Is Your Head Prodigiously Empty or Filled with the Mind of Christ?

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In the very successful 2014 animated LEGO Movie, we are given a peek into a mind that is prodigiously empty. The lead character, a LEGO person named Emmit, has been chosen as “The Special”, a person who will save the LEGO universe. I know, it is silly, but I have three children under 10, so humor me. “The Special” is thought to be a hero like person with the greatest abilities a LEGO person can have. When Emmit is found by the good guys, who are all really talented, they are overwhelmed at how common and lacking in any special talent he is.

In one particular scene, they look into his mind (yes, I know that is problematic, from a biblical perspective), and one of the most powerful good guy’s comments that Emmit’s mind is prodigiously empty, except for one really bad idea. Of course, this scene is played for laughs; and is laughable.

Why do I bring this up? Because Christians are not to have prodigiously empty or even slightly empty minds. Our minds are to be filled with the most special minds ever to live.

Philippians 2:1-5 (NKJV) Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus

Yes, we are to have the mind of Christ, which is contrary to our minds before we experience His grace in regeneration. Our minds before we begin to be drawn to Christ, by the Holy Spirit, are prodigiously empty of what constitutes the mind of Christ: TRUTH in thought and in governance our actions.

In fact, our minds work in opposition to what it means to have the mind of Christ, which if not understood, will be a hindrance to our attaining any consistent function in that which Philippians calls us to.

So, what constitutes the mind of Christ and how do we come by it?

THE MIND OF CHRIST

Like many of the promises of God concerning the character and operation of our Christian life, the call to “have the mind of Christ” is not automatic to the follower of Jesus Christ, but is untapped potential, until we lay hold of it. This means that any Christian can grow in and develop further the mind of Christ.; but what is the mind of Christ?

Quite simply, having the mind of Christ is to think like Christ and to process what we see and interact with as He did. From Philippians 2:1-5 we see the mind of Christ as being SELFLESS, in the example of His death on the cross on our behalf. Therefore, we can declare the mind of Christ to be focused on loving God and neighbor, before it looks to itself.

The reason for the exhortation to look on the needs of others, is that humanity, based on its fallen nature, is first and foremost selfish in nature. Which is why we must choose the mind of Christ and learn how to attain it.

Our entry into the mind of Christ begins before we actually enter into salvation, knowing the Holy Spirit is drawing us through conviction, based on the word of God concerning our sinful nature and what befalls, should we repent of or remain as we are (Read John 3:1-20). In this understanding, as we repent and begin our walk of faith, we experience the miracle of salvation.

(1 Peter 1:22-23) Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever

The written word of God reveals the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Messiah, who is sharper than any two-edged sword, dividing us to the division of soul and spirit. As we engage in discourse with Christ, through the written word, the Holy Spirit reveals what is right and wrong in our practice of faith and gives us the opportunity to grow in sanctification. You’ll note sanctification is a partnership, where we obey the truth, and God, Himself, empowers us in that and transforms us accordingly.

In this revelation we understand the importance of the word of God. A person who will attain the mind of Christ will meditate on it day and night, as it is the seed of the Christ life, and that which satisfies the soul (Psalm 1:1-3). In this, the follower of Christ understands the power of the word of God to bring their thinking into line with God’s, concerning sin and righteousness; bringing a desire to walk in the former and avoid the latter.

(Psalms 119:9-11) How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You.

Because we see this truth in our lives, we begin to experience the power of the word of God in the mind and life of those who believe it is the word of God.

(1 Thessalonians 2:13) For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

In the one who is seeking the mind of Christ, they find the word of God “effectively works“, meaning, in great power and force to change and impact. Not only is this illumination found in the power of God’s word to transform the way we think and desire to operate, but also in how it opens us to the provision of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the mind of Christ and His character in our lives.

(2 Timothy 3:16-17) All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Although this is a wonderful work we choose, it must take place as another difficult process is advancing. This is where many Christians fail, because to have the mind of Christ, we must be renovating our head space, ripping out the old ways of thinking, as revealed by God and the Holy Spirit.

(Romans 12:1-2) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service (spiritual service of worship from NASB). And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

We discover above that having the mind of Christ is an action of worship (noting that worship is not confined to singing in a congregational sense. In fact, that aspect of worship, corporate and private praise, are only a fraction of a life that is a “living sacrifice“). Worship is our everyday, all-day service to Christ, where by we live for Him, everywhere, with all our heart. This is founded on the renewing of the mind, where we are no longer conformed to the thinking of the world.

Herein lies the difficulty, when dealing with the meaning of the phrase the “renewing of your mind“, which means a complete renovation of the grey matter between our two ears.

I used to love watching the PBS show “This Old House” where they would renovate a really old house, where the superstructure was solid, but everything else need to be gutted and pulled out for the purpose of putting in the new. If you have ever experienced a renovation, the hard work is tearing out the old. The same is true in the reformation of our mind in that of Christ’s.

In renovating an old house where the foundation and most of the hidden structure is solid, and where  most of everything else is aged and deteriorated beyond use or functionality, we must commit to gutting everything else.

To do this is hard and disciplined physical work. One must check their emotions, and sense of nostalgia, or they may not do the work sufficiently enough. What also must be considered is the ease at which we functioned in that old environment, even if it was dilapidated and run down, because operating in the new will not be so familiar. Operating in the new will often be uncomfortable, where we must discipline ourselves to not going back to what is familiar.

This must be considered in the reformation of our mind, into the mind of Christ. Although salvation gives us the blueprint of the Christ life, the power of the Christ life and the potential of the mind of Christ to be a living sacrifice; we must do the hard work of discovering the old ways of thinking and ripping them out. Next time we will discover three areas of our mind before Christ, that must be dealt with, or we risk never attaining the mind of Christ.

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Satanic Diversions (Ephesians 5:13-21)

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On June 6th, 1944, the Allies by the United States, landed on five separate beaches of Normandy France. The D-Day invasion, although hard fought with high casualties among both Allied and German forces, was considered a success, The success was not without significant pre-military planning and one of the older military tricks in the books. Without these tactics, the D-Day invasion would certainly have been disastrous.

The tactics to which I am referring are the use of distraction and diversion.

Prior to the invasion, the Allied forces flooded German spy networks and eavesdroppers with information on an invasion force landing somewhere other than Normandy in the North and Calais in the South. Genuine Allied radio messages and media gave the impression that most of the invasion forces being stationed in Kent, gave the impression that the Allied invasion would occur at Calias.

In fact, the night before the D-Day invasion special forces dropped thousands of dummies, like paratroopers, to further the diversion of a Calias invasion point diverting attention from Allied warships massing in the North. Planes also dropped sheets of window foil to confuse German radar, as to another possible invasion location. By diverting the German’s attention, the distracted Germans were caught off guard and unprepared.

Why am I writing about WWII military tactics? Because Satan has been using DIVERSION to distract the Church for 2000 years and he has done it again, very effectively over the last two years.

While Christians worldwide have been agonizing over the risk of the Covid-19 virus and its variants, the potential for further Covid-19 restrictions, the safety of vaccines and possible mandates, and the massive amounts of true and false political and scientific information; we were distracted from an abominable massacre. Satan create a huge diversion to distract us so that our time, attention, ministry effort and prayer, would be devoted to what we considered an “existential threat” to personal civil liberties.

To be clear, those who truly follow the Lord Jesus Christ do not find “existential threats” all that distracting. When we live by faith in the promises of God afforded Christian… “absent from the body is present with the Lord” and “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain” and “For to you if has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake“; we do not allow ourselves to be panic attacked into distracted thinking (II Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:21, 29).

What is it that we missed? What is the abomination which took place over the last two years? Abortion is the leading cause of death for the second straight year and rising.

In a recent Christian Post article we read that while the world was worried about the death toll of Covid-19 and still is, over 42,600,000 children were butchered in the womb in 2020 (the 2021 total is not yet compiled). During that time Christians have been consumed in political fights concerning the virus, being called to prayer (at least in America) for protection from the virus, a return to civil liberties, and the election of political leaders more akin to our outlook. How many prayer rallies have been called for almost 1.5 million murdered babies in that same time period?

