Thursday, November 08, 2012
As I was praying this week I saw in my spirit a map of the United States with a line drawn down the middle of it. This line divided the whole into two halves. It was as if there was a division that was made between the east and the west, with one half going to the left and the other to the right. As I continued to pray I believe that God gave me some understanding of that picture as being where our nation stands right now. We are a divided nation; that was proven this week through the results of our election. In most of the early results we could see that people were divided almost equally between President Obama and Mitt Romney. It could have gone either way and it was almost like we were hanging in the balance.
I believe this election has shown us where we are spiritually; it has identified us in the grand scheme of God's plan for the future. The scene is set for the return of Jesus Christ and it's important for us to pray and seek God's will as to each of our individual parts in the future of our families, our nation, and our world. It is an exciting time that we live in, even though there are things that we may not agree with and may be disappointed in. I read a statement that someone posted on Facebook after the election that said: “Well, someone has to live in the last days, it might as well be me”. There are some things that definitely have to take place before the return of Christ. I believe we are setting the stage to usher in the return of the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
So, what are we to do now?
Be alert! Watch and pray! Be salt and light to those around us. Keep the faith by fighting the good fight of faith. Evangelize the world. Occupy the land and endure til the end!
Matthew 24:1-8 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. “For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”
I believe in this portion of Scripture that Jesus is admonishing us to watch what is taking place in Israel, be aware that there will be false Christ's who will try to deceive people, and that there will be catastrophic world events. He lists these things as the “beginning of sorrows”. Some of these events have been happening for years and are simply growing worse. We can know that we are in the beginning of the end just by looking around us. The “beginning of sorrows” is actually a phrase that in the Hebrew means “birth pangs”. There are certain things that take place when a woman is going into labor that indicate that the birth of the baby is near. The contractions are not always rhythmic and strong until later in the birthing process but she can know that it is time when she sees and feels certain changes taking place in her body. We say that she is having labor pains! So it is for us, when we see certain events happening in the world we can know that the time of Jesus' return is getting closer.
Verse 6 “....See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”
The events that we see happening worldwide all indicate that Jesus' return is drawing near. But Jesus Himself said to not be troubled by these things because they must come to pass. There are some things that simply must be fulfilled before He can come again. We are to use these world events as signs of the times and as an indicator of where we are in the birthing process, but to understand that the end is not yet. It is not yet the time for the fulfillment of the promise of His return.
Matthew 24:9-14 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. “But he who endures to the end shall be saved. “and this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
The Amplified Bible says this in verse 9: Then they will hand you over to suffer affliction and tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.
We see this already happening in countries all over the world. We here in the United States do not know the sting of persecution to the point of death, but I believe that we will have an opportunity to experience that as we draw nearer to the time of Christ's return. Things just simply have not been that bad here because, I believe, of our founding forefathers who established our country on the principles of Almighty God. We have up to this point been a nation where Christianity has been widely embraced and have practiced the principles of God that brings blessings instead of curses. But we've seen in the events leading up to this election that God is no longer wanted in some parts of our political process. I believe that we are tilting to the opposite side where at some point Christianity will be in the minority. It will touch everyone as false prophets spread a false religious doctrine, family members become loveless and split to the point of turning each other in to the authorities. This is the beginning of the end! But, notice one thing:
verse 13 But he who endures to the end will be saved.
What does it mean to “endure”? Is it just holding out until help comes? I can see the picture of the little cat holding on to the close line with it's little paws gripping tightly and a frightened look on it's face and the caption that reads, “if I can just hold on til the end”! But no, the word “endure” in the Greek is hupomemo and it means to hold one's ground in conflict, bear up against adversity, hold out under stress, stand firm, persevere under pressure, wait calmly and courageously. It is not passive resignation to fate and mere patience, but the active, energetic resistance to defeat that allows calm and brave endurance.
To endure is to fight bravely til the end; to occupy and possess the land until Jesus returns. We are soldiers of the Cross; the army of God; brave warriors who reign with Christ Jesus when He returns. Our stance is one of action, not a wimpy passive, “if I can just make it to the end I'll be saved” type of attitude! We have a job to do!
Verse 14 “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”
Who's going to preach the gospel to the world if we don't do it? Who's going to be the ones that witness to the nations if it is not us? Jesus said in Matthew 28:18-20:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.
