buildingbodies4christ

building on the foundation of Jesus Christ

Archive for the tag “Culture Shift”

Having Sight for the Future

Greetings! It’s been quite a while since I have posted so let me catch you up on what’s going on in my world. When I woke up on Easter Sunday, I had trouble with my sight. I realized at one point in the day, it was just my left eye that was blurry. I thought eye drops would help; they didn’t. I waited a week, then a month, then two months – still no change.

When I finally went to the eye doctor, he sent me to a surgeon because I had a macular hole, which is a hole in my retina. There is no sight in that area. It actually distorts my vision with blurriness along the edges. The surgeon fixed the hole, but the vision hasn’t returned. It’s a little better, but it’s going to take up to a year to know how much of my vision will be restored.

Long distance isn’t a problem, but close up work is – details are hard to pinpoint. Writing was put aside in June because of my sight – both physically and spiritually. I wasn’t in a place where I could trust my vision. The words were not flowing anymore. You may have noticed over the last year or so this difficulty since my writings have been sporadic. For six years, I wrote every week, then something happened and the words quit flowing. So I decided to step aside until the words started to flow again.

This morning felt different. Words were flowing before my eyes opened. The trouble with that is – I can never get the words to flow when I sit down to write. I had such a good blog posting before I woke up fully! I need a tape recorder of my thoughts! So I will give it my best effort and ask the Holy Spirit to intervene in my ramblings.

For the last few months, I have been watching the world fall apart. Have you? The times are just crazy, right? Where has civility gone? For the last year or two, political correctness has gone to the extreme; and it seems everyone is getting offended over something.

People are rising up for change. Change in politics. Change in how things are done in our government and even in our religion. Christianity needs to change, they say. Prominent pastors and teachers are straying from the word they have spoken from the pulpit and written in their books. There seems to be a “great falling away” from morality and spiritually in this day like never before. Seems this was mentioned in the Book they say is out dated and not culturally relevant. Seems to me it’s more relevant today than at any time in history. We are seeing a great shift in attitude; the Bible told us it was going to happen in the last days.

Last night, I had a few minutes before my bedtime. I turned on a 30 minute program speaking on end of times events. I love this stuff! I love to see how God is working; but sometimes, I fell to see. Others seemed to be more attuned to these things so I listen to what they have to say. Pastor Jimmy Evans, from Gateway Church, was on the program. He said he has been studying Bible prophecy for forty years. He seems to be attuned to what’s going on today.

Pastor Evans mentioned the book of Malachy’s Prophecy, a book written about the future 112 Popes. If this book is true prophecy, then Pope Francis is the last Pope; he is the 112th Pope. Does that mean we are at the end of the church age? If this is so, then the end of the church age will mean the removal of the church from the earth by the way of rapture – Jesus snatches us from the earth. The Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth when we leave too.

The Pope is an old man; he doesn’t have many more years ahead of him. Apparently in the prophecy, the last Pope will go through the tribulation period found in the Book of Revelation. Do you see where I am going with this? Time is very short. The church age is coming to an end and judgment is coming. Pastor Evans spoke about this time when the church will be divided. Isn’t it more so today than ever before? Whole denominations are moving away from God’s Word.

Jesus spoke about this time in Matthew 25. Pastor Evans mentioned the parable of the ten virgins. Jesus refers to the Kingdom of God like a wedding. He is the Bridegroom. In this parable, the Bridegroom is coming, half of the virgins are ready; the other half are not. Pastor Evans mentioned if this is true, then 50% of the church will miss the rapture. Five of the ten virgins had oil for their lamps (oil represents the Holy Spirit). The other five ran out of oil. When they tried to get into the house, the door was locked and the owner said to go away for he did not know them.

It’s a sobering word. But the Word says to stand firm until the end. Keep the faith. Do the work we’re called to do. There will be crazy times ahead just as the Word states. I truly believe it is God’s Word which never changes. It’s relevant and it is the Truth. We are to encourage one another and keep looking for His appearance even if it takes another ten years or 20 or 30. His Word said He is coming to take us to the biggest wedding feast and it’s going to be amazing! Don’t miss it!

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-9

Trying Message for a Trying Time

Seven years ago when I started writing on this blog site, the world seemed less chaotic. I thought I would help encourage the Body of Christ along their journey by the things I learn along mine. It started out that way. But over the last year, things have spiraled into a downward trend in the world around me which has taken me off course. I have been more reflective on the things I see and hear than what God is doing in me or through me.

I have been fascinated by the events happening around the world which correspond to prophetic times written about in God’s Holy Word. I believe we are watching God at work setting things up for the end. I know. I have written about this often in the past year or so. It just amazes me more and more.

Two things come to mind that happened this past week. Two messages I heard from two speakers who spoke of different topics; but were connected in a way which I think need to be addressed as we consider the times we’re in.

The first speaker was Francis Chan who spoke at Liberty University Convocation this past week. He spoke about the Holy Spirit in the American Body of the Church. His message was on the Holy Spirit and the Church Body. His message was very convicting to me and here are a few points I took away from this message.

  1. We fail to realize the power of the Holy Spirit in our prayer life.
  2. We fail to recognize Almighty God in awe and reverence as the Body used to do.
  3. We have a lack of power in our prayers because we don’t come to God in reverence of our Holy and Awesome God.

We should be in awe that this Creator God – with one breath created everything – would have anything to do with us. We should be in awe that we could have a relationship with Him and we could come to Him in prayer.