Consider how deceptive the delusion. In the United States alone there is a yearly average of 800,000 abortions. Even if we drop that number to the 2019 Calander year total of approximately 625,000, we arrive. By contrast Covid-19 has been reported to have taken over 845,000 lives in two years.

Recently the Centers for Disease Control admitted that 75% of the United States Covid deaths are among people who have four or more comorbidities. A comorbidity is the simultaneous presence of a serious diseases, which impacting the daily life of a person in adverse ways and exponentially increases the risk of early death.  This means that 75% of the 845,000 who died, did not die from covid; they died from having multiple pre-existing conditions that made them wildly unhealthy and more prone to death by diseases most others would survive.

When factoring out those who had 4 comorbidities or more, the 2-year death total in the U.S. is 211,250. When factoring that 75% in among world statistics it reduces the 5,500,000 number of deaths from Covid to 1,100,000. By way of comparison, if death aby abortion continues as it has the last two years (42.6 million in 2020 and 42.3 million in 2019), means upwards of 80,000,000 children will be wickedly and barbarously killed, in the same period.

What cause of death, ought to have a Christian appropriate Christian response?

Yes, all the death from Covid-19 is tragic and unnecessary, being it was intentionally released, but Covid-19 is satanic diversion, turning our attention to exploring worldly options to save our bacon. Satan has done with regard to how real or not abortion is too Christians over the years.

When is the last time you wept with burden over the exponentially outrageous death toll of abortion, in the last two years?

Consider this:

42,600,000 abortions world-wide in 2020 equates too…

  1. 116,712 dead unborn babies per day
  2. 4,863 dead unborn children per hour
  3. 81 dead unborn babies who fell pain per minute

A yearly average of 800,000 abortions in the United States equates too…

  1. 2191 murdered unborn babies per day
  2. 91 murdered unborn children per hour
  3. More than 1 unborn child slain per minute

Should we no weep, when regardless of what we are doing, every minute of our lives as many as 81 mothers choose to take the life of a child growing in their womb? Should we not grieve in repentance, at how easily we are distracted by silly diversions, which monopolize our attention and praying, when every minute of the day, the free-will choice given by God to live, is denied by cultures and societies of death? When is the last time you wept over the death of these little ones, or prayed for direction to reduce its massiveness where you live?

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The problem of abortion is not just a last year problem. Abortion is a satanic middle finger at God, as men and woman in worship of Lucifer’s religion of “do what thou will”, destroy the image of God in those who cannot fight back or defend themselves.

Some will gloss over the sheer magnitude of the statistics, declaring we are living in the days before Christ’s return, which lends toward more wickedness and sexual immorality, therefore more abortions, as people believe “the lie” rather than the TRUTH. One may readily offer, we need to get more laws passed, but abortion, like Covid-19 restrictions and mandates, will never be taken care of through litigation.

The reason for this is the world system, controlled by Satan is about SELF. The teaching of this system is man is autonomous of God. Therefore, to a majority of men and woman, being made in the image of God is irrelevant. Being under a Darwinian notion, the world is a culture of the strong dominating the weak and anything infringing on “my truth” must be silenced, shut down or killed.

This is true of those who seek to kill and persecute Christians, suppress the truth in unrighteousness and those commit abortion. They have no love for God or life, because they do not know the Truth.

To abort a child for the purpose of getting rid of a “problem” infringing on the personal life plan the of mother and father, is to hold to “the lie”, which also keeps the wicked in high places; This is because abortion is a sacrifice to Satan and his plan of “Do what thou will”, which also makes billions for the butchers who perform these abominable acts.

Legislation will not fix abortion or the distraction of Covid-19, nor will violence against those who practice murder of the unborn or those who seek to suppress the truth in unrighteousness, through campaigns of false science or draconian restrictions.

Only bringing people to Christ will change the heart, where the heart and will are opened to the sacredness of life to the God who alone gives life. Being active in His Great Commandment and Great Commission will not end abortion or any other wickedness in the world (which will wax worse as we near Christ’s return), but it may bring more than a few to forgiveness and reconciliation with God.

How can we turn the tide, when Christian’s are so afraid of losing their right to go where they want and do what they want to do, that they can barely pray for their lost neighbors, let alone engage in giving the word of God to those who need their conscience awakened to God? The simple answer is we cannot, unless we turn our eyes away from satanic diversions, intended to stop the work of making disciples for Christ.

We had better wake up, because while we are looking at the diversion, Satan is busy making more hearts and minds calloused to life and intolerable towards those who live with resurrection life. To live without an awareness of or care concerning the death of 42,600,000 babies, will only grow the intolerability of the lost toward those who live in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray and speak up for the little ones, calling mothers and fathers to choose life and freedom in Christ. Let stop worrying about what we are losing in the way of rights and live free in Christ, regardless of who is against us, or what they can concoct to silence us. Then we will discern satanic distractions, and then empowered by the Holy Spirit we will make an eternal difference.

(Ephesians 5:13-21) But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says:

“Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead,
And Christ will give you light.”

See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.

May God grant us wisdom and discernment, that we would never again fall to satanic diversions and that we may continually be attuned to the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of calling others out of darkness and into His marvelous light.

Abortion is leading cause of death worldwide for third year in a row

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Appropriate Attire Required! (Matthew 22:1-14)

Have you ever been invited to a wedding that was a “Black Tie” only? If you are not aware, a “Black Tie” invitation means a tuxedo must be worn, with a black tie. If you are like me, a mere common man, who’s friends and acquaintances are also common folk, then you have not had too many “Black Tie” wedding invitations. Don’t sweat not being invited to many of these swanky events, because for most of them, you have to provide your own attire, which can be quite expensive.

For a guy who seldom wears a suit and tie anymore, a wedding wearing a tuxedo I have to rent, would be personally torturous, and prohibitive if I had to rent a tux with my own money. What sort of family requires a dress code to celebrate their marriage? As it turns out, historically, much of the world, especially in the Hebrew culture.

In Matthew 22:1-14, we find a king inviting his family friends and acquaintances to his son’s wedding. The only problem is that those invited were not willing to come. The king tried again, by letting them know this wedding would be spectacular. Of course, he reported it would be a massive meat party, being he killed oxen and fat cattle for the feast.

If I’d been invited, the king could have counted on me to be the first one there. You don’t have to beg me to come to a BBQ with meat everywhere. But alas, the king’s invitees responded so shamefully, that he sent his armies to destroy them. The king then pulls a bold move, he sends out his servants to invite anyone they could get to come in. His inviting whomever meant rich and poor, bad and good people, many who would never be able to afford a wedding garment.

Yes, requiring a specific garment for a wedding feast was customary in Christ’s culture. In fact, In Matthew 22:11-12 we read…

(Matthew 22:11-12) “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.

Although the wedding garment was not a “Black Tie” kind of outfit, it did require  more money than some could afford, and many would find stretching, concerning their lack of expendable income; especially among the crowd the king’s servants brought in.

In order to deal with this reality, those responsible for putting on the wedding, usually provided the wedding garment. The purpose was two-fold. In the first place, no one would be prohibited from attending if they wanted, due to a lack of proper attire, for whatever reason. Secondly, everyone would look similar, where the focus and attention would be on the bride and groom, usually dressed differently, rather than people desiring to dress in a manner that made them standout.

It is for this reason we witness the king react so strongly in Matthew 22.

(Matthew 22:13-14) Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

In considering the man who is not clothed in the proper wedding garment, we must understand that he had refused to put it on, because all who are invited receive a wedding garment either with their invitation or at the door. Not only was he refusing to honor the king’s son, by drawing attention to himself, he refused the rule of his king.

We understand this is a parable concerning the kingdom of God and how we are to relate to God, as He commands us to relate to Him.

We are grateful that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is love. He expresses His love in longsuffering and desires to forgive man, through the blood of Christ, as He is “not willing that any would perish, but all would come to repentance” (II Peter 3:9-10). In the gospel we are given an invitation to a wedding we do not desire to be at. This invitation has 3 requirements for admission and one guarantee if we enter in.

