Ed Stafford - Walking the Amazon

Ed Stafford - Walking the Amazon

Date: 06/12/2011 
Someone said it couldn’t be done so, Ed Stafford decided to do it. After leaving the military to be a stock broker, the former British Army Captain became bored with the office life in the financial world.

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Hello friends. This is Doug Batchelor. How about an amazing fact? Someone said it couldn’t be done so, Ed Stafford decided to do it. After leaving the military to be a stock broker, the former British Army Captain became bored with the office life in the financial world. So when someone told him that no one had ever walked the length of the Amazon, he took it on as a personal challenge. Thus began a two and a half year journey which meant contending with man eating fish, giant anaconda snakes, disease and territorial natives that threatened his life.

Ed began the 860 day odyssey with a friend, Luke Collier. Leaving the Pacific Ocean in southern Peru on April 2, 2008, within three months his friend had quit and Stafford continued on his own. Along the way he recruited Sanchez Rivera a 31 year old Peruvian forestry worker. At least six other expeditions have followed the course of the world’s longest river, but all those followed the Amazon using boats. Stafford said he was spurred to walk because others told him it was impossible. Along the way the 34 year old Stafford and Rivera dodged 18 foot long Cayman crocodiles, and endured mosquitoes, disease and food shortages. They lived off of Paraná fish they caught with rice and beans and some provisions bought from villages along the river.

Day after relentless day, the two, trudged, swam, climbed, often having to hack their path one step at a time with a machete. Just 53 miles short of his destination, Stafford collapsed at the side of the road exhausted. However, after a few hours of rest he was back to his feet, pressing on. The next day August 9th, 2010, an exuberant Stafford ran into the Atlantic Ocean at Chrisom beach in northern Brazil becoming the first person to walk the entire 4,200 mile length of the Amazon River from the Pacific to the Atlantic.

Sometimes the Christian life might seem a little difficult like an endless journey, but with Jesus and faith all things are possible. Stay with us friends we’re going to bring you more as this edition of “Amazing Facts” brings you this edition of, “Bible Answers Live”.

[PROGRAM INTRODUCTION]

Pastor Doug: Welcome friends to “Bible Answers Live”. And in case there is some joining us for the first time, this is a live international interactive Bible study. And for the next hour or so we are going to be taking Bible questions live with any question you have about the word of God and the Christian walk, we would invite you to give us a call. The lines are open right now and that phone number one more time is 1-800-463-7297 if you want to get your call in on tonight’s program excellent opportunity if you give us a call now. 1-800-463-7297 the acronym is 1-800-GOD-SAYS. That will bring you into our studio keep pencils handy because we also give out another phone number that will direct you to our free resources where we have operators standing by. And my name is Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Ross: My nameis Jean Ross, good evening listening friends. And Pastor Doug before we get to the calls let’s start with prayer. Dear father, once again we thank you that we have this opportunity to study Your word together and we ask for You to be with us. We recognize that the Bible is a book that You inspired and in order for us to correctly understand it we need that Spirit that inspired the Bible in the beginning to guide our minds. So we ask for Your presence to be with us here in the studio be with those who are listening wherever they might be, and we ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Pastor Doug: Amen.

Pastor Ross: Pastor Doug you opened the program by talking about an incredible journey. Just imagine all of the hardships that that Englishman Stafford, yes, went through. The Amazon, you’ve got the bugs, the snakes, crocodiles, all kinds of things in areas walking alongside the Amazon River.

Pastor Doug: Yeah, if anyone—well everyone did tell him—you’re going to die because of how thick is that jungle because many planes have gone down where they survived the crash, but they didn’t survive the jungle. And he was basically dissecting the rainforest from ocean to ocean. And even the Conquistadors will testify that a lot of them didn’t make that journey, so it was an epic odyssey. And incredible just the tenacity it required to take two years of your life and to trudge on, you know, I’ve gone through the brush in different parts of the country before and when you’re just you know hacking away inch by inch through the jungle or through the brush it can just be very discouraging through it all. All day long and just sometimes just make minimal progress each day. Well that’s why it took 860 days, but that’s something like the Christian life. Sometimes it is just one step at a time. And he said the happiest day of his life is when he broke out there onto the beach in the Atlantic and went and jumped into the water. He said by far that was the most exuberant, joyful moment. And I think about what every believer will feel when our pilgrimage here is over. You know the Christian life is compared to a journey something like the children of Israel taking that epic journey 40 years from Egypt to the Promised Land, but it was a joy when they reached their destination.

And in case you didn’t catch it friends, I just quoted from Lewis in Lewis and Clark who when he spotted the Pacific after a year and a half or two years going to reach the Pacific Ocean his words, were, “Oh the joy.” Of reaching that destination and what will Christians feel when they arrive in the kingdom? So, you have to follow Jesus one day at a time.

Pastor Ross: That’s interesting you look in the Bible God is often calling people on a journey! You look at Abraham, for an example, he got called to leave his father’s house and to head off onto a journey.

You’ve got the children of Israel, God called out of Egypt, again, on a journey. And you have the Apostle Paul called by God to set out on a missionary journey to take the gospel to the then known world. And God calls each of us on the spiritual journey and it’s got trials and obstacles, but we need to press through.

We have a book that will encourage all of our listeners, anyone who would be interested in this it talks about how we successfully achieve our goal on this Christian journey. The book is entitled, “Three Steps to Heaven”. “Three Steps to Heaven” if you’ll call our resource line 1-800-835-6747 ask for the book, “Three Steps to Heaven” we’ll be happy to send that out to you. You’ll find that encouraging as you read it, and you realize yes indeed heaven is in reaching distance for everyone. If you’ll but follow Christ and He’ll give us the strength to press on.

