VICTORIOUS LIVING A PUBLICATION OF VICTORY FELLOWSHIP CHURCH
MOVING FROM A GIVE ME TO A GIVER
BE YE THANKFUL
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2007
OFF TO THE MISSION FIELD
Victory Fellowship Church 1250 Aversboro Rd. Garner, NC 27529 | 919.779.5180 | firstname.lastname@example.org
w w w. v f g a r n e r. c o m
VICTORIOUSLIVING A P U B L I C AT I O N O F V I C T O R Y F E L L O W S H I P C H U R C H
2 0 0 7
VICTORIOUS LIVING November/December 2007 Volume 9 issue 7
Address 1250 Aversboro Rd. Garner, NC 27529 Email email@example.com Website www.vfgarner.com Phone 919.779.5180 Fax 919.779.4180
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Joe Barbacci Nikki Dentrone Pastor Mitch Horton Frann Sarpolus
6 WHAT IN THE WORLD
STAFF Mitch Horton Senior Pastor firstname.lastname@example.org Anne Houston Administrative Secretary email@example.com Dianne Boyette Youth Pastor firstname.lastname@example.org Elizabeth Boyette Weekly Cleaning Frann Sarpolus Personal Ministry email@example.com Jon Horton Creative Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Pam Hawkins Receptionist pam@vfgarner Renee Horton Creative Assistant email@example.com Robert Williams Finance Director firstname.lastname@example.org Sarah Horton Weekly Cleaning Shawn Tracy College & Career Pastor email@example.com Steven Hoyle Music Minister firstname.lastname@example.org
Nikki Dentrone Childrenâ€™s Ministry Director email@example.com
Victorious Living is a bimonthly publication of Victory Fellowship Church. Comments, questions, or suggestions can be mailed or emailed to us at the addresses located above. To view previous newsletters, visit
| 2 | MOVING FROM A GIVE ME TO A GIVER | 3 | BE YE THANKFUL | 4 | OFF TO THE MISSION FIELD | 12 | FROM THE BLOG | 13 | BEACON INSTITUTE
IT BEGINS WITH ONE. Then there is a trickle. And ﬁnally – the ﬂood. The constant river screams, “I want that, I want that, I want!” As the Christmas season quickly approaches, so seemingly do the ‘needs’ of our children. Every TV commercial and Sunday newspaper is ﬁlled with items that your children decide they “must” have. Suddenly, the toys that they played with yesterday are no longer any good; abruptly they’ve become broken, worn down, and old. Our kids ‘need’ the latest upgrade and the hottest new items to hit the retail shelves. And businesses know it! Corporations know that to make a proﬁt, they must instill a perception of an overpowering need for their products and services. Their advertisements are designed to compel consumers, like you and me, into their stores, as we attempt to satisfy that need. It is no accident that toy manufacturers, clothing retailers, and technology-based companies aim their advertising at children and youth, especially during the holiday seasons. Companies know that children are likely to have a list of wants for Christmas, and that we, as good parents, will go out of our way to provide them the goods . . . But should we? There is nothing wrong with blessing our children. The Bible tells us that God wants us to be blessed. Psalm 115:13-14 (NKJV): “He will bless those who fear the LORD, both small and great. May the LORD give you increase more and more, you and your children.” However, when we are never satisﬁed with what we have, always craving more and more, there is deﬁnitely a problem. We are allowing material possessions to hold our esteem, in the place of God. This is an idol called Greed, or Covetousness. Greed has become a common and acceptable philosophy in our nation. Slogans read: “He who dies with the most toys, WINS,” “No prohibiting allowed!” and “Hit Me...I need the $$$.” The Bible calls that a wicked and sinful way of life. God addressed greed in the Ten Commandments. Exodus 20:17 (NIV), “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Your neighbors may not have servants, oxen or donkeys, but they may make more money, own a more expensive car, a bigger house, and have a nicer yard. This verse commands us not to desire or lust after those things that do not belong to us. We should rejoice with our neighbors that they are blessed, but not be jealous because they have something that we don’t. 2 | V I C T O RY F E L L O W SHIP CHURCH | WWW.VFGARNER.COM
We need to train our children to be satisﬁed. First, however, we must also allow God to train us in being satisﬁed. Psalm 145:1516 (NKJV), “The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.” God knows the needs of our families, and His provision is suﬃcient for us. We must let go of seeking after material possessions to make ourselves happy, and stop teaching that wrong attitude to our children as well. We must put God ﬁrst in everything, absolutely everything. When we put God ﬁrst, His Word says that He “will satisfy the desires of our heart.” So how do we deal with “I want that”? We must teach our children about giving. Train them to know and understand that it is truly better to give than to receive. Read scriptures on giving to them. (There are several listed below to help you get started.) Maybe in lieu of spending so much money on your own family this year, you could adopt a less fortunate family, and bless them with gifts for their children. Perhaps take your children to a homeless shelter, and work for a day, serving others. I believe we should train our children away from the “Give me…” attitude and toward the “Giver” attitude. Luke 12:33 “Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where neither thief approaches nor moth destroys.