Archive for March, 2015

h1

All The Words of This Life

March 24, 2015

Speaking the truth; utilizing every opportunity to share the words of life with those who know not the Lord Jesus, while offering exhortation to the saints, is one of the primary reasons that many of us utilize social media platforms.  This issue has been brought to the forefront by a report from Scott Johnson, coupled with something that was laid on my heart a few days ago. During part one of his March 15 current events/bible study, Scott Johnson discussed the recent action taken by the FCC to regulate the internet. For many of us, the internet is the only means by which we have access to unfiltered reporting (using discernment of course) maintain connect with like-minded saints, and discuss the issues of eternal significance with any interested party. It is a place where, thus far, the entities that be have been unable to obtain total control over the narrative. While they have utilized it to identify who thinks what, who associates with who, and who is likely to be a “problem” when the hammer is brought down,  this action by the FCC is the first concrete step toward silencing those who do not subscribe to the official “version.”  

This concrete step toward regulation seems to indicate that the profiling phase is nearly complete and they are ready for the next phase.  A dark season where any dialogue which testifies of the Lord Jesus, proclaims biblical truth, or sheds light on the gathering wickedness will be removed and those who utter such things will be silenced. Understanding that the season for unrestricted access to this venue will eventually end, we should utilize our remaining time here in a way that is profitable and points others to Jesus…….because “the night cometh when no man can work. 

The “thing laid on my heart” aspect, involves the issues that we meditate upon and talk about.  During an afternoon a few days ago, I had given a significant amount of thought to a topic of a temporal nature when this question arose: “Is this something that we will be talking about when we are in eternity?”  Clearly, my train of thought had taken a turn into the realm of the unprofitable and foolish. The fallout from such a diversion is twofold. First, it causes us to take our eyes off from Jesus and things of an eternal nature.  Prayerful meditation on scriptural truth is exchanged for something of a baser nature. Something which doesn’t appear to be evil, but still manages to pull us into a carnal frame of mind. Second, it leaves us unprepared; should we suddenly be called to answer one who asks of the hope that is in us. When we are in a carnal state of mind, it’s difficult to suddenly “shift gears” in a seamless manner.  Indeed, truth does not return void, and the apostle Paul rejoiced even when truth was preached in pretense, however, it’s much better to be prepared when such opportunities arise. ‘

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.”

The remainder of this post will focus on some familiar passages which relate to the issues of always being prepared to speak truth; beginning with a familiar discourse from the book of Daniel which reveals what it means to love God more than our place in this world

Daniel 3:16-18 “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo, answered and said to the king, O Nebudchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this manner.”

They were not careful…..they didn’t have to think about how to respond.  Their attitude in regards to the holy One of Israel was not careless or half-hearted.  Subsequently, they didn’t didn’t hesitate, and they refused to enter into an agreement with a lie when it appeared that such a refusal would cost them their lives.  

17 “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18 But if not, be it known unto thee O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

We know the story. Nebudchadnezzar had set up a golden image and demanded that everyone worship it, Whenever the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltry, and dulcimer, they were to drop what they were doing and bow down to the image.  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo refused; even when offered a second chance, and were subsequently thrown into a furnace that had been made seven times hotter than normal.  The men who threw them into the fire perished at the door. Moments later, king Nebudchadnezzar looked into the flames and saw “four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt: and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” God worked a miraculous deliverance that day.  But even if he had not worked a physical deliverance from the fiery furnace, the three young men knew one thing: “and he will deliver us out of thine hand O king.”  It was a Revelation 21:11 moment, several hundred years before the book of Revelation was recorded.  

It’s interesting that the testimony of these three men, along with the testimony of Daniel being thrown into the lions den as a result of those who framed mischief by a law, are recorded in a book that contains important information in regards to the time of the end.  A time when a beast will destroy wonderfully and cause craft to prosper. For a brief season, he will wear out the saints of the most high; making war and and prevailing over them in the physical realm. Shadrach, Meshach, Abednigo, and Daniel maintained their testimony; just as we must maintain ours.  

Philippians 1:28 “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.”

