Several years ago I was preparing a message called, “A History of the Holy Spirit.” I came across this story about Billy Graham from a book called, A Personal Look at Billy Graham, the World’s Best-loved Evangelist, by Sherwood Eliot Wurt, It is one of the most powerful Billy Graham stories I have read. In 1946 he had an experience with the Holy Spirit that changed his life and ministry.

Here is an excerpt from that book:

During his visit to Britain in October 1946, a meeting was arranged at Hildenborough Hall in Kent where Billy was to be introduced to Christian leaders before his evangelistic tour of cities in England, Ireland, and Wales. He arrived in time for the closing service of a youth conference, at which the speaker was Stephen Olford.

Olford, born of missionary parents in Angola, had planned to be an engineer, but a motorcycle accident in England brought him face to face with God while he was recovering in a hospital. He attended St. Luke’s College and served as World War II chaplain to His Majesty’s Forces, who were leaving for the Dunkirk action. Later he became an itinerant evangelist.

At Hildenborough Hall Olford preached a fervent message on the text: “Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the spirit.”1 When he had finished, he seated himself and rested his head in his hands. He became aware of someone nearby and looked up to see Billy Graham standing over him.

“Mr. Olford,” said Billy, “I just want to ask one question: Why didn’t you give an invitation? I would have been the first one to come forward. You’ve spoken of something that I don’t have. I want the fullness of the Holy Spirit in my life too.”

Billy told his biographer John Pollock, “I was seeking for more of God in my life, and I felt that here was a man who could help me. He had a dynamic, a thrill, an exhilaration about him I wanted to capture.”

They arranged to meet in Wales where Billy was scheduled to preach in a town named Pontypridd, eleven miles from the home of Olford’s parents . In a room in a stone hotel in Pontypridd, Stephen and Billy spent two days together. Billy told Stephen. “This is serious business. I have to learn what this is that the Lord has been teaching you.”

The first day was spent, according to Stephen, “on the Word  and on what it really means to expose oneself to the Word in the quiet time.” They spent the hours turning the pages of the Bible, studying passages and verses. Billy prayed, “Lord, I don’t want to go on without knowing this anointing You’ve  given my brother.”

That night Billy preached to a small crowd. The sermon was “ordinary,” according to Stephen, and “not the Welsh kind of preaching.” Billy gave an invitation, but the response was sparse.

The next day they met again, and Stephen began concentrating on the work of the Holy Spirit by declaring, “There is no Pentecost without Calvary,” and that we “must be broken” like the apostle Paul, who declared himself  “crucified with Christ.” He then told Billy how God completely turned his life inside out. It was, he said, “an experience of the Holy Spirit in His fullness and anointing.” He explained that “where the Spirit is truly Lord over the life, there is liberty, there is release — the sublime freedom of complete submission of oneself in a continuous state of surrender to the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit.”

According to Stephen, Billy cried, “Stephen, I see it. That’s what I want.” His eyes filled with tears — something rare with Billy. It seems he had no appetite that day, only taking a sip of water occasionally. Stephen continued to expound the meaning of the filling of the Spirit in the life of a believer. He said it meant “bowing daily and hourly to the sovereignty of Christ and to the authority of the Word.”

From talking and discussing, the two men went to their knees praying and praising. It was about midafternoon on the second day that Billy began pouring out his heart “in a prayer of total dedication to the Lord.” According to Stephen, “all heaven broke loose in that dreary little room. It was like Jacob laying hold of God and crying , ‘Lord, I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me.’ ”

They came to a time of rest from prayer. Billy exclaimed, “My heart is so flooded with the Holy Spirit!”  They alternately wept and laughed, and Billy began walking back and forth across the room, saying, “I have it! I’m filled. I’m filled. This is the turning point of my life. This will revolutionize my ministry.”

Said Olford, “That night Billy was to speak at a large Baptist church nearby. When he rose to preach, he was a man absolutely anointed.” Billy’s Welsh audience seemed to sense it. They came forward to pray even before the invitation was given. Later when it was given, Olford said, “The Welsh listeners jammed the aisles. There was chaos. Practically the entire audience came rushing forward.”

Stephen drove back to his parents’ home that night, deeply moved by Billy’s new authority and strength. “When I came in the door,” he said later, “my father looked at my face and asked, ‘What on earth has happened?’

