Sunday, September 10, 2017

Beginning of Sorrows


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Mat 24:3-14 MKJV  And as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world?  (4)  And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you.  (5)  For many will come in My name, saying, I am Christ, and will deceive many.  (6)  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled, for all these things must occur; but the end is not yet.  (7)  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and pestilences and earthquakes in different places.  (8)  All these are the beginning of sorrows.  (9)  Then they will deliver you up to be afflicted and will kill you. And you will be hated of all nations for My name's sake.  (10)  And then many will be offended, and will betray one another, and will hate one another.  (11)  And many false prophets will rise and deceive many.  (12)  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many will become cold.  (13)  But he who endures to the end, the same shall be kept safe.  (14)  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be proclaimed in all the world as a witness to all nations. And then the end shall come.

Floods in Asia, Hurricanes and forest fires in America, Earth Quakes in Mexico and Central America, Volcanoes in Iceland, storms hitting Great Britain, and much more seems to be happening around the world. Is this the end of the world? Is Jesus returning this month or next month? Many are calling these natural disasters the worse in human history. I am not sure if these comments don't boost ratings for News agencies or if it is actually true. I am not a scientist nor do I spend my waking moment tracking the history of natural disasters. One thing is for certain; peoples lives are being altered due to these natural disasters. Over 1,000 people died in the Asian floods and over 100 people , so far, have lost their lives in the Mexico Earthquake. Did I mention that it was 8.1 magnitude earthquake?

Many people are in a panic or a state of confusion over the recent events. Many people have lost everything and are now faced with the rebuilding of their lives. Many Christians will give a drive-by comment and say that these disasters are the signs of the times or the coming return of Jesus. Jesus clearly states what these disasters are. They are the BEGINNING OF SORROWS. Notice the word BEGINNING. That word means the start of. We see natural disasters getting worse and worse throughout the world but it is still just the beginning of sorrows. It is the birth pangs or contractions of what is yet to come. 

Jesus makes several profound statements from this passage.

1. Take heed that NO MAN deceives you. The greatest warning we can have during this time is that we do not fall under deception. If it was not easy to fall under deception then Jesus would not have warned us. 
2. See that you are not troubled. He tells us that wars and rumors of wars will be known but we are not to be frightened. Right Now North Korea is thinking about exploding a nuclear warhead over the US which would cause a massive EMP shock wave. This could kill millions due to the chain reaction it would cause. Jesus says to not be frightened and to simply trust in Him. If these things happen there is nothing we can do to stop them. This means they could happen and this means many could die but God is still in control. Christians never lose regardless of the scenario. We are champions through Him and this planet is just temporary. 
3. Many believers will be delivered up and killed for their faith.  Again this will happen and there is nothing we can do to stop it. Do I believe that every believer on the face of the planet will face this type of persecution? Of course not, many Christians around the world have already faced this truth while Christians in more stable countries are left unharmed. However, Christians around the world need to prepare themselves for what very well could happen. They hated Jesus and if we are truly serving Him, the world will hate us. 
4. Many will be deceived. We are seeing this already but it will intensify in the days to come. 
5. Sin will abound or become more powerful in the world. When people can sell other people for sex trafficking or human trafficking then we know and see that sin is abounding more and more. 
6. Love for God and for each other will become cold. When people can cut off a person's head without any remorse, I would say that we are seeing this truth come to past. 
7. The Gospel of the KINGDOM will be declared to everyone around the world. Today we have the ability to present the Kingdom Gospel to the world. Truly the birth pangs are getting stronger. Christians should take advantage of every media at our disposal to present the Kingdom message to the world. 
8. Then the end will come. Jesus makes it clear that the end will come when He says the end will come.