Revelation 2:10 “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and thou shalt have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

Whether we are being brought before kings and governors, or sharing the words of life with our neighbor, we must strive to ensure that we are speaking as we ought; that our words are being directed by the Holy Spirit who sees the entire situation of those before us and knows exactly what they need to hear.

Luke 21:12-15 “But before all these, they shall lay hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.
13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony.
14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:
15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
 

Just as the Holy Ghost was upon Steven during his final discourse, we can trust that he will empower us, and grant utterance, when we are betrayed by those closest to us and brought before those in position of authority.  If we are abiding close to Jesus beforehand, without wavering and without any root of unbelief, we can be confident that, when we are called into these situations, he will direct our dialogue.  The words will be the right words and they will accomplish that which the Lord is seeking to accomplish in that situation.  But if we waver, or if we try to direct our own speech, we run the risk of, not only speaking something that fails to properly address the situation (it may be a truth, but not relevant to the situation at hand) we run the risk of enabling the adversaries to draw us into a dialogue which could lead to compromise.  (Luke 21:15 is so important.  Also see Acts 7:54-57) One who is not relying on the Holy Spirit in a situation like this has already placed themselves at a serious disadvantage. 

Thus far, the focus has been on our dialogue in potential Revelation 12:11 situations.  But there is another aspect which is equally important – that of speaking the words of life, in the manner that we should, wherever we may be.  Every day, we encounter people who are not born of the Spirit and, if they die before the next sunrise, will be in hell.  They are on the broad path that all of us were once travelling down.  If their final breath suddenly passes, their time in the valley of decisions will be finished and their eternal situation secured.  In ourselves we are not adequate to the task.  Even if we were to memorize every passage of scripture and understand mysteries laid out in scripture that few ever understand in this world, without the Holy Spirit leading us, we are going to unwittingly address a number of issues improperly. Two passages reveal how the apostle Paul addressed this issue.  (He was one of the most educated men of his day, yet he fully understood his own insufficiency.) 

Ephesians 6:18-20 “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly as I ought to speak.” 

Many people; having a level of understanding comparable to that of Paul, would have been tempted to rely on their accumulation of knowledge as they entered into discussions about the deep things of God.  They will pray beforehand of course; perhaps even devoting a lengthy amount of time to such.  But when the time for speaking is at hand, there is a tendency to retreat into the comfortable confines of what has been rehearsed.  Again, truth never returns void and we never know when a word spoken will fall on fertile ground and bear fruit.   But it’s much better to be relying on the Holy Spirit and the words that he gives us.  The Lord knows the entire situation; the hearts of every hearer, what they have been through, what their present beliefs are, what their secrets are……and exactly what they need to hear at a given time.  

One of the most astonishing things is when someone comes up to us and mentions something that we said months or even years ago, which deeply impacted them.  A statement or something that we may well not even remember……or if we do remember saying it, at the time it didn’t seem significant at all.  But that statement of truth, void of pride and preparation on our part, went in and did exactly what it was supposed to do in the heart of that individual.  The next passage is similar to the previous:

Colossians 4:3-5 “Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which i am also in bonds:
4  That I may make it manifest as I ought to speak.
5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time”

 The same request by the apostle Paul who understood perfectly that his sufficiency was not in his own achievements, but in Christ.  A few minutes ago, while praying about a situation that I have to enter in a few hours and feeling terribly inadequate, I was reminded of this.  Actually I John 4:4 came to mind, however, it is in the same line of truth.  We have Jesus abiding within and he is greater than anything that the enemy can throw at us.  If we abide close to him and have his truth hidden in our heart, he can utilize us in the situations before us, the name of Jesus will be magnified……and God will give the increase.  

II Timothy 2:24-26 “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;
26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.’ 

Blessings in Jesus name.

Advertisements
h1

Embodiment of my Desire

March 16, 2015

 Psalm 39:12 “Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry; hold not thy peace at my tears: for I am a stranger with thee, and a sojourner, as all my fathers were.”

