Archive for February, 2009

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“The Late Late Late Show”

February 27, 2009

“In your patience, possess ye your souls.” These words; spoken by Jesus, our Lord and Savior, focus our attention on what’s truly important. To continuously view things from an eternal perspective and not become caught up in a moment. We view the events transpiring upon the earth, not with apprehension, but rather as “mile-markers” that point to the Lords soon return. Every eye shall behold him, every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Every reviller, every athiest, every Jehovahs Witness (I threw this in because CR had another visit from them and “they really have no answer for I Timothy 3:16”) every theologian, every adulterer, and every seeker of power over the undiscerning masses will one day give account to the Creator of all that is.

Romans 14:12 “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”

I Peter 4:3-5 “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought ther will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.”

As Code mentioned in the comment section on the previous post, the March 2009 issue of the Last trumpet Newsletter is posted. This months title is:

A NATION TRANSFORMED BY FEAR 

Normally, I just place a link without commenting too much on the material contained therein. But this month has a couple of paragraphs that really highlight the lateness of the hour. The first has to do with this phenomenon of “messianic-like” overtures being made concerning Barak Obama. (Whom I am convinced is the final American president, although I could be wrong) This has never happened to any other political leader that I am aware of. Bill Clinton was immensely popular in many facets of our society, but he never received this kind of…..worship. (is this eerie or what?) In the following paragraph, David Meyer tells of an event that took place in Des Moines Iowa as the 44th president was being sworn in.

“During the time of the inauguration in Washington D.c., a parallel abomination was taking place in Des Moines, Iowa, where Obama had his first big win in his run for president. An artist made up a realistic image of Obama, which was set on a donkey and led down the street to the capitol in Iowa. Secret Service type limousines with flags accompanied the antichrist Obama image, and people were given palm branches to lay before the donkey as it progressed slowly down Locust Street. The title of the news article was “Obama’s Triumphal Entry: Gentle, Riding on Donkey.” Certainly you must remember the words of Louis Farrakan, the leader of the nation of Islam, who said, “When Obama talks, the messiah is absolutely speaking.”

This sent the proverbial chills down my spine when I came to this paragraph. I made copies of this newsletter right before going to work Thursday afternoon, and as such didn’t get a chance to read it until the line stopped for a time. During break, CR and I were discussing the various issues taking place and how fast things seem to be progressing. Anyone who is born of the Spirit will know how the Lord will often bring scripture to our rememberance whenever a situation will arise. For me, they are usually very quiet “reminders” of a passage that addresses whatever situation is at hand. Yesterday however, as we were discussing the speed of events, the last part of this familiar verse was almost as a “shout” and it almost stopped me in my tracks:

‘BECAUSE HE KNOWETH THAT HE HATH BUT A SHORT TIME” (Revelation 12:12)

The urgency of the hour hit me so hard that for the memainder of the evening I was beyond stirred as I pondered the speed at which things are progressing and how few people are even remotely aware of what’s transpiring. Praise God that my job doesn’t require a lot of thinking because I would have been nearly unable to function. The population of the world will soon wonder after a man and willingly choose to receive a mark. Who this son of perdition is remains to be seen, but we know that “even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” While I currently don’t believe that Barak Obama is “the” son of perdition, he’s without a doubt a component in the conditioning process. I cannot think of another political leader who had such a following, nor do I know of any other person who had their own symbol. (Except for the artist formerly known as Prince. This was also eerie) And according to a report last week in the Kalamazoo Gazette, there is now an ice cream, known as “BARAKY ROAD.” The containers even have the symbolic “O” on the side.

And I thought that “Billy Beer” was strange.

This next paragraph from the newsletter is so ominous that one wrestles to consider the ramifications. It involves mind control from a source that almost everyone partakes in one form or another. We know of the governments requirement for every station to switch to digital broadcasting and this paragraph outlines the dangers. Most readers will find this far-fetched and as I was telling my wife about this, I could almost hear the “Twilight Zone” music playing in her head. (Now she thinks that I’m even more nutty.) To be honest, we all should probably take our televisions and throw them out the window.

“Many have wondered about the television switchover from analog to digital and the little converter boxes that the government is helping people to purchase. It is quite a scheme, and the “upgrade” is one that will facilitate high-tech mind control. Our U.S. military has used such technology forover ten years, and it was used on the Iraqis to bring them to their knees quickly when invaded in 1990. The technology is called Silent Sound Spread Spectrum or SSSS. U.S. patent number 4,858,612 was issued to Philip Stocklin on December 19th, 1983, for the invention. It is also known as sound of silence (remember the Simon and Garfunkel song), and it works by transmission of sound undetected by the ear but planted into the human auditory cortex of the brain. It is the ultimate in universal mind control. If this system were attempted to be used with the old analog television, it would show up only as static. That is why everything must be converted to digital, and the government will help you pay for it.

