What the Bible says about light and seed

The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.

The Good Seed and the Weeds “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Matthew 13:24,25.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Column One: From Yemen to Turtle Bay - Caroline Glick

Off the coast of Yemen and at the UN Security Council we are seeing the strategic endgame of Barack Obama’s administration. And it isn’t pretty.

Since Sunday, Iran’s Houthi proxies in Yemen have attacked US naval craft three times in the Bab al-Mandab, the narrow straits at the mouth of the Red Sea. The Bab al-Mandab controls maritime traffic in the Red Sea, and ultimately controls the Suez Canal.

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Whether the Iranians directed these assaults or simply green-lighted them is really beside the point. The point is that these are Iranian strikes on the US. The Houthis would never have exposed themselves to US military retaliation if they hadn’t been ordered to do so by their Iranian overlords.

The question is why has Iran chosen to open up an assault on the US? The simple answer is that Iran has challenged US power at the mouth of the Red Sea because it believes that doing so advances its strategic aims in the region.

Iran’s game is clear enough. It wishes to replace the US as the regional hegemon, at the US’s expense.

Since Obama entered office nearly eight years ago, Iran’s record in advancing its aims has been one of uninterrupted success.

Iran used the US withdrawal from Iraq as a means to exert its full control over the Iraqi government. It has used Obama’s strategic vertigo in Syria as a means to exert full control over the Assad regime and undertake the demographic transformation of Syria from a Sunni majority state to a Shi’ite plurality state.

In both cases, rather than oppose Iran’s power grabs, the Obama administration has welcomed them. As far as Obama is concerned, Iran is a partner, not an adversary.

Since like the US, Iran opposes al-Qaida and ISIS, Obama argues that the US has nothing to fear from the fact that Iranian-controlled Shiite militias are running the US-trained Iraqi military.

So, too, he has made clear that the US is content to stand by as the mullahs become the face of Syria.

In Yemen, the US position has been more ambivalent. In late 2014, Houthi rebel forces took over the capital city of Sanaa. In March 2015, the Saudis led a Sunni campaign to overthrow the Houthi government. In a bid to secure Saudi support for the nuclear agreement it was negotiating with the Iranians, the Obama administration agreed to support the Saudi campaign. To this end, the US military has provided intelligence, command and control guidance, and armaments to the Saudis.

Iran’s decision to openly assault US targets then amounts to a gamble on Tehran’s part that in the twilight of the Obama administration, the time is ripe to move in for the kill in Yemen. The Iranians are betting that at this point, with just three months to go in the White House, Obama will abandon the Saudis, and so transfer control over Arab oil to Iran.

For with the Strait of Hormuz on the one hand, and the Bab al-Mandab on the other, Iran will exercise effective control over all maritime oil flows from the Arab world.

It’s not a bad bet for the Iranians, given Obama’s consistent strategy in the Middle East.

Obama has never discussed that strategy.

Indeed, he has deliberately concealed it. But to understand the game he has been playing all along, the only thing you need to do listen to his foreign policy soul mate.

According to a New York Times profile published in May, Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes is the president’s alter ego. The two men’s minds have “melded.”

Rhodes’s first foreign policy position came in the course of his work for former congressman Lee Hamilton.

In 2006, then-president George W. Bush appointed former secretary of state James Baker and Hamilton to lead the Iraq Study Group. Bush tasked the group with offering a new strategy for winning the war in Iraq. The group released its report in late 2006.

The Iraq Study Group’s report contained two basic recommendations. First, it called for the administration to abandon Iraq to the Iranians.

The group argued that due to Iran’s opposition to al-Qaida, the Iranians would fight al-Qaida for the US.

The report’s second recommendation related to Israel. Baker, Hamilton and their colleagues argued that after turning Iraq over to Iran, the US would have to appease its Sunni allies.

The US, the Iraq Study Group report argued, should simultaneously placate the Sunnis and convince the Iranians of its sincerity by sticking it to Israel. To this end, the US should pressure Israel to give the Golan Heights to Syria and give Judea and Samaria to the PLO.

Bush rejected the Iraq Study Group report. Instead he opted to win the war in Iraq by adopting the surge counterinsurgency strategy.

But once Bush was gone, and Rhodes’s intellectual twin replaced him, the Iraq Study Group recommendations became the unstated US strategy in the Middle East.

After taking office, Obama insisted that the US’s only enemy was al-Qaida. In 2014, Obama grudgingly expanded the list to include ISIS.

