Hanukkah and the Messiah

Last night at sundown the Hebrew Feast of Hanukah began. The Feast memorializes the dedication of the Temple in 165 BC, after Antiocus IV Epiphanes attempted to stamp out the Hebrew religion. It also celebrates a miracle where a one day supply of Temple oil lasted eight days. Thus, it is called both the “Feast of Dedication” and the “Feast of Lights”.

With the cleansing of the Temple in 165BC, the Nation of Israel was reborn and the Temple and the Nation of Israel were made ready to receive the Messiah. However, it was 160 years later that He was born and 190 years later that He began His ministry. Jesus celebrated the Feast of Dedication and used the occasion to clarify that He was the Messiah while teaching in the Temple (see John 11:22-39).

Last week on December 9, we marked a significant date leading to the Second Coming of
Christ. It was 100 years ago on December 9, 1917 that the Turks surrendered Jerusalem to the British. The British mandate ultimately lead to the U.N. vote to form Israel thirty years later in 1947, and to the birth of Israel in 1948. Christians all over the world saw the miraculous rebirth of Israel as preparation for the Second Coming of Christ.

Few Christians expected the return of Christ to be delayed so long after the nation of
Israel was made ready. However, if we look back to the formation of Israel in 165 BC, preparatory to the advent of Christ, then a waiting period of 160 or 190 years is not so surprising. At 100 years, if counting began in 1917 instead of 1948, we would only be half way through a 190 year wait.

Let us pray over the Feast of Dedication and let us remember how it made the way ready for the Messiah. The Feast of Dedication also reminds us to purify our hearts, the New Convent temple of the Holy Spirit, as the Second Temple was purified in 165 B.C.

And let us also pray that Christians do not get discouraged by the delay in Christ’s return, for no one knows the day or the hour.

Instead, let us joyfully add to the numbers of the Church and look forward to the day that the number is completed and the Lord returns (Revelation 6:9-11)

Even so, come Lord Jesus

On The Road to Serfdom

It is time to dust off your copy of The Road to Serfdom by F.A. Hayek and begin praying, as one of the most egregious threats to our freedoms heads to court this week.

Hayek, a Nobel Prize winning economist, wrote the book during the Second World War as a warning against Socialism and its cousins Fascism, National Socialism (Nazism), and Communism. As a European citizen he had watched as 18 of the 28 European democracies in place at the end of the First World War had lost their freedoms to become authoritarian or totalitarian nations. He identified the processes by which freedom was lost, calling it The Road to Serfdom. These processes are still as work today, threatening our freedoms even in America.

The slippery slope to slavery begins with good intentions to meet demands for justice, fairness, or some other good cause. Democracies, being messy and slow to act, begin to turn over their legislative functions to bureaucrats who are believed to be wiser and more efficient. It then falls to unelected government officials to pick winners and losers. And to limit individual freedoms to force compliance with their rulings. In the end the government eliminates constitutional limits on its power, shutting out democratic input and eliminating individual rights.

We are witnessing such a drama play out with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) this week. Originally conceived as a “Good idea”, it was given dictatorial powers when organized. Almost immediately the CFPB began making rulings in areas prohibited by its organizing statute, claiming that it was not accountable to the U.S. Congress. Now the head of the CFPB is claiming that he can appoint an interim director in defiance of Presidential authority. If the counts agree, the CFPB will not be answerable to the Congress, the President, or the courts. In effect we will have a dictator who can control the entire American economy.

When the people of ancient Israel wanted a king to solve their problems, God warned them against the abuses of authoritarian government (1 Samuel 8:11-17). Samuel spoke to them about abuse of power, economic cronyism, high taxes, and, 3000 years before Hayek, the end result of slavery. The Israelites marched down the Road to Serfdom because they had rejected God as their King (1 Samuel 8:7), and America is in great danger of following that same path to tyranny.

Let us pray that our courts will protect us from dictatorial government power and our Congress will take back its constitutional authority to make our laws. We also pray that the eyes of our people will be opened to the threats to our freedom, and that they will repent and return to the Author of our freedom.

