Archive for the ‘spiritual warfare’ 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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Kokoro no soko kara katsudo ga meiji suru

April 28, 2015

It’s a struggle that all of us have wrestle with at times. While we openly and vehemently profess that Jesus is our first love, oftentimes our actions suggest that something else is in the proverbial drivers seat.  I know of many professing Christians who attend church regularly and do all of the things that are expected of them……and yet their lives are dictated by the goings on in their family, professional ambitions, an addiction to a fruitless pastime, or any number of other things which can become ones primary focus. (Amos 8:5) I have been asking the Lord Jesus to instill such a love for him that the distractions of this life will lose every shred of influence and every obligation will be kept in a proper perspective.  Such a place does exist for one who is born of the Spirit and, even now, most of the things which once held me in continual suspense have lost their hold.  But there are the lingering…..seemingly harmless time bandits – some of which may even appear to have spiritual significance…..and yet ultimately, they cause one to squander valuable time that could have been utilized in a way that furthered the kingdom of God. 

Colossians 3:2 “Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth.” 

Sometimes the obligations of life seem to have us in a continuous cycle of activity. (we can all relate to this) These are the times in which we must be especially watchful as Satan will always seek to use such seasons to his advantage. Perhaps a three hour block of time wherein we can enter the prayer closet is simply not available, however, we can take advantage of every small space of time to be in the presence of the Lord.  Seriously; taking a few minutes, between consuming obligations, to be in the presence of the Lord Jesus, can be the difference between maintaining an eternal perspective throughout the duration of a physical responsibility, or becoming consumed by the agenda of this world.  For me, one way of accomplishing this is by walking to work instead of driving.  The twenty five minute walk, through quiet neighborhoods late in the evening, (I work third shift) allows for quality time with Jesus without distraction.  The walk home is even better because the option to linger is available.  I can stop at a park bench for a few minutes and prayerfully consider the deep things of God while the sound of birds chirping fills the early morning air.  

And yet, even when such time is available, distractive thoughts can creep in and steal the moment.  Those seemingly harmless issues that fly beneath our spiritual radar and then interrupt the line of communication.  Every prayerful inquiry regarding this matter has resulted in the same passage of scripture coming to mind; I Corinthians 15:31, which reads I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.” The battle against the old nature which dwells in our members will continue for as long as we inhabit a vessel of clay.  While we are not to be enslaved by sin or beholden to the things of this world, the fact remains that the flesh will continually pull towards the baser elements.  The degree to which we have victory over such things is a reflection of where we are spiritually and areas of struggle indicate a need to seek a deeper relationship with Jesus through prayer, fasting, and dwelling in his word. “Praying through” is a term that’s rarely heard these days, but it is a must if we are to endure that which is manifesting upon the earth.  

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

Striving against sin is an inherent trademark of one who has truly been born of the Spirit.  Not just repeat a sinners prayer and go on living in the same fashion as before, but a true moment of conversion where they recognized their sinful state and the consequences thereof, understood that Jesus paid for their sin with his own innocent blood, repented of their sin, and from that moment on strove to live for their Savior. Striving unto blood is resisting sin with everything that is in us and calling on God to strengthen us during the moments of temptation when we become overwhelmed.  James 4:7 frames it perfectly: “Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”  But to fully appreciate this, along with the Hebrews 4:12, it’s necessary to return to the beginning of chapter 12.  The importance of this cannot be overstated as, in the days before us, we will both witness things, and be tempted in ways, that we never could have anticipated.  Our spiritual preparation will be pivotal to maintaining our testimony of Jesus.

It goes without saying that, for many, these are familiar scriptures.  Nonetheless, the importance of the issue at hand requires another visiting of them.  

Hebrews 12:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and run with patience the race that is set before us.”

The writer of Hebrews (I think that it was Paul, however, some believe otherwise) had just finished telling of several of old testament saints who maintained their testimony in the midst of horrific trials. When everything in the physical realm was flowing in the wrong direction, through faith they “subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to fight the armies of the aliens.” Many endured persecution, imprisonment, and death at the hands of their oppressors. Many lived outside of the social structure; wandering about in wilderness areas, living in caves and mountains with a minimum of physical assets, but having complete confidence in the Creator of all that is. (Of whom the world was not worthy:) Hebrews 12:1 encourages us to consider the end of these saints, of whom that a cloud of witnesses is comprised (a cloud that has greatly increased in size since the time that the book of Hebrews was written) and to lay aside everything that would hinder us from finishing our course

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” 

