The Obedience of Faith

Hebrews 11:7 – By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

Genesis 6:9 – This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.

Noah was a righteous man, he aimed to please God; he was a blameless man, he had integrity with people, and the reason he could be righteous and blameless is that it had to do with his walk. Walking with God is called pleasing God.

Can you make God smile? That’s pleasing God, making their decisions based on their relationship with God. The first 8 verses of Chapter 6 of Genesis, tells us what kind of world Noah was surrounded by and yet Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Noah was walking with God when nobody else was.

Genesis 6:5 – Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Let me tell you what else was going on: Fallen angels, who are sexless, infiltrated evil men who had relationships with women, producing a demonized population!

Demons need a vehicle through which to express themselves. They are spirits, and that’s why Jesus cast them out of the insane man and they asked to go into the swine. They needed a house a host.

That is why when people try to deal with the sin without dealing with the demons, they wind up right back where they started in the first place. The world calls it “additions,” but the Bible calls it a “spiritual stronghold.” There is a “grip” by the demonic world to that addition.

Then here’s Noah walking with God. I imagine that seemed odd to the rest of the world. Noah didn’t conform to this world. It’s easy to be a Christian while sitting in the church among other believers, but when you step outside, the pressure comes to conform you to the world.

Does anyone remember growing up in a Christian world where even if you were not a Christian, you still respected the Christian world view? I do. Almost everyone I knew when I was growing up went to church or certainly didn’t make fun of those who did.

But now, Christianity has become persecuted all around the world and the more serious we are with our walk with God the odder we’ll look. Noah walked so close to God that he was the only one that God was talking to. Hebrews 11 says, “being divinely warned,” by God, Noah knew what God intended to do. Some can’t hear from God because they are too far away.

Genesis 6:11 – The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. (Verse 12) So God looked upon the earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the earth. (Verse 13) And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. “Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.”

Hebrews 11:7, says, that Noah built an ark when he hadn’t seen anything yet. Meaning, he’d never seen a flood, and it hadn’t rained up to this point. So God is warning Noah about something he’s never seen before.

When God is close enough to you to speak directly to you and what He tells you is weird, He’s getting ready to do something big! He told Noah to build a boat on dry land, the earth is going to be flooded even though Noah had never seen a flood let alone rain! That’s weird! As soon as God told Noah to start building the ark and how to do it, he started doing it.

Why is it that believers today only want to do half or part of what God says to do? To walk by faith is completing what God tells us to do. If you’re not walking with Him, obedience becomes an irritation. However, if you are walking closely with Him, obedience becomes natural to you.

We need our walk to appreciate the obedience even when the obedience doesn’t make sense. Noah was obedient from the first gopher wood he cut down and kept on for 120 years. Don’t forget: Noah did everything God told him to do without seeing any evidence of what God said was going to happen.

2 Peter 2:5 – says that Noah is a preacher of righteousness – and did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly,…

So the entire time Noah is building the ark, his preaching to the people, trying his best to warn them, “The rain is coming!” He worked and he witnessed! Can you imagine how they mocked him? They didn’t even know what the word rain meant.

Noah moved with godly fear and prepared the ark for the saving of his household. That’s what a kingdom man does! Kingdom men don’t abandon their families. Noah let the rest of his family see his faith. Noah condemned the world by his work on the ark and his witness.

And then 120 years later, water started coming down. Animals and family knew it was time to step into the ark. Can any of us imagine waiting on God to give us instructions on something for that long? When God tells us to do something, we want all the details upfront before we step out. Tha’s not how it works.

Noah’s civilization found out too late that God was real and Noah was walking with the true God. Matthew 24:37 – “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

Are we not seeing the days of Noah right now? Everything goes! Even Christians compromise their faith to please others’ opinions of them. Is Jesus not our ark of safety? Are we not sealed like the ark was sealed with “pitch?” And if you think your faith is weak or just not strong enough, hang out with someone that has enough for you both!

If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you know to start paying attention and walk as close to God as you can. We don’t see exactly what’s coming but we’ve read the Bible and its clear. So walk with God today and be prepared for the future.

Be known for the person that, “Walks with God!”

Holy Spirit Comes In, Church Goes Out

Acts 2:1 – Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. (Verse 2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. (Verse 3) Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

(Verse 4) And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Verse 5) Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. (Verse 6) And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and was confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language.

And Jesus said in Acts 1:8 – “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

The Holy Spirit stirred boldness and courage in this baby church to fulfill the great commission. However, He is also stirring curiosity in the people on the streets at the same time. It seems He is preparing one group to share and at the same time preparing another group to receive! He’s preparing one group to speak and preparing another group to listen.