  1. Repent (by turning from our old life and turning towards God)
  2. Walk in faith (our faith is in Christ’s cross and resurrection to save, not our works)
  3. Put on the wedding garment we are given.

What is this wedding put on? The righteousness of Christ.

Revelation 6:11, 7:9 refers to it as white robe. They are white having been washed in the blood of the Lamb of God. Revelation 19:7-8 gives us even more clarity.

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(Revelation 19:7-8) Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

The epistle to the Romans gives still more clarity on why these robes are white and clean and bright.

(Romans 13:13-14) Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

Scripture is clear, WE ARE TO PUT ON OUR WEDDING GARMENT, just as the man without one on in Matthew 22 was to put on the wedding garment given to him.

As we read above in Romans 13:14, we are to “put on Jesus Christ [His righteous actions and life] and make no provision for the flesh. This does not mean we are saving ourselves, but that because we have received the invitation to come into the kingdom, we will abide in the commands of the king of the kingdom.

To follow a mode of theology that declares we are justified to walk around His kingdom, in real time, unclothed with the very acts that Christ ordained we walk in in salvation, is as asinine as the man in Matthew 22 refusing the garment given to him to remain in the wedding.

In order for us to put on Christ Jesus, as a garment of righteousness, we must first take off the behavior of the old man. Colossians 3 reveals this.

(Colossians 3:8-9) But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds

Colossians 3:10-11 and Ephesians 4:  reveals the acts and attitude of Christ which we are to put on.

(Colossians 3:10-11) and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.

(Ephesians 4:20-24) But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

And there it is, that beautiful word, that has almost become extinct in the Church in America, seldom spoken, unless in hushed and apologetic tones… “true righteousness and holiness”.

Wearing the wedding garment provided for by our God and Father is a life of holiness, whereby when people see us, they see Christ’s actions and life, which are HOLY. Remember this is what is repeatedly commanded in the New Testament (please read I Peter 1:13-16).

Herein lies the problem for us. We have been told in error so many times that we are sinners saved by grace and no different than the lost–that we’re not perfect and sin all the time– and that focusing on holiness will only leave people to think that they can save themselves; that we have fellowships filled with people, who are still clothed in their old lives, even though they profess to know Christ.

Let us be clear, in order to put on the wedding garment of God, we must first take off the old man garment we wear, which only reveals selfishness and sin. This means we are to deny the old patterns of sin, which any sincere follower of Christ has the power in Christ to do (Romans 6:6-14).

We also must choose to put on the wedding garment and practice the appropriate washing when we sully it up through our weakness and stupidity… If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from unrighteousness” (I John 1:9). This cleansing is twofold. In the first place, it keeps your account clean with the Lord, as if you never sinned. Secondly, it cleanses you from unrighteousness, meaning that it cleanses you of the pattern of unrighteous behavior practically. In this we find a better fit with this heavenly wedding garment.

Sadly, there are too many “Christians” who have never taken off their “old man” garment–or refuse to believe they need to put on the garment of Christ’s righteousness. This one walks around with little conviction concerning their attitude and actions and like some wedding guests expect royal service, when they have done nothing to deserve it. Still others, tried to put the garment of Christ’s righteousness overtop of the tattered and stained garment of their old life.

In both cases they will hear the words of the king, of Christ on judgment day, unless they repent “Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”. 

Remember, accepting the invitation is not enough. We must be properly clothed. For those who in humility put on Christ’s righteousness, what blessing now and when He comes life eternal.

Remember, we are to put it on, not when we arrive at the wedding supper of the Lamb, but RIGHT NOW!

What is it that you are wearing?

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“Back Door Revival” and Its Curious Catalyst

Leonard Ravenhill quote: You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes  running...

The church in America is in the middle of revival! Hallelujah!

The revival we are experiencing is not what most would typically expect, when considering what a revival is. The revival we are in the middle of, is a “back door revival” and not many Christians know what that means; not many would desire such move of God, if they understood its implications.

So, what is a “back door revival”? A “back door revival” is when many who call themselves Christians leave the church for various and sundry reasons; none of which are biblical. I first heard the phrase “back door revival” while counseling with mentors and leaders within the denominations that I ministered in, when people would leave churches that I pastored.

In “back door revival” a pastor or group of leaders, begins to preach and teach God’s word as intended, after a long period where God’s word and biblical practice were exchanged for the religious ideas of men. In this setting, people who had been accustomed too little to no conviction chafe under a resurgence of anointed preaching and a renewed commitment to biblical accountability.

Those irritated as such a resurgence, will challenge the leadership, until they realize their complaints will not change path forward. Because they were married to a location and its ministry modes and methods, rather than in fellowship with God and His children, they leave out the “back door”; often leaving wreckage in their wake. Although the church is smaller numerically, it is actually better off, hence “back door revival”.

For this reason, “back door revival” is also associated with the phrase “addition through subtraction”. Yes, it sounds harsh, but a person who is sinning and will not repent damages a fellowship’s relationship to God; therefore, we are to practice Matthew 18:15-20 for proper church discipline.

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In similar fashion, a person, or people, who desire to be spiritually selfish or spiritually immature, are walking in unbelief, which also hinders the fellowship’s relationship to God and His manifest presence.

Recently, I have seen several articles about how the church in America has shrunk in the last two years and with great how we can recover the lost numbers. Many church leaders are very concerned and attempting all kinds of methods to recover those who have not returned. Why has the church shrunk?

COVID-19!

Simply put, Churches stopped meeting together, because the government told them not to, or suggested we stop meeting. Let me be clear: there is no biblical text which justifies the church of Jesus Christ ceasing to meet for any length of time. As I have stated, many times, Hebrews 10:25-26 commands we do not cease gathering together (physically) or we risk partaking in willful sin.

Many declared at the beginning of the lockdown measures “we’ll meet online, that fulfills the scriptural command.” If so, why have those participating in “online church”, not returned in numbers that are now affecting the finances of churches?

Because meeting online is not biblical (and a poor substitute) and now American Christians have an alternative they never should have been given. Looking honestly at the ten years prior to the rise of COVID-19, many Christian leaders knew online services have been hurting attendance and participation in fellowship for years. But none of that mattered at the time.

Truth told, if the those not returning continued to give as well as they did when meeting in person, I don’t think most churches would have cared; but the dwindling money has caused panic in many leaders. In my biblically informed opinion, I believe we are in a necessary “back door revival”, with a very curious catalyst of COVID-19.

Let’s review some facts before we discuss what is occurring as a necessary “back door revival”.

From the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan China, COVID-19 has been a jointly and intentionally released bioweapon, by China and the United States. American Scientists used U.S. taxpayer money to fund the research which led to this mess.

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Our leaders and their leaders knew and planned for the outcomes, as did the other governments of the world, for the removal of personal freedom for the purpose of global governance. This this truth is seen in how most world governments did the exact same things to “flatten the curve”, which only made COVID-19 grow like the Battle of the Bulge.

These measures were planned and practiced for decades, as the world moved closer to the characteristics of the last days, one world government, and religion. In 2017 they showed their hand in have a simulated global response to, you guessed an outbreak of Corona virus

The “flatten the curve measures” of masking, social distancing, and quarantining the healthy, did nothing but make the spread worse. The lock down mandates have changed the world economy so that it will never recover. All these measures were made with nefarious purpose.

The lockdowns were also to train the world’s population to submit through fear. Therefore, for many, it changed the way people think, and relate to one another. In nations the world over, people gave up their rights because it was in the best interest of them staying alive, or so they were told.

For churches in America, whether mandated by local and state governments or pressured through shaming in states where there were no mandates to cease gathering, shutting down fast became the “right” and “Christlike thing to do”, even though it was not Christ-like or biblical.

There were voices crying out to obey God rather than man and take the consequences as the blessing of partaking in the sufferings of Christ (I was one of them). There were churches that refused to be bullied and obeying God and remained open to fellowship. Those individuals were often shamed by their own denominational leaders and ignored as ignorant hicks who do not understand “science”.

On Resurrection Sunday 2020, the vast majority of Christian fellowships did not gather together. It was soon after that the financial hurt of not gathering in fellowship took its toll on pastoral salaries and churches ability to pay bills.  This led churches desiring to re-open and quickly.