Don’t put it past big brother to try to put the will of the Antichrist directly into your brain as you make eye contact with your digital television. You may find yourself thinking things you otherwise would never think and doing things you would otherwise never do! Incidentally, the first verse of the satanically prophetic song “The Sound of Silence” reads as follows: “Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again, Because a vision softly is creeping, Left its seeds while I was sleeping, And the vision that was planted in my brain still remains, Within the sound of silence.”

I remember the song well and it’s one of those melodies that, once it’s in your mind, it’s hard to turn off. The conditioning seems to be all but complete. This world will wonder after a beast who promises them peace and safety while leading them into the pits of hell. There’s a distinguishable hardness setting into the population and even into the churches while the wheat and tares are being separated. I’m going to close for now as I have to get to work. Nonetheless, I wanted to get this posted before doing so. I’ll close with a passage that has appeared much in the history of this blog. I wish to all, a blessed weekend in Jesus.

Daniel 11:31-35 “And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that maketh desolate. And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong and do exploits. And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil many days. Now when they shall fall, they shall be helped with a little help: but many shall cleave to them with flatteries. And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and t0 purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.
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FEBRUARY 28, 2009

Hello again. I just added the following link to the testimonies page, but I’ll announce it here as well.

FORMER JEHOVAHS WITNESSES OFFER THEIR TESTIMONIES

Last Friday, John Hoffman, an elder Jehovahs Witness, and a younger guy, (he brings someone new each time) made a forth visit to CRs house. CR gave them truth, as he does each time they stop by, and they subsequently depart. Error simply cannot stand up to the truth of Gods word. The link above contains the testimonies of several saints who, before knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord, were caught up in the Watchtower organization. I thought to share it since, as of late, this issue has been front and center.

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The Tract Collector

February 25, 2009

Usually, links such as this one are placed at the end of a post. This one, however, I’ll place at the beginning. The reason for doing so will become apparent shortly.

CHRISTIAN SILENCE BEFORE HATE BILL THREAT 

We are curently on a very usual work schedule. We are on ten hour shifts, Monday through Friday, which for second shift, run from 4:30pm until 3:00am. We are also working  most Saturdays. Last week, as I was returning home, I was minded to get on the computer and do some catching up. When I came into the back room, however, I found that the dogs had spilled a box that I had accidentally left there before going to work. This box contained about three thousand tracts and I was certain that most of them were probably ruined. I carefully began to gather them up; sorting as I went since some were in English, and some were in Spanish. They shared the same picture on the front and, at 3:30am, even the languages look the same. Nonetheless, I gathered everything up and, when it was all finished, only about 5 or 6 tracts were ruined. This is a miracle as our dogs (six cocker spaniels, one poodle, one beagle, one shih-tzu….it’s a long story) routinely tear up anything that they get a hold of.

gsps-tract-image

I have a real problem of consistantly over-ordering tracts. If I use up a hundred or so tracts on an afternoon in Kalamazoo, I’ll order two hundred more. This has led to having quite an arsenal on hand; the majority of them being for evangelistic purposes, but several that address specific situations. This may sound like a chronic case of “Compulsive Acquisition Disorder,” but there are some reasons as to why I do this.

( 1 ) PREPARING FOR LEAN TIMES I work for a company whose fortunes are tied directly to those of General Motors. If General Motors stops buying our axles, we’ll be out of work. I’m convinced that the time is coming when I’ll not be able to allocate funds to maintain this flow as I do now. Yet as the social-economic front continues to tail-spin, the need to get the message of the cross out will be as great as ever and possibly more will be ready to lend an ear. I no longer focus on physical preparation as I once did. Our time here is temporal. But a single tract, carrying the words of life, has the potential to be the apparatus by which the Lord brings an eternal soul to repentance. We never know where a single tract will end up, (this makes it even more exciting) and Gods truth cannot return void.

Pastor Greg (who is now in Missouri) once told me about a guy that he gave a tract to while the guy was intoxicated. The guy was not at all receptive, and so Greg just stuck it into his shirt pocket. The tract must have contained a phone number because about three years later, they received a call from the guy. He had been packing away some things when he came across the tract and had subsequently just given his heart to Jesus.

( 2 ) TO SUPPLY OTHERS WHO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS. Lately, the resevoir has remained about the same as CR has been handing out tracts like the wind blows. There are folks who have been reached that wouldn’t have been reached had this source not been available. CR has also assisted with the financial side of this which, in turn, leads to more funds being available for this purpose. Both of us have desired to see more saints from our respective fellowships become involved in street ministry; or at least hand out a few tracts to those around them, but there seems to be little interest. This is troubling and somewhat ominous.

