Afghanistan: The War We will Not Win.:The Taliban attacked the US-Afghan force Sunday



Taliban under NATO-Afghan counter-attack after killing 8 US troops

DEBKAfile Special Report
October 5, 2009, 5:35 PM (GMT+02:00)
The governor of the remote eastern Afghanistan province of Nuristan, Jamaluddin Badr, reported Monday, Oct. 5, that NATO and Afghan soldiers had besieged a Taliban force in the Kamdesh district the day after eight US soldiers and two Afghans were killed in two deadly attacks in the province.

He said police officers, including the top district commander were missing. The Taliban say they are holding 13 police including the police chief.

The Taliban attacked the US-Afghan force Sunday with rocket propelled grenades, machine guns and rifles from a mosque and a nearby village. US Col. Randy George reported the joint force had repelled the attack in a gun battle that inflicted heavy enemy casualties. He added: "Coalition forces' previously announced plans to depart the area as part of a broader realignment to protect larger populations remains unchanged."
US forces have suffered some of their worst casualties in the east, where they have tried to control remote mountain passes used by Taliban fighters as infiltration routes from Pakistan.

The number of NATO casualties in the eight-year conflict peaked in the year 2009 to 386 including 228 Americans. Gen. McChrystal's request for more troops to determine its outcome awaits a White House decision on strategy

Serve God or Money? One Mega church can't decide


Willow Creekers Challenged on Money Stewardship, Tithing

Influential church pastor Bill Hybels wrapped up a challenging sermon series on Sunday with a call to choose God or money.

And they can't serve both.

"You've got to decide," the Willow Creek Community Church pastor told his congregation. "Who is in charge of your life? You can't serve two masters in your life."

The sermon, based on the familiar New Testament passage on stewardship, was particularly timely for the South Barrington, Ill., church as it approaches its 34th anniversary. The megachurch is seeking to expand its influence which will require more leaders and more members to step up their commitment. The Willow Creek pastor is looking to find potential leaders who have their priorities straight with regard to God and money.
He's measuring them based on the criteria Jesus provided to his disciples when they look for others who could help lead the movement of bringing the kingdom of God on earth, said Hybels.

"Be very careful who you put into the core of these faith communities. These core members have to have their heads on straight, their faith ... deep," Hybels said, explaining what Jesus told his disciples.
Among the criteria is handling money wisely.

Many Willow Creekers may have already failed that test.

A survey two years ago of the more than 20,000-member church revealed that less than half of attendees who described themselves as "growing in Christ" said they are managing their money in a God-honoring way, living within their means and tithing. More surprising to Hybels was the 53 percent of Christ-centered Willow Creekers (who are the most mature based on the study's spiritual continuum) who are managing their money wisely.

"That makes no sense to me at all," said Hybels, who expected the percentage for the Christ-centered to be in the ninetieth percentile.

Speaking to the congregation as a Christ follower, and not as their pastor, Hybels said the money stewardship issue strikes him personally. When he left the multimillion-dollar family business to start church in a shoddy movie theater, he expected to live around the poverty line for the rest of his life.

As the church grew and earnings came his way, including his first paycheck, he was overwhelmed by a sense of joy and gratitude and practically jumped at offering 10 percent of his income to God. "Of course, God. You get the 10 percent," Hybels recalled feeling.

"Is it the same way with you?" the Willow Creek pastor asked the congregation.

While millions live in poverty around the world, here in the West, most of us get earnings, Hybels said. "Does it still overwhelm you once in a while that you get a check and that you're entrusted with stewarding it?"
Financial stewardship is one of the most purifying and dynamic tests in the Christian faith, he noted. "We have some growing to do."

Hybels pointed out that the figures from the congregation-wide study were not provided for them to worry about the church. But they were provided for each individual to figure out where they stand on the issue of money and God.

Those who love God enough to trust Him with their money are also those who will be able to manage the "true riches," he said.

