Archive for the ‘Worship’ 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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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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Embodiment of my Desire

March 16, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings in Jesus name.

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The Faith of a Malefactor

February 17, 2015

All four of the gospels tell of them. In John 19:18, they are simply mentioned as being present. We learn nothing about them; only that they were crucified at the same time as Jesus with one being on his left and the other being on his right. In Mathew 27:44, we learn that these other two were thieves and that they “cast the same with his teeth.” In mark 15:32 we discover that “they which were crucified with him reviled him.” But in the gospel of Luke, we discover that, as they were in their final moments, one of these thieves had a revelation. A revelation which, not only highlights the truth that salvation is by faith alone, it reveals that Jesus will save anyone who turns to him in true repentance. Those who attempt to incorporate baptism, keeping of the torah, good works, church affiliation, or any other action into salvation cannot account for the thief on the cross. While good works and fruit will certainly follow as evidence that one has been born of the Spirit, they are not a part of the equation insofar as “what must I do to be saved?” The account regarding the thief on the cross is as follows:

Luke 23:39-43 “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be the Christ, save thyself and us.
40 But the other answering, rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, to day shalt thou be with me in paradise. 
 

There is so much information contained in this short passage that relates to us today. The short of the matter is this: one of these malefactors went into eternity saved, and the other went into eternity lost. When we reach our final moment in this world, the only thing that matters is our standing with Jesus. All other endeavors, passions and titles become as nothing. Our treasures are scattered, our position is filled by another, and within a few decades, the memory of us is lost. A name on a tombstone, accompanied by two dates that carve out a span of time, will be the only indicator by which future generations will know of our venture through the land of the breathing. In regards to the two malefactors who were crucified at the same time as our Savior, they were secured into a situation which would end their time in the physical realm. As the minutes passed and reality set in, the reviling subsided. They began to respond to the inevitable in two different ways.

Luke 23:39 “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be the Christ, save thyself and us.” 

One could write volumes on this statement alone as it reveals the hear of one who, despite being in their final moments, is unrepentant and unbelieving…….beginning with the words “if thou be the Christ.” There is a world of difference between “if thou be the Christ” and “I believe that thou art the Christ.” This man was in the situation which would send him into eternity. He would never again return to his friends or the life that he once lived. Next to him was the one person in all of history who could grant him eternal life…….and all that he could come up with was “if thou be the Christ.” Following this utterance, we find the motivation behind it. “save thyself and us.” In other words, he was making a last ditch effort to escape his situation and get back to where he once was. His thoughts were completely on the temporary, with no regards to the everlasting. Undoubtedly he had heard about a coming Messiah and most likely was aware of the stories about Jesus. But an unquenchable lusting for this world prevented him from giving thought to the everlasting, even though it was but a few short hours away.  

I fear that many professing Christians today are in the “if thou be the Christ” category. They may have a form of godliness and even be able to point to a date in history when they said a sinners prayer. But somehow, the word that they heard did not resonate and, instead of believing on Jesus, they are trusting in having said a sinners prayer……or…….like the malefactor mentioned above, they simply wanted to avoid hell and so they did what the presenter of the gospel instructed them to do. If there is not a distinct change in lifestyle and convictions following the saying of a sinners prayer, there was no conversion – it was merely the seeking of a fire escape. A truly born again saint will have a new nature which will manifest outwardly. The apostle Paul admonished us to give all diligence in settling this matter, as failing to do so will have everlasting ramifications. 

II Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

The apostle Peter also spoke in regards to this: 

II Peter 1:10 “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (please visit verses 5-9 for a listing of things that accompany faith)

The other malefactor began to give serious thought to the situation. Undoubtedly, he was aware of Jesus and knew that he had not engaged in any wrongdoing. As he hung between life and death, he must have heard the conversations going on nearby. The mocking of the soldiers, the hatred of the religious crowd, and the words of anguish spoken by those who knew and loved the Lord Jesus. The thoughts of the second malefactor were no longer on the temporal world; a truth that is revealed in his response to the first malefactors desire to escape this end. The life that he once knew was no longer in the equation as his thoughts turned to what really mattered. Besides, even if he were to escape this situation, death catches up to everyone sooner or later. A lifetime; be it a hundred years or just a few, isn’t even a drop in the proverbial bucket when compared to the everlasting.

