Archive for January, 2016

Prosperity Doctrine?

Christian Living, Encouragement | Posted by Eddy Damas
Jan 25 2016

I don’t know what set this thought off last night. But I was thinking about how wrong the Prosperity Doctrine was.

Normally it doesn’t affect me as a Christian, because I have only been to one church were it had been preached in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas? Thank God! LOL

And the way it had been presented was in an actual “front-of-church” book display. (The invited speaker claimed to be a prophet, but all he had to say was not prophetic in the least).

And then it seemed that the Lord just opened my eyes. He made me realize that it was not the fault of the Prosperity teachers. We often look at people like Benny Hinn, Joel Olsteen, T.D Jakes, etc…and instantly we know something is up. Even the non-religious
will often look at the TV Evangelists and call their bluff.

While it’s true that they are doing wrong, it’s also not their fault at all that they are leading the lost sheep to the wide open pit.

It’s the fault of the “Christian” who doesn’t read their Bible. It’s the fault of the Christian who doesn’t know the suffering of Jesus, or even the suffering of the children of Egypt under Pharoah’s hand. A hand that is part of the body of every prosperity teacher.

We are all in need at times, some of us have known it our entire lives. And we naturally know that the “name it and claim it” game is just that…a game, a fantasy. Yes, it’s a gross misrepresentation of the gospel.

But EVERYBODY has heard of Jesus, and they know His true gospel. They know it’s not a “name it and claim it gospel”.

Even Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Even Jesus told the lame “Get up up, take your bed and walk.” He made the blind to see, and the deaf to hear, and the mute to talk!

Many of us live in a world where we see that life isn’t about $200,000 cars. It’s not about $100,000,000. The reality is that most of us are living the life of a struggling artist. No fame, no fortune…living day to day, relying on God to pull us through.

And we know that God always delivers! Definitely not through some Prosperity doctrine preacher, wearing $1,000 dollar suits and driving Mercedez Benz. I mean, they preach only for their own storehouses (Remember the manna? How it went to rot overnight?)

But God delivers His mercies through the able-to-do Christians just like you and me!
We don’t need the hope for riches! We are able to do anything with what God provides. And that includes helping the poor as we can…

Instead of $100, which would no doubt, be nice, we hope we have at least $10 to be able to feed ourselves, or our families for one day.

The one thing to understand, which is probably already understood, is that we have more important needs than to give our little money to a man or woman who already has money enough to give to us!

To sum it all up, if you see a fellow preacher, preaching how God will bless you, and he looks like this fellow:

Scrooge McDuck
Then please run away from him, he’s just baaaad news!

Church without walls….Empty Store Houses

Christian Living, Discouragement, Encouragement | Posted by Eddy Damas
Jan 22 2016

Christians need to be aware that four walls don’t necessarily define a church…unless those four walls are built out of fleshy hearts, and can open up a hole where others may fit in. It’s not about programs, and available resources. It’s about people. It’s not about leadership issues. Jesus is the one that’s in charge after all…or rather He should be.

I know there are well meaning Pastors out there…Sheppards  who watch their sheep closely. You are few in number. But I also know there are hundreds…millions…thousands…who are without a (true) Sheppard. They cling to their backpacks, their shopping carts…they have no place to go.

It’s not the Pastors job to reel them in…it’s not your job to provide for them.

It’s the job of your church..your community, your congregation.

The ideal church would be a body of believers that is set on fire by the Holy Spirit. We all say we are Holy Spirit filled Christians. But the sad fact is that there are few Holy Spirit filled Christians  that are beacons to the ships out in that vast ocean of lost ships.

We wonder about the Bermuda Triangle. About the many lost ships and planes out there.  We never stop to consider that either we are in the Bermuda Triangle, or that we see, on a daily basis, people on the edge of that Triangle…heading into it.

The poor in spirit, the hungry, the destitute, the hopeless. They are all heading into it. Yet the Christians who have everything, are stuck, with their butts glued to the pews. Not aware of anything going on outside.

