Archive for the ‘Deliverance’ Category

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Checking in: July 6, 2015

July 7, 2015

Greetings in Jesus name.  It has been a few weeks since updating the blog; leaving the planned series of posts in limbo for the moment.  A myriad of obligations have attributed to this absence, of which the primary has been the preparing of the house to which we are moving into at the end of the month.  My mother-in-law passed away last year, leaving us with a house that is completely clear of debt, but in need of a lot of work.  The remainder of the work has to be done by August 1 and, subsequently, most of my spare time has been spent moving toward this goal.  Lord willing, after August 1, I can be more consistent here.

It’s kind of a paradox; spending a great deal of time and resource on something that is so very temporal, while monitoring what appears to be the end of a nation and the speedy fulfilling of end time prophecy.  Adding further complication to this, is a situation which all who are atuned wrestle with as well.  Very few (if any) of our contemporaries see what’s coming an even fewer are concerned enough to prepare spiritually.  The majority of professing Christians desire smooth messages mingled with promises of prosperity in this world, a continuance of things as they have always known them, and reassurance that they will be raptured out long before events become astonishing beyond measure.

We know from scripture that the time of the end will be one of incredible spiritual darkness; a condition that is well underway.  The apostasy has reached levels that would have been unthinkable a mere decade ago and continues to grow.  With iniquity abounding, the love of many is, not only waxing cold, it’s transforming into an intense hatred of anyone who maintains, and promotes a biblical world view.  Here’s a primary example of this.  Since the recent supreme court decision that favors gay marriage, people who beforetime, seemed to have no deeper concern than paying their bills, and keeping tabs on their favorite sports team, have suddenly become adamant defenders of something that God calls an abomination.

The shift that transpired on June 26 seems to have set the stage that will unite those who know not the Lord Jesus into a downward spiral from which few will escape.  Those who love the Lord Jesus must abide close to him and be prepared to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit without hesitation.  And while the season ahead looks to be darker than any of us can fathom, it is also a season where those who do know their God shall be strong and do exploits.  With all of our ties to this world dissolved, we will have our entire focus upon the things which are eternal.  (which is why updating a 117 year old house seems so pointless)  

Well I must go for now.  Lord willing, I want to become more consistent in updating this site as the hecticity subsides.  Blessings in Jesus name.

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“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.

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Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness

February 2, 2015

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

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

Found within the wording of I John 3:3 is a most important truth; one which discerns whether or not a person is truly born of the Spirit. After we believe on Jesus in true repentance and intentional turning from what we had always been, our sins are washed away by his blood and we become a new creature in Christ. Because of this new nature, we begin to desire to be holy and to separate from sin. We begin to purify ourselves; letting go of things which are contrary to the nature of God and seeking after those things which have eternal significance. The old nature is ever present in our members, however, because we have a new heart, we will both desire, and strive, to keep the ever-present reminder of the former things under subjection.  As we continuously grow toward the fullness of Christ, the eternal will gain clarity while the issues and interests which lose all relevance the second that ones final breath is exhausted will lose their appeal. As the apostle John rightly observed, “and his commandments are not grievous.” (I John 5:3…..notice how it compliments I John 3:3)

Most of the works of the flesh are easily recognizable to one who is walking in the Spirit, while the more subtile ones will be made known to us as we strive to become more like Jesus and less like us. There is, however, one particular condition which, not only has the ability to slip past the most sensitive spiritual radar, it can shipwreck the most discerning among us. It can drag us to a point of spiritual death; even while we believe ourselves to be walking close to the Lord. It enters in quietly, lures our attention away from Jesus, and refocuses that attention on self. It’s called spiritual pride, and it can grow undetected for years – even decades. Pride is an enemy that none of us can defeat in our own strength or wisdom. It takes a continual humbling ourselves before the Lord Jesus; allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal any area where it is beginning to grow, and quickly repenting of any strongholds that have taken root.

The perplexing thing about pride is that, while the Holy Spirit will convict us of its presence, we can unwittingly become so…….amazed……..(for lack of a more accurate description) at our perceived spiritual standing that we don’t hear it.  Spiritual pride is “the worshipping of ones own perceived spirituality.” The old nature craves status and respect of those in the ambiance and will seek to utilize any talent, gifting, knowledge base, or accomplishment to secure admiration by others. Even a continual display of humility can be a source of pride as one who appears to have this quality will be held up as “one who walks close to the Lord. True humility is an absolute necessity for a close walk with Jesus, however, there is an ever present danger of allowing it to become a conduit for seeking admiration.  It’s such a twisted thing – of all the works of the flesh, spiritual pride is the real shapeshifter of the group. We can never let our guard down.

3 John 9 “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.” (This is what spiritual pride will lead to – decisions will be made with the intent of maintaining ones perceived status, even if those decisions are contrary to the spiritual well-being of the other saints in ones vicinity)

Spiritual pride can take on many forms, but three camps are easy to define. Some folks “love the limelight.” Their words and actions make this obvious as they don’t even try to hide it….because they do not recognize it as a problem. This is the impression that most of the televangelists and big-name preachers leave with many, however, they are not the only ones. In the January 4 teaching, Scott Johnson  (www.contendingfortruth.com) was discussing how many street preachers (not all, but many) are filled with pride; even to the point that one cannot have a conversation with them. They almost instantaneously look down upon any person who is not “doing exactly as they are doing.” I’ve been there. The saints from my church in Virginia engaged in open air (street) preaching every weekend. While I cannot speak for the others, I know that for me it was a source of spiritual pride. This pride was not only self-destructive, it worked to drive people away from considering the words of life. 

