Churches Win over Colorado Governor’s Pandemic Orders

DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 06: Democratic Colorado Governor-elect Jared Polis speaks at an election night rally on November 6, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. Polis defeated incumbent Republican Walker Stapleton to become the first openly gay man elected Governor in the country.(Photo by Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images)

Dr Susan Berry

A federal judge ruled late last week in favor of two Colorado churches that challenged Gov. Jared Polis’s (D) pandemic orders requiring indoor occupancy limitations and masks during worship.

U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Domenico, a Trump appointee, granted Denver Bible Church and its pastor, Robert Enyart, as well as Community Baptist Church and its pastor, Joey Rhoads, a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction.

The judge said Polis’s Public Health Order 20-35 violated the churches’ First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.

Domenico wrote in his ruling:

[T]he Constitution does not allow the State to tell a congregation how large it can be when comparable secular gatherings are not so limited, or to tell a congregation that its reason for wishing to remove facial coverings is less important than a restaurant’s or spa’s.

The court found Polis’s order treats churches differently than secular establishments and events that pose an equal risk of spreading the Chinese virus.

“The lawsuit calls both the federal government and Colorado leaders into account for their violations of the right to free exercise of religion, among other abuses of power, primarily resulting from Governor Jared Polis’ COVID-19 related Executive Orders,” said Rebecca Messall, Thomas More Society special counsel, in a statement.

Domenico specifically found that limiting indoor church services to 175 people and requiring masks are not mandates that are equally applied between secular and religious gatherings.

The judge’s ruling noted the governor’s orders do not apply to schools, Amazon warehouses, Home Depot, Walmart, and marijuana shops.

“With each exception Colorado makes for secular institutions, the failure to make the same exemption for houses of worship becomes increasingly problematic,” Domenico wrote, noting as well:

The First Amendment does not allow government officials, whether in the executive or judicial branch, to treat religious worship as any less critical or essential than other human endeavors. Nor does it allow the government to determine what is a necessary part of a house of worship’s religious exercise.

The judge’s order prohibits Colorado officials from enforcing the state’s Executive Orders and Public Health Orders against the churches and pastors, in particular matters of occupancy limitations and face mask requirements during worship services.

Polis updated Order 20-35 on October 8:

Houses of worship and Life Rites may operate at 50% of the posted occupancy limit indoors not to exceed 175 people, whichever is less, per room. For outdoor worship services, a house of worship must maintain 6 feet distance between non-household members and work with the appropriate local authority to obtain approval for the maximum number of individuals who may attend in the designated outdoor space.

The governor recently extended his order requiring masks to November 10. He allowed the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and local public health departments to grant waivers for “certain indoor activities that take place for a limited time period if such activities cannot practically or safely be performed while wearing a mask.”

The Surprising Thing About World Changers

by Greg Laurie on Sep 8, 2020

Sometimes the most amazing accomplishments come from the least likely people.

Take, for example, the story of how the Oxford English Dictionary came about.

In 1879 Dr. James Murray was commissioned to compile a dictionary that was to contain every word in the English language, so Murray invited scholars and literary professionals from around the world to participate.

Many people offered their services, including someone known as Dr. William Minor. He was well qualified, so Dr. Murray brought him into the program. And ultimately, Dr. Minor offered 12,000 submissions to the project, more than any other person.

As a result, Dr. Murray wanted to meet Dr. Minor, so he wrote him a letter to request a meeting. Dr. Minor replied that he was unable to come and see him, but Dr. Murray was welcome to visit him.

Eventually, Dr. Murray went to visit Dr. Minor. He took the train, and when he reached Dr. Minor’s address, he trudged up a long road lined with beautiful poplar trees. Arriving at a very large house, he entered through two large green doors and was ushered by a servant up a marble staircase to a vast room on the second floor, where a man of obvious importance was sitting behind a desk.

The man, however, was not Dr. William Minor, as his visitor assumed. Rather, he was the superintendent of the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, where Dr. Minor was a long-term resident.

World changers are often unlikely people.

Surprising Entries

The 11th chapter of the New Testament book of Hebrews contains an impressive collection of characters in what I call the Hero’s Hall of Faith. Some of the people that made it into this chapter are expected: Moses, Noah, Enoch and, of course, Abraham. Then there are some surprising entries as well, like Abel, Lot, Samson, and Jacob.

This serves as a reminder that the Hero’s Hall of Faith is filled with ordinary people like us who changed the world. They discovered that the secret of staying on top is not talent. It is not opportunities or status. It is faith in God. These people were far from perfect. They failed often. But they are not in the Hero’s Hall of Faith because they were great people; they are in it because they had faith in a great God.

What I find fascinating is that we don’t find a single mention of any of their sins in this chapter. And they sinned. Abraham lied twice about his wife, Sarah, saying she was his sister. Isaac did the same thing. Sarah laughed at the promises of God. The list goes on.

These winners did not always collect medals. Sometimes they collected scars.

But not one word of their failure is mentioned. Why? They were forgiven, and God gives second chances. They were looked at for what they became, not what they were.

When God looks at you, He sees a work in progress, while you probably see your flaws. Sometimes we see our flaws, our shortcomings and our sins, and it isn’t a bad thing to see those things. But God doesn’t just see you for what you are in the moment. He sees you for what you can become, just as he saw the potential in the lives of each of the world changers named in Hebrews 11.

You, World Changer

There has to come a moment in every life when we surrender to God. It is not always easy. God’s plans are often plans that we love and agree with. But sometimes God’s plans are different from ours. It is then that we have to say, as Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Not my will but yours be done.”

If you were to go to a doctor because you were having unusual pains or some other issue, the doctor may have to give you bad news initially. He might have to tell you that you have cancer, or there is a very serious problem for which you need surgery or some kind of treatment. You wouldn’t like to hear that, but you would need to accept the course to change it.

In the same way, God will tell us the truth about ourselves: Yes, we are sinners. Yes, we need a Savior. But once we accept that, then we can go from sadness to happiness. The way to find life is by losing life, which means committing it to God.

You have your dreams and aspirations, and that is all good. But here is my advice to you: Commit your life to God and understand that his plans for you are better than your plans for yourself. He may say no to this and no to that. But what he will say yes to is so much better, and you will look back and say, “Thank you, Lord.”

If you want to be strong spiritually at the end of your life, then be strong spiritually right now. The end is determined by the beginning. The evening is determined by the morning. Walk with God now, and you will be walking with him then. One day you will be able to look back reflectively over your life and worship God, recognizing that he was in control all along.

Learn how you can change your world with Pastor Greg’s new book, World Changers: How God Uses Ordinary People to Do Extraordinary Things. Receive your copy as our thank-you gift when you support the ministry of Harvest.

The Surprising Thing About World Changers

VIDEO ‘Worship Protests’ Are Bringing Revival To America’s Troubled Cities

People have asked me why we are holding these ‘worship protests,’ and the answer is simple: God is moving, and our nation desperately needs it.

‘Worship Protests’ Are Bringing Revival To America’s Troubled Cities

By Sean Feucht

Something is happening in America, and it should sound the alarm for every confessing Christian. Simply put, hostile efforts in many cities now threaten to suppress the First Amendment rights of all people to exercise our faith freely. In unprecedented acts of government-authorized injustice, Christians are being told they cannot gather for worship, they cannot sing songs of praise, and they cannot observe church ordinances.

