Last Days

What to Expect When You are Expecting

There’s a popular book for pregnant women called What to Expect When You’re Expecting. It was actually very helpful to me thirty years ago and it must be fairly timeless as I see the 4th revised version is still available today. But this post isn’t about expecting a baby. It’s about our expectations of this life and what we should expect when we are expecting.

But, first, a story.

Last fall, our youngest daughter, Marissa, decided to take a semester off of college so that she wouldn’t lose her senior year playing soccer. With that in mind, she restarted in Spring and this fall is her final semester before she graduates in December. She was really looking forward to a her final soccer season and things were going well. She was expecting a great season.

But that all came to a flying halt a couple of Saturdays ago when her foot made contact with someone else’s shoe and shattered two of the toes on her right foot. With a trip to the doctor and a boot on her foot, the expectation for a great soccer season faded away to nothing and left only bitter disappointment in its place.

It’s been a hard couple of weeks for her because this girl loves soccer. I know God is growing her and teaching her because she loves Him and He has promised us in Romans 8:28-29 to use all things in the lives of those who love Him to conform them to Christ’s image but–as we all know–some of those “all things” can be very painful.

As I was reflecting on the past few weeks yesterday, I was thinking how my daughter’s disappointed and unfulfilled expectation mirrors what we are all experiencing to some extent. Prior to March 2020 we all had expectations for our lives. They were reasonable expectations (for most of us). Things such as: Have a happy family whose needs are met; Enjoy spending time with those we love; Travel and vacations; Good health (and wonderful healthcare should we need it); buying anything we need (or want) and getting it in a timely fashion; financial security; etc, etc, etc.

While we knew (and had probably already experienced) the hard facts of life (such as disease, death, betrayal, broken relationships, financial difficulties, etc) the world around us always remained stable in the midst of those terrible trials.

But within one week in the year 2020, all of those expectations came crashing down. Suddenly, our world wasn’t so stable after all. We recognized in such a short time that we aren’t really free, after all. We recognized the stranglehold on the information flow. And we recognized the outright deception being played out on so many levels. It was disconcerting and frustrating. And as time marched on after that pivotal week, our expectations became less and less likely to be fulfilled.

And we were reminded in a more vivid way than ever before of what can we expect when we are expecting in this life on earth: We can expect disappointment and disillusionment.

But, just like my daughter will need to work through her unfulfilled expectation for her life, so, too, will we need to do the same. We need to release those expectations we had and rest in the Lord’s will for our lives. His will is not our will and we need to trust Him as we move forward.

The wonderful thing is that we can trust Him. Not only has He proven Himself over and over again in our own lives and the lives of those who have gone before us, but we are seriously watching what was prophesied two thousand years ago getting set up to come to pass right before our eyes. If that doesn’t confirm scripture for you, then I don’t know what will.

And we finally realize: There is one expectation that will never go unfulfilled. One hope that will never dim or fade away.

And that is our hope in Christ.

He made a way for us to be reconciled to God through His sacrifice on the cross so that we could live in His presence forever (learn more about this here.) Our expectations for a future with God in heaven will come to pass.

Unlike this old earth that is fading away, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and we can count on Him to fulfill His promises.

So instead of tentative, precarious expectations based in this unsettled, strange world, perhaps it’s time we base our expectations in the rock of Ages. Perhaps this is part of what God is doing–moving His children’s hearts from this world to the one to come (Colossians 3:1-4); deepening our understanding of our role as pilgrims and sojourners in this world (I Peter 2:11); and helping us understand that our hope for this life and for our future should lie in Christ alone (Ephesians1:18-21).

Oh, my friends, let’s move our expectations from this world to the God of the universe. Let’s move them from the tentative and unsure to the certain and the definite.

And, in so doing, everything will change. Instead of being driven by discouragement and disappointment, we will rest secure in our eternal hope. Instead of being self-absorbed we will turn outwards, bringing hope to the lost souls around us and emanating the peace and joy that only God can give.

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If I look at myself, I am depressed. If I look at those around me, I am often disappointed. If I look at my circumstances, I am discouraged. But if I look at Jesus, I am constantly, consistently, and eternally fulfilled! ~Author Unknown

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(Yeah, that sounds so wonderful, doesn’t it? And I do know that what I wrote above is true. But that doesn’t mean I always live it. Like you, I am trying to grow and learn in this strange new world we are living in. It’s a real challenge some days. The most important thing that has helped me is studying and memorizing the Word. If you are saved and just don’t know where to begin in moving your hope from this world to an eternal hope, start there. Open Ephesians 1 and read what God has said about His own. Read Philippians. Read John 10, John 15, Colossians 3, Psalm 37. And on and on. God has given us so much in His Word from which we can draw strength in these difficult days.)

 

 

Being Oriented in a Disoriented World

Every now and again, I will accidentally remove an app from my phone and not only does that app go missing but everything else moves one place over or up. That seems like no big deal until you start looking for the app you need. Just where did it go? I stare at the phone and eventually find it. But I am stopped in my tracks on that initial effort because it isn’t where it is supposed to be.

