buildingbodies4christ

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Archive for the tag “Jesus’ Return”

Preach It!

Over the last few days, I have been listening to the Code Orange Revival from Elevation church in Charlotte, NC. There have been some great speakers with an inspired word given. However, it doesn’t remind me of the old revivals I went to as a child. The preaching I remember in those old revivals got into my business. It stirred up in me a great confession and a cleansing spirit. There were many times the altar would be filled with people coming before the Lord confessing their sins; asking for the cleansing spirit to wash them white as snow. At least, that was my prayer back in those days. Different time; different message.

On some Sunday’s, my pastor will speak a message that will mess with my heart. When he gets into that meddlin’ mood, we have a man in our midst that will shout out “Preach It!” and that just encourages the pastor to go deeper into my mess. When this happens, I know it’s time for confession and cleansing. It’s good to have an inspiring word to encourage, but we should also have a word that meddles in our business. We need to have our toes stepped on every once in a while.

One comment that was made last night that has left me a bit unsettled. The two pastors were kidding one another about their text messages back and forth to each other. The comment was that if their congregations saw their messages, the members would leave their churches. And they chuckled as well as the audience. It reminded me of a saying I have heard too many times lately “boys will be boys.” That too leaves me unsettled. It’s an excuse for anything that is done that would not be done before the Lord. And that’s what it’s all about.

Everything that we do as Christ followers should hold up in front of the Lord. I am reminded over and over Christ could be here at any time. If we are doing anything that would not be good when Christ returns, then we have some things to get right before that Day. If a text message is sent and Christ showed up right after we hit “send” would we face Him ashamed or confident that we were right before Him at that moment? Is our language God honoring or is it something that needs to be changed to reflect our true nature in Him? What about our actions? Are we doing anything that would not be good when Jesus shows up in His glory to take us home? Will we shrink back in that moment? We may not have time to confess those sinful actions when Jesus calls to us in those clouds.

James MacDonald is preaching about prayer breakthrough in his current series. One of the reasons we may not be experiencing breakthrough prayers is because of our hearts. The story is from Luke 18:9-14 about the Pharisee and the tax collector offering prayers in the temple courts. Pastor James points out two things that the Pharisee was showing that the tax collector wasn’t. The Pharisee was self-righteous and self-important. Pharisees were all about keeping the rules but their hearts weren’t right before God. Whereas the tax collector, knew his heart wasn’t right and had true heartfelt confession. He beat his breast showing his sorrow before the Lord. Pastor James point was that “True contrition results in a change of direction, which proves a change of heart – that person is ready for a breakthrough.”

When we have a true heartfelt change, that’s when revival begins. The rah-rah of revival will only get us so far. Once the revival is over and we’re back into the rhythm of life, the only thing that holds true is the word that made us beat our breasts and drop to our knees in confession before the Lord. We are to be committed to become who we are meant to be in Christ. Alive. Forgiven. Righteous. Holy. Living with the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us to do what is right in God’s eyes. No shrinking back for His people. And the breakthrough happens when confession is real.

But that’s no life for you. You learned Christ! My assumption is that you have paid careful attention to him, been well instructed in the truth precisely as we have it in Jesus. Since, then, we do not have the excuse of ignorance, everything—and I do mean everything—connected with that old way of life has to go. It’s rotten through and through. Get rid of it! And then take on an entirely new way of life—a God-fashioned life, a life renewed from the inside and working itself into your conduct as God accurately reproduces his character in you. Ephesians 4:20-24 (MSG)

Revival is Now!

I like to listen to prophecy experts. I’m not sure if they are prophets or just teachers who pay attention to what’s going on in the world. Either way, I find it very interesting. One of the things I hear from a variety of sources is a possibility of a great revival happening here in the US. There are many who believe Jesus will be returning for His church in the near future. There are many who think there will be a revival before that day of Jesus’ return. Someone mentioned that the revival will come as a result of this political craziness that we are experiencing. Many talk about martial law going into effect and there will be no “changing of the guard” for the presidential seat. Many visions have been seen revealing devastating earthquakes, tsunamis happening on both coasts, and even a great divide splitting the US at the Mississippi. Only God knows what’s really coming. I do believe judgment is coming one day.

