it to me and when I hear it happening to others. You no sooner express an opinion about some problem in your life and the Christian advice pours in:

I’m running out of money.
Oh, well sell stuff on eBay. Get another job. Stop spending money.

I’m having some health issues.
Take Airborne. Gargle salt water. Eat elderberries.

My kids are bugging me.
You just need to cherish these times. Go on a date with your wife. Sell them to a circus.

Winter sure is long.
Take up snowshoeing. Think happy thoughts. Move.

The problem with the advice giving is that the advice giver walks away thinking they were very loving. “I totally helped them, man.”

Here’s the deal: if you love someone, you won’t give advice, you’ll actively help. It’s really the great test of love. It’s not love to tell people what to do; it’s love to do something to help solve their problem.

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

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Jesus In Hospital

Witnesses at the Florida Hospital Medical Complex in Orlando said an image that seemed to depict Jesus Christ crying mysteriously appeared on a hospital window.

No word as to why He is “crying mysteriously.” The image is said to help people feel better, so they got that going for them, which is nice.

Again, very disappointingly, there is no picture. When will reporters learn that images of Jesus demand a photo?

Update: We have a photo!

Very cool. This is one of the best appearances yet. Thanks Anonymous! You the man! Or Woman as the case may be.

If you are interested in more Jesus Appearances, please request our brand new e-book, “Visions of Jesus: Your Complete Guide to Jesus Sightings–what they are, how to get them and how to profit from them!” by emailing us at jcweddle1 at juno.com.

Strange Verse

One of the strangest people in Scripture is Samson. What a weird guy. What was God thinking with that one?

To me, the strangest verse of the Samson saga is Judges 14:6. Here an angry lion charges at Samson and his parents so the Spirit of God grants him lion-tearing strength.

The author of Judges knew that many, if not most, of his readers would have no lion tearing experiences of their own, at least not ones they could remember. To me it seems pretty tough, although I’ve never tried it.

So the author puts in a qualifying statement to help us understand just how strong Samson was while tearing the lion to bits, “and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat.”

Oh, well, now I can relate. Apparently, the author of Judges knew that his readers would have more goat tearing experience than lion tearing experience so he gives us a nice aid to help our understanding.

Now, I must say, it has been awhile since my hands have torn goat flesh, but I remember back in the day how easy it was. We would have parties in the backyard, the whole neighborhood would be there. We’d play a little softball, a little volleyball and then we’d sit down and tear goats.

Ah, the memories.

What a strange person.

Old Guys

It’s great to know guys who have been around, who know things and can lend perspective. Old guys can be depressing though. Being around a long time rarely leads to being happy!

Moses was a grumpy old man. When Moses gave the Law the second time in Deuteronomy he was dealing with a bunch of teenagers. Every old person was dead except Joshua and Caleb. Moses was the resident old curmudgeon.

Moses was 120 years old. He’d seen some things. He was a bit ticked off at the kid’s dumb parents who tempted the Lord for 40 years. But he was hoping for a fresh start with this new crop of Israelites.

The kids had to be in awe of Moses. He was the oldest guy they knew, by far. He was at least three times older than they were. He was the first man in the Bible to work miracles. He was familiar with the Pharaohs. He witnessed the great Deliverance they had only heard about.

But as optimistic as Moses was trying to be, he knew man. He knew what was going to happen. This new crop was going to do the same thing as the old crop. But Moses went on, giving them the Law the second time, because those who heard it first were all dead now.

God did not allow Moses into the Promised Land. People generally interpret this as being a sad thing. “Poor Moses, all that work and no pay.” I doubt it. I think Moses was totally thrilled knowing he wouldn’t have to spend any more time with these guys!

He went through it once, why bother doing it again? How much better to go and be with the Lord? Moses’ sufferings were over. Don’t feel bad for him; feel bad for all those who had to stay.

The End Is Nigh

I awoke this morning still stunned that I am still here. Again, all the signs are there for the Lord’s return. I mean, it’s huge right now. Get a load of all this:

There is an increased call for a global currency with the dollar’s struggles.

A number of earthquakes are occurring off Oregon.

The pope (aka: the antichrist) is visiting the UN in NYC after visiting a Jewish synagogue.

The blind can see.

The UN is teaming with Google to track people.

It’s all there! I’m telling ya, He’s coming. Are ya ready?

Predestination Theory

I just came up with a theory I’d like to throw out there for peer review.

Jesus mentions His Father drawing people and how salvation is impossible without God’s work several times. John 6:65 is one example. In this context He is talking about people who won’t believe.

In other places, when a person does believe, Jesus praises them for their faith, “I tell you I have not seen such great faith, no not even in Israel.”

So, here’s my theory: when people receive Christ as Savior He praises them for their faith; when they reject Christ as Savior, He softens the blow by saying they couldn’t because God didn’t elect them.

The softening of the blow is not for them in their rejection, as in making them feel better, but that rejecting Christ wasn’t the messenger’s fault it was God’s “fault.”

So, in our day, when people reject the Gospel we don’t get depressed, lose heart and give up, we chalk it up to God’s sovereignty and are then able to keep plugging.

Wondering if there are exceptions you can think of. Any time where God says to one who believes, “it was God?” Or, vice-verse, any times when a person rejected and God said it was specifically their fault?

Apparently comments are not working all the time so if you want to email me you can at jcweddle1 at juno.com

Unchurched Want Churchy Churches

Bad news for shoe box churches: The unchurched think your church is ugly.

In order to attract the ungodly heathen types, churches have been getting further away from traditional architecture to more multi-purpose buildings. They emote a feeling of usefulness with no guilt or churchy ickyness.

But there’s a problem. A new study has found that the unchurched would prefer going to a cathedral with candles and echoey ceilings that reverberate coughing. They want to feel something religious.

What to do? Throw a few candles on the backboards? Instead of raising the roof with rockin praise choruses, perhaps we should literally raise the roof? How about a few idols, just to make it more comfortable for the heathen?

So stupid. Come quickly.

HT: Thunderstruck