“I sat down at the kitchen table said, ‘Dad, something has happened to Billy Graham. The world is going to hear from his man. He is going to make his mark in history.’ ” The heavenly reservoir had overflowed.

A close colleague of Billy’s before Pontypridd, Chuck Templeton, heard the young preacher after that experience. Astonished, Templeton remarked that Billy’s preaching had taken on “a certain magnificence of effect…fascinating…really impressive.”

The Faulty Theology of Joy Behar

Ron Cantor —  February 17, 2018 —  Comments

This week, world renown theologian and general spewer of nonsense, Joy Behar, said that people who expect God to speak to them are mentally ill. You know, nutso—hearing voices. Well, here is how she put it.

“It is one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when Jesus talks to you…that’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct. Hearing voices.”

The Theology

Before we talk about how demeaning this is to the Vice President, let’s just examine her words theologically.

  1. Behar has no problem with your religion. “It’s one thing to speak to Jesus.”
  2. Her problem is when you actually believe that your God is real. It is mental illness if you think that Jesus is talking back to you.

So, according to Joy Behar, it is fine to pretend that God is real, as long as you don’t believe it. The God of the Bible speaks to people. He has sent his Holy Spirit to guide us. John 16:13 specifically says He will speak to us. Paul, the writer of most of the theology in the New Testament visited heaven (I Cor. 12:2), had visions (Acts 16:9), heard the voice of Jesus directly (Acts 9:4) and lived life as if God still speaks to men.

The Offense

Vice President Pence rarely defends himself against a steady onslaught of attacks against his faith. But this time was different. The insulated talk show host, who probably never has real conversations with people of faith, assumes that most of America is like her. Faith is a toy—something to entertain us, but not real. This time Behar didn’t merely attack Vice President Pence for not being willing to put himself in compromising positions, by being alone with women (something I call common sense or wisdom), but she criticized all Americans who believe that God plays a role in our lives and destiny.

Pence defended people of faith.

“ABC has a program that compared my Christianity to mental illness. And I liked to laugh about it, but I really can’t.

“To have ABC maintain a broadcast forum that compared Christianity to mental illness is just wrong. It is simply wrong for ABC to have a television program that expresses that kind of religious intolerance…It is an insult not to me, but to the vast majority of the American people…My faith sustains me in all that I do…

“It demonstrates how out of touch some in the mainstream media are with the faith and values of the American people that you could have a major network like ABC permit a forum for invective against religion like that.”

The Faux Apology/Excuse

Taking a page out of disgraced comedian Kathy Griffin’s book, she turned this into an attack on comedians. When Griffin committed career suicide by holding up the supposed bloody, decapitated head of President Trump, she sought to say that it was the Trump’s family that was attacking her and that it was only because she is female. “Cut the crap, this wouldn’t be happening to a guy — this is a woman thing.”

Behar too, takes no responsibility for the outrage against her. Instead, she sought to justify her comments, while backtracking, saying she doesn’t think all Christians are mentally ill. Thanks Joy.

“That would make me mentally ill since I’m a Christian myself; it would make my mother mentally ill, my mother, my aunts, my daughter, of course not. I don’t mean to offend people, but apparently, I keep doing it. It was a joke. Comedians are in danger these days.”

First, of course she is not a Christian in the biblical sense. She is a cultural Christian—in name only. She is pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality, pro-transgender, pro-everything-not-biblical. Secondly, instead of apologizing for going too far in her comedy (by the way, The View is not primarily satire, but political) she says, “Comedians are in danger these days.” Yes, we should not be offended when she equates our relationship with God as being mentally unstable. It’s a joke! You are hilarious Joy!

This is the same left, that crawls into the fetal position at any perceived micro-aggression.

And she felt the need to say the stupidest, most manipulative thing: “We also have a first amendment in this country.” She takes advantage of her naïve audience by pretending (I hope she was only pretending!) that this is a free speech issue.

Or is Joy Behar suggesting that the first amendment guarantees everyone a million dollar a year job to spout their views on politics and religion, with no repercussions? No one has ever threatened Joy Behar’s freedom to declare her offensive views. She seems to think, if offended believers respond to her hurtful words, it is somehow unconstitutional? So, in her world, the first amendment guarantees her freedom of speech, but not mine or yours, if we want to respond.