Are we listening, intently, to the false prophets who have nothing to say? Are we comfortable where we are at? Our brothers out in the highways and byways are standing there with a cardboard…are we passing them by on a daily basis without a thought?

What’s going on in God’s storehouses?

candless

 

Addicted!

Christian Living, Encouragement | Posted by Eddy Damas
Jan 21 2016

As a Christian I am not proud of my past sins. Though I have been forgiven and washed clean, I still tend to carry the shame of all of it like a knapsack strapped to my back. I realize that it’s not necessary to do so. I continue to strive to leave my heavy burden at the foot of the cross.

But as any addict will tell you, that’s not an easy thing to do. There are time when my previous sins come back and haunt me. Sometimes they actually do beckon me to return to them. I don’t know if any other Christians will agree with me. But if you sin a sin long enough, it will definitely and permanently leave its mark on you.

Because of my past willing sins my mind has been seared by the images of those sins. I find that if I don’t keep my mind focused on doing the Lord’s work, meditating on His Word, and occupying my mind and my hands with different things . I tend to go back over those images in my mind. I find my armor actually losing its strength.

It used to be a tough walk. I’d run into so many boulders and obstacles. And there were times I’d slip and fall. At one very brief moment that only lasted for a couple of days, I’d be lying there in a fallen state. Not actually willingly sinning, but walking a tightrope nonetheless.

The thing that helped me overcome was the fact that I wanted to love Jesus more than I wanted my willing sin. I thought about Jesus’ words to Peter: “Satan has asked my permission to shift you…” I also thought about how much like Judas I could end up to be.

The thought of being cast into hell frightens me. The words that Jesus spoke to those who did everything right is still ringing in my ears “Depart from me you worker of iniquity.” I don’t ever want to hear those words coming from Him towards me. Yet I live with the realization that I just might.

Even though I love God, and try my best to please Him in every way…I know I still fall short.

Every single day.

I think every Christian does.

Will my short falls land me in a ever-lasting hell?

Maybe that’s being fearful. Maybe that’s being ridiculous. Especially because I know that God does love me. God loves everyone and He died to show His love for all.

But to those in willing sins, He still calls out to them (in a rather loving, but stern voice):

REPENT! For the kingdom of God is at hand!

No matter how harsh the word of God is at times…I thank God every day for it. It’s true that sometimes we don’t like what it says. We try to block it out, we try and do it our way.  But God is full of the strength of Samson, the wisdom of Solomon, and the heart of Moses, and the courage of the Baptist. And those are the same qualities that God looks for in all of us.

Yes, even through our weaknesses and struggles. Even in our time of great need. God still looks for the roaring lion in us all. Our sins weaken us. That’s very true. But our sins are not our end. We sin, we repent, we get back on that long narrow path.

Because that wide road to destruction is wide, but short.

God wants us to shine our best for Him in our darkest hour. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Sunday Postings: When Will Our Lord Jesus Return, And When Will The Church Be Raptured?

Uncategorized | Posted by Eddy Damas
Jan 18 2016

Since I appear to be running empty on blog posts these days I’ve decided to start a new series, or feature on my blog. On Sundays I will post an article that I’ve read elsewhere: either from an email, book I’ve been reading, or elsewhere on the internet.

The following is a very interesting one. Perhaps even worthy of comment.

(Charles P. Schmitt/D. Min., D. TH.) The apostle Paul tells the Thessalonians of the great reunion of all believers when together they meet Christ as He descends from heaven: “The dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:16-17). This is our blessed hope—the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the rapture of the church to meet Him!

This is our blessed hope—the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the rapture of the church to meet Him!

Many evangelicals, for reasons that we will examine, believe that seven years before the glorious return of our Lord Jesus Christ, faithful Christians will be raptured, caught up to heaven. This understanding is known as the “pretribulation rapture.” A major concern about the pre-tribulation rapture is that, historically, it found its way into the evangelical mainstream only in the mid-1800s.

