Insanity On Parade

The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi.  I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: yet I loved Jacob,  And I hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness.    (Mal 1:1-3)

The Coming Days of Challenge

Islam or ChritianityOver the past few weeks it has been anyone’s guess as to what is going to happen next on the world stage.  With our political leaders refusing to accept the fact that you cannot win madmen over with kindness we see more and more the insanity that takes over when men become self serving in their offices as elected officials.   The current batch in control has clearly taken sides against Jacob in favor of Esau so we know what to expect from them. Truly “power corrupts and total power corrupts totally” to quote Lord John Acton.

Islam is the end time enemy of the Church and those who don’t accept that will continue to reach across the  theological aisle and try to find a way to bring opposite  belief systems together as one.  Truth cannot combine with falsehood and produce deeper truth.  God hates mixture and He hasn’t asked for our opinion on the matter.

As Christians we have to choose what we believe.  Is it possible that the God of the Bible and Allah of the Qur’an are one in the same?  Maybe in today’s mixed up version of reality, but not to anyone who holds to the Biblical presentation of God.  Yes it is true that Allah is Arabic for God, but there are many names that are translated as God in other languages and cultures; that doesn’t mean they are representative of the One True God.  For Bible believing Christians there can be only One True God and He certainly is not the one found in the writings of Muhammad.

This does not mean that we are to disrespect another persons beliefs.  But for Christians and Jews God is not an optional character we can make in our own image or around the ideas of others just to avoid conflict.  He made all things and by him all things continue to exist.  In the opening verses of ‘Genesis’ and ‘The Gospel According to John’ God proclaims himself as the Creator of all things who dwells outside of time and has existed from all eternity.  In Genesis we learn that God spoke all things into being.  In the the New Testament Gospel of John we read that God was the Word and by the Word all things came into being; the Word became flesh and dwelt among us so that we could behold his Glory and see God manifested in human form. (John 1:14)

If the Allah of the Qur’an represents God, he is no better than fallen man, and maybe even worse.  He offers benefits for evil actions and promises impurity for those who will submit do his evil bidding.  The God of the Bible says we are to love others, while Allah commands his followers to hate and subjugate everyone that differs from them.  The God of the Bible reveals women as a gift and helpmeet from God to be honored and loved, while Allah sees them as nothing more than property to be enslaved and abused for the pleasure of men for being nothing more than the female part of our species.

Doing or accepting whatever is necessary just to get along with others is soon to be the new dividing line for Christians.  We are still to love our enemies as Christ taught us, but we must not make a golden calf of their deities just so we can lose ourselves in the crowd and stay under the radar when the trouble begins.  And it will begin and already is underway.  Even a blind man can see that the line is being drawn in the sand and we must choose this day whether we will serve the God of mediocrity and tolerance or stand up and profess that Jesus is Lord in the midst of a cynical and hostile generation.

The world is clearly losing it’s mind and we must decide as individuals whether we will join the parade of insanity that is making its way down the boulevards of this nation or hold fast to the profession of our faith like Luke who boldly proclaimed: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”  (Acts 4:12 NIV)

Where do we go from here? Part. 2

“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15

Resisiting TemptationWith so many potential dangers facing the Church in America at this present time it is hard to deny that we are under a full on effort to do away with the influence of Christianity in modern America.  With each victory that is achieved by secular humanism and those who oppose Christ, there is a sudden onslaught that follows immediately after like an aftershock that follows an earthquake.  Yet, while it is true that no weapon formed against us will (ultimately) prosper, it is the weapons that we form against ourselves that tend to make us the most vulnerable to attacks against our belief system.

The world John is speaking of is the systems of this world which are currently under the power of Satan until he is finally cast out in the Judgment and thrown into the Lake of Fire with all of his followers.  It is the system of this world that calls us to seek the things of the world and once we have a taste for them it is hard to turn away.  This has always presented believers with great temptation. It kept many from following Jesus when He walked on the earth 2,000 years ago and after his resurrection it called others away from the true faith. We see this with the rich young ruler of Matthew 19 and with Ananias and Sapphira from Acts Chapter 5.

