Newsletter 119 Spring 2016
“I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all your work, and talk of all your deeds.”
In troubled times we need to meditate on the goodness of God. He is our strength and shield. He is the one who we can always trust. In these last days there will be many deceptions. Meditating on the word of God will help to protect us from the lies of our enemy.
In This edition
Mindfulness and Christian Meditation
The European Union
The Fall of Babylon – Part 4
Shifting Attitudes in the Middle East
The number one sign that your kids are just borrowing your faith
Travelling through Derby a few weeks ago I noticed that there were posters everywhere publicising a ‘Mindfulness Day’. In the last few years ‘mindfulness’ has penetrated schools, healthcare, the work place and even the church.
What is ‘Mindfulness’?
The BBC News Magazine defines it as follows: “Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to, and seeing clearly whatever is happening in our lives. It will not eliminate life’s pressures, but it can help us respond to them in a calmer manner that benefits our heart, head, and body. It helps us recognise and step away from habitual, often unconscious emotional and physiological reactions to everyday events. It provides us with a scientifically researched approach to cultivating clarity, insight, and understanding. Practicing mindfulness allows us to be fully present in our life and work, and improve our quality of life.”
Mindfulness teaches a method of putting out of mind all the worries and cares which trouble or distract us. Judgment and self-criticism are suspended to be replaced by a focus on the present.
This sounds quite innocent. Surely it is not dissimilar to Jesus’ words: “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
For the Christian, caution kicks in when we discover that the practice of mindfulness is rooted in Buddhism. Another quote from the BBC News Magazine: “Mindfulness has its origins in ancient meditation practices. The founder of modern day Mindfulness is Jon Kabat-Zinn who founded the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in the late 1970’s.” It is Buddhist meditation dressed up as modern science.
Zinn developed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) which the UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) has designated as a “treatment of choice” for recurrent depression
Participants are taught a number of specific meditation practices proven to help reduce “brain chatter” and respond more appropriately to thoughts and feelings. Most MBSR training includes a body scan exercise, two sitting meditations, walking meditation, gentle stretching and body awareness exercises, a three-minute mindfulness meditation. The NHS provides information on how to practice ‘mindfulness’.
Last October, the Mindfulness All-Party Parliamentary Group said the practice should be made more widely available and recommended the Department for Education designate three schools to “pioneer mindfulness teaching and disseminate best practice”.
‘Mindfulness’ has also been adopted by city workers as a remedy for stress. The practice of ‘Mindfulness will continue to spread. It will impact many who are at school, in the workplace or use the NHS.
All meditative practices connected with eastern religions are potentially harmful due to the origin of these religions being demonic. The practice of yoga, mantras and other forms of meditation opens us up to the influence of evil spirits. Therefore it is not surprising that some secular observers have recorded harmful effects from mindfulness meditation and warned of the need to be cautious.
Christians should avoid such techniques, especially as we have a much better way.
Christian meditation is stress relieving, healing, mind renewing, an aid to spiritual growth, guaranteed not to harm and always a blessing. The Bible, especially the Psalms, is full of encouragement to meditate. In our modern world the art of Christian meditation has been largely lost amid the busyness of our lives and the surfeit of information from TV, radio, internet etc. which clamour for our attention.
In Romans we read “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is good and acceptable, the perfect will of God.” Romans 12: 2. The transformation of our character begins in the mind. What we dwell upon in our thoughts will determine our actions. Is there anything better to think about than the wonderful works of God?
“I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all your work, and talk of all your deeds.” Psalm 77: 11, 12. We are to call to mind the wonderful works of the Lord. Not just to remember them but to ponder or mediate on them. Reflect on them and turn them over in our minds. As our minds become filled with the remembrance of the works of God our spoken words will give Him glory.
“I remember the days of old; I meditate on all your works; I muse on the work of your hands. I will spread out my hands to You; my soul longs for you like a thirsty land.” Psalm 143: 5, 6. The more we meditate on the works of the Lord, the more we will hunger for more of Him. He is our all in all. Our meaning and purpose in life is wrapped up in Him.
“When I remember you on my bed, I mediate on you in the night watches. Because you have been my help, therefore in the shadow of your wings I will rejoice.” Psalm 63: 6, 7. In the times when sleep escapes us then we can mediate on all the Lord has done. This Psalm was written while David was an outcast being hunted by King Saul. Even then facing an unknown future he could reflect on God’s help in times past. His meditation gave him the assurance, that no matter what the future held, he could trust God to protect him.
