Biblically Accurate Film Based on Revelation Planned by Christian Production Company By Vincent Funaro , Christian Post Reporter

Royal Crown Productions, a high technology  Christian multimedia production company, plans to create the most Biblically  accurate film based on the Book of Revelation.

Throughout the course of two years, the company will use CGI technology to  reenact some of the most epic moments from when John receives the Revelation of  Jesus Christ on the Island of Patmos and pens the final and most controversial  book of the Bible.

The creation of the film will be paralleled with an internet video study of  the Book of Revelation that began in the beginning of this month.

“This is a new concept of study. It makes sense in our technology-type world  that this would happen,” said Bible Teacher David Hocking of Hope for Today  Ministries. “It’s a video program with a movie of the book of revelation, only  you get it in segments, every month for two every week of that month. This is  one of the finest ways I have ever seen to study the Bible, and what a great  book to start with.”

Hocking will be featured in the study as a speaker along with many other  Christian teachers who plan to contribute to the project within the two  years.

Some of these other teachers include Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum of Ariel  Ministries, Pastor Brian Brodersen of Back to Basics Radio, and Dr. David Reagan  of Lamb & Lion Ministries.

The company encourages Bible teachers from all churches to visit the website in order to integrate this study into their ministries  and learn more about the project.

Royal Crown is a company that specializes in Judeo-Christian education and is also working on other projects  including a 3D Bible World web portal, several epic Biblical motions pictures  and Christian computer games and study tools.

Those who are interested in Revelation and the CGI movie can visit the  company’s website and sign up for the study for just $9.95 per month.

On to the Next One … By Tullian Tchividjian , Christian Post Guest Columnist

It’s a brand new year. And for many that means a fresh  start.

This is the year. It all starts now. We resolve to turn over a new leaf–and  this time we’re serious. This time we’re really going to try, we’re not going to  quit. We promise ourselves that we’re going to quit bad habits and start good  ones. We’re going to get in shape, eat better, lust less, waste less time, be  more content, more disciplined, more intentional. We’re going to be better  husbands, wives, fathers, mothers. We’re going to pray more, serve more, plan  more, give more, read more, and memorize more Bible verses. We’re going to  finally be all that we can be. No more messing around.

Well…I say try. Seriously, try. You might make some great strides this year.  I’m hoping to. There are a lot of improvements I’m hoping to make over the next  12 months. But don’t be surprised a year from now when you realize that you’ve  fallen short…again.

For those who try and try, year after year, again and again, to get better  and better, only to take three steps forward then two steps back, one step  forward then three steps back…I have good news for you: you’re in good  company!

My friend Jean Larroux sent me this powerful illustration that he got from  Jack Miller.

Miller recounts the valiant efforts of Samuel Johnson (a literary giant of  the 18th century) to fight sloth and to get up early in the morning to pray.  Taken from Johnson’s diary and prayer journal, Jack gives us a record–through  the years–of Johnson’s life-long resolutions, failures, and frustrations:

1738: He wrote, “Oh Lord, enable me to redeem the time which I have spent in  sloth.”

1757: (19 years later) “Oh mighty God, enable me to shake off sloth and  redeem the time misspent in idleness and sin by diligent application of the days  yet remaining.”

1759: (2 years later) “Enable me to shake off idleness and sloth.”

1761: “I have resolved until I have resolved that I am afraid to resolve  again.”

1764: “My indolence since my last reception of the sacrament has sunk into  grossest sluggishness. My purpose is from this time to avoid idleness and to  rise early.”

1764: (5 months later) He resolves to rise early, “not later than 6 if I  can.”

1765: “I purpose to rise at 8 because, though, I shall not rise early it will  be much earlier than I now rise for I often lie until 2.”

1769: “I am not yet in a state to form any resolutions. I purpose and hope to  rise early in the morning, by 8, and by degrees, at 6.”

1775: “When I look back upon resolution of improvement and amendments which  have, year after year, been made and broken, why do I yet try to resolve again?  I try because reformation is necessary and despair is criminal.” He resolves  again to rise at 8.