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” Romans 12:10-13 “Be kindly aﬀectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.” Deuteronomy 15:11 “For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and needy, in your land.’” Galatians 6:10 “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
IF ASKED, “WHAT ARE YOU THANKFUL FOR?” MANY PEOPLE MIGHT EXPRESS THANKFULNESS FOR FOOD, A HOME, HEALTH, A JOB, A CAR, FAMILY MEMBERS, OR CLOTHES, WITHOUT REALLY GIVING IT MUCH THOUGHT. IF WE STOP AND THINK ABOUT IT,
WHAT IS THANKFULNESS? Thankfulness is one of the ﬁrst social graces that we teach our children. As we hand a toy to a tot, we say, “Thank you,” soliciting a repeat of the same. We continue to prompt and train verbalizations of gratefulness into our self-centered children so that they will learn some semblance of giving thanks. And aren’t we pleased when they ﬁnally display unexpected gratitude! Thankfulness is an attitude of the heart that acknowledges the charity, the undeserved goodness, graciously extended towards it. True thankfulness never feels that the benevolence is owed. It is a humble recognition that we have received something outside of ourselves into our lives. From the very beginning of creation, our loving God extended Himself into creation. From the foundation of the world, He made and He gave. From the Old Testament through the Book of Revelation, the Bible is full of thanksgiving or ‘giving of thanks.’ There was the sacriﬁce of thanksgiving in Leviticus 7:12-16, and a peace oﬀering and thanksgiving to the Lord God in 2 Chronicles 30:22. There were prayers of thanksgiving (Nehemiah 11:17), songs of thanksgiving (12:8), hymns of thanksgiving with accompaniment (12:27), and proclamations of thanksgiving with the voice (Psalm 26:7). Thanksgiving was expressed to God to “make His deeds known among the peoples” (1 Chronicles 16:8), to declare His salvation (vs. 35: “gather us and deliver us from the nations to give thanks to Your Holy name”), to tell of all His wonders (Psalm 9:1), and to declare that “He is good for His loving kindness is everlasting” (1 Chronicles 16:34). Jesus Himself gave thanks to the Father when He broke bread to feed His disciples (John 6:11), and He thanked the Father for hearing Him when He prayed (11:41).
Unthankfulness is evident when our attitudes are ﬂippant or unappreciative. We can actually tout an air of ingratitude by entertaining thoughts such as “I deserve…” or “I am owed…” or by whining, “It’s not fair!” Complaining expressions like “I don’t have...” or “If I had...” or even “I wish…” are full of self-pity, comparison, and lack. Each of these focuses on self rather than on the giver. Romans 1:21 reveals the outcome of the ungrateful: “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Sometimes we have to bring our thoughts “captive to the obedience of Christ Jesus” (2 Corinthians 10:5) in order to dwell on those things that are “worthy of praise” (Philippians 4:8) and to take stock of what we really have been given; then we can properly respond to the Giver with gratefulness. This is what makes it a “sacriﬁce of thanksgiving” at times. Giving thanks opens up our hearts and can purge away bitterness and self-pity. Just like we instill “Thank you” into our toddlers, gratefulness is nurtured. Possibly this is why Holy Spirit exhorts us in the ‘giving of thanks’ 147 times in the Bible (Ampliﬁed). Note the emphasis here on the verb give. Just like Father God gave His only begotten Son Jesus to us because He loved us (John 3:16), we are to give thanks to Him because we love Him, and He is worthy of our thanksgiving. “Through Him then, let us continually oﬀer up a sacriﬁce of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” (Hebrews 13:15) Let us be full of thanks, “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.” (Ephesians 5:20) Let us also: “in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18) And as a ﬁnale, when we proclaim with our mouths the gratefulness that is in our hearts, we are in unison with those who are declaring the Kingdom of God coming on earth as it is in Heaven. “We give Thee thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who art and who wast, because Thou hast taken Thy great power and hast begun to reign.” (Rev.11:17)
BE YE THANKFUL
What more need we be thankful for!?
BY FRANN SARPOLUS VICTORIOUS LIVING | NOVEMBER/DE C E M B E R 2 0 0 7 | 3
O F F
T H E
B A C
WHERE DID THE LAST FOUR YEARS GO?
