This took my breath away…

Being nearly 58 years old and having served our country around the world for twenty of those years, and serving the Lord Jesus through various ministries since leaving the military… there is not much I have not seen and very little that surprises me about the depravity of the human condition. Truly, as the prophet Jeremiah tells us… the heart is desperately wicked.

However, I recently listened to and watched something that stopped me in my tracks and literally took my breath away. I need to share it, it needs to be heard.

Concerning the time of our Lord Jesus second advent… Jesus said in Matthew 24:10-12…

10 “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 “Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.

In this age, with fear being weaponized throughout the world with the Covid-19 Pandemic; the lockdown, the “new normal,” the continual bombardment of media and governmental propaganda being broadcast tirelessly concerning a vaccine cure… vaccine research that has been named by the U.S. President “Operation Warp Drive,” we have witnessed lawlessness throughout our country and the world and the love of many grow cold.

As Christians, we must not allow our love to grow cold. We must not become numb to the evil that is in the world and we must, until Jesus raptures or takes us home, be salt and light in this dark world. So I ask you to watch and listen to this video and then do as the Holy Spirit would guide you.

This video details graphic procedures performed against human life in the name and sake of research- this is because “Animal Rights activists” have more sway with the science community than the Pro Life community. That is a sad commentary on the state of the church today. So, this video is difficult to watch and listen to, but I pray you would- and then do something. Take a stand, for yourself- by not buying into the vaccines that the government wants to put in your body  and by voicing and being active against the murder of our unborn.

What’s Next?

As we travel down this new road… the aftermath of the “Pandemic” known as Covid-19… as nations; states, provinces across the globe begin their phased in approaches to opening the world back up and attempting to get back to something recognizable as normal… many are wondering: What’s Next?

And that is an interesting question. The world as I’ve known it the past 57 years seems to be forever changed. Face masks and gloves seem to suddenly be the new fashion trend. Social distancing seems to be something that will be with us, going forward, and community gatherings as we’ve known them in the past, such as church; concerts, beaches will look and be different.

So, it is quite logical to ask: What’s next?

Worldly and socially speaking, I don’t have the answer. But biblically speaking, Jesus gave us the answer for this Pandemic and in fact for every unknown challenge that faces the Christ follower, the disciple of Jesus. The born-again in Christ.

In Luke 12:22-31, Jesus in speaking to His disciples concerning anxiety and the unknown says:

22And He said to His disciples, “For this reason I say to you, do not worry about your life, as to what you will eat; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. 23“For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24“Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! 25“And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? 26“If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters? 27“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 28“But if God so clothes the grass in the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, how much more will He clothe you? You men of little faith! 29“And do not seek what you will eat and what you will drink, and do not keep worrying. 30“For all these things the nations of the world eagerly seek; but your Father knows that you need these things. 31“But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

So, truly as the reggae/jazz song goes… Don’t worry, be happy- in the love and security that is Jesus the Christ.

Then Jesus goes onto say in Luke 12: 35-38…

35“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. 36“Be like men who are waiting for their master when He returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. 37“Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. 38“Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

So biblically speaking, in Christ Jesus, be at peace- the Lord is watching over us. And be ready- be looking for the Master’s return. He could come for the church at any time… and I believe biblically speaking, that is What’s Next!

Amen. Even so come Lord Jesus!

Lesson Learned?

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This has been a fascinating week in the country and in the world. We been witnessing the world “opening up for business”… the end of the quarantine, and the reset to the “new normal” after weeks and months of lockdown.

Yet, as we witness states, country and world governments hit the “reset button” on their lives and economies… I have this nagging question, that I must share:

Have we LEARNED THE LESSON of this pandemic that God would have us to learn?

What do I mean? Well, C.S. Lewis is quoted as saying “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains. This is true. C.S. Lewis went on to say that pain is the megaphone God uses to rouse a deaf or sleeping world

And this pandemic, the Covid-19 scare… it has been painful for many. I believe God has been shouting to the world over the past several months, wanting to get our attention, because I believe that by and large much of the world is deaf or sleeping in the midst of the lockdown.

What is the Lesson to be Learned for you and I from all this? REVIVAL.

In the church we speak of revival quite often- a great awakening of our communities and the world to the spiritual truths and awareness of our holy, righteous God. But how does revival- a great awakening begin? The bible gives us a couple of great examples of that… when in years past, the LORD was hitting the “reset button” and “business was open” once again… for the Jewish people.

