Posts Tagged ‘Discernment’

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Lamentations and Waterfalls

August 29, 2015

The myriad of eschatological scenarios that are afloat today can be confusing to even the most diligent of inquirers.  We observe the current flow of events, prayerfully inquire as to how these events will play through, search the scriptures which seem to identify the events, and cautiously consider the observations of other like minded saints. We strive to maintain an eternal perspective in this temporal setting.  And yet we can easily become overwhelmed if we are not walking close to Jesus.  While prophetically significant events are unfolding at an ever-accelerating pace, the enemy is attacking from ever facet of life. He launches direct attacks from the spiritual realm, fosters dark policies which are carried out by his agents, and utilizes the people in our ambiance who either know not the Lord Jesus, or are not close to him, to keep to us continuously distracted until his dark champion (antichrist) is in power.  Most of our contemporaries are completely unaware of the catastrophic changes that are upon us, or of the beast system that is ready to take them in; once the old system has been dissolved.

Luke 21:35 “For as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.

Adding to the complexity is the number of false alarms that have come and gone throughout the years.  Times which seemed like the end of the world from the perspective of those who were partakers of the event, but later proved to be simply mile-markers; causing many to disregard the authentic warnings of apocalyptic times found in scripture.  Sometimes a particular transpiration will seem like a dead-on “this is that which was spoken of in these passages” only to later on watch the event play out in a manner that disproves the announcement.  In recent years, many of us have, on a number of occasions, believed that “the proverbial bottom will certainly fall out in two weeks…..or this fall…..or this year…..or for certain next year…..because this present flow of events is simply unsustainable-even from a purely physical analysis.”  But then, when the time period in question concludes and everyone is still standing, we realize that our “ironclad conclusions” which seemed to be verifiable with scripture, were inaccurate.  This not only bolsters the erroneous sense of security enjoyed by those who know not Jesus, it causes many saints to “go back to their churchianity” and disregard the wild claims of “that doomsday crowd.” 

II Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except their come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”

II Peter 3:3-4 “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue a they were from the beginning of creation.”

Verses 5 and 6 go on to tell how they willingly are ignorant of past apocalyptic events, such as the flood of Noah’s day, or the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, because they tell of a lengthy season of continuance which was dissolved in an instant. The initial drops of rain in Noah’s time, proved that the world was suddenly a very different place……even before the lower elevations began disappearing beneath the waves.

They weary of watching, of anticipating, of working themselves into a frenzy; (which is contrary to the fruit of the Spirit) then seeing the threat appear to dissolve and the upholders of the status quo appearing to be right once again…..that the doomsday predictions were all hype and no substance. This may be one of the reasons that most of the churches today completely avoid prophetic discussions.  As for those which do enter into such considerations, it us usually in the form of a very surface level study, or series of studies, in which assurances of a pre-tribulation rapture are meticulously sprinkled throughout the troubling content.  Here is the danger of this approach.  Jesus described the time before his return as being one of “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of this world to this time” which means that it will surpass all of the worlds previous seasons of sorrow.  To not be spiritually prepared for this can be an eternal death sentence.

During the overnight hours of August 25, 2015, I listened to the most recent teaching from Scott Johnson, (Contending for Truth) wherein he expounded on….just a handful of the events that are unfolding……but the potential for catastrophe, contained in that handful, was so overwhelming that it can make one physically ill…..even if they are spiritually minded.  The level of evil in the world today; the atrocities being carried out by ISIS, the atrocities that Planned Parenthood is engaging in for profit, the current economic upheaval, the posturing of key players in the geo-political arena  in a manner that seems headed toward war, the potential for massive loss of life, the knowledge that evil people in positions of authority are actively pursuing a depopulation agenda, the ranks of those who have entered this country for the purpose of destroying it from within, the legalizing of that which God calls an abomination, the excessive number of professing Christians who are discarding biblical truth in exchange for error, the perverting of everything that is pure, and what have you, is enough to nearly “wear out the saints” that are awake……and we are not in the time of tribulation yet.  

