Thursday, November 22, 2018

Give Thanks for the Blessings of Others

We are taught in many places in the Bible to give thanks to God for His many blessings.

"Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever" (Psalm 106:1).

"And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:18-20).

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men" (1 Timothy 2:1).

Giving thanks to God should be a way of life for us in the Church of God.

But when we give thanks, do we thank God for our own personal blessings only? Or do we also thank God for the blessings others enjoy?

We are one body in Christ. Even though we are scattered geographically and organizationally, we are still one body because we have one Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God. That is what makes us one body.

When we pray for our own needs, we should also pray for the needs of the whole body and all its members.

Likewise, when we give thanks to God, we should thank Him for the blessings He has given to others in the Church.

"And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually" (1 Corinthians 12:26-27).

Perhaps you have a happy marriage in the Church. You should give God thanks for that marriage. But suppose you do not have a happy marriage. You can still give thanks, not for your own marriage, but for the happy marriages so many members in the Church are blessed with. You can, and should, thank God for those marriages and for the happiness they give to other members. Likewise, if you do not have a good job, you can thank God for the jobs He has provided to other members in the Church.

Some of us may feel lonely and frustrated with our problems. Maybe we are unemployed, without family, without friends, and in poor health. Some may feel they do not have much to be thankful for.

But if we know the truth of God and are trying to live by it, there is hope for us of eternal life. We can give thanks for that hope and for God's promises. We can give thanks even in the midst of trials. Even when God punishes us for our sins, we can give thanks to God that He cares about us enough to work with us to help us turn from our sins and become overcomers.

"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent" (Revelation 3:19).

"And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: 'My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.' If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:5-11).

Not all suffering is punishment. Some is for the purpose of testing our faith and love towards God.

But it is clear that the Christian life is not all physical blessings.

Remember the parable of Lazarus and the rich man. Lazarus was not blessed in this life. But he made it into the kingdom of God. "But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores....But Abraham said [to the rich man], 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented' " (Luke 16:20-25).

"Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted" (Matthew 5:4).

We are not all blessed in this physical life. But whether or not we are physically blessed, we should rejoice and give thanks for those in the Church who are blessed because we are members of the same body and we should love each other as we love ourselves.

When we give thanks, let us remember to thank God not only for our own personal blessings but for the blessings He has given others.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

United States Mid-term Election Results 2018

Last Tuesday there were elections in the United States for state and local offices and for the United States Senate and House of Representatives.

Prior to the election, the Republicans held a majority in both houses of Congress (Senate and House of Representatives).

In the election, the Republicans held control of the senate but lost control of the house. The Democrats will have a majority in the House of Representatives when the newly elected representatives take office in January.

What does this mean?

The house can launch investigations of Donald Trump, and they can make his next two years more difficult. They can, if they wish, start impeachment proceedings. The actual trial of an impeachment would take place in the senate, however, and it is unlikely a Republican senate would vote to convict Mr. Trump. Thus, the Democrats will not be able to remove Mr. Trump from office.

Reaching agreement between the house and senate on budget and other bills will be more difficult and contentious.

Row vs. Wade may be challenged sometime in 2019-2020, but if it is it will be challenged by state law, not federal law. Any of a number of Republican-led states can pass laws against abortion hoping that the new conservative Supreme Court will overturn Roe vs. Wade. It is possible that may happen.

If it does, it will not stop abortion. A woman who wants to have an abortion can go to a state that allows it. It might stop some abortions in some states, but most abortions will continue.

The Democratic house will not pass a bill against abortion, so there will be no challenge to Roe vs. Wade on the federal level in 2019-2020.

If the Democrats in the house try to pass a bill guaranteeing women the right to have an abortion, it would not pass in the Republican senate, and even if it did President Trump would veto it. So the Congress split between two parties will not make major changes to abortion law. The challenge to Roe vs. Wade will only come from the states.


The new Congress does not take office till January. Till then, the Republicans still control both houses and we have a republican president and a Supreme Court with a conservative majority. It is possible, if there is the political or moral will to do it, for Republicans and conservative Supreme Court justices to stop abortions nationwide for the next couple of years.