The "Two Masters" sermon was the fourth and last of Hybels' "The Forgotten Way" series which also dealt with pace of life issues, human sexuality and conflict resolution. Through the series Hybels sought to take the teachings of Jesus from 2,000 years ago and focus them on the needs of the congregation today while also contrasting the teachings with the conventional wisdom of today's culture.

Understanding God’s Will



Understanding God’s Will
By Kyle Braselton


Proverbs 20:24 poses an important question concerning discovering God’s will. It asks, “A man’s steps are of the Lord; how then can a man understand his own way?” On the surface, one could say this is a rhetorical question, saying that following your own way is a sure way to go astray. But the question is framed against the reality that the way is planned by a man’s heart. In light of this truth, I think the question is rather deep, and exploring it could unlock some deeper truths.

It seems like a contradiction to have Proverbs 16:9 set beside Proverbs 20:24. Proverbs 16:9 says, “A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”  If a man’s heart plans his way, I would think the man would want to “understand his own way” so that the plan will be good. Proverbs 14:8 says, “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way.”

So, first, planning your own way is not a bad thing. It is what God says a person does with the heart.  The challenge of understanding it, though, still remains. To understand this concept, some terms need to be defined. What is the way? What is the destination? What are steps in the way? What is understanding?

The way is the road I travel to get to the destination.

Planning my way would be like highlighting the roads on a map to get from point A to point B. Of course, there is no map of life. Life is lived and is in time, not something that can be unfolded, touched, and plotted. The correct road, or way, is identified in Proverbs 16:17, which states, “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul.”

It’s a hard metaphor to grasp because the highway of the upright is not a tangible road I can actually walk down. My highway may be different from your highway; though, it is clear they are the same in that the right one is the one that departs from evil.

The correct road is long. Proverbs 16:31 says, “A silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness.”

What is at the end of this long road? Proverbs 18:10 describes the destination: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.” Our destination is the refuge of our Lord.


So the Lord guides our steps. We are presented with life. We walk in it every day. Things that happen around us and to us, and we act and react to our environment, making decisions along the way.
So what does it mean to understand? How can a man understand his own way?

Proverbs 9:10 defines understanding as “knowledge of the Holy One.” This is the key to understanding the way planned by the heart and walked in God-guided steps. The more one knows about God, the more one understands his own way. It seems obvious, but without acknowledging that, getting to know God took a back seat to striving to learn His will for me. His will for me was there the whole time.

What an awesome message about God it is to know that His will for me is to know Him! And doing His will, or knowing God, is what guides my steps in life.

Lazy People


by Todd Strandberg


Lazy People
In this age of psycho-babble, feel-good commentary, one can find an endless number of reasons the world is slipping into spiritual darkness. Preachers try to tackle the moral issues of our day by giving people a detailed description of every angle of the sin issue.

The lack of knowledge cannot be the main problem. We are very well educated about the problems of our generation, yet the world continues to grow darker with each passing day.

The reason sin abounds is simple: People are lazy. We are slothful, idle, immobile, inactive and whatever other terms describe just plain laziness.

When it comes to identifying the lazy, the finger of blame points mostly to Christians. The unsaved can't be held accountable for something they never pledged to uphold. An atheist is obviously not going to be instructing others to adhere to God's commandments.
  
Believers are the ones responsible for carrying the banner of the Great Commission. The poor spiritual condition of the world today is a testimony to the fact that the average Christian does not have a burning desire to help advance the gospel message.

Most Christians hold to the idea that they are not directly involved in the salvation plan. They didn't lead the world into rebellion, so why should they be required to guide people to the truth? Even believers who understand responsibility seem to think that the assignment of being an ambassador for Christ is a general rule that does not necessarily apply to them.




What is Laziness? 
 
The French author Jules Renard once wrote, "Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired." Comic strip Blondie once had Dagwood Bumstead offer this bit of humorous wisdom about laziness, “You can't teach people to be lazy - either they have it, or they don't.”

Laziness, as it relates to believers, is the gross failure to love God with all one's heart, all one's mind, and all one's soul. It is the tendency to do nothing in the face of opportunity.