The proverbial question is often asked by those who are awake, but beginning to become overwhelmed by the speed at which things are spiraling. “What do we do?”  It’s a question to which everyone who is born of the Spirit has answer, however, we (or at least I) need to be reminded from time to time. Even the newest saint, such as a guy who was without Christ and wicked as they come two days ago, but believed on Jesus and became a new creature yesterday, has the potential to overcome, because we do not overcome in our own strength or ability, but by abiding close to Jesus and ensuring that the entirety of our affection is on things above.  The coming events are so horrific, that, if Jesus is not our first love and we are not completely looking to him…..if we have not, from our heart, completely abandoned our lives in this world, we will fail in the critical moment.  Many will panic when everything familiar has dissolved, and will place their trust in a lie.  There is a teaching that is gaining in popularity, which states that a person can receive the mark of the beast, and later be saved.  THIS IS A LIE and sadly, MANY PROFESSING CHRISTIANS WILL SUCCUMB TO THIS MANNER OF REASONING.  When the food is gone, the children are hungry, and everything they had known is vanished, many who were once solid in the faith, will seek to save their lives in this world.  They will justify taking a mark, using teachings such as the “A person can take the mark and still be saved” doctrine.  

Here is a Youtube presentation featuring John MacArthur making this assertion. Even more troubling is that the two hosts (it features a portion of a talk radio broadcast) are in agreement with John MacArthur, as is revealed after the three minute mark.

John MacArthur (and broadcasters) believe that one can take the mark of the beast and still be saved

Overcoming; not by falling for an erroneous doctrine; not placing confidence in our abilities, our knowledge, or those who are close to us, but by placing our entire confidence and affection upon the Lord Jesus.  “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”  The following items will sound simple, elementary, and even redundant, however, they embody the means by which we will stand in the evil days that are fast approaching.  

1 – MINIMIZE THE STATIC.  The atmosphere is supercharged with winds of doctrine, rumors, opinions, contentions, reportings with no means of verifying, clever deceptions, distractions, and everything that one can contrive, to drag into the arena of ideologies.  We need time to get away – shut down the computer, leave the phone behind, get into a quiet place with our bible, and seek God.  Many of us cannot go ten minutes without either checking our phone, or putting on the headphones, and filling our mind with the productions of our equals. We need time to get away (a deep woods or an isolated beach is nice if such a place is nearby, but a small closet works just as well) and just be with the Lord Jesus.  Fall in love with our Savior, over and over; remembering that we were headed for an eternity of torment, but that he redeemed us with his own innocent blood.  our love for Jesus must be so intense that all of the worlds trophies fade from view.

2 – EXAMINATION ROOM. Taking a spiritual inventory of our present state and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal any areas of weakness, compromise, error, or potential for shipwreck.  This is never pleasant, but it’s necessary if we are to resolve the things in our life that need to be resolved.  When the bottom falls out, and our children are saying “oh please; just take that mark so that we can eat”…..that is the wrong time to discover that our affections are still anchored to the temporal.  Asking the Lord to examine us will not only bring to the forefront areas where we know (when being honest with ourselves) we need to grow, it may also reveal weaknesses in areas where we thought to ourselves “I’m solid in this thing.”  It’s humbling, it causes lamentation, it makes us feel as though our sins stretch beyond the stars…….but is is necessary to bring us to repentance and secure resolution to these areas. “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” 

3 – STUDY TO SHEW THYSELF APPROVED.  The fact that the land is dotted with mega churches wherein smooth words are spoken, reveals that many are not diligent in studying the word for themselves.  Much of that which calls itself the church, is driven by catchy sound-bytes and all inclusive sayings that sooth…..and relax…..and put one into a slumber unto death.  They keep them entertained with the latest in visual and audio presentations.  They plan out a myriad of activities to keep them moving, and singing, and clapping…….but never really prayerfully inquiring as to whether these things are so.  These have been programmed to go along with whatever is being said.  When the pastor says “repeat after me – I’m claiming that thing by faith” they repeat.  When he says “turn to your neighbor and say I’m living my best life now” they do it. We must be diligent in hiding the scriptures in our heart; ensuring that our understanding is coming from God and not the clever phrases of our contemporaries.  