What a lame analogy to what we are experiencing right now. Nothing seems to be where it’s supposed to be. And, while we can move things back to where they are supposed to be on our phones, we have no power to fix what’s going on in this broken, wicked earth at all.

This means that the only power we have in all the upheaval is how we personally handle it.

Sometimes it can be rather overwhelming, can it not? There is so much to take in. So much that makes no sense. There are so many who are deluded into believing things that are patently false. Things that are easily proven by hard stats and data. But few are listening. Whether we are referring to health issues, government issues, world events, or anything else, we can see a force at work that is not of God. While the world has always been in the hands of the evil one (I John 5:18-19), it seems quite ramped up right now.

So how do we stay oriented? How do we maintain our bearings in a world gone mad?

Know your Bible. If I’ve said that once, I’ve said it a million times: The Bible is the power for our Christian lives. God has given it to us so that we will stay oriented in a disoriented world. This morning, however, I want to speak specifically to the Bible’s incredible foretelling of the future. When we accept that Revelation must be interpreted literally, we will watch things fall into place in a supernatural way that means it must be the end. Let me speak to this for a moment. A few weeks ago I saw something going around on Facebook that basically said how dare you act like what you are experiencing is worse that what any other generation has gone through. And I hear that a lot. I am not sure anyone has claimed we are experiencing anything worse but we certainly are experiencing something that is different than any other generation has seen.

Why is this time in the world any different than any other time? Let’s look at a few of the basic reasons why this time is unique in the history of the world and would lead us to believe the very last days are upon us. Here are just a few of the main reasons: First, the technology is in place for a system that forbids buying and selling without a mark (Revelation 13:17). Second, the technology is in place for the two witnesses to be heard and seen across the entire world (Revelation 11:1-12). Third, the whole world is so obviously being set up for a global government and global religion (Revelation 13:7-8). Fourth, the nations are arranging themselves (just look into this–it’s quite fascinating!) in such a way that they are setting themselves up to fulfill the prophecies regarding Israel (Ezekiel 38 and more). And, fifth (and finally), the earth is responding just as we are told it would in the last days as it gets set up for the Tribulation (Matthew 24:7-8) All of these things–and so many more– show the astute Bible student that we are fast approaching the last days.

If we understand this, then what looks like chaos, confusion, and absurdity to most people starts to make total sense to those Christians who have studied what is predicted in Revelation. Knowing this helps to keep us oriented amidst all of the madness.

(There are so many Christians who do not believe in a literal fulfillment of Revelation. If you are one of these, please know that I count you as a dear sibling in Christ. This is no salvation issue. But may I gently encourage you to be willing to consider what I have written above?)

Control the anger and hold no grudges. When people feel out of control or have strong opinions about some issue, tempers flare. We can stay oriented by keeping our cool and refusing to hold grudges. While our flesh may push us to divide and break with friends and family, we must refuse, as much as it is up to us (Romans 12:18) to let this happen. We cannot be oriented if we cannot exercise self-control.

Be dedicated to all truth, no matter the cost. I am convinced that the reason so many can’t see the truth is because the cost is just too high. They will cause conflict with beloved friends or family. Or they will be ridiculed. Perhaps they would even lose their jobs or livelihood. It may be as simple as they will have to give up their view of the government or media or society and they just aren’t willing to do that. I will readily admit that in the overwhelmingness of what is becoming evident, it is difficult to grasp the truth. This is when we pray and ask the Lord to open our eyes to whatever He wants us to see. That He would keep us from being deluded and deceived as we move forward into this strange new world. In order to be oriented we need to be dedicated to the truth, no matter how painful and overwhelming that may be.

Keep the focus on the Gospel. In the midst of all that is swirling around us, we must remember that our true orientation comes from the truth of the Gospel. Christ died for you and for me so that we could escape the penalty of sin and live eternally with Him in heaven. Today, when you are at work or in the store, or wherever you find yourself with other people, just stop for a moment. Take a look around and realize just how many people are lost and headed to hell. If you believe, like me, that the end is near, then sharing the Gospel with those who are lost should become more and more urgent each day. And yet, so many of us just go about our days without ever giving this a thought.

We should be more concerned about this than anything else. A person can go to heaven while not understanding the evil that surrounds them. But they cannot go to heaven without hearing about Jesus and what He has done for them. We must keep the Gospel as our focus and not fall into the temptation to become wrapped up in the things that–when it’s all said and done–won’t matter for eternity. We stay oriented by keeping our main focus where the Bible tells us it should always be.

Refuse to be fearful or depressed. Fear and depression lead us into a chasm that totally disorients us. We must make a choice to not allow it to dominate us. We can only do this by the Lord’s help, of course, but we must make a choice. Why do I say this? Because it is what the Bible tells us. Let’s look at a few of these commands that indicate that we must make a choice–

Be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6).

Do not worry about your life (Matthew 6:25)

Do not worry about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34)

Look these verses up and note that they do not give way for any wavering. We are commanded to do these things. I am not implying that this is an easy thing to do. In fact, we cannot actually do this on our own. If we make this choice we must rely on God to actually accomplish this.

