end times

While We Wait

Over the past year and a half I can think of three times where I heard something that was predicted to happen at a certain time and it made my heart tremble uncontrollably. It caused upheaval of my soul and I even lost sleep due to worry and fear.

But guess what? None of those things has happened. At least not in the timeline that was given.

I wasted my time and energy and lost sleep over nothing. Literally.

This frog 🐸 was sitting on our little bridge this morning. He sat there so still. Like he was waiting for something.

Made me think of myself and how tempting it can be to just…sit and wait for the inevitable “shoe to drop”.

But we are to be busy with the good works God has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10). There is no exception clause that encourages us to hunker down and do nothing when we think we see the end in sight.

Oh, how I so desire that my time and energy is spent on these good works prepared for me instead of wasting them on worry and fear.

Life is so short. Like the one-page introduction in the sweeping novel that is eternity. Oh, to keep this in mind as we sojourn here on earth.

 

But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him”

I Corinthians 2:9

 

A Warning (and a bit of encouragement, too!)

Last year I wrote often about what was happening all around us. I shared much of my journey with you as I tried to process all the changes we were all experiencing in the light of my faith (or lack thereof). As we settled down into the unsettled and uncertain “new” normal, I chose to go back to my normal style of writing, at least for the most part. But today, I want to talk just a bit about all that’s happening around us and simply offer a warning and also some encouragement.

This summer has given us a bit of our old lives back, albeit with shortages and rising prices, the brandishing of sin as never seen before, and the terrifying threats of governments to citizens who won’t do their bidding. And, of course, here in the U.S. there is the very strange phenomenon of the government handing its citizens gobs and gobs of money that it doesn’t have. You have to admit that this is just…weird.

While all this stuff is going on, it’s been nice to experience a bit of normal. The masks are off, the store shelves are mostly full, people are vacationing, and life feels okay for now. But I think we all know it’s temporary. As much as we’d like to believe differently.

The other day I was in a store and overheard a conversation between two women. They looked to be in their sixties and the one mentioned how she had gotten the v-xine and wasn’t sure if she should have and the other women said something in response that I couldn’t hear and then, as they walked away, I heard one of them say that she just feels like something else is coming, although she doesn’t know what. My husband has shared with me that customers and business associates often mention this same thing to him, as well. I think we all know that this unsettled normal we find ourselves in this summer is only temporary. It’s like a bubble that is floating along that has to pop eventually.

I know some of you just don’t want to hear this. It’s overwhelming or too negative for you. And I get it. Sometimes I feel that way, too. You will not offend me if you just don’t want to read this. Go to something else and forget about this particular post.

But for those of you who see it coming and are trying to process, please keep reading.

Jesus gives His followers a warning in Mark 13:5–

And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many.

He continues on in verses 21-23 on this topic of deception–

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the g]”>[g]”>gg]”>]elect. 23 But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand. 

2 Thessalonians 2:3 also warns us not to be deceived–

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of b]”>[b]”>bb]”>]sin is revealed, the son of perdition

 

I believe deception is one of our greatest dangers as we navigate this strange new world. I have been so disappointed to watch well-known Christian after well-known Christian cast their lot in with one side or the other. There is the “great reset” side– the social justice/socialism/left side and there is the “great awakening” side–the freedom/we have rights/”a great revival is coming”/right side.

Please understand: Both sides are dangerous. Both sides represent evil. And Satan is using them both, pitted against each other, to prepare the world for what Revelation says is to come.

You may be thinking: How can you say that??

So let me tell you how.

I have spent many years researching things I never write about here on the blog. Very little is as it seems in this world. If you value truth, it doesn’t take long to figure this out. Many are uncomfortable with what they find out and turn away. Some even mock and ridicule those who talk about these things. (This always makes me laugh a bit because it is so well-documented. I always say that I don’t care at all if you don’t agree with me, but do the research first and then tell me you don’t agree.)

But my point is this: As I have come to recognize that nothing is as it seems, I have also come to understand how Satan uses the Hegelian Dialectic to move the world in the direction he would have it go. The left side and the right side are two wings of the same bird.

It is critical to understand this if you are going to keep yourself from being deceived. And we know from the verses above that deception, which has always been a danger for believers, will ramp up considerably towards the end of this age. I believe we are watching this “ramping up” take place right before our very eyes.

As believers, may we heed Christ’s warnings and keep our eyes on Him. I caution you to keep from aligning with either side. You will find that the one side may talk more about “Jesus” but, if you listen carefully, you will find that the majority are not talking about the Jesus of the Bible.

Discernment is more critical than ever at this time. We cannot let our guards down for a second. I know so many don’t want to live like this. It’s not in them to be a skeptic. They just want to glide along in life. Well, let me tell you a secret–I’d like that, too! But scripture makes it clear in so many places that “gliding along” is never an option for a believer. And when we choose to do so, we end up going the wrong direction. It’s inevitable.

I want to encourage you to really think about what’s happening in light of where we know the world is eventually headed. If you have been around here awhile, you already know that I am most certainly not a date-setter. So the Revelation scenario could be a few years from now or it could be fifty. That’s not my point. My point is that we can see things setting up for what the Bible has told us is coming and deception is occurring at unprecedented levels.

Have you ever watched a small animal that stops with ears pricked as they listen for a predator? They have a God-given sense of danger that they heed. As they stop and intently listen for their predator, they are an example for us. So, we, too, should be aware of our predator (I Peter 5:8).

Blindly lolly-gagging in a meadow is no place for us to be at the moment. We are surrounded by wolves on every side. Many of them are dressed in “sheep’s clothing”. We must be vigilant. But, most importantly, we must stay close to the Shepherd. For He is truly our only hope for protection and comfort and rest.

As I consider this world full of spiritual land-mines that we currently are traveling through, I have to wonder if we genuine Bible-believing Christians are going to end up the very hated minority crushed between the two movements. It will be interesting to watch this all play out.

With this in mind, I did also want to offer some encouragement. As I was reading in Ephesians last week, there was a short passage that profoundly struck me. Let me share it now–

Ephesians 2:4-7–

 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

 

Many days it feels like we’ve landed in an alternate universe. But this universe is so temporary. Paul reminds us in the above passage that we have AGES to come where we are going to experience the EXCEEDING RICHES of God’s grace. Oh, to keep an eternal perspective as we move forward into the unknown on this broken and sinful earth.

So keep your eyes and ears alert to danger. It’s all around now. But don’t let it get you down. This is but a temporary home and we are headed to a wonderful place where there is no sin or Satan or evil plots. And we will be in that home forever!

 

 

Time to Wake Up

Last night at 12:22am, our phone rang. It jarred me out of a very deep sleep and my heart started pounding. It’s not usually a good thing when the phone rings at night and my thoughts went immediately to our parents. It ended up being an automated call about our company’s security system (at 12:22am!) and I started to breathe easily again. But it took a long time for my heart to stop pounding and my brain to slow down.