Pastor Doug: By the way, you said press on and that made me think of that verse Philippians 3: 13 and 14, “Brethren I do not count myself too apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things that are behind and reaching forth for those things that are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God and Christ Jesus one day at a time.”

Pastor Ross: Alright, well let’s go to the phone lines, we’ve got Martin who is listening in Brooklyn, New York, listening on WMCA. Martin, you’re on the air.

Martin: Well hello there.

Pastor Doug: Good evening and your question.

Martin: Yes, well I wanted to ask, why is it that women cannot preach in churches?

Pastor Doug: Well, Martin there’s a lot of difference in women preaching and a lot of women do preach. Women, preaching are a little bit different issue Biblically and I want to make this delineation clear and then the subject of women being ordained as Pastors or Elders. You do have women who spoke in church you have Anna who prophesied over Jesus when He was born. You’ve got Deborah who was a judge of Israel and a prophetess and a number of others.

So when you’re talking about women getting up in front of the church, you know if the Pastor invites them to share. Well, they can teach, they can preach, and so are you talking about those verses in the Bible that say suffer not a woman to teach?

Martin: Yes.

Pastor Doug: I think that Paul was typically referring to women who were correcting their husbands and men and women did not sit together in the services back then, and sometimes the women were correcting their husbands and the men felt it was disrespectful because the husband should be the spiritual leader. And Paul said, ask your husband’s at home and…

Pastor Ross: You’re probably referring to Timothy chapter 2: verse 12 where we find Paul writing to Timothy and he says, “But, I suffer not a woman to neither teach nor usurp authority over men, but to be in silence.”

Pastor Doug: Yeah, so I don’t think this is a mandate that a woman can never speak in church because you’ve got too many other examples of women who are called as prophets or when they did speak and so here I think you have something that’s really following the tradition of what people were doing back in the time of Paul. You’ve got Aquila and Priscilla and that’s a husband and wife team, Apollo’s who became an evangelist. You know we have a website on this and a book. We’ll be happy to share with you and it talks about the distinction of women maybe sharing in church as opposed to women being ordained as Pastors. Priests, Prophets or rather, Elders. And it is called, “Women in Ministry” if you’d like to have a free copy of that Martin we will send it to you.

Martin: And what is the number to call?

Pastor Ross: Let me give that number Martin, it’s 1-800-835-6747 again that number is 1-800-835-6747 and ask for the book, “Women in Ministry” and we’ll be happy to send that out to you. Alright we have Shaun, who is listening from New York. Shaun you’re on the air.

Shaun: Yes I’ve noticed there is a teaching going around saying there—that the Apostle Paul had a different commissioning than the other Apostles that somehow when he was on the road to Damascus he received what is called the Gospel of Grace. Whereas the other Disciples as it is described and according to this teaching they received the Gospel of the Kingdom the same of which Jesus taught while He was on the earth. And there’s this teaching that somehow God began a new dispensation with Paul called the present dispensation the Grace of God. And that all the thirteen letters that he wrote are to be divided from the rest of the Scriptures and that they are God’s words to us and about us living today. I don’t know if you are familiar with it?

Pastor Doug: Well, I haven’t heard it described that way, but I have had people who used the letters of Paul that way to try and draw a line of division from the teachings of Jesus and they say well Jesus was also including the Jews because the dispensation of the Jews wasn’t over so if they find something Jesus says they don’t like, they say well that was under a different dispensation.

Shaun: Right they’re explaining the books of Genesis through Acts, speaks to a different group of people namely Israel and the Nation of Israel only and a different time and under the law for a different purpose. And it was for an earthly kingdom and that the books of Hebrew through Revelation is also only speaking again to the Nation of Israel, but their program has been put on hold for what they call this present dispensation of grace taught by Paul and that Paul is our Apostle and they even tried to prove, this by saying that in Rome he magnified his office. That it was us and he was strictly an Apostle to the Gentiles. And that we’re not to follow the other.

Pastor Doug: Brother the first Apostle to the gentiles was Peter. And you can read that in Acts chapter 10 and it is Paul who said in Ephesians 4:5, “There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism. There are not two different baptisms. Where you’re baptized into Paul and then you’re baptized into Peter.

Shaun: Right they said it is two gospels and they explained it two different doctrines and that there was the doctrine that Peter and James and John and the others were teaching.

Pastor Doug: Right we’re acquainted with that now do you want us to answer it?

Shaun: I’m just wondering where that comes from. Who originated that?

Pastor Doug: Well I think that’s actually something that’s evolved, but it’s come from people who are—they’re resistant to any teaching that talks about obedience to the Ten Commandments.

Pastor Ross: Well you know you look at Paul. Paul wrote Timothy first and second Timothy, Paul did not in any way see his writings as being superior or standing apart from the rest of the sacred writing. For Paul himself said all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God. It is profitable for a doctrine approved for correction and instruction in righteousness. So there is Paul’s attitude towards Scripture. He’s talking about the Old Testament he’s talking about the Scripture of the writings of the other Apostles. There is no question in his mind from this verse and other passages that Paul felt as though the writings of the other Apostles were also authoritative for the church.

