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Christians and the Environment? (Creation Care)

Hey! Have you heard? The polar ice caps are melting! We’re all going to drown!!

Oh… God already said He wasn’t going to do that again.

Christians and the Environment? (Creation Care)But, the “Consumer Driven Church” still gets sucked into phony environmentalism, which has been branded “Creation Care”. Zondervan has published the Green Bible, which teaches us how “creation cares for us”.

That’s Panentheism.

The forward was written by an Anglican priest who says:

“There are certain parts [of the Bible] we need to say no to. The Bible accepted slavery. St. Paul said women should not speak in church at all, and there are people who have used that to say women should not be ordained. There are many things [in the Bible} that you should accept.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu (From an interview with CNN in 2009 regarding climate change)

So, did Zondervan remove those parts from their Bible?

Rick Warren, along with 100 evangelical leaders and 40 Christian college presidents, called for federal legislation to reduce CO2 emissions, because that’s loving your neighbor. (The Evangelical Environment Network also launched a campaign asking “What would Jesus drive?”) And with God’s help, we can stop global warming for our kids, our world, and for the Lord.

“As Christians, our faith in Jesus Christ compels us to love our neighbors and to be stewards of God’s creation. The good news is that with God’s help, we can stop global warming, for our kids, our world, and for the Lord.” – Evangelical Climate Initiative, The Compassionate Community: Ten Values to Unite America, pg. 195

Uhhh… God is the one who cursed creation. He subjected all things to futility because of the sinfulness of man. But, the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God at the return of Jesus.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (Romans 8:19-21)

God has a plan for the fullness of time to unite all things in Christ – things in heaven and on earth. He will wipe away every tear and death shall be no more.

He set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in Him, things in heaven and things on earth. (Ephesians 1:10)

 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

But you cannot reverse the effects of creation’s decline.

Consider the work of God: who can straighten what God has made crooked? (Ecclesiastes 7:13)

God told us to have dominion over all creation, to fill the earth and subdue it.

And God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth. (Genesis 1:28)

Now, that includes treasuring our resources and respecting all living creatures. There are verses about that.

Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.

Whoever will work his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense. (Proverbs 12:10-11)

But the only “global warming” the world needs to be concerned about is the fire of God being stored up for the Day of Judgment and the destruction of the ungodly.

They deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the Day of Judgment and the destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:5-7)

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!

…when we understand the text.

(This video is by WWUTT. Discovered by Christian Podcast Central and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Christian Podcast Central.)

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Jesus in HD Slider

Welcome to the Olivet Discourse. The End Times prophetic address that Jesus gave to His disciples high atop the Mount of Olives, immediately to the East of the Holy City, Jerusalem.

As you will hear in this PODCAST, that lovely little land that we affectionately call Israel is the center of the world.

Literally and metaphorically.

Literally, because Israel is the place where the three major continents — Europe, Asia, and Africa — tenderly touch and affectionately kiss each other. Which goes a long way to explaining why God chose this modest piece of real estate — a mere 150 miles long (North-South), 50 miles wide (West-East) — as stage for the Greatest Story Ever Told.

Metaphorically the center of the world because throughout all of human history, the eyes of world have ever been focused squarely on the Middle East — so called because it sits in the middle or center of the world. And in center of the Middle East sits Israel.

So Israel is indeed the center of the world.

That said, Jerusalem is the center of Israel, and the Temple is the center of Jerusalem.

So it is no wonder that Jesus and His disciples took a timeout from all of the hubbub of activities on this Tuesday of Jesus’ final week, exactly three days before Jesus would go to the cross.

As they sat upon the Mount of Olives taking in that breathtaking view of the Holy City and its glorious Temple – God’s House, what Jesus called “My Father’s House,” what many of our Jewish friends call “The House” – the disciples were moved by that spectacular panoramic portrait to ask Jesus these two most important questions in Matthew 24: “What will be the sign of your coming,” and “What will be the sign of the end of the age?”

Jesus’ answer to those questions comprise what we now call the Olivet Discourse, spanning two full chapters, Matthew 24-25.

As you are about to hear, there are Two Interpretive Keys to understanding these all-important prophetic chapters.

The first of these keys is to understand that the disciples’ questions were VERY focused. Their first question was a direct reference to Jesus’ Second Coming. Their second question was in reference to a distinctly different moment in the future – the end of the age. As an answer to these very specific questions, Jesus offered a very specific answer. He doesn’t talk to them about the Rapture, but about His Second Coming. Therefore, Matthew 24-25 is a “Second Coming Passage”. Jesus doesn’t discuss the Rapture until two days later, as written in John 14 in the Upper Room Discourse.