Luke 23:40-41 “But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.” 

As his final moment was approaching, he understood the whole of the situation. He knew that he had been sentenced to this end; not because of any misfortune or betrayal, but because he had been caught engaging in unlawful activity. He also knew that Jesus was innocent. Not only was he innocent, he was going to his kingdom. This man understood who Jesus is.

Luke 23:42 “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” 

He didn’t ask Jesus to save him; not even eternally. He must have thought that salvation was out of range at this point. he didn’t say a sinners prayer. He understood his situation had had resigned himself to accept his just reward. His only request was remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” But just when all seemed lost, he heard the most incredible words that anyone will ever hear. 

Luke 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, to day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

From that moment on, the two thieves were on different paths. The one who believed has now been in the presence of Jesus for over two thousand years. In life he had been a criminal; moving amongst the shadows and securing gain at the expense of others. But as he was nailed to a cross for his participation in such deeds, revelation was granted. He realized who Jesus is……and that he was being crucified unjustly……“but this man has done nothing amiss.” In fact, during the thirty three years that he walked in a body of flesh, Jesus had been tempted in all points as we are, and was yet without sin. “And what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” He had fed multitudes in the wilderness, cast devils out of those who were tormented in such manner, healed all manner of diseases, and shared the words of life everywhere he went. Finally, on an old rugged cross, he paid the sin debt of us all with his own innocent blood.

It is imperative to diligently give thought to our great salvation; lest we become forgetful and careless. Less something else becomes our first love and we begin drifting toward the jagged rocks. Lest we faint along the way and partake of that for which there is no remedy. It’s equally imperative that we do not complicate, or add to salvation by faith. Without a doubt, true salvation will produce fruit and result in works as such will be in the heart of one who has been born of the Spirit. But works can never save us. Even baptism is an act that one undergoes after believing on the Lord Jesus. If a person continually puts it off, it becomes questionable as to whether or not they ever truly believed on Jesus. 

I Peter 3;21 “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” 

Well I have to go for now. My prayer is that all of us will be continually mindful of a salvation so profound that none of our words are adequate in trying to describe how incredible it is. Each one of us; if we had died the day before we believed on Jesus, would be in hell at this very moment……along with the rich man in Luke chapter 16, the first malefactor, and all who rejected the love of the truth. May we look steadfastly toward Jesus and hide his word in our heart, as we navigate the most perilous season that the world has ever known; that being the end of the age.

Blessings in Jesus name.

 

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The Fallen Entity Resistance Society

January 14, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 23:15 “Woe unto you scribes and Pharissees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.”

I Timothy 4:1-2 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;” 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings in Jesus name.

 

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Watashi wa hitori masen

December 29, 2014

This posting must begin with some passages that, whenever we visit them, we are carried, as it were, into the wilderness where the world seems far far away, and the presence of the Lord Jesus is incredible beyond description: 

Genesis 15:1 “After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”

God is our shield and exceeding great reward……as in, he protects us and grants an inheritance incorruptible to those who believe on the Lord Jesus! It makes the worlds threatenings of non effect (and in nothing terrified by our adversaries) and reminds us of how temporal this present setting is. The treasures and titles of this world lose their appeal.

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.”

Psalm 91:1 “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Hebrews

Jeremiah 9:2 “Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people and go from them! for they all be adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men.”

A common theme is carried in the above passages; isolation in this present world, and fellowship with the Lord. While Jeremiah 9:2 doesn’t specifically mention fellowship, it does showcase the desire to depart the company of those given to unbridled wickedness, and from those whose thoughts are continuously focused on the temporal. And this is where we are today. This world is growing darker……in ways that many of us could have never imagined. We are seeing much the church embrace teachings which are so contrary to scripture, that even the newest saint should be able to recognize the error. Still others are literally “stuck on lukewarm” and completely satisfied with following Jesus from afar. Finding a true new testament church these days in nearly impossible in many areas. Were it not for social media platforms, such as this one, many of us would feel like Elijah, when he prayed “and I, even I only, am left: and they seek my life, to take it away.”