Obama has consistently justified empowering Iran in Iraq and Syria on the basis of this narrow definition of US enemies. Since Iran is also opposed to ISIS and al-Qaida, the US can leave the job of defeating them both to the Iranians, he has argued.

Obviously, Iran won’t do the US’s dirty work for free. So Obama has paid the mullahs off by giving them an open road to nuclear weapons through his nuclear deal, by abandoning sanctions against them, and by turning his back on their ballistic missile development.

Obama has also said nothing about the atrocities that Iranian-controlled militia have carried out against Sunnis in Iraq and has stopped operations against Hezbollah.

As for Israel, since his first days in office, Obama has been advancing the Iraq Study Group’s recommendations. His consistent, and ever escalating condemnations of Israel, his repeated moves to pick fights with Jerusalem are all of a piece with the group’s recommended course of action. And there is every reason to believe that Obama intends to make good on his threats to cause an open rupture in the US alliance with Israel in his final days in office.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s phone call with Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday night made this clear enough. In the course of their conversation, Netanyahu reportedly asked Kerry if Obama intended to enable an anti-Israel resolution to pass in the UN Security Council after the presidential election next month. By refusing to rule out the possibility, Kerry all but admitted that this is in fact Obama’s intention.

And this brings us back to Iran’s assaults on US ships along the coast of Yemen.

Early on Sunday morning, the US responded to the Houthi/Iranian missile assaults by attacking three radar stations in Houthi-controlled territory. The nature of the US moves gives credence to the fear that the US will surrender Yemen to Iran.

This is so for three reasons. First, the administration did not allow the USS Mason destroyer to respond to the sources of the missile attack against it immediately. Instead, the response was delayed until Obama himself could determine how best to “send a message.”

That is, he denied US forces the right to defend themselves.

Second, it is far from clear that destroying the radar stations will inhibit the Houthis/Iranians.

It is not apparent that radar stations are necessary for them to continue to assault US naval craft operating in the area.

Finally, the State Department responded to the attack by reaching out to the Houthis. In other words, the administration is continuing to view the Iranian proxy is a legitimate actor rather than an enemy despite its unprovoked missile assaults on the US Navy.

Then there is the New York Times’ position on Yemen.

The Times has repeatedly allowed the administration to use it as an advocate of policies the administration itself wishes to adopt. Last week for instance, the Times called for the US to turn on Israel at the Security Council.

On Tuesday, the Times published an editorial calling for the administration to end its military support for the Saudi campaign against the Houthis/Iran in Yemen.

Whereas the Iranian strategy makes sense, Obama’s strategy is nothing less than disastrous.

Although the Iraq Study Group, like Obama, is right that Iran also opposes ISIS, and to a degree, al-Qaida, they both ignored the hard reality that Iran also views the US as its enemy. Indeed, the regime’s entire identity is tied up in its hatred for the US and its strategic aim of destroying America.

Obama is not the only US president who has sought to convince the Iranians to abandon their hatred for America. Every president since 1979 has tried to convince the mullahs to abandon their hostility. And just like all of his predecessors, Obama has failed to convince them.

What distinguishes Obama from his predecessors is that he has based US policy on a deliberate denial of the basic reality of Iranian hostility. Not surprisingly, the Iranians have returned his favor by escalating their aggression against America.

The worst part about Obama’s strategy is that it is far from clear that his successor will be able to improve the situation.

If Hillary Clinton succeeds him, his successor is unlikely to even try. Not only has Clinton embraced Obama’s policies toward Iran.

Her senior advisers are almost all Obama administration alumni. Wendy Sherman, the leading candidate to serve as her secretary of state, was Obama’s chief negotiator with the Iranians.

If Donald Trump triumphs next month, assuming he wishes to reassert US power in the region, he won’t have an easy time undoing the damage that Obama has caused.

Time has not stood still as the US has engaged in strategic dementia. Not only has Iran been massively empowered, Russia has entered the Middle East as a strategic spoiler.

Moreover, since 2001, the US has spent more than a trillion dollars on its failed wars in the Middle East. That investment came in lieu of spending on weapons development. Today Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missiles in Syria reportedly neutralize the US’s air force.

US naval craft in the Bab al-Mandab have little means to defend themselves against missile strikes.

The US’s trillion-dollar investment in the F-35 fighter jet has tethered its air wings to a plane that has yet to prove its capabilities, and may never live up to expectations.

Israel is justifiably worried about the implications of Obama’s intention to harm it at the UN.