A few hours later, we woke up to a short beep. We looked around, couldn’t figure it out, and closed our eyes. We were just about back to sleep when we heard it again. It seemed to be coming from my nightstand. I decided it must be some kind of low battery signal from my alarm clock. I unplugged the clock and we settled down for a couple of more hours of sleep. But, no. There it was again! At this third beep, I flew out of bed, turned on the light, and examined my table. Finally, my husband said he thinks it’s the phone. The cordless phone (which I had answered at 12:22am) had lost its charge and was begging to be put back in its cradle. How it lost its charge in just a few short hours is a mystery. That particular phone rarely leaves its cradle and was sitting on it when I answered during the night.

Those rude awakenings made for a rough night of sleep. No wonder I feel so tired this morning.

Those sleep interruptions remind me of the life we are living now. We so badly want to go back to our normal ordinary living but we keep getting jarred awake by discouraging and often nonsensical happenings. We will live for a few days–perhaps even a week or two–and we can forget how much the world has changed. But then something vividly reminds us.

I wrote parts of what you will read below on Facebook the other day, but decided to expand here as many of you are not on Facebook and, also, because I did not include or expand on certain things due to space. I want to warn you that this first part is going to be somewhat discouraging but just keep reading. It gets better.

As we catch bits and pieces of news these past days, we see many disturbing things. In America, It seems like almost every day we hear of laws that will strip us of our rights. We hear of terrible things happening at the borders. We hear of people dying from Covid and from the vaccine. And we hear about supply shortages and higher expenses. Meanwhile the government is throwing money it doesn’t have at its citizens to pacify them. This can’t end well.

There are perhaps even more disturbing happenings from across the world, where we hear of extreme lockdown measures that continue to keep people from traveling even within their own countries. There are massive protests across Europe about these lockdowns, which we never hear about in the mainstream news. A pastor in Canada was recently released from a five week stay in jail for his church’s in-person meetings against his province’s health guidelines. And then there are the reports coming from Israel that there is “medical apartheid” going on. If you aren’t vaccinated, you are viewed as Enemy #1 and with their newly instated “green pass”, only the vaccinated are allowed to eat at restaurants indoors, go to events, and even shop in some stores. Many of their citizens have been forced to be vaccinated or lose their jobs. Now keep in mind–this is over a virus that has a death rate that is actually less than 4% (and that death rate has been falsified in so many ways and with the falsifications being proven by so many different studies and reports that it is hard for any thinking person to deny it.) There’s much more going on in this world. But that’s enough.

Not only is the world in chaos but the church at large is also in major chaos. Here in America, we read of a famous “Christian” singer who was recorded shouting obscenities at his son. We see an ugly debate over a recent Christian book and the promotion of Bethel by a much trusted Christian. The promotion of wokism and social justice in Baptist and other once-solid churches is now the norm. The church has been on a bad trajectory for quite awhile but it has taken on warp speed. Why does it matter what is happening to the American church? I believe it is because she has been a beacon of the Christian faith in this world for many years. It has been she who has sent thousands of missionaries across the world and it is she who has been one of Israel’s greatest supporters. As this American church weakens and is overtaken by apostasy, so the darkness won’t only increase in America, but across the world. (Did you know that many mission organizations aren’t even sharing the Gospel anymore? Or if they do it is as an “add-on” to the person’s current religion? There is much going on in the world of missions. Be careful whom you support.)

What is especially interesting to see is the efforts to draw all people into a one world religion (which we have been told is coming in Revelation 13), with many once-trusted figures joining with false teachers or promoting false doctrine. I recently saw a “Christian” company who is re-making their company with an emphasis on Buddhism, while still claiming to be Christian. I’ve heard of “Christian” pastors and teachers joining with Islam. In fact, it is so common that it’s been given a name: “Chrislam”. There is just so much wrong with the modern day mainstream church across the world. What I have written is just a glimpse into all that’s going on.

But let me encourage you! As the American church has weakened, the true church in other countries is growing. Oftentimes, this is happening in countries where there is much persecution and cost for being a believer. The true church is still so wonderfully alive and well and will always remain so until the Lord returns for her. Yes, she will be small but perhaps we are simply gaining a new understanding of Matthew 7:13-14? Our Lord told us the gate is narrow and few there will be that find it.

Then there are weather events. Did you know that last year in America there were 16 ‘one-billion dollar’ weather events? This means that insurance companies had to pay out at least one billion dollars in coverage. There are usually under ten per year. And this year the Texas freeze has already been a three billion dollar event. So not only is the world going crazy, so is the weather. And that’s just in America. This pattern continues across the world, with an increase in hurricanes, volcanic activity, and earthquakes. The official data shows this increase in activity. I think we can all agree that the weather has seemed to sense the mood of the earth. We hear that it’s global warming causing all this havoc. I tend to believe it is the beginning of the birth pangs as predicted in Matthew 24. Of course, I could be wrong. It’s just an observation.

Meanwhile, technology is exponentially increasing, making possible the mark of the beast as predicted in Revelation 13. One can easily see how the green pass in Israel and the mandatory chipping of employees in Sweden are stepping stones to the mark of the Beast. (Let me be clear: The vaccine is NOT the mark of the beast.) Yes, how they will make the mark of the beast possible is becoming just a little clearer with each passing day. Technology is also now available to see the two witnesses in live time from anywhere in the world through satellites. Anything that we thought was impossible forty or fifty years ago when we read Revelation is now possible. It’s mind-blowing when you really stop to think about it.

And then, finally, the last thing I want to touch on is globalism. I have thought for many years now that it would be quite impossible to have a one world government with a strong America. I believe that we are watching the intentional take-down of this country. I do not say this lightly. The evidence is clearly there. This, along with the failing economies of other countries around the world, will pave the way for a global government. They are already discussing it. Just look up the World Economic Forum and read some of their chilling plans.

I haven’t even mentioned the activity in the middle east that is lining up with scripture in a way that could only be supernatural.

It’s funny because I never really thought before 2020 of the many details and changes that would need to be put in place for the Revelation 13 scenario to come to the world. But now as we are living them, it makes so much sense. It’s not like you can just suddenly have a one world government, a one world religion, and a mark of the beast that is needed to buy and sell. These things can’t just happen instantly. There must be much happening in the years before that.

Now you may be saying to yourself right now “I don’t agree with you“. And I want you to know, first of all, that I am not trying to change your mind. I don’t think it will really matter what we believe about world happenings when the Lord returns. Second of all, I am so gladly willing to hear evidence to the contrary. I would gladly admit it if I am wrong. I simply ask you to do some research on your own before commenting with negative words to this post. Spend some time finding out about the vaccine from doctors who are losing their licenses and reputations to sound the alarm. Read a few news sources that are not carefully controlled. Dig into history to find out the background of current events.

To me–and I know to many of you, as well–it is so clear that the end is near. Everything the Bible predicted is either happening or being set up to happen.

How does one live in a world that is getting ready to end?

It can be tempting to fear and to be anxious. It is tempting to just withdraw and ignore.

