Archive for August, 2008

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Gallery of Souls

August 23, 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.

Most of us encounter strangers on a daily basis; be it in the market place, on the street, during public assemblies and in a host of other venues too numerous to mention. For the most part, we pass by and perhaps have a brief interraction such as a busines transaction or a casual “hello” before continuing with “our” plan for the day. We don’t know their name, where they come from, or what their dreams are. We have no idea if their life has been one of relative comfort or one of repeated chaos such as a lingering illness, lacking of basic necessities, or abuse at the hands of others. Their attire may offer hints as to their current occupation or interests and their demeanor may offer clues concerning their personality or their general outlook on things. Their history concerning spiritual matters will probably not be forthcoming in a non-interractive encounter; even if they have an appearance of belonging to a certain sect. We’ll not know if they have ever been truly presented with the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12) and if so, what their response was. 

Another unknown will be what’s transpiring in a persons heart. As I was writing the above paragraph, Brother Andrews book “Secret believers” came to mind which tells of citizens in a predominantly muslim country coming to Jesus under the most incredible of circumstance. One man obtained a bible and began reading the gospels. While reading the sermon on the mount he became fascinated with Jesus and his teachings. The moment of truth came one Friday when he was at the mosque. After prayer, he asked “how come we never talk about Isa? (Jesus) I mean, when I read about him, I see God.” Needless to say, nobody saw it coming, except the Lord who opened the eyes of this man at a most interesting moment. When we meet another, they may appear to be a diehard muslim, talk of being a die-hard agnostic, or what have you. Yet they could be on the verge of having their eyes opened and not even be aware of it. Truly God opens the blinded eyes and gives the increase.

Despite all of the unknown variables, there are certain things that we will know about even the strangest of strangers.

( 1 ) They are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God.

( 2 ) God loves them and desires to have a relationship with them. He has the hairs on their head numbered and is interested in every aspect of their lives.

( 3 ) They have sinned and come short of Gods glory because all of us have sinned. God is completely holy and cannot allow sin in his presence.

( 4 ) Jesus Christ paid for their sins when he shed his blood on Calvary. Their debt of sin has been paid for and salvation is theirs for the asking.

( 5 ) They will abide; in one of two places, forever. When a person comes into the world, the fabric of the everlasting is forever altered. There will never be another moment in which that person doesn’t exist.

This all sounds very elementary, and yet these are things that we don’t consider as we should. If we did, we all would be about our Fathers business with a fervor like never before. (Huge “note to self” on this one!) We would, in effect, turn the world upside down everywhere we set foot. Everything in this world; the monuments, the breathtaking landscapes, the precious metals, the manifestations of better living through science and what have you will someday cease to be. But when we look into the eyes of another person, we are looking at “forever.” Not only will that individual remain throughout the eons to come, they will remember all of their encounters here. They will remember their encounter with us and whether or not we told them about Jesus. Every word that we say and every action that we take will either promote gathering to Christ or scattering away. With eternity only a heartbeat away from each of us, it’s imperative to about reching the lost and making the most of every moment.

Over the past two years, many topics have been addressed here of which I felt “completely inadequate” to write about as they touched on shortcomings and faults that I wrestle with. This post will undoubtedly top that list of “inadequates” as I have blown more divine appointments and failed to take advantage of more opportunities than I can even think about. When I think of the sheer volume of strangers that I encounter in a given week; even in a predominantly rural setting, it’s mind numbing. To think of all the times that I was just too busy to even strike up a conversation; let alone bring that conversation to issues of eternal significance is almost too much to bear. This post in intended to stir up the saints; especially the one sitting here, 5 miles west of Constantine Michigan, as “time is simply running out.” Every hour of every day, time runs out for thousands as their journey through the valley of decisions comes to its end.  When we pass one on the street, we do so with no promise that either of us will still be in the land of the living when the sun rises tomorrow morning. 