Others may speak and behave in a manner that is recognized by others as being prideful, however, they view themselves as merely “being about the Fathers business. Such a one may make continual references to their accomplishments; always giving God the glory for these accomplishments, but secretly enjoying that they are in such a position of such perceived spiritual maturity and understanding. When I was on facebook the first time, I would sometimes link to this blog when a particular topic was in play. I tried to reason that I was doing it to offer my thoughts into the discussion, however, each time it felt “REALLY WEIRD” linking to something written at my hand. After a few awkward instances of “linking to self,” I simply stopped…..because it felt like self-promotion. A lot of people make known their books and writings out of a sincere desire to share knowledge with others, while some seem to enjoy the attention.  

Two dangerous forms of spiritual pride have been addressed. There is one category, however, that is far more dangerous than these previous two. This is when pride enters a persons heart, but their demeanor keeps it well hidden from both their contemporaries and themselves. They may seem genuinely humble before the Lord. They will rarely, if ever, talk about their own accomplishments or strengths, and when someone else makes reference to such, they will quickly downplay it. But in their heart; oftentimes unknown to them (because they are unable to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit) there will be a barely recognizable mindset of boastfulness over the talent, strength, or the reputation that they have. Only continual fellowship with the Lord Jesus continual examining of self, and being always mindful of our fallen nature can shield us from allowing this form of pride to enter in. This passage came to mind as I was typing the last sentence:

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

Pride is the nearly invisible shift from “look at what God has done” to “look at what I have done”……usually worded as “look at what God has done through me.” Whenever we inject “me” into the equation, trouble is brewing. Whether it’s in word, or merely a vague thought in the back of our mind, it is an indicator that a spiritual examination is in order. One thing has helped in recent years is this: if I had died in August of 1983 (the month before Jesus called me out of darkness) I would be in hell at this very moment. I would have now been in torment for 32 years, however, with means of measuring time, I would have no idea of how long I had been there. I would remember every time I had rejected the words of life while remembering all of my loved ones who were unsaved at that time……wondering how many were now in this place also…….continual despair…..no relief……no hope whatsoever of better days ahead. This is what I deserved. This is what we all deserve as, in our fallen state, we cannot stand before a holy God.

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

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

Before concluding this post, it’s necessary to visit a situation that the apostle Paul had to contend with. From this situation, three things can be gleaned. First, there is the ease with which pride can enter into a heart. Second is how the Lord prevented the arising of such a situation in the life of Paul. (It may well be that many of our desires are not granted because they would result in spiritual pride. There are a number of prayer requests of mine that seem to go unanswered and I believe that the reason for this is that I would be unable to handle the fulfillment of those requests without becoming lifted up with pride.) And third, we learn from Paul’s situation, how we should respond to something that seems inconvenient, but is intended to keep us in check.

II Corinthians 12:7 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.”

The apostle Paul was given the commission to carry the gospel deep into the lands of the gentiles and was granted revelations far in excess of many of his contemporaries. While we do not know what the thorn in  the flesh was, we know that it was necessary to prevent the apostle from being lifted up more than. Knowledge and understanding will puff a person up. And even when a person is in a place spiritually where they can keep themselves in check, others may hold them in higher esteem than they should. We should always be on the alert when another saint seems to make continual references to a particular preacher of one who ministers. The apostle Paul, in order to prevent such a thing from developing, whether in his heart, or in the hearts of others, was subjected to the buffetings of a messenger from Satan. He sought the Lord three times, that this thing may depart. The way that Paul responded to this provides us an example of the kind of mindset that we should have. In all things we must look to Jesus. (Romans 8:28 comes to mind)

II Corinthians 12:8-10 “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

His affections were on things above; not things here. He sought to lift up Jesus; not self. For this reason, he was able to, not only accept what he had to endure, but glory in it; knowing that this enabled the power of God to be upon him. When we become full of ourselves, the power of God will not be on our lives and we’ll begin relying on our own abilities. Once we begin operating fluently in our own abilities, pride will enter in and we will begin to drift away from our first love. Pride “always” separates us from God. Paul understood this and rejoiced when the Lord provided a means of keeping him from being exalted above measure. This was good for Paul, and for us as the revelations given to Paul were essential for the equipping of the church.

I Peter 5:2-5 “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves to the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Blessings in Jesus name.

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The Fallen Entity Resistance Society

January 14, 2015

Of all the passages in scripture that address the issue of spiritual warfare, these are two of the most well known:

II Corinthians 2:11 “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

I Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
9 Whom ye resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”

The issues touched on in these passages are paramount. Satan utilizes a lack of understanding and discernment to his advantage. Like a particular public figure who once stated “let no crisis go to waste,” Satan utilizes opportunities that would not exist in the life of one who was knowledgeable in how he functions.  Once a beachhead has been established, he launches out in all directions; working to neutralize, and eventually destroy the one who unwittingly opened a door. Sometimes the assault will result in endless turmoil and drama. Other times, it may be a lulling to sleep of the victim by keeping the agents of chaos away from them. Each case is catered to the primary leanings of the individuals old nature, but the endgame is the same. It carries the person away from the Lord Jesus by causing them to focus their attention toward things that do not carry over into the realm of the everlasting.