“This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.” Joshua 1: 8. We move on, from reflecting on the wonders of God’s creation and His past goodness to us, to all that is in His written word. Meditating on the word of God will cause us to observe it. Observance of His word enables God to bless us. Not just in the night watches but day and night keep bringing the word of God to mind.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19: 14. The Lord knows our inner thoughts. That is one of the most challenging statements we can ever be confronted with. God knows what is going on inside us. One day all that is hidden will be revealed. What does the Lord find in our hearts? Pride, greed, anger, rebellion, covetousness and the list could go on. Are our inner thoughts conformed to the world or are we being transformed by the renewing of our minds?
“May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord.” Psalm 104: 34. Our desire should be that when the Lord looks into our hearts He finds thoughts which please Him. If we know that there is nothing inside us which needs to be hidden we can truly be glad in the Lord.
“Your word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119: 11. We hide God’s word in our hearts by reading it, memorising it, meditating on it. The more we practice these things the greater our defence against sin and the sweeter the thoughts of our hearts will be to our Lord and Saviour.
Psalm 19 ends with the prayer in verse 14 which is quoted above. A little earlier the psalm, in verses 7 to 11, speaks of the blessings which come from meditating on the word of God. Meditating on the law of the Lord transforms us, makes us wise, rejoices our hearts, enlightens our eyes, cleanses us from sin, teaches righteousness, warns and rewards us. Absorbing the word of God is more precious than gold and sweeter than honeycomb.
Today’s children will have to face the intrusion of false practises such as mindfulness into schools and the workplace. They need to be helped early on to memorise and mediate on the word of God, so that they will be equipped to resist these pressures.
Psalm 19 is an excellent place to start our mediations.
The world seeks relief from stress and worry in techniques such as mindfulness and Yoga. True inner peace comes from mediating on the wonders of God in creation, in past help and in the Bible which is His word.
“Finally, brethren whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise worthy, meditate on these things.” Philippians 4: 8.
For more on ‘mindfulness’ and its dangers listen to the talk given by Jim Cottington at our regular Answers in Prophecy meetings on the 9th April 2016. You can listen to the talk on the www.cnlc.org.uk web site.
Answers in Prophecy
The meetings are held at Crawley New Life Church, The Glade, Furnace Green, Crawley, RH10 6JL. The speakers will be Philip Wren and Jim Cottington. Sessions will run from 7.00 pm to 8.45 pm on Saturday evenings and generally be in two parts.
There are two sessions each evening, which will either be teaching from the Bible on a prophetic theme or will look at world events in the light of scripture.
There will be a coffee break between the sessions.
Europe – what is its future
Turkey in prophecy
The rapture and imminence
Church music – what does the Bible have to say?
As in the days of Noah
Are earthquakes, famines, plagues getting worse?
I have voiced the opinion that the referendum on membership of the European Union is offering us a choice between either going down with a sinking ship or manning the life boat and capsizing on our own. The EU is a failing institution which, with the help of the migrant crisis and huge levels of debt, will soon implode. It is destined to come under the domination of the final beast empire built on the foundation of Islam. The UK could leave but that in itself will not save us. Our rejection of God has brought us under His judgment. If we do not repent a similar fate to the rest of Europe awaits us.
Personally I will vote to leave. There is a tiny glimmer of hope that God may still be willing to be merciful to us and shield us from the worst of what is to come. It is easier to believe that prayer can influence our national parliament more readily than the unaccountable bureaucrats who govern the EU. But is that clinging to a vain hope? Can we hope for anything more than a rear guard action to slow down the progress of the descent into lawlessness? By lawlessness I mean the replacing the laws of God with manmade laws.
We need to recognise that the overwhelming majority of our countrymen have set their hearts against God. Did Europe lead us away from God or was the United Kingdom in the vanguard of those who rebelled? Our rejection of God started long before we joined the Common Market. He has allowed this ungodly alliance with other nations because we went our own way.
I have written several articles on the fall of Babylon, the fourth of which is below. In them I equate Babylon the Great, Mother of Harlots with what we used to call Christendom. In the book of Revelation we are told that the kings who give their authority to the beast will hate the Harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. This is a picture of the financial ruin and internal conflict that is coming on Europe.
In or out of the EU an unrepentant Britain will not escape. But in that ruin there is hope. The faithful who recognise the unique time in which we live will be ready to participate in the final harvest of souls which will end this age.
For a more detailed analysis of the issues facing the UK with regard to the EU read the booklet prepared by Intercessors for Britain, ‘A Christian Perspective on the European Union and the Referendum’. Available from IFB, 14 Orchard Road, Moreton, Wirral, Merseyside, CH46 8TS. Tel: 0151 677 6767. www.intercessorsforbritain.co.uk. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Regular readers of Trumpet Sounds will know that I do not accept the interpretation of prophecy set out in the third paragraph on page 18 of the booklet. Otherwise the booklet is excellent.