Just as the Holy Spirit prepares some to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, He prepares others to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit does both things at the same time. So as the Holy Spirit prepares His own to speak the gospel, and is preparing the world to listen, what should we do?

The first thing that Jesus tells His disciples about the Holy Spirit is: John 14:16 – “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever,…”

The first thing Jesus wants us to know about the Holy Spirit is, He will never leave us. He will be with us forever! The Spirit is not there because we feel Him, He’s there because Jesus promised He would be.

When we believe that the Holy Spirit is always with us, we don’t need to wait for a “feeling” to share the gospel with another. The Holy Spirit doesn’t come and go, He’s there forever abiding in the believer.

Do you remember the story of Peter stepping out of the boat and walking on water to meet Jesus? Do you honestly think Peter waited for “goose-bumps” before he stepped out? Jesus said, “Come,” and Peter stepped out of the boat!

The boat represents our area of “security.” We are in full control of that area. At first, Jesus at one time came walking on the water and stepped into Peter’s boat, but further on as Peter began to mature, Jesus says to Peter, “Come.” Step out of the boat, Peter!

Take a new step of faith. We have to get out of our safety zone. How do you not know that the Holy Spirit is preparing someone right now to receive the gospel when you speak?

Exposing the Antichrist

The Antichrist is a deceiver and I personally believe he is n the world “right now!” The term “Antichrist” is used four times by John in the Books of 1 John and 2 John. The real person has thirty-eight titles and names that he is given in Scripture: Little horn, beast, man of sin, lawless one and more.

Antichrist and Anti mean two things: It means to oppose and it means to replace. This is exactly what the Antichrist desires to do in the world today; oppose the work of Jesus Christ and to replace Jesus Christ in our lives.

He also has a two-fold strategy: how he attacks us and how he attacks the world. The first part of his strategy is an outpouring of spiritual deception to incite the world to rebel against God. This is happening right now. It is an end-times apostasy from the truth and an outpouring of deception.

The Book of 1 Thessalonians mentions Jesus’ return in every chapter but unfortunately when the church of Thessalonica received this first letter many were convinced Jesus had already come. They thought they had been left behind and the tribulation had started. So Paul wrote 2 Thessalonians three or four weeks after the letter of 1 Thessalonians.

So in this next text, we are going to read where Paul is trying to comfort them and let them know Jesus had not returned:

2 Thessalonians 2:1 – Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, (Verse 2) not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.

(Verse 3) Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, (Verse 4) who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

(Verse 5) Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? (Verse 6) And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. (Verse 7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way (The Holy Spirit).

(Verse 8) And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. (Verse 9) The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, 

(Verse 10) and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (Verse 11) And for this reason, God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, (Verse 12) that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

What we are seeing today is a moral freefall! In the last twenty years, everything has changed! We also see a total mass rebellion against God and against the morality of God.

We see in verse seven that the rapture takes place because it says that the “lawless one” will be revealed when He, the Holy Spirit, is taken away. So to answer the question of “Who is the Antichrist,” Christians will not know because we won’t be here. Oh yes, we already see his spirit in the world today doing a tremendous amount of damage, but what actually takes place during his reign on earth we won’t know.

Timeline of End-Time Events

Number one: A growing rejection of God’s Word and rebellion to biblical morality. This has already happened. Number two: The spreading of the gospel by the Chruch as the Holy Spirit in the church restrains the work of Satan in the world.

Have you ever in your life-time heard of people that name themselves another gender other than the one they were born with? The assault on biblical morality has blown up in the last twenty or thirty years. People are putting “unknown” in the space on a birth certificate under gender. The parents are saying they want their child to name their gender. This is literally insane and they know it. Parents should be godly guides, not agents of cofusion!

You cannot reason with these people who think like this. We can pray for them is all. They have listened to the devil for too long and believe his lies. And they will continue to do so unless something wakes them up.

Now for the third thing that is going to happen at the end-timeline: The rapture of the Church in an instant of time. Here is Jesus’ description of the rapture:

Luke 17:26 – “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: (Vere 27) “They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. (Verse 28) “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;

(Verse 29) “but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom, it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. (Verse 30) “Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (Verse 31) In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise, the one who is n the field, let him not turn back. 

(Verse 32) “Remember Lot’s wife. (Verse 33) “Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. (Verse 34) “I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left.

(Verse 35) “Two women will be grinding together; the one will be taken and the other left. (Verse 36) “Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.”

