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Clarity On Tithing

Published: January 16, 2007 (Originally published: January 16, 2007)
Q

Hey I love your site, keep up the awesome, inspired work.

How do you decide where to send your tithe? I have heard that the first 10% should go to your local church and then anything extra to “special” ministries or one-time events. In principle I agree, but the church I attend now is clearly not hurting for money, and I always get greater satisfaction out of supporting these special ministries or just providing gifts to members of the church in need. However, I have to admit that this is largely just based on my emotions, and when it comes to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I have never felt strongly led either way, only that I should be giving. Thanks!


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Who Will Go In The Rapture?

Published: January 16, 2007 (Originally published: January 16, 2007)
Q

I have been following your articles with great interest through prophecy update for quite a while now, for the past two years at least, since I too love Jesus Christ and anxiously await his glorious return. The only difference is our denomination whilst you are Evangelical I am Catholic and therefore you will immediately realize how uneasy I feel when reference is made to the Rapture which St.Paul mentions which however is preceded by the raising of those who died in Christ. Could you be so kind as to indicate to me who will participate in the Rapture and upon what you base this conclusion. Please help me become richer in my faith by finding the time to give me a clear simple answer.


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Praying To Deceased Loved Ones

Published: January 15, 2007 (Originally published: January 15, 2007)
Q

My family has experienced several deaths over the last few years and remaining family members have dealt with the grief in a variety of ways. Often, I am told that they will also pray to the deceased during prayers with God. Additionally, several family members believe they have seen the ghost of recently departed love ones. My questions are related to the above scenarios. Can we and should we address our deceased love ones during prayer? Do you believe that deceased love ones are sometimes allowed to appear to surviving family members or is this something else such as psychological effects of grief or even something more sinister?


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Babylon Rebuilt

Published: January 15, 2007 (Originally published: January 15, 2007)
Q

Could you explain or elaborate on the following quote found in your year end review. “One of the shocks of the gulf war I was the discovery of Babylon standing there on the banks of the Euphrates again.” What does this mean?


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The Bema Judgment

Published: January 12, 2007 (Originally published: January 12, 2007)
Q

Thank you for your many articles! I have a misgiving that you may be able to give me some insight about: If our “good deeds” vis-a-vis the Bema judgment depend on our motives being pure, then I cannot imagine that anything good I’ve ever done during my walk with Jesus will be rewarded. I don’t think I’ve ever had motives that were 100% pure.

I am impelled to do good; I want to good; I strive to do good. Why? At least part of the reason is that *that* is (now) my purpose for being. When I do good I am more closely bearing my Lord’s image; it is the only way I have of tangibly show God that I love Him.

Yet at the same times, competing thoughts pollute my efforts: “you’re really doing this just to store-up treasures in Heaven!” and “Oh! someone’s seen your deed; surely you’re doing this just so they’ll notice!” and other awful things like that. I often try to do these things in secret (and at times am discovered, my heart sinks). When I can’t be secret, I simply write-off the effort and try to forget that I even did it.

At times, When I’m fully exasperated with my mixed “motives,” I steel myself inside and say to myself: “THIS is the RIGHT thing to do. Whether I am disqualified or not in God’s eyes, I will do this deed because it is right and I am His! Even if my only reward is that I know this has benefited someone (and God rejects my deed), nevertheless I will do it because it is my purpose to do good.” Then I do the good deed, and assume that it will be considered “wood,” “hay,” or “stubble.”

I have been gifted in many ways, but I have the horrible sense that at the Bema I will find that I’ve been a horrible waste to God, and that I will have badly failed in fulfilling my purpose and be held in shame because I, who had so much turned, it into so little for God.

Often when I’ve done good for others, I tell myself: “This is good??? Oh, this single act is, but you should be doing this ALL the time. Instead of feeling “good” or “satisfied” that I have done a good deed, I feel pain and condemnation that I’m not ALWAYS this “good.” Still, I do good; that is my purpose.

I have an idea of what 100% pure must be like, and no matter how “pure” I am, my purity won’t be 100% until I am finally with Him. (And I long for a pure heart.)

At this point in my note, I’m not sure what I’m asking. I guess it would be nice if I could continue to fulfill my purpose without being conscious of it, not feeling “good,” but at least not feeling “filthy” either.