But the harm Israel will absorb at the UN is nothing in comparison to the long-term damage that Obama’s embrace of the Iraq Study Group’s disastrous strategic framework has and will continue to cause Israel, the US and the entire Middle East.


Monday, October 3, 2016

Mid-East Prophecy Update - J.D. Farag 10 2 2016

"Getting" it - The Omega Letter - Jack Kinsella

Republished from omegaletter.com
In Defense of the Faith
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Jack Kinsella - Omega Letter Editor
I cannot recall a time when I ever really disbelieved in God. Reaching way back into the dim recesses, I thought of God as my “Big Friend” – I remember talking to Him from my earliest memories. As I grew older, I put God away, but I don’t think I ever doubted He was real.
That doesn’t mean that I was saved back then – far from it. I could never convince myself that God wasn’t real, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t try. I just did what human beings have done since the Fall:
“And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3:8)
Adam and Eve believed in God – heck, they used to walk with Him in the cool of the evening, according to the rabbinical sages. And in a sense, so did I. As a boy pretending to “drive” my little red wagon, I was never alone – I always had Him to talk to.
When I would be afraid at night, I would talk with Him until I fell asleep. I didn’t know His Name – to me He was just ‘God’ but in my innocence, I walked with Him and He walked with me.

I don’t know why my earliest memories seem so vivid and clear; I suspect it is because I lost my mother to cancer when I was ten. Because of that, those memories are the ones I most cherish – they are the ones I pull out most often.

But many of them are as clear to me today as they ever were. By the time I was ten, I had already followed Adam and Eve’s example of hiding from God, but I remember relying heavily on the knowledge that she was still alive in Heaven forevermore.

I counted on God to take care of her, so it wasn’t as if I didn’t believe He existed. But I wasn’t saved. And by then, I needed saving – I was well past the age of accountability, knowing right from wrong and doing wrong, eyes wide open.

I couldn’t face God anymore, so I learned to put Him out of my mind, except in times of danger, when I might invoke His Name – but I really didn’t know Him – that little boy was all grown up. I put Him on the same mental shelf as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy, knowing full well He didn’t belong there.

I’d been educated in a Catholic school and figured that I knew what it took to be saved and it seemed to me to be both way too hard and absolutely no fun.
I had a lot of sinning to do and I really didn’t want Him watching.
By the time I actually heard the Gospel for the first time, I was about twenty-six -- and about the only part of the Bible that seem to apply to me was Job 20:11-14:
“His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust. Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue; Though he spare it, and forsake it not; but keep it still within his mouth: Yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within him.”
There’s more, but you get the idea. As I said, I knew that God is, but I hid from Him because I had a lot of sinning planned and didn’t want Him to get in the way. But sin has a way of taking you further than you want to go and keeping you there longer than you wanted to stay.

It starts out sweetness to the mouth, but “the gall of asps” inside. Full to the brim with asp gall, I heard the Gospel one Wednesday night at a little one room church, but I didn’t go up at the altar call.

I couldn’t – too much asp gall. But I couldn’t put the message out of my mind the way I usually did. That night, the enemy overplayed his hand. I woke up in my bedroom, which was cold as ice.

My breath frosted as I breathed and I sensed a malevolent presence in the room. It was terrifying. Maybe it was a dream. I don’t know. But they had given me a little pocket New Testament that night at church which I had put on the nightstand unopened and unread after coming home.

I reached over and as I touched it, I felt a comforting Presence. I put the New Testament under my pillow and went to sleep. Next morning, when I realized what had happened, I hit my knees and turned my life over to Jesus.

I was right. It was hard. But I had met the Enemy that night, and having met the Enemy, I knew whose side I wanted to be on. Everybody told me about their transformation when they got saved.

I wanted to be transformed, too!

I quit smoking, drinking and swearing. I guarded my thoughts 24 hours a day. I went to church every time the doors were open, hung out only with Christians, studied the Bible and prayed constantly.

It was exhausting! It lasted for three, maybe four months – a period of ongoing, constant battle -- me against myself. I wanted to be good, but it was just so hard . . .
I was cleaning my car when I found a cigarette under the seat. I looked at it, was about to toss it, but I lighted it instead.

Next morning, when I woke up, there were my cigarettes on the nightstand and a half-bottle of Jack Daniels in the kitchen, and memories of the night before that still haunt me to this day.

What in the world happened? I was a saved Christian! How could I have let something like this overtake me? I was ashamed.

