Archive for September, 2006

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How Long?

September 29, 2006

I arrived home from work a short while ago and as I tend to do, looked up at the sky while on my way to the house.  There was cloud cover in the southwest; thick enough that they were illuminated by the lights of Elkhart Indiana which is 25 miles southwest of here.  The rest of the sky was crystal clear; one of those nights that you can see into forever.  One of those nights that you love to just “be still and know that he is God.”  He who inhabits all of eternity and yet knows the number of hairs on the head of each person on earth.  The wind wasn’t blowing at all; in fact it was almost “too still” and “too quiet.”  The question came to mind “how long O Lord” before all of this comes to pass. 

A christian has a whole eternity to look forward to in a new heaven and a new earth, where all will be peace for ever and Jesus will be the light thereof.  Pure light with no shadows in a realm beyond time and space.  Where everyone will love the Lord and worship him and have continuous fellowship with him.  When you think about the world to come, this crazy place down here loses its appeal.  Do you know what this world is?  The things that you see and interact with daily?  It’s accelerant.  It’s all going to melt with a fervent heat and be no more.  All of our great accomplishments; all of our monuments, all of our cities, the pyramids, the great wall, the priceless treasures, all of it is going to pass away with a great noise.  But those who are washed in the precious blood of Jesus will abide forever. 

His return is at hand and it’s ever so important to remember that for a number of reasons.  For one, he’s coming for a bride without spot and without blemish.  Thinking on this will keep you on the strait and narrow path; the path that Jesus said leads to eternal life.  Another reason is that when you think about the Lords return, you’ll be ever so much more determined to not allow the fearful sights taking place in this world to get to you.  It will keep your affections on things above.  Where is your heart on this most peaceful early morning?  I hope that it’s on the Lord Jesus; that you love him completly and without condition.  I pray that when the roll is called up yonder, your name will be there.  Even if we never make contact in this world, I want to see you there, in the new Jerusalem.  As Revelation 21:4-6 reads:

 “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new.  And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.  And he said unto me, It is done.  I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.  I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.” 

Praise God for such a blessed hope and for such a great salvation.  “Thank you Jesus for loving us when we were lost and undone!”  And as Revelation 22:20 says “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly.  Amen.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

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Whatever

September 28, 2006

This is a word that we’ve become very familiar with over the past couple of years.  It was the response that our oldest daughter would give whenever we tried to talk to her about something.  Regardless of the nature of the advice or the urgency of the warning (the types of warnings that all parents give to their kids to point them in the right direction) her common reply would be “whatever.”  It depicts an attitude that’s void of concern over what transpires down the road or what the consequences are. 

There is, however, something to learn from this.  Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow him.  We must determine in our hearts to follow him “whatever” the cost in this life may be.  It may cost us employment or cause family members to turn on us.  It may eventually cause imprisonment or even torture.  (Don’t think for a minute that it can’t happen here.  This country is changing faster that you realize)  It may cause them to put you to death.  You must determine to keep the faith of Jesus no matter what.  This is why it’s so important to not love this present world.  It’s not legalism; it’s a matter of stablishing the heart as to not fall when the whole world is under a strong delusion. 

 Job stated “Though he slay me, yet will I trust him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.”  (Job 13:15)  He never allowed his situation to alter his relationship with God.  Even when Mrs. Job told him to stop retaining his integrity and charge God foolishly, he responded with “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh,”  (I have wondered in the past, what would happen if I told my wife that?)  I wonder how many of us would maintain our intgrity if we lost everything in this world, found ourselves covered with sore boils, and our significant other was getting on our case.  It’s not something that many think on in a day when folks confuse gain with godliness and yet we must have our heart “fixed” on the eternal things which are not seen. 

Soon, the king of fierce countenance and understanding dark sentences will “destroy the mighty and the holy people” and if you’re heart isn’t completly on Jesus you wont be prepared for it.  (Oh I forgot; we’re not going to be here because unlike every other generation of saints we’re not supposed to go through tribulation.)   Please for your own sake, get your affections on things above because love of this world is causing many to fall.  Jesus stated in Luke 21:19 “In your patience posess ye your souls.”  I pray that we would all examine ourselves and stablish our hearts.  Then when the “whatever” happens, we’ll be close to Jesus and prepared.    

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Follow Thou Me

September 27, 2006

We live in a realm where diverse voices fill the atmosphere and a new doctrine seems to come along almost daily.  Where folks are entangled with the traditions of men as though they were in a stockade.  A world where “religion” causes a man to follow another man and not seek God out of sincerety.  Many today almost seem to boast about a particular “church” or a particular preacher; just like in I Corinthians 3:3-4 which reads:

 “For ye are yet carnal: for wheras there is among you envying and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?  For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?” 

