Thursday, July 20, 2017

ISRAEL, the nations rage! Will they NEVER learn?

Dear friends and readers,

Peace and grace to all of you in Jesus name.

History repeats itself, often in extremely dangerous ways; King Solomon stated “There is nothing new under the sun”, “That which has been is what will be and that which is done is what will be done”!

Things and circumstances often seem new to each generation but a careful study of history will dispel that myth. The things that change are people and subtle issues of circumstance but generally speaking mankind is prone to repeat his mistakes, hatreds, loves, zeal for power, pride and folly time after time after time after-----!




This week signals more and more threats against Israel and the Jewish people. Iran, (ancient Persia), Hezbollah, Hamas, and not the least of which are several committees within the United Nations. Several countries voting in those hallowed halls to deny the Holy City of Jerusalem to Israel and blatantly proclaiming that it and several decidedly Jewish historic national sites "really belong to the Palestinian people". 

Really ?

Entire history book s are being rewritten to proclaim absolute falsehood regarding Israel's God given claim to their ancient homeland. And, the United Nations seems just fine with threats of annihilating all Jews and stealing Israel's land.

The events of Purim (book of Esther) are celebrated in the fall of the year. Normally I would not write about the miracles that surround that feast day until it comes up on the calendar. But in this case I think a reminder of what happened those long years ago may help folks to understand what is happening today. It is literally a time of history repeating itself vis-a-vis the wisdom of King Solomon.

The events of those days happened in the 5th century B.C. Or about 470 years before Christ walked the earth.

It is all recorded in the Biblical book of Queen Esther. This book is only 10 chapters long and is available in any modern version of the Bible so I am not going to  belabor the entire story. Basically this is the plight of a Jewish orphan girl that was eventually chosen by a Persian King by the name of Ahasuerus (also called Xerxes) to be his queen.




There are several main characters in this timeless story but it all basically boiled down to four personalities. The King was extremely powerful and controlled a huge portion of  what is the Middle East today. The Queen who is the actual star (Esther actually means STAR) of the Book of Esther was a very beautiful but shy lady who rose to power on the heals of another Queen's failure. 

Then we have a good guy and a very bad guy; The good man was a Jew by the name or Mordecai who had at one time saved the Kings life. He was also Esther’s relative and raised her after the death of her parents.




The bad man in this story was very bad. He was a greedy, self deceived, jealous man who hated Mordecai and because he was a Jew, actually plotted to kill all of the Jews living in Ahasuerus Kingdom. This mans name was Haman who was an advisor to the King. The usual evil plots and scheming took place until he was able to convince the King to order the destruction of all Jews in his Kingdom. In those days once a Royal decree was signed into the official records, not even the issuing King could reverse it. 




Mordecai discovered this evil plot and enlisted the help of his niece, Queen Esther. Even though she was the Kings wife she was not allowed to enter into his presence without prior invitation. Taking a chance with her own life, she did approach the King and through miraculous circumstances the entire plot was exposed, the Jews saved from death, Mordecai elevated to the Kings right hand man and Haman suffered the very death he had plotted for so many others.

This is just one time of many that nations have tried to wipe out Israel and the Jewish people only to discover that it cannot be done and never will. But they keep trying don't they? In the face of generations of history, including proof positive that it cannot be done, I call that "stuck on stupid"! 

The thing is that every single nation who tried to wipe out Israel and all the Jewish people were not ruled by stupid men. In fact they represent cultures that were each and everyone, the absolute glory on earth of their time in history. Everything from science, poetry, monumental engineering feats, literature, math, Medicine, Philosophy, language and of course modern warfare of their day were the hall marks of these great societies. Yet to a nation, they all made the very same mistake. Vainly thinking they could rid the world of Israel and the Jewish people who God called to be His own. And why did they do this? Because each and everyone of these nations worshiped false gods (another name for satan) who cajoled these strong leaders into self destruction by trying to steal something from the One True God, the Creator of the Universe. Bad mistake!

FAST FORWARD TO TODAY!

Ancient Persia is called Iran today. I am certain that anyone reading this article knows that the religious leadership of the current Nation of Iran has openly announced on many occasions over the years that his desire is to annihilate all Jews in Israel and in fact all Jews living upon the face of the earth.Todays Iran is a huge country with a well equipped modern army and is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. Some experts indeed say they are very close to realizing that goal. If you doubt that look closely at North Korea who does in fact have nuclear capabilities. Modern military thinking dictates that Iran most probably received assistance with it's nuclear ambitions from North Korea.




Historically the United States has been a great supporter of Israel and the Jewish people. Things changed along that line rather dramatically during the past 8 years when the last President of the USA seemed intent upon estranging all Jews to the point of seemingly turning its (his)  back on the only free democracy in the Middle east---ISRAEL! The new current President has done an about face and seems intent upon supporting Israel but how much damage has already been done and can it now be reversed?




