We need the Apocalypse (Book of Revelation)

 

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 2Timothy 4:8

BookCoverImage for A moment in timeWell, I’m at it again—trying to take off those extra pounds that crept back on throughout the winter months; however, this time is different.  There’s no wedding or graduation on the horizon to motive me to do this.  There’s no scheduled doctor’s appointment looming in the near future.  It’s just time to do it, and to be quite honest, I’m not sure that I will be successful without those deadlines!  I’m really a deadline person.

The Apocalypse—the word exudes doom and horror!  It means disaster, catastrophe, destruction.  To the world, it is Judgement Day or Armageddon.  The Book of Revelation often takes that name as well, and rightly so—Revelation 1: 1 begins with these words: The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass…  And if you’ve have read any of the last book of the Bible, then you know that there’s a lot of doom and destruction written in its twenty-two chapters.

Does the knowledge of those prophecies help us to live a better Christian life? I mean, as Christians, the doom and gloom are not for us but for those who are left behind at Jesus’ Coming.  So, it’s not the doom that pushes the born-again believer, but the thought of seeing our God and Savior face to face which prompts us to live a life that pleases Him.  You remember that feeling: Dad and Mom have gone out and left specific instructions for you—the list!  You look at the clock and figure how long it will take to get the jobs done, and then either you choose to do the jobs first OR (most likely), you do what you want to do until the absolute least amount of time is left to finish the list!

The problem with Jesus’ return is that there’s no clock, not even a calendar to go by.  Paul and the other apostles looked for Him to return in their lifetime, and here we are, over two thousand years later, doing the same thing!  Did God not disclose the time and date of His appearing because He wanted to keep us on our toes?  I think not.  He created us; He knows us; He is constantly doing what is best for us.  We walk by faith, and if He gave us the due date, that would take a huge part of our faith out of the equation.

Reading about the Rapture and what it may be like should sharpen our desire to live for God, as well as hone our desperation to parent godly children and polish our vision to reach the lost.

In A Moment in Time, Carrie Spangler, a pastor’s daughter, has heard all her life BookCoverImage (1)that Jesus was coming; she just didn’t think He would come when He did. What was she doing?  Was
she looking for His return?  Not in the least.  She was busy living her life the way she wanted to live it.  She disregarded the years of Bible teaching which she had received at church and at her Christian school.  Notice, I didn’t say in her home.  The following is an excerpt from Chapter Five which gives us a glimpse into the Spangler household, but before you read it, may I give you several reasons why I wrote the Strong Delusion Trilogy(Book One: A Moment in Time; Book Two, Angel of Light; Book Three: Thy Kingdom Come):

  1. To see life through the eyes of a troubled “Christian” girl
  2. To learn about the End Times from a layman’s point of view
  3. To gain a burden for the lost
  4. To take a “salvation” check
  5. To understand the Lost’s way of thinking
  6. To be entertained

Chapter Five excerpt:

Betty turned to face him, propping herself on one elbow. “Charles, how do you think [Carrie’s] doing spiritually?”

The question hung in the air for a moment before he found the answer, “I guess that’s your department.” He sighed deeply. “Betty, I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I can successfully lead ten pastors in an area-wide revival, pastor a church of six hundred, and run a Christian school, but I can’t talk to my own daughter. I guess I just don’t understand girls.”

“Don’t say that, Charles. I’m afraid for her. I’m not even sure that she’s saved.”

“But she said she was, and every time it comes up, she’s defending her decision.”

“That’s just it, that’s why I wonder if she really is. And we never talk about spiritual things with her.”

“Yes we do,” he said defensively. “At dinner, we often talk about…”

“…about church activities.”

“Yes, but we talk about what God is doing.”

We talk, Charles, but does she?” Betty could hear the hall clock ticking as Charles mulled the words over in his mind.

“Can’t you talk to her?” he asked.

“I’ve tried. I think I was getting somewhere tonight until you walked in.”  It was a simple statement, but it charged the room with energy by all the messages it carried.

“You always make it sound like it’s my fault.” The defenses were up.

“Charles. You come floating into the room on your own pride and never even see…,” but she didn’t get to finish.  Betty knew she had said too much.

“How dare you,” he shot back, getting off the bed and pacing the floor.

Carrie heard the conversation escalating and went to her door, cracking it just enough to catch their voices.

“Charles, I’m sorry; I’m just so worried. But I shouldn’t have said that.” She came around the bed to him, but he wasn’t ready to give in that easily.