Pastor Doug: Yeah, and Paul didn’t feel that there was to be a distinction that his writings were only to address Gentiles and James and John and the others their writings were to address just Jews because the first real missionary to the Jews was Peter. When he was sent to Cornelius and several of the other Apostles scattered before Paul’s conversion. So you know that’s a strange teaching. I’ve heard it before that you are to somehow to divide—basically it says that God has one form of Gospel for the Jews and one form of Gospel for Gentiles. But, the Bible says that God has made of one blood all people. And before Christ the Jewish people were saved by faith looking forward to the Messiah everybody now is saved in faith looking back. God doesn’t have one standard of forgiveness and righteous for one group of people and another forgiveness and righteousness for another group of people based on their race. The Lord is not a racist.

Pastor Ross: You know it is also interesting if you look at what Paul said about himself with reference to his Apostleship in the first Corinthians 59 Paul says, “For I am the least of the Apostles.” He said, “I’m not even meek to be called an Apostle because I persecuted the church of God.” So he didn’t feel as though his revelation was superior to that of that of the other Apostles.

Pastor Doug: Now I’m thinking of a book that we could send Shaun there’s two things one is the book “Spiritual Israel” talks about what is the distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles. That is often misunderstood. And then we’ve got that book, “Does God’s Grace Blot out His Law?” typically people say well the law that’s all under the dispensation of the pre Acts people, but from Paul on that is the Gospel of grace. So if you take the book you can read them either one both on line at the Amazing Facts website as well. But, if you would like to order a hard copy we’ll send you one, “Does God’s Grace Blot out the Law?” or “Spiritual Israel”.

Pastor Ross: that number is 1-800-835-6747 and you can ask for the book, “Spiritual Israel” or “Does God’s Grace Blot out the Law?” Or both ask for both and we’ll be happy to send that to you 1-800-835-6747. Thanks for your question Shaun we’ve got Freddy listening in Brooklyn, New York. Freddy, welcome to the program.

Freddy: Good night.

Pastor Doug: Good evening.

Freddy: My question is if a person is baptized as a baby, and after they are grown up as an adult, must they be baptized again?

Pastor Doug: Well I would say yes. And here’s the reason for that. When a person is dedicated as a baby, sometimes a person is christened or baptized and they call it baptism, but Biblically babies really can’t be baptized because by definition, baptism involves a repentance of sin. The Bible says if you believe with all of your heart you can be baptized. Jesus said in Mathew 28: “Go therefore teach all Nations, baptizing them.” A little infant cannot be taught the principles of the Gospel so someone has to be old enough and whether that person is from 12 or 13 on up or whatever they need to be old enough to understand the difference between sin and salvation. And children can understand it, it needs to be put on simpler terms, but you know everyone likes to discuss what that age is. So if a person is baptized as a baby they’re really dedicated, Jesus was dedicated as a baby by His parents, but He wasn’t baptized until he was thirty. So if a person learns the Gospel having been dedicated by their parents, as a child is not the same as baptism even if they called it baptism. Then as an adult they need to make a decision to nary the Lord to surrender their life to the Lord. No one can make that decision for them. So does that make sense Freddy?

Freddy: Yes it does.

Pastor Doug: And we have a book we’d be happy to send you.

Pastor Ross: It is simply entitled, “Baptism is it Really Necessary?” and it helps you deal with this situation imparticular. Call 1-800-835-6747 and the book again is “Baptism is it Really Necessary?” and we’ll be happy to send that out to you Freddy. Also we do have an Amazing Facts study guide that you can ask for when you call talking about baptism,

Pastor Doug: Is it Power and Purity?

Pastor Ross: Power and Purity, which is dealing with the subject of baptism you can also have that Amazing Facts study guide called “Power and Purity” talking about baptism. Let’s see our next caller is Minnie and she’s listening in Vancouver, Washington. Minnie welcome to the program.

Minnie: Good evening thank you so much for having me. My question is in Psalms 119: verse 2 and it says, “His testimony.” I want to know who they are referring to.

Pastor Doug: Most of Psalms 119 is talking about the law of God. And blessed are those who keep His testimonies and those who seek Him with a whole heart. Well the end of verse one said, “Blessed are the undefiled that walked in the law of the Lord.” So the subject of this is the person who is the subject—which is the Lord. Blessed are those that keep His testimonies that seek Him with a whole heart.

Minnie: Okay.

Pastor Doug: So it’s a matter of fact the most beautiful comments on the word of God, the law of God, the testimonies of God, the statutes of God, are all found in this Psalm it’s the longest chapter in the Bible Psalm 119. But, it is absolutely spectacular in talking about the potency, the purity, the power of God’s word His law.

Minnie: Okay, okay. I have an understanding now.

Pastor Doug: Well, good, very good. I appreciate your question and we do have a study guide we’d be happy to send to you that deals with trusting the word of God and it’s the first in a series of Amazing Facts study guides.

Pastor Ross: The study guide is entitled, “Is There Anything Left that You Can Trust?” To receive this study guide call our resource line that’s 1-800-835- 6747 again the number is 1-800-835-6747. You can ask for the study guide, “Anything Left that You Can Trust?” We also have some phone lines open and if you have a Bible question, we’d love to hear from you and the number to call there right into our studio is 800-463-7287 again that’s 800-GOD-SAYS so that’s 463-7297 and if you’d call right now there’s a good chance that you’d be able to get your question on the air.

Let’s see our next caller is calling from New York and Amelia welcome to the program.

Amelia: Yeah, good evening.

Pastor Doug: Good evening.