People come back to church when their world has been shaken. But as it was with 9/11 with only a few weeks of returning, will it be a true revival or just a stepping back to family traditions? What will it take for a true revival?

Many times, Jesus spoke of persecution happening because of Him. In John 15, He said that if He was persecuted, then His disciples would be as well. As we have seen in the Book of Acts, the church body grew with persecution. Today, there are many who are being persecuted in different parts of the world. They ask us not to pray for the persecution to end, but for them to be bold and strengthened during persecution; to stand firm in their commitment to Jesus.

Recently, I read a couple of books concerning the persecution of the church. It’s difficult to read about what people have experienced, but what faith they exhibit in the face of persecution. As one who has never experienced such a trial, I cannot imagine how they endured it all. If persecution grows the church, then this could explain why the American branch of the church is showing signs of decline. Our population is increasing exponentially, but our churches are not seeing the same increase. In other parts of the world, the church is increasing even in the midst of great persecution. At the beginning of the church age, found in the Book of Acts – persecution brought the scattering of the church. As persecution continued throughout the next couple of centuries, the growth of the church exploded.

From 120 to 3000 to 5000, then persecution began. My pastor said recently that by the end of the first century there were approximately 25,000 believers. By the time that the Roman Empire “legalized” Christianity around the middle of the third century, 33 million were believed to have been Jesus followers.

So what would it take for us to have a revival today that would show this kind of increase? Do I dare say it? One of the speakers I listen to fairly regularly is a pastor in Hawaii. He gives a prophecy update every Sunday. This past Sunday, he spoke of a revival as well. He said on Sunday that we may have to face persecution like we’ve never experienced it here in the US. The revival may come not of the natural disasters or the man-made disaster from the political fallout; it may come at the expense of what we believe. Because of Jesus and His teaching, we may find ourselves in a position to either stand up for Him or deny Him.

At times, I have wondered if my faith is strong enough. Could I withstand persecution? Would I deny Christ as Peter did at his first persecution? Of course, that was before the Holy Spirit took hold of him and radically changed him. The Holy Spirit gave him such boldness that nothing deterred him from proclaiming the name of Jesus. That’s what the ones who are facing persecution are asking for today. Boldness. Maybe that’s what we all need to be asking for regardless if we are under persecution or trying to reach our friends and neighbors.

Suffering for the sake of the message of Jesus is considered a joy to those who experience it. Suffering helps us identify with Christ. He suffered for us. Jesus said the greatest gift of friendship is dying for one’s friends. If we consider ourselves a friend of Jesus, then we should be willing to die for Him – physically as well as just die to ourselves; losing those things that we hold on to that have no eternal value. So whatever happens in the future, my revival begins now. It starts with me ready to face whatever is in store, with boldness and with the strength God gives me through the Holy Spirit living in me. My revival is now – how about yours? Are you ready?

“I’ve told you these things to prepare you for rough times ahead. They are going to throw you out of the meeting places. There will even come a time when anyone who kills you will think he’s doing God a favor. They will do these things because they never really understood the Father. I’ve told you these things so that when the time comes and they start in on you, you’ll be well-warned and ready for them.” John 16:1-4 (MSG)

Whole Lot of Shaking

Have you looked at your retirement fund or stock portfolio lately? I haven’t. I have been scared to even peek at it. A couple of nights ago, I was listening to an alternative financial guru (alternative – meaning not the mainstream media folks). He is forecasting this year to be the collapse of the almighty dollar. The dollar hasn’t been backed by gold since the 70’s; and I have often wondered how currency floats without anything but paper to hold it up. I am not an economist and have no clue how the economy actually works. To me, it just doesn’t seem too stable. No wonder God tells us not to trust in money – it’s not very reliable to hold anything up for long!

Are you aware of all the earthquakes and volcano activity over the last year or so? There’s a YouTube channel that posts updates on all the activity around the world. It’s amazing the number of earthquakes that occur every week. The “ring of fire” is definitely on fire. The activity travels around the plates as they all move and shift under our feet. Can’t rely on the earth being a firm foundation either! It could shift right from under us. Not to mention the incredible storms we have had in the past few years. What in the world is going on?

Then there’s the war on terror happening around the globe. Extremists are trying to blow up anyone that doesn’t agree with their religious views. I read Joel Rosenberg’s the Twelve Imam series a few weeks ago. It was pretty eye-opening as a fictional account of radicalism that hits pretty close to home. His books are too eerily close to reality for peace of mind in this crazy world we live in. When I read his fictional accounts, I have to remind myself “this is fiction; not reality!”