(Verse 37) And they answered and said to Him, “Where, Lord?” So He said to them, “Whenever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”

Just as it was in the days of Noah and Lot, so it shall be when Jesus returns. There are people who don’t give any of this any thought. Every day is “business as usual.”

But for those of you who think believers are going to go through the seven years of tribulation: It will not be a time of getting married and giving in marriage: as Jesus just told us in Luke, that all happened before it starts. Those seven years are destruction, plagues, and over half of the population dies.

The true believers will not be here – read the Bible! If we read and know God’s word, no one could ever believe that God’s people have to live through seven years of hell on earth.

1 Thessalonians 1:10 – and to wait for His Son from heaven whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who “delivers us from the wrath to come.” Plain as day, right there – believers are gone!

1 Thessalonians 5:9 – For God did not appoint us to wrath but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, (Verse 10) who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

Luke 21:36 – “Watch therefore and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Jesus is telling us to pray that we might escape these things to come. If it wasn’t achievable, why then would Jesus tell us to pray? Jesus also tells us to comfort one another with these words. How could you comfort someone by telling them they are going to go through the Great Tribulation? You can’t!

Revelation 6:15 – And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the might men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in caves and in the rocks of the mountains, (Verse 16) and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! (Verse 17) “For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

So what is the “wrath of the Lamb?” For over two thousand years, Jesus has been offering His forgiveness and grace, and for over two thousand years He has been mocked, spit on in the face, cursed, abused, rejected and yet has given more grace. The Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world has been nothing but loving ever since He died and rose again!

But on the day that the Church is raptured, it all changes. The Lamb who is the king of glory will pour out His wrath on this earth and the people will know its Him! The Bible says they will seek death, but will not find it.

The Bible also says that the rapture will happen in a “twinkling of an eye.” That’s not enough time to repent! When the disciples asked, “Where, ” Jesus told them the body will be where the eagles are – “caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air!” Jesus knows who belongs to Him. If a person doesn’t know Christ and they are living during the rapture, they will go through that horrible last seven years on this earth.

Now after the rapture, the fourth thing that is going to happen: The Antichrist is revealed to the world and they worship him. The last seven years are broken into two halves. The first three and one-half years are the rise of the Antichrist and then the “abomination of desolation” takes place. What that means is there is a rebuilt temple on the temple mount in Israel, according to Daniel, Matthew, 2 Thessalonians2, and according to Revelation 13. The Antichrist enters that temple and proclaims himself God. That begins the last three and one-half years which is called “The Great Tribulation!

However, there will be people getting saved during this tribulation period but the beast is given the power to overcome them (Revelation 13:7)

And the fifth thing that is going to happen: The Second Coming of Christ! The rapture took place before all this and the world doesn’t see it but feels the effects afterward. There will be billions here one second and gone the next and no one that is left will know what happened to them.

At the end of the tribulation, according to Revelation 19, we return with Jesus, after the marriage supper of the Lamb which is taking place in heaven, and we will have a “ring-side-seat when Jesus defeats the beast and the false prophet. Then Jesus sets up His one-thousand-year reign.

How close do you think we are to this right now? Here are a few things that are taking place right now: There is an outpouring of spiritual deception to incite the world to rebel against God and His word. There also is a major seduction of God’s people to adapt to the culture we live in.

Proverbs 10:22 – The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it. 

1 Timothy 6:10 – For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrow. 

No matter how much someone has, they should stay humble and never stop trusting and leaning on our Perfect Father!

 

 

Exposing Satan

We as Christians don’t need to fear the devil but we certainly need to understand him. Every name and title that the devil has is meaningful. The title of Satan means adversary. It’s amazing how many people don’t believe in the devil and an enemy you don’t believe in can easily destroy a person. If there is no devil then why does the Bible have so much to say about him? So that we can overcome him!

1 Peter 5:8 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (The devil is looking for someone to give him permission.) (Verse 9) Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

Ephesians 6:10 – Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. (Verse 11) Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Verse 12) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Verse 13) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Paul uses the symbolism of a Roman soldier against the enemy. So we put on all the armor because we are wrestling with demonic spirits in the heavenly places. If we use the authority that God gave us, nothing can hurt us.

Luke 10:19 – “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” If we don’t use the authority that is given, we will get hurt. We all have an enemy in the devil and we all have authority over him if we simply learn how to do what the Bible says. 

Why is the devil our enemy?

First of all, because he is God’s enemy! But why would the devil always be trying to destroy God’s children? Why can the devil defeat some Christians and others not? How do we protect ourselves against Satan?

