Monday, November 12, 2012
Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.
I am so excited about living in the last days before Jesus' return! The book of Acts tells us that those who live in the last days will see the great outpouring of the Spirit upon all flesh that God will use to bring in a mighty harvest of salvation! Yesterday at church we heard two prophecies at two different times in the church through two different people, but both spoke the same word. It confirmed to me that God is moving forward with His plan to usher in the last days harvest. Both of the prophecies spoke of this portion of Scripture in Matthew 5 where Jesus spoke of His people being the light of the world. He also cautioned us to not be fearful about seeing the great darkness that would be increasing in the world, because the darker the world becomes the greater would be the light of His people, His church. Light shines the brightest in the darkest night.
Isaiah prophesied to Israel that they would be a great light in the darkness in Isaiah 60. God's people always shine forth as lights in the darkness because Jesus is the Light and He lives within His people.
Isaiah 60:1-5 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. “Lift up your eyes all around, and see; They all gather together, they come to you; Your sons shall come from afar, And your daughters shall be nursed at your side. Then you shall see and become radiant, And your heart shall swell with joy; Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.
Have you ever looked at an outside light in the night when it is dark and seen the multitude of bugs that have been drawn to the light? That's a great illustration of how the people will be drawn to the Light of Jesus residing in the believers in the last days. As the darkness grows darker, the light will become brighter. The glory of the Lord is resting upon His people and as the world becomes more pressured through the challenges of life there will be a more noticeable difference between those who know the Lord and those who don't. That word for glory in Isaiah 60:1 is the Hebrew word chabod.
Chabod – glory – means weightiness; that which is substantial or heavy; glory, honor, splendor, power, wealth, authority, magnificence, fame, dignity, riches, and excellency.
The glory of the Lord upon believers that will distinguish them from others is going to be His favor to succeed in difficult times. It will be obvious to the unbelievers that there is something different about you. No matter how difficult life becomes, you as a believer in Christ Jesus, will always come out on top. Yes, there will be persecutions, but even in those times when we're persecuted there will be an obvious peace about us. People will be drawn to the wisdom of the believers and God will use that wisdom to direct others to them so they can share His love with them. God will use that to influence them to be saved. He is going to pour out His Spirit upon all flesh as He said in Acts 2. When that happens believers will be prophesying, receiving divine direction through dreams and visions and there will be great manifestations of the glory of God in the extreme darkness. We are seeing that happen even now as there becomes a more noticeable difference between the believer and the unbeliever in this day and age.
When God brought the children of Israel out of Egypt, which means the house of bondage, one of the plagues that he brought upon the Egyptians was darkness. Exodus 10:21 said the the darkness was all over the land of Egypt, darkness which could even be felt. It was thick darkness over all the land except for in the houses of the Israelites.
Exodus 10:22, 23 So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. The did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
God's light shines in the lives of His people. There was a noticeable difference between the children of God, the Israelites, and the Egyptians. There will be a noticeable difference in the lives of the believers as we enter into the last days as well. The Light will shine forth into the darkness!
I am excited to be a part of the last days' outpouring. I know that I have been placed here in this day and age for such a time as this. How about you?
Father, I thank You that even in the darkness the light of Your love and life shines through the believers. I thank You for what You are doing in our lives today. You are moving and showing us that even though we see the great darkness increasing around us there is still hope because You are still working in the lives of people today! Thank You for including me in this outpouring of Your Spirit. I am excited, Lord, for all that You are doing in, around and through me at this very important stage in my life.
Father, I pray for those who don't know You this morning. I ask that You would cause them to see the difference in the believers around them. I pray that they will be drawn to the Light that lives within those who know You as Savior and Lord. I pray that You will cause them to desire what the believers have. I ask You, Lord, to bring them to salvation before it's too late. Father, open the blinded eyes to see the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ so they can be saved. Pull down the veil of deception that Satan has hung over their minds that blinded them so they couldn't see the Light of Jesus around them. Show them Your great salvation and continue to draw them by Your Spirit to the saving knowledge of Jesus. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Psalm 62:5-8 NLT I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor come from God alone, He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. O my people, trust in Him at all times. Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge. Interlude (Selah)
Avies paraphrase: God alone is my Source; He is my refuge from the storm, my high fortress for protection from my enemies. He is my salvation and my honor; my hope is in Him and when I am in His protective custody no enemy can reach me! I trust in Him at all times! I pour out my heart to Him in times of trouble because He is my refuge. It is in Him alone that I put my trust and my hope!