Millions of godly believers for almost 1,800 years did not believe in a pretribulation rapture. Among these were the reformers of the 1500s and the revivalists of the 1600s-1700s. George Mueller, who lived in the mid-1800s, is reported to have stated, “If you can show me a trumpet after the last (1 Cor. 15:52) and a resurrection before the first (Rev. 20:4-5), then I can believe this new doctrine.”

As far as the post-apostolic church fathers go, they apparently did not believe in a pretribulation rapture either. They write: “Then shall the race of men come into the fire of proving trial and many be made to stumble and fall. But those who remain established in their faith shall be saved under the very curse” (Didache; 16:5). “Happy ye who endure the great tribulation that is coming on …” (Hermas; chapter II, Vision II).

Irenaeus, disciple of Polycarp, who was a disciple of John the Beloved, comments in his Against Heresies (5.25.3) concerning the reign of the Antichrist, that “this tyranny shall last, during which the saints shall be put to flight. … .” And Augustine, commenting on Daniel 7:21, states, “He who reads this passage even half asleep cannot fail to see that the kingdom of Antichrist shall fiercely, though for a short time, assail the church.”

Gerhard Pfandi, Ph.D., associate director of the Biblical Research Institute, in an excellent article titled “The Rapture—Why It Cannot Occur Before the Second Coming,” traces the roots of the pretribulation rapture teaching:

John Nelson (J.N.) Darby (1800-1882) is regarded as the father of dispensationalism. … Darby asserted that Christ’s coming would occur in two stages. The first was an invisible “secret rapture” of believers, which would end the great “parenthesis,” or church age, which began when the Jews rejected Christ. Following the rapture, the Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel would be literally fulfilled, leading to the great tribulation, which would end with the Second Coming of Christ in glory. The doctrine of the pretribulation rapture was disseminated around the world, primarily through J.N. Darby and men of God such as Arno Gabelein, Harry Ironside, James Gray and C. I. Scofield …” (Adapted from Ministry, September 2001).

What Did Our Lord Jesus Teach?

Jesus’ final teaching on His Second Coming, given on the Mount of Olives, and recorded in Matthew 24 and 25, is extremely clear. In Matthew 24, there is no Second Coming and no rapture until “after the tribulation of those days … [for] then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matt. 24:29-31).

Mark 13 and Luke 21 teach the same, but Luke, in 21:36, gives one additional charge: “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape [translated as “pass safely through,” in the Living Bible margin and in the N.E.B., and translated by J.B. Phillips as “come safely through”] all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” Our Lord sought to prepare His disciples for His coming, “after the tribulation of those days,” and how not to be caught unawares, that they might “come safely through” all these things to stand before Him.

What Were the Apostles’ Understandings?

Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52, places the rapture of the church “at the last trumpet,” as does John in Revelation 11:15-18: “The seventh angel sounded his trumpet [the last one], and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ and He will reign forever and ever … The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding Your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence Your Name, both small and great … .”

Obviously, all of this takes place at the rapture at the end of the tribulation period, after the blowing of the seven trumpets of judgment. A study of Revelation reveals that the seven seals and the seven trumpets and the seven bowls run concurrently and end in the Second Coming of Jesus. Concurrent visions are not new to the prophetic Scriptures. The visions of Daniel run concurrently, each ending in the Second Coming, as well.

In Revelation 3:10, Jesus had already promised: “I will keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test those who live on the earth.” (The Greek preposition used here, according to the NIV and Living Bible footnotes, can also mean “keep you through the hour of trial.”

In Revelation 20:4-6, the first resurrection is clearly described. And we need to remember, as George Mueller pointed out, that there cannot be a resurrection seven years before the first resurrection, or the first resurrection would not be the first. In this first resurrection are found “those who had been beheaded because of their testimony … for they had not worshipped the beast [the Antichrist] or his image … .” So the rapture and the first resurrection apparently are at the end of the great tribulation, after the reign of the Antichrist and not seven years before!