( 3 ) INCREASINGLY HOSTILE AMBIENCE. At some point, the gospel of Jesus Christ is going to be targeted by “hate law” legislation and the ability to acquire such material may cease to be. I know that there’s a general consensus of “it can never happen here” but I believe it’s already planned for here. This is the reason for the link at the beginning of the post. Our window of opportunity will, at some point, close and such material deemed “hate speech.” May we each make the most of every opportunity that remains to reach the lost.

It’s also imperative to understand the times that we’re in and to not maintain a romantic or idealistic view of persecution. When Peter told Jesus “I’m ready to lay down my life for you” he was being serious, but didn’t grasp the whole of this statement. It’s easy to say “I’ll lay down my life” or “I’ll never compromise my testimony” when, we have the freedom to stand on a corner and preach the gospel until the cows come home. I truly believe, however, that the time is approaching when such an act will cause one to be removed from the general undiscerning population. This is when we find out whteher or not we believe the words that we’ve been proclaiming.

I Thessalonians 1:6-7 “And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were examples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.”

Affliction and joy of the Holy Ghost at the same time. The Lord is with us always; regardless of what we may face.

I Peter 1:7 “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.”

( 4 ) DERAILED ITINERARIES. this is something that I wrestle with continually. Simply put, a lot of planned ventures into the streets are derailed by events at home which causes the tract resevoir to back up even further. Three kids at home with a host of activities, our oldest son being autistic, and a life that somehow seems to continuously become more complicated often work to thwart my deepest desires to get “out there.” Each trip is a struggle to just get away. Yet this is so imperative and so on my heart that I don’t become weary of striving to carry this out. (Frustrated often, but never weary. Like a couple of weeks ago when the temperature reached 65 degrees and my desire to go to Kalamazoo was thwarted because we were out of goat grain and I had to acquire more. AAAAAAGH!)

I should probably close for now. Lord willing, I’m desiring to embark on a trip that should put a serious dent into the resevoir of tracts sitting behind the truck seat. We’re supposed to be laid off for the week of  march 9. On March 11, I’m planning to leave early in the morning to spend a few hours in downtown Chicago, and/or Grant park, depending on the weather. I’m then planning to drive up to Milwaukee and do the same thing there. That evening, I plan to be in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin to visit David Meyers church. (Last Trumpet Newsletter) The following day, I want to return to the streets of Milwaukee, followed by a return visit to Chicago, and then back home. My wife isn’t crazy about the idea; primarily out of concern for what could go wrong, but it’s been on my heart for some time.

Well, I’ll wrap this up for now. Here’s a few links that are well worth a visit.

EVEN SO IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL (Flee The Wrath) This is a story-behind-the-Hymn post as we are introduced to Horatio Spafford. This will encourage any reader.

DEFILED BY MY OWN MOUTH (He Is My Delight) I just learned of this blog. This post encourages us to watch what we say and warns us of the dangers of not being careful. Truly no man can tame the tongue an as such we must strive to walk in the Spirit always.

The following posts are from Richard Peralta who ministers regularly in the streets of Portland oregon.

BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS

A LITTLE BUT BIG BOOK

WENT OUT EXPECTING TODAY

THE TRUTH STANDS ALL BY ITSELF

I Corinthians 1:18-19 “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”
Philippians 1:27-28 “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.”

Philippians 1:27 has been in my heart for two weeks now. May our conversation be in heavenly places and speak the words of life continually. Something else hit me last night. I was on the assembly line when these words were dropped in my spirit: “When the door closes, a person is either on the inside or on the outside.” The door is soon to be closed. I wish to all, a blessed day in Jesus.

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“Rocky Roads”

February 21, 2009

It goes without saying that we are living in unusual times. This should not be a surprise as we know from scripture that the days prior to Jesus return will be more perilous than any other time in history. Many somehow continue to live inside a bubble; oblivious to the ominous storm clouds buileing on the horizon.  There are, however, an increasing number who are beginning to realize that we’re not merely going through a run-of-the-mill downturn.  When they consider such issues as the economy, the societal decay, the general direction of world events, and what have you, they become fearful of the implications.  They are aware that the worlds agents of stability are failing and that institutions once considered too large to fail are on the verge of doing the unthinkable.