We have hardly even started the political campaigning, and I am already tired of hearing about it. The candidates think they are the answer to the country’s woes. Why would anyone in their right mind want to take on this enormous task to straighten out this country? With the debt, with the immigration issues, with the possible terrorists camping out in plain sight; everything seems about ready to implode! Yet, people want to be the head of this mess. I just say “good luck, you’re going to need it!” The leader of this country is not going to get us out of this mess. The government cannot be our savior.

Nothing but doom and gloom on the horizon. The picture is not too bright (if you listen to the nightly news). However, if you look at the news through the biblical lens, I see God’s hand at work. The stage is being set. The earth is groaning and waiting for that Day. What if this is the year Jesus comes back for His church?! Scripture tells us it will be just like in the days of Noah. There was no sign of rain when the boat was sealed. People laughed and thought he was so foolish. Scripture tells us Jesus will come like a thief in the night. No one will suspect His coming.

There is nothing in this world we can count on, but the promises of God. God is the Promise Keeper. He is the only One who can fix our woes – nationally and personally. He is the only One we can rely upon. He is our firm foundation. God doesn’t change. He is trustworthy. When all else fails, the great I AM will never fail. Provider, protector, comforter, all His attributes are surrounded by love for us. God tells us to have courage. Andy Stanley said in his message this weekend, “We should not grow weary and lose heart. We are scaring the children!” People are watching Christians to see how we react to the circumstances. Scripture tells us to fix our eyes upon Jesus. Stand firm on His promises. Let nothing move us. Stanley says “We’re not to be sissy Christians!” We have a trustworthy God – believe Him! He keeps His promises.

Now I know that the Lord rescues his anointed king. He will answer him from his holy heaven and rescue him by his great power. Some nations boast of their chariots and horses, but we boast in the name of the Lord our God. Those nations will fall down and collapse, but we will rise up and stand firm. Psalm 20:6-8 (NLT)

The Love of His Story

If you would have asked me a few years ago if I loved history, I would have looked at you as if you were crazy! But for the last few years, I have been fascinated by events of past and present. When I look at the past, I can see God’s hand moving things into place. I need a bit of help to see so I read all that I can read. History is a bit fickle though as it is determined by a point of view. Some of the time, the point of view is accurate enough to get a glimpse into the world at that time.

Jesus’ life is written down for us by four men who give us a slight variation in the details. Each man tells the story of Jesus from the point of view in which the writer can relate, and for the audience who will eventually read it. Matthew took his writings to the Jewish community. Mark did a quick overview of Jesus, hitting the high points. John was the longest living disciple and wrote his version near the end of his life. His view point took a higher view of Jesus. He saw Jesus as the Eternal One – from the beginning of time until the end of Jesus’ life to the eternal life to come. Luke on the other hand, was not a disciple. He was an investigator. He went to the ones who witnessed the events of Jesus’ life and reported on those things.

John should have been the one who told of the birth of Jesus. Ancient writings (or traditions) teach us that John took care of Mary until her death. He probably heard so many stories of Jesus’ birth, the family running from Herod, what they did, where they went, Jesus’ childhood; yet, John mentions none of these things. Luke, however, gives us the birth narrative. Luke gives us the stories Jesus taught; he gives us the healing encounters; everything that we could possibly want to know about the living Savior of the world.

I think we forget the Gospels are books written just a few years after Jesus’ life. These books could have easily been destroyed as nonsense by those who would have known the truth of these accounts. Yet, the Bible is still being validated each and every year. The Book still survives the test of time. There is no other book in history that has the number of manuscripts that validate it than this Good Book. Nothing can compare.

When I first started reading the Bible, I was fascinated by the stories. Originally, I thought this was the complete book of history. I thought it accounted for the Chinese, the Incas, the ancient societies that were talked about in my history classes. It wasn’t until I understood the Bible isn’t the Book of History, but the Book of His Story that things started to make sense. God’s handy work was evident by the events recorded in those ancient manuscripts.

