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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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“A L A M O” (watashi wa hitori masen)

March 10, 2015

II Corinthians 5:1-2 “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven.”

To have our affections set upon a world that we have never seen. To have total confidence in, and love for, the one who was tempted in points as we are, was yet without sin, and tasted death for every man. To be fully persuaded that the word we have received, and believed, is 100% accurate. To be unmoved by the seamless parade of manufactured evidence and supernatural manifestation which supports a false conclusion. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3) To maintain the testimony of Jesus, while everyone else believes us to be the haters of all that is good.  That list of deceived ones which includes friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, people who we rubbed shoulders with in the common areas…..and  saints who once seemed unshakable, during the days of ease, when each of us rested comfortably in our space.  To be in our final moment; surrounded by the enforcers of the new way, along with an array of recorders that are transmitting into all the world, our fifteen minutes of earthly fame.  To finally understand the words of Jesus, when he said “and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.”

In that moment, with liberty only moments away, all of the distractions will be dissolved. The war is over, and the battle won, as with our final breaths, we focus on a single name….”Lord Jesus; receive my spirit.”  Jesus; the only begotten Son of God who purchased us with his own blood. Jesus; who, every since the hour that we first believed, has been a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Our faithful high priest, who guided us over the highest mountains, carried us through the darkest valleys, and sheltered us while the tempest was raging. His word was the barometer by which we discerned between truth and error.  The Holy Spirit comforted us in all our tribulations while guiding us into the way that we should go. And throughout the journey, he brought into our lives, other saints, who, for a period of time offered refreshing and insight. Gatherings of two or three, in Jesus name, where we compelled each other to remain steadfast; even as ten thousand were caving on every side. 

II Timothy 4:6-8 “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Contemplating, and preparing spiritually for, the moment when we leave this world at the hands of those who love not the Lord Jesus.  To many, it sounds like a proverbial “doom and gloom” topic as it suggests the prevailing of evil over that which is good. It causes one to, not only consider that the climate to which they have become so comfortable may have an end, it brings a message of betrayal, suffering, and abandonment. It carries one to the end of their time in this world where, in a moment, they will know whether or not they are spiritually prepared for this final stand. The fine line that separates the temporal from the eternal transforms into an endless sea, whereupon all of the trivial matters sail away forever. When tomorrow is no longer within our reach, our distortions are rectified and all remaining inquiries resolved. Is Jesus truly our first love…… or have lingering affections for this world, and our place in it, left in tact a platform from which the old nature of self-preservation will force us to enter into a contract from which there is no way back? 

Hebrews 3:12 “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”

Maintaining our testimony steadfast until the end is literally a matter of life and death and one that none of us can take lightly.  We are witnessing firsthand, the great falling away that is written about in II Thessalonians chapter two; evidenced by trends such as the increasing number of churches that embrace sodomy, the rapid rise of chrislam, and the number of professing Christians who have no fear of God as they partake of one unscriptural practice after another.  We are also witnessing the various components of the beast system as they are being fine-tuned and then implemented by those who have knowingly given their allegiance to the father of lies. We are bombarded with reports of our brethren are being counted as sheep for the slaughter in an increasing number of locations.  Meanwhile, in the seemingly stable areas, many professing Christians  heap to themselves teachers having itching ears who will talk at length about their best life now, “supposing that gain is godliness,” and lead them away from the God whom they claim to be serving.

II Thessalonians 2:3-4 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

The falling away is coming to the full and soon, a beast will take center stage. (Those who received not the love of the truth will, not only follow this beast, they will line up with enthusiasm to do what is required of them to be in good standing with him….and preserve their life in this world. They will be carried away by flatteries and clamor for his mark. And while the exact makeup of this mark has yet to be determined, we know that it will forever separate its recipients from the presence of God and dissolve any shred of hope for everlasting life. These folks may well become “something not completely human,” and they will become our enemies – regardless of how close they may have been to us beforetime – as they will no longer have any control over their facilities. (That sounds somewhat extraordinary…..unless one considers how much the majority of our contemporaries are already being controlled by the official narrative.)  

Revelation 13:4 “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?” 

They are worshiping the dragon – even before the mark is implemented. “Who can make war with him?” The lofty words, the supernatural manifestation, and the manner in which this entity is able to resolve all of the issues that brought the world to the brink of destruction, will cause the deceived ones to follow him with fervor…..and subsequently view anyone who opposes him as “the enemy of all humanity!” By this time, many of us will, either be in very small groups of like-minded saints, or completely alone, in a world where every institution, every governing entity, every media outlet……and every person who knows not the Lord Jesus, will be in lockstep with the dragon.  But while every facet of this world will be against us, this may well be the most incredible time that we will have ever known. Having abandoned all earthly aspirations, our focus will be completely upon Jesus……and the fellowship with him will be on a level that we never experienced back when we still had a portion in this world. 