If there’s one thing that seems needful to focus on, it’s the need for every saint to be understanding of the times that we’re in. I know of professing christians who still view the current economic and geo-political situation as merely a down cycle that will surely rebound. They’re attached to this worlds system and have allowed this attachment to obscure the prophetic events that are underway. The status quo as we have come to know it, is dissipating before our eyes. From an economic standpoint, Michigan alone has lost 450,000 jobs over the past few years. In Washington, government officials talk in terms of “trillions” of dollars and toss the phrase around as though it’s pocket change. This is money that simply doesn’t exist in a land that has gone out of its way to forget God. I’m reminded of David Meyers newsletter from July of 2008 entitled:

America A Nation of Empty Souls

This issue is memorable, primarily because of Davids comentary on Nahum 2:2-4 and how the emptiers have emptied out the land. The current economic fiasco is not merely a cyclical event; it’s the results of a nation that is obsessed with material gain, has taken God out of its education system, has murdered seventy million unborn children, (to put this in perspective, the nation of France has approximately seventy million cicizens) and has placed the pursuit of pleasure in higher esteem than the Lord who, in his incredible mercy, sends his rain on the just and on the unjust. Time is simply running out on this age and we must respond accordingly. For the saints, this means that we must be doing those things that we know to be doing. Things that, when they are read, will seem like an observation of the obvious, but because of their importance, can never be over-emphasized.

( 1 ) GET CLOSE TO JESUS. There’s no substitute for this. We cannot navigate these times, nor can we withstand the incredible trials of our faith that lie ahead, if we’re following from afar. The time to get close to the Lord is now; not when the global governments apprehension teams are knocking on doors in the middle of the night and carrying off the free-thinkers.  (Anyone who says “it can’t happen here” doesn’t realize the lateness of the hour)

( 2 ) HIDE THE WORD OF GOD IN OUR HEARTS. We now that Jesus warned of deceptions which seem so authentic “that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”  This should cause us all to consider the seriousness of the matter. The truths of God must be more real to us than the temporal circumstances in which we find ourselves.

( 3 ) CONTINUOUSLY EXAMINE OURSELVES. It’s imperative that we don’t stray from our first love or allow spiritual pride to enter our hearts. We must not allow seeds od disbelief enter in that would cause us to question that which we know to be true. Richard Wurmbrand once stated word to the effect that in times of peace and safety, such conditions in ones heart may go on unnoticed for years. But during times of upheaval or persecution, they lead to betrayal and compromise. We must continuously examine our hearts, regardless of the conditions in the ambience.

( 4 ) REACH THE LOST WHILE THERE’S TIME. The world is getting spiritually harder and colder, but there are stragglers. Those who, even in these final hours, who will receive Jesus Christ as Savior. There are folks at work whom the Lord is working on and as I see an incredible work unfolding, I also know that it’s a “short work.” How imperative it is for us to be consistantly walking in the Spirit and ready to minister to the priceless eternal souls around us.

( 5 ) EXHORT THE SAINTS. Hebrews 10:25 is not a leaglistic verse; it’s a call to lift each other up, bear one anothers burdens, pray for each other and encourage each other to keep looking to Jesus. As the things coming to pass on the earth reach a cresendo and societal meltdown makes it all but imnpossible to know what to expect from those outside the ark of safety, we are going to need each other. This coming season should be a time of fellowship with each other on a level that few of us have ever known.

( 6 ) DON’T BE TROUBLED BY EVENTS IN THE NATURAL. All of us will be astonished at the sheer intensity of these events, but our confidence should be in the lord Jesus Christ. We must understand that “To live is Christ and to die is gain.”

( 7 ) STEP AWAY FROM THE MATRIX. This simply means divorcing the worlds system from our heart of hearts. We are in this very temporal world, but must ensure that we’re not coveting its wares.” If we are harboring any love for this present world, we are placing ourselves in a situation where we may ponder selling our birthright for a morsel of bread. Our affections must be 100% on things above and Jesus must be first in our lives. Many christians fail to grasp the seriousness of this and it routinely shows up in their conversation.

I would encourage a revisiting of Psalm 91, and the last two chapters of Revelation. There are dark days ahead in this world but while the ambience is filled with chaos, the peace of God that passes all understanding can reign in our hearts. When Jesus is truly our first love, there’s a peace and contentment that’s so complete…..so “absolutely complete” that none of  the worlds treasures can compliment it. Nor can any of the enemies threatenings hinder it. Jesus has promised to be with us always; even unto the end of the world. May we all run with patience the race that is set before us.

II Corinthians 4:18 “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things whichare not seen are eternal.”
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The “a” Team

February 16, 2009

It may seem redundant to some, but whenever I quote scripture, I strive to include every comma, every semi-colon, and what have you.  The thought of, in any way, altering that which is written is terrifying and I prefer to not take any chances in this area. Just as none of us appreciate it when something that we say is misunderstood and an inaccurate report relayed to others, the Lord doesn’t take lightly, the process of altering his words of life; thereby leading priceless souls for whom Christ died, into a falsehood. Before going on, it seems needful to revisit the warning given to us at the conclusion of “that which is written.”

