I know many of us were hoping we would get another chance, through the election, to turn this country around and stall off the impending and long over due intervention of Justice. The elections have caused us to see more clearly than ever, the terrible state of moral decay and blatant rebellion we are in as a nation, and we are sad. The mourning is appropriate, and actually a gift from God, that we ourselves will begin to take this spiritual battle more seriously.

Many of us have been swept along in a kind of complacency. Many have spoken out boldly. Many made great personal sacrifices to bring this country back to the God of the bible. Many prayed. Many talked, and listened, and campaigned. Many hoped. Many counted the votes ahead of time to see if the scales would tip back to righteousness. Many crossed their fingers, waiting to see if America had had a big enough change of heart to make a change in the White House. God has spoken. He said NO.

The good news is that God is STILL with us. The good news is that we are more aware of our sins and the need for prayers of repentance then ever before. The good news is that if we allow God to continue to open our eyes to the truth, He will give us the strength and wisdom to stand for righteousness and declare His truth so desperately needed in this hour. The good news is that the crisis is not past but that Jesus’ return has just been moved up by four years.

If things would have gone the other way, we would all have settled back down on our couches and watched three and one-half more years of TV and spend ourselves into three and one-half more years of self-entitled oblivion, eating and medicating and escaping the inevitable reckoning of the Last Days. The door to the easy way out is now shut!

The line has been drawn. Peace with God is not found in the pursuit of secret knowledge or in discovering some hidden passage way or in fervent loyalty to the theologies of dead and traditional religion. Jesus discarded all our human notions of what needs to be done to make God happy when He boldly said, in Matthew 12:30, “He who is not with me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.”

Now is the time to “get in or get out” as far as God is concerned. Only you can make that decision for yourself, but none of us can make it by our self. We desperately need the strength of the Holy Spirit Who is still here to lead us and keep us in the midst of the greatest treachery and spiritual deception the world has ever known. Only see that you do not reject Him.

I have found this passage to be remarkably accurate in summing up where we are at and what is going to happen next. The deception and the seduction are all part of the signs of the end time prophecy and the wonderful confirmation that God is still in control.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17 Amplified Bible (AMP)

2 But relative to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and our gathering together to [meet] Him, we beg you, brethren,

Not to allow your minds to be quickly unsettled or disturbed or kept excited or alarmed, whether it be by some [pretended] revelation of [the] Spirit or by word or by letter [alleged to be] from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has [already] arrived and is here.

Let no one deceive or beguile you in any way, for that day will not come except the [a]apostasy comes first [unless the predicted great [b]falling away of those who have professed to be Christians has come], and the man of lawlessness (sin) is revealed, who is the son of doom (of perdition),

Who opposes and exalts himself so proudly and insolently against and over all that is called God or that is worshiped, [even to his actually] taking his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming that he himself is God.

Do you not recollect that when I was still with you, I told you these things?

And now you know what is restraining him [from being revealed at this time]; it is so that he may be manifested (revealed) in his own [appointed] time.

For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until [c]he who restrains is taken out of the way.

And then the lawless one (the antichrist) will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of His mouth and bring him to an end by His appearing at His coming.

The coming [of the lawless one, the antichrist] is through the activity and working of Satan and will be attended by great power and with all sorts of [pretended] miracles and signs and delusive marvels—[all of them] lying wonders

10 And by unlimited seduction to evil and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing (going to perdition) because they did not welcome the Truth but refused to love it that they might be saved.

11 Therefore God sends upon them a misleading influence, a working of error and a strong delusion to make them believe what is false,

12 In order that all may be judged and condemned who did not believe in [who refused to adhere to, trust in, and rely on] the Truth, but [instead] took pleasure in unrighteousness.

13 But we, brethren beloved by the Lord, ought and are obligated [as those who are in debt] to give thanks always to God for you, because God chose you from the beginning [d]as His firstfruits (first converts) for salvation through the sanctifying work of the [Holy] Spirit and [your] belief in (adherence to, trust in, and reliance on) the Truth.