Luke 21:28 “And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”

This is the primary thrust of this posting. To encourage all who love the Lord Jesus to look up with anticipation; placing this temporal world into a proper perspective …..and focusing on the issues which have eternal significance. To have our affections on the eternal and not the temporal. If our affections are truly “there” we will not be drawn away by the events “here.” The false promises of this world will have no power to entice; nor will the threatenings of the enemy be able to diminish our confidence. Our eyes are fixed upon Jesus our Savior, our heart dwells in eternity, and we understand fully the words of the apostle Paul when he wrote “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” 

“The Alamo moment” is in reference to ones final stand in this world. it is the saints final testimony of Jesus before an unbelieving world. The historical Alamo was established as a Spanish mission.  Later it was hastily converted into a makeshift fort by Texas soldiers who were facing insurmountable odds as the armies of Santa Ana moved north. It has become symbolic of the proverbial “last stand;” a point where one is completely surrounded by the opposition and is left with only their testimony. In the physical sense, the battle is over before it begins. But the real campaign was waged, and won, while the enemy was still beyond the horizon. Back when, in a reflective moment, we determined that we would maintain our testimony, regardless of the physical consequences of doing so. We understand fully that the Lord can sustain us in any situation, and when our testimony is completed, receive us unto himself. “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints” and “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” 

The final two passages reveal the mindset of the apostle Paul in regards to the issue of maintaining our testimony until the end: 

Acts 21:12-15 “And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.” 

The apostle Paul was not carelessly seeking death and running headstrong toward that end. He was, however, ready to die if that should be the conclusion of his trip to Jerusalem. His entire focus was upon the Lord Jesus; regardless of consequences. The following passage offers a more refined example of Paul’s mindset. 

Philippians 1:23-24 “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
24 Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.”

His heart was firmly in heavenly places and he desired to be with the Lord Jesus. He anticipated that wonderful moment when he would enter the presence of the Lord and never again be apart. At the same time, however, the care of the churches weighed on him immensely. He understood his office and comprehended the incredible challenges that the churches faced in those opening moments of the church age. Well, it’s time to go for now. My prayer is that all of us will be prepared spiritually for whatever we may face in the days ahead. I’ll end with a passage which, has become my personal “Alamo verse” as it perfectly outlines the means by which we endure until the end.

Revelation 12:11 “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

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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Inhabitors of the Continuing City

February 24, 2015

The late Leonard Ravenhill made an observation concerning those among us who, from their heart, have let go of this worlds allegiances and have set their affections firmly upon things above. He spoke words to the effect of “they live in eternity six days a week, and on the seventh day, they come down to attend church.” Physically speaking, they are as much a part of this world as their neighbors.  They work and raise families; they are model citizens who may be found in nearly every facet of society. But their conversation, their perspective, and their focus is on the eternal. They cannot be enticed with shallow discussion and dead religion holds no place for them. They have a walk with the Lord Jesus that all of us strive to reach as they fully identify with the words of the apostle Paul. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” 

For the saints in this category, eternal mindedness is no longer a theological construct. They dwell continually in the presence of Jesus and concern themselves primarily with issues of eternal significance. I feel woefully inadequate to embark on this as I am continually reminded of my own shortcomings. Subsequently, this is as much a “note-to-self” as it is an encouragement for all who love the Lord Jesus. To use an old cliche “we’re all in this together.” 

This post will involve a visiting of passages which are familiar to many of us. It’s likely that a number of them are carefully preserved in our memory and we visit them on a regular basis. As the days grow darker and the strong delusion continues to take on attributes that none of us were expecting, it is imperative that our focus is on the Lord Jesus and that our perspective is eternal. Satan plays to the three lusts like a skilled musician; incorporating the full emotional spectrum. from a euphoric sense of wellness to overwhelming despair, as he seeks to direct our attention away from that which is eternal and back to the itinerary of this world. These distractions may seem noble. Many will have a form of godliness. Pursuing them will oftentimes cause us to think to ourselves “I’m doing God service” as they lure us into a continuous loop of earthly focus and endeavor. If we make mention of them to other professing saints, many of them will not recognize the distraction as being such. We must have our senses exercised to discern between good and evil as we forgo the frivolous and lay hold of the eternal.

