Archive for the ‘Pentecostal’ 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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One Hundred and Twenty Days

May 10, 2015

The purpose for this completely unplanned posting (until a few minutes ago) is fourfold.  First, it is intended to highlight both the lateness and the seriousness of the hour.  Second it is to encourage all who profess faith in the Lord Jesus to let go of everything that is not of eternal significance and to press in to the Lord.  To be as close to Jesus as we can be and ensure that, at the end of each day, we have grown closer to him.  To give all diligence to be in his perfect will and seek every opportunity to be about our Fathers business. Third, it is to address some ongoing issues in my life which must be remedied now.   Like most,  I am surrounded by unsaved friends, neighbors, family members, co-workers, and what have you.  Priceless souls that, should they pass into eternity before the sun rises in the morning, will be in hell facing an eternity of torment and anguish.  When we begin to truly wrap our mind around this, most of the issues that dominate our thoughts lose much of their significance.

At the end of the day, or at the end of a life, a single issue remains relevant.  “Is that persons name written in the book of life?”  

The fourth purpose for this posting is to offer up a link to a broadcast that I wasn’t going to listen to, however, a few hours ago, I went ahead and listened to it.  What I had expected to be a run of the mill discussion of prophetic events turned out to be far more significant than I had expected.  It would be easy to dismiss such information.  I’ve lost count of how many autumn seasons we have entered into where I expected the proverbial bottom to fall out and life as we know it to be greatly altered….only to find that the continuance somehow managed to remain relatively intact.  It is important that we approach such things prayerfully.  We must not surrender to sensationalism and we must not be ruled by fear or despair.  We also must not simply close our eyes and think to ourselves “I’ve heard it all before and none of it ever happens.” Many (if not most) are going to proclaim peace and safety right up to the moment of that peace and safety. Here are the links to the June 7 and June 8 broadcasts of Trunews; where Rick Wiles spoke with Mena Lee Grebin.

MENA LEE GREBIN (part 1)
MENA LEE GREBIN (part 2)

A hundred and twenty days from now will take us to September 7, 2015.  I don’t know what will be transpiring on that day, or how events will unfold thereafter.  At some point, everything seemingly familiar and stable is going to vanish.  Many are expecting the Jade Helm exercise to mark the beginning of martial law, gun confiscation, extraction of citizens thought to be a danger to the powers that be, and what have you.  There are a staggering number of reports to suggest that something is up; from the suspicious Wal-Mart closings in the “hostile” states to the myriad of sightings involving UN vehicles and foreign troops working in conjunction with this exercise.  We have an economic house of cards that can crumble with little warning and a man sitting in the white house who is actively working to destroy the country whose citizens elected him.  Mr Obama may well be the final U.S president. We’ll know in due time. (If the 1973 C Allen Martin vision is accurate, Mr Obama is the last U.S. president.  A link to the vision is on the “end times prophetic sites” page)  

Something very interesting was stated near the end of the second broadcast – something that I had not given thought to until a few hours ago. Mena Lee Grebin stated that she had been shown a revival that will take place after the collapse of all things familiar.  The country as we have known it will be no more.  Perhaps this is what it will take to cause those who survived all of the upheaval to finally consider issues of eternal significance.  According to Mrs Grebin, this revival will actually be the final installment of a worldwide revival that is currently underway.  (According to reports that I’ve seen, multitudes are coming to Jesus in Iran and Indonesia.)  As for now, each of us must steadfastly abide close to Jesus and be in a place spiritually to both recognize, and follow, the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  He will comfort us in all our tribulation and enable us to endure anything that we must face in the times ahead.  He will even sustain us, should our preferred version of eschatology take a hit. 

Matthew 24:14 “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then the end shall come.” 

This is going to sound gimmicky……because it is gimmicky……but it may help.  About an hour ago, I wrote down the numbers 1 to 120 in reverse order in my notebook, with the intent of crossing them off one by one as the days conclude.  It’s an attempt to remain conscious of how quickly the days pass; thereby causing me to give more diligence to utilizing time wisely.  Time really is running out and this summer is critical.  Even if the continuance remains past September, into next year, and beyond, this fact remains.  Every day is someones last day, and each day carries with it the potential of being our last day.  More than anything, the broadcasts listed above were a call to soberness, examining ourselves before God, and being about our Fathers business in the time that remains.  

