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.”

Do you see yourself as a Servant…

Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that
you present yourselves……………….

 

Do you see yourself as a servant!

You know, it’s a good thing to stop the world for a little while and
go back to where it all started.  In fact, Jesus may be inviting you
even now to go back with Him to where it all began.

In Matthew 28:10 from the Word of God, Jesus has just blasted out
of His grave on Easter morning, and He has a message for His disciples:
“Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see Me.” And
they did. It was there that Jesus told them, “All authority in heaven
and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of
all nations…” (Matthew 28:18-19).

Why this trip by the disciples back to Galilee to be with Jesus?
They were in Jerusalem at the time. That’s a long 90-mile walk from
Galilee. No cars, buses or trains back then. And Jesus would send them
back to Jerusalem to start their mission. So what’s the reason for going
back to Galilee? I believe it was because that’s where it all began.
That’s where they met Christ. That’s where they abandoned everything to
follow Christ. And that’s where they needed to go after all the battles,
the failures, the mountains, and the valleys they had experienced since
they met Jesus and before He launched them on a mission beyond belief.

Jesus may be asking you to go back to your Galilee, to remember
the wonder of what He did to rescue you, the things about Him
that captured your heart then; the time you surrendered fully to His
purposes for your life. All of that tends to get obscured by all the
knowledge you’ve acquired, all the responsibilities you’ve taken on, all
the disappointments and disillusionment, all the complexities of your
life. Jesus is saying, “Come back with Me to where we started, so you
can remember again just who I am, who you are, and just what I’ve
created you to do.”

When you started, it was pretty simple: one man or one woman
following one Savior wherever He was going. And we had that burning
desire to learn more of the One who saved us and the desire to share
that knowledge was almost overwhelming. Now with all the other voices in
your life, it must still be that one man or woman following that one
Savior. He wants to go back to that point where you sensed things that
He was calling you to do. It’s still His calling on your life, no matter
what has happened since then. And there was probably a time and a place
where you totally surrendered to Him – no strings attached – maybe at a
camp, a conference, in church, alone in your room.

If you cannot remember that time the calling in your heart is for you
to do so. Jesus wants all of us. In the beginning of your spiritual walk you didn’t
care where that commitment took you, how much money you had, what sacrifices
would be required. You were all His for whatever He wanted you to be and
do. Maybe that unconditional surrender has become a conditional
surrender, encumbered by your position, your possessions, your
convenience, your comfort, a lot of stuff. And Jesus is calling you back
to that original surrender where it all began.

It’s time to go back to your Galilee – to rekindle your first love
and remember that it’s still all about Jesus. Jesus wants to bring you
back to where it all started so He can take your life where it’s never
gone before!

———————————————————————
Portions from Ron Hutchcrafts (#5087) 11 July 2006
 
Rev. 2:4-5 “But I have this against thee, that thou didst leave thy first love.  Remember therefore whence thou art fallen, and repent and do the first works; or else I come to thee, and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent.”

Barber Shop or Hair Salon Conversation…

1 Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready
always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the
hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Barber Shop or Hair Salon Conversation

The Bible tells the born again believer to have an answer for why you believe what your faith is placed in to those who ask you why. This is a good example of an answer to one of the most common reasons people give for ignoring God and His goodness.

A man went to a barber shop to have his hair and his beard cut as always. He began to have a good conversation with the barber who attended him. They talked about so many things and various subjects. Suddenly, they touched on the subject of God.

The barber said: “Look man, I don’t believe that God exists.”

“Why do you say that?” asked the customer.

Well, it’s so easy; you just have to go out in the street to realize that God does not exist. Oh, tell me, if God exists, would there be so many sick people? Would there be abandoned children? If God exists, there would be neither suffering nor pain. I can’t think of loving a God who permits all of these things.”

The customer thought for a moment, but he didn’t respond because he did not want to start an argument. Especially as he sat in the chair and the barber was using a scissors to trim his hair…

The barber finished his job and the customer left the shop. Just after he left the barber shop, he saw a man in the street with long hair and a beard. It was very long, and a long time since he had his hair cut.

