Are You ‘Ready’? [v117]

NOVEMBER 2008

ARE YOU ‘READY’?
2008 is almost over—and what a year it has been! Never before in my lifetime (and my father’s) has there been such jarring headlines, distressing news analyses, or dire predictions for America and the world. Things are getting so ‘chaotic’ that many pundits are using the term “perfect storm” to explain the confluence of wide-ranging food shortages, record high fuel prices, and natural disasters.

You could have scanned the news almost any day this year and just shaken your head at the developments. To ‘jog’ your memory, here are few from the FIRST HALF of 2008:

– Petroleum hits $100 a barrel for the first time in history
– Iran’s nuclear program; launches a rocket into space
– Stock market falls more than 3% in one day (almost 15% in just October)
– Rising fuel and food prices blamed for riots in the Third World
– More than 133,000 killed in Myanmar cyclone
– More than 70,000 killed and 5 million homeless in China earthquake
– Floods in US Midwest caused record property and crop losses
– US credit crunch deepened with Freddie Mac and Fannie Mac bankruptcies
– Housing defaults and foreclosures rise tremendously in US
– Declining value of the US dollar
– Global ID initiatives
– China’s growing economic and military might
– A resurgent Russia, and its recent military aggression
– Increased global terrorism

In just the past few months, things have been even more ‘concerning’—fuel prices seem to be driving the world economy; antagonists are becoming ‘collaborators in the global political structure; “Axis of Evil” nations are forming pacts between themselves; and world leaders are plotting the destruction of Israel.

The events unfolding in today’s world are ominously threatening to unsettle institutions, reorder national political alignments, change the balance of world power, and destabilize the equitable distribution of resources. People everywhere are beginning to live in a state of fear and anxiety.

So, do the current headlines give us any ‘clues’ about what is coming next?

Clues are all around us. Do you remember the saying, “Red sky a night, sailors take delight; red sky in the morning, sailors take warning”? Well, that originated 2,000 years ago when Jesus was noting the use of ‘clues’ in his own day (Matthew 16:2-3).

Without question, the clearest repository of clues to the future is in the Bible—and it gives a detailed ‘picture’ of God’s plans for planet earth—one that has an astounding record of accuracy. The Bible gives us many ‘clues’ conveying crucial information for interpreting the ‘signs’ as the days of man’s rule on earth wind down toward their end.

For instance, the whole world is aware of a tiny nation called Israel (about the size of Vermont). It is the only nation that has ever been ‘re-established’—given legitimate sovereignty of their land, after almost 1,900 years by the United Nations in 1948. Such an event was without parallel in human history—but this was written of by the Old Testament prophets over 2,500 years ago (Isaiah 11:12, 43:5-6; Ezekiel 34:13; Jeremiah 7:1-7, 30:3; Amos 9:14-15; Zechariah 8:7-8).

A recent book I read from a New York Time best-selling author, Dr. David Jeremiah, “What In The World Is Going On?,” outlines 10 categories of ‘clues’ which are unfolding around us at the present time (The Israel Connection; Modern Europe–Ancient Rome; The Crude Awakening; Islamic Terrorism; Vanished Without A trace; Is America In Prophecy?; When One Man Rules The World; the New Axis Of Evil; Arming For Armageddon; The Return Of The King).

Jeremiah suggests if we fail to act on these clues, they will lead to disastrous results—and that all of the Biblical ‘clues’ have coalesced concerning ‘end-time’ prophecy, that not a single event needs to happen in order to begin the ‘countdown’ to planet earth’s final days!

Jeremiah points out that there is some ‘intelligence’ provided in the Bible for us to use when analyzing current events. He cites the 24th chapter in the Book of Matthew when Jesus gave His disciples some ‘signposts’ to look for just before He was to come back again to earth. He noted that “false prophets” would deceive many; that there would be “wars and rumors of wars” (more have died in the 20th century that all of the other centuries combined); there would be “famines and earthquakes”; Christians would be “persecuted” for their faith (more than twice the amount of Christians have been martyred in the 20th century than the previous 19 centuries combined); and there would be a “spread of the Gospel” (it is estimated that less than 20% of the people in the world have not heard of Jesus—down from about 75% in 1800).

The purpose of all this biblical prophecy, after all, isn’t to confuse of ‘scare’ us, but to inform and ‘motivate’ us.

Jesus said, “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Many of the ‘things’ He described are beginning to happen or have happened.

My question to you is very simple: “ARE YOU ‘READY’?” Are you ‘ready’ for Heaven and eternal life? Jesus said there is only one “way” to get to Heaven—to believe in Him and the One that sent Him. Pretty ‘narrow’, but IS IT TRUE?