Psalm 84:10 “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

These passages identify the heart of all whose heart is there, and not here.  We dwell in a fallen world and inhabit a body which still houses the old nature. We remember the days prior to regeneration; when we fully embraced this world and all that it offers. We reflect upon that incredible moment when the Lord granted us repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; when we believed on the Lord Jesus and consciously turned away from what we had always been.  And now, the agenda of this world – the very thought of those things which we once identified with, literally “feels like death.” The treasures have lost their appeal, the promotions feel like a distraction, and the conversations that we once engaged in, sound like foolishness. Wistfully, we ponder the age to come, and the moment when we this corruption puts on incorruption. Our conversation is in heaven and we await the moment when we are forever in the presence of Jesus.

We meditate upon that which is eternal, and the God who inhabits eternity. In this world, it becomes increasingly difficult to ever be fully “in the moment.” While contemporaries discuss the latest developments in this life, their physical aspirations, the continuing dramas at their place of employment, The latest thing to come out of Hollywood, the remodeling project in the kitchen, and a thousand other topics which have no eternal significance, our thoughts slip away into a holy space.  We cry out “even so, come, Lord Jesus” as we simply have no appetite for the earthly. We seek to steer the conversation of those surrounding us toward the eternal, but nobody wants to go there. The sixty third psalm identifies a heart that is fixated on the God who created all that is and changes not. This post is a visiting of that incredible portion of scripture.  

Psalm 63:1 “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is.”

This opening verse sets the tone.  A heart that thirsts after God while dwelling in a land that is void of life.  This world is a spiritual “dry and thirsty land” where a famine for truth is growing by the hour.  Many who once proclaimed the whole council of God are now compromising in ways that would have been unthinkable in previous generations.  The great falling away has become so multi-faceted and consuming that we sometimes wonder if anyone is fully insulated from the temptation to “just go with the flow.” Recognizing this danger; we give more diligence to make our calling and election sure.  We rise early and stay up later than is advisable as we just want to be in the presence of the Lord. “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” We determine within ourselves that, regardless of what everyone else does; regardless of how dark this world becomes and what the physical consequences may we will look steadfastly unto Jesus and maintain our testimony until the end.

Psalm 63:2 To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.” 

We’ve had, as it were, glimpses of the eternal. Moments of deep fellowship with the Lord when it seemed as though the world was a million miles way. For a span of time, all of the earthly cares became as nothing while we considered the one who sees the end from the beginning.  We have tasted that the Lord is good, and are forever ruined for ever again wanting to return to what we once were. As the apostle Peter observed, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  Nothing else can compete for our affection. His precious blood cleanses us from all sin. The rivers of living water continuously spring up from within; regardless of what is transpiring in the physical realm. 

Psalm 63:3-4 “Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. 4 Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.”

Better than life itself is the love of God. Beyond all understanding is his perfect peace. It remains a constant in our lives; even when everything in our ambiance seems to be unraveling.  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” He loves us despite our shortcomings. (not a licence to sin – if we love Jesus we will strive to keep his commandments) His peace remains when the armies of wickedness are encamped around us.  He will abide with us when we carried away by those who know not the Lord. He will give us a mouth and wisdom when we are brought before those who oppose themselves as they occupy an office of authority.  “Lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting” we worship God with a heart unfeigned, as those who “commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” The life that we have in Christ: the world could never give it and the world can never take it away.

Psalm 63:5 My soul shall be satisfied with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.”

Satisfied. When a person is born of the Spirit, and their sins washed away by the blood of Jesus, they are finally “satisfied” in a way that one can never find apart from God. And while marrow and fatness probably pertains to physical blessing, the fact remains that in Jesus we are satisfied……regardless of our possessions (or lack thereof) that remain only for a moment in time and are then distributed to others. With joyful lips, we give praise. We can never thank him enough for pulling us out of the pit, however, we can thank him and praise him forever and ever.  Ten trillion years from now, we will be praising the Lord Jesus and singing the song of the redeemed……in an eternal abode which has never been contaminated by pride or rebellion. All that is currently seen and handled will have long ago fled away into nothing; the memory of which will be as a fragment from a dream that visited us during a night long long ago.  

Psalm 63:6-7 “When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. 7 Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.” 