14 [It was] to this end that He called you through our Gospel, so that you may obtain and share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).

15 So then, brethren, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions and instructions which you were taught by us, whether by our word of mouth or by letter.

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, Who loved us and gave us everlasting consolation and encouragement and well-founded hope through [His] grace (unmerited favor),

17 Comfort and encourage your hearts and strengthen them [make them steadfast and keep them unswerving] in every good work and word.

So, what is our disposition? To stand firm and hold fast to the Word of God as it was originally presented to us through the Holy Scriptures, as given by the Holy Spirit through the pens of those anointed to write it down.

We are to comfort and encourage our own hearts and strengthen those who are wavering, to continue in every good work and word. He told us the world would know we were His disciples by the “Love we had for one another”. Unselfish, unconditional love will be the sign we will give to one another.  We are to continue to occupy and proclaim the coming of the King of Kings and His unending Kingdom until He returns. It is time to pray and believe, to bind and loose, to join together as the true body of believers because, right now, and from here on out, we only have Him each other. So, it is time to lay down offenses, stop trying to get the world to like you, and discern true intentions.

The very good news is that God is watching over us and is ready to answer our prayers. He is ready to turn around impossible family situations and intervene in the worst of your personal health problems or financial disasters. It is time to know you are loved by Him. It is time to know that He Himself has said, “I will never leave you or forsake you. So we may boldly say: The LORD is my helper; I will not fear, What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5).

It is time to do what He said; “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Approaching our life in the context of spiritual warfare gives us several advantages over those who would appear to have all the advantages of an uncomplicated and easy life. And though many would like to live their lives not bothered by the condition of the world or the lost souls that live in it, and though they are busy with pursuits that focus on monetary and momentary gain and the approval of others and taking care of ourselves, they have gained nothing of lasting value. None of these things, or titles, or tributes can bring any reward or protection from the disasters of either this life or the next.

Though their houses are well supplied with food and the latest forms of entertainment with which to escape the nasty pain of reality, many of them are still lost. And though their whole life is consumed with protecting themselves in trying to anticipate the next threat, and hedging themselves in with well padded accounts and investments, “what will a man give in exchange for his soul”, (Matthew 16:26), and what will it profit them when the fire of God passes over?

Psalm 37: 1 – 4, tells us to “fret not, nor be envious of the wicked”. Instead we are admonished to “Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

The stakes are high. Eternal life with God or eternal damnation with Satan awaits every man, woman and child ever created. And even though the full price for freedom and eternal life with God in Heaven has been paid, how will they know, unless someone tells them? That is why, even though  “It is finished”, and  our eternal life and righteousness has been restored and there is a place reserved for us in heaven,  the final count in not yet in on the issue of eternity. Who will end up with who – is yet to be determined. That is why the battle still rages in the world and in the hearts of all of us.

Satan’s strategy against the saved is to make life too hard, to fill it with distractions, urgent needs, troubled relationships, sickness, and discouragement, anything that can get us feeling overwhelmed and side-tracked from the call to preach the Gospel of Grace or tell people about the way of salvation.

To make sense of the battle we must understand that almost everything we have come to believe as true is only, at best, real, and that real truth as contained in the Word of God, has been twisted and obscured and discussed and disregarded by the great majority of humankind. What an unthinkable tragedy? And because there are only a few good men and women willing to make the sacrifices needed to lift up the banner of truth, the battle field is strewn with casualties and the corpses of the once living.

Making sense of the battle comes with understanding your personal trials. Through the fire, God is refining us. As silver is purified in the refiner’s fire until the silversmith can see his reflection in the molten silver, so too, our faith is tried. Malachi says it well: “But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire …”.

