Worship in the Splendor of Holiness

PSALM 96 (King James Bible)

1 O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.
4 For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
6 Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7 Give unto the LORD, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the LORD glory and strength.
8 Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.
9 O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the heathen that the LORD reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.
12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice
13 Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.

Pakistan Floods

Houses are seen surrounded by flood waters from a Pakistan Army helicopter on August 22, 2010 in the village of Shah Jamaal West of Muzaffargarh in Punjab, Pakistan

As traumatic as the flood in Pakistan is – and also in various other parts of the world – we Christians are to show mercy to those experiencing the devastation of this event. It is during times like these that we should be mindful of the millions of people who are standing upon the threshold of eternity. While in our humanitarian efforts we are to reach out to these people, we are also to remember that this is the time that the Gospel of life can be shared with millions. Our prayer as ambassadors of Christ is that faithful Christian evangelists and missionaries who find themselves in Pakistan will proclaim the Truth to an ailing Muslim nation. Jesus said, when tempted by the devil to command stones be made bread:

But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. ~ Matthew 4:4

Man shall not live only by being fed. Man needs every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God to live. The greatest service of humanitarian aid any person could give the Pakistani people right now is to feed them spiritual food (the Gospel of Jesus Christ) that makes alive and also feed them normal food. That is showing them mercy.

36 He that believes on the Son has everlasting life; and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him. ~ John 3:36

God is jealous, and the LORD revenges ~ Nahum 1:2

The world cup might be over, but this “game” goes on – God is jealous and He will exact His revenge against His enemies.

2 God is jealous, and the LORD revenges; the LORD revenges, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies. 3 The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD has His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet. 4 He rebukes the sea, and makes it dry, and dries up all the rivers: Bashan languishes, and Carmel, and the flower of Lebanon languishes. 5 The mountains quake at Him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 6 Who can stand before His indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? His fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by Him. 7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knows them that trust in Him. ~ Nahum 1:2-7

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Cartoons appear at The Jerusalem Connection Blog – World’s favorite sport and Mainstream Media Man.

Setting the Record Straight About the Crusades

The historical record of the Crusades is one that has not always been made known in its entirety and the Crusades’ story has often fallen seriously foul of political correctness and historical revisionism. This article by Dr. Peter Hammond (Frontline Fellowship) is an attempt to set the scholarly record straight concerning what really happened during the Crusades era almost 1000 years ago. Was the church of Jesus Christ really to blame for atrocities against Muslims?

Do you have a correct understanding of what really took place in history? To answer that question and many others, Dr. Hammond will take it from here:

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What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Crusades

At the same time that our mission station was being bombed by the National Islamic Front government in Sudan, fellow missionaries were organising “Reconciliation Walks” to the Middle East to apologise for “The Crusades”. As our church services and schools were under aerial and artillery bombardment by Jihadists, this seemed rather bizarre.

Some claim that the Crusaders were “The starting point of hostility between Islam and the West.” Disrupting “five centuries of peaceful coexistence”.

What Preceded the Crusades?

However the Crusades only started after five centuries of Islamic Jihad had conquered and annihilated, or forcibly converted, over two thirds of what had formerly been the Christian world. Shortly after the Islamic conquest of Jerusalem, in 638, Christian pilgrims were harassed, massacred, and crucified.

Muslim governors extorted ransom money from Pilgrims, and ransacked churches. In the 8th Century the Muslim rulers banned all displays of the Cross in Jerusalem. They also increased the penalty tax (Jizya) on Christians and forbade Christians to engage in any religious instruction, even of their own children! In 772, the Calipha al Mansur ordered the hands of all Christians and Jews in Jerusalem to be branded.

In 923, a new wave of destruction of churches was launched by the Muslim rulers. In 937, Muslims went on a rampage in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday plundering the Church of Calvary and the Church of the Resurrection.

In 1004 the Calipha Al-Hakim unleashed a violent wave of church burning and destruction, confiscation of Christian property, and ferocious slaughter of both Christians and Jews. Over the next ten years, 30,000 churches were destroyed and vast numbers of believers were forcibly converted or killed.

In 1009, Al-Hakim ordered that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem be destroyed.

When the Seljuk Turks swept into Jerusalem in 1077 they murdered over three thousand people, including many Christians. It was at this point that the Christian Emperor of Byzantium, Alexius I, appealed for help to the Western churches.

