The Great Divide

storms_stand

The Continental Divide, also known as The Great Divide, extends from northern Alaska southward across North America, then continues through Central and finally South America where it ends. This prominent divide of the continent, in very basic terms, separates the hydrological features and watersheds, thus forming the pattern of the rivers while influencing the runoff towards the Pacific and Atlantic oceans as well as the Gulf of Mexico. While there exist several lesser divides in North America, this Great Divide, as it is known, represents the primary divide across the entire continent.

In today’s world a prophetic divide is growing, separating the spiritual realms – a tug-of-war between good and evil – that will determine the flow of humanity towards it’s final destination for all eternity. This reality should be of little surprise to anyone, whether a believer or not, as the topic of end times prophesy has grown in earnest over recent decades pointing towards the rapture of the church and the coming tribulation. Ironically as these signs are revealed at an unprecedented rate, many a pulpit has chosen to look the other way as opposed to preaching this most important message in these perilous times. Whether that message is accepted or not is up to the listener, but keep in mind that God has always demonstrated great patience and gives warnings so that all of creation might be saved. But that patience will run out and consequences will follow.

“The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

Before the great flood there were warnings for more than ten decades but humanity in general ignored the call to righteousness and the consequences were devastating. Likewise with Sodom and Gomorrah, warnings went unheeded, indulgence in all forms of depravity became the norm and the consequences soon followed. Now today – the warnings are prevalent – God has gone to great lengths through the many prophesies given in His Word to alert the world to turn back from evil as the end is drawing near, but the great majority do not want to hear it.

However, both inside the church and beyond, the spiritual divide is growing and choices are being made – eternal decisions that will not be reversible once the door to redemption is closed. Many denominations around the globe are compromising the Word of God in order to placate an increasingly intolerant mindset from the masses in order to avoid persecution or to simply fit in with the woke crowd. Celebrating their own version of tolerance while sharing a message of lies through omission by failing to teach the entire Word of God. Why do some churches even bother? Let’s be clear – if we can’t address our sin problem – then what’s the point? If there is no sin then there is no need for a Savior.

Persecution to those that stand firmly in the truth of scripture is coming, Jesus made that very clear, and He also defined the expectations of a true follower and I challenge all believers to compare His words to what you see and hear in your church – if it doesn’t align, you have to speak up and question the message – and find the truth.

“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. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:10-16

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26

How does the feel good verbosity of the prosperity message and the “Be your best self” grandiloquence find any commonality with a faith that requires you to deny self and take up a cross to follow our Lord Jesus? The answer – it doesn’t – period. We have end times fast approaching, a lost world in desperate need of redemption – so stop with the rancid self-serving hypocrisy of these religious ponzi schemes – it’s time to focus on Christ above all else.

This world is growing darker by the minute as wars and the rumors of wars are being waged all around us. The United States has withdrawn from Afghanistan and it has quickly fallen back under the control of the Taliban. In one of the most heartbreaking visuals that I’ve ever seen, people so desperate to escape the war-torn region were grasping the landing gear of departing military transports, only to fall hundreds of feet to their deaths.

A rather interesting alignment has occurred in the immediate aftermath of the ill-fated and disastrous US withdrawal. ABC news reported on August 16th that France, Poland, Germany and most other nations had evacuated their embassy personnel and other support workers including many Afghanis. But not all countries see these developments as cause for action. China, Russia, and Turkey have stayed put, in fact, China announced their intentions to cooperate with the new government that, as they so glibly referenced, would be chosen by the Afghan people. Russia’s embassy was being protected by Taliban forces as they advanced throughout Kabul and Erdogan of Turkey reiterated his country’s plans to remain involved and active inside Afghanistan. Keep in mind, they are willingly and almost eagerly announcing their intentions as if this is a bright and wonderful new day inside Afghanistan, while the Taliban – a United Nations listed terror organization – is setting up shop inside the presidential palace.

Would you simply consider this as some form of coincidence that the Bible references in Ezekiel chapter 38 the armies and lands that will gather against Israel in the end times and they include some familiar names. Rosh and Magog have been researched to include the territories of the former Soviet Union, which today would include Russia, Afghanistan and portions of southern Russia North of the Black Sea. Libya is called by name while Meshech and Tubal refer to portions of modern day Turkey, southern Russia, and portions of Iran. Last but certainly not least, there is Persia, which at its height, it encompassed the areas of modern-day Iran, Egypt, Turkey, and parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. These alliances are taking shape – the war to end all wars is approaching.

The finger pointing and blame game that has replaced leadership is already churning out rhetoric at a record pace. Elected officials that have provided little by way of solutions are falling all over themselves racing to blame others.

Liz Cheney made the rounds of the Sunday morning network propaganda shows and blamed Trump and Biden for the catastrophe that is unfolding in Afghanistan. I’m not sure Liz Cheney even knows what political party she represents but remember the fruit does not fall far from the tree and this rotten apple lays at the base of a war-mongering demagogue.

Biden took his turn as well, blaming the Trump administration for not solving the issue during their term – but somehow not faulting his own eight years with Obama in which they continued the status quo, but why should anyone expect common sense or decency from Washington, DC.

The bigger question is how did the United States get it so wrong in the first place? It is beyond troubling, in fact the grievous errors in judgement are shocking – just take the message given only a few weeks ago by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the participation and support of the US Secretary of Defense.

Gen. Mark Milley told reporters during a press conference with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin that despite the narrative that the Taliban is winning, the Afghan Security Forces “have the capacity to sufficiently fight and defend their country. A negative outcome, a Taliban automatic military takeover, is not a foregone conclusion.”

Did they truly miscalculate the outcome this poorly or is there something else at work? It seems hard to believe given all the resources of the United States in gathering intelligence and monitoring the world that they did not see this coming. Trump was quick to place the blame firmly on the shoulders of Biden – and if you’ve paid any attention to this feeble minded lifetime bureaucrat that carries the title of President, its pretty easy to draw this conclusion – but then one would have to assume Biden is actually calling the shots in this administration. Consider this reality, the President of the United States, the same man that today said he “stands behind the decision to withdraw forces from Afghanistan,” spent the last three days at the presidential retreat at Camp David while that same nation in reference collapsed. His response was to return to the White House to give a brief afternoon speech where he blamed the previous administration and the Afghan government, then immediately turned away – taking no questions from the press – hopped on the helicopter and returned to Camp David. Why would the leader of the United States be sequestered away from the public and media at this most consequential juncture playing out on the world stage? What is really going on and who is actually making the decisions from the Oval Office?

There are dark forces at work in this world that are pulling the strings and making very informed decisions. Let’s just be honest, Joe Biden is the epitome of what’s known as the “useful idiot” – that person that has no true ideology – content with the title, while the puppet masters control the agenda. The World Economic Forum (WEF), Klaus Schwab, George Soros, Bill Gates, et al, have “The Great Reset” to push in support of their utopian one-world governing body. Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a prime role in this “fourth industrial revolution” that will oversee a redistribution of wealth, penalties levied for carbon production, and with the eager participation of the current Pope – a one-world religion that embraces all forms of perceived godliness – but rejects the one path laid out by Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul warned of this directly in 2 Timothy chapter 3 when he referred to the terrible times of the last days…“lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.”

Which brings me back to the question of how did the US get this so wrong? In reality, did they get it wrong or does this serve the greater needs of those that are truly calling the shots – a destabilized Arab world plays right into the hands of those looking to advance a one-world alliance while setting the stage to once and for all conquer the nation of God’s chosen people. The spirit of the antichrist is moving rapidly across the deeply unsettled and turbulent waters that represent the demonic madness engulfing society as we know it.

“And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, ‘Come and see.’ And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat upon him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.” Revelation 6:7-8

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Do you hear that sound in the distance – the inevitable hoof beats of the coming apocalypse.

America is weak and apparently confused regarding it’s own Middle East policies. Russia has already used the chaos in Syria to it’s advantage in moving assets for war into the region. Israel has ousted Prime Minister Netanyahu while installing a patchwork coalition government that includes for the first time the party that represents the Palestinians. Iran continues to move aggressively towards securing nuclear capabilities and China, perhaps emboldened by the weakness on display from Biden, has begun moving a large naval and air contingent into the waters surrounding Taiwan. The threat of an American response has held back the Chinese for years, but now sensing the decline from the West, may seem like the perfect time to move on a strategic island they have long coveted. The stage is set – look around and take stock in where we are in this world of today – it is a grim picture of a civilization teetering on the brink of annihilation. This is without even mentioning the worldwide pandemic that is continuing to surge along with the wildfires, earthquakes (Haiti 7.2), volcanoes – the list goes on and on. For those not familiar with prophesy, this is a biblical checklist that has been marked complete – there is nothing left unfulfilled at this point – meaning the faithful should look up and the seeker should get on their knees and ask Jesus into their hearts.

And the Lord Jesus said, “Simon, Simon (Peter), behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for you, that thy faith shall not fail: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” Luke 22:31-32

The earth is being sifted like wheat, separating the good from the bad, and in so doing, each of us has a choice upon which side to stand. Evil has come out of the darkness and is on full display in every imaginable way. Believers should already stand apart from the rest having answered the call to not be conformed to this world, but to stand for Truth. If your light is not shining through the darkness you must ask yourself why? Is it hidden away out of fear?

The world is lost and we are the light, but if we hide that light under a bushel then what good are we? Share the gospel, as Charles Spurgeon exhorted, “anywhere and everywhere!” We should feel anguish in our hearts to know that “narrow is the gate and few will find it.”  Get involved, don’t wait for someone else to take up the charge, follow our Lord’s instructions and lead the way.

Join our COMMUNITY MISSIONS TEAM by requesting our free ministry cards to help you share your faith with others. Simply go to this link and say, “I would like your ministry cards to help me share my faith in Jesus with others” and don’t forget to include your mailing address so we can get your cards in the mail without delay. 

To the doubters and non-believers, take a good look around, the world is crumbling right before our very eyes – just as the Bible prophesied. One day soon you may find yourself as one of millions that have been left behind to face what Daniel prophesied as the “Time of Jacob’s trouble” – a seven year period of tribulation that will experience the rise of the antichrist. That is why our message is urgent – we do not want anyone to miss the opportunity to come to know Jesus before it is too late.  If you have not made that profession of faith, don’t put it off any longer.  Read our message Pathway to Salvation and then reach out to us with any questions or to request prayer support and we will be there for you.  You can reach us through this link Prayer Requests, Questions, Comments and we will respond. 

Romans chapter 10, verses 9 and 10 gives us the following guidance to salvation:  

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

God Bless you for visiting our site and reading our messages – we hope they encourage believers and speak to the hearts of those searching for salvation.

John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

Love Thy Neighbor

The phrase “Love thy neighbor” gets tossed around somewhat frequently and is quite often misrepresented by those with an underlying agenda.  One recent example found the Vice-President overtly weaponizing the term to marginalize the unvaccinated.  Regardless of a person’s reasoning or intent behind their choice to vaccinate or not – it was made clear – if you remain unvaccinated you obviously do not love your neighbor.  You can read our take on that example here Autocratic Gaslighting.  

This represents one of many misapplications of biblical terms and phrases in order to support an agenda yet it happens inside and outside the church with unfortunate frequency. If we choose to select specific bible verses, we have a responsibility, as a believer in the Word, to bring it forth with clarity and within the proper context. Often times non-believers will delve into the scriptures in an effort to expose perceived hypocrisies or other contradictions with the ultimate goal of discrediting an individual, organization, or the Bible itself. It’s nothing new by any stretch – this fallen world screams for tolerance – yet displays zero tolerance to those that disagree with their agenda. In similar fashion, some progressive groups rant against systemic racism – then display unmitigated reverse-racism and bigotry in their attacks on others. Double-dealing duplicity at its finest with apparently no regard for seeking actual solutions.

MLK_Hate cannot drive out hate

Let’s take a brief moment to explore the term “Love Thy Neighbor.” In so doing, we will clarify the context and applications, followed with a true challenge to see how closely you can adhere to this term – whether you identify as a believer in Christ or not. It’s one thing to express the term, love thy neighbor, or similar expressions extolling tolerance and acceptance, but many never find a way to bridge the gap between expression versus practical application. When hatred and vengeance are driving the narrative, the calls for love, tolerance and acceptance become meaningless drivel added to the massive unintelligible abyss whose contributors are nothing more than disingenuous dilettantes.

It sounds easy enough when you call for everyone to love one another, but if you don’t truly understand the concept of love from a biblical standpoint, you miss the point entirely. That is what becomes so very common when a lost world that has rejected God picks up the Bible to command that we love one another as we love ourselves. In their version of love it often becomes merged with the concepts of tolerance and acceptance. This is where it all goes off the rails and leads to confusion resulting in nothing more than a misappropriation of ideals shoved down our proverbial throats.

The love of God is uniquely described by C.S. Lewis as you will read further in this message as a charitable love that reaches the highest distinctions of sacrifice and mercy. God is love, as our heavenly Father, and it is very important to understand why we are given this paternal reference in our spiritual relationship to the Creator. Being the perfect Father to mankind, God does not lay out boundaries, laws, and guidelines in order to punish us – to the contrary, as with any good parent, He knows the traps that await us and directs us away from those things that will ultimately destroy our souls should we choose certain paths in life. This is an all-encompassing love, a sacrificial selfless love – knowing we are born into a sinful and fallen world – this love provides redemption through Christ’s ultimate sacrifice that is accompanied by God’s written Word that guides us through life with protections built in so that we may avoid the destructive and damaging consequences of our own sinful nature.

Love Thy Neighbor

This recipe of tolerance and acceptance mixed with a blend of “biblical love” – often accompanied by the other widely misused passages of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 – leads many inside and outside of the church, those that do not understand God’s nature or His Word, down a dark path of compromise that might seem right on the surface but only leads to destruction.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Without a true knowledge and understanding of God’s love, those that cherry-pick verses in an exercise of self-serving justification, risk their very being in the process. How many times has a non-believer tried to guilt or shame Christians by referencing these verses, misrepresenting the portion that love “keeps no record of wrongs” while ignoring the follow-up that “love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” Love becomes weaponized as a justification to allow for the pursuit of all pleasures without boundaries and emboldens those that hate God to try and shut down the influence of good over evil.

This mixed messaging, the co-opting of scripture for self-serving purposes, has found its way inside the church and those that should be leaders in the faith are buying into this desire to appear all inclusive and all loving – which is nothing more than choosing popularity over purpose. Certainly it is not an easy path to resist compromise, but more than ever, the lost in this evil world need to hear the Truth if they are to have any chance at finding redemption and learning what God’s true love is all about. Churches all across the globe are falling into the dangerous trap of compromise, or to use today’s vernacular – “becoming woke” – but they have no excuse, they have been warned. Paul laid out the dire warnings in his writings to Timothy.

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” 2 Timothy 3:1-5

This is so prevalent in our world today, all the descriptors exist in our society, and more people, just like the example shared earlier of our vice-president quoting the bible, “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” The warning is clear, turn away from such people, yet many can’t resist and embrace these twisted theologies developed to serve a godless society.

What is love?

In his radio broadcasts on the BBC in the late 1950s, later transcribed into a book titled The Four Loves, C.S. Lewis shared his philosophical and theological differentiation of what he categorized as the four types of love: Friendship, Affection, Eros, and Charity. He identified Affection, Friendship, and Eros as “natural” loves, while Charity was given a higher distinction of love that is defined by the maxim “God is love” – the premise that underlies all of his arguments. While outlining the benefits and potential dangers found within each type, he demonstrated how they illuminate distinct aspects of God’s character.

The topic of love becomes quite detailed and complicated as Lewis divides and separates “likes” from “loves.” Further distinction is applied as “need-loves,” such as how an infant needs it mother, to “gift-loves” which are free from need or reciprocity, and “appreciative love” that represents an admiration for a feeling of aesthetic or physical qualities.  He gives an example of a cool breeze on a hot day, whereby an individual might have a great appreciation for the breeze although it is lacking of any inherent quality apart from that particular moment.  

In moving beyond semantics, Lewis dissects Charity, which he values as the ultimate distillation of God’s love manifested in the world. He submits the position that God’s Charity “is what caused him to create the world upon which his children could grow, learn, flourish, and perfect themselves.” The entirety of the book is seen by many as a practical guide to living a better, more charitable life, or as one peer review stated, “a pure intellectual exercise as Lewis follows his reasoning as far as he is able. It contains much of value for people of faith and non-believers alike.”

Love is mostly defined in human terms as an emotion, yet the Bible demonstrates a love that transcends emotions and feelings by ascribing sacrificial actions.  Jesus said the following, 

“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”                    John 15:13

While most of us would never be called to such a level of sacrifice it shows how high the bar is set in defining the love that God demonstrates to us, His creation, along with the expectation for our love towards others. Believers are compelled to show unconditional love to our neighbors – the same love that Jesus extended to us in laying down His very life on our behalf – and reinforced when he stated the following: 

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you.”   John 13:34

In studying the Bible, we see that “love thy neighbor as yourself” was first decreed in the old testament.  In Leviticus chapter 19, God commanded Moses to instruct the Jews to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  In this context it was understood that neighbor referred to their fellow Israelites.  During Jesus ministry on earth, he expanded the definition beyond the Jews in responding to queries and related challenges to the law and scripture.  

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:36-40

“Who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29

At this point, Jesus laid it out in no uncertain terms and once again we are reminded, as believers, the standard is set very high.  He made his point by sharing the parable of the good Samaritan, but it helps to understand the backdrop of this narrative to fully appreciate the practical application it brings forth.  Samaritans in that time were despised in all neighboring regions, seen as heretics for worshiping idols and for their mixed-ethnicity and perceived ignorance.  In today’s terminology they would be considered “deplorables.” 

Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”    And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do thou likewise.”   Luke 10:30-37 

Examine these words closely – this self-righteous jurist posed the question thinking to justify himself – but Jesus gives the example through a parable and then with great precision turns the question around, “so which of these three do you think was neighbor to him…?” In so doing,  the question became who proved he was the good neighbor by his actions? The obvious answer is he that showed mercy and kindness to a stranger in need.  The call is to all believers from our Lord – “Go, and do thou likewise.”  We are all neighbors and we see that biblical love is an extension of grace, a life of humble compassion and putting others needs ahead of oneself.  This is what it means to love others, our neighbors, as ourselves.  

The act of complete love is Jesus Christ who laid down his life for his friends. Even in his final hours, we see Christ, in preparation for the last supper, demonstrating a level of humble servitude as he got down on his knees and washed the feet of his own disciples. Jesus, the true Son of God, showing his mercy and love for all mankind on bended knee.

We’ve explored the theme and definitions surrounding and embedded in the phrase “love thy neighbor.” So I challenge you to put that knowledge into action – just as we’ve seen in these biblical examples of love. Earlier this week it was reported in the news that a comedienne known for some extreme antics has been diagnosed with lung cancer. In an interview to discuss her unfortunate diagnosis, Kathy Griffin revealed that she would soon have major surgery to remove a large portion of one lung and would possibly face additional treatments in hopes of overcoming this grave illness.

KathyGReposts

As shocking as this picture is, I share it here for a reason, and I pose this question to you. Is Kathy Griffin your neighbor?

Kathy Griffin’s now infamous photo from 2017 with the bloodied head of a US President caused quite a storm of controversy. However, she didn’t stop there, later tweeting a vile and curse riddled tirade at the President’s wife. Then came the backlash in which she herself described the pain of losing friends and work. She even detailed her descent into addiction that finally led to an attempt at suicide.

God loves Kathy Griffin – and how do I know that?

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Like most of you reading this message, I don’t know Kathy Griffin, but I was taken aback by the photo and her attacks on the First Lady which were by most standards vile and disgusting. She later apologized but then rescinded the apology and continued down the same path, even re-tweeting the photo in 2020. But in this very public moment, as she has opened up about her cancer diagnosis, along with her struggles with addiction and the attempted suicide, I believe we have an opportunity to be her neighbor.

I call on you to join with me, to rise up to the calling from Christ, and take a moment today to lift up our neighbor, Kathy Griffin, in prayer. Let’s pray for her surgery and any follow up treatments – that she will experience a full and swift recovery – and will beat the disease of cancer. Let’s also pray for her mental healing from the darkness she has faced in her own life and ask that God’s mercy will be extended to her in every possible way. Let us also pray for her salvation, if she has not accepted Christ, that she will come to that place of redemption and will accept the gift of forgiveness that is offered to all that seek God. We are called to resist the urge to condemn her and to the contrary we have a chance to demonstrate the love of Christ that we have come to know by lifting her up in this time of great need. We as believers are all called to a higher standard, to share the love of Jesus in this lost world, with gentleness and grace, not compromising the Word, but showing what redemption means in our lives as we acknowledge our own shortcomings. By God’s mercy and amazing grace – through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ – we are redeemed. Share that love – the true love of God – anywhere and everywhere.

May we all continue to grow in our faith and demonstrate what it means as Christians to love our neighbors as ourselves. If you know Christ and have made that profession of faith, please consider joining us in sharing that love with others. Through this link you can simply write, “I want to share my faith with my neighbors” and we will send you our free business-sized ministry cards to help in your efforts. Remember to include your mailing address along with your request. Prayer Requests, Questions, Comments

If you have never experienced the true love of Jesus Christ – I want to personally encourage you to read this message – Pathway to Salvation – then reach out to us with any questions you may have Prayer Requests, Questions, Comments Time is short – today is your best opportunity to change your life for eternity.

God Bless you for visiting our site and reading our messages. We hope you will come back often and share our site with others.

John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

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Autocratic Gaslighting

gas·light·ing

verb (used with object), gas·light·ed or gas·lit, gas·light·ing.
to cause (a person) to doubt his or her sanity through the use of psychological manipulation: used in relationships in order to maintain control over another person – used by an organization, governmental entity or the like, to control the masses, to manipulate data and/or ideas, control the narrative through confusion and subterfuge.

Earlier this week, as reported by The Gateway Pundit and many other news outlets, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul went on the offensive with fiery accusations toward National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) Director Dr. Anthony Fauci. The testimony before Congress centered around questions regarding the NIAID’s role in providing funding through the National Institute of Health (NIH) for what is known as “gain-of-function” research at the Wuhan lab.

Paul cited the work of Chinese virologist Dr. Shi Zhengli, director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the virus research laboratory in the same region where the coronavirus pandemic first reached the public.

In particular, he focused on “gain of function” research, which Paul described at a May 11 Senate hearing as “juicing up naturally occurring animal viruses to infect humans.”

“There was gain of function research going on with this Dr. Shi Zhengli at the Wuhan Institute,” Paul said. “In her paper, she actually thanks Dr. Fauci and NIAID which is a part of NIH Dr. Fauci runs. It’s listed at the end of the paper,” Paul added. “The paper was funded by NIAID research and it lists a 10-digit number that identifies the research money that she got from the United States.”

“Dr. Fauci, do you still support funding of the NIH funding of the lab in Wuhan?” he asked. Fauci adjusted his microphone before addressing the question.

“Sen. Paul, with all due respect, you are entirely, entirely, and completely incorrect,” he responded. “The NIH has not ever and does not now fund gain of function research in the Wuhan Institute of Virology.”

At this point the intense back and forth was skillfully re-directed by Dr. Fauci, whereby he began to alter the narrative, maybe realizing his previous statement could easily be proven false, to wit he shifted the narrative towards a rather vague and often times contradictory examination of the term “gain of function.”

For anyone that lived through the 90’s Clinton era, this was very reminiscent of the outrageous reply from then President Clinton, while under oath in a deposition regarding Monica Lewinsky, which continued the obfuscation of truth without ever having to answer directly to the obvious “yes” or “no” query.

“The statement from your lawyer to the presiding Judge in the Paula Jones lawsuit, regarding your actions with Ms. Lewinsky, the statement ‘that there is no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form, with President Clinton,’ was an utterly false statement. Is that correct?”

Clinton’s now infamous reply, “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

This represents the shape-shifting truth-bending dialogue the public has now come to expect from our government entities, news media, public health officials – even from the ever-expanding “woke” congregations around the globe.

We have written previously on the matter of truth – consider this excerpt from one of our previous articles, IS TRUTH DEAD?  

In today’s society, truth is akin to beauty – it exists within the eye of the beholder. What once was foundational, beyond reproach, this day is measured on a sliding scale of subjective inference. Truth is the proverbial glue that holds nations together, without truth, the concrete foundation of civil discourse is reduced to shifting sand.

This week, once again, front and center we find Dr. Fauci sharing a story rife with vagueness and contradictions, similar to his flip-flops on other COVID-related issues. (Remember his switching mask narrative? You can read excerpts of that in our previous article found here – The Battle Line is Drawn ).

The narrative has continued to shift in ways that appear to fit the current political agenda of those seeking absolute control.  The dialogue is not hidden, as we’ve referenced many times, simply search the term “World Economic Forum” aka the WEF and this sweeping agenda known as “The Great Reset” is there for all to read.  In fact, curiously but not surprisingly, you’ll find the term “Build Back Better” inserted in this narrative.  Sound familiar? It should – that was the foundational pitch phrase used by the current Biden administration during their run for office.  

Whether you realize it or not, this global strategy or narrative, is a well funded and expertly organized movement that is being pushed by any means necessary. Ever shifting narratives, false storylines, altered timelines, unending questions to mask or not mask, one shot, two shots, booster shots – don’t be fooled, this mass confusion is actually a well thought out delivery meant to cause doubt and mistrust – or as we call it, autocratic gaslighting.  It’s a means to an end – and you need to understand – the outcome of their agenda is world-wide control over every aspect of life as we know it – and achieving that outcome means that bending the rules, breaking the law, outright lies and subterfuge are all tools to be used so long as it helps drive the planned narrative in reaching the final objective.

Gaslighting is when your emotions, words, and experiences are twisted and used against you, causing you to question your reality. We see this right now regarding the question of vaccinations.  My personal feeling is this, each one of us has the right to seek any and all information regarding what type of vaccine is available and then to draw our own conclusions as to whether or not we feel safe in allowing it into our body. Many are reluctant due to the fact this is a type of treatment using the messenger ribonucleic acid, or mRNA for short, which plays a vital role in human biology, specifically in a process known as protein synthesis. One of the makers of the current vaccines, Moderna, explains it this way on their website – “mRNA is a single-stranded molecule that carries genetic code from DNA in a cell’s nucleus to ribosomes, the cell’s protein-making machinery.  The vaccine triggers the mRNA to produce the spike protein common to COVID-19 resulting in an immune response.”

Concerns that many share are centered around the fact that this has never before been done in mass vaccination efforts which means we have very little to go on in regards to possible long-term adverse effects.  It seems reasonable that people might want to delay receiving the vaccine until more is known.  