Just last week, politicians in Seattle installed temporary fencing and security guards around Gas Works Park to prevent us from holding a “Let Us Worship” public outdoor service. Similarly, at Cal Anderson Park, Antifa protesters shouted obscenities, intimidated worshipers, cursed out my wife and four children, and damaged our equipment.

While followers of Jesus are being told we cannot worship in public spaces, violent paid rioters are taking over our streets and being given license to occupy and destroy entire sections of our cities. Churches are being covered in graffiti and even burned while civic leaders call for defunding the police. Never did I dream that this would happen, and never have I been more determined to do something about it.

The Church Is Being Persecuted Here in America

For the past 20 years, I’ve taken my entire family all over the world in support of the persecuted church. These efforts have brought greater exposure for dictatorial regimes and their anti-Christian tyrants in places such as North Korea, Iran, China, and Islamic Africa. In some parts of the world, Christians routinely face prison and even torture for nothing more than simple acts of faith, such as reading their Bibles, praying, and peaceably gathering with other believers to worship.

Now in major cities across America, godless politicians are adopting tactics that more closely resemble those of jihadist ayatollahs than men and women who are sworn to uphold the rule of law. Earlier this year in Kentucky, an elected leader tried to “criminalize” the celebration of Easter and would have gotten away with it if not for a federal judge, appointed by President Donald Trump, who blocked him.

In Virginia, the governor tried to stop Christians from gathering to worship under penalty of arrest and imprisonment. In Minnesota, the attorney general enforced the governor’s executive order that banned churches from worshipping but allowed dog groomers and golf courses to remain open.

In my home state of California, Gov. Gavin Newsom and many large-city mayors have ramped up their fight against the freedom of religion. As I write this, elected officials in Sacramento and Los Angeles are wringing their hands in desperation as they try to figure out how to shut down church leaders such as Grace Community Church’s John MacArthur.

In Portland, one of our brothers was stalked by an armed “protester” and shot at point-blank range while bystanders looked on with their phones, recording the whole thing. The victim, 39-year-old Jay Danielson, had weeks before joined hundreds of Christians who came to Oregon’s largest city for one of our “Let Us Worship” gatherings.

Truly, the actions of militant, anti-Christian forces, who want to shut down our churches, silence our worship, and even shoot our fellow believers in the streets, have stirred the soul of the American church. Where we have stood in solidarity with Christians around the world whose hostile governments threaten their religious freedom, we now stand with each other on our native soil.

I keep telling myself and my fellow Christians from every walk of life that this isn’t what America was founded to be. This isn’t how we are supposed to live. I will not stand idly by and watch it happen.

America Needs Revival

The American experiment, now approaching its 250th year, has proved our ability for more than two centuries to withstand foreign attacks from rogue states that despise and reject the freedoms we hold dear. What we face now is not a new threat; it is just no longer a foreign threat. The present madness has arisen from our own soil, cultivated and encouraged by our own politicians.

All across America, however, Christians are rising up. In recent weeks, thousands upon thousands have gathered and marched to assert their God-given freedoms. I’ve stood before them, armed with only a copy of the Bible and a simple guitar. People have asked me why we are holding these “worship protests” across the country, and the answer is simple: God is moving, and our nation needs it now more than ever in my lifetime.

In Seattle, a self-proclaimed satanist came to protest our worship, met the glory of God, and gave his life to Jesus. He is not alone. Thousands of hurting people have encountered the love of Christ in dozens of America’s most troubled cities through the simple act of gathering together in worship.

The church I believe in ministers to the sick and hurting; it doesn’t hide in the darkness. Jesus touched contagious lepers, and our fellow Americans need His healing touch right now. They need the bold, warm embrace of God’s love.

We are just getting started, with worship gatherings planned in Madison, Minneapolis, Kenosha, Chicago, and many more — culminating in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 25. I refuse to seek permission from politicians to adhere to my calling, the church’s calling.

Let me be very clear: Our fists are not held up in defiance; our hands are lifted in praise. Our voices are not raised in shouts of hatred, but our songs of hope and prayers for revival are piercing the darkness around us. God is not finished with America yet.

Sean Feucht is a missionary, artist, speaker, author, activist, and the founder of, a movement organizing worship rallies in America’s most troubled cities.

VIDEO The Mystery of Resurrection

We come now to the final section of 1 Corinthians 15. We have been going through this great resurrection chapter. You’re a wonderful congregation to preach to, you love the truth, you embrace the truth with a full heart, and you express so often, as many of you have to me, your joy over what we’ve learned in this chapter. It’s been so encouraging to me. Not everybody is interested in what happens after we die. Most people today, even in churches, seem to be a lot more interested in what goes on here. But for some of us, what happens after death is the most important.

My friend, Daniel Henderson, said the other day, “Isn’t it odd in our prayers that we spend most of time praying to keep people out of heaven who are headed there than we do praying lost people into heaven who aren’t headed there?” I think we sometimes lose sight of the glories of heaven, even as we pray for saints, resisting in some ways the best that God has for them, entrance into His presence.

Now, what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 is that when we end up in heaven, finally, we will not be disembodied spirits, but we will be resurrected human beings. The skeptics, of course, as we have pointed out, viewed physical resurrection as something of a joke. The idea that the body could rise from the dead seemed ridiculous to them.

That view, that non-resurrection view, had permeated the Corinthian church because it was a part of the philosophy of that place and that time. And some of the believers were having trouble believing in a resurrection. They weren’t having trouble believing in salvation. They weren’t having trouble believing that their spirits would go to heaven, but they were having trouble with the physical, bodily resurrection.

So the apostle Paul writes this monumental chapter to affirm the reality of resurrection. He has presented the evidence of a physical resurrection, and the primary proof of the physical resurrection to the saints is the physical resurrection of the Lord Jesus. That’s how he began the chapter. The evidence for a bodily resurrection is in the resurrection of Christ. He is the prototype.

Then he talked about the importance of resurrection by looking at what happens if there is no resurrection. Christ didn’t rise, we don’t rise; the gospel is useless; preaching is empty, and so forth. Then he talked about the sequence of resurrection. Who comes first? Christ, and then the rest follow. And he talked about the value of resurrection. It takes us into the form which God originally designed that we would be in, fully perfected human beings to express His glory. Then last time, down through verse 49, Paul described the body of resurrection. Gave us some analogies and described a way for us to understand the body of a resurrected believer.

Now, having gone through all of that, he comes to verse 50, and he sweeps us into what is really a very, very elevated conclusion. It is really a thrilling sort of lyrical praise for the great reality of resurrection. In fact, I think verses 50 to 57, and then the final verse added to that, but I think this whole passage must have almost carried the apostle Paul away. This is pure praise. It is a kind of celestial symphony, and we’re going to see that as we look at it. Let me read verses 50 to 58.

“Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised imperishable and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

“But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory. O, death, where is your victory? O, death, where is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law, but thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

This is elevated language, glorious language, and at the same time highly instructive. Paul’s praise follows four lines: a great transformation, a great triumph, a great thanksgiving, and then a great therefore. Let’s begin with the great transformation.

Verse 50 really sets off the whole passage. “Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” This is a very important transitional statement. Paul has been discussing the fact that God will design special bodies for eternal living. They won’t be earthly. They won’t be like the body we have inherited from a fallen Adam and Eve. They will be like Christ’s resurrection body.

