Archive for May, 2008

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Lest Thou Think an Evil Thought

May 29, 2008

I Peter 4:8 “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”

Last evening, I came across a must-read posting at New Wine Ministry which starts out by discussing the unimaginable turmoil that’s ahead of us as our faith is to be tried in ways that few of us can comprehend. It offers a warning concerning the dangers of harboring contrary attitudes which war against the soul. In these times of ever-increasing astonishment, those who have been lukewarm; sitting on the fence with no oil in their lamps will be overwhelmed by the events coming to pass upon the earth.  Even the most spiritual of saints will have to keep their hearts with all diligence as the great shaking unfolds. It’s a time of purifying the saints and a sifting out of that which appears authentic but isn’t. The second paragraph in the posting linked to above reads as follows:

Relationships in the body are straining and being pressed into tribulation. Spirits of gossip, slander and backbiting are working overtime to destroy once solid relationships. Marriages are being hit hard and evil spirits are seeking control in the midst of chaos. I cannot tell you how real the spiritual battle is right now against everything that is holy, pure, and true. It is severe to say the least and the saints who are doing what is right are the targets of much hatred.”

A time of unprecidented upheaval lies ahead of us and even now, a chill wind blows signifying the time in which everything that can be shaken will be shaken. As the money fails, catastrophic geological events transpire in divers places, and judgment is rendered upon all nations that forget God, we can expect most to resort to an an “every-man-for-himself” mentality. Many folks, unable to cope with things coming to pass upon the earth and seeking to save their lives in this world will resort to unimaginable things; even to the detrement of those closest to them.  When everything that a person has believed in and held in high esteem is swept away, their actions will be most unpredictable.  Jesus warned us of a time in which children shall rise up against parents, brother will deliver up the brother to death, and natural affection will no longer restrain people from commiting blatant acts of atrocity and betrayal.

Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

In other words, there used to be love, however because of external circumstances, it has ceased to be so.  Even now, many seem to have no moral compass as they go about doing what seems right in their own eyes. This will intensify as the end of the age draws closer.  Betrayal at the hands of close friends and closer relatives will be commonplace and probably even rewarded by the ambassadors of unrighteousness. In this environment of chaos and deception, when everyone around us is a potential traitor, we will have to remain very close to Jesus and sensitive to the Holy Spirit (much more so than most of us are presently) if were to not be caught up in the fray. The paragraph above from New Wine Ministry reveals how subtly contrary attitudes can slip in unaware and, if not repented of, can lead one to shipwreck.  (Not to mention the damage done to those in the ambience who may have had ears to hear) Never has it been more imperative to love the Lord Jesus wholeheartedly and to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” 

I apolagize for once again offering up a “doom-and-gloom” post, but I really fear that most of us (including myself) are unprepared for what’s coming. We study scripture, watch events unfold and convince ourselves that our hearts are so firmly fixed on the eternal world to come that we’re ready for anything. I truly believe that no matter how watchful we are, all of us are going to experience astonishment to one degree or another. If we’re not abiding close to the Lord, that astonishment will lead to very bad decision making. Last night, I heard about a vision in which christians were being gathered up and sent off to concentration camps. This brother saw them in lines and nearly all of them were thinking “This can’t happen here. This is America.”  The saints in this vision suddenly found themselves in a situation that they hadn’t contemplated. (I have no way of verifying the vision, but the principal that’s highlighted in the telling of it is noteworthy nonetheless.)

This will seem off topic, but it exemplifies the importance of maintaining an eternal perspective and not allowing contrary attitudes to fester.  Last week the strike at AAM ended and we took a colossal hit insofar as wage concessions. Richard Dauch, the CEO is reportedly gloating that he achieved every objective and is now planning to cut the work force by more than half with most new work being placed overseas. There’s a lot of animosity on the part of many employees as AAM has been profitable and Richard Dauch has a net worth in the hundreds of millions. Yet while there’s a temptation to be discouraged by the appearance of unadulterated greed, (I have had to wrestle with this) a much bigger picture is in play. Richard Dauch needs Jesus. His sins were paid for on Calvary just as mine were. The tragedy isn’t lost wages or greed. The real battle; the outcome of which has eternal ramifications is that of souls who need Jesus. We tend to look at the physical sideshows and allow attitudes to manifest as a result of those sideshows. This next passage is as profound as it is familiar.