Pope Urban II challenged the knights of Europe at the Council of Clermont in 1095: “The Turks and Arabs have attacked our brethren in the East. They have killed and captured many and have destroyed the churches. On this account I…persuade all people of whatever rank, foot soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians…”

Nowhere in the call for the launch of the Crusades was there talk about either conquest or conversion. They were merely to remove the Islamic invaders from the lands that had previously been Christian, to restore religious freedom to the Holy Lands.

Myths and Misconceptions

The myth that the Crusades were unprovoked, imperialist actions against the peaceful, indigenous Muslim population is simply not accurate.

Similarly, the characterization of the Crusaders as greedy for loot, only out for personal gain, is simply out of touch with reality. Those who participated in the Crusades saw it as an act of sacrifice rather than of profit. The Crusades were in fact prohibitively expensive. Many Crusaders had to sell their property to raise money for the long journey to the Holy Land and knew that their chances of returning alive were slight. Most who did manage to survive and return came back with nothing material to show for their efforts.

Similarly the modern myth that the Crusaders attempted to forcibly convert Muslims to Christianity is a politically motivated fantasy. Search as one might through the writings and records of the Crusaders, one will not find any mention of Crusaders seeking to convert the Saracens or the Turks. The Crusaders saw themselves as Pilgrims seeking to recapture and liberate Christian lands from vicious invaders.

The Myth of Saladin

The depiction of Saladin as merciful and magnanimous is a myth. When Saladin captured the crusaders at Hattim on 4 July 1187, he ordered the mass execution of all the Christians: “They should be beheaded in accordance with Quran 47:4 ‘When you meet the unbelievers on the battlefield, strike their necks’” Saladin’s secretary Imad reported, “With him were a whole band of scholars and Sufis and a certain number of devout men and aesthetics; each begged to be allowed to kill one of them and drew their swords and rolled back their sleeves. Saladin, his face joyful, was sitting on his dais; the unbelievers showed black despair.”

In 1148, the Muslim Commander Nur ed–Din ordered the slaughter of every Christian in Aleppo.

In 1268, when Mamluk Sultan Baybars seized Antioch, he ensured that all the men were slaughtered, the women sold into slavery, the crosses in every church smashed, the Bibles torn and burned, the graves of Christians desecrated. Every monk, priest and deacon was dragged to the altar and had their throats slit. The Church of Saint Paul and the Cathedral of Saint Peter were destroyed.

On 29 May 1453, the greatest city in the world of that time, Constantinople, was conquered by the Jihadists. The Muslims “slew everyone that they met in the streets, men, women and children without discrimination. The blood ran in rivers down the steep streets from the heights of Petra toward the golden horn”. The Muslim soldiers even entered the Hagia Sophia, and slaughtered thousands of Christians worshipping in what was then the largest church in the world at that time.

A Clear and Present Danger

From the first century of Islam Muslim armies were invading Europe. Spain suffered under Islamic occupation for 8 centuries. In the 14th Century, Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania and Croatia fell to Muslim invasions.

In 1426 the Egyptian Mukluks conquered Cyprus. In 1395 the Muslims conquered Nicopolis on the Danube River. In 1444 the Muslim armies seized Varna in Hungary. In 1456 the Turks besieged Belgrade, and even tried to conquer Rome, but were thrown back. The Muslims first attempted to seize Vienna in 1529. As late as 11 September 1683 Muslim armies besieged Vienna, but were routed by 30,000 Polish cavalrymen led by Poland’s King Jan Sobieski III.

Were the Crusades a Failure?

The constant depiction of the Crusades as a failure is not justified by the historical record. The Crusades bought Europe time. The Crusades succeeded in seizing the initiative, throwing the Muslim invaders onto the defensive, for the first time after five centuries of attack. The Crusaders bought Europe time – centuries in fact.

At a critical time, the Crusades united a divided Europe, and threw the Muslim invaders back, bringing a peace and security to Europe that had not been known for centuries. As a result of the tremendous sacrifices of the Crusaders, Christian Europe experienced Spiritual Revival and Biblical Reformation which inspired a great resurgence of learning, scientific experimentation, technological advancement, and movements that led to greater prosperity and freedoms than had ever been known in all of history.

For a picture of what Europe might be like today had Islam succeeded in conquering it, one can look at the previously Christian civilisations of Egypt and what is today called Turkey. The Copts in Egypt now make up just 10% of the total Egyptian population, and are severely oppressed. What is today called Turkey was once the vibrant Christian Byzantine Empire, the economic and military superpower of its day. Today the Christian civilization which had flourished there for a thousand years has all but been extinguished. The population of the last Christian city in Asia, Smyrna, was massacred by the Turkish Army in 1922.

