Posts Tagged ‘Prayer’

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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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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.