4 – STEADFASTLY Determine beforehand, and work toward preparing accordingly, that we will not receive the mark of the beast. I have had three dreams, over the past few years, in which I was about to be beheaded for this refusal.  (In the most recent one, the agents of antichrist had set up a beheading station in my place of employment, over in a corner near the paint line.)  Each time, I found myself withing that I had better utilized my time here to be about my Fathers business.  I knew that I could not receive the mark and had no plans of doing so in any of these dreams…….I believe they were meant to cause greater diligence on my part…..to forsake the foolish (which isn’t easy because I was born with a sarchastic chromosome) and be about the things which have eternal ramifications.

5 PRESENCE OF GOD  Abiding consciously, and continually in the presence of Jesus is paramount.  Not only does it keep our affections upon the eternal, being in the presence of the Lord is like nothing that this world could ever offer or hope to offer.  There is a sweetness that is beyond defining, a peace that is all encompassing, a love so intense that the firmament seems ready to burst into a sweet melody of adoration for the God who inhabits sternity.  It’s like (this will sound weird) being at the base of a huge waterfall that comes from the heavenly realm and refreshes the wearied traveler.  Cool, clear, and void of anything that causes bitterness, it comes down and the spray cleanses away all of the burdens laid upon us by this world.  It is like streams from above…..and then bubbling up from within as, for a moment, the world is a million miles away and all that we can see is the realm of the everlasting.

The waterfall analogy actually began with a report about a dream that Michael Boldea had in 2004.  I read it shortly after it was published and it has been a point of cogitation ever since.  Here’s a link to the vision, which falls in line completely with the topic of this posting.  The link was not working, using the conventional method, so I must write it out.  Ah; this method works. https://www.handofhelp.com/vision_51.php

I have read of  hundreds of dreams, and accounts of scores of prophetic utterances; some accurate and some not.  Of all these however, this single dream, given to Mr Boldea as they were driving out to the Dakotas, has remained in the forefront ever since reading it. No such report has ever affected me in the manner that this one has.  Well, this is much longer than intended, so I’ll end it here.  Blessings in Jesus name  

Isaiah 26:3  “thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

II Corinthians 4:18 “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

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Until the Indignation be Overpast (episode I – quest for clarity)

May 24, 2015

If one were to describe the ongoing streams of dialogue regarding the time of the end, how current events play into that final scenario, and where we are currently positioned on the timeline, two of the most notable attributes would have to be rumor and confusion.  Everyone who gives thought to this issue has a general idea as to how they believe it will play out based on what has been revealed to us in scripture.  We understand that we see through a glass darkly and that alterations to our eschatology of choice can be expected as the finished product approaches.  For example, there will be a moment when all of us will know for certain where the rapture takes place in relation to the other events that are foretold.  At some point, the son of perdition will be revealed and all speculation will be removed from the discussion….at least amongst those who know their God.  The moment will arrive when the wheat and the tares no longer grow side by side.  The line of demarcation; that spiritual boundary which currently runs through families, churches, institutions, communities, and what have you, will be dissolved and we will see things as they truly are. 

Until then, we must prayerfully search the scriptures and remain close to Jesus who has promised to be with us until the end of the world.  We must look beyond the rhetoric of contemporaries, and the endless reports of events taking place upon the earth.  We must abide close to the Lord Jesus and hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches……hear what the Spirit is saying to each of us individually.  This post marks the launching of a look at Matthew chapter 24, (along with accompanying scriptures from other places in the bible) where Jesus discusses the conditions that will precede his return. While these posts are not likely to resolve any of the issues that many of us contemplate, they should encourage us to seek the Lord Jesus on a deeper level and prepare spiritually for anything that we may face in the days ahead.  By considering the conditions that Jesus said would mark the time of the end, and abiding close to Jesus we can prepare for any eventuality…..even the eventual fallout from the activity surrounding the Hadron collider in Cern Switzerland.  