However, that right to make your own informed decision is not what the globalists and progressive left feel is acceptable.  So the media machine, in coordination and often under direction of those progressive entities, have set out to bombard the population with information that is often contradictory but pushed in such a way that results in sensory overload.  Facts are twisted and the narrative is being turned against the unvaccinated in ways intended to marginalize individuals with derogatory labels  and other pressures that cause many to begin to question their own reality. Here’s a few examples – 

“US Surgeon General says pandemic is spiraling out of control due to the unvaccinated” – CBS News

Alabama Gov. Ivey says – “Start blaming the unvaccinated folks” – Mercury News

Biden says “virtually all COVID deaths come from the unvaccinated” – BPR Business and Politics

If you simply consider the facts, such as a recently released British study reported by The Daily Mail and Reuters News, almost half of all new COVID cases in Great Britain and thirty percent of COVID deaths are of fully vaccinated individuals.  Yet the media is telling us that almost one hundred percent of those hospitalized are unvaccinated.  I’m sorry but that just doesn’t add up – so which is it and what is actually trending? 

The reality is that what we are seeing is a virus that is in constant mutation, currently with two newer strains than the often referenced Delta variant, that continues to infect both vaccinated and unvaccinated alike.   It’s not as simple as placing all blame on the unvaccinated, so you have to ask yourself, why are they pushing this narrative? It’s about control and I think this level of control is less about the virus and more about the new world order that will require this level of subservience from the masses in order to thrive. 

Pay attention to the strategies of gaslighting and it becomes evident this is the new normal for our world today.  Truth is secondary to the agenda – if bending the truth or shifting the facts is necessary towards achieving the outcome – then so be it.  Even telling blatant lies is acceptable to aid in establishing a precedent, and the victim – which is you and me – are not sure if what information given is true, purposely keeping everyone off balance.

Add to this a secondary phase that is a very common tool of those that gaslight – the blame game.  As shared in the many headlines of today, this is being used world-wide to break those that have not submitted to those in control.  This frightening tactic is used to turn people against each other.  They will employ those that agree with their rhetoric or have something to gain in the outcome to help victimize those on the other side. In our case, the public and specifically the unvaccinated are left to wonder who they can trust and again they will question their own reality.  Labeling and name-calling ramps up the pressure and many eventually give up and go along rather than face the onslaught of accusations or consequences that will result from their resistance.   

Another tool used is to speak in terms that are endeared by those they wish to influence or change.  As you might suspect, we are seeing this tactic as well.  Since the singling out has included labels such as right-wing “evangelicals” and Trump supporting “patriots” – neither  of which is meant as a compliment by any stretch of the imagination – we have the Vice-President this week quoting scriptures in an attempt to influence these groups that are considered the “deplorables” to the elitists of today.

“I do believe that the act of getting vaccinated is the very essence – the very essence – of what the Bible tells us when it says ‘love thy neighbor’. Right? Kamala Harris to a small group attending a vaccination event.

First of all, for me, anytime politicians of either party start throwing around Bible verses – I usually take a step back.  Politically motivated theology ranks right up there with the prosperity faith message – both tend to be misleading and self-serving abuses of biblical truth.  But here we are, the Vice-President using the Bible to shame people into getting vaccinated.  Obviously somewhere on her biblical journey to discovering how to “love thy neighbor” she must have missed the part about adultery, vengeance and murder (abortion) – or maybe she shares the same Bible that the President uses – as those same sections seem to be missing from his as well.

The level of audacity it takes to flaunt morality yet toss around biblical references is beyond measure.  Pride and self-indulgence are two flawed characteristics that fit with people of this ilk.  Consider the one known as the “father of lies” – our enemy Satan – and his use of scripture against the Son of God.  Audacity doesn’t even come close to describing this absurd level of egotism. 

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.  Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’

and,

‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”

Then Jesus said to him, “Get thee behind me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”

Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

Matthew 4:1-11 

And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Matthew 24: 12-14

We see it all around us, lawlessness abounds, so how do we guard our hearts and minds? Through our faith in Jesus Christ, the one without sin, God in the flesh, who came to this earth not to condemn the world, but to save it.  He gave his life as a ransom for many. But know this and heed the warning – Jesus will return as promised, but that return will bring with it the full judgement and consequences that will go to those that denied God and refused His free gift of salvation.  This age of subterfuge perpetrated by those seeking to gain world-wide control is just the beginning of what is to come.  Today its the opportunistic use of the pandemic to remove individual rights – tomorrow it may well be the call to bow to one leader, to take his mark – otherwise you will not be able to buy or sell and your very life will be required of you if you resist.  The church will be gone, but for those left behind, Daniel’s prophesied “Time of Jacob’s trouble” will go from bad to worse.  That is why our message is urgent – we do not want anyone to miss the opportunity to come to know Jesus before it is too late.  If you have not made that profession of faith, don’t put it off any longer.  Read our message Pathway to Salvation and then reach out to us with any questions or to request prayer support and we will be there for you.  You can reach us through this link Prayer Requests, Questions, Comments and we will respond. You can even remain anonymous if you choose.
Romans chapter 10, verses 9 and 10 gives us the following guidance to salvation: 
 

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

To the faithful, are you evangelizing according to our shared calling from Jesus? If you truly believe that you have been saved through grace, that Jesus Christ died for all sinners, then step up and share that message!  The world is lost and we are the light, but if we hide that light under a bushel then what good are we? Share the gospel, as Charles Spurgeon exhorted, “anywhere and everywhere!” Make sure that you are doing your part and if needed call out your church to do the same.  Is your congregation actively involved in true outreach in your community? If not, or if you’re not sure, ask the question and push for real outreach.  It’s not a hobby, it is a direct order from our Savior.  We should feel anguish in our hearts to know that “narrow is the gate and few will find it.”  Get involved, don’t wait for someone else to take up the charge, follow our Lord’s instructions and lead the way.

Join our COMMUNITY MISSIONS TEAM by requesting our free ministry cards to help you share your faith with others. Simply go to this link and say, “I would like your ministry cards to help me share my faith in Jesus with others” and don’t forget to include your mailing address so we can get your cards in the mail without delay. God Bless you for visiting our site and reading our messages – we hope they encourage believers and speak to the hearts of those searching for salvation.

John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

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The First Martyr

The stoning death of Stephen

Instead of the usual introductory statements I thought I would share a small sample of headlines taken from today’s news.

Hundreds Missing, Scores Dead as Raging Floods Strike Europe…Worst Deluge In 200 Years…Waters breach Dutch defenses…Germany Landslide Horror…Pope Francis renews restrictions on old Latin Mass, reversing Benedict…Three doses better than two? Debate over third Covid shot…As stock prices peak, markets begin to fear looming threats…More Videos Filter Out Of Cuba Showing Brutal Repression…Air Force sending fighter jets to Pacific amid tensions with China…Another massive heatwave is coming to the western US…World Health Organization (WHO) Laments record high suicide rates around the globe.

Along with these troubling headlines is this warning from the UN with a quote that captured my attention, “we are in uncharted waters.”

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The United Nations chief warned Friday that a “hurricane of humanitarian crises” around the world has left civilians in conflict areas paying the highest price and is compounded by a relentless wave of attacks on humanitarian and medical workers. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said humanitarian needs are outpacing the ability of the United Nations and aid organizations to meet them, “turbocharged by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are in uncharted waters,” he said in a speech to the U.N. Security Council read by Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed. “The sheer scale of humanitarian needs have never been greater,” Guterres said. “The United Nations and our partners are seeking to reach 160 million people with assistance this year — the highest figure ever.”

I think it goes without saying, the world is in crisis unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetimes and it is only getting worse. Wild extremes in weather, record breaking temperatures, floods, disease, volcanic activity – the list goes on and on – but this list is not unfamiliar to anyone that reads the Bible. But even for believers, it is getting harder to remain hopeful, to be the salt and light so desperately needed in this lost world.

I think we are all familiar with the warnings given by Paul in 2 Timothy chapter 3, which starts with this grim introduction, “There will be terrible times in the last days.” We are living those times at this very moment, but I want to focus your attention to another portion of chapter 3 as it serves to remind us all that our hope is not lost, God is in control, and these things must take place in order for God’s perfect will to play out.

“You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:10-17

Paul in these eloquent words offers encouragement that is just as meaningful today as it was in his time. We are urged to continue in what we have learned and what we are convinced of, which is our faith in Jesus Christ our Lord. Understand what these words mean, “everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Paul knew a thing or two about persecution, after all, this is the man that preached the gospel at Lystra – even brought healing through the Holy Spirit to a man that was crippled – yet was stoned by an angry mob that dragged his lifeless body outside the city gates assuming that he was dead. Paul rose up from that extreme persecution and along with Barnabas, continued to preach the good news and remained focused on Christ. Eventually Paul would complete the race, steadfast in his faith, and would become another of many martyrs for Jesus.

But while Paul was not the first martyr, he was present and accounted for at this terrible event, the stoning of Stephen. In fact, at that time, he was known as Saul of Tarsus – a zealot of the Pharisees – who would become a strong “enforcer” eager to seek out the early believers in Jesus and willingly carry out all levels of persecution – until his fateful encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. (Read Paul’s own account in Acts 22)

It was Stephen that was taken before the court of the Sanhedrin, falsely accused of blasphemy, that was given an opportunity to speak to these charges. Acts Chapter 7 begins with these words:

Then the high priest asked Stephen, “Are these charges true?”

Given this opportunity to speak, Stephen could have gone any number of ways in how he responded, but his faith was so strong and his commitment was unshakeable. As you read these accounts, I ask you to consider your own situation – if you’re a believer, do you feel the weight of the world upon your shoulders? Are you burdened to the point of simply wanting to give up? Don’t give up – stand up! Yes it is hard to walk in faith in today’s dark world – but we are not of this world – our savior’s kingdom is our home and we will be gathered there soon enough, but until that time, we have work to do. Stephen set the example in no uncertain terms – we have an obligation to honor all those that have gone before us by remaining focused on the one who delivered us from all sin – Jesus Christ. Read these words from Stephen, the First Martyr, in his reply to the Sanhedrin.

“Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him— you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it.” When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7: 52-60

Imagine having the ability to sincerely call out to God as you are being stoned, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.”

It’s all about perception and perspective – if we dwell on our own circumstances, we will lose sight of our objective – and in so doing, we will lose sight of God. Nothing is happening today that hasn’t been pre-ordained by the Lord – remember, Jesus told us, “these things must be.” God is in control and there is a reason all of this has been laid out for us in the Bible. As I shared earlier in Paul’s letter to Timothy, “all scripture is God-breathed,” it is there so that we know what to expect. This is God’s warning to the world and we have to stand firm in our faith and share the message so that the lost have the opportunity to come to salvation that is only found through Jesus Christ. The world is looking for answers but they don’t know where to search. World governments will not provide the solutions they need – but for those that ignore the Truth – they will find a ruler that will soon rise up and bring temporary solutions that will be welcomed for a season. However, his reign will come in what Daniel prophesied as “the time of Jacob’s trouble” and will reveal a turning point so horrible, the “abomination of desolation,” at which point all hell will literally break lose on earth. Jesus described it this way,

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.” Matthew 24: 21-22

So what does this mean for all of us? Believers – you should pray and study the Word daily. This is where we gain our strength and grow in our faith. Look up and know that God is with you, then step up and be light in this dark world.

Maybe you haven’t made that decision of faith by inviting Jesus into your heart, acknowledging His death on the cross and resurrection to life. If this applies to you, don’t let another day pass, settle the question once and for all. If you have questions, please reach out to us through this link and let us help you – Prayer Requests, Questions, Comments – we will pray with you today and answer any questions you might have about faith in Jesus Christ.

To all believers in Christ – are you sharing your faith with others as we are all called to do? We know how hard it can be to have that conversation with someone you meet, a stranger, friend, co-worker, so let us help you. Reach out to us at this link Prayer Requests, Questions, Comments and request our free ministry cards. Be sure to include a mailing address with your request. Become one of many that are sharing their faith as part of our COMMUNITY MISSIONS TEAM

God is loving and patient, which is why we are seeing all of these signs in our world today – this is our warning, just as prophesied in the Bible. Take heed and turn to God – the world has no answers, but unless we come to repentance, we will face a time of great tribulation like no other time ever seen on the face of the earth. Time is running out, the enemy is ramping up his attacks, believers have work to do – non-believers may only have one more chance – don’t wait until it’s too late. The time to believe is now. Pathway to Salvation

John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

Missing in Action – America in the End Times

Anyone interested in eschatology, theology focused on the end times, has probably dealt with the fact that the United States is not reflected in biblical prophecy of the end times. You can easily draw conclusive proof to show Russia, Syria, Turkey, Iran and others battling with and/or joining forces with each other as the apocalyptical close is reached – while Israel is the lone target of the world’s collective anger – remaining at the epicenter of all things, what was and what will be. The absence of America in these prophetic events can be linked to the fall of the church in this country – their rise and fall are undeniably linked – and their current courses are following a similar downward trajectory.

abandoned church

The political structure of this once great nation has fractured and democracy has failed to a large extent. Divisions have grown so wide that most topics are no longer open for any debate or educated exchanges of ideas. This disquieting social construct is causing more individuals or groups to evolve, in many instances, to compromise their own values and beliefs so as to remain acceptable to the masses.

From a psychological standpoint, Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist known for his “hierarchy of needs,” there comes this defined human desire for what he termed “belongingness.” The social needs in Maslow’s hierarchy include such things as love, acceptance, and belonging. At this level, the need for emotional relationships drives human behavior. This drive for acceptance can override one’s own beliefs resulting in the adaptation of values, fashion, politic speech and moral interpretations from others in order to gain admittance into the assembly. For many people it is easier to compromise oneself if the alternative would be rejection and isolation.

What we are seeing in America is our own “great reset” of sorts. This rush to be “woke” as individuals, corporations, and even the church. This re-branding has been set in motion through a concerted effort to destroy what was once deemed above reproach. It is no accident that the foundations of this democracy have been attacked – the founding fathers, once highly esteemed – now nothing more than slave owning hypocrites. Despite their establishment of a constitution for all people which set in motion the path forward towards a more perfect union – not a perfect union – but “more perfect” which in and of itself allowed our nation to overcome some of the greatest inequities of advanced civilization. Inequities not created here but overcome through our shared belief that all men are created equal – of which we have celebrated for generations – but are now simply fodder in a world that places more value on wokeness than on achievement.

To be accepted by the woke assembly is to denounce yourself and apologize not specifically for your actions – but for simply “being” – and with that comes a litany of re-educational doctrines that label your shortcomings that you had no idea even existed. The very fact that you don’t realize how flawed you are is further evidence of how deeply biased you must be – otherwise you would see it for yourself. Thankfully the woke are here to educate you out of your misdeeds.

So what does this have to do with the decline of our country and the church – and the larger question – why are we missing from end-times prophesy? Look no further than the direction of the church. How many are compromising to stay relevant? You don’t have to look very far to see the wreckage from this cultural tug-of-war within many denominations. The Methodist church has now split in two while the once strong Southern Baptist Convention has all but imploded as competing voices push to advance man-made doctrines over God’s own truths found in scripture.

Consider this troubling trend as noted by the New York Post, for the first time in 80 years, a Gallup poll has found that less than half of US adults belong to a church or synagogue. “Americans’ membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year (2020), dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup’s eight-decade trend,” Gallup reported in March of 2021. “US church membership was 73% when Gallup first measured it in 1937 and remained near 70% for the next six decades, before beginning a steady decline around the turn of the 21st century.” Membership numbers dropped to 50% by 2018, and last year slipped to 47%. The decline in membership is due to not only a decline in religious Americans belonging to a church, but also an increase in Americans who do not follow a religion at all, according to Gallup.

Before the church as a collective group in the US can move towards revival, it must acknowledge that what has passed as “worship” for many congregations simply has not worked. Building large campuses, ideally surrounded with beautifully landscaped grounds, comfortable and predictable for those once or twice weekly gatherings, has largely failed. The numbers bear that out – not only in the declining membership – but in weekly attendance. Let’s face it, the community at large does not see the church as a vital cog in the wheels of progress – the church has been dismissed from cultural relevance.

Imagine for a moment what our communities would look like if you could go back 30, 40 or even 50 years and have a do-over. Instead of building the massive structures that are pleasing to the eye but serve no purpose beyond Sunday worship – what if the churches of yester-year were built with the community in mind. Can you imagine a place where the community gathered on Sunday to worship and praise God – then used those multi-purpose facilities during the week where their members donated time and talents for those in need. Could you envision bays in a garage attached to the church where Christian mechanics donated their time to fix automobiles for widow’s, the elderly, the single mom and even provided training and mentorship to young men and women seeking to learn a trade. Every church has doctors, nurses, dentists and other gifted professionals – what a difference we could have had if the community knew that in times of need, the church was where you received the blessings of God in tangible ways. Community meals, medical care, financial assistance and instruction, just to name a few. I would venture to say, if only we had remained focused on God first in all things – the numbers today would be very different. Worship on Sunday – living it every day of the week – what an example we could have set. That’s not to say some churches missed it outright – there are examples of true discipleship and sacrifice – but they are few and far between.

Unfortunately the reaction to this steady decline by many church leaders is not to repent of our missed opportunities but to compromise the scriptures to find acceptance in our new woke reality. This denial is the leading cause of the great fractures that are dividing congregations today. In any event, Paul pronounced this day would come –

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but having itching ears, they shall heap to themselves teachers in accordance with their own lusts. 2 Timothy 4:3

That time has come, we are living it today, and yet our churches in many instances are backing away from sound doctrine so they can provide messages that people want to hear, as opposed to what they need to hear. The declining church in the US is playing right into this prophesy and through their misguided efforts – choosing survival at any cost – they are ensuring the continued descent towards inevitable demise.

The dangers of this decline is the void that results and many deceptive doctrines rise to the surface with clever words that tell an unwitting audience what they want to hear. Sprinkled with half-truths and cherry picked verses taken largely out of context – the unwary listener is easily led astray. In some cases, even believers that should know the difference between truth and fiction are deceived. The largest of these is the on-going con that is nothing more than a religious Ponzi scheme, aka prosperity faith, benefitting those at the top of the pyramid while the desperately deceived funnel more money into the coffers in hopes that one day their faith will be rewarded with some magical jackpot. To this we say read the words of our Lord Jesus in Matthew chapter 16, verses 24 through 26, 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it. For what will it benefit someone if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will anyone give in exchange for his life?

There is nothing wrong with being happy, but in the context of Christian faith, we find true happiness through dedication and perseverance.  If we are led to believe that happiness is found in worldly possessions or by putting ourselves and our own well-being first, we are being deceived because this message runs in direct opposition to the teaching of our Lord.  Jesus warned us that we will be hated for his sake, life as a true believer in Christ comes with the promise that you will be persecuted for your faith, but we have the added assurance that Jesus will not forsake us and one day we will be together with Him in glory.

Matthew chapter 7, verses 13 and 14 states,

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Where are we headed and what does this mean to you and to me? If you’re a believer and have accepted Christ into your heart, you have work to do until that day when we are called home to be with our Lord. It starts with you – what are you doing to share your faith in these troubling times? What is your church doing? If your congregation is compromising the scriptures – stand up and speak out. If they refuse to listen – find another church that preaches the Truth. Share your faith and heed these words from our Lord to his disciples.

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.Matthew 10:16

We can’t go back – there are no do-overs in this life – but we can acknowledge our mistakes and learn from them. Have we been doing it wrong? Ask the tough questions and start moving forward and encourage the believers around you to do the same. Revival starts with you and will spread to those around you. We have been blessed beyond our means in the US, we have no excuses for our failed congregations so we have no time to waste.

Take encouragement from what is happening in Iran. Yes, inside Iran is the fastest growing Christian church in our world today. They own no buildings or property – they meet in secret – but for those that are coming to know Jesus for the first time, they are not only accepting Christ but they are stepping up and sharing that faith with others.

In a recent segment on Fox News that included outtakes from the recent documentary “Sheep among Wolves II,” an Iranian Christian that leads one of hundreds of underground churches had this to say regarding the massive growth of Christianity inside Iran, now believed to exceed more than one million believers. “What if I told you the best evangelist for Jesus was the Ayatollah Khomeini? The ayatollahs brought the true face of Islam to light and people discovered it was a lie…After 40 years under Islamic law — a utopia according to them — they’ve had the worst devastation in the 5,000-year history of Iran.”

They face the daily threat of arrest, torture, even death for their faith in Jesus Christ, yet they go forward each day with a song of praise in their hearts and a true commitment to Christ that reflects the words of the Apostle Paul when he wrote the following;

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.Philippians 1:21

“We know that if they get us, the first thing they will do to us as a woman is rape us and then they will beat us and ultimately they will kill us,” one believer said. “This is the decision we have made that we want to offer our bodies as sacrifices. Because I have this thought when I wake up, that when I leave that door I might not come back.”

God is working through the Holy Spirit and is reaching deep within this world to allow everyone the opportunity for redemption. Not one person should perish and God’s patience is to that end – so what are you doing for His kingdom? I’m not writing these words to cause anyone to feel unworthy, but we have to be honest with ourselves. It is time to step up or get out of the way. You might not want to hear this but you need to hear this – I need to hear this – so that we can put our own priorities aside and focus on Christ above all else. Join us today by picking up your cross and following our Lord – stand up for your faith and with love and patience, share that faith with those that God brings into your life and across your path.

Do you have the assurance of salvation today, knowing in your heart that you have accepted the free gift of salvation that only comes through faith in Jesus Christ? If not, please don’t wait for the “right time” to make that decision, reach out to us right now with your questions or concerns and let us help you gain that blessed assurance that you have been redeemed. You can reach us through this link Prayer Requests, Questions, Comments .

Romans chapter 10, verses 9 and 10 give us the following guidance to salvation,

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

To the faithful, are you evangelizing according to our shared calling from Jesus? If you truly believe that you have been saved through grace, that Jesus Christ died for all sinners, then step up and share that message!  The world is lost and we are the light, but if we hide that light under a bushel then what good are we? Share the gospel, as Charles Spurgeon exhorted, “anywhere and everywhere!” Make sure that you are doing your part and if needed call out your church to do the same.  Is your congregation actively involved in true outreach in your community? If not, or if you’re not sure, ask the question and push for real outreach.  It’s not a hobby, it is a direct order from our Savior.  We should feel anguish in our hearts to know that “narrow is the gate and few will find it.”  Get involved, don’t wait for someone else to take up the charge, follow our Lord’s instructions and lead the way.

Join our COMMUNITY MISSIONS TEAM by requesting our free ministry cards to help you share your faith with others. Simply go to this link and say, “I would like your ministry cards to help me share my faith with others” and we will send them to you today completely free of charge. God Bless you for visiting our site and reading our messages – we hope they encourage believers and speak to the hearts of those searching for salvation.

John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

In Times like These…

Times like these (3)

Israel has officially announced a new coalition government, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu with his former ally turned bitter rival, Naftali Bennett, who will preside over a troubling and fragile partnership that represents eight diverse parties with deep ideological differences – to say the least. Netanyahu remains head of the Likud party and will hold the post of opposition leader.

In what many are touting as an alliance of necessity that puts an end to the two year voting impasse that previously failed to reach a required majority – one has to wonder, at what price will this coalition ultimately require in exchange for appeasing the purported voter fatigue that had settled upon the nation.

According to numerous media outlets covering this momentous parliamentary process, Netanyahu sat silently during the vote and once it became official, he stood up to leave the chamber, before turning around and shaking Bennett’s hand. A dejected Netanyahu, wearing a black medical mask, then sat down in the opposition leader’s chair.

There are several issues noteworthy on this historic day of vicissitude within the very framework of Israel’s existence. The alliance itself comes with a defined set of agreements, one of which is to block Netanyahu from ever again serving as Prime Minister, while setting in place the very possibility that Bennett himself could be replaced within the first three months if certain governmental issues are not resolved. It’s fair to say this could fast-track any number of potential autocrats into the role of Prime Minister before the ink has dried on today’s vote.

Something else is noticeable when looking around at the other newsworthy events of the day. While the change in leadership has garnered a decent share of headlines, in regards to the enormity of what it actually means, it would appear the world has hardly taken notice. It certainly brings to mind the words of Christ to his disciples in describing the last days.

“Now concerning that day and hour no one knows—neither the angels of heaven nor the Son—except the Father alone. As the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah boarded the ark. They didn’t know until the flood came and swept them all away. This is the way the coming of the Son of Man will be.” Matthew 24: 36-39

But let us delve even deeper into the framework and membership of this disturbing alliance. Ra’am is given a deputy minister slot in the Prime Minister’s Office, and party chairman Mansour Abbas will receive a discretionary $1.5 billion fund for special projects on which he personally signs off. For those not familiar with this political party, Ra’am is a subsidiary of the Muslim Brotherhood, and as such, is a sister to Muslim Brotherhood subsidiary Hamas. You read that correctly, Hamas and Ra’am are both within the umbrella of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Just a month ago, while Hamas was launching thousands of rockets indiscriminately towards Israeli civilians, Ra’am’s leaders pulled out of coalition negotiations to protest Israeli efforts to stop these attacks and demanded that charges be dropped against Arab Israelis who burned down synagogues and attacked Jews. Yet today they have a recognized deputy minister’s seat with over a billion dollars to spend at their own discretion.

Ra’am’s Guiding Charter also demands creating a Palestinian-Arab state with Jerusalem as its capital along with the dismantling of all “settlements” (Jewish communities) – thus a call for the end of the Jewish state. Let’s not overlook The Society of the Muslim Brotherhood which helped establish both Hamas and Ra’am. The movement’s self-stated aim is the establishment of a state ruled by Sharia law–its most famous slogan worldwide being: “Islam is the solution.” This is the same organization that mourned the death of Omar Abdel-Rahman, aka “the Blind Shiek,” and sent their sincere condolences in honoring the notorious mastermind and convicted terrorist behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombings – the precursor to the 9/11 attacks that resulted in thousands upon thousands of innocent lives lost.

What we are witnessing in real time, right before our very eyes, is God’s plan falling into perfect order – just as he preordained. Many people feel that the world is spinning out of control – don’t believe that for a second. If you place your faith in mankind you could easily draw that conclusion. But take heart and be strong in faith, remember the comforting words that Jesus shared with his disciples,

“You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled, because these things must take place…” Matthew 24:6

In this same chapter of Matthew, Jesus went on to describe the days leading up to the end of times as birth pains. In the book of Jeremiah, the coming tribulation that would follow was called “The time of Jacob’s trouble.”