By that time, most of those with a spiritual heartbeat understood that the science did not justify the methods used to flatten the curve.

Although the reporting on COVID-19 was meant to induce irrational fear, there is no excuse for falling to that fear. There are 3 unbiblical reasons churches shut down and stayed shut down.

  1. By citing history. Many Christian leaders were duped into justifying shut down measures because of how the church is said to have responded to the flu pandemic of 1918. It was reported that in an effort to show the love of Christ, churches shut down to do their part. The problem is few asked, if is there a biblical justification for ceasing to gather together for any extended period? The answer is no.
  2. Giving in to the fear of man. Where does the above justification come from? Being in fear of man, which means we are not walking in the fear of God. When Covid hit and the prospect of potential lockdowns and restrictions were spoken to the public, Christian’s became concerned. In Ohio, pastors were instructed before any restrictions were made public, to shut down services for the greater good. When the restrictions came, none of which limited normal practice of our faith, more pressure and shaming were brought to bear on churches by denominational leaders and the governor. A majority of the over 90 percent of churches which shutdown, complied because of the fear of man (Proverbs 29:25). Part of this fear of man is Christians being fearful of looking their community seeing them in a poor light.
  3. Giving into the fear of death. There were more than a few Christians, who were afraid of catching this virus and dying from it; being we were told it would kill 10’s of millions world-wide. This of course was not the case, but Christians gave into these three justifications.

As I said before, it is understandable that the church of Jesus Christ would stumble, as if sucker punched, at the outset of these circumstances; but we must bear the cost of the outcome, understanding how our unbelieving actions brought about this “back door revival”.  Although some may consider my words harsh, they are simply true, because we possess great and precious promises in Christ, which ought to have counteracted the three justifications.

  1. If we dwell in the secret place of the Most High, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty, we will find His divine protection from any and all that comes against us, so long as our time on this earth (to minister in His name) is not up. In Psalm 91, one of those protections is “Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge,
    Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you, Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling
    (Psalm 91:9-10)
  2. Should we become infected with the virus we have His promise of divine healing as earlier stated (Exodus 15:26; Psalm 103:1-3; Isaiah 53:5; James 5:16-17).
  3. Should the virus kill us, then “absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:8) and “To live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).

None of what I just wrote is a declaration of not using common sense when a person is symptomatic, which means stay home and call for prayer (James 5:16-17), until well; but giving into the fear of man and the fear of death created an untenable pattern.

That untenable pattern: We can fellowship online and fulfill our call in Christ. Sadly, that pattern is false. Let us consider the book of Hebrews, where persecution was on the rise. This meant loss of home, job, family, personal freedom, and potentially the forfeiture of their lives.

Did the Lord give them an excuse because persecution would cause discomfort or possible death? No!

Despite the outcome of choosing to obey God rather than man, it catalyzed the “back door revival” we are in; and the church is better off for it.

For those who remained faithful in meeting and those who after a month or two returned, dealing with the error made, God has blessed us to see that we ought to obey God rather than man. Though many of that number, who remained in fellowship and returned have been touched by Covid-19, they have grown in wisdom and spiritual strength, being harassed by the world and a good portion of misguided “Christians”.

For those who have not returned, they need to return immediately, or they were never really a part of the fellowship…

 1 John 2:19-21 (NKJV) They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us. But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth.

 Be encouraged not to be down concerning those who have not returned, pray for them to have the fear of the Lord and to be convicted of their willful sin; but rejoice in God’s work in the last two years in all who remained in fellowship.

For those of you who face fines or imprisonment, do not fear, obey God and begin fellowshipping again. We can endure fines, imprisonment, and yes even death for the sake of Christ, but we cannot endure the judgment against those who willfully disobey the command of the Lord to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together as is the manner of some.

That warning to avoid willful sin, is for the purpose of avoiding the consequence of remaining in willful sin, where there is an “expectation of fiery judgment and indignation which will devour the adversaries… Of how much worse punishment do you suppose he will be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing and insulted the Spirit of Grace?” (Hebrews 10:25-30).

The Church may be growing smaller numerically but remember, it is Christ Himself who declared that this is the word God. Every branch in Him bearing fruit is pruned, this diminishes the branch for a season. Every branch in Him not bearing fruit is cut off and cast into the fire (John 15:1-8).

This is “back door revival”, which may just lead to the Lord truly and powerfully reviving His church before His return. Even so, let it be and may Jesus Christ come soon.

The Shallow Dwellers of the Modern Church - SafeGuardYourSoul

 

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CONVERTED AS A CHILD

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Matthew 18:1-5 (NKJV) ​ At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.

As I have indicated many times before, we can be so familiar with a passage of scripture that we take for granted we understand its meaning. We also can take for granted that we are living it out as God intended.

The above passage is one of many, where familiarity can produce a lack of consideration of the scripture’s meaning and impact, in how we relate to God. In this familiarity we limit the passage’s scope, by relegating them to poetic metaphor.

When the Lord Jesus declared “Assuredly, I say unto you, unless you are converted and become as little children”, we understand He was not commanding we regress to the physicality or mental acuity of a child. So, in that understanding it is a metaphor.

Despite this reality the Lord is communicating we choose to give up something very adult about ourselves… Our independence and personal sovereignty.

How this relates to our being “converted” and becoming as “little children”, means to completely turn from one disposition (that of an adult) to another (that of a child). When considering conversion, we understand it means to turn oneself from their course.

This idea lines up with the reality of the need for repentance in a person’s life. To choose to be “converted” means a person has godly sorrow, which leads to repentance, which is a turn or change of mind, leading to a change in behavior. We may hold that conversion to becoming as “little children” is a fruit of repentance.

It is important we get to the bottom of what our Lord Jesus means when He declares we be converted and become as “little children”.

In the first place, “little children” refers to those who are infant well before teen age, with the caveat, that we pass through stages of spiritual development (I John 2:12-14); although always having the disposition of a little child to their father.

What is the disposition of “little children”?

In my home, my wife and I have been blessed to have children at all stages of growth and development, for most of our 23-year marriage. At currant hour our six children range from 22 months old to almost 23 years old. Considering their differing personalities and individual natural tendencies, we can agree there are similarities in their childhood dispositions.

These dispositions are generally true of children

In the first place, “little children” are completely dependent on their parents. This means they know who to go to when they are in need, which is almost all day, every day. Any attentive parent understands that children need supervision and provision. This means limits need to be set, as well as a means for them to petition when they feel a need. Children are naturally inclined, as well as socialized from first breath to let someone know when they are in need (dependent).

Interestingly this works differently in different children. My son Elijah, at six years old, is constantly asking Mommy and Daddy for food, things to play with, permission to watch a video, and many other things. He knows that he is not allowed to get what he wants but needs to ask.

Our 22-month-old is dependent, but in a way needed to become aware of that. She is very independent minded and for a while would take what she thought she needed, and do what she wanted to do, until we began to influence her toward dependance, through discipline, because what she wants often is unnecessary for her or dangerous.

Through setting up boundaries and protocols for her, she has begun to ask permission and seek us out when she feels she need something. Little Elena Grace is just as dependent as Elijah but needed to understand that. She has always been dependent but needed to learn to walk that out. We are not only to acknowledge our dependence upon God but embrace it moment by moment.

As I have been a substitute teacher, I have had many rude awakenings to how poor parenting has become, with its accompanying result of disrespectful and confused children. What I have learned among the children of all ages is that if they receive a steady, consistent boundary, with a person who is in authority, they’ll respond with humility.

The second dispositional trait of a child is to humble themselves to authority. To be humble is to place oneself beneath another, bowing low.

Often, a “little child” with hyper tendencies or poor attitude toward authority, will become pliable and obedient, when they receive good consistent boundaries and appropriate discipline. Why is this the case? Because children desire to be close to authority figures (especially parents), feeling love and safety.

This is the reason police officers are often revered by children. Good, loving, authority by a father brings out this “little children” dispositional element.

In the raising of our 6 children, we have had little difficulty fostering humility among our children. This arises from the reality that children are smaller than their parents and have appetites which they cannot meet. When little children ought to be humble in their dependency, but react selfishly, it is the parent who teaches them appropriate protocols, gaining humility through appropriate discipline.