I’ve been guilty of this at times; being with a particular body of believers and subtly, a feeling of “pride” will sneek in unawares and in your heart you almost take on a feeling of being “more spiritual” than others.  Pride is a deadly poison and must be guarded against fervently.  As you grow in Christ, the danger increases.  I found this out the hard way when I moved from Norfolk VA back to Michigan.  In my heart I really felt that I had grown past the dangers of backsliding.  I found out that I wasn’t as strong as I thought and ended up in a state of rebellion for over thirteen years.  I praise God for bringing me out of it in March of 2004, however, I still have complexities in my life that wouldn’t be there if I had remained obedient. 

We absolutly must follow Jesus completly and not allow pride to take up residence in our heart.  (Remember pride was the original sin.  Lucifer became prideful and wanted to set on a throne above God.  That one sin resulted in all of the pain and heartache that’s in the world today.)  I was reading in John today at the end where Peter sees the disciple who was leaning on Jesus at the supper.  Peter asks Jesus “who betrayed you?  And what will this man do?” (that’s paraphrased)  John 21:22 reads “Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?  Follow thou me.”  In other words don’t worry about it.  Follow Jesus first and foremost. 

I was in the navy at the time when the Jim Bakker fiasco came to light and guys were constantly asking me “what about that Jim Bakker guy?”  My almost cookie cutter answer was always “well, first of all, I live for Jesus; not Jim Bakker.  Second, you’re going to stand before God one day and I assure you that Jim Bakker won’t be one of the topics that he discusses with you.”  Men can fail you.  Jesus never fails.  He’s never on vacation and he will save you to the uttermost if you trust him.  Jeremiah 33:3 is a verse that I quote often but it’s so true.  “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”  If you set your heart to follow Jesus in sincerety, the Holy Ghost will guide you into all truth and bring all things to your rememberance. 

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Transformers

September 25, 2006

When you go before the Lord Jesus in sincere prayer, there’s no way that you’ll come out unchanged.  If you know him as your Savior and Lord, you can’t help but be “altered at the alter” wherever the alter may be.  Even a moment or two at work as you’re moving to a diferent work station will have a profound effect.  That’s a good time to lift up those around you who don’t know Jesus; that he would grant them understanding to the acknowledging of the truth.  He works on their heart and yours also. 

As you know, the more time that you spend with him the more you’ll be changed into his image.  It’s amazing how you can be completly “out of sorts” until you get into a prayer closet.  As you spend time with the Lord he “tunes you up; getting your heart as it should be and you come out in a proper frame of mind.  It’s like Psalm 73.  In the first 16 verses, Asaph (it says that’s a psalm of Asaph) is lamenting the prosperity of the wicked.  They seem to go about their iniquetous devices, they’re strong, they don’t have problems as others do, and they just seem to prosper.  He tells how this injustice perplexed him up until verses 17-19 which read:

 “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.  Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou casteth them down to destruction.  How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment!  They are utterly consumed with terrors.” 

 I imagine that this man came out with compassion for the wicked instead of lamenting them.  Then he could pray for them and as you know, the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  I’ve found that certain individuals who have knack for “pushing your buttons” will get you out of sorts if you allow it to happen, but when you begin to pray for them, your entire outlook changes.  You start to see them not as a pain in the neck, but as a precious soul in need of a Savior.  I love the example of Paul and Silas who were fast in the stocks of a Philippian jail and were praising God at midnight; keeping the other prisoners awake in the process.  I don’t believe it was forced; it’s the natural expression of one who once was lost but now is found.  Their atitude resulted in the jailer and his household coming to Jesus.  (They could have left after the quake, the jailer would have done himself in, and a family would have perished.  Praise God that Paul was walking in the Spirit) 

Pauls life is so fascinating.  In Galatians 1:16 tells how, after his conversion, he conferred not with flesh and blood but went into Arabia and back to Damascus.  What was he doing in Arabia?  Talking to Jesus.  Over half of the new testament was penned by the apostle Paul as he was obedient in every aspect of his life.  Those same principles still apply today as we’re no good to anyone unless we’re abiding in the Lord.  So as I close this post, I pray that we would all abide by the ever so familiar verse of Romans 12:2 which was also penned by the apostle Paul and reads “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

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Blissful Thinking

September 22, 2006

How often do you think about the world to come?  As you go about your daily routine between work, projects at home, and taking the kids to their soccer games, do you find yourself earnistly desiring to be absent from the body and present with the Lord?  Jesus Christ should be our meditation day and night.  We are currently a society that’s in continuous overdrive.  We’re always short on time, it seems, so to compensate we take “power lunches” and “power naps” to free up more time to get everything done. 

 Unfortunatly, we also tend to do “power bible study” and “power prayer” so that we can get back to “our agenda.”  We tend to forgo the quiet time; especially if it means getting up earlier.  We run a serious danger of leaving our first love as we find ourselves moving ever faster with no end in sight.  I’m as guilty as anyone and as such this post is more in the “confessing your faults” catagory than anything.  You can rest assured, that when you determine to set aside a speciffic time for bible study, something will come up.  You’ll have to work late, one of the kids will get sick; a million things will pop up to keep you from being still and knowing that he is God. 