When I consider the events of today, I imagine it’s a bit like those times in ancient culture. At the time of the writings, they probably didn’t understand the significance of the events. It’s with hindsight that gives the greatest view point. In a few years time, we will probably look back to 2015 as a pivotal year. The year gay marriage was upheld in the highest court. The year ISIS took over a vast land. The year Iran was allowed to maneuver their agenda to the signing table with the world watching. The year terror hit the west once again. On and on, we could mark the year of significance.

What fascinates me even more is the prophecies that are coming true as things align to bring events to the ultimate completion. I don’t know what the future holds for us in this next year. I suppose even more events will rock our world. There will be more natural disasters that will devastate us. There will be more death and destruction as Satan realizes his time is growing even shorter. He is becoming angrier with each passing year. But I don’t find any of this distressful. I have more hope than I have ever had. I find God working His plan exciting and hopeful; that people will see His glory and respond in greater ways. I see a revival of the Body of Christ. I see a vast army standing up in one accord – with one faith, one hope and one Head – Jesus Christ.

It’s going to get very real. It’s going to cycle around once again; for history to repeat itself. The Book of Acts will come back to life. The Body of Christ will once again learn how to make disciples and share the Good News to all who are ready to hear. I believe the Holy Spirit will be poured out in dry places, and the Body will have new life and new power. 2016 will be a year of significance like we’ve never seen before. Get ready; hold on for the ride of your life! Watch God work in amazing ways. And remember, we are here for such a time as this!

I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the Lord has done. Psalm 118:17

The Vision

Do you have a vision of the future? Do you dream about what your life will look like in five or ten years? I can’t really say I have a great vision of the future. Sometimes, it feels like the future is very dark. Just look around and see all the things happening. It can be nothing but doom and gloom. I believe we are meant to dream though. God places in us a passion for something. It’s a matter of discovering what drives us to fulfill our purpose. We all have a unique calling. I believe there is a beautiful future ahead for each of us. Even in the presence of such oppression and darkness. God has something amazing for us. We are in the times before Jesus returns. God chose us for this hour. It’s no accident that we are here for this hour. We are here for something greater than what we could ever ask or imagine! Just imagine that!

There is a vision of the future that I get excited about every time I think about it. Every single day, we are getting closer to seeing Jesus. Even if I do not see Him coming in the sky – I will see Him when it’s my time to leave this earth. We are closer to seeing Him, but are we ready? We are told that Jesus will come when we least expect it. Beth Moore told her simulcast audience a couple of weeks ago to stop saying Jesus is coming on this particular day. She said that it’s delaying the time because we are expecting Him on that day! (She gave a humorous account of our predicting something that no one can predict).

Last week I wrote about The Day. Jesus sang the song as He was leaving for the Garden of Gethsemane – this is the day that the Lord has made. Finishing my thoughts about The Day, there is another day in which we are to rejoice. God set a day when Jesus will come once again for His bride. I think Jesus is at the threshold of heaven waiting for the word from God to “Go!” God is patiently waiting on the fullness of time. We are to be watchmen on the wall. We are to be about God’s work. We are not to be caught unaware. We are not to be in situations that we would be embarrassed if Jesus came for us. We are to have our conflicts resolved; forgiveness should be offered. We are given tasks to fulfill. We should not delay doing them. It’s time to get it done. We are to run our race until the end.

The vision for the future is bright. It is not a hopeless situation, but a hopeful expectation. Times are definitely rocking toward a dark day when the heavens will roll up and all hell will break loose. As long as the light is still shining on the people of God, we still have time to act. We still are able to reach those who are walking in darkness. God is still calling people to Himself. God has promised many blessings to those who endure until the end. Let’s run with endurance. Let’s face the giants of oppression with the power we’re given in Jesus Christ! We are not meant to shrink away, but stand in fight with the determination of a champion prize-fighter! We have already won and we need to remember who we are! We are victorious in the battle.

The vision of the future is brighter still. And we will rejoice together with one voice for the glory of the Lord! Jesus had that day in mind when He endured the cross; He endured the cross with joy because He had a vision of the future joy that surrounded the throne of God. As disciples of Jesus, we are the children of light. We are not meant to hide our light. Let it shine before all humankind so on that day, all the nations will be represented in front of the throne – REJOICING! Lord Jesus come! Let Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven! For this is the day that You have made; we are rejoicing with heaven for this day! And all God’s people said – AMEN!

Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.” John 12:35-36

The Cornerstone

My church has just finished “The Story” published by Zondervan. It’s the Bible in a story form. From beginning to end – it’s all about the Word of God becoming flesh and dwelling among us – Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the cornerstone – the perfect point of a foundation. Nothing can be built on an imperfect foundation. It will not stand. The Story walked us through God’s story of redemption through Jesus. The Word is the foundation of our lives. It’s the seed that takes root and becomes a fruitful tree. The root is long and keeps the tree from falling during the most difficult storms. When things get shaken, it’s the only thing that will keep us grounded.

There was a time in my life when I didn’t read the Bible. I didn’t understand that it was living and breathing. I didn’t understand that it was God’s inspired word. I didn’t have a basic understanding of the most foundational aspect of a Christian’s life. They say that when the Bible is falling apart; the life of the one reading it isn’t. It wasn’t until my life was falling apart, when I found the Word was the answer I was seeking. My life was off track and it’s the only thing that brought me back. The more I read the Bible, the more I want to learn.

On Monday, I was listening to James MacDonald speak about the foundations of our faith. He called this sermon “Back to School.” It’s getting back to the basics to truly live a changed life. The Word is the instrument that causes the change. We saturate our minds with God’s truth, and it will develop a foundation that will never be shaken. We have to get back to believing in the Word.

The Word is beautiful in its complexity and its simplicity. It has so many layers that we just don’t get! I listened to a snippet of a messianic rabbi speak about Holy Communion. He opened up the Word and talked about the significance of the wine. The wine has two representations: one through the Passover wine and the other as the betrothal wine given to the woman before the engagement.

In Jewish customs for arrangement marriages (back in biblical times), the dowry was paid by the potential bridegroom for the one that was chosen. After the payment, a cup of wine was brought to the woman to consummate the engagement. If the woman accepted the wine and drank it, then the engagement was set between the pair – they were officially married. The man did not drink the wine. It was only for the future bride. The bridegroom left the woman with her family while the husband went to prepare a place for them to live. Once the bridegroom had made the necessary arrangements, He came back for the bride. When the bridegroom came back, a celebration began. The bridegroom would then be given a cup of wine to drink at the celebration. Jesus gave the illustration of the end of times concerning ten virgins waiting on the bridegroom’s appearance. Five were ready; five were not. Jesus’ words were recorded in Matthew 25:13 saying “keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” of the bridegroom’s arrival. No one knew how long it would take the bridegroom to prepare that special place.

In Jesus’ last Passover supper, He passed the cup of wine to His disciples and told them to drink it. Jesus said the wine represented His blood. In Scripture, we are told that blood contains life. Jesus’ blood is the covenant of everlasting life. When we take that cup, we are agreeing to His proposal of marriage. We are to consider this cup very careful. Jesus told the disciples that He would not drink of it “until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matthew 26:29). Jesus said that He was going away to prepare a place for us, and He would return one day (John 14:2-3)! When He comes back for His bride, there will be a mighty celebration on that day! The marriage will be complete, and we live with Him for eternity!

Jesus paid the dowry for His bride (the Church) by His death on the cross. Jesus said that His body was the bread that was broken for us. Jesus’ declaration was written in John’s Gospel: “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). Manna came from heaven while the Israelites were in the wilderness. But the Bread of Life that came down for us; is a life-giving bread that when we eat of it, we will never be hungry again.

Layer upon layer as we take this Word and devour it, it transforms us into a beautiful bride for Jesus our cornerstone – the foundation on which we stand. We will never be unsatisfied with the life given nourishment of this Holy Word. From beginning to end, it is the everlasting covenant that we can trust for eternal life.

You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.” 1 Peter 2:5-6

Standing Firm

For the last few weeks, I have been enthralled with the topic of the September events that are projected to happen. There are so many theories floating around; any of them could be possible. The theories range from a major 9.0 earthquake shaking the West coast, a meteor falling into the Atlantic Ocean, world-wide economic collapse, or even the country being split in two. And let’s not forget the hoopla around the blood moon events. Many claim that they have heard from God on these events happening. The end of the world is near. We’ve heard it all before. It’s just interesting to me that not only are the biblical people speaking about economic collapse but many of the secular people are saying the same thing. There is some validity to that theory. But I do believe we are in for a shaking in our world. I believe there are some things that God has in store that will take place in September. We might not understand it today; but when we look back, this September will be very significant in the end of times events.