The Fall of Babylon – Part 4
There is a repeated pattern in the history of the kingdom of Judah. To enhance their security the kingdom formed alliances with other nations. Every time, it was not long before the former ally turned against Judah. They came to either plunder or rule over them. To be reduced to subservience was never God’s intention for the nation.
How it should have been
Israel and Judah should have looked to God for their security. The covenant promise found in Deuteronomy 28 lists the many blessings which God would send if Israel diligently obeyed His voice. The promise that God would set Israel high above all the nations of the earth was the first blessing of obedience. There would be security and plenty. Their enemies would all be defeated and flee before them.
Coupled with the blessings for obedience is the curse for disobedience. Poverty, defeat, and captivity would be the result of turning their back on God.
The time of the Judges
The first generation to enter the Promised Land was obedient to God. Gradually the Canaanites were driven out. The second and following generations lapsed into disobedience serving the Canaanite gods. In His mercy, whenever Israel cried out to Him, God raised up deliverers.
As time passed Israel becomes intent on being like the surrounding nations. In the time of Samuel they reject his leadership and ask for a king. Other nations had a man who could be turned to in times of trouble, a king who would lead them into battle. It was easier to trust a man who they could see than God who only spoke through His Prophets. Samuel warns the nation of the burdens a king will place on them, but they are not deterred.
Human kings act like men
Time would reveal an additional problem with human kings, they being men they act like men. As human leaders of the nation they become politicians. We see this failing first in King Saul. He felt impelled by circumstances to take action. When Samuel did not arrive to offer the sacrifice he took it on himself to make the sacrifice. At another time when the clear command of God did not seem right to him, he re-interpreted it. He spared Agag and the livestock whom God had commanded to be put death. Due to disobedience God had to end Saul’s royal line.
Saul’s successor King David, despite his personal failings, sought, in ruling the nation, to obey God. For a brief period the promise of God in Deuteronomy was starting to be fulfilled. Israel became the head of the surrounding nations. But godly rule was not to last. David’s son Solomon soon lapsed back into thinking like a man.
One alliance after another
1 Kings 3:1. “then Solomon formed a marriage alliance with Pharaoh king of Egypt”. It must have seemed prudent politics to form an alliance with Egypt. The alliance would secure and protect Israel’s southern border. A secure southern border would enable Solomon to consolidate his rule over Israel and the surrounding nations. But this was looking to man not God. It would not be long before Egypt turns against Israel.
1 Kings 14: 25 “Now it came about in the 5th year of King Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem.” Shishak removes from the Jerusalem the wealth of Israel. Israel and Judah now become vassal states of Egypt.
Time passes, we now find that in the time of King Asa that Judah is under pressure from the breakaway kingdom of Israel. In response Asa looks for help from Syria. 1 Kings 15: 18. “Asa took all the silver and gold which were left in the treasuries of the house of the Lord and the treasuries of the kings house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants. And King Asa sent them to Ben-hadad the son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, who lived in Damascus.” For a time Judah gains peace, but it is not to last.
In 2 Kings 16: 5 – 7, we find Rezin king of Syria and Pekah king of Israel laying siege to Jerusalem. The former ally has turned against Judah. In response Ahaz king of Judah appeals to Assyria for help. Ahaz dies and is succeeded by His son Hezekiah.
Of Hezekiah it is said that, “he trusted in the Lord God of Israel;” 2 Kings 18: 5. He tries to break the alliance with Assyria. Once again a former ally turns on Judah. 2 Kings 18 & 19 records the siege of Jerusalem and Hezekiah’s prayer to God for deliverance. God miraculously intervenes, saving Jerusalem.
An alliance with Babylon?
After this deliverance Hezekiah receives a get well card and presents from the faraway kingdom of Babylon. Hezekiah makes the envoys welcome and shows them all his treasures. When the prophet Isaiah finds out about the visit he warns that it would not be long before everything the envoys had seen would be carried away to Babylon. Did Isaiah recognise that Hezekiah was falling into the same old pattern of forming alliances which would in time be turned against Judah? After such a miraculous deliverance Hezekiah was quickly slipping back into thinking like a man.
A pattern is established. When the people of God look to man instead of God for their security, God uses the very ones they look to, to bring His judgement. The pattern did not stop in Old Testament times. Soon after the Maccabees had won freedom from the Seleucid Empire they made an alliance with the small, far away, but up and coming nation of Rome. In less than 100 years the hated Roman legions were marching through their land.
