Is Paris Burning?

The layers that obscure the truth are burying humanity in large numbers. Yes, Paris was burning again and those flames and the dead bodies may well be a grim foreshadowing of what the future holds. I was in neighboring England the night the massacre scattered across Paris took place, as people going out to enjoy a dinner or concert or a football game were the targets of hate-filled and ruthless killers. The newspapers the next day had similar words: Carnage; massacre; assassination; murder; blood; death; screams; terror, and so on. Television programming was preempted and viewers were cautioned that some of the scenes of the slaughter were graphic. It was real. A few hours later, names and pictures of the dead were shown. It was like we had heard this before. But it was new and real: the victims lives cut short in the peak of their careers. Children who werent going to come home. People looking for their loved ones. Marriages suddenly broken by death. A young graduate with life ahead of her. And so on. One doesnt have to know the individuals to feel helplessness and pain. This is twenty-first century murderous man. War in small increments can be deadlier than large scale war because it doesnt just desensitize the killers; it desensitizes all of humanity.

Killers who do not represent a country and whose belief is debated ad nauseam as to whether it is a version or a perversion are truly sinister and are the cancerous cells of our time. They are protected by having no roots either in country or belief. The West is being taken down in small portions till one day the lie of the murderers being protected by smooth-talking power brokers with a bodyguard of lies will be seen for the terrifying belief that it is. No contrary view will be allowed then. For now, the layers of distortion cover the graves of the murdered. The whole world has become a courtroom where clever lawyers make truth unattainable. Whether it be 9/11 or the carnage at the Boston Marathon or blown-up planes or Paris, we will not find answers because to ask the question is either to receive a lie from some politicians or many in the media, or to invoke the wrath of hate-filled killers.

So we ask! What is the belief behind all this that kills with such callousness? We do not get any answers. We are told by some that its a religion of peace. Others call it a political theory at its core covered with the garb of religion to give it maximum protection as it invokes the laws of blasphemy. What is the answer? We had dare not unpack the truth. In one sense, strangely, one feels almost pity for these murderers. The possessor of hate loses the essence of life much more than the victim does. Living with a heart so deceived breeds a decimating misery within and spreads the venom globally. There must be scores of young men within the belief who do not wish to inflict such pain but who now live with the pall of suspicion over them. Such is the contagion of a poisoned soul.

But the quest for answers still haunts. In one Middle Eastern country, an awful thing happened. Two young Muslims turned atheists were on a program. They argued for the reality that blood had been spilled across the centuries and that there was no denying that from its earliest days to the present, this was the same blood-letting in the name of the belief as originally given and carried out. Then one of them asked the cleric a question that was as pointed as could be. It was a powerful question with an irrefutable fact within the question. The question laid bare a reality that was deemed blasphemous. The next day that man and his family were murdered, just for asking a fact-laden question that was unanswerable without conceding the truth. For that, he and his family paid with their lives.

Thats the depravity of our age. It is death to ask the pointed question because the answer, if true, betrays the real truth. The masquerade is on and it is deadly. We watch hundreds die. We hear speeches full of distortions; we tolerate deceit and even reward it. Some in power and in the public eye whitewash the reality while the blood of the murdered cries out from the ground. Our children and grandchildren will inherit the whirlwind because our media pundits and misguided speech-makers have sown to the wind by trading in lives for their power.

It would be easy to lose heart and become cynical. But No! There is One who sees all things, knows all things, and will ultimately triumph over all things. There is only one message that addresses the truth as the truth. The Lord of glory, Jesus Christ, came to this earth and was also the victim of hate. Lies sent him to the cross. Power overruled reality, as politics and religious demagogues once again made the lie seem noble. But the Lord who sees the beginning from the end amazingly conquered not in spite of the dark mystery of evil, rather, He conquered through it. James Stewart of Scotland, pointing to the cross, said it in the most powerful terms I have read. Commenting on the verse from Psalm 68:18, He led captivity captive,‎ he said,

It is a glorious phraseHe led captivity captive. The very triumphs of his foes, it means, he used for their defeat. He compelled their dark achievements to subserve his ends not theirs. They nailed him to a tree, not knowing that by that very act they were bringing the world to his feet. They gave him a cross, not guessing that he would make it a throne. They flung him outside the city gates to die, not knowing that in that very moment they were lifting up the gates of the universe, to let the king come in. They thought to root out his doctrines, not understanding that they were implanting imperishably in the hearts of men the very name they intended to destroy. They thought they had God with his back to the wall, pinned helpless and defeated: they did not know that it was God himself who had tracked them down. He did not conquer in spite of the dark mystery of evil. He conquered through it.