Satan is the enemy of truth, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life and the Eternal Word of God. If a person walks in lies and deception, then the devil is not their adversary, he is their master. When they walk in lies, they are under Satan’s dominion.

Too many Christians don’t believe they can be in bondage over anything because they’re saved. Oh, yes they can! When we get saved we are cleansed in the blood of Jesus and nothing can change that. However, now is when the adversary, the devil comes after you. Too many are nieve into thinking that Satan can’t get you any longer, but he has cunning ways of deceiving.

The Pharisees also thought they couldn’t be in bondage because Abraham was their father, but look at what Jesus tells them: John 8:41 – “You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father – God.” (Verse 42) Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 

(Verse 43) “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. (Verse 44) “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him, When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.

(Verse 45) “But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. (Verse 46) “Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? (Verse 47) “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

The Pharisees didn’t want to hear the truth. Satan opposes the believer because we believe in the word of God. Jesus very plainly says that Satan is a liar but somehow he still gets Christians to believe him. You want to know why? Because they won’t take the time to read the truth on their own!

There is protectin from the devil through knowing God’s word. But there is a difference in hearing God’s word and doing God’s word. Jesus says in Matthew 7:24, that whoever hears His sayings and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

We all build our lives on some kind of foundation. Is it sand or is it the rock? However, none of us have a guarantee of success apart from the word of God. But why would people build anything on sand? Maybe it’s popular; maybe it’s comfortable, and it’s comfortable for you. They want to choose what they are going to believe.

This is exactly why some Christians will argue with other Christians about homosexuality and abortion. They don’t know enough of God’s word to know that He never changes. They think God evolves with culture and society! they don’t know his word and they don’t know hIm. If we let the evil in one part of our lives, how then are we going to fight him off in another area?

The eternal word of God is the only foundation we can live our lives by. There is a real devil and he hates God’s children! Why in the world would anyone listen to someone who hates them? Why would anyone listen to anyone who lies, all the time?

God’s word is true, all of it! We don’t pick and choose what to believe. God never changes. What was true in the beginning is true now! The sword of the Spirit will guide us, and protect us against the wiles of Satan!

 

Exposing The Enemy

Exposing Lucifer

This study is going to expose how Satan attacks. Did you know that Lucifer has several names: Lucifer, Satan, devil, antichrist, son of perdition, roaring lion, enemy and so on. However, we are going to find out how powerful our God is and how he has given us the courage and power to overcome the enemy.

1 Peter 5:8 – Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (Verse 9) Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 

Luke 10:17 – Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” (Verse 18) And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. (Verse 19) “Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

Matthew 4:1 – Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Verse 2) And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. (Verse 3) Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

Ephesians 6:11 – Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Verse 12) For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,  against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Verse 13) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Did you notice all of the times that the devil was mentioned? What’s so amazing is that according to a Christian research firm that took a survey, 60% of people that call themselves Christians don’t even believe in the devil. All I can say is, they must have never read the Bible.

Did you know there are many denominations that don’t even believe in hell? They think hell is just a symbol of evil. How can they believe what the Bible says about Jesus and not what it says about hell? We either believe all the Bible or none of it!

If we don’t acknowledge an enemy in the first place, how will anyone ever protect themselves from attacks? This is not about focusing on the devil at all, but how he operates and attacks the child of God.

Isaiah 14:12 – “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! (Verse 13) For you have said in your heart; ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; 

(Verse 14) I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ (Verse 15) Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit. (Verse 16) “Those who see you will gaze at you, and consider you, saying: ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms, (Verse 17) who made the world as wilderness and destroyed its cities, who did not open the house of his prisoners?’ ” 

Look what happened when Lucifer became proud while being the worship leader in heaven: Ezekiel 28:12 – …”You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. (Verse 13) You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created. 

(Verse 14) “You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. (Verse 15) You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you. (Verse 16) “By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones. 

(Verse 17) Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom for the sake of your splendor; I cast you to the ground, I laid you before kings, that they might gaze at you.”

Lucifer was a covering cherub in the garden of God and he was gorgeous! According to Revelation 12:4, when he fell, he took a third of the angels with him. But rather than leading all the angels of heaven to worship God, he put his eyes and thoughts on himself to be like God. He wanted that worship for himself! The calling card of the devil is pride!

The number one way the devil will attack a believer is in the spirit of pride. This was how the devil deceived Adam and Eve into rebelling against God and is also how he deceives us.

Genesis 3:4 – And the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. (Verse 5) “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Verse 6) So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Verse 7) Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.

