Archive for the ‘Evangelism’ Category

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Until the Indignation be Overpast (episode I – quest for clarity)

May 24, 2015

If one were to describe the ongoing streams of dialogue regarding the time of the end, how current events play into that final scenario, and where we are currently positioned on the timeline, two of the most notable attributes would have to be rumor and confusion.  Everyone who gives thought to this issue has a general idea as to how they believe it will play out based on what has been revealed to us in scripture.  We understand that we see through a glass darkly and that alterations to our eschatology of choice can be expected as the finished product approaches.  For example, there will be a moment when all of us will know for certain where the rapture takes place in relation to the other events that are foretold.  At some point, the son of perdition will be revealed and all speculation will be removed from the discussion….at least amongst those who know their God.  The moment will arrive when the wheat and the tares no longer grow side by side.  The line of demarcation; that spiritual boundary which currently runs through families, churches, institutions, communities, and what have you, will be dissolved and we will see things as they truly are. 

Until then, we must prayerfully search the scriptures and remain close to Jesus who has promised to be with us until the end of the world.  We must look beyond the rhetoric of contemporaries, and the endless reports of events taking place upon the earth.  We must abide close to the Lord Jesus and hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches……hear what the Spirit is saying to each of us individually.  This post marks the launching of a look at Matthew chapter 24, (along with accompanying scriptures from other places in the bible) where Jesus discusses the conditions that will precede his return. While these posts are not likely to resolve any of the issues that many of us contemplate, they should encourage us to seek the Lord Jesus on a deeper level and prepare spiritually for anything that we may face in the days ahead.  By considering the conditions that Jesus said would mark the time of the end, and abiding close to Jesus we can prepare for any eventuality…..even the eventual fallout from the activity surrounding the Hadron collider in Cern Switzerland.  

I make specific reference to the Hadron collider because, of all the events that are currently in play, this is one of the real wild cards.  It has the potential to make the world that we have always known virtually unrecognizable and is something that we should be praying against.  I’m beginning to get sidetracked here, however, for the past several days It’s been on my heart to pray for delay in judgment; that many who know not the Lord can hear the gospel one more time and that some will believe on Jesus.  With all of the speculation in this nation, concerning fallout from the Jade Helm extraction exercise, martial law, economic collapse, and many other adversities believed by many to come to fruition in September, my prayer is for a delay in the judgment that is looming, and for those who love the Lord Jesus in spirit and truth to utilize what little time we have left for the furtherance of the kingdom of God.  

The time of tribulation is one of unfathomable sorrow; especially when we consider how many know not the Lord Jesus and how many professors of faith in him are unprepared.  And yet, despite the unfolding of events which will cause men’s hearts to fail them for fear, it will be a time when those who know their God shall be strong and do exploits.  A time when our full attention is upon that which is eternal and our fellowship with Jesus is on a level that we never knew during the season of advancing careers, attending church once or twice each week, and running the kids to their soccer games.  A time of trying, of which Daniel 11:35 reads “And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.” A time which, despite the horrific events that will play out, cannot compare to the joy that awaits us on the other side.  When our testimony is completed and we are forever in the presence of Jesus along with all who have gone before us, all of the trials of this world will seem as a very small thing.

The closer that we are to Jesus; the more real that our affections are placed on that which is eternal, the less we will be influenced by the trappings, the reports, and the threatenings of this very (VERY) temporal world.  With this, the diving into Matthew chapter 24 commences.  

Matthew 24:1-2 “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” 

Before considering the boatload of observations that these two verses bring forth, it’s important to consider that had just transpired.  In Matthew chapter 23, Jesus expounds in great detail the astonishing hypocrisy of the pharisees and other religious leaders of that time.  He then went out where the disciples began to point out, and comment on the physical structures.  The temple had been there for as long as they could remember. It was a place of stability – the place where the God of Israel dwelt among his people.  When Jesus told them “there shall not be left here one stone upon another images of a future that was dramatically different than what they had always known, or imagined would be, entered the equation.  (It was somewhat reminiscent of when we talk about the end of the age and people around us become discomforted by the idea that everything in this world that they have known, and worked for, is coming to an end)  We don’t know exactly how many minutes passed before they inquired of this matter, however, as Jesus was upon the mount of olives, the ponderings that were sparked by that statement finally led to inquiry.  