Daniel, the prophet. He had been in Babylonian captivity for nearly 70 years… by studying the word of God and specifically the prophet Jeremiah, Danny new that the time of captivity was nearly over- that a new thing was about to begin… and he prayed concerning these things and we read of that in Daniel 9: 3-11 where we see

3 So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. 4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed and said, “Alas, O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, 5 we have sinned, committed iniquity, acted wickedly and rebelled, even turning aside from Your commandments and ordinances. 6 Moreover, we have not listened to Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes, our fathers and all the people of the land.
7 “Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us open shame, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of their unfaithful deeds which they have committed against You. 8 Open shame belongs to us, O Lord, to our kings, our princes and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. 9 To the Lord our God belong compassion and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him; 10 nor have we obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His teachings which He set before us through His servants the prophets. 11 Indeed all Israel has transgressed Your law and turned aside, not obeying Your voice; so the curse has been poured out on us, along with the oath which is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, for we have sinned against Him.

Then shortly after that, Nehemiah was tasked to return to Israel and Jerusalem from the captivity to rebuild the walls… before the task was given and he set out on this mission, he prayed. We read of it in part in Nehemiah 1:5-7…

5 I said, “I beseech You, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, 6 let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.

Here, we see in both these instances, as God was preparing to hit the “reset button” and open Israel for business once again… that these men prayed. But notice, they prayed and confessed their own sin as well as the sins of the people.

So here is my question to you. Have you been praying during this pandemic for revival? Have you first confessed your own sin? Revival begins in the house of the Lord.

I believe that judgment upon the world is coming, in fulfillment of God’s word. I believe that biblically speaking, Jesus will soon take His church, His Bride out of the earth in the rapture… and I believe that God is using a megaphone to let the world know that. So, He is calling for REVIVAL and it begins first in our own lives.

For Pete, the old fisherman and Apostle tells us in 1 Peter 4:17… For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 

Have you been praying for REVIVAL? Have you been confessing your own sin? I admit, that in being fascinated by the world’s response to all of the Covid-19 news, I have not. I am now recommitting my heart to that, won’t you join me in that?

Amen.

What is the Church?

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We live in interesting times. The Covid-19 Coronavirus has spread worldwide and is classified by the World Health Organization as a worldwide Pandemic. Nations have closed borders and life within countries have, seemingly overnight changed. No schools, no one allowed to work, social distancing… life has changed. Another thing that has changed is most churches that I am aware of have cancelled their church services- the buildings are closed.

But, what is the church?

It is the family of God:

Jesus told us in Matthew 12:49-50… And stretching out His hand toward His disciples, He said, “Behold My mother and My brothers! For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.”

It is the Body of Christ:

In 1 Corinthians 12:27 we read… Now you are Christ’s body, and individually members of it…

It is the Bride of Christ:

We are told in Revelation 19:7… Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready…

It is the Light of the World:

Again, Jesus said in Matthew 5:14… You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden…

It is the People of God:

Peter, the old fisherman tells us in 1 Peter 2:9… But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light…

It is a flock: 

Jesus told us in John 10:11… I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

It is the Temple of the Holy Spirit:

Paul, the Apostle reminds us in 1 Corinthians 3:16… Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

Notice dear Saints… the church is not mentioned as a building. No, the church is the people who trust in Christ Jesus for salvation. We are the church!

So, in this time, when everything is changing and closing… the church is still open! Not the buildings, but the people. So, be that beacon of hope that Jesus wants you to be and fellowship and go to church through the use of the technology that the Lord has provided for such a time as this. But, be the church! The church is still open for the world!

The Parables of Jesus…

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Jesus spoke and taught in Parables. But, what is a Parable, biblically speaking?

A Parable is ALWAYS:

-A story with a point.

-Told to initiate conversation and prompt questions.

-A memorable word picture, easy to recall and retell.

-Told to conceal truth from some and reveal truth to others.

A Parable is SOMETIMES:

-Told to address something happening in the moment.

-A  story that uses symbolism.

-Told to address common misconceptions and correct religious error.

-Used to describe Jesus and the kingdom of God.

A Parable is NEVER:

-Intended for only one generation.

-Told merely to entertain.

-Clearly understood by all who hear it.

-Contrary to the rest of Scripture.

The study of Jesus Parables provides keen insight into the ways and mind of God Almighty. Below, is a suggested forty day Parable study of the words of Jesus. I believe that if you would take one a day, pray over it, read it, and meditate on it, the Lord will bless you mightily. At the bottom of the list, I will share a Parable from Dr. Luke that is not on this list, and some insight from it. Hope it is a blessing.