Look at verse 49. “Just as we have borne the image of the earthy,” that is, we are made in the likeness of fallen man, “we will bear also the image of the heavenly.” “We will have a body like unto His glorious body,” it says in Philippians. In other words, Paul is telling us in this opening statement about the great transformation. We need special equipment for eternal life. This body will not do. “Flesh and blood” is the phrase. It refers to our bodies as currently designed for life on this planet. Our bodies are wonderfully, fearfully made, as the Psalmist said, and they are suited for this life.

Hebrews 2:14 says, “The children share in flesh and blood.” Simply a way to describe the physical body. Flesh sometimes is used in a moral sense in Scripture, but whenever it’s connected with blood, it’s simply referring to a physical body. We cannot enter the heavenly realm in the bodies that we currently have. We must be changed. And that goes back to what I just mentioned to you, Philippians chapter 3, “Our citizenship is in heaven. We wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory.”

We’ll go from being earthy to being heavenly. We must be transformed. Heaven calls for that. In fact, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. Sometimes the kingdom of God refers to the salvation realm over which Jesus rules in the hearts of all those who put their trust in Him. It is that kingdom that He emphasized in His preaching, “Enter into the kingdom,” was similar to being saved. Sometimes the kingdom of God refers to the universal rule of God in the universe as He oversees and has authority over everything in the created world, both material and spiritual.

Sometimes the kingdom of God refers to the future thousand-year millennial reign. Sometimes the kingdom of God as a term refers to eternal heaven, the eternal new heaven and new earth, the final state. And that’s what we have here. You can’t enter into the final form of the future reign of God after Christ has collected all who belong to Him – we saw that back in verse 24 – and then He has taken the kingdom and handed it over to God, to God and Father, having abolished all other rule and all authority and power.

That is the eternal state, when all the redeemed of all periods of time, both time as we know it now, the future time of the tribulation, the future time of the millennial kingdom, all those times are over. The new heaven and the new earth is created. All the redeemed are gathered in heaven, all of Christ’s are there, and He then takes them all and gives them to the Father. That’s what we have here, the future reign of God after Christ has handed over to Him the kingdom. So we look at this, then, as the eternal state.

We must go back to verse 42 because there we see the same emphasis of a transformation. The resurrection of the dead is coming, it is sown – that is, our body is a perishable body, raised an imperishable; sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown natural, raised spiritual. This is simply laying out for us the fact that we must be changed, a tremendous transformation is required. Death is the planting of the seed. We saw the analogy of the seed. And that seed dying, as it were, bursts forth in new life and takes new form.

There are great similarities because our body will be conformed to the body of Christ’s glory, and we know all about His body because He walked and talked on earth after His resurrection for forty days with His followers, and there are many descriptions of their interaction and of His glorified body. Paul has detailed in our last study the characteristics of this new body, imperishable, glorious, powerful, and spiritual.

Now, it raises a question and the question is: What about the Christians that are living when Christ comes? And that question falls on the minds of the readers in Corinth, and Paul assumes it and he assumes it of readers in the future, so he answers it here in the text before us. What happens if you don’t die? What happens if you’re alive when Christ comes? They believed in the return of Christ. He had said that He would return, Acts 1:11. The angel said the same Jesus that you have seen go into heaven shall so come in like manner as you’ve seen Him go.

Himself, our Lord, delineated His second coming, described it in the great Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24 and 25 in particular. So the early believers knew that the Lord was coming. First Corinthians, probably written around the year 55 maybe, it’s just a few years since the Lord has died. And this doctrine of His return is well settled in the life of the church. And so the question, then, comes: What if you’re not dead and the Lord comes, then what happens? Then what happens? Will these people miss the transformation? What about those living at the resurrection?

Let’s look at verse 51, he answers that question. “Behold, I tell you a mystery,” which is another way of saying, “I have new information” – “I have new information.” Mystery doesn’t mean what we think when we say mystery. Mustērion doesn’t mean something that is virtually unsolvable. Mystery in the New Testament refers to something that has been previously hidden, okay? Has been previously hidden. But when the writer says, “I will show you a mystery,” it means that which has previously been hidden will now be revealed.

This is something that in the Old Testament, for example, no one knew. It wasn’t made known to them. It was hidden from them. Now, there is a sense in which we have to understand that God doesn’t tell us everything all the time. Let me give you a little way to think about that. There are some things God doesn’t tell anybody, ever. You understand that, right? Deuteronomy 29:29, “The secret things belong to the Lord.” There are some things He hasn’t told anybody, and maybe we’ll find it out when we get to heaven.

There are some things He reveals to everybody. What would that be? Well, Romans 1, “That which may be known of God is in them” – that is, the path to God, to the recognition that there is a God, and to recognize His eternal power and godhead is built into the very rational faculties of every human being. That which may be known of God is in them so that they’re without excuse if they don’t go back to God because reason will take you there. Every reasoning human being finally has to end up with the fact that there’s God because all reasoning is based on a cause-and-effect continuum.

That’s what thinking is., this produces this, and this produces this, and this produces this. And if you follow it back, you’re going to end up with a need for a primary cause. That’s why the theory of evolution is such a devastating attack on human reason. To say nobody times nothing equals everything is idiotic. It’s insane.

So there are some things that God has revealed to everybody, and one of them is the knowledge that He exists and that He is God and that He is powerful. And also, Romans 2 says that the law of God is written in the heart of every man, and there is an accommodating conscience that works off of that law to excuse or accuse him. So to everyone, God has revealed something, the fact of His existence and His power and the fact of His law, and there are some things that He has never revealed to anybody.

Now, there are some things that God reveals only to His people – only to His people. Psalm 25:14, “The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him” – the secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him. Or Proverbs 3:32, “The secret of the Lord is with the righteous.” There are things that we who are believers know that no one else can understand. The natural man cannot understand them, they are foolishness to him, they are spiritually discerned and he’s spiritually dead. Jesus (in John 8) said, “Because I speak the truth, you don’t believe me.”

So there are things that He doesn’t reveal to anybody. There are things that He reveals to everyone. There are certain things that He reveals only to His own people. And then, fourthly, there are secrets that He has hidden from everyone for a period of time, including His own people, and finally revealed in the New Testament. Paul himself identifies the fact that he is a preacher of the mysteries, but Paul isn’t the one who introduced that, Jesus is.

Back in Matthew 13, when our Lord was telling the parables to the disciples, He was essentially revealing mysteries to them. Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted” – verse 11 – “to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven. But to them, it has not been granted,” to the non-believers, it has not been granted, “it is granted to you and you alone.” And so He spoke to the crowd in parables, which were riddles they couldn’t understand.

Now we come to the category of those things which God has hidden in the past from everybody but in the New Testament has revealed to His church, to His people. Now, if you just go to your concordance, look up the word mystery, go everywhere in the New Testament where the word mystery goes, and you’ll uncover what those mysteries are. There is the mystery of iniquity. There is the mystery of the church being Jew and Gentile, together as one. There is the mystery of the indwelling Christ, Christ in you, that’s another mystery. What that means is it has never been revealed until the New Testament.

Well, one of those mysteries is here revealed, and it has to do with the question that is on the mind of the reader: What about the people who don’t die? What happens to them if they don’t get sown in the ground, decompose, and come forth in a new form? What about the people that don’t die? Not all Christians will die. What happens to them? Verse 51, let me give you a mystery. Nobody’s ever heard this until the New Testament. We will not all die, that’s what sleep means, we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed. There’s the answer to the question.