The quiet moments, when all of the worlds distractions are laid aside and we can focus entirely upon that which our heart longs after. Laying awake in our bed, or laying out under the stars; our thoughts drift toward the Lord Jesus and this incredible salvation that he has offered.  We think of what he brought us out of. We consider where we would be had we died the day before we believed on Jesus. We think about the precious blood that he shed to pay for our sins. “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we were healed.” The love that he had for us; even while we were dead in trespasses and sin, is unfathomable.  And since the moment of our conversion he has been an ever present help.  His council is perfect and his protection steadfast. As we abide in the shadow of his wings, nothing of this world can touch us. Even if they lay hold of the body, they cannot pursue us beyond the grave…..and where we are going, nothing contrary shall ever set foot. 

Psalm 63:8 “My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.”

“I run to thee.” When our affections are set on things above, the weights and sins which once hindered us will fall to the ground.  When we are in Christ, the power that sin once had over us is broken.  the power that the enemy once had over, us through a myriad of wicked attractions that governed every area of our life, is dissolved.  The Holy Spirit empowers us to live godly; even when surrounded by the agents of darkness which continuously seek to derail us. 

Psalm 63:9-10 “But those that seek my soul, to destroy it, shall go into the lower parts of the earth. 10 They shall fall by the sword: they shall be a portion for foxes.”

“For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.” This has prophetic significance, because, according to scripture, the son of perdition is going to prevail physically over the saints who are alive at the time of his reign. Those who work against us, betray us, and kill us……unless they repent of their sin and believe on Jesus, the moment is fast approaching when they shall slip beneath the surface and into a realm that was not created for human occupation.  After the appearing of antichrist and the implementation of the mark, those who lay hold of us will have no hope of redemption as they will have undoubtedly given their allegiance to the beast. Once we depart this body of flesh, we will never see them again.

Psalm 63:11 “But the king shall rejoice in God; every one that sweareth by him shall glory: but the mouth of them that speak lies shall be stopped.”

The sixty third psalm was given through king David; a man after Gods own heart. He rejoiced in God – when people talked about king David, his most distinguishable trait was his love for the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  As for those who speak lies, they have all been stopped.  They have all gone to their eternal abode. Those amongst us today who speak lies, live in falsehood, profit through deceit, and shake hands with the shadowy figures…..the moment will come when their mouths are stopped…..a moment that may well come upon them suddenly.  Whether the level of falsehood is on a global scale, or just that of a single individual who rejects the gospel of Jesus Christ, the consequences are the same. Are there varying degrees of consequence? Yes……but of what comfort is that to one who dies in their sins and is taken to the least tormenting portion of hell?

The thrust behind this post is to encourage all who love the Lord Jesus to keep our focus upon that which is eternal. To give all diligence in preventing anything from replacing the Lord Jesus as our first love.  We are in a time of great falling away and none of us can think to ourselves that we have arrived.  It’s a topic for a later post, however, lately there seems to be an element of pride that accompanies much of the Christian dialogue in various social venues and broadcasts.  Certain phraseology, coupled with an abundance of references to self, which indicate the impression that one focuses on self a lot. Two general rules when writing. 1 – never say “you” as it tends to sound as though one is talking down to the reader. 2 – Say “I” sparingly as it sounds as though one is consumed with self……except for in a title, where a term for self reference can function as “we.”  Oftentimes “I” is unavoidable, as in, “yesterday I had to go to a meeting.” But in general, self-reference should be limited. “We” works perfectly in dialogue.  It’s not condescending, nor does it bring attention to self. (example: “We must keep our eyes on Jesus.”)

Well it’s time to go.  That final detour necessitates the mentioning of this final passage: 

Philippians 3;20 “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:”

Blessings in Jesus name.

h1

“A L A M O” (watashi wa hitori masen)

March 10, 2015

II Corinthians 5:1-2 “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.”

