Posts Tagged ‘cults’

Signs and Wonders: “False Christs and False Prophets”

October 2, 2017

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“Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not…” (Matthew 24v23)

Amazingly it is recorded that there have been individuals claiming to be “Christ” since as early as the first century. Throughout the centuries there have been those who either made this claim for themselves, or their followers were convinced of it. Today, however, the world is full of “false Christs” and perhaps an even greater number of “false prophets.”

At least one “false Christ” has emerged from the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) cult, while Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012) who was the founder and leader of the Unification Church or “Moonies” also considered that he was “the Second Coming.” Nevertheless, like all mortal men he is gone from this scene of time now. His false system of belief unfortunately lives on, under the leadership of his second wife, Hak Ja Han. There are numerous current-day claimants, including Australian Alan J. Miller, who also claims to have met Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Mahatma Ghandi, Moses, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob… In the summer of 2007 David Shayler, born as recently as 1965 and a former MI5 agent, also proclaimed himself to be the Messiah. These are just of a few of the well-known claimants of false “Christs,” of whom there are an increasing number throughout the world.

In Matthew Chapter 24 we learn of many of the signs of the Lord Jesus Christ’s coming, in His reply to the question that was asked of Him by His disciples in the Mount of Olives: “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24v3)

Jesus told them of “wars and rumours of wars,” “nations rising against nations,” as well as famines, pestilences and earthquakes in diverse places – which are the “beginning of sorrows.” Also, that “many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Verse 11) and in that well-known Verse 24 Jesus tells us: “there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

“If it were possible…” Some deceivers are perhaps more convincing than others, while the claims of others are so outrageous that even non-Christians don’t find them believable. However, those who walk closest with the Lord amongst His people are most discerning in these matters and will not be deceived by even the most convincing false prophet, particularly when they look at the fruits of that person.

I think it is true to say that there are more “false prophets” than “false Christs” – and many throughout the world are indeed deceived by them.

We all know of certain famous evangelists of our times – some are very clearly deceivers; others perhaps are more convincing, as has already been discussed. But look, for example, at who a famous evangelical will meet in his life. If he meets with someone in order to be a witness to that person and to show them their need of salvation, that is a different matter – but if he looks, for example, on the pope of Rome as a “fellow Christian,” then there is very clearly something wrong with this “evangelical’s” relationship with the Lord. He may seem to preach the gospel in its entirety but when we see him giving credence to other erroneous belief systems which have departed from God’s Word, we know that he is a deceiver.

As Christians we must be discerning in our walk with the Lord. Ultimately He is the Judge and “the Lord knoweth them that are His” but we must make decisions in our own minds about the standing of those in positions of spiritual authority, so that we can pray intelligently for them and for situations where we are concerned that others believe in them.

I knew of a man, once, who had a dream that the devil was there in a Christian pulpit… preaching the gospel, but he was preaching it in a way that “hardened hearts.” The preacher in the dream did not have the Spirit of the Lord. I believe that we are living in incredible days when pulpits are indeed full of deceivers and we are also living in those days of which Jesus said “because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Matthew 24v12&13)

We learn that “all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” (2Timothy 3v12&13) In these evil days those who profess to know Him must not sleep, in the spiritual sense, but be awake, alert and aware that the devil comes in many guises. In order to deceive people… does it not make sense to come in the guise of even the Pastor of a supposedly “Christian” fellowship?

If we love the Lord Jesus Christ and desire to follow Him, He has promised that He will lead us into all truth. False Christs and false prophets are surely a sign of the times we are living in. God forbid that those who profess to know Him… would not “love His appearing.”

Paul’s advice to the young Timothy in 2Timothy Chapter 3, still applies to Christians today… “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them.” (Verse 14) Praise God for His precious Word and for His Son Jesus Christ – a sure anchor in the storms of life, when we are buffeted on all sides by deceivers and false doctrines.