It seems like just yesterday that Leslie and I moved our family to the Raleigh area from Nicaragua to put down roots and grow with Victory Fellowship Church. But here we are again, getting ready to pursue missions in the country of Guatemala. Leslie and I will start our trek in mid-October. We will ride to Texas together, at which point I will send Leslie ahead of me on a plane. Tim Spurrier, the missionary with whom I’ll be working, will meet me in Texas, and together we will drive through Mexico and Belize into Guatemala. Once we’ve arrived, we’ll have to hunt, and I mean hunt, down the things we will need to set up our home. We’ve got an apartment in town reserved for us, but it doesn’t have any of the basics like a stove, refrigerator, or even kitchen cupboards. It does have a shower with an electric wire running to the shower head to heat the water. Somehow that doesn’t seem right, but it’s the way they do things there.
We will begin our work at the newly built Hospital Shalom, which is located outside the city of Flores. It is a small hospital of about 14,000 sq ft, but it services the northeastern part of Guatemala, which is approximately 13,000 sq miles. At this point, the hospital is primarily open for outpatient services, unless a patient is so sick that he would require overnight care. It is staﬀed by only 14 people, including 3 doctors and 4 nurses, all of whom are Guatemalans. Our jobs as missionaries there are innumerable, but the main tasks we will begin to tackle are:
1. Help with the organization of hospital procedures, supply rooms, and computer set-up. 2. Minister to the patients by sharing the gospel and in prayer. 3. Provide supplementary Biblical teaching for young pastors. 4. Help develop a program to take mobile medical units into villages.
’S “NEW L E SL I E
EN” KIT CH
5. Find resources (equipment and medical teams) for the hospital. 6. Assist in the organization of groups and medical teams that help out at the hospital.
We are always looking for medical groups and mission teams to assist with short-term campaigns. For those of you who have never ventured out of the country or out of the state for that matter, let me invite, no challenge you, to venture out and experience a mission trip to Guatemala. You will be amazed at how God will use you to minister to people, and perhaps be surprised at the wealth of biblical understanding you have accumulated from sitting under Pastor Mitch’s teachings. It’ll be an unforgettable experience with eternal rewards.
Please keep in touch with us. My new email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. I promise to write you back. Please remember that if you don’t receive an immediate reply, our phone lines, electric or internet service may be out. You will hear from us on a regular basis, and we already look forward to our future visits with you. Please remember to keep us in your prayers, and we will do the same. As this chapter of our lives at Victory Fellowship comes to a close, I look back at the HO great gifts that God has given me. He has SPIT prepared me in every way to accomplish AL S HAL this next assignment in Guatemala. He OM has given me a solid foundation in the Word, and He has also given me many friendships that I will treasure for the rest of my life. I appreciate all of the love and support you have shown our family, and from the bottom of my heart I want to say we love each one of you. Leslie and I will miss you dearly! VICTORIOUS LIVING | NOVEMBER/DECEMBER NOVEMBER/DE C E M B E R 2007 2007 | 5
We’re living in a time when the scriptures concerning the Second Coming of Christ are being fulﬁlled at a fascinating pace. It’s both an exciting and a dangerous time. With the Word of God as our guide, we can navigate successfully through this period, and be ready when Jesus decides it’s time to bring us home! In the Old Testament, the sons of Issachar had understanding of the times, so that they would know what Israel ought to do.1 And today, the church has been given the wisdom of God through the Word to know how we should respond to world conditions and be prepared for the events ahead.