There are several things that really are scheduled to happen like the Pope visiting the US around September 23rd. He is scheduled to speak at the UN conference concerning the new Agenda 2030 that will set guidelines for a possible new “world order.” He is also speaking to Congress during his visit. There is the CERN collider ramping up to full steam. This super collider is supposed to “explain” the big bang theory. The apex of this ramping up is expected to occur around the end of the month. September 21st has been declared as the “Day of Peace.” Jade Helm – a military training exercise – will be wrapping up on September 15th. I don’t know if any of these things could be world-changing events, but we won’t know until things unfold in the future.

What’s interesting is the fact that these events are all coinciding with God’s feast days. September is the month of the fall feasts that God set in Leviticus 23. On the fourteenth, the feast of Trumpets begins. The Day of Atonement, considered the holiest of the year, is on September 23rd. And on the twenty-eighth, we celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. I say “we” because these are the Lord’s feasts. If we are the Lord’s, then we should be celebrating His appointed times. I think we consider these things as Jewish feasts, but I believe this is for all of God’s people – both naturally born and the adopted sons and daughters of the King!

One thing that I come away with when watching and hearing these messages – it’s time we are prepared to meet Jesus – our hearts need to be right. Today. We should stand firm on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Jesus said in Matthew 7 to have your house built on the rock – when the storms come, the house stands. The foundation is secure when Jesus Christ is everything to us. The culture will change with the wind of opinion. But our hearts need to be set on the foundation of Jesus alone. If the world is shaking, then those who call on the Name of Jesus need to stand firm!

God is seeking those whose hearts are pure and righteous before Him. He is looking for those who will stand in the gap in these times. He is looking for the prayer warriors who will stand in the gap interceding for others. He is watching to see what we do, the actions we take in these times. Now is not the time to be complacent; it is not the time to run and hide (which I like to do). This is the time to stand firm on the foundation of Jesus. It’s the time to love like we’ve never loved before. It’s time to be unified with one another – laying aside our differences and joining together as the Body of Christ to help those in our communities, our nation and our world. It’s time to stand firm in the knowledge that God is in control – no matter what!

God doesn’t give us a spirit of fear. He gave us the Spirit of Boldness; the Spirit to testify to the great things He has done. We have a command to go and tell. Maybe these events can lead to a conversation with someone who doesn’t understand the hope that we have in uncertain times. I was reminded on Monday, that God has chosen each one of us for this time to live. God chose us for this time and place! We could be His instruments for the greatest revival ever seen. God is looking for ones who are ready to do His work. Let’s get ready! Stand firm in the truth!

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm. Psalm 20:7-8

What time is it?

I have a clock on my mantel that is about fifteen or so years old. As long as the battery lasts, it keeps good time. The ticking clock does annoy me when I am trying to concentrate or rest! Ticking sounds are supposed to be relaxing but not to me. For the last few weeks, the ticking continues but the hands never move. I have replaced the battery, but there is still no movement. It’s the only clock in the room. When I need to know the time, I have to get out of my chair and go to another source to find the time. The lack of movement of those minute and second hands reminds me that time is always moving whether we recognize it or not. Time never stands still. We are here on this earth just a short time. It may seem long in earthly years; but eternal years, it’s just a blip on the eternal clock.

I was listening to Anne Graham Lotz teaching from the book of Joel in her conference from earlier this year at The Cove. She believes we are in the last moments of time before Jesus comes back. I tend to agree with her. The “natural” and man-made disasters are occurring too frequently to think it’s just a coincidence. God is slow to pronounce judgment just yet, but I believe He is giving us the warning signs that judgment is coming. He is slow because He wants no one to perish. He is giving us time to reach our friends and neighbors to tell them about Jesus. He is giving His church time to clean house and get things in order. I am reminded every now and then that we are to pay attention to the time. God sends us the signals for our benefit so that we are not caught unaware.