Revelation 22:18-19 “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

Last week, CR had a third visit from a couple of Jehovahs Witnesses who have somehow perceived his household to be one of opportunity. (Despite the fact that, upon their first visit his seven year old daughter told them “Oh…We pray to Jesus all the time.”)  By the grace of God, CR handled the encounter very well (I Peter 4:11) and when he began to give them his personal testimony of how he came to Jesus on November 15, 2007, they started to become  noticeably nervous. (Revelation 12:11) Finally the visitors concluded the meeting, earlier and more frustrated than they had anticipated, but made a promise to return. (After consulting with some more experienced JWs no doubt.) One thing that perplexed him, however, was that during the encounter, the older guy brought up the verse of John 1:1 which most of us know by heart:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

This verse alone refutes the belief held by the Jehovahs Witnesses that Jesus is not God manifest in the flesh. That is unless one goes to the New World translation; a bible (so called) that is routinely employed by those who are seeking to spread this doctrine. They tell the undiscerning ones that it’s merely a modernized version but in the equivellant to the passage stated above, they add a single letter between the words “was” and “God.” 

“a”

This single letter changes the meaning of this verse in their new world translation and denies the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s been a quite a while since I last engaged a Jehovahs Witness in serious debate and had forgotten about this verse in “that which they pass off as scripture” until last week when the issue became front and center. I’ve never taken time to explore the NW bible, but can only imagine what they’ve done to other notable passages.  (Like I Timothy 3:16) I think that the most astonishing thing about this is that, despite the undeniable altering of a very straightforward verse, these folks place all of their confidence in the erroneous teaching that the alteration seeks to uphold. Self deception, mingled with spiritual pride has sixteen million people worldwide embracing a doctrine which denies the Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 23:15 “Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”

The example mentioned above is an obvious twisting of scripture to anyone who is born of the Spirit. It is possible, however, to twist scripture in other ways that are far more subtle; thereby making them far more dangerous. Sometimes the line between allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to us and fitting scriptures into our doctrine can be almost invisible. While it’s of the utmost importance to be grounded in the truth, it’s possible to reach a point where we are no longer transformed by the word of God but rather begin to plug in scriptures to fit our theology. Handling of the word of God is very serious business and if we begin to proclaim something that’s erroneous, we’re treading into dangerous territory. 

Jeremiah 2:8 “The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.”

Matthew 5:18-19 “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fultilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

To continuously search the scriptures and be atuned to the Holy Spirit is of the utmost importance. We must continously strive to be transformed by the word of God (which, unlike the heavens and the earth, shall never pass away) and prayerfully seek understanding of the truths contained therein. We must strive to continually become more like Jesus; not construct a doctrinal box based on the teachings of this world and then try to fit Jesus into that box. This takes humility and loving the Lord with all sincerety. It requires a hunger and thirst after righteousness and truth. It demands that we die daily to ourselves and love not this present world. Anything less than this leaves us vulnerable to deception in an age when, if it were possible, even the very elect would be ceceived.

This is kind of straying from the intended topic, but we too often fail to grasp the dangers of deception. Every fallen angel; every demonic spirit that operates in the world today, was once in the presence of the Lord and had an address in paradise. Every one of them was deceived into leaving that first estate. Somehow, Lucifer convinced them that he could offer them something more than they already had. The lie was so compelling that one out of every three angels fell for it. In ourselves, we are simply no match for the enemy.  We absolutely MUST stay close to the Lord Jesus and continually hide his word in our heart because none of us can navigate these waters on our own. The following passage just came to mind as I was thinking on this paragraph:

James 5:19-20 “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”

Well I’ll go for now as this post has exceeded 1100 words and is still growing. This topic is one to address further when time permits because we’re in a very strange time. While deception has been a danger throughout history, we’re approaching a time when the whole world will wonder after a son of perdition. None of us can grasp what this will look like, but we must be grounded in the truth. May we all look to Jesus and be ever more atuned to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.

I Timothy 4:1-3 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanks giving of them which believe and know the truth.”
II Timothy 4:1-3 “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.”
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The Word I’m Looking For (Episode III)

February 12, 2009

It’s become apparent that this process will have to be accelerated as this is the third installment of the series on words with a single appearance in scripture and I’m still in going through “A.” I can’t say that I’ll focus only on verses of significance because all scripture is significant. I guess the only way to approach this is to “just do it” and see what happens. This first word was one that I thought about skipping over, but it is contained in a passage of scripture that tells the dangers of turning aside from the ways of the Lord.

AGUE

Leviticus 26:14-16 “But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do all these commandments; And if ye shall despise my statutes, or if your soul adhor my judgments, so that ye will not do my commandments, but that ye break my covenant: I also will do this unto you; I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart: and ye shall sow your seed in vain for your enemies shall eat it.”