To have our affections set upon a world that we have never seen. To have total confidence in, and love for, the one who was tempted in points as we are, was yet without sin, and tasted death for every man. To be fully persuaded that the word we have received, and believed, is 100% accurate. To be unmoved by the seamless parade of manufactured evidence and supernatural manifestation which supports a false conclusion. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3) To maintain the testimony of Jesus, while everyone else believes us to be the haters of all that is good.  That list of deceived ones which includes friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, people who we rubbed shoulders with in the common areas…..and  saints who once seemed unshakable, during the days of ease, when each of us rested comfortably in our space.  To be in our final moment; surrounded by the enforcers of the new way, along with an array of recorders that are transmitting into all the world, our fifteen minutes of earthly fame.  To finally understand the words of Jesus, when he said “and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

In that moment, with liberty only moments away, all of the distractions will be dissolved. The war is over, and the battle won, as with our final breaths, we focus on a single name….”Lord Jesus; receive my spirit.”  Jesus; the only begotten Son of God who purchased us with his own blood. Jesus; who, every since the hour that we first believed, has been a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Our faithful high priest, who guided us over the highest mountains, carried us through the darkest valleys, and sheltered us while the tempest was raging. His word was the barometer by which we discerned between truth and error.  The Holy Spirit comforted us in all our tribulations while guiding us into the way that we should go. And throughout the journey, he brought into our lives, other saints, who, for a period of time offered refreshing and insight. Gatherings of two or three, in Jesus name, where we compelled each other to remain steadfast; even as ten thousand were caving on every side. 

II Timothy 4:6-8 “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Contemplating, and preparing spiritually for, the moment when we leave this world at the hands of those who love not the Lord Jesus.  To many, it sounds like a proverbial “doom and gloom” topic as it suggests the prevailing of evil over that which is good. It causes one to, not only consider that the climate to which they have become so comfortable may have an end, it brings a message of betrayal, suffering, and abandonment. It carries one to the end of their time in this world where, in a moment, they will know whether or not they are spiritually prepared for this final stand. The fine line that separates the temporal from the eternal transforms into an endless sea, whereupon all of the trivial matters sail away forever. When tomorrow is no longer within our reach, our distortions are rectified and all remaining inquiries resolved. Is Jesus truly our first love…… or have lingering affections for this world, and our place in it, left in tact a platform from which the old nature of self-preservation will force us to enter into a contract from which there is no way back? 

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

Maintaining our testimony steadfast until the end is literally a matter of life and death and one that none of us can take lightly.  We are witnessing firsthand, the great falling away that is written about in II Thessalonians chapter two; evidenced by trends such as the increasing number of churches that embrace sodomy, the rapid rise of chrislam, and the number of professing Christians who have no fear of God as they partake of one unscriptural practice after another.  We are also witnessing the various components of the beast system as they are being fine-tuned and then implemented by those who have knowingly given their allegiance to the father of lies. We are bombarded with reports of our brethren are being counted as sheep for the slaughter in an increasing number of locations.  Meanwhile, in the seemingly stable areas, many professing Christians  heap to themselves teachers having itching ears who will talk at length about their best life now, “supposing that gain is godliness,” and lead them away from the God whom they claim to be serving.

II Thessalonians 2:3-4 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

The falling away is coming to the full and soon, a beast will take center stage. (Those who received not the love of the truth will, not only follow this beast, they will line up with enthusiasm to do what is required of them to be in good standing with him….and preserve their life in this world. They will be carried away by flatteries and clamor for his mark. And while the exact makeup of this mark has yet to be determined, we know that it will forever separate its recipients from the presence of God and dissolve any shred of hope for everlasting life. These folks may well become “something not completely human,” and they will become our enemies – regardless of how close they may have been to us beforetime – as they will no longer have any control over their facilities. (That sounds somewhat extraordinary…..unless one considers how much the majority of our contemporaries are already being controlled by the official narrative.)  

Revelation 13:4 “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” 

They are worshiping the dragon – even before the mark is implemented. “Who can make war with him?” The lofty words, the supernatural manifestation, and the manner in which this entity is able to resolve all of the issues that brought the world to the brink of destruction, will cause the deceived ones to follow him with fervor…..and subsequently view anyone who opposes him as “the enemy of all humanity!” By this time, many of us will, either be in very small groups of like-minded saints, or completely alone, in a world where every institution, every governing entity, every media outlet……and every person who knows not the Lord Jesus, will be in lockstep with the dragon.  But while every facet of this world will be against us, this may well be the most incredible time that we will have ever known. Having abandoned all earthly aspirations, our focus will be completely upon Jesus……and the fellowship with him will be on a level that we never experienced back when we still had a portion in this world. 