Matthew 5:44-45 “But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless therm that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” 

Something else takes place as we begin to pray for one who seems determined to be at odds. As we lift them up in prayer, our attitude changes. It’s unavoidable. We begin to see them not as a thorn, but as a priceless eternal soul who is in the same perdicament that we were once in. We begin to see them as the Lord sees them and that’s when strongholds come down. I’m minded to keep Richard Dauch in prayer because every soul is priceless.  (II Peter 3:9)  Well it’s late and I should be going for now. It’s currently 10:15 in Portland and so I’ll try to call the Peraltas before heading off to bed. Until the next time, I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.

7:35 am. Please check out this 2008 Dream also posted at the new Wine Ministry website. Discernment is always a must on such postings, but these are incredible times. Last night as I was writing, I was thinking about the times in which we find ourselves. Each of us have been chosen for this time. We should not be fearful of the events unfolding before us but rather rejoice in that the Lord Jesus Christ is soon to make his glorious appearing.

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Checking In 5-26-08 (0815)

May 26, 2008

Greetings in Jesus name.  I apolagize for the extended period of silence, however, the past couple of weeks have seen some unexpected circumstances. My wife had routine outpatient surgery on May 13th which, a few days later, resulted in an infection. This led to additional surgery and an unexpected stay at Borgess Hospital in Kalamazoo.  She is home now and recovering, but the complications were potentially life threatening.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but the secondary surgery was performed exactly 9 months after her brother Ernie passed away unexpectedly (August 16, 2007) and exactly 18 months after her sister Barb passed away after a prolonged battle with cancer (November 16, 2006) Without a doubt, The Lord holds the breath of life in his hand and he alone determines a persons allotment of days under the sun. (Ernie and Barb both were born again.)

It’s been a very hectic time and I was pondering a departure from the realm of the blogosphere, however, there are so many things on my heart that I’m minded to keep this venue active.  To encourage all who are in Christ to draw closer to him and let go of everything that hinders.  To set our affections squarely on things eternal and to be about our Fathers business while time remains.  We never know when our final breath will arrive and our embodiment of works, done in Jesus name, completed.  Words fail to describe how profoundly this is impressed upon me. Well I’ll be going for now and will return when I can.  I wish to all a blessed Memorial day and a blessed week ahead.

James 4:14 “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

 

 

 

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The Secret Life of the Believer

May 12, 2008

Galatians 1:15-18 “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jersalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.”

The conversion of Paul was so incredible that even in todays secular culture, reference is sometimes made to it.  A person who suddenly alters their course is said to have had a “road to Damascus” experience as, without warning, they seem to have embarked on a path which stands in contrast to their “about” page.  Yet as fascinating as Pauls conversion is, the time following his conversion is equally fascinating.  He didn’t sit through filtered theological instruction from the teachers of the day, but received the gospel by direct revelation from God.  I’m trying to imagine three years of abiding with the Lord in the deserts of Arabia as the Holy Spirit revealed great and mighty things which I knew not.  (WOW!)  Paul was already more familiar with scripture than most of his contemporaries and this had to be an awesome time to put it mildly.  To spend three years of hearing from God with relatively little interferance from the ambience is something that very few of us can relate to.  (Luke 24:15-27 came to mind as I was typing this out.)