Blessings in Jesus name.   

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The Redundant Sea

April 6, 2015

Over the past several years, a myriad of catastrophic events have been forecast which created a frenzy, but in the end, went away without a stir.  Some were rendered irrelevant once a particular date passed, such as Y2K, the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012, and what have you.  Other predicted calamities have had a more open timetable, however, as the years progressed, concern began to wain when the predictions either failed to manifest in a timely manner, or, events begin trending in a direction that was contrary to the predictions.  Global warming is a primary example of this.  A supposed environmental tipping point that was embraced by much of the scientific community and discussed widely in the various media outlets, but failed to live up to the expectations.  More recently, there were predictions of massive Ebola outbreaks in the United States and Europe, when patients from West Africa were flown in for treatment.

They enter the forecast of “things to come,” create a frenzy, spawn an array of predictions as to the extent of their impact, prompt those with an agenda to utilize the uproar to their advantage (let no crisis go to waste) and then vanish with little more than a whimper.  Today, few remember the panic surrounding the predictions of Y2K, while the end of the Mayan calendar became a non-issue right after the date passed.  Many Christians were caught up in the Mayan calendar frenzy; a phenomenon to which one particular individual made an observation, containing words to the effect of “The Mayans were pagans and received information from demonic entities.  Why are Christians getting worked up over something that essentially came from the father of lies?”  I don’t remember who made the observation, however, it was spot on.  Satan continuously seeks to change times and seasons while drawing folks away from the Creator of all that is.  But God inhabits eternity and sees the end from the beginning.  He holds in his hand time, seasons, judgments…….and the breath of every living thing.  

I Samuel 2:3 “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.”

These would-be calamities, while failing to live up to their billing, still manage to have an adverse effect on many who were present when the hype was in high gear.  Below are three primary ways that non-events impact the population.  In many instances the ramifications can have eternal consequences as they contribute to the overall state of slumber that has gripped this generation. 

1.  Non-stories bolster the misplaced confidence that those who know not the Lord Jesus have in the present world. As dire predictions create a frenzy, but then fail to materialize, they begin to “merge,” as it were, into a redundant sea of false warnings. This creates skepticism toward any report that threatens the continuance……including authentic warnings that have a scriptural foundation.  An unsaved person may well view warnings about the rise of antichrist in the same light as the warnings about Y2K; despite the abundance of physical evidence that a beast system is emerging.  In many cases, they become increasingly sketpical when the issue of salvation and coming judgment are presented; choosing rather to cling to their own beliefs…..“a way that seemeth right.” We all know people who have such confidence in this world and/or their personal beliefs that questions about whether or not their beliefs about either one are accurate true never come into consideration.  This confidence in a false security is bolstered every dire prediction fails, a false prophecy falls to the ground…….and another preacher replaces scriptural truth such as except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” with soothing phrases about living our best life now.

Confusion and slumber are two attributes of our age.  Yet regardless of all the confusion, the truth of Gods word remains steadfast and each of us will be judged according to truth.  (II Peter 1:20-21) All of us have a checkout date; a moment when our final breath is exhausted and we leave this theater of atoms……..a moment that can arrive without warning.  Every fatal automobile accident tells a tragic tale of someone who had plans that were just beyond their allotment of time.  When our time in this world ends, we will be judged according to the truths found in scripture; whether we believed them, rejected them, or fell for a twisted representation of them. John 14:6 records it like this: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” 

2. Many of the would-be calamities were considered by many Christians to be signs of the end times.  Many placed a lot of captial in these predictions and, instead of seeking the Lord Jesus on the matter, embarked on a campaign to prepare for the non-event.  One family from Ohio prepared for Y2K by stockpiling enough food, clothes, personal effects, survival gear, and what have you, to maintain themselves, their children, and their grandchildren, for months.  The home was packed to the ceilings……until a fire in the summer of 1999 consumed everything that had been assembled.  When we fail to hear from the Lord and go about doing our own thing, we waste time that can never be retrieved, squander resources that could have been utilized in a more profitable manner, and put a tremendous amount of thought and energy into preparing for an illusion.  This is not to say that we shouldn’t seek to be prepared for the unexpected.  We should, however, inquire of the Lord as to how we should do this.  