Carrie could see the scene in her mind, and it sickened her. Dad is huffing and puffing while Mom grovels at his feet.  I hate him!

“Charles. Let’s not fight,” Betty whispered realizing how loud their voices had become. She reached up and ran her fingers down his arm, squeezing his hand. She knew how to melt him. He was a good man, and she loved him so!

 

A Moment in Time is fiction but it is not a fairy tale in which everyone lived happily ever after.  This book was written with a heart and burden for Christian families.  It was written for us to take a good hard look at what is really going on in our homes and in the hearts and minds of our children.

Jesus is coming—we know that.  A Moment in Time just put’s it into a realistic setting.  What if He did come back right now, today?  Where would our children and grandchildren be?  Would we be glad to see Him?  What will it be like?   None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.  My prayer is that the

None of us are guaranteed tomorrow.  My prayer is that the Strong Delusion trilogy will help my readers to see the End Times events just a bit clearer and perhaps encourage them to take a look inside themselves as well.  It’s an exciting book—the plot continues to thicken until we reach the ultimate climax, and the characters are real, but that’s not the point.  Reading even a Christian novel gains merit when we take the lessons sewn into the fabric of the content and apply them to our hearts.

 

The Saddest Verse in the Bible or Who Goes to Hell?

ID-100170122 Matthew 7:23:

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

 This is not only the saddest verse in the Bible, but it is also the most frightening verse as well. As a point of reference, this chapter is part of what we call “The Sermon on the Mount.” Many had gathered there beside the sea to hear the Master, and Jesus talks about a lot of things: The Beatitudes, This Little Light of Mine, how to do relationships, how to worship, how to pray.  Chapter seven begins with “judge not” and includes the lesson on the mote and beam, and ends with the Wise Man Builds His House Upon a Rock, but sandwiched in between these two familiar passages  are these two verses:

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (22)

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.(23)

  • Who is saying this? Jesus
  • Where? By the Sea of Galilee
  • To Whom? His disciples and many of his followers AND TO US!
  • How did they react:

And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.(28,29)

I have to admit, when I first read this passage, I was shocked for two reasons: One, because the message was so strong, and two, I had never heard it before in my church, even though I was a regular attender and really paid attention. Think about it: have you ever heard your pastor preach on this verse?  Has he ever read it as part of the weekly New Testament reading? If the answer is “yes,” then you are blessed to be in a church that preaches the whole council of God; however, if the answer is “no,” you may ask yourself or your pastor why.

And here’s the real question: Who goes to hell? According to this verse, a person can be a pastor (prophesied refers to preaching the Word), an exorcist, or a person who does really amazing things in Jesus’ name! Jesus is not talking about a C&E Christian—someone who only comes to church on Christmas and Easter. He’s talking about a person who is really plugged in to “religion.”

Does that frighten you? Does it make you wonder about your own spiritual state?  It should, and that’s probably why Jesus said it.  He was talking to many really religious people.  They would make the average twenty-first-century church attender look like a heathen.  They knew how to “do God,” but something was missing.  When Jesus says, “I never knew you,” He’s not saying that He doesn’t know this person. He knows everyone and is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”2(Peter 3:9) He’s saying that this person is not His intimate friend. It’s someone who is busy about God but misses the whole relationship idea.

This is a real “heart-check” passage.  Don’t look to the other guy who seems to fit the bill, in your estimation: he’s all show and no heart.  He may indeed fall into this eternally fatal category.  But what about you? You say you’re a Christian, but is there any fruit to prove it?  You say things like, “I’m good, me and God, we have an understanding.” Yikes! Are you sure? I hope the understanding falls under God’s requirements, and indeed, He has requirements!

I suppose the real question can only be answered by you and God. Are you real? Is your love for Christ unfeigned, or is He just tacked on at the end of the day, like the idol worshipper who just wants to add Jesus to his god shelf.  Jesus won’t do that. You must tear down the god shelf (which, in our day can take the form of success, wealth, pride, sports, career, houses and lands… all those things that place such harsh demands all our time and attention!).  Only Jesus.  Jesus first. Jesus is All the World to Me…

Do you know Him?  Does He know you? If you have trusted Him as your Savior, your life will show it.  Others will know, you will know, and Jesus will know!  What a wonderful, peaceful place to be!

BUT, if this post causes you to question, perhaps it is God’s Holy Spirit knocking on your door. Get the answers you need. Salvation is available to all who will speak the truth in their heart. (You may need to check out What is Salvation?)