The lie has a shelf life. The truth abides forever. God can even conquer through our perversion.

One more thing. I would be remiss if I left the guilt and darkness out there. That is the seduction of a fake righteousness. We all have to look at our own hearts and see the evil that is within each one of us. Only then can we find the answer from which all other answers flow. Some time ago, I was in Romania. A sculptor had some of his works on display. One was a horrific, fierce-looking, long nail. When you picked it up, as rusty and jagged as the nail was, the head was polished and shiny. ‎And when you looked at that polished head, you saw a reflection of yourself. It is sobering. Very sobering.

You see, the nails that cause hurt and pain and death ultimately point to our own hearts. Only when we as individuals see the evil that is within will we find an answer for the evil that is around us. Maybe, just maybe, someday a carnage will take place that might cause everyone in power to see their own hearts as God sees them and tell us the truth of what these killings are all about. Only then will truth triumph and we find real answers. Until then, the flames will gain ground and not just Paris will burn, but the next story of scorched lives in another city will make us forget this one or possibly, awaken us to the cost of a lie. More than ever we need the Savior. Lord have mercy!

Taken from RZIM (Ravi Zacharias)

Dependence Day

Dependence Day

by Tim Chaffey  on July 4, 2011; last featured July 4, 2015
  

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Millions of Americans will celebrate their freedom and independence today, but this independent spirit often leads us to ignore what is most important.

Every year on the Fourth of July, millions of Americans celebrate freedom. This day marks the anniversary of the signing the Declaration of Independence, a document which announced the American colonists’ desire to be independent from England, which was later accomplished by victory over the English in the Revolutionary War.

The American people have a rich tradition of cherishing independence. Over the years, the “American Dream” has developed into the notion that anyone can achieve their goals and dreams by pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps and working hard.

While I wholeheartedly believe we should work hard and strive to reach certain goals, many people have fallen for the lie that they do not need to depend on anyone in this life. Our sinful nature leads us to think we can determine truth apart from God, including the idea that, if we are “good enough,” then God will let us in to heaven. Our independent spirit has led many to think that they can earn salvation by their good works and thereby escape the judgment of our holy God. But they are gravely mistaken.

WE CAN NEVER CONQUER OUR GREATEST PROBLEM—SIN.

Popular psychological teaching bolsters man’s independent thinking by telling him that he is inherently good and can solve his problems on his own. However, the Bible teaches the opposite. Man’s “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9). We pride ourselves on our solutions to the minor problems we encounter, but we can never conquer our greatest problem—sin—in our own strength.

We have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). So, no matter how many “good” deeds we do (Isaiah 64:6), apart from Christ we will still face God’s judgment for the sins we have committed. Good deeds do not wash away our sins; they only mask them in the eyes of others. However, God sees through our self-righteous veneer and knows every sin we have ever committed.

Thankfully, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ to earth. He is “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Jesus did not come so that we could tell cute nativity stories or so that we would think of Him as simply a good teacher. No, Jesus came to die an agonizing death on the Cross. He came to take our punishment on Himself. He died on the Cross, was buried, and then rose from the dead three days later, demonstrating that He has power over death, that He took the wrath of God for our sins, and that He has secured our hope of eternal life.

On the night before His Crucifixion, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). This statement directly contradicts the man-made religious concept that a person can earn his own salvation. His declaration is extremely offensive to the modern “tolerance” mindset which refuses to tolerate the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ. Jesus unequivocally declared that He is the only way to the Father.

THIS IS WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR US TO LEARN TO BECOME DEPENDENT ON JESUS CHRIST.

This is why it is so important for us to learn to become dependent on Jesus Christ. If we truly want to be free, then we need to depend on Jesus Christ who said that “if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36). This freedom is a freedom from the punishment of our sin and from the ungodly burdens of this world. Salvation from sin is available to all who turn from their sin (repent) and place their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord.

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We may cherish our independence and freedom in the United States, but that independence and freedom is eroding and can be taken away. The further we drift from the authority of and obedience to God’s Word in this nation, the less freedom and independence we will possess. The more we reject God’s authority as a nation, the less godly we will become as a people, and the more laws will be required to govern our sinful behavior. We have witnessed the stripping away of personal freedoms in this nation and this directly corresponds to the loss of biblical authority in society.

