And Then The End Will Come
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
And Then The End Will Come - By Steve Schmutzer - https://www.raptureready.com/2021/06/04/and-then-the-end-will-come-by-steve-schmutzer/
The grizzled old missionary paused. He’d been preaching the good news of the gospel, but now his raspy voice was silent.
He placed both hands on the pulpit and gazed about the packed room. Deep lines around his mouth and eyes gave him a fierce expression, and he seemed to scowl at each person there.
It was December in South Africa. Summertime. Outside, it was a blistering heat.
It was not much better inside. The sweltering air was still, and the little bush church smelled like a stale locker room. I could feel trickles of sweat running down the back of my neck. I was miserable.
Lizards clung to the dried mud walls. They watched flies pinging against the smudgy windows. A captive chicken in a basket panted with open beak. Women wrapped in colorful garb fanned themselves with sheets of paper, grass fans, and scarves – anything they could use.
The elderly preacher suddenly slammed the pulpit with his fist. Everyone flinched.
“AND THIS GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM SHALL BE PREACHED IN ALL THE WORLD FOR A WITNESS UNTO ALL NATIONS!” he bellowed. His voice was like a sonorous growl forced through a bed of gravel.
The young Zulu translator reached over and struck the same pulpit on the other side. We all saw it coming this time, so nobody jumped.
“LELI VANGELI LOMBUSO LIYAKUSHUNYAYELWA EMHLABENI WONKE, KUBE NGUBUFAKAZI EZIZWENI ZONKE!” His voice was high and shrill, but he did his best to emulate the elderly preacher.
I was quite young at the time. Growing up on the mission field as I did, I’d often heard Matthew 24:14 quoted like this. It was not until I was older that I realized there was a Part B to this verse, “….and then the end will come.”
I wish I could tell you that faithful old warrior was the only one I’d ever heard to use that verse out of context, but it’s a staple for mission conferences. That verse is still employed to excite candidates and to infuse them with a “higher calling.”
Earlier, in Matthew 24:3, we find Jesus’ disciples asking Him about “….the sign of your coming and of the end of the age(?).” This was just before Jesus’ crucifixion, and verse 14 is part of His reply.
Jesus emphasized two themes as He responded to His disciples’ queries. They are:
THE JEWISH PEOPLE – Jesus told of the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in verse 2. He called out “those who are in Judea” in verse 16. He warned of the restraints of the Sabbath in verse 20 and about false Messiahs in verse 23. Jesus also used the example of a fig tree in verse 32. The Bible likens the nation of Israel to a fig tree, and His disciples did not overlook that connection.
THE END OF TIME – In Matthew 24 and in the parallel accounts of Mark 13 and Luke 21, Jesus reveals the signs of His proximal Second Advent. These are listed as signs on planet Earth (earthquakes, famines), signs within humanity (lawlessness, deception), signs of eroding faith (apostasy, false prophets), signs in the heavens (fearful cosmic disturbances, asteroids), and signs concerning Israel and the Jews (wars, severe persecution, hatred by all nations).
The phrase, “….this gospel of the kingdom,” sits squarely within the mix of these two themes. It is a Jewish-centric phrase, and it is associated with the end of time just before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
In context, Matthew 24:14 chiefly concerns Christ’s future Millennial Kingdom, during which time He will reign from Jerusalem. Certainly, Jesus preached a message of both personal repentance and kingdom expectation (Matt. 3:2, Et Al.), but as Dr. Stan Toussaint remarked, “Every time the term kingdom is used theologically in Matthew it refers to the same thing, the kingdom yet to come on this earth inaugurated and governed by the Messiah.”
Jesus’ disciples understood it that way too. In Acts 1:6, shortly after Christ’s resurrection, they asked Jesus a related question, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” They remembered Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:14 just a few weeks before. This shows Israel’s promised kingdom was top of mind for them, even if they were “a little off” on its timing.
All said, it is mostly ignorance that assumes the church will succeed in comprehensively evangelizing this fallen world. It is mostly arrogance which argues the church will gain dominion over this present earth by means of spiritual combat. Neither position is supported in the Bible.
What IS supported in the Bible is the fact that evangelism will reach its peak during the Tribulation – a point AFTER the church has been removed. What IS declared in the Scriptures is the good news of salvation will finally reach every corner of the globe within those seven years of horror. These truths conform to the larger message of Matthew 24:14.
To properly understand this future time of unprecedented trauma when the good news of salvation will be advanced as it never had been before, we need to accept three basic facts:
Together, these three facts clarify how and why the seven years of the Tribulation become the zenith of worldwide evangelism.