Websters defines “ague” as “A fever marked by paroxysms of chills, fever, and sweating that occur at regular intervals.” Indeed the way of a transgressor is hard and the Lord will employ attention-grabbing tactics to cause one to consider their ways. One night while driving home, I was remembering my own season of rebellion and the complexities in my life that came about as a result. (There are still complexities in my life that stem directly from the saeson of rebellion.) As I was coming into Constantine at 2:30AM, the Lord quietly reminded me “It could have been MUCH more severe.” I think of it as when our children misbehave and we really don’t want to punish them. So we warn them of reprisals and hold out hope that when we say “I’m counting to three” they’ll break off the contrary behavior. Of course this usually goes “1….2….2 and 1/2…..2 and 3/4…..2 and 7/8 and so on. But the point arrives when discipline must be rendered.

The Lord is far more longsuffering than we are, but there comes a point where judgment must come and when it comes, it can be very severe. In this passage, verse fifteen holds two key phrases, “despise my statutes” and “adhor my judgments.” In short, people who just don’t have a heart for God and want nothing to do with the Holy One of Israel. They may seem nice and even be religious, but to truly hunger and thirst after the Lord isn’t in their heart. Scripture is full of examples of when Israel went back from following the Lord and the ensuing calamities as a result. I included this word because we’re reminded in Proverbs 4:23 to “keep thy heart with all diligence.”

AGUR

Proverbs 30:1 “The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal.”

This may not seem to be very profound, but it opens up the thirtieth chapter of Proverbs which contains words spoken by Agur.  The amount of wisdom found in this chapter is incredible. Agur discusses a generation that is lofty in their own eyes, things that are never satisfied, things too wonderful for me, things that are small but wise, and what have you. But for me, the most profound passage in this chapter is verses 7-9

Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: 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. 

In short, Agur was concerned with maintaining a relationship with the Lord and being a good testimony. He had a heart for God, not for the things of this world as is expressed in the words “remove far from me vanity and lies” I have a tendancy; especially when things are going awry, to just casually say “oh well; it’s all going to burn.” It may sound to some like I don’t care, but this isn’t the case. It’s simply a way of placing the situation into a proper context. II Corinthians 4:18 reminds us that the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. May we strive to lay up treasure in heaven and not be over-consumed by that which the world holds in high esteem.

AIDED

Judges 9:22-24 “When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel, Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Sechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech: That the cruelty done to the threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, which slew them; and upon the men of Shechem, which aided him in the killing of his brethren.”

The old saying of “what goes around comes around” applies here as earlier in the chapter, Abimelech hired “vain and light persons,” went into his fathers house, and slew his brethren; threescore and ten persons. In verse 22, God sends an evil spirit to bring about the demise of Abimelech. I’m reminded of what happened to King Saul when the Lord began to raise up David.

ALLEGING

Acts 17:2-3 “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.”

Paul went to the Jews first and tried to show them through scripture that Jesus is the Messiah. Every time that Jesus is presented, a decision is made by those hearing the truth. In the case of those in Thessalonica, some believed after three weeks of pouring over scripture. But those who believed not rose up against the truth, taking unto them “certain lewd fellows” (the descriptive phrases in scripture are fascinating) setting the city in an uproar, and sought to bring them out to the people. It’s fascniating that, after stirring up the city of Thessalonica and assaulting the house of Jason, they accuse Paul and his companions of being “They which have turned the world upside down.” Indeed Jesus stated that he didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword. Those who resist the truth will often seek to suppress it; sometimes violently.

Well I have to get ready for work. This is proving to be a fun way to search the scriptures and bring up topics that would otherwise not be addressed. I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.

II Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
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You’ve Lost That Awkward Feeling

February 9, 2009

Philippians 1:27 has been in my heart for the past several days; namely the opening portion of  “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ:”  If Jesus is truly first in our lives, our conversation will drift toward the gospel of Jesus Christ whenever an opening is available. We’ll strive to consistantly be a city set upon a hill and seeking opportunities to share Christ.  This is what truly matters; this is where hearts are transformed as, once the word of God goes forth, it will never return void. The foolishness of preaching is Gods chosen method for reaching the lost and he routinely employs tactics that our natural mind will consider to be ineffective and may cause us to feel somewhat uncomfortable.

Each of us have a post to occupy when it comes to the great commission. Not everyone is called to be an evangelist who travels the world, but everyone has an ambience filled with souls. One thing that has been on my heart much these past few days (actually a lot longer, but more intensely these past few days) is just how little time we sometimes spend talking about Jesus to those outside of the household of faith. I know of saints in various venues who are quick to initiate, or jump into, a conversation about work, sports, their family, the remodeling project, and a million other topics. Yet these conversations seem to rarely be guided into a discussion about Jesus where words of life can be given to one who desperately needs them. In short, we engage in a lot of idle conversation (and “idol” conversation) and we know what Jesus said about idle words.

Matthew 12:36-27  “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account for on the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words, thou shalt be condemned.”