There is one part of this passage I purposely left out. I wanted it to stand alone in your mind. Jesus said those that ENDURE until the end will be SAVED. The meaning of endure is to stay under, to remain, to persevere, or to tarry behind. Just through this one word defeats the Escapism Theology many churches preach today.  To be saved means to be delivered, PROTECTED, to be preserved, to be healed, or to be made whole. Those that make it through the calamity, (alive) and still serve the Great God are guaranteed the salvation of the Lord. Salvation is not a walk down to a church's altar. It is fulfilled through endurance and sacrifice to the Living God. 

So what should Christians do during this time of Birth Pangs?

1. Stay Holy ( Only the Holy See the Holy God)
2. Stay Close ( Keep your relationship with Christ in check)
3. Stay in Prayer ( Our prayer life should intensify during this time so that we may not be deceived.)
4. Stay in the Word ( Our Bible study life should intensify during this time so that we may not be deceived.)
5. Stay compassionate ( When the world gets worse Christians show the love of Christ even more.)
6. Stay strong with each other ( I truly believe the Simple Church will become more vital in the days ahead. I am not talking about Church life groups. I am talking about the true gathering of God's saints for everyday life. Many will fall away from the faith due to their religious mindset of how church should be.)
7. Stay in the Gospel of the Kingdom ( Lead others to Christ, preach the gospel, live the Gospel, be the Gospel to a dying world. Prepare those that are willing to hear for the Kingdom of our God. Understand that the Kingdom of God's power resides in you. )

The Beginning of Sorrows is here. How long it will last, no one can tell. They only person that knows when the baby is coming is the Mother and the Baby. We are like anxious fathers waiting patiently. Regardless, Christians don't have to be afraid but excited. Our Savior is moving and operating in the world today. These sorrows are a sign of greater things to come for those who follow whole-hardheartedly for Christ.  Fear not!!!! Trust in Him!!! and Brace yourself for the Awesomeness of our God!!!!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Unexpected Twist




Life is filled with unexpected twists and curves. No one is immune to its untimely demise or devices. God created all things and set the world into motion. His creation, at the point of birth, was absent from time and appeared to be suspended in a bubble. Adam and Eve brought sin into the world and the bubble busted. Mankind became bound to the ticking of time and the UNEXPECTED TWISTS which come with it.

My family and I just experienced the UNEXPECTED TWISTS in life. Less than a year and a half ago we moved to Texas and now a year and half later we are living in North Carolina. It is a whirl wind of unusual craziness, but our health is in good shape. We have a roof over our heads and a job to support our basic needs. It has not been an easy road and the "scratching my head" moments are still present.

Many people around the world succumb to much worse of scenarios. I think about the college student who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor to the work camps of North Korea. He was shipped home to the United States recently in a vegetated state and dies a few days later. What an UNEXPECTED TWIST for his family and friends! I think about the abuse and rape of thousands of women and children around the world due to sex trafficking. How horrible it may feel that no one loves  you and your are just a piece of meat to a demented and disturbed individual. I think about the many Christians around the world who are killed and persecuted for their faith in Christ. Many Western Christians don't know what it is like to surrender all to the causes of Christ. The blood of our brothers and sisters cries out from the ground and the living God is not left untouched by their demise. Everyone faces UNEXPECTED TWISTS in their lives. Some more horrendous than others.

I woke up early the other day and this verse was rushing through my head. It is out of Isaiah 55:6. I have read this verse every day since and have just allowed the Lord to teach me through it.

Isaiah 55:6
Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.

God can be found in the midst of our UNEXPECTED TWISTS of life. In fact, I would say that His presence is the strongest in those times.  What is interesting is God will not force himself upon us. The verse states that we must seek Him while He may be found and we need to call upon Him while He is near. Life can be painful and confusing, but the living God is never too far away. Regardless of the UNEXPECTED TWISTS, He is present if we desire to have Him.