We live in an age like none other with dangers at every turn.  One such danger is the hecticity of daily life which makes it challenging to set aside quality time with the Lord Jesus.  Many today allow the cares of this life to prevent them from pursuing an intimate relationship with him.  For those who are watching in these final moments of the age, a variation of this comes into play.  The urgency of the hour is so great that there’s a tendancy to “trim away” at time with the Lord as to be about the furtherance of the gospel.  Even though the word of God will never return void, the lack of time spent with the Lord can leave us woefully unprepared for the battles that lie ahead.  The apostle Paul was chosen of God for a very unique ministry; that of taking the gospel of Jesus Christ far hence into the gentile nations.  Nations which had more gods and philosophies of men than one could number, but had virtually no understanding of the God who created all that is.  The Lord prepared Paul precisely for this mission; opening to him the scriptures which he had studied from his youth and bringing him into a level of intimacy that would be critical to endure the upcomming trials.

Matthew 17:21 “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

In this short verse, Jesus explains the importance of how we spend our “in between” time. For many of us, schedules are so packed full that our time between events may be nothing more than a few minutes here and there.  (This coming Saturday, I have to be in three places at the same time.  It should be interesting.) Yet we need to maximize such moments; even when they’re nothing more than a few minutes in the shower, standing in line at Wal-Mart, or the drive from work to home. When driving, I rarely have a radio on as it’s a perfect time to be with the Lord Jesus, to lift up those who are outside the ark of safety and pray fervently for those who face circumstances which appear overwhelming.  Time with the Lord is more important than air, and if we truly love him, we’ll actively seek out precious moments in his presence; even to the point of rearranging our schedule . Our secret life with the Lord Jesus is much more telling of where we are spiritually than how involved we are with the church or how many bumper stickers decorate our vehicle. Peter Wittman once explained it like this: “Each of us are, at this present time, as close to the Lord as we have chosen to be.”

I Kings 17:1 “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these three years, but according to my word.”

The ministry of Elijah is, to put it mildly, fascinating; beginning with the way that he simply “appears” in scripture. Anyone who has read of this prophet will be aware of how the Lord shut up heaven for three years, how the Lord consumed the sacrifice in front of 450 prophets of Bael along with 400 prophets of the groves, and how he was taken away in a chariot; thereby becoming only the second person to not see death. Yet these events are few and far between when compared to the time that Elijah was with the Lord; fellowshipping and hearing the still small voice.  Because of his closeness to the Lord, he was always at the right place at the right time and had the right words for the right people.  When we try to go it alone or rely on mechanics, it’s more “hit and miss” but when we spend time with the Lord (This need cannot be emphasized enough) we’ll know his will and those around us will take knowledge of us, that we have been with Jesus. This next passage concerns the moment when Elijah meets Obadiah, the governor of Ahabs house and tells him to announce his arrival.

I Kings 18:10-12 “As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not. And now thou sayest, Go tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here. And it shall come to pass, as soon as I am gone from thee, that the spirit of the LORD shall carry thee whither I know not; and so when I am come to tell Ahab, and he cannot find thee,he shall slay me: but I fear the LORD from my youth.”

One gets the impression that encounters with Elijah were rare.  It must have been frustrating for Ahab to be unable to find the man whom he blamed for the drought. I can imagine Ahab saying to himself “Hmm…If I were a prophet, where would I hide?” He used the concepts of logic (relentless searching) in trying to find a man who moved in the spiritual realm.  Obadiahs concern was understandable. (I wonder if this would explain why the men fell backwards when Jesus said “I am he.” They had sought so many opportunities to take him that when they found him and he simply said “I am he” it totally bewildered them.)  The words of Obadiah reveal that Elijah was only located when the Lord permitted it.  We should also remember this when the end time senario progresses to the point where a mark will be required to participate in the worlds economy.  Just as God sustained Elijah in the midst of the turmoil of his day, he can sustain us in the midst of unimaginable tribulation such as the world has never seen. He alone determines when our time here is complete. 

