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December 01, 1997
Heaven's Hostages: Can the Saved Be Lost?
by Kim Kjaer

The preacher urged sinners to give themselves to Jesus, inviting them to the altar, where peace could be found. As they came, he praised God and asked them to repeat after him a simple prayer of about six sentences. Then he congratulated them with the words: "Now you are saved, and from this moment on, your destiny is eternally secure. Nothing you might do can ever reverse the decision you have made today; nothing can cause you to lose your eternal life." Then he pulled a key out of his pocket and handcuffed the right hand of each person to the altar. They were locked into the choice they had made and could not reverse it.

Although it is very unlikely that such a thing would ever actually happen in church, yet some have understood it to be an accurate representation of what happens when a sinner accepts Christ. In fact, a controversy has long been raging in Christianity over this very subject. Some teach that once a person has a conversion experience, his destiny is eternally secure, no matter what happens afterward. Others maintain that assurance of salvation is a byproduct of a saving relationship with Jesus, and that salvation can be lost if that relationship is broken-not by God's choice, but by the free choice of the individual himself.

November 01, 1997
A Death-Defying Walk
by Doug Batchelor

An Amazing Fact: In order to draw attention to world peace, in 1973 Patrice Tamao of the Dominican Republic allowed himself to be crucified as thousands watched on TV. Tamao had three six-inch stainless steel nails driven through his hands and feet and intended to stay on the cross for 48 hours. However, after 20 hours he requested to be taken down because he had developed an infection.

Jesus told His disciples, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23. Later the apostle Paul repeated this theme. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20.

September 01, 1997
Peril of Smooth Things
by Doug Batchelor

A Protestant missionary who worked among the natives in the South Pacific for several years decided to return to the United States for a nine-month furlough. During this time, he planned to visit several churches and raise funds for their island mission. Before leaving the South Pacific, this missionary persuaded a local chief, who had converted to Christianity, to join him on his trip. This tall chief had an imposing presence with a dark, muscular body that was offset by his broad, pearly white smile. The missionary knew that a living trophy of their mission efforts would greatly impress the church members in North America to give more generously.

Excited about an opportunity to see the famous USA, the robust king agreed to go with his pastor friend to the mainland. When they arrived, the missionary took the chief from church to church.

August 01, 1997
Obstacles to Answered Prayer
by Bill May

A mother was making coleslaw in her kitchen, and her little boy was just big enough to want everything and to be into everything. This was before the invention of modern food processors, so she was chopping the cabbage with a butcher knife on her kitchen counter. Pretty soon the little 2-year-old saw that knife with the black handle and long, shiny blade. He didn't know what it was, but he wanted it desperately. He kept asking his mother for it and reaching out, so she kept pushing him back with her elbow and moving the cabbage farther back on the deck.

Then the phone rang. It was one of the woman's dear friends, so they got into an animated conversation. In her haste to answer the phone, the mother had accidentally laid that knife down right on the edge of the counter. The little boy looked at it and said to himself, "I think I could reach that." So he got on his tip toes, reached up, and got it. Then he sat down in the middle of the floor, thinking, "I can't believe I have this thing-whatever it is." Just about that time, the boy's mother turned and saw him with that knife. She screamed and ran across the room, grabbing the knife out of his chubby hands. Then he really began to make an earnest appeal for the knife.

July 01, 1997
Fig Leaves and Pharisees
by Doug Batchelor

Perhaps you have heard the expression "face the music"? It is said to have originated in Japan. According to the story, there was once a man in the imperial orchestra who couldn’t play a note. Because he was a wealthy person with great influence, he demanded that a place be given him in the group because he wanted to "perform" before the emperor. The old conductor agreed to let him sit in the second row of the orchestra and hold a flute, even though he couldn’t read a dot of music. When a concert would begin, he’d raise his instrument, pucker his lips, and move his fingers. He went through all the motions of playing, but never made a sound. This deception continued for two years.

Then the old conductor died, and a new conductor took over. He told the orchestra that he wanted to audition each player personally. One by one they performed in his presence. Then came the phony flutist’s turn. He was frantic with worry, so he pretended to be sick. However, the doctor who was ordered to examine him declared that he was perfectly well. The new conductor insisted that the man appear and demonstrate his skill. Shamefacedly he had to confess that he was a fake, a hypocrite. He wanted the prestige of being part of the orchestra, but since he never took the time to learn his instrument he was unable to "face the music."