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Losing Faith

bad-ol-putty-tad-creditsAs I type in this title, I cringe. Why would we ever lose faith in our awesome heavenly Father? He has done so much for us. But if I speak the truth in my heart, I have to admit that I have lost faith, even this week.  We want to sugarcoat it by calling our faithlessness confusion or disappointment, but sadly, it still boils down to a loss of faith. And what does it look like? Do these examples sound familiar:

We pray for the Lord to do something. We pray A LOT and for a long time and we feel really good about it, but the prayer goes unanswered, and we lose faith.  Is God listening?  Why would He not answer our prayers?  We reason that it’s not a selfish prayer; in fact, it’s a prayer for salvation or holiness in the life of someone we love, but it goes unanswered, and we doubt God: lost faith.

We choose to be submissive in a difficult area with our husbands, knowing that our actions will improve our relationship, but instead of seeing a more understanding mate, he’s more difficult than ever, and we lose faith.  We pour ourselves into our children and they make a decision like moving to South Dakota, oops! They make a decision which is not in our plans, and we wonder: God, are You there?

Confession time: As you can see, I’m still dealing with having my children and grandchildren halfway across the country! I don’t like it, but does that mean it is not God’s will? The real problem is that my hopes and dreams died. My son was supposed to be our assistant pastor (I guess we should have told him! :)) and take over our ministry while we sailed off into the sunset!  My grandchildren were supposed to grow up serving the Lord with their cousins AND live close to grandpa and grandma—that was my plan, but it wasn’t God’s plan.

Do I see what God sees?

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8,9

The answer is a very resounding NO!! God knows everything, sees everything, plans everything for our good and His glory… even when it hurts.

We plan, we work, we pray, but it ALL needs to rest on God’s plan, God’s power, and God’s answers.

And why does Satan fight us on the battlefield of faith?  Perhaps Matthew 25:21 will shed some light:

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

We all want to hear, “Well done,” from our Master, or we should; and it is our faith, which is the catalyst, to make that happen. So, here’s a few things that I have learned to battle faithlessness:

  1. Know your enemy: Our enemy is tenaciously devious! He will stop at nothing to stop your work for God! Doubts (another word for faithlessness) weaken our ministries, homes, and testimonies, and Satan knows that! Be on guard, and…
  2. Know your weapon: I’m so glad that James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you is in the Bible. AWESOME! Do you see what this verse is saying? We have the only weapon to fight against our enemy, and it works! That’s why your pastor, Sunday school teacher, mentor, etc. press your to memorize Bible verses. they are your arsenal against the enemy. How big IS your arsenal? Quote the Word, sing His praises, and Satan WILL flee!
  3. Know your flesh: We all have weaknesses and Satan know each one, perhaps even better than we know ourselves! That’s because we are good at NOT speaking the truth in our hearts. Right now, I’m not looking at photo albums because my heart is raw, and I know it will take me down a path that is not helpful! Be on guard and remember that we are in a battle. Take your sword, soldier, and keep the faith!  You are NOT a wimp–you became a warrior the moment Jesus Christ entered your heart!  The battle’s on: Go! Fight! WIN! In Jesus’ name!

He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. Psalm 15:2

 

Love or Lust

ID-10051375.jpgThis was a recent devotion from Days of Praise by the Institution for Creation Research. Although it says nothing new, the words seemed to make so much sense. We live in a day of confusion, and if anything is more twisted than man’s thoughts on the marriage relations, I don’t’ know what it would be! I’ve added the Bible verses and bold type which were not in the original article.

Love or Lust – Days of Praise (April 2,2016)

The entire fifth chapter of Proverbs concerns the use or misuse of the highest function of our physical bodies.  Under the sovereign control of Almighty God, a man and woman have been granted the ability, through their union, to make an eternal human being with the ability to accept or reject God, eternal life, and forgiveness.  The contrast in this chapter is between the usage of this God-given function in lust or love, adultery or fidelity.

Verse 3 through 6 provide insight into the character of promiscuity, which includes deception (v.3) and sorrow (V.4).

3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:

4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.

 

Psychologists have long recognized that many prostitutes ply their trade out of a hatred for men, purposefully and conscientiously destroying their companions. (v5).

5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.

6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.

 

The solution, of course, is to stay away.  Don’t play with fire! Avoid any opportunities to be enticed (8).

8 Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house:

The results, of course, of yielding to temptation would be that we would lose our youthful vigor (9),

9 Lest thou give thine honour unto others, and thy years unto the cruel:

 

our wealth (10),

10 Lest strangers be filled with thy wealth; and thy labours be in the house of a stranger;

 

our health (11),

11 And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed,

 

our self-esteem (12-13),

12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;

13 And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!

 

and even our lives are in danger. (14).