Elijah is an excellent example of an end-time remnant saint. He was unshakable in regards to his love for, and obedience to, the LORD God of hosts. He was not shaken when seemingly everyone else had followed after Baal. Even when the threatenings of Jezebel drove him into the wilderness, his faith was not shaken…..although he was desiring to die at one point. One day into the widerness, after Jezebel promised to make him like one of the prophets of Baal whom he slew, Elijah cried out to the LORD “it is enough; now, O LORD. take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” This man, who had seen God work miraculously on a scale that most had never witnessed, became overwhelmed by the level of wickedness in the land and the forces that were seeking to do him in. In his life were manifested five things which an end time remnant saint will be able to relate to.  

1 – A profound lacking of companionship. If we walk close to Jesus, and the things that he is concerned with become the things that we are concerned with, we will find a diminishing number of contemporaries who are in agreement with us. Here is a test that many will not agree with, however, it makes a point. I do not like to engage in holiday celebrations. Not so much due to the pagan origins of most of the traditions, but primarily because they take ones mind off from the eternal, and place it on the temporal. But to tell others of this…no matter how much emphasis is placed on the profound liberty associated with detaching from tradition……people still want their traditions and will defend them vigorously. In this vicinity, I’m the only one who feels this way in regards to holidays…..but the freedom is priceless.

Today, it may be something as simple as whether or not one esteems one day above another. Tomorrow, it may well be something far more blatant, such as same sex marriage, or co-mingling with false religions. These are trends which are gaining momentum in the church. Trends which, twenty years ago, wouldn’t have been given the time of day by most professing Christians. As the days grow darker, and such wicked inventions continue to add converts, anyone taking a stand for scriptural truth will face increasing isolation, and increasing ridicule – especially from those who think that they are doing God service. Seriously……these professing Christians who are locking arms with the muslim religion, seriously believe that they are serving God. This is what strong delusion will do to a person. Discernment falls by the wayside, and they are no longer able to identify the lies of the enemy.

2 – It will seem like the entire world is against us. Jesus stated that a mans foes would be they of his own household. In other words, even those whom we are the closest to will turn on us if we maintain a biblical worldview. I fear that most of us (including me) are truly prepared for this. This thought has been with me for months. I have adult children who are not saved. I have a very good relationship with them, however, their world view does not reflect faith in Jesus. If this doesn’t change, the time will come when they will be prepared to turn me over to the authorities. It seems hard to believe now…..and I pray that they will be born of the Spirit before such a time arrives…..but this is an eventual reality which all of us……must come to grips with. When the proverbial bottom falls out and the illusion of continuance is washed away, the hearts of all will become apparent to all. 

3 – Our sustaining will be supernatural in nature. Elijah was sustained by a brook, while ravens delivered sustinence two times a day. when the brook dried up, the Lord prepared another situation, with a widow lady, and there preserved life until the rain returned. In the days ahead, our sustaining will be supernatural in nature. In Daniel 7:21, we read “I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them.” In Revelation, it’s stated more plainly:

Revelation 13:7 “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.”

If we are one who is appointed to be standing here when the Lord Jesus returns, he is able to hide us, and sustain us; even during a time which he described as “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” It must also be noted, however, that if we are one called to maintain the testimony of Jesus until put to death for our testimony, he will be with us during that time and strengthen us to remain steadfast. We must determine within our hearts, to remain faithful; even if it costs us our place in this temporal setting.

Something else must be considered in regards to sustaining……..it’s always supernatural. If Satan had his unadulterated will, he would take all of us out in a moment. I was reminded of this earlier when awakened shortly after 5:00. During a short time of prayer, I thanked God that everyone in my household is still breathing. God holds in his hand, the breath of life and, in any moment, can determine a life to be concluded. As is written in Ecclesiastes, “No man hath power over the spirit, to retain the spirit.” So while our sustaining in the final days will indeed be supernatural on a level that few of us are familiar with, the truth is that our remaining here has always been supernatural.