The list of ways that people open themselves up to such assaults from the enemy includes, but is not limited to, the following: 

1. Focusing on carnal issues: prophetic – There seems to be a lot of saints who are consumed by things coming upon the earth, to the point that the eternal perspective becomes…….almost an afterthought. This camp consists of patriots, survivalists, news junkies, those looking for a political solution, and the like. (survival skills are a good asset to have and being informed is important, however, they should not be allowed to eclipse eternal matters.) The trend of their dialogue, the links that they share on social media, and what have you, all focus on earthly events. And while many of these reports are prophetically significant, neglecting to place them into a proper perspective, can cause folks to become overwhelmed. When people are overwhelmed, they make bad decisions…….and this plays into the hands of an enemy who knows how to make the most of everything that we give him. (Matthew 14:30 comes to mind…..look to Jesus)  

2. Focusing on carnal issues: worldly – The list stretches beyond the horizon. Careers, sports, endless remodeling projects, material acquisition, continual studying things which have neither eternal significance or practical application, endless pursuit of the next big thrill, runaway foolishness (note to self) slothfulness-just “hanging out” while ones moment of departure draws increasingly closer, diverse idolatries……Satan literally has “something for everyone” as he skillfully employs the three lusts to keep his captives from considering eternal matters…..and what their current situation truly is. Those who know not the Lord Jesus are consumed by these things, just as we all were, prior to having a supernatural encounter with Jesus. But when a professing Christian is overcome by these, it is a shipwreck in the making. (Matthew 13:22 comes to mind. When a person is in a patch of thorns, they become paralyzed. All of their energy is consumed by trying to navigate through the contrary vegetation.

3. Not recognizing the perimeters of the battle – A few days ago, I became aware of a cult that calls itself a christian church, however, the leaders are subjecting those beneath them to classic mind control methods to keep them in line. This group is headed up by three guys who refer to themselves as “elders” and have control over every aspect of life within the sect. The more that I learned, the more maddening it became…..until once again, the Lord had to remind me of where the real battle lies. These elders are not the enemy, but the enemy was using them to gain bonus miles….by getting into my spiritual backfield and drawing my attention away from where it should be. Without a doubt, they are engaging in wickedness, however, the real enemy is Satan, who is seeking to destroy all who are in this group. The focus must be on the souls who are in peril.

Lord willing, there may be more about the aforementioned group in an upcoming post. They provide a textbook example of a cult that can appeal to “the elect.” Many of their members are younger adults who came out of bible believing families. 

4. Compromising truth in exchange for anything that one would think themselves to be accomplishing by doing so – This takes on a myriad of forms, from the faulty notion of “being like the world in order to win the world” to condoning an ever-widening circle of unscriptural beliefs that are being embraced in order to “just get along.” Compromising the primary doctrines of biblical Christianity is the primary identifier of the great falling away. Whenever a person embraces a redefinition of truth that’s contrary to scripture, they are embracing a lie that was birthed in hell. Embracing a lie always leads to promoting a lie, and such a one will seek to draw others into agreement with the lie. Embracing error, will carry a person away from God on a rail. If not identified and repented of, it will eventually compel a person to disregard the authority of scripture, as they work frantically to support the lie. Most of the souls who become partakers of the great falling away, began down that direction with the noblest of intentions.

Hmm. Noblest of intentions……like Perry “Noble?”…….I’m sorry……I should delete this……and yet, he is attempting to redefine scripture……he has a huge following of people with itching ears…….so I’ll leave it.

Acts 17:11 “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

5. Lack of a love for the truth. This is the gateway to the problems outlined in number 4.  When a person begins to slip and waver in their faith; whether it be the result of other priorities taking the lead position in their lives, a falling for the clever words of one who believes a lie and makes it look desirable, or simply vintage laziness, when one begins to no longer hold truth in high esteem, they are embarking on a slippery slope toward the pit. It should be noted, that, once a person reaches the point of fully embracing a lie, they may become twofold more the child of hell than the one who led them into the lie. The pride associated with this “new revelation that few are privy to” oftentimes solidifies the deal as such a one can no longer discern between truth and error, or make serious independent inquiry as to whether or not these things are true.

Matthew 23:15 “Woe unto you scribes and Pharissees, 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.”

I Timothy 4:1-2 “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;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” 

6. Peer pressure – not wanting to go against the flow – This has been, and will be in the future, the downfall of multitudes. It begins with a quiet neglect to speak truth when the current company is condoning a lie. It concludes when those embracing a lie will not longer be content with one simply sitting out the conversation, but will demand an embracing of their evil. We see this in the purest form of Islam, where a non-muslim must either embrace their religion or die. We see it in the sodomite community where, it’s not enough for us to “let them be.” They must parade their evil in public, demand that the church embrace it, and seek to have laws enacted that prohibit any action or speech that supports the biblical view on the issue. Like all such groups, they preach tolerance and “just getting along,” however, they are the most intolerant of people when someone disagrees with their situation.