This is Satan’s strategy, he accuses God of being a liar and a bully. Proverbs 6:16 – These six things the LORD hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him: (Verse 17) A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, (Verse 18) a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, (Verse 19) a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren.

An abomination means a detestable thing and that’s what God calls pride and all these that follow! Pride is a very serious sin whether people see it as such or not.

James 4:6 – But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” God loves us too much to bless us when we’re walking in the spirit of the devil! He will not let us succeed when we have a spirit of pride on us!

Because pride is sin, pride exposes us to spiritual attacks, and it also negates our spiritual authority. James 4:7 – Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (Verse 8) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you doubleminded. (Verse 9) Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. (Verse 10) Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

Here is the triple “whammy” of pride: God resists us, the devil attacks us, and we have no authority to stop the attacks. The answer for pride is worship! The opposite of pride is not humility, because unbelievers can be humble. The opposite of pride is worship!

Satan did not go from humility to pride, he went from worship to pride. We will never fall into pride if we stay in worship! So worship God and draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.

Humble yourself in His sight and He will lift you up!

 

Facing Uncertain Times

Does this pandemic thing feel like what we’ve only read about in the Bible? Does it not feel apocalyptic? For those of us living in America, we find it unusual that our grocery store shelves are empty of certain items. Schools are closed; businesses with the exception of the very needed are closed; the roads are almost empty and everyone is told to stay home.

So one of my questions is this: Is there any connection between this virus and end times? How would we know if this virus is a sign that our world as we know it, is ending?

First, let me define what a sign is: A Biblical sign is an event or symbol or object whose existence indicates something on God’s plan for the future. Jesus told us that in the future there would be many signs:

Luke 21:25 – “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars, and on the earth distress of nations,, with perplexity, the sea, and the waves roaring; (Verse 26) “men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of heaven will be shaken.”

Jesus actually scolded the Pharisees and the Sadducees for not paying any attention to the signs of the times. They were just like some today saying none of this is really important.

Matthew 16:1-3 – Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them a sign from heaven. (Verse 2) He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; (Verse 3) “and in the morning ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.”

Matthew 24:3-8 – Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your coming, and of the end of the age? (Verse 4) And Jesus answered and said to them, “Take heed that no one deceives you. (Verse 5) “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. (Verse 6) “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

(Verse 7) “For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. (Verse 8) “All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

The disciples asked Jesus three questions: When will these things be; what will the sign of Your coming be; and what will be the sign of the end of the age be? Jesus answers the second and third questions in verses we just read. However, He doesn’t answer the first question of “when” until verse 36, which says, “But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

In the answers to the second and third questions, Jesus gives us six signs to let us know we are in those end times before He comes. (1) The deception by false Christs. (2) Disputes and warfare among nations. (3) Nations rise against nation. (4) famines (5) pestilences (6) earthquakes in various places.

The six signs will cover the first three and one-half years of the tribulation period. We are living, right now in what the Bible calls the “Chruch Age.” The “Church Age” is going to come to an end very suddenly with what is called “The Rapture of the Church!”

After that, the seven years of tribulation starts on this earth. The judgment that happens on this earth at that time will be horrific! Then at the end of those seven years, Jesus comes from heaven with His saints and sets up His kingdom on this earth.

None of the signs listed in Matthew 24, have anything to do with the “Rapture.” Here is a verse that confuses a lot of people, but we must remember not to take it out of context: Matthew 24:34 – “Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things are fulfilled.”

Which generation? The generation that sees all these signs. The generation that is alive at the time these signs come, will not pass away until Jesus comes back. Be careful trying to predict though, these signs have nothing to do with the rapture and when it’s going to take place.

And the reason we know this is because when Jesus comes for us in the rapture there will be no announcement! It will take place in an instant! Without warning the rapture will take place.

So if all these signs are not signs about the rapture and after the rapture I will be in heaven, why should I be concerned about the signs at all? Because future events cast their shadows before them: These things that are going to be happening in the tribulation period, some of them in some form are going to be going on before the rapture takes place.

So is this pandemic a sign of the rapture? O course not because there are no signs for the rapture. However, this could be the sign of the coming of pestilence. Some of these tribulation signs can spill over into the final years before the rapture.

What does all this teach us? What can we take away from this when it is all over? It teaches us the vulnerability of everyone. They had first told us that the elderly and those with underlying conditions were the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, but as time went by, we see that no one is safe, healthy or not!

This should make us all realize how much more dependant on God we really are. 1 Peter 5:5 – …”God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Perhaps before this is over, we will be a nation on our knees!