Crucifying the appetites we have for the things of this world will get harder and harder as we get closer to the return of Christ.  We see it now and for many it is hard to believe it can get worse, but I assure you it can and it will get much, much worse.  Today the Church resembles the world in so many ways that it is hard to distinguish where they differ except in the words they confess to believe.  Many find it hard to stand for traditional beliefs and morals and choose instead to take a neutral position on the critical moral issues of the day like abortion, traditional marriage, adultery or homosexuality in the Church.  Yet Jesus warned us to be hot or cold or He would spit us out in the day of Judgment.

In my  travels to foreign lands over the years I discovered a great truth about our nation that every year becomes easier to recognize and quite impossible to deny.  One of the most powerful and corrupting forces in our world today is the American Pop Culture.  Wherever it goes it sneaks in under the guise of youthful folly or innocence but soon decays into a powerful force for corruption and quickly tears away at the moral structures of the society by causing rebellion among the youth.  We need only look at today’s popular music and the low standards of morality on display in the many popular young stars of today to see of how far the moral compass of our young people has fallen.  The Media, Hollywood and the Western Pop Music Culture is largely controlled by Moloch and many of our youngest and most talented are sacrificed on this demonic alter on a daily basis.

The lust for fame and fortune has corrupted the hearts of many who think they can dip their foot into Moloch’s fire and come away unscathed or just slightly damaged.  This is the same trick the devil used on Eve and untold millions of people since then.  But Jesus warned us not to seek the treasures of this world where moth and rust do corrupt and thieves break in and steal.  You will never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.

Today many of the most influential teachers of the Bible talk about nothing more than how to get rich in the things of this world. They sell themselves like the heathen and call believers to follow their teachings which have little or nothing to do with the things Jesus taught.  They believe they possess all things but in fact they are possessed by the things they seek.  These will find it hard to walk away from them when the world draws it’s line in the sand and says CHOOSE!

Like it or not we are headed for hard times and I wouldn’t count on being raptured out before things hit the fan and our faith is tested with fire.  It is already happening to Christians in the mid-east and the Third World and if we think we are exempt because we are God’s favorites we might want to revisit the passage from 2 Timothy 3:12 and hope we are found worthy to endure what is coming.

Draw your loved ones close to you and do whatever you can to strengthen the things that remain.  Our hope is in the Lord, but our faith will surely be tested in the days to come.

 

Where do we go from here? Part 1

The Bible and the ConstituionThis week has seen dramatic results from the Supreme Court in cases having to do with The Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) and the legalization of same sex marriage in all 50 states.  Both received the Courts endorsement and a claim that they were protected by the Constitution.  This weeks outcome was predictable for many in light of past Supreme Court rulings that have virtually ignored the Founding Fathers’ clear meanings in favor of interpreting the original intent according to contemporary moral standards.

For those Christians who accept the Bible as God’s playbook for the human race, these rulings are a wake-up call to the prophetic timetable of the Scriptures.  The fact that they are happening when so many other signs of the times can be seen taking place all around us raises the question: What does it mean to Christian believers and where do we go from here?  There are those who will step back and say. God knows and He is in control, while others  will direct their efforts to continuing the fight in the political arena and focus their prayers, resources and energies on trying to elect candidates who hold to the traditional interpretation of the Constitution and historically accepted moral values.

The problem is in many ways similar to the rift between Conservative and Liberal ideologies in the political arena.  Those who hold liberal views appear to have no definable moral standards other than ‘ to each his or her own’ or those that that are adjustable to fit their argument; while those who hold to Conservative standards work from a clearly defined code of ethics and morality.  How this affects the argument is clear: true liberals care only about winning while true conservatives want to win, but will not stoop to methods and actions that go against their code of moral ethics. Anyone who doubts this need only look at the current  government scandals to see exactly what I am saying.

For the modern Christian, knowing just what to do about all this it is not as simple as it may seem.  Many Evangelical (sic) Churches yielding to a liberal view of the Bible are crying out  “Olly, Olly Oxen Free”  to anyone who claims faith in Christ.  This is certainly the case of the Emergent or Emerging churches and many of the traditional denominations as well.  This could also be applied to many of the seeker friendly churches.  With the acceptance of women bishops, homosexual clergy, universal salvation and the elimination of hell and judgment from their belief systems, Post Modernism is drawing a pink line in the sand and asking  ‘If you cross it,  what’s the big deal?’

