Archive for March, 2008

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The Heart of God (Episode IX)

March 30, 2008

Psalm 139:1-4 “O LORD, thou hast searched me and known me.  Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.  Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.  For there is not a word in my tongue, but lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.”

Matthew 6:5  “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.  Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.”

In this section of the sermon on the mount, Jesus addresses the issue of sincerety toward God as opposed to putting on a show.  Later on in the gospels we find that Jesus has the harshest words for the elite who put on a religious performance while hindering those who are sincerely seeking the Holy One of Israel.  To most of their contemporaries, the scribes and pharisees appeared to be pure as the wind driven snow, but Jesus referred to them as “whited sepulchures.” They were beautiful on the outside, but filled with dead mens bones.  While they honored God with their lips, their heart was grounded on planet earth and their primary desire was to make a name for themselves. 

The reason for titling this series “The Heart of God” is that, in it we see his perfect nature, and his fervent desire to have an authentic relationship with us.  He wants us to simply love him with all of our heart and to trust him with every facet of our lives.  This particular chapter has much to say on loving God in sincerety and trusting him in all things.  The love that he has for us is beyond comprehension and he wants all who profess Jesus as Savior to “be real.” It’s easy to become caught up in showmanship and those who never go beyond a form of godliness will have their reward in the form of earthly status.  But to embrace the principals outlined in the sermon on the mount requires a genuine relationship with the Lord Jesus which can only be established when a person is born of the Spirit.

Matthew 6:6 “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

The secret place with the Holy One of Israel.  Nobody to impress and nobody to divert our attention.  It is here that we find renewal and guidance.  In this place we can shut out all of the chatter and “hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” The importance of this can never be over-emphasized; especially in a day when everybodys talking but few are taking time to listen.  We often seem to struggle to listen to each other; let alone hearing the “still small voice” that we must be atuned to if we’re to remain steadfast in these final hours.  When earthly obligations gang up on us to the point that we must assign time slots to them, prayer tends to become an early casualty.  Regardless of how hectic our lives may be, it’s imperative to find quality time with the Lord. 

Matthew 6:7-8 “But when ye pray, use not vain repititions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”

There are a number of ways to approach this passage as it addresses a very present problem.  Even when we set aside quality time with the Lord, it’s easy to become mechanical in our petitions.  To honor God with our mouth while our thoughts are a million miles away.  In short, a person could conceivably spend a great deal of time in prayer and yet be following from afar.  When we come before the Lord, we should be mindful of just what’s taking place.  We are entering into the presence of the one who has no beginning, who created all that is, and as the initial passage states, “knows our thoughts afar off.  He knows our thoughts better than we do; along with the motivation behind each.  Such is all the more reason for us to seek him in sincerety.  This brings us to the Lords prayer.  

Matthew 6:9 “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.”

When we first come before the Lord, we must first acknowledge who he is.  An intersting analogy is the way that an average person reacts when they find themselves in the presence of a favorite celebrity. They go nutty and are blown away because they’re in the presence of one whom the world holds in high esteem.  Yet Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega, is as close as the mention of his name, however, we treat it as a casual thing.  Coming into the presence of the Ancient of Days should never be a casual thing and it truly is a privelage to carry everything to God in prayer.  We should “run” to the prayer closet with eagerness; knowing that an audience with the King of kings and Lord of lords awaits us.  He who loves us and purchased us with his own blood desires to spend time with us.  Too often, however, we only swing by when nothing’s going on and there’s nothing on television.  (Here’s a hint: There’s NOTHING on television!  EVER!)

Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”

To truly place the Lords will first is a strong indicator of spiritual maturity.  Too often we will say “thy will be done” but we place spin on it as pertaining to a certain situation.  Few of us can pray “thy will be done” with no strings attached as there’s always the very real possibility that his will is in contrast to our itinerary.  Yet we must arrive at a place where we’re willing to count all but loss that we may win Christ. 

Matthew 6:11  “Give us this day our daily bread.”

To ask for, and be content with, daily provision.  Few of us can honestly say that we’ve arrived at such a place; and yet, what liberty awaits us there.  To be completely content in Christ and no longer manipulated by the quest for a newer, bigger, better, shinier, longer-lasting cutting edge contraption that will revolutionize our life and make us ask “how did I ever get by without this thing?” 

Matthew 6:12 “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”

A truth that should cause us all to be mindful of our attitudes toward others.  Our forgiveness is tied directly to our forgiveness of others.  It’s the one condition and if we don’t forgive others, we will not be forgiven either.  It’s a sobering thought and yet one that we must take seriously.  Tragically, unforgiveness can hide out and we may not even be aware of its presence.  If our attitude toward another isn’t as it should be, we need to find out what’s causing it, get our heart right with the Lord, and get rid of that weight that’s hindering us. 

Matthew 6:13  “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”

Our God is able to deliver us from evil and keep us from falling.  His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and his word shall endure forever.  Beautiful, timeless, perfect in every way.  When we begin to grasp just how awersome God is, the trials of this life seem  insignificant at best.  As the apostle Paul wrote “to live is Christ and to die is gain.” The elements of a perfect prayer life; that of seeking the Lord Jesus above all else, is outlined here. 