We must depend on our Creator and Savior Jesus Christ for our salvation, for the strength to make it through each day, for the power to forgive and show grace to others, and for the ability to live a life that pleases Him. If you have never placed your faith in Jesus Christ and asked for His forgiveness, please repent of your sins and call on Him today. If you do this, then you will experience true freedom, and this Fourth of July can be your first “Dependence Day.”

Reblogged from Answers In Genesis
https://answersingenesis.org/gospel/salvation/dependence-day/?utm_source=articlesmedia&utm_medium=email&utm_content=featurebutton&utm_campaign=0150704&mc_cid=724fad6294&mc_eid=bc295f78f5

Why My English Teacher Wanted To Be Baptized In Jesus Name!

reblogged from: http://martynballestero.com/

Why My English Teacher Wanted To Be Baptized In Jesus Name!

Ms. DeGroote, as she wished to be called, was from France and she taught my senior year English class at South Bend Central High. She was 63 and referred to herself as a spinster. We had more creative names for her. Most of the students dreaded her classes. We were taught diction and enunciation with a heavy French accent. It seemed to make learning to speak proper English an impossibility with her as the instructor. By much effort I received the only A in her class both semesters.

My class was filled with Catholic students. South Bend, Indiana still is a predominately Catholic town. Its claim to fame is the University of Notre Dame. I was the only non-Catholic in the class.

Ms. DeGroote was a stern woman who tolerated no-nonsense in any of her classes. I was highly confined in her restrictive and controlled environment.

During the course, we had many weeks of conjugation and diagramming sentences. Somehow the nerd in me found those subjects easy and interesting. No, that is not normal, but it happened nevertheless.  (I knew I was a nerd and not a geek, because geeks make more money than nerds.)

One day Ms. DeGroote said, “Now students, tomorrow I want you to bring to class a sentence or sentences that you have diagrammed. You may go to the board and diagram your sentence, and I will correct your paper. Or, I will go to the board and diagram your sentence while you correct the paper.

For the life of me, I could not think of a sentence to diagram. Especially since the whole class would see. Then it dawned on me. What better sentence in the world to diagram! I went home, picked up my Bible, and copied Mt. 28:19 down. I proceeded to diagram the verse. This just had to be right.

The next day couldn’t come soon enough. I was ready for class. When 3rd period English finally arrived I knew I would be the second one called on. Everything in the class was by alphabet. Even our seating was arranged that way. I set behind Adams. We were all called by our last names.

When Adams was called on, he went to the chalkboard and almost got his correct. Ms. DeGroote had sat at his empty desk and corrected his paper while he was at the board. When he finished, I heard “Ballestero!”

“I would like you to go to the board and diagram my sentence, and I will correct my own paper,” I said to Ms. DeGroote.

She said, “Read me your sentence.”

“It’s a Bible verse, if that’s OK,” I ventured.

She nodded and I read my Scripture.

Matthew 28:19 (KJV) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

“Go ye therefore (comma)” I said.

Ms. DeGroote prefaced her work with a (you) in front of the word “Go”.

When I read the verse aloud, I paused on the word “name,” while I waited for her to catch up.

“Of the Father,” I said.

“Now, here we have a prepositional phrase modifying the word name. At this point we do not know yet what the name of the person is, but we do know by this prepositional phrase, that whoever this person is, they are a Father,” she said.

She then drew the appropriate lines on her diagram.

“Of the Son,” I continued.

“Now we know, that this person is both a Father and a Son, but we still don’t have a name.”

“Ms. DeGroote,” a girl named Williams called out with her hand in the air. “Aren’t Father and Son names?”

“They’re just descriptive titles. They tell us something about the name, but they don’t tell us His name, they are only titles.” was her answer.

She again drew the second prepositional phrase on the board.

“Of the Holy Ghost.” I continued.

After the 3rd prepositional phrase was in place, my teacher looked carefully at the diagram on the board from end to end. She shook her head. “All we know here is that whoever this person is, they are a Father, a Son, and they are the Holy Ghost! But we still don’t know what the name is.”

“Martyn,” she said looking at me carefully, “What is the name?”

I had been waiting for this moment. I stood, and gently said, “Jesus is the name!”

Ms DeGroote looked at her writing on the board. Then she turned back to me with her arms wide in surrender. With a heavy French accent, my Catholic English teacher said, “I guess I need to be baptized in Jesus name!”

“Yes!” I said as I pulled my upraised clinched fist down from my chin area. The other 30 students in the class clapped. I did a modest jig in the class aisle myself.

Have you been baptized in Jesus name?

Acts 2:38 (KJV) Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 4:12 (KJV) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.