As many of you already know, I had a very dark time of fear and depression last summer. I felt like I was in a pit I could not get out of. I know how this feels all too well. I cried put to God and He was so faithful. If you are struggling with fear or depression today, cry out to God for help. We cannot be wallowing in fear or depression if we want to stay oriented. (I still have to actively make a choice most every day regarding the fear. Bible memory has been invaluable to me in my efforts to turn away from fear and trust God.)

Recognize that this is the end. I was out of town last year when the entire world changed. I vividly remember coming home and looking at my husband and saying “this is how it ends. I just feel like this is it.” At that time, I had no idea what was ahead but it felt different, didn’t it? There was something so sinister and ominous about what was going on, it’s hard to put it into words. A year and a half later, I stand by those words. This is how it ends. Staying oriented means being willing to see the truth about the state of things. When we compare world events with what we read in scripture, we can see that we are quickly approaching the end. If we want to stay oriented, we need to acknowledge this truth.

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I know there are so many who disagree with me on what I’ve written above. Perhaps those who disagree already stopped reading. They may think I am too negative. They might believe I am writing from a hopeless perspective that they just don’t believe is correct. (Let me just add here that I am not hopeless by a long stretch! I have just realized that our hope is not in this world but in the Lord alone!)

And so I’d like to take a moment and share something from my heart with you. While many bloggers and authors desire to get the biggest following possible, I have decided not to do that. I’d prefer to offer encouragement and support to like-minded people. I have chosen to be very specific in this according to a literal understanding of God’s Word. I believe very strongly that this is what the Lord has called me to do. While I never want to lose readers, I understand that it will happen with this philosophy of ministry and I accept that.

I hope that this has encouraged those of you who understand that we are in the last days. I hope, as I process for myself how to stay oriented in this disoriented (and insane) world, that this also encourages some of you.

May we continue to cling to God’s Word and to each other as we navigate these final days.

A Collection of Thoughts

Today’s post is going to be a bit different than usual. I wanted to cover a few different things that have come to my attention recently. I decided to combine them all in one post. Hopefully it doesn’t get too long…!

First–

Earlier this month, I wrote a post called “Preparing the Sheeple”. A few weeks after writing it I was listening to something and my ears perked up when the speaker talked about the tragedy of calling people “Sheeple”. His thought was that this is a trick of Satan’s to take what God has called us in the Bible and make it look like something bad. I was immediately stricken by this. Of course. I believe this man is right on in what he said. As Christians, we are compared to sheep. Sheep with a wonderful Shepherd. (See John 10.) So to compare us to sheep is really not a bad thing. Jesus makes it clear that this is exactly what we are.

A better animal to use for what we are currently seeing in the world is the lemming. A lemming is a small rodent-like creature that lives in the arctic. There is a long-standing myth that they jump off cliffs en masse and commit suicide. Yes, we are most certainly watching lemmings. Not sheep.

So please forgive me for not catching this before posting it. I’ve already changed that post, but I also wanted to draw attention to this error publicly. I feel rather foolish not to have caught it myself but I am so thankful the Lord drew my attention to this!

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Second–

A dear sister in Christ sent me a post that has had me thinking since I read it. I wanted to touch on just one paragraph of that post as it profoundly impacted me. Just in the case that I am not alone in this, I wanted to share it here with you, too. I’d like to first say that I know nothing about this author or how biblically sound she is. I do trust the sister that sent me this but please don’t view my sharing this as my carte blanche approval of everything the author has written. I am unfamiliar with her so, as always, be a Berean.

Okay, now that that is out of the way, here’s the bit from the post–

It is tempting to grow downcast, discouraged and despondent, curling up into a crumpled heap of despair. Careful: this is also a form of rebellion: Things are not going my way.

OUCH.

Seriously.

OUCH.

Have you ever considered the fact that your depression and despondency and discouragement is rebellion? I had not thought of it in those terms. I mean I knew it was sin but to be outright rebellion? Not me, Lord. But wait, when you put it like that, then: Yes, I have been rebellious.

It makes so much sense, does it not?

Instead of bowing the knee to our Creator, we are sulking. Sadness, frustration, irritability, despondency, anger– when these are a result of our dissatisfaction with our circumstances, these are all forms of rebellion against God and His sovereign will.

What do you think of when you think of a rebel? This doesn’t really fit our definition, does it? But there it is. If we unpack this, we can see that it is true. Oh, that God may eradicate all rebellion from our hearts–even the “acceptable” kind that so cleverly hides itself behind our cultural norms.

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Third–

As we navigate these strange times and recognize (if we are realistic) that the world we have known our whole lives is gone forever and we contemplate the ramifications of this, it is important to take one day–even one hour– at a time.

I can still remember my brother (Pastor Dean) telling me this often throughout his wife’s battle with cancer. As she approached death, he was still saying it. One hour at a time. God’s grace is sufficient. We must take just one hour at a time.

This reminds me of a verse I have memorized–

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. (Matthew 6:34)

Interestingly enough, this verse is preceded by a very familiar verse to us all–

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)

These verses show us that our duty is to seek God and His righteousness and then let Him take care of the rest. While we must always act wisely and be smart (as opposed to flippant fatalism), these verses speak to the fact that, truly, we have zero control over anything.