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” –John 8:31-32

The First National Thanksgiving

In the first year of the Untied States of America under its new Constitution, 228 years ago on November 26, 1789, the New Nation celebrated its first Thanksgiving.
President George Washington’s proclamation, thanking the Lord for His protection and provision, and praying for unity, repentance, and good government, is as relevant today as it was 1789:
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly implore His protection and favor . . . .
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the twenty-sixth day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these United States . . . that we then may all unite unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are now blessed. . . .
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discretely and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord, to promote the knowledge and practice for the true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows best.
So let us follow Washington’s admonition to be thankful, united, and prayerful this Thanksgiving.

Guns and Churches

The recent mass murder at the Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas has reignited the national debate on gun violence. It has also highlighted the question of guns and churches.

One thing which has become abundantly clear is that no one can count on the government for protection against a madman. Our existing gun laws could have prevented the tragedy, but government officials failed to report the killer’s family abuse conviction. Even so, it seems that criminals can find ways to obtain guns. In addition, the police cannot arrive in time to prevent loss of life. Something more is needed.

Many believe that banning guns from churches or other public gatherings is the answer. The problem with this approach is that only the law abiding citizens will leave their guns at home. We must remember that those mass killers are cowards looking for helpless victims. A gun free zone is an open invitation to killers and an encouragement to gun violence. Only when confronted by armed opponents do the cowards stop killing innocents and try to run away or just commit suicide to avoid a fight.

Some believe that taking a gun to church is a violation of the peace of God which is present in the Church. But we know from Scripture that the Temple guards were armed, and even the Levites carried swords when necessary (See 2 Chronicles 23:6-10). Apparently God has no problem with weapons in His presence, and neither should we.

In Texas, as in many other states, citizens can pass a background test and a firearm training course to receive a license to carry a concealed hand gun. Most of those people are willing to use their firearms to defend themselves, their families, their neighbors, and their church families. It was such an armed citizen who stopped the Sutherland Springs shooter before he could take more lives. Sadly, no one in the Church was armed, and many lives were lost.

We urge the Pastors and Churches to welcome those legally licensed to carry guns so that they can fulfil the calling on their lives to protect their Church family. And don’t keep it a secret. Call a “Carry your gun to Church Sunday” so the cowardly killers in your community will know they can’t turn your Church into a shooting gallery.

We should continue to pray for God’s protection and ask Him to send His guardian angles to our churches. But let’s not turn away the guardian angels who have concealed hand gun permits.

Two Days in Berlin

This week marks the 99th anniversary of the end of the First World War on November 11, 1918 and the 28th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989.

The city of Berlin was the epicenter of the ideological and military wars of the Twentieth Century. Those conflicts were rooted in the Nineteenth Century, when German theologians sold out to secularism and destroyed the Christian faith of most Germans. The spiritual void was filled by a secular state religion and Darwinist survival of-the-fittest militancy. It is not a coincidence that the Germans brought the ancient Temple of Zeus from Pergamum, “where Satan has his throne” (Rev 2:13) to Berlin in the 19th century. And based on what followed it may truly be said that Satan moved with his throne to Berlin.

The First World War was welcomed by the militant Germans, who expected easy victories. They did manage to defeat the Russians, but at the price of helping to establish an expansionist Communist state. However, the Germans could not sustain the war in Western Europe and they surrendered on November 11, 1918. The Peace Treaty which followed in 1919 left the Germans humiliated and bitter, but they did not give up their militaristic spirit. They hardened their hearts, missing their chance to repent, and Satan remained enthroned in Berlin.

Feeding on that militaristic spirit, Adolph Hitler and his Nazis fashioned a new religion where the Germans would evolve into God-like super humans. Their version of the Godhood Religion, or New Age Religion, swept through Germany and led to the Second World War. Their early success in the war led them to attack the Russian Communists and they even declared war on the United States. All the while they were murdering Jews, Christians, and others who did not fit into their super human evolutionary vision. No one could doubt that Satan ruled through the Nazis in Berlin.