At times like this, an Amish Church model seems absolutely reasonable and offers an approach to God that is essentially endorsed by the Scriptures.  “Come out from among them and be ye separate’  certainly is a response that is reasonable in view of the current trends of moral relativism.  From another point of view, I have many friends who are returning to the Roman Catholic Church because of the stability that it represents on issues like abortion, marriage and traditional family values.  If only they could really predict where the new Pope is headed.  His recent edict on the environment and climate change sounded so much like the liberal view it may leave some of them wondering if they made the right decision.

In the end I believe that God will truly sort it all out . . . but by His standards not ours.  As I recently heard Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias say in response to a reporters question about homosexuality:  “God gives you the most sacred gift of the perogative of choice, but God does not give you the privilege of determining a different outcome to what the choice will entail. The consequences are bound to the choice.”

From a prophetic position I believe everything must now be viewed through the lens filter of Israels re-establishment as a nation in 1948 and the 6 Day War of 1967 from which point Israel will no longer be trodden under the feet of the Gentiles.  To me, those events fulfill the prophetic timeline that Scripture has given as the beginning of the end.  Therefore things are racing toward God’s final conclusion and events will move at an astounding pace just as they are right now.  Of course the question is then:  How do we determine the time frame of a generation when we consider the passage from Matthew 24:30-42 ?

I will consider that more in Pt. 2 of this series in just a few days.  In the meantime verse 42 gives us all some good advice to consider.

 

 

 

Prayer for Come Alive Ministries

CreationFestIn 1980 I met Harry Thomas, Jr.  for the first time when he walked into my newly opened ‘Good Samaritan Coffeehouse’ on a hot Friday night in June.  Harry is the President of ‘Come Alive Ministries’  in Medford, New Jersey and they had just taken over the local Jesus Festival from Calvary Assembly and were looking for some volunteers to help with the festival.   Harry and I became fast friends that night and several of the newly converted street people who came to the Good Samaritan volunteered to help and received free tickets to the Festival.  It was a great trade off and they all had a good time and got a powerful experience in their new found faith in the process.

Since that night in 1980 Harry has been one of my closest friends and a trusted adviser in whom I have the greatest confidence as a genuine Man of God.  Over the years I spoke at the Creation Festival in Pennsylvania many times, which was always a yearly highlight for Jolyn and the children as well.  I can still see my kids sitting high up on the stage scaffolding looking down on of our favorite Christian bands as they ministered to the tens of thousands of young people sitting in the vast field of grass in front of the big Creation main stage.

In 2004 and 2006 Harry and his staff at ‘Come Alive Ministries’ put together the ‘Friendship Festival’ in Morocco by invitation of the Muslim run government there.  Several popular Christian bands volunteered to go in an effort to reach across the aisle as an act of Christian love to the people of Morocco and their musical community.  Come Alive Ministries financed the festival there out of their own pocket for two years.  The musicians who went all paid there own way out of a desire to reach out to the Muslim people of Morocco with the love of Christ.  Tens of thousands attended both years and it was a fantastic experience for all who went from the body of Christ to share their ministry.

After those first two years I shared my thoughts with Harry and suggested that, in my opinion, the increasing radical elements of Islam were making it too dangerous for them to continue doing the festival in Morocco.  Harry had himself come to that conclusion and discontinued the Friendship Festival after 2 years.

Come Alive Ministries currently produces 4 Christian festivals in the US which are:

Creation East – Mt. Union, PA  June 24-27

Ichthus – Lexington, KY   July 8 – 11

Creation/Sonshine Festival –  Somerset, WI     July 16 – 18

Creation West – Tri Cities, WA     July 30 – August 1

I am asking all those who read this blog to please pray for Harry and his staff for these upcoming festivals.  With the current warnings of potential threats to Christians from homegrown ISIS sympathizers I feel it is imperative that we ask God to surround these festivals with protecting angels to watch over the attendees and keep this enemy
from bringing harm to anyone.  With tens of thousands of believers attending each of these Christian events I believe they are a high priority for our prayer lists.