Matthew 6:14-15  “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses.”

This is so important that Jesus explains it thoroughly.  We dare not harbor unforgiveness, ought, envy, strife, or anything of such nature in our heart.  Each of us must continually examine ourselves, lest we pick up unwanted hitchhikers and begin drifting into dangerous territories.  Well, time to wrap this episode up as is’s far longer than normal.  A lot of things are on my heart, but I really want to finish this series up “if time permits.”  (because we never know what a day may hold)  I wish to all, a blessed day in Jesus.

 

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“ANOMALIES”

March 25, 2008
  • John 1:1-3 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God.  All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.”
  • Hebrews 11:3 “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made by things which do appear.”

    Yesterday I saw a documentary on the mysterious happenings that transpire in the Brermda Triangle.  A plethura of unexplainable events have taken place over the years; many of which have resulted in boats, planes, and people vanishing without explanation.  One survivor told about how he was flying from the Bahamas to Florida when suddenly these bizarre cloud patterns appeared.  Two clouds seemed to form “anvils” and eventually he found himself in a “tunnel” with a far off opening of blue sky.  He flew toward the opening and, as he exited the tunnel, his wing tips “scraped something.”  He then found himself in an unexplainable fog with all of his instruments going nutty and contrails forming at the wing tips.  He continued to fly straight for some time until, quite unexplainably, the fog vanished and he was over a very sunny Miami.  ( Although Miami was over a hundred miles from where he had planned to be.)

     Such reports which would suggest that our understanding of the world around us isn’t as comprehensive as we would like to think.  While a majority of seemingly unnatural occurrances have logical explanations, there are always those which are “simply unexplainable” like the pilot mentioned above.  (He flew in this region routinely)  The Bermuda Triangle is one of three areas on the earth which, for some unexplainable reason, have bizarre magnetic activity.  The area is further complicated by unpredictable meteorological changes which can catch people off guard.  Nonetheless, the mystery remains as neither side of this arguement can offer a difinative explanation for everything that transpires in this region.

    I placed the two opening passages in here because, in the days to come, we can expect to witness events and hear explanations which would seem to discredit the word of God and the faith of Jesus Christ.  The enemy has been trying this ever since he told Eve “Ye shall not surely die”  We will have to hold fast the profession of our faith, despite the appearance of overwhelming evidence pointing to an alternate embodiment of truth.  Today things are continuing to run in a somewhat predictable fashion.  We should be using this time to draw closer to Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to prepare us for whatever we may have to face in the future.  The previous post dealt with the sheer awesomeness of God who has always been and created all that is.  This post will focus on keeping the faith; even when CNNs Wolf Blitzer is reporting that extra-terrestrials have landed on the white house lawn. 

    This following post is from Peters site and this is the third time in which I have linked to it. I’m compelled to mention it again because the need for spiritual preparation is far greater than what most of us realize. While it focuses on persecution, many of the precepts can apply to the dangers of deception as well.  Preparation for both is imperative. 

  •  “Preparing for the Underground Church”  
  • Hebrews 3:12 “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”

    I know that this has been a common theme as of late, but the danger of deception is on my heart more intensively than words can express.  Many saints are living carelessly and seem unconcerned about the hour of temptation that will come upon all the world.  These deceptions will have both supernatural fireworks and logical explanations; all of which will serve to obscure the truth.  For example, the existance of extra-terrestrials seems logical because conventional wisdom asks “how can we be the only inhabitants in this vast universe?” An incident of disclosure would be a supernaturally generated event containing a believable (but erroneous) explanation.  On the other hand, the truth that God has no beginning or ending and created every star in every galaxy, seems physically impossible.  Here’s a question to think on.  If God is real (and he most definately is real) what’s the difference between speaking one star into existance and speaking two-hundred-million-trillion into existance? 

    Without a doubt many of the coming illusions will have a “christian-sounding facade” but will somehow deny that Jesus Christ is God manifest in flesh.  This has been taking place for generations; even since the first century, but is intensifying in these final moments of the age.  Such deceptions will sidetrack the faith of many as II Thessalonians 2:3 plays out.  Those following a way that seems right, but is erroneous, will perceive the true saints as being unreasonable, cold-hearted, narrow-minded, old fashioned, out of touch, and my personal favorite: “mentally unstable.”  (Much learning doth make thee mad.)  In short, the whole world is going to think that we’re nutty because we keep the testimony of Jesus Christ when all of the evidence seems, in their eyes, to be to the contrary. 

    This theme has been coverd a number of times in various posts.  Yet as I watched the documentary yesterday, I was reminded of how easily deception can take hold and how manifestations; supernatural or otherwise, can lead people to the exact wrong conclusions.  An anomaly can appear as one thing and be something quite different.  For example, many of the reports concerning alien abduction experiences; I believe to be authentic, however, the beings who are doing the abducting are “not” extra-terrestrials.  (Even though it seems like a logical explanation) I recently heard of a man who awakened in his bed to find himself surrounded by greys.  He began to float upwards as to be taken into a ship when he called upon the name of Jesus.  In a moment, the greys vanished and he was back in his bed.  When confronted by something out of the ordinary, this man knew who to turn to. 