This correction could be a stern voice, a swat on the rear, or other appropriate measures. The whole point is to teach them the right approach to life. When these measures are consistent, the child exhibits a willful and loving humility, feeling their dependance upon their parents and embracing that. Knowing our dependence upon God for what is needed for life and godliness, we are to seek to remain humble under God’s leading.

A third element of a “little children” disposition is that if they trust you, “little children” take their father’s word as true, without cynicism or doubt. Some would consider this a poor trait for a child, in a culture where they are taught to question everything that is absolute and objective truth. In short, little children simply believe without cynicism.

Truth be told, even in my older children, they inherently trust that their father will always tell them the truth. It is for this reason, they believe the truth of the Gospel, whether they walk in it as they grow up, is a matter of how they are “converted and become as little children” in relation to God. Do we struggle to take God’s word and His promises as they are in truth, or do we trust it inherently, without cynicism?

The final trait of “little children” in their natural disposition is their innate sense of empathy and compassion for those who are hurting or in need around them. This is less visible at times among those who are only children, but, when a child notices another child in tears, fears or anxieties, they will seek a way to comfort.

Like all these traits, compassionate empathy toward those who are hurting, is marred by the fall in our humanity, but it is still visible in most children. I can recall many times where my children, at a very early age, move to comfort their mother, or father, or siblings when they sense a change in the demeanor of that person. We are to be as “little children” in how we hurt for those all around us.

IS THIS HOW WE RELATE TO OUR GOD AND FATHER?

It is important to remember that we are children of God in the Lord Jesus Christ, but also to understand that our natural old man, is contrary to everything that is in the disposition of “little children”. When we consider how our culture teaches us to be all we can be for ourselves and to do as we will, which is the whole of the law of the world, we begin to understand the uphill battle faced in converting and becoming as “little children” in our disposition.

How much is enough of these qualities?

This can simply be answered by asking another question… How much of ourselves are we required to love God with? Quite simply, we must choose to take on this disposition of absolute dependency, absolute humility, absolute faith, and absolute commitment to aid others in knowing Him.

Remember that this disposition is not a burden of our proving it practically, but one of commitment in the heart and mind. To know ones dependance on God for salvation, sanctification, provision, and protection, brings humility toward God and His will, which produces loving submission—This humility and loving submission to His will (found in the word of God) transforms how we see life and brings unfettered trust of God—This unfettered trust of His word transforms how we see and interact with those around us, engendering Christ’s supernatural compassion through us.

All these “little children” elements of disposition can be seen in the Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. We see Christ’s complete dependence on the Father in His baptism at the Jordon River. Recall that when the Lord Jesus Christ came out of the water, He was Baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit, whereby He was then led into the wilderness, where in 40 days of fasting He overcame the tempter through God’s word and the power of the Holy Spirit. Afterward He returns in the power of the Spirit to preach the gospel and do miracles (Luke 4:1-14). It is important to remember that the only person filled with the Holy Spirit from birth was John the Baptist. Our Lord Jesus Christ was not, and did no ministry, until after His messianic announcement to John the Baptist, when the Holy Spirit, then filled Christ. He was dependent on the Father to start, sustain, and finish His ministry.
  2. We see Christ’s “little children” humility in how he deferred to God’s will rather than even feed himself when he was hungry. In John 4 our Lord Jesus humbles Himself to a Samaritan woman at a well, asking for water, when He could have produced water from a rock. Later in that chapter, when He could have eaten, as the disciples even attested, He declared, “I have food you know nothing about… My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish His work” (John 4:32-34).
  3. Consider that Christ’s trust of His Father was so great, that even in the terror of going to the cross, where His humanity cried out for escape, He believed inherently His Father would raise Him from the dead. Therefore, He humbled himself to His Father’s will and endured the cross, despising the shame, as He laid hold of the joy set before Him concerning His resurrection, prophesied in the word of God (Hebrews 12:1-3).
  4. In Christ’s perfect dependency on the Father, where He was perfectly humble to the will of God, trusting His will, He had perfect vision and compassion on those He encountered. In Mark 9:36 we experience Christ seeing the multitude as weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd, and moving in compassion to meet their needs supernaturally.

We must remember that Christ’s “little child” disposition, in relationship to our Father, was lived out throughout His life. Our Lord Jesus Christ did only what He was led to do, by the Holy Spirit—He humbled Himself for the will of God culminating In His vicarious death on our behalf (Philippians 2:5-10)—He always obeyed the word of God despite painful personal circumstances—Therefore He was always ego-effacing.

How much of this “little children” conversion should we have? Perhaps a few scriptures will aid us in answering that finally.

(1 John 4:17) 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.

(Romans 8:14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

*take a look at Proverbs 3:5-7

(Philippians 2:5-10) Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore, God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

How important is it we can affirmatively answer if we have chosen the disposition of a “little child”? Jesus let us know in our passage.

Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

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Ice Cream + Backpacks + Other Stuff = Revival?

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Recently, I was watching a video of two denominational leaders chatting about the “moving of God’s Holy Spirit”. Although the minister being interviewed is a prominent leader in his Pentecostal denomination, his statements could have been spoken by leaders of other denominations (both Pentecostal, and Non-Pentecostal), because they reflect a faulty understanding of what being led by the Holy Spirit is, that is pervasive in America.

The conversation began with the interviewer reciting statistics reviewing the explosive multiplication of people in one of America’s largest cites. The short version is a church under 100 receives a new pastor. In only a few years the church explodes from under 100 to multiple thousands of people. This occurred in one of the poorest areas of this very large city.

Although I am seldom impressed with reports of such numeric growth, I was interested when the leader being interviewed reported as a pastor “I sow seeds. I am a seed sower”. Therefore, I anticipated something biblical and tangibly led by the Holy Spirit. What was reported, sadly, was quite the opposite.

Below is what was reported as seed sowing.

  1. To rent an ice-cream truck and give free ice cream to poor children in a very large city. One testimony is that years later one of the children receiving the ice cream was still attached to the church.
  2. To adopt a school and give out backpacks to poor students.
  3. To give material elements to single mothers.

In this video presentation, there were few testimonies of powerful conversion, although it was stated, “some got saved and baptized.” Those biblical necessities were almost asides, because the main proof of the move of the Holy Spirit, was the number of people in the church today. It is not a stretch that the video, presented as an encouragement, gave struggling and small church pastors an equation to turn things around, if they would only wait for the “seed sowing” to blossom into fruitfulness.

Ice Cream + Backpacks + Other Free Stuff = REVIVAL!

The question the interviewer should have asked is “Does this equation reflect seed sowing or a biblical means of revival?” 

The answer is no on both accounts. Let us dig in.

Giving ice cream cones to children in poor areas is not sowing seeds. It is stoking a person’s carnal desire for something that is unnecessary in their lives, while using the name of Christ, for the purpose of drawing people to a building and ministry. No matter how we may try to justify this activity as led by the Lord, it is not. Yes, it is true that our Lord declares, “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.”, but water is a vital and necessary essential of life. Ice cream, as much as I enjoy it, is not an essential of life.

To declare it “seed sowing” to adopt a school and give backpacks to poor school children, is also in error. It is also in error to proclaim the same of giving handouts to single moms in the inner city. Let us examine why.

In the New Testament there are only two teachings that deal directly with “seed sowing” and one passage which gives clarity on what that looks like in a person (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-15; Matthew 13:25-43: I Peter 1:22-23). The two teachings are the Parable of the Sower and the Parable of the Tares Among the Wheat. In both parables the sower who is God, and by proxy those who follow Christ, sow the word of God as seed. This is plain and simple.

The passage giving dynamic illumination to what that looks like in a person is I Peter 1:22-23

1 Peter 1:22-23 (NKJV) Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,

To declare giving material aid is “seed sowing” that we must wait to blossom into fruitfulness, is in error. To take God’s word out of context, reading in what is not there, cheapens the gospel and dishonors the blood Jesus Christ shed on behalf of the world. To suggest as well that the giving of the material goods to the lost is a sure and justifiable way of sharing God’s love with people is also in error.