Sometimes when the questions aren’t asked, you can back up to the question, once you hear the answer, and that’s one of those cases in this text. It is absolutely necessary that we all be changed. Why? Because the perishable, back to verse 50, must put on an imperishable form. You can’t take what you’ve got to heaven, and basically aren’t you glad? Aren’t you glad? Can you imagine dealing with what you are eternally?

We will not all sleep. That is to say, the Lord will come and the resurrection will happen at a time when some people are still alive. But we will all be changed. We have to be changed. And by the way, it is not a process – it is not a process. How do you know that? Verse 52, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, we’re all going to be changed in a moment.”

That’s an interesting word in the Greek, atomos, from which we get the word atom. The word atomos means that which can’t be divided. That which can’t be cut is atomos. Therefore, it is the smallest. In the Greek understanding, you can’t get anything smaller than that which cannot be divided. So it indicates the shortest possible time. It can’t be divided down. It’s not an hour and it’s not a minute and it’s not a second and it’s not a nanosecond, it’s the smallest possible undividable unit of time. It’s going to happen that fast.

And the analogy is in the twinkling of an eye. That’s not a blink – that’s not a blink, that’s different. This is twinkling. That’s a flash of light, the sudden flash of light on the eye. One writer suggests it would be like a sixth of a nanosecond, the time that it takes for light entering the iris to reach the retina. A microsecond is one millionth of a second. A nanosecond is one thousandth of a microsecond. And the twinkling is one sixth of a nanosecond. That is fast – that is fast. That’s it, folks, that fast. That’s what’ll happen, that fast.

And all that language there is intended for you to understand this is not some kind of transformation that takes time. Now, when does it happen? Well, it happens at the last trumpet – at the last trumpet. There is a passage in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, verse 16, that describes the same event (the rapture) and you have a trumpet there, and we’ll look at that. This is the trumpet that will be sounded at the rapture.

In the Old Testament and certainly throughout Jewish history, even in times of the New Testament, trumpets are associated with the events of end times. Trumpets were associated in Israel’s history with battles and festivities and triumphs, but they were also associated with the events of the end times. This is the signal for the dead to rise. This is the time when they will be called out of the graves and called up to God. And the transformation will take place in – if our scientific explanation is accurate – a sixth of a nanosecond.

Back in the nineteenth chapter of Exodus, God appeared. Thunder, lightning flashes, thick cloud on the mountain, Mount Sinai, and a very loud trumpet sound so that all the people who were in the camp trembled, and Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God. This’ll be like that, only not frightening. This is a summons trumpet in Exodus 19: Come and meet God. And it is a summoning trumpet here, as well: Come in your glorified body and meet God.

When that happens, in the moment, at the last trump, the trump will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. We’ll be changed. That’s the transformation. That is a glorious thing to think about. It has to be. Why? Verse 53, “For this perishable must put on the imperishable. And this mortal must put on immortality.” “Put on” is a normal word, by the way, for getting dressed. You need a new body to clothe your spiritual being. In the life to come, you’ve got to shed this one and put on a new one.

So Paul says this is something that no one has ever known until the New Testament. Is this the first time it was ever mentioned in the New Testament? No – no. Go back to John 14 – John 14 – upper room, Last Supper with the disciples. Here is the first time this event is mentioned. “Do not let your heart be troubled” – the disciples had troubled hearts because Jesus was going to be taken from them in death. “Don’t let your heart be troubled, believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many dwelling places. If it weren’t so, I would have told you.

“For I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to myself, that where I am, there you may be also.” This doesn’t explain about the transformation, but what it does explain is that there is being a place prepared for us in the heaven of heavens to dwell. “I will prepare a place for you.” “I will” – literally, the word means to ready or to furnish rather than to build.

That’s why we say in the old King James, the idea was, “I go to prepare a place for you,” and people thought, “Well, that’s got to be my house and I’m going to be on Holy Spirit Street, number 8 down the road and to the right or something. No. I’m going to furnish a place. The Lord is not building us a mansion, but He’s furnishing a room in the Father’s house, getting it ready for our arrival. And He will not send for us, by the way, He will come for us. “I will come again and receive you to myself.”

The reason we associate this passage with the rapture is because there’s no judgment here. Christ does come in judgment on the ungodly – destructive judgment, devastating judgment on the ungodly – but there’s no such reference here. This is when He comes to gather His own and take them to the rooms that He has furnished for them in the Father’s house. This is a passage that gives hope and comfort and joy.

And then there is another reference to this event, 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 – 1 Thessalonians chapter 4. First Thessalonians would have been written probably three, four years before 1 Corinthians. First Thessalonians 4, and there’s kind of an opposite issue here to the one in 1 Corinthians 15. The believers in Thessalonica are asking about the Christians that have died. They were already aware of the rapture, and they were wondering if the dead Christians were going to miss the rapture.

The Corinthians, I guess, were wondering if the people who are alive are going to miss the resurrection, the glory of the resurrection, and here, the Thessalonians are wondering if the people who are dead are going to miss the rapture. And so he answers them, verse 15, “This we say to you,” 1 Thessalonians 4:15, “by the Word of the Lord that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God” – there’s that same trump we saw in 15 – “and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we always be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words.” Again, there’s no judgment here, this is not a judgment event, this is not the return of Christ in judgment, neither was John 14, neither is 1 Corinthians 15.

This is an event that is all about comfort, all about encouragement, don’t let your heart be troubled, I’m preparing a room for you, I’m coming to get you. And the trumpet will be blown and the archangel will shout. The word, by the way, “shout,” for a military command. And perhaps He’ll be saying, “Come out.” A one-word command, a shout from an archangel, a blast from the trumpet of God, and God Himself comes down in the form of Christ to gather His people.

Now you can go back to our text. This is the third passage in the New Testament that unfolds this mystery which has been hidden in the past. Here is, then, the sacred secret. A whole generation of believers will, in fact, be alive at the time that Christ comes to raise the dead saints. They will be alive in their natural bodies at the time of the resurrection. But they will be transformed. That’s 1 Thessalonians. “They who are alive and remain will be caught up in the air to meet the Lord.”

They will experience an instantaneous transformation by which they will, in that same sixth of a nanosecond, receive their glorious resurrection bodies without ever dying. That’s why we all say, “We want to be alive at the rapture,” right? As one man said, “I really don’t fear death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” We have normal attitudes toward dying, we all understand that. We would all like to go in the rapture together – right? – in that moment, in that flash of light – and for some, that’s exactly what will happen.

And you say, “Well, do you think that’s far away?” It’s nearer than it’s ever been, is that fair? Nearer than It’s ever been. Can’t be too far away.

And so whether you’re dead or alive, there will be a great transformation. We will not all sleep – that is, we’ll not all die – but we will all be changed. The end of verse 52 says it again. “We will be changed.” Verse 53 says, “We must be changed because you cannot live in an imperishable world in a perishable body.” Wonderful, credible, staggering promise, to be able to have a glorified body like the body of Christ who came out of the grave and traverse the infinite new heaven and new earth in a life that the Lord designs for us.

Some people think, “Well, I don’t know if I want to be there forever. That’s a long time.” Give you an illustration, God is perfectly satisfied with Himself. True? God is joy personified. God is satisfaction personified. God is contentment personified. And God is eternal. And we’ll possess all those attributes.

So from the great transformation to the great triumph, verse 54. Here, Paul cuts loose a little bit with his praise. “But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.’” He borrowed that, of course, from Isaiah 25. This is the great triumph. This is the day we wait for. Right now, death is our enemy. Death is certainly our enemy in every sense, and reasonably, we fear it.