Judgment came to Berlin in 1945 as the Russian army destroyed the city, revenged itself on the population, and took the Temple of Zeus to Moscow. Berlin, and Germany, were divided between the Russians and the Western Powers. Yet, after the war, Berlin became the focal point of Cold War tensions as the Russians tried to force the Western Powers out. West Berlin became an embarrassment to the Russians as it prospered under free enterprise and democracy. Finally, in 1962, they built the infamous Berlin Wall to keep East Berliners from fleeing the Communist police state.

German Christians began to repent for their country and pray for deliverance from the Communist oppression, and in response God sent them a Polish Pope and an American President. Miraculously, the Russian tyranny simply fell apart under its own weight without a shot being fired. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989 as the prayers of the Christians were answered in an unmistakable way.
The two days in Berlin show the horrible consequences of failure to repent and the power of God to move for those who reach out to Him in repentance.

As we remember these two days, let us not harden our hearts if God’s judgment does come, because the Lord sends judgment to bring righteousness (Isaiah 26:9). Let us learn from the German Christians to repent and ask God to deliver us from our oppression.

“If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” -2 Chronicles 7:14

Toward A New Pentecost of Hearing and Understanding

“We hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues” –Acts 2:11

We Charismatics tend to focus on the upper room experience of Pentecost, where they spoke in tongues as evidence of the infilling with the power of the Holy Spirit. But when they went out into the streets the other miracle of Pentecost was the ability to be heard and understood by the people. It took both the power of the Holy Spirit and the ability to be heard and understood to give birth to the Church at Pentecost. Now, after centuries of division, the Church needs a new Pentecost of hearing and understanding to come together to reach the world as Jesus prayed in John 17:23.

This new Pentecost of hearing and understanding was poured out last week as many leaders of the Church gathered in Kansas City at the Kairos 2017 conference to dialogue, worship, and pray together. They heard and understood Charismatic tongues, Catholic tongues, Eastern Orthodox tongues, Evangelical tongues, Messianic tongues, and Protestant tongues. There were black tongues, white tongues, Asian tongues, Spanish tongues, and English tongues celebrating the diversity of the Church. Many were healed of diseases as the power of the Holy Spirit followed the miracle of hearing and understanding.

Kenneth Copeland exposed Satan’s plan to turn diversity of tradition, race, gender, and age into division and hatred. Catholic Cardinal Di Nardo likened Church division to the wounds of Christ, and urged Christians to abide in unity with each other and with Christ. One by one the 40 leaders gathered at Mike Bickle’s Forerunner Church urged Christians to repent of division, reconcile, unite, and bring healing to the nation. As Lou Engle, one of the participants, has said “Only a united church can heal a divided nation. “You can view the entire meeting at http://kingdomflame.com/kairos-2017/.

Forty years ago the largest ecumenical meeting in history was held in Kansas City. It culminated in the prophecy that the body of Christ was broken because of our divisions. Many believe that God is sending an outpouring of the Holy Spirit as a new generation picks up the mantle to bring the broken body of Christ together.

Join us as we pray for a new Pentecost of Hearing and Understanding to bring unity to the Body of Christ and revival to the nation.

Is God Cooling Off Our Climate?