The first passage below is necessary because striving to be more like Jesus and less like us is a lifelong endeavor. At the end of any given day, we will have either become a little more like Jesus, or we will have surrendered territory which must be regained. We face pitfalls and distractions of a nature that previous generations did not have to contend with; due largely to the current state of technology, coupled with the steady rise of spiritual darkness as the final moments of the age play out. We must look to Jesus; focused squarely on the eternal, while nearly everyone and everything in our physical ambiance is trying to pull us into the vortex of perdition. 

Philippians 3:13-14 “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ.”

I become discouraged when considering where I desire to be spiritually……and then comparing it with an accurate assessment of my current state. These words are a remedy for anyone who, at times, finds themselves becoming overwhelmed by the journey and the issues that they struggle with. This passage is not a license to remain in a state of complacency or continual stumbling. Rather, it compels us to repent, get back up, and keep looking to Jesus. “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (I John 3:3)

This next passage is the perfect summary to the listing of saints from past generations who maintained their testimony until the end. 

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 great cloud of witnesses. A company which, since the time of this writing has grown beyond our comprehension. It now encompasses those who left this world at the hands of Islamic invaders, and the untold thousands who refused to agree to the unscriptural doctrines of Rome. It is composed of missionaries who left their nativity with no expectation of returning and evangelists who regarded not their own well-being as they brought the words of life to hostile shores. Pastors, farmers, craftsmen, a few statesmen who revered God more than their office – people from every generation and every walk of life, who, in the face of adversity and firey trial, maintained the testimony of Jesus while darkness swept across the land.  These have crossed the finish line; leaving behind a legacy of souls who were birthed into the kingdom and an example for those following who would be tried in like manner.

The message is clear. “Let go of everything that hinders and lay hold of eternal life; trusting in Jesus who is our faithful Creator and Redeemer.” As the days grow darker, it will become easier to let go of the trivial matters that currently hinder so many of us. The firey trial will do this. It silences everything that is irrelevant and amplifies the issues that truly matter. For one who is truly born of the Spirit, it brings the eternal into perfect focus; burning away every shred of lifeless religion and dissolving any residual fascination with the trappings of this evil place. Hebrews chapter 12 continues: 

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.”  

From before the foundation of the world, Jesus was knew that a moment would arrive when he would be crucified at the hands of evil men. He was fully aware as this moment went from being thousands of years away to hundreds of years away…..and eventually just around the corner has he began his earthly ministry. When the moment arrived, we can see his agonizing as it was recorded by Luke “And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,  Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done. And their appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Regardless of what we may have to endure in this world, it will not even come close to the agony that Jesus went through on our behalf.

He could have called twelve legions of angels…..but didn’t. He could have come down from the cross when the mockers were compelling him to do so…..yet he remained. We must be continuously mindful, and eternally thankful, that our faithful Creator redeemed us with his own precious blood.He endured the cross and was faithful unto death. Three days later, he rose from the dead and is alive forever more. 

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

We were once in absolute contradiction to the person and nature of the Lord Jesus Christ…..until that moment, when, in sincere repentance and desire to leave the old behind, we called out to him. It wasn’t simply a fire escape or a decision made while a fleshy praise team worked the crowd up into a frenzy. It was a sincere desire to follow Jesus. My personal story bears repeating. The moment that I believed on Jesus, there was no overwhelming euphoria or feeling of release. Quite the opposite. As I sat there “believing” that if I truly called on him and asked for forgiveness, he would do it. Then the strange “thought” came to me. it seemed to come from just outside my right ear. It spoke to me “you know that you can never live like that. Three or four days and you will be back to your old self again.” That thought from the enemy caused me to…think….and then proclaim with emphasis “NO! I’m tired of what I have been all of my life. I’m serious about this.” and I was. despite seasons of struggle and one lengthy season of backsliding, that day was the most important in my life. it was my one “turning point” in every sense of the word.

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

And because Jesus overcame this world, and we have the Holy Spirit abiding within, we too can overcome the wicked one……even in a time of tribulation which Jesus warned us would be more severe than any other season of adversity; before or after.  Our time in this world is but a vapor that appears for a fraction of a second. Then we enter our eternal situation, “and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” I recently heard it described like this. This world is the only hell that a true Christian will ever know. This world is the only heaven that those who reject the truth will ever know.  The final two passages were actually part of a draft that involved a different topic, however, they fit this issue perfectly

James 4:8 “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.  Cleanse your hands ye sinners; and purify your hearts ye double minded.”

Revelation 2:17 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone, a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.”