One writer said, “There is a preacher of the old school, but he speaks as boldly as ever. He’s not popular, though the world is his parish and he travels every part of the globe and speaks in every language. This preacher visits the poor, calls on the rich, preaches to people of every religion and no religion. And the subject of this preacher’s sermons is always the same. He is an eloquent preacher, often stirring feelings which no other preacher could and bringing tears to eyes that never weep. His arguments, none are able to refute, nor is there any heart that has remained unmoved by the force of his appeals.

“He shatters life with his message. Most people hate him. Everybody fears him. This preacher’s name is Death. Every tombstone is his pulpit, every newspaper prints his text, and every day, more people are part of his message.”

The inevitability of death, it’s an enemy. We fear it. We hide from it. We evade it. We try to avoid it. We mask it. Because it devastates us. It breaks long, loving unions. It leaves unfinished symphonies. It removes people who are greatly needed. It wrecks our tranquility. It is our enemy, and there’s no getting around it.

But when this perishable will put on the imperishable and this mortal will have put on immortality, we’ll all appreciate the words of the prophet that death is swallowed up in victory. When and then and with that he looks forward to the time of this great resurrection event. When the change has been made. When the transformation has taken place. When the resurrection has occurred, death will be completely conquered. That is why in heaven there is no death. The complete destruction of death will be accomplished for the church at the resurrection and the rapture.

Now, after the resurrection and the rapture of the church, there will be a tribulation, and there will be death there. There will be a millennial kingdom of a thousand years, and there will be death there. At the end of that millennial kingdom, all the rebels will be destroyed, and death itself will be abolished with the uncreation of the universe and the creation of a new heaven and a new earth. But for us, for the church, for those who are part of the mystery, death will be swallowed up forever when we are resurrected or raptured.

Swallowing is very strong verb. Death is swallowed up, it speaks of drastic and complete destruction. It is not merely harmed, it is not really leveled, it is not simply destroyed, it is consumed in an absolute and total victory.

The incredible wonder of this triumph gives rise to a taunt in verse 55. This is taunting. “O death, where is your victory? O, death, where is your sting?” Death is addressed in the figure of an animal or an insect armed with a poisonous sting which kills. The word sting is kentron, it refers primarily to bees and snakes. Death’s sting is gone. The blow against death was struck by Christ at Calvary, and there will come a time when that is actualized. It was promised by the work of Christ, it’ll be a reality in the future.

For the church, at the rapture, for the saints of the tribulation when they die, death will be destroyed. For the saints who live through the millennial kingdom, at the end of that, when they die, death’s final destruction takes place. But the language here for the church tells us that at the rapture and the resurrection, death will be completely obliterated. And so death can be taunted fearlessly. Where’s your victory? Where’s your sting?

Then in verse 56, he interprets verse 55. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.” It is not death itself that harms. Death has no power. What makes death powerful is sin. Sin is death’s stinger. It’s not death itself. Death has no power unless there is – here’s the key – unforgiven sin. Death has no real power unless there’s unforgiven sin. Then death is really deadly because if there’s unforgiven sin in your life because you haven’t come to Christ and had all your sins forgiven, then death is eternally deadly.

But death has no sting for the Christian. Where’s your sting? We taunt death. Because your only weapon against us is sin and there’s no sin. Why? Because it’s all been paid for, covered, forgiven, and removed. So there’s no sting in death for the Christian. That’s why the Old Testament says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His holy ones.” It’s a precious event when a believer dies.

The sting of death is sin and the power of sin is the law. This takes us back to Romans 5 and 7. The law of God is the standard that reveals we are sinners. Sin is defined by the law. The law sets the mark that sin misses. The smallest sin unforgiven has the power to kill the soul eternally. So unless your sins are forgiven in Christ, death, when it hits you, will sting you with its eternal kill power. If you know Christ, sin is not an issue, death has no sting. In fact, death is like a welcome friend.

This leads from the great transformation and the great triumph to the great thanksgiving. Verse 57, “But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” How? Because Christ satisfied every breech of the law. Christ paid the penalty for every law ever broken. He paid the price the law demanded. “The wages of sin is death,” He died to pay the wages. All sin having been dealt with, death has no more sting, and death is a friend.

Paul says, “Far better to depart and be with Christ.” He had no fear of death. And here, he relishes the moment when this perishable will put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality. So death for the believer, because sin is paid for and covered, death is disarmed, defanged. And we can taunt it. Where’s your victory? Where’s your sting? Glorious truth.

The passage ends in verse 58 with, I guess, what I like to call the great therefore. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. Therefore, because our resurrection is fixed, this is the big conclusion, because we will rise, it is guaranteed, the law will not condemn us, Christ fulfilled the law for us. Sin will not destroy us. God holds no sins against us – they were all placed on Christ in His death. You will rise, your resurrection is a reality, my beloved brethren.

A flood of affection comes out in that phrase, doesn’t it? The theology of the resurrection, then, becomes a challenge. The speculations about resurrection become very practical, and the sweeping of the mind over these massive truths comes down to our feet and immediate action. Life may be difficult. Being a Christian may be challenging. Preaching the gospel may come with its persecution. But hang in there. Be steadfast. That means stand true – stand true, immovable. Don’t deviate from the gospel, from what you know to be true.

Literally, that word “steadfast” means to be fixed firmly, solidly, settled. It’s a reference to our conviction, to the content of our doctrine, what we believe. Firm up your conviction about the future resurrection.

The Corinthians, remember now, were vacillating on it. Be immovable – immovable. An interesting word from the verb kinein, means to set in motion. And it’s the background of the word cinema from the German Kinos, which is what they call their motion pictures. Don’t move, don’t be in motion, don’t deviate. Be firm and fixed in your doctrine. Reminds me of Ephesians 4:14, “Be no more children tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine.” Solid, personal conviction about the resurrection and everything associated with it. Stand firm.

Two: Work hard, always abounding in the work of the Lord because you know that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. Stand firm doctrinally, work hard in ministry, always abounding, perisseuō, overdoing it, overdoing it, overdoing it. This is a good word for all of us who work and pray and give and witness and live and sometimes suffer. Just keep doing it.

If no resurrection, might be no reason to do this. But since there is a resurrection, don’t let anybody take away your conviction about that, and work hard because when that great day comes, you will receive a reward. Your labor is not in vain, it is not for nothing. It is not for nothing.

When the Lord comes, He is going to reward His people. The New Testament talks about all kinds of crowns, all kinds of rewards, all kinds of blessings that the Lord is going to give us. But listen to Revelation 22:12 to sum it up: “Behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me to render to every man according to what he has done.” Hold your ground, your conviction on the resurrection, work hard, there’s a day of reward coming. Let’s pray.

This is all of grace, we understand that, Lord, we certainly know that. We don’t deserve to be saved. We don’t deserve to be transformed. We don’t deserve to be eternally rewarded for the humble service that we render. This is all of grace. What a gracious, loving God you are.

How marvelous is it that we can taunt death because it has no sting? It planted its sting in Christ, and He bore the full punishment and conquered death. It has no possibility of victory over us because all the demands of the law were met by Christ. And so we long for that glorious experience, maybe even that rapture event.

But in any case, whether it’s dead or alive, when resurrection day comes, we’re thrilled with your kindness in the promise of our own resurrection and the glory that you’ve prepared for us. This is only the beginning, we haven’t even begun to imagine what you have prepared for us.