One reason that this has been made so manifest is CR. He has become such a bold witness for Jesus; striking up conversations and distributing tracts in places where most wouldn’t think of, that I’ve begun to grasp how little most of us, including myself, are doing. I don’t know if we’re just too comfortable in the bubble that we’ve made for ourselves where everything is familiar, or we just don’t want to take the time to seek every opportunity possible. Or perhaps we feel as though we’re too busy to get more involved; choosing rather to engage in evangelism when it fits our schedule.  Regardless of the reasons, we often fail to grasp the seriousness of this. I’ve blown so many opportunities over the years that it’s frightening to ponder. I also wrestle with a “patience deficiency” when it comes to extended dialogue with one who has contrary ideas and I’ve allowed this to become a hinderance way too often.

This has been a problem on the streets as well and is an area that I’m prayerfully addressing. Tracts are easy to pass out and it doesn’t compromise the comfort zone. Stand on a corner in downtown Kalamazoo and one can go through a hundred tracts in a matter of minutes. But this doesn’t excuse one from the need to initiate dialogue when the time is present to do so; regardless of the setting. (Speaking of Kalamazoo, the temperature is supposed to climb into the low 50s on Tuesday which means Bronson Park and Burdick street will be filled with souls. Lord willing, CR and I are desiring to be there) Every person that we encounter during the course of a day may potentially be living out their final hours on planet earth. For everyone that we exchange words with, we may be carrying that persons last opportunity to hear about a Savior who came from glory and paid for their sins with his own innocent blood.

This applies to every venue. When we leave our work, we have no guarentee that every co-worker will return the next business day. We mingle with relatives at family gatherings, having no promise that, once the gathering has ended, we will ever see them again in the land of the breathing. No matter how uncomfortable it may seem at times, we must be about the business of proclaiming the good news of new life in Jesus. I praise God that he has stirred me to more aggressively pursue opportunities to share the gospel. CR has been instrumental in this stirring and another passage comes to mind when I think of how I’ve been shaken out of my comfort zone by a brother in Christ who has quickly become one of the boldest witnesses for Jesus that I’ve ever known.

Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

The word “provoke” appears fourty two times in the King James bible, but this is the only time that the word is used in a positive sense. CR has provoked me to utilize opportunities that I wouldn’t have previously. It’s a “thing that was done suddenly (II Chronicles 29:36) and I am greatful. Last week during dinner, I left the plant to tend to some business and one of these awkward opportunities arose. Not only was the opportunity one that I wouldn’t have sought after before, as I handed the guy a tract, my words didn’t come out smooth at all. I kinda went “blaaaaaaaaah-erk” however, the guy accepted the tract. As I was heading back to the plant, I began to ponder my horrible presentation; being certain that I had ruined the moment. It’s amazing how the Lord responds to things just as we begin to think of them. I was instantly reminded that “his word will not return void” even when we seem to blow it on every level.  So Lord willing, I’ll be doing a lot more “blaaaaaaaaah-erk” in the future.

Well I’ve once again broken my “no blogging after midnight” rule, and so I’ll close this for now. Please check out this link to a post that I found yesterday as it addresses an issue which ties in with this post: 

CHURCH a SPECTATOR SPORT  

CR and I attend different churches, but we both have noticed a common situation. There seems to be a lacking on the part of some to take a more active role in evangelism. I can’t say this is an accurate portrayal and it certainly doesn’t apply to everyone in either fellowship. Yet I fear that none of us truly understand the lateness of the hour or the urgency as we should. I mean, if tomorrow is my next door neighbors last day in the land of the living and he doesn’t know Jesus, THAT’S URGENT! For the sake of those who don’t know Jesus as Savior, we need to start feeling awkward.

Acts 8:4 “Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”
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Journey to the Center Of Time

February 6, 2009

Every saint; regardless of where we are spiritually, can remember back to the moment when the angels rejoiced as our name was recorded in the book of life. The day when we awakened in the morning on the wide path that leads to hell, and went to bed that evening a new creature in Christ Jesus. Our understanding of spiritual things was at a minimum and the path ahead would contain battles that we could not even begin to fathom. Yet in that defining moment, this truth became crystal clear. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of the Living God, had paid for our sins with his own innocent blood and that the gift of eternal life was ours for the asking.  From that moment on, our lives had been forever changed.

Suddenly, the world became a different place. We found our thoughts on spiritual things. There was a desire for the things of God that had never been there before. The bible which once seemed ever so confusing, began to make sense. Not even the archaic words (thee, thou, ye, etc) could hinder the understanding that was granted by the Holy Spirit who teaches us all things and brings to rememberance the words of Jesus. And his word is ever so sweet.  We began to develop a relationship with the Lord through prayer. No longer was prayer a staged tradition; it was a real converesation with the Creator of all that is. We begin to look forward to these moments; when we can get away from the worlds side shows and talk with Jesus who is always as close as the mention of his name.