“How awful that day will be! There will be no other like it!” Jeremiah 30:7

Paul the Apostle further described and linked these times together when he wrote the following,

While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” 1 Thessalonians 5:3

Believe me, it is no coincidence that these events are playing out at the very epicenter of Christ’s ministry and time on this earth. At one point as Jesus and his disciples were leaving the Temple Mount, they pointed out to Christ the beauty of Solomon’s Temple, to which Jesus replied,

“Do you see all these things? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here on another that will not be thrown down.” Matthew 24:2

An article in the Jerusalem Post contains a simple yet highly descriptive narrative on the events shaking Jerusalem and the surrounding regions, “Many cooks are stirring the pot.” They go on to try and sort through the agreements and fine print of this newly formed government trying to understand what is really happening. It is curious and telling as they openly ponder the possible linkages between the formation of this coalition and recent unrest and violence surrounding the Temple Mount. Yes, the very Temple Mount where Jesus and his disciples visited – and just as He prophesied, not one stone remained upon another.

All of this is further evidence that God is allowing leaders to have their day – and make no mistake – these so-called leaders bring the mannerisms and characteristics needed to fulfill the plans according to His purposes. As we’ve written in previous articles, Pontius Pilate was such a ruler as this, determined to appear strong but fearful of consequences that could damage his hold on rank and privilege. God needed just such a person to allow for His ultimate plan of salvation to be carried out. Jesus had to go to the cross on Calvary to give His life as a sacrifice for everyone. God allowed Pilate his role as Prefect over the region of Judea for this exact moment in time. A strong leader would have released an obviously innocent man – but Pilate, the exact image of many current day “leaders” – cowered at the prospect of standing up for right in the face of angry mobs, then theatrically washed his hands of the matter and gave Christ over to be killed.

God is allowing these “leaders” their moment to conspire together in forming this most untenable alliance and you can believe it when I say this will further serve the perfect Will of our Father. Radical elements taking hold within the government of Israel – to what end could this possibly serve? – consider the prophecy of Daniel. There will come a time when the antichrist will rise up and one of many significant moments of this tribulation reign will be a peace accord with Israel that will allow for the rebuilding of “Solomon’s Temple” – but this is a place that is prominent in the Bible and held sacred by Jews and Muslims. That is why I believe one alliance will lead to another – as we know from prophesy – the antichrist will bring together an alliance of peace with Israel. This next unholy of all alliances will see the temple restored in all it’s splendor, setting the stage for that final act of complete defiance before God. The antichrist will reveal himself for what he is – and will stand upon the alter of the temple and commit the “abomination of desolation” by declaring himself to be god and will demand the entire world to worship him.

“And the abomination of desolation will be on a wing of the temple until the decreed destruction is poured out on the desolator.” Daniel 9:27

“So when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place” let the reader understand, “then those in Judea must flee to the mountains.” Matthew 24: 15-16

Once again we remind all readers, God remains in control and His Will is playing out before our eyes. The stage is being set, time is precious and our days are short – believers have work to do and anyone not sure if they’re right with God – today is your day to believe.

If you have not made that decision of faith by inviting Jesus into your heart, acknowledging His death on the cross and resurrection to life, don’t let another day pass. If you have questions, please reach out to us through this link and let us help you – Prayer Requests, Questions, Comments

To all believers in Christ – are you sharing your faith with others as we are all called to do? We know how hard it can be to have that conversation with someone you meet, a stranger, friend, co-worker, so let us help you. Reach out to us at this link Prayer Requests, Questions, Comments and request our free ministry cards. Be sure to include a mailing address with your request. Become one of many that are sharing their faith as part of our COMMUNITY MISSIONS TEAM

Thank you for visiting our site, if you would like for us to pray for you – please reach out and share your request and our team will lift you up in prayer. Prayer Requests, Questions, Comments We hope you come back often and be sure to share our site with others. God Bless You.

John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

How do you view the world? Have you ever taken a moment of self-reflection, stepping outside of yourself, to better understand a certain belief or perception? I would venture to say that most of us see the world in similar ways, or at various points in life we could place ourselves within the title of this message – as either good, bad, or ugly.  Do you see yourself as good – others as bad – and the world as ugly? What makes a person good? What makes someone else bad?

We all need to be careful in how we perceive ourselves and others – pride has a way of creeping in and we have to guard our hearts and minds – otherwise we can easily fall into a trap set by the enemy.  Believers are not immune to pride and other failures in character and morality.  Satan, our true adversary, experienced his great fall due to pride and the love of self over the love of God.

Anger, bitterness, and hatred are everywhere these days, surrounding our culture and permeating every aspect of our lives.  Journalism, as it was intended to be, is dead – replaced with agenda driven opinions that masquerade as fact-based news.  The world is being overcome by the dark evil spirit of lies and vengeance – the hallmarks of the father of lies – that has no place for debate,  you either agree with the mainstream narrative or become the target of the oppressive voice that controls media, entertainment, and the news.  Justice is not balanced, up is down, right is wrong, do not question the worldly agenda or you will pay a heavy toll.

“Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who substitute darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who substitute bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.”      Isaiah 5:20

We see it in the world but don’t be fooled, it has also found its way into the church.  The pulpit in many modern day sanctuaries is no longer a platform of truth that challenges the faithful to adhere to the high calling of our Lord.  It has become an arbiter of feelings, a pacifier of emotional reactions, to soothe and comfort a congregation that has lost its way.  This “feel good” theology has no place in truth and the watering down, and in many cases, ignoring of the entirety of the Word of God, is leading more people down that broad path towards destruction.  

Why should it matter if a church or congregation wants people to feel better about themselves? I’ll tell you why it matters – when truth is replaced with feelings and emotions – you will lose your way and be left to find your own way out of darkness.  Truth is light – our world is darkness.  Without truth, you become blind in a darkened world.  

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence…in a descending spiral of destruction…The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation. (1963)  Dr. Martin Luther King

Prosperity faith, feel good doctrines, self empowerment – none of these are aligned with the message of Jesus Christ.  Pantheism always points inward to create a belief that all power and spiritualism is attained within your own being – that you can rise to the level of a god.  

“Every setback means you’re one step closer to seeing the dream come to pass. Indeed, it is as important to learn how to receive a blessing as it is to be willing to give one. Don’t just accept whatever comes your way in life. You were born to win; you were born for greatness; you were created to be a champion in life.”  Joel Osteen

Think about those words from the previous paragraph.  It is certainly uplifting, I mean, who doesn’t want to think they were born for greatness, or to be told that with every setback it means you’re one step closer to seeing the dream come to pass.  Wow, really? Is that how it works? What is that based upon and how does that apply to everyone? It’s like reading a daily horoscope – undefined gibberish that applies to everyone that reads them without individual merits.  These words in the spiritual context of which they were written are dangerous and full of deceit.  Sure, they sell plenty of books and people temporarily feel better about their situation in life – but at the end of the day they carry no weight in reality.  What’s worse is they don’t truly prepare you as a believer in Christ for the coming persecution we will face.  If you think this is about feeling better about yourself or your situation in life – you’re on the wrong path.

Jesus didn’t tell his followers they were “champions in life and every setback means you’re one step closer to success.”  Listen to what Jesus teaches us:

“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 exceedingly glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”  Matthew 5: 10-12

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad when we are persecuted? That doesn’t seem to mesh with what I just read earlier. 

Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”  Matthew 16: 24-26

Let these words sink in – read the last paragraph again – and consider the message that comes from the highest authority – Jesus Christ.  If we are to believe in our hearts that Jesus gave his life for all, and that God raised Him from the dead, we are called to deny ourselves and take up our cross and follow him.  You can’t reconcile one message that says it’s all about you – how you feel and how you can be successful – with the message from Jesus about putting ourselves second, denying ourselves, so that we can follow Him.  

I want to make sure you understand these words – you have to choose – you can’t have it both ways. You can choose to make it all about yourself, your success, your own personal happiness – and like the author of those earlier words – you just might become wealthy along the way.  But remember those words from Christ – “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” – do you see the distinction here? I hope you do.

It’s not to say we can’t be happy, but the happiness we seek is found in Christ and in serving as He called us to do.  When you learn what it means to deny yourself, you open your heart to a love and peace that surpasses all understanding.  You realize what it means to embrace love above all else and to share that with a grieving world that is spiraling into darkness.  

We have to spend time in the Word of God so that we are prepared for the challenges of this world and so that we can remain on the path of God’s perfect will for our lives.  If we are not ready to share a true testimony of Christ – then who will do it for us? People in this world are hurting, lost, many are giving up on ever finding hope and peace. That is why we are called to action and our purpose is to be that light in a dark world.  

But know this: Hard times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good,traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people.”  2 Timothy 3: 1 – 5

Stand at the ready, put love above hate, focus not on yourself – focus on Jesus and your own troubles will be kept in their proper perspective.  Our trials are temporary – our destination is eternal.  Live in the hope that comes with the resurrection – we are redeemed with God.  Don’t get trapped by perceptions, as being good or better than others – the bad and the ugliness of this world.  On our best day, we are nothing more than filthy rags – but once redeemed through the blood of our savior, Jesus, we are spotless to our creator.  

If you have not come to that place of redemption – don’t wait or put if off – reach out to us today and let us pray with you. Do you have questions or concerns – we are here for you.  Through this link you can reach us and we will pray for you, no strings attached, just a message of hope and a sharing of the love that we have experienced through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Prayer Requests, Questions, Comments 

As a believer, let us help you in sharing your faith with those in your own community.  Join our Community Missions Team today and receive our free business-sized ministry cards that you can share with others as you offer a testimony.  Reach out today and say, “I am a believer in Jesus and I want to share my faith with my own community.”  We will ship our cards to you free of charge.   Community Missions Team

May God bless you through His word and we thank you for reading. Come back often and be sure to share our messages and our site with others.   

John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

Cancel You, Cancel Me

cancelled

“First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.”

Martin Niemoller – 1892-1984, Lutheran pastor who initially supported Adolph Hitler but was later imprisoned at Dachau for his opposition to the Nazi regime. In his later life, Niemoller stated that he had once met directly with Hitler and was assured the Nazi government would not take away religious liberties so he remained silent as other groups were oppressed or worse under this horrific regime. He would later regret that he did not speak up earlier – but once they began to crack down on his church and those like his, it was too late.

This message is not in any way comparing our culture with that of the Nazi regime – and I want to make that very clear – I do not believe we will see anything comparable to Hitler until the antichrist is in control. But this is a wake up call to anyone that believes a culture that is allowed to oppress people over their personal views, based only upon the fact that they disagree, is a culture that will eventually turn on everyone. The coined phrase of “cancel culture” that we see today reflects this cannibalistic trend – contradictory in it’s very nature – by which it will ultimately devour the very people that promote it. This faction of society will tell you on the one hand, moral values are not homeostasis but in fact are relative to the accepted norms of the day. But on the other hand, they will eagerly bring Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and many more, from their bygone era, into today and apply 21st century “values” onto them – and by not measuring up – they cancel them.

This is nothing new, in fact, moral relativism as a philosophical expression can be traced back to hundreds of years before Christ. Moral relativism encompasses views and arguments that people in various cultures have held over thousands of years. For example, the ancient Jaina Anekantavada principle of Mahavira as far back as 550 BC stated one’s interpretation of truth and reality were inherently linked to their diverse points of view, therefore no single point of view could be considered as complete truth.

Fast forward to the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche from the 19th century, where he espoused the belief that good and bad are relative terms and thus the importance and value society places on them are also relative. He went as far as to say that the proposal of morality itself could be a danger within a society and therefore should be developed and modified over time, keeping those purported values relative to who we are and what we, as individuals, consider to be true, equal, good and bad without any regard to foundational moral laws.

ever changing values JSF

Little by little, ever so nuanced, words and phrases are introduced and become the standard of the day. Take the word “equity” for example. Certainly not a knew word, many have known it as a value – such as a home’s equity – but how many have noticed it’s new placement. If you pay attention, you will notice that what was once described as equality – in regards to racial and social justice – is now being touted as equity. You might say, “what’s the difference?” or “sounds similar so why should I care?”

Unless you are pushing for a socialist/communist system, whereby government replaces God, and your freedoms are only that which government allows – then you should take notice and yes, you should care. While most everyone has supported equality, whereby every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents, progressive socialists are pushing the agenda of equity, that each person has different circumstances and therefore requires allocations of resources and opportunities specific to the individual or group to reach an equal outcome. Do you see the difference?

The overriding change behind this progressive blitz is the removal of debate. If a person stands up against the socialist/communist agenda being pushed from within our own Congress, the cancel culture activists will not honor your differing opinion, they will categorize you – a fascist, intolerant bigot, deplorable, alt-right evangelical, you name it – then they will cancel you.

This should not come as a surprise, certainly not to those that are dedicated followers of Christ, the Bible has explained these times in great detail. Read these words from Peter the disciple as he also quotes from Proverbs of the old testament.

Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And,

“If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?” (Proverbs 11:31)

So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good. 1 Peter 4:12-19

In these words you can see how high the bar is set for believers. Not only are we to expect persecution, but we should consider ourselves blessed and praise God that we bear the name of Christian. In addition, we should remain committed to the Lord and continue to be a light among darkness.

Our calling is to remain transformed through Christ, not conformed to this world, and to share that good news of salvation in this lost world. When the cancel culture comes after believers, we have to stand firm in our faith, knowing that they cannot cancel the Word of God. They can cancel you and me but they can never cancel the Truth – Jesus Christ, our savior – the way, the truth and the life. They will reject the truth, and for believers, when you have shared the truth, you move on – and when rejected – you should kick the dust from your feet as you depart. They will be given over to their own evil desires and woe to them that reject the true Love of our Creator.

Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be sober-minded and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy. If you appeal to the Father who judges impartially according to each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in reverence during your time living as strangers. For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was revealed in these last times for you. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 1 Peter 1:13-21

To everyone reading we offer the truth of redemption and stand ready to share that with you. If you have not accepted Jesus into your heart, please reach out to us with your questions and concerns and let us pray for you. To believers, we are here for you as well, to offer support through prayer, and to help you in sharing the good news in your own community. Reach out to us and request our free business-sized ministry cards that will help you share your faith with those in your own community. Become part of our Community Missions Team today.

Don’t allow yourself to become discouraged by what you see in this fallen world, don’t look back and spend your time dwelling on days gone by, keep your eyes fixed on the prize and keep your mind focused on God. Be prayerful and stay in the Word – it will never be cancelled.

“The grass withers, the flowers fade,
but the word of our God remains forever.”
Isaiah 40:8

John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

IS TRUTH DEAD?

Life Beyond Horizons Ministry receives many emails, comments and prayer requests in any given week and they range in topic from encouragement to questions about faith and requests for prayer. But one thing I have noticed over recent months is a certain uptick in one particular area – a growing frustration among believers with the outright lies and deception that permeates our world, even finding it’s way inside the church. Once trusted sources are also becoming suspect – leaving many to wonder who can you trust?

I was recently engaged in a very direct discussion with an acquaintance regarding faith and the world today. This person had broached the subject of religion, knowing I would not back away from the topic, and he was determined to discredit the Bible as nothing more than a collection of allegories and fables. My simple response was this, “the Bible, the collected Word of God, is Truth.” He immediately responded, almost shouting, “the Bible is NOT Truth!” In fact, he repeated the statement twice for emphasis. Our discussion continued on for quite some time, but that’s not the point of this discourse. What fascinated me was this person’s strong reaction to this word – Truth.

cemetery1

In today’s society, reference included with apologies, truth is akin to beauty – it exists within the eye of the beholder. What once was foundational, beyond reproach, this day is measured on a sliding scale of subjective inference. Truth is the proverbial glue that holds nations together, without truth, the concrete foundation of civil discourse is reduced to shifting sand. Consider this, if there is no truth, then there can be no lies.

In George Orwell’s book 1984, he envisioned a dystopian nightmare experienced through his protagonist Winston Smith, a governmental everyman laboring away deep within the bowels of the Records Department at the Ministry of Truth. His work is as forthright as it is diabolical, to rewrite history – or delete it altogether – by any means necessary, to eradicate any contradictions with current statements of the elite. The end result is a polished version of truth that corroborates the current day propaganda. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Those in control become able to exercise their truth within a sliding scale of relativism, an ever changing moral reality.

The truth in its purest form stands on it’s own merits – factual, indisputable, and verifiable. The problem with truth is that it becomes terribly inconvenient when one side is determined to impose their will upon another. They justify their tools of subterfuge while utilizing a stratagem of deceit to achieve their goals. Their outcome is presumed of such vital importance it thereby justifies any violation of accuracy as acceptable for the common good.

truth and lies

This is of course nothing new – in Jesus’ time on earth, his teachings of servant leadership, putting the needs of others above one’s own self, flew in the face of the establishment. Just like today, when someone stands up and dares to disrupt and dismantle the corrupt systems that the elite have manipulated for their own pleasure – that system will not idly stand by while their golden calf is slaughtered. The Pharisees schemed and plotted, behind closed doors, to kill the one that spoke Truth. When they had arrested Jesus their heinous plot was launched into motion.

The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus answered him. “I have always taught in the synagogue and in the temple, where all the Jews gather, and I haven’t spoken anything in secret. Why do you question me? Question those who heard what I told them. Look, they know what I said.” When he had said these things, one of the officials standing by slapped Jesus, saying, “Is this the way you answer the high priest?”

“If I have spoken wrongly,” Jesus answered him, “give evidence about the wrong; but if rightly, why do you hit me?” John 18:19-23

Later in scripture they had removed Jesus to be interrogated by the Roman prefect (governor) of Judea, Pontius Pilate. In reading these scriptures, one thing is clear, Pilate by all measure is the current day politician we elect and re-elect ad nauseum, to serve our tattered democracy. Ever ready to pontificate, convinced of their own grandiose abilities – yet when pressed to make the right and just decision in the face of outrage, they choose the cowards way out. They infer some level of reason, then publicly wash their hands of the situation. Pilate knew that Jesus was an innocent man, having done nothing to merit arrest, let alone a punishment of death. But faced with a growing demand from the populace to crucify this man called Jesus – he could not find it within himself to do what was right. Let’s read on in the following verses.

Pilate told them, “You take him and judge him according to your law.”

“It’s not legal for us to put anyone to death,” the Jews declared. They said this so that Jesus’s words might be fulfilled indicating what kind of death he was going to die. Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about me?”

“I’m not a Jew, am I?” Pilate replied. “Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?”

“My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

“You are a king then?” Pilate asked.

“You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

“What is truth?” said Pilate. John 18:31-38

As unexpected as this might seem, this is exactly the reason all believers should be joyful and full of hope. These scriptures demonstrate how God’s perfect plan of salvation was effectively administered according to His will.

“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17

My point is this, what if the Governor of Judea at that time had been a strong leader, full of courage and resolve, ready to rule with a swift hand of justice based in truth. Jesus would undoubtedly have been released back to the Jewish leaders, who under Roman law, were not allowed to carry out the death penalty. God’s will is perfect, but we struggle to understand His ways, but here we have the benefit of hindsight. God had to allow Pontius Pilate to be in that position of authority at exactly that time in order for the perfect plan of salvation, meaning Jesus’ death on a cross, so that all of mankind could be redeemed.

In understanding this method, through study of scriptures, we can and should stand up with courage in facing each day, filled with hope, knowing that God is in control. As one of our readers shared with me, “things are not falling apart, they are falling into place” according to God’s plans. I love that quote and I want to drive this point home. We are witnessing some of the greatest turmoil of any generation that has preceded us and it can be unnerving. We see so called leaders taking high office and we wonder how can this be? Look no further than the example of Pilate. God allows those officials to hold office only to satisfy His will for mankind. But for everyone that has accepted Jesus into their heart, we have no reason to shrink back and hide, or sit in fear of some unknown danger lurking just around the corner. We have work to do – our best life is ahead of us – so get up, sing God’s praises for another day, and go about your work, your errands, whatever you have to do, with a happy countenance of peace. Be that light in this dark world so that others that might be living in fear, not having the benefit of a personal relationship with God, will be drawn to that light that represents the love of Christ. This is your opportunity to be a living testimony to a life set apart from this fallen world.

The world today is on a downward trajectory, and I’m not even talking about the pandemic, but the evil forces that have come out of the darkness into full public display, its ghastly. Violence in the streets, mass killings, anger, a total loss of any semblance of self control – all of which makes perfectly clear, because we are not of this world, our lives as Christians should stand in stark contrast in peace and hope.

In closing, I want to share these words from Jesus, and I want to pay particular attention to the context in which they were spoken. Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane on the very evening he would be betrayed at the hands of Judas, leading to his crucifixion and resurrection. This was his prayer, on behalf of His disciples, which stands in scripture for all believers, to God our heavenly Father.

“Now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy completed in them. I have given them your Word. The world hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I am not praying that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by the Truth; your word is Truth. As you sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. I sanctify myself for them, so that they also may be sanctified by the Truth. John 17:13-19

We do not have to ask “What is Truth?” The Word of God is Truth and in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John goes on to tell us that the Word became flesh and gave himself as a sacrifice for many. Jesus told us that he is “the way, the truth and the life.”

Jesus also said, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Matthew 12:30

Study the words of scripture and allow yourself to be filled with joy and hope. Let that peace that surpasses all understanding guard your heart and mind. Do not let the evil within this world steal your joy – acknowledge God in all things and stand firm in Truth.

God Bless you for reading, please reach out to us if you have not accepted the free gift of salvation that comes through Jesus Christ. For believers, we encourage you to step up in faith, request our free ministry cards and join our Community Missions Team in sharing your faith in your own community.

John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

The Battle Line is drawn

Illegal-raves

And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a corrupt mind so that they do what is not right. They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. Romans 1:28-29

Our world has been given over to it’s own deceit and immorality. This treacherous current of confusion pushes us ever farther from what is true and what is right. This over-indulgence of subterfuge, a chaos of the mind, perpetrated upon society by a master manipulator, an enemy not to be under-estimated, the father of lies.

You don’t have to search to find examples, it’s right in front of us, but we have to understand one thing – for those treading the broad path to destruction, they are unable to see the truth, they are blind to it, so they believe only what they are able to perceive. As believers, we have to understand this state of being, otherwise we too will become so grieved in spirit that our testimony is rendered useless. We see the truth through the lens provided by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and that makes it difficult to understand how so many people can accept these hypocritical declarations and daily contradictions that are espoused from our so-called experts and leaders.

However, much of the confusion that comes from these official spokespersons regarding the issues of today, such as COVID-19, could be intentional to drive an agenda. It is a known practice to use confusion as a way to control others, through information overload, distraction, contradiction, without any pause for someone to regroup. This technique moves a person or groups of people to a place of uncertainty, whereby they begin to question their own beliefs, which induces a level of stress on the mind that results in a surrender of logic. People will eventually let go of reason just to find a way to escape the stresses that have overworked their entire being.

Let’s use the statements of a leading “expert” on the current pandemic that grips the world. Dr. Anthony Fauci has been the go-to source for information regarding the pandemic for much of the last year, but his messages have at times seemed contradictory in nature, leading many to wonder what is right and what is wrong.

“There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” said Dr. Fauci in an article from the National Review, March 2020

Dr. Fauci shared a similar message that same month when interviewed by 60 Minutes, “Right now, in the United States, people should not be walking around with masks, there’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.”

He continued, “When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is.”

Fast forward to early summer of 2020 and Dr. Fauci was sharing a different perspective entirely when interviewed by ABC news.

“I have been on the airways, on the radio, on TV, begging people to wear masks. And I keep talking in the context of wear a mask, keep physical distance, avoid crowds, wash your hands and do things more outdoors versus indoors.”

In January and February of 2021, Dr. Fauci spoke in support of double masking, as he was now serving as Biden’s chief medical advisor.

“You put another layer on it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective. And that’s the reason why you see people either double-masking or doing a version of an N95. A lot of people are putting on two masks. I’ve done that myself. And the reason is, you can have common sense and say if it’s a physical barrier, maybe I’d feel more comfortable,” Fauci continued. “The reason why the CDC hasn’t changed the recommendation is that they don’t have the scientific evidence to say that two are better than one. But if a person wants to put on two masks, I see no reason to tell them not to.”

Yet at the same time while speaking to NBC’s Meet the Press, Dr. Michael Osterholm, also a COVID-19 adviser to Biden, said, “If you add on another mask, you may actually make it tougher for the air to move through the two-cloth area, and then at that point it causes more air to actually leak around the sides, which actually enhances your ability to get infected.”

So which is it, no mask, one mask, two masks? Think about that for a minute, these are not people that have just graduated from medical school, in fact, Dr. Fauci is an American physician-scientist and immunologist who serves as the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases with more than 35 years of direct experience. One would expect a person with this pedigree to possess a consistent foundational approach to basic precautions such as when or where a mask would be necessary. Yet in only a few months time his guidance varied from one extreme to another, from no mask, to one mask to double masks. What are we to believe?

I use these examples to highlight the confusion that we face in today’s world. I’m not here to debate the use of masks or to speculate on the possible agenda behind Dr. Fauci’s methods. This is just one of many examples of mixed messages and outright hypocrisy that we are forced to sort out every single day.

One thing is becoming very clear, the battle lines are being drawn and one day soon, you will have to choose on which side you will stand. The effective use of identity politics is making the case – currently the target is on those reluctant to get vaccinated. A front page article this month in the New York Times stated “millions of white evangelical adults in the U.S. do not intend to get vaccinated against COVID-19.” The article went on to say it was due to tenets of their faith and a mistrust of science, along with their politics, that lead to their refusal.

This is similar to the political climate in which we live, where groups of people are identified by their race, their religion, their economic group and so forth. By labeling people, often with names that suggest bigotry and hatred – “white evangelicals” – it becomes easier to marginalize those groups in the public forum. Others that have not been vaccinated, not wanting to be lumped in with this category, will feel inclined to change course so they can avoid being singled out. Human nature has proven that most people do not want to be excluded or left out, thereby playing into the hands of those that pull the strings and sow the seeds of discontent. To stand their ground, to say “I’m not yet willing to take a vaccine that has not been thoroughly tested” is to subject yourself to ridicule or worse. Recently Johnson and Johnson’s single dose vaccine has been “paused” due to some recipients reporting blood clots, which the World Health Organization has now admitted are suspiciously similar to the same dangerous blood clots following doses of the Moderna vaccine. But to refuse these vaccines until more data can be attained is reason to be singled out and mocked.

Debate is dead, we are now in a very dangerous world, made even more treacherous by the fact that we are no longer allowed to disagree. Right has been declared by one side – to disagree is to commit an unforgiveable act. Cross the line drawn by those who have deemed themselves above reproach and you will find yourself canceled – out of work, removed from public discourse, persona non-grata.

