Posts Tagged ‘Christ Jesus’

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All The Words of This Life

March 24, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings in Jesus name.

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Because No One Remembers the Names of the Trampled Flowers

January 24, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings in Jesus name.