Sunday, December 28, 2014

Hidden in Christ

Of all the dates we circle on our calendars - from holidays to birthdays and anniversaries -- the one that affects me the most is January 1 - New Year's Day.

This coming week, the world will look back at 2014 and lament all the fallen heroes, from Robin Williams to Joe Cocker.

The false prophets will ignore last New Year's failed prognostications, and give us a big list for 2015 that will be equally empty and meaningless.

But I will reflect on 2014 privately, take stock of what was accomplished and what I failed to accomplish. Recall the good memories with family and friends, alongside the sad memories as well. 

Then I'll turn my attention to the coming year. I won't be making any new year's resolutions, but I look forward to completing what I started this year but haven't finished. I anticipate a move to the other side of the country and trust the LORD for His timing on that.

For many people, a new year represents a fresh start in life -- a time to recommit one's steps for the LORD to direct. His grace is always there for those who return with a repentant heart.

The times we live in seem even more perilous than they did this same time last year -- on the global perspective. The birth pangs are getting stronger as the signs of the times that Jesus foretold are part of the daily headlines. We don't know which ones coming in 2015 will touch us personally. 

As we are "hidden in Christ" we know that nothing happens to us without His consent and He will work all things together for our good since we love Him and are called for His purpose. Knowing that, we can face the new year without fear because His love is perfect.

So Happy New Year's everyone. Maybe this will be the year He gathers us together to meet Him in the air!


"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the LORD, 'He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.'
Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you."
- Psalms 91:1-7

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Not So Jolly

For many, Christmas holds many wonderful memories of a childhood of toys and joy and the pleasures of the season. For others, like myself, memories of Christmas can be painful and full of disillusionment and times of abandonment. 

I was the fifth of nine children; a big Catholic family - the middle child. I was the least favored child - I could scream louder than my siblings; I was always the target of my mischievous older brother (remember Sid in Toy Story?) because I would come between him and my younger siblings to protect them even knowing I would lose the fight. But he was Mom's favorite boy and she would always believe him over me. When he hit me and I screamed, my mother would turn around and slap me for screaming. Remember, I could scream loud and it annoyed her.

The presents under the Christmas tree always held out hope for a big payoff on the big day. All of us would wake up real early to see what Santa left us. I remember a new bike would be there for "Sid" and other terrific gifts for certain special boys and girls. Lots of joy all around. Even though my gifts were never as wonderful as those my siblings received, I didn't notice but I was happy with my inferior gifts of cheap dolls, and on one occasion, a Ouija Board. My dolls wouldn't last much past the new year once 'Sid' got ahold of them and either tore their heads off or drew mustaches on them with a pen. 

One year all of us had a sad Christmas. Our dad had a heart attack a week earlier and was still in the hospital. That year my parents were having some financial hardships and somehow that affected Santa's generosity. Church members from St. Emydius chipped in and dropped off a big box of old toys they needed to get rid of to make room for the new ones Santa was bringing their little ones. It was a very sad offering - rather than bringing joy, it caused a lot of tears all around.

On that sad Christmas morning, not knowing if our daddy would make it out alive, the brat down the street came over excitedly to show us all the toys Santa had brought her. She had new skates, a new Barbie with all the accessories, and beautiful new clothes. I had always doubted the existence of Santa, despite my parents' constant reassurance of his existence, but seeing that the little girl who earned a big coal and ashes in her stocking made out like a bandit, that was the final straw -- Jackie, there is no Santa Claus. 

That spelled the end to my looking forward to Christmas - I was 10-years-old. My siblings went on believing in Santa and I would argue with them that there is no Santa Claus and that would irritate my mom even more.

A few years ago, one of my sister's (the favored one) and I attended the funeral of an old family friend. We gathered at their family's home afterwards. I began asking Mary Ann, the family mom and my mother's former best friend (my mom had already died), if the deceased knew Jesus. She seemed offended by the question, saying that he was not religious. I dropped the subject. As we were preparing to leave, Mary Ann said she had a real funny story to share.

She recalled how my mom would do all her Christmas wrapping over at her house so that none of us would peek into the bags. One time when mom was all finished with the wrapping of what Mary Ann said were fabulous toys, my mom noticed there was nothing there for her middle child. She recalled that it was Christmas Eve and all the stores were closed. She said mom ran out to the local pharmacy and grabbed something from the toys aisle that was already totally depleted. She came back with something junky, wrapped it nice and pretty and put on the tag "to Jackie, from Santa." Mary Ann chuckled and laughed as she told the story, thinking it was the funniest thing she'd ever seen. It cut me like a knife. 

My mom, no doubt, had confided in her friend all the frustration she had gone through with my becoming a Bible-believing Christian. My mom had told me, "I'm going to die a Catholic" and "I'll never become whatever the hell you are." She was right - she died in the good graces of Rome.

So if you are one like me that isn't filled with the Christmas spirit -- don't worry about it. It is just an invention of the Roman Catholic Church anyway and they don't like us.

Have a merry!! 

"One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks. For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s." - Rom 14:5-8

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." - Matt 10:34-38

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Common Struggles

Whatever you're going through, you're not alone. Each of us is in a different place in our walk with Christ. Some of us are walking on high ground: pumped up, full of faith, excited about Jesus, Spirit-filled, and optimistic. While others are weak, stumbling, spiritually dry, lonely, doubting, and losing their way. At any moment we can be on the mountain or in the valley.