And, honestly, I don’t pay much attention to the news anymore. I am not going to change what is happening by knowing about every detail. And we aren’t really getting real news anyway. At least not in America. We are getting a very scripted narrative.

Does anyone else find themselves hunkering down in the midst of all of this and just living a more simple life? One where family, work, and church are the main priorities?

That’s what I find myself doing. And, honestly, if it wasn’t for the wonderings and uncertainty of the future, I’d be happier for it. There is much to be said for the simpler life.

Actually, “hunkering down” is probably not the best term to use. I don’t mean that we shelter in our houses and don’t go out. I am referring more to a life where we invest in our families, treasure fellowship with like-minded believers, and have conversations that actually matter with both the unsaved and the saved. A life where we focus on what’s important.

Our families need us. They need us to be engaged and communicating and laughing with them. They need us to turn away from our phones and our TVs and our activities to love them and teach them about God and His Word.

Our church families need us. I have heard from several different people now how difficult it is to find people to serve in various ministries at local churches. This is so discouraging. We need to be actively serving as we wait for the Lord to come. This is not the time to back out of all of our church ministries.

Our communities need us. I spoke with a woman yesterday whose family is deeply hurting from this past year. Their extended families have been deeply affected economically by Covid and they are trying to help them. But they, themselves, had to take a 10% pay cut. It’s been a rough road to travel for them. I am sure her story could be told a million times over across the world. In fact, many are facing much worse things. Some are struggling to even eat. We need to support those who are hurting however we can. We need to boldly share the Gospel when we are given opportunity. We need to show God’s love in this harsh, harsh world.

It’s time for the alarms around us to wake us up to what’s important. It’s time to wake up to the fact that we are probably never going back to our old “normal”.

This reminds me of the verses from I Thessalonians 5:5-11—

You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be [a]sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

11 Therefore [b]comfort each other and [c]edify one another, just as you also are doing.

We mustn’t sleep as others do but watch and be sober. We are children of the day. Children of the light. And we must keep our eyes open and our armor on.

And don’t forget that one of these days we will be raptured! The Lord has promised that we will escape the wrath to come. We are not going to be here while the earth experiences the worst seven years in its history. Oh, praise the Lord for keeping His own from this terrible time.

Meanwhile, as we traverse the land of “limbo”, waiting for whatever is next, we need to make the best of it and appreciate what we have now. We need to be actively serving our Lord and sharing the Gospel. And we need to be sure we are growing deep roots of faith so that we can stand firm and face whatever may be ahead.

This is not the time to be resting and waiting. We need to be in the Word, learning who God is, learning to trust Him. Another thing that has been tremendously helpful to me is reading stories of missionaries and other Christians who have gone on before us. These are incredibly faith-building and are a wonderful reminder of God’s care and provision in the worst of times.

So hang on tight. It looks like we may be in for quite a ride. But let’s be sure to hang on to the right thing. Stuff will decay. People will let you down. Glory will fade. Only God and His Word are a sure anchor in the turmoil around us.

And so let us cling to Him alone. He will never fail us for He cannot fail.

 

When It’s Time to Turn Off a Sermon

Do you know we get “preached at” every day? Articles, news, songs, shows, movies, blog posts, and commercials are all telling us what we should believe and how we should live. Some are more subtle than others. Then there are the ones that are really obvious.

A few weeks ago, I decided to try a new fitness program. I was excited about it because it looked to be an excellent workout in only thirty minutes. That’s my kind of workout! ;)

I put on my workout clothing, got my weights, and turned on the TV.

“Our word for today is limitless. You are limitless.”

I think I laughed out loud. Anyone with even half a brain recognizes that all humans have limits. Right? Uh, wrong…

Through the course of the next thirty minutes I was told that I have no limits. That I can do anything. And all kinds of other things that were not only false, but totally nonsensical. I was listening to a sermon of the New Age religion, where we can all be divine and become gods.

I listened that first day but I liked the workout and so I made a choice to just ignore what the instructor was saying. But by about the fourth day, two things were really bothering me.

First, something the instructor had said came to my mind as I was doing something later that day. I actually had to consciously tell myself: No, that’s wrong. So I realized that, without a doubt, I was hearing and remembering what she was saying each morning, even in my efforts to ignore her.

And, second, I felt a check in my spirit. Something wasn’t right. I was convicted that these New Age “sermons” did not belong in the home of a believer. Staying true to God and His Word was far more important than being “fit”. There are ways to be fit that don’t compromise me spiritually.

Please don’t hear me saying any “thou shalt nots” here. We all have to make our choices before God about what we are going to listen to and watch every day. I am not your judge. But this experience reminded me that we are being preached at every day. The majority of what we hear is not neutral. It is either for God and goes along with His Word or it is against God and what His Word says (and, if we are honest, we recognize that it is mostly against Him).

The thing that makes this all rather confusing is that much that is being taught in the New Age religion is labeled “Christian”. The fitness instructor wasn’t pretending to be a Christian. She was right out there with her false religion and she wasn’t using Christian lingo. But there are many preaching the false religion of “self glory” and they are using Christianese to do it. And so we have to pay attention.

There are times to turn off sermons, radios, and tvs. There are times to walk away from churches and movies theaters. Here are some things to look for–

Self takes center stage and God is relegated to either the background or rather, oftentimes, takes the role of “genie” who will make your dreams come true.

Self gets the glory.

Self is defined in glowing terms, rather than as an undeserving sinner in need of God’s grace.

• How self feels and what self experiences is more important than what the Bible teaches.

The thing that makes this extra tricky and tempting is that what the New Age religion is teaching us is extremely appealing to our flesh. It is a very pleasant message to hear. It tells us our dreams and self-fulfillment matter. It tells us that we can accomplish anything. It tells us that we are limitless creatures that are able to create our own destinies. It tells us that we are divine within. It tells us that denying ourselves and picking up our cross daily is an archaic command of an old-fashioned religion.

Who doesn’t want that kind of religion?

Only a true believer who is spending time in the Word can see past how good that sounds to the destruction and havoc it actually wreaks both eternally and here on earth.

How important that we Christians pay attention to the sermons we hear every day. What are we being taught that goes against what God teaches in His Word? It is time we got intentional about what we are ingesting into our minds each and every day. Satan has some very powerful tools and he is using them to reach into the hearts and minds of both Christians and non-Christians to sway and move them towards that one world religion that is coming.

We have a responsibility to keep ourselves pure from false religion. And we should have a desire to keep ourselves pure and wholly devoted to God alone. We can only do this by being very consciously aware of the battle that is going on for our hearts and minds and then actually doing something about it to stand firm, hold fast, and prove our undying loyalty to the true King alone.