This is especially critical for the ‘Creation/Sonshine Festival’ in mid-July as there is a massive population of Muslim Somali Immigrants in nearby Minneapolis/St. Paul which is just over 40 miles from where the Sonshine Festival is being held this year in Somerset, Wisconsin.  Somalia has one of the largest populations of radical Muslims in the world so you can see why I am asking so adamantly that you to pray for the staff and those who will attend the Creation/Sonshine Festival.

Many thousands of people young and old will commit their lives to Christ at these festivals, as we have seen every year since Harry and his then partner Tim Landis began doing The Creation Festival in 1979.  Creation East is their biggest event averaging around 100,000 in attendance each year.  If you have never been to a CreationFest event I assure you it is something you will never forget.   And if you are anywhere near one of these upcoming festivals it’s not too late to make it a special summer event for you and your family;  especially if you have young family members who are believers or are teetering on the edge of becoming one.

Again, please make a concerted effort to pray for these festivals for Divine protection for those who attend and all of the many staff members, speakers, musicians and volunteers who make these events such a powerful witness for our Creator.  If you can forward this Blog to your friends and family that you know will pray as well I would deeply appreciate if.

Visit the Creation Festival website for more information about ticket prices: http://creationfest.com/

Thank you for your prayers in advance.

Craig

 

 

 

 

Who Am I? What Am I? Where Am I Going?

                                                  
Gender Neutral BathroomIt seems today there is a tremendous spirit of confusion that has come upon America as many are struggling with the idea of identity.  We hear of Bruce Jenner who recently decided that he has been a she all of his life and now we have Rachel Dolezal. the NAACP leader who can’t figure out if she is white or black.  School children are no longer to be called boys or girls but ‘purple penguins’.

Identity confusion is not only happening in the public square today, it has reached epidemic proportions in the halls of power of our government.  Our President apologizes for America every time he gets a chance, and those who serve in or support his administration are confused about whether we are a good country or a bad one.  Should we fight against our enemies and those who want to destroy us or should we try to find them jobs and educate and equip them to be better at the evil they want to spread across the land?  Truly a spirit of confusion has come upon us and many don’t know who or what they are, or where they will stand on issues of right and wrong.

In religious circles, many can’t figure out if God is good or evil.  Christianity promotes the idea that God is Love while Islam says he hates everyone except those who dedicate themselves to killing those who God hates.  Is the Bible truly the Word of God or can we throw it out and settle for the fact that no one can really know the Truth and one opinion is just as good as another?  Some people are so confused they say there are only two things they won’t talk about:  religion or politics!  The two things that have the most impact on our life and they won’t even talk about them.  I guess they figure it will all work itself out in the end.

But know this: God is not confused about Who He is, neither has He given believers a spirit of confusion.  He knows exactly Who He is and He knows exactly what He is doing, how it all began and how and when he will put an end to all the nonsense.  He has not set before us a buffet of options that will all eventually take us to Paradise.  He clearly proclaims that there is only One way to the Father and that it is through the Lord Jesus Christ.  His Holy Son isn’t on the ballot to be voted on in 2016.  He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

“But what about Free Will” some might ask.  It is true.  Each of us can choose what we believe about life, about God and how we want to live our lives.  He will not stop us from making our choices one way or the other.  What we don’t get to choose is the outcome of those choices.  God has reserved that privilege for Himself.  And in this there is no confusion either.  And what does Jesus say about that?  “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” (John 12:48)

So in spite of all the confusion that is going on around us, let those of us who profess to be Christians hold fast to the surety that God gives us about his nature, his identity and about his Son, Jesus Christ.  Soon we may have to take a stand against the tide of evil and confusion that seeks to break down the Constitutional dam that our forefathers created to protect our nation.  If we fail to turn back the tide of confusion that is quickly becoming a flood of iniquity we must be prepared to suffer for our beliefs, as many in other countries are already paying the price for their faith.