Laziness is also the failure of a person to properly manage the time and resources God has provided. Because we all have different skills and abilities, the quantity and quality of our work can never be a true indicator of dedication.

One person may be highly skilled at a task, yet lack the motivation to be productive. Someone else may have limited skills, yet choose to overcome shortcomings by putting forth more effort.


Because no action is required in the sin of laziness, it is one of the easiest of the seven deadly sins to commit. Unlike with pride, envy, anger, greed, gluttony and lust, sloth is performed through a passive response.
 


Lazy Critics
 
Over the years I have received every type of negative email the human mind can conceive.I firmly believe the main message presented by Rapture Ready is the truth, and someday the majority of my detractors will have to admit their errors.


Because every idea we present on the site is based in some way on biblical text, it baffles me that people are bold enough to make claims that are not backed by anything but their own twisted logic
.
It is almost comical to read some of these curse-riddled messages from people who feel they have the authority to lecture me in spiritual matters. If they had done their research, they might have had a chance to stump me on some point.

The sad part is that they are likely wrong in their views because they are too  intellectually lazy to search for the truth. I wonder how many lost people would find the truth if they just attempted to verify their beliefs.




Do You Really Really Want To Help Out? 
 
Many times a year I get emails from people who want to help out with the site. Whenever I receive one of these emails, I always try to respond to their requests
.
After providing a list of things they can do, I rarely hear from them again. I quickly figured out that 90 percent of the time, volunteers disappear after making a pledge of support.


I finally realized what happens in most cases. Some folks tell me they feel convicted to become better ambassadors for Christ, and I can tell from their sincerity that they are making that decision from the heart.
Unfortunately, for the most part the offers of help don't turn out to be genuine. The volunteers understand the need for doing good works. But because they have no commitment to take action, the result is just a mechanism for appeasing their conscience.
 
It is far easier to stand by as an observer and do nothing than it is to get involved in the difficult task of soul-winning. Some people have promised me their support, then failed to follow through. Weeks later these same people have come back and asked for my forgiveness. Then they have failed to follow up on their second pledge.

Because it is so easy to make empty promises, I question all volunteers about their commitment level. Most of them don't get past, "Do you really really want to help out?"




Managing Your Time and Abilities
 
For me, writing is a very difficult process. I often have a terrible time trying to translate my thoughts into an organized article, and my spelling is equally as bad. 

My determination is what allows me to overcome these handicaps. I'll arrange and rearrange paragraphs dozens of times before they become presentable. As far as spelling and grammar goes, there's always spell check.

I may kick around ideas for an article for several months. As long as I plan to eventually finish the project, time really is not a factor. Once an article is written, all the delays instantly become null and void.

Many people view time as an obstacle that bars them from doing good works.

They don't think they have the time, or are too busy on less important matters, so they refrain from becoming involved in spiritual materials.


Imagine that someone needs to go from Los Angeles to New York City, and the only means of transportation is a car that can only move 5 miles per hour. Because there are 2,462 miles between the two cities, the trip would take 20 days of nonstop travel.

The idea of having to take a month to travel from one end of the country to the other would be an insurmountable obstacle for most people. But before the days of cars and trains, this was the speed at which settlers moved from the East to the West.

Because we have a lifetime to accomplish what God might expect of us, the rate at which we go about these tasks is not a central issue. The most vital component for achieving a fruitful life is our willingness to contribute. The smallest effort over the longest period of time is worth 100 percent more than a continuous state of disengagement.



Priorities
 
The act of being busy does not guard us from also being slothful. To be productive, we need to assign priorities to our daily activities.

Many people become lazy by making poor choices regarding their priorities. I have a half-brother who has always neglected to keep himself employed. As long as I've known him, he has been on welfare or living off one of his many girlfriends. However, when it comes to working on old cars, he has been very engaged in that endeavor. It's obvious that he has a priority problem.