Luke 21:28 “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”

This is the primary thrust of this posting. To encourage all who love the Lord Jesus to look up with anticipation; placing this temporal world into a proper perspective …..and focusing on the issues which have eternal significance. To have our affections on the eternal and not the temporal. If our affections are truly “there” we will not be drawn away by the events “here.” The false promises of this world will have no power to entice; nor will the threatenings of the enemy be able to diminish our confidence. Our eyes are fixed upon Jesus our Savior, our heart dwells in eternity, and we understand fully the words of the apostle Paul when he wrote “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” 

“The Alamo moment” is in reference to ones final stand in this world. it is the saints final testimony of Jesus before an unbelieving world. The historical Alamo was established as a Spanish mission.  Later it was hastily converted into a makeshift fort by Texas soldiers who were facing insurmountable odds as the armies of Santa Ana moved north. It has become symbolic of the proverbial “last stand;” a point where one is completely surrounded by the opposition and is left with only their testimony. In the physical sense, the battle is over before it begins. But the real campaign was waged, and won, while the enemy was still beyond the horizon. Back when, in a reflective moment, we determined that we would maintain our testimony, regardless of the physical consequences of doing so. We understand fully that the Lord can sustain us in any situation, and when our testimony is completed, receive us unto himself. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” and “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” 

The final two passages reveal the mindset of the apostle Paul in regards to the issue of maintaining our testimony until the end: 

Acts 21:12-15 “And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.” 

The apostle Paul was not carelessly seeking death and running headstrong toward that end. He was, however, ready to die if that should be the conclusion of his trip to Jerusalem. His entire focus was upon the Lord Jesus; regardless of consequences. The following passage offers a more refined example of Paul’s mindset. 

Philippians 1:23-24 “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”

His heart was firmly in heavenly places and he desired to be with the Lord Jesus. He anticipated that wonderful moment when he would enter the presence of the Lord and never again be apart. At the same time, however, the care of the churches weighed on him immensely. He understood his office and comprehended the incredible challenges that the churches faced in those opening moments of the church age. Well, it’s time to go for now. My prayer is that all of us will be prepared spiritually for whatever we may face in the days ahead. I’ll end with a passage which, has become my personal “Alamo verse” as it perfectly outlines the means by which we endure until the end.

Revelation 12:11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

Blessings in Jesus name.

h1

Kunen o totte seija ga senren suru

March 2, 2015

Sometimes we come across a simple quote which seems to revolutionize the way that we consider a particular thing. The truth contained may appear to be insignificant to most; including the one who uttered the quote. But for one, the seemingly insignificant statement becomes an observation that is revisited often. For example, several years ago, we attended a church north of here for a period of time. One day, the pastor mentioned “the hundred year test.” The idea was simple – whenever something is getting us out of sorts or causing distress, we should ask ourselves “will this issue be relevant a hundred years from now?” If the answer is no, than it’s probably not very significant now. It may seem monumental at the moment, such as loss of employment, a lengthy illness, wrongful imprisonment, or what have you. But they are all temporal in nature, and, one second after one’s final breath passes, all such issues cease to be relevant. 

The statement outlining the hundred year test is not found in the bible, yet there are enumerable passages and events recorded therein, which touch on the need to maintain an eternal outlook and not focus on temporary circumstances. God inhabits eternity and Jesus stated that his word would never pass away. The hundred year test narrative became very important in the months following.  Our family went through a storm so intense, and coming from so many angles at the same time…..that I began battling thoughts of wanting to end my life – thoughts that a born again follower of the Lord Jesus should never “ever” entertain. By the grace of God, I learned some important things during that time. First, I learned how to renounce such voices which came directly from the pit. Second, I began to let go of physical attachments which had previously been a struggle. And third, when a substantial loss of physical assets became a reality, it was like a massive liberation. My heart was no longer attached to those things.  

Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Our life in this world is but a vapor; a spark that shines for a split second and then disappears forever from this realm. Maintaining this eternal perspective will enable us to arrange our priorities in a proper manner. In recent months, other quotes have caught my attention. All of these were found as pictures on social media and, subsequently, I have no idea as to who originally presented them. They are by no means a substitute for scripture. Again; Gods word is eternal and by it we discern between truth and error. Every time confusion arises in my life, bible verses which address the issue are quickly brought to remembrance. Nonetheless, these phrases have had an impact….beginning with: 

 “Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”

I am a quiet person who likes to be at peace with everyone as much as possible. Sometimes the pressure to compromise seems nearly overwhelming, and, in such instances, I tend to hurry my speech and trip over words easily. This fault has always troubled me because the righteous are supposed to be as bold as a lion. And if this is a struggle now, what will be the result of having to stand for truth when doing so will mean a quick exit from the theater of atoms…..or will result in those of my household being harmed? This passage, not only provided another angle of consideration, it became a prayer. “Lord Jesus; please let every syllable that comes out of my mouth be truth….even if I struggle to get it out and become totally disoriented in the process.” Even if speaking the truth results in the loss of everything in this life.” Standing for truth; maintaining our testimony of Jesus until our final breath is how we overcome this evil world. Speaking truth is also the only way that others can be delivered from death.

Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” 

“For it is the power of God.” A few days ago, I read the account of a man who pastors a large church in Tennessee. He has succumbed to the pressure to embrace the same-sex lifestyle. Despite his years of assembling sermons and presenting biblical truth before a congregation of thousands, he finally caved under the immense pressure to agree to something that, thirty years ago, would have been unthinkable in most evangelical churches. Yet, today, in church after church, the preaching the gospel with power is being replaced with the false wisdom of this world and an entertainment-driven agenda which draws in a large crowd, but doesn’t offer any spiritual nourishment. The pastor seemed conflicted as he announced this change of policy, however, it goes without saying that the seeds of compromise were planted long before the official announcement. Whether it was fear of losing members, fear of ridicule, or love of this world, the snare finally yielded visible fruit. 

Matthew 10:18-20 “And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.
20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”

The pressure to compromise is gaining momentum by the day, and we must be prepared to stand for truth. Throughout the book of Acts the apostles are filled with the Holy Ghost and speak the words of life boldly. We should seek to be in such a place to do likewise; abiding close to Jesus and trusting that he will meet us in that moment. It goes without saying, however, that we are not always in our most spiritual state and the enemy may well corral us when we are not fully watching. When such a situation arises, we must be prepared to speak truth…..even if it comes out shaky and sounds unconvincing. Another statement that I heard recently contained words to this effect: “The enemy will not entice us with blatant things……he simply wants to get us to go along with him on something – no matter how insignificant.” Once he gets a proverbial foot in the door, he can set up shop and begin hammering away at our resolve.

I’m convinced that very few of us are fully prepared for what we are soon to face in this physical realm. No matter how accurate ones eschatology may be, (or may not be) all who are present when the bottom falls out will witness things that they weren’t expecting. We must maintain the testimony of Jesus; even when every shred of evidence and every ounce of momentum seems to be favoring a conclusion that is contrary to scripture……even if our eschatology has become unraveled…….even if our voice shakes and our words are classified as foolishness by those who have already secured their place in the lake of fire. The testimony of Jesus Christ is our proverbial “Alamo” when nothing that we see is making sense; knowing that he has washed away our sin with his own blood and that we are but a heartbeat away from being forever in his presence.” 

 “This world is the only hell that a Christian will ever know. This world is the only heaven that the wicked will ever know.”

Three portions of scripture instantly come to mind in regards to this truth. Psalm 37 and psalm 73 speak of when the wicked seem to be prospering at everything they do; yet the time comes when their time ends and all of their aspirations cease. In Luke chapter 16, we read about the rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus was an outcast, but has now been with Jesus for over two thousand years……while the rich man is still thirsty. In this life, the wicked often seem to get away with their wickedness” while those who stand for truth are troubled on every side and their  cries for justice unheard. When we see this transpiring, it’s important to maintain an eternal perspective and remember that “everything is being recorded.” Nobody is getting away with anything, and unless a person believes on the Lord Jesus; sincerely repenting of, and turning from, their sin, they will give account for every syllable, every deed, every thought, every motive, and every evil campaign that they stood in agreement with during their days in the land of the breathing.