1781: (3 years before his death) “I will not despair, help me, help me, oh my  God.” He resolves to rise at 8 or sooner to avoid idleness.

I love the never-quit effort of Johnson. What he chronicles sounds so much  like me over the years. Try and fail. Fail then try. Try and succeed. Succeed  then fail. Two steps forward. One step back. One step forward. Three steps back.  Every year I get better at some things, worse at others. For example, this past  year I’ve become a lot slower to “make my point” in conversations with my wife–I  listen more and talk less (one step forward). I let things go more quickly,  criticism doesn’t cripple me as much, and I’m actually becoming more patient  with people–I’m trusting God more (cha-ching, cha-ching). But, due to some  relationally painful situations this past year, I’ve also become more closed off  to people in order to protect myself (one step back). More than ever, I’ve  tended toward relational distance–I trust people less (gong! gong!).

To complicate matters even more, when I honestly acknowledge the ways I’ve  gotten worse, it’s actually a sign that I may be getting better. And when I  become proud of the ways I’ve gotten better, it’s actually a sign that I’ve  gotten worse. And round and round we go. Furthermore, no matter how hard I try,  I still get frustrated by the same things that frustrated me 20 years ago:  traffic jams, unexpected interruptions, long lines, feeling misunderstood,  people who “play it safe”, and so on and so forth. You get the idea. In some  ways we get better. In some ways we get worse. And in other ways we basically  stay the same.

What I’m most deeply grateful for (as was Johnson) is that God’s love for me,  approval of me, and commitment to me does not ride on my resolve but on Jesus’  resolve for me. The gospel is the good news announcing Jesus’ infallible  devotion to us in spite of our inconsistent devotion to him. The gospel is not a  command to hang onto Jesus. Rather, it’s a promise that no matter how weak and  unsuccessful your faith and efforts may be, God is always holding on to you. The  glory of a new year (and of every year) is the chronicling of God’s successes  perfectly meeting my failures.

It’s ironically comforting to me as this new year gets under way that I am  weak and He is strong–that while my love for Jesus will continue to fall short,  Jesus’ love for me will never fall short. For, as Mark Twain said, “Heaven goes  by favor. If it went by merit, your dog would get in and you would stay  out.”

Thank God!

Happy New Year!

Neighborly Love

You shall love the Lord your God . . . and your neighbor as yourself. —Luke 10:27

It would have been simpler just to buy a new hair dryer. But determined to save a buck, I decided to fix it myself. In order to loosen the screw that was buried deep in the handle, I took out the ultimate handyman’s helper—my pocket knife. As I put pressure on the knife to turn the screw, the blade folded back—on my finger.

I learned a lesson that day: I love myself. And I am urgent about meeting my needs. There was no thought of, “Well, I don’t really have time to stop the bleeding now. I’ll get to it later.” Also, there was a tenderness about how the need was met. I instructed my first-aid team (my wife and kids) to wash my finger gently and then to put the bandage on in a way that would avoid having the hairs on my finger pulled up when it was removed. My thoughts, words, and actions were driven by my love for myself.

To love “your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27) requires the same urgent kind of love. It’s a love that notices the need of another person and won’t rest until it’s been met. It’s a gentle, tender love that thinks and acts carefully. It’s the sacrificial and compassionate love that a nameless Samaritan had for a fallen traveler. It’s the kind of love God wants to share with your neighbors through you.

Lord, help me see the heartfelt needs Of those within my care, And grant that through my words and deeds Your love with them I’ll share. —D. De Haan

You cannot touch your neighbor’s heart with anything less than your own.

Prayerful Inner-Searching

May your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless . . . —1 Thessalonians 5:23

“Your whole spirit . . . .” The great, mysterious work of the Holy Spirit is in the deep recesses of our being which we cannot reach. Read Psalm 139 . The psalmist implies— “O Lord, You are the God of the early mornings, the God of the late nights, the God of the mountain peaks, and the God of the sea. But, my God, my soul has horizons further away than those of early mornings, deeper darkness than the nights of earth, higher peaks than any mountain peaks, greater depths than any sea in nature. You who are the God of all these, be my God. I cannot reach to the heights or to the depths; there are motives I cannot discover, dreams I cannot realize. My God, search me.”