So, as we approach Jesus’ Second Coming, which will come at the end of the seven-year Tribulation… which will begin after the Rapture, the “signs of the times” that Jesus describes become very applicable to us, here in the 21st Century.

This week, we will discuss the first three of six “signs of the times” that Jesus describes.

The second interpretive key comes from Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:8,

But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

Some Biblical translations use the word “sorrows” in place of “birth pains”. Nevertheless, the original Hebrew text that Matthew wrote contained a very precise word referring to the pains of a woman in labor.

Talk about a masterful and meaningful metaphor!

Like birth pains, as the “signs of the times” begin, they will then proceed, becoming far more intense and far more frequent. So, the reason that Jesus used this metaphor is: as we near the “end of the age” and His Second Coming, and therefore the Rapture, the events will occur with a never-before seen intensity and frequency.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I know these things have been occurring throughout the world and throughout the history of mankind… but not with the intensity and frequency that we are in store for. So, like labor pains, as we see the frequency and intensity of these events growing and growing, we should realize that the “moment” is drawing nearer and nearer.

What I find most interesting is that as I read Jesus’ words in Matthew 24, it sounds eerily similar to today’s news headlines. Yet He said these things over 2,000 years ago:

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.  For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. (Matthew 24:3-5)

So, as Jesus put it, there will be a lot of false teachers rising in popularity across the planet – not all of them, but many of them actually claiming to be Christ, the Messiah!

IN other words, we must choose our Bible teachers very carefully!

Now, I realize this isn’t news. There have always been false teachers, ever since the beginning of the Christian Church. But, like labor pains, as Jesus points out, the amount of intensity and frequency of false doctrine being taught around the world will grow at unprecedented rates.

Interestingly enough, we are seeing the number of false teachers sweeping the globe as never before seen in human history. This might be, if for no other reason, that there are simply more media outlets than ever before. Anyone with an internet connection can put their teachings for the world to digest…and there are many who do so with false doctrine, mostly motivated by greed and/or a lust for power. On a deeper level, this increased frequency of false teaching is brought on by Satan, himself.

Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.  These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead. (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

Now, part of the mystery and majesty of Jesus’ metaphor is that Paul was writing to Timothy about the “last times” some 2,000 years ago. Here we are two millennium later, and therefore even closer than Paul and Timothy were to those days.

Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy. (1 Timothy 6:3-5)

Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge.  Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness. (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

So, if this warning was applicable in Paul and Timothy’s day, how much more applicable is it to our lives today?

I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom:  Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

 For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.  They will reject the truth and chase after myths. But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

I remember years ago, sitting under the teaching of one particular pastor. He was telling us about a cruise that he and his wife had just returned from – the gorgeous sea, palm tree lined beaches, and glorious weather they enjoyed. He then said that what impressed him most about his trip was that every night, when they were done with their day’s activities, they would discover that someone had come into their cabin, turned down their bed and prepared everything for them, including laying a little mint on their pillows. Then he said, “You know… that perfectly describes our relationship with God, who comes into our room into our room every night and turns down our bed and puts a little mint on our pillows.”

Now, that’s heart warming.

But is it true? Is God’s role to serve me? I thought I was here to serve Him.

This is like the myths that Paul was warning Timothy about – a nice sounding story that may contain truth, but ultimately is untruthful.

I am also reminded of the words Paul said to the church leaders at Ephesus:

 “So guard yourselves and God’s people. Feed and shepherd God’s flock—his church, purchased with his own blood — over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as leaders. I know that false teachers, like vicious wolves, will come in among you after I leave, not sparing the flock.  Even some men from your own group will rise up and distort the truth in order to draw a following.  Watch out! Remember the three years I was with you—my constant watch and care over you night and day, and my many tears for you.” (Acts 20:28-31)

Image: Manfred

Image: Manfred

What’s most frightening about Paul’s warning is that when it comes to false teachers, he wasn’t talking about malicious people coming from outside of their church. He was talking about false teachers rising up from within their congregation.

Peter offers similar warnings in 2 Peter 2:1-2

False teachers will also sneak in and speak harmful lies to you. But these teachers don’t really belong to the Master who paid a great price for them, and they will quickly destroy themselves.  Many people will follow their evil ways and cause others to tell lies about the true way.

