We Live in Perilous Times…

We Live in Perilous Times!

Jesus said He would return a second time so we can count on it. He first came as a Lamb to be sacrificed for our sins. He will come again as a Lion to put an end to sin and satan.

The only question is, when will He return?

As with all events that affect our lives the word of God holds the answers.

Listen to some of the clues signaling that Jesus return is drawing near.

Some signs of the 2nd coming of Jesus!!

II Tim 3:1-3 “But know this that in the last days perilous times will
come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than
lovers of God.”

Sounds a whole lot like the age we live in.

Mat 24:4-8 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Take heed that no man lead you astray. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray. And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you be not troubled: for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places. But all these things are the beginning of travail’.”

Don’t be afraid of the signs but also don’t be unaware of them!

Psalm 40:31 “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the
nations I will be exalted in the earth.”

So where is Jesus now?

John 14:2-3 “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

The question to ask yourself and to ask those around us is.

Have you been ‘Born Again’ so that Jesus is preparing that place for you?

What was your answer? If you are not sure of your eternal destiny then the 2nd coming of Jesus either brings fear or it seems foolish to you. After all, things seem to be as they were thousands of years ago. Or are they? Those that see or think of it as being foolish most likely are not saved (born again). Our reason for being on this earth is to give the gospel to those in that condition. To do so you must first be ‘born again’.

I Cor 2:14 “Now the natural (unsaved) man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; and he cannot know them, because they are spiritually judged”

John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

God knows ALL…

Mat 11:28,29 “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest.

Who knows?

When you are tired and discouraged from fruitless efforts…

God knows how hard you have tried.

When you’ve cried so long and your heart is in anguish…

God has counted your tears.

If you feel that your life is on hold and time has passed you by…

God is waiting with you.

When you’re lonely and your friends are too busy even for a phone call…

God is by your side.

When you think you’ve tried everything and don’t know where to turn…
God has a solution.

When nothing makes sense and you are confused or frustrated…

God has the answer.

If suddenly your outlook is brighter and you find traces of hope…

God has sustained you.

When things are going well and you have much to be thankful for..

God has blessed you.

When something joyful happens and you are filled with awe…

God has smiled upon you.

When you have a purpose to fulfill and a dream to follow…

God has opened your eyes and called you by name.

When you realize life is for eternity and only Jesus can save you…

God awaits your calling upon His Son to save you.

Remember that wherever you are or whatever you are facing…GOD KNOWS!

Mat 11:28,29 “Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me for I am
gently and lowly of heart, and you will find rest unto your soul.”

The Bible or the TV, you choose…

II Tim 2:15 “Study to show yourself approved to God, a worker
that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Joshua 24:15 “But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites (Americans) in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.”

“The Bible or the TV, you choose”
They lie on the table side by side
The Holy Bible and the T.V. remote and Guide.
One is well worn and cherished with pride.
Not the Bible, but the T.V. remote and Guide.
One is used daily to help folks decide.
No, not the Bible, but the T.V. remote and Guide.
As the pages are turned, what shall they see.
Oh, what does it matter, turn on the T.V.
So they open the book in which they confide.
No, not the Bible, but the T.V. remote and Guide.

The Word of God is seldom read.
Maybe a verse before they fall into bed
Exhausted and sleepy and tired as can be.
Not from reading the Bible, from watching T.V.
So then back to the table side by side,
Lie the Holy Bible and the T.V. Guide.
No time for prayer, no time for the Word,
The plan of Salvation is seldom heard.
But forgiveness of sin, so full and free
Is found in the Bible, not on T.V.

Here is great passage to keep in mind when viewing the TV, your computer, thinking of a movie, listening to radio…..

Philip. 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue,
and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

God’s Definition of Guidance…

Luke 22:40-42 “ When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

God’s Definition of Guidance

When I meditated on the word guidance, I kept seeing “dance” at the end of
the word. I remember reading that doing God’s will is a lot like dancing.
When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn’t flow
with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky.

When one person realizes and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow
with the music. One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or
by pressing lightly in one direction or another. It’s as if two become one
body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and
attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other.

My eyes drew back to the word guidance. When I saw “G,” I thought of God,
followed by “u” and “I.” “God, “u” and “I” dance.” God, you, and I dance. This statement is what guidance means to me. As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance about my life. Once again, I became willing to let God lead.

My prayer for you today is that God’s blessings and mercies be upon you and
your family on this day and every day. May you abide in Him as He abides in
you. Dance together with God, trusting Him to lead and to guide you through
each season of your life.