June 01, 1997
Conduct in the King's House
by Bill May

In A.D. 1271 the famous Venetian traveler Marco Polo joined his father and uncle for his first trip to China. Together they would visit the great Kubla Khan, king of the Mongol dynasty. Marco Polo's father, Matteo Polo, and his uncle Niccolo had already made their first trip to China a few years earlier in 1266, and now, five years later, they considered Marco old enough to join them.

Kubla Khan, grandson of the great Genghis Khan, was at this time one of the world's most powerful monarchs. He ruled all of China, India, and the East. When young Marco first entered the palace for an audience with the great Kahn, he nearly got himself killed! Not understanding Oriental customs of respect, Marco did not know that to turn your back on the king was punishable by death. All of the king's attendants would bow and then walk backward when leaving his court. So when Marco carelessly turned his back on the monarch, soldiers rushed forward to slay the reckless youth. Only because Matteo Polo quickly interceded for his son-explaining that "he was young and forgetful"-was Marco pardoned. The young man never again made that mistake, and from then on in his travels Marco made it a point to learn the ways and language of the people.

May 01, 1997
Missing Children
by Doug Batchelor

The grandmother's voice on the other end of the phone was frantic. "She was just playing outside-and now she has disappeared. ... This was two days ago and we have not heard a single word from her!"

The call was from one of my church members. She was at her wit's end, seeking prayers and advice. Her beautiful 14-year-old granddaughter had mysteriously vanished from the front yard, and there were no witnesses, note, or explanation.

As the days turned into weeks and the police became involved, all of the absolutely worst possible scenarios began to flood into our minds. Had she been abducted, abused, and murdered? Was she being held captive by some gang or sick pervert? As I spoke with the family, I could quickly see that the worst part of this nightmare was the silence and uncertainty. Not knowing what had happened to this vibrant 14-year-old was unbearable.

March 01, 1997
Whom Do You Trust?
by Gary D. Gibbs

On January 1, 1997, northern California was inundated with water. It came from everywhere. Melting snow, rising creeks, and swollen rivers conspired together to soak this land.

I shouldn't have been taken by surprise, since I was raised in Louisiana. There we know what rain and floods are all about. There were periodic floods in my hometown of Baton Rouge, but the effects were usually minor because of the superb levee system. The levees along the Mississippi River seem as large as the mighty river itself. In fact, next to a city that sits on terrain flatter than a tennis court, the levees are the highest "hills" around. They're southern Louisiana mountains, if you please. They're big because they're built to be strong.

But here in my new home we had to contend with a massive amount of mountain snow melt and small, weak levees. Within a few days our valley resembled a vast, inland sea. Over 290 square miles of land went scuba diving. The numbers aren't all in, but right now there are 16,000 homes either completely damaged or destroyed. And the price tag for this wild water? A whopping $1.6 billion.

February 01, 1997
Child Abuse
by Bill May

Tiny, fragile, four-year-old Melissa is trembling in her little bed. She is listening to her Mother and Daddy have a loud, angry quarrel in the other room. It has already continued for over an hour, and she is about to come unglued. Then her father, exploding with anger, begins to yell at the top of his voice. Panic-stricken Melissa climbs out of her little bed, tiptoes across the carpet to the door and pleads with her Father, "Daddy, please be nice to Mommy. You're scaring me."

But, enraged, her father storms into her room and bellows, "Get back into that bed and shut up."

Shocked and disoriented, Melissa replies: "No. I don't like you when you're mean. Go away." At this, something snaps inside that young father. He rips off his belt, wraps it around his fist and starts toward Melissa. And in a few moments she has become a child abuse statistic.

Doubtless you realize that child abuse has become a major epidemic in the United States. Here are the startling statistics:

January 01, 1997
Through The Tribulation
by Doug Batchelor

The Great Basin bristlecone pine can live more than 4,000 years and is believed to be one of the oldest living trees on the planet. Found on lonely mountain tops, some of these ancient evergreens have weathered thousands of years of intense freezing wind, pounding rain, scorching sun, and violent electrical storms. How do they manage to survive such harsh, adverse conditions? They send their roots deep, wrap them tenaciously around a solid rock, and hang on.

God's people will need to practice those same survival skills in the days just ahead. Jesus said that a terrible time of trouble would come upon the world just before His return and that it would be more intense than any other in the history of this world. "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved." Matthew 24:21, 22.

January 01, 1997
Seeds of Truth
by Doug Batchelor

"But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred." Mark 4:8, NKJV.

When I was growing up, I used to read and hear a variety of colorful stories about the folk hero Johnny Appleseed. Like other American pioneers, he was often the subject of exaggerated legends. However, there are several things about Johnny Appleseed that we know to be true.