We have been given a job to do. It's up to us to take the authority that Jesus has given us and use it to make an impact in the lives of people all over the world. He is with us, even to the end of the age! He is here to empower us to endure to the end, through the power of His Spirit within each and every believer. We are not to just sit back and take the attitude that “oh well, this all has to come to pass so I might as well sit down and wait until it all happens so I can go to be with Jesus.” NO, we are to be world changers and history makers for the kingdom of God! We live in an important day and age and we have been born for such a time as this! If someone has to live in the end times, then it might as well be me! I will be a witness for Jesus! How about you? Will you join me in impacting the world for the kingdom of God?
Father, I come before You this morning asking that You would be glorified in Your people as we continue on towards the return of Your Son. Father, I pray that we will all seek Your will for our lives and what part You would have us play in preparing for His return. Father, may many come to salvation through our efforts to fulfill the mandate that You have given us to disciple the world. Help us to fight the good fight of faith and not to become weary and discouraged when we see the events unfolding that must take place in these last days. Give us the courage to continue on when we are disappointed in what is going on around us. Give us a vision of the great awakening that we will see as we do the work that You have called us to do. I pray for those who don't know You, that You will soften their hearts towards You and make them ready to receive the witness of those of us who will be sharing Your word with them. Open the eyes of the blind and pull down the veil that hangs over their minds that the deceiver is using to blind them to the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ so they might be saved. Father, I pray that You will continue being longsuffering in Your promise to send Jesus back until more have an opportunity to receive Him into their hearts and be saved. Thank You for the privilege of living in such a time as this! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
John 14:1-3 AMP DO NOT let your hearts be troubled (distressed, agitated). You believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely on God; believe in and adhere to and trust in and rely also on Me. In My Father's house there are many dwelling places (homes). If it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going away to prepare a place for you. And when (if) I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also.
When Jesus was crucified on that cross many who had believed in Him and trusted in what He had taught them were disappointed, there hopes were dashed and they felt that they had nothing left to hope in. But Jesus told them before hand that He would be crucified and that He would rise again on the third day so that they would know that everything would be all right. They still panicked when that day came.
In this portion of Scripture He tells us that He is going away to prepare a place for us so that when He comes again to get us that we will have a home ready for us in heaven with Him. He instructs us to NOT LET our hearts be troubled, distressed or agitated.
The “not letting” is our responsibility. Many are distressed and disappointed over the way our election turned out. There is always a winner and a loser in every election. The winning team is exuberant because their man won! And the losing team is disappointed that their man, their hope for the future, their thoughts of what will bring our nation back into a right state of affairs is now dashed and all hope for good is lost. But God knows what the future holds and He instructs us to “not let your hearts be troubled”.
II Thessalonians 2:1-3 AMP BUT RELATIVE to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and our gathering together to [meet] Him, we beg you, brethren, Not to allow your minds to be quickly unsettled or disturbed or kept excited or alarmed, whether it be by some [pretended] revelation of [the] Spirit or by word or by letter [alleged to be] from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has [already] arrived and is here. Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come], and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition),
Again, we see in this Scripture where Paul instructs the Thessalonian believers to not allow their minds to be unsettled, disturbed, excited or alarmed at what they see or hear going on around them. There are certain things that must happen before Jesus returns. God will send Him at just the right time, and our part is to not let our minds be unsettled about what is happening around us. He is faithful to do His part, but will we be faithful to do ours?
In 2 Peter 3:10-14 Peter speaks to believers about the coming of the Lord and he says this in verse 14 (AMP):
So, beloved, since you are expecting these things, be eager to be found by Him [at His coming] without spot or blemish and at peace [in serene confidence, free from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts].
In all these portions of Scripture I see one common concern and that is that we wait for His return in peace, free from fears and confident that He will do what He has said. It is important that as His return grows more imminently near that we heed the word of the Lord and stand our ground in peace, living our lives in moral excellence.
Father, I come before You this morning and I thank You for being in control of our futures. I know that You are taking care of us, Your children, and that You will see us through any disturbance that tries to unsettle us. Thank You for watching over Your children. Father, I lift up to You this morning those who may be distressed over the outcome of our election. I ask You, Father, to assure their hearts that You are unfolding world events in preparation for Jesus' return. I pray that their hearts will not fail for fear as described in Your word as a sign of the last days, but that they will trust and rest in You for their salvation. I pray that each of us, Father, will pray for our leadership as Your word instructs, keeping in mind that when we pray for them, You have said that we will live a peaceable life and that our praying is good and right and pleasing in Your sight. Thank You, Father, for holding our future in Your hands. I know that when we look to You and not to the things happening around us that we will experience peace for You are the God of all peace! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Tuesday, November 06, 2012
1 Samuel 8:6-9 But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” So Samuel prayed to the LORD. And the LORD said to Samuel, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them. “According to all the works which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt, even to this day—with which they have forsaken Me and served other gods—so they are doing to you also. “Now therefore, heed their voice. However,you shall solemnly forewarn them, and show them the behavior of the king who will reign over them.”