I recently saw a quote that read “speak the truth; even if your voice shakes.” In other words, make sure that every syllable coming out of our mouth is truth…..even if our speech is not eloquent…..even if we struggle…..even if our discomfort in doing so is obvious. Speak truth. The enemy will attempt to chip away at our resolve; not with big things, but with little diversions from truth. Diversions that we may even be lured into believing are necessary in order to make progress. (such as “being like the world in order to win the world”…… it’s blatantly erroneous!)

7. Opening doors to the occult – A loss of a love for truth may eventually cause a person to engage in activity which is strictly forbidden in scripture. King Saul is a textbook example of this. He started out well and even prophesied among the prophets. God made him king over Israel, but trouble soon developed. He began doing things his way instead of following the exact instructions from the LORD. Self-will (rebellion as the sin of witchcraft) envy of David, and other associated problems of the heart, carried Saul far away from “what could have been.” He ended up consulting with the witch of Endor for direction, who, after fulfilling Saul’s request prepared his final meal. She provided comfort for Saul and his company, before they headed into the night.

When a person gives space to seducing spirits, their actions will become increasingly contrary to scripture; even to the point that they begin practicing what is strictly forbidden in scripture. There are churches today….huge churches…..that engage in occultic practices unaware. Emptying ones mind, channeling, seeking experience without trying the spirits, engaging in pagan practices such as yoga; many today have opened themselves up to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. The fruit will always be carnal. I came across the testimony of a man who had been present at the “Toronto blessing” event. He talked about how wonderful it was and the warm fuzzy feelings that came with soaking prayer. After a few weeks, however, he began to notice something. The attitude of everyone around him was…….very carnal – very fleshy and unspiritual. A corrupt tree cannot produce good fruit; no matter how many lofty speeches, upbeat songs, and strobe lights one tosses into the mixture. 

I wanted to get into the more direct elements of spiritual warfare, but it will have to be in a later post down the road. Nonetheless, each of us have a bible, and a person who is born again has the Holy Spirit abiding within. Scott Johnson recently passed along a question that he was asked when he was new in the faith and was being drawn to an erroneous teaching. A pastor asked him words to the effect of “If you were alone, and had nothing but a bible, would you have reached this conclusion?” Scott told how this question caused him to really begin investigating issues based on scripture and not based on somebody’s book…..or a particular groups doctrine. And likewise must we do…….search the scriptures and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. 

Romans 13:14 “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

James 4:7 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Blessings in Jesus name.

 

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Oji ga miryoku-teki (Prince Charming)

January 8, 2015

Hebrews 3:12-13 “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called to day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

There is a danger to which none of us are immune; even though we may consistently warn others while striving to be prepared for it ourselves. We know all of the scriptures that tell of this danger and we know what indicators to look for in regards to it’s manifesting. And yet, only when the son of perdition actually steps from the shadows; seeking to change times and seasons, it will become apparent as to whether or not we are spiritually prepared. One would think that most professing Christians will recognize this man as being the embodiment of evil.. Yet consider at how far off course many are already straying. An increasing number of churches are condoning sodomy, while chrislam continues to make inroads. The nature of both is obvious. Sodomy is called an abomination in scripture, while Islam denies the deity of Jesus and produces nothing but evil fruit. Yet both are gaining acceptance by an increasing number of churches – even bible believing evangelical churches.

 With the falling away continuing to gain territory in areas that would have been unthinkable twenty years ago, we begin to understand how very real the potential for deception is. The son of perdition isn’t going to have, what many would consider to be, an evil looking veneer. He’s going to appear as a likable character who has “the answer to all of this worlds problems.” If we are walking close to Jesus, while remaining little in our own sight (I Samuel 15:17) we will indeed recognize this person for what he truly is and be prepared to maintain the testimony of Jesus. However, if we are following Jesus from afar, we have allowed pride to enter into our heart, we harbor a love for this present world, or we are not nearly as strong in the faith as we think ourselves to be, we will be ill-prepared to face an entity who causes craft to prosper, destroys wonderfully, and has secured the following of nearly the entire population of the earth…..including many who were, at one time, solid ambassadors for Christ. 

Just a side note. It is probably obvious that this is being written from a post-tribulation rapture prophetic position. Yet the danger of being led astray is real; regardless of when we are to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. Many of those who embrace chrislam once maintained and defended, a worldview based on scripture. Keeping our hearts with all diligence is a must in every generation and in every frame of time. I am convinced that, regardless of what ones view is pertaining to the rapture, if they are born of the Spirit and truly love Jesus, he will prepare them to stand…..even if they are present for events that they didn’t expect to behold. This is where remaining little in our own sight is so important. We must be in a place where, should our preferred timeline unravel, we are close to Jesus and ready to face what looms before us. We should also be prepared to meet the Lord Jesus in an instant, because, none of us are promised a tomorrow in this world.

This next passage reveals how easily we can be mesmerized by a show, if discernment is lacking:

I Peter 2″1-3 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”

We see this taking place every day. Mega churches across the land where another gospel is preached and merchandising is king. That well-known church in the Houston area has nearly 40,000 members, but there is no gospel preached. A certain man in Oklahoma has his own airport and jets……all of it paid for by people sending in donations. “THAT’S A LOT OF MONEY” and it’s accumulated by employing feigned words that pander to itching ears……which generates revenue……and is used to build an empire in this world.