But false predictions go beyond the misplaced allocation of resources.  Many will monitor the goings on in the physical realm, and listen to report after report of the dire situation that is unfolding, until they are convinced that the bottom will fall out any day.  (On more than one occasion, I have been fully convinced that the economy was two weeks away from total collapse) Then, as time progresses and the bottom doesn’t fall out, they become dull of hearing……even to the point that the verifiable warnings found in scripture also begin to lose their urgency.  This is a real danger; especially if a person is given to emotion and sensationalism, as opposed to prayerful inquiry and searching the scriptures.  I have known of people who spend so much time consuming one report after another, that they neglect to take time to step away from the computer, go before the Lord Jesus, and inquire “is this true, and if it is, how do I respond?” 

Proverbs 14:15 “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.”

3. False reports, non-events, and distractions of like manner, create an atmosphere of confusion to the point that identifying the legitimate issues becomes almost impossible.  We simply cannot navigate the terrain in our own wisdom or understanding.  Because buried somewhere, amidst the stories about Niburu, an eruption in the Yellowstone caldera, the return of the Nephilim, Spetsnaz soldiers operating outside of Dayton, the potential for a major earthquake along the New Madrid fault, Cumbre Vieja crashing into the sea; triggering a mega tsunami, and what have you, there are legitimate reports that signify that the end of the age is at hand.  While many of the aforementioned issues may, (or may not) be credible, there are issues that we know to be, not only credible, but they carry serious eternal ramifications…..such as the manifesting of the beast system, the great falling away, and the limited amount of time that we have to compel those around us who know not the Lord Jesus to believe on him before the door is shut.  

We know from scripture that prior to the return of Jesus, the earth will be ravaged by earthquakes, famine, plagues, fearful sights, signs in the heavens, and what have you, we know to expect them…..but we should not be fearful of them; nor should we believe every report concerning predictions as to the when, where, and how severe.  Here is what we should be watching with godly fear: “Take heed that no man deceive you.”  Because if we embrace deception, follow after a false Christ, or abandon our faith because something else suddenly seems more verifiable (a false way will always appeal to the flesh) we have placed ourselves into a hole from which there may well be no escape.  The remainder of this postg will focus on three passages which sum up many of the conditions found upon the earth in the spring of 2015 and are sure to increase as the end of the age draws ever closer:

Matthew 24:6 “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass.” 

Wars and rumours.  We think of it in terms of armed conflict and, without a doubt, there are many armed conflicts underway and expected to be underway in the future.  The fog of battle; where one doesn’t know which reports are verifiable, which ones are a deception, and how to prepare accordingly.  Currently, there is war in several nations, including Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Eastern Ukraine, Yemen, Gaza, while a number of lesser campaigns are underway on every continent. (except Antarctica…..but then again……we know about the Nazi activity involving Antarctica back in the 1940’s.  Who knows what may be transpiring now) But rumors go well beyond conventional conflicts.  Wars and rumors are found in every facet of society……right down to the microcosm of a family, where strife, accusations which may or may not be true, displays of drama over irrelevant issues, and the like create an environment of confusion and sorrow until, finally, affection begins to wain.  While in the verse above, I believe that Jesus was referring specifically to conflict of a national and international nature, there is conflict and rumor at every level of society.  “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

 Luke 21:25-26 “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men’s heart’s failing them for fear, and looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”

A time where everything is being shaken and one can no longer find a place of stability.  A population that is so overwhelmed by the myriad of coinciding calamities that the hearts of many will fail.  Interesting, as I was writing out this verse, I began to think of how many times it has been quoted over the past few years.  Over and over and over – every day Rick Wiles broadcast opens with a reading of this verse.  And while it is indeed an accurate picture of the time of the end……we can hear it so often that we lose sight of its significance……especially when each day, the mail arrives on time, the electricity is still on, and people have time to worry about such things as how their favorite sports team is doing.  We must be on continual guard against complacency – never allowing scriptural truth to fall into the redundant sea.  The west has been so saturated with truth that many no longer hold it in as high esteem as we should…..even as these events are right at the door.  The final verse defines the apathy that is prevailent in society and even in many churches.  