May Paul’s words be ours, as we face our final battles: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (2Timothy 4v7&8)

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On Fasting, Misinterpretation of Scripture… and Dangerous Cults

November 7, 2016

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In recent years the forces of law and order in western society have been working hard to deal with scenarios that many had never even previously heard of. “Honour” crimes abound and young people flee from forced marriages which are seen as the norm in their native (mostly Islamic) countries. It is also not uncommon to have to bring justice for the victims of certain types of African ritual and religion. “A clash of civilizations” the authorities call it.

While we think that we’re living comfortably and mundanely in our ‘civilised’ little 21st century high-tech world, perhaps somewhere not too far away there is someone else who is trapped in slavery or a child who is being tortured for having an ‘evil spirit.’ It really is horrifying to think of the thousands of cults of one sort or another in this world and how confusion abounds.

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14v12 & Proverbs 16v25)

These thoughts struck me just recently, as I discovered old photographs that I’d taken of the Thames River in London, in November five years ago. They reminded me of a book which I had read some years ago too… “The Boy in the River:” a shocking true story of the murder and sacrifice of a small child in the heart of London in 2001. I was horrified to discover how young children can be the sacrificial victims of certain systems of belief which operate in a very clandestine way. Unfortunately even pseudo “Christian” groups in certain African countries can believe that some very young children have “kindoki” (a kind of witchcraft or possession by an evil spirit) and as a result they are sent back to their native country to have it “dealt with.”

“Dealing with” the offending “spirit” can amount to exorcising the unfortunate child by starving him, since the pastor and his helpers (in their strange mix of traditional beliefs and so-called “Christianity”) misinterpret scripture.

In Matthew 17 we learn of a certain man who came to Jesus, to beseech Him for his son who was described as “a lunatic,” who often fell into the fire – or water.” (v15) The disciples had been unable to cure him and Jesus had rebuked them for this. However, he added… “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” (v21) Here we see that the disciples needed to pray and fast in this instance… not the child. This is at variance with what happened in the case of one young boy in the book, who had been starved in order that an “evil spirit” be removed. Unfortunately, even very young children who aren’t aware of what is happening to them are treated in this way too and often it is the “church hierarchy” who have the so-called evil spirit – not the child.

In a world of widespread confusion, evil and pain, those who know the Lord can only pray for opportunities to serve Him in the places where He has led us to be. We live in a rapidly changing, uncertain world where suffering abounds – perhaps much closer to us than we even realise; the Lord would have us to be vigilant and prayerful as a result. I have discovered many ‘faith groups’ which have sprang up all over the place but Jesus said “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matthew 7v20)

Gardeners know how easily weeds spring up and anything taking seed in stony ground is especially easy to pluck up. Yet… “The Lord knoweth them that are His…” (2Timothy 2v19) We need to pray about the evil realities that exist in our communities… including human trafficking and individuals being blackmailed into working for very little or practically nothing. Most of all, we need to pray that souls will truly come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour in these last days when cults and false prophets are on the increase.

Many Modern Translations of the Bible are challenging the Deity of Christ!

January 23, 2016

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Even as a child I had always found the King James (1611) Version of the Bible very easy to understand. Therefore, it often comes as a surprise to me when people seem to want to complicate the simplicity of scriptures to the detriment of the basic doctrines of Christian faith. Take for example this well know verse in Philippians 2v6. (I also quote verse 5, so that it is understood that it is “Christ Jesus” who is being referred to here.)

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:” (Verse 5)

“Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:” (Verse 6)

Here we clearly see that Jesus thought that being equal with God was His rightful position… He “thought it not robbery to be equal with God.”

Here is the New International Version’s translation of Verse 6:

“Who, being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage.”

Other translations are listed below:

English Standard Version:

“who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,”

New Living Translation”

“Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.”

Berean Study Bible”

Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to hold on to,”

New American Standard Bible”

“who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped,”

Holman Christian Standard Bible:

“who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be used for His own advantage.”

I have quoted just a few of the numerous translations of the Bible in English. What concerns me is that, while the translators may genuinely not have intended a translation to be ambiguous, this, at best, has been the end result in many cases. At worst there is surely a sinister influence at work here…

How can I witness to others, whose system of belief denies the deity of Christ – if the Bible I am using does not clearly uphold the truth of who the Lord Jesus Christ is?