GOD’S OVERALL PLAN To understand what the Bible declares about end time events, it is necessary to understand God’s overall plan for the ages. Understand that God originally planned that we live in fellowship with Him for eternity in human bodies on earth! Death, sin, war, violence, and every other negative we experience in life were not part of His original plan. Ephesians 1:9-10 in J. B. Phillips translations reads: For God has allowed us to know the secret of His plan and it is this, He purposed long ago in His sovereign will that all human history should be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in heaven and earth should ﬁnd its perfection and fulﬁllment in Him. God’s plan is to restore back to us all that was lost when Adam sinned: restoring our fellowship with God, restoring immortality to the body, freeing the earth from the curse, and God’s enemy Satan being judged and removed from his place of mock authority. God devised a plan before creation that if man sinned, he would be restored back to his original place with Him.2 There is a scarlet thread of redemption that runs throughout scripture, and that is worked out through God’s people and through covenants He has made with them. It culminates with the return of Jesus Christ to defeat His enemies and to lovingly rule eternally over His creation.3
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THE BIBLE DIVIDES THE HUMAN RACE INTO THREE GROUPS
THROUGH THE BLOOD OF JESUS,
WE ARE CLEANSED F R OM T H E STAT E O F SI N ,
To understand what is happening right now worldwide, we must realize that God divides mankind into three people groups: Jews, Gentiles, and the church.4 Each of these groups is dealt with in a diﬀerent way by Him. The Jews are God’s natural covenant people on the earth, and from them our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, was born!5 This covenant with them is still in force, and is yet to be completely fulﬁlled!6 TO The Gentiles (or unbelievers) have no claim of salvation. They have no relationship with God.7 According to the scriptures, though God loves them, there is a barrier of sin that prevents God from having fellowship with them. Jesus came to remove the sin barrier!8 The church is God’s spiritual family that has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus. The church has been grafted into God’s family tree because of the unbelief of the Jews.9 Some incorrectly believe today in Replacement Theology, that is, that the church has taken the place of Israel in God’s eternal plan.10 That simply can’t be true, since many of God’s promises to Israel have yet to be fulﬁlled. In fact, the church exists today because of the failure of the Jews to believe!11
AND MADE ABLE TO FELLOWSHIP WITH
A HOLY GOD. THROUGH THE NEW COVENANT,
ALLA BOF GOD’S PROMISES R A HA M A N D H I S O F F SP R I N G BECOME PROMISES
TO EVERY PERSON WHO IS
FOUR ETERNAL COVENANTS To understand what’s happening in the world today, and to understand what will happen in the future, there are four major covenants that we must understand: The Abrahamic, the Palestinian, the Davidic, and the New Covenant. God made each of these covenants for a speciﬁc purpose, and each covenant is an eternal covenant, and will be completely fulﬁlled because God never lies!12 In the Abrahamic Covenant, God promised to bless Abraham and his oﬀspring for eternity, and through them to bless the entire world! In the covenant God made with Abraham, God made eternal promises to Abraham concerning his ancestors and concerning certain lands that he has promised them for eternity.13 In the Palestinian Covenant, God promised to give the Israelites the land of Canaan as an eternal inheritance.14 The present land that Israel occupies is only a portion of what God has promised Israel. Anyone who tries to take away from Israel land that God has promised them will ﬁnd themselves ﬁghting against God. We need to be very careful as to what our policies towards Israel are as a nation. If not, we may ﬁnd ourselves inheriting a curse instead of a blessing!15 In the Davidic Covenant, God promised David that his kingdom will be eternal. God promises him that one of His descendants (Jesus) will sit on the throne to rule over Israel for eternity.16 In the New Covenant, personal fellowship between God and the human race is restored.17 Through the blood of Jesus, we are cleansed from the state of sin, and made able to fellowship with a Holy God. Through the New Covenant, all of God’s promises to Abraham and his oﬀspring become promises to every person who is born again!18
All of these covenants will be fulﬁlled! God always keeps His promises. There is a timeline for their fulﬁllment that we should remain aware of, and this timeline is found in Daniel 9:24-27.19
DANIEL’S PROPHETIC TIMELINE God gave Daniel a timeline that we use today to understand the season of the Rapture and of the Second Coming of Christ. In Daniel 9, Daniel was praying and confessing the sins of his people. They had been removed from their land and taken captive to Babylon for seventy years. The prophet Jeremiah had predicted that Israel would be captive to Babylon for 70 years,20 one year for each year that Israel had violated the land rest Sabbath.21 As Daniel was praying, God gave him a word of wisdom concerning 490 years of Israel’s existence in the future, which would cover from the time that Israel rebuilt Jerusalem until the Messiah rules the earth! This 490-year period is divided into three main parts. The ﬁrst part is found in the beginning of Daniel 9:25,22 and covers a 49-year period, which includes the rebuilding of the walls around Jerusalem after Israel’s captivity to Babylon, and then the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem itself.23 The second timeline in this prophecy is found in the latter part of Daniel 9:25, and covers a period of 434 years, from the completion of the rebuilding of the city of Jerusalem after Babylonian captivity until the cruciﬁxion of Jesus.24 So from what we’ve just mentioned, 483 years of the 490 years of Israel’s future as revealed to Daniel has already been fulﬁlled. That leaves only seven years of Daniel’s prophecy to be fulﬁlled, and it hasn’t happened yet! The third part of Daniel’s end-time timeline is found in Daniel 9:27: Then he shall conﬁrm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacriﬁce and oﬀering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even the consummation, which is poured out on the desolate. Let me explain what this verse is saying to us.
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This one week mentioned in verse 27 is what we call the Tribulation. It’s the ﬁnal week or seven years of the 490 years of Jewish history as revealed to Daniel hundreds of years ago. The “he” in verse 27 is speaking of the anti-Christ. He will make a seven-year peace treaty with Israel and her neighboring Arab countries. This “anti-Christ” will break his peace treaty agreement 3½ years into the seven-year agreement. Again, this is where we understand that there is a period of seven years yet to be fulﬁlled in God’s dealings with the Israelites. And as we will see, it seems as though it’s almost time for its fulﬁllment!
