“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:23
On this eve before Thanksgiving, we begin to turn our attention to the day ahead with great anticipation. Beloved families and friends will gather together from near and far. The dinner table will be laden with our favorite foods, and we will give thanks to our Heavenly Father for the blessings that make this gathering possible.
As much as the Thanksgiving holiday is a day of gratitude, it is also a day of sharing. Had it not been for the kindness of Native Americans sharing their bounty with defenseless Pilgrims seeking refuge in a foreign land, all of the struggling families may have perished. It is with this same compassion and caring for others that we must live each day, tirelessly responding to Christ’s call to help our neighbors in need without discrimination.
We ask that you remember the children, families, refugees, disabled and elderly around the world who are suffering in the face of poverty, war or natural disaster. Despite the distance that may separate us from those in need, we are nevertheless bridged by Christ’s love. The willingness to share your blessings with them carries with it the power to help transform thousands of lives around the world. And so we embrace the message of St. John to aid those who suffer for “if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?” (1 John 3:16) By sharing your abundance today, you commend the larger vision of unity that lies before us, and you open your heart to greater love for others and to the everlasting grace of our Lord.
From our family here at Bible Community and Ministerbook.com, we humbly thank you for your support in looking to us as your resource for Holy Scripture readings and verses, and we pray that the abundant blessings of our merciful God be with you and your family during Thanksgiving and always.
Each year, Bible Community gives back by supporting a worthwhile charity that is making a difference in the world. This year, we are supporting the efforts of IOCC, an international, faith-based humanitarian organization that has been sharing compassion and care for those in need since 1992, with nearly $500 million in assistance provided to vulnerable families and communities in more than 50 countries. Through IOCC’s work, impoverished families in Greece have access to fresh, nutritious food and medical care; struggling farmers in the Holy Land are learning new ways to grow cash crops and rise out of poverty, and the children of Cameroon are thriving with access to clean, safe drinking water.
As one of few humanitarian agencies working inside Syria to aid nearly two million people uprooted from their homes and displaced in their own war-torn country, IOCC demonstrates daily the impact of paying gratitude forward. You can help the victims of poverty and conflicts around the world, like Syria, by making a financial gift to the International Emergency Response Fund which will provide immediate relief, as well as long-term support through the provision of emergency aid, recovery assistance and other support to help those in need. To make a gift, please visit iocc.org/novembergifts or call toll free at 1-877-803-IOCC (4622), or mail a check or money order payable to IOCC, P.O. Box 17398, Baltimore, MD 21297
Thanksgiving is the one holiday that has not been hijacked by our secular world. (With the exception of “Black Friday” which now starts on Thanksgiving Day in many instances). We have so much to be thankful for, yet to the born again Christian, everything we thank God for pales in comparison with our appreciation for the shed blood of Jesus Christ and our salvation: “For by grace are ye saved through faith…” Ephesians 2:8a. Have a blessed Thanksgiving and thank the Lord for the bounty He has given to all of us. Pastor Steve
Pope Francis is known for radical views on certain doctrine such as the Catholic stance on sodomy, that were previously considered apostasy by the Roman Catholic Church. Now we observe in the article below that well known Protestant leaders are finding common ecumenical ground with a pope who many consider heretical in some of his beliefs. Of course, this all plays perfectly into the end times scenario of a “One World Religion” under the Antichrist. I wonder what Martin Luther would think of this situation?
We are heading quickly toward an ecumenical melding of the false church as well as one world religion. Pope Francis has increasingly been interacting with popular Protestants, including pastor Joel Osteen and televangelists Kenneth Copeland and James Robison. Pope Francis sent a video message to Word of Faith heretic Kenneth Copeland, urging a reconciliation between Catholics and Charismatics.
Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church, did not turn down an invitation from the Pope to offer an “evangelical Protestant” perspective as part of a Vatican colloquium on marriage and family which was held on November 17-19. The colloquium’s stated goal:
The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium is a gathering of leaders and scholars from many religions across the globe, to examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society.