Into this complex mix comes the Prime Minister of Israel, a man who is a very serious confirmed Zionist. 

I should clarify what a Zionist is before moving on with our story; A Zionist (myself included) is a person who believes that the Bible is true. That God said certain things in the Bible that can never ever change. One of the core issues involved are the covenants that God gave to the Jewish people through Abraham, his son Isaac and his son Jacob. Jacob’s name was later changed by God to “ISRAEL” and he became the progenitor of the original 12 tribes of Israel. NOTE: see complete story in the first 5 books of the Bible (The Torah).

A Zionist is a person who believes that God was serious when He gave the land of Israel (eternally) to the Jewish people and no one else on this planet has a right to that land nor a right to give it away---not even the Jews themselves.




I will throw something else into the pot that I personally believe as a Zionist. We know that the modern State of Israel came back into being on May 14, 1948. However Israel was in fact founded by God Himself well over 3,500 years ago. The Jews were scattered from the land by the Roman legions in A.D. 70 and again in 135 A.D. after which they roamed the earth from nation to nation for the past 2000 years.  However there has always been a Jewish presence in the land and after this "Diaspora" (scattering of people with a common origin), God began bringing His people back home to Israel and as such the date of May 14, 1948 really represents a reconstitution of a Nation that has always been a reality in the mind and heart of God!

This is not really an article about Biblically fulfilled prophecy but the fact remains that there are very many Biblical prophecies that foretold this reconstitution of the Nation of Israel. The fact that it actually happened should be a surprise to no one who is familiar with the Bible.




During the past few weeks, this continually renewed move against Israel by the United Nations is reminiscent of a very special prophecy logged by the prophet Zechariah (chapter 12 verse 2) in the 6th century B.C.  "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem". Verses 3-9 basically go on the say, "it ain't going to happen". In fact the time will come when all the nations are called by God into the valley of Jehoshaphat (Megiddo) for judgment. This is clearly delineated in Joel chapter 3 verse 2 and the stated reason that God calls the nations to Megiddo for judgement? Because they scattered His people, God's inheritance, among the nations and divided up HIS (God's) land.

I lay no claim to being a prophet called by God. However it is pretty hard to miss the fact that this time period we are now in signals significant similarities to what happened during Queen Esther's life in the 5th century B.C.  THE THREAT OF IMPENDING TOTAL ANNIHILATION OF ISRAEL AND THE JEWISH POEPLE! But this time by several Nations and terror organizations of the world including in great portion the United Nations.

At the same time, the United States Government has obviously stepping back from it’s historical friendship with Israel. It does appear that this trend is reversing but I am very concerned because mixed messages seem to be coming from the White House. One day the U.S. is moving it's Embassy to Jerusalem and the next day---maybe not so soon. Perhaps this is simply a case of political posturing and "the right act at the right moment". While I cannot know exactly what is in the mind of the U.S. President, it certainly appears that he is still supporting, at least to an extent, an extremely flawed  deal concerning Iran’s goal of obtaining nuclear capabilities. I sincerely hope that is not the case. Is that because he is "stuck" with what the previous President promised? Or are things happening behind the scenes that the average "Joe" on the street does not have a clue about? 

I must ask myself what kind of signal that is sending to the enemies of Israel and for that matter the allies of the United States who are witnessing The current U.S. Government vacillating with previously expressed campaign promises.




Of one thing I am absolutely certain; Governments, Nations, Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings and Queens rise and fall on the worlds prophetic stage based upon their relationship with tiny Israel. 

HISTORY ALWAYS REPEATS ITSELF!

The Jews will ALWAYS be saved from utter and complete destruction. Israel will continue to stand tall among the nations and Jerusalem will be her capital.

To even hope for anything else is to stick ones finger up God's nose! Dangerous with a capital "D".

Let us hope that good will prevail and that those with evil intent will not take a great Nation like the United States down with them.

For those of you who say something like that could never happen to the good ole U.S.A?

Well lets see what history tells us about that?




ALL of the following Nations tried in some way to destroy Israel.

1). Ancient Egypt                               GONE!

2). Philistines                                     GONE!

3). Assyrian Empire                           GONE!

4). Babylonian Empire                       GONE!

5). Persian Empire                             GONE!

6). Greek Empire                               GONE!

7). Roman Empire                             GONE!

8). Byzantine Empire                         GONE!

9). Crusaders                                     GONE!

10). Spanish Empire                           GONE!

11). Nazi Germany                              GONE!

12). Ottoman Turks                             GONE!

13). Soviet Union                                 GONE!

14). P.S. Did anyone happen to notice that the British Empire is a mere shadow of it’s former self (after siding with the Arabs and against the Jews before the events of 1948)?