To begin with, his real name was John Chapman. He lived between 1775 and 1845 and had a special love for apples. Johnny came from Philadelphia with apple seeds from the cider presses. He traveled widely throughout the Ohio River valley, planting, grafting, and pruning apple trees.

December 01, 1996
Anything But Secret
by Doug Batchelor

In the early 1500s, the Aztec empire was one of the most powerful and sophisticated civilizations in the western hemisphere. However, within one year's time this mighty nation of over two million people was conquered and enslaved by just six hundred men. How did it happen?

The Aztecs had a prophecy about Quetzalcoatl (kèt-säl´ko-ä-tal), a legendary feathered god-king who was light skinned and bearded. It predicted that he would return to Mexico from across the sea and that he would come in the clouds from the east to save them.

Well, in 1519 Spanish galleons arrived in Mexico carrying a group of conquistadors led by Hernando Cortez. When the Aztecs saw these ships with their billowing sails, they thought it looked like clouds. Cortez heard about the Aztec legend from some Indians who lived on the shore and decided to use the situation to his advantage. He astutely assumed the mantle of deity to befuddle superstitious King Montezuma II.

November 01, 1996
Jewelry  -  How Much Is Too Much?
by Doug Batchelor

I am intrigued by clever oxymorons. An oxymoron is a statement or pairing of two words that contradict each other, such as "pretty ugly." A few humorous, personal favorites are "military intelligence" and "rap music" (the rap I have heard does not even slightly resemble music). Some oxymorons are more serious, like "little sin," "innocent gossip," and "safe premarital sex."

A few years back while wandering through a Christian bookstore, I came upon a glass display case with a sign above it that read "Christian Jewelry." I thought to myself, now there's another clever oxymoron-something like "Christian rock." The Bible clearly teaches that "Christian jewelry" is a conflict in terms.

The Fruit, Not the Root!
The power of the gospel begins on the inside, transforming the heart while unseen by human eyes. But then it will continue to flow and seep into every area of the life, producing obvious external changes. Just like a plant, the seed first comes to life below the earth. But if the root is healthy, the plant will soon become visible and bear fruit above ground. Jesus said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." Matthew 7:20.

September 01, 1996
Captured By Tongues
Shortly after becoming a Christian, I was hitchhiking from Palm Springs to Los Angeles to see my mother. About halfway there I caught a ride with a kind, middle-aged Pentecostal lady who was very pleased to hear of my conversion. As we drove along, she asked, "Have you received the Holy Ghost yet?" ...
August 01, 1996
Sign of Jonah
by Doug Batchelor

"Then some of the Scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, 'Teacher, we want to see a sign from You. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Matthew 12:38-40.

What exactly is the "sign of Jonah"? That is the big question in connection with this familiar text. Unfortunately, most of the attention is usually diverted to the lesser issue of the "three days and three nights." As a result, this particular passage in Matthew has managed to cause intense confusion, frustration, and even division among laymen and scholars alike.

Three Days and Three Nights
Jesus said that the Son of Man will "be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Assuming that "in the heart of the earth" means in the tomb, if Jesus died Friday and rose Sunday, then we note that Jesus was not in the tomb three nights even though the Scripture distinctly states "three nights."

July 01, 1996
Honest to God
by Bill May

Sales were plummeting in a department store in Iowa. Worse, the sales manager had resigned in discouragement. The owner placed the assistant manager in charge and spent most of his time worrying.

One day he said to the assistant, "I wish you would move this huge inventory of raincoats. We have oodles of them. Most are not in very good condition. Some are cracked. Some soiled. A few are good, but they take up a lot of space. If we don't get rid of them, we may as well throw them in the river. Please see what you can do to move them."

"Leave it to me," his assistant replied. "I'll run an ad that will move them."

Next morning while reading the paper, the owner saw this ad from his own store: "We have some bad raincoats which we must move. Some are soiled. Some are cracked. A few are good. If we can't get rid of them, we may as well throw them in the river."

June 01, 1996
Fishing  for Men
by Doug Batchelor

When Karen and I decide that it's time to get away and pursue some much-needed R & R, we often head for the enchanting big island of Hawaii. Our friends Steve and Chris Boyl, who live near Kona, always open their beautiful home to us on such occasions.

Steve is a building contractor by trade, but his real passion is for fishing. He owns a little fishing boat and is always happy for an excuse to use it. Though I am a fish-free vegetarian, I do love the sun and water and have often joined Steve and his brother, Joe, while they pursue their favorite diversion. As a result of numerous fishing excursions on the ocean with Steve and his friends, I have come to better understand why Jesus said that if we follow Him, He will make us fishers of men. Here are a few similarities I have noticed between fishing and soul-winning.