40-Day Devotional of Luke

  1. The Sower and the Seed (Luke 8:4-5)
  2. Withered and Choked (Luke 8:6-7)
  3. Producing a Crop (Luke 8:8)
  4. God’s Love Extends to All! (Luke 10:25-29)
  5. Just Who Is My Neighbor? (Luke 10:36-37)
  6. Praying With Persistence (Luke 11:5-8)
  7. Contentment (Luke 12:16-21)
  8. The Faithful Manager (Luke 12:42-44)
  9. Faith in Action (Luke 12:45-48)
  10. The Fig Tree (Luke 13:6-9)
  11. God’s Kingdom (Luke 13:18-19)
  12. Just a Little Yeast (Luke 13:20-21)
  13. Honor From God (Luke 14:7-11
  14. Bless Those With Less! (Luke 14:12-14)
  15. Excuses, Excuses … Luke (14:16-20)
  16. Invited! (Luke 14:21-24)
  17. God’s Great Mercy (Luke 15:3-4)
  18. The Lost Sheep (Luke 15:5-7)
  19. The Lost Coin (Luke 15:8-10)
  20. The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-14)
  21. God Is Waiting! (Luke 15:15-16)
  22. Coming to Our Senses (Luke 15:17-19)
  23. Celebrating the Return of the Lost Son! (Luke 15:20-24)
  24. We Just Have to Celebrate! (Luke 15:28-32)
  25. We Are God’s Servants (Luke 17:7-10)
  26. Pray … And Don’t Stop! (Luke 18:1-5)
  27. God Will Answer (Luke 18:6-8)
  28. Humility (Luke 18:9)
  29. We Come to God Only Through Jesus (Luke 18:10-12)
  30. God, Have Mercy on Me! (Luke 18:13)
  31. Exalted by God (Luke 18:14)
  32. Our Work for God (Luke 19:11-13)
  33. Reluctant or Willing? (Luke 19:14-15)
  34. Faithful in Service (Luke 19:16-19)
  35. Accountable (Luke 19:20-24)
  36. God’s Vineyard (Luke 20:9-12)
  37. Rejection of the Son? (Luke 20:13-15)
  38. Jesus, Our Capstone (Luke 20:16-17)
  39. Broken to Pieces (Luke 20:18)
  40. Choose to Follow the Truth (Luke 20:19)

A Parable that is not on this list is taken from Luke 21:29-33 which reads: Then He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

Jesus, here was speaking of a future generation of Hebrews (we know that from studying Luke 21/Matthew 24- the abomination of desolation, the gathering of the elect., did not happen in their lifetime). The fig tree is biblically spoken of as being Israel.

I believe that fig tree put forth leaves on May 14, 1948 with the re-establishment of Israel as a single, united nation back in the Holy Land. So, that generation- really our generation will not pass away until all things take place. This is a refernce to the Lord Jesus Second coming.

And BEFORE that… I believe will be the rapture of the church.

So, all that to say this… with all this coronavirus fear being put out by the media today. DO NOT FEAR. First, fear is not from God, and Second, the “calling up” of the church is near! Keep listening, every moment for the trumpet call!

Amen.

 

Pray

In my last post, I spoke of the compassion of Jesus when we pray. How Jesus understands, when we bring our heartfelt praise and requests before Him. I wanted to continue with that theme or thought… prayer.

Prayer is one of the great rewards of following Jesus. I mean, this side of heaven what is greater than knowing the Creator of the Universe and all that is in it… desires to hear our hearts and respond and answer those prayers with what is best for us. Pretty incredible reward, I’d say.

So, when we are praying, we should remember and practice a few things.

Remember:

With God, all things are possible. Mark 10:27… Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

The Holy Spirit dwells within us. 1 Cor. 3:16… Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

God sees things perfectly. Psalm 147:5… Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

Prayer requires honesty, God already knows our hearts. Acts 15:8… And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us

Prayer is meant to change us, not Him. Psalm 119:26-27… I have told of my ways, and You have answered me; Teach me Your statutes. Make me understand the way of Your precepts, So I will meditate on Your wonders.

Practice:

Read scripture when you pray. It is God’s word to us. Romans 10:17… So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.

Revere God’s name. Isaiah 9:6… For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Plan, set aside time for prayer and bible reading. Mark 1:35… In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.

Pray for others, not just yourself. Phillippians 2:3-4… Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

Practice confessing sin and receiving forgiveness. Luke 18:13… But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’

This is certainly not an exhaustive list of things to practice and remember when praying (certainly we need to give thanks, pray in faith, remember that it is worship as well as conversation)… but, it is a good start. As we put these things into practice, over the course of time, your relationship and trust in the Lord Jesus will grow… and how!! PRAY!!

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We have a an understanding Redeemer…

Many people seem to believe that when we are dealing with life’s day to day struggles, that there is no way that God can understand what we are experiencing and so do not go to Him in prayer for direction and encouragement in all matters of life.