    When I was an unsaved, know-it-all teenager, I had a fascination with unexplainable phenomenon.  Aliens, haunted spaces, suprnatural phenomenon; new-age ponderings; anything of a mysterious nature stoked my formative imagination.  There is a “fatal attraction” to all things mysterious and in the final moments of the age Hollywood has tapped into this fascination with devastating results.  Supernatural power that’s not of God dominates nearly every venue of theatrical entertainment for the purpose of preparing the population to embrace the coming “big lie.”  If one does a mental tallying of the motion pictures that come out and the programming offered on various networks, the percentage of them which have a supernatural theme apart from the God who created the heavens and the earth is astonishing. 

    In the early years, motion pictures like “The Wizard of Oz” introduced the concept of “the good witch” and started the ball rolling.  The 1977 release of Star Wars opened the flood gates and stirred the imaginations of millions, including mine, with the concept of a universal “force” featuring good and dark sides which can be tapped into.  Shortly thereafter, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” was released and the image of young Barry standing in the open door with an ominous looking orange-ish sky overhead was etched into our memory.  The fascination with aliens, witchcraft, new-age concepts and the like has been gaining momentum ever since and one day soon, the whole world will wonder after a beast.  The big lie, will take on a form that will, not only “fit” the present situation, it will be so believable that only those who are born of the Spirit will be able to stand. 

    Matthew 24:24 “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

    Most of us know this verse well, and we should really ponder what Jesus was telling us when he made this statement.  None of us can be too careful, and for those who consistantly refuse to obey the gospel, a strong delusion will carry them away.  A falsehood that will appear warm, fuzzy, and logical but will lead to destruction.  My prayer is that every saint would draw close to the Lord Jesus and be atuned to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  We must not harbor any love for the temporal or allow any doubt to creep into our hearts as they can spell disaster.  (This is why I linked to Richard Wurmbrand again.  I only hope that Peter doesn’t delete the post.)  This cannot be stressed enough which is why ” another post” on this topic has emerged.  Well, I’ll close for now and leave off with a warning that Jesus gave us concerning the times in which we live.

    Matthew 24:4 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.”

    The page “End Times/Prophetic Sites” has been revamped and some additional sites have been added.  Our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.

    New to the Blogroll: Tommy Davis  This site offers very informative posts, however, make sure that you have time to do some reading as they are very detailed.  This blog contains links to a number of informative sites. 

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    Traversing the Continuum

    March 21, 2008

    Psalm 90:2 “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”

    Revelation 19:6 “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”

    The sheer awesomeness of God defies our ability to adequately express with words.  No variation of “great” is great enough and no definition of “love” can even come close the love that he has for us.  A love that became manifest two thousand years ago when God became flesh and dwelt among us for the purpose of saving that which was lost.  This post is a variation of something that I’ve been thinking on all morning; that being the unfathomable greatness of God.  The first passage above tells how God is from everlasting and to everlasting.  The second declares his omnipresence.  We cannot begin to wrap our minds around such concepts insofar as understanding how they can be, and yet we know that they are true. 

    This is going to require a little imagination. (be careful)  Imagine that someone finally succeeded in creating a time machine that can transport one to another era.  After entering this device and seeing the controls that determine its next stop, the first decision would be “where do I go first?”  Since our professors of science have concluded amongst themselves that the universe is fifteen billion years old, I think that it would be interesting to go back…say….thirty billion years.  (even though time only exists in a linear realm) What it would look like I have no idea, but I know that the God who created all that is would be there.  Not only would he be there, he would be the same as he is today.   

    We can choose any number that we like; a hundred billion years, three trillion years, even a year to match every dollar of our national debt.  (Nine trillion dollars and growing.)  Regardless of how far back we go, God is there and he remains the same.  The concept of “from everlasting” is so far beyond our comprehension that we’ll simply never be able to explain it.  If a devout follower of the big bang theory asks us to explain how such a thing is possible, we’ll be unable to come up with a mathematical formula to contain it.  It’s amazing how people with an average life span of 70-80 years will make a few observations of the cosmos and determine that they have it all figured out.  They call the big bang a “theory” but they treat it as though its fact.  I Corinthians 1:17-29 in action.

    Proverbs 8:22-23 “The LORD posessed me [wisdom] in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.  I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” 

    God is from everlasting, unchanging, and his wisdom all-encompassing.  This is shown when he tells Moses “I AM THAT I AM.” He has never had to “become” because he has always been.  I know that this is a basic fundamental truth and that we’re unable to understand how this can be.  Yet thinking about such truths will cause one to proclaim, as the song goes, “My God, How Great Thou art!”  It also causes us to be mindful that, whatever turmoil we’re facing in this life, it becomes as nothing when we place our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ who is the express image of God. (John 14:6-10, Colossians 1:12-20, Hebrews 1:3)  When our complete trust is in Jesus, it doesn’t matter how intense the storms are or how barren the desert is.  He is able to provide a table in the wilderness.