This also teaches us the credibility of the Bible. We are living right now what some had to live in the Bible. So when we’ve read about plagues and pestilence before in the Bible, we can believe it happens. None of us saw this coming!

James 4:14 – whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

Please don’t ever forget to be grateful for what God has done in your life because we have no certainty of tomorrow. I’m not full of “doom & gloom,” it’s just that we all need to be reminded how vulnerable we all are and to give honor and praise to the One who it is due. The plans we all had, the schedules and the appointments we made are all put on hold for now, but soon, very soon, our God will show us what a Mighty God He is.

If people only listen to the negative of how many people have this or have died across the world, they will be consumed with fear! But let me remind every Christian, “God didn’t give us a spirit of fear!!! He came to give us hope!

God Is Bigger!

Listen up, Facebook Friends:

Far too many Christians have more faith in the news media than they do in the word of God. Far too many have more confidence in the government and politics than the word of God also.

2 Corinthians 4:18 – while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

If we start with the reality of our five senses, hear, taste, touch, smell, and seeing and miss the invisible to make sense of the visible, we won’t see all there is to see. Paul said in this verse you just read: “We don’t start with the things that are seen.” Then he said, “We start with the “unseen.”

Hebrews 12:25 – See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who speaks on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, (Verse 26) whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” (Verse 27) Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.

The first thing Hebrews 12:25 says, is, “Do not refuse Him who speaks.” God speaks in a number of ways. His foundational way of speaking is His Word! His written recorded word.

In times past, He spoke on earth, so the verse says. He spoke through the prophets, but He says, “Now I speak from heaven. Referring to Him coming to earth from heaven in the person of Jesus Christ. So God starts with His recorded word. But we all know people can talk and people still don’t listen, just like some people’s kids do. They will just ignore you.

When we refuse to listen to God, He has another way to speak to us, “By shaking things up!” He will disturb things. So when God sees that people are refusing to listen to His word, for the culture, or community, or even for the saints, He shakes things on earth and will “flat-out” interrupt our lives big time!

Nothing happens that is either not caused or allowed by God! Nothing just occurs. If anything happened that He didn’t cause or allow, He then would not be in control of all things and He is! There is no such thing as luck or chance because God is sovereign!

Then God tells us in verse 27, He will shake the things that can be shaken. Meaning: There is a major interruption that disturbs the natural order of things. When things are interrupted, and we can’t do anything about that interruption, it’s out of our control and that means God has total control. When things are shaken by God, we call those things “Acts of God!”

Some will call them natural disasters, but Christians know that God has allowed it to happen. Therefore when things happen that aren’t supposed to happen, it’s time to listen to the Almighty God Himself! If people don’t look at what has taken place over the last several months across the globe and realize this was not some random incident, then they will not understand that God is trying to get the whole world’s attention.

So, what is God saying? Sometimes God connects His speaking to a warning when it involves shaking! He needs our undivided attention! And His purpose in His speech is always the same: He speaks to “separate!” Hebrews 12:27 – Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. “Separating!”

When our whole world is rocked like it has been with this virus, God’s intention is to create “Correction!” So what is He trying to correct, first by His word and then by shaking? He is trying to correct the fact that the physical has trumped the spiritual! That’s always going to be the message in some form or fashion.

He’s trying to get things back in their rightful “location.” He shakes the things that can be shaken, that is of created things, the physical world so that the things that cannot be shaken “Remain!” He’s putting things back in their rightful place.

Maybe these verses will tell people to put things back in perspective because He has shown us and the world if we don’t listen when He speaks, He can, will, and does “Shut it all down!” However, if people continue to not listen, they will only see a storm that they want to hurry up and get through to go back to what they were doing before all this took place.

I wonder how many have really taken notice of how sick and vile our world has gotten. Who would have ever thought in my lifetime that it would become a law that a woman could decide to kill an innocent baby up to the time of delivery? Or that our government would approve taxpayer dollars to support “Abortion Mills,” and that’s what they are! How about parents letting children get sex changes or name their own gender?

Have we not all wondered how long God was going to watch this and just let it go? Let me ask you a question: How did the plagues in the day of Moses and the children of Israel stop? The blood of a sacrificial lamb was applied to each doorpost and the “Death Angel” passed by that house! And Christians, who is our sacrificial Lamb? Jesus Christ!

You want this virus to stop, apply the Blood of Christ over your life, house and this country, pray and repent and submit to the Son of God! He is our provider and the only solution to this mighty shaking that is taking place! And we must stop and listen to what God is speaking through His Word before it ever gets this far again! Amen and Amen!