Does this pattern which applied to Judah also apply to other nations?
I was recently sent a booklet which reminded that in times past when Britain turned to God, He had helped us. It was a condensed version of David Gardiner’s books ‘the Trumpet Sounds for Britain’. During the Second World War, in the times of crisis, this nation held national days of prayer to cry out to God. There are many instances of God intervening on behalf of Britain in answer to prayer.
If we believe that God will bless a nation which turns to Him. Surely it is not too much to recognise that He will judge a nation which turns its back on Him. And that judgement will come in much the same way as it did with Israel and Judah. The nations with whom a nation forms an ungodly alliance will be used by God to judge that nation.
Islam to be used to judge Britain and Europe
This is one of the reasons why for years I have believed that God will use Islam to judge Europe and the UK.
We could liken Britain’s situation in World War 2 to the time of Hezekiah. At that time the nation cried out to God for help. Many are the incidents in which God intervened turning defeat into deliverance. The years after the war can be likened to the reign of Hezekiah’s son Manasseh. He was Judah’s most evil king. Reversing all his father’s godly reforms he turned the nation back to the worship of false god’s. The verdict on his reign is found in 2 Kings 24: 3, 4.
After seeing the hand of God at work in deliverance, Britain turned its back on the God who had rescued it. Everything that is evil and condemned by God the nation encouraged and made legal. Added to this, after the war, Britain made unholy alliances in order to secure its continuing prosperity and position in the world.
Britain’s actions were summed up by Dov Joseph in his book ‘The Faithful City’. “The old game of empire was difficult to play in the old way, in a generation when Britain’s need for oil and its profits and for a Middle Eastern anchor to its imperial life line, both gave the Arabs what amounted virtually to a veto power over British diplomacy in their area.”
Britain favoured the Arabs over the Jews in order to strengthen its Empire and supply of oil. Because of that many Jews needlessly died.
A correspondent wrote to me saying that the trek of the Muslims into Europe reminded her of scenes after WW2 when homeless, destitute Jews wandered the continent looking for someone to take them in. This time the trek is in reverse. It is coming as God’s judgement on a continent which has turned its back on Him.
Britain favoured the Arabs because of the need for oil and empire. Europe, which should have turned back to God in repentance, formed its own ungodly alliance. The tower of Babel became the emblem of a continent which in unity sought to reverse the past and make itself strong. The day of God’s reckoning has come.
Marks and Spencer have introduced the Burkini into their swimwear range. This is a full length swimsuit designed to protect the modesty of Muslim women. It is just one example of the growing number of fashion houses and retail chains which are jumping on the Muslim fashion bandwagon. Retailers have recognised that the Muslim population is youthful and growing. It is becoming an important retail segment which they do not wish to miss out on.
Secular critics of this trend have denounced it as promoting Muslim separateness rather than integration. They see Muslim fashion as more than clothes. It promotes a particular life style which is incompatible with the West. Catering for Muslim consumers by international brands is seen as acceptance of Islamic culture as part of mainstream Europe.
In an article in the Daily Telegraph, Allison Pearson listed the reasons why she strongly objected to the Burkini. One objection was that it is so alien to this country’s values. As with David Cameron’s ‘British Values’, one questions what values she has in mind. Her values appear to be those which emerged from the moral vacuum of the 1960’s.
There was a time when, under the influence of Christian values, modesty in dress for both male and female was seen as a virtue. Modesty expressed consideration for others especially those of the opposite sex. That was all thrown aside in a culture which thought that it was liberating but has in fact enslaved. What was regarded as freedom has brought with it family breakdown, neglect of children, increased violence, lack of respect and lowering of standards.
It is a lesson in how Satan loves to mock. He brought about the rebellion of the 60’s. Christians stood by powerless to stand in the way society had chosen to follow. Now, under a religion which has questionable regard for the rights of women, he brings in an extreme one sided modesty. Yet again Islam pretends to take the moral high ground while Christians look weak and ineffective.
Shifting Attitudes in the Middle East
At the World Economic Forum last January Prime Minister Netanyahu said that a number of Arab nations were becoming more realistic about the Israel – Palestinian conflict than many European Union countries.
Netanyahu continued, “I have one request, that the EU policy vis-a-vis Israel and the Palestinians merely reflect now the prevailing Arab policy to Israel and the Palestinians. There is a great shift taking place…we used to think that if we solved the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it would solve the larger Israeli Arab conflict. The more I look at it, the more I think it may be the other way around. That by nurturing these relationships that are taking place now with the Arab world, that could actually help us resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and we’re actually working towards that end.”