Megan McCain got it right before Whoopi Goldberg shut her down:

“As a Republican, I feel like liberals say we need to be tolerant of everyone, we need to be tolerant of everyone except pro-lifers, except Trump supporters, except gun owners, except for everyone in the red and middle of the country.”

Mic drop for Ms. McCain.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shares 309

While I was sleeping in on Shabbat a few weeks ago, after an exhausting day of travel the day before, from Nepal to Israel, Iran sent a drone into Israeli airspace. Israeli officials called this a “severe and irregular violation of Israeli sovereignty.”

The drone was in Israel for just over a minute before an Israeli attack helicopter took it out just south of the Sea of Galilee. The drone was sent from an Iranian base in Syria’s Palmyra region. Israel responded with force.

Watch: Israeli Helicopter shoots down Iranian Drone

The Times of Israel reported that Israel targeted 12 sites and according to a military statement, it included, “three aerial defense batteries and four Iranian targets that are part of Iran’s military establishment in Syria.”

Syria’s air defense systems have been severally damaged and I am not sure that the IAF (Israeli Air Force) is finished. Many of the Russian-made sophisticated anti-aircraft batteries were destroyed. The IAF faced substantial anti-aircraft fire from Syria. For the first time in 36 years one of our F-16 jets was shot down. The two pilots ejected over northern Israel and survived, although one is in serious but stable condition.

Watch: Israelis video pilot parachuting from F-16 

 


Israeli forces targeted and destroyed the drone base from where it came. The Syrians cried foul, saying the base was only used to target ISIS. And yet, somehow, the drone crashed in Beit Shean, Israel, quite a distance from Syria.

The Purim Connection

The deep concern in Israel is that Iran now has military bases in Syria. Syria, a country devastated by civil war, causing half a million deaths so far, is in tatters. Iran is seizing the opportunity to use Syria as a proxy country. Iran’s border is about 1,500 kilometers from Israel. But Syria and Lebanon (where Iran has tremendous influence over Hezbollah) both border Israel. Iran hates Israel and wants to destroy her. As I am writing we are six days from the feast of Purim, where we remember that God protected the Jews of Iran (ancient Persia) from Haman’s genocidal plan. Yet the same anti-Semitic demonic forces are still working through the Ayatollahs of Iran, seeking to annihilate Israel.

Prayer Points:

  • Pray for our political and military leaders to use wisdom in how we respond.
  • Pray for supernatural protection over Israel.
  • Pray for the peace-desiring people in Syrian, that they would have a democracy free from Iran.
  • Pray for a move of God amongst the Muslims of Iran and Syria.
  • Pray for a move of God in Israel.
  • Pray for the full recovery of the pilot.

 

 

John Kerry to the Rescue

Ron Cantor —  January 27, 2018 —  Comments

John Kerry is meddling in the Middle East. He was secretary of state, during the creation of ISIS. The Trump administration has defeated ISIS as a state. But still, Kerry feels the need to involve himself in Middle East politics.

He reportedly (jpost.com) sent word to President Abbas (the leader of the Palestinians Authority) to encourage him. Just so you know, Abbas replaced Arafat—the father of modern terrorism. Abbas turned down a sweetheart peace deal in 2008. He celebrates when suicide bombers kill Israelis and names streets, squares and schools after terrorists. And Kerry felt the need to lift up his spirits.

Cursing President Trump

Since President Trump recognized Jerusalem (as the capital of Israel), Abbas has been in full-on rage mode, declaring in public that he doesn’t need America or her money (the next day, Trump took 65 million dollars in aid off the table) and is spewing out the wildest conspiracy theories. Of Trump, he said, May your house be demolished, the most venomous curse in Arab culture. The 82-year-old leader is fuming mad.

But Kerry, a failed diplomat, is encouraging the alleged Holocaust denier, through a confidant, telling him to:

  1. “Hold on and be strong.”
  2. “Don’t give into Trump. He will not be in office for more than another year.
  3. Put your own peace plan together.

Yes, an American politician is telling a terrorist supporter to stay strong. And there is little chance that Abbas will present his peace plan, because war is better for him. The Palestinian leadership has never shown a real desire for a state of their own, alongside Jewish Israel.

President Kerry?