John added his voice to the chorus when he wrote in 1 John 4:1-3

Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.  This is how we know if they have the Spirit of God: If a person claiming to be a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ came in a real body, that person has the Spirit of God.  But if someone claims to be a prophet and does not acknowledge the truth about Jesus, that person is not from God.

I don’t believe that it is impossible to overstate this case. It is a constant drumbeat throughout the New Testament. And Jesus actually gave the most pointed warning of all in His Sermon on the Mount:

“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’  But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ (Matthew 7:15-23)

All this to say, that the first sign that Jesus warned about was false teachers coming in multitudes, so choose your teachers carefully!

Sign number two:

And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. (Matthew 24:6) 

Image: J.D. Luedi

Image: J.D. Luedi

Why not? Well, as we have already discussed in earlier podcasts, the end won’t come until after the final war of Armageddon. So, until that war, the end (along with Christ’s Second Coming) is not eminent. But, this doesn’t pertain to the Rapture.

Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. (Matthew 24:7)

Once again, there has never been a time when we have basked in the glow of worldwide peace. Nor with there be a time such as this until the end. In fact, the first World War was supposed to be the “War to end all Wars”… but then came World War II. Decades later, the Iraq war was supposed to bring democracy to and stabilize the Middle East. It didn’t.

As of July 18th, according to WarsInTheWorld.com, there were 67 countries embroiled in some kind of armed conflict. Now, in regards of acceleration of all this. Since September 11, 2001, we have not only witnessed an ongoing escalation of military hotspots around the world; but for the first time in human history, we have seen a new and terrible way to “do war”. Since September 11, 2001, we have been engaged in what the experts call Asymmetrical Warfare. In Symmetrical Warfare – what the world has known since warfare began – there were two opposing forces, each with identifying uniforms so that each side knew who the enemy was, combating against one another. There were careful rules of engagement, and the two sides would battle until either the last man was standing or a truce was made. But today, we are fighting in a completely different kind of war against a completely different kind of enemy – radical Islamic terrorists who have no rules of engagement except to kill anyone by any means possible. This is not a war fought on a battlefield between to opposing armies, but a war waged against innocent civilians in barbaric acts of targeted terrorism. And no nation or people seem to be immune to this war.

Yet, as Jesus told us… DO NOT PANIC.

There is no need for you and me to feel unsettled, despite what we see, read, and experience almost daily. In fact, after telling us to not panic, Jesus continued by saying that these things actually MUST take place. So, if there is any comfort to be found for those of us who hopelessly watch this war unfold before our eyes, it is that none of this catches God off guard or by surprise.

Jesus said it would be this way, and it actually has to happen… even with increased intensity and frequency.

So, when people look at these horrific world events and wonder such things as “How can a loving God allow this?” and their faith is rocked to the core, I can only respond by saying that my faith is actually bolstered in all this. Jesus said it would be this way. Therefore, I expect it.

So, don’t panic. Because as the frequency and intensity of this Asymmetrical War grows hotter and hotter, so the timing of the Rapture and Jesus’ Second Coming grows that much closer. We don’t need to panic because as Paul wrote in Romans 8:22-25,

For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope for it.  But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

So, groaning deeply, we wait eagerly.

And, speaking of creation groaning, let me move to the third sign. In Matthew 24:7, Jesus said:

“There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world.  But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.”

Image: Patsy Poor

Image: Patsy Poor

So, let’s talk about natural disasters. I don’t want to get politically controversial. You can call it global warming, or climate change, or natural progression of the planet’s weather systems. I really don’t care what you believe regarding the planet’s weather. But the one thing we cannot choose to believe or not to believe is what is happening throughout our country and the world regarding drought, earthquakes, severe floods and the like. You can say that this has always been the case and we are in the midst of another identifiable cycle. BUT, the truth is that this is not a linear cycle. We are in the midst of, at the very least, cycles on an upward incline. The frequency and intensity of global seismic, atmospheric and climatic disasters are continuously increasing. Whether this activity is manmade or not; or whether it has anything to do with fossil fuels… all this can be debated. But, what cannot be debated is that change is occurring.

It is absolutely true that droughts, and famines, and earthquakes have occurred over and over again throughout human history. But what we are witnessing is an undeniable increase in the intensity and frequency of droughts, famines, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and other catastrophic weather related events.

I do find it interesting that while Jesus didn’t list off every type of weather related catastrophe that could and will happen, He did choose to name off the two that are the most illustrious. He mentioned famines, which do speak of climate and weather. He also mentioned earthquakes, which are the very picture of labor pains, as if the earth itself is about to give birth. And if you have ever been through an earthquake, you know that in the more severe shakers, you can literally hear the earth groaning as it happens.