II Peter 3:3-4 “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”  

It’s the battle cry of all who refuse to believe, or even consider, that there is an end to the present continuance.  A majority of the people in our ambiance, even those who identify themselves as Christian, are so attached to this present world, that they give no thought to such things.  And yet history is filled with examples of societies that bought, sold, and married on the final day of their existence.  It happened in the days of Noah, it happened to Sodom, and for an added historical perspective, it happened to Pompeii. Despite the fact that Vesuvius was showing signs of an explosion, the casts taken from the solidified ash reveal a society that was completely caught off guard.  The mountain had been stable for so long that thoughts of a calamity were non-existent (I visited Pompeii in 1986)  

While Pompeii was buried by a volcano that was plainly visible, Sodom was destroyed by brimstone falling out of the sky.  There was no physical anomaly that a citizen of Sodom could have pointed to and said “that physical aspect is acting different.”  Any confidence in physical continuance is unfounded…..even if all the collaborating evidence supports the continuance.  We are reminded in Nahum 1:3, that “The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind.” (One of the current issues that has me intrigued is the number of sinkholes that are showing up in divers places across the globe.)   

pompeii

  II Peter 3:5-7 “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the           word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of         the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water,         perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word       are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of                               judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”

Well I have to go. May we all look steadfastly to Jesus, not be rattled by the events that are underway (or soon will be) and not become dull of hearing when, despite the rhetoric coming at us from every angle, the status quo seems to remain intact.  As Jesus explained it, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

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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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.”

 

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The Road to Amityville

June 26, 2012

Recent discussions with a saint in another venue have fostered a considerable amount of cogitation surrounding the aspect of fellowship. The dialogue highlighted the fact that, in all of the years following the hour in which I first believed on Jesus, I have had precious few seasons of close fellowship. I’ve been involved with countless churches, met professing saints from a myriad of backgrounds, and have diligently sought after such. And yet the desire to forge solid bonds with the likeminded has gone largely unfulfilled. Many  (but not all) whom I have encounterd seem “comfortable” where they are and have no desire to rock the boat. They have attended the same lukewarm church year after uneventful year. Their lives match up with the default western standard, and they allocate much of their energy to maintaining what has been acquired in the theater of atoms. Subsequently, the calls to endure to the end, lay aside every weight and sin, love not the world or its trappings, and what have you, recieve little more than an uneasy smile, a reluctant nodding of the head, and a frantic search for an escape from the conversation.

There is a profound sweetness when we are in the company of those who love Jesus with all their heart and are not overcharged by the things of this world. The encounter transpires, eye-contact is made, and almost instantly, the ensuing discussion focuses on the Lord Jesus. Not the shallow catch-phrase stuff or the agenda-laden storylines mingled with the cares of this world; this discussion pursues after the deep things of God while filtering out anything that’s not born of the Spirit. These folks consistantly lay up treasure in heavenly places as their primary mission here is that which has eternal ramification. Their position in life, (occupation, accumulations, location, family and acquaintances, etc) is not their identity. It’s merely a platform from which to advance the kingdom of God. Their heart has raced on ahead to secure a place amongst the great cloud of witnesses in the presence of the Lord Jesus. When such folks are encounterd, it’s like a blast of cool clean air that carries away sinister attitudes while reminding us that, even in this season of astonishing apostasy, we are not alone.

Acts 4:32 “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.  Just a side note: the verse before this one (Acts 4:31) reveals what transpired when these saints prayed.

Such fellowship is incredible-beyond-description, and yet, very hard to come by. Perhaps it’s because of geography. Much of the professing church in the west is lukewarm and comfortable. (Revelation 3:17) Many of us unwittingly try to serve two masters while maintaining a lifestyle that keeps us attached to this present world This is the primary hinderance, however, a close second is the fallen nature that abides in our members. None of us have “arrived” as of yet (Philippians 3:13-14) So long as we are in a tabernacle of flesh, we will have to die to self on a daily basis. To complicate matters even further, we have a relentless adversary who puts up fierce opposition to anyone and any campaign that  poses a threat to his kingdom of darkness. His hatred of God and those made in the image of God is unabridged. He knows  that when we are walking in the Spirit, we pose a serious threat to his domain. Subsequently he uses an array of tactics to distract us; oftentimes with stunning effectiveness. (II Corinthians 2:11)