4 Better living through….wickedness? All of the physical manifestations (not only the supernatural, but the conditions in general; at least early on) will favor the system of the beast. There will be a pseudo recovery from chaos, the people who received the mark will seem to have their lives back on track…..and anyone who is not familiar with scripture will look a the situation and think “this is a good thing…..this world ruler, who has pulled us from the brink of destruction and brought peace……who could make war with him?” Elijah had been 40 days in the wilderness, when, in a still small voice, the LORD inquired “What doest thou here, Elijah?” The prophet responded:

I Kings 19:14 “And he said,I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.” 

Elijah witnessed a situation in the physical realm that was fundamentally similar to the one that will exist during the time of antichrist. And a primary element of that situation will be the appearance that everyone has wondered after the beast. political leaders, pillars of the community, the neighbor nest door, the mail man, the electrician, the babysitter, the waitress at the diner where we sometimes stop for breakfast, the people across the street who attended church every time the doors were opened……it will seem like there is nobody left. In Elijah’s day, this was a false perception. The LORD revealed to him that there were 5000 in Israel, who had not bowed the knee to Baal. And so shall it be in our time. Despite the appearances, there will be a remnant, scattered throughout the four corners of the earth, who maintain the testimony of the Lord Jesus.

Luke 9:27  “But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.”

Please become familiar with Psalm 37, Psalm 73, and psalm 91. The first two discuss how we should not be troubled, when evil appears to be prevailing and prospering. Psalm 91 discusses how the Lord can sustain us; even in the most inhospitable of environments……and finally:

5 – Supernatural departure. Elijah was carried away by a chariot; making him the second person (the first being Enoch) to leave this world without experiencing physical death. This is why many believe that Enoch and Elijah are the two witnesses……because every man is appointed to die, and these two men have not done so. Anyways, we must be prepared for the physical return of the Lord Jesus, who informed us that nobody knew the exact time of his return. This sounds pre-tribber-ish, but it’s really not. People today are debating whether or not the tribulation is close…..or has started already……or is afar off still. If we cannot even be certain of when this time period begins, we certainly cannot know when the return of the Lord Jesus is to transpire. Revelation 16 offers some insight. It’s the time when the three unclean spirits, like frogs, come out of the dragons mouth, the beasts mouth, and the false prophets mouth.

These unclean spirits go unto the kings of the earth and gather them to oppose the return of Jesus. Then, in verse sixteen, Jesus breaks into the flow of description with these words:

“Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”

In the midst of the great tribulation, Jesus states his soon return as being “like a thief.” And with this post approaching 2000 words, it is time to go. The title translates into “I am not alone.” Indeed, we may be separated from the company of our contemporaries, and many whom we once trusted may well betray us. But the Holy Spirit abides within and, regardless of physical circumstances, the rivers of living water will continue to spring up from within. Jesus has promised to be with us always, even unto the end of the world. Alone in regards to this world…..we can expect it……but Jesus never leaves us hanging. We may drift, we may become lazy and get distracted, but he remains faithful. I’m not suggesting once saved-always saved, however, I am confident that, if we keep our hearts with all diligence, the Lord Jesus is faithful to sustain us through anything that we may have to endure.

Blessings in Jesus name.

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Distraction Avenue

October 8, 2013

These opening passages are being employed in a somewhat unconventional manner. The first refers to the time when the son of perdition is in power upon the earth, however, the issue that it addresses is very much in play at this moment. The second refers specifically to the time of Jesus’ return, however, just like the first passage, it addresses a danger that is very present with us now.  

Daniel 7:25″And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.”

Satan knows how to “wear out the saints.”

Luke 21:34 “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” 

Time is a priceless commodity. A portion that has been given to vanity, can never be retrieved. 

