The PA Legislative Council on Friday decided that despite US warnings, the September 13th date was final and they did not plan to postpone the declaration of statehood any longer..."
Excerpt from "A Charge To Keep" by George W. Bush:
"Actually, the seeds of my decision had been planted the year before, by the Reverend Billy Graham. He visited my family for a summer weekend in Maine. I saw him preach at the small summer church, St. Ann's by the Sea. We all had lunch on the patio overlooking the ocean. One evening my dad asked Billy to answer questions from a big group of family gathered for the weekend. He sat by the fire and talked. And what he said sparked a change in my heart. I don't remember the exact words. It was more the power of his example. The Lord was so clearly reflected in his gentle and loving demeanor.
"The next day we walked and talked at Walker's Point, and I knew I was in the presence of a great man. He was like a magnet; I felt drawn to seek something different. He didn't lecture or admonish; he shared warmth and concern. Billy Graham didn't make you feel guilty; he made you feel loved.
"Over the course of that weekend, Reverend Graham planted a mustard seed in my soul, a seed that grew over the next year. He led me to the path, and I began walking. And it was the beginning of a change in my life. I had always been a religious person, had regularly attended church, even taught Sunday school and served as an altar boy. But that weekend my faith took on a new meaning. It was the beginning of a new walk where I would recommit my heart to Jesus Christ.
"I was humbled to learn that God sent His Son to die for a sinner like me. I was comforted to know that through the Son, I could find God's amazing grace, a grace that crosses every border, every barrier and is open to everyone. Through the love of Christ's life, I could understand the life-changing powers of faith.
"When I returned to Midland, I began reading the Bible regularly. Don Evans talked me into joining him and another friend, Don Jones, at a men's community Bible study. The group had first assembled the year before, in spring of 1984, at the beginning of the downturn in the energy industry. Midland was hurting. A lot of people were looking for comfort and strength and direction. A couple of men started the Bible study as a support group, and it grew. By the time I began attending, in the fall of 1985, almost 120 men would gather. We met in small discussion groups of ten or twelve, then joined the larger group for full meetings. Don Jones picked me up every week for the meetings. I remember looking forward to them. My interest in reading the Bible grew stronger and stronger, and the words became clearer and more meaningful.
"We studied Acts, the story of the Apostles building the Christian Church, and next year, the Gospel of Luke. The preparation for each meeting took several hours, reading the Scripture passages and thinking through responses to discussion questions. I took it seriously, with my usual touch of humor....
"Laura and I were active members of the First Methodist Church of Midland, and we participated in many family programs, including James Dobson's Focus on the Family series on raising children. As I studied and learned, Scripture took on greater meaning, and gained confidence and understanding in my faith. I read the Bible regularly. Don Evans gave me the "one-year" Bible, a Bible divided into 365 daily readings, each one including a section from the New Testament, the Old Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. I read through that Bible every other year. During the years in between, I pick different chapters to study at different times.
"I have also learned the power of prayer. I pray for guidance. I do not pray for earthly things, but for heavenly things, for wisdom and patience and understanding. My faith gives me focus and perspective. It teaches humility.
"But I also recognize that faith can be misinterpreted in the political process. Faith is an important part of my life. I believe it is important to live my faith, not flaunt it.
"America is a great country because of our religious freedoms. It is important for any leader to respect the faith of others. That point was driven home when Laura and I visited Israel in 1998. We had traveled to Rome to spend Thanksgiving with our daughter, who was attending a school program there, and spent three days in Israel on the way home. It was an incredible experience. I remember waking up at the Jerusalem Hilton and opening the curtains and seeing the Old City before us, the Jerusalem stone glowing gold. We visited the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. And we went to the Sea of Galilee and stood atop the hill where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount. It was an overwhelming feeling to stand in the spot where the most famous speech in the history of the world was delivered, the spot where Jesus outlined the character and conduct of a believer and gave his disciples and the world the beatitudes, the golden rule, and the Lord's Prayer.