James encourages us to “count it all joy when we fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of our faith produces patience…that we may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2-4). Most people do not consider it fortunate when things go wrong. They do not see problems and opportunities but as obstacles. They do not rejoice when they are under pressure, or misunderstood, or in pain. Immediately they look for a way out.

The Enemy is right there to blame us, condemn us, criticize us and make us feel stupid for something he talked us into doing. OR, he is right there to give us an alibi, an excuse, a reason for justifying our behavior, and give us a way to get even.

Both of these paths are futile and filled with folly. Jesus told us that when we are persecuted for righteousness sake, we are to “rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is our reward in heaven…” (Matthew 5:12).

Fire-proofing your life and its contents, including stewardship over the precious relationships God has given you, begins with trusting God to provide for us and bring justice in the end. Knowing He is the righteous Judge gives us peace in surrendering all that we had used to fortify ourselves, to the will and purposes of God Who is good.

This means we can turn our full attention to the work of the Harvest Field of souls without reservation. Only that which is of real value will remain. God has already told us what those things are. We have no excuse. We have been given His Spirit that dwells in us. He is the One Who fire-proofs our souls and makes us mighty in God.

Dear Fellow Pilgrim,

We are in dark days. The second coming of our great God, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer who is returning to the earth to deliver us from this present evil world system draws nearer. And though this is a cause for rejoicing, many of us are experiencing our own personal days of trial and fear that massive tribulation is no longer in the far distant future.

We cry out with the prophet Habakkuk. And even though we have never met him, the world that prompted him to cry out, “O LORD, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear?” (Hab. 1:2), seems to be a world much like our own. Violence and iniquity surrounded him. Trouble and strife and contention and plundering were swallowing him up. He did not think God was hearing him or seeming to care about what had happened to law and justice. The “law is powerless and justice never goes forth”. The wicked surrounded the righteous and perverse judgment prevailed in the affairs of mankind.

The good news is that God is watching! He speaks to the prophet and to those of us today who have “ears to hear”. He tells us we are to “look among the nations and watch – and be “utterly astounded!”  He goes on to say “I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you.” Now we know what happened in hind sight. The tribe of Judah was in its “death throes”.

They had rejected to heed the warnings of many of the prophets by continuing to practice idolatry. They refused to repent of their ways. The very ones who had been given the revelation of the law were now stubbornly continuing to follow the pied pipers of Darkness who presented themselves as prophets, priests, and spiritual leaders.

Things were not all that different from us today who often unwittingly take our spiritual leadership from demons posing as angels of light and ministers of righteousness (II Cor. 11:13-15), and spirit guides. We allow discussion groups to reshape the truths of the Word of God to fit our opinions, and inadequate theologies that deny the truth of God’s Word and fail to account for or explain what is going on within the context of human experience to mould our behavior.

This leaves us vulnerable to the lie and unprepared for the judgment. We are left to our own devices, basing our conclusions about God and our relationship with Him, based on our own personal opinions and experiences, signs and wonders, eastern mysticism and spiritual exercises. We are so much like the tribe of Judah. But God tells the prophet to “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.” (Habakkuk 2:2).

Though Judah was familiar with the words of the prophet, they were more comfortable with the works of darkness that had blinded them to the danger of the impending judgment God was being forced to bring upon them. Their hardness of heart left them no longer shocked by the things that were going on. They became indifferent and stubborn. Their stiffness of neck manifested a hardness of heart that blinded them to the needless pain and willful killing of the innocent for money and gain. They either joined in willing or ignored the need by giving their consent through their silence.

Fear is on every side for those who do not rest in and rely upon their God, (the One True God), to save them. God is not an opiate for the weak but counsel for the wise. When the world would deliberately try to create mass hysteria through the threat of international violence, economic collapses, and a variety of natural disasters that no terroristic group can boast claim to, we can rest in knowing that those who KNOW their God will be kept safe.

And isn’t it marvelous how God can preserve those who trust in Him. Though they be but a small remnant, they are never too few for Him to bother with. You can be counted in that number if you want to be.