It is truly a time to know what we believe.  The things we hold to as truth in this life may soon be tested by hardship and persecution.  Regardless of what the world believes we must hold fast to the things we know to be true.  The time may soon come when we may have no other witness except that of the Spirit, the Word and the Promises of God found in the scriptures.  As Peter forewarned us:  “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;”  (1 Peter 4:1)

Surviving the Raging War of Ideologies

confusion“Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.”     Matthew 26:31

In a rapidly changing America quickly casting off the restraints of Scripture, there is a growing theme that can be heard in the cries of racism, gender identity, tolerance and political correctness.  This nation once largely defined by its unique Judeo-Christian foundations now finds itself trying to survive an aggressive top-down effort  to define us by our differences rather than our similarities.  Where  once we proudly held the term ‘Christian nation’ as something almost taken for granted, we have now driven God out of the public square as though we were ashamed to admit to what we once were as a Nation.

This has happened before and King David wrote about it in the 2nd Psalm:   “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sits in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” Ps. 2:1-4

The message is clear and simple:  cast off God’s Word and evict his anointed King (Jesus) from your land and what follows is the downfall of the nation.  Again the Psalmist writes, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD;  Ps. 33:12a   It isn’t hard for the logical mind to see the outcome of what happens when a nation or people relinquishes that identity: where once they were blessed they now become cursed.

We are at war in America and it is a war of ideologies.  Though we historically have cherished and protected the right of individual thought and ideals, there was at the same time a unity which drove us to stick together as a people.  What we see now is an aggressive and growing effort to replace that unity with uniformity. It would do us well to remember the story of the Tower of Babel. For Christian believers we cannot pitch our tents where our God no longer dwells. The courage to remain strangers in a strange land rather than to buy into the philosophies of those who reject our King is the price we pay for responding to Jesus’s words: “follow me”.

What we see before us today is the devils program to smite the shepherd in an effort to scatter the sheep.  But Jesus proclaimed: “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” (Lk. 10:18)  We must comfort ourselves with the knowledge that our Kingdom is not of this world.  However, we must continue to declare Jesus as Lord in the marketplace of ideas if we are to restrain those forces that seek to destroy our nation outright and take us down the broad road of uncertainty and indifference.  This is the gate on the road that leads to destruction, and as we can truly see today, “there are many who enter through it.” (Matt. 7:13)

The American Church is being overrun by a laissez faire  (Let it be or let it happen) interpretation of God’s Word that is gaining great momentum today.  However, what works in the marketplace of economy is anathema in the realm of Spiritual Truth.  If we continue to lower our standards for the sake of uniformity and tolerance we will soon see that we have no standards at all.  By the believer it must always be said: “Let God be true and every man a liar”. (Romans 3:4)  We must not view tolerance and popularity as an improvement on orthodoxy, regardless of the pressure brought to bear on us to do so.  “There is a way that seems right to a man but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Prov. 16:25

While our leaders seek to preserve their own fortunes by accepting the ideologies of other nations, as Christians we must stay the course that was set by God and followed by our Founding Fathers.  As that great patriot Thomas Paine once said : “I prefer peace. But if trouble must come, let it come in my time, so that my children can live in peace.”  Part of that includes the responsibility to vote your conscience in the coming elections.  This is the great gift our Founding Fathers bestowed upon us.  If you appreciate that gift, the best way to thank them is to exercise the right to do so.  But let it be your conscience that guides you and not the  voice of popularity, extreme tolerance and uniformity.  Our nations future is at stake and those of us who love America must protect it for our children and grandchildren for as long as we can.

 

Even So Lord Jesus, Come !

Satan in the GardenIt’s been over a month since I posted anything here.  I have been sick with a respiratory virus that both Jolyn and I got during a visit to the hospital.  During that same time I have lost several friends to cancer.  It has been a rough year so far for many that I know who have lost their loved ones.  However, from a believers perspective it is  a time in our world when we can say that many of them are better off having left this insanity behind them.  The world seems to be going crazy at warp speed and no one in power seems able or eager to stop it.