So Rick Warren spoke on the “Biblical Meaning of Marriage” Tuesday at the Vatican. He was among 30 global religious leaders (including Muslim, Jewish and Latter-day Saints representatives) examining the changing roles of marriage and family in the world. Warren is a champion of ecumenism. He exhorted these inter-religious leaders to be “Purpose Driven,” thus demonstrating that the PD program is ecumenical.
The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:2-12)
Warren had much to say about not compromising the idea of marriage being between a man and a woman:
The only way to always be relevant, is to be eternal. No revolution will last, including the sexual revolution… every lie eventually crumbles under its own deception. Cultures rise and fall, they come and go, but the word of God and the Church of God continues. What I’m saying is it isn’t necessary to be on the side of culture – it’s not even necessary to be on the right side of history, it’s just important to be on the right side.
History shows the majority is often wrong, remember Hitler? The dustbins of history are stuffed with conventional wisdom of cultures that proved false, and truth is not decided by a popularity contest.
This is the deepest meaning of marriage. This is the most profound purpose of marriage, and this is the strongest reason why marriage can only be between a man and a woman.
There is no other relationship, including the parent-child relationship, that can picture this intimate union. To redefine marriage would destroy the picture that God intends for marriage to portray, and we cannot cave on this issue. It’s a picture of Christ and his Church
Never give up, and never give in. The Church cannot be salt and light in a crumbling culture if we cave into the sexual revolution, and if we fail to provide a counter-cultural witness. It is a total myth that we must compromise and give up on biblical truth and marriage in order to evangelise.
In the end, we have to be merciful to the fallen, we have to show grace to the struggling, we have to be patient to the doubting, but when God’s word is clear, we must not, we cannot, back up, back down, back off, backslide or just give in.
The Church must never be captivated by culture, manipulated by critics, motivated by applause, frustrated by problems, debilitated by distractions or intimidated by evil. We must keep running the race with our eye on the goal, not on those shouting from the side line. We must be Spirit-led, purpose-driven and mission-focused, so that we cannot be bought, we will not be compromised, we shall not quit until we finish the race. (Carey Lodge, “Rick Warren on Gay Marriage: ‘The Church Must Not Cave In,” Christianity Today, 11/19/14)
Unfortunately, the “Church” has already caved in on marriage by its compromised position on divorce and remarriage. The apostate church has no hope of being salt and light on the issue of homosexual marriage in upcoming generations if it cannot be salt and light now on marriage, divorce and remarriage. Contemporary Christianity has caved in on divorce by following the culture and it is only a matter of time before homosexual marriages become just as mainstream within the professing Church as divorce and remarriage.
Warren is correct that “marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” Warren has no problem forbidding marriage between two homosexuals. But what about two heterosexuals who have been previously married? At the conference, Rick Warren quoted from Mark 10: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” Warren stopped right there. But if we are really going to be salt and light in a crumbling culture, we must also teach the rest of the passage.
In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter. So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” (Mark 10:10-12)
This is what Jesus said and this is what the Church should be saying at a conference on marriage and family. The primitive Church unanimously taught that only a man may put away his wife for sexual immorality, but remarriage was always forbidden to both men and women. They took the words of Jesus very seriously and literally when it came to divorce and remarriage being adultery. Recently, some brothers and I have begun compiling a free online dictionary and commentary of early church beliefs. Their quotes on divorce and remarriage are available here.
Until this radical message is preached and adulterous “marriages” are put away from the church, it cannot be the salt and light which Jesus conveyed. Again, Jesus said, “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery” (Luke 16:18). The false prophets like Rick Warren (be they Roman Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical, or Latter-day Saints) will not preach this message because they are hirelings who seek to please men and not God. They are right behind the popular “conservative” culture and therefore cannot quote Mark 10 in its entirety!