"Our delegation included four gentile governors-one Methodist, two Catholics, and a Mormon, and several Jewish-American friends. Someone suggested we read Scripture. I chose to read "Amazing Grace," my favorite hymn. Later that night we all gathered at a restaurant in Tel Aviv for dinner before we boarded our middle-of-night flight back to America.
"We talked about the wonderful experiences and thanked the guides and government officials who had introduced us to their country. And toward the end of the meal, one of our friends rose to share a story, to tell us how he, a Gentile, and his friend, a Jew, had (unbeknownst to the rest of us) walked down to the Sea of Galilee, joined hands underwater, and prayed together, on bended knee. Then out of his mouth came a hymn he had known as a child, a hymn he hadn't thought about in years. He got every word right: Now is the time approaching, by prophets long foretold, when all shall dwell together, One Shepherd and one fold. Now Jew and gentile, meeting, from many a distant shore, around an altar kneeling, one common Lord adore. Faith changes lives. I know, because faith has changed mine."
"I could not be governor if I did not believe in a divine plan that supersedes all human plans. Politics is a fickle business. Polls change. Today's friend is tomorrow's adversary. People lavish praise and attention.
"Many times it is genuine; sometimes it is not. Yet I build my life on a foundation that will not shift. My faith frees me. Frees me to put the problem of the moment in proper perspective. Frees me to make decisions that others might not like. Frees me to try to do the right thing, even though it may not poll well... The death penalty is a difficult issue for supporters as well as its opponents. I have a reverence for life; my faith teaches that life is a gift from our Creator.
"In a perfect world, life is given by God and only taken by God. I hope someday our society will respect life, the full spectrum of life, from the unborn to the elderly. I hope someday unborn children will be protected by law and welcomed in life. I support the death penalty because I believe, if administered swiftly and justly, capital punishment is a deterrent against future violence and will save other innocent lives. Some advocates of life will challenge why I oppose abortion yet support the death penalty; to me, it's the difference between innocence and guilt.
"Today, two weeks after Jeb's inauguration, in the church in downtown Austin, the pastor Mark Craig was telling me that my reelection as the first Governor to win back-to-back four-year terms in the history of the state of Texas was a beginning, not an end.... People are starved for faithfulness. He talked of the need for honesty in government; he warned that leaders who cheat on their wives will cheat their country, will cheat their colleagues, will cheat themselves. The minister said that America is starved for honest leaders. He told the story of Moses, asked by God to lead his people to a land of milk and honey. Moses had a lot of reasons to shirk the task. As the pastor told it, Moses' basic reaction was, "Sorry, God, I'm busy. I've got a family. I've got sheep to tend. I've got a life". "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?" The people won't believe me, he protested. I'm not a very good speaker. "Oh, my Lord, send, I pray, some other person," Moses pleaded. But God did not, and Moses ultimately did his bidding, leading his people through forty years of wilderness and wandering, relying on God for strength and direction and inspiration. People are "starved for leadership," Pastor Craig said, "starved for leaders who have ethical and moral courage."
"It is not enough to have an ethical compass to know right from wrong, he argued. America needs leaders who have the moral courage to do what is right for the right reason. It's not always easy or convenient for leaders to step forward, he acknowledged; remember, even Moses had doubts. "He was talking to you," my mother later said. The pastor was, of course, talking to all of us, challenging each one of us to make the most of our lives, to assume the mantle of leadership and responsibility wherever we find it. He was calling on us to use whatever power we have, in business, in politics, in our communities, and in our families, to do good for the right reason. And the sermon spoke directly to my heart and my life..."
"There was no magic moment of decision. After talking with my family during the Christmas holidays, then hearing the rousing sermon to make most of every moment during my inaugural church service, I gradually felt more comfortable with the prospect of a presidential campaign. My family would love me, my faith would sustain me, no matter what. During the more than half century of my life, we have seen an unprecedented decay in our American culture, a decay that has eroded the foundations of our collective values and moral standards of conduct. Our sense of personal responsibility has declined dramatically, just as the role and responsibility of the federal government have increased. The changing culture blurred the sharp contrast between right and wrong and created a new standard of conduct: "If it feels good, do it." and "If you've got a problem, blame somebody else."