I make specific reference to the Hadron collider because, of all the events that are currently in play, this is one of the real wild cards.  It has the potential to make the world that we have always known virtually unrecognizable and is something that we should be praying against.  I’m beginning to get sidetracked here, however, for the past several days It’s been on my heart to pray for delay in judgment; that many who know not the Lord can hear the gospel one more time and that some will believe on Jesus.  With all of the speculation in this nation, concerning fallout from the Jade Helm extraction exercise, martial law, economic collapse, and many other adversities believed by many to come to fruition in September, my prayer is for a delay in the judgment that is looming, and for those who love the Lord Jesus in spirit and truth to utilize what little time we have left for the furtherance of the kingdom of God.  

The time of tribulation is one of unfathomable sorrow; especially when we consider how many know not the Lord Jesus and how many professors of faith in him are unprepared.  And yet, despite the unfolding of events which will cause men’s hearts to fail them for fear, it will be a time when those who know their God shall be strong and do exploits.  A time when our full attention is upon that which is eternal and our fellowship with Jesus is on a level that we never knew during the season of advancing careers, attending church once or twice each week, and running the kids to their soccer games.  A time of trying, of which Daniel 11:35 reads “And some of them of understanding shall fall, to try them, and to purge, and to make them white, even to the time of the end: because it is yet for a time appointed.” A time which, despite the horrific events that will play out, cannot compare to the joy that awaits us on the other side.  When our testimony is completed and we are forever in the presence of Jesus along with all who have gone before us, all of the trials of this world will seem as a very small thing.

The closer that we are to Jesus; the more real that our affections are placed on that which is eternal, the less we will be influenced by the trappings, the reports, and the threatenings of this very (VERY) temporal world.  With this, the diving into Matthew chapter 24 commences.  

Matthew 24:1-2 “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple.
2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” 

Before considering the boatload of observations that these two verses bring forth, it’s important to consider that had just transpired.  In Matthew chapter 23, Jesus expounds in great detail the astonishing hypocrisy of the pharisees and other religious leaders of that time.  He then went out where the disciples began to point out, and comment on the physical structures.  The temple had been there for as long as they could remember. It was a place of stability – the place where the God of Israel dwelt among his people.  When Jesus told them “there shall not be left here one stone upon another images of a future that was dramatically different than what they had always known, or imagined would be, entered the equation.  (It was somewhat reminiscent of when we talk about the end of the age and people around us become discomforted by the idea that everything in this world that they have known, and worked for, is coming to an end)  We don’t know exactly how many minutes passed before they inquired of this matter, however, as Jesus was upon the mount of olives, the ponderings that were sparked by that statement finally led to inquiry.  

Matthew 24:3 “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

It’s one of the biggest questions of our day as we consider the present unfolding of events.  “When shall these things be?  Is this newly rolled out technology be the framework for the mark of the beast? Is this person or that person the son of perdition? How does this geo-political event play in to bible prophecy?” For every question, there seems to be dozens of potential answers and scenarios; each of which has disciples who will defend them vehemently on social media and become critical of anyone who disagrees.  Seriously, a short time ago, I encountered a post whose author has concluded that the earth is flat based on their interpretation of certain scriptures.  This simple posting, concerning an issue that can be resolved by simple observation, generated more than 80 comments in very short order; some for and some against the idea.  A few even defended the idea with comments like “well NASA is covering up for the illuminati and we cannot trust them.”  It seemed silly, and yet this is what the dialogue has been reduced to in many venues.