Matthew 24:3 “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

It’s one of the biggest questions of our day as we consider the present unfolding of events.  “When shall these things be?  Is this newly rolled out technology be the framework for the mark of the beast? Is this person or that person the son of perdition? How does this geo-political event play in to bible prophecy?” For every question, there seems to be dozens of potential answers and scenarios; each of which has disciples who will defend them vehemently on social media and become critical of anyone who disagrees.  Seriously, a short time ago, I encountered a post whose author has concluded that the earth is flat based on their interpretation of certain scriptures.  This simple posting, concerning an issue that can be resolved by simple observation, generated more than 80 comments in very short order; some for and some against the idea.  A few even defended the idea with comments like “well NASA is covering up for the illuminati and we cannot trust them.”  It seemed silly, and yet this is what the dialogue has been reduced to in many venues.

“What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Where is this all leading to? We long to receive as much understanding as possible; that we can prepare accordingly.  If we are born of the Spirit and love Jesus, we long for the moment when we are forever in his presence.  We do not want to be caught unprepared, or deceived.  We do not want any root of unbelief to spring up within our heart and we do not want to be lured back into the world by failing to keep our hearts with all diligence.  These are a few of the reasons that we approach this topic soberly and with a hunger for truth.  knowing that many pieces of the puzzle have yet to fall into place, we proceed prayerfully and cautiously; especially when we consider the first thing that Jesus said in regards to this inquiry.  

Matthew 24:4 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.”

The single biggest danger to any of us is that of being deceived.  Charles Spurgeon addressed the issue with this quote: “discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong.  It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.”  This statement is even more profound today than when it was first uttered.  Deceptions from the twisting of scripture, deceptions in the physical world as eventually false signs will cause multitudes to follow after a lie, and deception from technologies that seem to blur the lines between what is real and what is fabrication.  I expect that technology will eventually enable the displaying of holographic images that which look so real that they will be indistinguishable from the surrounding venue.  Staying close to Jesus and staying in his word is the only way to insulate ourselves from deception.  Referencing back to the person who believes in a flat earth, she did make one good point. She stated words to the effect of “we must believe what we read in scripture, even if the physical world seems to suggest something different.”  While I still believe the earth to be a sphere, she was spot on with this particular observation.  Because soon the lies are going to be backed up with physical manifestation on a level that we cannot fathom at the present.

This is an ideal place to conclude the first installment of this series.  There is so much information in Matthew chapter 24 insofar as what to prepare for, even though many specifics are not forthcoming.   If we stay close to Jesus; ensuring that he is our first love above all else, diligently hide his word in our heart, try the spirits to see if they be of God, and love not our lives in this world, we will be prepared to face any eventuality, even if fleets of spaceships suddenly appear all across the globe……or the disc. (in case the earth really is flat. Hee hee)  

Blessings in Jesus name.

 

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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.

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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.

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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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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.”

 

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Teikoryoku Ga Tsuyoi Made Ketsueki

November 20, 2013

The concept of “resistance” can be discomforting; especially when pertaining to spiritual matters.  It speaks of having to abandon the leisurely path in order to maintain ones situation, without knowing the scope, intensity, time-span or personal cost that one may have to bear. It may well mean being misunderstood, or cast in an evil light, by our contemporaries.  In regards to maintaining our testimony of Jesus in the time of the end, it will mean, separation from, and betrayal by, family members, neighbors, and contemporaries whom we had previously regarded as having a solid foundation. We will witness the (necessary) detaching of all moorings to this present system and the disassembling of all that is familiar.  We can expect to be thrust into a firey domain that brings us face to face with the end of ourselves; where all of our physical assets fail and our allegiances are made manifest. 

For one who is born of the Spirit, we know that Jesus has promised to be with us always; regardless of what we may have to encounter during our time of our sojourning.    