If men are able to lure in so many with a show, we cannot even begin to comprehend the enticing performance that antichrist will put on. Those who have itching ears that enjoy hearing smooth things will fall for a lie. But those who are close to Jesus will have clarity. Because no matter how well spoken the deceiver may be; no matter how lovingly compassionate he may sound, no matter how many of the worlds ills he seems to remedy…….and no matter how unanimous the approval rating may appear to be…….embedded throughout his speeches will be blasphemous words aimed at the Lord Jesus and all who follow him without wavering. We must not become paralyzed with apprehension over this danger, however, we must be aware that deception on the level described here is a pitfall that will consume many.

This supernaturally inspired campaign from hell, will embody all of the lies that Satan has had success with over the millenium…..sprinkled with just enough religious sounding terminology to cause the maximum amount of deception. In other words, this performance is going to be aimed at the very elect. Satan will already have the unsaved, those locked into a false religion, the apostate, and the lukewarm – he will be aiming for that which will be the most difficult to carry away. He will open his mouth, and out will come a pseudo doctrine that initially may sound noble; even altruistic in its scope of compassion for those who walked in darkness for so long. But contained within the wording will be a blatant denial of, and assaulting of the holy nature of Lord Jesus Christ, who is before all things and by whom all things consist. This familiar passage identifies the problem. The Lord Jesus spoke these words when specifically talking about the time of the end. 

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

That moment; that brief span of time when antichrist steps onto the stage with the full knowledge of one thing. His time is short” This is his last shot at changing times and seasons as he frantically seeks to forge an alternate end to bible prophecy and give the creation a makeover that’s more to his liking…….meaning the ultimate destruction of those who are made in Gods image, he is going to pull out everything at his disposal. With Satan fully controlling his every move and forming every word that comes out of his mouth, this deceiver will lure nearly all of the remaining population into embracing his program and receiving his mark. We know the scriptures well…..

Daniel 8:23-25 “And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full. a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.
24 And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.
25 And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.”

II Thessalonians 2:8-12 “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

He will attempt to topple the very elect, while making quick work of those who received not a love of the truth. The window for embracing the truth of salvation through the Jesus of scripture is limited. There comes a cutoff point for each person, after which, the Holy Spirit will no longer draw them. For those outside of Jesus, the implication is self explanatory. There are, however, many who believe themselves to be Christians who are not. Whether they are in a Christianesque cult system, such as Mormonism, Roman Catholicism, etc. or they were brought up in a bible believing church and never came to Jesus in true repentance, these run the risk of going into eternity thinking that they are right with God, only to hear the words “I never knew you.” If these do not have a love for the truth, fervent enough to compel them to diligently inquire as to the real nature of what they are embracing, they will fall for a strong delusion, once all of the streams of error flow into a common thrust.

II Corinthians 11:14-15 “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed into the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

Daniel 11:32 “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.”

Despite the dangers associated with the time of the end, it is not a time to be fearful. If fear is problematic, it is imperative that we prayerfully inquire as to the why, and remedy the situation. Fear will lead to really bad decisions in the critical moment. It is a time to be sober and vigilant as we recognize the pitfalls and strive to maintain the testimony of Jesus in an increasingly hostile environment. Moreover, it’s imperative to recognize that, for those around us, and those whom we love dearly but are not saved, their window will eventually close. We must be diligent in doing what we can to bring them to the truth. We must be that city set upon a hill in a time when light is quickly diminishing. 

Blessings always in Jesus name.

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Transition from Tradition

January 4, 2015

 Ecclesiastes 1:18 “For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.”

True wisdom comes from above, according to James 1:5 and James 3:17.  Unfiltered by the teachings and opinions of our contemporaries, is a priceless thing; “first pure, then peaceable, and easy to be entreated.” But oftentimes, this wisdom contains an element of sadness, because we then survey the landscape with greater clarity and realize that it’s actually much darker than we had previously thought. We see the souls around us who are bound by the same things that we were once bound by, until the Lord Jesus delivered us. And just as we were in that un-regenerated state, those around us do not realize that they are walking in darkness. They hold in high esteem, the chains of their captivity; even calling them fun and equating them to “really living.” All the while, they view those who have been delivered from such vanities as being weird, legalistic, haters, and, as I was recently called by someone very close to me, “a real killjoy.”

Satan has a vast array of tactics which he utilizes in keeping his captives in a state of blindness.  Some are physically destructive, such as alcohol/drug abuse, promiscuity, homosexuality, uncontrollable anger, and what have you. Others have a seemingly benign nature; unless one considers that they cause one to not prepare for their moment of departing.  This category includes the pursuit of endless acquisition, being consumed by a career to the point that it becomes ones god, a relentless seeking of entertainment or pastime, or any interest that an average person employs to occupy their proverbial spare time instead of considering issues of eternal significance. I know of people who are so consumed by the following of sports that it seems to dictate every facet of their lives.