What we must keep in mind when we're looking down, is we must not look down on those in the valley. Those on a spiritual high mustn't discount those who are currently in the depths. This happens too often. Keep in mind, Jesus is the Author and Finisher of our faith and theirs as well. Our faith is tested from time to time and not one of us is immune. If we puff ourselves up, we could be setting ourselves up for a fall. Reminds me of the lyrics of an 80s hit:

"But don't forget, it's me who put you where you are now
And I can put you back down too"

Or to put it another way, "And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Matt 23:12)
When someone close to us is backsliding, that is when we need to come alongside, not to razz them for their sinning, but to spoon-feed them God's Word since they are unable to feed themselves. Encourage them with a word spoken in due season, as the Psalmist says. Bless, do not condemn. It might just be you next time that needs the encouragement and that friend may have to do likewise for you.

Hard times, good times, end times -- all times, we need to be there for one another.


"No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." - 1 Cor 10:13

"Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load." - Gal 6:1-5

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Essentials

The essentials -- Jesus' birth, ministry, death, resurrection, ascension, and return as Judge of the living and the dead-- beliefs virtually all professing Christians hold onto in one way or another. They're in all the creeds of Christendom. 

But look at that list. Only one thing on the list is yet to be fulfilled -- all the others are a fact of history. We look back in wondrous awe at all He has done in fulfillment of the prophecies as He relayed to His prophets. But even more glorious are the prophecies yet to be fulfilled recorded for us by those very same prophets.

Then why is it that our friends, family and foe alike trouble us for our anticipation and the excitement we display in our -- some say fanatical - watching of the birth pangs heralding His soon arrival? We're even falsely accused of forsaking all He has done because of our emphasis on what He is about to do. That is ludicrous of course, because we are even more exuberant about His Gospel of repentance unto salvation knowing that those we love, and the world upon which we have compassion, have such a short window of opportunity to escape the things soon to come upon this planet.

I wonder if the Jews in the first century gave the old Rabbi Simeon a hard time as he lived for the promise of the Consolation of Israel and expected it in his lifetime. I wonder if they called the old guy a kook or a whacko for not shutting up and just focusing on his duties in the Temple?

Like him, we must close our ears to all the harassment, knowing the truth of what we have staked our lives upon -- the veracity of the Word of God. Whether we leave this planet by death or by rapture, we must hold onto our faith that He will fulfill all -- every jot and tittle -- and let no one steal our hope - our blessed hope - from our hearts.

"Hold onto your crown!"

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. Do you look at things according to the outward appearance? If anyone is convinced in himself that he is Christ’s, let him again consider this in himself, that just as he is Christ’s, even so we are Christ’s." - 2 Cor 10:4-7

"And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us." - 1John 4:16-19

Sunday, November 23, 2014

God's Grace Abounds

You know the Bible passage, 'to whom much is given, much is required"? We older sheep need to keep that in mind when praying for struggling little lambs who seem to get themselves ensnared in sin over and over again. When interceding on their behalf I think the best thing to ask God for is more grace for them. Maybe if we were doing the same thing, we would be under more scrutiny because by now we should have learned how to overcome the sin that so easily besets us.

Don't get me wrong -- we still need God's grace -- but hopefully not as often as we did when we were new believers. We have had more time to grow in the grace and knowledge of our LORD Jesus Christ and should have long ago stopped putting His grace to the test.

We need to have more patience with younger believers in our lives -- not to judge them and think ill of them because they don't have it all together. They have a lot to learn and God gives grace to them, and will be with them as they go through trials and testings of their faith in the 'learn by doing' method. We've been there, done that; have the stretch marks. 

I thank God that "His mercy endures forever." Keep that in mind when praying for straying sheep and lambs. Beg Him for His mercy on their behalf when fasting and praying for those you love who appear to be backsliding. Don't count them out so quickly. 

Warn, without accusing;
Correct, without punishing;
Exhort, without lecturing;
Reprove, without condemning.

Be an example to them and always keep your door open and offer a shoulder for them to cry on. Pray without ceasing for those that the LORD has placed on your heart. As the old saying goes,' be part of the solution and not part of the problem.'

"Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions...Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand." - Rom 14:1,4

"For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil." - Heb 5:12-14

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Love; Don't Revile

Greetings from Utah. I'm here house-hunting and visiting with my daughter who is in computer college here. The LORD immediately confirmed His call for me to come to the Bee Hive State. 

I met with my realty specialist to analyze what I'll need to prepare to purchase a home and what area to look in. Mike (not his real name) knows his stuff when it comes to the Utah housing market. When we sat down to talk I just assumed he was a Mormon as most of the population of the state is. During our conversation I told him I would like to be in striking distance to my future church home and he asked what church that was. When I told him, he said, "I've been to that church." I was pleasantly surprised.

He then shared from his heart with me how the LORD brought him out of the church of the LDS despite the fact that his family goes way back through Mormon history. It's funny how I have written before on my fb page that there is a crisis in the Mormon church due to the availability of information on the Internet and for the popularity of Cartoon Network's South Park and their parody of Mormonism. Both of those things figured into Mike's search for the Truth in spite of his ingrained worldview. 

Now the kicker! Mike is church-hopping, unable to find a church where he feels comfortable. The cultural shock of leaving the LDS cult is almost unbearable. He shared going to a local Calvary Chapel and not being able to bring his children into the service, but his wife had to deliver them to the right age-group class and leave them there at the door, not welcome to stay with them for a while for them to get comfortable. They were in a strange place and they were scared. 