Looking unto Jesus steadfastly; always keeping in remembrance, the price that he paid for our sins.  None of us can fully grasp just how incredible our salvation is.  We were lost – on our way to hell with no hope and no means whereby we could rid ourselves of sin.  Jesus, who is before all things, and by whom all things consist……who has no beginning, no ending, and is unchanging……stepped into the flow of time and into a world that was contrary to his nature in every way possible.  He was tempted in every way as we are and when his flesh was at its absolute weakest point, the deceiver sought to derail him.  “Make these stones bread……cast thyself from this high place…….all of the kingdoms of this world will I give you – just worship me.”  The temptation in the wilderness alone is so profound that we cannot wrap our minds around it. And yet Jesus prevailed; each time using scripture to defeat the ancient foe.  He went about during his days in a body of flesh; healing all who were oppressed of the devil, freely sharing the words of this life, and bidding “whosoever will” to follow him.

When the time was at hand when he was to be crucified, he could have called more than twelve legions of angels……at any time, from the moment of his apprehension in the garden until the time that he was taking his final breaths……he could have called out and been delivered. But he remained in the will of the Father until death.  The eternal picture was never lost and because of his obedience, we have access to that which we do not deserve. On the cross, the one who had never sinned bore the sin debt of all who had ever, and would ever, walk upon the earth.  It is absolutely imperative that we continuously remember the price that he paid for us and how he sought us out when we were altogether lost in trespasses and sins.  There was nothing that we could ever offer him; nothing in our power to remedy our situation.  We were lost in every sense of the word, until the blood of Jesus washed our sins away.    

Hebrews 12:3 “For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” 

Lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” While joy unspeakable and peace that defies understanding are promises for to those who abide close to Jesus, there is always the danger of losing sight; even to the point of fainting. If we fail to keep our focus upon Jesus, especially in the times that we’re entering into, we will be deceived. If a person fails to keep their heart with all diligence, something else will become their primary focus.  If not repented of, that which caused them to leave their first love will cause them to make decisions that will torment them throughout eternity.  Many,if not most, professing Christians (at least in the westernized nations) are going to faint when conditions reach a point of “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and looking after those things which are coming upon the earth:”  And then, when the false Christs and false prophets begin to “shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” those who are not in a right standing with God will believe a lie….and ultimately wonder after a beast.

The thrust behind this posting is to encourage all who love the Lord Jesus to examine ourselves and prayerfully inquire if we are harboring things which will derail us in the hour of temptation.  Peter was fully persuaded that he was ready to lay down his life for Jesus, and yet, when he was identified as a follower, he denied the Lord three times.  This incident has served as a reminder to every generation since, to not beware of overconfidence.  None of us can face what lies ahead in our own strength or wisdom.  examining ourselves now; drawing in ever closer to Jesus and remaining in constant communication with him will enable us to prepare spiritually for anything that we may be confronted with……even if the events prophesied unfold in a manner that unravels our eschatology.  Our faith is not in our understanding every single event that is unfolding, but in being close to Jesus, determining to never deny him, and settling it in our hearts to never receive that which will forever separate us from his presence.

I must end this post with a personal report.  Earlier today, we attended the funeral of a relative on my wife’s side of the family whom I had never met in life. (at least not that I remember) The man was 92 and had been in church his entire life.  Several years ago, however, he met Jesus and was born of the Spirit.  As the funeral proceeded, one after another of those who were closest to him, testified of the incredible change that transpired in his life after he was truly saved.  The pastor who performed the eulogy included the message of salvation in his dialogue, however, by that time many of the relatives had already done this.  It was the most uplifting funeral that I have ever been to…..and yet it brought to the forefront a disturbing reality.  How many people have been filling church pews for decades, doing all that is expected of them and being model “Christian citizens” but have never been born of the Spirit.  

The funeral tied in perfectly with the theme of this post…..which is probably why all of my efforts over the past two weeks to finish this were derailed.  Seriously; every distraction under the sun has manifested; keeping this post in the draft section…..until today.

From the bottom of the heart, actions manifest.  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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Kunen o totte seija ga senren suru

March 2, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And finally:

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

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

The video of Brigitte Gabriel can be viewed Here

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings in Jesus name.

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Kokuo no aru kaodachi kyoretsu – Hanketsu ga kuroppoi rikai suru

February 7, 2015

This posting must begin with two links to the same site. The first link takes one to the general homepage, where the latest teaching will always be located at the top of the page.  The second takes one to a specific portion of what is currently the most recent study.