When Samuel was getting old he set his sons over Israel to judge them in his place. But his sons were not like him, they were dishonest and didn't judge fairly. The people didn't trust God's ways of dealing with dishonest leadership. They decided to take things into their own hands and change from depending on God for all their needs to trusting in a king to lead them just like all the other nations around them. God told Samuel that the people hadn't rejected him, but they had rejected God.
Today our nation will make a choice in a leader, to keep the one we have or to put another one in his place. As I've watched and listened to all the campaigning, the mud-slinging and the way God has been pushed out of our governmental processes, I can't help but feel that God feels rejected and my heart is saddened over all that has taken place throughout this election process. I pray that America might continue to be “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all”. But I see and hear things to the contrary. I hear proclamations of our nation no longer being a “Christian nation”. I hear the boos of the people when God's name is mentioned; I have watched as we've held no regard for the sanctity of life and how we've become insensitive to the cries of our Israeli friends and even our own citizens who have been in harm's way. We've embraced ungodly lifestyles and disregarded what God has said is an abomination to Him. I feel the pain of the murders of the unborn and how God's heart must hurt for them. If I were to stand back and look into our nation at a time like this I would have to shake my head and wonder how a nation as great as ours could continue to lead the world in evangelism and power. My heart is sad over the sins of America!
And yet, God says in His word that He is the One who promotes one and brings another down.
Psalm 75:4-7 “ I said to the boastful, 'Do not deal boastfully,' And to the wicked, Do not lift up the horn. Do not lift up your horn on high; Do not speak with a stiff neck.'” For exaltation comes neither from the east Nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge; He puts down one And exalts another.
The Living Bible says verse 6, 7 this way:
“For promotion and power come from nowhere on earth, but only from God. He promotes one and deposes another.”
The horn in this portion of scripture speaks of strength and power. There has been a lot of division in our country over this election. But God cautions us not to become prideful or boastful in our own strength because He is the one who is in control. He is the One who ultimately makes the decision of who will be our leader. He puts one down and lifts another up; promotion and power come from nowhere but Him.
To be the judge is one who hands down decisions that will maintain or bring about a right state of affairs. God knows exactly where we are as a nation. He is the judge, the one who hands down the decision that we need to bring our nation into a right state of affairs. We can't see into the future, but God can. He knows what lies ahead for the American people. He is the only one who can bring our nation into a right state of affairs!
We must not lose hope in God! He is our refuge in the time of trouble, our stronghold and high tower! He will do what is best for us. Every time that the Israelites did evil in God's sight when they repented He would send a deliverer and they would experience peace in their land. We can look back through all the trouble that the Hebrews had and see that God never left them alone. He would always deal with their sin, bring them to repentance and then continue to lead and guide them in peace. God hears the cries of His people. He does not turn a deaf ear to His people. Our God is all-powerful! We can trust Him.
Proverbs 21:1 The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.
We might like to think that our President has the final say so, but that is not true. God is the One who holds the king's heart in his hand. He can turn it whichever way He wants it to go. Our God is in control.
But God has given His people, believers in Christ Jesus, the responsibility to pray for our elected officials! He has chosen to let us help Him in establishing and maintaining His kingdom priorities in our world. We are co-laborers with Him in setting up His kingdom in our lives and the lives of our countrymen. Will we do our part so He can do His?
1 Timothy 2:1-6 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between god and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,
God has given us the responsibility of establishing and maintaining peace in our land through prayer! We are to pray and He does the work! Salvation comes to our land through praying people! There is ONE God and ONE Mediator, the Man Christ Jesus and we have a direct line to them through prayer to effect change in our land! If we do our part He will be faithful to us to do His part!