Proverbs 27:1 “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” 

Today is Saturday, August 23, 2008; a day that will never pass by again. My prayer is that we would be mindful of the shortness of time (not only prophetically but insofar as a lifetime is concerned) and the unfolding tragedies taking place all around us of souls passing into eternity without Jesus. There are souls in eternity this very moment who, just yesterday, were working at their jobs, running errands, mowing the yard, watching television (why, I don’t know) and engaging in all of the activities that consume varying portions of our time. I know a lot of people who are unsaved and each one is a “disaster waiting to happen.”  If this post seems redundant, it’s just that the seriousness of this matter is impossible to over-emphasize.  Again, this post is a huge “note to self” as I have squandered so many opportunities that I’m wrestling with feelings of acute inadequacy in writing this. Nonetheless, it’s been on my heart all week and my prayer is to be more diligent concerning this very important matter.

I wish to all, a blessed weekend in Jesus.   

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

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.” 

August 24,2008 Update (2217) My other blog, Twilight Theater has been re-activated and a new post was placed there earlier today.

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Times of Refreshing

August 16, 2008

Psalm 63:5-8 “My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips: When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.”

It goes without saying that we are living in unusual times. A time that Jesus told us would be unlike any other insofar as the upheaval that will engulf the world prior to his return. And yet, despite an ambience so chaotic that mens hearts will literally fail them for fear, the true saints; those who are 100% persueded that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, will have the peace of God that surpasses all understanding. The definition-evading joy, and confidence that we have in Christ will abide; even when it seems that all the forces of hell have us in the crosshairs. The rivers of living water springing up from within are completely independant of the physical manifestation and completely dependant upon our abiding in Jesus, the True Vine.

Times when we come before the Lord and within moments our entire perspective is adjusted; much like seeing a fuzzy image suddenly come into clear focus. (Psalm 73:16-17) It’s a senario that plays out repeatedly. We can become over-consumed by the affairs of daily responsibilities and allow apprehension creep in concerning issues that have yet to play out. We can go nutty unto sin (anything that is not of faith is sin) as uncertainty concerning various outcomes fills our minds with fear. Yet when we find a place to be with the Lord; be it while driving, working, or even in the shower, it doesn’t take long for those fears to dissipate. We are reminded of who God is, his love for us which is so immense that it defies capture by words, and just how temporal this world is. Suddenly the towering mountains become as ant hills as we place them into the context of the everlasting and we praise God who satisfies always.   

The reverse can happen also if we’re not careful. We can be on a mountaintop when thoughts of an unresolved situation will bring us down in a moment. Last week it happened to me at work. The first part of the day I was rejoicing in the Lord and just having an awesome time. Then around 1:30pm, a potential financial disaster came to mind. I began to think about it wonder if a certain event had taken place that would be physically devastating. Before long I was in a state of worry and even anger over something that was not in my control. (Note: God holds the breath of life in his hand so the truth is that we’re really not in control of anything here) Later on, the concern was eleviated and it was obvious that I had become out of sorts over “thoughts.” Three hours of worry instead of rejoicing in the Lord, praying for others, and being ready to give answer to any who would ask of the hope that is in me. Three hours that are gone forever.

In both instances, the question always arises “why do I do it?” When we get so close to Jesus that all the world is a million miles away we ask “why do I allow things here to rattle me?” Likewise, following instances where we allow ourslves to become rattled, we ultimately will ask “why did I let that get to me?” If we’re focused on this world, the least little sign of uncertainty can keep us awake at night. If we’re looking to Jesus, we will be filled to overflowing; even if everything familiar has been removed. While we all probably wrestle with this to one degree or another, the truth is that we should be continuously looking to Jesus and be continuously refreshed. One particular Monday morning, a brother at work asked me “didn’t you get reenergized at church yesterday?” While I understood the point, the truth is that we should be in a place with the Lord where we are continuously being energized. Here, once again, is the most quoted passage on this blog:

Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him at perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

We’re in times when we need a continual refreshing if we’re to not be overcome by astonishment over the events taking place on the earth. To walk close to Jesus daily; ever striving to draw closer. Ever listening; continuously examining ourselves to ensure that we’ve moved beyond simply professing words of truth and are embracing the truth relayed by the words. In other words, if we’re worried about our ability to provide food for our families this winter when the shortages become manifest, then our belief of Matthew 6:25-34 hasn’t truly progressed beyond the arena of theological rhetoric. If we REALLY believe it, and we’re walking in obediance, we’ll not be shaken by even the most dire of appearances in the natural. I pray that the Lord would plant this deep into our heart of heart; to trust him so completely that “nothing” shakes our confidence. That we will “know” that he can rain manna down from heaven, if need be, to sustain us.