No matter the circumstance and No matter the pain. God is truly there and desires for us to seek Him in the midst of the dark and foggy nights of life.  Call out to Him. Let Him guide you to His location. Let Him heal you of your sorrows and sicknesses. Let Him embrace you with an embrace that is firm and unending. He is the God who is in the midst of UNEXPECTED TWISTS of life. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Failure is an Option


The old cliche " Failure is not an option." is a common saying among many in the leadership world. The phrase was used in the movie Apollo 13 and attributed to Gene Kranz. Kranz was an engineer and NASA flight director. Truth be known failure is always an option. In fact, failure is apart of life.

As believers, we can misinterpret God's plans for our lives as failures. Take the story and life of Joseph. Here you have the 11th son of Jacob. He was Jacob's favorite son so much so Jacob gave him a coat of many colors. It turns out that this coat was a slap in the face to the brothers of Joseph. It meant that Jacob was preparing Joseph to be the head of the clan for the future.  This action angered the brothers which started a chain reaction of bad situations for Joseph. Joseph was thrown into a pit, he was made a slave, and then he was put into prison.

Gen 39:1  Joseph had been taken to Egypt. Potiphar, one of Pharaoh's Egyptian officials and captain of the guard, bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there.

Gen 39:20  So Joseph's master arrested him and put him in the same prison where the king's prisoners were kept. While Joseph was in prison,

In the world's perspective, Joseph was a failure. He was rejected from his brothers, from his master, and appeared to be rejected from his God. Why would God allow this to happen to Josep? Did he need to be placed into a pit, become a slave, and become a prisoner? What was God's lesson? What was God's reason?

Here are the facts. When Joseph was in the pit. He was protected from the elements and from animals at night. Being in the pit allowed  him to be at the right place at the right time. If Joseph was not in the pit when the Ishmaelite's came by, he would  have went back to his father and a different set of events would have occurred.



Gen 39:21  the LORD was with him. The LORD reached out to him with his unchanging love and gave him protection. The LORD also put Joseph on good terms with the warden.

When Joseph went from the Pit to being a slave. It took time before he found favor among men again. He found favor with Potiphar and was able to make his master successful. However, Potiphar's wife had a different plan. Potiphar's wife was lustfully attracted to Joseph and wanted to have sex with him. Some declare that the name of Potiphar's wife was Zuleika. Zuleika believed, through astrology, that she would bare Joseph's children. Zuleika was bound to her desires that maybe were not all her fault. Historically, it is believed that court officials to the Pharaoh were often castrated in order to keep them from lusting after the women in the King's chamber. Potiphar could have been an eunuch of sorts which added fuel to Zuleika's lust and desire. Joseph, regardless of her hang ups, ran away from the scene of temptation and found himself in prison.

While in prison, he finds favor with the Warden and is given higher responsibility.  In prison, Joseph learned how to run a business. He learned how to manage people and daily tasks. God used this time to teach him for something greater. God always. I mean always has a greater plan. We just have to trust in him.

Joseph was 17 when he was sold into slavery from his brothers. He was 30 when he finally was freed from prison and became second in command over all of Egypt. He spent 13 years of struggling and facing, in the world's eyes, a life of failure. From pit, to slave, to prisoner and then to governor, Joseph's life is a testimony of how failure is an option. If you learn anything from this story, learn that failure is an option and an illusion. Failure is defined by the one who is in the midst of the storm not by the one who is safe in the shelter and looking to the outside.

Below are some lessons to learn about Failure.

1. PIT LIFE: Sometimes we all get thrown into a pit of life. Sometimes our eyes only see the pit but forget about what is going on the outside of the pit. On the outside of your PIT. God is bringing along the ones who will take you to your next stage in life.
2. UNLIKELY CONDUITS: God used the Ishmaelites to transport Joseph to his future destination. Sometimes God will use the most unlikely people or things to guide you to your destiny. Joseph's destiny did not stop in the PIT. It was just the place of foundation.
3. SLAVERY A CHOICE: Joseph became a slave and soon fell into favor with the man of the house. Joseph chose not to allow slavery to be his title or his condition. Sometimes we allow the stages of our life to define our circumstances. Slavery is a choice. What you choose to be shackled to; you will be shackled too. Frederick Douglass, famed ex-slave, had a different point of view on slavery.