Do we believe that God can fortify and protect our thought processes far beyond where we can go? “. . . the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). If this verse means cleansing only on our conscious level, may God have mercy on us. The man who has been dulled by sin will say that he is not even conscious of it. But the cleansing from sin we experience will reach to the heights and depths of our spirit if we will “walk in the light as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7). The same Spirit that fed the life of Jesus Christ will feed the life of our spirit. It is only when we are protected by God with the miraculous sacredness of the Holy Spirit that our spirit, soul, and body can be preserved in pure uprightness until the coming of Jesus-no longer condemned in God’s sight.

We should more frequently allow our minds to meditate on these great, massive truths of God.

Who Hardened the Heart?

“But the Egyptian magicians did the same things by their secret arts, and Pharaoh’s heart became hard; he would not listen to Moses and Aaron, just as the LORD had said.”—Exodus 7:22

This Torah portion for this week, Vaeira, is from Exodus 6:2—9:35 and Ezekiel 28:25–29:12.

The case of the hardened heart begins when God told Moses that although Aaron would ask Pharaoh to ‘let my people go,’ Pharaoh’s heart would be hardened and he would not relent. God told Moses, I will harden Pharaoh’s heart . . . he will not listen to you” (Exodus 7:3). It appears from the text that God caused Pharaoh’s heart to become hardened, which kept him from repenting and letting the Israelites go. This begs the question: Is that really fair?

Can we blame Pharaoh for remaining so stubborn and unyielding when it seems that God forced him to be that way? Indeed, after the first plague, the Scriptures tell us, “Pharaoh’s heart became hard.” Did he ever stand a chance? Was repentance even possible?

The case gets a bit more complicated after plague number two when, after first promising to let the Israelites go, Pharaoh changed his mind and decided to keep them as slaves after all. According to the text, this was no act of God – “when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart” (Exodus 8:15). Here, it was Pharaoh who hardened his own heart!

So who was responsible? Who made Pharaoh so stubborn, so cruel, so blind, and so heartless? Was it Pharaoh, or was it God?

The Sages teach that it was both. For the first five plagues, Pharaoh hardened his own heart. It is only after plague number six that we read, “But the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart” (Exodus 9:12). God gave Pharaoh five chances to repent and to soften his heart. But after Pharaoh had so distorted his own humanity, he lost the opportunity to repent. His heart was hardened to the point of no return.

The Sages learn a powerful lesson from the case of Pharaoh’s heart that is applicable to everyone. When we first sin, we feel it deeply in our heart. The second time, we feel it a little less so. By the third time we are even more desensitized. If we continue with our misdeeds, we eventually get to the place where we can no longer feel them at all! Our hearts become hardened!

We need to watch out for this trap and stop sin when it starts. Additionally, we need to search our hearts, find the hard spots, and make a conscious effort to soften them. Maybe once there was a time when gossip felt wrong, but do we even pause now? Once, lewdness was intolerable, but do we even flinch now? We need to re-sensitize our souls and soften our hearts. Only then can we hear God’s messages and heed His call.

Making The Best Of Trouble

Then David said to himself, “I shall be killed some day by the hand of Saul. There is nothing better for me than to escape into the land of the Philistines. Then Saul will give up hope and search no more for me in all the land of Israel; and so I will escape from him.” David, therefore, with the six hundred men who were with him went over to Achish, king of Gath. And David and his men lived with Achish at Gath, each with his family. When Saul was told that David had fled to Gath, he gave up looking for him.

David said to Achish, “If now you will grant me the favor, give me a place in one of the towns in the open country, that I may live there; for why should your servant live in the royal city with you?” So Achish gave him Ziklag, and David lived in the open country of the Philistines a year and four months.

And David and his men went up and made a raid upon the Geshurites, the Girzites, and the Amalekites; for these tribes live in the land which extends from Telem to the land of Egypt. As often as David made a raid on the land, he did not leave alive man or woman, but taking the sheep, the oxen, the asses, the camels, and the clothing, he returned and went to Achish. Then when Achish said, “Where have you made a raid to-day?” David answered, “Against the South Country of Judah, or against the South Country of the Jerahmeelites, or against the South Country of the Kenites.” And Achish trusted David, thinking, “He has made his people Israel hate him; therefore he will be my servant forever.”