The Republican controlled Congress can pass a law right now, and the president can sign it, that would outlaw abortions. Then it would be up to the conservatives on the Supreme Court to decide whether to uphold the law and overturn Roe vs. Wade, thus ending legal abortions, or to keep Roe vs. Wade and rule the new law unconstitutional, thus allowing abortions to continue. The new Democratic House of Representatives coming into office in 2019 will not be able to reverse what the 2018 Congress has passed because the Republican senate will not approve a reversal of the bill.

The Republicans have had plenty of time over the past many months to prepare such a bill and make plans for its passage.

But I have not heard or read of any such planned effort to pass such a bill while the current congress is still in office.

Personally, I do not think most conservative Republicans are in any real hurry to stop abortions. The will to hurry such a bill through Congress is not there. Conservative Republicans want the anti-abortion vote. They want to appear righteous. But they are lukewarm about follow-through.

That may be because of the effect of abortions on demographics.

A disproportionate number of abortions are performed upon black unborn babies. Blacks make up about 12% of the United States population, or maybe a little more. But I have read figures that the percentage of abortions in the black community is much higher - something like 40-50% of all abortions are among blacks.

What this means is that, if abortions were stopped, the black population would increase far faster than the white population and far faster than their present rate of increase.

I haven't seen statistical studies, but it would be interesting to see a study that would estimate the black population that would exist today if the abortions since Roe vs. Wade were not performed. I would imagine that it would be far greater than now, maybe up to 20-25% of the population. This would in turn give the black community, most of which is liberal Democrat in political leanings, more political power in this country.

I think that is what some conservative Republicans are afraid of. I think that is why some of them may be hypocrites - pretending for the sake of getting Catholic and conservative Christian votes that they are against abortion and want to save unborn lives, but in reality wanting abortions to continue.

That is just my opinion.

But the fact remains that Republicans in Congress and conservatives on the Supreme Court have the power to outlaw abortions in the next few weeks while the current Congress is still in office. It is their choice. If they do not do it, they have chosen to allow abortions to continue for at least the next two years, whatever their reasons.

Let's assume they will do nothing in the current year. Then, what will happen?

Abortion may be a big issue in the next presidential election two years from now in 2020. If during the next two years one or more states challenge Roe vs. Wade and if a conservative Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade, then the congress and president elected in 2020 will have the power to go either way. A liberal Democrat congress and president can pass a federal law overturning state laws against abortion and guaranteeing women the power to have abortions in all states. It would have the same effect as Roe vs. Wade, but it would be from the elected Congress and president, not the Supreme Court.

Or, if a conservative Republican congress and president are elected in 2020, they can pass a law outlawing abortions in all states, and most abortions can be stopped.

This puts the responsibility for abortion directly upon the voting public in a way that hasn't happened before.

God holds us as a nation responsible for abortions. It is one of the sins of the nation that we will be punished for in the great tribulation.

"Also on your skirts is found
The blood of the lives of the poor innocents.
I have not found it by secret search,
But plainly on all these things" (Jeremiah 2:34).

Yet, the general voting population can say, "It is not our fault. The Supreme Court gives women the right to have abortions, and our votes don't count. We have never been able to stop abortions."

But if the Supreme Court overturns Roe vs. Wade in response to challenges from state law in the next two years, the nation will not have that excuse. They don't have that excuse anyway, but some may think they do. That will change.

Abortion may be the biggest issue in the 2020 elections. Voters will directly choose candidates pledged to support or stop abortion.

And under those circumstances, if the nation deliberately chooses to let abortions continue, people will understand if God holds the people responsible and begins to punish the nation as never before.

The Church of God may not be the only ones giving a warning of God's punishments to come. The 2020 election may be when political issues and religious issues begin to merge. Interest in prophecy may also increase.

Watch for the slim chance that Congress may pass a law against abortion in 2018. If that does not happen, and I think it won't, then watch in the next two years for some states to pass laws against abortion, challenging Roe vs. Wade, and look to see if the conservative justices on the Supreme Court overturn Roe vs. Wade. If Roe vs. Wade is overturned, this will dump the whole issue in the hands of the voters. Then watch which way they decide in the 2020 election.