It is also being reported that Kerry told the confidant to tell Abbas that he is considering running against Trump in 2020. In other words, whereas Trump has shown to be the pro-Israel, pro-democracy president, Kerry would take up the cause of the Palestinians, who continue to incite violence, persecute journalists and take no meaningful steps against terrorism—and let’s not forget, are in a political partnership with Hamas. Kerry has made it clear. He doesn’t like Israel.

On the last weeks of the Obama administration, with nothing to gain diplomatically, Kerry unleashed a harsh rebuke against Israel in a December 2016 speech. This was just after the U.S. backed U.N. vote condemning Israeli cities in ancient Judea and Samaria. It was a reckless, angry parting shot. When the Obama administration should have been helping to build the only successful democracy in the Middle East, they were condemning her. A “president Kerry” would be bad for Israel, and thus, bad for the U.S. (Gen. 12:3). Trump responded to Kerry’s hand grenade of a speech in a way that only he can—on twitter.

Tolerating Temper Tantrums

This should come as no surprise. For years, the West tolerates the murderous actions of the Palestinian Authority, much like a parent tolerates a rebellious child that they become tired of confronting. They simply give in. This was true of both Bushes, Clinton and definitely Obama. It is not a left or right issue; it is how the Muslim world manipulates the West.

Trump made some demands from Palestinian Authority:

  1. Stop inciting people to violence.
  2. Stop paying the families of terrorists (more than $350 million in 2017).
  3. Stop glorifying terrorism by naming streets, square and schools after them.

But they have been trained to ignore such demands, because no one will hold them accountable. President Trump, apparently, did not know this unwritten rule. In May, instead of recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, he decided to restart the peace process. That is when he made the demands of the Palestinians. He really gave them a chance. But they completely ignored him and continued to promote terror, assuming there would be no consequences.

Didn’t Take Long for Trump to Understand the Situation

When President Trump realized that they were ignoring his very reasonable demands, he took it as a personal insult. He also realized that they have no interest in compromising for peace. It was at that time that he recognized it was more important to strengthen ties with Israel, and he decided to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Abbas reacted badly. He is not used to being held to account. In fact, he is acting out in a very destructive way. He is no longer interested in America being a broker for peace, and has turned to Europe where he was rebuffed.

“There isn’t a single European country or other country we’ve spoken to since the December 6 announcement that in any way, shape or form believes a US-led process could be replaced,” a White House official told reporters during a briefing Tuesday. “They all want to work with the US, despite the Palestinian reaction.” (TimesofIsrael.com)

And yesterday President Trump made it clear, as world aid organizations were saying the U.S. halting aid to the Palestinians would cause a human catastrophe, that if they want the aid, they must negotiate peace.

“They disrespected us a week ago by not allowing our great vice president to see them, and we give them hundreds of millions of dollars in aid and support — tremendous numbers, numbers that nobody understands. That money is on the table. That money is not going to them unless they sit down and negotiate peace… I can tell you that Israel does want to make peace. And they’re going to have to want to make peace too, or we’re going to have nothing to do with it any longer. This was never brought up by other negotiators, but it’s brought up by me.”

But, at the end of the day, Abbas has never been willing to make compromises and Nikki Haley, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., confronted them on this point yesterday.

“We will not chase after a Palestinian leadership that lacks what is needed to achieve peace. He rejected any American role in peace talks. He insulted the American president. He called for suspending recognition of Israel. Hate-filled speeches and end-runs around negotiations take us nowhere,” referring to Abbas wild hate speech of last week. “Peace will not be achieved without leaders with courage. Real peace requires leaders who are willing to step forward, acknowledge hard truths, and make compromises. The United States remains fully prepared and eager to pursue peace.”

It feels so good to have a U.S. administration, which understands the real situation here in Israel, dealing with terrorists who have no intention on keeping the promises they make. President Trump may well be the most Israel-friendly president ever!

 

To believe God has rejected Israel is to deny reality

Forgive me for the frank title, but in this instance, it is accurate. Replacement theology is the belief that the Jewish rejection of Jesus resulted in God rejecting Israel, in favor of the Church. The Church is the new Israel and the old Israel is simply cursed. All of the promises in the Old Testament to Israel are now to the Church, while the curses remain the property of the Jewish people.