Along that line of thinking, many will say “See Mike, Jesus fed the 5000 and the 4000. There is all the justification I need”, but they are mistaken. Our Lord executed these fantastic miracles out of compassion, because they had followed him for days, desiring to be with him and hear the word of God. When we give things away en-masse, we do it that they may come to want to be with us, in our ministries and in our buildings. Do they want to be with Christ in us, because of the powerful ministry of the Holy Spirit working through us in conviction unto salvation, or because they got something free?

In addition, our Lord Jesus Christ fed these thousands by a real miracle, what is miraculous or led by the Spirit of God in fund raising, begging, or belittling church people into giving money for handouts?

In response someone might say, “But Mike, Jesus said “to whoever you do to the least of these my brethren”. Yes, He did, but yet again it is out of context and scripture twisting to use Matthew 25:31-46, as a pretext and justification for ministry to the poor tired huddled masses of lost people around the world or in our communities. Read Matthew 25:31-46 and understand that the conditions met, are conditions suffered by Christians brothers, because of their identification with Jesus Christ.

For example, when Jesus declares, “When I was in prison, you visited me” or “sick and you ministered to me” or “naked and you clothed me” or “homeless and you took me in”, He is declaring when your brethren who were suffering in those conditions, because they love Me, you gave them what was needed, thus identifying with them and Me, regardless of the cost.

This is not to declare that we ought not to assist those who are in need who are our neighbors, as we are called to love our neighbor and the word of God declares…

Proverbs 3:27-28 (NKJV) Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you.

Sadly, we have gotten so far down error prone path, when we are not declaring the giving of things away as “seed sowing” we are saying we are sharing God’s love. This is gross error as well. 

There is one way that God reveals His love to sinners, that is that while they are still in their sin, Christ went to the cross and was brutalized for men and women to be forgiven and purchased by God (Romans 5:8-12). That is the message we are supposed to be preaching, not God loves you and shows that by giving lost people free stuff. This is nowhere found in the New Testament.

So, why is this the method for so many today? Because it is easier to give things away, endearing people to us, than to make disciples who are enamored with our Savior. This is why we work so hard to get people to say a sinner’s prayer, rather than spend the time investing in our Great Commision calling to make disciples of all nations.

Our problem is that we are wowed by numbers and see a church grow from 68 to thousands and automatically stamp it a move of God. Why do we think it a move of God that people in a poor area of one of America’s largest cities, who are given repeated handouts, will show up at church events and the church building that gives them the handouts? This thinking lacks discernment and may lead to apostacy.

When you give someone a handout, or a great event at the beginning of their religious experience, you build into them a sense of entitlement. When they begin to feel that their needs are no longer being met, they will either leave to find their fancy tickled somewhere else, or they will begin to feel unfavorable about the One, in whose name the handout was given. Our Lord Jesus spoke directly to this in John 6:26-27, after the feeding of the 5000.

If we would study history, we would understand we are doomed to repeat it. The Roman Catholic Church (the greatest forgery Satan ever created) took its money and economy into Africa, South America, Southeastern Asia, Central America, Mexico, and parts of the tribes of native Americans and gave indigent people food, medicine, and other stuff they did not have; while preaching to them a false Christ whose sacrifice was not sufficient to atone for all sin. Today, millions who received those handouts, sit in darkness, animistic Catholicism.

If we would take a step back from the lie of, “They will not listen until they know you care” we would see how flimsy our thinking really has become. Our Lord Jesus lead with the gospel with the woman caught in adultery. He did not condemn but called her out of her sin. In the video we hear of the ministry  of giving handouts to single moms.

In the town I live in our ministry team encounters single moms every week as we go out to share the gospel. In fact, the young and older women we meet are ravaged by having multiple children from multiple men. Most of them have dealings with the courts and are poor. Most of them are also on public assistance, so giving them handouts, is one more “agency” to keep them from doing what will transform their lives… REPENT and place their faith in Christ.

In that decision, Christian people ought to rally to aid them in learning how to live for Christ and if they need assistance, respond appropriately, but to lead with the church being a social service who loves and cares for you and will tangibly show it, sounds exactly like the promises of politicians, who have kept the masses under their control through handouts. As a matter of fact, politicians want more unwed mothers with multiple children, to push their political agenda.

Handouts will not move the meter of their heart one ounce away from iniquity but preaching God’s love in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ transforms the heart. We must stop following ministry methods pulled from thin air, for it does damage to the gospel.

When do we wake up and understand that calling people to repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we should be preaching, is our calling? When we will understand that it is preaching this truth in love that brings the movement of the Holy Spirit, in miracles, signs, and wonders, that draws the masses to Christ (Mark 16:15-20; Acts 2, Acts 3, Acts 14).

 

 

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Get Out of the City Doomed for Destruction Part II (I Peter 2:4-9)

Art from the movie "God's Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah"

2 Peter 2:4-9 (NKJV) For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)— then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,

Last time we examined what it means that Lot was considered “righteous”, even though his life ended up very ungodly. Today we examine how Lot fell away through his choice to live facing the city of Sodom. If you have not read Part I of this blog, click the following link to read    Get Out of the City Doomed for Destruction (I Peter 2:4-9) Part 1

DEVOLUTION FROM FAITH TO UNRIGTEOUSNESS

If God places us in a trial, it is for our good and his glory (I Peter 1:6-7). Should we choose to be in a place that He has not called us to, it may lead to our being “oppressed”. If we remain, we may be tormenting ourselves, leading to spiritual harm. Lot is a perfect example of this truth.

In Genesis 13:5-13. We find that Abraham and Lot’s families, had grown in wealth and size. Strife had arisen between the two relatives’ herdsmen, over resources. Abraham gave Lot first choice, as to where he wanted to settle his family.   Genesis 13:10-11 records…

Genesis 13:10-11 (NKJV) And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other.

This is important, because the Eve, the mother of the living chose to eat of the forbidden fruit, based upon how pleasant and good it looked, regardless of the instruction of the LORD. It is also important to remember that Lot knew of the reputation of Sodom in its rejection of God. Despite knowing this Lot chose not only to dwell in the cities on the plains facing Sodom, but eventually lived right outside the gate.

The cities of the plain were like suburbs to Sodom. Sodom was a sprawling city that by even modern standards was a large city of millions. Why would Lot choose to live so closely related to such a wicked place, even advancing to right outside its limits? Because he naively thought it would not affect him or his family. He believed he could prosper from its commerce and culture, without its commerce, culture, religion, and social immorality affecting him. This was certainly the opposite of godly wisdom.

By the time Genesis 14:12 occurs, where Lot and his family are captured along with the king of Sodom, we find Lot and his family now living in the city of Sodom itself. The fact that Lot was taken with the king of Sodom is very unsettling, because the king of Sodom is considered a type of antichrist in the scriptures, so wicked in fact, that Abraham would take nothing from him. Lot may not have been participating in the wickedness of the city, but he was so worn down by what he saw by this time, that he was in league with its wicked king.

What began with Lot using the wealth and trade of Sodom for personal prosperity, drew him in to where he was now dependent on its wealth, culture, and prosperity. Although we see no active sin, we understand what he saw and heard “oppressed” him at first, but by the time of Genesis 14:12 he was “tormenting” his own soul, by choosing to stay.

Even though by the end of Genesis 14, where God delivered Lot and his family from captivity, where he saw Abraham treat the king of Sodom with scorn, dependent on for provision upon the city and its leaders.

Because he chose this path, his family’s heart was growing further apart from God’s heart and holiness. We see how far these progress by the time we get to Genesis 19:1-3, where Lot is now living in the middle of the city.

The angels sent to deliver Lot and his family would have stay in the square, which was always at the center of the city, for access and important meetings and events. Lot protested their decision and invited them to come under the protection of his home, which ought to have been sufficient, because of his relationship to the king of Sodom. Yet, the men of the city, desiring to have homosexual relations with the angels (whom they thought were men), call Lot to give them up.

Lot does the unthinkable, as he offers his daughters for the men to rape. The rest is history.

Can this type of devolution occur in us, to where we would behave so ungodly? Yes! The scriptures are replete with warning after warning, in the New Testament, that we do not fall away.