Finding deep fellowship in this age can seem like an insurmountable endeavor. There’s a tendancy to survey the spiritual landscape and then throw in the proverbial towel. Admittedly, I am “beyond tired” of visiting lukewarm church after lukewarm church, getting my hopes up that “perhaps these folks are watching” only to discover that after singing a few catchy tunes and enduring the preformatted message, their focus quickly shifts to…..eating…….or sports……or working on the real estate…….or anything that will not stand in the day of judgment. When asked, they will quickly proclaim “Oh Jesus is my first love; just like in that song that we sang earlier.” But their lives often tell a different story. In his publication “Living for christ in the End Times” David R Reagan makes the following observation:

“Most Christians have allowed their priorities to get very mixed up. Usually job or career is number one, family is second, and God is third or even fourth, behind an obsession with sports or something similar.”

Jesus should, and must “be” our life; not merely be a part of our life. He is before all things and by him all things consist. He is ever present and sees every aspect of every situation facing us. He overcame this present world and shed his innocent blood so that we could have eternal life. He is worthy of all our affection and devotion. Anything less is an insult to the one who gave his all for us. (Please don’t let this statement cause discouragement. None of us have arrived. Rather let it be an encouragement to lay aside every hinderance as we daily become less like us and more like Jesus.) 

Despite the vacuum created by the absence of those who love not their lives in this world, we should diligently seek, and maintain contact with, likeminded saints. Even contact in a cyber forum is uplifting; provided all parties are walking in the Spirit and mindful of the pitfalls. (I dare not venture down that rabbit hole) We really need each other; especially as we see the night season manifesting. The time will come when we will have to stand alone.  A season of unfamiliarity, where everyone in our ambience has embraced a lie; even those whom we held in high esteem. The time to prepare for this approaching season is now and likeminded saints are of great benefit. We should place a high priority on fellowship that doesn’t require compromise of scriptural truth in order to secure. (Compromise in order to abide with another is not true fellowship. It’s a recipe for shipwreck that will lead to betrayal and fatal choices in the critical hour.)

Philippians 2:3-4 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Look not every man on this own things, but every man also on the things of others.”

At the moment, I am in continual contact with two saints, one local and one distant, in a manner that could be considered fellowship of the caliber being discussed. We talk much, pray for each other consistantly, and discuss our varying embattlements. Proverbs 27:17 often comes to mind in the considering these situations. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. ” Both of these saints have been a blessing on a variety of fronts. I have been edified, encouraged, and received instruction. I have also received necessary reproof at times when I was either getting out of sorts on an issue, or not considering a particular aspect of a situation. For this I am truly grateful. It’s amazing that, with a church on nearly every corner in our area, I am in contact with only two people on this level, and this contact is not in a traditional setting.

I Peter 4:7-8 “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover a multitude of sins.”

Wow! The above passage has been referred to many times over the course of this blog, and yet, the words “above all things” just hit me in a way like never before. This is a preparation passage. It tells us that the end is approaching and how we should respond to that eventuality. This passage places fervent charity among the saints at the top of the list of preparations. It hides a multitude of sins that, if allowed to continue, will lead to certain compromise. It also deflects the little sins that tend to sail beneath our spiritual radar. In scripture, we read of a church that was on one accord. They walked in the power of the Holy Ghost and had fervent love amongst themselves. These turned the world upside down with a gospel that would eventually be published in every corner of the earth. (Matthew 24:14) For their sake, kings were reproved, empires were brought down, impossible deliverances were carried out, and tesimonies of Jesus were maintained; oftentimes under the most extreme circumstances.

We are now approaching  a season where a false message will blanket the earth. It will be accompanied by supernatural demonstration and will have a warm cozy veneer. It will appear to be beneficial to all and the entire world will embrace it. At the heart of this campaign, however, will be a vile man, empowered by the fallen cherub, who blasphemes God and opposes all that is righteous. The mystery of iniquity, which has been at work for centuries is about to blanket the theater of atoms. The son of perdition will flatter all who received not the love of the truth and, in the waning moments, gather all of his assets in a place known as “Armageddon” in an attempt to thwart the physical return of Jesus. May we all grasp the seriousness of this and respond accordingly. Time is quickly running out.  