At this point in time I feel that there will never be a better English translation than that of the King James Version (1611). This is the Bible over which I pondered in the months before coming to know my Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour; this is the Bible which has been my guide in times of decision; this is the Bible which inspired my father and my mother who have gone to be with Jesus, “which is far better,” and this is the Bible to which I and those who know and love the Lord have turned – for exhortation, guidance, comfort, blessing and words of love, in the face of a cold uncertain world… “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.” (Psalm 147v3)

A long time ago I wrote these simple words inside my Bible’s flap:

“I love to lean upon my Lord;

I have no help but Him,

And when I read His lovely Word,

My earthly fears grow dim.”

“His lovely Word” must never be twisted, altered, added to or omitted to suit doctrine or mankind’s intellectual notions. The King James is a comforting Bible – and this element of comfort is often missing in the new translations, when truth is obscured and words are complicated.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” ((John 1v1)

Unfortunately the New World’s (Jehovah Witness) translation of this is: “and the word was a god.” Note the small ‘g’ too. I pray for those who are deceived, knowing that the time is at hand when judgement shall fall upon all who alter God’s Word: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”  (Revelation 22v18&19).

Surely… “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10v31)

“But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (1Peter 1v25)

Our understanding of the “Word of the Lord” thankfully does not depend on education or intellect. The simplest soul, who loves his Saviour, will have no trouble in understanding, for he is eager to do His perfect will… This is the Bible of revivals!

How many times have you attended a meeting or service of worship where everyone is reading out of a different version of the Bible? May the Lord give those who love His perfect Word the courage to question anyone who deviates from the truth while reading from a translation which is clearly in error.

…”that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2v11)

Jesus: “My Lord, and my God”

January 12, 2016

Pictures and videos from android 308

Some days ago, I awoke one morning to read these lovely words for the day: “And without controversy great is the mystery of goodliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1Timothy 3v16)

How can anyone deny the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ? And yet we see this beautiful fundamental truth denied by numerous cults and wrongful systems of belief the world over – including Islam.

Jesus said to Thomas: “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered unto him, My Lord and my God.” Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20v27-29)

Surely, if Jesus had objected to being referred to as “my God”… He would have rebuked Thomas and corrected him?

Throughout the New Testament and indeed in the Old Testament, we can read many verses which proclaim the deity of Jesus and the truth of the Trinity… “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9v6)

I heard an Islamic scholar say: “Show me one verse in the Bible where Jesus declares Himself to be God and I will become a Christian.” Surely for God to declare that Jesus is God is all sufficient? “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” (Hebrews 1v8)

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.” (John 1v14&15)

Now it is known that Jesus was born a little while after John and yet John declares: “he was before me.” Even more amazing are the words of John 8v56-58: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Here I have quoted just a few of the numerous verses (some not usually quoted in this context) which declare the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ and I hope in a future blog to quote many in relation to the Trinity too.

I somehow felt a great peace and joy about recording these marvellous verses in a little decorative notebook which I singled out for the purpose. If some weary Jehovah’s Witness comes to my door (as they do every once in a while) I shall be happy to produce my little notebook with its accumulating verses and above all, my Bible, which is the source of all truth. Unfortunately it would appear that many of the modern translations do not uphold these great fundamentals of Christian faith and the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation certainly doesn’t.

However, only the Holy Spirit can open eyes and convict of sin and convince men of the truth contained in His Word. I will reach out prayerfully, with love and in faith, in His strength, being led of His Spirit.

Perhaps it is fitting that I conclude at this point with some of the last words of Jesus, when He prayed to the Father before His crucifixion… “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17v4&5) May His lovely Name be praised!

Man Looks on the Outward Appearance… but God Looks on the Heart

July 12, 2014

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One Sunday afternoon recently we were visiting an elderly relative who resides close to the headquarters of the Palmarian Church in north Dublin. Just as we had parked the car I noticed a gathering of people outside this house church – a gathering which consisted of very well dressed ladies in long skirts and just a few men who were also very formally dressed. We had arrived there earlier than expected and so must have stumbled upon the congregation of this sect while they were still talking after their morning worship.