IRAN                                                            ????

Russia                                                          ????

United States                                                ????
                                                
The heavenly jury is out for all these and more.

SPECIAL NOTE! For those of you Christians who are turning your backs on Israel please remember that Jesus Christ is the Messiah of Israel. God clearly chose Israel and the Jews as His own special people. Hebrews 10:30-31 “Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord. The Lord will judge His people”. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God!

This is not a good time to be aligned with the enemies of Israel.

God bless,
Pastor Rance.









Friday, July 7, 2017

Sad and discouraged?

Dear friends and readers,


Peace and grace to all of you in Jesus name.

Are you a follower of Christ who somehow doubts that He loves you or that you're life is important to the kingdom of God?

Many within the church do have those feelings but the question is, does God see you in the same way you see yourself?  Are you feeling worthless and irrelevant? And are those feelings valid?

As a pastor, I run into this problem frequently. In these troubled times, the problem of doubt seems to be growing within segments  of the church so I want to address this issue  from my heart to yours.



All of us have gone through things in our lives that can and often do bring us to areas of self doubt.  I fully understand---been there and done that.  As I was growing up I was told several times by my parents that "you were just an accident".  I was dropped at an orphanage at the age of 5  (although through family pressure was redeemed somewhat later).


My parents were both severe alcoholics with terrible bouts of  violence in their relationship.  Each of them seemingly took turns running off---disappearing from my life  for weeks on end.   I can remember only one time that my father told me he loved me and on that evening he was drunk on a bar stool.  In short I had a painful youth and very much regret that I have little good to say about my parents, both of whom died very early from substance abuse.



In my own case, I made up my mind early in life that I would not be defined by the opinions of others including my own family.  I determined that I would not use the failures of my parents as an excuse for my own failure.

I was 7 years old when I made that pledge to myself.



I had my own full time job at 14 and have basically been on my own ever since. Putting myself through the last year of high school while working full time till midnight 5 days each week. I joined the Marine Corps Reserve at 17 while still in school.  After boot camp the only job I could find was breaking rock 1600 feet under the ground in a limestone mine. Taking classes in the evening to get through Jr. college and was sworn in as a Policer Officer at the age of  21. I understand the challenges that life can throw at you. In those days I thought I was a pretty good over comer. Little did I realize that the Lord had His hand on me even during the years I was not walking with Him.

It was not that I did not love my parents but I refused to go down the road that most people would think was preordained for them.  At some point during those years my Grandmother told me about Jesus and after all, who does not believe Grandma?  I did not know much and really nothing about the Bible, nor did I  walk with the Lord until much later in life, but I did always know He was there. Who would think that one day the Lord would call me into His service? Certainly not I.



Over the years as a pastor, I cannot tell you how many times I have heard variations of that story but in far too many cases people DID become defined by the actions of others and this tragedy has followed them through their entire lives, lurking in the background as an anchor of self defeat.  Frankly why I was spared from all that I may never know but what I do know is that each and everyone of us really were created in the image of God and He has a far better opinion of us than most people have of themselves.

Before I served the Lord, I served in a career of law enforcement so between the two I have seen just about every example of marriage and divorce, tragically broken abused women, sexually abused children, drug or alcoholic destruction and many other miserable things that have happened to people in all walks of life.   Some people, but very few escape the carnage that these horrible circumstances bestow upon their lives.  Most, unfortunately carry unspeakable emotional, social and spiritual baggage with them throughout their entire lives.



Many are Christians who are somehow unable to accept the redemption that was guaranteed by a merciful God who paid the price for all of that with His own life on the cross of Calvary.

Oh, how I have counseled people going through those terrible times, as have many of my pastoral colleagues.  We have taught and explained relevant scripture.  Encouraged and provided opportunities for healing, or rehabilitation.  But sadly in very many cases children of God cannot bring themselves to believe that God really does love them.  I fully realize that you cannot simply throw scripture at very real human problems and expect them to disappear over night.

It is so simple from a scriptural point of view.  James 4:8 tells us "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you".  Ah, but there is a catch;  How exactly do we accomplish that?  The problem is that healing of emotional problems plays out very differently for each and every person.  Scripture also tells us to simply give our problems to the Lord.  Great advice but unfortunately easier said than done.



The Hebrew word "RAPHA" in the Old Testament means heal and when coupled with a Hebrew name of God is JEHOVAH RAPHA, or the God who heals.  This word Rapha is used in various Biblical scriptures as PHYSICAL HEALING, EMOTIONAL HEALING and SPIRITUAL HEALING.  When we look at a New Testament scripture in Luke chapter 9 verse 11 we see a picture of Jesus Christ healing the multitudes.