As stated previously, we’re in unusual times. The days are coming to an end where a professing saint can get into a comfort zone and simply partake of the motionology that dominates most fellowships with little desire to dive deep into the things of God. We need to get as spiritual as we can as fast as we can. Last week as we learned of the unfolding situation in Georgia (the country) I “knew” in my spirit that this is just the beginning of many sorrows to come. I listened to our leaders address the situation and it became obvious that they have “no clue” as to what’s really taking place. I remembered a prophecy that I read a few years ago which stated that one form of judgment to come upon this nation would be that of political leaders making really bad decisions. When I read it, I knew in my heart that this would be so and it would appear that this is comng to pass before our eyes. (from every political faction; it’s not a donkey versus elephants game)

Judgment is in the land; even as we place our thoughts in this blogosphere for all of the globalists to monitor.  It’s heartbreaking to see and to know why it’s coming to pass, but it shouldn’t make us fearful. As events unfold, we will need continual refreshing from on high if we’re to stand and not faint. To place “all” of our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, have no confidence in the chariots of Egypt, and love not our lives in this world. For months it’s been really impressed upon me the importance of loving not our lives in this world, but to love God wholeheartedly and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Well, it’s been a long time since I posted in the middle of the night. I was wanting to call the Peraltas tonight, but it’s too late even with the three hour difference in time. It’s late physically, but more importantly its late prophetically. The world as we knew it a mere ten years ago is gone forever and soon a ruler will come on the scene and be wondered after by those who know not God. He will change times and seasons, make war with the saints and prevail against them. The saints will overcome him by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of their testimony, and they will love not their lives unto the death. Sorry for placing so many scripture fragments together, but such is the hour in which we live. Understanding this should cause us to desire, all the more, to get as close to the Lord Jesus as we can. To be filled to overflowing with the Spirit and to be a city set on a hill as the final stragglers enter into the ark of safety.

At some point, the final soul is going to come to Jesus and be saved.

 

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Gazing Into The Distance

August 10, 2008

Ephesians 2:7 “That in the ages to come, he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Jesus Christ.”

When considering that which is to come, there are two distinct types of time frames. The first consists of those things which are right at the door. A good example is found in Luke 2:25-26 where we read of Simeon; a man to whom it was revealed by the Holy Ghost that he would lay eyes on Messiah before he left the land of the living. One can imagine that each morning, he awakened and wondered to himself “is this the day?” Such knowledge; if we embrace it, will directly influence the way that we conduct ourselves. Currently we are witnessing the fulfilment of prophecy on a daily basis. Yet while many declare that they believe Jesus is returning soon, their level of consumption by the affairs of this world suggest that this knowledge hasn’t reached beyond an acedemic level. When we really believe something our actions and words will reflect it.

Luke 12:45-46 “But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.”

The second time frame consists of things afar off. Events which are certain to come to pass, but are so far into the future that they rarely leave the arena of theological discussion. The best known example of this would be the prophet Daniel. While the captivity in Babylon was playing out, he saw the end of the age. When he inquired about the end of these things, was told that they were well beyond his time in the physical realm and that when they came to pass, he would be at rest in his lot. (Daniel 12:13) He understood that his responsibility was to record what had been revealed to him as the information would be very relevant to the saints who were on the earth at the time of the end.

This post is more of a “thinking out loud” pondering of things to come; both near and in the distance. One may wonder what the point is in thinking about things that are beyond the horizon. The primary reason; at least for me, is that such ponderings add clarity to the truth that this world is very temporal and the age to come is eternal. Even if we should currently happen to be the most senior of senior citizens in this world, the truth is that each of us have “just arrived” in the embodiment of the everlasting. Comparing a lifetime with eternity is like trying to measure an atom with a yard stick. It’s but a single vapor upon an ocean without coastlines. Yet the decision made during that time; whether to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, or pursue another way will determine where a person spends their eternity.