May we be steadfast and immovable in our convictions about our glorious future and work hard, labor to the point of exhaustion, if need be, knowing that there is coming a future reward, which you will give, as Paul said, to all who love your appearing, your presence. We’re grateful for the promises that we hold to. All of this we know is because of Christ, and we give Him all the praise. Amen.

This type of exercise might be key to a better fate for Coronavirus patients

Kyle Schnitzer April 22, 2020


The secret to fighting the coronavirus may come with a little cardio, according to a new study.

Research from Zhen Yan of the University of Virginia School of Medicine found that regular cardiovascular exercise could help protect against major complications for future COVID-19 patients. Yan recommended getting 30 minutes of daily exercise to help fend off the coronavirus, which can be used as a potential treatment approach and reduce the risk of acute respiratory distress syndrome.

“We cannot live in isolation forever,” Yan said in a press release. “Regular exercise has far more health benefits than we know. The protection against this severe respiratory disease condition is just one of the many examples.”

Yan, the director of the Center for Skeletal Muscle Research at UVA’s Robert M. Bern Cardiovascular Research Center, did an in-depth review of existing research looking into “extracellular superoxide dismutase” (EcSOD), an antioxidant that protects tissues and helps prevent disease. Humans produce EcSOD naturally, but Yan said its production is ramped up by cardiovascular exercise.

Yan told Newsweek biking, rowing or other aerobic exercises can help prevent or reduce the severity of ARDS, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates between 20% and 42% of patients hospitalized with the deadly bug will develop.

“It would be difficult to keep social distancing in the gym,” Yan told Newsweek. “Aerobic exercise can be easily done at home, such as [a] stationary bike, aerobic floor exercise and rowing machines. Of course, canoeing, biking and running outside with strict social distance are good options.”

While social distancing makes it tricky to move forward with normal workout routines, there are several different types of exercise that can be conducted inside your home or in areas less frequented. Bodyweight exercises like squats or floor push-ups have been recommended by fitness experts while running or walking can be helpful.


AUDIO Resentment Is Poison!

By Rev Bill Woods


As we watch prophecy being fulfilled on a daily basis and hear the reports about the Great Reset coming in January, 2021, it becomes very frightening.  You need to ask:

  • Am I ready for the Rapture described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18:

15  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are   asleep.
16  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
17  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
18  Therefore comfort one another with these words.

And I Corinthians 15:51-54, when Jesus will come and catch up all Christians to take them to The Marriage Feast of the Lamb?

1 Corinthians 15:51-54:


51  Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed–
52  in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54  So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”


I certainly don’t want to be here to face the Great Tribulation and all the wrath of Satan and his Anti-Christ.


How can I know I’m prepared to be with Christ?


Make certain everything is surrendered to His Will!

  • That means all anger, lust, bitterness and resentments must be surrendered to Christ and your heart cleansed from these negative killers of your spiritual walk.


Many Christians are harboring bitterness in one form or another not realizing these negative attitudes can ruin their relationship to Christ and cause them to miss the most important event ever–going to Heaven with to be with Jesus!


Listen!  You cannot entertain a bitter spirit if you want to go to Heaven!


For that reason I want to talk to you today about resentment!


RESENTMENT IS POISON!  It’s like an acid that destroys the container where it’s kept.

  • Resentment is sin and will keep you out of Heaven!
  • You probably can’t deal with it on your own, but Jesus can cleanse your heart if you give Him permission to so.


Matthew 6:14-15 (NKJV)
14  “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.


Jesus gave a startling warning about forgiveness: “If you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins”


Why, when we want revival, doesn’t it come?

– We want souls saved and our Church (God’s Church) to grow but too often   we’re dead on the vine.


We make excuses and rationalize why miracles don’t happen, but that’s all they are — excuses!

“It’s the music!”

      – “The pastor doesn’t dress right or isn’t dignified enough — no spiritual food.”

        – “It’s our location — too much crime — it doesn’t meet my needs!”

– A thousand excuses why we aren’t growing — THAT’S ALL THEY ARE —



Have you ever found a potato that’s gone bad?

– A spot of rot in the potato that must be surgically removed if the meal’s to be  wholesome.


Worse — If you haven’t checked the potatoes for awhile, the rot might’ve spread through the whole bag making all the potatoes unusable — ready for the garbage can.

– Rotten potatoes stink and are unappetizing!

– They’re unusable.

– They’re contagious to wholesome potatoes.


You can’t use rotten potatoes for a meal because they’re rotten.


It happens sometimes in a church among Christians.

– Something happened that’s caused bitterness and we just can’t let go of it.

– Satan will help you understand how rotten your situation is……….

– He knows God can’t use you if you’re filled with a rotten spirit.


When we left Deer Valley.

– Arrived in Stevenson with an attitude.

– Tina, Peggy, the Twins, Steve matched my attitude.

– Horrible rebellious worship services………sang to defy me not to glorify God


After 2 miserable years God confronted me in my office —

“I thought I called you to preach!”  “You did!” 

    – “I thought you said you’d go wherever I sent you!” –“I did!”

    – “Then what’s the problem?”“I guess there isn’t a problem, Lord!”


My attitude changed and then the Church’s changed and we had 5 very productive years.……

– God couldn’t use me or that Church for His purpose as long as bitterness was   destroying us.

People harboring resentment don’t understand the price they’re paying for that luxury.

– Friendships are broken………..

– Jobs are lost.

– Homes demoralized.

– Psychosomatic illnesses develop.

– The once vibrant relationship with God fades and loses the romance.

Personality grows brittle and unbending.

– Resilience and flexibility are lost from the personality.

– Emotions become unstable.

Energy, which once was productive is turned inward and productivity drops — effectiveness dwindles.

All this comes from resentment.

– It’s the worst disease of the mind.

– Resentment comes from a variety of situations, involving a perceived wrong

(real or imagined) done to us which brings feelings of injustice or


Resentment turns to bitterness — an acid that only destroys the container — YOU!.

– How can you expect God to use something full of rot?

What are the Effects of Resentment?

Resentment is strongest when it’s caused by someone we’ve been close to.                                                      .   – An injury causing resentful feelings inflicted by a friend or loved one makes us   .     feel betrayed, and these feelings can have deep effects.                                                                        .     – Cheryl, “I’m not going to take sides.”

Resentment is emotionally debilitating if not dealt with.                                                                   .   – It causes many negative results, like touchiness or edginess when we think of .     the person we resent or the situation that almost destroyed us..

We can say there’s no anger or hatred against this person, and yet be provoked to anger when they’re given positive recognition.

Resentment has long-term effects, like developing hostile, cynical, sarcastic attitudes that splash into other relationships, lack of personal and emotional growth, have trouble being open to those we love, have trouble trusting others, loss of self-confidence, and overcompensation.

What’s interesting is resentment doesn’t have any direct negative effects on the person we resent, except to deteriorate our relationship with them.

To further compound these negative effects; resentment drags us down. (depression – illness)

Our resentful feelings destroy communication between us and the person we think wronged us, which results in more miscommunications and develop even more resentment.

– Resentment has the unique quality of being internalized, where it can do

further emotional and psychological damage but that still doesn’t impact the  person being resented.

So people hang on to their resentments because they feel justified in feeling the way they do.

– Justified or not, NOBODY who wants to be happy and productive CAN AFFORD    to hold on to resentment.


Nobody in the Bible was more justified to harbor resentment than Joseph.

– He could’ve fought back, or perhaps just sulked in self-pity, or floundered   trying to use other ineffective defense mechanisms.