Unusual weather patterns have brought the question of Climate change to the attention of the world. As Christians, we know that it is God who controls our climate, but at the same time we should search out the truth about changing climate.
We believe that the climate has grown much warmer during the last part of the 20th Century, but now there is evidence that the climate may be cooling off. The reason comes from the science of sunspots, which are areas of intense magnetic activity on the face of the sun.
For many years scientists have known that there was a relationship between sunspots and climate. There is an 11 year sunspot cycle during which it is warmer in the high sunspot portion of the cycle and cooler in the low support portion. This is because an increase in numbers of sunspots is evidence of increased energy output by the sun. In addition, during times of higher energy output the solar wind blocks more cosmic rays, which play a role in cloud formation and have a cooling effect.
Not only are there variations in sunspot numbers during the 11 year cycle, there are also variations in sunspot numbers between cycles. Scientists observed that during the coldest time of the “Little Ice Age”, from 1645 to 1715, there were virtually no sunspots. This period is known as the Maunder Minimum, and was named after the scientist who discovered the lack of sunspots. Beginning with the 1712-22 sunspot cycle the sunspot numbers began rising and the temperature also began rising. Temperatures and sunspot numbers reached almost to the modern levels by the two cycles of 1767-88 only to fall again as sunspot numbers went down from 1799 to 1832.
From the end of the Maunder Minimum until 1997 there have been alternating periods of warming and cooling which are tied to increases or decreases in daily mean sunspot numbers:
Sunspot Temperature
Numbers % Change Change
1712-1788 (7 Cycles) Warming 51.92 +167% Increase
1789-1832 (4 Cycles) Cooling 31.21 -40% Decrease
1833-1898 (6 Cycles) Warming 51.15 +64% +0.4F
1899-1932 (3 Cycles) Cooling 37.46 -27% -0.2F
1933-1997 (6 Cycles) Warming 70.81 +89% +1.3F

The period from 1933-97 shows a dramatic increase in sunspot numbers and global temperatures, and has produced a global warming concern among scientists who blame the increased temperatures on man made causes, and expect the increase in temperature to continue. However, it appears that a new cooling cycle has begun, with the sunspot number for 1998-2008 dropping to 59.18 and the projected number for 2009-2020 being half that number, 29.59, about equal to the sunspot number at the beginning of the 1899-1932 cycle. If this trend continues global temperatures could return to levels seen in 1899-1932, resulting in a reduction in temperature of 1.3F by the end of the third cooling cycle in 2030.

However, in 2017 evidence began appearing which may suggest much more severe cooling cycles. For the first two months there were four weeks with no sunspots, and astronomers began talking about a return of the Maunder Minimum. Unfortunately we do not have reliable sunspot data back that far, but temperature data gleaned from secondary sources shows what happens when a warmer period gives way to a much colder period. This happened at the beginning of the Little Ice Age, in 1315, when much cooler temperatures came with 7 years of floods, leading to famine, plague and war.
The floods come because a cooler atmosphere holds less water vapor and the diminished solar wind of a sunspot minimum allows more cosmic rays into our atmosphere to cause cooling clouds and rain. The massive hurricanes of 2005, 2008, and 2017, all occurring at or near minimums in the 11 year sunspot cycle, may be harbingers of a severe period of global cooling.
In the end only God knows what the future climate will be, and our understanding of climate and solar cycles is very limited. For example, when we saw a brief drop in sunspot numbers and temperatures in the mid-1960s scientists began worrying about a return of the Ice Age. This during the middle of the greatest temperature increases in modern times. Similar exaggerated fears about global warming should be viewed with a grain of salt.
One area of concern is public policy prescriptions based on extreme predictions of future climate. Government actions to limit carbon emissions will cause economic hardship in the developed world and keep billions in poverty in the third world, all admittedly without making a real change in global warming projections. The only beneficiaries are big government which expands its power and crony capitalists who profit from government programs. The world was in fact this warm in the Middle Ages with only beneficial results, and it was the cooling of the Little Ice Age, not global warming, which brought harm.
As people of prayer, we have access to the real master of the climate. We understand that climate change and the actions of foolish men who think they can control it may be judgments allowed by God. But we also understand that God sends judgment to bring repentance (Isaiah 26:9), so we should humble ourselves, seek His face, and repent. We can then ask God to relent from sending calamity (Joel 2:13), whether it be by global warming or global cooling.
As we wait for His answer to be revealed, do not let fear steal your peace. Remember that God knows how to protect His people in times of judgment (2 Peter 2:5-9).
God gave Isaiah a vision of God’s people gathering in unison in Zion (Isaiah 4:5-6). They experienced God’s leading through a cloud by day and fire by night, and entered into His glory. But above it all was Canopy which sheltered them from the heat and the storm. Let us come into a Canopy of Prayer, entering into the intimacy with God in His glory and experiencing His protection.
The climate in God’s presence is always good.