In 1967, following their defeat in the six days war, leaders from thirteen Arab states held a summit in Khartoum. There they pledged to continue the struggle against Israel. At that time they set out the three nos. No peace with Israel, no negotiation with Israel, no recognition of Israel. Egypt and Jordan broke ranks by signing peace treaties with Israel. Other Arab nations held firm in their resistance.
The Director General of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dor Gold, has confirmed that Israel now maintains contacts with almost every Arab state. This is so long as the ties do not make the front page of the newspapers. He described the willingness of the Arab world to have ties with Israel as a dramatic change.
A driver for these new relationships has been the nuclear deal with Iran. Although heralded as a great achievement in the West, it has been a cause for alarm to Israel and her Arab neighbours. At the very best the deal will cause a slowdown in Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. Many question if it will even do that.
We in the West tend not to appreciate the depth of hostility between the Shiite and Sunni branches of Islam. Due to this hostility Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States feel as greatly threatened as Israel. Sharing the same threat from Iran they now recognise Israel as an ally.
Another mutual threat comes from ISIS which has carried out several bombings and shootings in Saudi Arabia since 2014.
With the weakening of American support it seems that the Arabs see Israel as the nation they can trust because they share common enemies.
Main source: unitedwithisreal.org
In a desperate attempt to stem the flow of migrants the European Union headed by Germany forged a deal with Turkey. Under the deal Turkey agreed to take back migrants illegally travelling to Greece. In return they receive from the EU €6 bn to help the 2.7 million Syrian refugees already living inside Turkey. In addition the EU is committed to resettle one Syrian refugee from Turkey for every migrant who is returned from Greece. More detail on the deal was issued in a statement by the European Council on the 18th March 2016.
The arrangement came into effect on the 20th March. Already the flow of migrants has been reduced from thousands to less than a hundred most days. Having cooperated in limiting the numbers landing in Greece, Turkey is now insisting on the implementation of what they regard as a key condition of the agreement. By the 30th June Turkish nationals will be granted visa free access to the Schengen passport free zone of the European Union.
President Erdogan of Turkey is insisting on the implementation of this agreement. Failure to do so would cause him to cancel the deal and reopen the flood gates of migration. In a report to the European Parliament, the European Commission set out 72 conditions which had to be implemented by Turkey before visa free travel is allowed. So far only 35 of the conditions have been met. Erdogan regards that as an irrelevant detail as the main target, the reducing the flow of migrants, has been achieved. It was reported in a German magazine that he added “Europe needs Turkey more that Turkey needs Europe.”
The EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos has already effectively conceded that Turkey will get what it wants by stating that it was not a matter of the number of conditions met but the progress being made.
In reality Europe has still not found an answer to the migrant crisis. Migrants who are restricted from travelling to Greece will now look at other routes. Meanwhile Europe has opened the door to refugees from another conflict of Erdogan’s own making. He has launched a war against the 16 million Turkish citizens of Kurdish decent. In his efforts to crush the Kurds Erdogan has arranged for them a way of escape. After the 30th of June they will be able to buy a cheap plane ticket to Germany to which they will have visa free access. There they can join the 800,000 Kurds who are already resident there. As most of these Kurds do not speak German and have limited work skills, they are potentially another drain on the German economy.
Violence between Turks and Kurds is increasing in Germany. Has Angel Merkel, who recently visited Erdogan in Turkey in an effort to prop up the deal, effectively brought a faraway conflict into her own backyard?
The Number One Sign Your Kids Are Just Borrowing Your Faith
The number one sign your kids are just borrowing your faith is that they rarely, if ever, ask questions.
Why Aren’t They Asking Questions?
They may be just uninterested enough to not ask questions, but not so uninterested as to reject Christianity altogether. They’ll just borrow your faith for a while because that’s what’s in front of them on the buffet.
They may not yet see the importance of Christian belief in their lives. It’s perceived as just another subject they’re learning about, like math. They’ll just borrow your faith for a while because they don’t think it’s important enough to think more deeply about.
They may not have been exposed to enough non-Christian ideas yet. Their faith isn’t being challenged in preparation for the adult world. Challenge them. If you don’t, non-believers soon will.
They’ll just borrow your faith for a while because they see no need not to.
They may be scared or uncertain of your reaction. They’ll just borrow your faith for a while because that’s what they think is expected of them.
They may be getting answers elsewhere – usually not the answers you’d like them to have. They’ll just borrow your faith for a while because they don’t want to rock the boat at home.
If your kids aren’t asking questions, start asking THEM questions. Open the door for the conversation yourself and get them thinking in ways that will ultimately allow them to own their faith.
Quoted from an article on:
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