Israel was removed from their promised land again in 70 A.D. because of their rebellion to God’s law and their refusal to obey His word.26 The Jews were in exile out of their promised land for almost 2000 years. During that time, the land became a barren desert. The exciting thing for us to realize is that God has promised to bring Israel back into the land He promised Abraham just before the return of the Messiah!27 This return of the Jews to their land began in the late 1800’s and culminated in 1948, with Israel becoming a legitimate nation again! This is one the most notable signs to us that the Second Coming of Christ is near!
Israel returning to their God-given land is a major sign of the Second Coming of Christ.
THE CHURCH AGE IS A MYSTERY
In Daniel 9:26, the Jews are predicted to be driven from their land. This happened in 70 A.D. when the Romans, led by the emperor Titus, destroyed Jerusalem and drove the Jews away. They were almost completely removed and dispersed from their land by 135 A.D., and the land was renamed Palestinia by the Romans, to eradicate any thought of the Jews’ previous occupation of the land. Please notice that there has never been a nation of Palestinians! The current proposal by our president of two nations side-by-side, one called Palestine, and the other called Israel, will never work. This proposal takes land that God promised Israel and gives it to Israel’s sworn enemies! Any nation siding against Israel and working to divide its land is promised to inherit a curse!25
I want to brieﬂy mention that the church is never mentioned in the Old Testament. The church is a mystery that has been hidden and was revealed by God after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.28 There is an undeﬁned time period, a “gap” between Daniel 9:26 and Daniel 9:27. And that gap is the church age.29 Verse 26 mentions Israel being driven from their Promised Land, and verse 27 mentions the anti-Christ making a seven-year peace treaty with Israel. In between these two events is us, the church! The church has been the center of God’s attention for the last 2000 years. And we’re living at the close of this church age, an age of the grace of God being in prominent manifestation.
The church age will come to a close with the Rapture of the church.30 And God’s dealings with the Jews will become the focus of God’s attention at that time. Remember that there are seven years of Jewish time yet to be fulﬁlled according to Daniel.31
THE TRIBULATION These seven years of unfulﬁlled Jewish time are what we call the Tribulation.32 This will be a period of unprecedented diﬃculty worldwide. It’s explained in detail in Revelation, chapters 6-19. And it’s mention by Jesus in the gospels in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. During the Tribulation, God will once again begin to deal with the Jews for their rebellion to His word and for their rejection of Jesus as their long-awaited Messiah. When the Tribulation begins, the church age as we know it will come to a close with the Rapture of the church to heaven. The Tribulation will be a period of the wrath of God being displayed against the rebellion and sin of mankind and against their mistreatment of Israel. Because the Tribulation time is a period of divine judgment, the church will not be involved!33 God has not appointed us as believers to experience His wrath. Jesus has endured the wrath of God for us already. Because of His sacriﬁce, we receive God’s mercy! When the church is raptured or taken suddenly to heaven, the Tribulation begins. According to Daniel 9:27, the anti-Christ will enact a seven-year peace treaty between Israel and their bickering neighbors. And when this occurs, we the church will be removed!34
A TROUBLING THOUGHT IS THAT
THE UNITED STATES
IS NOT MENTIONED AS
A WORLD POWER
DURING THE TIME OF
AND THE RISE OF THE
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The earth will spiritually revert back to God dealing with the Jewish race after the Rapture of the church. Many Jews will become born again during this time, and will become the evangelists of the Tribulation period.35 Jesus gave us pertinent signs to look for so that people living during this time could be aware of the coming judgment. He mentioned false religions, wars, ethnic strife and tension, famine, disease, earthquakes, and disruptive weather patterns as signs of the beginning of this time of trouble.36
WHERE WE ARE RIGHT NOW ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES It’s clear that right now we are at the close of the church age. The Rapture could occur at any moment! There are currently no scriptures to be fulﬁlled for this wonderful event to occur! Israel has reoccupied their land. They obtained control of Jerusalem again for the ﬁrst time in thousands of years in 1967. The Arab nations around them cause constant friction and are seeking their ruin. AntiSemitism37 is at an all-time high. And the nations that are ruled by radical Islam are praying to their god for the total destruction of Israel and of any nation that aids her. The U.S. has become a target because we’re Israel’s strongest ally. Iran has been seeking nuclear weaponry for years now, and is close to realizing its goal. The president of Iran is vowing the destruction of Israel and its allies, and the emergence of an Islamic-dominated world. Russia, freed from the rule of Communism in the late 1980’s, is now seeking to re-establish itself as a world power. Ezekiel 38 and 39 speak of an attack on Israel led by Russia, Iran, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, and perhaps other Islamic-dominated countries.38 It’s interesting that Russia and Iran now have military agreements, and many of the countries mentioned above are supported militarily by Russia and Iran. The timing of this attack in Ezekiel 38 and 39 is not certain. It could come either before or after the Rapture of the church. But it is seems probable that the current instability will one day culminate in war. A troubling thought is that the United States is not mentioned as a world power during the time of the Tribulation and the rise of the antiChrist. The book of Daniel predicts the rise of European power during the time of the Tribulation, and seems to indicate that the anti-Christ will come from one of these European countries. The present rise of Europe politically and now economically is a foreboding cloud for the U.S. The stretching of our military to the breaking point with current conﬂicts, the devaluing of our currency, the enormous debt of the U.S. government, and the destabilizing of family and cultural values in our country may speak of the U.S. falling from its status as a world power. The political correctness that runs rampant on our college campuses, the inclusive ideology that rules public dialogue in the U.S. right now, and the disdain for Christianity in public life all point to a possible coming judgment on our nation.