“Above all, be aware of this: Scoffers will come in the last days scoffing and following their own evil desires.” 2 Peter 3:3

The path for the believer is clear, Jesus told us that in the last days these things would occur, but we are not to be troubled or surprised. As He said in Matthew 24: 6-8, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.”

It is very important to note that Jesus referred to these times as the beginning of birth pains. Once labor has begun, the birth pains come at recurring intervals, closer and closer together. Do you see it in the world right now? All of this conflict, murder, pestilence, pandemic, rumors of war – we have Russia amassing troops on the border of Ukraine while China has launched a campaign of aggression towards Taiwan – coming at an ever increasing pace.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand. Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God. Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:13-18

The battle line is drawn, take up the full armor of God and stand. Take your stand on the side of truth, prepared to share the gospel of peace. But don’t wait until you are called out to decide – if you are a believer in Jesus Christ – the time is now. If you have never taken that step of faith by asking Jesus into your heart, surrendering to him as Lord, your opportunity is now – please don’t put it off.

Do not let yourself be distracted, do not be discouraged, focus on Jesus and be a bright shining light in this lost world. Remember that our fight is not against our neighbors or communities, with those that disagree with our beliefs. Our enemy would like nothing more than to invoke within us an anger at individuals or groups that call us out and mock our faith. If we give in to that desire, if we respond in anger, do we not become like those that call us out? They do not know the truth because they have not accepted the Truth. We must remain patient and live our life according to scripture. We have to share the love of Christ with those around us – if we don’t, who will?

“Dear friends, don’t overlook this one fact: With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8-9

If you would like to know more about Jesus and how to be saved, please read this post – Pathway to Salvation.

If you would like for our team to pray for you, if you have questions or comments, or if you would like to request our free ministry cards to help you share your faith with others, reach out to us through this link – Prayer Requests, Questions, Comments *when requesting our ministry cards, don’t forget to include your mailing address. Thank you.

John Stephen Frey – Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

Happy Easter from Life Beyond Horizons Ministry Christ is Risen!!

The Empty Tomb

To all of the faithful followers of our ministry, thank you!! Your comments, prayer requests, and words of support continue to encourage and inspire us to share messages of faith and salvation as we are lead by the Holy Spirit. We very much appreciate everyone that has stepped up by requesting our ministry cards to help in sharing the Good News of our risen Savior. This ministry is your ministry – we are knitted together as believers in Christ and we share this calling from our Lord, to share the gospel message anywhere and everywhere! We want to take a moment to thank all of you for your prayers and encouragement – and to new visitors to our site – join us in this mission!

We are re-posting one of our more popular messages, “Bought at a Price” as we celebrate Easter – we hope it inspires each of you and touches your hearts. Here is an excerpt, a lovely word from C. S. Lewis on the topic of God’s love for us. May God bless you, the reader, as we commemorate our risen Lord.

“God did not make us because He was bored, lonely, or had run out of things to do. He created us to be the objects of His love! Sometimes our actions make us unlovely, but we are never unloved. And because God loves us—we have value. And nobody can take that value away. God’s love revealed at Calvary fastens itself onto flawed creatures like us, and for reasons none of us can ever quite figure out, makes us precious and valued beyond calculation. This is love beyond reason. And this is the love with which God loves us.” C.S. Lewis

Please enjoy our Easter Message through this link – Bought at a Price

For anyone visiting our site, if you have not taken that most important step of faith, asking Jesus into your heart, please spend some time on our pages and find out what salvation can mean for you. We also provide this easy to follow guide that explains the steps to salvation – Pathway to Salvation

If you have questions, reach out through our comments and prayer requests tab found at the top of each page.

John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

“Peace, Be Still” Peace in a Lost World

light

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.                                               Psalms 119:105

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full.  And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?                                        Mark 4:37-41 

How often do we find ourselves at a place where we just wish everything could settle down.  The competing voices we hear, the anger and animosity, the fear and crisis of life that pounds at our door like a storm without end.  It seems more often than not, we have no refuge, no place to escape.  

In Mark chapter 4, Jesus had just taught a multitude of people, in the thousands, then departed with his disciples by boat to cross over to another region.  While Jesus slept, a great storm arose on the waters, pounding at the vessel to the point the disciples feared for their very lives.  They cried out to Jesus for help and he looked at them and asked, “Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? He then commanded the storm to cease.  

This example serves to remind us all that even in the darkest of hours, Jesus is in control, we have nothing to fear.  Believer and non-believer alike – Jesus is always there, ready to listen, and willing to save us according to the will of our heavenly Father.  It also points out that storms will come, regardless of how close or far away we might be from our Lord, but even in the storm, there is peace to be found and nothing to fear.  God knows where we are and what challenges befall us and He has a plan for our lives.  To the believer, we must daily strive to have fellowship with our Lord through time of prayer and bible study.  To the non-believer, this is a call to you – Jesus stands at the door and knocks, and He is ready to come in and abide with you.  All you have to do is answer that knock at the door of your heart, by believing that Jesus gave his life for you on that cross and God raised him from the dead.  

Recently, a visitor to our site shared this example with us, they had been witnessing for some time to a friend, but that friend was not ready to accept Jesus into their heart because they were not ready to give up the things of this world.  This friend had stated they believed in Jesus, but they knew to accept salvation would require a change in their life and they could not come to make that commitment.  How many others share that reluctance to make that step of faith and follow Christ?  

Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?                 Matthew 16:24-26

Lets make one point perfectly clear, there is no gray area with God, you can’t live with one foot in the world and one foot in the kingdom.  You must choose one or the other.  Jesus warns us, if we deny Him on earth, He will deny us to the Father in Heaven.  The way of the cross is hard and we are required to deny ourselves – to give up the things of this world that we desire – in order to follow Christ.  Jesus, beaten and bloodied by a soldier’s whip, carried a splintered rugged cross along the Via Dolorosa, the way of suffering, to his crucifixion atop Golgotha, also called Calvary.  We must take up our cross daily and follow Him, placing our faith and trust in God, that Jesus was raised from the dead in order to be saved.  

It is not easy to follow Jesus – but it is worth eternity.  Jesus offers peace, even during the storms of life and He gave his life for you.  We ask you today, take a moment to honestly look at your own life.  Without Christ there exists a void that can’t be filled with worldly things.  Aren’t you tired of searching? Maybe you’re put off by what you see in the church of today or maybe you just don’t think you would fit in with the church crowd.  Put those thoughts aside for a moment – your life with Christ will be a daily walk with Him – that is the reward of accepting Jesus as your savior.  That is where you should focus, all the other things will fall away and you will find full acceptance in the family of God.  

Jesus says, “whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” 

Don’t continue to fall for the lie, your soul is too important to allow yourself to continue to be deceived by the enemy.  There is nothing to gain in this world but an eternal separation from God.  Do you like what you see in the world today? The day is fast approaching when God will remove all who have placed their faith in Jesus – and the enemy will run rampant across those left behind.  Don’t put it off any longer – the storm is raging, you can see it with your own eyes.  It’s time to call out to Jesus and let him stand up for you. “Peace, be still.”  

If you would like to speak to us or have our team pray for you, reach out through this link  Prayer Requests, Questions, Comments and we will answer any questions and will pray for you.  

If you want to know how to be saved, please go to this link Pathway to Salvation then reach out to us.  

If you are a believer and have accepted Jesus into your heart, share that love with those around you.  If you would like our help in sharing the good news, request our free business-sized ministry cards through this link  Request Ministry Cards    

Thank you for reading our message, we invite you to read our other messages and visit our partner sites for additional resources for bible study.  Share our site with others and share your comments, prayer requests and encouragement – we love to hear from our visitors.  God Bless You.

John Stephen Frey – Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

 

Older Posts and Archives

We have organized our older posts and encourage our readers to spend some time browsing through our historical messages and memories.  Thanks for reading and please share our site with friends, neighbors, relatives and those in need of the free gift of salvation.

Be sure to reach out through the comments tab if you would like our free business sized ministry cards to help you share the good news with others.  Please be sure to include your mailing address with your request.

 

IS TRUTH DEAD?

Cancel You, Cancel Me

In Times like These

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

“Peace, be still” – Finding Peace in a Lost World

“The beginning of sorrows” – Death and Life

Trader or Traitor?

Where do we go from here?

What is wrong with the World?

The Way, the Truth, and the Life

Death of the Church – Comfort Zone Christianity

Time is short

The False Doctrine of Prosperity Faith

What are you afraid of?

Mosaic life

When bad things happen to good people 

Time is short 

Can I get a Witness? 

Bought at a Price 

Wherefore, Contend With One Another Over These Words 

Why Jesus? 

On Observing the Times 

These are the Times 

Trusting in God

 

What is wrong with the World?

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No doubt countless times you’ve either heard it asked or raised the question yourself, “what is wrong with the world?” 

Believe it or not, nothing is wrong today that hasn’t been wrong since Satan introduced sin into our world. Ecclesiastes chapter 1 verse 9 says, What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; there is nothing new under the sun.” Every generation that comes along has that time when they think their ways and ideas are new, innovative, challenging to the status quo…yet in reality we are only passing through for a short time and truly nothing we do is original, our approach to life, relationships, our sins – all has been lived out before we arrived and will continue long after we are gone. 

The proper question to ask today is why has the world changed? Why do we see more evil, immorality, despair, and hopelessness all around? Look no further than the systematic removal of God from our society.  We do not live in a vacuum and everyone should face the hard truth, when you remove Love, the void is filled with Hate.  God is Love in the purest form, Lucifer is Hate.  Look around you, the world we see today is a world that has refused God….do you like what you see?

In our current information age, we see and hear the news in real time in this 24-hour a day non-stop news cycle.  You cannot go one day without seeing evil, depravity, despair, it is everywhere.  This world has turned away from God, we have removed Him from the public eye, from schools, courtrooms, civic spaces, and so I ask directly – how is that working out? 

what has been

Satan spews his vile hatred and deceit at every opportunity and a lost world takes it all in and then falls into his traps.  Satan runs a masterful endgame, provoking the weak, the lost, those that he can manipulate to a point of vengeance and even murder, and then the evil one whispers into the ears of the lost and believers alike and poses the question, “why would a loving God allow such evil things?”  Satan is guilty of all evil and should be held responsible, yet he is clever enough to hide behind his cloak of subterfuge, resulting in a world that has fallen for his lies to turn their anger towards God.

We read from Romans chapter 1, verses 28 through 32,

And because they did not think it worthwhile to acknowledge God, God delivered them over to a corrupt mind so that they do what is not right. They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, senseless, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful.  Although they know God’s just sentence—that those who practice such things deserve to die—they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.

The world today cries out for justice but then blames the just.  Satan perpetrates his evil desires upon man, then convinces man to blame God.  2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 1 through 5, offers this warning concerning the difficult times we face,

But know this: Hard times will come in the last days.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people.

Satan's end game2

That sounds very similar to the earlier warnings in Romans, the Apostle Paul was well aware of the traits and devices that would be used by Satan and we see it now at every turn.  Instead of succumbing to the evil one, listen to the sound instructions from Paul in Ephesians chapter 6, verses 10 through 18, 

Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by his vast strength.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens.  For this reason take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.  Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace.  In every situation take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit—which is the word of God.  Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints.

We all have choices to make but thankfully for believers, there always remains hope, even though dark days are ahead.  God will deliver us from evil at the appropriate time.  We must continue to share the good news of salvation to a lost world that is without hope.  The search for answers is not to be found unless the seeker is willing to accept the truth.  The bible states in Romans 1 verses 19 and 20,

Since what can be known about God is evident among them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse. 

God has revealed himself to man since the beginning of creation and it is clear, we have no excuse. The path chosen by this world, which has delivered us into the hands of the enemy, is described in detail as we continue to read verses 21 through 25.

For though they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became worthless, and their senseless hearts were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.  Therefore God delivered them over in the desires of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves.  They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.

The world will continue to ask why these terrible things happen, but unless they turn back to God and stop applauding those that espouse evil and hatred, they will find no answers.  Politicians will not solve the problems of today, government cannot restore hope to a lost world.  Paul boldly proclaims his faith and in so doing provides the one true answer that eludes the lost world of today.  Romans 1, verses 16 and 17, 

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, just as it is written: The righteous will live by faith.”

Let us all live by faith, share our faith boldly, and bring those seeking the truth to a place of salvation.  The only answer to our question is found in revival, bringing a lost world to a place of repentance, believers standing up and boldly sharing the power of God through salvation in Christ.  Just as the great Charles Spurgeon admonished the faithful in his day to get out and share the good news, “Sit not down in idleness and fold your arms in indifference to the world’s woes. Behold, your compassionate Lord sends you, therefore go gladly anywhere, everywhere.”

Finally, if you are troubled by what you see in the world today or feel all hope is lost, do not give up, we can offer you a place of peace that surpasses all human understanding.  What we offer is the peace that comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Reach out to us today through this link  Prayer Requests, Questions, Comments  and let us pray for you.  Read our messages, Pathway to Salvation followed by “The Way, the Truth and the Life”, then send us any questions you may have so that we may help you come to know our Savior.  If you have already accepted Jesus – share your testimony with those you meet, and if we can help you in that – reach out to us and request our free testimony cards that you can use to break the ice with those you meet.  Please remember to share our site with others.  God Bless you.

John Stephen Frey, Director and senior editor, Life Beyond Horizons

Where do we go from here?

Pandemic, Mask mandates, Social Distancing

Are you fearful or just carrying that feeling of anxiety, maybe not even knowing why? Where is the world we used to know – the one where we could travel, eat out, go to a concert, or simply gather with friends – where did it go?

Many people are asking these questions and more of them are starting to feel like the old “normal” is gone forever. Where is this all heading? If you pay attention to world events you might have seen the news coming out of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. This group has existed for 50 years and each year hosts the leaders of the largest nations and fortune 500 companies in an effort to address the most urgent issues facing our world.

This year they announced what they call “The Great Reset.” This new approach aimed at solving the world’s problems is a global call to a one world order under a socialist type set of rules. You can look it up and read in more detail what this great reset is all about at this link. https://www.weforum.org/great-reset/

This One World Order initially focuses on the COVID-19 pandemic, but then goes well beyond this into other areas, such as climate change and how to control carbon emissions, to social justice and economics. They fail to address the real issue facing the world which is a result of the massive lockdowns and mandates in reaction to COVID-19. People are getting tired of being isolated and the overall loss of their basic freedoms as a result of these mandates. In some instances, we are starting to see local and state governments pushing back and reducing or even eliminating the mandates that have been in place for much of the previous year. This will undoubtedly force a public showdown and many experts are pointing to the various vaccines as the new standard or litmus test for a return to freedom. The WEF and their partners at The Commons Project ask this question, “Do you want your freedom? Get vaccinated and get a health “passport” – their app is already available known as the CommonPass – so that you can dine out, go to the movies, go to the football game, or get on an airplane. I would offer a guess that this will become our new reality sometime in the year 2021. No health passport – no freedom. As troublesome as that sounds – once we’re conditioned to that level of control, it’s a very small step to Revelation Chapter 13 Verse 17:

“And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.”

This book of Revelation, written by John the Apostle around 96 AD, seems to hit very close to home at this point in time. I don’t believe this is just a coincidence….do you?

These “digital passports” that are being touted, such as the WEF’s partnership with The Commons Project and their newly developed app are described in this article from the MIT Technology Review, dated 12/21/2020 which reads in part:

Some of the terms being thrown around are confusing, like “vaccine passport.” In some scenarios, your records might function like an actual passport—think of arriving at the airport in a new country, pulling out your smartphone, and scanning a digital record of your vaccination or negative test. But those records could also act like a work authorization at your job, or a pass to get into restaurants, bars, and shopping malls. Proponents argue that digital health credentials could help us get back to normal.

Imagine a book written some 2,000 years ago that described this very scenario – wouldn’t that make someone sit up and take notice? I think it should, just from a curiosity standpoint at the very least – but see, our enemy, Satan, has been working on this for a very long time and he knew when these days unfolded, it would be necessary for a majority of the population to think of the Bible as some book of fairytales and allegory or stories passed down through generation after generation, unreliable, etc. Unfortunately, that approach has worked and many people dismiss the Bible without even taking the time to understand what it actually represents. The inspired Word of God. Even for many that “believe” in God, believing He created all things, are somehow unable to believe that He would have the ability to inspire the written word. Think about that – in one sense, God is all-powerful, yet not enough to have some words written down by the very people that He created.

It’s a world upside down to be sure – but I have complete faith in God and like I shared above, the Bible tells us all about these events and so far it’s pretty spot on with what I see with my own eyes. And the bottom line – there is nothing to fear, when we place our trust in Christ by simply believing that he came to this earth and gave himself as a sacrifice for all, and was raised from the dead – we are saved. We will not suffer the coming wrath that a world will receive for rejecting our Creator. That time is coming – very soon or many years from now – I don’t know and for that matter, nobody knows (and if they say they do, they’re wrong) – but many things are lining up that are predicted in the Bible that point to the last days – I hope everyone that reads this post will have the chance to make that decision for themselves – to stop putting their faith in human beings and bend a knee, acknowledge our Creator, and accept the redemption that is offered freely to anyone that asks by choosing to follow Jesus Christ.

For some people this sounds like crazy talk, but I say don’t take my word for it, take some time and read what the Bible really says – read Romans Chapter 10, read Matthew Chapters 6 and 24, and find out what God is saying to you. I challenge all non-believers to make sure they know “why” they don’t believe – is it ignorance to what is actually in the Bible? Is it the TV preachers or the hypocrites that dress up nice on Sunday? I don’t care for many of them either – but they’re not going to stand in my way to knowing the truth and experiencing God for myself. Don’t use that as an excuse to keep you from knowing God on a personal level.

Matthew chapter 6, verse 33:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

All these things, peace, joy, love, – and the promise of eternal life with our heavenly Father.

I’m writing today to anyone that is searching or needs to hear the truth – maybe that’s you or someone you know or want to share this with, or maybe not. The bottom line for me, I truly believe the word of God and I’ve experienced that peace that only comes through Jesus – and what a hypocrite I would be if I didn’t share this wonderful experience with others- that would be a tragedy. To me, it would be like seeing a person about to step in front of an on-coming bus and doing nothing to help them avoid disaster. I can’t keep it to myself, it’s too important.

Hear what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7, verses 13 and 14

“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.”

While the gift of salvation is free to all that seek it, the truth is that many will follow the broad path that leads to destruction.  Jesus tells us in these verses that the gate to eternal life with our heavenly Father is narrow and the road is difficult, few will find it.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can put this off, right now, today, this could be your final opportunity to receive salvation through Jesus Christ.  Why wait any longer, why risk your very soul? Jesus went on to say in verse 21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,” and he further states in verse 23,  “Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of iniquity”

Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” To accept Jesus as your Lord only requires this, as stated in Romans Chapter 10, verses 9 and 10:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

If you have questions, need prayer, or would like to know more about how you can be saved, please reach out to us today. No strings attached, we won’t ask you for money, we want you to experience the life more abundant that only comes in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

For additional information on how to be saved visit these links:

The Way, the Truth, and the Life

Pathway to Salvation

John Stephen Frey Director and Senior Editor

Trader or Traitor?

We live in a world that values “Me” over serving others, a self-centered world of social media clamoring for more things, more money, with little regard for anyone else. As a believer in Jesus – where do you stand in your walk with the Lord? Have you settled for a comfortable existence, do you prefer to blend in and going unnoticed by the world around us? Or do you accept the challenge and step up in your faith, step out, trade your comfort for the call to discipleship that was given to all that accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ? Watch this short video and ask yourself – where do you stand? Do you want to get involved? Reach out to us and share your thoughts, request prayer for strength and God’s guidance, use our site to help steer the lost to Jesus Christ. Move forward in your walk with God, be a trader, trade in your comfortable life about self and get involved in a movement bigger than yourself, experience the life more abundant that is promised to all believers. Join the movement…..become a Trader.

Matthew 28:18-19  Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”

 John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons

J Stephen Frey

*Video courtesy of our partners at RightNow Media

“The Beginning of Sorrows” Death and Life

A month or two before the pandemic, I was visiting a museum in New York City and I found myself totally engrossed in the image of a sculpture, a small pieta of Jesus, laying in repose after the crucifixion, with an angel on each side – one in mourning for our Lord’s death, the other raising a hand to signal the coming resurrection.  As I stood in silence staring at this sculpture before me, I was moved to tears as this one image brought it all to the forefront of my mind – “yes, this is Christ, in death, yet still in life with the coming resurrection.”  The most complete visualization of hope – knowing that through his great suffering and ultimate sacrifice of his life for ours, He will conquer sin and death once and for all, so that we may live in grace, redeemed in the eyes of God.

Pieta _ Soldani_terracotta 1715

Pieta in terracotta by Soldani, 1715   

Today we live with more uncertainty and fear in an unsettled world filled with anger and seemingly without hope – who could even imagine a society in total lock-down as a deadly virus runs rampant across the entire globe – and the recent protests and civil unrest related to race relations and the police.   Many are wondering, is this the end times that the Bible warns about? Jesus told his disciples in Matthew Chapter 24 verses 3 through 8,  And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, “Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” And Jesus answered and said unto them, “Take heed that no man deceive you.  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.  All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

Just as our own lives will one day end, we don’t dwell on it, but our own mortality is inevitable.  We as believers also know the end of times will come, as foretold in the Bible, according to God’s plans and no man knows the date or hour, only the Father in heaven.  Given the signs that Jesus referenced, I do feel that we are nearing the end times and the rapture of the church is closer than ever.  So how does that relate to mankind right here and now? Are you fearful, do you feel anxious considering the signs of our times that point towards a beginning of sorrows? You don’t have to be afraid – there is hope and we have answers that will help the unbeliever to understand the events of today.  To the reader, maybe you aren’t sure about your own condition, spiritually or otherwise, and maybe you would like to know more – I encourage you to read on as we continue with our discussion of death and life.

Every person has the opportunity to reconcile with God through our savior Jesus Christ.  It requires humility, putting aside our own pride and self-sufficiency, as we acknowledge our separation from God due to our sins and transgressions, that we are able to accept the free gift of salvation through Christ. God does not blame us for existing within this fallen world, but because God is perfection, He can not dwell with us unless we are redeemed within this lost existence – which is why He gave His Son, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, to sacrifice his very life so that we could be made new.  This ultimate sacrifice by God towards mankind is the free gift that brings us into that close relationship with our Creator that was intended from the beginning.  This is the only way to redemption, as pointed out by our Lord in John Chapter 14, verse 6,  Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Plain and simple, Jesus is the answer to that age-old question that we all face – is this brief period of time that we spend on this earth all that there is? What happens after we take our final breath – do we simply return to the earth as human debris buried and eventually forgotten – or is there more? Most people spend their time avoiding that question or they work it out in their own mind, creating their own version of a god – usually it goes like this – “I believe in a higher being that loves us and when we die we go on to a better place.”  This is a dangerous approach to a serious question – one that impacts our eternal life beyond this brief period on earth – but for so many, it helps settle the issue or it provides some form of relief so they don’t have to get down into the weeds of spiritual life.  Honestly, to a certain degree, I get it – many people that I speak with about faith and religion are so put off by the modern-day church in America that they would rather spend their time anywhere else than in a seat on Sunday morning surrounded by all these nicely dressed do-gooders.  I can’t say that I blame them – the church in the last seventy or so years has become more of a club than an outreach to the masses and the message of eternal life, the “Good News” of the Gospel regarding Jesus has been lost in the shuffle.  Television preachers to a great extent have watered down or totally taken the message off course to suit their own desires leaving many wondering why waste their time.  Overall I do not think that our modern-day churches are going to receive the warm welcome by our savior that is expected – collectively so many have dropped the ball.  I could write all day on the topic, in fact, I would encourage you to read our message  Death of the Church – Comfort Zone Christianity which goes much deeper into this sad spiritual decline from within our church of today.  So why should we even bother with these issues? Because we are eternal beings, created by God, and we seek answers because we know there is more, we feel that void in our own lives that can’t be filled with material things or busy careers – we hunger for that fulfilling relationship with God whether we realize it or not.  In this journey of discovery, we need to be careful and heed the warnings of the apostle Paul in his writings to Timothy (2 Timothy chapter 3) – where he speaks of those that will create their own form of religion and will hold to a “form of godliness” but will deny the power of God.  Paul warns to avoid such people and beliefs, for the dangers this represents goes far beyond the simple idea of settling the debate internally – it puts those very people at risk of losing everything in eternity.  We see this all around us and far too often in my experiences I hear from people that have not accepted Jesus into their hearts express a “form of godliness” through their own ideas of what a creator or higher being represents to them.  My response to that is to ask a simple question – what do you truly believe and what is that based upon? Have you taken the time to just stop and consider what path you are taking – have you reconciled with God? We are given the gift of salvation, eternal life through Jesus, not by our own works or good deeds, but because God loves us so much that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  That’s the message of hope – you are of great value in the sight of God, our creator.  It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or how you’ve lived your life, either good or bad or indifferent – God’s love is there for you – this free gift of eternal life that through Christ bridges that gap that stands between us and our heavenly Father.  Simply through your one step of faith, believing that Christ died for you and was resurrected by God, that relationship with our creator is fulfilled.  Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Have you ever just sat down and thought it over – what do you believe?

Jesus says in Revelation chapter 3, verse 20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him…” 

Think about it in this context, Jesus chose 12 disciples as his first followers while he walked this earth.  They saw miracles upon miracles, the blind made to see, the lame healed to walk again, even the dead returned to life.  One of the boldest among them, Peter, even having seen these miracles first hand, denied three times that he ever knew Jesus as the soldiers arrested Christ and lead him away to his crucifixion.  We know now that Peter went on to be that “rock” that Jesus had described of him, “upon which I will build my church,” but in those days leading up to the cross, Peter cowered in fear for his own life.  But what happened to bring about such change in Peter following the crucifixion? What changed in him, so much so, that he went on to establish the early church and lead thousands to know and accept Christ as Lord and savior? Peter saw the resurrected Christ – on that third day following the cross, Jesus was risen! It was through this miracle of the resurrection that Peter was changed forever – to stand firm in his faith, to preach the good news of the Gospel, to lead the new church even when the Roman Emperor Nero had him arrested.  Peter could have saved his own life at this point by once again cowering in fear and denying Christ – but Peter knew the truth, he witnessed first hand the death on the cross and the resurrection of Jesus.  This faith would not fail, Peter stood firm and declared Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, even to the point of his own death by crucifixion.  By accounts in the public record, Peter did not feel worthy of death in the same manner as his savior, Jesus, and he requested to be crucified inverted as a final act of submission and respect to his Lord.