The customer entered the barber shop again and he said to the barber: “You know what? Barbers do not exist.”

“How can you say they don’t exist?” asked the surprised barber. “I am here and I am a barber. Why, I just worked on you!”

“No!” the customer exclaimed. “Barbers don’t exist, because if they did there would be no people with long hair and beards like that man who is outside.”

“Ah, barbers do exist, what happens is that people do not come to me.”

“Exactly!”- affirmed the customer.”That’s the point! God does exist. What happens is people don’t go to Him and do not look for Him. They choose to do it their own way. And the way of mankind is sin. That’s why there’s so much pain and suffering in the world.”

Mark 8:36-37 “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”

So who is to blame for all the ugliness in our world?

Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Back to the beginning for the whole story.

 Gen 3:13-19 “And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So, the Lord God said to the serpent: “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.  And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; in pain, you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, And to dust you shall return.”

WE ARE TO BLAME! Is there a solution?

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have life everlasting.”

Do you have the Son?

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.”

Run Christian, Run…

2 Tim. 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Run Christian, Run….

In scripture we are told our spiritual lives need to be viewed as a race and even as a war. Let’s focus on the race for a moment. As a runner I can relate best to that one. Understand that I am back in the pack but I do understand the preparation and the race itself. Many do not like running but there is so much discipline to be learned by what it takes to run in a race, especially in a Marathon.

Bob Wieland lost both of his legs in Vietnam. But that didn’t stop him from entering and finishing the Los Angeles Marathon. He completed it in a little over one week making every step with his arms and his hands. He even crossed America on his hands. It took him three years to do it!

If anyone had a reason to quit it would be Bob. Yet he chooses to finish his races. Your “race” is any track or ministry that God has set you on in your life. And we each have at least one spiritual gift supporting that race or ministry according to I Corinthians 11. You may have started well, but due to hardships you have stopped running. God encourages and challenges us; Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Or you may have not yet started even the preparation for the race.

There are many Biblical examples of runners who started, stopped but also restarted once they recognized their spiritual failure. Abraham started well, faltered, and got back on track. The race started with God directing him to leave his country, his people and his father’s household and go to a land that God would later show him. How many of us could or would respond to that directive by God. Talk about requiring faith. To his credit he obeyed. He left his comfort zone big. Just think about what he was asked to do and the fact that God did not tell him where He would direct him to. Most great works of God begin that way for our lives. It takes stepping into the water before the waters will part. And we many or most times do not know the paths God will lead us on until we begin the journey or are in the midst of the journey. It requires that trait called faith.

Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

As Abraham journeyed he left behind him a trail of altars of praise. At Shechem God appeared to him and he built an altar there to the Lord. I have a journal I keep that I hope acts as an altar of praise of our lives (Loie and I) for now and for the next generations to view. To God be the glory!!

As with each of us Abraham also failed. Genesis 12 says, “There was a famine…and Abram went down to Egypt.” A hard time hit and Abram’s faith literally went south. In Egypt, Abram made compromises that were unthinkable. A spiritual famine hit his life and his faith weakened for a moment. Out of fear he lied about his relationship with Sarah but God still protected him against himself and the world around him. It’s comforting to me to know that so many great Christians struggled. And more comforting to know that our God does not leave us when we fail. He patiently awaits our return.

I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

But the race was not over for Abraham or for us when we fail. He returned from his detour. Just like the direction we hear God giving to the Churches in Revelation 2:4, 5 “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” he returned to where he had first built an altar. And he returned quick enough so that God did not remove his candlestick or ministry. There he called on the name of the Lord. He went back to the point of his original surrender which is how you get back on track. In our hearts we must go back to the time when God seemed so close and His will seemed so clear. At that original altar we ask for forgiveness and surrendered to Him again.

When that paraplegic marathon participant crossed the finish line in a race he had every reason to quit, he explained it this way: “This was not natural; this was supernatural. It was only done by the grace of God.” That’s how you’ll finish the race you started!
2 Tim. 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Heb 12:1, 2 ” Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

So let’s get going or let’s return!!!!