Then during the worship time, the music was so unbearably loud that he felt he could not sing to the LORD quietly and thoughtfully to prepare his heart to hear the Word. Then all the people standing, swaying, and raising their hands in the air was even more of a negative distraction.

His children now beg him to take them back to the Mormon church where it is more friendly and comfortable for their family. And it is a big temptation for Mike to do just that even knowing that the religion is a cult and totally false. The cultural comfort there is almost worth the compromise. But for now, he listens online to an Evangelical teacher he likes but is in another state. He's become a scattered sheep with no home pasture. And he says he knows many, many others in his same condition.

One thing he shared really struck me. When he was still a Mormon and would speak to Christians he said many would say to him, 'how can you be that blind to believe all of Joseph Smith's tall tales? You must be so naive to fall for that.' That approach never did him any good except to make him believe more in the rhetoric of the elders that the entire world would persecute them just as their prophets said they would.

After coming to believe that the Bible is the authority of the Christian faith, he said that he was struck by Jesus' love for others. The story of Lazarus had an impact on him. The fact that Jesus wept, even though He knew what He was about to do, demonstrates His love for those who get it wrong. He wasn't crying for Lazarus but for those in grief. If His followers could just show that much love for people, demonstrate love for them, only then can they come alongside someone and assist them with their spiritual confusion. Ridiculing them only pushes them further into their entrenched position.

Mike wouldn't take the word of the critics that he was in a cult -- he searched it out on Google to find original information from Mormon sources themselves to conclude that it was all built upon deception. Many others have done the same thing - and now they are scattered with no place to pasture.

Pray for them - that God would do a work here in Utah. And if you meet a seeking Mormon, weep with them, don't ridicule.

"Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled. And He said, 'Where have you laid him?' They said to Him, 'Lord, come and see.' Jesus wept." - John 11:33-35

"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." - Rom 12:9-15

Sunday, November 9, 2014

I Love Jesus

It is so easy to get a hardened heart as we observe all the evil in the world and in the professing church. I naturally react with righteous indignation - as well I should - but if I don’t follow that up with purifying my mind from what I just witnessed or my ears just heard, it can leave me depressed. Sometimes the very evil we fight against can work against us and desensitize us to it. For every evil report we read, we should read an equal amount of good reports and or course, God’s Word. These recent news stories left me feeling in the dumps:

*The story of the 16-year-old girl abducted by force on the streets of Philadelphia by a mad man this week had me in tears and in intercession for her safe return. PTL she was rescued. My anger toward that evil man was so intense it was palpable. 

*The recent story in the Christian press that got me seeing red was of the wicked televangelist Ernest Angsley sexually abusing members of his congregation, forcing abortions on some and vasectomies on others. In my heart I wanted to take a two-by-four to his head.

*When a “senior US official “ called Israel’s Benjamin Natanyahu “chickensh**” for insisting on protecting the people of his country, I seethed over that. The audacity to call the biggest hero on the political scene today something comparable to a ‘coward’ is outrageous. I agreed with one blogger who said they’d like to tie that man down and wash his mouth out with soap. 

We cannot put our heads in the sand and just refuse to hear any bad news. But at the same time we have to guard our hearts and abide in Christ and renew our commitment to Him. Work out our salvation with fear and trembling, while at the same time pondering His attributes and keeping our love for Him alive.

Our love for Jesus can grow cold when we lose our focus on Him. Remember how strong and overpowering that first love for Him was when He first made Himself known to us? I remember as a new Christian I was such an embarrassment to my parents because I would take my bible with me wherever I went. When I took it with me to a funeral of an elderly aunt I attended with my dad, he was so nervous thinking I would stand up and start preaching. After all, I was so vocal about my love for Jesus, he knew I couldn't keep my mouth shut. He was so relieved when I behaved myself.

Now 30+ years later I need to remind myself of how I felt when I was in my honeymoon stage with Jesus. You too can recall those things He did for you:

He pulled your life out of the cesspool;
He revealed His glory to you - the exalted coming King;
He rescued you from the path of destruction and set you on the way everlasting;
He loves you and hears your prayers and sends His Spirit to minister to you when you call on Him;
He gave you a second, third, fourth, fifth chance, ad infinitum;
His words in the Gospels penetrated your hard heart and humbled you;
The glory of His greatness left you awestruck in His presence;
You were amazed and excited when you first discovered the Word of God;
You were excited at the discovery of great and lasting Truth.

We can add to this a long list of answered prayer and renew our love for Him even in the midst of all the evil we see every day. We need to cast our cares upon Him daily and make Him our Refuge in these perilous times. 

I love this message/prayer/song of praise by Keith Green. Let this song be your prayer today.

“I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent." - Rev.2:2-5

"In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us." - 1John 4:9-12

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Open Your Bible

There are so many distractions in our lives, sometimes we can get so caught up in our responsibilities at work or in strained relationships and then it hits us that we haven't opened the Book all week. Skipping our Daily Manna of the Word often manifests in our behavior - how we treat people or how stressed out we get. It can even unsettle our minds while we're asleep and result in troubling dreams. Have you ever sinned in your dream and wake up and say to yourself, "I would never ever do that in real life'? That should be a red flag to get back in the Word.