"Individuals are not responsible for their actions, the new culture said, we are all victims of forces beyond our control. We went from a culture of sacrifice and saving to a culture obsessed with grabbing all the gusto. We went from accepting responsibility to assigning blame. As government did more and more, individuals were required to do less and less. The new culture said if people were poor, the government should feed them. If someone had no house, the government should provide one. If criminals are not responsible for their acts, then the answers are not prisons, but social programs."...
"For our culture to change, it must change one heart, one soul, and one conscience at a time. Government can spend money, but it cannot put hope in our hearts or a sense of purpose in our lives...
"But government should welcome the active involvement of people who are following a religious imperative to love their neighbors through after-school programs, child care, drug treatment, maternity group homes, and a range of other services. Supporting these men and women - the soldiers in the armies of compassion - is the next bold step of welfare reform, because I know that changing hearts will change our entire society.
"During the opening months of my presidential campaign, I have traveled our country and my heart has been warmed. My experiences have reinvigorated my faith in the greatness of Americans. They have reminded me that societies are renewed from the bottom up, not the top down. Everywhere I go, I see people of love and faith, taking time to help a neighbor in need...These people and thousands like them are the heart and soul and greatness of America.
"And I want to do my part. I am running for President because I believe America must seize this moment, America must lead. We must give our prosperity a greater purpose, a purpose of peace and freedom and hope. We are a great nation of good and loving people. And together, we have a charge to keep."
I agree with you and your position about the church of Laodicea, and how they are believers but because they are lukewarm they are spewed out of Jesus' mouth, and how that correlates to us today in regards to the first rapture. And while I agree, it has raised another question for me. What happens to a lukewarm christian who dies a natural death? Are they still spewed out of Jesus' mouth? Please let me ask another question, using another biblical example: are Ananias and Sapphira in heaven? Is it wrong to assume that they had accepted Jesus as their personal savior? If they were not Christian's then why have the example at all? The Bible is already full of heathens meeting their end by the hand of God. They were prideful, attention grabbing and in the end liars (which we have all been at times). They were probably also lukewarm. And the Holy Spirit struck them dead, which wouldn't have been a problem for them if they ended up in heaven anyway. Not the way I would like to show up there, but if you are in, you're in. At least that is what the "Once saved Always saved" position would endorse. I personally walk out my salvation daily with fear and trembling. Anyway, any input would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you so much for all that you are doing for the body of Christ. What a privilege to ask you these questions. Love in Christ
> > What happens to a lukewarm christian who dies a natural death? Are they still spewed out of Jesus' mouth
This is just my opinion. The Lord is fair. I think we will all end up where we belong. We will get what rewards we have earned. Salvation is free, but we can work for rewards. I don't think the dead are spewed out of Jesus' mouth, but they will still join the group they belong with. Those that are the Bride will end up in that group. The rest are part of the Body of Christ.
> > are Ananias and Sapphira in heaven?
I think all believers are in Heaven.
> > "Once saved Always saved"
I believe this. However, Ananias and Sapphira could have earned more rewards if they had done things differently. Instead of being an object lesson to show us what we shouldn't do, they could have shown us what we should do. Agape
[Luke 16:22] And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; (notice the angels did not come for him) [Luke 16:23] And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. [Luke 16:24] And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. [Luke 16:25] But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. [Luke 16:26] And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
When we die our souls go back to our Father who created us. We either make it (1st resurrection) or we don't and go to the place the rich man went to. There is a "gulf" fixed and there is a good side and a bad side. Lazarus made it to the good side.
My little Catholic book, This is the Faith, by Rev. Francis J. Ripley, explains their doctrine of Pergatory on pp. 346,7. It says, "The soul which loves God perfectly at the moment of death goes straight to heaven. The soul which does not love Him at all goes straight to hell. Both heaven and hell will endure for all eternity. But it is obvious that between these two states, perfect love and no love at all, there can be many intermediate conditions. Love can exist with a certain admixture of self under one form or another.