The first one encourages us to draw close to God and cease from the works of the flesh. To repent and turn from anything that separates us from the Lord Jesus and unite our heart to follow him without reservation. The second passage is one that blows my mind upon every remembrance. If I understand it correctly…..in the age to come, each of us is going to have a special name that nobody else knows except the Lord Jesus. Without a doubt, we will have an identity that is known to others, however, we will also have a secret name…..and only the Lord Jesus will know that name. WOW! Even now, it blows my mind that he can have a personal deep relationship with each of us at the same time…..as though we were the only person on the planet. But the words found in Revelation 2:17 carry this into a whole new dimension.  This idea is in the realm of things “too wonderful to comprehend while inhabiting a vessel of flesh and seeing through a glass darkly.”

A name that only the Lord Jesus knows. This is far more incredible than the grandest mansion, the widest street of pure gold, the indescribable features of a world with no ending,  or any other reward that one could receive, This is what comes to mind whenever my thoughts venture into heavenly placves. Being in the presence of Jesus and surrounded by the company of all who entered eternity with their testimony intact.  “For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” I’m looking forward to the moment when we are all gathered around the throne of God, who inhabits eternity. 

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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Kokuo no aru kaodachi kyoretsu – Hanketsu ga kuroppoi rikai suru

February 7, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings in Jesus name.

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

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Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness

February 2, 2015

Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”

I John 3:2-3 “Beloved, now we are the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him: for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

Found within the wording of I John 3:3 is a most important truth; one which discerns whether or not a person is truly born of the Spirit. After we believe on Jesus in true repentance and intentional turning from what we had always been, our sins are washed away by his blood and we become a new creature in Christ. Because of this new nature, we begin to desire to be holy and to separate from sin. We begin to purify ourselves; letting go of things which are contrary to the nature of God and seeking after those things which have eternal significance. The old nature is ever present in our members, however, because we have a new heart, we will both desire, and strive, to keep the ever-present reminder of the former things under subjection.  As we continuously grow toward the fullness of Christ, the eternal will gain clarity while the issues and interests which lose all relevance the second that ones final breath is exhausted will lose their appeal. As the apostle John rightly observed, “and his commandments are not grievous.” (I John 5:3…..notice how it compliments I John 3:3)

Most of the works of the flesh are easily recognizable to one who is walking in the Spirit, while the more subtile ones will be made known to us as we strive to become more like Jesus and less like us. There is, however, one particular condition which, not only has the ability to slip past the most sensitive spiritual radar, it can shipwreck the most discerning among us. It can drag us to a point of spiritual death; even while we believe ourselves to be walking close to the Lord. It enters in quietly, lures our attention away from Jesus, and refocuses that attention on self. It’s called spiritual pride, and it can grow undetected for years – even decades. Pride is an enemy that none of us can defeat in our own strength or wisdom. It takes a continual humbling ourselves before the Lord Jesus; allowing the Holy Spirit to reveal any area where it is beginning to grow, and quickly repenting of any strongholds that have taken root.

The perplexing thing about pride is that, while the Holy Spirit will convict us of its presence, we can unwittingly become so…….amazed……..(for lack of a more accurate description) at our perceived spiritual standing that we don’t hear it.  Spiritual pride is “the worshipping of ones own perceived spirituality.” The old nature craves status and respect of those in the ambiance and will seek to utilize any talent, gifting, knowledge base, or accomplishment to secure admiration by others. Even a continual display of humility can be a source of pride as one who appears to have this quality will be held up as “one who walks close to the Lord. True humility is an absolute necessity for a close walk with Jesus, however, there is an ever present danger of allowing it to become a conduit for seeking admiration.  It’s such a twisted thing – of all the works of the flesh, spiritual pride is the real shapeshifter of the group. We can never let our guard down.

3 John 9 “I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.” (This is what spiritual pride will lead to – decisions will be made with the intent of maintaining ones perceived status, even if those decisions are contrary to the spiritual well-being of the other saints in ones vicinity)

Spiritual pride can take on many forms, but three camps are easy to define. Some folks “love the limelight.” Their words and actions make this obvious as they don’t even try to hide it….because they do not recognize it as a problem. This is the impression that most of the televangelists and big-name preachers leave with many, however, they are not the only ones. In the January 4 teaching, Scott Johnson  (www.contendingfortruth.com) was discussing how many street preachers (not all, but many) are filled with pride; even to the point that one cannot have a conversation with them. They almost instantaneously look down upon any person who is not “doing exactly as they are doing.” I’ve been there. The saints from my church in Virginia engaged in open air (street) preaching every weekend. While I cannot speak for the others, I know that for me it was a source of spiritual pride. This pride was not only self-destructive, it worked to drive people away from considering the words of life. 