Well, this post has a few items missing, but it’s already too long, and I have to attend to some other matters.  With events in the world going as they are, we cannot allow ourselves to be carnally minded.  If we are in Christ, wherever we are, he is with us there also and we need to maintain a continual relationship with him. If I’m walking down the road with my best friend, we’re probably going to talk about an array of things.  To walk down the road but not communicate would call into question the validity of the friendship.  Jesus is with us 24/7 and we should strive to be in continuous fellowship with him; not just a certain times or under certain conditions.  I’m writing this to myself as I face as many distractions as most others face.  Well, I’ll be going now.  I wish to every saint, a blessed day in Jesus. 

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Spiritual Exhortation (links)

May 9, 2008

Romans 8:6 “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”

Galatians 5:16 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.”

I John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

During the last couple of days, I’ve come across some very needful posts relating to being spiritual.  One thing that has really been on my heart lately is the need for the saints; all of us, to draw close to the Lord Jesus and let go of everything that drags us back toward the baser elements of life.  This is not an option; it’s a matter of life and death if were to withstand the onslaught of deception and persercution that lies ahead.  The following links will encourage every saint who loves our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, to let go of every weight and sin while striving to be ever closer to him.  We absolutely “need this!  Please check out these following posts:

No Other Name The first five posts are written by Phil and discuss the baptism of the Holy Spirit.  This is so important that I’m compelled to list each one separately. 

Speaking in Tongues and benefits

Speaking in Tongues and Benefits pt. two

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit pt. one

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit pt. two

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit pt. three  Please take time to read through these posts along with the following ones:

A Faith That remains Susan at “Faithwalk”

Seeking After Signs? Frank at “Scottish Warriors for Christ”

I Bore You on Eagles Wings Frank at “Scottish Warriors for Christ”

The Heart of God Peter at “The Age to Come”

I would encourage everyone to visit the above links and to visit to the blogs from which they are found as often as time permits.  Archived in each one is an incredible amount of wisdom.  Most of all, I would encourage every saint to look to the Lord Jesus at all times.  To get so close to him that the worlds theatrics become not a hinderance, but rather, an indicator that our redemption is drawing nigh.  Every knee is going to bow and every tongue is going to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. I wish to all, a blessed weekend in Christ.

Jeremiah 33:3 “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knewest not.”

Colossians 1:9- “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;”

 

 

 

 

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Pieces of Eight

May 6, 2008

Mark 16:15-16 “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.”

This is as serious as it gets.  A persons eternal destination hinges on whether they accept Jesus Christ, who paid for their sins, as Savior and Lord, or reject him and seek to enter in through a window.  As such, all who are born of the Spirit should be actively seeking opportunities to present the gospel to those around us.  Although we all occupy a diversity of positions and have different callings, it is urgent to reach the lost while they are still abiding in the valley of decision.  The following is a list of eight elements that are critical as we seek to present the gospel of Jesus Christ.  All of them are very basic, and were impressed upon me over a period of months, but their importance is such that they can never be over-emphasized.  While they were given in the context of going into the streets to share the gospel, most of them apply to any situation where saints are in contact with people who are still outside the ark of safety.

( 1 ) We must go forth in the power of the Holy Ghost. This should be obvious and yet we live in an age where ten step programs are often chosen over allowing God to be God.  If we go forth under the guidance of our own strength, we’re certain to make missteps, say the wrong things at the wrong time and ultimately run the risk of scattering instead of gathering.  With souls hanging in the balance, we should be walking continuously in the Spirit and striving to be ever more sensitive to his leading.  When we reach a place where we are trusting completely in his guidance and let go of our own carnal reasoning (which is based upon the worlds methods of analysis) we’ll be in the right place, will speak the right words at the right time, and those whose hearts the Lord has prepared will receive exactly what they need.