Have you seen this struggle before, and do you know what it means, and how to resolve it?


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Baghdad Or Babylon?

Published: January 12, 2007 (Originally published: January 12, 2007)
Q

Love your site. So informative in so many areas. My Pastor has just asked me to teach a class on prophecy so I will be visiting often. Anyways, my question: since we are now going to send in 20,000 more troops in hopes to stabilize Baghdad, could this be the beginning of calm in the area in order to rebuild actual Babylon (50 miles north) or is Baghdad the Babylon in Revelation?

I actually believe Babylon is Babylon because the bible says so, but I would love your opinion. Isn’t it exciting to see how close we are to our Lord’s return?


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Laodicean Or Philadelphian?

Published: January 11, 2007 (Originally published: January 11, 2007)
Q

My church is one of the “purpose driven churches”, and true to the discernment ministries criticisms it suffers from a lack of depth in its teachings. However, I must say that what it does teach from the pulpit is error free – just shallow. I was drawn to the Lord elsewhere and find much of the depth in teaching online. I also serve in this church in technical support roles on a volunteer basis. I know there exists in this church numerous true believers, but there are also many who have no obvious walk and they are left comfortable by the preaching they hear each week.

Every church I have ever visited, I recognize a type of church that is criticized by a discernment ministry. It seems that there is no church that doesn’t have one type of problem or another. From the prosperity gospel and its obvious appeal to the flesh to the emergent church with its contemplative divination to the purpose driven wordily friendly church (which fairly describes my church) there is always a problem.

My question is in my serving in this church which has the problems I recognize, am I wasting my time? Is there validity in participation in a church which is imperfect? Can my work in the church and prayers for the church be effective knowing I am in a church that is more Laodecian than Philadelphian? Or should I continue to be a nomad until I find the church which has no blemishes?


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The Home Of The Bride

Published: January 10, 2007 (Originally published: January 10, 2007)
Q

My question has to do with the New Jerusalem in Rev 21. It says in v.9, Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” and what they’re talking about is the New Jerusalem. I don’t get how we are the Church, the wife of the Lamb, and the New Jerusalem is the wife of the Lamb as well. I know that you explained it being that the New Jerusalem is just like a bride is, being dressed beautifully and spared no expense but, it seems to clearly say otherwise. Please help me with that. Thanks again, and may God bless you a thousand times.


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Gods In The Millennium

Published: January 8, 2007 (Originally published: January 8, 2007)
Q

Your site remains one of my favorites. Keep up the good work and thank you for this excellent forum.

My family was reading the book of Micheas recently and I came across a passage I find confusing. For reference, the first five verses of chapter four are as follows:

4:1 And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared in the top of the mountains, and high above the hills: and people shall flow to it. 4:2 And many nations shall come in haste, and say: Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob: and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth out of Sion, and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem. 4:3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off: and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into spades: nation shall not take sword against nation: neither shall they learn war anymore. 4:4 And every man shall sit under his vine, and under his fig tree, and there shall be none to make them afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken. 4:5 For all people will walk every one in the name of his god: but we will walk in the name of the Lord, our God, for ever and ever.

Sounds like a prophecy of the millennium. But in verse 5 it says that all people will walk in the name of their god (small ‘g’) while we (Israel, presumably) will walk in the name of the Lord. Who are these other gods? This implies that there will still be other belief systems, other gods, or other paths to God in that time. This makes me wonder about Muslims, Hindus, etc. in our own present time. I believe that Jesus Christ is the ONLY path to God and salvation and that the other belief systems are myth and error; but this verse gives me pause – have I misunderstood something? What is your understanding of this verse? I appreciate your insights.


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Gog And Magog

Published: January 7, 2007 (Originally published: January 7, 2007)
Q

Can you share your viewpoint of the Gog/Magog reference in Revelation and how it relates to the Gog/Magog battle passage related in Ezekiel? Are they talking about the same or different events? I often hear people confusing the two. The Ezekiel passage seems to imply occurrence in the End Times and you have made reference to this in your writings on the End Times events, but the Revelation passage seems to indicate occurrence during the Millenium.