There is no need to loose your peace or forfeit your chance to have the assurance of eternal life because, at no point in this war can the value of your soul be measured to cost more than what has already been paid for it. The price of its redemption, the death of God’s Son, can never be counted as insufficient, though the careless spending of our live in self pursuit can never gain for us enough to purchase our own salvation or safety.

He is no fool who willingly gives up that which he cannot keep to gain what he cannot loose, (Jim Elliot, martyr to the Waodani tribe of Ecuador).  It is time to give up your life to the One Who gave up His life for you. Only those who let go of this life will be able to keep their life. For some that is a simple matter of surrendering your will and intentions over to the truth that “who so ever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.”  (Romans 10:13).

For those who consider themselves saved, check the fine print. If you are trusting in some form of Karma for Justice which insists that you must obtain your own righteous perfection through good deeds in order to stop an insidious circle of reincarnation, you are under the gospel of works. God offers us redemption, not recycling. Read the contract. And if the agreements you have made with the false peace of the new age promise peace through a transcending awareness with nothingness in order to find that peace, get out now! God does not require us to empty our minds to abide in His peace.

If the worship and preaching and work of the Kingdom that you are involved in does not look like what is happening in the New Testament, you may be under the influence of a false gospel. Many of the look-a-like gospels contain just enough truth to get the hungry eaters hooked in.

Satan has always preached a gospel of mixed grace and works because that way he can offer his victims the “best of both worlds”. Because it works so well, nothing has been changed but the outward appearance to keep it looking modern and trendy. Inwardly, the gospel of works, or its newer version,- the mixture of grace and works – is still full of dead men’s bones like the tombs Jesus used to illustrate the folly of following such traditions, trends and death trap theologies.

For those of you who think you are a Christian, check out what brand of theology you have embraced or your leaders are promoting. This is not the time or place where we need to look for our “our best life now”, though it is a time of sweet promise and strength for the journey. Jesus in not about pony rides and inflatables! His church is a body, not a circus. We are a family, not a corporation. Jesus is the attraction. He is enough.

I recently received this email and realized that many of you may have a similar question. Feel free to read the letter and consider the following passages from the bible given to us for our instruction and comfort. My prayer for all of you is that you will know the depth of the riches of the goodness of God and embrace the finished work of Jesus Christ. That work includes abiding in a place of rest knowing we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, unto good works, (Eph. 2:8-10).  Resting in that finished work brings truth and freedom from condemnation and offers us the only way to know the will of God. As we follow Him the fruits of righteousness, peace and joy become the best evidences of our faith.

For simplicity sake I will break down each statement in my response.

Dear Marjorie,
I believe as a born again believer in Christ we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, but if a born again person willfully sins continually can they ultimately grieve the Holy Spirit & God at some point could remove the Holy Spirit from them because their heart gets hardened from sin and they can no longer repent? I have thought that we must walk in the Spirit & not walk in the flesh for if we walk in the flesh we will die – so it seems even born again Christians, if they go back & remain in a state of sin, can lose their salvation, but if they repent & walk in the spirit they shall live. My thought being that we are eternally secure as we walk in the spirit. It’s hard to explain, hope you understand what I am asking. Thanks!
(more…)

I realize you may be as skeptical as you are sick to death of the gimmicks, the  self helps and quick-fix promises made by churches and individuals claiming to represent Jesus Christ. You are as “turned-off” by the pony-ride, inflatable gospel as He is!! So, what are we going to DO about it?

The first order of business is to REPENT. We must admit we have used, abused and misused the testimony of Jesus Christ and His Gospel to sell everything from investment opportunities to cemetery plots. We have turned the body of Christ into a business corporation. We have submitted the cause of Christ to voting bodies and church boards and subjugated the Kingdom of God and the will of God to the well-intentioned promotion of too many of our own good ideas. (more…)

Peter continues to write, to us, “who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Many centuries before, the Prophet Habakkuk wrote a similar phrase as he admonishes his readers to wait patiently for the vision to be completed. “Write the vision, …for the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie, though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, It will not tarry. Behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.”

