NEW EMAIL PROGRAM NOT YET READY
This newsletter is coming to you via the same old email system. I haven't been able to get the new one to work. No loss though, it was free. I'll try another free one before I cave in to buying one. Please be patient.
TWO MILLION VISITORS ON CARM
Today CARM finally made the 2,000,000 mark with visitors to the home page. It took about 5 1/2 years to get the first million and about a year and a half to do the second million. Hopefully, the third million will take under a year. CARM is averaging around 17,000 visitors a week during the slow summer months. And to think, I remember when it got 72 visits on one day!
I TALKED TO ONE OF THE TWO WITNESSES OF REVELATION
That's right, the other night on an internet discussion forum I had a lengthy text chat with someone who claimed to be one of the two witnesses of the book of Revelation. For those of you who aren't familiar with the two witnesses, they are found in Rev. 11. They are future prophets who will be sent by God to speak His word and perform miracles. They prophecy for 1260 days (42 months, or 3 1/2 years) during the Tribulation period and are given authority to shut up the heavens and kill people with fire. There are different interpretations on who they may be, but a common one is that they are Moses and Elijah since Rev. 11 mentions the witnesses inflicting similar judgments as Moses and Elijah did in the Old Testament.
Speaking to this gentleman, a Mr. Hoffstee, who claimed to be one of the two witnesses was not only interesting, but sad. Unfortunately, he and his brother (yes, he is supposed to be the other witness) are gaining a following. Believe it or not, there are actually people who believe that these two wackos are the two witnesses of Rev. 11. Now, just in case you might actually wonder if it isn't possible that they are (hypothetically, of course) the two witnesses of Rev. 11, all you need to do is read the text dialogue I had with this guy. It is located at http://www.carm.org/dialogues/hoffstee.htm. I must warn you though. There is foul language in his dialogue -- which I bleeped with ****'s. If you read it, you'll also note that he denies that Jesus is God in flesh. Instead, he teaches that Jesus had the Father dwelling in Him and that Jesus was not naturally divine. His error is a combination of Arianism (only the Father is God and Jesus is created) and patropassionism (the Father indwelt the Son and suffered on the cross). But what is really amazing is that he and his followers, whom I've also encountered on the Internet, are full of arrogance, pride, condemnation, and foul language. Yet, they claim to be messengers of God.
This whole thing would be nothing more than "another person who claims to speak directly for God," except with this one, two things are worth mentioning. First, he and his brother are gaining a following -- and their followers are like them in their crudeness and hatred. And second, I can't help but wonder if there is not some movement in the demonic realm lately that has unleashed so many more false teachers and arrogant attitudes among those who are not saved. I say this because I am becoming more and more aware of people who are without compassion and love and yet claim to be Christians. They are dead inside but claim to be representatives of the living God. As Romans 1:18-32 tells us, God gives such people over to the depravity of their hearts and minds. So, it is as though a great deception is moving upon people since more and more people are exalting themselves. There are obvious false teachers in the world, but I am meeting many more people who claim to be "in the truth" and who have a great confidence that they possess the truth and that all others are false -- yet they are full of hatred and false doctrines...interesting.
So, with that said, please keep me in prayer as I delve further and further into their heresies and tackle more and more of them, confronting their errors, exposing their errors, and preaching and teaching about the TRUE Jesus.
SHORT BIBLE LESSON - HUMILITY
Are you humble? I have a friend who jokingly says, "I'm proud of my humility." The funny thing is that he actually is one of the more humble men I know. He and I both realize that humility is no joke. It is a hard thing to master. If I say I am humble, then am I humble? If I think I'm humble, am I? Or what if I say, "In my humble opinion, I'm not very humble," then what do I do?
What is humility? Biblically there are several facets to humility, but I want to focus on that aspect that deals with our relation to God. Therefore, humility is the right understanding of who you are before God. Notice, I did not say it means that you have to hate yourself, or call yourself names, or say you aren't worth anything, etc. Humility is that quality of a Christian that demonstrates a right relationship and position before God. This demonstration is manifested in attitude, words, and deeds. John the Baptist was humble: "And he was preaching, and saying, "After me One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals," (Mark 1:7). He knew who he was in relation to Jesus. Remember the parable of the tax gather in Luke 18:9-14 where he said, "Lord have mercy on me a sinner"? Jesus called him humble. He knew that before God, he was a sinner.
How about you? Are you humble before your Lord -- don't answer. Instead, think of who Jesus is, His holiness, His greatness, His majesty, His love, His sacrifice, etc. And remember that Jesus humbled Himself by becoming one of us, "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross," (Phil. 2:8). Then, ask yourself if you are humble or not.
Romans 12:3 says, "For through the grace given to me I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith," (NASB). God does not want us to think too highly of ourselves. Instead, he wants us to think soundly. Whenever I start getting prideful and begin thinking that I know a lot about the Bible, or how big my website is, or whatever else I can boast about, the Lord reminds me of how utterly pompous I really am. Does God need me to carry out His will on this earth? Nope. Does He need me to answer tough questions for people? Nope. Does He need me to "get things done"? Nope, not at all. He doesn't need me at all. That is why it is really amazing that He uses me in spite of what I am inside. Now, THAT is grace! Praise God! What I need to do is listen to Him, look to the cross, love God first, love my neighbor second, and not think more highly of myself than I ought. Oh Lord, I pray that you would fill my heart with humility as I look to your Son, that you would not let me think more highly of myself than I ought, and that I would love you and honor you.
We need to be humble for many reasons, but 1 Pet. 5:5 has a good one to focus on: "God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." I don't want God to oppose me. I suspect you don't want Him to oppose you either. It is good to be humble before people and to be thought of as nice and kind and not proud, but our humility before God is where we need to start, not with people. We need to start with our relationship with Him that can only come through a proper relationship with Jesus. We need to be humble before God and dependent up Him, seeking His will. Therefore, prayer, the place of dependence upon God, is the practice of humility before God. When we let our souls bask in the presence of God, we find out who we really are: sinners, saved by grace, and kept by His love. And, as Moses' face shined because of being in the presence of God, so too will your heart reflect the humility and love of Jesus as we spend time with Him in prayer. Seek Jesus and you will find perfect Humility.
I thought I'd throw this out. I've been thinking of doing a weekly radio show here in San Diego. It would be a live call in show where people of all faiths and non-faiths could ask questions about the Bible, doctrine, cults, reasons to believe, etc. I think that each major area should have someone doing this who can be local and who can go around teaching and helping the Christians of that area. San Diego is a huge area. I'll mention this again later as I get more information on the costs, but I am broaching this issue because I am asking for feedback and possible support for the show. Just thinking out loud.
Summer is a slow time and this economy is in a crunch. However, the enemy doesn't let a slow economy stop his work. Can you help CARM out by sparing a $5 monthly deduction from your credit card? If so, please go to http://www.carm.org/goods/donations.htm. CARM needs your support. CARM is a valuable ministry. Please keep it in your prayers.
GOT A SUGGESTION FOR CARM OR THIS NEWSLETTER?
If you have suggestions for what you would like to see in this newsletter or for CARM, please return e-mail me and let me know.
VERSE OF THE WEEK.
"And He also told this parable to certain ones who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: 10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer. 11 "The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, ‘God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer. 12 ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ 13 "But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ 14 "I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled, but he who humbles himself shall be exalted," (NASB).
Matt Slick, your missionary to the Internet.