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LightShinesInTheDarkness

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  1. AMERICA: NEW ROME & BABYLON THE GREAT ("Come out of her, My people...")

    If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:15,16) ...Here, we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. (Hebrews 13:14)
  2. R BABYLON M M E E R I COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE... A In the days of the apostle John, at the time that the Lord gave him the revelation, “Babylon” was Rome. America (the USA) is modern-day Rome: She is the nation that best fits the description of Babylon today. Rome (which would have been Babylon, had the events foretold in the Revelation taken place at the time it was given) was a city that was also a nation; so Babylon today (like the original city of Babylon), is not just a city but also representative of a nation. The Babylon Checklist: America is the great importer and customer of the world. She buys all its goods, and other nations profit from and depend upon her business. (Revelation 18:3, 11-14) America has dominion over the kings of the earth economically, and perhaps militarily. (Revelation 17:18) America is a multicultural nation, as Rome also was. (Revelation 17:15) America bought slaves (the transatlantic slave trade)---and she still has them, in the form of secret slavery and sex slavery---just as Rome bought slaves. (Revelation 18:13) America is wealthy, as Rome was. (Revelation 18:16,17) America is a self-indulgent lover of pleasures, as Rome was. (Isaiah 47:8, Revelation 18:7) All the nations of the world have drunk the wine of the passion of America’s sexual immorality, through her sexually immoral and perverted movies and music, which are exported to the nations of the world and enjoyed by them. (Jeremiah 51:7, Revelation 17:2, 18:3) America is the mother of earth's abominations, via the influence of her movies and music, and her immoral pop-culture and values, which the nations of the world imbibe and emulate, corrupting themselves likewise. (Revelation 17:5) (Contrary to popular belief, and the assertions of some patriotic Americans, the United States of America was not founded as a Christian nation, nor is it a Christian nation. The USA is not a theocracy, and it is not governed by the New Testament, even though some Biblical principles may have been included in or have influenced its constitution and some of its founding fathers may have been deists or Christians. The history of this country is not a Christian history according to the New Testament’s teachings, even though a majority of its population may have historically been professing Christians of some kind. And it certainly isn’t in any way a Christian nation now, by government or by culture, even though Christians live here---quite comfortably, I might add...) Of all the nations in the world, the USA is the one that lines up best with the Bible’s description of Babylon, the great city of the last days (which city could be New York City---the home of Wall Street, and the most iconic and famous American city---representative of the whole of the USA, as the city of Rome was representative of the Roman nation and as the city of Babylon was representative of the Babylonian nation). So, the Lord’s call to His people who are dwelling in Babylon is to come out of her, spiritually: Do not partake of her forbidden and corrupting delicacies, which surround you. Do not make her standards your standard. Do not embrace her ideologies and 'wisdom', which are contrary to Christian doctrine (the doctrine of the New Testament), and anti-Christ. Do not become adulterers in your hearts, in love with the pleasures and comforts of the land in which you sojourn. Do not compromise the word of God in order to have what Babylon offers you and to be comfortable and prosperous in her, which is not what you were called to by God. Come out of her spiritually, brothers and sisters---if you have become like her---and save your lives. If you come out of her spiritually, and cleanse and separate yourselves from Babylon’s corrupting influences and unGodly ways, God will also deliver you from her physically. He will not destroy the righteous with the wicked. But if you love her, and will not separate yourself from her because you love her, and your treasure is here, and you have found your life here, and you are partaking in her sins and will not repent of them, you will not escape her judgments, or save your life. “Come out of her, My people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues…” (Revelation 18:4) You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But He gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. (James 4:4-10) But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints…For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure (take heed, those of you who are indulging in pornography), or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (Be ye not therefore partakers with them.) (Ephesians 5:3-7) We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober… (1 Thessalonians 5:5-8) Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (Romans 13:13,14) Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming (on the children of disobedience). (Colossians 3:5,6) Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 6:17,18; 7:1) Do not love the world, or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world---the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions---is not from the Father but is from the world. (1 John 2:15,16) He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto eternal life. (John 12:25) Little children, keep yourselves from idols. (1 John 5:21)
  3. Reminders from the early church

    Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. (1 Corinthians 11:2) (There's no way in the world the apostle Paul would say this to the churches today! He would say, "I praise you not, not, NOT!")
  4. Reminders from the early church

    ...And He died for all that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:15) What a mockery, what an insult, to 'celebrate' the resurrection of Christ while living for oneself in truth; to shed tears over how much Jesus suffered for you while harboring evil things in your heart and going home to do the very things He hates, which He suffered to set you free from, and rose again, that you might walk in newness of life before God. If you really want to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, don't do it with an invented holiday; make use of His grace to live the resurrected life, EVERY DAY. Does God want sacrifice or obedience? He can't stand iniquity and solemn assembly. If you're "celebrating" the Lord's resurrection while receiving His grace in vain by not dying to yourself daily in order to obey Him and keep in step with His Spirit, you're not celebrating His resurrection, but mocking it. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were buried therefore with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:1-4) We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death He died, He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:9-11) Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. (1 Peter 4:1,2) For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? (Hebrews 10:26-29)
  5. LOVE, THE GREATEST VIRTUE (Are you walking in it?)

    I understood you. Amen.
  6. LOVE, THE GREATEST VIRTUE (Are you walking in it?)

    A good question: How did these men creep in unnoticed (or unawares)? Know your God, and know His word. You can't guard yourself or others against something that you don't recognize as false.
  7. LOVE, THE GREATEST VIRTUE (Are you walking in it?)

    By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. (1 John 5:2-4)
  8. LOVE, THE GREATEST VIRTUE (Are you walking in it?)