Before going in to see our relative, I took the opportunity to walk slowly towards the people who were still standing there, intending to strike up a conversation. However, I was unsuccessful in this and had the distinct impression that this was not the first time that they had been approached, although at other times it most likely would have been by journalists.

I have noted this dress code phenomenon with other cults such as Cooneyites, Exclusive Brethren and a cult which only exists in one part of the world – the Cooperites who live in Gloriavale which is based at Haupiri on the west coast of the south island in New Zealand. The latter was founded in 1969 by their very controversial leader, Neville Cooper, an Australian-born evangelist.

All of these cults have some definite things in common – there are many rules governing their respective rigid dress codes; they believe that the only way to heaven is by belonging to their organisation and most are governed by a central figurehead on this earth or men’s ideas – not by the Lord.

While I believe that we should do all to the glory of God (and this includes the way we dress) change begins in the heart and works outwards. If our hearts are not right with the Lord, all the dressing in a certain way in the world will make no difference to the ‘inner man.’

“The Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” (1Samuel 16v7)

Jesus said: “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7v20)

Minutes later two of the well-dressed young ladies walked past the gateway of our elderly relative’s residence and both of them made it clear by their actions that they were not at all happy with my trying to speak to them earlier.

My heart goes out to the young people who belong to this sect. The Lord loves them, died for them and desires that they come to knowledge of His truth – the truth that says: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2v8&9)

When our hearts are right with the Lord, we will inevitably have within these hearts of ours His great love for our fellowmen and women, even those who do not worship with us. Only in hearts which truly belong to Him can the fruits of the spirit be manifested.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5v22)

A Major Mark of a Cult – Lack of Love

April 23, 2014

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I have been told that the above is the current headquarters of the Palmarian Church in Dublin, just one of numerous cults which are active in Ireland today. There are now many thousands of harmful systems of belief scattered throughout our world – and I do believe that these numbers may well be growing by the day!

As well as being dangerous from an eternal perspective, these are harmful in the sense that they have far-reaching consequences, leading to break-ups within families. There are also hurtful attitudes towards those individuals who feel that, although they have been brought up with certain beliefs or to worship in a certain way, they don’t feel the inclination to follow in their parents’ footsteps.

Someone who is truly born again of the Spirit of God will love their children unconditionally, in the realisation that to try to force someone to believe something in the spiritual realm, is about as crazy an exercise as trying to force a bird to sing, or a flower to open.

Surely we should pray for our children and always be there for them until our dying day?

I met a girl once who had been ‘disfellowshipped’ by a Jehovah Witness community which had previously been a big part of her life. At a time when she had had a cancer diagnosis and a broken marriage simultaneously, she really did need someone to care for her and pray for her but she was totally abandoned by those she trusted because she did not adhere to some of their rules.

Other groups of which I have recently been reading as well as ‘the Palmarians,’ are the Cooneyites/2×2’s, the Church of Scientology, the Exclusive Brethren and the Mormons. To leave is to be, at best, ostracized but for some who turn their backs on the religion which they have been born into can horrifyingly mean certain death. This is a reality in many countries where Islam is in control.

Jesus said: “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (John 13v35)

This love for one another, when it is born of God, transcends culture, dominations and even doctrinal differences.

Personally speaking, I experience that affinity and warmth with those who have shared my basic experience of coming to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.

There is a bond between those who truly know the Lord, regardless of which church they attend – or there should be. Sadly, I have met people who would say they are Christians and yet these same people refuse to speak to someone who has stopped attending their ‘fellowship,’ for whatever reason.

And of course, the true Christian will show his or her love and concern for every soul they come in contact with – whatever their affiliation (or lack of) in the spiritual realm.

Study the reaction of the members of any dubious religious organization… how do they behave towards someone who no longer worships with them or leaves them completely?

I have attended a church and known individuals to have left – but I still love and pray (not in a patronizing way) for those people today and if I happen to meet them walking in the street, we can have a warm conversation.

