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).

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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.

Judge and Jury? by Marjorie Cole, Life Recovery, Inc.Do you ever feel like you are your own judge and jury? Like your whole life is a result of either being judged by others or,  worse yet, yourself? Do you live constantly going over your mistakes, debating with yourself, re thinking your options, feeling guilty and judged by failed outcomes, trying to figure out how you might have done things differently and feeling responsible for other people’s responses?

Add to the confusion the fact that many of us continue to live our adult Christian lives using the insights and conclusions we gathered during our childhood. We determine our worth, our value and the current status of our “love-ability” based on these subconscious conclusions made as children.

As a result, many of us take a moral inventory of our spiritual lives only to come up agreeing with condemnation, that we didn’t do it right, don’t love God enough and maybe aren’t even saved! We spend our lives moderating the debate that goes on in our minds and emotions to determine if we are trusting God enough, sincerely convinced in our hearts and really born again.

We grew up in performance-based conditioning that caused us to believe that whatever was happening in our world was “all up to me” and if anything went wrong, “it was my fault”. “I’ve got to do it right”, “be good”, and “figure it out” in order to be “okay”. (For more teaching check out “It’s My Fault” cd.)

"It's My Fault" by Marjorie Cole, Life Recovery, Inc.

And though this blog is not a clever justification for sin and reckless abandon of moral absolutes, the “it’s up to me” gospel has created a deep and serious challenge to the Gospel of grace. Failure to embrace the Gospel of grace has widened the separation between us and our merciful heavenly Father, and is creating  a growing number of neurotic Christians.

Confusion and condemnation are spreading like a contagious disease among unsuspecting believers who rewrite the Gospel of God from “Done” back to “Do”. Confusion around the Bible’s declaration that “it is finished!” has exchanged the absolutes of the final and  finished Gospel of Jesus Christ for one of powerless uncertainty. This unfinished Gospel allows the Enemy’s to constantly accuse us that we are never quite good enough or certain that God’s acceptance of us is unconditional.

Things  like “I have to , I should, I need to, or I feel like I have to keep myself in line, or “I feel like I have to choose the right thing”, bind us in the constant fear of NOT choosing the right thing. And if our salvation all comes back to and rests upon us and our choosing the right thing, the entire work of the Cross rests, not upon the Word of God or the Blood of Jesus, or upon the Faithfulness of God to pay the penalty for sin and buy us back, but upon our ability to choose rightly!

Was this not the very foundation upon which the Law was built? Putting the work of redemption back on us puts the work of Christ in jeopardy of being undermine and cancelled out by the choices I make. How devious! How arrogant! How clever of the Enemy who knows he cannot erase or undo or remove the Word of God or the Work of Christ, to make them both subject to my performance, my feelings, and my choices.

Does not Paul in Romans 6,7,and 8 make it abundantly clear that we were slaves of sin, programmed to sin, controlled by the sinful lusts and cravings of sin that war in our members? As he writes is it not clear that  he was experiencing these same powers controlling the members of his own flesh? And that they were controlling him in spite of his love of God’s Law and his will (intention) to follow it?

Simply repeating the “try harder” cliches of taking personal responsibility to be more diligent and self-disciplined did not resolve the dilemma. The insidious entrapment opened Paul’s eyes to the need for deliverance which causes him to cry out, “O wretched man that I am, Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:24). ”

The good thing he wanted to do he did not do; the bad things he did NOT want to do, he found himself doing. (Rom. 19). Observing and basing his conclusion upon his will and intention to love and want God instead of the bad and unruly behavior that he saw going on in his members caused him to conclude that “it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells IN me.” (Rom. 7:20).

Paul immediately stopped trying to be good or control his behavior or condemn himself for not being able to be good or control his behavior or stop the war going on inside of him. In stead, he stopped it by crying out to God for deliverance from the grip of the body of death – the operating software from Hell – that was running in his soul. He realized he could not deliver himself by good works or by trying harder to stop sinning. It was not up to him to deserve or prove or complete the work of the Cross. All he could do was cry out for “deliverance”.

Even evidence of sin and the presence of the battle that continued raging within him were not able to persuade him that the Cross and the Salvation it secured were lost. There is NOW therefore, no condemnation to “those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Rom. 8:1).