I Peter 4:11 “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

( 2 ) “There’s no such thing as a perfect opportunity.” This is an area where I struggle.  Reliance upon what we perceive to be the “right moment” to share the gospel can lead to a host of missed divine appointments.  While returning from Florida, we stayed overnight in Kimbal Tennessee when I had a disturbing dream.  There was this guy in a whirlpool about to be sucked under and I found myself trying to share Jesus with him.  He then went under and the words of “no perfect opportunity” came forth.  This hits me more than words can express as we begin to fathom just how disasterous not walking in the Spirit can be for those on the outside who need to be reached.  Trying to “figure out” what to say and when to say it instead of being atuned to the Holy Spirit can have everlasting consequences. 

I Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”

( 3 ) The love of God for the lost.  Regardless of how contrary a person may seem, it’s imperative to realize the immense love that God has for that person. (II Peter 3:9) Every person that we come into contact with, it’s imperative to remember that they are created in the image of God and that their sins were paid for when Jesus went to an old rugged cross.  It’s imperative to understand that, regardless of how they respond to us, they are not the enemy.  Rather, they are being held captive by the ones who kept not their first estate and are reserved in everlasting chains under darkness.  The enemy can do nothing but play spoiler and he continuously works to keep the lost in darkness; lest they should they repent of their sins, ask Jesus to save them and receive everlasting life. 

Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

I John 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

( 4 ) “Don’t just put on a show.”  Without a doubt, we should “never” do something for theatrical purposes.  Nor should we minister just so that we can say to ourselves “we did such and such.”  Anything that we do should be done in Jesus name out of a sincere love for him and a love for our neighbor.  Sincerety toward the Lord Jesus Christ will result in our doing what the Lord has placed on our heart; even if nobody ever finds out or we never see the end of the matter. 

Matthew 6:3-4 “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.” 

( 5 ) “Jesus is Real.” This falls ito the area of examining ourselves whether we be in the faith.  We must be convinced beyond any doubt that the gospel is real and not just a theological concept. The Jesus that we share with others will be reflective of how we view him.  If we “know” that he can save the vilest of sinners and heal the sick, this is the Jesus that we will share with the world.  Anything less than complete confidence in this will become manifest at the most critical of moments.  (such as when UN trucks stop in front of our houses at 4:00am and soldiers take us to the detention centers.) This next verse is a warning to all of us.

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

( 6 ) We must be sincere and authentic.  One night, while I was pondering a number of things this was dropped in my heart: “many people have been seriously damaged by the actions of professing christians.”  We must “be real” as we share the gospel and our lives must match our profession.  Disingenuousness will only cause more damage, but when we love our neighbor as ourselves, it will become evident to all around us.  Once again, we must walk in the Spirit and allow him to work through us. 

II Corinthians 6:3-10 (This post is already way too long, so here’s the reference.)

( 7 ) Our office is 24/7.  One day, while driving to Elkhart, it was dropped into my heart that spreading the gospel in the streets is but a small component of my overall responsibility.  Reaching the lost and proclaiming truth doesn’t have a “season” or “location.” It’s continuous  and as such we “must” walk in the Spirit at all times.  Downtime in the realm of contending for the faith can be disasterous.  

II Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffring and doctrine.”

( 8 ) Don’t use the results of others as a gauge for effectiveness.  One night, Susan was telling me about how large the street ministry in Protland has grown.  Later on I was thinking about this and how awesome it is when I was reminded not to compare what transpires here (Kalamazoo and Elkhart) with what’s transpiring elsewhere.  Every venue is different and effectiveness is multi-faceted.  Last week Pastor Greg was telling about a time when they were out.  They came across a man who was intoxicated and contrary when one of the brothers stuck a tract in guys pocket.  Three years later, the guy found the tract while going through some boxes and got saved.  He then managed to get a hold of one of the brothers who had been out that night to tell what had happened.   We must go forth as the Lord leads, planting and watering.  Ultimately God gives the increase. 

II Timothy 2:25-26 “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”

Well, this is probably the longest post ever on this blog.  These eight items are very basic, but needful as every day souls are in the balance and every night serves to remind us that “one less day now remains between now and the last day.”  David Meyers May 2008 newsletter is out and can be found here.   I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.