I cannot count the number of times that I've opened the Bible after a time of neglecting to do so just to find a rebuke in the passage I've just read. The Living Word - His spiritual two-edged sword - breathed upon by His Spirit - is the primary means that our God communicates with us and guides us in this life. We need it as our Daily Bread to get our instructions for the day. 

I sleep with my Bible - it doesn't just go on the nightstand, it gets its own pillow. And even then I might forget to read it or lay my crossword puzzle on it. The practice of staying in the Word is not a legalistic rule - but to the born-again believer it is the response in our hearts to the love of Jesus and our desire to draw close to Him. As the LORD's brother wrote:

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded." - James 4:8

One thing that does get in the way of our desire to open the Word is sin in our lives. If we are harboring a sinful attitude or have transgressed against our own conscience in something we're involved in, we tend to neglect the Bible and our prayer life suffers. To whom much is given, much is required is a biblical concept that we know in our lives. We might turn our ear from what the LORD is saying to us when we don't want to deal with something that might be painful to handle God's way. But my experience has always shown me that doing things with His counsel always has the best results. And the last thing we want during these troubled times is to quench the Spirit so that He may just stop striving with us.

Draw near to Him today. Let Him make course corrections in your life. Jesus loves you -- and that's not just some cliche.

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." - Matt 11:29

"Turn at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
Because I have called and you refused,
I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
Because you disdained all my counsel,
And would have none of my rebuke,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes,
When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me."
Prov 1:23-28

Sunday, October 26, 2014

'Jesus' is not a cuss word!

I was channel-surfing yesterday, looking for something entertaining to watch on TV -- maybe a good old movie. Most of the ones I came upon were fright-night types -- Jeepers Creepers parts 1 through 5 -- I guess in honor of Halloween. I finally settled on watching Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds' -- a great suspenseful film with no foul language or immoral acts. 

As I was going through the dials, I couldn't help but notice all the potty-talk going on. But what really bothered me was hearing the name of the LORD Jesus Christ thrown around as a cuss word. Does that only happen in English-speaking cultures? Do Italians use 'Gesù Cristo' as a curse word? Do Russians shout 'исус Христос' when someone cuts them off in traffic?

Whenever someone in my presence yells 'Christ' or 'Jesus' -- and not as an exclamation of worship -- I pipe up and say, 'Oh, you love Him too? Praise Jesus." I know I'm being sarcastic, but I've never had anyone try to argue with me about it. They usually just roll their eyes.

Cursing my Savior is so offensive to me. Yet, you rarely hear His name being defiled by those whose lives are in danger. I recall one time on a commercial airplane, just after take-off the plane was hit with a powerful downward gust of wind that shoved us violently toward the ground. Many screamed -- we thought we were going to crash. I prayed silently, but noticed many voices calling out "Jesus!!' -- And no one was cursing Him.

It seems to me that folks instinctively know that the name of 'Jesus' is the Name above all names - which is why they think they are being bold and brave to dare utter the Name blasphemously. Yet at the name of Jesus, will every knee bow!! 

If I didn't love Him so much, it wouldn't hurt so much. But America has taken the Ten Commandments out of the public arena and defy the one that says 'Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.' 

When He comes back and rules and reigns with a rod of iron, no mouth will dare speak evil of the Prince of Peace. 

Come quickly, LORD Jesus!!

"Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the LORD and against His Anointed, saying,
'Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us'
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure."
Ps. 2:1-5

Sunday, October 19, 2014

It's Every Man for Himself

The Bible says all that can be shaken will be shaken and only what is rooted in Christ Jesus will stand. There's a whole lotta shakin' going on. 

The past two weeks we've witnessed the shaking of the Roman Catholic Church in the Synod on the family in Rome. Catholics have lost their sense of security -- although it was misplaced. They thought that their dogmas and church authorities were stable and could never veer from age-old rules and teachings. Now they don't know what to expect.

The evangelical world is under the same sort of pressure to acquiesce to the dictates of the culture -- even receiving subpoenas for sermon notes by local politicians to ensure they don't speak out against the gay agenda. Many churches have given in to the pressure, as it has been reported this week that Hillsong's Brian Houston will not take a stand against sodomy. Big conferences are being planned that are promoting 'queer' Christians as acceptable in the church and proudly so.

It would seem as though all the institutions that many have looked to for spiritual leadership have crashed and burned. But we must not be shaken. At this time, just like it was when the last lifeboat left the Titanic, it's every man for himself. 

More than ever these words of Jesus shout loudly to my spirit:

“Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown." - Rev. 3:11

As the time of His return nears, there is so much more to overcome. The pressure to conform to this world's standards are drawing many once-stable saints away. These truly are perilous times.
For many of us it's just me and the LORD. Hold onto Him for your life!!

"Now this, 'Yet once more,' indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." - Heb. 12:27-28

Monday, October 13, 2014

"Don't Untie the Tie That Binds"

This week all eyes were on GodTV to listen to Wendy Alec tell the story of a Jezebel stealing her husband Rory away from her. One facebook friend identified the other woman as jazz singer Carola Caye who reportedly “says Rory Alec is supposed to be her husband, not Wendy's.”

Certainly men in Christian leadership are targeted by the enemy more than the average Joe sitting in the pew. Pastors particularly are appealing to women in the church as the personification of their ideal man. 