The best place to embark on a discussion of this nature is with some familiar passages:

Matthew 24:12-13 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.  But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”

Hebrews 12:4 “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood in striving against sin.”  

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

In the first passage, Jesus informs us of the need to remain faithful in an increasingly hostile environment.  It goes without saying that this is manifesting before us.  The second passage reminds us that we must resist iniquity with everything that is in us.  In Romans 13:14, the apostle Paul warns us to “make not provision for the flesh” (by taking on the nature of Jesus) while in I Cor. 6:18 we are warned to “flee fornication.” I recently came across a troubling statistic. It stated that nearly 50% of the people who regularly attend church struggle with an addiction to internet pornography.  The understanding that this statistic even has the “potential” of being accurate, (it cannot be proven) causes one to realize how dark the climate has become. This causes one to realize, all the more, the significance of the three passages referenced above. Iniquity abounds in ways that previous generations could have never envisioned.  The enemy utilizes every means at his disposal to pollute the atmosphere, wear down the saints, and foster compromise. 

If we cannot settle in our hearts to resist sin today, and/or if we love our lives in this world, we cannot expect to stand when a mark will be required to maintain ones status in this place, Ephesians 6:12-17 should be committed to memory and practiced continually; that we “may be able to stand in the evil day.” 

The third passage is twofold.  Verse 8 reminds us that we have a relentless adversary who continuously seeks to derail us.  He never deviates from his single mission; that being to oppose all that is true and precious.  We become fatigued; we allow silly distractions to have mastery over us, (note to self) and we allow large segments of time to pass while we remain idle. (another note to self) Satan is relentless. He plots while we are asleep, he positions his assets while we are drifting through a spiritual “furlough” of sorts, and he patiently awaits for us to wander into a situation where he can slip past our spiritual radar and set up shop in our backfield.  Two of the most critical moments for being spiritually engaged are right before going to sleep and at the first moment of consciousness.  Sometimes, when I awaken, the thoughts are rampant and in need of quick casting down.  It’s as though the enemy moves in reinforcements during the time of slumber and, as soon as the transition to consciousness begins, they launch their vile arsenal.   

 Verse 9 reminds us that our situation is not unique; nor should it be surprising.  The true remnant saints (not the plastic cookie cutter types) will always be under assault from the enemy.  Oftentimes we may feel as we are the only one who still cares about the deep things of God; just as Elijah felt “all alone,” despite the presence of 5000 throughout the land who had likewise not bowed to an image.  The time is coming when we may be truly “alone” in every sense of the word. I feel it now; even when visiting the various churches in the area.  The things which the Lord have placed on my heart seem to never resonate with those who are content to settle for “christianesque catchphrases, soft messages and a form of godliness with just enough reference to spiritual matters to convince them that “everything is ok.” Despite continual prayerful seeking, I have significant fellowship with only two other saints and one of them is presently residing on another continent.  

Matthew 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Regardless of what we may have to face in this life; no matter what the cost or what has to be endured, it is as nothing in comparison to that which lies ahead.  It seems redundant to write this, however, with an issue of this magnitude it’s imperative to maintain a proper perspective.  Our time of sojourning is so insignificant in comparison to the everlasting habitation.  As the apostle Paul observed; “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.”  Looking unto Jesus, ensuring that he is “truly” our first love (Hebrews 3;12, Revelation 2:4-5) and resisting the enemy in every facet (James 4:7) and loving not our lives in this world, regardless of the cost (Revelation 12:11) is imperative.  When we abandon this world from our heart, most of the enemies arsenal is rendered ineffective.

The following is a partial “list of sorts;” featuring the theaters wherein we must resist the enemy.     

1 – “The hour I first believed”  From the moment we enter this world, Satan works relentlessly to shield us from truth.  In the days when we knew not the Lord Jesus, we were happy to play his game.  We loved his trappings, we followed in the dance, we enthusiastically ventured down whatever rabbit hole he drug us to; the heart thumping with anticipation over what exciting thing awaited us.  But in that life-changing moment, when we came to sincere repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus, everything changed.  We abandoned the destroyer and obtained that which he had forfeited – eternal life in the presence of the Lord, the holy angels, and the saints from every tribe and generation.  In my case, he launched a lie; right at the moment that I asked Jesus to save me.  The lie backfired as it caused me to declare with emphasis “I’m serious; Lord Jesus I want to follow you – I do not want go back to the old ways…..ever!”   