Obviously there is healing available at all levels when we draw close to God.  SPECIAL NOTE: Some folks become discouraged when loved ones are not healed.  All too often they end up blaming God. I cannot explain why every single person is not healed other than to say that "SOMEDAY" we all come to the end of our lives but none of us know when that time will arrive.  I personally have learned not to second guess God.  I may not care for the outcome of a particular problem but second guess God, I do not.
We all must find our own solutions in drawing near to God and that plays out differently for all of us.  I will share with you some things I do and hope they will help someone reading this article.



1).  I have chosen a life of service.  Not everyone can do that full time but we can always help those around us.  Speaking only as one man, I have discovered that when I am concentrating my efforts on helping someone in need, even though my own problems do not disappear, they do fade into the background and are no longer the central focus of my life.  If nothing more than a  commitment to pray for someone, it concentrates my own efforts on that person or problem and not upon myself.

2). I enjoy pondering just how grand, how big, how magnificent and powerful is a Creator who gave me life and is able to keep a huge universe running smoothly.  When my wife and I sit quietly on our patio in the evening and have tea, we have absolutely zero sense of movement.  And yet scientifically that is far from the truth.

I can look up into the night sky and  clearly see the "MILKY WAY" which is a Galactic plane encompassing an area so immense that it occupies an area including 30 constellations.  The constellation Sagittarius is roughly at the center and we here on  Earth can see it all. Except we can't see it all because the planet Earth upon which we sit is also included as part of the Milky Way which is hurtling through the universe at 190 miles per second while it also rotates at 140 miles per second.



 At exactly the same time, the Earth we are sitting upon is rotating on its axis at 1000 miles per hour and orbiting around the sun at 66,000 miles per hour.  But the liquid in our tea cups does not slosh around because we feel zero movement.  God has created an order within the Universe that has enabled it to function perfectly and has for untold gazillions of years.  Planet Earth is a huge ball suspended by absolutely nothing, except the will of God.

3). It is that very same God who gave life to each and everyone of us.  At the moment of conception he gave us a human soul and a body that is exactly imprinted with the same DNA as our relatives who may have lived thousands and thousands of years ago.  Our human families cannot be confused because DNA cannot be confused.

It is important for us to try and view ourselves from the same perspective that our Creator sees both in us and about us because then and only then do we realize that we are not an accident.  We are not worthless.  We were created for a very special purposes that sadly very many people during their lives never realize.



I learned a few things during my Law Enforcement career that left an incredible impression on my soul.  And helped me see myself as yes, a flawed human being but one in whom our great God has hope and a plan for my life.  AND YOURS.

Perhaps you have heard the statement than in all the world no two snowflakes are alike?  That is not an accident because God is capable of creating an infinite number of anything.  Including human beings, and each and everyone is special and distinct from all other humans who have ever been created. NOTE: Want to blow your mind? Take a close look at these snowflakes. Each and everyone is in the exact shape of a Star of David.



Many people when born have their foot prints placed upon their birth certificate.  The reason for that is Gods desire that no two human footprints are alike and have not been since Adam and Eve.  But that's not all;  Did you know that your individual finger prints, exact shape of your ear and  imprinted coding within the corneas of your eyes are all specific to you and only you?

You are a one of a kind and there has never ever been another exact replica of you that has been made nor will there ever be.  You and I and all of mankind were created in the image of a Holy and Righteous God who has a plan for our lives even though we are drastically flawed.  And as far as the flaws of mankind are concerned, God even provided a way for us to escape righteous judgement through a simple, heart felt prayer of repentance of our sins and acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives.



That tells me that God also has something specific for me---and you to do in our lives that will glorify Him.  Something absolutely no one else that has ever been created is capable of doing.  At least not in the same magnificent way that you can because you are the only one He created with the abilities to do it.  Oh, others might do the job, but not the way you can because you were created to do so.

Sad that so many folks have never discovered what it is that the Lord created them to do.  By the way, that special job might be finding the cure for cancer, bringing peace instead of war, creating a painted master piece, writing an inspired book, Being a good father or raising your children as a Godly mother who's legacy might be told through the lives of a Godly great grandson or daughter.



Of one thing I am certain;  God really does not make any accidents and you are special.  There is a supernatural plan for your life.  God does not want you bound in yesterdays pain, agony and carrying emotional baggage thrust upon you by either accident or design through the thoughtless acts of others.

How do you discover your calling regardless of age and history?  Well, how is this for a starter?  Ask the Lord and keep on asking until He tells you.  John 10:27 (Jesus speaking)  "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me". NOTE: Prayer is a wonderful thing and is required of us. But some people spend so much time talking that they could not hear God's voice if He beat a brass drum. Say your prayers and then be quiet. Spend some time and Listen for the still small voice of God just like the Prophet Elijah.



Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.  Have hope, you are special.

God bless you all,
Pastor Rance.

P.S. Trust in the Lord with all your heart.