Still others become deeply involved in divers causes, organized dead religion, cults-including those with a Christian veneer, or something which appears to have aspirations beyond this temporal world but does not lead one to real faith in Jesus. These are oftentimes the most dedicated kinds of people that one will find; especially since many of them operate from the idea of “working their way to heaven” or a perceived better situation after they leave this world. Jehovahs Witnesses will pound the pavement relentlessly; seeking to lure the non-discerning into following another Jesus because they are working for a place on the new earth. Many people who fall into these sects joined them after becoming adults. Others were born into a religious system which is void of life. These souls who are born into a false system are, not only following a lie, but are cemented into that system because of tradition.

And this brings us to the topic at hand – traditions. They come in a variety of flavors, however, they all have a single commonality. It keeps a person captive to a format that demands specific actions to be carried out at certain times. For one who knows not the Lord Jesus, traditions often stand in the way whenever they are presented with truth. For example, one who has been brought up in Roman Catholicism will equate the traditions that they have always known with godliness. Even if they cannot reference a single passage of scripture, they will oftentimes cling to what they have always known, as opposed to listening to the words of a stranger who lovingly tells them that “ye must be born again.” This is further complicated when they are “very nice people;” displaying all of the natural affections and courtesies that are standard amongst most of our contemporaries. (Matthew 7:11) 

Colossians 2:8-9 “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

This passage reveals three important points. First, traditions are earthly in their origin. They are implemented by men and not God. They are flesh-based at best, and demonically inspired at their worst, as the enemy continuously seeks to lead people away from Jesus. Second, they will spoil a person who allows themselves to be governed by them. Whether a person practices them out of a sense of religious obligation, cultural expectation, or they simply serve as a nostalgic reference point, (this takes me back to when I was a child…and I would visit my Grandma…..and she would do such and such….) they keep a person beholden to a continuous loop of unprofitable motions. And thirdly, they deviate away from the Lordship of the Lord Jesus. Even when they are believed to be done in honor of the Lord Jesus, they will keep one from “following him wheresoever he leadeth” because such a one is being governed, not by the gentle promptings of the Holy Spirit (if they are saved) but by the earthly system that everyone else is doing to honor Jesus. Thus the tradition is in control and not the Lord Jesus.

This will stir up some controversy, so it’s important to state that I am neither for, nor against a person partaking in the festivities associated with Christmas. I refer to Romans 14:5 and Colossians 2:16 in regards to this issue. (although I am an every day the samer) Around that time of year, people spend incredible amounts of time on financial reserves on observing the day. Decor, presents, consumable items, and what have you. If asked “why are you doing this?” the standard answer is “we’re celebrating Jesus coming into the world.” Well, if we really want to honor Jesus coming into the world, we should do what he would have us to do with these resources. (there are some who do this) Instead of spending all of this time and money on ourselves and those closest to us, take that same amount and allocate it to a homeless shelter; where souls are at their wits end and in danger of perishing before the sun comes up tomorrow.

And if it’s good to do such around the 25th of December, it’s good to do it all year long…..and thereby truly honoring Jesus with what we have been blessed with. I know that the debate over Christmas is provocative (just look at the facebook debates) however, Christmas is a textbook case of tradition having power over a persons life. When asked about my thoughts in regards to the issue, I have a compound response. First – my family is unsaved and does not understand my position on this. They need to be saved first before getting into the particulars of this issue. Second, I don’t hold holidays in high esteem simply because they are earthly in nature. Decorating and gift exchanges take my eyes off the eternal – not the other way around. They focus on the “down here” and not the eternal. As we draw closer to Jesus, our appetite for anything that focuses on the “here” will diminish. Every December is a struggle to keep my focus on issues of eternal significance, while everyone around me wants to watch Christmas movies and drink hot chocolate……”because its what we have always done; it reminds us of when we were kids.”

This is the power that tradition holds over a person. I know that some do indeed, utilize this day to focus on Jesus…..however, much of what is done has nothing to do with the Lord Jesus. This is further demonstrated by the way that so many of our contemporaries are stressed out because of holiday obligations. Stress is not a fruit of the spirit and when it is the result of our need to fulfill obligations that have no eternal significance, something is amiss. The folks around me, whom I love dearly…..from about the third week of November, until the beginning of January, they are in a continuous state of stress. The peaceful moments that line up with the currier and ives imagery, are paper thin and the smallest snafu brings them crashing down……because the program has been interrupted.

This post is once again getting long, however, two more aspects are in need of bringing up a they specifically affect one who is born of the Spirit.

Matthew 9:62 “And Jesus said unto him No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

I miss the ability to use more than one color in a sentence…..unless I’m doing something wrong….it used to work.

Traditions make us look back and rehearse what has been. We are called to be looking forward – looking toward an eternity where all of this worlds concerns are no longer a factor – where all that we have done in the name of the Lord Jesus will be memorialized in the form of reward. Holding to the traditions of this world, the agendas that most of our contemporaries are consumed by, a religious form of godliness, and what have you, keep us from fulfilling the work which the Lord has called us to. One of the most fascinating aspects of walking with Jesus, is the changing of seasons. This is when the Lord carries us out of a situation that we have become comfortable with, and into a new situation where we have no idea what to expect. It can be scary, if we try to figure it out. But when we just trust the Lord and know that he has gone before us, it’s like an adventure. One more (troubling) passage, and I’ll wrap this up.

