Friday, August 29, 2014

Is the End Near?

 

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Look and be amazed

at what's happening

among the nations!

Even if you were told,

you would never believe

what's taking place now.

Habakkuk 1:5

Yes of course I am taking this verse "out of context."  But the principle is sound and extremely important at this time in history!  The nations of the world are in turmoil and distress.  The financial stability of the world is being questioned on every hand and may be on the brink of an unprecedented collapse.  Those who hold that Christianity is a false religion are multiplying as they seek to destroy all who call on the name of Jesus!  And leaders with common sense are rare!

It certainly seems that a major shift in the "world as we know it" is at hand.  Will this shift be the End of Days or just another major marker on the time line of history? 

We cannot know for sure where we stand in relation to the End, but we can know Jesus who stands at every point on the road that leads from the Garden of Eden through the Garden of Gethsemane to the Glories of Heaven!  

Two thousand years ago Jesus told His disciples that He was going away and that they could not go with Him at that time.  Then Jesus said "DON'T LET YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED!"  Still today, those words remind us that trusting Jesus is the only place of peace and rest, even when the world is falling apart!  When you are holding on to Jesus Christ even death cannot harm you.

"Lord Jesus, help me today to hold Your hand and to trust that no matter what happens in the world around me, or even to me, that all is well!  Jesus I long to see Your glorious face.  Come quickly, Lord.  Amen."

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cry for Justice!

 

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If you hire poor people to work for you, don't hold back their pay, whether they are Israelites or foreigners who live in your town. Pay them their wages at the end of each day, because they live in poverty and need the money to survive. If you don't pay them on time, they will complain about you to the Lord, and he will punish you.

Deuteronomy 24:14-15

In the streets of a town near St. Louis, Missouri you can hear the cry for justice! After a young man was killed during a confrontation with a police officer the local community and many people from around the country marched, rallied, looted, rioted and demanded justice! Absent from their cry was a demand for TRUTH! And the justice they demanded apparently did not have to reflect the truth in order to satisfy their desires.


Many years ago a co-worker threatened me with a knife while I was a work. I was able to get away unharmed, but I immediately wanted to report the problem and "get him fired!" When I prayed, I decided to leave the matter in the hands of God for whatever justice He decided was appropriate. Within three days the man was caught lying and was fired! This man taught me a valuable lesson! When you see the need for justice in the world around you call out to God and leave the matter with Him! His justice is awesome and relieves you of the burden of trying to avenge yourself!


I remember as a child the ultimate threat of my mother was "I will tell your father when he gets home!" That always turned me into an obedient child almost immediately. The justice of my father was not a pleasant prospect.


The justice of God is a very sobering reality. God sees everything, so His justice is certainly fair, but if you are the target of God's justice it is also frightening! Remember, that what we all need from God is MERCY not JUSTICE!


"Lord Jesus, I lay all my desire to get revenge with others at Your feet and ask that You give them Your Mercy rather than Justice! Help me to rest in the forgiveness and mercy that You meet out to all men who turn to You! And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Only One I Need!

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We are people of flesh and blood. This is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying.   Jesus clearly did not come to help angels, but he did come to help Abraham's descendants.  He had to be one of us, so he could serve God as our merciful and faithful high priest and sacrifice himself for the forgiveness of our sins.   And now that Jesus has suffered and was tempted, he can help anyone else who is tempted.

Hebrews 2:14-18

Are you afraid of dying? The fear of death makes perfect sense if you are under the control of Satan because death will usher you into the pits of Hell! The "Blessed Assurance" of knowing Jesus Christ is that death will bring you into the Glorious presence of the Lord, and you will remain with Him forever!


There are some followers of Jesus who will not have to die at all. They are the ones that are still alive when He returns. According to the Bible it will be a time when there is much trouble in the world, and then without warning and in the blink of an eye, history itself will transform into the new reality that "Jesus Has Returned."


Until Jesus returns the Devil will try to make you fear death again and will make sure that you are bombarded with temptations! Remember, Jesus came to destroy Satan and the work that the Evil One does. So Jesus takes away your fear of death and helps you with your temptations!


The next time you are tempted to sin or become afraid of death again, call on the Name of Jesus. Say it out loud!


"Jesus, I know because of Your death I do not have to fear dying. And Lord, when I am tempted You are the only one who can help! Lord, You are the only one I need here on earth now and forever! Amen."

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sing With Heaven’s Choir!

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Then I heard all beings in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and in the sea offer praise. Together, all of them were saying,

“Praise, honor, glory,

and strength

forever and ever

to the one who sits

on the throne

and to the Lamb!”

Revelation 5:13

This verse refers to an amazing reality that we almost always overlook! When you sing praises to God here on earth it may be that all the beings in Heaven are singing with you!

Now frankly, I've got to pause and ponder that for a minute. When I praise God even while taking a shower, all of God's creation that now dwell in Heaven may be raising their voices to join me in praising Him!


The Bible does not say that this always happens, but it does say that it happens! Heaven and earth join together to sing adulation and praise to God!


This truth leaves me with four options when it comes to praising God. I can praise God alone with no one else joining in my worship of the Father. I can praise God with others here on this earth. Also, I can ask God to reveal to me what song is being sung before His throne so that I can join in with Heaven's singing. And finally, I can choose a song of praise and humbly ask God if Heaven could join me in bringing praise before His throne!