Amelia: My question is Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God.” Now I—Jesus Christ while He was on earth was extremely prayerful and He was always patient. And the Bible says He has power over principalities and powers of darkness, why was it necessary you know that He should be praying and fasting with all that abundant power at His disposal?

Pastor Doug: Good question. If Jesus is God, if the word was God and Christ is the word, why would He need to pray? Would he be talking to himself? Well, we keep in mind that Jesus came into the world among other things, to be an example for us. And so Christ was 100 percent man and if we can understand this, 100 percent God that’s what is called a mystery in the Bible. How God could be incarnate is something and I can’t explain. But, when Christ lived on earth, He got tired. He got hungry as a baby He probably cried when He was hungry. And He needed cleaning and changing just like every other baby. But, so He lived as a man among men and He approached the father, even though God was within Him, He approached the father the way we would. And then Christ when He overcame temptation, He used all of the tools that are available to us, to be an example to us. He didn’t use any of His natural powers. So that’s why Jesus prayed-- is He the son of God in need of prayer? And you know He could have taken a detour around the methods that we need, but He didn’t. He approached His father the same way we approach God as an example for us.

Pastor Ross: You know it is also interesting when you look at that you mentioned John: verse 1 Jesus is referred to as the word. Our words are a manifestation of our thoughts and Jesus is to us the thoughts of God revealed. If you want to know what the father is thinking, how the father feels, look at Jesus. It is also interesting that Jesus not only reveals to us the father, but He also represents us to the father. So He is the go between from our side we look at Jesus, we see what the father’s like, but the father looks at us through Christ and sees in Christ our representative for acceptable in Jesus so He’s also very got a very special place in this connection between heaven and earth . And He is fully man, but he is also fully God. There is this mystery that’s difficult to understand, but it’s the revelation of God.

Pastor Doug: You know the closest thing I can think of is that we could send you that hopefully would be helpful Amelia is “The Trinity” because it talks a little bit about the nature of God and the incarnation of Jesus and we’ll send you a free copy of that if you’d like.

Pastor Ross: The number again is 800-835-6747 that is our resource line and if you would call the number you can ask for the book, “The Trinity” it is Biblical and we’ll be sending that out to you.

Sandy is listening in Illinois on WDQN, Sandy, welcome to the program.

Sandy: Thank you both Pastors, my question is how do you tell a dream from the Lord versus a dream from wherever and I’m referencing this and I believe it is in the Old Testament there was a true prophet and the Lord specifically told him leave, don’t eat, don’t go back, and then a false prophet came and said well I’m a prophet but God told me you’re to come back and you’re to eat and then the true prophet id and then the true prophet died and it’s like oh help please I need to understand the difference so I can discern.

Pastor Doug: Yes. Well, you know what? That is a difficult story. Astor Ross is looking up a reference I can tell you, the story it’s a prophet from Judah. That he came with a message to the Lord, to Jeroboam the king of Israel. And he pronounced a curse on the altar because Jeroboam had set up false worship in Bethel. And the king said come on home I’ll give you a reward, and the prophet said, God has told me not to eat bread in this place or drink water and matter of fact, don’t even go home the same way you came. And on his way home, someone who claimed to be a prophet says, oh yeah, yeah, come home and you’re supposed to eat at my house. And he said, oh, I can’t do it and he said yeah but God told me don’t worry about it. And you just come on and eat with me and everything will be alright.

Well, he lied and I think one message there for us is it’s easy for anybody to say, I’m a minister, I’m called of the Lord, I’m a Pastor, I’m a preacher, and I’ve got a message from God. If it contradicts the word of God to us, we’ve got to go by what the Bible says and not by what-–somebody says they’ve got extra information.

Pastor Ross: The story you just spoke about, you’ll read about in 1 Kings Chapter 13: you know something else interesting about that story Pastor Doug. God doesn’t change His mind if He asks us to do something. If He calls us to do something He’s not going to change His mind and I think that’s also the lesson to learn from that. God had sent him on and God expected him to be faithful to the mission that God had called Him to carry out.

Pastor Doug: Yes, it’s like Jonah, you know Jonah ran in the wrong direction, God said go to Nineveh. Even after his horrifying experience in the digestion of a fish, when the fish burped him out again, God said, go to Nineveh. And I mean by then I’m sure he was convinced.

Now you asked about dreams, dreams can come from the Lord obviously Joseph had dreams and Pharoah had dreams and Nebuchadnezzar all had dreams from the Lord. The devil can send dreams. Job talks about a frightening apparition in the night that the devil made his hair stand up. The devil can cause a nightmare. We’ve all had those terrifying dreams. But, the majority of dreams are not either diabolical or angelic. The majority of dreams I think it says is in—I think Ecclesiastes—a dream comes through the multitude of business. Type in multitude of business and the King James Version and that should pop up.

And so you know you do a lot of something during the day and I have a friend that you know worked in an auto parts store and at night he was always thinking about part numbers and his dreams and I used to play chess all day and I’d dream about the chessboard in my sleep. So do you have that verse?

Pastor Ross: Ecclesiastes Chapter 5: verse 3.

Pastor Doug: So hopefully that helps a little bit Sandy. And again you would enjoy the Amazing Facts Bible Study course. Just go to Amazing Facts dot org. And you can sign up there.

The music does not mean we’re leaving friends. This just our half time and we’re going to have a couple of important announcements to catch our wind and give our sponsors a chance to identify themselves. Make sure and check out Amazing Facts dot org and we’ll be back in a moment with more Bible questions.