2 – Little sins.  Things we let slip because, to do the right thing “seems counterproductive.”  They have several definitions, white lies, necessary evil, momentary weakness and what not. I knew of a saint who was employed at an auto dealership that was owned by professing Christians.   Dishonest practices were engaged in on a daily basis, but they justified it with “this is how the business is run. If we don’t do it this way, we’ll eventually have to close.  Such thinking is the very foundation whereby millions who once had a relationship with Jesus will end up receiving a mark. “I have to provide for my family – I Timothy 5:8 says so.  I have to obey the governments orders – Romans chapter 13 says to.”  Or how about “I did it ignorantly – my pastor never talked about things like this.”  The little sins are far more dangerous than anything the son of perdition can throw at us because this is where seeds of compromise are sown. 

3 – Love of this world.  simply put, if we love our situation and our assets here, we’ll do anything to save them.  Subsequently, making the jump from a biblical worldview to one that “appears” more logical and compassionate will be a small thing.  This is another reason that I’ve been unable to settle in a church.  There’s a profound love of stuff ….. and no fear of God.  I know of folks who are living together and yet teaching Sunday school. Recently I saw an ad for a t-shirt that made me sick. It featured a picture that was supposed to be Jesus.  There was a word bubble next to him, like he was speaking, only, the word bubble was empty.  Above the picture were the words “Regarding homosexuality, Jesus said this:”  They pervert scripture in order to justify that which is vile and unnatural.  NO FEAR AT ALL and this is only the beginning.  (Kind of a different topic, but…..oh well) 

4 –  Strong delusion as is referenced in Matthew 24:24 and II Thessalonians 2:10-12 The supernatural fireworks that Jesus mentions in Matthew 24:24 will be so believable that even the most spiritual of the spiritual will have to do a double take.  They will be challenged, but will not fall because of who they know and the truth that they have hidden in their heart.  But those who have neglected to make their calling and election sure will be “ripe for the picking” so to speak.  A departing of their first love which transpired without notice (Revelation 2:4) a going with the flow and justifying it by saying “well everyone at my church is doing it” and one has a recipe for everlasting disaster.  Those who are partakers of the great falling away, established the framework long ago.  The seemingly little things that were excused; a single quick click on one a sensual pictures that appeared in the add column on facebook that led to future (and longer) visits, a small lie that kept peace in the household, a rearranging of the numbers that sold a vehicle.  The list is endless and with each trip into the supposed “grey areas” the pattern of compromise becomes more entrenched.

Matthew 24:23-24 “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

II Thessalonians 2:9-11 “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”  

Well It’s about time to go.  If one passage seems paramount regarding this topic, it’s James 4:7-8“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands ye sinners; and purify your hearts ye double minded.”  In other word, ensure that Jesus is truly our first love and let nothing interfere.  If we do this, all of Satan’s assets are rendered ineffective.  

Blessings in Jesus name.

“Teikoryoku ga tsuyoi made ketsueki’ roughly translates “resistance strong until blood” in reference to Hebrews 12:4

 

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Namida De Yonaka Desu

October 18, 2013

Romans 8:22 “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”

It has transpired a handful of times over the years; the most recent incident being in August of 2013. I was on the south side of town, distributing tracks on the bicycle. I turned north onto Eighth street when suddenly, it was as though the perimeters of the battlefield became astonishingly clear.  Every domestic contention, every life-consuming addiction, every flash-point of blistering fury, every secret fear, every facet of overwhelming despair, every affliction with no apparent remedy, every broken promise, ….. every embattled soul who is being assaulted by an enemy whom they don’t see nor understand. The result was a time of intercession for people whom I had never met; praying over the area, the houses, and the souls of everyone who resided within.” Coupled with this was a reflective inquiry that carries one directly into the spiritual examination room. “Lord Jesus; do any of us have, even have a remote clue, as to the magnitude and seriousness of the war that we are in?” The battles along Eighth street are representative of those playing out on every block, of every city, in every nation under the sun. Over seven billion individual campaigns, wherein Satan seeks to destroy those who are created in Gods image.