That is what we, as believers, celebrate at Easter – the confirmation of God’s eternal plan to rescue mankind from the clutches of our enemy, Satan, through the death and the life of our savior, Jesus Christ.  It confirms “the way, the truth and the life” of which Jesus described himself.  This truth continues to this very day as we annually celebrate the Resurrection, for through Him we are saved to eternal life.  Do you know Christ?  Have you made that profession of faith described in Romans Chapter 10 verse 9,“that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;”  I tell you right now, you can have peace, you can be released from a life of fear and uncertainty – all you have to do is take that first step of faith and accept the truth – Jesus is the true Son of God, he gave his life as a ransom payment for your sins.  All you have to do is believe – it’s that simple.  You don’t have to do anything else, in fact, you can’t do anything to earn this gift from our loving God.  The apostle Paul tells us in Galatians 2 verse 21, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” 

You see, if we could earn our way to salvation, if we could uphold the laws or through any other manner of living gain a pass into heaven, then it would mean all the suffering and sacrifice of our savior Jesus Christ on that old rugged cross was for nothing. Our good deeds should come as a result of our salvation, not as a way to earn God’s favor.

So once again, I ask you, do you know Jesus? We sincerely want you to take that step of faith and accept the free gift of salvation through your professed belief in Christ right now…today.  Please don’t let this moment pass, you may never have this opportunity again.  Remember this, in the eyes of God, our creator, you have great value – God wants you to take this step of faith and accept his gift to you.  Salvation.  It is here for you today.  Or you can put it off, tell yourself you’re not ready or you’ll think about it later…you can go back to living in a world filled with turmoil, wondering if these signs point to the “beginning of sorrows.”  Remember, once we reach that point, truly the end is near.  Don’t wait, don’t live another day without facing the question and settling the answer once and for all.  Nothing would be worse than one day to discover, your time has passed and you never settled the issue with God.  

If you wish to know more or want to speak with us about salvation – please reach out through this link  –  I want to know more about Jesus and salvation

We also encourage you to read from these messages that will take you through the simple steps of salvation and even includes a sample prayer asking Christ into your heart.  This is what our ministry is all about, sharing the good news with everyone, so that you might take that step of faith and accept Jesus Christ as your savior.

Pathway to Salvation

The Way, the Truth and the Life

Thank you for reading our message of hope and faith, we hope it speaks to your heart.  Please contact us if you’ve made that step of faith or if you have prayer requests or want to know more about this message.  We are here for you. For all believers, if you haven’t shared your testimony lately, reach out through the comments tab at the top of this page and ask for our ministry cards.  We provide these free of charge as a way to help you break the ice with those you encounter that may be seeking to know more about salvation.

John Stephen Frey,  Director and senior editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

Why Jesus?

Jesus

“Religious faith is above all a sign of faulty thinking, of ignorance;” observed noted atheist, zoologist, and author Richard Dawkins in a recent story published by The Guardian. Mr. Dawkins would further explain his desire, a call to action, was to educate the ill-informed out of their mistakes. He breaks it down into a simple explanation, in which, religion is nothing more than “an organized license to be acceptably stupid.” His two-fold mission is to promote science and demolish religion, by which he has demonstrated a very active and often times combative approach in denouncing the latter.

Christianity is seen by many as a faith of the uninformed, often dismissed by the educated elite as some form of ignorant bliss, a way for the uneducated to manage life and its many challenges while holding onto some ridiculous belief that an ever-present higher being is watching over them. As quoted above, Dawkins “acceptably stupid” label would have to be applied to some of the greatest minds of science that shared a belief in God, including Galileo, Copernicus, Newton and of course, Einstein, who famously stated, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” They will debate with great “facts” of science on their side while mocking and deriding the bible as nothing more than stories passed down from one generation to the next. This overly simplistic dismissal of theology is exactly the type of “ignorance” the atheist throws upon the believer. In reality, to claim science as “fact” versus theology as “fiction,” is to dismiss the very foundation of theory, vis-a-vis the gathering of factual data or phenomena to support a specific group of scientific propositions. I would say to this, not from a religious standpoint but from that of common sense, where would you rather cast your fortunes, on an ever-changing theory of scientific proposition or the unchanging Word of God?

Let us take the example of noted mathematician Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier, who developed a mathematical solution that addressed a scientific problem regarding the highly unusual orbit of Mercury around the Sun. Mercury’s orbit did not fit any known scientific theory of its time, in fact, its unusual pattern of orbit seemed to contradict and baffle science well into the nineteenth century. Le Verrier determined, based upon his own mathematical formulations, that another planet must exist somewhere between the Sun and Mercury that was influencing the orbital patterns through gravitational energy. He went so far as to name this yet undiscovered planet, Vulcan, in honor of the Roman god of fire. Le Verrier’s theory became widely accepted, namely for putting to rest this on-going scientific contradiction, thus becoming scientific “fact” of the day, which heavily influenced European astronomers to the point that hundreds of “sightings” of this new planet began to pour in from Europe and other parts of the globe. When Le Verrier died in 1877 he was highly regarded for having discovered a new planet in our solar system, Vulcan, which had put to rest the unexplained orbital oddities of Mercury. However, the existence of Vulcan, supported by Le Verrier’s scientific “facts” and the hundreds of “confirmed” astronomical sightings that followed, became mere fiction upon the publications in 1915 of Einstein’s theory of relativity which gave new data to the orbital relationship of Mercury around the Sun. Vulcan was unceremoniously retired from existence, although given a nod of appreciation in the sci-fi show Star Trek, as the home planet for the character known as Spock. While the numerous “sightings” of the planet Vulcan became an embarrassment for the field of astronomy, they too were quietly swept under the rug and forgotten. Lacking in pomp and circumstance, the scientific community declared, “Nothing to see here, move along.”

Present this or the myriad of similar examples of scientific “facts” that were later quietly dismissed and swept under the proverbial rug of advanced knowledge, most of the educated elite will justify this as yet another example of the evolving knowledge of science, categorized as a form of progress due to their ability to admit mistakes while improving upon what we know of the world around us. They will further surmise, straight-faced as it were, that it is a credit to their superior abilities to keep an open mind, whereas the static Word of God serves to reinforce their presumptive inference of the closed-mindedness of the religious zealot. It seems beyond hypocritical to embrace science as “fact,” even as they continually change their own outcomes when boxed into the corner of their own illogical conclusions, while theology, having not the need to change the Word of God, is equated to a closed-minded worldview for nothing more than its own unfailing integrity. Science is not without great merit, and we do not choose religion over science, to the contrary, we embrace the advancements in science that allow us to improve our own lives while in many cases we come to a greater understanding of how magnificent the work of God is throughout the world he created.  Science continues to evolve due to the undeniable fact that theory only stands until disproved through the development of new theory. All the while, standing alone, unchanged through the millennia, is the undeniable Word of God. I ask you again, whether you are a believer or not, through common sense, where would you cast your fortunes?

Why Jesus? There are plenty of naysayers willing and able to speak against Jesus, as given by the example of Richard Dawkins who is seen by many today as the leader of the modern atheist movement, but what about the other side of the story, what about Jesus? Why would a non-believer seek to know more about this Christ, savior of the world, as opposed to simply going along with the status quo, taking science on its word and being content? The answer is this, whether we are brought up in the church or not, we all at some point seek to know more about the spiritual world because we are living spirits, eternal beings, made in the image of our Creator. Many atheists find it insulting that children are exposed to religion, fearing it forces beliefs upon them at an impressionable age. They will say it’s irresponsible or even equate this to child abuse. Again, Dawkins does not mince words in this matter, as taken from a recent twitter rant on the topic, “How dare you force your dopey unsubstantiated superstitions on children too young to resist. How DARE you.” At this point, I do have to weigh in on the fact these very same people, including Dawkins, want to get the “theory of evolution”…which is a theory…in front of these same young children and present it as fact in teaching. Let’s not hide behind rhetoric, this is not about the offense of pushing religion on impressionable minds, this is about getting a foothold at an early age with a pagan theory to gain influence and thereby add to the ranks of non-believers. Dawkins wants to crush religion, he is very clear about that. But believers know, whether it is allowed to coexist in the classroom or not, the spirit will search for what the spirit desires.

What we have come to understand, those of us that believe in God, knowing that we are not merely physical beings somehow conjured from the muck and mire of our planet, is that a great spiritual battle is playing out all around us. If you truly do not believe in God, then nothing in the bible should hold any relevance at all. So why does it bring so many atheists to a point of bitterness and severe anger towards the entire concept of God? The answer lies in the reality that there is an on-going war in the spiritual world. We are not just a random collection of atoms, we share in this spiritual existence as beings created by God, given free will as individuals, thus allowing for our informed decision to which side we will stand. We can ignore the spiritual question, seeking out various preoccupations to divert the mind, however, everyone comes to that place and time when you have to face up to it…the eternal question…because we are spiritual beings, the spirit must be fed. We can convince ourselves that it is our choice to accept or deny the very existence of God, when in fact, we are only able to choose which side we will stand. This is why we see atheists lash out with unbridled anger and unmitigated disgust towards believers, they have made their choice, but when they wake each day, God is still there in all his glory. They will claim they are angry because religion is what is wrong with this world and we should stop practicing our faith, it offends them. Yet in America today, religion has been all but removed from the public eye, it is not in schools, civic events, town squares, in fact, you can very easily go days, weeks, months and longer without ever having religion as part of your daily routine. So why the anger and bitterness? We all know the true answer; because each day God is still there and we are still spiritual beings with an innate desire to know Him.

Atheists postulate belief in God is to shut off all reasonable thought and close the mind to all possibilities outside of one limited reality, to purposely remain ignorant, to take the easy way out. They see themselves as true seekers of knowledge, ever evolving to the world around them, refusing to acquiesce with accepted ideas, when in fact, they are running from the truth, refusing to acknowledge their creator. They run, gathering about them as many like-minded doubters as possible as if this were some election or popularity contest, yet after all their misguided efforts to the contrary, God still exists.

Unfortunately, many that choose to ignore God, or worse, deny His existence altogether, will also devalue the very life that He created. A recent twitter thread where many dealt with the question of how to handle a pregnancy if you knew the unborn child had downs syndrome, saw Dawkins offer this flippant reply, “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.” Such a cold retort, simply toss this one in the trash and give it another try, as if human life were on the same level as buying cottage cheese at the grocery store only to discover it had passed it’s “sell by” date. In his own words, vicious attacks, overall arrogance and disdain for those that disagree, he demonstrates his own distance from God. We should not expect any other type of behavior than this hatred and general disgust aimed at humanity, after all, he has purposely moved as far from God as possible, but to see it is disturbing and shocking. It brings a level of hurt for the things spoken against our heavenly Father, but also a sense of sorrow for his soul, knowing that he has not experienced the complete and unconditional love of our Creator.

What role does the church play in getting the message of faith and forgiveness to the lost world we share today? The question is straightforward, but the answer is as varied as the number of denominations worldwide. Believers are well versed in the great commission found in Matthew chapter 28, to make believers of all nations. However, the application of that charge is not so simple. Some feel persecuted, in many cases rightfully so, which generates an active response in the form of debate, legal actions, and so forth. Many believers in America choose to exercise their faith through the voting process, securing their beliefs within the electorate at the state and national levels. Some get involved in charity work in their local communities, helping feed and clothe those in greatest need. Many others simply occupy a seat on a church pew once a week and go home. I list these few examples, not to place importance on one above the other, but as an observation, while reminding us to slow down and remember the question….why Jesus?

If a non-believer approached you right now and asked you about Jesus, maybe they see something different about you which has piqued their curiosity or possibly they are dealing with turmoil and seek answers. Are you ready to give an account, a testimony, something that would bring a person to a decision for Christ? 1 Peter 3 verse 15 states, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, ” instructing the body of believers in how to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Notice within this verse, Peter points to the scenario whereby the believer is asked to give the reason for the hope they display in their daily life. This tells us, we are to go about our daily activities, at work, running errands, conducting business with others, in a manner that displays our inner hope, that peace that comes from the living Christ that dwells within our hearts. Matthew 5 verse 16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” The greatest testimony we can give is in the demonstration of life with Jesus, conducting ourselves in a manner that separates us from the world, being that dependable and steady influence through the good times and the bad. Remember that the Lord places us in the path of those that are seeking the truth, we must remain faithful in our daily walk with God. Being active in the word through daily devotion and prayer, which gives us the strength we need to persevere through the trials we will face, so that in all things we will honor Christ our savior.

If the non-believer only hears from Christians when we are upset or feeling persecuted, when we litigate in the courts and shout in protest in the streets, why would they decide they need to be part of that belief? Once at a concert, I was with a group of people waiting for the venue to open it’s doors when we found ourselves under attack from a street preacher with a bullhorn. For the next fifteen minutes, he peppered us with an angry attack on our souls. In his eyes, because the music was not to his liking, he condemned us to eternity in hell unless we turned immediately from our wicked ways.  When he finished, everyone had this puzzled look and the reaction was as if a crazy person had just been set loose. I thought about it and wondered, he probably had the best intentions, but his message was lost in his own anger and disgust for sinners. Again, if non-believers were there, as I’m sure they were, I cannot imagine a single one of them walking away thinking to themselves that they want to be part of that belief. Why Jesus?

This is what I know beyond any doubt, I myself am a sinner and daily I fall short of the expectations set forth by my heavenly Father. My life has been unworthy of the love of God, yet while I am still a sinner, God gave me the incredible gift of salvation through his Son, Jesus Christ. I have done nothing to deserve this unconditional love and even on my best day, I am incapable of any actions or good deeds that would earn this favor. Paul reminds in Galatians 2 verse 21, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” If we could earn our way to salvation, if we could uphold the laws or through any other manner of living gain a pass into heaven, then it would mean all the suffering and sacrifice of our savior Jesus Christ was for nothing. Our good deeds should come as a result of our salvation, not as a way to earn God’s favor. So let the light of Jesus Christ shine brightly in your spirit so that a lost world may see and desire to come to believe in Him. In all things and circumstances, rejoice in the Lord. Remember the exhortations of the apostle Paul to the church at Philippi, Philippians 4 verses 4 through 7, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Through our salvation in Jesus Christ, we have gained the peace of God and in our daily lives, the many challenges and tribulations we all face in this world, believers have that eternal peace that surpasses all human understanding. This as much as anything else answers the question, Why Jesus?

I ask those of you that are believers in Christ to answer this question – honestly – have you shared your testimony with a non-believer in the last week, month or year? If not, why not? We are not spiritual sleeper cells waiting for that encrypted code word to activate our mission.  The time is now! The signs of our Lord’s return are all around us, simply read the news and it’s all right there playing out before our very eyes.  Jesus explained it this way to his disciples that before the end there would be a time known as “the beginning of sorrows.”  I believe we are now in that very time period.  Read it here in Matthew chapter 24, verses 6 through 8, And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Believers are not to be troubled by these signs but should be filled with hope.  But we are not to sit on our hands and simply wait, we have been called to action.  The very last command given by our resurrected savior before he ascended to the right hand of God was to make disciples of all nations.  We have work to do and a very limited time to do it.  Be that light to a dark world, go about your activities with joy and hope, so abundant in your heart, that it shines for all to see.  God does not want any to be left behind.   

To believers, embrace the love of Jesus in your hearts, share this love with gentleness and respect, through actions and words, throughout your daily walk with God. Let those around you see the light of Christ within you, that peace that surpasses understanding so that they will want to know why you are different. Be prepared to share your testimony of faith so that non-believers will come to know that love which has been freely given as a ransom for many. Do not get caught up in angry discourse, debating the relevance of God, we do not have to reserve the last word for ourselves. God will work this out in his own time, we do not need to fight on his behalf.  Acts chapter 17, verse 25, Paul declares in reference to God, “And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything. Rather, He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.”  While we share our beliefs, we do not compromise our values or water down the truth to make Jesus seem more compatible with the worldview, but at the same time, remember to be gentle and kind, mindful that your calling from Christ is to make disciples of all nations, win the lost to Jesus, that is our goal. Let this be your litmus test, when considering debate or protest in the name of God, pause and consider your actions, will they lead the lost to know Jesus as their savior, or will you sow the seeds of discontent and further drive them away? Trust in God so that you know He will defend himself according to His own plan. Shine the light of peace that you’ve been given through salvation and share this love at every opportunity. God will work out the rest.

In closing, if you are seeking answers, let us know by reaching out to this ministry with your questions and prayer requests. You can remain anonymous, but know that believers are here and waiting to hear from you so that we can share this incredible gift of salvation through Jesus Christ that we have come to know in our own lives. Why Jesus? We can answer that in a way that will change your life forever. Read our message “The Way, the Truth and the Life”  then reach out to us with any questions or prayer requests you may have.  May God bless you, we appreciate your visit to our site, please feel free to follow us, share our site with friends and family, and come back often.

John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons

 

 

 

The Prophecy Conundrum

The Prophecy Conundrum
By Jack Kinsella

In every generation of Christians since the time of the Apostles, there have been devout souls who have pored over the Scriptures, comparing the signs to the times and looking for evidence suggesting the imminent return of Christ.

In most previous generations, they were either revered as sages or dismissed as harmless nut-cases. But in this generation, something is different. Students and teachers of Bible prophecy find themselves in great demand or shunned like lepers.

Depending on how one receives the message, we are perceived as either hateful or hopeless, but we are certainly not harmless. In this generation, the first mental image most people have when they hear “Bible prophecy” is of a burning compound outside Waco.

It doesn’t matter that David Koresh was certifiably nuts or that he claimed to be Jesus Christ. To most people in this generation, “Bible prophecy” and “apocalyptic cult” are synonyms.

Since the 1960’s ‘evangelical’ and ‘apocalyptic’ and ‘conservative’ have all sort of run together into an image that then-candidate Obama summed up (rather well, really) in his “bitter redneck” comment.

“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

When you get right down to it, there isn’t much about Bible prophecy that this generation should be eager to embrace. I feel for one of our younger members who lamented in one of our forums that we older folks at least knew what it felt like to have a future worth planning for.

I feel it for my own children. I came to Christ in my early 20’s. God called me almost immediately to be a watchman — my kids grew up never expecting to grow up.

My son Rick will be thirty-six in August. I can still hear him in my memory, his squeaky voice just beginning to crack, asking me if I thought the Lord would tarry long enough for him to learn to drive.

I’ve been expecting the Rapture to take place at any second now for almost my entire Christian life. Every new event seems to signal that ‘this is IT!” but then it isn’t. I get my hopes up, and then I realize that my reach has exceeded my grasp.

I am not alone — I am one of an entire generation of similarly disappointed Christians who keep listening for a trumpet that never sounds. This collective disappointment is reflected by a number of recent surveys that suggest Christianity in general, and evangelicalism in particular, are on the wane in the United States.

Michael Spencer, writing in the Christian Science Monitor, paints a rather grim picture of where he sees American evangelical Christianity headed, not just in the United States, but in the Western world.

Within two generations, evangelicalism will be a house deserted of half its occupants. (Between 25 and 35 percent of Americans today are Evangelicals.) In the “Protestant” 20th century, Evangelicals flourished. But they will soon be living in a very secular and religiously antagonistic 21st century.

This collapse will herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian West. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become hostile toward evangelical Christianity, seeing it as the opponent of the common good.

Millions of Evangelicals will quit. Thousands of ministries will end. Christian media will be reduced, if not eliminated. Many Christian schools will go into rapid decline. I’m convinced the grace and mission of God will reach to the ends of the earth. But the end of evangelicalism as we know it is close.

This is a perfect example of the “prophecy conundrum” — that’s pretty much the way the Bible predicted it, too.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3)

Assessment

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. ” (2nd Timothy 4:3-4)

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matthew 24:12)

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2nd Peter 3:3-4)

Prophecy is knowledge of future events — and that has considerable weight. If you don’t believe knowledge has weight, think back to some time when you were in deep trouble when you were a kid and you were waiting for a punishment you KNEW was coming.

The end of the world is a fairly heavy subject.

The knowledge imparted to students of Bible prophecy in this generation is almost crushingly heavy — I believe that is the reason that the Lord promises a special crown to those who willingly shoulder its burden.

“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.” (2nd Timothy 4:8)

Watching God work has another unexpected consequence. It tends to cause us to see ourselves in the reflected light of His glory –and it isn’t a pretty sight. Sometimes when that happens, it also manifests itself in one of our forums.

There was an entry by a brother just the other day lamenting his spiritual condition before the Lord. He begins by confessing he is ‘haunted’ by the fact he isn’t sure he is saved.

Let me address that brother first, before returning to the wider issue at hand since we all struggle with that issue at one time or another.

If you can follow me around this mental circle. . . If I DIDN’T wonder if I was saved from time to time, THAT would be a reason to worry. I KNOW how far short of the glory of God I come. I know me in my innermost, darkest places.

If I was God…well, let’s just say that it is a good thing for ME that I’m not.

So if I started to think that I was good enough to be saved, and that’s why I wasn’t wondering, then maybe I wouldn’t be.

Stay with me, here. This is one of those circular thoughts that, once you get it, slings you out the other side where the light is better.

If you are wondering how can it be that you are saved, as unworthy and unfit as you are to be saved, then by those very doubts you qualify as one of God’s redeemed.

“Amazing love! How can it be, That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?” When John Wesley penned the words to that hymn, he was haunted by his sin, too.

When God works all around you, when you watch Him change the course of nations, set up and tear down rulers according to His Word, when you actually witness Him manipulating events to conform to His prophetic outline, it tends to remind you of who you ought to be before Him.

There is another lesson taught by prophecy that is often overlooked — not who you ought to be, but who you actually are before the Lord.

He knew, down to the tiniest detail, what you would be thinking and doing as you committed the worst and most unforgivable thing you ever did in your entire life — and He saved you anyway.

You are the one that He loved so much that He paid the penalty for all your sins on Calvary so you and He could be friends for eternity.

You are the one He loved so much that He told you, in advance, what to look for in the last days, so you wouldn’t be scared.

“Let not your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God. Believe also in Me.”

There is a crown of righteousness laid up for you and me at the Bema Seat as a special reward for carrying the weight of what we know and being willing to share it while there is still time.

I believe that Michael Spencer is right. The end of evangelicalism is close — it’s no more than a trumpet note away. We can see it. We can feel it. The weight of this sin-sick world is too heavy for us to bear for much longer.

Which is why, praise the Lord, we won’t have to. He’s coming.

 

Wherefore, Contend With One Another Over These Words

Wherefore, Contend With One Another Over These Words

(Originally published in The Omega Letter, May 24, 2005)

By Jack Kinsella

From time to time, there are periodic eruptions in the forums from new members or guests who believe that it is their mission in life to correct our allegedly mistaken views on doctrinal issues like eternal security or a pre-Trib Rapture.

The Omega Letter was designed to be a private fellowship of like-minded believers who can expect consistent and prayerful teaching on the deeper points of doctrine.

One can find many different ministries that claim a number of doctrines that aren’t shared by the Omega Letter.

There are Catholic ministries, Pentecostal ministries, Baptist, Methodist, non-denominational, ministries that believe in a pre-Trib Rapture, as well as those who believe in pre-wrath, mid-Trib, post-Trib — there is even a mainstream doctrine that denies there will ever be either a Rapture or a Tribulation Period.

I don’t enter into debates with believers who take a different view. It is my contention that doctrinal differences within the Church are deliberate.

The Genesis story of the tower of Babel is instructive in more ways than simply providing the answer to the question of where all the different races and languages came from.

In that story, the men of Babel, hoping to avoid another flood, decide to build “a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven.” (Genesis 11:4)

The narrative goes on;

“And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” (Genesis 11:5-7)

Clearly, God knew that the men of Babel could NOT build a tower that reaches to heaven. Just as clearly, God knew that there ARE restraints on men, and there ARE some things that men cannot do, even if they imagine they can.

It is true now, and it was even more true then.

But, without the confounding of languages, the people WERE one, in that they had a single king who sought, by his own effort, to bring all the people of the earth together under a single banner in an expressed effort to thwart the purposes of God.

So God confused their languages, not because He couldn’t ‘put down’ a man-made effort to usurp His authority, but out of mercy, to prevent the necessity of having to punish them all.

In confusing their languages, God separated mankind into individual nations, preventing the rise of a global dictator like Nimrod who was determined to bring the whole world under a single, rebellious dictatorship.

In the beginning, the Church was one under Jesus Christ. To ensure that one man didn’t take over and begin dictating his own terms after the Lord ascended, Jesus left the Church under the care of twelve apostles.

Three hundred years later, one apostle was elevated by men to become the titular head of a single united, Christian Church, under the authority of a single man heading a single denomination.

The consequence of that effort is known to history as the ‘Dark Ages’.

Once the Church became ‘one’ under the papacy, there truly was ‘nothing restrained from them’ spiritually. The Popes of the Dark Ages appointed and removed kings from their thrones. History is filled with the accounts of the Papal wars and inquisitions.

Under the power of the papacy, the power over heaven and hell was taken from Jesus and given to the papal Church. The papal Church claimed the power to forgive sins or retain them, and made keeping Church doctrine a condition of salvation.

At its extreme, the papal Church began SELLING free passes to heaven, known as ‘plenary indulgences’, turning salvation into a commodity to be bought and sold.

It took a millennia for the power of the papacy to be broken by the Reformation, which resulted in the Church being separated into denominations, like the world was separated into individual nations at Babel.

The various denominations hold differing doctrinal views that keeps them separated into individual church groups, or denominations, preventing the rise of another superchurch.

Assessment

According to the Book of the Revelation, in the last days, spiritual Babel will rise again, under the headship of a single man, energized by Satan, and known to Christians as the antichrist.

“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations…and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” (Revelation 13:7a15b)

During the Church Age, no such leader could ever deceive the entire believing church. There are too many minor points of doctrine that divide us for any one man to unify us under a single banner of united Christianity.

The proof is the Omega Letter. Our fellowship are all professing believers, all saved by grace through faith, all witnesses to the saving power of Christ, and all expecting to spend eternity in heaven.

Despite all that, the doctrinal differences that exist between us on a single point, the timing of the Rapture, is enough to divide us into two camps. From what I can read, there will be no compromise.

Those who reject a pre-Trib Rapture argue that expecting a pre-Trib Rapture will make believers so blinded to the antichrist that when a European leader arises who confirms a peace covenant with Israel, declares himself Israel’s Messiah, and demands global worship in exchange for a Mark that, without which, they will be unable to buy or sell, that they will accept the Mark.

According to this view, because the Rapture hasn’t happened, Christians in the Tribulation will not recognize the antichrist.