I'm lazy about balancing my checkbook. Because of my spend-thrift habits, I have the option of using my bank statement to keep track of my money. If I were a shopaholic, it would then be a necessary priority for me to keep close tabs on my budget.


I find many misplaced priorities in the field of Bible prophecy. I know from experience many prophetic authors are only interested in prophecy because it puts money in their pocket. Any project that doesn't have a commercial value is of no interest to them. If you want to find out a preacher's true priorities, go to his official website and check to see how many free resource materials he offers.

Rapture Ready was started with the realization that there is nothing of greater importance for me to be doing with my time. Maintaining RR as my top priority is what has allowed me to stay focused all these years.



Laziness: That Means You, Buster
 
The motivation for writing this article came from my many years of experience with managing a web-based ministry. Before I began this site, I had the general impression that most Christians would be engaged in their faith.


It didn't take me long to realize that nearly all Christian endeavors are supported by a very small number of believers. Out of any group, you might find one percent active in the moral, political, and social issues of our day.
    
Because God has already forewarned that most Christians will fail to be active in championing the gospel message, every believer needs to be mindful of his or her own level of productivity.


No one is going to come knocking on your door, point a finger, and say, "You've been too lazy about your Christian faith." This is a determination we will have to make ourselves.

Scripture strongly warns that the slothful believer will suffer embarrassment and loss of rewards in the Kingdom of God. The failure to act on our responsibilities can lead to an eternity of regret. All the glory of heaven cannot hide the fact that one of our friends or family members may have died lost because of our lack of concern for their salvation.


Engagement is the only cure for laziness. No herbal remedy or motivation speech can cure laziness. A person will remain motionless until he or she finds the willpower to get up and go. It is simply fruitless to go beyond the call for action.





Your Involvement
 
One day, I was searching the internet and ran across the following note on a site about ballet. "When I started BalletWeb in 1996, there were very few good ballet sites on the Web. Now there are hundreds (and, of course, some pretty dreadful ones, too!) Since the need now seems to be well filled, and I no longer have the time or stamina to keep the site up to date, the most sensible thing seems to be to close it and clear the way for others," said Jim, the site's webmaster.


I chose to use the quote here not because I thought this guy seemed lazy. Jim's reasons for discontinuing his updates seem reasonable. What I found interesting was how his decision brings up the contrast between ballet sites and Christian websites.


Just as in the subject of ballet, there are hundreds of well maintained sites on prophecy. However, their abundance doesn't indicate we have reached any type of saturation point. The fact that our world is slipping deeper into wickedness is testimony to the need for more Bible-based sites.


The business of saving souls is far more important than commentary about people dancing around in tutus. The believer's need to propagate the gospel message should be a life-long commitment.

Since beginning Rapture Ready, I have relied upon the contributions of fellow believers to build up the content of this site. I have some articles that were written back in the early days of the internet. Over the years, I've completely lost contact with many of these people.


When each person has submitted an article, he has probably thought nothing of the impact it would have over these years. One person wrote a piece that has been on RR for nearly 18 years, and it now has been read by nearly a million people.

I often think about how pleased these folks will be on judgment day when they are presented with the fruits of their labor. The magnitude of their reward will be like someone who bought stock in companies like Microsoft or Dell Computer at their initial public offering and held the shares up until now. Because people keep track of their financial holdings, the windfall for people who invest in the site will be a sudden and shocking revelation.
The benefits of being a productive Christian do not need to be accidental. Everything we do for the sake of the gospel should be viewed as a value contribution. It's regrettable that most people neglect something that will someday garner God's praise.


There are many ways to defeat the spirit of laziness. You can start at home by witnessing to friends and family. Helping out in your local church is another option.

Opportunities abound here at Rapture Ready. I don't think the day will ever come when I say have to refrain from extending offers to help with the task of building up the site. If you have an idea or desire to become involved in this ministry, you can contact Terry or myself about helping out on some project.

Hear God speak or Fear God Speaks?


I might post this response separately, LOL, not sure whats coming out...,
(Adapted from a response)


Hear God speak or Fear God Speaks?