From the book of Revelation, an argument for a pretribulation rapture has been advanced by some, because the word “church” per se is not used by John between chapters 4 and 21; their reasoning being that the church is not present in the Earth during these chapters. The facts are that chapters 4 through 21 are highly symbolic chapters, abounding in figures of speech for both Jesus and His church, and that the church does appear in the symbolism of these chapters as the “saints,” the “kingdom of priests,” the “great multitude,” the “candlesticks,” the “firstfruits,” God’s “people,” the “bride,” the “armies of heaven,” the “new Jerusalem” and so on, even as Jesus Himself appears with numerous symbolic names also—the Lamb, the Lion, the Man-child, the Word of God and so on. The suggestion that the “saints” of Revelation 4-21 are the Jews, rather than the many-membered, Jewish-Gentile Body of Christ violates the revelation of God’s “one new man” (Eph. 2:15) and undercuts Paul’s understanding of Israel’s re-inclusion into that “one new man” in these last days.

Paul, in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8, also clearly taught that the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the rapture (the gathering, or “mustering,” literally) of the saints to Jesus cannot take place until the great apostasy has first happened and the man of sin (the Antichrist) is first revealed (verse 3). Paul also taught that the church will get “relief” from persecution and tribulation only “when [and not seven years before] the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with His powerful angels to punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel …” (2 Thess. 1:6-8).

For part two of this series, tune in Wednesday.

ARE WE HEAVEN BOUND?

Christian Living, Encouragement | Posted by Eddy Damas
Jan 16 2016

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Have you ever thought about heaven? Maybe a little, or a lot?

Truthfully I didn’t until a couple of years ago. At the time I was consumed by thoughts about death. What was it like in the “ever after”?

I thought about how the Television and even movies portrayed the life after death and how silly it was.
I thought of people with wings and halos…and white robes. And Peter standing at the door of heaven. I thought about how Satan dresses in a red 3-piece suit and how comfortably red hell is.

But the truth is that even before then…deep down, I knew it wasn’t about that at all.

It would have been nice though.

But I was taken away by all the Hollywoodism about heaven and hell.

In fact, I still fantasize about what heaven might actually be like. But my fantasies..actually probably my own selfish desires is that heaven is like I imagine it. Of course  I see Jesus and God waiting for me there. I see that large banqueting table, and I see all the families,  relatives and friends I have lost over the years.

Then a sudden fear overtakes me.
A fear that I might not make it to heaven.
A fear that I’ll find myself in a very cold, darkness.

As a Christian I’ve been told that I’m saved by the blood of Jesus, and I am reassured of a heavenly reward. But as a frail human, I am convinced that I am not worth anything because of all the sin I have committed over the many years.

I know that Jesus loves me, He died for me. And I also know that there is truly no repayment required, even necessary. I could never repay the Lord for what He’s done for me.

I mean, how do you really repay someone for saving your life? The only way I know how is paying it forward. But I will humbly admit that my conduct as a Christian will often leave me with the need for a constant savior. One who time and time again needs to come down off (or jump back on) the cross and save me again and again.

Some Christians would shout out to me “Be about the Father’s business!” But I would just stare at them proclaiming “Jesus cried “IT IS FINISHED!”

There are so many things that Jesus did during His time on earth. He preached, He healed, He set the captives free.

And He told us that all it takes to be heaven bound….is to simply believe!

Having faith, is essential to the life of a Christian. Without it, we cannot move mountains, or anything else for that matter.  I’ve heard a saying that fear brings out the strength in us. But fear can be thought of as a double edge sword…it either will paralyze us, or cause us to move.

The Father’s love for us is perfect. Yet it’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living Lord.

What are we afraid of? We’ve got hell behind us and heaven just ahead….

LET’S START RUNNING!!!!

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