And for those of you that know me closer than others you realize how poor of a dancer I am. I truly need my Lord leading me every step of the way…..HIS WAY!

Rom 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. And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by
the renewing of your mind, that you prove what is that good and acceptable and
perfect will of God.”

Adversity, a Tool for Growth…

Romans 5:3-5 “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation develops patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Adversity, a Tool for Growth

Can adversity in my life come from God? How should I view that adversity? Or is adversity in my life simply a result of fleshly or spiritual issues that I have and if I were spiritually stronger these things would never happen to me? These questions are asked by Christians of all maturity levels.

Some church organizations focus on the “Health, Wealth and Prosperity” theme and that adversity has no place in the life of a Christian. Is that true? Those churches teach that God would have you to be healthy and wealthy with never a hint of adversity in your life. That teaching is attractive to our fleshly emotions. If you are experiencing adversity their answer is that it is because you are weak in faith. They say if you just come to their church, support the programs, join in with the emotional message that God lift you up physically and materially. Many get deceived by this because it offers what the flesh wants. And the flesh always wants only what is best for it.

II Tim 4:3,4 “For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside unto fables.”

So, how does God view adversity and our spiritual development? Our answer as with all questions in life is right there in the Book. There are many examples in scripture that help us understand how God views this topic and the depth of His love for us. Our obvious best example is our Savior Jesus. He came to display unconditional love while doing the will of the Father. We will never have to experience the depth of pain that Jesus experienced for us. If we are looking for our own will to be done it is easy to fall into the Health, Wealth and Prosperity trap.

Luke 22:42 “Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

We could also look at the lives of Noah, Jonah, Moses, Job, David, Joseph, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, Rehab, Ruth, Daniel, Paul, Peter, Mary and on and on. What we see are individuals that were molded by the circumstances that God sent into their lives. Those circumstances were simply not a result of their weak faith and fortunately they never viewed them like that. God loved them as He loves us and wanted the best for their lives. The question was what was best for their lives to bring glory of God and not to provide comfort for self. Each of those mentioned above experienced adversity and out of it came growth and more importantly God was pleased and glorified. That growth occurred only after they got to the place in their lives where they said, your will be done and not mine. None were blessed or avoided adversity simply because of strong faith. Their spiritual maturity grew as they presented themselves to God as living sacrifices to perform His will through their lives.
James 1:2, 3 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

Rom 12:1, 2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

For me when I accept adversity as being from God the benefits are spiritual growth. When I reject trials as being from God the result is frustration, heartache and even tears. I have memorized II Cor 12:9 to help me in those times of adversity. It reminds me that God is in control and wants to lift up His name by His work in my life. WOW, you cannot have anything more than that if you are looking for purpose in your life.

In II Corinthians 12 Paul first viewed his “thorn” as a limiting handicap. After requesting that God remove it multiple times he received the answer. It was no. By the way, no and wait are answers to prayer. He evaluated the answer and came up with the spiritually correct answer. God had a purpose for the thorn and he was much better off accepting it than ignoring or complaining about it. After coming to the true perspective, he regarded it as a heavenly advantage. Pains and problems come into our lives and if viewed properly are tools reminding us of God’s all-sufficient grace.

Whatever your “thorn” today, remembers—His grace IS sufficient and it is available right now!!!!!!!

II Cor 12:9 “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Listening to God…

Listening to God….

Can I sit and be taught by God today?

II Tim 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 perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

But aren’t those the books and teachings of men?

II Peter 1:20, 21 “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

“Let us seek to know Him in the Word. It is in the Word we will find the Holy Spirit. Don’t read too many other things. Some of you will say, “Look who’s talking!” Well, go ahead and say it, I don’t mind; but I am reading fewer and fewer things as I get older, not because I’m losing interest in this great, big, old suffering world, but because I’m gaining interest in that other world above. So I say, don’t try to know everything. You can’t. Find Him in the Word, for the Holy Ghost wrote this book. He inspired it, and He will be revealed in its pages.”