If you have not already ‘received’ Christ as your savior, let me encourage you to ‘investigate’ this concept for yourself. Reading the Gospel of John would be a great starting point, as it is probably the clearest depiction of the ‘person’ of Christ—and who He claimed to be (probably take most people an hour or two to read).

Though it is important to read about Jesus, one does not come to ‘know’ Christ by their intellect alone—or even their ’emotions’. It is a MATTER OF THE WILL—just allowing Christ to ‘come in’ to your ‘heart’—almost like allowing someone through the front door of your home.

The good ‘news’ is that it is very simple to do this—just like taking the gift someone is giving you at your birthday party—you must receive it to ‘possess’ it. In addition, you don’t have to ‘work’ for it—just like receiving the birthday gift—you just need to ‘decide’ to accept it.

God’s desire is that “none perish” and He wants everyone in Heaven with Him. But He won’t ‘force’ you—it’s UP TO YOU (and there may not be a lot of time left to decide).

If you would like to investigate further what it really means to “believe”, visit the following link:
http://www.thesearchformeaning.net/sfm_pres/sp_q10_d1_1of10.html .

[Excerpts from: Dr. David Jeremiah; Terry James; Paul George]

Blessings,
Mark

LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v117) for NOVEMBER 2008
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at: mbesh@comcast.net

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WHAT IN THE WORLD IS GOING ON?
(Chapter Outtakes)

Chapter 1: The Israel Connection
The story of Israel begins at the very beginning of the Bible, in the book of Genesis. The very proportion of the coverage tells us something about the importance of Israel. Only two chapters are given to the whole story of creation. One chapter records the fall of man. Eight chapters cover the thousands of years from creation to the time of Abram. Then we find that fully thirty-eight chapters deal with the life stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the progenitors of the Jewish race. Apparently God finds Abraham and his descendants to be of enormous importance. (13-14/241) . . .

To this very day, the issue of who controls the Promised Land is the most volatile in international politics. But we need not worry; the right to the Promised Land has already been determined by the only One who has the authority to determine it. The land is called holy because it belongs to God. The Bible tells us that the earth is the Lord’s to do with as He wills. In His covenant with Abraham, God designated who would control this land: He gave it to Abraham and his descendants, the people of Israel. (17-18/241)

Chapter 2: The Crude Awakening
Oil is the new gold in the world economy, and more than any factor other than the nation of Israel, oil holds the key to the prophetic events of the future. Oil explains why the Bible focuses its end-time attention on the Middle East. The demand for oil in America has outstripped its capacity to produce the black gold, and the same holds true for much of the world. Therefore, since the discovery of huge supplies of oil in the Middle Eastern countries, world attention has been focused on that area . . . Few would question the fact that oil has become the new basis for our world economy. It is now the stuff of life, the resource most highly valued by the industrialized and emerging nations of the world, the blood that flows through their economic veins and gives life to prosperity in today’s global economy. The greatest source of that lifeblood is now in the Middle East, and so that is where the eyes of the world are focused. (36-37/241)

Chapter 3: Modern Europe . . . Ancient Rome
The future manifestation of the Roman Empire that Daniel prophesied twenty-five hundred years ago will take the form of a coalition or confederation of ten world leaders and will encompass the same territory as the historic Roman Empire. And today we can see that coalition taking shape right before our eyes! It began as early as 1930 when the French statesman Aristide Briand attempted to enlist twenty-six nations in what he first called “the United States of Europe” and modified to “the European Union.” In his proposal he said, “The nations of Europe today must unite in order to live and prosper.” The European press gave Briand’s novel idea little attention and nothing came of it.

That is nothing came of it at that time. But Briand’s call for European unity was merely one world war ahead of the curve. Less than twenty years later, one of the world’s most respected leaders issued the same call. In 1946…Winston Churchill forcefully asserted . . . “We must build a United States of Europe.” Churchill’s call initiated a series of steps toward unification; some were faltering, but others gained traction. (67/241)

Chapter 4: Islamic Terrorism
No doubt the most frightening word associated with Islam is jihad. Sometimes called the “sixth pillar” of Islam, jihad actually means “struggle.” The “Greater Jihad” is the inner struggle of each Muslim to submit to Allah. The “Lesser Jihad” is the outward struggle to defend the Islamic community. This is the jihad that strikes fear in the hearts of non-Muslims. Militant Muslims take jihad to mean more than just passive defense of Islam; to them, it authorizes the expansion of the Islamic religion even by means of deadly aggression . . . While the majority of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims want no part of this deadly violence and attempt to live in peace with their neighbors, the number of radicals who preach violence and terror is mushrooming around the world. (87-88/241)

Chapter 5: The Vanished Without a Trace
There are no events that must take place before the Rapture occurs. It’s all a matter of God’s perfect timing…Since the Rapture takes place seven years before the Second Advent, the signs that point to the Second Advent cast shadows that clue us in to the imminent Rapture. The fact that the Rapture precedes the Second Advent makes the signs portending the Advent all the more immediate and ominous. The Rapture will give irrefutable confirmation of end time events seven years before they come to pass for those who are left behind.