    James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

    Re-employing the imagination for a moment, (continue to be careful) suppose that someone had finally created a spaceship that could jump to warp speed; thereby employing the myriad of theories that science fiction writers use to travel to far-flung places in the universe.  We are granted a spot on the maiden voyage where we soon find ourselves heading out past the the orbit of the moon and soon out of the solar system.    The hum from the anti-gravity propulsion systems increase in pitch until finally, we hear a “BANG” as the ship enters what astro-physicists term a “wormhole.”  The next thing that we notice is a steady deceleration as the ship returns to a managable speed.  The trip seemed to last only a few minutes, however, we are now orbiting a younger star in galaxyNGC 1365 which resides sixty million light years from the milky way. 

    I have no idea as to what this place would look like, but all that could be observed from this vantage point would be a part of Gods creation.  His presence in this exotic part of the universe would be just as real as it is here on earth.  For those who were aboard this ship, Jesus would still be as close as the mention of his name.  Spiritual truth isn’t altered by physical circumstances; regardless of how extreme those circumstances may be.  Again, this is “christianity 101” but it’s always good to ponder just how awesome our God is and know that he’s in complete control.  He keeps the heavenly bodies in the places that he has ordained for them to be. 

    He also holds in his hand the breath of everyone on the earth; both the saints and the ones who remain outside the household of faith.  When we come upon a contrary person, we are witnessing the mercy of God in action as he has no pleasure in the death of the wicked.  Just as Gods omnipotence is beyond understanding, his love and compassion is far greater than we can comprehend.  A love that was displayed when Jesus Christ went to a cross and shed his innocent blood to pay for our sins.  He could have called ten thousand angels and as darkness covered the land, the jeering crowd was tempting him to prove that he is who he claimed to be.  Yet he was obediant to the Father unto death.  Three days later, he did something else that nobody else has ever done when he rose from the dead.  The empty sepulchre testifies that we serve a risen Savior who is alive forever more and has the keys of hell and of death.

    Well I’ll close out for now.  This may seem like a somewhat odd posting, but I love to think on the awesomeness of God; even though we don’t have adequate words to describe his greatness.  We look forward to a day when another thing comes to pass which defies our ability to understand insofar as how it’s possible.  When we depart this physical world, if we’re in Christ, we’ll be forever with the Lord Jesus.  Time will no longer be a factor and mortality will have put on immortality.  As saints, washed in the blood of Jesus, we should be longing for his return and have no desire to remain here, other than to reach those who are outside the ark of safety.  I pray that in our remaining moments, we’ll do all that we can to reach the lost.  If our perspective is truly eternal, we’ll be about our Fathers business, regardless of the cost in this life.  As we remember the price that Jesus paid for us and his resurrection from the dead, I wish to all a blessed weekend in Christ.

    Hebrews 1:1-4 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upbraiding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Magesty on high;  Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”

    Revelation 4:10-11 “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for evfer and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,  Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

     

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    “Comfortably Numb”

    March 18, 2008

    II Corinthians 4:3-4 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 

    II Corinthians 4:5 “For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves  ourselves your servants for Jesus sake.”

    Sunday morning, a number of prophetic utterances came forth.  While I cannot remember each one word for word, a general theme was this.  There are unsaved people all around us for whom Christ died to redeem.  We pass them in the marketplace and in the post office.  We rub shoulders with them at school functions, and pass them in streets throughout the land, however, most of us are so caught up by our aganda that we fail to reach out to them.  We remain secure within the confines of our comfort zone while these souls are heading down the broad path that leads to everlasting destruction. 

    I imagine that each of us are guilty of this at some time or another for a host of reasons.  At times we may be so stretched by the unfolding of events in our own lives that we’re continuously “spent.”  Dramas playing out at work, a host of goings on at home, and a schedule that seems to consume every second of the day with mundane activities.  Some may be so focused on satisfying “self” that the needs of those round about go unnoticed.  Still a few may become so wrapped up in their church and (or) their immediate circle that they become incapable of relating to those outside the household of faith.  Regardless of the reasons, the truth is that souls are dropping into hell daily and we have no greater mission than to be in complete obediance to the Lord Jesus who is not willing for any to perish, but that all would come to repentance. 

    We like for things to be relatively stable and we prefer to remain in our comfort zone.  In general, our desire is for things to move about in a predictable pattern, day in, day out, week after week, and year after year.  The only interruptions that we welcome are the pre-planned ones, such as a vacation or other “planned activities which don’t threaten the comfort zone.  This static routine can bring about a numbness and before we know it, years have slipped away carrying with them a host of “what could have beens;” many of which may have been the difference between life and death.  (I’m speaking as one who has an array of “what could have beens”) When a day is completed, it will never pass by again and the events of that day are etched into the record books.  Each of us have one less day to be about our Fathers business than we had yesterday. 

    Revelation 3:14-17 “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;  I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would that thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. 