[COMMERCIAL BREAK]

Pastor Doug: We are back. And we are live and we invite your Bible questions. And we do have oh, a couple of lines open. That number one more time is 800-GOD-SAYS 800-463-7297. And we also have a lot of answers that you can find at our website which is Amazing Facts dot org. That’s not FAX like facsimiles, it is F A C T S and so it’s Amazing Facts dot com and there’s a lot there. The dot com or dot org either one will get you there. My name is Doug Batchelor.

Pastor Ross: My name is Jean Ross. Pastor Doug I actually as I am sitting here and listening, just so you know we have our laptops open in front of us. It just so happens that here in the studio there is an internet connection and I am watching amazing facts dot TV. It’s an Amazing Facts television channel that is available 24 hours a day with just a great line up of programs dealing with Bible subjects.

Pastor Doug: Absolutely. And I know some of you might be thinking, internet television, well yeah you’ve got thousands of little internet stations you can pick from, but this is not just an internet channel, yes, you can watch it on the internet TV. It is fully dedicated to Christian television, evangelism, prophetic programming, Bible teaching, 24 hours a day. But, it is also on digital satellite high quality television. And anyone in North America and that would be Canada down into Mexico, and Central America, if you get the little satellite system from glory star, you can not only get Amazing Facts channel 24 hours a day on a normal television you’ll get a whole bouquet of other Christian channels. And if you want to know more about that you can not only go to Amazing Facts TV, but you can type in Glory Star and they’ll walk you through how you can get this system and watch Christian programming. And you know with the stuff they’ve got on TV now the general typical television, this is a great option if you want to have the spiritual benefit of the invention of television. Christian television is the way to go.

Pastor Ross: You know also, if you go the Amazing Facts TV website there is one of those little links and you click on the links and you’ll be able to see our most popular websites that are available. I am just looking at it right now. All the way from Bible Prophecy Truth to the Two Teens website this is a series that we did. You can even take a look at our Chinese Amazing Facts website. That’s correct, everything is in Chinese, and even Pastor Doug speaks Chinese on that website.

Pastor Doug: I heard it for the first time last night.

Pastor Ross: And so if you have some friends that speak Chinese and would like to study the Bible, in their own language, they can go to the Amazing Facts website or Amazing Facts dot TV website and click on links, scroll down through the various websites that we have and you’ll be able to find the Chinese Amazing Facts website there. Okay, well let’s go to the phone lines and we’ve got Robert, listening from Brownsville, New Jersey. Robert, welcome to the program.

Robert: Good evening Pastor Doug and Pastor Ross. It’s Bloomfield, New Jersey.

Pastor Ross: Oh okay, well, we’re glad you got through.

Robert: Anyway, I’m calling concerning this star of Bethlehem.

Pastor Doug: But, it’s June you’re supposed to wait until December to ask that question.

Robert: Pardon.

Pastor Doug: I said I’m just teasing, I’m sorry. I said you’re asking about the star of Bethlehem in June, we usually get that question in December?

Robert: Yeah, well I was a long time waiting so I figured you.

Pastor Doug: Well you were on hold a long time. [Laughter] Sorry go ahead.

Robert: No that’s okay, listen we’ve always been told or led to believe it was God produced the star to—excuse me as a sign to bring in the Magi’s who I mistakeningly called them, the three kings from the east or the wise men.

Pastor Doug: Right.

Robert: To you know worship Jesus, which they bring bearing gifts which the Bible says. But, I was reading something else which said that the star or the sign was from a different source because those men were kind of like magicians or astrologers. And they’re brought from the east and when they came in from the east they stopped first to see King Herod. And then they proceeded to go to Jesus, but now by doing that, they were bringing the wrath of Herod upon Jesus. Of course he didn’t carry it out on Jesus he carried it out on the innocents. But, I mean, he tried to. So what this source was saying is really it wasn’t God that produced that star it was Satan trying to kill Jesus. And what is the accuracy of this and Matthew?

Pastor Doug: Alright. Well, first of all the source of the wise men they came probably from Mesopotamia, somewhere and you remember if you read in the book of Numbers 24: 17. Balaam the prophet was a prophet from the east and there were a lot of people in the east who worshipped, the one God. Abraham came from Ur which was in Mesopotamia.

So there were still a lot of people that worshipped the one God, who lived I that country. Balaam was a prophet he came and he prophesied, he had another set of problems, but he gave some accurate prophecies. One of his prophecies said in Numbers 24: 17, “There shall come a star out of Jacob and a scepter”, meaning a king, “Who wields a scepter to rise out of Israel.” So the writings of Balaam were in Mesopotamia and these Magi were—or whatever you want to call them—were wise men who were studying these. They saw this new star that appeared and I believe it was actually a band of angels that led them who were looking for the king to Jerusalem.

Now the devil, taking this opportunity to try to destroy Christ, doesn’t mean that the sign to them was not given by God because it was actually the wise men that gave the gifts that subsidized Joseph and Mary’s survival during that first four years or so in Egypt.

Robert: Okay.

Pastor Doug: And so they came to worship Him as a King which was appropriate. I mean, angels were seen and there was a bright light connected with the angels that the Sheppard’s saw. So probably because this star was a migrating star, I mean, how else can a star really guide you to a village? It wasn’t really like a burning star or some galaxy’s burning sun, it was probably—yeah I think it was.

Robert: A UFO phenomenon?

Pastor Doug: It was a band of angels actually. Because it tells us in Revelation that the angels are like stars.