Consequently, there is no fellowship between the two camps. When they come together under one roof, all the points of common agreement fall by the wayside as each side attempts to ‘convert’ the other to their point of view.

It wouldn’t matter who came along, or how charismatic he might be, there is nobody on this side of the Church Age who could get every Christian to accept his headship.

It is the doctrinal differences that divide us that prevented the rise of antichrist during the Church Age, just as the language division broke Nimrod’s power at Babel.

To many Christians, ‘ecumenism’ is a dirty word. ‘Ecumenism’ is a doctrine that seeks to set aside theological differences in an “organized attempt to bring about the cooperation and unity of all believers in Christ.”

Why is ecumenism such a dirty word? Because a single Church body, under a single banner, sets the stage for the rise of a false prophet as described in Revelation 13. That is why most non-denominational Christians oppose it.

Every ministry has its own statement of faith. Why is that? Because they are different.

The Omega Letter’s statement of faith holds to the inerrant, Divine inspiration of Scripture. We believe in salvation by grace through faith.

I personally prefer the King James Bible for preaching and teaching, but we take no dogmatic view as a ministry.

We believe in the Virgin Birth, the Crucifixion and Resurrection, eternal security, dispensationalism and a pre-Tribulational Rapture.

One can find other, sincere, honest and Christ-honoring ministries who differ with us on several points. As a consequence, there will be no evangelical ‘pope’ who can authoritatively dictate doctrine to all Christians during the Church Age.

But the Bible says such a one will exist during the Tribulation.

The Omega Letter will hold fast to its statement of faith, because, unlike our critics, we believe that God has His purposes in this age, just as He did when he confused the languages of men at Babel.

It is not our mission to convince skeptical Christians that the pre-Trib Rapture is the correct view. We believe it is the correct view, but reject any notion that the timing of the Rapture has any bearing on salvation.

We teach it because we believe it is correct, but we have no contention with those who believe otherwise. And we have no wish to engage in pointless debate, either in our publications, or within our forums.

Having taught the Rapture in 1st Thessalonians 4:13-17, the Apostle Paul didn’t conclude by saying, “Wherefore contend with one another over these words.”

Instead, he said, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:18)

I find little comfort in confrontation.

This Letter was written by Jack Kinsella on May 24, 2005.

Trusting in God

faith

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” 
Proverbs 3:5-6

Having grown up in a southern baptist church, I have fond memories of the old hymns, the classics, that we would sing in a regular rotation each Sunday morning.  One, in particular, had this familiar chorus, “trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.” Now that might not seem like much, but the meaning of this brief refrain runs deep and true, holding a decisive truth upon which Christ taught throughout his ministry on earth.

Faith is the foundation of our hope, as stated in Hebrews chapter 11 verse 1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” We pray in faithfulness, seeking God’s direction and guidance in all things.  When we are troubled or facing uncertainty in life, we turn to our heavenly Father for his help.

Do we always know how to truly reach out in faith, to petition the Lord and trust in Him to work those things out for the best, according to His will? Over the years I have learned some valuable lessons in faith, having failed many times in my approach to God in seeking help with my problems.  Specifically, praying to God with certain needs and requests, then meddling in the expected outcome because I was not willing to wait, to exercise my faith.  By rushing ahead of God, I spoiled the opportunity to grow in my faith and receive God’s best for my life.

The greatest example we can observe in regards to prayer, faith, and accepting God’s perfect will comes from Jesus.  The hour was fast approaching for His betrayal at the hands of Judas, the subsequent crucifixion, and in these verses found in Matthew chapter 26, verses 36 to 39, we see in excruciating detail the proper way to petition our heavenly Father.

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he told the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”  Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled.  He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.”  Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  

Gethsemane

Jesus was facing the darkest hours of his time on earth, yet knowing God’s plan and trusting in the Father’s unfailing wisdom, He sought not his own will, but the perfect will of God.  Jesus was filled with sorrow and grieving to the point of death, His own words to the disciples, and he fell facedown and prayed.  Picture that scene and try to imagine that point of grief.  Obviously, this is the extreme of grieving to which we hope never to face ourselves, but we all have times when we are afraid, maybe we have lost a job or face great uncertainty in other areas of our lives.  At that point, we turn to God, earnestly seeking help from the storms of life that rage all around us.  That is when our faith is tested and through these trials, we grow in our faith as God provides for us.  But it takes patience through faith, placing our needs at His feet, then trusting and waiting on God’s perfect timing to deliver us according to His will.  It may seem simplistic, but we should always remember if God all at once solved every problem we would face from this day forward, not only would we not need our faith, we would never grow in that faith which is what sustains us.  In addition, as we are delivered from our suffering through faith in God, our testimony is strengthened and useful in sustaining other believers that will face similar circumstances.

Philippians chapter 4, verses 6 and 7 says, “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  

A very important part of the faith process is to be patient, wait and allow God room to work things out according to his purposes for our lives.  Our human tendency is to reason things out, but we are limited in our view of each situation, but God is all knowing and is always at work for the best results according to His plans.  Often we come to God in faith, yet we bring our own solutions and we try to place our requests before God while including the expected outcomes that seem logical in our mind’s eye.  Or we do the same when we step up, with good intentions, to help others in need by praying for a given solution that makes sense to us but may not be aligned with the plans God has for that other person.

Look at the example of Peter, the strong voice that believed in Christ with all his heart, as demonstrated when Jesus asked the disciples who did they believe him to be, Matthew Chapter 16 verse 13, Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Yet we also see the well-intended Peter as he failed to understand God’s perfect plan of redemption for all humanity when he pulled Christ aside after Jesus had shared with them the coming persecution, death, and resurrection.  Peter believed that Jesus was the true Son of God, but he had given up everything to follow Christ, he was unable to reason it out in his own mind that he would have to watch Jesus die.  Peter was bound by his own small view of the world around him, thus remaining blind to the greater works of God.  We can see in hindsight why these things had to happen because we see the entirety of the perfect plan of salvation.  Peter was in the moment, as we are when we are faced with difficulties and tragedies, but we must learn from this lesson and put aside our own reasoning by trusting in God, knowing that His plan is perfect and His timing is to our benefit.  Peter suffered a terrible rebuke from Jesus for not trusting in God’s plans.

Matthew chapter 16 verses 21 through 23, 

From then on Jesus began to point out to his disciples that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.  Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “Oh no, Lord! This will never happen to you!”  Jesus turned and told Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me because you’re not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns.”

So what does this mean for believers and where do we go to grow in our faith? Remember this verse, Romans chapter 10 verse 17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  We must strive to know God better each day and the way to grow in knowledge and faith is through the study of the Word of God.  Through this, we will learn to understand and trust in God’s will for our lives and the lives of others.  When someone needs prayer for illness, we always go first to the request for healing, but what about praying for the afflicted to remain faithful, humble and steadfast in their commitment to the Lord.  We may pray for healing, but God may have other plans for that person’s life and their testimony.  I’m not saying it is wrong to pray for healing, to the contrary, but in this and all situations, we should strive to put aside our own reasoning and know that God is working all things for the good to those that are called by his name.

We thank you for reading our messages and we hope you find them helpful in your journey of faith.  We encourage you to share our site with others, to use it as a way to witness to the lost and as a resource for learning through the many links shared on this site which you will find here –  “Helpful Resources”

If you are a believer in Jesus, consider joining our Community Missions Team by reaching out to us and requesting our free ministry cards to help you share the good news of salvation in your own community.

John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

“The Way, the Truth and the Life”

the cross

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.                                                                                                                                                                    John 14: 1-6

What does it mean to be saved? How is a person saved? What is salvation? These terms are very common in the church family, but to the outsider or anyone not familiar with God’s Word, they may be confusing.  Another term many may have heard, to be “born again.”  Let me simplify this and present the Truth, the Love of our Heavenly Father, so much so that He gave us His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for everyone.

The best place to start is one of the more well known verses from the Bible, John 3:16,  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”  God’s love for us is so strong that while we were shackled in sin, he gave us the perfect plan for salvation through Jesus.  Look at what the bible says in Romans chapter 5 verse 8, “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  

But you might ask, why do I need to do anything? Maybe you have lived a decent life, you try to be good, follow the laws, you don’t steal or harm others, so what’s the point of salvation? There are several issues in this dialogue, but first and foremost, we are all sinners.  God created us out of love, but until we resolve our sins, we are separated from Him and can not have that relationship that we were created to enjoy with the creator.  While there are many “good” people on this earth, we don’t earn our way to salvation and we can’t be good enough to find favor in God’s eyes.  We have one path to this wonderful grace extended by God, that is through Jesus Christ who gave his life for everyone.

Romans 3: 22 – 24, The righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe, since there is no distinction. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

I share the salvation message with you today because I have experienced this very gift of salvation through the sacrifice made by Jesus on that old rugged cross.  Just as you may be searching for peace in a troubled world, I came to that place in my own life where I felt the calling of God, through the Holy Spirit, realizing that sin was separating me from God, but in hearing the scriptures I knew beyond any doubt that Jesus Christ came down to this earth, He walked among us, dealt with the same temptations, anguish, and challenges that we all face and above all else, He laid down his life for you and for me.  Jesus demonstrated a life of complete obedience to our Heavenly Father, to the point that he gave up his own life as a sacrifice for us. God raised him from the dead on the third day and Christ lives, having defeated sin and death so that we can be saved from our own sinful nature.

Don’t be fooled by those in this world that deny Jesus and continue their sinful ways.  The bible is very clear in Romans chapter 6 verse 23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Thankfully God gave us the solution to sin through Jesus Christ, who paid the debt of sin for us, by taking our sins upon his body and through obedience to God’s plan, Jesus died on that cross and shed his blood to cover our sins.  God raised him from the dead on the third day and Jesus now sits at the right hand of our heavenly Father.  All you have to do is believe, take that step of faith, ask Jesus into your heart and you will be saved.  Jesus tells us in Revelations chapter 3 verse 20, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

So what is required of me to experience this gift of salvation? Surely I need to get my affairs in order and try to be a better person so that God will accept me. My life is not worthy, therefore I will need to clean things up first before I even think of coming to God. All of these thoughts probably pass through most people’s minds as they consider a move towards redemption, but the wonderful thing about God’s free gift of salvation, you do not have to do anything other than to believe in Jesus as the Son of God.  Romans Chapter 10 verses 9 and 10 clearly states, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  Jesus goes on to say in Matthew Chapter 10 verses 32 and 33,  So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”  In basic terms, it is clear from God’s Word if you believe in your heart that Jesus died on a cross for your sins and was raised from the dead on that third day, you will be saved. 

Pieta _ Soldani_terracotta 1715
(Pieta in terracotta by Soldani, 1715)   The artist depicts the crucified Christ, the angel to the left reflects sorrow and extends a hand in similar repose to the nail-scarred hand of Jesus.  The angel to the right offers a kiss and represents the hope of the resurrection to come.

Earlier in my life I felt that urging from the Holy Spirit, that knock at the door of my heart, and I realized that I was a sinner, lost in this world, yet one day I took that step of faith and answered His call.  Just as you the reader, if you have not yet made that profession of faith in Christ, you probably feel that same urging within you…maybe you don’t know what that is…but having gone before you to accept salvation, I can tell you beyond any doubt, that urging is the Holy Spirit of God speaking to your heart.  We are all spiritual beings that will live beyond this physical life, one day we will stand before our Creator, but if we have never accepted the free gift of salvation, we will be turned away.  Hear what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7, verses 13 and 14, 

“Enter through the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who go through it. How narrow is the gate and difficult the road that leads to life, and few find it.”

While the gift of salvation is free to all that seek it, the truth is that many will follow the broad path that leads to destruction.  Jesus tells us in these verses that the gate to eternal life with our heavenly Father is narrow and the road is difficult, few will find it.  Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can put this off or that surely if God is love then he will not turn me away.  God is love, but for anyone who denies Jesus and fails to confess their sins and make public their profession of faith in the resurrection, there will not be a second chance.  Right now, today, this could be your final opportunity to receive salvation through Jesus Christ.  Why put it off any longer, why risk your very soul? Jesus went on to say in verse 21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven,” and he further states in verse 23,  “Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!”

If you put it off, this most important decision of faith, you could very well fall into this category as Jesus described.  On that day before our Creator, you do not want to be the one that cries out “Lord, Lord” only to be told by Christ, “I never knew you.”  As we shared earlier in this message, if you accept Jesus as savior, He will acknowledge you before God, but if not, you will be turned away.

Maybe you have searched for many years not knowing exactly what you were looking for, trying to fill that void, but I will tell you right now there is only one way and that way is Jesus Christ.  Even the first disciples that had walked with Christ, witnessed first hand his miracles and teachings, struggled to understand the meaning of His purpose which was questioned by Thomas in John Chapter 14, to which Jesus replied in verse 6, Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” 

The only way to find salvation is to believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, confess with your mouth that God raised Him from the dead and you will be saved.  It is that simple.  You don’t earn it, you can’t work your way to salvation.  As Paul wrote in Galatians Chapter 2 verse 21“I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”  You see, to think that we can earn salvation, be good enough or work hard enough is to say that Christ died for nothing.  If there were any other way, then why would God have required the life of His only Son be sacrificed on a cross.

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” John 3:3. We received physical life on this earth when we were born.  However, a person has to come to that place of repentance, acknowledging that sin is separating them from God, and taking that step of faith to turn away from their old ways, accepting Jesus as their savior, which results in a new spiritual birth and membership in God’s family.

John 1:12 -13 “But as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

To be “born again” is to have the Holy Spirit transform our hearts from indifference and hostility toward God to a love of God and a desire for righteousness and holiness. The only way one can come to God and experience what it means to be “born again” is through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus Christ.

If I make that profession of faith, what follows for me, the new believer, and what does that life look like as we move forward? Staying with Paul’s eloquent words to the Galatians, in verse 20 he explains it this way,  I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  This free gift of Salvation is the cornerstone of your new life in Christ, and by accepting Jesus as your savior, you will experience the unconditional Love of our Heavenly Father.  You become a new creation, having died to the old self, renewed to a life with Christ.  

Are you searching for the Truth? As with the beautiful gospel hymn Amazing Grace, I once was lost, but now am found.  I was searching and I found salvation, it has made all the difference in my life.  Not in the way the world might expect, my life has not been made easier, I am not immune to the same challenges and trials that we all face, but when you take that step of faith, knowing you are a sinner, asking Jesus to come into your heart, you receive not only the free gift of salvation and eternal life with God, but you also receive the Holy Spirit that will now dwell within you throughout your life.  The Holy Spirit will guide you and discern the Truth of the Word of God and your faith will grow and the Lord will guide you to the path that He has laid out for you.  You will never be alone again and as you join with other believers in fellowship, you will experience the abundant life that Jesus promised to those that believe.

Are you ready to take that step of faith? To turn away from the life you have lived, to confess your sins and accept the free gift of salvation that only comes through belief in Jesus Christ?  You can do so right now, right where you are.  Say this prayer right now to God and make it your own, 

“Dear heavenly Father, I have been searching to fill that void in my life and today I know that the only way to fulfillment is through Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus is the true Son of God, that He came to this earth, walked among us, and gave His life as a sacrifice for my sins.  Jesus died on the cross and was resurrected to life on the third day, He defeated sin and death, he paid for my sins so that I can have the gift of eternal life.  I confess that I am a sinner, but today I accept Jesus as my savior and I ask Him to come into my heart.  Thank you, Lord, for the gift of salvation.  Amen.”  

Thank you for reading this message. If you just reached out to God and accepted Jesus into your heart, please reach out to us and share your own good news through this link –  I have accepted Jesus Christ  –  We want to pray with you and celebrate your new life as a believer in Jesus Christ and to welcome you into the family of God.

For those that are still searching, maybe you don’t feel like you’re ready to make that decision, we hope to hear from you as well.  We want you to know and experience the Love of Christ, the same Love that we have experienced in our own lives.  It is the most important decision you will ever make.  Please do not let the opportunity of salvation pass you by.  Click this link and share your questions and thoughts – I want to know more about salvation

 John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons 

Death of the Church – “Comfort Zone Christianity”

dying church

Church in America is comfortable, consistent, pre-planned and delivered in a tidy package each week to the faithful.  Deviate from that organized delivery model and church leaders will hear about it in no uncertain terms.  Regular complaints include temperature, too hot or cold, music too loud or too contemporary and of course the pastor went too long with his sermon.  Overall these are not seen as problematic, sort of the usual stuff, but how is the health of our churches in America? Of course, today much has changed given the pandemic and all the restrictions on gatherings – but even in a virtual service, I’m sure someone can find something they don’t like – and that’s part of the problem.  Somewhere along the way we seem to have lost our true calling and as a result, the way we do church has become more of an entertainment and social gathering.  We are no longer missional in our purpose – we’ve vacated our duties to serve and provide for those in our communities.  So how do we sort this out and what can be done to address those issues?

There are two standards to be considered, attendance and spiritual well-being, one of which should be easy to gather but the other is not something that can be measured.  Of course, most would agree if spiritual well-being is thriving then attendance will be the first place to reflect it.  That should go both ways, at least in logical consideration, but that is up for debate.  In any case, let’s start with the numbers which are not as easily found as you would hope.  Gallup is a well known and respected polling institution that addresses just about every aspect of life in America as we know it, from business to entertainment, politics, and religion.  According to the numbers from a Gallup telephone survey in 2017*,  of a random sampling of about 1,000 Americans nationwide, interviewers ask respondents questions such as, “In the last seven days, did you attend a church service, excluding weddings and funerals?” to determine their church-going habits. From this survey, 40 percent responded yes, which would indicate nearly 130 million people attended church last Sunday in America.  However, according to a more in-depth research study conducted by the Evangelical Covenant Church, taking data from over 200,000 orthodox Christian churches over the past 10 years, the actual number of people in a pew each Sunday in America is closer to 52 million, nowhere near the numbers that Gallup would extrapolate from their random samples.  More troubling is the overall percentage this represents, basically 17 percent of America goes to church each week.  Numbers don’t tell the whole story, but at the surface, they do not speak well for the spiritual well-being of our congregations or for the outreach efforts from the church.

Our one true calling that speaks to all Christians is the great commission given by Jesus Christ in Matthew chapter 28 – to go and make disciples of all nations.  Period.  That is our calling, yet across America, our churches are not reflecting this in their attendance numbers.  The reasons are many but let’s take a few examples from some of those best suited to address this troubling issue.

passion and testimony

As president of the Bridgeleader Network, David Anderson, senior pastor and founder of Bridgeway Community Church in Columbia, Maryland., has consulted with church leaders nationwide. In his work, he has observed a noteworthy and troubling trend within the mid-sized congregations across the country.   He has found more than half the mid-sized congregations have lost or unintentionally turned away from their evangelistic focus, and instead adopted what he calls a “club mentality.”

He explains it like this, “You have just enough people not to be missional anymore.  You don’t have to grow anymore to sustain your budget.”  They hit that comfortable sweet spot where needs are no longer driven by growth.  They’ve arrived so to speak.

That is a dangerous place to be, just big enough to comfortably pay the bills but not so big that you have problems making room for more classes, additional services, and all the issues that come with growth.

Thom Ranier, CEO of Lifeway Christian Resources, gives this example, “We have become so comfortable and complacent with the way we do church that we don’t want any outsiders to mess it up. In other words, we will fight for the precise worship style or carpet color we want, but we will yawn at the thought of our neighbors going to hell.”

Let that sink in for a moment…

When the church embraces its own sovereign space, celebrating within the comfortable confines of its own creation, surrounded by a like-minded social circle, they stop reaching out, instead choosing to focus inwards. It becomes the responsibility of those on the outside to find their way in – while the church turns its energy towards social justice, no longer testifying to the love of their creator, replaced instead with a spirit of protest to all that is wrong in the world.  Isolated inside this bunker of truth, they lose sight of their one true calling – to share the love of Jesus with a lost world.

If Christians embraced their duty as missionaries in daily life, demonstrating and sharing the good news of our Savior, think of the impact that would have on other social issues.  We stand firm, often times as the only voice, to protect the unborn child.  We should look inward, with that same urgency, and demand of ourselves that we stand up and speak out on our Savior, Jesus – denying him before no man, sharing the love that He has for everyone.  If our church leadership is not calling us to action, to witness to our neighbors, co-workers and those that cross our paths each day – then we should ask why? It all goes hand in hand, we should be challenged in worship, called to action, pushed to get outside of that comfort zone.  We should be reading the word of God daily, growing in our faith – then sharing that faith with those around us.  We should stand firm in the truth, never compromising, being that voice for the unborn child by demanding an end to this brutal genocide on the most vulnerable.  And in so doing, we should be ready to pray with those women facing this situation, sharing love and guidance towards a better path – our churches should support those in need in every way possible.  Our failures inside the church are reflected across society – we have to get our act together – we have to lead from a position of love, dedication, and unwavering declarations of our faith.

Are we afraid of offending someone? (Read our message What are you afraid of?  for more on this issue)  What if we fought for lost souls just as hard as we fight for the unborn child? What if we trusted in Jesus and believed in our hearts that He truly is the miracle worker, then set our priorities towards salvation first? Imagine saving the lost and the impact that would have on our social issues.  If you follow what I’m saying, I believe you will see that salvation is the cornerstone upon which we can rebuild our society.  Answer this question, do you think we fight for change in an effort to make this world more palatable for our own existence? We don’t like being uncomfortable, so we stand up for change, we want to protect our right to religious freedom so we can worship in the way we choose – but why? If we are not serious about reaching the lost by explaining our own salvation story, sharing how Jesus died for our sins so that we can have atonement through his sacrifice, if that isn’t our passion, then I say religious freedom does not matter.

The Dying Church 2.jpg

What many have come to realize is the church in America has become complacent, or what we would define as a “comfort zone” type of Christianity.  While speaking up for the unborn is very important, as are many other social issues that go against the moral values that we hold dear, we need to take a step back and look at our priorities, both as individuals and as congregations.  Do we care about outreach, serious outreach, not just follow up emails to visitors that took the time to fill out a card on Sunday morning?  Do we think our nice facilities or location in the community are the best outreach? As Thom Ranier said, “we became so enamored with the worship service we concluded that it was our outreach. But cool and dynamic worship services are not outreach into our communities. They are attractions to attend.”  It is similar to a church that thinks its prime location, such as being right off the town square, somehow equates to outreach.  It’s not like the premise of the movie “Field of Dreams” with its catchphrase, “if you build it, they will come.”  If that were the case, how do you explain the 83 percent of America that sleeps in every Sunday morning? Do we really yawn at the thought of our neighbors going to hell? Honestly, I wonder how many people in the church actually believe that hell exists?

I engaged in a conversation not long ago with someone that did not agree with my concerns, namely that the church as a whole is failing in preparing and sending forth its members to witness, and he used a very popular “mega-church” in the Houston area as an example.  He cited the massive crowds and even larger television audience as proof that the church is thriving.  My reply, if that’s the best example you have, you just helped make my case that the church in America is dying.  You see, it’s not all about numbers, and his example is a church of what I call “feel good evangelism” or the prosperity faith that has dominated our TV airwaves for decades.  (Read our message – “The False Doctrine of Prosperity Faith” for more about this dangerous doctrine).  Yes, I’m speaking of the Joel Osteen ministry, the “how to be your best self” and “how to be happy in life” doctrine.  His church attendance by some estimates is in the thousands each week with a television audience purportedly in the millions.  I pointed out that if you listen to his message or read his books, you will notice that Jesus is largely missing, its focus is on personal happiness while avoiding talk of sin or the consequences.  This church, and many others that model after this so-called doctrine is described to us in 2 Timothy chapter 4, verse 3, 

For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear what they want to hear.

Denny Burk, professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, an undergraduate school of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, recently shared this regarding the ministry of Joel Osteen.  “Joel Osteen has all the marks of a sincere person. I just finished watching the profile of his ministry on 60 Minutes, and there is not one thing about him that looks phony. He is one of the most likable, loveable fellows that you’ll ever see. I really think he believes everything he is saying. That is why what he does is so awful. The prosperity gospel that Osteen preaches will damn the very people he intends to help (if they believe it), and he appears completely unaware of the darkness into which he plunges his followers. Osteen’s lack of awareness of his own blindness was prophesied in the scriptures: ‘Evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived’ (2 Timothy 3:13). If anyone has ever been deluded by his own error, it’s Joel Osteen.”

To sum it up, not only is the church in America in decline, we see ministries around us filling the void with a message that distorts or outright deceives believers and unbelievers alike.  Regarding the prosperity message and being your best self, listen to what Jesus says in Matthew chapter 16, verses 24 through 26, 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it. For what will it benefit someone if he gains the whole world yet loses his life? Or what will anyone give in exchange for his life?

There is nothing wrong with being happy, but in the context of Christian faith, we find true happiness through dedication and perseverance.  If we are led to believe that happiness is found in worldly possessions or by putting ourselves and our own well-being first, we are being deceived because this message runs in direct opposition to the teaching of our Lord.  Jesus warned us that we will be hated for his sake, life as a true believer in Christ comes with the promise that you will be persecuted for your faith, but we have the added assurance that Jesus will not forsake us and one day we will be together with Him in glory.

Matthew chapter 7, verses 13 and 14 states,

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Do you have the assurance of salvation today, knowing in your heart that you have accepted the free gift of salvation that only comes through faith in Jesus Christ? If not, please don’t wait for the “right time” to make that decision, reach out to us right now with your questions or concerns and let us help you gain that blessed assurance that you have been redeemed.

Romans chapter 10, verses 9 and 10 give us the following guidance to salvation,

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

To the faithful, are you evangelizing according to our shared calling from Jesus? If you truly believe that you have been saved through grace, that Jesus Christ died for all sinners, then step up and share that message!  The world is lost and we are the light, but if we hide that light under a bushel then what good are we? Share the gospel, as Charles Spurgeon exhorted, “anywhere and everywhere!” Make sure that you are doing your part and if needed call out your church to do the same.  Is your congregation actively involved in true outreach in your community? If not, or if you’re not sure, ask the question and push for real outreach.  It’s not a hobby, it is a direct order from our Savior.  We should feel anguish in our hearts to know that narrow is the gate and few will find it.  Get involved, don’t wait for someone else to take up the charge, follow our Lord’s instructions and lead the way.