Luke 9:59-60 “And he said to another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.”

This is astonishing and runs contrary to how we operate in the flesh. I was present at the funerals of both of my parents and, most of us will do likewise whenever such a time arrives. And yet Jesus was revealing the importance of eternal issues as opposed to temporal issues….even those temporal issues done out of honor and respect for one who was very important to us. “Let the dead bury their dead.” Saved or lost; the eternal situation of that man’s earthly father was now determined. It was imperative for this man to look toward the future, where souls were still hanging in the balance, as opposed to holding on to what everyone expected, and what he really wanted to do. There may well be souls in heaven at this very moment, who would have never come to faith in Jesus; had this man gone back to bury his father and delayed setting out on the path that the Lord Jesus had assigned to him.

Well, it’s about time to go. I was not expecting this post to touch on certain areas of controversy, however, it is imperative that our focus is on the eternal and not on the temporary. There is a profound liberty to separating from this worlds agenda, and setting aside our own wants, as we seek to be about our Fathers business. We must be ready to let go of anything that the Lord tells us to let go of, and be willing to go wherever he would have us go – when he would have us go. Even if it seems totally impossible in the flesh and even if all of our contemporaries tell us “that’s a stupid thing to do.” If he says “go here, and when  you arrive, I will tell you what to do next” we must go; knowing that he has promised to be with us always. With this, I will close with a well known scripture:

II Timothy 2:4 “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”

Blessings in Jesus name.

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Written in Stone

February 21, 2014

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.”

A particular passage of scripture has been on my heart, which relates such an incredible truth, that it leaves one at a loss for words as they consider it’s significance. I’ll get to it later in the post, however, it involves an aspect of the age to come. A place where all of the prophecies have been fulfilled, all of the dramas have run their course, and time has nothing more to say. When each of us who are presently here, have been positioned in our eternal situation and this present creation has fled away into non-existence.  When all of the issues that we currently devote considerable amount of time and resource to, have been reduced to faint echoes of a time that was, in a place that no longer is. 

Colossians 3:1-3 “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

The conversations of this world are becoming colder and more distant. The endless dialogue about this happening, this event, that breaking story, the goings on over there, “how about this weather,” and what have you is becoming difficult more difficult to engage in. Even issues that are worthy of thought provoking dialogue; if there is no eternal significance to the issue, my attention span quickly seeks an exit.  For example, the fallout from……lets say…..Obamacare. This legislative event has profound ramifications and is in need of serious public debate.  And yet, one hundred years from now, it will be a non-issue. It’s composers, the implementers, those subjected to it’s policies, the debaters; all will be in the realm of the everlasting with their lot being determined, not by the issues of this world, but by whether or not they met Jesus during their lifetime.

This “withdrawing” isn’t restricted to the secular. Increasing theaters of “Christian dialogue,”  which revolves around temporal goings on, is losing it’s ability to grab my attention.  From preaching which panders to the three lusts in order to fill a building to Christian broadcasts which seem like little more than news reports, the focus on side issues and non-issues seems to be gathering momentum while serious preaching of the word of God is taking a back seat (if it’s even allowed into the vehicle at all) Recently, I listened to a reading of the famous Jonathan Edwards sermon “Sinners in the hand of an Angry God.”  Today, 273 after it was preached,  multitudes continue to shake their fist at God while hanging over hell by a thread. And yet, preaching of this magnitude is seemingly nowhere to be found.  

The frustration leads one to is self-examination. “Am I growing cold to the things of God, because most of what I hear being discussed and preached on doesn’t move me?” One begins to review the road traveled as they inquire “Lord, where did I go astray?” Whenever such cogitation takes the stage, one must watch out for spiritual pride.  The enemy begins to plant thoughts along the lines of “you have grown beyond the status quo Christians” which, if left unchecked, can lead to shipwreck.  “I die daily” is how the apostle Paul dealt with his old nature; providing an example for us all. (We all wrestle with this to one degree or another)  The answer to this particular inquiry came forth in an unexpected fashion.  

That unexpected fashion was a revisiting of the times of solitude. Whenever the distractions of the world are temporarily at bay and all of the contemporaries are in other places, our thoughts will run toward those things that are dear to us. Unimpeded by chatter and theatrics, my thoughts race toward the presence of Jesus.  Prayer; instead of being something that is a struggle, becomes the natural outflow of dialogue with our Savior.  It’s where I “want to be.” Our private moments tell much more about us than the public show that we put on. For example, when we at work, we have to think about the various aspects of the task for which we are employed and give diligence to perform those tasks in an honest manner.  But when we are alone, our true affections are given the priority, which should, in turn, directly affect our public life. (Matthew 10:27)   

If we are to endure until the end, our affections must be 100% set on Jesus and things above.  Any harboring of the things of this world and, we have already laid the groundwork to eventually prepare a calculated plan of compromise.  (This is how a well known bible teacher was recently able to tell an audience that a person could be saved after receiving the mark of the beast) Several times in the past few days, the words of Revelation 9:20 have been brought to the forefront; “And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk.” Equally pressing has been:

Romans 6:16 “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or obedience unto righteousness?”

The hangups of this world have filled the ranks of hell to the brim as people cling to the temporal and give no thought to their eternal situation enough to make a sincere inquiry to know, and line up with, the truth.  A quick glance at an oftentimes misunderstood passage provides further clarification:

Luke 14:26 “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.”