We begin to tell about this new life in Jesus with others, thinking that they too will be interested in knowing that they can live forever. The responses vary from “I’m happy for you” to “oh no; you’ve gone religious.” But initially, none seem to be interested in knowing Jesus Christ as Savior. Thought provoking questions (such as “if you died tonight, where would you be?”) seem to stir up anger as those attached to the matrix make war against anything that threatens to shatter their illusions. It’s heartbreaking and as we witness the rejection, we are reminded of how we were before Jesus made us free. When we lived for the moment and placed all of our confidence in the laws of physics and pleasure.

Increasingly our conversation directs toward eternal things and finding like-minded saints is greatly desired. This is a search that may last a lifetime and as we grow in the Lord, a disturbing reality begins to manifest. We begin to find that many saints have carved out a niche in the fabric of Christiandom and are content to stay in that niche. Our zeal almost seems to make them uncomfortable. Like those still attached to the matrix, they have a comfort zone and are content with being “this close to the Lord but no closer.” They will use all of the right terminology, but their casual conversation will reveal divers attachments to this world. This too causes heartache because, as the age to come is made more real to us, we begin to understand just how “dead” the conversation of the world is. Yet many choose to plateau in their walk with Christ, dig in, and conform to those who have likewise decided that “this is close enough.”  

But when we encounter saints whose hearts and conversation are completely in heaven, there’s a fellowship like nothing else in this world. They have counted all that this world holds in high esteem as dung; that they may win Christ. Their only desire in this world is to finish the course set before them.  To be a city set on a hill; crying out to the priceless souls who are headed for destruction to consider their ways and look to Jesus while there’s still time. Having no confidence in the flesh or a physical setting that is soon to be no more, they seek to be ever closer to, and ever more in the perfect will of the one who is from everlasting, to everlasting, and holds in his hand the breath of life.

There comes a tipping point; when the spiritual realities become so real to us that the ambience is almost as a dream. We can touch it, move it, and chisel our initials into the rocks, however, we understand from our heart, that it’s all destined to burn. Even the seemingly neutral interests, lose their appeal and we hunger and thirst only for more of Jesus. That we may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings. Prayer time changes as the laundry list of wants transforms into a desire just to be in the presence of the Lord. Most requests are in the form of intercession for the eternal souls who are living in treachery and the other saints who are fighting the good fight. Our will begins to mirror the will of God and the former lusts just fall to the ground like yesterdays newspaper.

Increasing amounts of time may be spent praying and singing in a heavenly language. A language that is beyond our understanding, but expresses those truths too wonderful for an earthly vocabulary to convey. A prayer life that’s void of any selfish influence and is in line with the perfect will of God. Accompanied by melodies which seem to reside so far outside the physical realm that they cannot be compared to anything in this world. We may begin to wonder if the language of eternity is set to music as these phrases seem to require such in order to be properly uttered. We find ourselves in a state of absolute contentment; thinking on the sweetness of the Lord Jesus, who purchased us with his own blood, and has gone to prepare a place for us. The totality of his peace becomes ever more present in our lives as our affections are set completely upon that which is eternal.

The moment arrives, when our departure is at hand and our resume of works, done in Jesus name, follow us into the realm of the everlasting. The blessed hope as when we are absent from the body and present with the Lord. All of the struggles, all of the heartache, all of the tribulations that were witnessed while in this fallen world, become as a distant dream. Time vanishes into the fabric of the everlasting. We pass through the great cloud of witnesses who have gone on before; coming ever closer to our Savior. We stand before Jesus; his glory is so incredible that not even the most vivid imaginations from our previous time came close to portraying. We see the nail scars in his hands and the unfathomable awesomeness of our salvation becomes manifest on a level never before comprehended. His love permeates every part of our being as we are welcomed into our eternal abode. There are no words in our vocabulary that can possibly capture this moment; when we are forever with the Lord Jesus and the saints from every generation who held fast the profession of their faith.

This post has come out far short of what was intended. The journey from the moment that we first believe to the moment when time relinquishes its hold is too incredible and complex to place into a few paragraphs. Yet everyone whose name is recorded in the book of life is on such a journey. My prayer is that we would let go of everything that hinders, everything that would keep our hearts fastened to the temporal, and set our affections firmly on things above. 

I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.

Revelation 22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
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Feb 9, 2009 Update:

Greetings again in Jesus name. I read the following post a short while ago and thought to make it known to any who pass by here.

MARKED BY THE BEAST

We know that the world is nearly prepared to receive a man of sin who will corrupt by flatteries. This post highlights how subtle this deception works, as folks unwittingly seek fulfilment through the institutions of this world and thereby fall into the trap. May we all have our eyes on Jesus, our affections on things above, and understand the importance of loving not our lives in this world.