So how exactly do we do we release that worry and anxiety? How do we get to that place of trusting God implicitly? (Just to be clear, I am still working on this myself…) But, as always, we find the answer for this in the Bible. Philippians 4:6-9 shows us–

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

These verses show us how to beat anxiety and worry–

  1. Make an intentional choice to cast off our anxiety
  2. Give every request–both small and large–to our God
  3. Have an attitude of thanksgiving
  4. Expect God to give us that peace that surpasses all understanding
  5. Think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report
  6. Familiarize ourselves with what Paul taught; know the scriptures well
  7. Follow Paul’s example as we seek to live our Christian lives

And the God of peace will be with you!

That’s a promise.

I believe we are all getting just a little bit more opportunity to put these verses into practice, aren’t we? This takes on a whole new meaning when you have to trust God because you are forced to quit your job due to a mandate that is beyond your control. It takes on new meaning when you are told you can’t see a family member or friend because you won’t meet their demands. Many of you are facing unbelievable trials right now. Things you never thought you’d face. We are learning to trust God in a whole new way and He is up for the challenge! He is GOD. He is far greater than any problem we are facing and He is faithful! We know this by His Word, by the experiences of past and current believers, and by our own experiences. May we remember His great grace and many mercies as we navigate these difficult days.

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Fourth (and finally)–

A few months ago, I asked you to give me your email address if you’d like to keep hearing from me should I be censored. I have decided to just go ahead and look for a new service, as I recently heard of my current subscription service shutting someone down for saying something they didn’t like. While that has not extended to my type of blog just yet, we do know just how much Satan hates the truth of Jesus Christ most of all. I believe this means it is only a matter of time before anything Christian is shut down by this company. Of course, this will probably extend to far more than just that particular company if the censorship gets that bad but I am hoping to extend the blog’s life just a little longer by moving it to a different subscription service. And so I am actively looking for a new service. (This is no easy task and I appreciate your prayers for wisdom in this!)

But let me explain why I am even sharing this. I have a subscriber list that is over 1200 people. But most of those 1200 people do not actually open the emails. As with most blogs, only a fraction of the people actually read the posts with any regularity. As I change services, I only want to add those who actually want to be on the list.

Many of you have already given me your email and are on the list already (and there is no need to give it to me again if this is the case). But if you haven’t given me your email address already and you’d like to keep hearing from me, please just respond to this email (or if you are reading this on social media, you can message me) with your name and the email address you’d like me to add.

This is not going to be quick and easy and I don’t know how long it will take until the switch is made. Currently, I am testing a service I came across to see how easy it is to use. It always amazes me how time-consuming these things are!

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Okay, so that’s it for today! Hopefully it wasn’t too long! I know it was a bit more disorganized than usual, but I do hope you were able to grab a nugget or two of truth to hang on to as you go out into the world today.

And remember: Be a light! Share Christ!  May we cast off our worries about saying the wrong thing or what people will think of us. We have the key to heaven and so many are lost. We have nothing to lose of eternal value and the lost person has everything to gain! Have a great day!

 

 

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

 

Escape Is Promised

The other day I watched an octopus trying to capture a sea snake. Okay, let me fill you in on why I was watching that before I explain what I learned from watching it.

We were keeping our grandsons for the evening and we were at the point where we were all tired. The baby was sleeping in Grandpa’s arms and the two year old and four year old were sitting with me on the loveseat. For whatever reason (this isn’t something we normally do) we turned to YouTube to watch animal videos. The four year old was very interested in octopusses (octopuses? octopusi?) for some reason so I put “octopus” in the search box to see what came up.

He pointed to a video whose cover showed an octopus and a sea snake. I clicked on it to see if it was worthwhile watching. (There is so much not worthwhile and even downright bad on YouTube. I recommend that no child in your care ever be left on their own to scroll through without you to guard their precious eyes.)

What we saw upon clicking on the video was a scuba diver taking a home video of the ocean floor, where he had just happened to catch an octopus trying to capture a sea snake.

It was most fascinating to watch! The octopus used all eight arms in his battle with the sea snake. He would wrap them around his prey and pull him close to himself but then the sea snake would twist and turn and almost get away. Just when he thought he was free, the octopus would reach yet another arm out to grab him and pull him back. This went on for some minutes until finally the sea snake was able to escape the deadly tentacles and he swam away in glorious freedom. He would live to see another day.

I found this video so interesting on several levels. First–who knew there was so much drama on the ocean floor? Of course, I knew it, I had just never really thought about it before. Oh, how wonderful it will be to live on a new earth that has no predator and prey. Have you ever thought about that?

But I also thought of two spiritual analogies that go along with this video. I was trying to decide which one to write about and I’ve decided to just write about both.

First, I think Satan is a little like that octopus. He will try a multi-pronged attack to render us ineffective for Christ. He may tempt us with the sins of self-pity or lying, which we may wallow in for awhile and then just as we escape that sin we are tempted by another one that keeps us wrapped up and imprisoned for a time. As believers, we never stop fighting our enemy. We keep at it until the day we die, knowing that he has no power over us. We will always escape. Sometimes we may receive a short respite and be able to catch our breath, but it never lasts too long, does it? The war with our enemy and with our flesh requires constant attention. There is always another sin or worldly temptation that distracts from and taints a healthy walk with Christ. The “arms” of Satan are limitless and we can only experience victory by never giving up the fight.

