Wednesday, July 29, 2015

On The Road

Each of us are on a different location on the narrow road to the Celestial Kingdom. Some are forging ahead nearing the finish line; others are straggling behind being distracted by worldly glitter. Pilgrims Progress is a classic book personifying the travelers and the pitfalls.

No matter where any of us are in the journey, we need one another's assistance along the way. The more mature Christian needs to help the weaker, less experienced, member of the body of Christ. It is so easy today to get the attitude "every man for himself," but that is not God's way. We are our brothers' keeper.

Priscilla and Aquila demonstrated the right response when they came upon Apollos, one who loved God but didn't have it altogether in his understanding. 

"When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately." - Acts 18:26

We're also instructed to "accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions." - Rom 14:1

I think it is more difficult today than in those days to follow these principles, though we must try our best. We're always trying to figure out if someone's incomplete faith is valid or not. Those who have 30 years of grounding in the Word might look at a baby Christian with feelings of superiority, doubting their testimony if it doesn't fit a theological pattern they think it should. 

Someone recently on facebook read my testimony and told me my salvation process missed the mark. He couldn't be sure whether it was suitable or not. He was offended that I was assisted by someone from a Calvary Chapel since he figured none of their converts were valid. Maybe if they didn't give out the "four spiritual laws" they fell short or something.

We're not all going to be in agreement in the application of biblical principles in our walk. Yet we need to not grow weary in encouraging one another to good works. I love the way the late Walter Martin used to put it:

"If two people agree on everything all the time, one of them isn't thinking."

Social media like Twitter and Facebook may actually work against this as it is easier to take something the wrong way when it is in print, since you cannot hear the others tone of voice or see the expression on their face. Yet somehow we need to learn to reason together in the new medium without conveying aggression. 

I doubt if they offer such a class in the 'School of the Prophets.' (eye roll)

“Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy." - Rev. 3:2-4

"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. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men." Rom 12: 9-18

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Only the Wise Will Understand

Did you know that the great reformer, Martin Luther, argued that the books of James and Revelation should not be included in the canon of Scripture? 

It is understandable that one who discovered God's amazing grace might not like James' admonition to do good works to testify to your faith; but what did he have against the apostle John's record of what Christ showed him and instructed him to write and deliver to the saints regarding the time of the end?

We can't say for sure, but it could be that it was just too hard to understand and made no sense to his medieval mind. Just like the prophet Daniel was perplexed with what the angel showed him, the angel's response could be said also to Luther: "Go your way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end." (Dan 12:9)

Sadly, many churches that spun off from Rome in the Reformation to this day do not like the Book of Revelation. Like the official Roman Catholic teaching, the book is just a metaphor to show that ultimately good shall conquer evil and there will be a judgment of all humans at the end of the world. It would be a demotion for Christ to leave His throne in heaven to rule and reign here on earth -- that's all just metaphorically speaking.

You hear them often say to us prophecy watchers, 'The church through history has not believed in any rapture so therefore there is no rapture.' Or, 'the church has always taught that Christ is present in the eucharist so you can't call it false teaching today.'

But, we do not get our teaching from the 'church.' We get our teaching from the Word of God that was delivered to the saints. Even if those in the church preserved God's Word, that does not make the 'church' the author or their clergy the official interpreter. Truly the Reformers held onto Rome's false authority for themselves.

As events unfold in these end times, the Spirit of God is truly unveiling the Book of Revelation and the Book of Daniel to His faithful servants. God will not add to nor take away from His revealed Word, but as the angel said, we at the end who are wise will indeed have understanding that the reformers did not have in their day.

Abide in the Vine and keep on the lookout so that you can have greater understanding as prophecy plays out. And at the same time, watch out for deceivers -- for they are on the increase even as prophecy foretold.

Keep on the alert!!

"Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?... 'Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,' says the Lord. 'AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,' Says the Lord Almighty." - 2 Cor 6:14-15, 17-18

“Many shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand." Daniel 12:10

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Good Old Days

Cheer up! These are the good old days.

Enjoy your time with family and friends -- and if you have no family or friends -- enjoy the peace and serenity you get from nature and a good meal amidst sounds of gaiety. The time is short.

We see the writing on the wall here in America that those using the name of Jesus as a cuss word are in the majority. Tolerance toward us who lift up the name of Christ and love God with all our hearts is just about over. One commentator, mocking believers who mourn over the court decision to make being gay a civil right, wrote that Christians are being driven "back into the catacombs, where they tremble at the tread of the legions and hear the distant roar of lions."

Not only is the unregenerate public winning the battle against any public show of love for Jesus, but churches too are leaving the practice of teaching the Word of God in exchange for preaching motivational messages with a scripture tacked on here and there. This prophecy is certainly coming true in our generation:

"Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord GOD,
That I will send a famine on the land,
Not a famine of bread,
Nor a thirst for water,
But of hearing the words of the LORD."
-- Amos 8:11

We know things are getting worse. I don't suggest running off into hiding, but it would not be a bad idea to find a way to live closer to like-minded believers. There are some good churches in our country with discerning pastors. If you have none in your area, relocate if you can. In the day ahead, we may have to live like the Hebrew slaves did with their bags packed and their sandals on -- ready to move at the sound of the trumpet. 

Treasure these good times while they last. Don't let the pressure of this fallen world silence you or send you into hiding. Utilize your liberty while you still have it. And don't be shamed into silence.

“And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God; but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God." - Luke 12:8-9

“And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved." - Mark 13:13

Sunday, July 5, 2015

In God We Trust

Watching the events of Greece this week and the warnings by the economists of a potential domino effect - first striking Europe and then here - it can create fear of hard times ahead. But we already know hard times are coming. We already know that God's favor has lifted from America after its judges and president have shaken their fists at God. It is not God in whom they trust, but they trust their own strength and power. They are god -- a false god at that.

It is just a reminder that we must put no trust whatsoever in our government. They are not trustworthy. When crisis hits - crisis management will kick in -- and the global government the NWO is pushing for will be put in place when the world seeks human solutions to the mess they've made of things.

Now is the time to make sure we have the armor of God firmly in place. When hard times -- maybe even a global depression -- strikes home, we know Whom our Provider is. Perhaps only during such dark times will the Body of Christ be just that to one another. The local pastor will not have all the answers -- in fact, his salary may be cut off when the people no longer have an income from which to tithe. We'll then be forced to look at the model church in the Book of Acts. 

"Nor was there anyone among them who lacked;... they distributed to each as anyone had need." --Act 4:34a-35

We're going to have to stick together even more should an economic collapse happen -- and not look to the politicians for assistance. Perhaps that is one reason why we're instructed not to forsake the assembly together even more when we see the Day approach. 

Doomsday preppers are teaching people to look out for themselves -- stockpile provisions and defend themselves with their stock of weapons and ammo. That is not God's way. Should disaster strike, it will be easier to see who's who in the professing church. Join those who gather together to help one another. 

We may soon see the Body of Christ as it was meant to be.


"The wicked plots against the just,
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees that his day is coming.
The wicked have drawn the sword
And have bent their bow,
To cast down the poor and needy,
To slay those who are of upright conduct.
Their sword shall enter their own heart,
And their bows shall be broken...
The LORD knows the days of the upright,
And their inheritance shall be forever.
They shall not be ashamed in the evil time,
And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
- Ps. 37:12-15, 18-19