The most notable event on the list of things to come is the glorious return of Jesus Christ. We know that this current age is going to grow increasingly darker and chaotic. It will culminate in a period of tribulation so horiffic that unless Jesus returned at the appointed time, there would be nobody left alive, however, for the elects sake, those days shall be shortened. There will be saints on the earth when he returns. They may be isolated with each one feeling “I am alone and they seek my life” but they will maintain the testimony of Jesus during the reign of the beast; regardless of the physical consequences. (Revelation12:11, Revelation 15:1-2)

I wasn’t planning to comment on this, but this is another reason that I believe the rapture is a post-tribulation event. The pre-tribulation model suggests that certain saints were of a carnal nature and missed the Lords return. These folks now have to suddenly become spiritual in a most inhospitable environment and be willing to die for their faith. If one cannot live for Jesus now, they’ll most likely not be willing to die for him in the hour of temptation. Loving our lives in this world is deadly to be sure.

Revelation 19:11 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.”

Jesus return will be seen by everyone dwelling upon the earth. The saints will rejoice as angels are sent to the four corners of the earth to gather the elect. Those who know him not will cry out to the rocks “fall on us!” The forces mustered by the antichrist (Revelation 16:13-14) will be annihilated, Jesus Christ will set foot on the mount of Olives and the period of the millenial reign will begin. A thousand years of heaven on this present world as Jesus Christ reigns and everything is set in order. For generations folks have tried to figure out “how we can all just get along.” Treaties have been forged, cease fires called for, endless speeches, summit meetings, global conferences, and what have you. Yet this world is more violent and contrary than ever. When Jesus returns, there will be “peace on earth” as his reign will be 100% righteous and justice will prevail. No more purchasing of politicians in return of favors and no more media carnivals where two kings can speak lies at one table. What an awesome time the millenial reign of Christ will be.

What will the millenmial reign be like? Certain things we don’t really know such as what the physical climate will be like or how an average day in the life of one living during this time will unfold. What we do know is that the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. We know that the devil will be bound and unable to deceive the nations during this time. The inhabitors of the earth will not be faced with temptation and I wonder if one of our primary tasks will be to prepare them for the time when they will face temptation. We know that the beast and false prophet will begin their eternity in the lake of fire a thousand years ahead of everyone who chose not to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and now must pay a debt of sin that they can never pay. (A debt that was paid for on Calvary, but they chose to neglect this great salvation for which Jesus shed his blood.)

Revelation 20:6 “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

One event has always intrigued me and in the 25 years since being born of the Spirit, I’ve never heard a message on it. In fact, only a passing reference is made to it every once in a while. Yet the scriptural passage is well known.

Revelation 20:7-8 “And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.”

A post-millenial great falling away. This passage gives no insight into the exact amount of time that transpires here; other than that it will be a “short season.” The number of those who fall to deception is going to be such that they will encompass the camp of the saints, as is mentioned in verse 9. This is the devils proverbial “last hurrah” as he is subsequently taken and cast into the lake of fire to be tormented day and night forever, along with the beast and false prophet. We cannot imagine what this will appear as; to see a world where peace and righteousness has resided for a millenia suddenly overrun by by the drumbeats of war against the saints. To see the one who was once the most beautiful angel before pride was found in him, cast into his final abode; surrounded by the billions upon billions that he deceived. To see the heaven and earth flee away as no more place is found for them. It’s a frame of time that remains over a thousand years into the future, and yet such ponderings serve to remind us of what’s important, what’s insignificant, and the pitfalls of temptation.

II Peter 3:13 “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for a new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.”

Revelation 21:4-5 “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.”

Revelation 21:6 “And he said unto me, it is done. I am alpha and omega, the begining and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”

This is a very inadequate addressing of some phenominal events that lie in the future. Regular visits to the final two chapters of Revelation place everything in perspective. We have an awesome eternity; world without ending with the Lord Jesus Christ. Thanks to all who have stopped by this past week. First shift is making it difficult to reply in a timely manner as this household is complex beyond description. Yet all of these things will pass and two hundred years from now, all of us will be in our eternal dwelling. I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.

 

 

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How Great is that Darkness

August 3, 2008

Mark 6:34 “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.’

I John 5:19 “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

Over ther past several years, much has been discussed concerning the ever-darkening spiritual climate that’s prevailant in the world today. It is an occurrance which is foretold of in scripture, and yet, to see it playing out before our eyes is heartbreaking. Ours is a generation that, in large part, appears so far removed from any basis of morality and spiritual understanding that in discussing issues with them, it’s like “oh boy; where do we start.” We’re up against widely held beliefs that seem to make sense, have an all-inclusive warm fuzzy feeling, and show “tolerance” toward those who engage in every form of lifestyle imaginable. Taking a stand for biblical truth, or even basic morality will cause one to be branded narrow-minded, hateful, out of touch, and lacking in compassion. Thus, the time will come (not might) when the beast system will be in full implementation and true christians will be turned in by folks who “sincerely believe” that they are serving the greater good.