Through the last year I have seen and heard of so much fear that is going around through the internet and from well meaning friends. I have had to weed through what I chose to believe and what I believed was simply scare tactics sent from the evil one. I am amazed at how much fear has been circulated through the lives of well meaning Christians. It serves to me as an indicator of where our faith is and what needs to be taught to strengthen us to meet the challenges of our future. As I've read and studied God's word throughout the last 25 years the one thing that has repeatedly been revealed to me is that God is a God of faith; He does not instigate fear in the hearts of His people, but we have an enemy who comes to steal, kill and destroy and his attacks against God's people are based on his ability to deceive and cause us to fear what he can do more than we have faith in God's ability to provide for, protect and bless His people. We may be going through tough times, but the God who spoke the world into existence is the One in which I place my trust and I know that He will provide and care for His own!
Psalm 118:8, 9 It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes.
It has been said that Psalm 118:8, 9 are the verses that are at the very center of the Bible. I have not counted them to see if it is true; however, I did research it a little and found that there is substantiation that supports this belief. Both of these verses speak of trusting God instead of man.
Look at what it says: Amplified Bible It is better to trust and take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust and take refuge in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.
There is one who we are to trust and take refuge in; God and Him alone! He is the only Source that we can count on. He is the One who will protect from the storm; provide a refuge in the time of trouble; hear and rescue us from disaster. Who are you placing your trust in? Where is your faith?
Jesus chastened His disciples for not having faith when they were in the boat crossing over the sea and a great storm arose when He was asleep in the boat and they became frightened that they were going to perish because the storm was raging around them. They woke Him from his sleep and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38) The scripture goes on to say that Jesus arose, rebuked the wind and said to the storm, “Peace, be still!” When the sea obeyed he turned to His disciples and said, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (Mark 4:39, 40)
Could it be that God is asking us, as born again believers, the same thing in the day of our storm? “Why are you so fearful?” “How is it that you have no faith?” Jesus was right there in the boat with His disciples when they encountered the storm. God is right here with us, living within each believer by the presence of His Spirit. He is with us in the midst of our storms. Has He not said that the Greater One lives within us and is greater than he that is in the world? (1 John 4:4)
Jesus Himself cautioned His disciples about getting caught up in the tribulations that were yet to come in John 16:32, 33:
“Indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. “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.”
How did Jesus overcome the tribulation of the world? By depending on the Father who was with Him. He knew His source was not in man, but in the Father. He placed His faith in God, not in man. His trust was in His Source, the One true God. He knew where He had come from and where He was going. (John 13:3) You may say, “well, He was the Son of God”; “He was God Himself, in a physical body”. And that is true, Jesus is the Son of God; the second person of the Trinity; the very exact representation of the Father. But, Jesus was also a human being, like you and me, who depended on the presence of the Holy Spirit within Him as God, His Father, had anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and power to go about doing good; preach, teaching and healing; demonstrating the power of God resident within the life of a believer. (Acts 10:38) Jesus laid His deity aside to become a human being that He might experience all that we experience in life and still overcome and be counted worthy to redeem mankind through paying the penalty for our sin. (Philippians 2:5-11) It took a sinless man to redeem the authority back that man had given to the devil through the Fall in the Garden of Eden. (Romans 5:12-21) Jesus depended on the Father, through the power of the Spirit that we might have a worthy example to follow showing us how to life by faith, just as He did.
Romans 12:3 tells us that we have all been given a measure of faith. But our success in our walk of faith depends on what we do with that measure that we have been given. Jesus' disciples once asked Him to give them more faith and He simply responded that it only take the faith of a mustard seed to pull up a mulberry tree by its roots and plant it in the sea. (Luke 17:5,6) The size of our faith is dependent up the size of our God. Do we see God as a small God or has He been magnified in our lives to the magnificent, all-powerful God that He really is?