The world is broken. But – at the risk of getting political – no matter which person wins the Presidential Election this year, they are not the person who will fix it. Neither candidate is our hope. This is not fixable.

In Luke’s abbreviated account of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus said these comforting words:

So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!” (Luke 21:28)

That is our hope.

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John Stonestreet, Jeff Allen, Joel Fieri and Jefferson Drexler discuss 21st century cultural issues in light of a Christian worldview.

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In our recent live webcast, Jeff Allen and Jefferson Drexler discuss the 21st Century Culture Wars.

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I want to focus on an interesting question that seems to me very relevant for today, and the question is: “who’s in charge of Doomsday?” You might think that’s an odd question, but bear with me.

For all of my childhood years and really for most of the second half of the 20th century, it was widely believed the world would end in a holocaust of thermonuclear war. To give you an example from my world, I grew up in a house with a bomb shelter. My father actually made a living for a while building them, and he put one underneath our house. Two giant steel doors and a musty room with bunk beds, provisions, and even a hand cranked air purifier. It was designed for our survival through a massive Soviet missile strike and the resulting fallout, but what it turned out to be was an expensive playroom for me and my friends. And last I heard it’s now a wine cellar for the current occupants of that house.

But back then in the Cold War days, Civil Defense precautions were very common. In school we were taught to “duck and cover” in case of a nuclear attack. Air raid sirens went off at regular intervals in pretty much every city.

This all started of course with the atomic bomb being dropped at the end of World War II, and with the Soviets getting the bomb a few years later.

Also, in 1947 a group of scientists invented the Doomsday Clock, symbolizing the world’s imminent destruction from nuclear war. The closer the clock got to midnight, the closer we were to Armageddon. The clock was originally set to seven minutes ‘til midnight, and currently we’re at five minutes ‘til but it’s a little different now and I’ll tell you why later.

Several famous movies and TV shows, including one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, depicted the post-nuclear war Earth with only a few dazed survivors. But, low and behold, the nuclear holocaust didn’t happen. The Soviet Union eventually collapsed, and massive nuclear strikes became less and less an issue. But before that, we were all convinced that nuclear war would end humanity

So we had to find a new doomsday scenario, and this time it was overpopulation.

In the 1960’s a college professor named Paul Erlich wrote a best-selling book called “The Population Bomb”.  In it he predicted that by the end of the 1970s, hundreds of millions of people would starve to death as the world ran out of food. Entire countries would cease to exist and world-wide destruction would come by the 1990s. And nothing could be done about it. It was inevitable.

Dave Murrow wrote about this recently in his Church for Men blog:

“All the smart people were certain this catastrophe would happen. But it didn’t.  Despite a doubling of world population since the 1950s, famine due to overpopulation is unknown in the world today. There’s plenty of food – the main challenge is getting it past corrupt officials to the people who need it. Ironically, the U.N. recently identified obesity as the world’s number one health challenge.”

Now, maybe you’re like me and you’re thinking that all these supposedly “smart people” would come to the conclusion that when your doomsday predictions don’t come to pass, maybe you should stop predicting doomsday.

Ah, but you’d be wrong.

These great thinkers have now gone all-in on the doomsday scenario of our time : global warming.

Former Vice President Al Gore, Professor Michael Mann and even NASA scientists and most other scientists who want government grants or just to keep their jobs, are predicting world-wide catastrophe from rising CO2 and other man made factors. The doomsday clock I mentioned earlier is now predicting our demise from these and other threats instead of nuclear war. And again, these smart people have made very specific predictions about what will happen. Most of the predictions are being pushed back to occur later in this century, but there are a few timely ones that we can look back on and analyze. 

Here’s just a couple I found:  In 2005 the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected that by 2010 the world will need to cope with a stampede of 50 million “climate refugees,” who purportedly would flee their homes due to the flooding of coastal cities, and the rapid expansion of deserts. Well 2010 is three years past and this didn’t happen, and the U.N. has recently taken it all back.

Also in 2005, after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, I remember hearing predictions that the 2006 hurricane season would be unusually heavy and severe, with many large storms hitting the U.S. – all due to global warming. But the ’06 hurricane season was actually very light, with few storms even big enough to get their own name.

Again, very specific doomsday predictions. Dead wrong.

So what does this all mean? What has this got to do with “The Big Picture”?

Well, plenty. It goes back to my original question of “Who’s in charge of Doomsday?”