Jesus’s divinity and humanity are both essential in His work as our Redeemer, our Hero, our Savior. Mark’s Gospel provides many instances where Jesus humanity is affirmed. Things that we need to be aware of. For instance:

Jesus felt compassion. Mark 1:41… Moved with compassion, Jesus stretched out His hand and touched him, and *said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.”

Jesus felt amazement. Mark 6:6… And He wondered at their unbelief.
And He was going around the villages teaching.

Jesus felt disappointment. Mark 8:12… Sighing deeply in His spirit, He said, “Why does this generation seek for a sign? Truly I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”

Jesus felt loveMark 10:21… Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

Jesus felt disappointment. Mark 10:14… But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Jesus felt sorrow. Mark 14:34… And He said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.”

So, when we read the words of the writer of Hebrews in Hebrews 4:15… For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

We need to understand that Jesus does know what we are experiencing and sympathizes with our daily struggles. Know that the words of Romans 8:34 are true… who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

Jesus is interceding on our behalf… even as you are reading this… so, pour your heart out to Him. He knows and He cares!

 

Who is the Babe in a Manger?

At this time of the year, the world celebrates the birth of a Babe born in a manger. The story is recounted for us in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Why would Magi- wise men, travel hundreds of miles to present this Babe with gifts? Why would King Herod try and kill Him? Why did the heavenly host sing praises over His birth? Who is this Babe, named Jesus?

Jesus is the Son of God. Through all four gospels, all the Apostles, Gentiles and Jesus Himself testify that Christ is the Son of God. The gospel of Mark declares in Mark 1:1… The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Jesus is God Who became flesh. Jesus is both fully man and fully God. The deity and humanity of Jesus are displayed throughout the gospels. The gospel of John tells us in John 1:1-2, 14… In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah. Jesus is the promised deliver of the nation Israel, and all humanity from the curse of sin. The Gospel of Luke proclaims in Luke 9:20… And He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered and said, “The Christ of God.”

Jesus came to save sinners. Jesus’s purpose on earth was to save sinful humanity, by taking the penalty of sin upon Himself. The Gospel of Matthew tells us in Matthew 9:13… But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Jesus has authority over death. He has conquered death forever through His perfect life, sacrificial death, and glorious resurrection. This we see in Matthew 28:5-6… The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.

So, this Babe in the manger worshipped by Magi, threatened kings and honored by angels is the only hope for humanities eternity. We celebrate His birth… because of His death, His burial and His resurrection.

The angels sang in Luke 2:14… “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” This wonderful season, if you want true peace on earth… trust in Jesus as your God… your Messiah… the forgiver of your sins! Amen.

 

Agree to Disagree…

My oh my… doesn’t it seem as though our government is in the midst of a civil war? Red vs. Blue… Dem vs. GOP… Conservative vs. Liberal… President vs. Congress. It’s crazy, there is no civil discourse taking place. Only seeds or hate and anger seem to be planted. Very sad.

So, how is a Christian to conduct themselves in these days of division? Well, back in the first century, we see a couple of prominent brothers in the faith… Paul and Barnabas, in a heated dispute.

You see, these brothers were getting ready to set out on their second missionary trip. They had taken John Mark along with them on their first… and Barny wanted to bring him along for the second. But John Mark, he had struggled on the first trip… and had left in the midst of the journey to go back home (baby Christians can do that from time to time- bite off more than they can chew). And now, Paul… focusing on the journey ahead, didn’t want to have that happen again and didn’t want John Mark to come along… let’s read the details in Acts15:36-40…

After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city in which we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Barnabas wanted to take John, called Mark, along with them also. 38 But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there occurred such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus. 40 But Paul chose Silas and left, being committed by the brethren to the grace of the Lord.

Sharp disagreement. Who was right, who was wrong? The answer: neither.

They were just focused on different things that the Lord had put on their hearts. Paul was focused on follow-up ministry to churches that had been planted. Barnabas was concerned with restoring John Mark and having him grow in discipleship. Neither was right, neither was wrong. They just had different callings from the Lord.

The end result? The Holy Spirit created two different , very successful ministries from this disagreement. Also, we see the healing hand of the Lord in the relationship… when at the end of Paul’s days… as he sits in a Roman prison, awaiting his execution… he writes Timothy, his son in the faith… and he tells Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:11… Only Luke is with me. Pick up Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service. 

You see there was no lasting resentment… no “my way or the highway” mentality between the three of them… no, just a recognititon that the Lord was doing different things in each of their lives.

That should be our approach in life as well, I think. We don’t want to build walls and alienate people. We want the Lord to use us in sharing the gospel- in a loving, Christ like manner. As Paul tells us in Romans 12:18… If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men…

Amen.