“No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.” 
― Frederick Douglass

4. PRISON BARS CAN BE BENT: Joseph discovered how to do many things while in prison. Prison was a place where freedom was obsolete and hope was distant. However, Joseph chose to see life without bars and live accordingly to his calling and gifting. Never allow your set backs become your excuses.

5. FAILURE CREATES INNOVATION: Joseph's "FAILURES" actually created an environment of creativity and innovation. Joseph was able to save nations because of his prior "FAILURES." Let Failures be your bridge to success.

When failure is looked at with different eyes, then you see that Failure is an option. Failure is part of God's design for the human condition. Without failure, we don't understand the true meaning of  success. Failure is the necessity of greater accomplishments. All you have to do is re-train your mind to see it as such.

" Failure is an Option!"













Thursday, March 30, 2017

Meditate Day and Night

Psalm 1:1-2
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.  

Image result for Christian meditation

The Word meditate in the Hebrew language is Hagah. Hagah means to moan, growl, utter, speak, and muse. The word meditation means to reflect, ponder, consider, study, be in deep thought, and to contemplate. Meditation , among Christians, has become a negative word because of the many eastern religions that misuse the practice. Many Christians forget that our faith is an Eastern Faith. Many forget that Jesus meditated often. The Garden of Gethsemane was his favorite spot to ponder and think about the current events. He meditated on the things of God and his truth. If Jesus meditated then so should we.

The eastern religions use meditation to try and reach a higher plain of existence. For believers, meditation should be used to connect with our Holy God. In today's busy world, believers are bound to the things that drain our time away. Meditation in God is needed in order to reconnect and hear from the Holy One. King David stated that " his delight was to meditate on the law of God day and night." He desired to ponder, think, and connect with His God.  It is important that we do the same.

King David meditated on the things of God while in his house.  Psalms 48:9 Within your temple, O God,we meditate on your unfailing love. He meditated on God's precepts and truths often. Psalms 119:14-16 I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

How should Christians Meditate? Should Christians Meditate?

Christians should meditate in God on a daily basis if possible or at least once a week. It should be a practice of true holiness and the seeking of God's truth. Christians should not allow the corruption of meditation from other religions in the world stop them from meditating on God. If I was the devil and I knew that meditation was a key to sustaining a stronger and deeper relationship with God, my arch enemy, then I would do everything I could to corrupt the practice. We have to simply follow God's word and practice meditation like Jesus. So how should a christian meditate. Below are a few suggestions.

How to meditate in God.

1. Find a quite and uninterrupted place.
2. Sit down  or kneel down ( don't lie down because you might have the temptation to fall asleep)
3. Sometimes worship music is a good source which helps with your pondering and deep thought.
4. Have a notebook, tablet, computer, or some other form to write with you close by.
5. Read from God's word and simply ponder and consider the verse. Allow its truth to embed itself deep within you.
6. Balance your thinking and consideration with prayer and Holy Spirit praying through you.
7. Ensure all distracts are removed from you.
8. Proper meditation should be more than a 15 minute session. If you are first starting off or getting back into the swing of things, then start off with 10 minute sessions and work your way up.
9. The key is to focus on God and His word.
10. There can be an out of body experience but it is simply an out of body connection with the Living God.

Our connection with the Living God is so important in today's world. We can't venture far from his presence. The further we are from his presence the propensity to sin becomes greater. The further the distance from the Light the darker the world becomes. I would challenge every believer to take time today and meditate on the truth of our God.