     The church at Laodicea has been an example of halfheartedness for nearly two thousand years. Material abundance had led to confidence in the flesh and their relationship with the Lord Jesus was compromised.  The problems were extensive as verse 17 points out, and yet because of the illusion of stability in the present world, they were hard to detect if one wasn’t atuned to the Spirit. 

    Revelation 3:17 “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

    Nothing’s more treacherous than a belief that “everythings fine” when the exact opposite is true.  The condition that existed in Laodicea reveals just how easily self-deception can take hold, how imperative it is for us to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and the importance of responding accordingly when he reveals things to us.  I’ve often wondered how the Laodiceans received this revelation.  I would like to think that they came before the Lord in sincere repentance and took heed to the councel given in verse 18. 

    We’re warned in scripture that the last days would be a time of great deception and of many being overcharged by the things of this present world.  Yet the scope of this problem and the seeming inability of many to awaken out of their slumber is astonishing.  It stands to remind us that we should not be highminded, but rather be aware of the pitfalls and how easily one can slip into a state of numbness.  With the vast array of entertainment options available to most of us in the west, the state of continuous exhaustion that many are in, and a church that often seems more concerned with entertainment than reaching souls, it’s easy to conform to the prevailing attitudes of the day. 

    Matthew 24:12-13 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

    In short, the conditions on earth in the last days will be unimaginably wicked.  This will cause many to lose their capacity for compassion and even natural affection.  As such, we’re going to have to resist the temptation to subscribe to the prevailing attitudes.  These are the last days and before us is the final harvest.  This final harvest is in need of laborers who have oil in their lamps and are not conformed to this world.  

    Well, it’s about time to go for now.  The topic of this post has been covered much in the past, but the urgency is greater than ever as uncertain times lie ahead.  Our economy is on the verge of collapse and we may see rioting on our own streets in the near future.  When the facade of “all’s well” comes down, there will be panic like most of us cannot imagine and many will be searching for answers.  Jesus Christ is the answer.  His blood washes away sin and he never fails.  He knows them who love him and trust him wholeheartedly.  The coming upheaval should be a great time of evengelism.  We must keep an eternal perspective and we dare not become comfortably numb in this late hour.  I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.

    Psalm 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”

    Proverbs 30:8-9 “Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:  Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” 

    http://standeyo.com/NEWS/08_USA/080315.prep.now.html  This is a link to a report at Steve Quayles site admonishing all to prepare for the days ahead.  This situation is far more serious than most of us realize. 

    http://www.time.com/nation/article/0,8599,1722537,00.html  This is a report that reveals the apathy of most Americans concerning the erosion of cival liberties.

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    Rapturepalooza

    March 14, 2008

     I John 3:2-3  “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”  And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

    What an incredible passage to start the day off with.  Three things of note are found here.  First, we cannot imagine what it will be like for this corruption to put on incorruption and to no longer have a linear perspective on things.  The old nature that dwells in our members to we must die daily to will be gone forever.  Second, when Christ shall appear, we shall see him and be like him.  Death shall be swallowed up in life and, as is made note of in I Thessalonians 4:17 “so shall we ever be with the Lord.”  There will never be another moment in which we will be physically absent from the presence of the Lord Jesus.  (He is with us always; even now, and we have the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, abiding within.) 

    I Thessalonians 4:18  “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”  (WooHoo!)

    The third element of the initial passage is more revealing of a persons heart; whether they are truly loving longing for the return of Jesus or simply going through a religious facade.  “Every man that has this hope in him purifieth himself,even as he is pure.”  If we’re truly in Christ and longing to be with him, we’ll strive to lay aside anything and everything that would cause separation.  If we love him, we’ll desire to keep his commandments, and his commandments are definately “not grievous.”  When we have our heart and treasure set in heaven, our conversation and decisions here will be reflective of this and those around us will take note.  They’ll know if we truly believe what we’re proclaiming and when tribulation comes they’ll know that what we have is real.   Our God is not just a “fair-weathered friend; he’s the Creator of all that is and can sustain us in the midst of the most intense of circumstances. 

    If a person truly loves Jesus and, from their heart, let go of the worlds trappings, they will have it settled in their heart to remain faithful to him; regardless of what may come to pass on this earth.  They will not fear what man can do to them because they are “willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”  They will go forth with the understanding that Gods grace will be sufficient for any circumstance.  In fact, Isaiah 59:19 came to mind as I was typing the previous sentence.  This post is about to enter some territory which some may find troubling and even controversial.  Before going there, however, I want to offer this following link:

    http://www.geocities.com/doxa.geo/appear.html   

    This is a writing entitled “Are You Longing for Christs Appearing?”  It expounds on four reasons that we should be longing for the return of Jesus and offers five observable traits of those who are watching. 

    Revelation 3:3  “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent.  If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know the hour I will come on thee.”

    In this passage, Jesus is telling the saints at sardis to repent of their iniquities because he can come upon them suddenly.  None of us know when our final work in this life will be complete and we are called out of here.  A person who is truly watching will be mindful of this and avoid compromising situations in which they would not want to be in at Christs appearing.  While most will acknowledge that we’re at the end of the age, we may not be among those who are present upon the earth when Jesus returns and sends forth the angels into the four corners of the earth to gather those who are born of the Spirit. 