They’ll never be frivilous things.  It’ll always be something serious that has to be tended to such as the power venter on your furnace going out or your daughter stranded with a flat tire thirty miles from home in the middle of a blizzard.  (Although don’t have blizzards now like we did twenty years ago)  Despite the hecticity, (I know that it’s not a word) of the day, it’s more urgent than ever to find that quiet time.  To stay in a continuous state of prayer and take advantage of every opportunity to get into the word of God.  Jesus is always as close as the mention of his name and his word never fails.  Isaiah 26:3 is mentioned often on the other blog site.  It reads:

 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” 

That verse is true regardless of the physical situation that you may face.  Trials will come and faith will be put to the test.  Fiery trials play an important role in growing into the fulness of Christ.  But Gods peace will be ever present; so long as we look to him and not the storm.  I can praise him today that his peace is in my heart more than at any other time in the years that I’ve been one of his. If Jesus is your Savior and Lord that peace is yours also.  When you love him wholeheartedly, you’ll truly have contentment like you can’t imagine.  Please don’t let the enemy take your peace.  He’s a thief and he’s seeking whom he may devour; don’t give him an inch.  I pray that the Lord Jesus would be the meditation of your heart day and night.

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Just Endure it

September 20, 2006

Psalm 73 tells how those given to sinister devices seem to prosper in the world.  They seem to go about, employing their wicked devices with no consequences as the first 16 verses explain.  And so it often seems today as the wicked often seem to have everything going for them, are compassed about with pride, and never go through trying situations as do most of us.  A good exampe might be those who profit from corporate corruption and are never caught, or those involved with drug trafficing who prosper immensely while destroying the lives of others.   Verses 17-19 reads:

 “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.  Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.  How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.”  

Sudden destruction can come without warning despite a lifetime seemingly void of consequences.  I bring this up because we’re approaching the time when the king of fierce countenance will come on the scene.  Everything will seem to go his way and the world will wonder after him.  Daniel 8:24 reads:

 “And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power:  and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.”

In other words, he’s going to, for a season, make war with the saints and prevail against them.  For those who subscribe to a pre-tribulation rapture, it’s going to be a time of unexpected turmoil and confusion.  (Even so, if a person is truly born again, Gods grace will be sufficient)  When this takes place many christians will wonder why this is happening and in a time of strong delusions and lying signs and wonders, may be tempted to faint.  Don’t faint!  Jesus is going to return at the appointed time and the man of sin along with the false prophet will be cast into the lake of fire.  What you’ll see during the time of trying is contrary to what actually is.  Revelation 20:4 tells of those who endure to the end.  So don’t despair at the devices of the wicked; keep your eyes on Jesus who will never leave you nor forsake you.  

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No Fear

September 19, 2006

There are two types of fear and unfortunatly, most people succumb to the wrong type.  Proverbs 19:23 reads:

 “The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.” 

Godly fear will cause you to conduct your life in accordance to scripture. As the song goes “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear; and grace my fears relieved.”  The fear of the Lord leads one to repentance.  Tragically, many people have no fear of God whatsoever.  They’re good citizens, friendly neighbors, will bend over backwards for another, but they have no fear of God.  The thought of going into eternity and standing before their Creator never crosses their mind; even though it can happen with absolutly no warning.  (tomorrow is not a promise)  Proverbs 3:7-8 says: 

“Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord and depart from evil.  It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.” 

It’s the same as when you would fear the punishment of your parents for mischievious behavior.  Fear of punishment kept me from doing a host of stupid things as a child and so it is with Godly fear.  Fear of the world, on the other hand, will kill you.  Jesus stated in Matthew 10:28:

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” 

He told us in Luke chapter 21 that in the last days mens hearts would be “failing them for fear.”  It’s this atmosphere of terror and men loving their lives in this world that will cause most to take the mark of the beast.  I’ve heard people, even non-christians, state “I’ll never take a mark.  Very soon, however, not receiving a mark will mean that you can’t hold a job, you can’t buy or sell anything, and you’ll be completly cut off from the economic system.  You’ll be unable to provide for your children or yourself and when the authorities find you, they will put you to death.  That sounds really scary but if you know Jesus, you have nothing to fear. 

Fear will cause millions to view the antichrist as a hero as he reestablishes peace and safety for a season.  (Just like Hitler salvaged the German economy.  In fact if you want a model of the beast system, just study the third reich.)  They’ll take the mark and will doom their eternal soul in doing so.  Just like Esau who sold his birthright for bread because he loved his life in this world.  The patterns set forth in scripture remain constant from Genesis to Revelation.  I pray that we all would examine our hearts on a continuing basis; lest any should take a misstep without remedy.  These things sound frightening but if you know Jesus as your Savior and have the Holy Ghost abiding withinin, you have everything that you need to stand; no matter what the enemy tries to do.