–A.W. Tozer

That being the case…
II Tim 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

 

So, who’s feet did you sit at this morning to start your day?
Sitting before the Lord

“Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone; only God is here. In His presence I open, I read His Book; for this end, to find the way to heaven. Is there a doubt concerning the meaning of what I read? Does anything appear dark or intricate? I lift up my heart to the Father of lights: ‘Lord, is it not thy Word, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God”? Thou ‘give’s liberally and upbraids not’. Thou hast said, ‘If any be willing to do thy will, he shall know.’ I am willing to do, let me know thy will. I then search after and consider parallel passages of Scripture, ‘comparing spiritual things with spiritual’. I meditate thereon, with all the attention and earnestness of which my mind is capable. If any doubt still remains, I consult those who are experienced in the things of God, and then the writings whereby, being dead, they yet speak. And what I thus learn, that I teach.”

–John Wesley, Preface to Standard Sermons

It does take commitment.

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

Finding the Real Problem in America…

Eph 6:10-12 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Daniel 12:4 “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book,

even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

Finding the Real Problem in America

Progress and change. How would you define them? Do they apply to technology only or to God’s truths also? Does truth change down through the ages? Think about it. The answer drives a lot of our decisions.

The past few generations in particular have been viewed as very progressive. While they have been on the technology side how have they stacked up on the spiritual side and do values and truths change in God’s eyes? Let’s look at some of the changes in values over just the past few years.

The 1960’s were the time everyone broke out of the family mold of “Father Knows Best” and “Leave it to Beaver” because those were “old fashioned” molds. For those of you too young to remember those were TV programs with zero obscenities or sexual innuendos. And they were wholesome and fund to watch.

The 60’s taught, “You are free to do whatever you want”, and, “if it feels good, do it”. Those years taught that nothing should stifle your creativity. After all, what you do only affects you. Right? We turned self needs and accomplishments and material things into our gods. And if you look down through history mankind has always done that, so it was not exclusive to the sixties. The battle cry of many is the fad of what to collect or keeping up with the neighbors because after all, I deserve it! What we forget is;

Ex 20:5 “you shall not bow down to your god, I am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.”

The 1970’s was the decade of elevating self or the “me” generation. The most important
thing in the world is me and my situation and I view. I wonder where this all started? Sounds like a natural progression. And again it started way back roughly 4-6000 years ago with Adam and Eve. They first decided that their way was best for them and we have kept pace ever since.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.

There really is nothing new under the sun! Look where we first see this attitude!

Isa 14:12a, 13 “How are you fallen from heaven O Lucifer son of the morning! For you have said in your heart; I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will also sit on the mount of the congregation, on the farthest sides of the north.”

The 1980’s were the escalation of all that was learned in the 6000 years preceding them. The cry was, “I am most important and I can do whatever I want. No need for commitment as long as I am happy. If I am not “happy” in marriage I can get out. If a church is convicting I will find one that meets my needs. I am most important and I can do whatever I want. My job and my career come first and I will run over anything and anyone that gets in the way, family included. Sounds terrible and it is.

Listen to God’s word describe it.

II Tim 3:1-4 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come; For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, without self control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.”

So what did we see in the 1990’s and 2000? More and more kids are growing up in single parent families, with the family under heavy attack. 50% of both and Christian and non-Christian marriages ending in divorce. Our nation struggles with what is the makeup of a family and continues to murder millions annually. In the interest of making sure everything and every person’s thoughts are accepted our nation has legalized sin and has outlawed God from our education systems and government. Many children of the people who grew up in the 60’s-80’s feel there really are “no wrong answers”.
You can say anything you want, dress any way you want, pierce anything you want, just make sure you take care of you. Discipline of children was labeled as abuse. But yet a loving God continued to say if we do not love our children we do not discipline them.

With the concept of no absolutes people were taught that there were no authority figures to be accountable to. They turned to emotions, feelings and human teachings or philosophies as their source for direction. The doctrine of no absolutes and ever changing truths was applied to self, family and religions. I wonder why business doesn’t buy into that? Children and adults were taught that there are no consequences for their actions beyond themselves. And of course with no absolutes then everyone’s ideas are correct and every religion is heading in the same direction.

Can that possibly be true or is it a strategy to keep the creation from seeking the Creator?

Revealing passages not well received by our world are;

John 14:6 “And Jesus said unto them, I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes unto the Father, but by Me.”

So much for all religions leading to one God.

II Cor 4:3, 4 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to those who are lost, in whom the god of this world (satan) has blinded the minds of those who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

That reveals the source of these errors.

Might this description fit the age?

Romans 1:21-23 “because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man and birds and four footed beasts and creeping things.

Not a pretty picture! But, there is hope!

II Chronicles 7:14 “if My people (are you one of His?) who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn (revival) from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

And it starts with_______?

Malachi 3:6 “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”