 

 

 

PLEASE NOTE:

Facebook is not my friend. I have a suspicion that the crackdown on biblical content may be affecting me. I have no way to prove this, of course, but I have noticed that, over the past few weeks, the number “reached” has been radically reduced (which can only mean it’s not being put on the news feed by Facebook). This is confirmed by the dearth of responses that most posts are receiving as compared to just a few weeks ago. If you are on Facebook and appreciate any post I share then your liking, commenting, and sharing it will help get the posts on the news feed. I appreciate any help you give. However, with that being said, I want to assure you that I am at peace with all of this. I am not ever going to market myself. This is all in God’s hands and I am completely content to let it there. Or at least my desire is to be content, however this turns out. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit it is a bit discouraging…

As social media cracks down on things, I do wonder how long biblical content will be allowed on any platform. Even the service I use to send out posts to Growing4Life subscribers has changed their policy to open the door for censorship. I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but thought perhaps I should just mention it again, in case anyone missed it: If you appreciate the Growing4Life posts and want to stay in touch with me, should I be censored, please reply to this email (or message me if you are reading this on social media) with your name and email address. I will add your name to a list of contacts, should I need to find a new way to reach you.  If you’ve already contacted me, there is no need to do so again. I thank you and your name and email address are already in a file I am keeping should such a day come.

 

We are on a balance beam and there is grave danger on both sides

This is important. Extremely important. I have been watching a rather interesting thing take place. I am not sure where it will lead but I felt I just wanted to offer my readers a warning about what I am seeing.

This past year we have watched our world become extremely divided. While we must acknowledge that there are a few exceptions, we have seen a fairly clear line drawn down the center of mask wearers who believe the vaccine will take the world back to normal and those who believe masks are useless and the vaccine is dangerous. We have seen a fairly clear line drawn between those who agree with a leftist, “woke”, socialist agenda and those who do not. No matter which side you place yourself on, you are probably pretty sure the other side is dead-wrong.

If you are reading this blog on a regular basis, I am doubting you are on the socialist side of things, since this side clearly goes against the Word of God in so many ways. From the horrifying sanction of abortion to the breakdown of the family unit God has designed to the stealing from someone who works hard to give to someone who won’t work (yes, that is stealing, no matter what words they use to describe it), it has an anti-God agenda.

But let’s not be too quick to think that the other side (and I am talking about the side that gathered at the capital earlier this year) is without its major flaws. The main one I see being the new age influence.

A few days ago, I watched a really helpful video by an educated doctor talking about the vaccine and why it is so very dangerous. Her documentation and data were impressive and I can’t see any reason for her to lie, given that she is putting both her reputation and her life on the line to even speak up. But about three-quarters through the video, she started talking about Jesus. Only this was not the Jesus from the Bible.

Her “Jesus” tells her that He is not greater than we are but that He came to show us how to be greater than He is. We just need to search inside ourselves to be great. This is classic new age talk. She also kept referring to energy (always a red flag when you hear it.)

Of course, this was all couched in Christian terminology that made it sound almost biblical.

Why do I bring this up? It is because I have often seen this from the side that many Christians are running to for information. I spotted it in one of the first viral videos, where a doctor gave her testimony. There was nothing in her testimony at all about repentance and needing to be saved from sin. It was all experience and feeling and “light”. This type of new age testimony sounds pretty good, until we start recognizing what they haven’t said.

While there is nothing necessarily wrong with getting data and doing research, please listen very carefully when they start talking about God, Jesus, prayer, the Holy Spirit, and their personal testimonies. Pay close attention when they start talking about spiritual things. Does what they say line up with what the scripture says? Nine times out of ten, it does not. Maybe ninety-nine times out of a hundred. Terms to be aware of are The Great Awakening, energy, light, and Revival (their revival never includes repentance from sin). If they are really giving themselves away, they will refer to the god within or how we are divine as humans. Most of this side is not Christian, although they will sound like they are on the surface. We must not be deceived.

So where does this leave us as Christians? I am afraid it is not anywhere great–at least by human standards. We are literally on the balance beam of the Bible, trying to avoid the danger that lies on both sides. At least we should be there. We are watching the growth of two specific movements and we do not belong to either one. One looks black. The other looks white. But they are both evil.

I make no predictions about how this all ends. I have ideas that I have gleaned, according to the Word. But, let’s be honest, none of us knows how this is all going to go down. We are clueless. And so I am simply presenting what I have been observing. Be careful who you side with. Don’t be too quick to believe someone is saved simply because they mention Jesus. As I remember one of my teachers saying, “it is time to put on your thinking caps.” Think through what someone says and compare it to scripture. This can be done fairly clearly with new age testimonies, as well as with social justice and racism and every other “hot button” subject. God has given us His Word so we can know the truth!

As we start this process of thinking and realizing just how wicked the world is, we can start to feel pretty alone. And, yes, we are but a small group of people who want to follow the Lord whole-heartedly. But let us not forget– we serve the Living God!

Think about this: We are on the side of the God of the Universe. He can move mountains and make the rocks cry out. He can walk on water and He can raise the dead.

The remnant may be oh, so very small (and shrinking daily) but this matters not with God on our side.

I am reminded of Israel when they were surrounded by Arab nations intent on annihilating them. Renald Showers puts it like this, “Azzam Pasha, secretary-general of the Arab League boasted, ‘This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and Crusades.’  Because the Arabs had many more soldiers and superior weapons, they were confident the would eliminate Israel from the Middle East.” *

Israel should have lost that war. There is no possible reason why they should have–or even could have–won. The odds are so astounding as to be impossible.

But God was on their side. And so they came out victorious, gaining control of the western half of Jerusalem in the process.

Let’s also remember how God rescued Israel from the Egyptians, even parting the sea so they could escape. And the boy, David, as he slew the giant, Goliath. Let’s remember Gideon as he took his small band of three hundred men to battle victoriously against Midian. We remember Peter and the angel that released him from prison. And God didn’t stop showing up after the Bible was written. Many are the accounts of believers through the ages who have witnessed miraculous events. Our God can do anything.

Of course, we realize that this does not mean we will be saved from really hard times and great persecution. We know from the chapters 15 and 16 of the book of John, that we will be hated by the world if we are truly following the real Jesus. But the God who saved Daniel from the Lion’s Den and three Hebrew boys from the fiery furnace is the same God we serve today. We can rest assured that absolutely nothing can thwart the plan of Almighty God!

Our job is to stay on that Balance Beam that is the Bible, running every speaker, author, movement, song, movie, conversation, and every single thing through its grid so as to guard ourselves against deception.

And then God will take care of the rest. He will provide. He will supply sufficient grace.

So let’s be careful not to get caught up in any movements. Chances are they are not of God. No matter how good they may sound.

 

 

*p. 80 The Coming Apocalypse, A Study of Replacement Theology vs. God’s Faithfulness in the End Times by Renald Showers

 

 

Why I Believe the Book of Revelation Will Be Fulfilled Literally

If you are over the age of 50, you can remember a time when the church was very focused on the rapture and the tribulation and what that would look like. Movies like Thief in the Night and A Distant Thunder brought fear and trembling as we considered our standing before God and what the world might look like after the rapture. The interest died down in the 80’s a bit and then was renewed a few years later with the Left Behind book series put out by Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye.

And then something drastically changed. Suddenly, most churches became silent on the topic. I remember talking to someone who told me that they didn’t even know what their church teaches on eschatology. They never talk about it.