At my small group last night, we discussed the first coming of Jesus. No one recognized the time. Jesus came in the form of a baby. No one expected Him. After a long time of waiting, the people of God were complacent. They lost track of their purpose. People drift along with the current times and forget that God sets in motion the exact time and place for His promises to be fulfilled. God had been silent for four hundred years. There wasn’t a prophet to announce another word – it had already been foretold previously. The people of God were supposed to know the signs and significance of the coming, but they missed it. Even Jesus’ family missed the significance. His half-brothers didn’t understand until after Jesus’ resurrection. Then the light dawned for them.

I wonder what it’s going to take to wake us up to see what God wants us to see. How will we recognize our own time? God foretold the news of Jesus’ return in the Bible. More prophecies are written about His second coming than His first. Yet, are we really paying attention? I can imagine the time of Jesus’ first coming when life was happening. The time was brutal. People were in desperate times. I used to think that the time we are in now is worse than anything we’ve ever witnessed before. But reality is: the times really haven’t changed much throughout the centuries. Evil is still evil. And evil has been around from the beginning. We just have the means with technology to see it in real-time. Evil just takes a different form now – but it’s still evil. People are still in desperate times. For those of us in North America, we are insulated from real desperation. We don’t experience the trouble like our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world experience on a daily basis.

Anne and Joel Rosenberg were teaching the book of Joel so that those who were hearing these things could help others to know and understand too. We are told to be “watchmen on the wall.” We need to be watching the signs and telling others of the importance of what we are seeing and hearing. We were encouraged to study and teach this small book as well. I am anticipating the glorious appearing. There is still time to reach my people with the word before it’s too late. Time may be running out. The clock is ticking. The hands may not be moving where I can actually see them, but God is always at work – even when it all seems quiet on the western front. It is never as it seems.

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.” Matthew 24:32-33

Perspective

I started reading a biography of Winston Churchill a few weeks ago (it’s a hefty book!). This book is a history book of the World War II. I might have studied these things in high school, but I don’t remember too much of what those times. Also, I am reading in the Old Testament. When I see both of these histories together, I see God’s hand in everything. My eyes are being opened to a different perspective. We might think of insignificant things going on in our day and time. However, God is setting the stage in a major way for the ultimate climax that is prophesied in the Bible. From my understanding, everything that needs to happen in order for Jesus to return has taken place. We are just waiting now for His return.

A couple of days ago, I listened to a conference on the end times. Now, I know we don’t know the day or hour of Jesus’ return, but we are told to be watchful. A couple of the speakers mentioned several places in Scripture that tell us to watch for the signs in the heavens. Even in Genesis 1:14 we are told that the lights in the sky serve as signs (signals) to mark seasons (feasts or divine appointments in Hebrew). This year is one of those times we need to look to the heavens. I have been fascinated to learn about the Blood Moons that will occur over the next year. It began on Passover this year and will continue until the Feast of Tabernacles in the fall of 2015.

What’s significant about this? There have been seven Blood Moons that occurred on the Jewish Feasts in the last 2000 years. One hundred percent of the time, these events have been a sign after something significant pertaining to Israel. After World War II, Israel had one brief moment where they had the sympathy of the world, and the nation was reformed in a day. That was 1948. In 1949, the Blood Moons took place on the four Feasts. In 1967, there was a six-day war in Israel where Israel took the significant holy places in east Jerusalem. In 1968, the four Blood Moons again took place on the Feasts. But what about this time? I don’t think anything of significance has happened this past year.

I was reading yesterday morning in Acts 2 about the Holy Spirit being poured out on the disciples at Pentecost. Peter addresses the crowd and delivers his first sermon. He points to Joel for his reference of what was occurring. In that passage there is a mention of the Blood Moons and a solar eclipse that will happen before the glorious day of the Lord. Over this next year, not only will there be the four Blood Moons, but there will be a solar eclipse right in the middle of this time. The moon is considered the signal for Israel and the Sun represents the world. The trouble with prophecy – we don’t know the significance until after the event then we know God has spoken through the prophet.

What does this have to do with perspective? When we look at the events happening right now in the world we need to look at the events with a different perspective. God is setting the stage for the great tribulation that will take place according to the Book of Revelation. This gives us a different perspective on the urgency we need as the Body of Christ to be ready. We still have a lot of work to do with those around us who need the gift of salvation. Time is closer now than ever before. We need to be watchful to the times we live in and look at them with a different perspective. Jesus’ feet are on the threshold of heaven. Are you ready to meet Him? Are your family and friends ready?

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:37-39

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