Archive for the ‘Thinking Out Loud’ Category

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Checking in: July 6, 2015

July 7, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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All The Words of This Life

March 24, 2015

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

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

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

I Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Philippians 1:28 “And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings in Jesus name.

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Embodiment of my Desire

March 16, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings in Jesus name.

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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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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.