The greatest of all challenges is met in Libby's post.

Faith. Not mine, not hers, but yours alone with God. Libby alone with God. Me with my Father.

Jesus sad it this way:
"Today IF you hear his voice, harden not your heart"

Today, have you heard his voice, if yes, What did He say, or in some cases, Waht did He tell you to do?

I never get really what I ask for, I get What HE wants to tell me daily.  I have to be open to the idea that God may not only tell me thinks I don't want to hear, but may tell me thinks I don't understand.

Don't understand until I do as he says, or he starts to unravel a Plan He has.

I may look back at it later and say, but of course, how simple, how OBVIOUS. But at the time it was not, it was a Still Small Voice, a gentle persuasion, a confident expectation in Proverbs 3:5,6

I can never answer for the actions of another, it may be God is leading them. But I can ensure that they commit it unto God and Trust Him to bring it to pass. I have had some wierd, wacky and wonderful experiences with following God in ways I never dreamed of.

But I have also felt the terror of falling into the Hands of a Living God. He is Holy and he is just.

Thank God He loves me because of Jesus, because if it were because of me, I would send me to Hell.

Knowing Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why, will always be a personal issue.

If even Jesus, as Son of God, and Son of Man, Still asked the Father in the garden of Gethsemane, IF IT BE POSSIBLE, that this cup pass him by....,

Then I can expect no less for myself as I squirm if I do know, or seek when I don't know, what God is telling me.

Either way, I have to say in the End, His Will be Done.

I know, as a Joy, the feelings of being with God in an adventure overseas, or in my own backyard. Both, if God is in them, are fun.  But like some songs sing, If God isn't there, I don't want to be either.

I know how passion can send me on and I have been overseas, but I know also how God must be the one who leads or we are being deceived.

It is God who is working, we just get to participate.

If in fact God speaks to you in any circumstance, you have to not let your heart get hardened by denying he spoke, but are better off in fact to say, yes, God said Go, and I said No.

That too is best. It is cold, but it is better than not knowing or denying God speaks.

Each and every Christian in the World no matter who they are or how they believe or even if the the word is nominal in applying to them, hears God speaks. Romans reminds us of that.

What they do about it, is the personal application.

Got Questions: Sell everything and give to the poor?

 Sell everything and give to the poor?

Does God ever literally call someone to sell everything they own and give the money to the poor (Mark 10:21)? How many of us would be truly willing to give up EVERYTHING and follow Christ?
_________________


The Scriptures are just a Book. They are good ideas, great morals, good stories and better life lessons. Unless they are read in context and in the sames way they are written, inspirational, they mean nothing but debate and interpretation.


You really can interpret them as you see fit, and draw from or reject conclusions based on your own experience and application.

But,

If You claim to be led by the Spirit of God, It is to that same Spirit you must look at the Scriptures as the Word of God to you personal, real, and living. Or as living as the Spirit of God makes them alive to you, in you, and through you.

If not, they are just words.

So for some, "Sell all" is a good idea to toss out at the Rich young ruler as a good moral lesson and so it is. It does have an application read just as it is, the way it is, the way it was written.

A Moral Story, an likely a true account of what happened.

But to those whose God is personal, real, a living God, then it might be a Command from Him, if in fact, at the moment the person reading it, they accept or reject it as coming from God, to them, personally.

Only God can know when and how and apply that to a person individually and respective to time, application, person and circumstance.

Have I seen some "sell all" and do the same? Yes.
Have I seen some " hear and walk away though Jesus greatly love them? Yes.

Have I "Sold all?" Yes.
Have I at least once rejected the idea and Not follow thru? Of course, and I do not question I was wrong, but I chose to suffer consequence rather than commitment.

In each persons life, they will read this at different times and draw different conclusions at different moments being Led by God either obviously, as the Spirit of God can do, or covertly, as the 'moral story, but in all cases, it is God who works in the Scripture and by the Word of God to do and to accomplish His Will whether we know it or not.

Michael James Stone

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