Scott Johnson home page
Scott Johnson February 1 Teaching, part 3

 In the third part of the February 2, 2015 teaching, (second link) Scott Johnson discusses two aspects concerning the time of the end that none of us can easily dismiss. The first involves a person who could potentially be the notorious son of perdition.  We all wonder who will eventually move into that position.  The reason that the discussion is so important is that it highlights the elements of deception that will accompany the arrival of this fierce king…..regardless of who ends up fulfilling that role. The individual mentioned in the teaching, not only made an appearance wherein miracles were performed, a local Christian leader introduced him as Jesus. Prior to his appearing, another well known Christian evangelist prophesied that this guy would appear on June 11, 1988, which turned out to be the exact day of the appearing. This evangelist also referred to him as Jesus. To add even more intrigue to this, the travels of a then-24 year old Barak Obama brought him within a few yards of where this individual appeared.

Matthew 24:23-24 “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there: believe it not.
24 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. 

In the study, Scott Johnson touched on aspects of the incident that I was unaware of, such as the evangelist who “prophesied” the exact day of his appearing. This man is well known and respected among evangelical Christians. I have never taken time to study this man, or listen to his teachings, so my commentary here is strictly in regards to this single incident that transpired 27 years ago. An incident that reveals the dangers of following a man…..any man…..regardless of how legitimate they appear, how on track their teachings are, or how focused on Jesus they seem to be. None of us are completely immune to deception. The greatest danger that a saint faces is not deception from a way that is blatantly contrary to scripture, but from one that appears to be spot on. If such a one unwittingly places more emphasis on miracles than they do on that which is written, the danger becomes even more profound. 

I Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

It is not certain as to whether or not Mr. Obama had a direct encounter with this man. The fact that the Mr Obama just happened to be visiting the country at the same time as the appearing seems well beyond the realm of coincidence. What can be documented, however, is that right after June 11, 1988, Mr Obama was taken out of total obscurity and placed on the fast track to power.  He received favor in every facet of life and was repeatedly placed in positions that nobody with his limited level of experience should have been able to secure. He is now the president of the United States and can no longer mask the contents of his evil heart. Ever since he took office in January of 2009, he has diligently sought to advance every evil agenda that one can think of while doing irreversible damage to the nation that he now “rules over.” One of the primary attributes of a tyrant is that they bring great harm to the nation where they are in power. In regards to harm; both to the nation and its citizens, Mr Obama has done far in excess of any who occupied that office before him.

Two things have prevented Mr Obama from joining the ranks of Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, Pol Pot, and similar vessels of Satan. One is the God who spoke all things into existence and with a word can either raise up a nation or bring down a nation.  This is the primary reason. Another element to consider is that miraculously (as in God is merciful) the machinery of democracy is still functioning. It has viruses; it has lost critical pieces of infrastructure, the people who understand how to maintain it are disappearing, and certain people who hold positions of authority have sought to redefine key sentences in its constitutional mandate. Nonetheless, those portions that still remain have prevented Mr Obama from implementing all that is in his heart……at least for the time being. Tomorrow may be a different story, and eventually all that is familiar will be washed away. 

The second aspect, covered in Scott Johnson’s Feb 1 teaching involves medical implants; more specifically, the number of implants that are being embedded without the patients awareness. Before delving into this further, I must mention a report that I first saw years ago because it highlights just how alluring something like this can be. The report focused on an implant which, when embedded into a person who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease can virtually neutralize all of the symptoms that accompany this condition. naturally it was hailed as a major advance……but something was troubling me; not so much because of that one thing, but because one can see where it’s headed. Increasingly, implants are being used to address other areas of infirmity. Most of the time, the patient knows about them, but other times, they are introduced unawares. Many who have discovered implants that they were not told about have sought legal action……to no avail. This indicates that something quite sinister is transpiring just under the surface. 

Scott Johnson’s teaching covers this in much greater detail.

The reason as to why something like this carries such significance can be found in Revelation 13:16-17 “And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand or in their foreheads: 17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” This is where this will eventually lead. Medical implants, rfid chips in the name of convenience, and what have you; Satan seeks to get under our skin. One reason for this is conditioning of the population to be receptive to such things. Then, when the final “mark” is rolled out, most will receive it with joy…..and forfeit any hope of eternal life with the Lord Jesus. Another reason is control. If a medical implant can offer its bearer positive benefits, another can be produced that can have quite a different mission…..as in a third party having control of the person in whom it is implanted.