It’s a phenomenon that all who love the Lord Jesus are familiar with. We can determine within ourselves to devote a span of time to issues of eternal significance. We can seal off all possible avenues of distraction and properly address all responsibilities in a manner that will secure for us, an uninterrupted time of being about that which the Holy Spirit has placed on our heart. The preparations can be seemingly “set in stone;” causing us to anticipate the season wherein we can devote our full attention to that which makes our heart sing. But as the moment approaches, a conflicting agenda begins to consume bits and pieces of the time that had been reserved. Distractions arise, and with an almost mentoring tone of voice, the enemy whispers in our ear “it’s alright. God knows that you have obligations. You can intercede later…. like right before bed …. when you are fatigued from the wild goose chase that I have planned for you.  The bible will still be there when these other things are finished.  You can take tracts out tomorrow.  You can go the nursing home anytime. You can visit that new unregistered church next week” He will even quote scripture in an effort to hinder us. “the poor have ye always …. go out with your friends ….. or else they might think that Christians are stuck up …. then they will never get saved and it will be your fault.” 

During the past few months, much cogitation has been given to the many ways that the enemy seeks to distract, misdirect, and neutralize us. For each person whose name is in the book of life, Satan has a customized defensive strategy whereby he exploits every one or their shortcomings in an effort to derail them. He knows precisely where we are insofar as understanding, he knows whether or not we are harboring attachment to this present world, and he knows how to utilize our circumstances, along with the people in our circle of acquaintances in a manner that will hinder our efforts to be about our Fathers business. he knows how to “speak” in a way that, to the undiscerning, may sound just like God. Few of us (if any) of us have a solid understanding of the battle that we are in. Oftentimes, the most critical battles are transpiring while we are on a “spiritual furlough” (for lack of a better term) Satan takes full advantage of every second that we squander, every misstep that we make, every contrary thought that we entertain, and every element of vanity which continues to have a hold on us. He utilizes all of these to keep us from becoming what the Lord Jesus has called us to be and from doing that which he desires to accomplish through us. Even when we have covered all of the basics, the enemy continuously seeks out moments when we have let our guard down.

For me; some of the most intense battles are when waking up. In that groggy place, between consciousness and slumber, the enemy maneuvers frantically in an effort to take control of the tempo and disrupt all that was planned for that day.  

I’m questioning whether this should be shared because 1: it touches on the private moments and 2: it’s a mild deviation from the topic at hand. Nonetheless, it’s a quality example of how the enemy can throw us off when least expected. If there is one time when my guard is probably at its lowest, it is during the intimate moments with my better half. (good grief; this is awkward!) There have been times when, at the most intimate moment, a thought would pop into my head that was so vile, so blasphemous against the Lord Jesus, that it not only impeded the moment, it cast a dark shadow over the next day. Continual repentance seemed to go nowhere as troubling questions lingered “How did such a horrific thought ever get into my brain? …. Did it cross into the area of unpardonable sin? …. Lord Jesus; that thing DID NOT; IN ANY WAY, reflect my thoughts toward you!” It has only happened a handful of times over a period of several years, however, each intrusion by the enemy, who will cross any boundary left exposed, was an intense wrestling. They are worse than sleep paralysis attacks (I’ve had a few over the years) because, at least an sp attack does not plant vile thoughts into the brain. I usually try to refrain from saying “the Lord told me” because it sounds lofty, however, in this case, seems necessary. Following the most recent invasion, the Lord granted reassurance that the thoughts were an attack from the enemy; stating words to the effect of “it’s not new to me.  Satan has been saying things like that about me from the beginning.” The words of the Lord Jesus were comforting, however, the assaults were/are still a bothersome thing. 

Henry Gruver once mentioned that this will often happen while one is prayer walking and that one “should not take it personally.” During a time of prayer walking, the intrusion of vile thoughts signifies that one has crossed into another spiritual domain. They must not be permitted to become a hindrance. In other words, when we are on offense with spiritual understanding, the enemy is reduced to trying to mess with our head. Insofar as the intimate times, preemptive prayer has proven to be an effective defense …… unless the spontaneity of a moment causes one to become careless – TIME TO GET BACK ON TOPIC!!! 

Jeremiah 14:22 “Are there any among the vanities of the Gentiles that can cause rain? or can the heavens give showers? art thou not he, O LORD our God therefore we will wait upon thee: for thou hast made all these things.”