Preparing for the time which is before us requires more than just watching the various news reports and playing fill-in-the-blanks with prophecy. It demands that we consistantly examine ourselves, abide ever closer to the Lord Jesus, and lift each other up at every remembrance. Websters defines the word “amity” as “friendship; esp. friendly relations between nations.” It speaks of a bond between those who may have different backgrounds but are brought together by common interest and desire that all in the partnership will benefit. It’s a “loving your neighbor as yourself” mindset, which is probably why the founders of the now-infamous Long Island community decided to make it the primary component of their towns name. Folks from different backgrounds, each bringing a unique set of gifts, observations, and personna, dwelling safely together under a common banner.

Well I have to be going for now. There are a number of aspects that couldn’t be covered here. It seems necessary to make a brief mention of one; even though doing so will create a somewhat awkward conclusion to this posting. It’s imperative that we do not mistake immaturity for lukewarmness. Right now, the final names are being added to the book of life. This age is more precarious to the new believer than previous ones, however, God is able to make them stand. Zac Poonen once stated it like this. A newborn baby is incredibly immature, however, he can still be healthy. If these new ones in Christ have a pure heart and are being properly nourished, they’ll grow and, the Lord will keep them from falling. Lukewarmness, on the other hand, describes the condition of  folks who have elected to stop growing and have allowed the thorns of this world to envelop them. The nature of the distraction is irrelevant, but the end result is the same: a soul in danger of being spewed out on the last day.

Well I have to go. Blessings always in Jesus name.

_________________________________________

July 3, 2012. 7:45am Good morning. I just came across two posts that are well deserving of a few minutes to digest. Here are the links:

UNLESS YOU HAVE SPENT TIME IN THE DESERT, YOU CANNOT TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MIRAGE AND THE OASIS – part 1

UNLESS YOU HAVE SPENT TIME IN THE DESERT, YOU CANNOT TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MIRAGE AND THE OASIS – part 2

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Fleeting moments we’ve despised; these can never be revised

June 15, 2012

 The following lyrics are from a song that was recorded by Trans-Siberian Orchestra. For this post, all the words that appear in green are from songs on TSOs album “Beethovens Last Night”

“In every life, it has been said,
there comes a time to join the dead.
Admit there is no second chance,
and join death in a final dance.
 
Across the floor eternity,
until the final moments bled.
And in the dark to take his hand,
accept that it is time to wed.”     

Serious truth from a source which is undeniably secular. It’s not a hidden esoteric thing; in fact we walk beside it daily. Whether we are affluent or impoverished, free or restrained, highly educated or lacking in credentials, famous, infamous, or practically invisible, all of us have at least a mechanical understanding of this truth. Everyone has an appointed moment in which they must leave the temporal realm and embrace the eternal situation which they forged in life. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” The final moment in ones life can take a variety of approaches. Sometimes it can be seen afar off as in the case of one who has a terminal illness. Other times it can arrive without warning. An unexpected alteration in the flow of events, resulting in the departure of a soul from the land of the breathing. Regardless of the formula by which the final moment arrives, the result is universal. A biography is completed and the choices made by its subject will echo throughout the eons to come.

In the previous post, I mentioned a recent dream wherein I was in a line of people who were being executed (via gillotine) for the testiony of Jesus. It needs revisiting because I was unable to introduce a key element into the flow of dialogue. While apprehension seemed to build with every step toward the instrument of demise, another train of thought was proving to be far more powerful. I became engaged in a mental “whirlwind tour” of my past, wherein each decision and every endeavor of no eternal significance seemed to be magnified sevenfold. Fragments of memories flooded my mind as I revisited moments which had been squandered.  Time that slipped away and opportunities neglected because it was assumed that all of the  parties would be here tomorrow, and the next day, and the day following. Somehow we neglect to consider how quickly (and unexpectedly) our allotment of minutes can be fulfilled and others will have to carry away our earthly tabernacle.

“And now you claim you are not prepared,
So much to do you can not be spared.
Still your entreaties death will not hear.
 
The graveyard is filled with important men,
Who could not be spared but were in the end
And so now I wisper in your ear.”