But many in the intellectual circles started teaching an eschatology that was different than what I had always believed in. Replacement Theology, Amillennialism, Post-millennialism, and Dominionism (or Kingdom Now theology) all grew in the wake of the church’s silence as people searched for answers. Many landed with the intellectuals who were declaring that their eschatology was coming from the early church fathers, such as Augustine (I’d like to add here that it is better to get our eschatology from the Bible as one only has to look back before Augustine to recognize that the early church actually taught pre-millennialism.)

I am not sure if you are aware of this, but probably over half (or more) of believers would not believe in a literal Revelation. To believe in this is to subject yourself to much scorn, particularly in the intellectual circles of Christendom.

And, so, today I want to explain to you my own personal journey and how I landed quite solidly in believing that Revelation will be fulfilled literally. While this was what I was taught as a child, I did not automatically assume this as an adult. God has, step by step, been showing me this truth through a variety of avenues. I have much more to learn and God keeps teaching me, for which I am extremely grateful.

Before I go on, I want to make sure you understand that I firmly believe that those who don’t agree with me on eschatology are still my brothers and sisters in Christ if they believe in faith alone through Christ alone for salvation.

So, on to my own journey of how I ended up where I did.

1. The Miracle of Israel  I believe the first step in this journey was a book I just “happened” upon. It was a secular work of fiction called Exodus by an author named Leon Uri. To be honest, I have no idea how I came across it or what made me pick it up but this book changed forever how I viewed the nation of Israel. As the author told a fictional story that was filled with many facts of the birth of modern day Israel I was astounded and even shocked at the miraculous and supernatural nature of it. It gave me much pause for thought that even a secular author could see this. More research into the actual event confirmed what the author had written.

The modern-day nation of Israel should not exist. But God. His supernatural protection of her has continued to this day. To me, this eliminated Replacement Theology. There was no way God didn’t have a future for Israel. Why, we were seeing it come to fruition right in front of our eyes!

I could expound a bit more but I don’t want this to get too long. So may I encourage you to do your own research to confirm what I am saying here? I truly believe, you, too, will be surprised at what you find.

2. My Personal Study of Romans 9-11 As I was reading through the Bible for the first time ever, I had finally reached the book of Romans. To my shame, I had never read the whole thing through. When I read Romans 9-11, I was shocked at the clarity with which Paul himself talks so clearly about God and His Love for Israel. Here we find that, clearly, God has a future planned for Israel. To come away with any different interpretation is to do interpretive somersaults and back flips. Oh, it may sound intellectual but I wasn’t looking for what sounded intellectual. I was looking for what is right.

3. A Consistent Approach to Hermeneutics (which is: the study of the general principles of biblical interpretation)  I remember having a conversation with a pastor many years ago now and his comment to me was that he just can’t understand how [the Reformed crowd] simply change their hermeneutics when they reach Revelation. This led me to find out exactly what he meant. What exactly were Hermeneutics and why do they matter? I read a whole book on interpreting the Bible correctly and then took an online course on Hermeneutics, in my efforts to understand why it matters how we interpret scripture. What I came away with was exactly what the pastor said. If we apply a literal-grammatical-historical approach consistently to scripture, we always end up with a literal Revelation.

I remember hearing Abner Chou once say something like this: “If the plain sense makes sense, there is no need to look for any other sense.”

There is no need to look for allegories unless what we read makes no sense. And Revelation makes perfect sense. Especially in light of what we are seeing today, which leads me to my next point.

(There is so much more to say here but, again, I encourage you to dig on your own. A great place to start is this essay written by Abner Chou. It is long and hard to read but it is helpful for someone who is truly searching.)

4. Current Events What is happening around us has always been a pretty convincing argument that Revelation was going to be fulfilled literally. It just made sense. But, as I have watched the events of 2020 and now 2021 unfold, I have stood back and watched with awe. If anyone has had any doubts about a literal Revelation, I can’t see how they continue to do so after the past eleven months! We are watching the world get set up for a Revelation 13 scenario in ways we never dreamed we’d see in our lifetimes. It’s honestly incredible. And, yet, still so many just can’t see. I have found the past year to be incredibly confirming of scripture. What was prophesied 2000 years ago is getting set up to take place right before our eyes!

I was going to write a whole post on how the signs of the times are converging so perfectly with what we are told will happen in the book of Revelation but if you can see it, you can see it. If you can’t (or you say you can’t even though you can), then you may be holding too tightly to a wrong eschatology or you might be gripping on to life here on earth and unwilling to see reality.

5. Understanding How Incorrect Eschatology Plays Into Satan’s Plan. If we are willing to take a step back and look back over history, we can see the role that replacement theology (the Church has replaced Israel) has played in anti-semitism. To be sure, I am not implying that most who hold this theology are anti-semitic but many of those who have believed in it have been anti-semitic, including Martin Luther.

As we turn our view to what is happening in our world currently, we can see how wrong eschatology changes how we view what’s happening. Let’s take a look specifically at Kingdom Now Theology (also called Dominionism). To put it very simply, this is the view that Christians will work to make the world better and better, as we prepare it for the Lord Jesus at His return. From the Bible, we see that the antichrist is going to bring a false sense of peace to this world. Think how vulnerable those who believe in Kingdom Now Theology will be to a man who claims to be working for God? Think for a moment, if you will, how they will actually help bring in this false system of light because they have been deceived. They are, in essence, working against God instead of for Him.

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So these are a few ways that God has used to bring me to an understanding of the future as prophesied in the book of Revelation. As I’ve mentioned many times before, I am no Bible Scholar. I am not even asking you to believe as I do. I am more interested that you are willing to actually study the Bible to come to your own conclusion. You see, so often we rely on men to tell us what we should believe instead of studying the topic for ourselves.

Yesterday, I was having a conversation with someone and I pointed out the compromise of a certain (very popular) teacher, using scripture to back up what I was saying. The response was from a heart unwilling to see. When I asked her to back up what she was saying with scripture, she replied that it wasn’t necessary. Basically, she was going to believe what she wanted to believe.

What that person didn’t realize was that she had made herself the authority on what to believe, rather than holding the Bible as her authority.

While this is probably worth a post all on its own, my point is that the starting place to find out what we believe about the end times is a humble heart with an open Bible. No matter what you believe about eschatology, it’s important that we know why we believe it from the Bible.

There is much more depth to the defenses for and debates surrounding these different eschatologies than I am able to delve into here. I know that those who believe a different way have a multitude of reasons that they could proffer for their beliefs.

But I am here to encourage you to think for yourself.

Don’t let an intellectual sway your thinking. Don’t be moved by peer pressure or the scorn of a certain group of people. Be willing to ask God to give you insight and then study His Word. And then bravely stand on what you believe.

No one can make you believe a certain way. You get to choose. Do so wisely. Cast your own preconceived notions and favorite teachers aside. And then search out the truth in God’s Word with a willing heart, no matter what the cost.