But I’d like to spend a bit more time on the second analogy. As I watched that video, I looked at my husband and said I feel a little like that sea snake as I think about the year of 2020. In the midst of whatever game the powers-that-be are playing right now, we are fighting for our sanity and our peace.

It all started with the Coronavirus, one arm of a movement that would try to wrap itself around and suffocate our hope, our peace, and our joy. This arm tried to squelch us with its message of fear and control. Don’t leave your homes. Wear a mask. Close everything. Cancel everything.

Next came the arm of BLM, bringing with it riots, destruction, cancel culture and, with it, more fear.

And, finally, the arm of the election brought with it confusion, disgust, discouragement, and…even more fear.

Now we hear words like “dark winter” and “increasing lockdowns” and yet another arm of the giant octopus is trying to squelch our peace and joy and make us question our sanity.

But this world’s many-armed approach of breaking the spirit of the people can’t work on believers. Not if they are fervently praying and studying their Bibles. There is amazing (and supernatural) strength to be drawn from the pages of scripture. We are immune to even the biggest octopus (spiritually-speaking) if we are walking with God. He is our strength (Psalm 37:39). He is our fortress (Psalm 18:2). He is our Protector (2 Thessalonians 3:3).

Nothing can defeat us, nothing can steal our peace and joy, nothing can remove us from the care of the Good Shepherd and the Father’s love.

Oh, we do have to fight. God has made that clear in His Word (see Ephesians 6:11-13 and 2 Corinthians 10:3-5). But we will win. We will escape.

We must keep in mind that this does not mean physically. We may suffer terrible losses in this battle with the giant one-world octopus. We may even have to die. We really don’t know what is ahead. But we will be gloriously victorious in the end. Nothing–not even all the events of the year 2020–has the capability of defeating us, as believers, unless we forfeit by taking our eyes off Jesus and putting them on this world.

I admit it’s been a fight and it can be exhausting (as I’ve shared before). I imagine that sea snake, too, was exhausted, as he fought for his life. As we fight for our peace, joy, and–yes–even our sanity in a world full of bad news, violence, fraud, lies, and propaganda, remember that we will escape with all of these things intact, if we but choose to anchor ourselves in God’s Word.

I just cannot believe how I am watching the pages of scripture come to life right now. It is so confirming of the verity of the Bible. So don’t be discouraged. We saw all this coming. Yes, we are in a dreadful fight against evil but God will make a way of escape. And I honestly believe that may very well be soon now!

So keep on fighting. Don’t give up. I know it feels like we are at a disadvantage. And so we are, from the world’s perspective. But they are discounting the fact that God is all-powerful and that there are no sticky tentacles, or number of arms, or any power on this earth that cast us into a prison of fear and torment when God is on our side.

 

(Here’s the link to the octopus and sea snake video if you want to watch it yourself. It says it is 13 minutes long but we just watched the first four minutes).

 

Revival: What It Is and What It Isn’t

The word “revival” has always been tossed about freely by Christians. It is our hope for this temporal world, it would solve what ails the culture, it would fix so many problems.

I hear this word more than ever now, as the culture grows darker and darker. “There could still be revival,” is heard often by those whose fervent hope is to get back to some type of normalcy. Whose hope is to start the culture in a more positive direction.

But what exactly is revival? And is it something we can and should expect? These are the questions I’d like to take a look at today as our world grows increasingly darker and our hope for this world teeters on the brink of extinction.

Merriam-Webster gives this definition of Revival as it relates to religion–

(1) : a period of renewed religious interest

 
Dictionary.com gives this definition–

an awakening, in a church or community, of interest in and care for matters relating to personal religion.
 
So we can see that Revival, as it relates to religion, means an awakening in matters of personal religion. In fact, one of the most famous revivals of all was called “The Great Awakening”. It happened in the mid-1700s and the two most famous men connected to it are Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield, although there were many lesser-known men (and women) used by God during that great time.

What brought about such revival? Many years ago I read Iain Murray’s Jonathan Edwards (which I highly recommend, by the way). As I recall, there were three very important keys to that famous Revival: 1) Prayer and 2) Repentance of sin and 3) Separation from the world.

Fervent, frequent prayer was the fuel of the revival and the people’s repentance of sin and separation from the world was the result of that prayer.

The church in that day was much like the church of this day, in that many people went to church to ease their consciences but there was little true religion.

I remember thinking as I was reading: This sounds so much like today.

We always think we are so much worse, but there really is nothing new under the sun.

So, given the definition of revival and the three important components of revival, should we expect revival?

I think it is important to say, first, that none of us knows what is ahead. We never have known but, now more than ever, the future is unsettled and uncertain. As you read anything I say below, please keep this in mind. We can only guess where we are at on God’s timeline by reading the signs. None of us can know definitively or specifically.