I recall several years ago, a pastoral son of a famous preacher got a divorce from his wife, the mother of his five children. I heard from a friend who attended his church that the single women in the congregation were beating a path to his bachelor pad door. If a pastor happens to outlive his wife, the potential wives in the church rush to take a number.

Many Christian leaders have fallen prey to adultery, divorce and remarriage. But woe to the seductress that successfully lures such a man away from his wife. The very traits of the pastor that she fell in love with -- his spirituality, his godliness, his understanding of the Word -- all those things he throws away when he leaves his wife for you. He is no longer that godly man that appealed to you. Rory’s new woman will soon find that out. And she is fooling herself if she thinks he will be a faithful husband to her.

Some women might admire a Christian leader from afar, even praying that God release him from his unfit wife, in the hopes that she can be waiting in the wings to snag him quickly ahead of the other desperate would-be housewives. But holding onto such a hope -- even praying such -- can become overpowering -- and women must get power over it. If you covet another woman’s husband, can God bless that? Remember, if you win -- you lose!

Another mistake single female believers make is what is known as “missionary dating.” I’m shocked to meet women in the church who yoked themselves unevenly with a non-believer thinking she could convert him - but what ends up happening is that he drags the woman down to his level and comes between her and her LORD. 

There’s a passage in Isaiah 4:1 that reminds me of the situation in the church today:

“And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying,
“We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel;
Only let us be called by your name,
To take away our reproach.”

For every single man in the church today, there are probably seven women. Being single is not the worst thing that can happen to you. Marrying the wrong man is far worse. Be at peace with your singleness until the LORD shows you otherwise. Watch over your heart -- falling for a married man is a snare to your soul.

Yet you say, “For what reason?”
Because the LORD has been witness
Between you and the wife of your youth,
With whom you have dealt treacherously;
Yet she is your companion
And your wife by covenant.
But did He not make them one,
Having a remnant of the Spirit?
And why one?
He seeks godly offspring.
Therefore take heed to your spirit,
And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth.
For the LORD God of Israel says
That He hates divorce,
For it covers one’s garment with violence,”
Says the LORD of hosts.
“Therefore take heed to your spirit,
That you do not deal treacherously.”
1 Mal 14-16

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Squabbling Saints

There is a growing trend in our circles of arguing over issues like the timing of the rapture, eternal security, and other such debatable matters. Iron sharpens iron and it is good to hear one another out and look at every biblical argument. But the rhetoric is sadly heating up to where it is dividing friends and that should never be. In light of the nearness of the LORD's return, we're reminded:

"Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the Judge is standing at the door!" - James 5:7-9

Discussion of issues can be so helpful for many trying to sort out difficult passages to arrive at a conclusion and a hope to lay one's faith upon. Yet sometimes we can lose patience and raise our voice with someone we perceive as dense when they can't see in Scripture what we see. Let's say we're right and the other believers are naive and untrained. What should our view of them be?

"Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things." - Rom 14:1

I truly am preaching to myself here. I have my own pet peeves when it comes to opposition against passages I have set my heart upon. I hold onto some of them for dear life. And when I'm looked down upon for so doing by those who in my view haven't studied the topic as long and hard as I perceive I have done, I'm tempted to eliminate them from my inner circle of friends. I must guard my heart against taking offense.

I am sure about what I believe and we all must study to show ourselves approved, for each of us will answer to God for our willingness to love truth and receive correction. The important thing is that we love Jesus our Savior and trust Him, the Author and Finisher of our faith, to see us safely to His Celestial Kingdom.

For He alone is faithful!

"But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written:
“As I live, says the LORD,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”
So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a 
cause to fall in our brother’s way." - Romans 14:10-13

Gates of Hell

Many leaders in the apostasy love to quote the verse that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church, thinking it affirms them regardless of their errors or bad direction they are taking the flock. The Catholic Church has used that for centuries to justify their crusades and inquisitions.

But I see this passage as a promise to us who believe and have committed our lives to the LORD Jesus that no matter what this world dishes out, we have a future with our King, ruling and reigning with Him during the Millennium. That is our future no matter what religious organization calling itself 'church' has to say about it. And there is nothing the gates of hell can do about it!

In the material world, the gates of hell look like they have prevailed and are prevailing against the church at every corner of the globe. The Truth of the Word of God is under attack and the devil is winning as he removes God from society and turns the masses against the Most High. We are reminded:

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." - Matt 10:28

Killing our bodies is the worst the gates of hell can do to us. The gates cannot separate us from the love of our Savior nor can they change the future of the true church, made up of all of those who have been born-again. One's membership in any organization is as worthless as the piece of paper it is written on. The only role that matters is the Lamb's Book of Life and there will be no prevailing against that.

These are things to keep in mind as the spirit of antichrist marches along and his followers persecute the true church that is now scattered upon every hill.

When the role is called up yonder, I'll be there!

“I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom." - Dan 7:21-22

"Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years." - Rev 20:6

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Danger Lurks

Last night I watched a program on the Weather Channel which was basically a quiz to see if you would know how to handle a variety of emergencies. They included what to do if hiking and approached by a snake, swimming and a shark hones in on you, golfing and a lightning storm arrives, driving in a storm and getting swept away in your car by a flood, and skiing when an avalanche overtakes you. Just for starters.

I had turned to the Weather at bedtime just hoping it would slow down my own thoughts that were keeping me awake. Settle me down so I could get to sleep. I stayed up late after all. I wanted to memorize all these emergency do's and don't's.