 

View from the Precipice

Doesn’t it feel like we are standing on a precipice  waiting to topple into darkness? Behind us lies our old, comfortable world. Ahead looks frightening and even dangerous and, yet, we have no choice but to move forward. Going back is impossible.

A question from someone yesterday gave me a thought that I’ve been mulling around in my head since then. It encouraged me so I decided to share here this morning, in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

First, I want you to think beyond material blessings regarding the world we are leaving. What do you see?

I see a compromised, worldly church. I see materialism and greed and self-absorption. There we find mysticism flourishing, strife of every kind, and very confused Christians. If we take an honest look back, it really isn’t that great from the perspective of a believer.

So we are moving into something different. Something unknown. Something that looks scary.

But as we think about what’s ahead, I am beginning to wonder if we are little like the person who has been fed hamburger their whole life and is getting ready to eat, for the first time ever, a big juicy steak.

As I have been reflecting on the many biographies I’ve read of Christian men and women and also on the personal testimonies I’ve heard, I can’t help but think that, while the road ahead may be difficult for believers, it may also be very rewarding.

Think about some of the possible good things that could very result from our new world–

Fake Christians will fall away. The murky, shallow Christianity that has made up most of America (and perhaps the rest of the western world) will fall away in the face of hatred and persecution. No one is going to stand up for biblical Christianity or have anything to do with it at all unless they are truly saved.

We will be blessed with clarity. The wicked world will reject us like never before and this will give us a much clearer picture of sin and worldliness. Those “gray areas” will diminish and maybe even disappear.

God will show Himself in our need. Let’s face it, we have had very little opportunity to see God at work because we have been over-supplied and have had very few needs. At least here in America. As we start facing harder times, we will be able to see God work in ways previously impossible. We’ve read about these kinds of things but we are getting ready to experience them ourselves!

Our walk with God will grow deeper. As the worldly comforts fall away and we are rejected by the world, we will be forced to turn to God and His Word for strength and comfort. This will, inevitably, lead us to grow deeper roots of faith and sanctify us in ways that were, before, impossible.

Our fellowship with the remnant believers will grow stronger. I’ve noticed this already. The kinship that we have with like-minded believers is stronger now than ever, as we cling to each other in the midst of the unknown and the unpleasant. God has given us each other to strengthen, support, and encourage each other. As we take a look back into our old world, most of us led lives that were far too busy for relationships. We led lives that were full of activity but very lacking in fellowship. I believe this will change as we move forward into this new world.

_____________________________________________

And so I hope we all realize that the good things ahead aren’t just eternal. I believe there are some temporal good things that await if we can just turn aside from our fear and dread and trust the Lord. Yes, our ultimate hope is the rapture. But, if the Lord tarries, His grace and strength will be enough. This is a promise!

(I hope that I am encouraging you as I am processing everything that is happening along with you and desire nothing more than to honor the Lord in my response. This can be a real struggle for me as I imagine it also is for some of you.)

 

A REMINDER: At the end of last week, I sent a special email regarding the censorship that may be coming and how to keep in touch with me. If you’d like to continue hearing from me, should I be censored, I am asking you to give me your name and email address if you haven’t already done so. You can do this by simply replying to this email. I am trying to find a censorship-free platform to use for my subscribers and will only add those that really want to hear from me. You can find more details in an email I sent to you entitled “PLEASE READ”. I hope it doesn’t come to this, but I’d rather be prepared than sorry. :)

(I am sharing this here again because someone mentioned that the aforementioned email landed in their spam folder.)

 

A Believer’s Response

A few days ago, I experienced the viperous hatred of a woman who thought she knew best about the happenings of the past week and had no grace for an opposing view. She was very clearly brainwashed by media and the education system. It was actually a little scary. What made it even more scary is that this woman did, at least at one time, claim to be a believer.

We are running into these kinds of situations more and more. If you are a Christian who is committed to proclaiming and obeying what the Bible says, you are realizing that there is a type of Christian out there who hates you. They preach love and tolerance for everyone else, but they hate the true Christian.

This has probably been the greatest cause of sorrow for me. You expect to be hated and even persecuted by the lost. But I am beginning to understand that much of this will probably also come from “the church” (little “c” because it is obviously not the Bride of Christ.)

I had hoped to direct your attention away from the happenings of this world and on to scripture today. And so I will. But I wanted to do so in relation to what is happening in the world, because it has pretty much been all-consuming for most of us. As we watch the changes occurring, we are stunned. We see censorship happening that is scaring us. We are starting to realize that we cannot believe anything mainstream media says. (In case you are still watching mainstream media, do a little experiment as one of my daughters did. Switch back and forth between a mainstream news and a news station committed to bringing you the real news, such as news max. She and her husband couldn’t believe the spins and lies that came from the mainstream media. It’s gotten almost comical now–at least it would be comical if so many people weren’t still believing it.)

So, in the midst of all this mess, we are Believers. What does that mean? How does that look? I think there are some very specific things to consider as we navigate these terrifying and unstable days. These things are not conditional. Their application doesn’t suddenly just end when our circumstances change. Or when things go wrong in the world. They don’t change when we are persecuted or maligned or marginalized.

First, as Christians, we must remember our purpose.

It is very easy to get caught up in picking sides of a worldly system that has no good side. It is more important than ever that we remember why we are here on this earth. We are here to glorify God (Psalm 86:12) and to make Him known by sharing the Gospel and then discipling those that would embrace it (Matthew 28:19-20).

Second, we must remember the greatest commands, according to Jesus.

We can find this in Mark 12:30-31:  30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Notice that the greatest commands do not include fixing the world or changing the culture. They are not to bring God’s Kingdom to earth or to get caught up in a movement that is loyal to a human. The greatest commands are to love God and to love others. Let’s not get distracted.

Third, we are to love our enemies.

Luke 6:27-28 couldn’t be any clearer–

But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.

Jesus doesn’t tell us to just love others but He makes it even more challenging by telling us to love those who hate us. As people who love the Lord, we strive to do everything we can to stay at peace with those around us (Romans 12:18) but, more and more, this is becoming impossible. Simply by believing and following the Bible, we have become objects of extreme hate and anger. It is so very, very important that we don’t hate back! It is tempting. It is natural. But Jesus tells us to love them. This is only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Fourth, stay in the Word.

Study, memorize, and then study and memorize some more. Scripture is our only anchor in this world gone mad. It is our only source for truth. As bad news and unbelievable, incomprehensible stories swirl around us, we have God’s Word. And we must cling to it.

Fifth, seek the things that are above.

I just love Colossians 3, particularly these verses–

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

So much of our stress and strife and worry and fears are because we aren’t seeking the things above. We are worried about here. We are worried about losing earthly treasures. We are worried about losing temporal freedoms. How important that we keep our eyes focused above.

Sixth, don’t live in fear.

We are expressly told in Philippians 4:6-7 to be anxious for nothing. If you turn to those verses, you will notice that it doesn’t say “Be anxious for nothing, unless…the world is falling apart.” No matter what is going on, we are to be anxious for nothing. We are to make our requests be known to God with thanksgiving and then to rest in His promises. If we do this, we are promised a peace that passes understanding.