Does Jesus Still Heal?

Healing can be such a hard subject to understand because we still have sickness in the world and Christians still get sick too.

Matthew 4:23 – And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. (Verse 24) Then His fame went throughout all Syria, and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.

When Jesus was on this earth it’s evident that He healed people, but does He still heal today? Simple answer, yes He does. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But there are still questions that most of us have:

If Jesus heals today, why do I still get sick?

Psalm 103:1 – Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name! (Verse 2) Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; (Verse 3) who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, (Verse 4) who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, (Verse 5) who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.

Did that passage just say, “Heals all your diseases?” Is it easier to believe He forgives all iniquities than to believe He heals all our diseases even though these two statements are in the same verse? Actually, these two phrases are in several places together in the Bible.

Isaiah 33:24 – And the inhabitant will not say, “I am sick”; the people who dwell in it will be forgiven iniquity. Isn’t that curious that sickness and iniquity are together? Does that mean healing and forgiveness are connected? And would that mean that repentance is connected to our healing? Just something to think about.

Isaiah 53:5 – But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes, we are healed. 

It says, “Are healed,” present tense, but look at how it is quoted in the New Testament: 1 Peter 2:24 – who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed. In the New Testament, it says, “Were healed!” Isaiah is looking forward to the cross and Peter looks backward to the cross.

Now, look at “He bore our sins,” but did He also bear our sickness? Isaiah 53:4 – Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. “Grief” in Hebrew means “sickness.” Twenty times in the Old Testament it is translated sickness, disease, or sick.

However, if you are still having a hard time to understand this, look at what Matthew says: Matthew 8:16 – When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, (Verse 17) that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, “He Himself took our iniquities and bore our sicknesses.” 

Confirming that He bore our sins and bore our sicknesses, Matthew used the word “sickness” instead of the word “grief.” But why do we still get sick? Did Jesus bear our sins on the cross? Yes, but do we still sin? Yes! If Jesus bore all my sins, why do I still sin and need to still be forgiven?

Yes, Jesus bore all my sins on the cross, but I’m not a perfect Christian and still sin. And He bore all my sickness on the cross, and yet I still get sick. Make sense? Why? Because we live in a fallen sinful, sick filled world. But the good news is a new world is coming where there is no sin or sickness!

Jesus bore on the cross: The penalty of our sins; the power of our sins; and He bore the presence of our sins. He also bore penalty, power, and presence of our sicknesses.

Penalty – we have been saved. Power – we are being saved. Presence – we will be saved; past, present, and eternity! If you are a believer then Jesus has saved you from the penalty of sin. The punishment for our sins was put on Him. One day we will be saved from the penalty of sickness and one day we’ll be saved from the “presence’ of sickness – no sin or sickness in heaven.

However, right now, present tense, I’m being saved from the “power” of sin and the power of “sickness.” The more I let His word get in me the more power I have to overcome sin and that power to overcome sickness comes from God. Please hear me: “God will never put sickness on you to discipline you no more than He would ever make you sin to prove a point!

Exodus 15:26 – …”I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the LORD who heals you.”

So how do I receive healing?

How did you receive forgiveness of sin? By grace! Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is a gift of God, (Verse 9) not of works lest anyone should boast.

It is by grace through faith that I am saved. Not by faith alone or I take the credit, but by grace through faith. When it comes to healing, we get confused and think we need “great faith’ to be healed.

Healing is a “grace mentality,” not a “works mentality.” It’s God’s grace that gets us forgiven and it’s God’s grace that gets us healed! Our healing will come the same way our “getting saved” came – by grace! Remember what Jesus said. “If you have the faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Be ye removed!’ ” It’s not by faith nor by works, it’s by grace!

What if I’m not healed?

We trust God regardless! Philippians 1:20 – Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. We trust God for our healing and we trust God no matter what happens, in life or death. Yes, we live in a fallen world but we still trust God no matter what.

God loves us and only wants the best for His children, but sometimes things happen out of our control. That’s why we trust God in the good times and the bad times. He knows the end from the beginning! Just as we “believed and were saved,” “believe and receive healing!” God bless you all!

 

 

Divine Disruption

This crisis we are all going through now is more than just about a virus. This Corona Pandemic is also about “Corona Politics.” This virus has affected everything and all systems of the world. There is something much deeper going on than just a virus.

Everything visible and physical is preceded by that which is invisible and spiritual. If we want to address that which is visible and physical, we must identify the cause and the cure to what is invisible and spiritual.