The New Testament indicates that the Rapture of those who have put their trust in Christ is the next major event on the prophetic calendar. In other words, the Rapture awaits us on the horizon . . . it could happen at any moment. (108-109/241)

Chapter 6: Does America Have a Role in Prophecy?
Clearly America did not become the land of the free and the home of the brave by blind fate or a happy set of coincidences. A benevolent God was hovering over this nation from her very conception so that today, although America has only 5 percent of the world’s population, she has more than 50 percent of the modern luxuries that characterize civilization.

Why has God blessed this nation above all other lands? Why has America in her short history outstripped the wealth, power, and influence of all ancient and modern civilizations? Can God have blessed a nation so richly without her having a pivotal purpose? What is God’s plan for America? What is its place in the end-time prophecy? These are questions many people are asking today as the watch events coalesce toward world crises. They wonder how America fits into what is going on in the world. (126/241)

Chapter 7: When One Man Rules the World
When I first began studying prophecy nearly forty years ago, I encountered the Bible’s prediction that one man would eventually take control of the entire world. Frankly, I could not imagine how such a thing would ever happen. But since the Bible presented this as a major part of the end-time landscape, I believed it and preached it, even though I could not comprehend it.

Today it is much easier to envision the possibility of such a world ruler. Technology has given us instant global communication. CNN is seen everywhere in the world. The Internet and satellite cell phones reach every country on the face of the earth. Air transportation has shrunk the planet to the point where we can set foot on the soil of any nation in a matter of hours. I am told that there are now missiles that can reach any part of the world in less than thirty minutes . . .
There are also other factors that make the ascendance of a global leader more plausible than ever before. The Bible predicts that worldwide chaos, instability, and disorder will increase as we approach the end of this age. (145/241)

Chapter 8: The New Axis of Evil
On January 29, 2002 in his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush used the term “axis of evil” for the first time. He identified Iran, Iraq, and North Korea as “states . . .[who are] arming to threaten the peace of the world. . . . These regimes” he said “pose a grave threat and growing danger. They could provide these arms to terrorists, giving them the means to match their hatred.” . . . On May 6, 2002 US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton gave a speech titled, “Beyond the Axis of Evil” in which he added three more rogue states to the axis: Libya, Syria, and Cuba. Today the term Axis of Evil includes all six states.

One nation on this Axis of Evil list is of special interest to us because we find that it is also on God’s list. That nation and that list are found in the thirty-eighth and thirty-ninth chapters of Ezekiel. These chapters, written some 2600 years ago, give us one of the most important and dogmatic prophecies in all Scripture. (165/241)

Chapter 9: Arming for Armageddon
Armageddon. The very word chills the soul. Probably there are few adults who are not familiar with that word and what it implies. Why, in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, are our national leaders beginning to use that doomsday word in their speaking and writing? I believe it is because they can see how modern weaponry and international tensions are showing how quickly global equilibrium could get out of control, leading to a cataclysmic war like the world has never seen before.

Our nation is no stranger to war. According to the US Army Military Institute, the United States has been involved in twenty-nine wars or military conflicts. This averages out to one war to every eight years of America’s history . . .The Bible tells us that there is yet to be another war to be fought on this earth. This war, called Armageddon, makes all the wars America has fought to date look like minor skirmishes. (192/241)

Chapter 10: The Return of the King
The second coming of Christ is a central theme of much of the Bible, and it is one of the best-attested promises in all of Scripture. Christians can rest in the sure conviction that just as Jesus came to earth the first time, so He will return at the conclusion of the Great Tribulation . . .

Christ’s return will be amplified by a devastating spectacle that will make Hollywood disaster movies look like Saturday morning child’s fare. The world will see and recognize its rightful Lord and King. Whereas He came the first time in humility and simplicity, this time His glory and majesty will be spectacularly displayed for all to see. (213; 219/241)
[Dr. David Jeremiah]

To purchase the book, click the link below:
http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/television_content.aspx?id=200

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DEEP THOUGHT:
” There is no hope without a secure future, and the future is frightening in the absence of hope. Only God is big enough to bring these two things together—hope and a future—and this is what He has done for us.”
[Michael Ramsden]

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Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” [John 14:1-3].

Mark

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Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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