All of us will be led down to the place of testing, the place of the shadow, the place of silence, the place where our faith in the Faithfulness of God will be tried. Job had everything a man could hope for. He had a place of honor and prominence in his community. His family was close and well. His finances were in order. His investments were growing. His lands were manicured. His flocks were healthy. His crops yielded an abundance, until that day of sudden destruction. Its unbelievable shock had turned his life into an inescapable nightmare. He had been struck by the hand of the Almighty and he was stunned.

Confusion leapt upon him like a lion in the night. Why? What had he done to so enrage the Almighty? His mind could give him no explanation. His head was spinning. His heart shut down, melted within him. Hope fled.

Even more distressing than the irreversible loss of his children, was the disturbing silence of the God. This same God he had given himself so fully to honor and obey had turned on him. He sat disgraced in the presence of those inferior in faith and service who interrogated him from their place of untested strength.

Shame bound Job as he sat in the shadow of the silence. “Even today my complaint is bitter: my hand is listless because of my groaning.” All he had left were words, words that could all too quickly become his enemy and turn him over into the hand of bitterness.

David, another servant of God cries out to the Lord in his trouble and poured out his complaint before God. (Ps. 143) No one drew near to help him. Even his fellow soldiers had seemed to forsake him. “For there is no one who acknowledges me, …no one cares for my soul.” (Ps. 143:4).

Nothing afforded David a place of refuge. His strength remained in the faithfulness of God, the only One who could hear or would listen. “Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low; deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I.” (Ps. 143:6). And in his darkest hours David learned to use his last bit of strength to choose to praise the LORD, rather than worship at the altar of worry and woe is me. He found courage to look, like Abraham, not at things seen, but at things not seen and obtain the promises of God by faith.

Moses complains about the burden of responsibility he carries for the welfare of the millions of people he is leading through the wilderness. “If You treat me like this, please kill me here and now-if I have found favor in Your sight- and do not let me see my wretchedness!” To him the way out of his misery and the kindness of God looked like being struck dead!

Paul lifts his voice along with the great champions of the Old Testament to cry out “O wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:23). Bound by the things he did that he did not want to do, he felt himself being torn by his desire to do good and controlled by a thing that warred against that desire. For him, it was no longer a matter of will power or taking responsibility, it was only his wretched helpless inability to be perfect and walk in God that remained to taunt him.

The evidence is overwhelming. Every man or woman who seeks with any sincerity to serve or follow the Lord God, Creator of heaven and earth will be tested. Their endurance, their resolve, their own abilities to please God will not bring them into a closer or more pleasing place with God. We must be broken, chastened, and emptied out until all that remains of us is Him.

Our righteousness is as filthy rags though many of us have taken those rags to the professional tailor to have them sewn into a more acceptable garment. God has already woven for us a robe of righteousness matched to the fabric of His Own Son’s heart. Apart from the breaking process, and the emptying out of self, we are not qualified to wear it. The test becomes one of surrender to God, not giving up or giving in to the temptation to go along with fear, or its twin, control.

Your test today may be a foreclosure, a bankruptcy, a sick or dying child, children who are mean and ungrateful, a false accusation made against you, a bitter son, a divided house and compromised health. The trials are as different as they are the same. They are as unique as they are unfair.

But the purpose is always one and the same. The test is always a test of trust. Will God keep His Word? Can He be trusted when I have run out of resources, ideas, or friends? In times like these the only reasonable question left for us to ask is, not “why me?” or “where is God?” He’s in the same place He’s always and ever been. The question is more, “O wretched man that I am, WHO will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:24).