In other words: If all you see is what’s right in front of you, you are not seeing all there is to be seen. Something else is “afoot” here and it is attached to the spiritual realm.

2 Chronicles 15:5 – “And in those times there was no peace to the one who went out nor to the one who came in, but great turmoil was on all the inhabitants of the lands. (Verse 6) “So nation was destroyed by nation, and city by city, for God troubled them with every adversity.

That is a description of a world in chaos! Individuals without peace, communities in turmoil, and uncertainty, international despair. The common denominator is chaos. Is everybody nervous and restless right now? Yes.

But what does the end of verse six say that catches our attention? “For God troubled them with every kind of adversity, distress.” Hold on, God took the blame in this passage for what was happening? Is God really saying, “I’m behind your lack of peace and disturbances?”

In the Old Testament, when God wanted to address the fact that people had departed from Him, there would be judgment. With the death of Jesus Christ, in history, God recast His relationship to the world.

2 Corinthians 5:18 – Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, (Verse 19) that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.

So now, God does not rain down viruses or fire and brimstone. But we can experience “the passive wrath of God” that’s described in Romans 1:24, 26, 28 – Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves.

(Verse 26) For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 

(Verse 28) And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;

When the people no longer considered God and wouldn’t take Him seriously, He turned them over. He released them to let them see their true selves without Him. What Romans Chapter 1 is describing is when an individual, family, or nation departs from God, they are left to their own devices. When people tell God that He is no longer wanted in their lives, He’ll let them loose.

What we are going through today, worldwide and individually, is a divine disruption. God is disrupting the normal order of things. Do you think He’s trying to get our attention on every single level of life? This is worldwide because God is sending a worldwide message.

So what was the problem that caused the chaos in 2 Chronicles 15:5, 6? 2 Chronicles 15:3 – “For a long time Israel has been without the true God, without a teaching priest, and without law; 

The Bible didn’t say that there was “no belief in God.” It said there was no “true God.” They had replaced the true God with idols. Sound familiar? So what is an idol? An idol is any noun, person, place, or thing that people look to as their source independently of the true God. It becomes your “point of reference.” And that is called an idol in the Bible.

When we adopt idols, technology, money, people, relationships, religions, careers, whenever those things are placed alongside or in front of the God who has revealed Himself, it will be rejected by Him! A distance will happen between Him and us, and it will open up a whole lot of things to come in our lives.

People like to use the name “God,” but if you do, the information we give must be true about Him. We can’t make up stuff, call it God and then think He’s ok with it. We want to say we believe in Him, but do most truly follow Him in all his ways? So, Israel’s first problem is our problem still today. God had been replaced by “false gods.”

The second problem they had, according to 2 Chronicles 15:3, was that “there were no teaching priests.” When whoever is in the pulpit fails the whoever sits in the pews, the congregation becomes confused because of what is coming out of the pulpit, then the entire culture is not going to be led in the right direction.

How many churches do you know of that have “played up” to the culture and dumbed down the deity by ignoring God’s Word! A lot of churches are not teaching what God says, they are teaching what they think. They are teaching what makes people feel good about themselves.

There are always two answers to every question: God’s answer and then everybody else. Everybody is wrong unless they agree with God. God speaks to all issues in all of life and is never wrong. God defines every aspect of our lives and expects us to take heed. When we make up our own rules with our own opinions, we have insulted God. No teaching priests sounds like it’s the same in some churches today.

The third thing that was wrong according to 2 Chronicles 15:3, was “They were without law.” People had no guidelines to govern their actions. How many times have you heard people today say, “Well, this is my truth!” There is no truth that disagrees with God’s word. When people think that they know more than God, they are calling Him a liar. So guess what the people of Israel had back then and guess what we have now? Chaos. This is a distress that God has allowed. The door has been opened to a virus and other things.

But here is the good news: 2 Chronicles 15:4 – “but when in their trouble they turned to the LORD God of Israel and sought Him, He was found by them.

God will let things get as chaotic as they need to get until He gets 100% of our undivided attention! Not because He’s mean, He just wants our attention!

Yes, this virus is a health crisis and we need to listen to our health leaders and be aware of symptoms, but don’t think that is all we’ere dealing with here.

Just as Israel did, they cried unto the Lord and they sought Him. Return to God and draw near to Him and He will draw near to you. God is setting the agenda here and we have to adjust our plans to His.

Distress will wake us up. Then God says, “They sought Him and found Him.” Make this your goal today, seek God, repent, submit and He promises to heal the land.