    In April of 2004, I reached a monumental moment in my walk with the Lord Jesus.  I came to accept a doctrinal stance that, beforehand was “simply unthinkable.”  The idea of going through tribulation or the period of time in which the man of sin is executing his season was simply over the top.  As a result, I clung to a pre-tribulation rapture doctrine; placing more confidence in an event than in the Lord Jesus.  In April 0f 2004, after much pondering and revisiting scriptural references, I came before the Lord in prayer with “Lord Jesus; if this is true, these events will play out whether I believe them or not.  Please prepare me for such a time; if this is something that we will have to witness.”  (or words to that effect as it was 47 months ago) 

    Since that moment, I’ve had unbelievable peace concerning the end of the age; even though I’m convinced that we’re going to see a time like none other in history.  If our trust is in the Lord Jesus; if we are truly loving him and not the world, the enemy will have no power over us.  The grace of God will be sufficient for any situation; even the ones that may seem unbearable now.  (Matthew 10:19-22)  This post has run a lot longer than I anticipated, so I’ll briefly address a little of why I believe the rapture is a post-tribulation event.  One reason is found in the following:

    Revelation 16:13-14  “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.  For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”

    Here the armies of the world are being gathered to the battle of Armageddon.  The very next verse seems impossible in the face of the events taking place on the earth, and yet, here it is.

    Revelation 16:15  “Behold, I come as a thief.  Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame.” 

    As the battle of armageddon is about to come to pass, the saints are given this admonishment.  “Jesus is returning; watch and keep your garments.”  These words are not for those who have taken the mark as they have already sealed their destiny.  Jesus stated in Luke 9:27 that “there be some standing here, which shall not taste death, till they see the kingdom of God.”  This should not cause us to become fearful; only to get close to Jesus as he is our strong tower and has never failed.  I can say with the utmost of accuracy, that I have far more peace today than I’ve ever had in the past.  I watch events unfolding in the natural realm and they don’t bring fear.  Rather, they cause me to desire a quiet place where I can be with the Lord.  Our hope is in Jesus Christ; not in the events taking place on a world that is reserved to be burned.  “To live is Christ and to die is gain.”

    I’m approaching 1300 words, so I’ll list scriptural references at the bottom as to why I’m convinced of this issue.  I hesitate to even post this and while this has been in my mind for over a year, I know that it’s a topic that may not be well received.  My fear is that many are unwitingly counting so heavily on being removed from the world scene prior to these events that they’re not preparing spiritually for that which they may have to face.  For this reason, I’m finally offering up my thoughts on this topic, however, we “all” see through a glass darkly and any such considerations should be taken to the Lord in prayer.   There’s a partial list of passages following this post that relate to this topic.  (Some I’ve mentioned often) In short, we shouldn’t be too concerned with “when” but be ready “whenever.  If we’re ready “whenever,” the “when” will no longer be troublesome.  I wish to all, a blessed day in Jesus.

    Daniel 7:19-25 (makes war with the saints) Daniel 8:23-25 (shall destroy the mighty and holy people) Matthew 24:29-31 (sound of a trumpet) I Corinthians 15:52-52 (last trump) I Thessalonians 4:16-17 (with the trump of God) II Thessalonians 2:1-4 (great falling away; man of sin revealed)  Revelation 13:10 (patience of the saints while the mark is issued)  Revelation 14:12-18 (angels reap those in Christ.  This single passage needs a post to cover adequately)  Revelation 15:2 (saints who were victorious over the the beast and his mark) Revelation 20:4 (those who were beheaded for the witness of Jesus reign with him for a thousand years) 

    http://handofhelp.com/vision_56.php  This tells of a vision that was given to Michael Boldea on October 30, 2007.  The hour is late indeed. 

    http://floatingaxhead.com  This is new to the blogroll.  He (Scott) has some notable observations about trends in the church and in society at large.

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    “Axle Grim” (trouble in Dauch world)

    March 12, 2008

    Psalm 118:8-9  “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.  It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.”

    Scritptural truths to which all who know the Lord will, with one accord, shout “Amen! Woohoo! Preach it!”  Without a doubt, it is “far greater” to trust in God who is from everlasting, to everlasting, and in whom is no variance or turning, as opposed to placing confidence in the chariots of Egypt.  Yet for many, these concepts remain in the realm of theological ponderings.  It’s easy to proclaim “The Lord will provide” when everything is going smooth, the cupboard is full, and a steady income extends out beyond the horizon.  From a real-time vantage point, the institutions of flesh can appear as solid as the firmament, leaving those who depend upon them ill-prepared for the time when the realization emerges that “the Egyptians are men, and not God; and their horses flesh, and not spirit.” 