I write this hours before the president announces that “he,” through executive order, will bypass congress and illegally grant amnesty to five million illegal immigrants. A few years ago he spoke on how the president could not do this unilaterally, but the anointed one has changed his mind. It almost makes one think he is a narcissistic despot who thinks little of the American people and our government. Many conservative news sources erroneously believe that the unconstitutional Obamacare, Benghazi, Fast and Furious, the IRS cover up, and his plethora of other scandals will tarnish his legacy. Obama is right on course, i.e. mission accomplished. The uniqueness of the United States of America has always been the fly in the soup which hindered the implementation of the New World Order (NWO). We still have a solid Christian base in grassroots America despite the takeover of our schools, government, and culture by multiculturalism. Our faith, freedoms, power, and blessings from above have made this a unique nation. Obama’s “change” that he promised seven years ago, was to dismantle this nation and destroy our faith, freedoms, economy, and the best middle class the world has ever known. Our ignorant populace had no idea what was coming down the pike, and did not understand why so many discerning Christians thought our country was “toast” when the neophyte left wing radical was elected. In regards to granting unconstitutional amnesty, he is drawing a line in the sand and daring the Republican party to impeach him. By the time the courts get around to addressing this matter, the damage will be done and the illegals will all have their foot in the door, with no possibility of rescinding what the president already set in motion. Mission accomplished. Obama’s left wing mentors have taught him that in order to destroy a republic or a democracy, their cohesion, unity and solidarity must be broken up. Obama has polarized this nation in regards to both politics and race relations. This has always been his goal. He thrives on the division he has created and enjoys fooling and destroying the people of this nation. Many believe he desires to create a scenario for Marshall Law before his term is over, in order to completely seal the deal to the damage already done. Unless God intervenes in a powerful way due to His perfect will, and answers the prayers and repentance of the saints, the fallout from the damage he has caused will be irreparable.
Here are two Biblical points for Christians to ponder on, as we consider this bleak scenario: 1)The tremendous sin of our nation as well as the apathy and apostasy in the church, are at the root of this situation we find ourselves in. It is as simple as the spiritual law of sowing and reaping playing itself out. (Galatians 6:7) All Christians I know feel awful over his hubris and agenda. Nefarious rulers come to power over a wicked and lethargic people. America is not having a sudden blowout. This has been a slow leak going on for decades and it has not caught discerning Christians by surprise! 2)The Lord has obviously allowed our president to continue with his shenanigans, and he is playing into God’s end times scenario by contributing heavily towards the New World Order (NWO). As mentioned, the United States was a missing piece of the puzzle until this president was elected. Our enemies no longer fear us, our allies do not trust us, while Russia, China and Isis run over us. If you can read his speech and body language, Obama is laughing just as he did after news correspondent James Foley was beheaded. Despite the present sad situation, Obama is a mere pawn on the Lord’s chess board and playing right into His hands. Let not your heart be troubled and keep looking up!
Christine Weick drove up to Washington D. C. from Tennessee in order to share the following words in a Muslim prayer meeting at the National Cathedral. She has become an instant heroine in the hearts of many, including myself:
During and after her statements, the Muslim crowd was calling for security. What is amazing to me is how perfect and appropriate every word was that she said. Christine forever has a legacy. May you and I have similar courage, conviction, love and zeal for the Lord when we have our opportunities to share the Gospel.
People who have wisdom and discernment have long ago rightly assessed President Obama as a man of empty words and rhetoric. Retired United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North echoes this truth with the following quotation regarding Obama’s “strategy” against Isis: “The promise of simply degrading and destroying Isis is not a strategy. What we would like to know is what is their definition of victory? Because Isis knows what theirs is: Driving us out of the lands of the prophets.” Oliver North made this comment right on the heels of Isis’ taunting Obama, while taking over the road from Baghdad to Baghdad Airport. This administration has absolutely no strategy for victory.