Pastor Ross: It says the star rested above the house so it had to be more than just a star way out there in the distant galaxy. It had to be an angel or something that pointed out the very house where Jesus was!

Pastor Doug: And then one more thought that I don’t think it was the devil guiding the wise men because after they worshipped Jesus, the Lord told them in a dream, not to return to Herod. So they were in communication with God, not the devil! But, that’s a good question, I never really had heard that before, but there are all kinds of theories out there. Thank you Robert and we hope to talk to you again in December we won’t keep you waiting so long.

Pastor Ross: Our next caller is Cliff. He is listening also in New Jersey from Garfield and WMCA, Cliff, welcome to the program.

Cliff: Hey how’s it going? Thank you. The Scripture with John the Baptist where his food was locust and wild honey, can you give an opinion as to a time frame when he ate it and why was he doing it? Was it a fast? And how did he go without water? Because it says that directly right? That is what it says?

Pastor Doug: Well I’m sure he drank water he lived near the Jordon River.

Cliff: Oh, okay.

Pastor Doug: So it’s not telling us that he was fasting it’s saying basically that he had a simple diet. The locust that he ate, while grasshoppers were Biblically clean, locust are very—they kind of come in swarms—they’re pretty unpredictable as far as a crop. Some years there are grasshoppers and some years there aren’t and they come and go pretty fast. There was another food and it’s called like locust bean and it’s like the carob pod. It’s actually pretty nutritious. It was more likely he was eating the locust bean it grows on a tree that has a lot of thorns on it, but the bean is edible. And he was probably eating the locust pod and wild honey. That’s basically saying he had a very austere, simple diet. It’s not saying he was on a perpetual fast.

Pastor Ross: It was also that John the Baptist was under what is called a Nasserite vow. And part of that vow was, a simple diet, they wouldn’t even eat grapes or drink the juice of grapes.

Pastor Doug: Even raisins.

Pastor Ross: They didn’t cut their hair. It was a dedication of their life in special service for God.

Pastor Doug: Yeah and so John, he wasn’t fasting without food or water. He –just which—now John did fast—because it says his disciples that they periodically fasted and so he was one of the disciples, but he ate a simple diet when he was out there in the wilderness and he drank water probably coming from a creek. Matter of fact there’s been some discussion about a cave that was recently discovered on the banks of the Jordon, in the last five years that apparently had baptistery in it and they said that it was the cave that John the Baptist lived in. This is what’s being said regarding that. So there are creeks that run down from the hills in to the Judean Jordon. River water is never clean to drink or safe it’s usually you want spring or creek water. And he probably drank from one of the creeks that ran in just like Elijah did. Yes Elijah was drinking from the creek Cherith during the famine.

So I hope that helps a little bit and he may have been eating grasshoppers, I hope not, because that always just does something to my image of John.

Pastor Ross: Okay the next caller is James. James is calling from Plymouth, James, welcome to the program.

James: Hi I am James and I am wondering why it is that all through America and even through the world now that the Christians they’re not really following—I’m a Christina and a prophet of God—so I’m really tired of people tearing down, but they’re not really following what God really wants them to do as far as believing in the gifts that I do—like the gift of prophecy, the laying on of hands, the oil, the elders of the church, being the ones that will lay their hands on you and you will come back from your sickness. Because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God the more you hear the word of God the more faith you have. Is it because the spirit of antichrist is filtering in every church now? You know if I was a vision you said not to speak denominal visions so in so doing it’s like, what I’m seeing in the churches and it’s not any particular church. They’re taking the word of God and they’re dividing it asunder. They say we’ll believe this word in the word of God, but we don’t believe this.

Pastor Doug: Right. Alright James so let me see if I can formulate that into a question because it covers sort of a plethora of different issues. It seems that there is a denying of the full word of God. The gifts of the Spirit, and in 1 Corinthians 14 it says, “Follow after charity and of love and desire of spiritual gifts.” And so I believe in all the gift s of the Spirit that are mentioned in the Bible and I believe there’s probably several gifts that are mentioned that are maybe not even mentioned in the Bible. You know I think music can be a Spiritual gift. But, it’s not specifically called that in the New Testament. So you know you’re right, there’s a lot of apostasy in the church. There’s a lot of denial of the gifts of the Spirit. And the power of God and it is a sign of the times.

Pastor Ross: Although we read about in the Bible the gifts of the spirit and indeed God gives the gifts to build up the church. What we also need to recognize—and I believe there is also kind of a lack of this in the churches—and that is the fruit of the Spirit. You need to have love, and joy, and peace, and patience, longsuffering, gentleness, meekness and self-control. Those are the characteristics of Christ. They have the characteristics of His believers. And really those that have the fruit of the Spirit, they are best positioned to receive the gifts of the Spirit. How can God give the gifts of the Spirit to somebody who does not have the fruit of the Spirit?

Pastor Doug: That’s right and they have people who people who put a lot of emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit and they forget the fruit. I don’t know if that helps a little—oh by the way—we do have a book that talks a little bit about the gifts of the Spirit as a matter of fact it speaks very specifically about the gift of tongues. And it is in the context of the other gifts. We’ll be happy to send you a free copy of that it’s called, “Understanding Tongues”. A lot of people have denied that gift and what it means and some misunderstand what it means.

Pastor Ross: The number to call is 800-835-6747 and you can ask for the book, “Understanding Tongues” and we’ll be happy to send it to you. Again for the book again is 800-835-6747. We have Ella who is listening Toronto, Canada, Ella, welcome to the program.

Ella: Hello.