II Timothy 3:1-3 “Know this also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,”

I John 3:8 “he that commiteth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

We are surrounded by eternal souls who are merely a heartbeat away from an eternity. Of all that we behold through the five senses, the only thing that will remain forever, is the souls. For those who know not the Lord Jesus, the enemy is working feverishly to keep them in darkness.  Through a myriad of customized deceptions, distractions and full-blown wild goose chases, he locks them into a fast-moving and continuously readjusting  stream of diversion.  The objective is simple: prevent them from hearing of, and believing on, the Lord Jesus Christ, until their final breath has expired and no more opportunities remain.  The hatred that he has for God, and those whom God created in his own image, is immeasurable.  In the case of one who knows the Lord Jesus, the battle is even more intense because these have authority over the works of darkness. They can cast out demonic entities, they can take authority over strongholds that have been in place for generations, in Jesus name ….. and they carry with them the truth of the gospel; whereby the captive can hear the truth, believe on the Lord Jesus in sincere repentance, and be given a new nature as their names recorded in the book of life.  When they understand who the are in Jesus, they can turn the world upside down.

Acts 17:6 “And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the elders of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;”

The question remains and each of us must seek the answer for ourselves.  “Is my life and priorities reflective of the spiritual conditions presiding in my sphere of influence?  My neighbors are lost; people at my place of employment are heading into eternity without Jesus, my children have no desire to know the Lord – does the way that I spend my time reflect the seriousness of this? Lives are in chaos, infidelity is rampant, the love of many is waxing cold because of the rampant iniquity – am I standing in the gap in whatsoever capacity I am able – or has a love for my present life in this world transformed me into a well without water? Have I succumbed to a socially acceptable “form of godliness” which puts on a show but does nothing for those in need of deliverance and restoration? When was the last time I wept during the middle of the night; interceding for a lost soul that has one foot in the grave and is completely unconcerned?  Do the words of Jesus, found in Matthew 25:31-46 resonate at all with me?” It’s not an easy thing to consider. It exposes us for who we really are. it calls to our attention all of the time and resource that we have squandered on foolishness. it’s painful, but necessary if we are to move into a place, spiritually speaking, whereby the Holy Spirit can fully transform us into the “city on a hill” that our contemporaries so desperately need for us to be.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Corinthians 4:3 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.”

“Namida de yonaka desu” (tears in the middle of the night) is all encompassing. It tells of an abusive husband who, despite a myriad of promises, cannot cease from inflicting pain on those around him. It relates the story of a phenomenally brilliant student whose recreational partaking led to uncontrollable substance abuse, until all potential was forfeited. It tells of an executive who was lured into corruption and has now become so entangled that he continuously has to repair breaches in the facade while being consumed by fear and despair.  It’s the lady who lives with daily lamentation because, as a teen, she forsook the natural instincts and succumbed to the advice of her contemporaries. In a moment of fear and destablizing confusion, she allowed the life that she was carrying to be snuffed out by those who despise that which is fearfully and wonderfully made.  It’s the middle-aged man who, decades before, was violated in the most unnatural of ways by a trusted uncle, whereby demonic presence was transferred. Every attempt to lead a normal life, resulted in failure and today that unholy thing drags him mercilessly through the corridors of filth uncontested. It’s the “picture perfect family who had it all” until unforeseen circumstances circumvented every precautionary measure and carried the sandy foundations out to sea. 

It’s a young child, born into a dysfunctional situation, where they must endure manifold forms of abuse and neglect. A mother of three who now has to take care of everything because the one to whom she promised “till death do us part” decided to go off and “find himself.” This could go on and on. The manifestations of despair are as numerous as the number of souls who currently walk upon the earth. Each one is a vivid example of an enemy who seeks desperately to destroy them but can only go so far.  A key passage of scripture, not only sheds light on why such sorrow is permitted to continue, it reveals how we are to join the battle.

II Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

If Satan was capable of doing so, he would instantly kill everyone on the face of the earth. The incomprehensible level of suffering gives evidence to this.  But God, in his mercy, maintains a persons place in this world for an allotment of days, giving them opportunity to believe on Jesus; his only begotten Son, who shed his innocent blood on an old rugged.  This is also why so many people who are given to evil are permitted to remain standing.  God will grant a person (regardless of how we classify them) opportunity to believe on him, which is why so many of our contemporaries seem to “get away” with committing grievous trespasses against their neighbors.  For one at the receiving end of sorrows and trespass, God may allow such events for the purpose of bringing a person to repentance and faith in Jesus. We tend to see a single angle of the surface picture.  A snapshot which is further distorted by our limited understanding and prevailing bias’. Gods vantage point is all-encompassing and eternal. As we begin to spend more quality time in his presence, he will begin to open our eyes to the “bigger picture” that is in play ….. which brings us to the final part of this posting.  (It’s long; I apologize)

Namida de yonaka desu also identifies an intregal component in the life of one who knows the Lord Jesus.  For the sake of time, it must be addressed in bullet-point format.

1 – Sorrow over our sinful nature. When we love the Lord Jesus, the old nature that remains in our members (but is not a pass to sin) grieves us. While we strive to walk in sincere holiness, we are inevitably going to stumble at times and sometimes that stumbling will have painful consequences such as a damaged testimony before someone whom we have been praying for, or what have you. This godly sorrow brings us to repentance and a renewed determination to avoid the pitfall in the future. Years ago, after a lengthy season of backsliding, the Lord brought me to II Corinthians 7:11.

2 – Tears of intercession.  This almost demands a separate posting. When we take on a burden to pray for another; be it a neighbor who knows not the Lord Jesus, a family who is facing incomprehensible circumstances, or what have you, it’s as though we begin “feeling their pain.” Their burden becomes our burden with intensity that cannot be drummed up by natural means.  In the middle of a dark night we awaken and. go before the throne of grace for that person or group of persons.  With tears and groanings which cannot be uttered, we petition the Lord Jesus on their behalf.  This is where strongholds are often broken, impasses resolved, and clarity is granted.  If we are facing an antagonist; someone who is determined to send ill-will in our direction, intercession for that person is a most effective response.  As we carry that person before the Lord in prayer, we begin to see the bigger picture. Sorrow over a soul who is headed for an eternity apart from Jesus begins to overpower any ill-feelings that we may have been harboring. This can be a very difficult thing; depending on the severity of the offense, however, it is very liberating and necessary (for both parties)  

3 – Tears of longing. If we are born of the Spirit, we will find ourselves “betwixt” between here and our eternal place.  As we draw closer to Jesus, our desire for being here will gradually merge into a single purpose: to be about our Fathers business.  To reach whomsoever we can in whatsoever fashion we can reach them, with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  All vanities and earthly attachments will gradually dissipate until we reach a place where we can say with all honesty “Lord Jesus; thy will be done in my life.  May I go where you would have me go and do what you would have me do.”  Increasingly, we will long to be absent from here and present with the Lord Jesus.  There are,most likely many things that we would like to do prior to departing, however, all of them center around being about the Fathers business.  Our preference is to be absent from the body and present with the Lord.  

Psalms 6:6 “I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my bed with tears.”

burning bridges 1This post didn’t even scratch the surface of this very complex topic. The conclusion is simply this: we are in a war that is increasing in its intensity by the hour. Time is running out; not only in the prophetic sense, but also “right where we live.” None of us are promised another sunrise. (Ecclesiastes 8:8)  It’s imperative that we begin to fathom the nature and intensity of the wrestling that we are in and respond accordingly.  A short while ago, I had to pray over our dwelling as something paranormal in nature had made its way in. (There are unsaved people in this household)  In fact, reports of paranormal activity being witnessed by acquaintances who normally would not consider such things seem to be increasing.  Soon, Revelation 12:12 will be in fully manifest.

Blessings in Jesus name.  

II Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

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.”