I was so ashamed I stopped going to church. I was too ashamed to read my Bible. As was my habit, I hid from God and went right back into the lifestyle I lived before I got saved.
I wanted to be transformed -- and so I was.

Months turned into years and I never cracked a Bible, spent any time in prayer . . . I made new friends, I lived more or less the same life I had always lived before Christ. I felt an emptiness, but with a little effort, I could work around the void.

People who knew me peripherally said I was backslidden; those that knew me well concluded that I had never been saved at all. I sometimes wondered, myself.
“Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1st Corinthians 1:8)
If turning one’s life and will over to Christ, asking Him to save me from my sins and trusting that He is able to preserve me blameless isn’t enough, then maybe they were right.
One thing I was sure of, though. If trusting in Jesus wasn’t enough, I was done for. So why even try?

Hebrews 6:6 seems to concur, saying that having been once saved and then fallen away, it is impossible to renew me to repentance. There seems no way to get to anywhere from here

I was saved, but fell right back into sin and stayed there for years before the Lord picked me back up and restored me to fellowship.
Let’s recap. But open up a Bible to Romans Chapter seven and follow along as we do. I was guiltless, once. Then I learned the difference between right and wrong and knew I was a sinner. (Romans 7:9)

Then I heard the Gospel given to men that they might have life and have it more abundantly. I eagerly embraced it, but found it impossible to live up to. Soon, that which I expected to bring me life, seemed to serve primarily as confirmation of my doom (Romans 7:10)

What happened? I expected to be transformed into a sinless Christian. My expectations let me down, I felt deceived and it practically killed my Christian witness. (Romans 7:11)
Was that the reason why I suddenly (and seemingly permanently) bolted from the faith? Was it because Jesus expected me to be transformed into someone holy and righteous and good? (Romans 7:12)

Was what is good to others all around me in church made into death for me? All around me were other happy, fresh-faced Christians – but the harder I tried to be like them, the more miserable it made me until I just threw up my hands in despair. (Romans 7:13)
I know the Bible says I was transformed spiritually, but I felt just as carnal as I ever was. (Romans 7:14)

For awhile, I just ignored it, because I wanted to be good, but no matter what, I just kept going back to the same old habits. (Romans 7:15)

It isn’t that I didn’t know I was a sinner before – that’s why I turned my life over to Christ in the first place. But the sinner part didn’t go away – I knew what I thought I should do, but I just couldn’t find it in myself to do it.

The harder I tried, the bigger I fell. (Romans 7:18-22)
I was in a constant state of war with myself, like the cartoon of the guy with an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other – my mind wanting to go one way, with my body going the other.

I was in a truly wretched state! (Romans 19-24) I was trusting in my ability, not in His faithfulness.

All of us Christians find ourselves in similarly wretched states at one time or another. Not everybody’s “wretched state” is the same – some of us are bigger gluttons for punishment than others – but we’ve all struggled with our worthiness and the efficacy of our salvation.
If you followed along in Romans you saw that there was nothing about my own Christian struggles that are unique – the Apostle Paul outlined them point by point some twenty centuries before I had them.

I had a totally different column in mind when I sat down this morning, so I can only assume that there is someone in our fellowship that is really struggling with this issue.
The Lord is a real Person, and as a unique and real Person, His relationship with each of us is unique and personal. WE are unique – our struggles are not. It is important to understand the difference.

You may be where I am now, or you may be where I was where I started, or somewhere in the middle. No matter where you are, you probably feel that you have let God down. I know that is how I felt.

But one day, I “got” it. I really was saved by grace through faith, and that not of myself. It was a gift from God. The harder I tried to make it of myself, the worse it got -- until I had been practically convinced by well-meaning friends that I had lost my salvation.
And based on where I was at that moment, that’s exactly how it looked to me, too.
What is the point to all this? We’re living in the last days. The world isn’t what it seems and the enemy is moving among us, doing what he can to dis-empower us as preachers of the gospel and thereby prolong his time.

The first place he goes for is a head shot --– if the enemy can convince us we’re lost, then in terms of our military effectiveness in battle, we might as well be. That’s why Paul advises that we wear the ‘helmet of salvation’ before going into battle.

There are trials and tribulations and struggles in this life – and as the hours count down, the enemy attacks are only intensifying. You may suffer a few setbacks, you may even get knocked out of the battle for a bit.

You may think you’re worthless, but that is only because you can’t see the whole battlefield. Know this. The Lord Jesus saved you for a reason. He isn’t through with you yet.
The battle rages on. Stand strong.

Hal Lindsay Report 9 30 2016

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