So often, I come to God with a casualness that lacks respect. I start out with thanksgiving, but then jump into my list of needs or desires without fully devoting time to worship this awesome God. I forget that the words I say are being poured out on His altar. I envision the altar burning with fire. These few words poured out on the altar are burned up because they are frivolous and have no eternal worth. The smoke of the fire is supposed to be pleasing to Him. The incense of those prayers should fill the throne room.

The second message was from Jack Hibbs from Calvary Church at Chino Hills, California. Pastor Jack message was taken from 1 Peter 4: 1-6. Pastor Jack spoke about sin – in the Church. It too was convicting. Again, the messages were not the same, but they are related.

Our sin keeps us from the right relationship with God our Father. Yes, we have been forgiven for our sins – past, present and future. However, when we still sin, we have a broken fellowship with Him. We are supposed to confess our sins when we come to Him – first and foremost. He cannot look upon sin as it stands – it has to be confessed in order to have our fellowship restored.

When we sin, the Holy Spirit is grieved in us. He cannot work in us and through us when the relationship is broken. Sin keeps the Church from being effective. Too many pastors are succumbing to sins of the flesh. I heard from one speaker in a different interview about the Jezebel spirit taken root in this time. The Church in Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) had a problem with the Jezebel spirit which they did not expel from their midst. They tolerated her instead of casting her out. God admonished the Church at Thyatira with these words (Rev 2:21-23)

I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.

The American Church Body has to find that spirit and cast it out. It is ruining our effectiveness. We have tolerated it too long. And we will suffer the consequences of our tolerance.

With all that being said, we live in a very trying time. The Church has much to consider in response to cultures actions. It’s not a time to draw back but a time to move forward into the fray and fight the good fight. This is our time. Yes, we will be hated by the world – Jesus was too. However, we are to be seen as loving and caring for our own as well as for those outside the Family – just like Jesus.

It’s a fine line to walk, but walk it we must. There’s no going back to the way it used to be. The Church of Acts shows us the way the Church is supposed to be. The Churches in Revelation are the Church as it has come to be throughout history. The times will grow darker still, but we have the light of life in us. We are His reflection. Let’s act like we know who God is and what He’s capable of through us.

First, we have to get right before God. Confess. Worship. Praise. Thanksgiving. And remember others before ourselves. That’s the focus of our prayer life. It’s not too late to turn the Church into the force God intended it to be – for the good of the world and to bring the Good News to a dark time.

Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God. 1 John 3:7-10 (NLT)

Peace in Chaos

This week is the annual family beach trip. As I sit here typing away, children are squealing in delight. The television is blaring with cartoons. But I am in my happy place even if it’s chaotic. I love this place with the family under one roof. The youngest is under one year and the oldest – my Dad – closing in at 90 this month. The baby had a hard time adjusting to my Dad; I guess old just doesn’t come across well to the young. Anyway, family is very special to me. I love being with my nephew and their kids. The kids go strong from sun up to sun down; and I think the adults are a bit jealous to have some of that energy!

God blesses the young with the energy and the old with the dreams – the young can accomplish what the old no longer can manage. We pass the baton to the young and let them run the race. We can give guidance and instruction. But they have to pay attention to what we have to say. Many times, the young resent the boundaries we impose on them. Boundaries are there for protection. As the young grow more mature, the boundaries are adjusted to reflect their new maturity.

I think God gives us boundaries as well. We all need those protective boundaries. The ocean only goes so far. God set those boundaries at the beginning. Climate change is a big topic right now, but I believe God already allowed those boundaries to expand and contract through time. We are the ones who have built where we shouldn’t have built.

The beach where we stay is located on an island. At the point of the island, we can see across to the next island. The other island has houses built to the very tip. However, there is a multitude of sandbags lining the shore to protect the houses that were never meant to be there in the first place. The planners didn’t plan for the shifting sands to shift, but it has occurred just as God allowed from the beginning.

God knows the boundaries will be pushed. Culture resents the boundaries He established from the beginning. Those houses will be long gone in a few years; the sands on the island shifts as the tide flows. But we are to be ones who never shifts as the tide of culture shifts. Our foundation is on the rock of Jesus. Our foundation does not move according to culture change. Right now that is unacceptable. We might experience blow back from our narrow view. God, however, is not pleased when culture shifts away from Him.

As the people of God, we are not to judge but to love. God never gave us the right to judge others. That is His right. His Word tells us our right is to love as Jesus loved. It’s easy to love my family. They are a loving bunch. I think God gave us a picture of a family in order to show us where we stand with Him. He wants all of His children to get along. He wants His family to show love to others outside His family. God is all about adoption and would love to graft all the people of the world into His family.

As my family has grown over the years (with new people being grafted in), we have all had to make adjustments. But we live with the same rules when we come together. We have the same understanding. There may be chaos in our midst, but there is a peace that fills the room. Love is the undercurrent that never shifts from our foundations. Yes, there is discipline when someone breaks the rules. There is crying involved at least once a day. But at the end of the day, we know that love always prevails.

So it should be with God’s family. Our foundation is built on love. Chaos may happen all around us, but peace is always part of our DNA through Jesus; and love always prevails at the end of the day. God has allowed what is taking place today, but it’s never His will to let others dictate how we live. When we live by His rules and His boundaries, we are in a happy place. Our lives work better and the peace fills the room of our hearts. This is God’s way. His foundation never shifts, and we can stand on that promise. The beach is a good place to learn how to be in a loving family.

And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows. May he, as a result, make your hearts strong, blameless, and holy as you stand before God our Father when our Lord Jesus comes again with all his holy people. Amen. 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 (NLT)

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