Patrick Buchanan wrote the book “Death Of The West” many years ago before most Americans understood that the progression of current demographics spells the decay of western Europe, the United States, Canada and most of our Anglo English speaking allies from World War II. Our citizenry realizes that our churches are top heavy in age, the family is fragmented, and due to the abomination of abortion, our population is shrinking. When nations forget God and do not repent, judgment is certain, and it is not a matter of if it will occur, but only when and how. As I write this, the radical group Isis is now minting their own currency. They aim at establishing a strong and large Islamic Caliphate in the Middle East. Their next step is to take over the West. Other Muslims have already paved the way for Isis in many places. They are settling in Scandinavia, western Europe, Canada and the United States. A school district in Maryland refuses to acknowledge Christmas this year due to Muslim protest, hence they are not allowing for any religious expression. I would not be surprised if the superintendent of the school system was threatened. The strategy of Islam to take over a nation is to first neutralize and secularize the people, and later fill the vacuum with Sharia Law. Sharia Law is a heartbeat from being the law of the land in England. If you want to know what it could be like in America very soon, then keep an eye on London. Something has just happened in our nation’s capitol that is a harbinger of things to come. Muslims have had their first prayer meeting in the National Cathedral. Their spokesman on the news said they want to represent true Islam and not what Isis is doing. This is another strategy of Islamic expansionism. They throw dust in the air and confuse the secular public about their plans, blaming other sects of their religion for the violence and killings. To the Muslim mindset, having prayer in the National Cathedral is just about the same as flying the crescent moon over the White House. Also keep in mind that Isis engulfs all other Muslim sects in their path, as Al Queda and Muslim Sryrian soldiers have joined them rather than fight. It seems that Muslims take their faith a lot more seriously than many nominal Christians. We are living in perilous times. Pray for the United States of America.
This category of “Grandmom’s Bible” addresses erroneous themes that are proponed to be Biblical truth but are not. They are usually diametrically opposed to the teachings of scripture. Another example came to me in the recent past. A gentleman said to me: “You know, I appreciate all beautiful women and look upon them because God created them in order for me to enjoy in such a way.” I am sure that this is not a novel quotation for you, since I have heard it on innumerable occasions. Let me state the obvious for starters: This mindset can quickly lead to lustful thoughts and even worse, we can miss out on the MUCH MORE IMPORTANT INNER BEAUTY in people. If we focus on the wrapper to the package we will miss out on the much more important contents. The Bible tells us that “Man looks on the outward appearance but God focuses on the inward heart.” (I Samuel 16:7). I have read in the book of Proverbs about the crafty harlot who intentionally makes herself look enticing in order to seduce young men and lead them to hell. (Proverbs 7:6-27). Just as the seasoned fisherman fools the fish through alluring bait (that is why the artificial bait are called lures), the painted lady makes herself look appealing to the baser desires of fallen man. There are a lot of beautiful things in the world that I want to be careful to avoid, such as Florida’s deadly poisonous coral snake. Part of the original curse in Eden is the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh. As always, God has the perfect passage for this theme in His Holy Word. I often share this verse on Mother’s Day: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” (Proverbs 31:30).
Despite heavy losses in the election last week, President Obama is pushing an aggressive agenda on several fronts. Namely, the environment, Internet regulations, and of course, immigration. This will be a hand grenade thrown into Congress when President Obama decides to promote his executive order of granting amnesty to illegals, possibly next week. The president’s desire is to grant total amnesty to 4.5 million illegal immigrants. Furthermore, political experts expect him to veto the making of a pipeline, which would make us more energy independent. Congress just voted heavily in favor of building and implementing it. Obama is clearly a dictator and if allowed, will circumvent Congress and the will of the people through his pen and his phone. Also, look out for his endless campaign against gun ownership by our citizenry and our second amendment rights. Liberal leaders like Obama and Hillary Clinton desire to submit to United Nation regulations and desires more so, than allow Americans to keep their Constitutional freedoms. I believe that Barrack Obama desires to stir the kettle and polarize Americans, especially through race and politics. His radical left wing mentors have taught him to do this in order to CHANGE the face of this unique nation and strip us of our faith and freedoms. Pray for America. The remainder of this year will be interesting, as we observe the reaction of Congress to Obama’s unilateral plans for ignoring Congress and granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants. Pastor Steve
The following devotional is taken from the “Our Daily Bread” series of the Radio Bible Class. It should resonate with all Christians, as we see this holy time of the year exploited commercially more so all the time. May we all focus on Jesus as the Reason for the Season. Amen and amen. Pastor Steve
I love Christmas. The celebration of the birth of Christ and the beauty and wonder of the season make it “the most wonderful time of the year” for me. In recent years, however, the season has been accompanied by a growing irritation. Every year “Christmas stuff” comes out earlier and earlier—creeping all the way back to early fall.