And Seventh, and finally, remember God’s Sovereignty and personal care for you.

I’ve written this many times here on the blog throughout this past year of uncertainty and questions. But it’s worth repeating because it is one of our greatest encouragements.

God has a plan. And God loves those that are saved through faith in Christ alone. We are not left in the hands of a wrathful God who desires to make our lives miserable. Every minute of every day is foreknown by the God of the universe who has promised to work all things out for His glory and our good for those that love Him (Romans 8:28).

Think about that promise for a moment and then cling to it. No matter what is ahead for us, this promise remains true. His grace will be sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9) and to live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21). May we joyfully yield to God’s will for us as we face the unknown days ahead.

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Thank you for joining my search of scripture as I seek how to respond to these current events as Christ would have me to. I hope that this has been as much of an encouragement to you as it has been to me. Oh, friends, let’s pray for each other as we strive to respond as a true Christian should to these unprecedented events around us. I’d like to close with an encouraging passage of scripture that was sent to me as I wrote this post this morning–

At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,

for his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?”

(Daniel 3:34-35)

 

 

PLEASE NOTE: At the end of last week, I sent a special email regarding the censorship that may be coming and how to keep in touch with me. If you’d like to continue hearing from me, should I be censored, I am asking you to give me your name and email address if you haven’t already done so. You can do this by simply replying to this email. I am trying to find a censorship-free platform to use for my subscribers and will only add those that really want to hear from me. You can find more details in an email I sent to you entitled “PLEASE READ”. I hope it doesn’t come to this, but I’d rather be prepared than sorry. :)

(I am sharing this here again because someone mentioned that the aforementioned email landed in their spam folder.)

 

Leaning Into God’s Will

The encouraging posts about God’s love and care for us are in abundance these days. You will find them on blogs, social media, and in many articles. We so desperately want to be reminded that He will see us through whatever lies ahead. And it is so important to be reminded of this. I share this message often myself here on the blog and over at the Growing4Life Facebook page.

But there is something else that we really need to remember.

Many years ago, I read a book called Green Leaf in Drought. I was so impacted by it that you will find it on my Favorite Books page here on the blog. I hadn’t read it for years, so I decided to pick it up again. It seemed like it might be even more relevant the second time around, given the concerns and fears we’ve experienced over the past year.

Yesterday, I finished it. It’s a short little book and I highly recommend it (I’ll add a link below for anyone interested). When communism started to fully infiltrate China, most of the missionaries left immediately. However, a few were unable to leave. This book is about a family that was held there for almost three years before they were released by the government to come home.

The lessons that they learned are important lessons for us all. I am not going to say a whole lot about their story so I don’t give too much away for those who want to read it. But I do want to share one important lesson they learned that is critical for us all. Perhaps especially right now.

When they were about a year and a half into their coerced stay in China, things were really bad. They were almost starving, fuel was hard to come by, and people were punished if they talked to the “Imperialists” (as they were known) which led to extreme loneliness. And then, on top of it all, imagine being a missionary and being told by the foreign government that you are not allowed to talk to anyone or to leave your house? Their whole purpose for being there could not be carried out and they were left in the nondescript corner of a foreign country with few resources and even fewer friends.

At one point the wife, in a state of fretting and restlessness, waited impatiently for the Lord to rescue them. She was frustrated with the Lord’s timing and, though she was submitted to His Will, she was none too happy about what that “will” was. One day, as she spent time with the Lord in His Word and in prayer, something dawned on her. What would happen if she would gladly and joyfully yield to God’s Will for her life instead of begrudgingly agreeing to it? What if she were to act more like a daughter carrying out a loving mission for her Father than a slave that was forced to do the master’s will? She resigned herself to lean into God’s Will and thus began a change of heart.

As she took this step of joyful submission, the peace and joy that had been missing from her Christian life came flooding in. She recognized that living a joyful life dedicated to the Lord in spite of their trials would be a light that the Chinese Christians could see, even if they never said a word. These conclusions were drawn in the midst of horrible circumstances that neither you or I could even imagine and will hopefully never have to endure. A few months later, God helped her husband understand the very same thing.

As they purposed in their hearts to have a good attitude, Satan did his best to discourage them and they were hit with even harder trials than before. But the peace never left them. The peace and joy they experienced was completely unrelated to their circumstances, just as we are promised in scripture.

I believe this is more than a little relevant for us today.

Or shall I say I find it relevant for me?

You see, I find my heart filled with sorrow and even anger when I think of the world we are living in currently. I feel like I am on the set of a movie that just won’t end. The masks, the social distancing, the vaccine, the economy, the dying small businesses, the election, the unbelievable compromise of Christians we trusted, and then there are the strong opinions about all of these things. The realization that whatever world my kids and grandkids grow up in (if the Lord tarries), it’s going to be quite a bit different than mine. The awful uncertainty of what lies ahead, always there like a dark shadow in the back of all of our minds, no matter where we live in this world. All of this makes my heart just ache and I can even grow angry if I am not careful. The world we lived in is no longer. And life as we have known it is over.

But this book convicted me. We—you, me, all of us—are here right now because God has ordained it. We are in His Will for our lives. We are going to be relatively ineffective as believers if we are focused on all that we don’t like about this new world instead of leaning into His will. We are going to be filled with dread, unhappiness, and fear if we are begrudgingly living in this new world. But if we joyfully submit to where God has us right now, we will show a lost world that God is true to His Word and we will be able to encourage and edify struggling fellow believers.

Do we want to be bright lights for Christ in this new world? If the answer is yes, than I am convinced we need to lean into God’s Will instead of resist it.

On a practical level, we will be faced with a variety of small tests and trials each day. How do we show this in the midst of family disagreements over the whimsical “laws” put in place by over-reaching governors? How do we show this in the midst of our disappointment in the way our churches, workplaces, or schools are handling things? How do we show this when someone asks us to wear a mask or move away from them? How do we show this when we hear more bad news? How do we show this when yet another discussion comes along regarding all that’s going on? How do we show this each and every hour of our lives?

I am not sure of the “how” but I am sure of the necessity of this. You see, if we are dragging our feet and have a bad attitude, then this will show in all of our words and actions. (I am talking to myself here as much as to you!) But if we joyfully yield our will to God’s, then this, too, will show in all of our words and actions.

Look, we are all here. Stuck on a ride we can’t get off. Watching the prophecy of scripture come to life in a way we never thought we’d see. But I can say with 100% confidence that this is where God has placed us.

For such a time as this.

No amount of railing, wailing, or flailing is going to change it.

While I am not saying that we don’t work actively to help change what we are given an opportunity to change, it’s pretty fair to say that most of this is completely outside of our control.

But it’s not outside of God’s control and, in His vast knowledge and incomprehensible Sovereignty, He knows exactly where He’s placed us in the history of this world.

So let’s not just resign ourselves to live in this new world but let’s choose to joyfully live in this new world. Let’s show the world that God’s peace and joy is not based on circumstances.