Thursday, February 2, 2017

What We've Seen and Heard

God has been gracious to me and allow me to travel the world for over 20 years now. I have seen some amazing things. I have seen healings and miracles which could only come from God’s hand. Miracles like, a Hindu lady in India whose hearing was miraculously restored without anyone laying hands on her. God just showed up!!!! I have seen a woman who was paralyzed on her right side discover that God gave her full mobility. I have seen several back issues healed. I have seen the Lord heal the emotional pains as well. Like a pastor and his family, who lived in India. They were suffering so much as a family that when they came to our meetings they spoke the following to God. “ If we don’t get a miracle today, we will end our lives.” God gave them a miracle that day. I have seen salvation change the lives of the hurting and the demonically oppressed and possessed. I have heard God prophesy words which encouraged, edified, and corrected the body of Christ. I have seen the Lord spread out His apostolic mantle upon his people and what them rise with confidence. I have seen a whole church fall to their knees in worship because God’s presence was so strong and relevant. Like Apostles Peter and John declared to the religious official of the day. “ We cannot stop talking about what We’ve seen and heard.”

Acts 4:18-20 GW
(18)  They called Peter and John and ordered them never to teach about Jesus or even mention his name.
(19)  Peter and John answered them, "Decide for yourselves whether God wants people to listen to you rather than to him.
(20)  We cannot stop talking about what we've seen and heard."


I cannot stop sharing about God’s marvelous ways. It is important to share with the world what I have seen and heard. It is important that I never take credit for it but ensure that the living God gets all the glory. He deserves all glory! It is important that you and I wait for Him to do even mightier works. We have to place ourselves in the position to see and hear. It can’t be done hiding in our houses and never speaking to our neighbors. It can’t be done just on Sunday mornings. Being in the place to see and hear from God means getting out into the world. It means breathing His same air and bathing in  His  same sonlight.
So how can we stay in this current paradigm?
1. Don’t allow distractions of life run a muck.
2. Stay humble and broken before God’s presence.
3. Spend true valued time with the Lord.
4. G.O. ( Get Out!!!) Go into all the world.
5. Continue to tell what you have seen and heard.

“What we’ve have seen and heard” Let it be our banner to the world. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

20 Years in the Future

I can not predict the future but we can look at clues to see what the future will be like.


Facts First:
There are over 196 countries in the world. Well ones that are recognized. Poor Taiwan is fighting that battle.  193 countries out of the 196  are part of the United Nations. There are over 7.3 billion people in the world with the life expectancy rate of around 69 years.  781 million people in the world are illiterate with most of them living in Africa and South and West Asia. The world as a whole is 76 trillion dollars in debt and growing. (www.infoplease.com)

Currently there are ongoing conflicts in Somali, Mali, Kenya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, India, Egypt, Afghanistan, Gambia,Nigeria, Burma, Republic of the Congo, Ukraine, and many more. Wars and rumors of wars are evident in today’s world. ( www.warsintheworld.com)

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that about 800 million people out of the 7.3 billion people in the world are suffering from chronic undernourishment or hunger. The majority of the people live in developing countries.  This figure is down from 1 billion people a few years ago. ( www.worldhunger.org)

Earthquakes have increased significantly since 1996. It is over a 45% increase. The eruption of volcanoes has increase as well. We have only been seriously tracking earthquakes for about a 100 years so no one knows what other centuries have seen. However, it is still alarming to see a rise of these types of phenomenon.  

What did Jesus say about the Future?
 
Matthew 24:3-14 GW
(3)  As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, "Tell us, when will this happen? What will be the sign that you are coming again, and when will the world come to an end?"
(4)  Jesus answered them, "Be careful not to let anyone deceive you.
(5)  Many will come using my name. They will say, 'I am the Messiah,' and they will deceive many people.
(6)  "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Don't be alarmed! These things must happen, but they don't mean that the end has come.
(7)  Nation will fight against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.
(8)  All of these are only the beginning pains of the end.
(9)  "Then they will hand you over to those who will torture and kill you. All nations will hate you because you are committed to me.
(10)  Then many will lose faith. They will betray and hate each other.
(11)  Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
(12)  And because there will be more and more lawlessness, most people's love will grow cold.
(13)  But the person who endures to the end will be saved.
(14)  "This Good News about the kingdom will be spread throughout the world as a testimony to all nations. Then the end will come.