Pastor Doug: Hi Ella you’re on the air and your question?

Ella: Hi I hear you guys are experts to ask Bible questions.

Pastor Doug: Well I don’t know if we’d say we’re experts, but we’ll try and help you.

Ella: I really just want to find out about something I’ve been reading in the Bible about marriage and divorce. Okay, I have a friend who came here he had a relationship before in marriage. He came here and he met her and married and she is having children for him and she got involved and got and was pregnant. In five months he divorced his wife and married to her. Do you think that is adultery?

Pastor Doug: Yeah by the Bible definition if she is with a man who is still married it is adultery right from the outset. And of course the baby just compounds the problem. It makes it very difficult for that child growing up to be—to have that kind of you know—baggage of mother and father. But, it’s very clear that if someone is married, and they don’t have Biblical grounds for divorce and they get with someone else and they get pregnant that’s called adultery.

Ella: Okay and then there’s another one who married just to be living in the country and was living with the person, but that was going to allow the person to get into the country. Isn’t that still a lie?

Pastor Doug: Yeah, that would be abusing the purpose of the immigration laws because the immigration laws show more leniency and tolerance if two people are in love sometimes it happened where U.S. Army people were stationed overseas. They’d get married. They’d start family, then they’d say, but you can’t bring your wife back. And so they made allowances for marriage to improve immigration. But, if somebody is just getting married for immigration benefit, that’s just dishonest. They’re being dishonest with their own soul and they’re being dishonest with the government. And they’re exploiting a law that’s made to accommodate real love and you know what—I’ve got a theory that they say if you marry for money—you’ll earn every penny. Meaning you’re not going to find happiness. I think if people marry for the purpose of immigration benefits, they’re probably going to be paying for it another way. It’s certainly not God’s will. And anyway Ella I hope that helps a little bit. Don’t specifically have a book on that, but we do have a lesson that talks about marriage. And it’s, “Keys to a Happy Marriage”. It talks about some of those principles.

Pastor Ross: And the number to call is 800-835-6747 that is our resource lien and you can ask for the Amazing facts study guide, “Keys for a Happy Marriage” and we’ll be happy to send that out. We have Sally who is listening on the internet from L.A... Sally, welcome to the program.

Sally: Hello.

Pastor Doug: Good evening.

Sally: Good evening Doug and Pastor Ross.

Pastor Doug: And your question?

Sally: My question today is about 1 Corinthians 10:13. “No temptation is overtaking you except that which is common to men. But, God is faithful to not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape that you may be able to bear it.” A lot of people have come to me or there is one Jewish friend that I work with and she came to me and she’s got a lot of things going on in her life. And she said a certain phrase to me by saying, “Oh, I thought God won’t put you through anything that you can’t handle.” And I don’t know if this was the verse, which she was referring to. And you know pretty much I’ve come to question cases, would God you put you through anything you can’t handle and would this verse, basically support that?

Pastor Doug: Well, first let’s establish that God doesn’t tempt anybody. And I think that is in the book of James where it says, “God tempts no man.” The devil brings temptation. Sometimes God will allow a person to go through a test. But, that’s different from temptation.

Secondly, God measures how much we go through. Even when the devil came to bring Job’s trials, God put restraints on how much the devil could do to Job. Meaning that God will not allow us to be going through more than He is able to sustain us to bear. And so God is never going to allow the devil to come into one of His believers and crush their faith beyond what they’re capable of. So He’ll always give them faith. He’ll always give them the necessary grace to endure whichever temptation. Paul had some physical problem. He prayed three times and God said, Paul, my grace is sufficient. And so other words, I’ll be able to sustain you through that trial.

Pastor Ross: You know we do have a book Pastor Doug and Sally on the subject of this called, “Tips for Resisting temptation” it talks about how we can tap into God’s power. And no temptation can overcome us, if we trust in God to work through it.

Pastor Doug: Yeah and so we’ll send you a free copy of that. It also talks about some of the dynamics and principles of temptation and what’s happening there. And that very verse is used in the book.

Pastor Ross: The number is 800-835-6747 and if you’d give us a call at that number just ask for the book, “Tips for Resisting Temptation” the number again is 800-835-6747. We have Ruth who is listening from Michigan, Ruth, welcome to the program.

Ruth: Hi. This is my first time hearing your program. And God lead me to this channel and to be able to talk to you, so I’m feeling very blessed.

Pastor Doug: Well, praise the Lord. We’ve just got a couple of minutes, so a quick question?

Ruth: My quick question is both of my parents passed away. I have a grandson that was two and a half and now he’s three and a half. And every time he comes to my house, he wants to know where grandma and papa are.

Pastor Doug: Yeah.

Ruth: I try to explain it and I told him now that papa’s up in heaven with Jesus. And now that he’s getting older he says, “Let’s go.”

[Laughter]

So I’m not quite sure Biblically how to approach that with him? I don’t want to do it any other way than what God or Jesus would want me to say to him.

Pastor Doug: Well, let’s see if we can help you real quick.

Ruth: Okay.

Pastor Ross: Well, you know when I think about how we approach that subject probably a good place to start would be with Jesus. How would Jesus approach this subject of death? And he knew that this would be something that would be with humanity until the second coming. Jesus often referred to death as a sleep. And we find that in various other parts of Scripture that when a person is sleeping they’re at rest. Those who have their faith in Christ, they’re at rest the very next conscious thought they have is the glorious second coming of Jesus Christ. So it’s not as though the dead are burning in hell or someone might be watching down, but then rest. They rest in Jesus just waiting for the resurrection.