  1. II Corinthians 13:5
  2. Philippians 2:12
  3. Hebrews 3:12-15
  4. Hebrews 6:4-6
  5. Hebrews 10:25-31

Hebrews 2 reveals how this process of devolving from relationship to God in Christ.

Hebrews 2:1-4 (NKJV) ​ Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?

We see it all begins with drifting. When one is in a raft on a creek, if not paying attention, they may drift quite a way, before knowing they have moved at all. By the time the creek runs into the river, the drifting person may believe they can paddle out, until they begin to weary themselves in the faster moving water. By the time they are in the rapids, there is little hope.

Remember that falling away, is much like being in a raft on a creek. Drifting begins with a slow and imperceptible floating, that picks up speed as you get further away from the beginning of the drift and closer to death. Lot’s slide away from a life that mirrored the outcome of faith in YHWH, his being deemed “righteous” in II Peter 2:7-8, began for him imperceptibly and slow, but progressed faster and faster, until it was too late.

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Get Out of the City Doomed for Destruction (I Peter 2:4-9)

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah | PeakD

We live in a world that is significantly different from the way the world was, after the seven days of creation. When sin entered humanity through Adam’s transgression, it not only infected all his offspring but brought the curse upon creation itself. This will not change until the Lord Jesus Christ returns and brings in a new heavens and earth wherein dwells righteousness (II Peter 3:10-13).

Because we live in a world that is not reflective of the blessedness of that eternal state, we live among brutal realities. Daily we are inundated with death, injustice, persecution of our brethren, wickedness, sexual immorality, and innumerable acts of violence. For the Christian, these dark realities can press on our souls, wear us down, and make us insensitive to God’s Spirit, if we are not careful to take our emotions and thoughts before the Lord (Philippians 4:6-7; I Peter 5:6-9).

If not careful, Living in a world so brutal, can lead to us tormenting our own souls, should we not be careful to guard what we hear, see, and depend on, from a worldly perspective. Let us read II Peter 2:4-9.

(2 Peter 2:4-10) For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment; and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds— then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who walk according to the flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority.

This passage gives us three realities to consider from the life of Abraham’s nephew Lot.

  1. Lot was considered righteous.
  2. Living among the wickedness of Sodom oppressed the soul of Lot.
  3. Lot’s choice to remain among them tormented his soul; meaning he was tormenting himself.
  4. A fourth reality, when considering Lot’s life as detailed in Genesis, is the outcome of his choice and how it affected his life, family, and relationship to God.

HOW WAS LOT WAS CONSIDERED A RIGHEOUS MAN?

For anyone who knows of the life of Lot, and the outcome after he left Sodom, hearing the word of God characterize him as righteous, can be a little confusing.

We understand that he wound up living in the most wicked city on earth, Sodom, and that the outcome of his choice led to the death of his wife and him conceiving a child with each of his two daughters, while he was drunk. It wouldn’t be fair to leave out that his daughters got him drunk on purpose, to fool him into conceiving with him, but we must also consider that his daughters’ warped thinking was a product of living in such a wicked city. Lot also allowed himself to get drunk.

These details are the reason we may be confused at Lot being characterized by the “righteous” in II Peter 2:8? The Greek word for “righteous” used in this verse means to be not guilty or innocent. The word is associated with the word justified, when considering the salvation of men, in God’s will.

Remember Lot’s uncle Abraham considered by the word of God, as the Father of the faithful (Genesis 15:6), where it declares of Abraham, “And he believed the Lord, and He (God) accounted it to him (Abraham) for righteousness”. We must remember that Abraham had some sketchy behavior in his life, but he was “saved” counted righteous by faith. This has always been the way the Lord has dealt with salvation, in both Testaments.

Because we are counted righteous by faith in God (not by perfect works), we can surmise that Lot believed in the one true God and attempted to by the belief. Because of this, Lot was counted or considered righteousness, by faith.

We are justified (considered not guilty, perfectly righteous as if never having sinned) the same way, through repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we ought to rejoice and be warned by  Lot’s life, because even though he was considered “righteous”, the outcome of his life was anything but righteous.

Lot being declared “righteous” is very intentional, considering the context of Peter. Consider how a “righteous man” and his family fell so far from living in righteous ways: once more considering Lot’s disgraceful end was to impregnating his two conniving daughters while he was incoherently drunk.

How did this all happen?

II Peter 2:7 we find Lot being “oppressed” by the filthy conduit of the wicked living around him; which means he was tired out into exhaustion in his soul. It would appear living in Sodom, everywhere one would turn they would see and hear evil. His being “oppressed means little by little his resistance to hold immorality as sin was waning. But we find he was more than oppressed.

II Peter 2:8 explains that Lot, by remaining in Sodom “tormented” or “vexed” his own soul by seeing what he saw. This means that because he chose to remain in Sodom, he chose to look upon things that tortured his soul, but in a way that reversed sanctification.

We understand that when the Lord places us in a trial, His purpose is to purify and or strengthen our faith and practice. The heat of the trial brings up the impurities, like a gold forge, which then can be removed (I Peter 1:6-7). The word for “tormented” refers to a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver, after it hardens, by the color of the streak produced on it by rubbing it. This process is to reveal the impurity, but with continued rubbing it mars the purity of the gold, or in this case the faith.

If God had called Lot to preach the coming destruction of Sodom, it would have been a trial to bring greater sanctification. But Lot was not there for the purposes of God, but his own selfish purposes, therefore, he was tormented and being reversed in his growth spiritually and in his relationship to God.

At this point we need to consider a truth. If God calls us to a particular place, ministry, or function, what we face in the way of trial is allowed or ordained by God, for His glory and our growth in Christ. When we choose to live by what is right in our own sight, hence without consideration of God’s will, we can be oppressed and wore down. The reason we have chosen to put ourselves where God has not called us. To be in that predicament can be dangerous and detrimental to our being practically sanctified.

Lots life certainly reveals this truth.

As we investigate Genesis, next time we will clearly see how this “righteous man” began falling away from righteousness the moment he made a choice to live facing the city of Sodom. This can happen to us. How did it occur with Lot?

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Help Me, Lord Jesus! I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up!

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So goes the cry for help, first seen on American television in the late 1980’s in infomercials for a product called Life Call (now called Life Alert). The original commercial and the woman who played “Mrs. Fletcher”, who first spoke the tag line in the commercials, have gone on to be cultural icons.

The genius of the product is a little box with a button that hangs by a chain around the neck of an elderly person. When in peril, through injury from accident or illness, they need only press the button hanging around their neck, and speak into the air. At that time, an in house receiver, which is connected to a call center, transmits their cry for help to the dispatcher who can help them.  

Life Alert claims to save 44,800 per year or at least one person every 11 minutes from a catastrophic outcome. 

Recently, I was reminded of Life Alert, in a time of spiritual difficulty, when I felt the weight of my old man of sin against my faith and life for Christ. In my heart, I felt the despair of an overwhelming spiritual struggle, because of an angry and sinful outburst, contrary to the Christ life we are called to walk in.

No matter how I prayed or what I did to make it right, it felt as  though I could not get up. In my heart I felt condemned and spiritually my mind was screaming “Help me Jesus, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up”

Perhaps, you think me melodramatic, but I am sure many of you have felt this way at times as you walk with Jesus. What do we do when we truly have a moment where our old man gets the best of us and without thinking we snap in a carnal pattern of behavior, which reflects poorly on the Lord Jesus Christ and reveals a weakness in our Christian character? How do we mitigate the fall out?

It is important to understand that these falls do not arise from a heart that desires to sin, but in and among those who truly desire to walk in the righteousness of Christ. Let us consider the real potential we have to fall to sin, even when walking in the light, with potential to walk in the righteousness of Christ.

1 John 1:7-10 (NKJV) But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.

Let us dismiss a harmful default explanation of verse 8 “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”. This does not mean that we sin all the time or that we are allowed to exhibit a continual practice of sin as a believer. In context, this means that those who walk in the light with Christ and in fellowship with other believers, will at times miss the mark of righteousness and sin. The good part is the promise that if we confess our sin, it is forgiven, our account cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ.  

