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.”

Handling Suffering as a Christian…

James 1:2-4 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

James 4:13-15 “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

Handling Suffering as a Christian

The title of today’s challenge sounds a bit strange. And if you are not a ‘born again’ Christian you have no chance of understanding and accepting it. We live in a world where many teach that health, wealth, prosperity and the total absence of suffering brings fulfillment. And of course our fleshly nature totally agrees with that thought. There are even teachers professing to be ‘born again’ that teach the same. They teach that to experience otherwise reflects a weak faith or sin. While it can be a result of sin the scriptures never proclaim that if we suffer for the gospels sake it is a lack of faith. Actually it is just the opposite.

When we are drawn to Jesus as our Savior and we dig into His word to find meaning for our lives and we hear that, “”Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” Wow, that stops us dead in our tracks. Many, who never study and never grow from the milk of God’s word to being able to handle the meat of God’s word never even address this question.

Can it really be true? If I am to live for my Savior who died for me can I expect some level of persecution? The answer from scripture is a loud yes. If the world disliked and even hated Jesus and we profess what He professed then the world will not like us either. That’s a tough one to swallow. Like you my flesh prefers that people would like me. And what if I am experiencing zero persecution. Does that mean my spiritual priorities are not correct? Yes, that could be the case. Ouch! We can only know that by asking God to answer that question and then we must do something contrary to our fleshly wills. We must truly be open to the answer. Remember the answers to prayer are yes, no and wait. Yes, is not the only option God has. When I hear no or wait it does not mean that God did not answer my prayer.

There are promises in the word of God that don’t seem much like promises to many believers. Persecution is one of them. Scripture proclaims that all whose purpose of heart is to live godly lives in this present world shall (certainly) suffer persecution, as did their Lord. Maybe we contemplate such verses and think they should say something like, “And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall be appreciated for their goodness and rewarded with approval, good health and fortune while in this world.”

The Holy Spirit through Paul said to the Philippians, “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.” We probably would be more comfortable if that were to read, “For unto you it is given…not only to believe on him, but also to be blessed with health, wealth and prosperity.” But it doesn’t say that. Reading and allowing the Word of God to change our lives are two entirely different things. Are you a reader only? Ouch, another convicting question.

So why would I want to be open to persecution??? As noted in James we are in this life but for a short time. Our lives are but a vapor that comes and disappears quickly. Our time to serve our Lord is short. This time on earth is but a grain of sand on the beach in comparison to eternity. And if you are a believer you will spend eternity with God. There is also a judgment seat or awards ceremony for believers. The judgment seat is not to judge our sins that Jesus took care of but to award us for services rendered while on this earth. I would rather hear, ‘well done’, than to hear how I missed the prize or to hear a silence because of lack of commitment on my part while on this earth.

We are to serve out of obedience. Disobedience is viewed by God as a tragic sin. Check it out over and over in scripture in both the OT and the NT. God never accepts disobedience. Our sins are washed away by Jesus blood so my salvation is secure. While works cannot save us they are very important after being ‘born again’. Serving Jesus while on this earth is now or should now be my focus! And when done correctly it will bring some level of persecution.

Remember persecution comes in many different ways including verbal, lost friendships, physical punishment, lost job opportunities, etc. In America at least for now the verbal, peer pressure and life style issues are the greatest persecution we see. So maybe all is not lost with that slap in the face that you just received, literal or figurative. Pray and think before you allow your fleshly frustration to take over. It may be that you are doing exactly what you should be for His glory!!!!!

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. 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.”

Controlling your Temper…

Proverbs 25:28 “He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Proverbs 16:32 “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who
rules his spirit than he who takes a city.”

Controlling your Temper…

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.  His
Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he
lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.
Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger,
the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He
discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those
nails into the fence.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper
at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested
that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able
to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell
his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.
He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the
fence.  The fence will never be the same.  When you say things in
anger, they leave a scar just like this one.  You can put a knife
in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say
I’m sorry, the wound is still there.”

A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.  Friends are
very rare jewels, indeed.  They make you smile and encourage you
to succeed.  They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they
always want to open their hearts to us.”

As with all needs our heavenly Father provides the answer for correcting the problem called anger and also called sin. It goes against our flesh or what part of us feels is the solution. That is because our flesh and the world rebels against God. But to have that peace in our lives that passes worldly understanding we need to implement God’s solutions and deny our fleshly desires. Correcting anger starts here;

Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

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.”

Dealing with Stress…

Dealing with Stress!

Did you ever have one of those days when you felt the whole world was against you?
Each of us has those times in our lives and how we deal with them determines our peace of mind in this life. The key to understanding them is recognizing that our God cares for us and wants to be our strength in life and provide us with peace that passes worldly understanding.

Yes, even during and especially during those bad days|||||||||||

Psalm 55:22a “Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain you;…”

Psalm 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for God to help me, then He listened, and
heard my cry…He lifted me…and set my feet on a hard, firm path and steadied me…He has given me a new song to sing.”

I Pet 5:7 “Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.”

And fortunately for us His love is not dependent upon our love for Him.

Rom 5:8 “But God demonstrates His love for us, in that while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.”

Have you accepted God’s love?

 John 3:3-16Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” …For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Recognizing our Spiritual Enemy…

Recognizing the Spiritual Enemy…

One of the best strategies in a war is to camouflage yourself.  Terrorists understand this principle. Satan has very effectively convinced our world that he is not a real enemy and for many that he does not even exist. Ask a few people even those inside of Biblical Christian circles and see how many believe he is real.

I used the word Biblical because one of satan’s lies is that all having the name of Jesus in their church are Biblical Christians which is not true. If you are trusting in Jesus plus your church or plus your baptism or plus anything then you have not placed your faith in Jesus for your salvation and you are not a Biblical Christian. How do I know? Well the word of God says so and I was once in that exact boat. The enemy is good at camouflage and lies.

II Cor 4:3, 4 “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled in them that perish: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn upon them.”

Based on the word of God I submit that he is real and active today and there is a way to fight the war. Our Savior does not leave defenseless.

II Pet 5:8-10″Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour. Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. BUT THE GOD OF GRACE, who has called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered awhile, makes you mature, will establish you,
strengthen, settle you.”

So the question is how to battle satan?

James 4:6-8 “But He gives grace, therefore He says; ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore SUBMIT TO GOD. RESIST the devil and he will flee from you. DRAW NEAR to God and He will draw near to you.”

Our Spiritual Enemy’s final destiny.

Rev 20:2-3 “He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; 3 and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.”

Have a great day in serving the King of Kings and Lord of Lords as you;

Submit
Resist
Draw Near to God!!!!!