A while back, I heard a portion of a message from the late Leonard Ravenhill. He stated words to the effect of “five minutes into eternity, we will wish that we had prayed more, fasted more, witnessed more, and spent more time being about our Fathers business.” The message has remained a point of cogitation ever since and on the evening of June 13, it became significantly more profound. After doing the necessary math, even calulating all of the leap years, I learned that I had been on the earth for 17,377 days. This revelation can be further broken down into 417,048 hours. (plus or minus; depending on the time of day when my first breath was taken)  The conclusion is ominous. The vast majority of this time has been wasted in one form or another. Selfish agenda, mindless amusement, suffocating drama, endless chatter, obsessing over material acquisition, seasons of lukewarmness, a lengthy season of rebellion; it is a thunderous listing of diversions which must be given account for. We know the scriptures well:

Malachi 3:18 “Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.”
 
Matthew 25:45-46 “Then he shall answer them, saying, verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.
 
Mark 9:47-48 “And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

‘The things I have done, the places I’ve been. The cost of my dreams, the weight of my sins.” Just a note. The words in green should be unnerving to one who in not born of the Spirit…..because the words in red are like a hammer.

Jeremiah 23:29 “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”
 
Luke 12:19-21 “And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hst much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
 
Revelation 20:12 “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

 There is a relentless question that demands an answer of us all. Do we have even a clue as to the seriousness of this? Once we have exhaused our allotment of moments, we cannot retrieve a single second. There are priceless souls in our ambience who are dangling over hell by their silver cord while we sit in front of our televisions, and computers. Our lives are but a vapor; our moments fleeting and few. Yet we somehow allow ourselves to become consumed by the affairs and storylines of a reality that will soon become irrelevant. We try so hard to abide within the framework of what’s considered normal, that instead of being a city set upon a hill, we become just another featureless superstructure in an anonymous skyline. We allocate an unimaginable amount of resource toward maintaining and adding to our empire of atoms “while unconcerned upon the wall, the clock it ticks away the time.”

When our final word has been utered and we leave behind all that we have collected, there will be an embodiment of lamenting. We will regret every second that was spent on that which has no eternal significance. We will regret every idle word, every distraction that we allowed to have mastery over us, every compromise that we justified in order to keep from having to take an uncomfortable stand for truth, every dispaly of foolish jesting, (ouch) and every temporary priority that we allowed to supercede that which is eternal. “And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

You can live your life in a thousand ways,
but it all comes down to that single day.
When you realize what you regret,
what you can’t reclaim but you cant forget.
 
If I could just fall back into my life,
and find you there inside this night
and let eternity just drift away…..

We reflect on, and claim to identify with, the mindset of the apostle Paul, who observed “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” We should long for the moment when we shall put off this earthly tabernacle and enter the realm of immortality. If Jesus is truly our first love, we are walking close to him, and longing to be forever in his presence, the time bandits of this world begin to lose their influence over us.  All of us have squandered much. We must move forward; repenting over opportunities which were neglected beyond remedy and striving to redeem the diminishing opportunities that lie ahead. Whenever we are in the presence of one who knows not the Lord Jesus, we should be mindful that we have no guarentee of ever seeing them again. My nephew passed away suddenly in May of this year at the age of 42. I don’t remember exactly when I last saw him, however, I certainly didn’t expect that it would be the final encounter.

There is so much more to this topic than what has been mentioned here. I have so much growing to do because to be honest, my life doesn’t reflect the seriousness demanded of this issue. I mean one afternoon last week before going to work, I wasted 2 hours watching youtube presentations…..and they weren’t even profitable ones; they were just……funny………clean, but funny……..and a serious waste of time. Without a doubt, had that two hours been spent in the prayer closet interceding for the myriad of souls in my ambience who are lost, it would have not only been profitable, it would have been much more edifying. I would have driven to work with a song in my heart instead of that sickening feeling that always manifests after engaging in folly. Well I have to be going for now as this post is long and the hour is late. Blesings always in Jesus name.

 “And here in the night as I feel the inferno,
I stare in the dark thinking what is eternal.
The man or the moment, the act or the reason.
These thoughts fill my head as I contemplate treason.
 
Of dreams I have had and dreams I have pondered,
When late in the night, my mind it would wander.
To things I have done and then quickly regretted.
while denying vices my life had selected.
 
And I think what I’ve done or have yet to begin,
and the man I’ve become and the man that I’ve been.
Now caught in a waltz with the eternal dancer,
I’m courted by death but death isn’t the answer
I say…….”
 
Ecclesiastes 8:8 “There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.”