John Stephen Frey – Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

*data for this post taken from churchleaders.com, article dated April 10, 2018, titled “7 Startling Facts: An Up Close Look at Church Attendance in America”

**additional statistics from Lifeway Christian Resources, Evangelical Covenant Church research project 2017 and Gallup.

Bought at a Price

passion of the Christ 2

Life is measured in seasons of time as predictable as the sunrise and sunset of each passing day.   We busy ourselves with the tasks of daily life, working, raising a family, which often leaves little time for anything else.  It can become a drudgery, these gears of life grinding away, stealing our joy, leaving us to wonder what is it all about? We surround ourselves with things, distractions from our toils, always looking and planning for the next big thing, a vacation, a new car, sometimes anything to help us look beyond our current circumstances.  But why? There it is, that ever-present question, the one we bury deep inside – what does it all mean and what is my purpose in life?

With each passing month, we work our way through this tangled existence, hoping to meet the demands that press against us.  The rent or mortgage payment is due, car payments, credit card bills, this never-ending circle of requirements often become all-consuming.  Sometimes you just want to escape from it all but it never stops, time just keeps coming at us, relentlessly, and round and round we go.  There has to be more to life than all of this…

Believers wait and watch for the hour of our Lord’s return as the world around us crumbles under the weight of transgressions and denial of the Creator.  Pressures continue to mount against those that believe in the Word, having received salvation through Jesus.  It is hard to watch as the world, blind to the truth, spins more out of control each day, while evil grows and spreads like a plague.  While seekers clamor for answers and believers seek the Lord for strength to persevere, let’s step back to the beginning and follow the path of God’s perfect plan that leads to the one true answer, the way, the truth and the life.

John Chapter 1 verse 1, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  Verse 14 further states, The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We observed his glory, the glory as the one and only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 

In the previous reference, John speaks of the beginning, which is also detailed for us here in Genesis chapter 1 verse 1, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  When we put that together with the words from John chapter 1, we know that Jesus was there at the beginning of creation.  The Word was with God, the Word became flesh.  Jesus came to this earth, walked among us, shared in the trials and tribulations we all face, then in perfect obedience to God the Father, Jesus died on a cross for our sins.  But let’s look even deeper, to gain a full understanding of why Jesus came to this earth as an atonement for sin.

The Bible tells us that God created day and night, He separated the land from the seas, He created all manner of creature, both in the seas and on land.  But something was missing, creation was not complete until God created man.  However, we also know that God created all angelic hosts, which included the most beautiful of the angels, the one called Lucifer, as referenced in Isaiah Chapter 14 verse 12,

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 

In Ezekiel Chapter 28, in verses 12 through 16, Lucifer is described in this way,

You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God.  Every kind of precious stone covered you:
carnelian, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, lapis lazuli, turquoise and emerald. Your mountings and settings were crafted in gold; they were prepared on the day you were created.  You were an anointed guardian cherub, for I had appointed you.  You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked among the fiery stones.  From the day you were created you were blameless in your ways until wickedness was found in you.  Through the abundance of your trade, you were filled with violence, and you sinned. So I expelled you in disgrace from the mountain of God, and banished you, guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.

From this, we know that God’s perfect creation, including man, was set on a collision course of good against evil, as Lucifer was cast out of heaven, along with the legion of angels that followed.  Satan, as he became known, so despised God that he made it his mission to seek and devour all of mankind, like a hungry lion prowling about as described in 1 Peter chapter 5 verse 8, 

Be sober-minded, be alert. Your adversary the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.

Why did Satan fall? It can be summed up in one word, pride.  It is revealed in Ezekiel chapter 28 verse 17,

Your heart became proud because of your beauty; For the sake of your splendor
you corrupted your wisdom. So I threw you down to the ground.

It was through the sin of pride that Satan fell from grace and turned on mankind as we read when he encountered Eve in the garden.  In Genesis chapter 3, Satan used the serpent to tempt Eve by contradicting God.  The instructions had been made clear, of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, God forbid them to eat.  Satan tickled the ears of Eve by deceiving her into thinking that if she ate of this tree, she would become as God with all knowledge and wisdom.  Adam and Eve both ate the fruit of the tree and became aware that they were naked and they hid from the Lord.  When God came into the garden in the evening he called out to Adam, “where are you?” God knew where Adam was but in calling out to him, he was indicating that they had become separated by sin.  Adam was asked what he had done and he blamed Eve and in a sense blamed God as he explained the fruit was given to him by the woman that God had created.  At this point, the perfect creation of God was corrupted, sin had entered into man and this sinful nature would be passed through every generation.  Adam did not repent of his sin in disobeying God’s command regarding the tree of knowledge, instead, he made excuses, blamed others and in so doing, all mankind suffers the consequences of that day.

So why did God create us if we were doomed to failure and sin? Was God lonely, was he taken by surprise that Man sinned against him? Satan would love for us to believe that he was able to sneak into the garden of Eden and ruin creation without God having any knowledge, but that is not the case.  Man was created by God and given a free will, but it is a mistake to think that man has autonomy over God’s plans, that sin was introduced by happenstance and God needed a new plan to rectify the situation.  God knows the future events as demonstrated throughout the Bible, both in prophesy and by the very words of Christ as he foretold his own destiny.  Furthermore, we know that God not only possesses foreknowledge of events, he plans those events and puts them into action.

Isaiah chapter 46 verses 9 through 11 

Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying,  “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.”

We see it throughout God’s word time and again as the prophets were given knowledge of things to come according to God’s plans and purposes.  It even carried forward through Jesus as He walked on earth.  Jesus foretold the disciples of the coming crucifixion and resurrection.  Jesus told the disciples at the last supper of the betrayal of Judas and of Peter’s coming denial.  Therefore it is without any doubt that we can know there is nothing that surprises God.  Not only does he know the future, he plans for it and carries out his purposes according to His will. So we wonder why did God create mankind, was He lonely? I think it is best answered by C.S. Lewis,

“God did not make us because He was bored, lonely, or had run out of things to do. He created us to be the objects of His love! Sometimes our actions make us unlovely, but we are never unloved. And because God loves us—we have value. And nobody can take that value away. God’s love revealed at Calvary fastens itself onto flawed creatures like us, and for reasons none of us can ever quite figure out, makes us precious and valued beyond calculation. This is love beyond reason. And this is the love with which God loves us.”

When we try to fathom this abundant love, we grapple in our attempts to reason it out and often times this leads to frustration as we struggle to comprehend God’s true purposes for our lives.  The Apostle Paul writes in Romans chapter 8 verses 37 through 39,

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In our own limited ability to reason this out, we look for balance, a way to justify the means to an end.  However, we always come up short in trying to determine a way that we are good enough to justify the love that God shows to us.  Some will simply give up and say this is ridiculous, God would not create man simply to make us the objects of His love, but consider this undeniable extension of that love in Romans chapter 5 verse 8,

“but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

This brings us to the amazing grace extended to all mankind from our Creator.  Satan introduced sin and all evil into this world and he continues his all-out assault without ceasing.  If Satan hates God, then why does he attack us? Genesis chapter 1 verse 27,

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Because of God’s unending love for us, we have value in His sight, and this value causes Satan to seethe with rage against us.  We are created in the very image of God.  We are caught in a spiritual battle, a tug of war for our very souls, yet in all of this, God also created the perfect plan of salvation.  We are not hopelessly lost, for we have a way out, not because of anything we do, but because that very love that brought about our own creation is why Jesus died in our places as a living sacrifice to cover all of our transgressions.  God values each and every one of us, so much so, that he provided a path for our redemption so that we may move on from this brief time on earth, to an eternity with Him.

John chapter 3 verse 16 says,

For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.

The Bible further explains this pathway to salvation in Romans Chapter 10, verses 9 and 10;

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 

Jesus and Mary 2

Paul the Apostle of Christ reminds us in 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verses 19 and 20,

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

We give ourselves over to God completely when we accept salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus.  We are no longer our own, we belong to God.  Jesus took our rightful consequences upon himself, and tho he was without sin, he paid the debt that we could not pay.  Jesus laid bare his back and took the scourging of a Roman soldiers whip.  Jesus then carried our cross through the streets along the Via Dolorosa or the way of suffering, where he was then nailed to that cross at Golgotha where he died a slow and agonizing death for our sins.  That is the price of our salvation, the cost paid by Jesus so that we may find redemption and avoid the wages of our own iniquities, which is death and eternal separation from our Creator.

Unfortunately today, a new religion has sprung to life, enjoying great success as they share a message of love of self, how to be happy, how to enjoy life in this world with catchy phrases of sunshine and good times with very little mention of God, or the price of sin and the payment that Christ made on our behalf.  This watered-down form of religion allows people to hold onto a form of godliness without the baggage of all that talk of sin, after all, they will tell you, “who are we to judge others?”  Paul spoke of this coming age and warned against it in 2 Timothy chapter 3, saying that people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful and proud, holding to a form of godliness but denying its power. We are warned to avoid such people.  Our shared mission as believers in Christ is to share the message with compassion for those that have not found salvation in hopes that others will come to a place of repentance and experience the gift of redemption.  The most basic of all truths that apply to everyone is found in Romans chapter 3 verse 23,

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

The good news continues in the same chapter as we read in verses 24 through 26,

And are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.  It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

This is why we share our faith, as we are instructed by Christ, so that the world may come to know the true grace of God.  As C. S. Lewis once wrote, “if you aim for heaven, you will get the earth as well, but if you aim for the earth, you will receive neither.”

How terrible for anyone to have to stand before Jesus on that day and hear him speak the words from Matthew chapter 7 verse 23,

And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Satan is real, the spiritual battle is on-going, the crucifixion of Christ was a bloody, humiliating and violent death…Jesus paid the price for our sins…we are bought at a price.  Our hope comes through the resurrection when on the third day, God raised Jesus from the dead and he now sits at the right hand of our heavenly Father.

But let’s not fall into another trap, seeking the kingdom without understanding what it is and our responsibility in leading the lost towards the light.  When Jesus entered Jerusalem for the final time, he was lauded as a King and cheered as a conquering hero.  The people expected to see the long-awaited kingdom of God to be revealed right before their very eyes.  They were anticipating an overthrow of the system that they had come to despise.  It had less to do with their passion for the Messiah as much as their own selfish desires to see their occupiers turned away in defeat.  When this did not occur, they turned against their Messiah and joined together in rage as they called for his death.

Where is the kingdom? The people had no desire to share in the faith of Christ, to be changed in their hearts, to turn away from their sins, to love their fellow man, they wanted justice and revenge.  In many ways we see this misguided effort in our own churches, we want our institutions of government to conform to our ways, we want justice, we stand on the steps of the supreme court and shout for right and push away those that need to hear the message of salvation the most.  We say we want revival but our actions say we want political change and justice even more.

We have a calling as believers as laid out for us in Matthew chapter 28, the great commission, to share the love of Christ with everyone so that they might come to a place of repentance.  Paul the Apostle extolled the virtues of patience and gentleness when he spoke in 2 Timothy chapter 2, verses 24 and 25,

The Lord’s servant must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to the knowledge of the truth. 

We have traveled a long way, from creation through redemption, asking the questions of purpose in life and living in God’s amazing grace, so let’s take hold of this great redemptive story and share the passion of our Christ, our savior and Lord.  Our purpose is to strive to be like Jesus, to accept God’s unconditional love and to share that love with one another.  Paul the Apostle so eloquently taught that we should turn away from impurity and ignorance in Ephesians chapter 4, verses 20 through 24, 

But that is not how you came to know Christ, assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.

Finally, Paul continued these teachings of patience and kindness in verses 29 through 32,

No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

We have found the kingdom of God, it resides within the hearts of believers, by the grace of our heavenly Father.  So let’s seek revival by starting in our own heart, praying on our knees that God will search our hearts and minds and show us His will as we journey through this life in preparation for the next.  We know that God’s principles and moral foundations work, but let’s not become distracted in our pursuit of change, expecting a lost world to adapt to our ways.  To bring about change, to turn the world back towards God, we should focus on the hearts of man, not the institutions of man’s creation.  We are all one through Jesus Christ, we are all created in God’s image and we all have great value in His sight.

If you have questions about salvation or want to know more about Jesus Christ, please contact us through this link I want to know more about Salvation.

John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons Ministry

Time is short

anger

Anger, bitterness, hatred, it seems to be everywhere, surrounding our culture and permeating every aspect of our lives.  It seems that our safe havens are not immune, sports and other forms of entertainment no longer offer the escape we so desperately crave.  Journalism, once a bastion of integrity and impartiality, seems to have embraced its own agenda and no longer reports the news of the day but preaches the ideology of its brand, tilted towards the right or the left without apologies to anyone. Late night comedy, long a source of parody towards the events of the time, has now drawn a line to which the viewer must stand and celebrate or become another part of the punchline.  We are being overcome by the dark evil spirit of hatred and anger…bitterness is the tone of the day.  Parody is now a  cheap mockery, debate no longer exists, you either agree or become the target of the oppressive voice that controls media, entertainment, and the news.  Justice is not balanced, up is down, right is wrong, do not question the worldly agenda or you will pay a heavy toll.

2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 1 – 5 gives us this warning,

But know this: Hard times will come in the last days.  For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people.”

Never in my lifetime has there been a time where this has been more applicable than today.  Read it again and take a moment, dwell on the words and note how many of these descriptors are evident to you.  Not just in the world but unfortunately inside the church, we see it creeping in and destroying the very truth of God’s word.  “People will be lovers of self, lovers of money…”, this describes the numerous false doctrines that are thriving today in churches all over the land.  The danger of the prosperity message is the application in our lives, the destructive turn down the path that leads to the love of money and love of self.  There is a reason these warnings are listed at the very beginning, they carry the greatest weight of destruction.  Matthew chapter 6 verse 24 states the following, “No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”  Jesus did not come to share a doctrine of contradictions which is why we warn often of the deceit found in the prosperity message, you simply can not pursue riches on this earth and avoid the idolatry and divisive nature that comes with it. I encourage you to read “The False Doctrine of Prosperity Faith” to find out more regarding this topic.

We live in the time described by Jesus when he replied to his disciples as they asked for signs of the end times.  Matthew chapter 24 verses 3 through 8 states,  While he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what is the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus replied to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you.  For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many.  You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these events are the beginning of labor pains.  These events are all around us, political unrest, wars and rumors of wars, North Korea and Iran both in relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons, earthquakes and tremors are reported almost daily, all at a volume we have not seen in our times.  

So what are we to do? Is all hope truly lost? To the contrary, as believers, we have hope and peace in these confirmations of our faith.  These words are beyond prophetic, they are now a living example of the world we see today.  For non-believers, or to those that proclaim a belief in a higher being but have yet to accept Jesus as the true Messiah, this is your warning.  These words are meant for you, do not turn away and deny the truth, it is here for you to read and it is playing out for you to see with your own eyes in our world today.  Do not wait or bury your head in the sand in hopes it will all somehow go away.  Jesus did not tell the disciples that once these things started there would be any turning back.  No coming election will solve these issues, this path goes above and beyond the world as we know it.  The battle of good versus evil is now playing out in real time and we must take our stand, you must choose a side, and believe me, ignoring this reality or choosing to live in denial is the same as denying the very existence of God and our savior Jesus Christ.  In Matthew chapter 10 verses 32 to 33 Jesus makes it very clear, Therefore, everyone who will acknowledge me before others, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.  But whoever denies me before others, I will also deny him before my Father in heaven.”   Do not make that mistake for it will cost you everything.  

Time is short and there soon will come a moment when you will no longer be given the opportunity to seek the free gift of salvation that comes through Jesus Christ.  Don’t wait until it’s too late, consider making that step of faith today, right now, by asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins and welcoming Him into your heart.  Go to this link,  “Pathway to Salvation”,  and follow the easy steps to salvation that are explained in simple detail, then pray the prayer of faith and salvation is yours.  Reach out to us and share your decision, let us pray for you, there are no strings attached and we are not seeking your money, we hope that everyone will have the chance to see the truth and find redemption through our savior, Jesus Christ.  He gave his life for you and for me.  May God bless you and if you’ve made a decision today or if you’re thinking about doing so, please follow up by visiting our link, “Helpful Resources”, where you will find an online bible and many helpful ministries that provide every resource you will need to answer your questions and grow in your new faith in Christ.

John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons

The False Doctrine of Prosperity Faith

prosperity_lie

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.   1 John 4:1 

If it’s too good to be true, it most likely is false. This is the warning that most of us have heard or have learned the hard way. Advertisements for products or services that promise the world, for the low price of three easy installments, but wait, if you act now, we will throw in another set….late night TV has it all.  You pay your money and the product, if it arrives at all, usually doesn’t live up to expectations and to make matters worse, the company that sold it to you is most likely long gone.

The Bible warns of much worse, false teachers and doctrines, words that tickle our ears or play on our vulnerabilities. Such is the thriving prosperity message, word of faith, that traces it’s roots to the writings of Napoleon Hill and his book Think and Grow Rich published in 1937. The author wrote of his imaginary “cabinet of Invisible Counselors” made up of such great minds as Lincoln, Edison, Darwin to name a few, that would meet with him each night and discuss ways to improve his character, build upon his thoughts and ideas, in a manner that he confessed began in his imagination around a boardroom table that over time became so real he often feared the realism and what it meant. Hill would later describe how these “invisible counselors” had guided him through crisis and emergencies to ultimate wealth and power beyond his own dreams. The very description of his influences from these beings that he would later describe as “talismans” goes against our own biblical warnings, as given in Deuteronomy chapter 18 verses 10 through 12, that likens those who summon the dead or seek guidance from sorcerers or mediums as being an abomination before the Lord. Such dealings open the door to demonic possession and the works of Satan in our own lives. In time, Hill accepted these “invisible” beings as partners, no longer fearful of their involvement in his life, he embraced their role and built his personal wealth upon their teachings. A reasonable mind would have to ask, what exactly were these “talisman” that guided and inspired Hill if not demons themselves? The fact that Hill would use the term of talismans is quite telling, as the term itself attributes mystical powers upon an object and good luck to those that possess such items.

So moving forward to the early 1950’s, a young evangelist from Tulsa, Oklahoma, named Oral Roberts, began a ministry of prosperity preaching through the giving of “seed faith” money, the foundation of his beliefs that he attributed in part to one of his biggest influences, none other than Napoleon Hill. Oral Roberts ministry grew by leaps and bounds as he spread the word of prosperity, namely that by giving to his ministry, God would return that investment in riches beyond belief. As his empire grew, it influenced others to do the same, which in time is why Oral Roberts is often referred to as the father of the prosperity gospel. He is cited as the major influence, directly or indirectly, to Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland and Fred Price. From these three, specifically Hagin and his Rhema Bible training center, we now have generations of prosperity ministries founded in the “name it and claim it” genre.  Kenneth Hagin did not attribute his influences to Oral Roberts directly, but given the facts that Hagin began his prosperity ministry in the same town as Oral Roberts, following a few years after, makes it somewhat hard to believe that he did not take some part of his message from that ministry.

I don’t know what you think of any of the aforementioned ministers, this is not a message meant to attack another ministry, but this is part of the warning from the bible that we must take seriously or risk being led astray in our own spiritual journey. We have a responsibility as believers to test the doctrine that is given out, using the infallible word of God, to ensure it holds up to the truth. A good place to start is to find out what Jesus said, how he instructed the first disciples in ministry, along with His own examples of conduct and faith.  When you do this, as with a doctrine built around gaining personal wealth and prosperity, you will find that the teachings contradict the many examples laid out to us by Christ.  Do not take my word for this, but following the biblical instructions referenced at the opening of this message, test the spirits whether they are of God so that you can know for yourself. Study God’s word and find the context to which scriptures are referenced, if any at all, in the messages you hear. Pastors are usually limited in the time they have before a congregation, so it is commonplace to have a few selected scriptures given that a sermon will be built upon. Most preachers will then provide a background of their message and give you a more broad context from which these individual verses are taken. As a believer, you have the responsibility to take these teachings and follow up with your own study of the word, by which you will find the context and through the Holy Spirit will grow in your faith as you move forward in your walk with the Lord.  However, be aware that certain doctrines are given out using only selected verses of the Bible, taken out of their proper context, then exploited to reinforce a belief that is not sound or biblical at all. Within certain ministries, they will bring in new believers, give them handpicked verses, then follow that up with free bible lessons that they have developed that only take the listener farther off the path to which God intended in His word. Before long, well-intended followers can find themselves lost in a maze of misguided doctrine that is a dead end. All the while, one person at the top, or a select group of so-called ministers, are reaping the rewards of money and power that are blindly given in hopes of some god based lottery with expectations of great rewards for the seed faith giver. Many of these types of prosperity ministries are nothing more than a religious Ponzi scheme whereby the minister receives wealth most of us can not even imagine, while the followers continue to work, give offerings, and hope for a better tomorrow.

You will not find anywhere in the Bible a reference to the giving of “seed faith money” which is the term first coined, no pun intended, by Oral Roberts himself. The prosperity message is very loosely based upon the parable of the sower from Matthew chapter 13, where Jesus tells of sowing seed and states that the seed which fell onto fertile soil was returned to the sower one hundred fold. Now if you simply take these few verses at the beginning of the chapter and then speak of the seed as money invested in the church, it can sound very appealing to those that are in need, to think that if you give ten dollars you will be rewarded by God with one thousand dollars. Many of these ministries not only cherry pick specific verses, but they teach their new converts how to defend their new beliefs by giving them study guides which continue to handpick specific verses, out of context, to bolster their beliefs and embolden them to take a stand against those other so-called believers that are unable to accept the truth.  Giving our money, or tithe is a biblical standard that is expected of all believers, which makes it one of the easiest targets for the unscrupulous ministries to exploit for their own advantages.

If you test the doctrine as we are instructed to do, through prayer and study of the Bible,  God’s holy spirit will help you discern the scriptures by revealing the truth. In this case, simply read the entire thirteenth chapter of Matthew and you will see that Jesus further clarifies the seed referenced is the word of God, not money or other valuables.

The danger of these types of messages is how it reduces God to be closer to our own level, whereby we develop a twisted quid pro quo, a contract with God, which requires that he provide a specific value for that which you have given. I don’t know about you, but to even consider that God is to be bargained with and held to our own exacting standards is not only dangerous but runs close to that of blasphemy.

Here is what I would want you to consider, not just in examining prosperity teaching, but with any form of biblical instruction or doctrine, the first place to go is the example given to us by Jesus Christ himself, as he walked on earth, demonstrating the fundamentals of a life lived in direct obedience to our heavenly Father.

In Matthew chapter 19 we have the example of the rich young ruler that approached Jesus and after some discussion, having confirmed to Christ that he had kept the commandments, Jesus gave him one last instruction, to go and sell all that he owned and give it to the poor.  The young ruler walked away in anguish knowing he could not follow through with such a request. You might say that this is an impossible request or wonder why Jesus would demand such a high standard of this individual. Again, you have to study the word and take the story in its full context, the young ruler had already told Jesus that he had kept all of the commandments, which was not true, to which Jesus exposed by giving him this single command which he would not and could not follow. The rich young ruler had made his wealth the subject of his worship and through his own greed was not following through in the command to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, so in reality, this young man was not following the commandments of the law and Jesus simply used the request to expose this fallacy. Furthermore, not to get off topic, but I have heard some question why Jesus used the commandments as a measure of salvation. Once more, to gain the proper perspective, Jesus referenced the law because this young ruler was confident that he was properly aligned in his ways and therefore was deserving to be a follower of Christ. It was not the law which Jesus used as a measure of salvation, simply a litmus test to expose the errors of this young man’s judgment of himself.

In relating this to prosperity, would Jesus support a doctrine that specifically guides followers to a path of personal gain and greater wealth? In this example above, Jesus showed how dangerous greed and the love of money can be, diverting our faithfulness to that of worldly possessions.  One does not go hand in hand with the other, they are contradictory in nature. Jesus goes on to instruct us in Matthew chapter 6, verses 19 – 21,

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;  but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”    

Just as the case with the rich young ruler, Jesus warns us that where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  He continues in verse 24 by saying,

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”  

Jesus lived a life of obedience and complete trust in God for all things. When he sent the disciples out on their first mission trips, he specifically told them not to carry any money, knowing they would learn to trust in God for that which they needed. Furthermore, when Jesus gave us the example of how to pray, he didn’t speak of seed faith and returns but simply asked that God give us this day our daily bread.

Jesus lived the life of a servant, he even said as much in Matthew chapter 20 verse 28,

“Even as the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve others, and to give his life a ransom for many.” 

We are to strive to be Christ-like in all our ways. Jesus showed us what it means to put our own interests aside and focus on the needs of others. Obedience to our Father is our goal, in all ways and in everything that we do. How can we focus on the needs of others if we are obsessed with gaining material wealth, storing up our own treasures on earth?

Just as you can’t serve two masters, you can not follow contradictory messages. Follow the examples of Jesus, use His life as the litmus test for your own faith and understanding, study the word of God and seek His divine guidance. Obedience to God, serving those in need while placing our own interests second, focused firmly on our savior, these are the keys to the life more abundant. Heed the warnings of the scriptures in regards to false teachers, test the spirits, ensure you are standing on firm doctrine according to the will of God.  Matthew chapter 24, verses 4 and 5, a warning that all should take seriously,

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

May God truly bless you and please reach out to us with your questions and prayer requests. If you have not accepted Christ as your savior, please take a moment to read our message “The Way, the Truth and the Life” and let us know how we may help you on your spiritual journey.

Remember, this ministry does not ask for your money, we share the wonderful news of salvation through Jesus Christ with no strings attached, the same way we received it.

 

 

 John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons

J Stephen Frey

 

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What are you afraid of?

As we grow older doesn’t it seem as if time passes faster and faster? Days turn into weeks, then months, and before we know it, another year has come and gone. What do we have to show for it, other than the realization of being another year older? All those plans we made in our youth somehow seem to slip away as we find ourselves established in a work a day lifestyle, paying the bills, running from one function to another, pushed to the brink by deadlines and unexpected challenges that come at us from all directions. At times it can be overwhelming and we need that place to escape. We find our refuge in sports, movies, television…maybe we get a vacation now and then, but Monday always takes us back to the reality of life.  What does it all mean, what is our purpose in all of this?

For believers, we have our purpose, our commission, as given by our savior Jesus in Matthew chapter 28, verses 18 through 20, 

Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.  Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

For those that have not come to know Jesus as their personal savior, the world becomes a road to nowhere. Without God, there is no purpose or meaning, the grave represents the final destination.  I appeal to anyone reading this message if you have not experienced the true love of our heavenly Father, the one who loves us so much that while we were yet sinners, He sent his only begotten Son, Jesus, to live among us and become a sacrifice for all sin so that we can have eternal life, that you would come to know Him.  If you’ve never made that decision, please visit the following link to find out what it means to be saved and how you can take that life-changing step of faith – Pathway to Salvation 

Again, speaking to the believer, have you found your purpose in life? Beyond paying the bills and building your career, what are you doing for the kingdom of God? Have you answered the call or have you become so engrossed in the daily grind that you, like so many other believers, have pushed God into a small corner, a place you visit once a week at best, then it’s back to the world.  What are you waiting for…what are you afraid of? Are you a living testimony to the love of Jesus Christ that resides within you? Have you shared that love with those around you? What are you afraid of?