Walking in the Spirit make us immune to the ongoing blasts of Satan that debate our position in Christ based upon our performance or our feelings. Condemnation is a feeling. As a feeling it is often used by Hell to frighten the sheep into believing they are not safe, okay, or saved. It creates a low grade anxiety in the souls of those who would follow Christ.  In searching for relief from the uncertainty, they turn aside from following the commands of the Good Shepherd, into the pastures of religious performance, legalism, and self-doubt.

These little sheep become caught up in trying to be their own shepherd. They base their love for God on how well they think or feel they are doing (performance). When we try to please God by keeping the Law to be holy and judge our progress by how we feel we are bound to fall into condemnation!

When we base our salvation or run our relationship with God through our minds (thinking) or through our hearts (emotions) we  give the Enemy all kinds of opportunities to hurt and confuse and condemn and strip us of our authority as believers.

If Satan can get me to doubt, or second guess, or believe that the work of Jesus Christ is dependent upon me, or how I feel, or how I am doing , or on what kind of choices I am making, then he had slipped a noose around my neck to drag me back into the pit of despair. If all I do is spend the rest of my saved life being drug around by Satan what good am I to myself or what profit will it be to Christ?

If the devil can get me to agree with him, he then has the power to control me. If I let him get by with speaking words through my mind and out of my mouth that I do not “take captive” ( II Cor.10:3-5), if I do not “resist him” (jam. 4:7) he will not flee. The Enemy is a wiley foe and a master deceiver. He is the author of confusion and his strategy is to divide and conquer.

He desires to control you. If he can “set you up in opposition to yourself”, (II Tim. 2 25  KJV)  by getting you to monitor your feelings and your behaviors, he can divide you and set you up against your own self.

He deceives you into sinning. He then uses the evidence of the sin you just committed as proof that you disobeyed God. He then has you read some scripture that he can reinterpret as condemnation to get you to question or worry about your love for God. “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”  (Jn.14:15) gets re-framed and the Enemy begins to condemn you for not loving God enough because you sinned.

Our sinning gives the Enemy an opportunity to discuss ways we could improve which opens up the way to bring striving on board to more closely monitor our life in God. This sets the stage for condemnation to come in and creates a vicious circle of try harder-never good enough that leaves us  always wondering if God really loves us. God’s love becomes conditional and grace must be earned!

The only way this vicious cycle can be broken is by Abiding in Christ! This revelation changes everything, including our vigorous and sketchy attempts to be good, make right choices and follow God. And if we add to this folly, the notion that we can assess our current state of holiness and acceptability with God based on how we feel, we  have handed the appropriation of the Work of the Cross and its power to save, over to Satan!

“Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). If we “Walk in the Spirit” we will not give Satan the opportunity to use our souls to debate the work of Christ being done in us through His Holy Spirit. “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:1). We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. (Eph. 2:10). Know that you know that and you will live an abundant and meaningful life in Christ.

Amen!

Jessie Penn Lewis was an author that wrote a book over 200 years ago called “War on the Saints”. She observed that “those most likely to be deceived in the last days would be those who were the most hungry for God”.  How better to deceive and destroy the saints of God than to bait them with the things they want the most.

Love, justice, happiness, being good, getting rid of my sin and the presence of God are all near the top of the list of things desired by believers. (Even unsaved people want these things. Go figure? Maybe we were not created as depraved as we were taught to believe, after all!) These are the same things that top the Devil’s list of most useful and effective tricks in deceiving the people of God into believing the lie. He baits the hook with a counterfeit and gets us to bit into the lie, using the hook of destruction to bring us into bondage. (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…)

Because of the apostasy in the church, it is as hard to find the real Jesus in the church as it is finding real food in the grocery store. Many are disillusioned and wandering from teaching to teacher, trying to please a God they neither know nor like. Most have concluded that they will “do the best they can under the circumstances and take their chances”. What a freaky absurd approach to determining their eternal destiny and the daily care of their souls.

Some are talking about the annihilation of the earth while others are still touting belief in a return to the old American dream; the pursuit of (personal) happiness and success. Which will it be, survival or success?  And are either of these really what life is all about? (more…)

Living in these uncertain days has made us certain of one thing, Jesus Christ must come back. There seems to be no human solution to the complex problems and personal pain we are in. Our Government is broken as well as broke. The bottom line is not raising the debt ceiling or taxes or lowering spending or any magical combination of the two.

The bottom line is sincere and absolute repentance. We need the Revelation of Jesus Christ to understand the urgency of that Repentance, noting that the first public sermon Jesus Christ made when He walked among us and surveyed the damage and human carnage left by sin was “ Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand”, (Matt. 4:17). (more…)