A Reaction to Jihad

The crusaders were reacting to five centuries of relentless Islamic Jihad. The Middle East was the birthplace of the Christian Church. It was the Christians who had been conquered and oppressed by the Seljuk Turks. Many of the towns in the Middle East welcomed the crusaders as liberators.

Far from the crusaders being the aggressors, it was the Muslim armies which had spread Islam from Saudi Arabia across the whole of Christian North Africa into Spain and even France. Muslim armies sacked and slaughtered their way across some of the greatest Christian cities in the world, including Alexandria, Carthage, Antioch and Constantinople. These Muslim invaders destroyed over 3,200 Christian churches just in the first 100 years of Islam.

Against All Odds

When we think about the Middle Ages, we inevitably view Europe in the light of what it became rather than what it was. The fact is that the superpower of the Medieval world was Islam, not Christendom. The crusades were a battle against all odds with impossibly long lines of supply and cripplingly inadequate logistics. It was a David against Goliath enterprise from the beginning. The chances of success for the first crusade were highly improbable. They had no leader, no chain of command, no supply lines and no detailed strategy. The first crusade consisted simply of thousands of dedicated warriors marching deep into enemy territory, thousands of kilometres from home. Many of them died of starvation, disease and wounds. It was a rough campaign that always was on the brink of disaster. Yet by 1098, the Crusaders had liberated Nicea and Antioch, and in July 1099 they re-conquered Jerusalem.

Professor Madden, the author of A Concise History of the Crusades, has observed: “From the safe distance of many centuries, it is easy enough to scowl in disgust at the crusades. Religion, after all, is nothing to fight wars over. But we should be mindful that our Medieval ancestors would have been equally disgusted by our infinitely more destructive wars fought in the names of political ideologies…Whether we admire the Crusaders or not, it is a fact that the world we know today would not exist without their efforts. The ancient faith of Christianity, with its respect for women and antipathy toward slavery, not only survived but flourished. Without the crusades, it might have followed Zoroastrianism, another of Islam’s rivals, into extinction.” But for the crusades Europe would have probably fallen to Islam and the USA and South Africa would never have come into existence.

Logistics and Economics

As the Christian History Institute has pointed out, the characterising of crusaders as only in it for the plunder and the loot betrays an ignorance of both geography and history. The vast majority of the crusaders were impoverished and financially ruined by the crusades. Crusaders, through great sacrifice and personal expense, left their homes and families to travel 3000km across treacherous and inhospitable terrain – and the shortest crusade lasted 4 years. Considering that only 10% of the crusaders had horses, and 90% were foot soldiers, the sheer fact of logistics is that the crusaders could not possibly have carried back enough loot to have made up for the loss of earnings and high expenses involved with these long crusades. Many crusaders lost their homes and farms to finance their involvement in the crusades.

There’s More to Life than Money

Perhaps self-seeking materialistic agnostics in the 21st Century cannot understand that some people could be motivated by something other than personal financial enrichment, but the fact is that many people make sacrifices for their religious convictions, and in order to help others. In the case of the crusaders, the historical record makes clear that amongst the motivations that led tens of thousands of volunteers to reclaim the Holy Land was a sense of Christian duty to help their fellow Christians in the East whose lands had been invaded and churches desecrated by Muslim armies, and a desire to secure access to the Holy Lands for pilgrims.

There was also a desire to fight for the honour of their Lord Jesus Christ, Whose churches had been destroyed and Whose Deity had been denied by the Mohammedan aggressors. In other words, to the crusaders this was a defensive war to reclaim Christian lands from Muslim invaders.

We may not share their convictions, or agree with their methods, but we ought to evaluate them in the light of the realities of the 11th and 12th centuries, and not anachronistically project our standards and politics back upon them.

Jihad vs. The Gospel

The word “crusade” does not appear in the Bible, nor is it commanded in Christianity. However, Jihad is the sixth pillar of Islam and the second greatest command of Muhammad. It is not only commended, but commanded in the Quran.

The crusades ended many centuries ago, however Islamic Jihad is carried out to this day. Millions of Christians have been slaughtered throughout the centuries by Islamic militants – such as the 1.5 million Armenians murdered in Turkey in 1915. Christians have continued to be slaughtered by Islamic militants in Indonesia, the Philippines, Sudan and Nigeria to the present day.