It has been suggested that, the final mark of the beast, will literally alter a persons DNA and render them….not 100% human anymore. One thing is for certain. It does place a person beyond the reaches of conviction and repentence…..and Satan knows this. Subsequently, he is promoting anything and everything that will lower a persons resistance to such a thing. He’s dressing it up with promises of a better tomorrow – health, convenience, prosperity, and what have you. Employing all of the three lusts, he will use his two ambassadors to lure all who know not the Lord Jesus into receiving an identifier that will seal their doom. As Scott Johnson mentioned in the teaching, whenever it is possible to do so, we should resist any effort to implant something in us; even if it promises great medical (or other) benefit. We must look at everything through an eternal lens; resisting anything that seems suspect.

The day may well be close at hand, when a seemingly innocent medical implant contains the media through which other parties will have partial control over the person.  Satan seeks total control, and total destruction of all who are made in the image of God. And according to scripture, the final deciding factor will be a mark. None of us know exactly what it will entail, however, this much we do know. Once a person receives it, they are forever lost…….no matter what John MacArthur says. The below link tells of how this man; also with a large following, has taken an unbiblical stand in regards to the mark of the beast.

John MacArthur – he claims that a person can be saved; even after they have received the mark of the beast.

The events that will ultimately usher in the dark champion are unfolding quickly; even to the point that the most diligent watchmen struggle to keep up with the developments. Each of us must strive to keep our hearts with all diligence and not be moved when the unexpected transpires. We must be close to Jesus and have his word hidden deeply in our heart, to the point that any doubt or wavering is driven out. Our affections must be on the eternal……because Satan will pander to the three lusts in ways that most of us may have never been exposed to before. The coming strong delusion will dislodge anyone who is not firmly anchored in the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Blessings in Jesus name.

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

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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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Because No One Remembers the Names of the Trampled Flowers

January 24, 2015

Genesis 6:11-12 “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.
12 And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.”

Luke 17:26-27 “And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.” 

There is a quote that is commonly attributed to Joseph Stalin. “A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.” Even if he did not offer this verbal observation, the infamous dictator certainly believed it as, during his time in power, an estimated twenty to forty million souls went into eternity prematurely. Like all who are given to unbridled evil, the value of an eternal soul meant nothing. Such a one would never be moved by the story of a widow who must provide for 3 young children on her own, because her husband was executed by the enforcers of state sponsored wickedness. In their worldview, the state was considered the supreme entity and had to be vigorously maintained…..regardless of how many had to die in order to maintain it. A textbook example of this transpired in 1932 and 1933. During those two years, over seven million Ukrainians died as Stalin implemented a policy of forced starvation in order to crush separatist ambitions.

Although a few news reports were published and a few photographs of the tragedy circulated, the vast majority of those seven million Ukrainians vanished from the realm of the breathing unseen and unheard. Six years after the manufactured famine was concluded, their horrific story was further overshadowed by the outbreak of the second world war, and the atrocities of another tyrant off to the west. That manufactured famine, known as “the holomidor,” was a single event, in a specific country, during a brief span of time. Untold thousands of equally diabolical events have taken place since the fall; beginning with the slaying of Abel, and continuing on through the most recent round of beheadings at the hands of Islamic fighters.  A few of the campaigns were recorded in history; with many of the latter ones having photographic evidence that verifies the narrative. But it’s very likely that the majority of atrocities transpired well beyond the range of those who possessed the wherewithal to produce lasting documentation.

Today, we are witnessing such a multi-faceted onslaught of evil, that trying to identify the perimeters is impossible. Not only is wickedness on the rise as the end of the age is fast approaching, the continuously advancing state of technology is fueling the darkness…….and aiding in the dulling of senses. Here’s an example of the “fueling the darkness” aspect. A man in northern Nigeria can capture on video, how their fighters moved into a village at night, quickly neutralized anyone who could resist them, and then executed everyone in a village for not being Muslim. He can place that video on youtube, and/or other social media. Moments later, like-minded jihadists across the globe can study that video and begin incorporating the tactics into their own strategies. The availability of lightening fast communication enables this brotherhood of evil to share tactical information, and plan coordinated attacks by small groups in diverse places which will have a maximum impact.

The other aspect of this; the dulling of senses, equally troubling. A continual exposure to something will cause one to become desensitized to whatever it is that they are being exposed to. Even the most diabolical content will eventually lose its power to shock the observer. We are being bombarded with images that are horrific beyond description.  The high-resolution images display acts of evil that most of us have never been exposed to. They force the observer to realize that there is no limit to the amount of evil that men, who are fully given to darkness, will inflict upon their contemporaries. Satan is being captured on video and he enjoys the limelight as he displays his hatred of all who are made in the image of God. Ones initial response to unspeakable atrocity is shock beyond measure. Over time, however, as such reports turn into a daily thing that’s happening “over there,” we become desensitized. On our social media feed, the reports that we once stopped to read, we now slow down for briefly, read the headline, and quickly scroll down to the next thing. It’s not that we view the acts as being any less diabolical; it’s simply a matter of becoming conditioned to the horrific reality.