Without fail, the enemy seeks to take advantage of any avenue at his disposal. Sometimes, these inroads are in the form of “things overlooked.” Other times, usually from a lack of understanding, we will hand the enemy assets by which he is able to corral us into a spiritual void of sorts. These stem from the three lusts identified in I John 2:16. A love for the things of this world which cause one to become entangled in the thorns, an appetite for fleshly satisfaction which often lures one outside the scriptural boundaries, and pride of life which will carry one into a relentless campaign of seeking promotion and then advertising it. Recently an acquaintance from across the pond (Atlantic) told about a person whom she has had to work with. This colleague boasted to her, words to the effect of “I love to be noticed; to be the center of attention. I thrive on getting in front of a large gathering, doing a presentation, and receiving recognition for my talent.” As far as I know, the man in this example does not know the Lord Jesus. Nonetheless; if not kept in check, pride can get into the heart of even the most spiritual of saints and lure them into a campaign which looks like ministry, but has, in effect, become a vehicle for personal ambition. The church at Ephesus, in its Revelation 2:4 state, must have had many who had been seduced by this allurement. A scripture must be referred to here as this issue must be placed in context; (another side track coming on)

Philippians 1:15-18 “Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will:
The one preach Christ out of contention, and not sincerely, 
supposing to add affliction to my bonds:
But the other out of love, knowing that I am set for the defense of the gospel.
What then? Notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached: and I therein, yea, and will rejoice.”

Here, the apostle Paul identifies the pride of life as it pertains to an office of ministry. He goes on to describe how one insulates themselves from becoming poisoned by such attitudes; by focusing on what really matters – the salvation of souls. In other words, if an arrogant self serving person proclaims truth  (not error, but truth) and, subsequently, names are written in the book of life, rejoice in the souls who have been plucked from the pit ,,,,, and intercede for the person with the contrary mindset. Not only is this profitable,for all parties, it deprives Satan a much sought after advantage.

Well; so much for trying to keep it short and passer-by friendly. One more thing is in need of addressing because many well sincere saints are drawn into what could be termed “cul-de-sacs of death.” They present themselves as wholesome pastimes or entertainment. They seem harmless; even family-friendly and noble; however, they carry folks away from consideration of things which carry over into the everlasting while countless hours, days, and weeks, pass by with no return. If attention is called to the carnal nature, the standard defense is “oh there is nothing wrong with this. It’s just fun.” 

Just an observation. Whenever a questionable topic is defended with the words “there’s nothing wrong with it,” that is a good indicator that something is wrong with it, and begs the reply of “oh …. well what’s right about it?”

Since the particular season is at hand, I’ll use football as an example. On the outside; sure, it can be fun, and, on a local level, it can be a good avenue whereby lessons good sportsmanship are learned and one is challenged to achieve maximum fitness. This isn’t the issue. I’m referring to the endless spectator element; whereby a person will spend countless hours, perched in front of a television, eating unhealthy snacks, take in countless images (which were carefully assembled by the masters of advertisement to play on the three lusts) and sit on the edge of their seat while a completely irrelevent storyline unfolds. In the end, one team is victorious, but nothing is gained. Not one lonely elderly person was visited. Not one soul was told about Jesus. (unless one counts the John 3:16 sign in the stands behind the goal post) not one devil was cast out, and not one intercession was uttered with anguish of spirit for a family member, a neighbor, a leader, a city, or a land. The price tag for endless hours of “are you ready for some footballllllll” is astronomical and non-redeemable.

This year, Lord willing, it will happen. I want to spend the entire time wherein the superbowl is being played in intercession. It may seem kind of silly, but it provides one a sampling of just how much time can be wasted on things irrelevant ….. and how much can be accomplished if that time is reallocated toward spiritual matters. 

Acts 12:5 “Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.”

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

OVER TWO THOUSAND WORDS???? I have to go! I’ll strive to clean this up later as there are certain to be enumerable grammatical hiccups. There will be more observations on this topic in the future as, all around us, saints, including myself, seem to become easily distracted by every irrelevant issue that one can imagine.  

Blessings in Jesus name.

Revelation 3:3 “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”