Therefore, before Christians fall over themselves to apologise for the crusades, which ended over 700 years ago, it would be wise to first learn from reliable sources what the crusades were all about, and study the Islamic teachings and track record of Jihad over the last 14 centuries. Those who do not know their past have no future.

Dr. Peter Hammond has been a pioneer missionary to Muslims in Sudan. He is the author of Slavery, Terrorism and Islam – The Historical Roots and Contemporary Threat.

 

Guidelines to Openair Preaching

To all us Evangelists who are looking for good teaching aids, here is a Guideline to Openair Preaching by Kevin Williams (pdf) that was a blessing to me – hope you will be blessed and encouraged too. Kevin is from Manchester, England who has a blog at Puritan Fellowship.com.

Whose Side Is God On?

Here is a cartoon that appears at The Jerusalem Connection Blog. The question is: So whose side is God on? The  Arabs or Israelis? The Islamic or Judeo-Christian faiths?

Let us see what God’s Holy Word, the Bible says:

22 You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. ~ John 4:22,23 (my emphasis)

1 These things have I spoken to you, that you should not be offended. 2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time comes, that whosoever kills you will think that he does God service. 3 And these things will they do to you, because they have not known the Father, nor Me. ~ John 16:1-3 (my emphasis)

From the Holy Scriptures it is clear that Islamists will think they are doing God a service by killing Jews and Christians in the name of religion – the god the Muslims worship is not the same living God that the Christians worship and Isa of the Qu’ran is not Jesus of the Bible (Read more at Yehoshua or Isa and YHWH vs. Allah). This article will explain why the Qu’ran has 164 “Jihad” verses calling for the killing of Jews and Christians. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ said:

43 You have heard that it has been said, You shall love your neighbour, and hate your enemy. 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That you may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. ~ Matthew 5:43-45 (my emphasis)

Islam is a religion that perpetrates hatred and war, Christianity is a relationship with God through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ that is love and salvation. Religion is pitiful man trying to get right with God by his unrighteous works (including Jihad), Christianity is a Holy and Righteous God reconciling pitiful man back to Himself through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. It is war vs. peace, hatred vs. love, unrighteousness vs. righteousness, darkness vs. light, evil vs. good, Muslim vs. Jew, Islam vs. Judeo-Christianity, and ultimately satan (lies) vs. God (Truth). From all of this, we can know that the spirit behind Islam is that of the anti-Christ. For Jesus is both Lord and Christ, and also a Jew.

Why Islam will never accept the state of Israel

by Steven Simpson, American Thinker

It is a common belief that the “Arab-Israeli conflict” is a conflict of two peoples fighting over the same piece of land and is therefore one of nationalism. Rarely, if ever, do we hear or read of the religious component to this conflict.

However, if anything, the conflict is more of a “Muslim-Jewish” one than an “Arab-Israeli” one. In other words, the conflict is based on religion — Islam vs. Judaism — cloaked in Arab nationalism vs. Zionism. The fact of the matter is that in every Arab-Israeli war, from 1948 to the present, cries of “jihad,” “Allahu Akbar,” and the bloodcurdling scream of “Idbah al- Yahud” (slaughter the Jews) have resonated amongst even the most secular of Arab leaders, be it Nasser in the 1950s and 1960s or the supposedly “secular” PLO of the 1960s to the present. Indeed, the question must be asked: If this is really a conflict of different nationalisms and not Islamic supremacism, then why is it that virtually no non-Arab Muslim states have full (if any) relations with Israel?

There is a common Arabic slogan that is chanted in the Middle East: “Khaybar, Khaybar! Oh Jews, remember. The armies of Muhammad are returning!” It would be most interesting to know how many people have ever heard what — or more precisely, where — Khaybar is, and what the Arabs mean by such a slogan. A short history of the Jews of Arabia is needed in order to explain this, and why Islam remains so inflexible in its hostile attitude towards Jews and Israel.

Read the complete text HERE.

The Agony of Hell

Are you loving enough to share the Gospel? Are you lovingly confrontational in the preaching of the Kingdom of God as Jesus was during His earthly ministry? And are you letting Jesus do so still Today? Are the unbelievers going to deny the existance of God? And are ‘luke warm’ professing believers going to hold fast to a soft gospel? Today, while it is still Today, Repent and believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is your only hope. We are, as the Apostle Paul said, “which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: 28 whom we preach warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus; 29 whereunto I also labor, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily” (Colossians 1:27b-29).

For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish, foolishness: but unto us which are saved, it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18)

Please listen to the sermon at this link.

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