    "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" And He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Matthew 22:37-39) But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed him mercy." And Jesus said to him, "You go, and do likewise." (Luke 10:29-37)
  9. LOVE, THE GREATEST VIRTUE (Are you walking in it?)

    But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of Godliness, but denying its power. (2 Timothy 3:1-5) Are you one of them? By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our hearts before Him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and He knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God... (1 John 3:19-21) TRUTH: If you're not loving God by keeping His commandments, you're not loving others either; and if you're not loving others as God says to love them, you're not loving God.
  10. LOVE, THE GREATEST VIRTUE (Are you walking in it?)

    Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church... ...Let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she *respects (phobetai) her husband. (Ephesians 5:25-29,33 ESV) *Phobetai (she fears) in Greek means to fear in reverence, the same kind of fear that Christians are to have towards God. The way a wife treats her husband is the way she treats Christ, and she will have to give an account to the Lord for it, just as husbands will have to give an account to Him for how they treated their wives. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. (1 Peter 3:6 ESV) Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. (1 Peter 3:7 ESV)
  11. LOVE, THE GREATEST VIRTUE (Are you walking in it?)

    We all stumble in many ways. (James 3:2) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2:1) Perfection is unattainable in this life, due to our sinful nature, but it is always the goal for those who love the Lord. Keep the NT standard---God's standard---as your standard, and the example of Christ as your example, and you will remember how to walk and will rightly strive for perfection and will do well. Adopt a different standard, and you will be content to settle for less; but the NT standard remains the Christian standard, nevertheless, so we who are in Christ would all do well to remember what that is and keep to it, as this is the standard we will be judged according to, and not our own or someone else's. ...The one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. (James 1:25) If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)
  12. LOVE, THE GREATEST VIRTUE (Are you walking in it?)

    "But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:43-48) "Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5:19)
  13. (A REMINDER FROM THE WORD OF GOD...) If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3) LOVE... Is patient Kind Not arrogant Not rude Does not insist on its own way Is not irritable Is not resentful Does not rejoice at wrongdoing Rejoices with the truth Bears all things Endures all things (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:7,8) If anyone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. (1 John 4:20,21) By this we know love, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But 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? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:16-18) For this is the message you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. ...Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (1 John 3:11,12,15) Let love be genuine. (Or "without dissimulation") (Romans 12:9) Love does no wrong to a neighbor... (Romans 13:10) Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31,32) "All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. (1 Corinthians 10:23,24) And He said to His disciples, "Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times, saying, 'I repent,' you must forgive him." (Luke 17:1-4) But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol's temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble. (1 Corinthians 8:7-13) I know and am persuaded in the Lord that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you consider good be spoken of as evil. (Romans 14:14-16) So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:31,32, 11:1) We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please Himself... (Romans 15:1-3) My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins. (James 5:19,20) Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. (1 Corinthians 16:13,14) And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it. (2 John 6) (All Scripture taken from ESV.)
  14. Do Not Be Surprised... (A Word Of Warning For The Time To Come)

    No, God doesn't just leave us alone to fend for ourselves after He saves us. He certainly works with us and teaches us, protects and guides us in the way we should go. And ideally, all Christians would pursue the knowledge of Him, be faithful to Him and trust Him, and keep following Him to the end of their course. But desires for other things can and do creep in, and when the Christian is confronted with the choice between something he or she really wants (or does not want to do) and what God says to do or wants them to do, and they choose themselves rather than Him, it is a slippery slope that leads backwards and away from Him. Even though He chastens us, we don't all respond to it in the way we should. Choosing to disobey the Lord also makes us more susceptible to temptation and deception by demons. (Submit yourselves, therefore, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.) How we fare as Christians has much to do with our own personal choices, and not merely with God's will and His faithfulness. (We can see an example of this in the Lord's messages to the seven churches in the Revelation---how God's faithfulness doesn't guarantee that all Christians will do well and fare well, and that not all Christians are of the same quality.) Make the wrong choices, and you won't realize God's good purposes. Turn aside from following Him to have your own way and you won't receive the spiritual blessings He wants you to have, or fulfill His purpose for you. We each make our choices, day by day, and making the right choices (choosing the Lord, no matter what) is habit forming, as is making the wrong ones (choosing ourselves). Even the apostle Paul recognized that if he ceased to be faithful to Jesus and didn't run his course to the end, he himself would be disqualified from the prize of eternal life, even after all he had done. (Like what it says in Ezekiel 18:24.) With the renewing of our minds, and the strong love bond that is forged between the Christian and Jesus through trials and perseverance, it becomes impossible for a Christian to go back to the world and be happy there. But the renewing of the mind depends on our own faithfulness to God in applying His word to our lives and doing His will. If we don't do this as we ought, He will not renew our minds with greater understanding and more of His desires, and we'll stay spiritually immature; and spiritually immature Christians are much more easily deceived, and tempted by the things of this world, than are mature ones, as they are still more like the world in their thinking than they are like Christ.
  15. Do Not Be Surprised... (A Word Of Warning For The Time To Come)

    That is very true, provided the Christian remains in Christ, which he has the choice to do or not to do after coming to be in Him. The Christians in the church in Ephesus were not going to remain in Christ; neither were the Christians in Sardis or Laodicea, unless they repented of their apostasy. There are plenty of scriptures that show that a true Christian (a person who has been born-again, not merely someone who professes to be a Christian) can forfeit his or her salvation; so bear in mind that Romans 8:38,39 does not include "or anything we do", because it's obvious from many other New Testament scriptures that we ourselves can indeed separate ourselves from Christ and be cut off from Him by our own choices.
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