Christmas used to be limited to December, but now we find radio stations playing Christmas music in early November. Stores start advertising Christmas specials in October, and Christmas candy appears in late September. If we’re not careful, this growing deluge can numb us—even sour us to what should be a season of gratitude and awe.
When that irritation begins to rise in my spirit, I try to do one thing: Remember. I remind myself what Christmas means, who Jesus is, and why He came. I remember the love and grace of a forgiving God who sent us rescue in the Person of His Son. I remember that, ultimately, only one gift really matters—God’s “indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15). I remember that the salvation Christ came to provide is both the gift and the Giver all wrapped up in one.
Jesus is our life all year long, and He is the greatest wonder. “O come, let us adore Him!”
Living God, I thank You for the unspeakable gift
of Your Son. Draw my heart to Your own, that my
worship to and gratitude for Your Son will never be
diminished by the distractions of the world around me.
Jesus is our life throughout the year.
In today’s passage, Paul explains that our salvation is the work of our triune God. First, “God sent forth His Son” (v.4). Second, Jesus came to accomplish our redemption—setting us free from the bondage of the law—and to secure our adoption, making us sons of God and enabling us to enjoy the full privileges as God’s children (v.5). Third, God gave us the Holy Spirit—“the Spirit of His Son,” who endears and enables us to cry out “Abba, Father!” (v.6). The work all three persons of the Holy Trinity did to secure our salvation is also explained by Paul in Ephesians 1:3-14 and by Peter in 1 Peter 1:2. Jesus spoke of this as well (John 14:16-18,23-26; 15:26).
99)magos- magician, sorcerer, wise man/ The carry over into the English is obvious. We have the words magic and magician, and they plainly come from magos. The idea in our culture of magician, however, is often different from the ancient Bible times. The ancients’ idea relates to sorcery and witchcraft. Today, many magicians use the slight of hand and trickery to fool people without actual magic.
100)Magog- foreign nation, antichristian party/ This term is often affiliated with the nation of Russia and their attack on Israel at the outset of the battle of Armageddon. For information on Gog and Magog see Ezekiel 38-39.
101)malakia- disease/ Malaria is the word we have received from the original, and it refers to a specific disease.
102)mania- mad/ This is the suffix added to all words that describe a person with a severe problem. A kleptomaniac is one who is compelled to pilfer. A kleptomaniac breaks the eighth commandment: “Thou shalt not steal.”
103)manna- edible gum/ The Old Testament manna has been called angel bread, Providentially provided by God in the wilderness.
104)membrana- sheepskin, parchment/ We get the scientific word “membrane” from membrana. A membrane is a thin flexible texture in plants or animals.
105)morphosis- appearance, form/ A caterpillar or tadpole goes through a metamorphosis when they change into a butterfly and frog respectively. That is, they have a change in form.
106)Iesous- Jesus/ Yet another name for Jesus. This is the Greek name.
107)keraia- tittle, smallest written stroke/ This refers to more than dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s; it refers to the periods, commas and colons.
108)Christos- Messiah/ The Savior or the Anointed One.
109)petros- stone, a piece of rock, Peter/ The apostle Peter had this name. Also the famous archaeological site of Petra, one of the seven wonders of the world in Jordan, was a city carved into solid rock and derives its’ name from this Greek word.
110)metanonia- repentance, a change of mind/ One cannot be saved or born again without repentance! Please refer to Luke 13:3,5.