"Pergatory is a place or condition of temporal punishment for those who, departing this life in God's grace, are not entirely free from venial sins, or have not fully paid the satisfaction due to their transgressions.
"Several Councils of the Church defined the doctrine of purgatory...and their teaching is summarized in this clear statement of the Council of Trent: 'Whereas the Catholic Church, instructed by the Holy Ghost, has from the Sacred Scriptures and the ancient tradition of the Fathers taught in Councils and very recently in this General Council that there is a purgatory, and that the souls therein detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, but principally by the acceptable Sacrifice of the altar; the Holy Synod enjoins on the bishops that they diligently endeavor to have the sound doctrine of the Fathers in Councils regarding purgatory everywhere taught and preached, held and believed by the faithful.'
"Thus, two truths are articles of Faith: the first, that purgatory exists, the second, that the souls detained there can be helped by our prayers."
I believe Scripture. In II Cor. 5:8, Paul said, "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord." There is no intermediate state. I believe that every person that has accepted Christ as their own personal Saviour will at death, be absent from the body and present with the Lord in Heaven. I do not find Pergatory taught in Scripture, so I do not believe there is such a thing.
> > if not we are in hell or what I believe Catholics call "purgatory" until the Millennium and then we are judged in the Great White Throne Judgment. If we don't make the great judgment we will be burn in the lake of fire with Satan and the fallen angels.
The whole 1000-year Day of the Lord will take place before the Great White Throne Judgment takes place. All unbelievers will be judged there. In Rev. 20, verse 7 says, "when the thousand years are expired." Verse 11 says, "And I saw a great white throne." Verse 12 says, "I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened." Verse 15 says, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."
> > There is a "gulf" fixed and there is a good side and a bad side. Lazarus made it to the good side.
The account in Lu. 16 was under the Old Covenant. After Jesus was resurrected, he took all that were in Abraham's bosom to Heaven and returned to Earth that same day. That is why at first he could not be touched and later in the day could be touched. Jn. 20:17 says, "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." Agape
I feel as though we are in limbo, hanging on the edge. No one in the world knows what will happen on Sept. 13. Sabers are rattling in many places. Jerusalem has become a stone around the neck of the world, as the Bible says must happen. Much love
I believe Rom. 8:38,39. It says, "I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Love
Is there a requirement that the 7 seals be strictly within the tribulation? If not, would it be possible to see this 7 year period and the tribulation 7 as a set (in the sense that the two seven year periods in Egypt were a set)?
If so, then it could be possible that:
6 seals will be in the 7 years leading up to the tribulation 7th seal and the 6 trumpets are during the first 3.5 years 7th trumpet and the seven bowls are during the second half of the tribulation during God's wrath.
This would mean that although we are not in the tribulation as such, but we would be witnesses to the first 6 seals.
I need more time to look at this and pray about it. However, I wanted to get your take on it.
I have just completed my doctoral comprehensives this week and have several new preps for fall classes. It will be a while before I can seriously investigate it. I am not proposing that this is gospel. It is just at this point a perspective that I had not considered until now.
Yes, the Tribulation starts with the opening of the 1st seal. That is when the Beast rides forth on the white horse as a prince of peace. It is the beginning of the 70th week of Daniel, when the covenant is confirmed. Mid-week, the False Prophet comes to full power, sits in the temple "shewing himself that he is God" (II Thess. 2:4). This desecrates the temple and stops the sacrificing. Dan. 9:27 says, "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease."
> > 6 seals will be in the 7 years leading up to the tribulation 7th seal and the 6 trumpets are during the first 3.5 years 7th trumpet and the seven bowls are during the second half of the tribulation during God's wrath.
None of the seals, trumpets or bowls/vials are before the Tribulation. The seals seem to be opened about one a year until the shortening of the Tribulation. At that time, the 6th seal opens on the last day of this age, and the 7th seal opens the next day, which is the 1st day of the millennial Day of the Lord. The Judgment Seat of Christ is that day. Therefore the 7 trumpets judgments are cast on Earth that day. The devastation described under the trumpets is immediate. The devastation described under the vials is after some time has gone by. Agape
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