What I do know from reading scripture is that in the last days (which I strongly believe we are in because of the signs given to us in the Bible), times will wax worse and worse (Read 2 Timothy 3 and Jude). People will not truly turn to the Lord but they will pretend to be godly while loving their sin and this world.

From these passages, I don’t believe we should expect revival on any large scale, although there may be scattered pockets throughout the world.

But, of course, I don’t know.

Here’s what I do know:

Much of the talk of Revival these days is not true revival.

How do I know this?

It is because, while there may be talk of a vague repentance, there is rarely talk of repenting of specific, personal sins and never talk of turning from the world.

Most Christians who declare revival as this world’s solution rarely, if ever, encourage people to turn from not only their sin, but also from their fascination with and love for this world.

And, yet, can there be true revival without it? I think not.

James makes this extremely clear in chapter 4, verse 7–

Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

We cannot be in right relationship with God if we are in love with the world. And when we hear calls for revival, we never hear anything about this.

Christians are quite comfortable in this world. They live their married lives like the world (Dad is not the head of the home, moms leave their children to go to work); They parent like the world (they don’t discipline, they ignore what the Bible teaches); They watch, listen to, and read the same things as the world. They wear the same things as the world, letting even their precious teen girls dress in such a way to draw sexual attention to themselves so that they are accepted by their friends (I am shocked and dismayed at the many Christian parents who allow this. I cannot even believe it. And I see no conviction about this. From any direction. I’ll climb down off my soap box now. This has been puzzling me for years now.)

Christians look like the world. It is hard to see any difference, really.

And I am convinced more than ever that Revival cannot come while we Christians are steeped in this world.

If we want to bring true revival, we must wean ourselves from this world.

So how much do we actually want revival? How concerned are we for souls? Or are we more concerned about getting back to our comfortable, convenient lives and the world we believed we lived in? These are questions worth our consideration.

If true revival means fervent prayer (by true believers) and turning from sin and from this world, what is all this talk about revival among false teachers (and those who we thought were true teachers that are joining with false teachers)?

I think that is a great question.

You see, there is such a thing as fake revival. And it will be characterized by many people coming together with worldly music and raised hands, powerfully moved by emotion. The truth of God’s Word in these meetings means nothing. Personal repentance of sin and commitment to separate from the world are never a part of these kinds of meetings. It is an ecumenical unity based on feelings.

I believe there will be many fake revivals. In fact, there will be a last, great fake revival when people take the mark of the beast as an act of worship. People will bow at the feet of the Antichrist, believing he IS the Christ (Revelation 13).

It is so important that we carefully examine any rumors of revival by these standards. What is driving it? Is it fueled by prayer? Is there a focus on repentance? On turning from this world?

As we ponder these things, I think we must also realize that true revival starts with individuals. You and me. While we may not expect a wave of revival to overtake this nation or the world, we can perhaps start mini-revivals in our own homes and churches and communities. This can happen through much prayer and our own personal turning away from sin and this world. It is a painful process and we can expect much marginalization and ridicule, but it will yield fruit. Perhaps not as much as we’d hope for, but God will always use a life dedicated to Him for His purposes and His glory.

So pray for Revival. But make sure you are praying for the right kind of Revival and for the right reasons.

I want to leave you with these words by David Cloud on this topic of Revival–

The heart of the tree is being eaten away even as the watchers are pleased at keeping a few leaves alive. Some type of revival could happen if individual Christians and individual churches would repent of an adulterous love for this God-hating world, repent of setting the affections more on things below than things above, and earnestly beseech God’s help. Who knows how far the forces of evil could be driven back? God has never needed a majority. Gideon’s vigilant few are enough. But so many churches are like Sardis; they have a name that they live, but they are dead. They are comfortable in the world, not pilgrims but dwellers, mighty for pot luck but weak for spiritual warfare, zealous for video games and sports and consuming fleeting hours on social media vanity, but not zealous students of God’s Word, passionate for parties but not for prayer. (From Friday News, Nov 13, 2020)

 

Christian, the Government Isn’t Going to Save Us

It’s been such a strange year. For those of us who are Americans, much of what we’ve held dear seems to be hanging in the balance. Many of us are clinging to the fragile hope that somehow everything will turn out okay after the November election. That somehow all will go back to normal if we just elect the right President.

Even this has divided Christians (or at least those who call themselves Christians). I am deeply, deeply troubled by the amount of Christians who give no value to moral issues and only focus on social justice issues. Something is very, very wrong when the focus is on something that was never even taught in the Bible.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Social justice is a communist term. It is not from the Bible nor is it promoted in the Bible. (I beg of you to look for yourself if you don’t believe me.)

What is in the Bible is God’s hatred for murder (abortion) and sexual sin. We must think about this as we consider the upcoming election.

But no matter the outcome in November, we must remember that our salvation does not come from any earthly government.

In I Peter 2:11, we are called sojourners and pilgrims. A sojourner is someone who resides temporarily. A pilgrim is one who travels in a foreign land.

If we are a believer, then this earth is not our true home. We are just passing through.

However, many of us have made ourselves very comfortable here and we are in no hurry to leave this foreign land. We have set down deep roots and this is causing many of us to focus on what we can do to keep things the way they have always been. We are deeply concerned and perhaps even distraught at the thought of so many changes.