He did the only thing a strong person does — he rose above the people, the circumstances – the places which might’ve provoked resentment within him.

Remember his brothers rejected him?

– His boss’s wife lied about him and had him thrown into prison.

– The butler promised to remember him — he didn’t!

He wasted precious time in prison serving time for a crime he didn’t commit.


– What’s the cure for resentment if it’s in your mind and life?

Resentment that crops up on the job, in the home, at church, or in social relationships will spread like gangrene to all areas of life.

– Destroying all happiness.

Only radical surgery by the Holy Spirit can restore life to what it’s supposed to be.





A person may rationalize his right for resentment by believing his feelings are justified because of the injuries he’s suffered.

– He may excuse himself by saying resentment is a problem everybody faces.

Psychologist James J. Messina recommends 5 steps to facing and resolving resentful feelings.

  • Identify the source of the resentful feelings and what the person did to cause these feelings,
  • Develop a new way of looking at past, present and future life, including how resentment has affected your life and how letting go of resentment can improve your future,

(3) Write a letter to the person you resent, listing offenses and explaining the           .          circumstances, then forgive and let go of it. (but do not send the letter),

(4) think about a future without the negative impact of resentment,

(5) If resentful feelings still linger, go back to Step 1 and begin again.

This doesn’t change the fact — RESENTMENT IS SIN!

Because of the consequences of resentful feelings they’re dangerous and need to be dealt with.

Like the rotten potato, resentment and bitterness stink!                                                                                                             .   – They make us unusable to God.

– They are contagious to the Church Body.

Resentment poisons relations, and must be handled by introspection and forgiveness.

There’s no solution for sin except forgiveness and cleansing

  • 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


Too many let the problem fester.

– Convicted killer, Wesley Dodd:  “Dad wouldn’t come to my concert…………”

Jim Corbett, Man-Eaters of Kumaon — Man -eating tigers — hunted a man-eating tiger with an injured paw that had festered and made it impossible to hunt down other animals — only slow man.

We want to blame others for our resentful feelings, and tell ourselves we have a right to feel this way, but it’s really our choice! — RESENTMENT IS SIN!

– God cures sin when we confess it to Him!

– Why let this emotional cancer eat you when God has the cure?

Stoic boy with fox chewing his entrails…………..

– We want revival! — Revival won’t happen until God cleanses the resentment                     .     and bitterness.

Remember the potato?

– You must get rid of the rot then you’re service will be appetizing, useable, and     contagious.


A teacher once told her students to bring a clear plastic bag and a sack of potatoes to school. For every person they’d refused to forgive in their life’s experience, they chose a potato, wrote on it the name and date, and put it in the plastic bag. Some of their bags were quite heavy.

She told them to carry this bag with them everywhere for one week, putting it beside their bed at night; on the car seat when driving; next to their desk at work …..

The hassle of lugging this around with them demonstrated what a weight they were carrying spiritually, and how they had to pay attention to it all the time to not forget and keep leaving it in embarrassing places.

Naturally, the potatoes deteriorated to a nasty slime.

This was a great metaphor for the price we pay for keeping our pain and heavy negativity! Too often we think of forgiveness as a gift to the other person, and it clearly is for ourselves!!

Remember:  14  “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

That makes the price too high to continue letting resentment dictate my life!


Listen here



The LORD is good

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The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in him. Nahum 1:7 (ESV)

We are living in very difficult times. Everywhere there is poverty; in almost all levels of society, there are abused children, women, and even pet animals. We have civil wars and proxy wars that never seem to end. In some nations, lawlessness and chaos are a common state of affairs. There are greedy politicians and opportunistic business owners who rip their own countrymen for a quick gain, and many other ills that make it appear that the world is full of evil and there is totally no hope.

But the LORD is good. He is good to all people, in all places, in all situations, and at all times. Even to those who are in pain. Regardless of how things in our lives appear, or how they look, or how we feel, the LORD is good. This is the blessed assurance we have in all circumstances and conditions of our existence. The LORD is good all the time and in every possible way that we can imagine.

According to Biblical Illustrator commentary: “The goodness of God is the perfection of His nature which inclines Him to deal graciously with His creatures…to give out His riches and happiness, and make His creatures partakers of them – as far as their different capacities will admit… This goodness of God is infinite”.

When the Old Testament Bible says “stronghold” [“ma-oz”, in Hebrew], it refers to a fortified place or a fortress. The language conveys the idea of protection and defense. In our verse, God is this refuge to the troubled soul in many ways. The Biblical Illustrator speaks of this stronghold in three (3) different ways:

  1. Keeping impending trouble off
  2. Removing God’s people out of reach of trouble
  3. In most cases, giving God’s people the strength to bear (or carry) their trouble

Those who turn to LORD for safety and refuge is guaranteed protection and sanctuary in His name. The thought that the LORD is good is already a consolation.

God knows His people, those who trust in Him, in a personal and intimate way. In this verse, to trust [“cha-sah”, in Hebrew] means to confide, or to have hope. No matter how dreadful the situation is, the LORD will remain faithful to those who put their trust in Him.


VIDEO John MacArthur’s Church Defies California Orders To Close Doors

‘We cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship,’ MacArthur and the church’s elder board said in a statement.

John MacArthur’s Church Defies California Orders To Close Doors
JULY 25, 2020 By Elle Reynolds

John MacArthur, evangelist and pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, defied state orders to limit worship gatherings in a statement released Friday.

“In response to the recent state order requiring churches in California to limit or suspend all meetings indefinitely, we, the pastors and elders of Grace Community Church, respectfully inform our civic leaders that they have exceeded their legitimate jurisdiction,” the statement said. “Faithfulness to Christ prohibits us from observing the restrictions they want to impose on our corporate worship services.”

On July 13, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced new restrictions, requiring certain counties on a “monitoring list” to stop indoor worship services. Los Angeles County, where Grace Community Church is located, was one of 30 counties on the monitoring list as of July 13.

“In these counties, we have added a requirement that we close indoor operations” for certain sectors which include worship services, Newsom said in an announcement. He also suggested that restrictions would not end anytime soon. “Until there is a vaccine or effective therapy, we will be mitigating the spread of COVID-19 for the long term,” read one of the slides Newsom presented. “Californians must adapt to new behaviors if we are to slow the spread.”

In response, MacArthur and the elder board of Grace Community Church have a clear message for the state of California. “We cannot and will not acquiesce to a government-imposed moratorium on our weekly congregational worship or other regular corporate gatherings,” they said.

When officials restrict church attendance to a certain number, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible for the saints to gather as the church. When officials prohibit singing in worship services, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible for the people of God to obey the commands of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. When officials mandate distancing, they attempt to impose a restriction that in principle makes it impossible to experience the close communion between believers that is commanded in Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, and 1 Thessalonians 5:26. In all those spheres, we must submit to our Lord.

The statement represents a shift for MacArthur and his church, which previously issued a statement acquiescing to a decision by the Ninth Circuit Court that barred churches from meeting in late May. “The Ninth Circuit decision is sadly the law of the land in California, and we gladly submit to the sovereign purposes of God,” the church had said.

But now, after more than 20 weeks of restrictions, Grace Community Church is letting Newsom know they’ve had enough. “Roughly forty percent of the year has passed with our church essentially unable to gather in a normal way,” MacArthur and the elders said, noting that the lockdown measures they originally conceded to were supposed to be short-term. “The church by definition is an assembly. … A non-assembling assembly is a contradiction in terms.”