May 01, 1996
Last Elijah Message
by Doug Batchelor

People need heroes. Great men and women we can look up to as role models and mentors.
Ministries need heroes, too. Kings and prophets from long ago who proclaimed special messages and displayed examples of courage provide excellent heroes whom we can emulate in our lives today. Amazing Facts has chosen two of the greatest prophets in the Holy Writ as our designated heroes-Elijah and John the Baptist.

The last words of the Old Testament reveal a stirring and powerful prophecy that has often been misunderstood. Take a moment to become familiar with this passage. With the Spirit's help, we intend to bring new life to these words:

April 01, 1996
Secret Weapon
I could hear the sound of his three-wheel bicycle squeak up behind me as I walked down the street. Brother Harold was a living legend among the young people in Palm Springs. He was a 70-year-old saint who knew how to "walk the walk" and "talk the talk." His day began at 4 a.m. with two hours of Bible study and prayer, followed by a few hours on the street handing out tracts. Next he was off to the hospital. As a self-appointed chaplain, he would visit the rooms and share an encouraging scripture or two with the patients-all from memory.
March 01, 1996
Who Are The 144,000?
by Doug Batchelor

Several branches of the armed services have an elite team of commandos that are carefully trained in guerrilla warfare and other special combat conditions. To qualify for one of these units, a person must pass through an incredibly grueling process of physical and mental training. Only those who demonstrate unflinching self control and perfect obedience are chosen. These special-forces commandos are assigned difficult and dangerous missions, such as rapidly attacking enemy troops or raiding behind enemy lines. Their job is to lead the way for the main troops. Because of their thorough training, a small team of commandos is often able to achieve great victories. During the Gulf War, a team of about a dozen Navy Seals were able to create a diversion on the beaches of Kuwait that fooled the entire Iraqi army into thinking that the U.S. attack was coming from the sea.

February 01, 1996
Flying By Feelings
When a crisis strikes an aircraft, pilots are trained to fly by their instruments or risk being deceived by their senses. Pilot and pastor Doug Batchelor takes this good advice and applies it to our everyday Christian experience.
January 01, 1996
Is the Bridegroom Coming?
by Doug Batchelor

If that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of." Matthew 24:48-50.

During World War II, resistance fighters in France believed the Nazi occupation was temporary. They fought long and hard and suffered much when captured. These brave men and women continued their campaign against pathetic odds, spurred on by the faith that the Allied forces would soon come and deliver France from its cruel oppressors.

But, as days turned into weeks and then months into years, some of the freedom fighters grew weary of their life of constant resistance and fighting. To them, it began to seem that the Allies would never come-that they were too busy fighting the Nazis on other fronts. It looked as though France would forever be under the control of the enemy.

December 01, 1995
Could We Miss Our King?
by Debra J. Hicks

This is the time of year when many Christians give special thought to the birth of Christ. It's a story most of us have heard more times than we can count. But as with every other story of the Bible, it never loses its significance. In fact, a careful study of Christ's first advent should help us learn how to be better prepared for His second coming.

At the time of Christ's birth, God's people were waiting with great anticipation for the world's Redeemer. His arrival was the event every generation since Adam had hoped to see. How could the religious leaders of that day have missed it?

Some have thought it was because they were ignorant of the many prophecies pointing forward to the Messiah.

November 01, 1995
Rock Music
"Michael Jackson is expected to arrive in Bucharest!" I was told upon arriving in Romania. "That's too bad," I thought. My wife and I had just come from Poland, where we had presented talks on the effects of music. I now wondered how to alert the unsuspecting youth of Romania to the dangers of rock music. They hunger for anything that symbolizes "freedom" and are totally vulnerable to the subtle-but not so innocuous-effects of this powerful American influence.

Thousands flocked to the concert to hear Michael Jackson. Not long after the program began, the media televised pictures of those whose unconscious forms had to be passed overhead-transported by the mob's uplifted hands and arms-to the waiting medical staff for resuscitation. Other fans swayed, twisted, and contorted their bodies in response to the overwhelming pulsating rhythms emanating from the rock star's highly amplified and well-orchestrated band. Still others acted dazed and almost hypnotized. The audience seemed to be caught up in a high state of exhilaration-temporarily abandoning any sense of self restraint, and clamoring for more potent doses of an unseen "drug."

October 01, 1995
Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?
Most people see nothing wrong with a little fun on Halloween. They consider the traditional festivities to be a harmless way for their children to have an evening of "fantasy and fun." But does this standard hold true for Christians? Is dressing up like ghosts, goblins, and witches really "no big deal"? Or is it glorifying and empowering Satan?
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