LET’S BE READY DAILY
F O R T H E FAT H E R T O
USE US TO BRING HIS
TO OUR GENERATION.
IT LOOKS AS THOUGH
“SOON AND VERY SOON, WE ARE GOING TO SEE
Jesus told us that during this time, we should be ever watchful and prayerful. This is not a time to be lulled to sleep by the ﬂesh. It’s a time to rouse ourselves from spiritual slumber and be ready to be used by God for a mighty moving of the His Spirit worldwide! Paul said in Romans 13:11-14: And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we ﬁrst believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast oﬀ the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the ﬂesh, to fulﬁll its lusts. Jesus said: But take heed to yourselves and be on your guard, lest your hearts be overburdened and depressed – weighed down – with the giddiness and headache and nausea of self-indulgence, drunkenness, and worldly worries and cares pertaining to (the business of) this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap or a noose; for it will come upon all who live upon the face of the entire earth. Keep awake then and watch at all times (that is, be discreet, attentive, and ready), praying that you may have the full strength and ability and be accounted worthy to escape all these things (taken together) that will take place, and to stand in the presence of the Son of Man.39 And Isaiah’s prophecy is for what I believe is our time period: Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.40 Let’s be ready daily for the Father to use us to bring His truth and light to our generation. It looks as though “Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King!” 41
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S E C R ESOU
R 1. 2. 3.
1 Chronicles 12:32 Revelation 13:8; Ephesians 1:4-6; Colossians 1:26-37; Romans 5:17-21; 1 John 3:8; John 10:10; 1 Corinthians 15:22 Ephesians 3:1-11 (Phillips Translation): It is in this great cause that I Paul, have become a prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles. For you must have heard how God gave me grace to become your minister, and how He allowed me to understand His secret by giving me a direct revelation. What I have written brieﬂy of this above will explain to you my knowledge of the mystery of Christ. This secret was hidden to past generations of mankind, but it has now, by the Spirit, been made plain to God’s consecrated messengers and prophets. It is simply this: that the Gentiles are to be equal heirs with His chosen people, equal members and equal partners in God’s promise given by Christ Jesus through the gospel. And I was made a minister of that gospel by the grace that was freely given to me, and by the action within me of His own power. Yes, to me, less than the least of all Christians, has God given this grace, to enable me to proclaim to the Gentiles the gospel of the incalculable riches of Christ, and to make plain to all men the meaning of that Divine secret which He who created everything has kept hidden from creation until now. The purpose is that all angelic powers should see the complex wisdom of God’s plan being worked out through the church, in conformity to that timeless purpose which He centered in Christ Jesus, our Lord. 1 Corinthians 10:32 Genesis 12:1-3: Now the LORD had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. (2) I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. (3) I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ Romans 11:1-2: I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. (2) God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew. Or do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel, saying, (3) ‘LORD, they have killed Your prophets and torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.’ (4) But what does the divine response say to him? ‘I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.’ (5) Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. Ephesians 2:11-13: Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the ﬂesh -- who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the ﬂesh by hands (12) that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. (13) But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far oﬀ have been brought near by the blood of Christ. John 3:16; Ephesians 2:14 1 Peter 2:10; Romans 2:29; Romans 11:11-36