“What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” Where is this all leading to? We long to receive as much understanding as possible; that we can prepare accordingly.  If we are born of the Spirit and love Jesus, we long for the moment when we are forever in his presence.  We do not want to be caught unprepared, or deceived.  We do not want any root of unbelief to spring up within our heart and we do not want to be lured back into the world by failing to keep our hearts with all diligence.  These are a few of the reasons that we approach this topic soberly and with a hunger for truth.  knowing that many pieces of the puzzle have yet to fall into place, we proceed prayerfully and cautiously; especially when we consider the first thing that Jesus said in regards to this inquiry.  

Matthew 24:4 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.”

The single biggest danger to any of us is that of being deceived.  Charles Spurgeon addressed the issue with this quote: “discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong.  It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.”  This statement is even more profound today than when it was first uttered.  Deceptions from the twisting of scripture, deceptions in the physical world as eventually false signs will cause multitudes to follow after a lie, and deception from technologies that seem to blur the lines between what is real and what is fabrication.  I expect that technology will eventually enable the displaying of holographic images that which look so real that they will be indistinguishable from the surrounding venue.  Staying close to Jesus and staying in his word is the only way to insulate ourselves from deception.  Referencing back to the person who believes in a flat earth, she did make one good point. She stated words to the effect of “we must believe what we read in scripture, even if the physical world seems to suggest something different.”  While I still believe the earth to be a sphere, she was spot on with this particular observation.  Because soon the lies are going to be backed up with physical manifestation on a level that we cannot fathom at the present.

This is an ideal place to conclude the first installment of this series.  There is so much information in Matthew chapter 24 insofar as what to prepare for, even though many specifics are not forthcoming.   If we stay close to Jesus; ensuring that he is our first love above all else, diligently hide his word in our heart, try the spirits to see if they be of God, and love not our lives in this world, we will be prepared to face any eventuality, even if fleets of spaceships suddenly appear all across the globe……or the disc. (in case the earth really is flat. Hee hee)  

Blessings in Jesus name.

 

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Kokoro no soko kara katsudo ga meiji suru

April 28, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the bottom of the heart, actions manifest.  Blessings in Jesus name.

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The Redundant Sea

April 6, 2015

Over the past several years, a myriad of catastrophic events have been forecast which created a frenzy, but in the end, went away without a stir.  Some were rendered irrelevant once a particular date passed, such as Y2K, the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012, and what have you.  Other predicted calamities have had a more open timetable, however, as the years progressed, concern began to wain when the predictions either failed to manifest in a timely manner, or, events begin trending in a direction that was contrary to the predictions.  Global warming is a primary example of this.  A supposed environmental tipping point that was embraced by much of the scientific community and discussed widely in the various media outlets, but failed to live up to the expectations.  More recently, there were predictions of massive Ebola outbreaks in the United States and Europe, when patients from West Africa were flown in for treatment.

They enter the forecast of “things to come,” create a frenzy, spawn an array of predictions as to the extent of their impact, prompt those with an agenda to utilize the uproar to their advantage (let no crisis go to waste) and then vanish with little more than a whimper.  Today, few remember the panic surrounding the predictions of Y2K, while the end of the Mayan calendar became a non-issue right after the date passed.  Many Christians were caught up in the Mayan calendar frenzy; a phenomenon to which one particular individual made an observation, containing words to the effect of “The Mayans were pagans and received information from demonic entities.  Why are Christians getting worked up over something that essentially came from the father of lies?”  I don’t remember who made the observation, however, it was spot on.  Satan continuously seeks to change times and seasons while drawing folks away from the Creator of all that is.  But God inhabits eternity and sees the end from the beginning.  He holds in his hand time, seasons, judgments…….and the breath of every living thing.  

I Samuel 2:3 “Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.”

These would-be calamities, while failing to live up to their billing, still manage to have an adverse effect on many who were present when the hype was in high gear.  Below are three primary ways that non-events impact the population.  In many instances the ramifications can have eternal consequences as they contribute to the overall state of slumber that has gripped this generation. 