They may have been quite right to move on or perhaps it was the wrong move to make – but I am not their judge.

Perhaps some of the saddest stories I have read recently relate to those who have lost families and loved ones as a result of leaving a cult; the heartache that this causes does not bear thinking about.

Surely only those who have come to trust and lean on the Lord Jesus Christ can know of the following experience… “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (Ephesians 3v17-19)

“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1Cor. 13v13)

 

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Have you had a Visit from the Jehovah’s Witnesses Recently?

November 5, 2011

If we, as Christians, sometimes get discouraged, how much more so must those who neither believe in (nor are led by) the Holy Spirit? They work hard, going from door to door with absolutely no reassuring presence of the ‘Comforter.’ (John 14v16-18) Given this sad fact, I have often thought that ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses,’ in general, are very diligent in their outreach; if only Christians were this diligent! They systematically cover every square metre of our little island, visiting the remotest of dwelling places. I am certain that this is so in every other country of the world where they have a presence. I remember years ago being at an evangelical church in Athens, close to where St. Paul preached on Mars’ Hill (Acts 17v22). A man stood up in the middle of the meeting and started shouting and waving his hands. The Greek people who sat beside us explained that this person was a ‘Jehovah’s Witness’ who was disputing what the preacher was saying. From research I have discovered that unfortunately most countries in the world now have a ‘Jehovah’s Witness’ presence.

Once, when I was visiting a remote rural area of County Waterford, I gave an elderly lady (who lived alone) a tract. “Are you a ‘Jehovah’s Witness’?” she asked. How disappointing to discover that ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’ had been in this isolated location, but this lady had never in her life been spoken to by an evangelical Christian!

“It’s not a good idea to go out ‘two-by-two.’ They’ll think we’re Jehovah’s Witnesses,” I heard someone once say. But why should we, as Christians, decide not to do something – just because a certain well-known cult does it? Anyway, we should be guided and influenced by God’s Word and led of the Holy Spirit for it is He who speaks to souls, to guide them into all truth. It is He, also, who prepares the hearts of the individuals He wants us to speak to.  (Proverbs 16v1)

“Not interested. I have my own religion (or church),” is the response of many people to Jehovah’s Witnesses at the door. But the Christian should have a very different attitude. Essentially we need to know the scriptures, never forgetting to put the emphasis on Jesus and His finished work on the cross at Calvary. At some time, many of the people within this and other cults have sincerely reached out for truth – but in doing so they have embraced error. These individuals, like those in other cults, need a loving witness. To slam the door or to be coldly hostile or impatient is not a Christ-like reaction. Be led of the Holy Spirit, and love the person – but not his erroneous beliefs.

I thank my Lord for leading me into the marvellous light of His truth and I pray that, in His strength, I can reach out to those who have been deceived. That glow of His presence makes it all worthwhile, and I can face the burdensome tasks of the day, in the knowledge that, insignificant as I am, He can use me to reach the souls for whom He died, rose – and lives to save. Oh that many would turn from error, seek His face and find the real Jehovah; He who encompasses Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (1John 5v7&8)

How lovely are those words which refer to Jehovah in Isaiah 26v3&4… “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord forever: for in the Lord JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.”

Frances Ridley Havergal, devotional writer, poetess and hymn writer certainly found that “perfect peace,” when at the age of fourteen she trusted the Lord Jesus to save her. Miss Havergal was plagued with ill health during her short life but she was greatly used of the Lord, because she had later consecrated that life to Him. I love her hymn “Like a River Glorious,” which declares the all-sufficiency of “Jehovah” and the perfect peace and blessing that is to be found when we “trust Him wholly.” What a beautiful analogy: the sparkling peaceful river, flowing deeper and deeper as it makes its way to the sea!

Link to this hymn: http://hymntime.com/tch/htm/l/i/k/likriver.htm

May 21st 2011 – On Harold Camping’s ‘Rapture and End of the World’ Date Setting

May 22, 2011

Well, the day of May 21st 2011 has now passed through all the world’s time zones. As I write, it is 20.47 pm. in Australia, 4.47 am. in Mr. Camping’s native Colorado and 11.47 am. in my native Ireland.