After seeing all that could go wrong by venturing out my door, I thought, 'Wow, better to stay inside and not venture out - with all those scary things lying in wait for ya!'

It made me think of how paralyzed Christians seem to be today to venture out and share our faith with the lost. What do we do if while handing out tracts, the police arrive and tell you that you can't do that on the public street? Or, if you put a Jesus bumper sticker on your car and a God-hater tries to run you off the road. What if you are speaking to a group of unsaved young people and they ask you something you can't answer? Or the worse possible scenario, someone's challenges weakens your own faith.

These fears can stop the spread of the Gospel in its tracks. It can send all potential evangelists into the recesses of their own homes where they can 'feel' safe. And send many sinners to hell who have not heard the Gospel call to repentance unto salvation and the Good News that the LORD is coming soon!

I think that is why the Holy Spirit impressed upon the first evangelists to strike out into the world fearlessly. They had even more reason to fear venturing out of the comfort of their own homes in the first century. But they had assurance that the LORD would protect them.

"They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them." (Mark 16:18a)

We need to pray for the 'Baptism of Boldness' in these perilous times -- the hour is late and we're looking at people who will be under the penalty of the judgment to come when a good word from us in due season just might be the catalyst to snatch them out of the fire.

Let's wake up and get out there!!

"In the day when I cried out, You answered me,
And made me bold with strength in my soul.
All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O LORD,
When they hear the words of Your mouth.
Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the LORD,
For great is the glory of the LORD.
Though the LORD is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The LORD will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands."
Psalm 138:3-8

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Virtue of Purity

The biblical symbol of the narrow road has come to mind again this week. Yesterday's thread about how the church should respond to professing believers living together outside of marriage brought it home. One facebook friend took offense at the thought that anyone would think of confronting those in the church 'living in sin.' And another suggested that each instance has to be assessed as there may be mitigating circumstances that justify fornication. Another compared the sin of fornication to lying. 

Yet, sins of sexual impurity for the Spirit-filled believer is more grievous to the Holy Spirit living within us because that sin directly impacts His presence. 

“What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.” - 1 Cor 6:16-20

The narrow path lies somewhere between license and liberty. On one hand, legalism creeps into the church and it is a very cruel task master. I've seen some funnymentalist churches that enforce strict dress codes and shepherding groups that govern over people's personal lives. Today's most popular churches though are the opposite error: culture clubs where anything goes and all are welcome, same-sex couples too, in the name of freedom and emergent liberty. Again, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

Getting back into balance is where truth and love come together.
As sheep scattered all over the planet, living together in harmony and mutual accountability is not even possible. There is no physical community of believers in cyberspace. Loneliness is a real issue for scattered sheep. We can't even break bread together and share the LORD's supper.

Jesus' words have really hit home with me lately when He said, "He who does not gather with Me scatters." I'm praying about ways we can gather - at least once a year and meet each other. Please keep me in prayer on this. The sheep of God's hands need to assemble all the more as we see the Day approaching.

Keep on the lookout!

"Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. " - 1 John 3:7-11

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." 1 John 1:8

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Led By the Spirit

Do some apologists tie the hands of God? I'm reading a lot of online literature recently, mostly from the Reformed side of the church, that the Bible, humanly understood and exegeted, is how we come to the truth with no divine assistance needed. In other words, God has done all He is going to do since the canon was closed two millennium ago.

I think this is an extreme reaction to charismaniacs who claim that God is doing a new thing and manifesting in their meetings by way of glory clouds, gold dust, angel gems, oil dripping from ceiling, fire anointings, slaying people in the spirit, etc. 

But kicking the Holy Spirit out of the church is not the solution to such lunacy. When Jesus spoke these words to His disciples, He wasn't addressing merely the first century church, but the church throughout the generations until His coming for us.

“And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." - John 14:16-17

Those who are indwelt with the Holy Spirit and nourished daily by the Word of God are immunized from following the voice of a stranger or mesmerized by the devil's tricks and sleight of hand. They are sealed with the Holy Spirit and are not citizens of this earth or under the rule of the god of this age. We are sealed, not soaked.

We know Jesus and recognize the attributes of God versus the carnal manifestations of the antichrist who seduces those in this wicked generation who are seeking after signs. When something is claimed to be supernatural, we can test those things to see if they line up with His nature and purpose. We discern by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who quickens our spirits and brings the living Word alive to us. 

By making this biblical claim, those who only have head knowledge will call us mystics. That is a wrong definition of the word. A mystic uses spiritual disciplines to yoke up witih the divine. A Spirit-filled believer is a child of God and hears His voice. Those who are not attuned to His voice now sure won't be when they are dead:

"Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live." - John 5:25

Don't let anyone quench the Spirit in your life. And don't be deceived by the devil's tricky counterfeits. This is the fine line of the narrow way -- stick with it and avoid decoys.

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." - Heb.4:12

"Then He said to them, 'Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven. But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.'" - Luke 21:10-15

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Day of the LORD

The question a song asks is "How great is our God?" 

We can get a clue by the size of the universe. In fact, we have a better grasp of His creation today than they did in Bible times. We have Hubble and other modern-day telescopes. Astronomers today say, "While estimates among different experts vary, an acceptable range is between 100 billion and 200 billion galaxies"

Quoting the wisest man that ever lived, "But who is able to build Him a temple, since heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Him?" 2Chr 2:6

So our God is bigger than the Universe -- that is a humbling picture when our entire planet is the speck, and its inhabitants don't show up on any picture of the universe. 