Truly it is the time spoken of by the Prophet Isaiah: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”  (Isa. 5:20)  Those who promote and practice immorality and open repugnance to God’s Laws are being lauded as heroes of freedom, while those who proclaim the Christian message of true freedom in Christ are marked as foolish and treated as someone with nothing of real importance to say. Yet the Scriptures are clear in this matter: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.   Those who sow to the flesh shall reap corruption and they will receive the due penalty of their error when they stand before God in judgment.  Gal. 6:7 and Romans 1:27

In less than twenty years the percentage of Americans professing faith in Christ has declined by over 10% and among those born after 1980 the news is even more bleak.  It is very likely that preaching the Gospel could soon be considered a criminal act in this country. We are truly fulfilling the end time prophecies that declare there will be a falling away before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Of course God is always in control and I am sure nothing surprises Him when it comes to man’s potential for evil.  It is not hard to believe in times such as these that much of the growth taking place in so-called Christian institutions in the West is from such a liberal perspective as to even deny the reality of hell and judgment.  The Emergent church movement especially promotes this idea.  They consider it unjust for a loving God to send someone to hell. 

Yet we can thank God that His Word is true and He cannot lie.  We can also thank Him for exposing the primary theme of the Adversary from the very beginning of God’s revelation to man.  We see him in the guise of the serpent posing this question to Eve in Eden: ” Hath God said? “  So in reality nothing has changed and we can easily see that he is still the father lies.

So what are we to do in the face of this ongoing evil that started long ago and continues today with the force of modern technology to thrust it out into the open marketplace for all who are interested?  Let us not forget that the media and all forms of modern communications take place in the air around us.  Knowing this we can now understand why Satan is called “the prince of the power of the air”.  (Eph.2:2)

We would do well as Christian’s to limit the exposure we have to the vile filth that is so constantly vomited upon the human race from the media and entertainment industry titans who, except for a few lone soldiers,  have no desire to promote the Revelation and Truth that God has given to us in the Bible.   Those of us who are in the late time of our life can only wonder what lies ahead for our children and grandchildren if the Lord tarries for another hundred years.

There is little evidence in the Scriptures that things will get better before they get much worse.  And now we see science and technology hard at work attempting to take God’s place and create their version of man through modern robotics and bio-technology.  But God breathed into man the Spirit of Life and with it came the light of consciousness.   Some leading minds are already saying that these new created copies of God’s work could in fact be the undoing of our species, bringing in a world filled with computerized, soulless cyborgs possessing a similar determination to what we are seeing in the world today:  destroy their creator and wipe out any controls that mankind would have over them.

So even in the world of high technology man cannot overthrow God’s plan.   And as we draw closer to the final outcome, the chickens may indeed be coming home to roost.

 


Safe in the Arms of God

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,  by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”    2 Peter 1:2-4 NKJV

                                                       ‘Safe in the Arms of God’

Safe in GodOn April 28th I will celebrate 41 years of walking with the Lord.  Looking back I marvel at how quickly the time has passed.  So many things have happened in my life and I can see the  hand of the Lord fulfilling his promises to guide me by his Word and the Holy Spirit.  There have also been those times when I have listened to my own mind and strayed from the perfect path.  Yet through it all I can hear his voice today saying to me, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

Peter wrote about the exceeding great and precious promises that have made us “partakers of the divine nature” and truly these represent the solid rock upon which our faith stands.  It is the Promises of God and His faithfulness to his Word that keeps us safe and will ultimately bring us into the future He has planned for us.  As the Apostle Paul so eloquently reminded us, :“. . . neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Rom. 8:38-39)

We are living in a dark world today and it is certainly a time to consider our walk with Christ and how we can be that ‘city on the hill’ that sheds light into the darkness.  But we should not fear these things as though they have caught us off guard.  God is in perfect control and none of what is happening today is a surprise to Him.  In reality, there is no such thing as darkness.  It is only the absence of Light.  We have the Light of God shining in us and according to God’s Word, we are the Light of the world. (Matt. 5:14)

There are many versions being presented about where we are in the Biblical timeline and when the Lord will return.  Some await the rapture while others prepare for tribulation. We hear different Scripture interpretations presented on the radio or television or preached in Churches according to the eschatology that they have come to understand and believe.  All of these things hopefully keep us searching the Scriptures.  But it is not the getting of them right that is our hope of Eternal Life.  If winning the race depends upon our ability to get it all right I think Heaven need not be any larger than an efficiency apartment as there will be so few who make it there.