Our love for Jesus must be at this level; where, if it were necessary, it would bring separation between us and everyone for whom we have natural affection.  (Naturally we do not “hate” other people as doing so would violate scripture.)  There is incredible liberty when we let go of the things of this world and set our affections firmly on things above. And yet, it goes deeper. It also enables us to “truly” love the people around us, as we see them, not as contemporaries with whom we varying degrees of association, but as eternal souls for whom Jesus shed his blood. Just as we need to be heavenly minded for our own benefit, we need to be heavenly minded for the benefit of those around us who know not the Lord Jesus and are speeding toward an unthinkable conclusion. In order to be a complete “city set on a hill,” we must abandon our own agenda. 

Another aspect of having our affections on things above is victory over sin and temptation. Everyone stumbles on occasion and, when we do so, quick repentance is a must. But as we draw increasingly close to Jesus and our love for him grows, the old desires; the attachments which once dominated our lives and the sins which drove us to all manner of wickedness, lose their grip.  The desire just goes away. This is not to say there will not be temptation as the flesh still harbors the old nature.  But if we walk in the Spirit, and abide close to Jesus, we’ll not find ourselves struggling to overcome things that we know to be contrary.  (Galatians 5:16 and James 1:14 come to mind)  

And now, to steer this post into the direction originally intended.

I Thessalonians 4:17 “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” “

“And so shall we ever be with the Lord.” When one considers the age to come, a number of aspects come to mind.  Of all  the benefits that one inherits when they are born of the Spirit, this is the most significant.  We shall be forever with Jesus.  If we are truly longing for this, we’ll find ourselves diligently seeking to be in his presence now.  We should be running to the prayer closet; not forcing ourselves to pray out of perceved obligation.  My moments of complete fulfillment are found primarily in two places.  the first is during prayer.. regardless of the setting, be it the truck, at home, walking down the street, or behind the manufacturing facility during break in the middle of a snowstorm.  The presence of the Lord is beyond incredible and, sometimes it even becomes an honest utterance: “Lord Jesus; being with you in this snowstorm with a temperature of -14 degrees and standing between storage racks to semi-escape the howling wind, is far better than anywhere else on earth.” 

The second place is being about our Fathers business.  There is no greater joy than being engaged in that which the Lord has placed on our heart.  And this is where the error is found in the old cliche of “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good.” That is not even possible.  A person who truly loves Jesus and has an eternal perspective will be of incredible earthly good as they strive to further the kingdom of God.  Such a person will love their neighbor as themselves and seek the well being of others over their own agenda. The joy of being in the will of God is indescribable; not because we are doing some supposed great thing, but because we are in fellowship with Jesus and his joy is shed abroad in our heart.  There is more joy in passing out tracts in the most dangerous part of the city on a rainy afternoon than spending an entire month on a beach in the Bahamas while being pampered by employees of the resort industry. 

If the presence of the Lord is this incredible when we are abiding in this fallen world in a body that has a different law working in it’s members, imagine what it will be like when we “see him as he is.”  When this corruption puts on incorruption, all of the battles of this world are ended, and we are forever in the presence of the Lord along with the overcomers from every tribe and generation. An eternal abode without ailment, sorrow, frustration, anger, or any of the aspects that are associated with a contaminated world.  We are going to be in a city made without hands, in the company of millions…..and yet….our relationship with Jesus will be more initmate, more one-on-one, than we have ever known in this present setting.  This brings us to the passage of scripture that was the thrust behind this post.  A cogitation so incredible that I’m continually inquiring “Lord Jesus; am I reading this correctly?”

Revelation 2:17 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone, and in the stone a new name written which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”

This verse reveals a promise so incredible that it’s beyond defining with words. Each of us are going to be given a new name and only two parties will know that name. Only the Lord Jesus will know our new name.  He will call us by this name.  and even though we will be in the company of a multitude that none of us can ever hope to number, in the presence of God who inhabits all of eternity, we are each going to be on a first name basis with Jesus.  If we are born again, we are already on that kind of basis, however, we have yet to be given a name that is ours alone.  A name that is not shared by any other person, angel, or entity, in all of creation. If I’m reading this right, this is beyond incredible and, even now, finding words to write this is proving to be a challenge.  

Truly “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” and the sought after aspects of this world cannot even come close to those of the age to come. The mansions promised the overcomers, the streets of gold so pure that it is transparent, the melodies which we long to hear and join in with, the fruit from the tree of life, the leaves which are for the healing of the nations, the river of water of life, clear as crystal which procedes from the throne of God and of the Lamb. All of these aspects cause us to desire to be there now.  But add to all of this, a private identity which is for us alone and the Lord is the only other one who knows this name…….WOW!  I don’t know if this will resonate with any other.  For me, however, it has taken prayer time, along with a desiring to be with Jesus, to an entirely new level.

Well I have to go.  Lord willing, I can begin adding to this blog on a more regular basis.  This place has always been a sort of “cyber-sanctuary” where a blank page is before me and it can be taken in any direction.  Things have been hectic as of late, however, this is not an insurmountable obstacle.  Until the next time, “blessings in Jesus name.”