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10. A simple look at Romans 9-11 clearly reveals that the gifts and callings of God are irrevocable. God’s covenant with the Jewish race through Abraham is eternal, and will be in force for eternity. Many of His promises to them are yet to be fulﬁlled. 11. Romans 11:11-21 12. Numbers 23:19; Psalm 89:34; Psalm 119:89; Isaiah 55:11; Matthew 24:35 13. Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 17:1-7; Deuteronomy 28:1-14 14. Genesis 12:5-7; Genesis 13:14-17; Genesis 15:18-21; Genesis 17:7-8 15. Zechariah 12:1-3 16. 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Psalm 89:34-37; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Jeremiah 33:14-17; Jeremiah 33:20-21; Ezekiel 37:24-25; Daniel 7:13-14; Hosea 3:4-5; Amos 9:11; Zechariah 14:4-9 17. Jeremiah 31:31-34; 1 Corinthians 11:25; Hebrews 8:8-13 18. Romans 2:29; Galatians 3:13-14 19. Daniel 9:24-27: Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city, to ﬁnish the transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy. (25) Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times. (26) And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut oﬀ, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a ﬂood, and till the end of the war desolations are determined. (27) Then he shall conﬁrm a covenant with many for one week; but in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacriﬁce and oﬀering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, even until the consummation, which is determined, is poured out on the desolate. 20. Leviticus 25:1-7: And the LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, (2) “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a Sabbath to the LORD. (3) Six years you shall sow your ﬁeld, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather its fruit; (4) but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the LORD. You shall neither sow your ﬁeld nor prune your vineyard. (5) What grows of its own accord of your harvest you shall not reap, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine, for it is a year of rest for the land. (6) And the Sabbath produce of the land shall be food for you: for you, your male and female servants, your hired man, and the stranger who dwells with you, (7) for your livestock and the beasts that are in your land -- all its produce shall be for food.’” Jeremiah 25:9-12: Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, says the LORD, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make
25. 26. 27.
them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations. (10) Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. (11) And this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. (12) Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, says the LORD; and I will make it a perpetual desolation. See also Jeremiah 27:6-8; Jeremiah 29:10. 2 Chronicles 36:20-21: And those who escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the kingdom of Persia, (21) to fulﬁll the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulﬁll seventy years. See also Leviticus 26:34-43. Daniel 9:25a: Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks… Forty-nine years (seven 7’s) was spoken of as the time given to rebuild Jerusalem. In 444 B.C. King Artexerxes gave the command to Nehemiah to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. It took 52 days to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem, and 49 years for Jerusalem to be restored. Until Messiah the Prince there shall be seven weeks (49 years) and 62 weeks (62x7=434); the street shall be built again, and the wall even in troublesome times. From the time of the completion of the city until the cruciﬁxion of Jesus was 62 weeks, or 434 years. A total of 483 years of the history of Israel and Jerusalem has already been fulﬁlled: 49 years to rebuild the city, and 434 years from the completion of Jerusalem until the death of Jesus Christ, for a total of 483 years. Zechariah 12:1-9 See Deuteronomy 28:15-65. It’s a supernatural event to see the Jews form a nation again after being dispersed for such a long period. This has happened just the way God said it would happen. The following references are the voices of the prophets of the Old Testament witnessing to what we see fulﬁlled in our day! Deuteronomy 30:1-3; Ezekiel 11:11-12, 16-21; Ezekiel 20:3338; Ezekiel 34:11-16; Ezekiel 39:25-29; Isaiah 14:1-3; Isaiah 27:12-13; Isaiah 43:1-8; Isaiah 49:8-16; Isaiah 66:20-22; Jeremiah 16:14-16; Jeremiah 23:3-8; Jeremiah 30:10-11; Jeremiah 31:8, 31-37; Hosea 1:10-11; Hosea 2:14-23; Joel 3:17-21; Amos 9:11-15; Micah 4:4-7; Zephaniah 3:14-20 Ephesians 3:3-6: How that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have brieﬂy written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: that the Gentiles should be
29. 30. 31. 32. 33.
36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41.
fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel. Again, the church is a mystery not revealed in the Old Testament. See Colossians 1:24-27; Romans 16:25-26; and Ephesians 3:1-11. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. In another newsletter, I will explain the Rapture in detail. Daniel 9:27 See Matthew 24:3-28. See 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Romans 5:9. God has not appointed us to wrath. The Tribulation is all about wrath and judgment. It is the judgment of God against the sinfulness of man, against the rebellion of Israel to His Word and their rejection of Jesus as Messiah, and against the nations for their persecution of Israel as a nation. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (Wuest Translation): Do not begin to allow anyone to lead you astray in any way, because that day shall not come except the aforementioned departure [of the Church to heaven] comes ﬁrst and the man of the lawlessness is disclosed [in his true identity], the son of perdition, he who sets himself in opposition to and exalts himself above everyone and everything that is called a god or that is an object of worship, so that he seats himself in the inner sanctuary of God, proclaiming himself to be deity. [Kenneth S. Wuest, The New Testament: An Expanded Translation (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1961) 486] See Matthew 24:14. This is really referring to the Tribulation period if you look at the scriptural context. It’s often quoted as referring to the church preaching the gospel worldwide. But to be true to the rules of Biblical interpretation, you must agree that it refers to the coming period of tribulation, and to the Jews becoming the gospel evangelists of this time period. Matthew 24:5-8; Luke 21:9-11 Anti-Semitism is the persecution of the Jews and the seeking of their demise as a nation living in Zion, their land promised to them by God through Abraham thousands of years ago. See Ezekiel 38:1-11. Luke 21:34-36 Ampliﬁed Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Corporation, 1965) 123-124 Isaiah 60:1-3 Andrea Crouch, “Soon and Very Soon,” 1971
S E T O N F O IES! ES
D G A U P T UR S HOLE
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VICTORIOUS LIVING | NOVEMBER/DEC E M B E R 2 0 0 7 | 1 1
USE TIME WISELY
MONDAY, OCTOBER 2ND 2007 Teach us to use wisely all the time we have (Psalm 90:12 – Contemporary English Version). Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16 – Ampliﬁed). My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you (Proverbs 3:1-2). Time is life measured out. What I do with my time determines who I am and determines what I allow the Father to do in me and through me. All of us have 168 hours a week to accomplish what we value in life. I’m thinking about this a lot now that my associate Joe has ofﬁcially left my staff and returns to the mission ﬁeld this month. I have not yet chosen his replacement, but everything must continue in the life of our church. I must have time for ministry, for organizational and managerial tasks, and time for personal ministry and staff relations. I must also make time each day for my relationship with the Father and with Jesus through the Word and in prayer. I must also spend time with my wife and children, as well as have time for leisure and hobbies, relaxation and rest. Time is a commodity that I can’t reclaim once it is wasted. I must take full advantage of each minute of each day. And I must do this in a way that honors God and doesn’t violate His kingdom principles of love, faith, trust, and rest. To use wisely all the time I have, I start by tithing a portion of my day to the Father for time in the Word and in prayer. He’s promised me length of days if I’ll honor the Word! I can extract more out of each minute, each hour, and each day, and have time to spare if I’ll allow Him to be my wisdom through the Word . . . . .
Finish reading this article and others like it at www.pastor.vfgarner.com
INTRODUCTION TO BEACON INSTITUTE.
Victory Fellowship has joined with Beacon Institute of Ministry in Columbus, Georgia, to provide a school to prepare believers for obeying the call of God upon their lives as ambassadors for Christ.
“Biblical Discipleship” November 15th - 17th / Rev. Greg Hinnant
Beacon Institute of Ministry is accredited by Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) to award degrees through the Master of Divinity and has been granted authorization to begin offering courses leading to the Doctor of Ministry Degree. In-depth studies are provided in Bible, Counseling, Christian Development, Church Growth and other related topics. These studies are designed to prepare Christian Workers for pastoral, counseling, evangelistic, teaching, music, youth, children’s, and other ministries. They are also designed to enrich one’s spiritual life, along with strengthening the ministry of the local church. If you are not a member of Victory Fellowship, you must be grounded in a local church in order to participate in the courses offered at our campus.
This course will instill in the student the various major spiritual disciplines that make up the lifestyle of true Christianity. The course teaches the student those truths that will enable the Holy Spirit to transform the student into a “disciple indeed” - a deeply committed student-follower of the Son of God, after the original and soley authoritative pattern of the Holy Scriptures. In addition, the course will help the student prepare for the appearing of Jesus Christ.
SIGN UP TODAY AND RECEIVE YOUR BOOK AND SYLLABUS! For more information on Beacon Institute of Ministry, please contact Shawn Tracy at 550.0618.
January 18th - 20th
“How to Study the Bible”
Dr. Dwayne Lusk
February 15th - 17th
“The Theology of Relationships”
Dr. Gary Stewart
“Introduction to Biblical Counseling”
Dr. Mike Chapman
April 19th - 21st
“The Book of Acts: The Spirit and the Mission of the Church”
Dr. Jerry W. Horner
May 10th - 12th
“A Theology of Worship”
Dr. Fuschia Pickett
June 14th - 16th
“World Religions in Christian Perspective”
Dr. Stephen Mansﬁeld
July 19th - 21st
“Biblical Languages: Hebrew I”
Dr. Charles H. Gaulden
March 15th - 17th
August 16th - 18th
“God’s Manifest Presence”
September 13th - 15th
“Biblical Building Blocks for Marriage and Family”
October 18th - 20th
“Survey of the Old Testament II”
November 15th - 17th
No Course This Month!
Dr. Philip E. Goodson Rev. Scott & Cheryl Scheer Dr. Charles H. Gaulden Rev. Greg Hinnant
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