Lukewarm as defined by Merriam-Webster is to be moderately warm, tepid, such as a lukewarm bath or lukewarm coffee, also lacking conviction, halfhearted, cold, without conviction.  We live in a world of moderately warm Christians, going through the motions, lacking in purpose and conviction. This isn’t how it is meant to be and certainly not what we have been called to do.  

So what are you afraid of, what is holding you back? Why have you settled, you know there is more in life, where is that life more abundant that Jesus promised? The answer may lie with you….why haven’t you answered the call of our heavenly Father and taken up the course which He has laid out for you? For most people the answer is simple – it is hard to walk that line, being a Christian is not easy.  Follow the lives of those first disciples, only John lived out his years and even at that he was exiled to a solitary existence on an island after having survived his intended execution. Watch this short video, listen to the message, then ask yourself this question – am I living the life that my heavenly Father has called me to undertake? What am I doing to add to the kingdom of God? Step up to the challenge, get out of the pew, start living the life God has for you – be the strong disciple that Jesus called you to be – starting now!

Won’t you step up and join us in serving our most loving heavenly Father….reach out to us, leave a message, request prayer, read our message Can I get a Witness?  then seek God in prayer.  You can make a difference in your community, become a Trader, read our message Trader or Traitor?  and join us in the mission field. We encourage you to follow our site and tell your friends, neighbors, co-workers, strangers – use our resources as a place to steer the lost to come to know Jesus Christ. Many of us have that person in our lives that need the good news of salvation, but it never seems to be the right time or place. Maybe it just seems awkward or you’re really not sure what to say.  Try this approach, break the ice by telling them about this website you’ve discovered, how you think they might find it interesting, a site that doesn’t ask for money and allows it’s users to remain anonymous.  That’s why we started this site and it has helped us bring many to the message of salvation – your friend, co-worker, or that stranger that God brings across your path might be changed forever.  Step up and may God truly bless you in your journey.

 

 

John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons

J Stephen Frey

*video is provided by our partners at Right Now media

 

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Mosaic life

Jesus Mocaic

(Simple close up view of mosaic tile)

Throughout my career in business, it was always stressed above all else, teamwork, everyone pulling together towards a common goal. Self-interests were secondary to what was best for the team. Many business models are built on this theme, basically, everyone benefits when we all work towards our shared goals. The oft-times over-used cliche would invariably come up reminding us there is no “I” in team, meant to quash self-interests, lest you become marginalized on the outside of the group.

However, in modern life today, it is the exact opposite with social media dominating the landscape, it’s all about the individual.  We are encouraged to celebrate ourselves, share our every move with the world, invite friends to join us on social media where we update ad nauseam the daily minutia of life; what we’re doing, what we’re eating….look at me today, my life, my things, my surroundings.  It’s a narcissistic playground gone wild.  We not only create our own life narrative but we control it, we share the best of times and manipulate our very image to the likeness we want the world to see.  Reality is what you create and the social media platforms are more than willing to exploit these narcissistic tendencies of the consumer. These personal narratives, however false or misleading, create a “look at me” portfolio to be shared inside this fabricated world of our own creation. Worst of all – the “selfie” – a term not used until just a handful of years ago, now has become part of our everyday lexicon and represents the new norm of narcissism.

I am not saying this is all bad, most of us participate to some degree, with many using these same platforms to encourage, share their spiritual beliefs or raise awareness to many causes.  However, it’s the underlying theme of self above all else that is disturbing and trending in the wrong direction across our society.

At the beginning of this message, I use a simple view of assorted pieces of mosaic tile.  At this close in level, you see the individual pieces, but not the image or purpose.  Similarly, when we focus our view inward, becoming consumed with our own issues, our own perceived shortcomings or other problems, we lose sight of those around us.  We become hypersensitive to our own needs resulting in those needs being placed above all else.  We lose sight of those around us, those we are called to serve as disciples, thus falling out of step with God’s purpose for our life.  We are unable to view the bigger picture of life, the purpose and meaning, becoming lost in our own isolation.  In the world of social media, where we can cover the blemishes of our life, photoshopped to our own liking, we are at risk of losing ourselves in a make-believe world of our own creation.  What’s worse is the more we look inward, puffing up our own self-worth, the farther we drift from the ability to be a servant, following in our Savior’s footsteps.  The greatest narcissist of all time is Satan, so caught up in his own beauty and power that he turned on the Creator and it has cost him everything.  It is no wonder he is using that very tool in attempts to bring down believers and non-believers alike at every opportunity.

In Matthew chapter 28 we are given our assignments by Jesus, to make disciples of all nations and teach them to follow His commandments.  In a nutshell, share the love of Christ with everyone you meet, through words and actions, then participate in their spiritual growth through example and teaching.  The blueprint is laid out quite expressly in the gospels; see Christ and be like Him. You would imagine the value of social media to share Christ with others, but I have to ask the question to believers, have you witnessed to anyone today? This week? This month? Do you worship at a church that challenges you to put other’s needs first – to share the gospel of Jesus with those around you?

These questions are asked for a reason and we want to remind believers, you have the responsibility to study God’s word, not just take for granted that you will be given the tools you need through a church service.  1 John Chapter 4, verse 1 warns us in this way, Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” You can not grow as a believer if you do not actively participate in the process.  What’s worse is if you are attending a church or listening to messages that do not challenge you to share the gospel message and do not encourage your daily bible study – but instead place the focus onto yourself and your needs and desires.  If the latter is your experience, you are being led astray.

So let’s see what this looks like when we bring into focus the dangers in our “look at me” world.  Jesus Christ came to this earth, God in the flesh, and in his own words made clear His purpose.  Jesus stated in Mark chapter 10 verse 45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Jesus put everything aside and became the servant of mankind. You have to go beyond just the example of servitude and examine the benefits of following this great example of life.  It goes so much further than just putting one’s self aside, Jesus gave us this example to help us realize the overall value and benefits of living for others.  When we put down our own selfish interests, we gain a broader perspective and the ability to focus on the true value of life as God intended for us.

Paul exalted all believers in Philippians chapter 2, verses 3 and 4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.”  Paul then followed this with the divine revelation of the Attitude of Christ as written in verses 5 through 11:

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to cling to, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross. Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place, and gave Him the name above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Of course, Jesus himself gave us one of the greatest examples, other than his ultimate sacrifice on the cross, of how we should humble ourselves as servants, placing others above ourselves, when on the evening of the last supper, he got on his knees and washed the feet of his own disciples as written in John chapter 13. Jesus went on to explain to them that they should wash each other’s feet and by doing so, find happiness.

To return to the introduction of this message, we started with a close-up view of mosaic tile, not of any apparent significance or value, rather plain and imperfect around the edges. Singling out this one section is similar to the self-oriented “look at me” society in which we live. Instead of looking at those around us, placing equal or higher value on their needs as opposed to our own, we are told to look at ourselves – that it is okay to value your own needs above all else. This has even made its way into the church, the so-called prosperity message and the empowerment of self, which has gained tremendous popularity and created the mega-churches across our nation, takes the teachings of Christ out of context and blurs the lines between servant and master.  Itching ears like to be stroked, the “you are special” mantra, coupled with the idea that you deserve to be happy and prosperous, marginalizes God and treads on dangerous ground that places ourselves above our creator.  The litmus test to be applied to any doctrine must be the comparison of the message with the teachings of Jesus.  Given that qualifying standard of measure, the “me first” religion that lifts up self-interests and gratification is in direct contradiction of the message shared by Christ.  That’s not to say that God did not promise to bless His followers, in fact, in Matthew chapter 19, verse 29, Jesus tells us, “And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.” Imagine that sort of return on investment, but in all blessings promised, we must resist the idea that this means money, fortune on earth and other worldly possessions.  To do so is a mockery of the scriptures and takes every example of Jesus and reduces it to fit our own worldly desires. Sound instruction comes in Matthew chapter 6, verses 19 through 21,

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:   But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:   For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 

I do not believe that Jesus’ promise to give us a life more abundant ever meant a bigger house, new cars, and money.  Why would we limit the power of our heavenly Father to man-made creations that will only rust, depreciate and eventually pass away?  But let’s return to the point of this message.  (If you ever have questions or wish to discuss these issues raised in our posts, please reach out and share your thoughts, they are always welcome)

The real danger of the “look at me” society in which we live, is the way it contradicts the calling we have from Christ and it is growing in popularity, to the point that it has taken a stronghold inside our own churches.  Many are being led down a blind alley, away from the true calling of our Lord, hearing a message that is soothing to the ears but not based on sound doctrine.  You may read this and think it is nonsense, just another message aimed at putting down those that are different, breaking from tradition and making things uncomfortable.  This is not a complaint against breaking from traditions, such as those that get upset because the music minister doesn’t sing the old gospel hymns, but to the contrary, I am telling you directly, this is a dire warning that must be heeded both personally and as a church body.

2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 1 through 5 states, This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,  without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” 

The warning comes with a disturbing reference when it says “having a form of godliness” which tells me it will resemble a church but in reality will not be of God. In our self-serving ways, we will fall victim to those false teachers that will speak a form of religion that will be pleasing to our ears.  What we need is to be challenged and tutored by the Word of Truth, like-minded with our savior.  However, the more we fall into the pattern of self above all else, the easier it will be to turn from that message and seek the things that please us, self-help, prosperity, religion without conviction.  Paul continues the warning in 2 Timothy chapter 4 verses 3 and 4,

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 

Maybe this seems like an overreaction as if I am drawing dire conclusions from these verses and applying them in a broad moralistic context. Some will rebuff these warnings as another zealot playing on our fears with the age-old warning “the end is near.” Just this morning I read a story in the national media which says that a Christian numerologist – a title of which I am totally unfamiliar – has deciphered from what he interprets as biblical code along with date markers from the pyramids of Giza that point to the world ending on September 23rd of this year. I do not scoff at the notion of the end of the world, the bible very clearly states that God will bring this world to an end. However, there is no code to be deciphered or any other clues that have been left lying about as if God wanted us to figure it out.  The only reply to anyone that predicts the end of the world is the very words of Jesus in Matthew chapter 24, verse 36 which states, But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”  That leaves no room for anyone to stand up and claim they know the day and the hour so even the well-intended (although I am very skeptical of intentions when it comes to biblical contradictions) can be led astray by these sorts of claims.

Suffice it to say, we serve a God of Love, one that loves us so much that He provided the solution to a sinful world, salvation through Jesus Christ.  We have nothing to fear, but we must heed the warnings and be vigilant in our relationship with our heavenly Father so that we are not led astray. The world today is pulling at everyone to be full of themselves, be selfish, take what is yours and demand equality at every turn. This is the tool of the enemy and it is in direct contradiction to the example given by Jesus. There are so many reasons to follow Christ’s examples and one of the greatest is to die to self, truly accept and embrace the salvation through Jesus and as Paul states in Romans chapter 6 verse 4,  “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Walking in the newness of life in Christ means we have died to the old self. We put off the selfish ways of our past and embrace the new walk as disciples of Christ.  To go back to the beginning of this message, we showed a single mosaic tile, part of a larger image, but when we focus simply on ourselves, all we can see is the single tile.  Our problems are magnified, we become disengaged from those around us and we desire only that which pleases us.  We make ourselves more important than the greater surroundings of that which is beyond our view. In the end, we have nothing to show for our lives, just one small mosaic tile that seemed meaningless and without merit.  If only we would follow our Savior’s example, look beyond our own selves, care about those around us and strive to put our own desires and selfish interests away.  If we can learn to walk by faith, living a true LIFE BEYOND HORIZONS, only then will we start to gain that broader perspective on life and begin to realize the abundance of joy and hope that Christ promised to those that follow Him.  I leave this to you now, which do you take, the single-minded view of the selfish individual, the single tile, or do you accept Jesus Christ and follow His example of obedience and selflessness to the end….for when we expand our worldview, see beyond the single tile of our own self-interests, then and only then our Father will reveal the truth, the wonderful mosaic that we share in Jesus Christ. Life has true meaning as a follower of Jesus and our place, the single mosaic tile, represents our place as true heirs of God.

Jesus Mosaic

 

 

 John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons

J Stephen Frey

 

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When bad things happen to good people

Arkansas_Buffalo River valley near Ponca

Most everyone has either heard this phrase, titled from a book published some twenty years ago by a respected Jewish Rabbi or like many have pondered the question yourself. Why is it that bad things happen to good people? This world contains untold suffering, from disease or natural phenomenon, all the way up to evil perpetrated upon each other. The tragedy of weather, destructive hurricanes, wildfires, all taking a heavy toll on our communities, leaving some to wonder, how can a loving God allow this to happen?

For the non-believer, the atheist, these sorts of events are often the example they use to justify their non-belief and it is used as a point of debate. How do we, as believers, respond to these types of rebukes and what is our role in doing so? Should we enter the debate, attempting to prove that God is real and that the love we have experienced is palpable, or do we stand by and say nothing? The answer is not always black and white and we must always follow the lead of the Holy Spirit.  But let’s break this down from the beginning and make sense of the matter at hand.

There is much to discern in what man considers knowledge compared with spiritual teachings given down by our Creator. When we, as believers in Christ, accepted the free gift of salvation, we were also given the gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell within us. It is through the guidance of the Holy Spirit that we are able to learn and grow in spiritual wisdom through the Word of God. However, natural man, not having come to a place of salvation, does not know God and therefore cannot understand the workings of our Creator in this world.  1 Corinthians chapter 2 verse 14 states,

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 

It is no wonder that men of great worldly knowledge are unable to make sense of the wisdom of God through his Word. Without the Holy Spirit to discern the Word, it is foolishness to the mind of man.  This also accentuates our role as believers, to also be teachers of the Word, having the benefit of discernment that only comes through the Holy Spirit.

In addition, without any knowledge of God, there is no acknowledgment of Satan. When we accept Christ as our savior, we confess our sins and turn away from the sinful nature that was introduced into this world by our adversary, Satan, thus acknowledging his existence. We know through the Word and through spiritual discernment that Satan and his legion of demons roam this earth searching for those they may devour, as written in 1 Peter chapter 5 verse 8. But if you do not believe in God, then you do not acknowledge the enemy in this world that is roaming to and fro leaving his own path of lies and destruction. This is why non-believers are quick to point out and question how a God of love could allow such horrible things to happen. They have no knowledge of God and likewise, have no understanding of the evil that permeates this world we share. Consequently, they deduce that God does not exist, otherwise these terrible things would not be allowed to happen.  They conclude that if God is Love, then certainly He would be all protecting, like a comic book superhero, averting disaster at every turn in order to save humanity.  As I’ve pointed out in previous messages, this is ignorance, as it shows they do not understand God, but I caution, this is not their fault – this is simply how a lost person reacts to a world they do not understand.  Why should we expect them to act any other way?  * I refer you to our message titled “Can I get a Witness?” to follow this aspect in more detail including our responsibilities to share the good news with everyone.

This takes me to a deeper point that we must discuss, the topic of “bad things” and “good people” as taken from the title of this message.  At this point, we should understand why non-believers react to “bad things” and the relation they draw to any conclusion that God does not exist – they do not understand, the Word of God is foolishness.  However, even believers struggle with this concept of bad things and good people, so I ask the question, what qualifies someone as a “good person” as opposed to something else? Is it based on how nice they are to others or how often they go to church? Is it their standing in the community or their success at whatever line of work they’ve chosen? Do we see ourselves as “good people” thence anyone that we see as similar to ourselves must also be “good people?” I warn you, when you start thinking of yourself as good, as if through your good works you are now elevated to some higher level of existence, that is a slippery slope that can lead to a fall.  Let’s compare this to God’s example, the only good person, without fault, that has ever walked the earth, Jesus Christ.  Does anyone want to stand up and claim to be on that level, I think not. So who are we to declare anyone, other than Christ, a good person?  Isaiah chapter 64 verse 6 declares;

“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” 

Broken down in simpler terms, basically, at our very best, we are like filthy rags, and our sins take us away like a passing breeze.  This is where we get ourselves into trouble when we start seeing ourselves as anything other than a sinful wretch that has been granted eternal life through the unconditional love of our Father and Creator.  Somehow along the way, we start seeing ourselves and others as being “good people” and thus we deserve something better in this life.  Don’t misunderstand my point, this is not a bashing of believers and we certainly do not intend to discourage the good works of ministry and outreach. We have to remember and embrace what we are and not lose sight of the incredible grace of our heavenly Father who loves us so much that even while we are yet sinners, He gave his only Son as a sacrifice for our sins.  The debt has been paid, so how much more do you think we deserve? Why do we allow Satan a free pass on all these bad things that go on around us? We know better, but those that are in darkness have no clue, they are unable to discern the truth that we find in the Word because they do not have the ability without the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Shame on us, as believers, for ever questioning the will of God.  We are in a world that has turned it’s collective back on the Creator, yet these same people will quickly point their fingers in anger at our concept of a “loving God” and scoff at us for our beliefs because as they see it, a loving God would not let these things happen.  The truth, however, is that the farther away from God we become, the closer to evil we find ourselves and we deal with the consequences of our own betrayal. But let us be clear on this point, life is in motion and constantly changing all around us, within a world of darkness and sin that was corrupted by Satan.  Mankind is here to build upon a relationship with the Creator, navigating a world corrupted, with good and bad all around, which is not to say that all bad things are some form of punishment.  A hurricane making landfall does not mean a specific area on this earth is being punished, it is a circumstance that comes with living in this turbulent world, whereby believers have an opportunity to shine the light of Jesus Christ in their response, to grow in their own faith while sharing and helping others. Jesus said in Matthew Chapter 5, verse 45,

“for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” 

Maybe the question becomes, why do bad things happen to believers? Why do we suffer when we are following the path of righteousness? Let’s face this head on and not mince our words.  There is no declaration in the entirety of God’s Word that life for those that believe in Jesus Christ will be easier.  To the contrary, Jesus tells us in John chapter 15, verses 18 and 19,

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”  

We will be persecuted for His sake.  But there are also other challenges that we face in daily life and we should not lose sight of the will of our heavenly Father. God is the potter and we are the clay, once we have given ourselves over to Him, we should anticipate challenges and trials as the process of God working with us for our own good.  2 Corinthians chapter 4 verses 8 through 11 states,

We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 

God is constantly at work in our lives, molding us, building our character, growing our faith, so that we may glorify Him and have the tools we will need to be able to persevere to the end. This life is only the beginning and we know that our true rewards are waiting on the other side.

Take hold of these and all promises found in the Word of God. This is why it is of the utmost importance for believers to read the Word at every opportunity and maintain a robust prayer life with our heavenly Father.  The more we look to God, the less we will focus on ourselves.  When we become caught up in our own little world, it becomes easy to see our own problems magnified beyond what they are and the enemy will use those opportunities to create questions and doubts.  This is what leads us to start wondering, why does God let me suffer, doesn’t He love me? Before long, you can find yourself drowning in your own self-pity, rendered totally ineffective for God’s purposes in this life.

So the next time you question why, I challenge you to stop, seek the Lord in prayer and lean on the great examples we find in the Word.  Acts chapter 7 gives us the example of Stephen, who stood up for the truth and did not back down in the face of great opposition.  God loved Stephen, and I dare say, if we are still caught up in the debate of good people, then this man would be at or near the top of any list aside from Jesus himself.  Yet Stephen is taken away into the streets where an angry mob stones him to death. While falling to his knees, Stephen cried out to God in verse 60 “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”  Even unto death, Stephen demonstrated a love for his fellow man that most of us will never attain.  With his dying breath, he showed the utmost compassion to those that would kill him.

Listen to the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy chapter 4, verses 6 through 8,

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”  

Paul was imprisoned and awaiting his certain execution by one of the evilest leaders that Rome had ever seen, Nero.  Yet even in these direst of circumstances, Paul didn’t waste his time wondering why bad things were allowed to happen to a good person.  Paul had grown in his faith to a point that nothing around him could take his eyes off the prize, the eternal life that awaited him and all believers.  

Clearly, we all strive to fight the good fight and push forward to finish the race. This is our calling as disciples and we should push to overcome the trials we face, knowing God is working in our lives, and keep our eyes fixed upon the prize.  Peter put it in the proper perspective in 1 Peter chapter 4, verses 12 and 13,

Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:  But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”  

May God bless you and keep you.  If you are not a believer and want to know more, please reach out to this ministry.  We have no strings attached, we do not want your money, we want to share the good news of Jesus Christ.  For those that are believers, thank you for reading, I encourage you to share your thoughts with us, prayer requests, and any comments you may have on this or other messages.

Share our site with your friends, family or co-workers. If you meet a stranger today and the Holy Spirit tugs at your heart to open up about salvation, pass along this website in the process, direct them to our messages about salvation. Also remember that we offer, free of charge, ministry cards that will help you break the ice to start a conversation about Jesus – go to the comments link at the top of this page and request your cards today.

 John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons

J Stephen Frey

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Can I get a Witness?

Pieta _ Soldani_terracotta 1715

These are very troubling times in which we live. Every day we see anger and hatred manifesting itself across our world through violence and protests, one side against another, as the very fabric of our beliefs are being called into question. This is not new to our world, yet now it is taking a different path, a darker tone of mischief and discontent, coming closer and closer to our doorsteps. It is unsettling, to say the least.

In America, many of us have grown up in a post world war society, enjoying prosperity and security in a life that we have come to expect. A certain balance of good against evil, justice, and symmetry, while we go about the pursuits of our own happiness.  It is fair to say, we like this way of life, we enjoy it, and we expect it to continue uninterrupted. After all, this very way of life was laid out for us in our constitution; life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately, the good life has made it’s way into our churches over these last few decades of prosperity, turning them from a place of solemn worship and devotion, into a place where we expand our social circles, enjoy an hour or two together, then go home, put away the Bible and lose ourselves in our worldly pursuits. That’s not to say we don’t do some good along the way and it’s not a knock on good Christian fellowship which is vital, but can we honestly say that our first priority is reaching the lost for Christ? Do we take the good news with us throughout the week, sharing with friends and strangers our personal testimony, do we invite them to worship with us? Many of you can answer yes, but how much more have lost sight of our true purpose, our calling as disciples, and become more focused on personal agendas, our comforts, our misguided expectations of life. The pursuit of happiness.

In many cases, the church I see today, and I point the finger directly at myself, is one of a spoiled generation of believers; we like things the way they are, we enjoy our air-conditioned version of religion with the proper balance of music and messages, all contained in a neatly organized package, delivered once a week in a timely fashion. We are prodigiously unprepared for the real challenges that await just beyond the horizon.

So let’s ask some basic questions and start at the beginning. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Have you made that profession of faith described in Romans Chapter 10 verse 9,“that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” and if so, where do you stand in your journey as a believer and to what level has your faith grown in that time? Would you be willing to give up your life for your beliefs? You might recoil at that last question, to think that we would ever actually be faced with that decision, my life for my faith in the Lord. If you’re paying attention to the world today, including middle America, then you should be aware that the spirit of the Antichrist is actively roaming about while gaining a stronghold in the minds of many.  1 John chapter 4 verses 2 and 3 states,

By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.

This evil spirit, one and same with our adversary Satan, has been in this world all along and today is stronger than ever and gaining momentum. Are you prepared for the coming onslaught against the church or will you simply get in line when instructed to do so and blend into a society that has lost its very way?  My goal in this message is not to spread fear but to challenge you to flee from your comfortable air-conditioned view on religion and wake up to the life that Jesus has called each one of us to undertake.  The bar has been set very high and we must strive daily to reach the highest levels of our faith in order to fulfill our duties as true disciples of Jesus Christ our Lord.

We are surrounded by a lost world and today, more than any time in recent history, we can see the bitterness of that world, those disillusioned and angry non-believers as they struggle to make sense of their own worldview. At times we see absolute and unbridled hatred spill over into violence, but my question for you to ponder is this; why would you expect non-believers to act any other way? They do not know God, therefore they do not know Love.  1 John 4 verses 19-21 says

We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. 

How can the world come to know God and His love unless we, as believers, step out and proclaim the good news to them? Unfortunately our tendencies today are to step away from the spotlight, blend in, or as with the old saying, go along to get along. Satan is busy setting his traps, building upon a new version of societal thought that your beliefs and ideas are not acceptable if even one person is offended.  The politically correct thought police are on the prowl and believe me, they are less concerned with being offended as they are with shutting down the church as we know it today. We then obediently step in line, lowering our collective voices to a whisper, passing one opportunity after another to share our testimony in public, because it might be awkward or offensive to talk about Christ in the workplace or the grocery store.  We wait until we’re safely inside our church, surrounded by other believers, out of sight of the public domain, to sing our hymns and worship.

Do we really love God, the one who first loved us, or do we lie to ourselves and others? If we truly love our brother, we would not let the moment pass to share the good news of salvation. How could we if it could make the difference between eternal life with Christ or forever to be separated from God and cast out with our enemy and his demons.

Listen to this short excerpt from an interview with famed magician and professed atheist, Penn Jillette, known with his partner as Penn and Teller, as he questions how true believers in Jesus Christ could ever keep that good news to themselves.

My challenge to you today is not to get angry but to take stock in your own spiritual life and honestly review where you are compared to where you know you should be in your walk with the Lord. Do you begin each day with the Word, preparing for the challenges and opportunities you will face? Do you have a daily prayer life? Is your bible easy to find on Sunday morning because it’s always right where you left it when you got home from church the previous week? Did you witness to anyone today, this week, this month? Do the flames of righteousness burn brightly within your soul or has that fire slowly dwindled to fading embers?

I will leave you to ponder those questions but I will also remind you, as the author of this message, I have asked myself those questions and much more and I come up short in every category. This isn’t about beating ourselves up for our shortcomings, this is about the great news and love of our Father, so much so that even when we were yet sinners and lost in this world, He sent his only Son as a sacrifice for all.  Let’s stir those fires within our hearts and rekindle the flames so that we burn brightly in a dark and lost world.  I want to hear from you, share your comments and your prayer requests. I want to know your challenges and I want to pray for you.  If you have not accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, or if you need more information on what it means to be saved, please don’t hesitate to contact our ministry. We are here for you and want to share the Love of God with you. May God truly bless and encourage you on your journey with Him.

 

 John Stephen Frey, Director and Senior Editor, Life Beyond Horizons 

J Stephen Frey

*(photograph of Terra Cotta of Christ by Soldani, from the Frick Museum Collection)

 

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