God told Joshua when he was getting ready to lead the children of Israel into the Promised Land that He would be with him and would not leave him nor forsake him. He told him to be of good courage; that no man would be able to stand before him and that as He was with Moses so He would be with Joshua. He went on to say in Joshua 1:7-9:
“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
Notice that He instructed Joshua to meditate in the Word; that's what the Book of the Law was at that time. He told him to not let it depart from his mouth, but to meditate in it day and night, and be sure to observe all that is written in it. In other words, don't just read it, but DO it! In the book of Romans it is recorded that our faith grows through hearing the Word; or in other words, faith arises within us through meditating on the Word of God.
Romans 10:17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Faith comes as we hear and do the word of God. Faith grows within our spirits through meditating on the Word! To meditate in the Hebrew means “to reflect; to moan; to mutter; to ponder; to meditate or contemplate something as one repeats the words. The Hebrew word for meditate, hagah, represents something quite unlike the English “meditation”, which may be a mental exercise only. In Hebrew thought, to meditate upon the Scriptures is to quietly repeat them in a soft, droning sound, while utterly abandoning outside distractions. To meditate on the Word of God for faith to arise in your heart is to speak the Scriptures over and over again until they take root in your spirit and become life to you! When God's word as the solution to your problem becomes bigger within you than the problem is on the outside of you, then you will have faith to overcome because God is your Source!
1 John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
Just being born again does not mean that you overcome the world. The potential is there but it is not automatic. The victory comes as you exercise your faith to overcome! Thank God, He has well equipped each one of us for the victory, but will we do what is necessary to send fear fleeing and win the good fight of faith?
Father, I thank You for being my Source. I know that You have well equipped me to be a faith-walker and a conqueror through my faith in You and Your presence within me! Thank You, Father, for giving each one of us the measure of faith that we need to develop our ability to win over the effects of this present age. Father, I lift up to You those who may be struggling in their faith walk today. I ask You to show them who they are in Christ Jesus and the great power that You have made available to them through Your Spirit within them. I pray that they will be encouraged in knowing that You are their Source and there is nothing that the evil one can throw against them that can conquer or defeat them when they lean on and trust in You as their refuge and defender. Thank You for granting them the victory through Christ Jesus their Lord! In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Saturday, November 10, 2012
I think at this time in our lives, especially in light of what has transpired in the United States this week with the elections, that people are fighting to stay positive and look forward to the blessings that God still has in store for us. It is not the end of the world yet! And how we view where we are at this point in time will determine how we meet the challenges of the future. It is important that we continue to do what God has called us to do, to spread His gospel to the world and to stand firm in our faith knowing that only He knows the day and hour of Jesus' return and until that happens we are to continue to occupy the land and live for Him. We cannot allow a defeatist attitude of no hope to come upon us. With that in mind I want to remind you of the glorious days that God has said will happen before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.
Acts 2:16-21 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in heaven above And signs on the earth beneath: Blood and fire and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD. And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.'
The day of Pentecost ushered in the church age that takes place before the return of Jesus Christ. This is what is referred to as the “last days”. They are an overlap of this age and the Age to Come. The Prophet Joel prophesied that there would be a great outpouring of God's Spirit upon all flesh during the days before the return of the Lord. That is what Peter is speaking of in this portion of Scripture. In Old Testament days, because the Holy Spirit had not yet been given, He came upon people instead of living within them. His presence was reserved for those who would need to lead the people spiritually and nationally. Thus, in important times when the people would seek the Lord for direction He would come upon a prophet, priest or king to lead them in the way they needed to take. But when Jesus died on the cross and paid the payment for mankind's sin He opened the way for all people who would receive Him into their hearts to be lead by His Spirit who would come to live within them. Now the Holy Spirit directs us by His presence within, and through His word as well as the times of special outpouring where He speaks through people and reveals Himself through dreams, visions, signs and wonders.
Since we are living in the last days we can expect to see more of an outpouring of God's Spirit upon his children as spoken of by Peter on the day of Pentecost. This is a promise that if we receive by faith will give us a hope and excitement about Him flowing through each one of us as His children to bring salvation into the hearts of unbelievers before His return. It is another indication of the soon coming of the Lord Jesus and is an exciting time in which to live. We have been granted the privilege of being a part of the great outpouring of God's Spirit in these last days.