While this is only natural, it is important that we think through what we know from the Bible.

As we watch the world setting up for Revelation 13 (in a way that I honestly never thought I’d see in my lifetime), how do we even pray? We know that America can’t be strong in the last days or globalism would never be possible. And we know from our study of Revelation that globalism does happen eventually. So America must be weakened and broken at some point.

When this will happen in its finality, we can not know. Sometimes these things take time. Sometimes they happen fast. But we must remember we are pilgrims traveling in a foreign land. This world is not our home.

This is why we can’t put our hope in America. Or the government. Or a presidential candidate.

Our hope should be in Christ alone. He alone is our Savior.

He has saved us, not from temporary earthly pain and torment, but from eternal damnation. We must keep a proper perspective in the midst of all of this confusion and chaos.

All of the stability and security we felt with our normal way of life has been swept away within a few short months. But God has not changed. He is still the same–yesterday, today, and forever the same. Isn’t that an incredible thought in light of all that is going on in America and across the entire world? Everything may be different right now, but God is not. He is still our Rock and Refuge. He is our security.

And not only does God never change, but He is controlling everything that is happening (Proverbs 21:1; Psalm 22:28). He is fully sovereign and none of this is taking Him by surprise.

It may be His will that America grows strong again. Or it may be time for her to weaken beyond repair in order to start the process of creating the one world government prophesied in the book of Revelation. Whatever time it is, we need to be yielded to His will. Whatever time it is, we can rest firmly in the knowledge that this country and the whole world is in God’s hands and we can trust Him.

No matter what lies ahead for America and the rest of the world, we know we have a wonderfully safe and secure home waiting for us after this journey is over. And that’s something we can count on!

 

Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’

Isaiah 12:2

 

 

View from a Palm Tree

It was the day after Christmas in the year 2004. Out in the Indian Ocean, a great earthquake rumbled beneath the deep waters. It drove the water up, up, up until a giant wave was formed that started moving towards land.

Meanwhile, people moved about their day. Villagers may have been doing dishes or laundry. Tourists were probably eating breakfast or laying on lounge chairs by the water.

Suddenly, without warning, the colossal wave hit land. Some may have spotted it earlier and started running away from the wall of water. Others may have been hit completely unawares.

One thing is for sure: There was no escaping it if you were in its path.

The Tsunami of 2004 will be remembered as one of the worst natural disasters of all times.

Those in the path of it were absolutely defenseless. No amount of courage, fight, or willpower would have removed them from the path of the water. Oh, it might have helped them to survive the aftermath but they weren’t changing the course of that wave.

The water crashed against the shore and destroyed everything in its path–with the exception of a few people who were blessed to find a tree or some piece of wreckage to cling to.

If you’ve been reading the blog a little while, then you know that I firmly believe that we are in the last days. As scripture teaches so clearly, the last days are made up of the great Apostasy (Jude) and the creation of a one-world economy and religion (Revelation 13).  We will not be able to buy and sell without a mark on our hand or forehead (also Revelation 13). I could give other Bible passages that are coming to life right before our eyes along with a myriad of real-life examples that leave little doubt that this interpretation of scripture can hardly be denied. However, that is not the focus of this particular post.

What I want to focus on is the Tsunami of the Apostasy that has crashed over the church and swallowed most of her up. The few churches and individuals that haven’t caved and are clinging to the Bible as their final authority are like those who are clinging to a palm tree while the debris and chaos flows by. The wave encompasses all they loved about their church. All they believed about their pastor. All they trusted about celebrity Christianity. It has washed away most of their families and friends.

I’ve been really thinking about this the last few days. We are in a different position than we used to be as believers, at least here in the United States. The time for fighting against the Apostasy is over.

While we may win some skirmishes here and there, the battle for the US church is over and we have soundly lost. But so I expected. If we read what’s coming in Revelation 13, it makes SO much sense. Other passages, like Jude and 2 Timothy 3, also fill us in. God told us this would happen. We have no need to hang our heads in defeat. We still win in the end.

But, here and now, we probably need to recognize that we are done fighting against the “system”. The system is here, and just like a tsunami, it has forever changed the landscape of Christendom as we knew it.

So, if we aren’t supposed to fight, what are we supposed to do?

The end of Jude answers this question–

But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22 And on some have compassion, [j]making a distinction; 23 but others save [k]with fear, pulling them out of the [l]fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.

We can summarize this in two words– persevere and rescue

First, we need to persevere in our own faith in submission and obedience to God’s Word and keep our eyes focused on Jesus–the author and finisher of our faith. If we focus on what’s going on around us we will all too soon become discouraged and hopeless. The view from the Palm Tree is so ugly. And so we must look to the Word and to our Savior, if we are to be filled with joy and peace during this time. We will be be victorious over all of this wickedness! We are already victorious over sin through Jesus Christ, our Savior! There is still so much to praise God for!

Second, we need to rescue those God puts in our path who want to be rescued. Many will scoff at us or simply be irritated with us for exposing the darkness. But, every now and again, there will be someone who comes along that needs someone to talk to. God has opened their eyes to the mysticism or the ecumenism or they just feel like something is off in a book they are reading or the church they are attending. God will give us these opportunities and we need to take them.