1.  Non-stories bolster the misplaced confidence that those who know not the Lord Jesus have in the present world. As dire predictions create a frenzy, but then fail to materialize, they begin to “merge,” as it were, into a redundant sea of false warnings. This creates skepticism toward any report that threatens the continuance……including authentic warnings that have a scriptural foundation.  An unsaved person may well view warnings about the rise of antichrist in the same light as the warnings about Y2K; despite the abundance of physical evidence that a beast system is emerging.  In many cases, they become increasingly sketpical when the issue of salvation and coming judgment are presented; choosing rather to cling to their own beliefs…..“a way that seemeth right.” We all know people who have such confidence in this world and/or their personal beliefs that questions about whether or not their beliefs about either one are accurate true never come into consideration.  This confidence in a false security is bolstered every dire prediction fails, a false prophecy falls to the ground…….and another preacher replaces scriptural truth such as except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” with soothing phrases about living our best life now.

Confusion and slumber are two attributes of our age.  Yet regardless of all the confusion, the truth of Gods word remains steadfast and each of us will be judged according to truth.  (II Peter 1:20-21) All of us have a checkout date; a moment when our final breath is exhausted and we leave this theater of atoms……..a moment that can arrive without warning.  Every fatal automobile accident tells a tragic tale of someone who had plans that were just beyond their allotment of time.  When our time in this world ends, we will be judged according to the truths found in scripture; whether we believed them, rejected them, or fell for a twisted representation of them. John 14:6 records it like this: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” 

2. Many of the would-be calamities were considered by many Christians to be signs of the end times.  Many placed a lot of captial in these predictions and, instead of seeking the Lord Jesus on the matter, embarked on a campaign to prepare for the non-event.  One family from Ohio prepared for Y2K by stockpiling enough food, clothes, personal effects, survival gear, and what have you, to maintain themselves, their children, and their grandchildren, for months.  The home was packed to the ceilings……until a fire in the summer of 1999 consumed everything that had been assembled.  When we fail to hear from the Lord and go about doing our own thing, we waste time that can never be retrieved, squander resources that could have been utilized in a more profitable manner, and put a tremendous amount of thought and energy into preparing for an illusion.  This is not to say that we shouldn’t seek to be prepared for the unexpected.  We should, however, inquire of the Lord as to how we should do this.  

But false predictions go beyond the misplaced allocation of resources.  Many will monitor the goings on in the physical realm, and listen to report after report of the dire situation that is unfolding, until they are convinced that the bottom will fall out any day.  (On more than one occasion, I have been fully convinced that the economy was two weeks away from total collapse) Then, as time progresses and the bottom doesn’t fall out, they become dull of hearing……even to the point that the verifiable warnings found in scripture also begin to lose their urgency.  This is a real danger; especially if a person is given to emotion and sensationalism, as opposed to prayerful inquiry and searching the scriptures.  I have known of people who spend so much time consuming one report after another, that they neglect to take time to step away from the computer, go before the Lord Jesus, and inquire “is this true, and if it is, how do I respond?” 

Proverbs 14:15 “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.”

3. False reports, non-events, and distractions of like manner, create an atmosphere of confusion to the point that identifying the legitimate issues becomes almost impossible.  We simply cannot navigate the terrain in our own wisdom or understanding.  Because buried somewhere, amidst the stories about Niburu, an eruption in the Yellowstone caldera, the return of the Nephilim, Spetsnaz soldiers operating outside of Dayton, the potential for a major earthquake along the New Madrid fault, Cumbre Vieja crashing into the sea; triggering a mega tsunami, and what have you, there are legitimate reports that signify that the end of the age is at hand.  While many of the aforementioned issues may, (or may not) be credible, there are issues that we know to be, not only credible, but they carry serious eternal ramifications…..such as the manifesting of the beast system, the great falling away, and the limited amount of time that we have to compel those around us who know not the Lord Jesus to believe on him before the door is shut.  