To me this is exciting and gives me a positive focus upon which to set my eyes instead of thinking about how bad things are becoming in our world. It is important that we do not take a defeatist attitude about the negativity of where our nation is headed. People should not lose hope because of what has taken place in the past, but understand that it is simply an indicator of where we are in the time-frame of God's plan to send Jesus back to earth again. We are living in the days of spiritual awakening in our world and we should expect to see the things that have been prophesied to be taking place in our lives in this great time. Faith is how we access the things that God has in store for us. If we do not believe that God will flow through us and speak in dreams, visions and signs and wonders then we will not be one of those that He uses to bring salvation in this manner.
Mark 11:22-26 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Have faith in God! Believe what He has said and respond in obedience to it. Look up instead of looking inward or around you at what is going on in world events. He has not given up on us; we are in His plan to bring salvation to the world but if we don't receive by faith what He has said we won't see it happen in our own lives. When you pray, believe that you have what you've asked of Him. The difference between having and not having happens in your heart. This is not a formula to receiving from God; it is a lifestyle of living by faith. Walk in forgiveness to others so the channel to God is open for Him to receive your prayers; believe in your heart that He hears and answers and confess with your mouth what you have asked of Him. Align the confession of your mouth with the belief in your heart. If it is based on God's word and asked according to His will then there is nothing to stop you from receiving except doubt and unbelief. Stay in faith and you will see it's manifestation.
Be willing to be used of God. Expect Him to speak to you by His Spirit, through His word, and even through dreams and visions. There is no limit to what God wants to do in and through His children in these last days. Believe Him, step out in faith and be a vessel of honor that He can flow through to touch those around you and bring salvation into their lives!
Father, I come before You this morning to give You praise for where we are in Your plan for Jesus' return. I thank You for choosing me to live in this day and hour and to see the great outpouring of Your Spirit upon all flesh. Father, I look forward to seeing many saved, healed, delivered and set free from sin and Satan's bondage in these last days! Thank You for fulfilling Your word to us as we eagerly await the return of our Lord Jesus! May we each one be willing and ready to be a vessel that You can flow through. Help us to look at our future with great anticipation of what You are going to do in the lives of those around us. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Friday, November 09, 2012
Isaiah 1:18-20 NLT “Come now, let us argue this out,” says the LORD. “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool. If you will only obey me and let me help you, then you will have plenty to eat. Bit if you keep turning away and refusing to listen, you will be destroyed by your enemies. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
Isaiah had been given a vision from the Lord of the depravity of His people, Israel. He said in Isaiah 1:4:
Oh, what a sinful nation they are! They are loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil and corrupt children who have turned away from the LORD. They have despised the Holy One of Israel, cutting themselves off from his help.
Isaiah went on to describe the deepness of their sin. The Lord told him that Israel was sick from head to foot! (Isaiah 1:6) He went on to say that they were acting like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, and yet continuing to offer sacrifices unto the Lord. They were continuing to worship God as if nothing was wrong; they couldn't see that He was sick of their play-acting and wanted nothing more of their useless sacrificing. It was after God had spoken of their depravity and how He despised their pretense in worship that He gave them the call to repent in Isaiah 1:18-20. No matter how deep their sins were if they would only come to Him He would wash them away. As long as there is breath in a person's body if they will turn from their sin, God will forgive them and cleanse them from all unrighteousness. It is only as a person rebels and refuses to come to Him that he is doomed to destruction. “But if you keep turning away and refusing to listen, you will be destroyed by your enemies.”
I got up this morning with this portion of Scripture running through my mind, especially Isaiah 1:18: NKJV “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.”
God is always there waiting for people to turn to Him. He doesn't want people to be destroyed by their sin. He is anxious for a person to come to Him and repent so He can turn the tides of the consequences of their sin and bless them instead. There are consequences as God lined them out in Isaiah 1:19, 20: “If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”. A person must be willing and obedient in order for the blessing of God to come upon his life.
Samuel told King Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22, 23:
So Samuel said: “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”
God sees obedience to Him as better than sacrificial worship, or in our modern day you might say that God views our obedience to Him in knowing Him and walking according to His principles as we gain understanding through relationship than our ritualistic worship that shows only a form of godliness but denies the power that comes through Him living through a person.