14 I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

 

On the other hand, married love is a beautiful thing (15-20), providing health, companionship, joy, and satisfaction.

15 ¶ Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.

16 Let thy fountains be dispersed abroad, and rivers of waters in the streets.

17 Let them be only thine own, and not strangers’ with thee.

18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.

19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times;

and be thou ravished always with her love.

 

Remember, none of this is done in secret. “The ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings” (21).  We should stay away from any involvement in sin, for sin entraps us (22), and we keep going back.

22 His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself,

and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.

 

Men die for lack of instruction, or lack of obedience to the instruction they have (23).

23 He shall die without instruction; and in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray.

This leads to great folly, and the end, total shame and destruction.

Ladies, are you caring for your husbands? Is his heart safe with you, or is he in fear of being mocked, ridiculed, or hated? You may have all the reasons in the world as to why you do not love and care for your husband, but will they pale in importance when you stand before God and give an account of your responsibilities?

Are you raising your daughters to be clean and pure?  Are you setting a standard of submission in your home for her to follow?  Or will she also be trapped in the endless cycle called the Blame Game?

Are your sons strong in character? Do they see your love for the Lord and, somewhere in the depths of their hearts, that image is causing them to secret away a beautiful model of the wife they long to have one day?

If your children are in the public school system, do know that all of these challenges are ridiculed and not only tampered with, but are trashed by many!

I hear you already making excuses: But he… All I can say is, Prove God! Be all that He wants you to be and leave the rest to Him!

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, (or show your obedience in any of His commands) and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:10

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Best Moments of the Day!

page28_picture0_1326119104Why do we need to get alone with God?  One reason is to follow Jesus example. We will never totally comprehend Jesus as God while He was here on earth.  We do know that part of His omnipresence and omniscience was overshadowed while He indwelt His earthly body.  Certainly, He could not be everywhere at the same time; neither did He have all knowledge. When asked about His return, Jesus said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.” (Matthew 24:36) So, even though Jesus is God, He needed to get alone with His Father, God!

Imagine the setting: Mark 6:14-56 contains the following:

  1. John the Baptist is beheaded (14-29)
  2. A time of rest for Jesus and the disciples (30-33)
  3. Teaching and feeding of the 5,000 (34-44)
  4. Jesus send his disciples and then the people away (45)
  5. Jesus prays alone on a mountain (46)
  6. Jesus walks on water (47-53)
  7. Miracle in Gennesaret (54-56)

Seven scenarios, all concerning the activities and miracles of Jesus… except one.

And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray. Mark 6:46

When we consider all that Jesus had done that day, we can see why He needed some time alone with His Father! Notice that He sent the crowd away.  If we really want to be alone with God, we need to turn off the computer and phones, shut down Facebook, find a quiet place, and meet with God.  If Jesus needed to do that, how much more is it necessary for us?

May I say that there is no power strong enough to battle this world, our own flesh, and the devil than the Word of God.  There is no friend, blogger (including me! :)), or commentator who is compassionate, holy, and wise enough to tell us exactly what we need to hear and give us the comfort we so desperately need, because only Jesus knows our hearts. Ron Hamilton has captured the essence of a devotional time with God in his song, My Quiet Time.  I’ve emphasized all the wonderful benefits for you.

Before I start each day,
there is a special place
I love to go alone
and seek my Savior’s face:
I find wisdom in His Word
to instruct me in His will,
And I hear His gentle voice
say, “My child, be still.”

My quiet time alone
gives me power to obey.
My quiet time alone
with God each day.
I talk to Him in prayer;
ev’ry day He meets me there.
My quiet time alone with God.

He’s with me all the time,
wherever I may go;
Each moment of the day,
He’s always there I know.
But I need that special time
when I bow before His throne,
Just to read His Word
and talk with my Lord alone.

Amazing, isn’t it, that we have access to the God of the Universe!  He’s always there, always ready for us to put down the trinkets of this world, to stop working and running around like fiends, and just be still with our God, Savior, Creator, and King—our Heavenly Father. Take the time.  Make it the most important habit in your life. NOTHING will transform your life like spending time ALONE with God. Then, the words of this old, familiar hymn will become real in your life: and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.
~ Psalm 63:1

My constant prayer for myself, my family, and our congregation is that the Lord would give us a thirst for His Word—that our souls would be continually refreshed with the water of His Word in this dry and thirsty land! Ah, take a long, cool sip!