I believe that the time for fighting is over. The wave has crashed and the Apostasy is HERE. Now, we hang on to God’s Word for dear life and offer help to those who actually want it. But we aren’t going to stop the devastation of the wave. The water is flowing into every crack and crevice and pulling up with it the last vestiges of traditional, biblical Christianity. The Christian religion is rolling itself right into the coming one world religion.

The remnant of true believers just keeps shrinking. We knew the path was narrow–but I am not sure we realized it was this narrow… (Please note: I am not doubting the salvation of some who may be deceived for a time. I am no judge. I am just providing an overall picture of what’s happening and am certainly not judging individuals.)

This is not some conspiracy theory. And it’s not some “holier than thou” essay.

If you don’t agree with me, I still love you as a sibling in Christ. I just ask that you do a little research with eyes that are willing to see. I don’t say these things to discourage or to anger anyone. I simply am writing about what I see going on. I feel like I’ve been in a state of shock for two years, as I have watched almost every beloved and trusted Bible teacher, author, and speaker be washed away by this wave. I feel almost numb as I watch “Christian” universities promote mysticism and the social Gospel. I feel alarmed as I see outright heretics on the same platform with those who were seemingly solid. Something is not right. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that something is not right.

If you do agree with me, then I hope that you will realize that you are not alone. I am over here clinging to a palm tree, too. God has so graciously spared us (to Him alone be the glory for this! You and I didn’t do anything deserving of this!) and we can encourage each other–at least for now–through online communication. If we are so blessed to have family or friends who see this, too, (or better yet, have a church that hasn’t flowed into the chaos) then we aren’t hanging from the palm tree alone. This is something to thank God for! I am not on my palm tree alone and I couldn’t be more grateful. Somehow it makes it so much more bearable. But…if you feel alone, please know that you are not alone. There are others out here who are watching the destruction roll by and are weeping with you.

God has not abandoned us. In fact, all that is going on confirms that the Bible is true and that the predictions of Revelation are being fulfilled. Let us keep clinging to our trees by building up ourselves in God’s holy word. Let us keep shouting out encouraging words and holding out our hands to those who want to be rescued. Let us point all we come in contact with to the Bible–our only anchor and source of hope.

It’s not going to get easier. But, one of these days, we are going to get to escape, before things get too bad. According to God’s Word, we will not be here to experience the onslaught of God’s wrath and judgment on this evil world. So let’s keep looking up! One day we will meet each other in the air! I believe it won’t be too long now!

 

 

It’s An Exciting Time To Be a Christian!

puzzle-pieces

I just saw an article on Facebook about how the government is spying on us using apps like Angry Birds and Google Maps.

In the last several weeks, incidents of random shootings at malls and grocery stores and on the highway have been a regular occurrence.

People, who call themselves Christians, are aligning themselves with worldly philosophies and practices at a record number with little resistance from solid, Bible-believing folks.

SELF has become god and most of us are all about seeking pleasure, comfort, power, and money. Even many of us Christians have fallen prey to this.

Children aren’t taught to obey and we are starting to reap the fruits of this in our schools and our communities.

The video game, movie, and music industries fill our minds with anti-God philosophies, while we just sit idly by, oftentimes using our God-given money to purchase it.

False teachers have infiltrated almost every aspect of the true church and have been warmly welcomed in the name of unity.

Wars and Rumors of Wars are in the news almost constantly.

This reminds me of 2 Timothy 3:1-5:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Matthew 24 also comes to mind.

As I read through these passages the other day, I realized something: We are HERE. We are in the last days. I don’t know if they will last a month or a hundred years, but they are here.

The puzzle pieces are starting to come together like never before —

We can now see how the mark will be a computerized chip lodged just below the skin.

We can understand how the witnesses will be seen across the world — an absolute puzzle to generations before us who never even heard of satellites.

We can understand how Israel will desperately need the peace treaty with the antichrist.

We can see how, right before our eyes, a one-world religion is forming, pushed through by many “evangelicals”, surprisingly.

We are watching the formation of a cashless society develop, which will eventually lead to a one world economy.

We can see the downfall of America, as it weakens and corrodes from within. America can’t be strong in the end–we aren’t even mentioned in the Bible. And it looks like we are losing our influence and power at a record pace.

And while all of this is slightly frightening, it is also INCREDIBLY exciting! Fellow Christians, if you believe the Bible with all your heart and soul, we are living in a time where we are seeing prophecy being fulfilled right before our eyes!  It is truly amazing.

Most Christians do not want to think about the end days. But John tells us in Revelation 1:3 that we are blessed if we read and and hear the words of the prophecy contained in Revelation. We aren’t just to push this book aside, because the time is near. If it was near two thousand years ago, can you imagine how much closer we are now?

I repeat: It is an incredible time to be a Christian! Let’s not forget that, amidst our discouragement and fear. We know the ending of this story and we are on the winning side!

Please note: It seems as if Facebook has been stone-walling me. If you like this post (or any of my posts), I would be very appreciative if you would share them. Thank you :)

 

 

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