We know from scripture that prior to the return of Jesus, the earth will be ravaged by earthquakes, famine, plagues, fearful sights, signs in the heavens, and what have you, we know to expect them…..but we should not be fearful of them; nor should we believe every report concerning predictions as to the when, where, and how severe.  Here is what we should be watching with godly fear: “Take heed that no man deceive you.”  Because if we embrace deception, follow after a false Christ, or abandon our faith because something else suddenly seems more verifiable (a false way will always appeal to the flesh) we have placed ourselves into a hole from which there may well be no escape.  The remainder of this postg will focus on three passages which sum up many of the conditions found upon the earth in the spring of 2015 and are sure to increase as the end of the age draws ever closer:

Matthew 24:6 “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass.” 

Wars and rumours.  We think of it in terms of armed conflict and, without a doubt, there are many armed conflicts underway and expected to be underway in the future.  The fog of battle; where one doesn’t know which reports are verifiable, which ones are a deception, and how to prepare accordingly.  Currently, there is war in several nations, including Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Eastern Ukraine, Yemen, Gaza, while a number of lesser campaigns are underway on every continent. (except Antarctica…..but then again……we know about the Nazi activity involving Antarctica back in the 1940’s.  Who knows what may be transpiring now) But rumors go well beyond conventional conflicts.  Wars and rumors are found in every facet of society……right down to the microcosm of a family, where strife, accusations which may or may not be true, displays of drama over irrelevant issues, and the like create an environment of confusion and sorrow until, finally, affection begins to wain.  While in the verse above, I believe that Jesus was referring specifically to conflict of a national and international nature, there is conflict and rumor at every level of society.  “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

 Luke 21:25-26 “And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men’s heart’s failing them for fear, and looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.”

A time where everything is being shaken and one can no longer find a place of stability.  A population that is so overwhelmed by the myriad of coinciding calamities that the hearts of many will fail.  Interesting, as I was writing out this verse, I began to think of how many times it has been quoted over the past few years.  Over and over and over – every day Rick Wiles broadcast opens with a reading of this verse.  And while it is indeed an accurate picture of the time of the end……we can hear it so often that we lose sight of its significance……especially when each day, the mail arrives on time, the electricity is still on, and people have time to worry about such things as how their favorite sports team is doing.  We must be on continual guard against complacency – never allowing scriptural truth to fall into the redundant sea.  The west has been so saturated with truth that many no longer hold it in as high esteem as we should…..even as these events are right at the door.  The final verse defines the apathy that is prevailent in society and even in many churches.  

II Peter 3:3-4 “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”  

It’s the battle cry of all who refuse to believe, or even consider, that there is an end to the present continuance.  A majority of the people in our ambiance, even those who identify themselves as Christian, are so attached to this present world, that they give no thought to such things.  And yet history is filled with examples of societies that bought, sold, and married on the final day of their existence.  It happened in the days of Noah, it happened to Sodom, and for an added historical perspective, it happened to Pompeii. Despite the fact that Vesuvius was showing signs of an explosion, the casts taken from the solidified ash reveal a society that was completely caught off guard.  The mountain had been stable for so long that thoughts of a calamity were non-existent (I visited Pompeii in 1986)  

While Pompeii was buried by a volcano that was plainly visible, Sodom was destroyed by brimstone falling out of the sky.  There was no physical anomaly that a citizen of Sodom could have pointed to and said “that physical aspect is acting different.”  Any confidence in physical continuance is unfounded…..even if all the collaborating evidence supports the continuance.  We are reminded in Nahum 1:3, that “The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind.” (One of the current issues that has me intrigued is the number of sinkholes that are showing up in divers places across the globe.)   

pompeii

  II Peter 3:5-7 “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the           word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of         the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water,         perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word       are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of                               judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”

Well I have to go. May we all look steadfastly to Jesus, not be rattled by the events that are underway (or soon will be) and not become dull of hearing when, despite the rhetoric coming at us from every angle, the status quo seems to remain intact.  As Jesus explained it, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.

Blessings in Jesus name.

h1

The Fallen Entity Resistance Society

January 14, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings in Jesus name.