So when the worship in song in your fellowship is especially glorious, it may be that Heaven itself is joining you in praising God! Even the possibility of Heaven joining in with our worship makes me want to be there on time or even early, and makes me want to praise God as a regular part of every day!

"Lord Jesus, thank You for letting me know that I am part of the praise of Heaven. I don't have to wait to lift my voice in praise in Your hallowed throne room. And may I always be part of Heaven's Choir as we praise Your Name forever. Amen."

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lose Your Head for Jesus!

 

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I saw thrones, and sitting on those thrones were the ones who had been given the right to judge. I also saw the souls of the people who had their heads cut off because they had told about Jesus and preached God's message. They were the same ones who had not worshiped the beast or the idol, and they had refused to let its mark be put on their foreheads or hands. They will come to life and rule with Christ for 1,000 years.

Revelation 20:4

As the Second Coming of Jesus Christ approaches, one predicted means of persecution is rearing it's ugly head! Those who stand in direct opposition to Jesus are using decapitation as a means of execution, and are making video recordings available to the whole world of the gruesome practice!


The very sobering reality is that if you are a follower of Jesus Christ and you refuse to renounce Jesus when confronted by His enemies, you may indeed become a victim of this terrible fate!


Here is an awesome Truth: God will either deliver you from becoming a Martyr or He will deliver you by letting you lose your head for Jesus! Either way as a follower of Jesus Christ you will be delivered!


In the English language saying that someone has "lost his head" may also mean that he is following a path without any regard to practical restraints. That is what every Christian must do in their walk with Jesus here on earth. That means that every follower of Jesus will lose his or her head one way or the other!


Which way is harder? Frankly, staying alive on this earth as you lose your head for Jesus is the harder of the two paths. When you are killed for your faith you are immediately "absent from the body and then present with the Lord."


Of course, you will not seek to become a martyr, but if it comes to you remember that what the enemies of Jesus intend to be a curse will in an instant become the doorway to Eternal Blessings in Heaven!


"Lord Jesus, I will see You soon, either when You come back to earth or I go to Heaven to be with You forever! Help me today to be willing to lose my head for You! Praise Your Holy Name forever! Amen."

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Speak Only God’s Words About Israel!

 

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Balaam said:

“King Balak of Moab brought me

from the hills of Syria

to curse Israel

and announce its doom.

 

But I can't go against God!

He did not curse

or condemn Israel.

 

“From the mountain peaks,

I look down and see Israel,

the obedient people of God.

 

They are living alone in peace.

And though they are many,

they don't bother

the other nations.

“I hope to obey God

for as long as I live

and to die in such peace.”

Numbers 23:7-10 (CEV)

King Balak hired Balaam to pronounce a curse on Israel.  The whole story includes the episode of God giving Balaam's donkey the ability to see an Angel and to speak to Balaam about it.  Even though Balaam was not himself a Jew, he was determined only to speak the words that God gave him to speak.

Around the world today there are many people speaking words of condemnation for Israel.  And the number of people who are willing to bless Israel with their words seems to be growing smaller every day.  Even the United States has become very critical of Israel. 

Today, men and women of God are tempted to join the crowd in cursing Israel.  If you listen to or watch the international media, Israel is described as an "aggressor and occupier" instead of the victim of relentless terrorist attacks and missiles. 

Heed the warning of the story of Balaam.  Don't pronounce curses on Israel.  Only speak the words that God gives you to speak about Israel.  The description of Israel in Numbers 23:10 is still accurate today:

"They are living alone in peace.  And though they are many, they don't bother other nations."

"Lord Jesus help me today to speak only Your words about Israel, and yes Lord about everything else.  May my mouth be a place for You to use to speak the words that You desire others to hear!  And may You be praised forever. Amen."

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Language of the Spirit!

 

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Dear friends, don't believe everyone who claims to have the Spirit of God. Test them all to find out if they really do come from God. Many false prophets have already gone out into the world, and you can know which ones come from God. His Spirit says that Jesus Christ had a truly human body.  But when someone doesn't say this about Jesus, you know this person has a spirit that doesn't come from God and is the enemy of Christ. You knew this enemy was coming into the world and now is already here.

Children, you belong to God, and you have defeated these enemies. God's Spirit is in you and is more powerful than the one who is in the world.  These enemies belong to this world, and the world listens to them, because they speak its language.  We belong to God, and everyone who knows God will listen to us. But the people who don't know God won't listen to us. This is how we can tell the Spirit that speaks the truth from the one that tells lies.

1 John 4:1-6

Have you ever tried to talk to someone who doesn't understand your language?  You probably start by using gestures and objects to define individual words.  You may be able to communicate that you are hungry or thirsty, but to have an in depth dialogue is virtually impossible if they don't know your language. 

The world does not understand the language of the Spirit of God.  When they hear a Christian talk about Jesus Christ and the ways of God it all seems like meaningless sounds. 

Some Christians think that evangelism happens when they teach the language of the Spirit to non-believers.  In doing that people without faith learn doctrines and concepts that do not apply to their lives because they have never decided to let Jesus be their Lord!

Don't spend your life teaching spiritual words to non-spiritual people.  Just as people at the time of the Tower of Babel learned a new language in an instant, God will give the language of the Spirit to those who turn their hearts to Him!  Suddenly, they will read the Bible and be able to understand things that made no sense before! 

"Lord Jesus, increase the size of my spiritual vocabulary today!  Help me to understand more of You and the things of God by listening to Your Words. Thank You for teaching me the language of the Spirit.  And may You be praised forever! Amen."