Now in those days the Philistines gathered their forces to make war against Israel. And Achish said to David, “You and your men shall surely go with me in the army.” David replied, “You shall then know what your servant can do.” Achish said to David, “In that case I will make you the captain of my body-guard from this time on.”

Then the Philistines gathered all their forces at Aphek, and the Israelites camped at the fountain in Jezreel. When the rulers of the Philistines were marching past, by hundreds and by thousands, and David and his men were marching in the rear with Achish, the commanders of the Philistines said, “What are those Hebrews doing here?” Achish said to them, “Is this not David, the servant of Saul the ruler of Israel, who has been with me these two years, and I have found no fault in him from the time that he came to me to the present?”

But the commanders of the Philistines were displeased and said to him, “Send the man back to the place where you had stationed him. Do not let him go down with us into battle, lest we have a foe in the camp; for how could this fellow better win back the favor of his master than with the heads of these men? Is not this the David of whom they sang to one another in the dances:

“‘Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands?'”

Then Achish called David and said to him, “As surely as Jehovah lives, you are upright, and your conduct toward me both in and out of the camp has been satisfactory, for I have found nothing wrong in you from the time that you came to me to the present; but you are not trusted by the other rulers. Go back home, therefore, in peace, that you may do nothing to displease the rulers of the Philistines.” David said to Achish, “But what have I done? What have you found in your servant from the day that I entered your service, that I may not go out and fight the enemies of my lord the king?” Achish answered, “I know that you are as faithful to me as an angel of God, but the commanders of the Philistines have said, ‘He shall not go with us into battle.’ Therefore, you and those who came with you are to rise early in the morning, and go to the place where I have stationed you. Do not plan any evil, for I trust you, but rise early in the morning and, as soon as it is light, depart.”

So David and his men arose early in the morning to return to the Philistine land, but the Philistines went up to Jezreel.

On the third day, when David and his men returned to Ziklag, the Amalekites had made a raid on the South Country and on Ziklag, and had attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire, and had also carried away captive all who were in it, including the women and children. They had not killed any but had carried them away with them. Then David and the people who were with him wept aloud until they were no longer able to weep.

David was in great trouble, for the people spoke of stoning him, because they all felt bitter, having lost their sons and daughters: but David took courage, for he trusted in Jehovah his God. So David with his six hundred followers went on to the Brook Besor, where those who were too tired to cross the brook stayed behind.

They found there an Egyptian in the open field and brought him to David and gave him food to eat and water to drink. Then David said to him, “To whom do you belong, and where do you come from?” He replied, “I am an Egyptian lad, an Amalekite‘s servant, and my master left me behind because three days ago I fell sick. We marched into the South Country of the Cherethites and into that which belongs to Judah and into the South Country of Caleb, and Ziklag we destroyed by fire.” David said to him, “Will you guide me to this robber band?” He replied, “Swear to me by your God, that you will neither kill me nor turn me over to my master, and I will guide you to this band.”

When he had brought him down, the Amalekites were scattered over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah. David fought against them from twilight to the evening of the next day, and only four hundred young men who were mounted on camels escaped.

So David took from the Amalekites all that they had carried away and rescued his two wives; nothing at all was missing. Then he took all the flocks and the herds and drove those animals before the people, and they said, “This is David’s spoil.”

When David came to the two hundred men who had been so faint that they could not follow him, all the wicked, mean fellows who went with him said, “Because these men did not go with us, let us not give them any of the spoil that we have taken, except that each man may take his wife and children and depart.” David answered, “My brothers, you shall not do so with that which Jehovah has given us, after he has saved our lives and given this robber band that attacked us into our power. Those who stay with the baggage shall have an equal share with those who fight.” So from that day to the present he made this a law and a rule in Israel.

When David came to Ziklag, he sent some of the spoil to the leaders of Judah and to his relatives, saying, “See! a present for you from the spoil of the enemies of Jehovah.”