What Jesus talked about  some 2,000 years ago rings true for today and it could ring true for the next 20 to 100 years. No one truly knows. However, one truth is for sure. Christ is returning to this planet one day. We can look at the signs and prepare the generations to come. Christians need to be ready and prepared.

20 years from now:
So what will 20 years from now look like? I will be about 65 years old. My parents, if still alive, will be in their 80’s.  My children will be in their 30’s and 40’s. My grandchildren will be teenagers or in their 20’s. It will be a total different world.
I believe technology will be more virtual and augmented than 2D and 3D. Many people around the world will have technology implanted, wearing it, or holding it within their hands. Personal devices will be smaller and more compact but perform at greater speeds.
People around the world will be more connected and probably even use Holographic technology to see each other face to face even though they are physically thousands of miles away. Technology will be woven in our physical lives and become a part of us.
An increase of wars on every front will still be apart of our every day lives. The cause will be due to the increase of evil. When evil continues to go unchecked then evil increases within world. World hunger will still be an issue but decreasing. The United Nations will push more for a disappearance of individual nations to one world government. Many nations will form together to help push greater for this agenda. Maybe even elect a partial world president. Morality will be altered to today’s growing relativism. It will be more personal based and laws will be changed to accommodate. Sexual desires will be more legalized and more rampant. Rape will be redefined along with molestation and pedophilia. Pornography will be totally virtual and augmented. It will even be robotic. Democracy will be a norm in the majority of the nations. However religious freedoms will become less and less tolerated. The ideology that drove Democracy in the past will be replaced by those bound to the relative religion. Governments will push further away from godly principles and more too humanistic beliefs. The globalization of economic health will become dominant. Global economies will drive the one government.  Earthquakes will increase and become more devastating. They will even occur in strange places. Places that have never seen an earthquake will have them. Christianity will become more secular and ritualistic. True believers will be more underground instead of in buildings. The underground church movement will be strong and prepared. They will have a greater sense of duty for the cause of Christ. Their intimacy with Christ will be more Holy Spirit led instead of emotionally led.  They will not follow the commercialization of Christ. They will be more strategic in how they witness to the world.  Christians will be considered a hindrance to the world. They will be perceived as old fashion and terrorists against global unity. Many state church will replace biblical doctrine with the world religious beliefs of relativism. Many believers will leave the faith but still think they are in the faith. The Pharisees and Sadducees were in this same stronghold. Remember it was religious minded people who sent Jesus to the Cross. It will become harder to determine true light from contaminated light. The next 20 years will be the set up from the coming false ruler. We are closer and closer to the prophesy of Matthew 24.

What should we do?

1. Don’t panic.  We know the future and should not worry because we know the outcome.
2. Prepare for change. The church should prepare for the coming change. Western and Eastern Christian practices need to be thrown out the door. We must follow Holy Spirit and his word more than ever.
3. Don’t stop sharing the gospel. Believers should never stop standing up for the gospel. We should share the gospel regardless of the threat. However, share the gospel with wisdom and leading.
4.  Grow in discernment. The gift of discernment will need to be on steroids in the coming days. It will be easy for even the elite to be fooled.  I believe many will turn from the faith when the Escapism teaching does not come to fruition. Wow unto all the pastors who have taught it and have not prepared their congregations.
5. Fast and Pray. We will enter in a season of more fasting and praying. We will have to in order to stay pure and holy for our coming king.
6. Flee from evil. Believers will be have the ability to be drawn in more and more into the world’s system of sin. We have to flee from evil. In some cases, get rid of the technology that binds us.
Above are just some thoughts. Let me know what you think.


References:
www.infoplease.com
http://www.warsintheworld.com/
www.worldhunger.org
www.sott.net