Pastor Doug: Yeah their next conscious thought is of course of Christ and that’s why we’ve got that verse, “Absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.” And now we have a website and now you may be driving in your car Ruth, but by the way, I’ll be in Michigan in two weeks. I’m speaking at a Christian camp you were there with me, Pastor Ross, because I forget what town that is Cedar Lake?

Pastor Ross: That’s right, Cedar Lake, Michigan. That’s a little town.

Pastor Doug: Yeah, they had a big auditorium, little town. And I’ll be at the Michigan Camp Meeting if any of you are there in a couple of weeks and I don’t know how far that is from Beaverville, Michigan, but we’d love to see you there. We do have a website and it’s called Death Truth dot com. It’s got the Biblical teachings on what happens when a person dies.

And you know just how do you explain this to children? Just that Grandma and Grandpa are sleeping peacefully and when they’re going to wake up the next thing that they’re going to see is the presence of Jesus. You know you don’t need to worry about them.

Pastor Ross: you know Ruth you’d probably appreciate the Amazing Facts study guide. It deals with the subject and we also have a study guide because it is an important question. The study guide is entitled, “Are the dead really Dead?” And if you’ll call our resource line which is 800-835-6747. Again the number is 800-835-6747 just ask for that study guide, “Are the Dead Really Dead” or go over to the Amazing Facts website and you can go to the Death Truth dot com website with a number of Scriptures talking about the subject.

Pastor Doug: Yeah and I understand that from our operators someone named Joe had called in and the call was holding for awhile and the call was dropped and we apologize. He had a question on how often to pray for repentance and strength. And you know the Bible says pray without ceasing. Prayer is really an attitude of the mind. Joe, we’ve got a book we’ll send you. If you call the resource line and it’s called, “Teach Us to Pray” I think you’ll find that very interesting. Do we have time for another call we’ve got about five minutes left?

Pastor Ross: We’ve got Tracy Tracy is calling from Detroit, Tracy welcome to the program.

Tracy: Hi, thank you. My question is about forgiveness. I read in 1 Kings: no—1 Samuel about Saul and how he committed sins against God and apparently God took his spirit from him. And if I had to go to court—let’s say court before the Lord tomorrow? And I know I committed one sin and they said, I’m guilty of that one, but do I have to add in the other charge as well, right?

Pastor Doug: Well, if you’ve got outstanding charges in court, I remember when I was a hippy going around America, I got a ticket for hitchhiking one time and I didn’t pay it. And then I got picked up on some other minor offense and they said you’ve got an outstanding ticket. You didn’t show up in court and so they threw me in jail. So it starts to add up so you want to keep short accounts with the Lord and make sure you repented of and turned from and your sins are then washed by the blood of the Lamb.

Tracy: Well I do it at work like I make sure that I wrap everything up at one time.

Pastor Doug: Oh, absolutely. You come to the Lord and you confess to being a sinner all in one event. Anybody can come as they are. Now it’s good to be specific with the Lord. When you repent you might even take out a piece of paper. And say Lord, now show me my sins and not because God does want you to grovel, but the more thorough your repentance, the more exuberant your new experience will be. The more Spirit filled you will feel. And so if you make a list and say well I can’t remember every lie I told, but I’ve been a liar, forgive me for my lying. Or if you have ever stolen anything, say Lord you know I took that twenty-five cents from my sister and I can’t remember everything, but if you’ll forgive me for stealing. Or for impure thoughts or for gossip, whatever it is. And go through just use the Ten Commandments as a template. And in one experience on your knees you can have all of your life’s sins forgiven. As you come to Christ in genuine repentance you know you don’t have to over a course of years memorize everything you’ve ever done wrong. And that book we started out with would be perfect for Tracy because it’s dealing with, “Three Steps to Heaven” and it talks about how to have that forgiveness.

Pastor Ross: The number to call Tracy is 800-835-6747 and asks for the book, “Three Steps to Heaven”. Pastor Doug let’s see if we can get one more quick caller in before the end of the program, Larry is listening in from Louisiana , Larry, welcome to the program. We have about a minute.

Larry: Good and I’m talking about the covenant in the time of Moses now fast forward to Jesus when He made the New Covenant.

Pastor Doug: Yeah well the New Covenant begins when Christ is dying and He says, “It is finished.” And when the Temple curtain ripped then it really was no longer the blood of the Lamb. It is now the blood of Jesus. Of course the blood of the Lamb has never really cleansed anybody, but it was the symbol. But, now instead of the symbol, you’ve got the substance.

So we’re now living in the time of the New Covenant. So we look in faith to the sacrifice of Christ.

Pastor Ross: You know, He’s still centered in the New Covenant, He’s still centered upon the Ark of the Covenant because of course it’s in which the law of God. The New Covenant is God by His grace writing His laws the principle of love on our heart.

Pastor Doug: Yeah, that is the New Covenant.

Pastor Ross: And living in harmony with those principles.

Pastor Doug: It says after those days a New Covenant I will make with Israel, I will write my law on their hearts. It’s the New Covenant the law of God in your heart doesn’t change. It’s the source of power now. It really is the heart instead of external.

Listening friends, just before you change that channel or step out of your car, make a mental note please. Amazing Facts dot org. Amazing Facts dot org. We’d love to hear from you. We’re all faith supported 100 percent and we’d love to have you give us a line. Tell us that this program has been a blessing. God bless until next week. We’ll see you then.

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