And, on a bright note, living in this time of history may actually mean we are the generation that is raptured! How awesome would that be? It seems more and more likely each day.

So may we all ask God to help us be joyfully submissive as we walk this path we don’t really want to be on. He is sufficient and He will supply our needs. And, eventually, this will all be behind us as we face the prospect of a marvelous eternity together with Him in heaven.

 

 

—If you are interested in being encouraged further by reading the story of Arthur and Wilda Mathews as Isobel Kuhn writes it in Green Leaf in Drought, you can find it here. (This is not an affiliate link and I receive no compensation for you clicking on it. I am merely pointing you to where you can find the book.)

 

 

Good-Bye 2020

Can you remember where you were that week everything changed? The winter months had brought vague references to “Coronavirus” in China and then, suddenly, BANG. Life as we knew it was over.

I left the Friday before to visit my daughter and her family in the south and when I got back, my world was a different place. I will never forget that first moment of walking through my local grocery store. I had only ever seen empty store shelves when a blizzard was coming. But this was no blizzard and there were no snow plows coming to the rescue of this.

We were told that millions were going to die. Fear was on every face and death was on the forefront of every mind.

Everything locked down. Stores and restaurants and schools and work places were closed. Zoom became how we did school, had work meetings, and even met with friends.

Soon everyone was walking around with masks on. You’d even see people wearing them while exercising outside or in a car alone. People became very upset with those who chose not to wear one. Somehow the freedom to do what we want with our bodies only applied to killing our babies through abortion.

People kept their distance and would cower in fear if you would get too close. They’d step back so you could pass. They no longer hugged friends and family. Many grandparents weren’t even allowed to see their grandchildren. Some still aren’t. (How sad is that??)

Keep in mind that this was all for a virus with less than a 1% death rate (0% for children).

The narrative kept the public paralyzed in fear. Few were willing to look at the real science behind mask-wearing, lock-downs, and viruses and those that would be brave enough to post anything on social media would be removed. Things were “fact-checked” and the public never went behind the scenes to see who was actually doing the “fact-checking”. Were they legitimate? (the short answer, after just a little research, is NO, they are not.)

Meanwhile, the elderly languished and many died. Some died from the virus but many died from the isolation and loneliness that accompanied the draconian measures. Many of them are still in lock-down. It just breaks my heart to think of them without their families and loved ones to watch over their care and to brighten their days with visits. They are one of the greatest casualties in this whole thing.

Then a few months into this whole thing, the news started being filled with stories about riots. Precious monuments and long-held traditions were torn down and washed away. It was an extremely bizarre time of this extremely bizarre year. To say the least.

As if that wasn’t enough, the news became filled with wildfires and hurricanes. Wildfires that completely wiped out thousands of acres and all of the houses and towns that were in their paths. There were more named hurricanes than ever before. Two of those hurricanes were a direct hit on where my daughter lives with her family. Her town is still recovering from that double hit (six weeks apart) and will be for a long time. It was devastating.

And then there was the election. What can even be said about the election? So much could be said but I’ll leave it at this: Fraud has been clearly proven. It is abundantly clear to any thinking person who is willing to look beyond the narrative. And yet, the mainstream media would have us believe that these claims are “unfounded”.

Most of the year felt like we were living in a movie. An apocalyptic film that we wanted to escape from and couldn’t. Reviewing this year reminds me of how incredibly strange it was. I used the word “insanity” more times this past year than I’ve used it in my entire life.

While we didn’t like it, most of us became used to living in a state of uncertainty. We know change is still coming. And we realize that life as we knew it is over. But we were forced to keep living. What other choice did we have? And, for many of us, our day to day wasn’t drastically changed. If we stayed home, we were even able to forget about it for a few hours.

I did learn a lot this past year. I am guessing you did, too. I thought I’d share a few lessons I’ve learned as we come to the end of this very strange year.

1. If you’ve been reading my blog this past year, then you will remember that I had a real battle with fear for about six weeks. It was awful but I came out of it much stronger and God taught me that if I fear Him, I have nothing else to fear. He taught me that He is my peace and my strength. I can’t explain it, but He really did rescue me from that all-consuming fear. I am not saying I still don’t have moments, but that shadow of agonizing anxiety that never left me is gone. God answered my prayer and taught me that He is enough.

2. I also learned to take predictions with a grain of salt. Early on, I read a prediction about this fall that had me thinking many in my family would be dead by Christmas. I lost a whole night of sleep over this report. Needless to say, it didn’t happen. And I learned not to read most of the negative predictions. All they do is scare you and, many times, they don’t even happen. While I do appreciate fact-based data and articles, I learned that predictions are simply conjectures about what might take place in the future. No use getting all worked up about “mights”. Matthew 6:34 states this principle pretty clearly: Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

3. This year brought very strong opinions that were not related to biblical issues. People became divided over things like masks, social distancing, and politics. Questions about whether or not to hold church or gather together as families and friends brought quarrels and arguments. People were very intense and many did not allow for differing opinions. Even Christians would grow agitated if someone shared an opinion that didn’t match theirs. I learned through watching this unexpected turn of events that it was so important to show grace for people, even if we didn’t agree. I always want to live out Romans 8:18 (If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.) And this year brought the perfect opportunity.

4. I like puzzles by nature. I am a very curious person and am fascinated by how things work. This led me to do  some digging that most people do not do. I have been doing this for years, so I brought to the 2020 puzzle many facts that the average person is unaware of. And here is the conclusion that I came to (well this isn’t new to me but was just confirmed in 2020): Don’t trust anyone. Only God can be fully trusted. I am shocked at the amount of people who trust that the government has our best interest in mind. I am flabbergasted at the amount of Christians who believe Trump to be the “savior” of our normal. I am stunned at how many believe the vaccine to be a cure-all, despite that no one knows of its side effects, it’s untested, and it’s put out by companies that have been released of all liability. Please, don’t be deceived. I know you may not be like me. You may not care for puzzles. But approach everything you hear with a healthy dose of skepticism. No matter where it comes from. Satan, the master of lies and deception, is actively playing out His plan and there is no “good” side to stand with in this world. Please keep that in mind as you watch things unfold. Choose to stand with God alone, looking to His Word for truth. Yes, you will be lonely, but I can assure you it’s the safest place to stand.

5. And, finally, I have been learning (and continue to learn) to take one day at a time, focusing on the eternal rather than the temporal. This is a constant struggle for me but I continue to work at it. Being thankful helps me to do this (I Thessalonians 5:18). Controlling my thoughts helps me to do this (2 Corinthians 10:5). Thinking about and remembering what really matters helps me to do this (Colossians 3:1-3). Life on earth will seem as just a small blip in the timeline of our lives. There is so much more than what we are experiencing here. We have so much to look forward to!

 

So it’s good-bye to 2020. It’s been interesting, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like things are going back to normal anytime soon. So let’s keep growing and looking more like Christ. Let’s shine so brightly that those who are searching can spot us in their darkness. And let’s offer encouragement and strength to the saints that is sourced from the Word of Life alone.

 

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