Knowing how great our God is should bring us to our knees before Him, considering that His judgment upon sin is nearer than when we first believed, as is our redemption. For some professing Christians, even some obsessed with watching end times news, that Day will be darkness if they fool themselves by "sinning all the more that grace may abound."

"Alas, you who are longing for the day of the LORD,
For what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you?
It will be darkness and not light;
...Will not the day of the LORD be darkness instead of light,
Even gloom with no brightness in it?" - Amos 5:18,20

In the same context looking at the approach of the Day of the LORD, as God looks down upon all the gatherings today, could this be what He thinks of most of them?

"I hate, I reject your festivals,
Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies.
Take away from Me the noise of your songs;
I will not even listen to the sound of your harps." - Amos 5:21,23

While we are on our knees today, a wise thing we could ask of God is, "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." - Ps. 139:23-24

"For though He was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified. But I trust that you will know that we are not disqualified." - 2 Cor 13:4-6

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Heavy Heart

Sometimes it seems like Jesus is so far away. Looking around at the turmoil in the world and conflicts in life, the longing I have for His glorious return is tangible. I can't escape the sorrow that increases as I see the pain and suffering going on in the world around me. 

The biblical words, "Do not delay, O LORD" often pour from my heart to the Throne Room.

Positive Christians will rebuke such an attitude with platitudes: "There's joy in the Lord"; "Laughter is the best medicine"; "Put on a happy face." 

But it is hard to smile among so much suffering. A day does not go by without reading a prayer request for someone with cancer or some other fatal malady. Even Jesus wept.

Reading the Gospel of John this morning brought it all home for me.

“A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." - John 16:21-22

Birth pangs bring a lot of pain and sorrow along with them. We are watching the pangs increase daily and we suffer much at being rejected by non-believers and shunned by institutional church-goers. Yet the Bible describes Jesus as "a man of sorrows; acquainted with grief." 

We will ultimately share the victory over this world with our Master Jesus. But in the meantime, we're stuck in this Valley of Tears. The joy I can find in all of this is in knowing Bible prophecy; that we have so much to look forward to when Jesus returns and restores His creation. 

In the meantime, keep smiling!

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33

“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name...Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown." - Rev. 3:8,10-11

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Contained Zeal

In our love and service for the LORD let us be gracious to one another and put up with each other -- long suffering and kind even when treated badly. We are ALL flawed specimens, are we not?

Sometimes in our zeal for Truth we can be impatient with others who are not as far along as we are in our discovery of revelation in Scripture. The newer believer has a lot of cobwebs from his/her past life that the LORD is still working on. It can become frustrating trying to talk biblical sense into such a person, but that's where patience comes in.

"Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions." - Rom 14:1

The Apostle Paul must have felt like he was trying to communicate with barbarians, yet he bore with them without putting them down for their inferior wisdom.

"And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able" - 1 Cor 3:1-2

Knowledge certainly puffs up. The more we know the more we need to guard against pride. I've seen some very evolved Christians walk away from their daily study in the Word because they've read the Bible so many times they think they know it all. God's Word has been given to us not just to gain knowledge, but to know Him and in response to love and worship Him from our grateful hearts. Even Bible scholars apostatize:

"My people are bent on backsliding from Me.
Though they call to the Most High,
None at all exalt Him." - Hos. 11:7

As people of discernment we also have to guard against treating harshly brothers who have sinned publicly or have expressed ideas that we think are contrary to our understanding of the Bible. We must differentiate between errant brothers versus wolves in sheep's clothing. I have found some on facebook calling a minister a false teacher because he has missed it regarding Bible prophecy or has messed up in his private life.

All that means is that he is human and makes mistakes. We restore brothers -- yet we must expose heretics. When I criticize a public teacher for setting a bad example, for instance when I see compromise with those who air their services on wicked networks like TBN, that does not mean they are wolves. It means they are not wise in their choices. I may boycott their ministries, but I'm not saying they are outside the faith.

God's Word says we will be judged as we judge others. As Christians we are no longer under judgment. We who are in Christ have passed out of judgment into life. However, the standard we set is the standard that others will most certainly judge us by.

As the days get darker, we all need to return to our first Love. Let's lift Him up and exalt Him --- as we do, our love for Him and for others will increase.

"Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing." - 1 Cor. 13:1-2

"But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” - 1 Pet 4:7-8


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Let's Get Together, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

As a female follower of the LORD Jesus, I have heard it said that I am not to witness to men, only to women. I can hand out tracts but not engage men in any discussion of God - leave that to the men - only share Christ with women and children. But what does God say about that? Does the Great Commission only apply to men or to all true believers?

God makes no distinction of gender when His Word tells us to speak the truth to all and to "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear."

Asking me or any other handmaiden of the LORD to refrain from quoting scripture in the hearing of men is like telling us to quench the Holy Spirit in our lives. Woe is me if I do not speak when the Spirit gives me utterance!! 

I would answer such macho men in the church in the same manner as the apostles did when they were told not to speak:

"Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men...and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus." -Acts 5:29, 40

Women seem to outnumber men in the church 2 to 1. To muzzle them from sharing the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be self-defeating to the body of Christ. It's A-OK if we look for and pray for strong male leadership and pastors to teach doctrine, but to tell us to shut-up and not prophesy and speak God's word in mixed company is NOT.