    To a degree, (probably a greater degree than I would care to admit) I’ve been able to plan ahead; knowing that a particular amount of income would be waiting for us at the end of the work week.  As such, writing about times of trying or events to take place at the end of the age have been uneventful.  It’s easy to blog about Job 13:15, Psalm 91, Daniel 11:32-35, Matthew chapter 24, and Revelation 13:7-10 when the status quo is holding up and “all’s well” in the theater of atoms.  However, when the observable institutions of sustainance begin to come apart, we then find out if we truly believe the truths from the word of God or if we’re still engaging in the realm of theologies.  Richard Wurmbrand addressed this issue like this:

    “God is the truth.  The bible is the truth about the truth.  Theology is the truth about the truth about the truth.  A good sermon is the truth about the truth about the truth about the truth.  It is not ‘the truth.’  The Truth is God alone.  Around this truth there is scaffolding of words and theologies, and of exposition.  None of these is of any help in times of suffering.  It is only the Truth Himself who is of help, and we have to penetrate through sermons, through theological books, through everything which is ‘words’ and be bound up with the reality of God Himself.”

    While Richard is addressing the topic of the underground church, the same holds true for any trial that we face.  Our trust in the Lord Jesus must go past rhetorical wranglings and be a confidence from the heart; that he truly is with us always and can provide a table in the wilderness.  We can rattle off scripture verses until the cows come home, but if were not throughly convinced of the truths they convey, we’ll be unprepared for upheaval.  Trials will reveal to us where we are lacking and as such, the minor trials that we face today, we should learn from and rejoice that the Lord is preparing us for the days ahead.   Those who tarry until sudden destruction comes upon the face of the earth will find no space to suddenly “become spiritual.”

    Romans 5:5  “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  And patience, experience; and experience hope:  And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

    Here’s another quote from Richard Wurmbrand and, once again, while he’s speaking of underground work, the spiritual truths apply to any situation that a saint may find themselves in; be it an intense season of tumultuous goings on, or merely a shifting of the status quo:

    “The preperation for underground work is deep spiritualization.  As we peel an onion in preparation for its use, so God must ‘peel’ from us what are mere words, sensations of our enjoyments in religion, in order to arrive at the reality of our faith.  Jesus has told us ‘that whosoever will follow’ Him will have to “take up their cross,’ and He Himself, showed how heavy this cross can be.  We have to be prepared for this.”  (A link to this entire message is on the page Great Posts from Other Sites at the sixth link from the top.)

    For me, a changing of seasons is at hand.  As mentioned before, our plant is in the midst of a labor dispute and I’m on the side that has to hold a “UAW on strike” sign in the middle of the night while huddled over a burning barrel.  (Only 4 hours every six days; it’s like a vacation.  I love being home)  Yet uncertainty is in the air.  The previous wage is forever gone, and it appears that American Axle CEO Richard Dauch is planning to close the two forging plants in Detroit and Buffalo.  Their product, which is shipped to plants like ours for machining and assembling into parts for GM, will now be produced in China.  The employees from the two forging plants; most of whom have far more senority than I, can transfer to Three Rivers and bump us out.  It’s a moment to find out if I truly believe all of the ominous-sounding posts that I’ve placed here over the past 18 months.

    Philippians 3:15  “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”

    To be one hundred percent honest, I’m rejoicing.  Rejoicing in that, while the season ahead is laced with uncertainty, it is, nonetheless, a changing of the season and a time to “be still and know that God is.”  To know that our confidence isn’t in the institutions of this temporal world, but in the living God who inhabits eternity.  (Isaiah 57:15)  I’ve heard testimonies of those who arrived at a place where they had nothing left in this world to the point of not knowing where their next morsel would come from and it became the most defining moment in their life.  Such a situation is undoubtedly unpleasant at the time; especially when an entire family is in play, but it’s an opportunity to move beyond the realm of words and into true faith in the Lord Jesus.  As the old saying goes, “faith isn’t faith until it’s the only thing that you’re holding on to.” 

    Well, I wasn’t planning to post this morning, but as has been the case on so many mornings, I’m sitting at the computer while the goats are waiting to be fed.  Incidentally, the title comes from a most obscure souce.  When I was in high school, we had a foreign exchange student from Germany named “Axel Grimm” and for some reason, the name has stuck with me.  And yet I view the situation as being far from grim.  I truly believe that the Lord is placing everyone who trusts him into the place where they need to be as the end time senario is unfolding before us.  In all things, we must maintain an eternal perspective.  Whatever we’re going through or will soon be going through; it’s only for a season.  A VERY SHORT season.   I wish to all, a blessed day in Jesus.

    Philippians 4:6-7  “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  

    http://mikeboldea.blogspot.com/2008/03/different-gospel.html   This is a post by Michael Boldea that examines the dangers of being led astray by another gospel; primarily one that causes undue confidence in the flesh.  These are times of unprecidented deception and as such, I wanted to make mention of this post. 

    http://billphillips.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/the-true-story-of-st-patrick-2/  This post tells about one whom we remember every year on March 17, however know very little about.  It’s a tale of faithfulness to God in the midst of trying circumstances.

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    “Silent as the Grave”

    March 8, 2008

    Luke 16:27-28  “Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my fathers house:  For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come to this place of torment.”