Our hope is in Christ.  He got it right for us.  He satisfied all of God’s requirements and if we follow Him He will bring us safely home.  He went to the Cross to prepare a place for us that where He is we may be also. (John 14:2-3))  After he had risen from the grave Jesus told his disciples, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. (Acts 1:7)   Yet He also told them that they would be his witnesses.  This is why God left us here on the earth and why He has given us the Holy Spirit. To be witnesses to Jesus Christ.

Does that mean we should all board an airplane for Africa or India or some other place to become missionaries?  No!  Some are called to do this and they will.  Does it mean we are to start an evangelistic ministry and travel the world preaching?  Not necessarily. Some are called to do this and if they are we pray that they will.  But what we are all called to do is share our faith by our words, our resources and our life wherever God has us and with whomever He brings into our lives.

If we have money to support those who are on the front lines we should;  what time we can give to support the cause of Christ, we should give it;  if we are called to suffer for our faith like so many today in places where evil and terror are raging,, God will give us the strength  to endure and witness to Him.  We should all pray fervently for those who are suffering for their faith and those on the front lines of ministry in dangerous places.

What I have found is that if you make yourself available, God will tell you what to do and equip you to do it.  We all have gifts that He can use for his purposes.  Let Christ use you today to be one of his witnesses in this world.  And while we wait for His return. let us rejoice in knowing that He keeps his promises, and we are safe in our Father’s care.

 

 

 

 

The Infinite Blessings of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The resurrection“And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:  And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.  And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.”  Matt. 28:2-7

 

The Infinite Blessings of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

For those of us who live in this tangible and often harsh reality of daily life, it is hard to imagine what it must have been like to be one of those who followed Jesus when He walked on the earth 2,000 years ago.  I often ponder the different personalities of those chosen to be his disciples.   How gracious are God’s mercies that He would allow such common people to be witnesses of the glory of his only begotten Son’s life, death and Resurrection.  “Truly he hath chosen the foolish things to confound the wise.”  Although none of them actually saw Jesus come out of the grave, Peter, James and John saw a glimpse of his glorified state when Moses and Elijah appeared to them on the Mount of Transfiguration and they heard the voice of God speak from Heaven: “This is my beloved Son; hear ye Him.”

With all the talk about Iran, North Korea and other nations getting the atomic bomb, I don’t think there is any comparison in that potential scenario to the power that was released that morning when Jesus came forth from the grave, triumphant over death, hell and the grave.  The one has the power only to destroy while the other has the Power to give new and unending Life.  Because of the Power of the Resurrection we need not fear the limited reality of that which can only hasten our journey to where we are ultimately headed.

Today we celebrate and mourn our Saviors death on the cross and I can’t help remembering something Frank Costantino used to say whenever we encountered someone who thought ex-convicts like us shouldn’t be in the pulpit preaching the Gospel.  He would always remind them that the first person in heaven was a death row inmate Jesus met in jail.  That’s a wake-up call for all who believe that their own righteousness qualifies them for a place in heaven.

I myself have no doubts about the benefit of Christ’s resurrection in my life.  God took someone who had no idea what life was all about; someone who, like the prodigal son, had wasted his life wandering in the wilderness not knowing if there was really anything worth living for.  On April 28th, 1974 God gave me the faith to believe in His Son and it has kept me going for the last 40+ years.  I don’t believe in the Resurrected Life.  I know it is true!  It happened to me that day.

As we see the aggressive attacks on Christian believers in our own country and around the world, let us focus are hearts on the Truth of God’s Word and the exceeding great and precious promises that are found there in the Scriptures.  We are pilgrims just passing through this world.  This is not our home and we have an eternal dwelling place with God.  let us be thankful for the One who made that possible by his death and resurrection.  And let pray and testify to whoever will listen that Jesus Christ has risen from the grave and He offers Eternal Life to those who believe and follow him.