Should the Samaritan woman at the well have only told the women about Jesus? Should the Marys at the tomb have not testified to what they saw to the men? Should Priscilla have kept mum and just smiled blankly at her husband Aquila as he explained to Apollos the way of God more accurately on his own?

"Or did the word of God come originally from you? Or was it you only that it reached?" - 1 Cor. 14:36

We are not second class citizens in the church. Those who treat us as such are not pleasing the LORD. At such a time as this EVERY voice is needed to reach the lost -- the time is short!!

Let's get together!!

"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy." - Acts 2:17-18

"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." - Gal 3:26-28

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Eagle, Stars, Iron Dome

It appears that Bible prophecy is happening before our eyes. Watching the news this morning many commentators are referring to Israel's defense as the "Israeli invasion of Gaza." I'm hearing more and more rhetoric against Israel, one UN spokesperson saying that all nations must come together to restrain Israel's attempt at disarming Hamas and making Gaza a de-militarized zone.

I've heard it preached that the Jews have returned to their land for judgment - and I might even have repeated that. But I think the Jews have been returned to the land - not for their judgment - but to gather them in one place where God can protect them -- iron dome, if you will -- while He judges Israel's enemies, which is quickly becoming the entire planet.

Reading the first chapter of the prophet Obadiah this morning, I was struck with some of the symbolism. It speaks of the sons of Esau who delighted in Israel's captivity and took over their possessions during the diaspora. The prophet seems to switch gears from the Arabs to the nations, including one described in this manner:

"Though you ascend as high as the eagle,
And though you set your nest among the stars,
From there I will bring you down,” says the LORD."
- Obad. 1:4

The symbols of the eagle and the stars point a direct finger at America. As dangerous as a place as it seems the state of Israel is, it just may be the safest place on the planet. I read a thread this week quoting a Hamas spokesperson saying that they cannot make a direct hit with their rockets because 'their God' keeps redirecting their missiles.

As we pray for the peace of Jerusalem today, ask God to lift the veil that is over their collective eyes so that they will see clearly that Jesus IS their Messiah.

We can observe the closing of 'the times of the Gentiles' and the church age as many are departing from the faith. God's grace is returning to the natural branch as some of the unfruitful grafted-in branches are being lopped off.

As for the remnant faithful ones who continue to abide in the Vine -- be ready at all times -- praying that you may be found worthy to escape.

Stay awake!

“For the day of the LORD upon all the nations is near;
As you have done, it shall be done to you;
Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.
For as you drank on My holy mountain,
So shall all the nations drink continually;
Yes, they shall drink, and swallow,
And they shall be as though they had never been.
But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance,
And there shall be holiness;
The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.
The house of Jacob shall be a fire,
And the house of Joseph a flame;
But the house of Esau shall be stubble;
They shall kindle them and devour them,
And no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau,”
For the LORD has spoken."
--Obadiah 1:15-18

"And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, 'Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.' Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either." - Rom. 11:17-21

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Feast of Tabernacles Update

I don't know about you, but I wish we could skip over all the bad stuff that must take place before the LORD establishes His Kingdom rule for 1,000 years. I know once the labor pains began, there was no turning back -- and the birth pangs are in high gear right now -- we're in the middle of one huge contraction. 

I don't sound very optimistic to some of my brothers and sisters in Christ when I say I don't believe we're going to see some 'great awakening' or outpouring of God's Spirit between now and the time of Jacob's trouble. Knowing bible prophecy as I do, all I can see is the labor getting harder until the birth -- it's not going to let up now that the prophetic baby is in the birth canal.

During the Tribulation, again I don't see in scripture any big revival there either. The Jews don't believe in Him until they "look upon Him whom they have pierced." How many earth dwellers take heed to what the angel flying through mid-heaven pronounces or what the two witnesses are preaching? It is not very encouraging for a big revival either since the whole world rejoices when the two witnesses are slaughtered. And men hiding in the rocks shaking their fists up at God doesn't represent a spirit of repentance either.

Right now I'm just trusting God daily for His divine protection for me and my family and all those who love Him without compromise. I know I have to be ready to pack up and go when I get the inner witness to do so. We need to be tuned into His still small voice more now than ever. The events going on in Israel right now and the unwalled borders to our country being breached tells me there is no safe place other than where God places us. 

Pondering these things, I thought of the Feast of Tabernacles (Booths) in which the Israelites would make temporary shelters to live in during the week to remind them that God's people must be at the ready when the trumpet sounds. It reminded them of their sojourn in the wilderness before being brought into the Promise Land. They had their staff and sandals next to them ready to move out and get going before danger arrived.

I have an inner witness that I need to look at the things of the world, even where I dwell, in the same way. I'm not going to get comfortable since I could be living in ground zero in Sodom or Gomorrah or out in the wilderness warning people to flee the wrath to come.

I'm also wondering what the meaning is of this passage in which the prophet sees the continuing celebration of this feast even into the Millennium. 

"And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles." - Zec 14:16

The time is here to keep alert - keep on the watch -- don't fall asleep spiritually speaking. Tune in to the Master's voice -- if you don't, you may miss out on His provision.

"I will stand my watch
And set myself on the rampart,
And watch to see what He will say to me,
And what I will answer when I am corrected.
Then the LORD answered me and said:
'Write the vision
And make it plain on tablets,
That he may run who reads it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry.'" - Hab. 2:1-3