MacArthur’s church isn’t the only one to defy California’s restrictions on worship. Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California, held an in-person service on Sunday and is suing the state for the right to continue assembling. “We’ve been essential for 2,000 years,” said Pastor Ché Ahn.

Calvary Chapel of Ukiah, Calvary Chapel of Fort Bragg, and River of Life Church in Oroville are suing the state over its ban on congregational singing. South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista renewed a lawsuit over the state’s decision to shutter churches, noting that government favoritism toward the George Floyd protests while churches are forced to stay shut “has caused amazing harm in the form of a general loss of confidence by the American people in the merits of the pandemic restrictions at all.”

MacArthur and his church firmly noted the importance of respecting the rightful authority of government. “Insofar as government authorities do not attempt to assert ecclesiastical authority or issue orders that forbid our obedience to God’s law, their authority is to be obeyed whether we agree with their rulings or not,” their statement said.

They also noted, however, that government authority does not extend over Christians’ freedom to assemble as the church. “We do not need the state’s permission to serve and worship our Lord as He has commanded,” they insisted. “Freedom of worship is a command of God, not a privilege granted by the state.”

MacArthur and the elders of Grace Community Church encouraged other congregations to join them in their decision to gather for worship. “It has never been the prerogative of civil government to order, modify, forbid, or mandate worship,” they said. “When, how, and how often the church worships is not subject to Caesar. Caesar himself is subject to God.”

Elle Reynolds is an intern at the Federalist, and a senior at Patrick Henry College studying government and journalism. You can follow her work on Twitter at @_etreynolds.
Photo Pigby / Wikipedia

John MacArthur: A Triumphant Hour for the Church, and Fresca



AUDIO Mayors Threaten Religious Liberty & Public Health – America Come Back To God!

By Bill Donohue | July 10, 2020



New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot share a similar record on their handling of violence, public health, and religious liberty. Both are a disgrace.

From July 3 to July 5, 27 persons died of COVID-19 in New York City. During that same period, 64 people were shot and 10 were killed. In Chicago, 9 persons died of the virus over those three days; 64 were wounded and 15 were murdered.

It is hard to know where the blame lies in deaths due to coronavirus, but it is not hard to know who bears responsibility for the violence. Both de Blasio and Lightfoot have made the police the enemy, and everyone knows it, especially the shooters.

When it comes to religious liberty, however, these two mayors sing a different tune. To be exact, they have gone out of their way to punish church-goers for not complying with their public health edicts. Worse, they have done nothing about the public health threat posed by protesters, many of whom were violent.

De Blasio not only endorsed the mobs that took to the streets, he gave them immunity from his contact-tracing mandate. New York employees charged with coronavirus contact-tracing were told that they could not ask anyone if he or she attended a Black Lives Matter protest. But they sure could ask if he went to church.

In other words, the mayor decided it was more important to guard the anonymity of someone who picked up COVID-19 while demonstrating side-by-side with thousands of others—in illegal marches—than it was to protect an innocent person from being infected by them.

Religious New Yorkers, however, were told to stay out of churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship. They were told they were a threat to public health. Then a federal district judge stepped in and put a temporary stop to de Blasio’s game: He accused the mayor (and Gov. Andrew Cuomo) of sending “a clear message that mass protests are deserving of preferential treatment.”

Like de Blasio, Lightfoot threw public health concerns to the wind by doing nothing to enforce social distancing among protesters.

Church-goers, however, are another story.

In May, Lightfoot threw down the gauntlet. She pledged to fine any church that was open.

“This is not playing Russian Roulette. This is playing with a gun that is fully loaded and cocked.”

Sadly, real guns go off every weekend in her city, and she has done nothing about it. Blacks kill blacks by the dozens, turning Chicago streets into a bloodbath. Yet Lightfoot will not condemn the killers with the kind of incendiary language she uses against innocent church-goers.

De Blasio and Lightfoot are a threat to public health, public safety, and religious liberty. How much more must they do to their cities before their residents finally rise up and demand justice?

Bill Donohue is president and CEO of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, the nation’s largest Catholic civil rights organization. He was awarded his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University and is the author of eight books and many articles.


Listen here


AUDIO ‘It’s amazing’: Something incredible is happening to thousands of Texas prisoners

By Billy Hallowell,

Only God can affect true heart and life change — and pastor Stephen Wilson knows that all too well.

When Wilson accepted the Lord into his life, he also voluntarily turned himself into authorities and served a two-year prison sentence for a past crime.

After his release, he jumped into ministry, and hasn’t looked back. Now, he’s helping others find Christ by planting churches inside Texas prisons.

“I never really thought about prison ministry until I walked in and saw the hearts of the guys. The very first night I walked into county prison, I was scared to death,” he recently told The Pure Flix Podcast. “[What] made the [biggest] impact on me: seeing these men in a crisis type situation where you would think it was the lowest part of their lives, they gathered together in prayer … It blew me away and that’s when the holy spirit placed it on my heart and said ‘you really need to minister to these guys.’”

Over the years, Wilson has ministered to and mentored thousands of prisoners who are serving sentences in at least four Texas state penitentiaries.

Wilson, working as a full-time pastor for the Texas-based Gateway Church, brings all the elements of a traditional church service inside the walls of the prison, and lives are being dramatically changed as a result of his work.

Listen to Wilson reveal what’s happening inside the Texas prison system:

Listen here to Pastor Stephen Wilson

“[We had a] November 2018 launch and in eight months [we] had 1,000 men come to know Christ. First time decisions and recommitments,” he said. “We’re going in and doing baptisms inside the prison. It’s amazing.”

And that was only at one prison campus. Since he spoke to The Pure Flix Podcast, the ministry has opened at least three more prison campuses and is working with prison officials to open even more.

The ministry goes well beyond just Sunday service and offers spiritual growthmarriageparenting, financial stewardship and leadership classes as well.

“We didn’t want to come in and just be evangelistic. We really wanted to be discipleship minded,” Wilson said. “We have volunteers come in and we work with them on how to be the husband that God has called them to be, the father the God has called them to be or the leader that God has called them to be. We want them to walk out and be a pillar in the community. Today’s offender is tomorrow’s neighbor.”

And some state statistics would imply God is working miracles in these prisoners lives.

“Here in Texas, our recidivism rate is very low. We’re at 21 percent here in Texas where nationally it can range from 60 to 80 percent,” Wilson said. “We’re seeing a revival inside our prisons because once a guy receives Christ and makes a heart change and a life change, that guy gets out and he wants to be the husband or father that God wants him to be, he’s not going back. He’s not reoffending.”

He continued, “Our faith-based programing is making a difference inside the prisons.”

Wilson said he is in constant awe to see God at work with the men and families who are able to attend the marriage and parenting classes.

“I go in and watch the holy spirit work,” he said. “Once those guys accept Christ and really start learning the scriptures and what God says about them and just the hope it gives them for when they get out and be that husband and dad that God has called them to be.”

This article was originally published on Pure Flix Insider. Visit Pure Flix for access to thousands of faith and family-friendly movies and TV shows. You can get a free, one-month trial here.

Billy Hallowell, author of “The Armageddon Code,” has contributed to TheBlaze, the Washington Post, Human Events, the Daily Caller, Mediaite, and the Huffington Post, among other news sites. Through journalism, media, public speaking appearances, and the blogosphere, Hallowell has worked as a journalist and commentator for more than a decade.