As you contemplate the blessings of being one of his children, may the Lord bless you and your family and comfort you in your faith and trust in the Savior.  He is risen!  The Lord is risen indeed!  Let us rejoice in that fact as we await his soon return when we finally leave this world behind and go to the place prepared for us by the sacrifice of God’s son Jesus Christ.

Come Out From Among Them – Part 3

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”  1 Pet. 4:17

                                                                               Come Out From Among Them – Part 3
Judgment_in_the_house_of_GodIf you look at what is happening in the world today it is hard not to conclude that we are on the verge of the fulfillment of many things prophesied in the Scriptures.  Since the re-establishment of the nation of Israel in 1948, and the fulfillment of Luke 21:24 in 1967, the world has rocketed forward as if in a desperate plunge toward the final Day of Judgment.   We see what is happening in the Middle East and in the rapidly changing culture of Western Civilization and it is easy to conclude that Jesus is coming soon.

It seems as though all things are lined up for a major Biblical event and one of the most significant signs has to do with the falling away of the Church.  In fact according to several current statistical sources, the second largest block of religions in the world behind Christianity is not Islam, it is non-believers and atheists.  And it is growing rapidly in Europe and in America.

For me, an awakening point took place on October 2,  2009 with the Amish Schoolhouse shooting in Pennsylvania.  During this tragedy the world was given an heroic demonstration of true Christian faith by several young Old Order Amish girls in that one room schoolhouse that day.  The killer, Charles Roberts, was a local delivery man well known to the Amish in that area.  He went into the schoolhouse to kill the children and eventually murdered 5 girls and injured 5 others.  Thirteen year old Marian Stoltzfus Fisher told Charley Roberts to kill her first in order to protect the younger girls, hoping the police would get there before he could kill them too. I was told that a couple of the other older girls did the same after her.  He killed them and then proceeded to shoot all the others, after which he turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.

The testimony of these young girls ― especially the older ones who told him to kill them first to protect their younger ones ― was the most heroic example of true faith that I have seen so far in my lifetime.  This was followed by the Elders of the Amish community over the next few days visiting the killers family and letting them know they were there to support them as well.  When asked by the killers wife why they would do that they replied, “You and your children have lost their family too. We forgive Charley for what he has done, as Christ has forgiven us.”   One of those elders was the father of one of the children who died in the shooting.

Christianity is not rooted in all of the outward frills and bells that we have come to view as so important today in the pentecostal/charismatic presentation of our faith.  In fact Paul tells us in 1 Cor. 13 that If we have all of the gifts operating in power and glory and do not have genuine Love we are like “sounding brass or tinkling symbols”.

Today so many teachers present Hebrews chapter 11 as a method of using faith to get what we want from God.  But if you read the entire chapter you will see that those heroes of the Faith mentioned there were referred to for what they were willing to sacrifice and give rather than how much they got from their faith.  Theirs was not a name it and claim it approach to God.  It was obedience to His revealed will at all cost.

I believe that unless our faith takes us beyond personal convenience for our brothers and sisters we may not have the real thing at all.  Every day we see the enemy of our faith coming in to challenge us and even kill us like it did that day in the schoolhouse in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Those who are waiting to be delivered from such things by being raptured out before the trouble starts may want to look around them and search their heart to see if they are prepared for what may be coming soon.

God is brushing aside all of those things that we have come to depend upon that take His place in our lives.  All of the security blankets of government, economic stability, modern technology and worldly attachments may soon be gone and we must ask ourselves, in the face of the loss of these things: will our faith stand the test?  I say that for you as well as for myself.  “Judgment must first begin at the House of God. “

In the end we know that God always has a remnant just as He did in 1 Kings 19:18.   Let us press in to the Faith that was once delivered to the saints to ensure ourselves that we are among them.  Don’t put your faith in the institutions of man.  Only God is able to deliver us into that promised city where righteousness dwells.  He has provided all that is needed in the death and sacrifice of his Son Jesus Christ.  But as Peter also reminds us:

“Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;”  (1 Peter 4:1)

May we find in ourselves, and in each other, the strength to do what is right in these trying times.  And let us dedicate ourselves to strengthening the brethren by encouraging them to look to the Lord for faith and courage  to endure what lies ahead.

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