Matthew 24:12 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”

The defense of such complacency comes in many forms; each having an element of accuracy, but still reflective of a heart that’s growing cold. One of the biggest battles that we face is that of keeping our hearts from becoming desensitized to the plight of others. To remember those that are in bonds as bound with them. Here are some of the common defenses:

1 – “There has always been atrocities like this. It’s nothing new, and certainly not an indicator of the end time.” As  mentioned before, the very first murder transpired when there were only four people on the planet. A single injustice resulted in a 25% reduction in the population. Today, many of the major news stories involve the continual stream of diabolical acts being carried out by Muslims, whose single goal is to bring the entire world under sharia law and eliminate anyone who refuses to become Muslim. This has been going on since the sixth century and, what they are doing today in places like Syria, Nigeria, and throughout Europe, is what they have always done. Satan was a murderer from the beginning, and subsequently, untold billions have suffered wrongful and agonizing deaths at the hands of those who do his bidding. Today, the danger of ones becoming desensitized is greater than in it was in any previous generation, because of the saturation factor. If a beheading takes place in Syria, we learn of it within hours. (if not minutes; depending on how closely we monitor such things.)

2 – “There’s nothing that I can do. I’m just one person.” From a practical standpoint, this is accurate. Most of us are not in a position to head off to Somalia and fight Al Shabaab terrorists; nor would it be at all practical. We can, however, be in prayer over regions and intercede for the souls who are under assault; both the saints who are there and those who know not Jesus and are not prepared to leave this world. The greatest tragedy in regards to those who once walked the earth is that most of them did not know the Lord Jesus. We can pray, we can fast, we can intercede for those who feel completely abandoned and without hope. Not only does the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avail much, doing so keeps our heart from growing cold. Because if we begin to grow cold in one area, we can be certain that we will become desensitized to other things, such as the apostasy, sin, the plight of those around us who are not saved, and what have you. 

3 – “I have so much going on; stress at work, stress at home, I can’t even think about things like that.” This is one of Satan’s favorite tactics; to get a person so consumed with surviving; with maintaining their situation in this life and following after their favorite interests, that they give little thought to issues of eternal significance. SATAN WILL GO “ALL OUT” TO KEEP OUR THOUGHTS ON THE TEMPORAL! And while we may not be in a position to aid those in the path of ISIS, we can visit the physical and spiritual prisoners in our neighborhood. Again, coldness of heart will not stay within a single compartment. It will grow and devour…..until it is either repented of and turned from…..or it destroys us. Time doesn’t permit its writing here, however, a visit to Matthew 25:31-46 is advisable. 

II Timothy 3:1-3 “This know also, that in the last days, perilous times shall come.2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers,incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good.”

In listing the conditions that would exist in the last days, one stands out above the rest. “without natural affection” We tend to think of this as a problem that affects unsaved people, however, Christians can suffer from this also. A loss of natural affection will leave  unprepared to be a city set on a hill for those around us, but it has an even darker aspect. When the bottom falls out of the world as we have always known it, a person who lacks natural affection will resort to tactics of self-preservation; even if it means harming others. Such a one may have attended church every time the doors were opened and did all of the things that a “good Christian” is supposed to do. But once the real trials began, their true nature became manifest. Such a one may commit atrocities every bit as horrific as those referenced earlier in this posting. This post is not simply a revisiting of history and the atrocities of the past. It is an admonishment for us all,  to keep our hearts with all diligence.

I need to be going, however, I recently learned of a situation that blew my mind…even though there are numerous reports of things like this. There is a lady in this town who is soon to be my daughters mother in law. She regularly attends a bible church in town and she would bend over backwards to help another. This person also contributes large sums of money to planned parenthood. I don’t know why…..or how…..or what led her to become dedicated to such a thing……but it reveals just how twisted things are getting in our world today. Upon learning of this, it literally caused my stomach to become upset. It seems like somewhat of a side issue in comparison to this posting, however, abortion is one of the most horrific atrocities of our day. An estimated fifty to sixty million in the United States since the Roe vs Wade decision.  Add to that number all of the aborted children from across the globe, and one realizes that “a lot of innocent blood is crying out from the ground.”  

II Timothy 3:12-15 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.
14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Jesus Christ.”

Blessings in Jesus name.