Judges 21:25 “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

I Samuel 3:1″And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.”

In his August newsletter, David Meyer made the following statement. “When everybody accepts what everybody else is doing or believing, a new society appears, and all reference points determining right from wrong disappear.” We have reached such a point and one can wonder how long it can be permitted to continue. Our God is longsuffering and not willing for any to perish, but there comes a time when judgment must be rendered. It begins with the church who has embraced every form of wickedness imaginable and extends into the secular world which has rushed to obscure the truth with a complex array of half-truths, new-age concepts, and noble causes which appear innocent, but exclude from their endeavors, the Creator of all that is. This ultimately leads to the denial of our Savior, Jesus Christ, by whom the worlds were created, and who paid for our sins with his own blood.  (There is none righteous)

In addition to spiritual deceptions we are bombarded with an endless parade of gagets that “must be obtained,” pseudo-news broadcasts which cause the simple to feel informed,  and mindless entertainment options; all designed to keep the population stuck in a perpetual world of make believe. I encountered an example of this several days ago in the break room at work. CNN headline news was on, and if a nuclear detonation had taken place in the Persian Gulf that morning, nobody here would know about it. That’s because they had a panel of experts discussing what Brittney Spears should do to turn her life around. (She needs Jesus. Her soul is eternal, and priceless) Not only do many lack the ability to discern right from wrong, they are unable to discern reality from fantasy. I’m convinced that the major news outlets answer to handlers; those in high places with a global agenda, who determine what gets out and how it’s spun.

This lack of discernment and understanding doesn’t reside entirely in the secular world. The stories in recent years of churches condoning sinister lifestyles and questioning issues which are clearly defined in scripture are too numerous to mention. I know of individuals who attend a full gospel church in this area and yet have no problem with living in fornication.  I know of a church in Kalamazoo that openly embraces homosexuality and even spends money to get this message out through advertising. I know that this is going on all over the country and even the world. Yet it still blows my mind when something for which two cities were buried in brimstone is embraced and even encouraged by those professing to be “christian.”  It seems as though everyone, professing christians and non-christians alike, are doing whatever seems good in their own eyes.

Proverbs 16:6 “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”

Many simply have no fear of God and therein lies the problem. They are unmoved by such verses as John 14:21 or I John 2:3-5 which reveal an accurate indicator of whether or not a person knows Jesus. Instead of sincerely seeking what God says about an issue, they pull out a few passages and “spin” them in an effort to justify whatever it is that they desire to justify. (like taking I Samuel 18:1and I Samuel 20:41, two passages concerning the “brotherly love” between David and Jonathan and perverting them into something that they “do not say”) A person who promotes such wickedness clearly has no concern for truth; nor do they honestly believe that every word and motive will be called into account on the day of judgment. These next two passges have been on my mind a lot lately:

Matthew 6:22-23 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness.”

Luke 11:35 “Take heed therefore that the light that is in thee be not darkness.”

These are incredibly dark times and the word of God is precious; just as in the days when Samuel ministered before Eli. I remember someone telling of a vision in which the ambient darkness became so stygian, that the light of Gods word created only a tiny area of visibility. The point being made was that it’s imperative for one to be extremely close to Jesus and grounded thouroughly in his word if they are to stand in that darkest of hours. Those times are approaching fast. Today the status quo appears to be holding, but tomorrow we may awaken to the brave new world. In our society, the barriers between right and wrong have been compromised; even in many churches. Increasingly, the main stream media is reporting on UFOs and extraterrestrial (fallen angel) encounters. (About once a month on Larry King.) The world is primed to believe a lie that will “appear right,” but will lead multitudes into everlasting death.

Well, I’m not really done, but Megan wants on the computer. Please check out david Meyers August newsletter HERE! This is an important message for all. On a personal note, a brother from work (Reiber) just opened up a myspace account. It’s in the blog roll as “Pray it Forward” but can also be found HERE. I wish to all, a blessed day in Jesus.