Others may speak and behave in a manner that is recognized by others as being prideful, however, they view themselves as merely “being about the Fathers business. Such a one may make continual references to their accomplishments; always giving God the glory for these accomplishments, but secretly enjoying that they are in such a position of such perceived spiritual maturity and understanding. When I was on facebook the first time, I would sometimes link to this blog when a particular topic was in play. I tried to reason that I was doing it to offer my thoughts into the discussion, however, each time it felt “REALLY WEIRD” linking to something written at my hand. After a few awkward instances of “linking to self,” I simply stopped…..because it felt like self-promotion. A lot of people make known their books and writings out of a sincere desire to share knowledge with others, while some seem to enjoy the attention.  

Two dangerous forms of spiritual pride have been addressed. There is one category, however, that is far more dangerous than these previous two. This is when pride enters a persons heart, but their demeanor keeps it well hidden from both their contemporaries and themselves. They may seem genuinely humble before the Lord. They will rarely, if ever, talk about their own accomplishments or strengths, and when someone else makes reference to such, they will quickly downplay it. But in their heart; oftentimes unknown to them (because they are unable to hear the promptings of the Holy Spirit) there will be a barely recognizable mindset of boastfulness over the talent, strength, or the reputation that they have. Only continual fellowship with the Lord Jesus continual examining of self, and being always mindful of our fallen nature can shield us from allowing this form of pride to enter in. This passage came to mind as I was typing the last sentence:

Hebrews 3:12 “take heed, brethren,  lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.”

Pride is the nearly invisible shift from “look at what God has done” to “look at what I have done”……usually worded as “look at what God has done through me.” Whenever we inject “me” into the equation, trouble is brewing. Whether it’s in word, or merely a vague thought in the back of our mind, it is an indicator that a spiritual examination is in order. One thing has helped in recent years is this: if I had died in August of 1983 (the month before Jesus called me out of darkness) I would be in hell at this very moment. I would have now been in torment for 32 years, however, with means of measuring time, I would have no idea of how long I had been there. I would remember every time I had rejected the words of life while remembering all of my loved ones who were unsaved at that time……wondering how many were now in this place also…….continual despair…..no relief……no hope whatsoever of better days ahead. This is what I deserved. This is what we all deserve as, in our fallen state, we cannot stand before a holy God.

James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

I Peter 4:11 “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

Before concluding this post, it’s necessary to visit a situation that the apostle Paul had to contend with. From this situation, three things can be gleaned. First, there is the ease with which pride can enter into a heart. Second is how the Lord prevented the arising of such a situation in the life of Paul. (It may well be that many of our desires are not granted because they would result in spiritual pride. There are a number of prayer requests of mine that seem to go unanswered and I believe that the reason for this is that I would be unable to handle the fulfillment of those requests without becoming lifted up with pride.) And third, we learn from Paul’s situation, how we should respond to something that seems inconvenient, but is intended to keep us in check.

II Corinthians 12:7 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.”

The apostle Paul was given the commission to carry the gospel deep into the lands of the gentiles and was granted revelations far in excess of many of his contemporaries. While we do not know what the thorn in  the flesh was, we know that it was necessary to prevent the apostle from being lifted up more than. Knowledge and understanding will puff a person up. And even when a person is in a place spiritually where they can keep themselves in check, others may hold them in higher esteem than they should. We should always be on the alert when another saint seems to make continual references to a particular preacher of one who ministers. The apostle Paul, in order to prevent such a thing from developing, whether in his heart, or in the hearts of others, was subjected to the buffetings of a messenger from Satan. He sought the Lord three times, that this thing may depart. The way that Paul responded to this provides us an example of the kind of mindset that we should have. In all things we must look to Jesus. (Romans 8:28 comes to mind)

II Corinthians 12:8-10 “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

His affections were on things above; not things here. He sought to lift up Jesus; not self. For this reason, he was able to, not only accept what he had to endure, but glory in it; knowing that this enabled the power of God to be upon him. When we become full of ourselves, the power of God will not be on our lives and we’ll begin relying on our own abilities. Once we begin operating fluently in our own abilities, pride will enter in and we will begin to drift away from our first love. Pride “always” separates us from God. Paul understood this and rejoiced when the Lord provided a means of keeping him from being exalted above measure. This was good for Paul, and for us as the revelations given to Paul were essential for the equipping of the church.

I Peter 5:2-5 “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3 Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves to the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Blessings in Jesus name.