A strange thing is happening in the opening quarter of 2015. Wickedness is on the rise on every front; fueled by an official narrative which calls evil good and good evil. A president sits in Washington who refuses to equate islam with terrorism, but has no problem classifying Christians, constitutionalists, and anyone who stands for traditional family values as potential terrorists. In church after church, the standard is being lowered to embrace all manner of wickedness, while those who preach the truth of Gods word are becoming increasingly rare. Liberty is steadily vanishing and peace is being taken from the earth. Revelation 13:7 reads “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” Their hatred of us will be unrestrained…..but they cannot pursue us beyond the grave and, once our testimony is completed, we will never again have to face our adversaries. 

II Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

I Peter 4:12-13 “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” 

And finally:

“Those who have walked through the fire, leave sparks of light everywhere they go.”

this quote came from a secular source, however, it touches on a truth that is both incredible, and ominous. On the morning of march 1, 2015, I saw a nearly four year old video featuring Brigitte Gabriel; a lady that I had never heard of before. She grew up in Lebanon and remembers when it was a prosperous and open society. She also witnessed what happened when Muslims became the majority of the population and began seeking to destroy all of the “infidels.” She lived in a bomb shelter for years while she and her parents survived on dandelions and whatever else could be found. Finally, they were facing certain extermination, until the Israeli army began standing in the gap. She was giving her testimony before a very large congregation and I wondered…..how many of them actually heard her words, considered their significance, and responded accordingly. I also wondered how many went their way afterward, thinking “that was an inspiring message” but were not changed by it.

The video of Brigitte Gabriel can be viewed Here

Those who have been through the fire have a different perspective than those who have had a time of relevant ease. Not only does such tribulation factor in when eternal reward is granted, those who have been through the fire have a story which can inspire others to take more serious about the issues that really matter, become involved in areas that they may not have considered previously…..and prepare for a time when they too may have to face adversity…….because someday, the beheading of Christians isn’t going to be restricted to a few countries in the middle east and northern Africa. (Actually, there is much more going on, even now, than is being reported by the primary media outlets.) 

Acts 8:4 “Therefore, they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”

Philippians 1:12-14 “But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel:
13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”

This post is already too long, however, one more thing has to be included.: 

II Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort:
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” 

In the second paragraph, I mentioned a dark season where I was actively contemplating something horrific, and how the Lord brought me through that season. That season ended up making me stronger and more focused on the eternal, however, it did something else as well. I can better comfort and encourage anyone who is going through a similar situation; having been on the brink of destruction myself. Beforehand, if someone had come to me contemplating such a thing, I could have given a few bible verses on why they should not do it, however, I would be unable to fully relate to their dilemma. But now I can offer another perspective….as one who has been there, and not simply a stranger quoting scripture. (not to downplay scripture – Gods word never returns void) Nearly all of us have had seasons of affliction and turmoil which have made us what we are today, and placed us in a position to minister to any who are going through a similar season. 

All of us; that is, every saint who is currently alive in this world, is being prepared for what lies ahead. (I had wanted to delve into Daniel 11:32-35, but this is already too long.) There will come a moment when most of our contemporaries will be unable to deny the trends that most of us see taking place already. When this happens, there will be small “windows of opportunity” where they will be receptive to truth and will diligently seek out anyone whom they perceive as having answers to what is transpiring. (some will cleave to us with flatteries.) Those who are born of the Spirit will be able to reach some of them, however, these opportunities will be short lived. According to scripture, most will succumb to the official narrative; a narrative that was hatched in hell and will be accompanied by signs and lying wonders.  Those who still reject the truth will believe the strong delusion……and ultimately turn on anyone who maintains the testimony of Jesus. Maintaining an eternal perspective, with our affections firmly upon the Lord Jesus is imperative. A hundred years from now, all of us will be in our eternal situation.  

Blessings in Jesus name.