In addition to the benefit of forgiveness (considering our relationship to God), we understand that the promise guarantees us being cleansed of the sin pattern, which is part of sanctification. Although this is wonderful truth, we must admit that to fall down and sin, whether in a spontaneous inconsistent outburst or in some consistent and revealed weakness in our character, is grievous to our soul. Despite knowing the promise, in those times we can feel like, “we’ve fallen and we can’t get up”.

To be clear, this is not to encourage us to sin and then flippantly confess, “I repent”, without godly sorry, which is necessary for true repentance unto sanctification. We are called to live holy and walk in the righteousness of Christ, which ought not be in dispute. My intention is to encourage those who love the Lord with all their heart, but have fallen in such a way, that makes them feel they are damaged goods. 

In order to do this we must understand that painful falls, where sin reveals character yet to be touched by the Holy Spirit, are at times a necessary and painful part of the process of sanctification. Without these falls, we would seldom grow deeper than a profession of faith and a superficial relationship to God, a mile wide and a inch deep. Great trial comes upon those who sincerely love the Lord, who desire to be nearer to Him; intent on living with all their being to glorify Jesus Christ.

A.W. Tozer, in what he termed the “paradox of the Christian life” explained that our desire to be near to God, who is holiness personified, is a paradox for the Christian. The reason for this, is that the closer we get to the Lord of Life and glory, the more He reveals that in us which not yet practically sanctified. In other words, to be closer to Him means He must reveal the areas of our sinful character, that most hinder our relationship to Him; that the Holy Spirit may cleanse us from those carnalities.

In this paradox, we understand the adversary of  our soul, the Devil, walks about, looking for someone to devour (I Peter 5:8). His attacks make up a portion of the trials we face, that we are to rejoice in, which will galvanize our faith and purify us of existing patterns of sin (I Peter 1:6-7). In order to partake in this process we must recognize how our own emotions and feelings work against our godly desire to be transformed for the purpose of glorifying Christ.

In Hebrews 12:1-17 we find almost the entire chapter devoted to those who are in spiritual trial, under the loving discipline of God; and in danger of running from Him rather than dealing with their damaged emotions and carnal sensibilities.

Hebrews 12:12-17 (NKJV) Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.

In light of this passage, we must understand that the potential exists for sincere Christians to fall away (Hebrews 6:4-6; Revelation 2:1-8). This is the paradox of the Christians life: To have the Holy Spirit empowering, leading and working in us, but miss seeing the damaged emotions and remnants of the old man, which can lead to us drifting away from the God we love. 

Even if we know the promise of God to forgive us and cleanse us from unrighteousness, we must admit that the aftermath of having blown it can be like being caught in a tornado of terror and emotional upset, where we feel “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up“. So what can we do? 

REMEMBER THE GRACE OF GOD BY WHICH YOU ARE SAVED

Peter Was Always Meant to Sink – Pastor Dave Online

When falling down, remember that you and I were never saved by keeping ourselves up right. We were saved by the grace of God, in the cross of Jesus Christ, because we could never fulfill the law of God. This grace is received by repentance and faith. Should we be in this state of grace, we still grieve at our sin and confess it, but hold to His promise and move on. If you are like me, you may get stuck looking back at the fall and forget the promise. Don’t, but remember…

1 John 3:18-21 (NKJV) My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.

CONFESS YOU ARE STRUGGLING TO SEE AND NEED CHARACTER WORK

One of the things we tend to do when falling down is to declare “I do not understand why I can’t stop” or “Why can’t I overcome this emotion or sinful proclivity“. In asking questions we often miss the point that we are struggling to see.

2 Peter 1:5-11 (NKJV) But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

It is very important we understand that even mature Christians can fall to old habits, haunts and sins. When we are in that place, it may be that sanctification has been hindered in some way. We could begin to take stock of what we are missing, but it is far more important confess to God, we are shortsighted and struggling to see the why. In this confession we ask that the Lord to reveal what wee are lacking in the way of Christ’s character and what must be removed by Him. Remember He is the one who reveals.

Psalms 139:23-24 (NKJV) Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties;
And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.

It is important at this stage to remember that we are to confess our faults to one another and pray for one another to be healed, for the effective and fervent prayers of the righteous avail much (James 5:16). We need not suffer in silence, when we can confide in the brethren and have accountability and reinforced strength, in seeking to overcome. Call on the brethren to assist you.

REMEMBER HE IS THE ONE WHO WILL PICK YOU UP

This is so very important. When we fall and sin, we try and try to get up on our own. Like the Galatians, whom Paul rebuked, we begin, being saved by grace (in the Spirit), only to fall attempting to get up and be perfected by carnal strength (Galatians 3:2-3).  In order to get up, our Life Alert is not a button, but a path to the Father opened up by Christ Himself, where we can go boldly before the throne of grace, finding mercy, grace and empowerment, in time of need (Hebrews 4:15). Let us remember who saved Peter, when he sunk, attempting to walk with Jesus.

Matthew 14:28-32 (NKJV) And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

When we remember daily, that apart from Him we can do nothing, we hold to the truth that He is always keeping us upright; especially when we are falling to our old man carnalities. It is often in these falls, that He reveals the truth that it is Him alone that enables us to get back again; because He is always with us and ready when we cry out “Lord Jesus help me! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up“.

Let us rejoice, for if we call on Him, He will never let us fall to where we can’t get up. 

 

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Refuse To Be Weighed Down in Foreboding?

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Praise the Lord that the church is awakening to the “sign of the times” our Lord prophesied would come before His return, for they are upon us. With the fulfillment of these prophies we can experience an exultant joy that our God is faithful and the day of our blessed hope is closer than ever.

Along with this source of joy, their is a very real danger of living under a sense of anxiety and foreboding (sense of heaviness of what may come), because regardless of when a person estimates the timing of the rapture, we are told that all who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (II Timothy 3:12). When we consider the sign of the times and the fulfillment of scripture, even those of us in the relatively little persecuted Westernized countries must be prepared for difficulty on the rise.

Matthew 24:4-14 (NKJV) “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. “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.

Mark 13:8-13 (NKJV) For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

Luke 21:7-19 essentially declares the same as the above passages and all three take place prior to the 7 year tribulational period. It is for this reason that many Christians are being swallowed up in depression, anxiety and fear, as we attempt to peer around the corner to shield ourselves from potential blows or secure enough provision to survive.

With the onset of so many different governmental and societal changes, which are contrary to our faith, as well a new mandates, which are strikingly similar to what we know to be the Antichrist’s final solution (Revelation 13), it is easy to leave off of exultant joy over the faithfulness and perfection of God in the prophetic scriptures, as we are pressed into anxiety over something wicked which comes this way, that we may not be able to avoid.

What do we do?

  1. Remember that anxiety is based on “what if’s” which may not come to pass. This is why Jesus commands us not to be anxious over what we we need for provision or protection (Matthew 6:25-27).
  2. Therefore we reject anxiety. We simply refuse to worry. We punish anxious thinking by presenting our thoughts and feelings to God, honestly (Philippians 4:6-7) and by taking our thoughts captive in comparison to what God’s word declares is true (II Corinthians 10:3-7).
  3. We also recognize that fear which robs us of peace and joy, comes not from God, but the world, the flesh and the devil, so we reject FEAR (II Timothy 1:7).
  4. We accept that uncertainty is a part of the growth process and ministry of the saint. Uncertainty forces us to our knees where we are meeting with Christ and gain what is needed for what we face in the day (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:15-16).
  5. We live in today, and seek His righteousness and will, not what we want or think we need (Matthew 6:31-34).

Dearly beloved in Christ, there is much on the horizon that will be contrary to our faith. Perhaps, we feel so uneasy, because up till now we have not had to risk much to keep in the faith (at least in the United States), but Christ has promised to never leave us nor forsake us and to give us what we need in each day. That means if we need grace to walk in the fellowship of His sufferings, He will give it, but that does not mean we ought to attain peace today for things we may or may not go through until tomorrow.

We keep this straight by one principal. Even before asking for our daily bread, we seek His kingdom will in our lives. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and what we need in the day will be given.

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