The Bible illustrates how people will be engaged in all sorts of activities when the Lord returns to take His own. In some parts of the world it will be day, while in others it will be night, but the Great Question which must be put to every precious soul for whom Jesus died is this: “Spiritually speaking, will your heart be right with the Lord upon His return?”

If we have not made our peace with God, by repenting and putting our trust in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, then our destiny will horrifically be hell. From scriptures we learn that Jesus spoke more about hell than heaven, because (unlike the theology which Mr. Camping and others cling to) God’s Word maintains that He is “not willing that any should perish…” (2 Peter 3v9) For this reason Jesus put forth many warnings about this horrific place.

Even amongst Christians there is much speculation and dispute about the nature of the Lord’s return, but are these words not of far more importance…? “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” (2Peter 3v14)

As for those who choose to set dates, how can they ignore the many references to the fact that we don’t (and cannot) know when the Lord’s return will be? Here is just one of them…

Jesus said in Matthew 25v13: “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

Let those of us who have an assurance of salvation in our hearts pray for the followers of this cult and for Mr. Harold Camping too; that they would turn to the Lord Jesus Christ who loved them and gave Himself for them.

Reaching out with Christian Literature in Balbriggan, North County Dublin

October 24, 2010

I remember seeing this small town for the first time back in the early 1980’s when it was little more than a village with a few extra housing estates under construction. I don’t know what the population was back then, but according to the census in 2006, it had reached 15,559. Today it is estimated that more than 20,000 people live there, many of whom are of African and East European origin. Last week, armed with Christian literature and a burden for souls, I apprehensively set out to reach one estate in particular. It was a cold, dark evening as I rang the first doorbell. No one was in! I found this to be the pattern at quite a few houses, although perhaps people were reluctant to come to the door after dark – especially when they had to climb down a couple of flights of stairs, as this particular estate had narrow three-storey town houses. On these occasions, I pushed a tract into the letterbox. After a time I came to a house which was completely decked out for Halloween – although Halloween at that point was nearly three weeks away! I felt suddenly an evil presence and also very despondent and alone in my endeavours. Here I was trailing around houses where the vast majority of people probably just didn’t want to know. Recent disclosures about the clerical abuse of children in Ireland have resulted in anger, cynicism, apathy – and a reverting to old Pagan ways. Many feel justifiably hurt and furious about the horrific abuse that took place over the decades, but sometimes they look at anyone whom they would view as ‘religious’ with this same cynicism. Despite this, the human soul has a need to worship and some are turning to systems of belief other than Roman Catholicism.

This is where other cults sometimes step in. A Bible study set up by a group in this town is mysteriously unforthcoming about who is running it; I have reason to suspect that these may be ‘Cooneyites.’ My conviction is that any system of belief which has its roots in ‘salvation by works’ as opposed to faith must be termed ‘a cult.’

I thank God for His gifts of freedom and faith – something that is missing from erroneous systems of belief. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8v36) I do not have to ask permission from anyone before I embark on telling others of the wonders of His love for mankind. He sent His Son to die that people in Balbriggan, in Dublin; in every country, city, town, village, hamlet and tiny homestead in the world might have life – and life that is more abundant. And so those of us who know Him as Saviour must keep our lights burning as we witness to others until the Lord calls or comes to take us Home.

Above is a photograph of Balbriggan lighthouse which reminds me of that hymn: “Let the Lower Lights be burning!” The story behind this hymn by Philip Bliss is that many lives were lost on a ship, all because the man who was supposed to light the lower lights along the shore, failed in his duties. In this allegory, the lighthouse is that Great Light of the gospel, through the Word – while Christians are ‘the lesser lights along the shore.’

Let us never fail to serve Him on the darkest, most depressing nights; in spite of the prevailing cold winds of apathy, cynicism and the threat of ‘spiritual wickedness in high places.’ May the Lord empower all who do so with a clean heart, a bright light, courage – and a love for the souls of this world for whom He died.    

Link to this hymn: http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/l/l/llowerlb.htm