    Anyone familiar with scripture will recognize this passage as being the plea of the rich man who died in his iniquity.  (Luke 16:19-31)  He was a man who had it all in life, but never regarded the Holy One of Israel.  Now, in everlasting torment with no hope, he remembers his five brothers who are still “living it up” on the surface.  They are completely unaware of his situation; despite all of the warnings from scripture.  At the rich mans funeral, they probably shared memories of happier times and comforted each other with phrases like “he’s in a better place now.”  And yet one must wonder; did any of them take the opportunity to consider their own standing with God?  Or did they simply go their way, allowing the mists of time to heal their wounds and bury any thoughts about the hereafter.  This is not a parable as  Jesus mentions Lazarus by name.  He doesn’t mention the name of the rich man who has become an anonymous proverb for every subsequent generation.

    Luke 16:31  “And he said unto him, If they hear not moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

    Many of us fail to grasp the seriousness of this.  We see tragedies unfolding all around us as souls are continuously passing from the scene, and yet, many remain obligated to their status quo; too consumed with the business of the day to ponder such things.  For those who are outside the household of faith, we can understand why this is so as the enemy has blinded their eyes with customized packages of divertions; each one “taylor made” for a specific captive.  They will grieve fervently when a loved one is taken from them, however, unless the Lord opens their eyes, the confrontation with mortality will, most likely, not result in considerable ponderings.  As time passes, they will return to a form of “life as usual” and any seed planted while the event was current will be stolen away by the enemy. 

    I remember my brother-in-laws eulogy last August, in which the plan of salvation was presented, in no uncetain terms, to those in attendance.  Pastor Bishop planted salvation through Jesus Christ into a very well put together memorial message.  Yet I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone “heard it” other than my wife for whom this event  became a monumental turning point.   (The funeral was HUGE!  Family, co-workers friends; you name it.  It was the largest funeral that I’ve ever been to)  When a person is spiritually blinded, they are incapable of grasping the seriousness of this issue; despite the universal understanding that every one of us have a departure time.   Ernie passed away very suddenly, without warning.  He simply stopped along the highway to take a quick nap and never awakened.  Fourteen years prior, he gave his heart to Jesus and is now in glory awaiting the rest of us who are in Christ. 

    In recent years, a troubling trend has been taking place.  A trend that only exacerbates the problem of spiritual blindness.  Our media unwittingly does much to make light of death.  Movies and video games are preseted in which death is simulated throughout and for many who gravitate toward such material, an “immunity” to serious thoughts about such matters is gradually built up.  This continual imagery of death, promiscuity, and lawlessness, along with the plethura of medications that people are on these days partially explains the explosion of senseless crimes that our culture is faced with.  Thirty years ago, horrific crimes were few and very far between.  Now it’s almost weekly or even daily.  This is what happpens to a nation that seeks to put God out of its rememberance. 

    Matthew 10:21  “And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.”

    Proverbs 29:18  “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”

    All around us, people are perishing because they don’t seriously consider salvation through Jesus Christ.  Tragically, people can also perish because of saints who don’t have a vision either.  Far too many of us have become comfortable in our religious routine and fail to grasp the seriousness of this.  There’s a tendancy for us to go about our lives as though tomorrow will be much like the day at hand and all of those around us who are unsaved will still be here.  We go about our business, building, collecting, marrying, taking up a myriad of causes, and become “silent as the grave” insofar as the gospel is concerned.  I’m guilty in this area and to be honest, I feel inadequate to even bring this up.  Yet we must face the seriousness of this, get in close to Jesus, and be genuine ambassadors for him.  Every unsaved person, while in their unregenerated state, is a needless tragedy waiting to happen; one for which there is no reset button or second time around. 

    If we grasp this matter as we should, we’ll do everything possible to reach those who are headed for an eternity apart from God.  Concerns over things with no eternal significance, such as careers, sports teams, political banterings, home remodeling projects, golf outings, and anything that we do to keep ourselves from being bored, will take a very distant back.  Without a doubt, to live is Christ and to die is gain.  I pray that all of us would come to a place where our all is on the altar and our foremost prayer is “thy will be done.”  This can be a frightening concept at first because it requires us to be willing to let go of anything that the Lord would have us let go of.  But when we arrive in such a place the absolute peace, despite everything taking place around us, is incredible.  Loving not the world is a statement, not of legalism, but of complete liberty. 

    Provrbs 14:25  “A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.”

    Mark 16:15  “And he said unto them, Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”

    Well, it’s time to go for now.  Ironically, this post came to mind yesterday, while I was having a moment of laziness.  Flipping through a number of channels, I came across a documentary about Janis Joplin; a young and very talented lady who is now in eternity.  I parked there for a moment, and listened to her interview, where she talked as though “everythings alright” It was only months before she passed away and I was grieved because of what could have been.  Like so many, she had everything going for her, but on the night when her soul was required, it all stayed right here.  I’m failing to find adequate words to convey the urgency of getting the words of life out while the window of opportunity is open.  Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost.  Until next time, I wish to all, a blessed weekend in Jesus.