If they decide in favor of abortion, watch for prophetic events to get hot.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

"Double Portion of Your Spirit" Does NOT = Prophet

2 Kings 2:9-15 tells of the time when the prophet Elijah was carried by a whirlwind into heaven. At the same time, his office and responsibilities were transferred to Elisha who was to be prophet in his place (1 Kings 19:15-16).

Elisha asked Elijah for a "double portion of your spirit" (2 Kings 2:9). What did that refer to? Did it mean becoming a prophet? Was a prophetic office indicated by the term "double portion"?

No. That is impossible.

The Bible does not specify exactly what was meant by that term and everything it indicated. Perhaps it referred to the power to work signs and miracles. But it did not indicate the office of prophet.

How can we know this?

Elijah knew what it meant, and he was not sure God would grant Elisha's request. "So he said, 'You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so' " (2 Kings 2:10). This actually shows that it could not have been the office of prophet. Why?

Elijah already knew that Elisha was to be prophet in Elijah's place. God had told him.

Turn back to 1 Kings 19:15-16: "Then the Lord said to him: 'Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria. Also you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi as king over Israel. And Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place' ".

Since God already told Elijah that Elisha was to be prophet in his place, how could Elijah not know it and say, "if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so"? (2 Kings 2:10), if the double portion referred to being a prophet?

I bring this up because some think that if a minister anoints someone and asks God to give that person a double portion of God's Spirit, that is the same thing as ordaining that person as a prophet. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In previous posts I have made the point that making the request for a double portion does not mean God grants the request. Even Elijah did not know if God would give Elisha what he asked. Even today, when a member is anointed for healing, which is promised, God does not always heal even in this lifetime, and a double portion of God's Spirit is not even promised.

But now I am showing that the "double portion" does not even refer to being a prophet.

It can't. Elijah knew Elisha would be prophet from what God had told him in 1 Kings 19:16. He would not have answered Elisha as he did if "double portion" meant the office of prophet. The matter of Elisha being a prophet was not a question at this point. It was already settled. Not so the "double portion". That was something else. Elijah did not know if God would grant that request.

So the "double portion" Elisha requested and the office of prophet were two different things.

How do we know if a man in the Church of God is a prophet? Only God can make someone a prophet. But how do we know if He has done so?

God gives criteria.

One is, he must be faithful, overall, to God's way of life. He must be faithful to strive to believe and live by every word of God (Matthew 4:4). That does not mean he is perfect. But overall, he must be faithful to teach the truth. In particular, he must not try to turn the people to false gods. "If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods'—which you have not known—'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 13:1-3).

This includes not pointing the people to demon-inspired messages about the future. "For these nations which you will dispossess listened to soothsayers and diviners; but as for you, the Lord your God has not appointed such for you" (Deuteronomy 18:14).

A man who quotes and publishes and spreads pagan and demon-inspired prophecies about the future, trying to learn and teach from demons details of the future that God does not choose to reveal, disqualifies himself from being a true prophet.

But also, a true prophet of God is given prophecy by God. God gives prophecy - sure prophetic messages by direct revelation from God - to His true prophets. And a sign of a prophet is accurate predictions in those messages of future events. When a prediction in a prophetic message comes true in a way that is unlikely by chance, that is a sign that the man is a true prophet.

"And if you say in your heart, 'How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?'—when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him" (Deuteronomy 18:21-22).

I find no example in the Bible of a prophet without prophecy. Any man who claims to be a prophet but who has never received a direct prophetic message from God is practicing wishful thinking.

Those are two qualifications for being a prophet - not turning the people to false gods, false doctrines, or messages from demons, and actually receiving prophetic messages from God - messages about the future that can be verified when the future event comes to pass.

Both are needed.

What if someone who claims to be a prophet of God makes a prediction that comes to pass, but also turns people to demon-inspired pagan prophecies? Is that person a true prophet?


God may allow a false teacher to make a true prediction as a way of testing His people to know if they will believe His word, the Bible, or not. See Deuteronomy 13:1-3 which I quoted above.

So even if a man can make true predictions about the future, if he points people to pagan and demon-inspired messages, he cannot be a true prophet of God.

How much less a man who claims to be a prophet, points people to pagan prophecies, and cannot even make his own prophetic predictions.