Jesus said this about eternal life in John 17:3:
“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
He prayed for His disciples and those who would follow after them, meaning you and me and all that come to Him until the day that He returns again, that we would understand that eternal life is not going to church on Sunday or living by a set of rules or regulations, but it is in knowing God, having a living and vital relationship with Him. The obedience to His ways springs from the heart as you draw near to Him through relationship; through coming into His presence and spending time with Him. It is then that He can change your heart and your desires become His desires. But in order for that to happen a person must be willing and obedient! As long as a person, or a nation, continues to choose their own ways in fulfilling their own lustful desires the end will eventually come and they will reap the consequences of their choices.
America is on a slippery path right now. The nation is in the balance as we have seen through this week's election. As Israel was in the time of Isaiah, so America is going. We are sick from the head to the foot as God described Israel in that day. But it's not too late for America to turn back to the Lord. But for Americans to be saved they have to have a people who know God that can show them the way to salvation. And yet some believers are living the same sinful lives as those who don't know the Lord. Peter said that the beginning of God's appointed time for judgment of sin would begin in God's house first.
2 Peter 4:17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
Beloved, it's time for us to get serious with God. Will we be as Paul described to Timothy as people in the last days who “having a form of godliness but denying its power”? Will we be a people who profess to know the Lord but only give Him service one day a week and the rest of the time live according to our own fleshly desires? How long will our nation be able to continue as it's going? Is the salvation of America dependent upon the prayers of God's people?
2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaving, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
It's God's people that hold the key to the salvation of our land. Isaiah said of the pending destruction of his people in Isaiah 1:9: “If the LORD Almighty had not spared a few of us, we would have been wiped out as completely as Sodom and Gomorrah.”
The question now is, “will God's people humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from THEIR wicked ways” so we can hear from Heaven and have Him save our land?
The Lord told Isaiah in Isaiah 1:27: Because the LORD is just and righteous, the repentant people of Jerusalem will be redeemed.
God is just and righteous and He stands true to His word. If we will return to Him in repentance we will be redeemed, we will be saved.
Father, I come before You this morning in repentance for the sins that I have committed before You. Lord, I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness in my life. Father, I desire to see our people saved from destruction. I pray that You will have mercy upon us, Father, and that You will continue to give America time to repent and turn from her lustful desires. Father, I pray that Your Spirit will move upon the hearts of Your people that we all might come into agreement for the good of our nation. I pray that we might stand in the gap for those who have been deceived and are perishing in their sin. Father, may Your people rise up and become the people of God that offer the way of salvation to the lost. May we be the light that draws people to Jesus; the salt that preserves our people for righteousness. Father, move on our hearts before it is too late and bring us all to salvation, a living and vital relationship with You through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray that You will see our hearts and hear our cries for help in this day and hour, Father, and come to our rescue. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
For those of you who may be reading this blog and realize that you have really never come into a relationship with the Lord Jesus. You may be a religious person but you really don't “know” Him the way a relationship is with another person. Jesus is a person who when invited into your life, comes in through the presence of His Spirit and lives within your innermost being. He desires to fellowship with you, to walk and talk with you, just as a mate would do. Ritualistic church attendance is not having a relationship with God; it is a form of godliness but the power comes through a relationship with Him. If you would like to have that relationship with Jesus today I would like to help you pray to receive Him into your life. Pray with me now and sincerely mean this in your heart:
Father, I realize that my life has been lived my way and for my own desires. I have sinned against You. I have shut you out of my life and lived according to the ways that I wanted instead of the way You wanted me to live. I acknowledge that I am wrong, that I have sinned against You and that my sin has separated me from You for eternity. I ask You to forgive me, to come into my life, to make a difference in me and to save me from my sin. I believe that You gave Your Son, Jesus, to die for me, that You raised Him from the dead to live again and I confess Him as my Lord and Savior. I thank You for saving me! From this day forward I vow to live for You, to live with You as I develop my relationship with You and to proclaim Your salvation to the world around me. Thank You for being my Savior and Lord! In Jesus name I pray. Amen.
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.
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