Father, I lift our nation up to You today. I pray, Father, that You will turn the hearts of the people back to You. I pray that Your will be done in our presidential election today. Father, I ask You to forgive us for rejecting Your leadership over us. I ask You to forgive us for the sins that we have committed as a nation against You. Oh Father, I ask You to forgive us and heal our land. I pray that we might continue to be “One nation under God”, that we might continue to live according to the godly principles that our nation was founded upon. Father, I ask that You would turn us back to You and cause our nation to once again be a Christian nation; a nation who trusts in the Lord as the One and only true God! May we be a people of integrity, holding biblical values close to our hearts and obeying the commands and principles that You have set before us. May we be a nation that shows the world that You are our God! Father, bring us back to You, forgive us and heal our land!
Father, I pray for the elected official that will come into office through this election process. I pray, Father, that He will be a man like David who seeks You with His whole heart and follows closely after You. I pray that You will place godly leaders around him to advise Him in the right way to go; the way that would lead our nation to be the strong and powerful world leader that we have been in the past. Father, I pray that our leadership will see the glorious light of the gospel of Jesus Christ and turn their hearts to Him for salvation! Father, save us from our own sinful ways and once again be exalted in our nation! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Monday, November 05, 2012
Is this the way you start your week?
Sometimes we get off on a sour note on Monday because of our thoughts about the day. Oh, it's the day we go back to the dreaded workplace. Or we look at what lies ahead of us as the mound of paperwork that the kitty is lying on and feel we'll never be able to make it through all that we have to do in the upcoming week. How can we ever succeed in conquering what lies before us?
Have you ever felt that way? Does the week ahead of you seem to be overwhelming?
Well, God said this in His word in Psalm 37:23, 24:
The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the LORD upholds him with His hand.
Your steps are ordered, or established, by the Lord. He delights in you. Even though you may not get everything done that you need to do in the upcoming days He will not let you fail. He will uphold you, or strengthen you with His hand. Do not think that you can't do all the things that you need to do.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
God will give you the strength that you need to do the things that you need to do. But you must turn to Him and ask Him to strengthen you and then you must act on that strength! That's faith! Hearing and doing what God says and trusting Him for the results.
These are the times when we must accentuate the positive and minimize the negative. Our attitude has a lot to do with determining our success. If we start off a project thinking that it's not going to work then most likely it won't. But if we have a winning attitude then we will most likely succeed in whatever we try to do. Our attitude often determines how we attack that mound of paper work or that project that we need to complete. If we think we can't do it then we can't, but if we attack it with the determination that we will succeed then success is in our future!
Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
If you've invited Jesus into your heart to be your Savior and Lord, then the Greater One lives within you. He is greater than anything the world could possibly throw at you. He will strengthen you for the task ahead and enable you to stand strong in your fight to win. You are more than a conqueror when the Holy Spirit resides within you. There is nothing too difficult for God and all things are possible to him who believes. (Luke 1:37; Mark 9:23)
Father, I thank You for living within me and equipping me to win the battles that lie ahead of me. I know that through Your strength I can do all things. I believe, this morning, that with You in me and me applying myself to accomplish the tasks ahead of me that I will be able to get everything done in it's proper time and with success. I pray for my friends, this morning, who may be dreading what lies ahead of them. I ask You to remind them of who they are in You. That they might realize that the Creator of the Universe lives on the inside of them and if He spoke the world into existence then He can speak a word into their lives that will forever change the outcome of what they have undertaken to do. Father, I thank You for causing us to rise above our challenges and to exhibit the faith that moves mountains through Your strength and guidance. Thank You for causing us to win in the battles of life. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Sunday, November 04, 2012
Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 95:6, 7 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; For He is our God, And we are the people of His pasture, And the sheep of His hand.
Father, this is Your day, the LORD'S day, and I will worship You with my whole heart. I thank You for being my Maker, My Master, and My LORD. May You be exalted in and through my life today and may all who come into contact with me be refreshed by Your presence within me. Father, I pray for those who may not know You this morning, that today might be their day of salvation. Father, I pray that You will knock on their hearts door and that they will open their hearts to You and receive You, Lord Jesus, as their Savior and Lord. These things I ask in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Father, I also pray for those today who have invited You into their hearts but they have grown apart from You, they grown cold in their walk with You. I ask that You would draw them back by Your Spirit within them. Don't allow them to continue to be cold and distanced from You. Father, revive them and give them a fresh revelation of Who You are to them and what You want to do in their lives. Speak to them and show them that You want a living and vital relationship with them, not a religious dutiful one day a week encounter! Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer. I believe that I receive when I pray! Amen.
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