And in that question we discover, in recognizing our own wretched, helpless condition, is that God is Who He said He is. He sees us. He has not forgotten us. He will bless us at the right time. So, in the mean time, and it is a “mean” time of injustice and fear and discouragement, it is time for the courageous son and soldier and servant to submit themselves to the goodness of God and rejoice.

Remember, Rejoice is the action form of the verb, “Believe”.

PRAYER: You are The LORD God and I will rejoice in You even in the midst of this crushing crisis. “You know the way that I take; when You have tested me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to Your steps, I have kept Your way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandments of Your lips; I have treasured the words of Your mouth more than my necessary food.” (Job 23:10-12). Amen.

PURPOSE: We are in the days of our purification. In your patience possess your soul until He comes and you receive the fulfillment of all His good promises to you, His Beloved.

So what is the bottom line, the objective, the final goal and purpose of fighting the good fight when everyone else around us seems to have adopted the philosophy of life, to eat, drink and make as much money as you can?

In other words, what is the point of our lives on earth, if, indeed, as some have concluded, there be any point at all? The end of life, if we descend slowly, into that place of departure, has a way of clarifying and simplifying many things. Peter was in prison, writing his last thoughts and admonitions to his people. He had time to reflect when he wasn’t fighting off the fiery darts of doubt and fear. He had been in prison before and had experienced a miraculous release at the hand of angels. How exciting. Too bad he was half asleep through the whole thing.

But this time was different, a different time, a different appointment, a different knowing. Peter had matured in his faith. He was ready to write now. He had been through the theological wars with Paul, as to who was to participate in this heavenly calling, Jews only or Gentiles also. He had learned to let go of the unimportant, the types and shadows of things to come and embrace the things that had come in the person of Jesus Christ, the long-awaited Messiah.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,…”(I Pet. 1:3), poured out of his heart onto the parchment. God was the true Father of the Christ. It was true and his hope had not been spent in vain! The hope had been sealed and activated in the resurrection of his Master, and he was happy. Life was not pooling in the corner of hopelessness and regret. The boundless mercy and forethought of God had given Peter an ever-living hope and an inheritance that would not fade away or diminish. He had not spent his life in vain pursuit or in vanity of self-indulgence.

To be able to bless God as our Father and acknowledge the hope that is in Him, as the source of our life and strength, is the essence of the revelation we must have to fight the good fight. All else pales in the light of God. We have been born again. Created again. Brought up again, in the mind of God. We were His idea the first time and are His idea again. To know ourselves as His idea, conceived in His mind, is to know the truth about who we are. We are not alone. Peter was not abandoned in that prison cell.

And not only was he not abandoned, he had been given an inheritance, part-ownership in kingdom of his Father. Peter describes that inheritance as one that sits beyond the reach of change and decay. It is imperishable, untainted and unfading, set aside in heaven, with his name on it, reserved in Peter’s heavenly bank account, just for him. Peter’s question had been answered and Jesus’ promise was true. He remembered the day he had so boldly questioned the Master about His direction and intentions for the little following. What compensation would He made for those who “left all and followed Him”?

Jesus did not scold him or hesitate. There would be a lot of sacrifices. Families would be divided over the Gospel. Parents and children would be alienated and angry and separated from each other. Husbands and wives would divorce over the Gospel. Opportunities for personal comfort and the pursuit of houses and lands and fame and fortune would be traded for a life of sacrifice and struggle. Why? Would anyone in their right mind do that? Jesus understood the question perfectly. Everything is not for now, Peter. Life can be lived for later. Later is better in the end and only an option for those who believe.

Prayer: I bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ Who had made it all worth it. The sufferings, the set-ups, the set-backs and the struggles, are but “light afflictions, which are but for a moment, and working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (II Cor. 4:17), and nothing to be compared to what God has in store for me. Amen.

Purpose: to know I am only one piece of God’s thousand piece puzzle. To be able to understand His whole purpose and intention for me from my limited perspective is both impossible and disconcerting.