This became official church doctrine by the fourth century, but was popular by the year 150 through the writing of Justin Martyr, where he referred to the Church as the “True Israel.” Shockingly, the root of this demonic doctrine began to grow a mere 19 years after the resurrection.  (Read more about that here). It is why Paul wrote such a strong caution in Romans 11, warning them of the consequences of turning against Israel.

“For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.” (Rom. 11:21-22)

In 130, Emperor Hadrian went on a demonic rampage against the Jews. They were exiled from Jerusalem, forbidden to enter under threat of death. The name was changed from Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina, to honor Jupiter. Judea was renamed Palestine. He wanted to rid the land of every last vestige of Jewishness.

For the next 1,818 years, the Jews wandered the globe without a nation. Having passed through persecutions, the Inquisition, pogroms, the Crusades and ultimately, the Holocaust, indeed, one could have made a strong case that the Jewish people were cursed—that God was finished with them.

The Comeback Kid

However, we have seen so many prophecies fulfilled in the last 150 years regarding the Jews, that one must be blind, dumb or intellectually dishonest to believe that God has replaced Israel with the Church or that Israel is forever cursed.

Here we are, nearly 2,000 years later, with Israel restored and Jerusalem as her capital. You really have to disconnect yourself from modern history to still embrace replacement theology. That would mean that by massive coincidence, Israel was rebirthed in 1948, Jerusalem was restored through the miraculous victory in the Six-Day-War, millions of Jewish exiles came back to Zion just as the prophets predicted, and all this while being the most persecuted people in world history, having suffered 52 attempted genocides.

No nation has ever lost her geographical homeland for more than a short time and remained an identifiable people. Israel wandered for two millennia and survived! Only God could have done that. The very fact that these Jewish fingers can type on this keyboard is proof that God has been faithful to His promises.

The Facts

Let’s just look at a few of the dozens of prophecies regarding Israel’s restoration and see if they’ve come to pass.

For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.” (Ezekiel 36:24)

Immigration of Jewish people, en masse, began in 1882. Since then, millions of Jews have made Aliyah (immigrated to Israel).

“Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, `Give them up!’ and to the south, `Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth…” (Isaiah 43:5-6, 21)

From the east, they came back from Yemen, Iran and Iraq. From the south, they returned from Egypt, Ethiopia, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. From the west, they poured in from former Nazi-occupied Europe, Morocco, Algeria and the Americas. From the north…we will get there.

“Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children.” (Is. 66:8)

In one day, May 14, 1948, Israel became a nation. This year marks her 70th anniversary. Never has a “dead” nation come back to life after 2,000 years of exile.

“ This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west.  I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.’” (Zech. 7-8)

Jerusalem was restored in 1967. According to this prophecy, God would be the One who does this. I understand that some don’t like the idea of a restored Jewish Jerusalem. Certainly not the U.N. But, “Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’” (Is. 45:9) The answer is ‘no’, by the way.

“However, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but it will be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ For I will restore them to the land I gave their ancestors.” (Jer. 16:14-15)

In 1991, the Iron Curtain came down and over 1,000,000 Russian-speaking Jews poured into Israel from “the land of the north.”

“[After I bring you back] I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezek. 36:25-27)

“For the Israelites will live many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days.” (Hosea 3:4-5)

The prophets predicted that after Israel went through a long season without a government or Temple, and after God brought them back to their own country, they would have a spiritual awakening and embrace the Messiah (David was long dead and buried, but as Peter tells us in Acts 2:29ff, prophecies about David after his death refer to Yeshua.) Today, there are more Jewish believers in Jesus than ever before, numbering in the hundreds of thousands. In Israel, there are over 150 Messianic congregations and growing.

You’re Not Dumb!

Come on. These are just a few of the prophecies regarding Israel that have come to pass. I did not even mention Isaiah 35: 1, which speaks of the desert blossoming like a rose (Israel exports roses from the Negev Desert). Nor did I mention Genesis 12:3, which tells us that Israel will be a blessing to the world (you can’t use your iPhone, instant messaging or go to the doctor without encountering Israeli technology). Clearly, you can see with your own eyes that God is not finished with Israel.

Yes, in the Middle Ages it did look like much of replacement theology was right. But God cannot lie or break a promise, and for 2000 years, He watched over His word and now He is bringing the prophecies to pass.

In the Hebrew language, the number 18 means life. It was exactly 1,818 years from the time Hadrian changed the name of Jerusalem until the time of her rebirth. Coincidence? I think not.