Again I have to credit Dave Murrow for inspiring this question. His blog post that I mentioned earlier is entitled “Why Hell Went Out Of Fashion”. In it, Dave explains that the Christian message of the end of the World and God’s judgement has been replaced by a more positive and relational message. This has happened for a number of reasons, one of them being the fact that death and eternity are no longer a concern as people are living longer and longer here on Earth. But the main reason he cites is that the story of God’s destruction and judgement of the Earth, in other words “Doomsday’, has been replaced with the previously mentioned man-made “doomsday” predictions. 

The Church just can’t compete with these trendy beliefs.

But I want to take his point one step further. In seeking to replace the Biblical story of judgement, the secular world doesn’t want to just replace the story, it wants to replace the judge.

If God is the cause of Doomsday, then in the end, we’re accountable to Him. But if man can cause ‘doomsday’, then man is all powerful and we are only accountable to ourselves (more specifically to those who have power over us).

You can see this happening in our culture today. I recently came across an article entitled “Climate Change Study: Religious Belief In Second Coming Of Christ Could Slow Global Warming Action”. It’s about a study that was done which found that religious beliefs about the ‘end of the world’ are holding back government action on climate change in the U.S. This was very troubling to the authors, who’s clear implication was that eventually these problematic folks and their inconvenient beliefs would have to be dealt with.

Also, I think these man-made crises are an attempt to replace the eternal with the temporal. We need to worry about the here and now. Eternity spent with or separated from an eternal God is not relevant. We need to save ourselves NOW! And again, these assertions always come with an appeal for immediate political action, again by those who have power over us.

Now, environmental concerns are legitimate. But the secular world has adopted them as a replacement for faith. The human being has always had a God-shaped hole in it’s soul. Those who don’t want to be accountable to God will naturally seek to fill that hole with anything but God. Some worship themselves, some turn to concerns bigger than themselves. But neither will accept or tolerate the real answer to this void. I think this may be part of what the Apostle Paul meant when he said in Romans 1:25 that men would deny the attributes of God and would worship His creation. This came with a warning in the ensuing verses as to all the evils that would result when this happens. 

So, in The Big Picture, in a world that is seeking a story, any story, to replace the story of God as not only Creator but also as Destroyer and Judge, the answer to the question of ‘who’s in charge of Doomsday?’ is, and always has been, God. We need to stick with that answer, and that story.

In closing, it’s time for the Great Cloud Of Witnesses, the segment of our podcast where we meet and hear the stories of those who have given, and some who are still giving, their lives by faith in the promises of God, and of whom the world was and is not worthy (if you don’t know that reference, please check out Hebrews chapter 11-12 in your Bible). Today’s witness is an un-named Cuban prisoner:

“Sign the statement!” screamed the Cuban officer, forcing a pen into the Christian prisoner’s hand.  The written statement in front of the prisoner contained accusations about other Christians.   His signature was all the government needed to arrest the others. 

“I cannot sign this paper”, the Christian said, calmly looking the officer in the eye.

“Why not?” asked the captain with exaggerated calm, before swearing at the man. “Do you not know how to write your own name?!”

“It is because of the chain, my friend.  The chain keeps me from signing this.”

Grabbing the prisoner’s hands roughly, the officer held them in front of his face.  “But you are not in chains, you idiot!” he screamed.

“Oh, but I am.” said the Christian.  “I am bound by the chains of witnesses, who throughout the centuries have given their lives for Christ.  I am yet one more link in this chain, and I will not break it.”

Though he was threatened and roughed up, the prisoner refused to sign.”

Now I’m sure you’ve all noticed, many of the witnesses I’m finding and sharing with you are un-named. Like many of the faithful witnesses talked about in Hebrews, we don’t know their names, only God and their oppressors do. But we do know they are part of the great chain that this Cuban prisoner knew so well, and for his faithfulness, I prayerfully nominate him to the great cloud of witnesses, of whom the world, and certainly his interrogator, is not worthy.

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In this week’s podcast, Joel Fieri takes a look back at Doomsday prophecies and preparations in American and global history and comes to a very revealing conclusion:  If God controls the earth’s “Doomsday”, tehn we are accountable to Him, BUT if mankind is able to bring about the end of the world, then we only have ourselves to answer to.  There’s an easy answer to the question, “Which direction on this scale is our society heading toward?”  As Joel puts it, concerns about our world are legitimate – so long as they don’t replace our faith in God!

Joel then wraps up his podcast in typical fashion with a story of a modern day hero linked to the chain of witnesses who have poured out their lives for God’s glory.

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