Today, the strategies to spread the good news of salvation are many. Personal witness, printed materials, radio, television, social media, public events, and music and art are among the available means to advance the fundamentals of the great commission (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8; Et Al.).
However, very few of these conventional approaches will find any opportunity during the Tribulation. The antichrist and his murderous globalist regime will make sure of that. They will work to stop it all.
Even in our time, censorship has begun. You are just as likely to have your Facebook or Twitter account shut down for stating Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) as you are for exposing the facts about COVID-19 or for supporting a large prayer ministry for Jews. Truth is no longer welcome.
In the years just prior to Jesus Christ’s Second Coming, the means of spreading the good news of salvation will therefore include some unconventional approaches. It’ll be God’s way of getting the job done despite Satan’s best efforts to squelch it.
The Bible unpacks these exceptional methods as follows:
THE SAINTS – There is no question that people will come to saving faith during the Tribulation. The end-time Scriptures are replete with this evidence, and the Holy Spirit will remain omnipresent as He continues to convict the world of its sin (John 16:8).
It’s not this article’s purpose to argue those points. My point here instead is the gospel will still get advanced through personal witness – via those saints who have gained salvation AFTER the church has been supernaturally raptured.
But these won’t be your ordinary saints! They’ll be distinct from saints now – that’s why their personal witness is exceptional. These people will have lived in the church age, but they will not belong to the church. While they will wear robes made white “….in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev. 7:14), they are not part of the Bride of Christ.
These Tribulation saints are exceptional in two other ways. First, as a group, they’re radically committed to the gospel of salvation during the absolute worst period of human history (Matt. 24:22; Rev. 6:9; 12:11, 17; 20:4; Et Al.). Over and over, the point is made that this group of saints is known for “….the Word of God and the testimony they had maintained” (Rev. 6:9, Et Al.).
These Tribulation saints will actively LIVE and DECLARE the gospel, and so they will contrast starkly with the unprecedented depravity and deception around them. Perhaps some of them will once have attended a church, but they were not truly saved. They will realize they were much more part of the world at that time than they were any part of the body of Christ.
That leads to the second reason these tribulation saints are exceptional, because again – as a group – they are far more likely to be martyred for their faith than not (Rev. 6:9; 20:4, Et Al.). The world will hold no promise for them – except to lose their life – so they will live 100% for the assurance they have in Jesus Christ. They will viscerally understand Paul’s words, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).
THE 144,000 JEWS – Much has been debated about this special group. Various efforts exist to define it as something other than what God’s Word plainly states (Rev. 7:4-8).
Chief among those misguided efforts is the assertion that these 144,000 are not ethnic Jews – but the Bible is transparent about this. It’s 12,000 Jews from each of 12 tribes of Israel, and they are identified around the start of the Tribulation. The fact that we – or even they – may not know their bloodlines does not discount the fact that God DOES!
The second claim detractors make is these 144,000 Jews are not evangelists. This point is touted because the Bible does not specifically call them such. It is similar faulty logic that concludes the church will not be supernaturally snatched from this earth since the word “rapture” doesn’t appear in the Bible.
The Scriptures make the points of the rapture quite clear, and it’s much the same with these 144,000 Jews. What we learn of them, and the context within which we learn it, tells us what their impact will be. It is evident this group will play a major role in declaring the gospel of salvation during the Tribulation.
Besides their Jewish descent, they are supernaturally selected and sealed by God between the opening of the 6th and 7th Seal Judgments. They are called “servants of God,” and they are marked for divine protection against the unparalleled persecution of that time (Rev. 7:3-4). They are completely devoted to the service of their Lord and Savior (Rev. 14:3-4), they are “firstfruits to God” (Rev. 14:4), and they’re noted for their purity and righteous conduct (Rev. 14:4-5).
I have this growing conviction that these 144,000 Jews are not necessarily from the land of Israel at the time God seals them. The Bible makes no case that they are. While they eventually show up on Mount Zion (Rev. 14:1), it is reasonable to assume they arrive in Israel at that time as part of the second – and final – worldwide regathering of Jews to their homeland.
The Bible says this future regathering of Jews to Israel will be in belief (Isaiah 11:11-12:6). A true faith in Jesus Christ as their Messiah will mark the Jews of this future occasion. That is a very different dynamic than “making Aliyah” in unbelief, a prophetically significant process we are seeing in our present time (Ezek. 34 to 37, Et Al.).
Meantime, Jews live in nearly every nation as a result of the diaspora (Deut. 28:64; Jer. 29:18; Ezek. 12:15; Amos 9:9; Zech. 10:9; Et Al.). They know the people, cultures, and languages of these diverse places they are now part of. They are perfectly positioned for spreading the good news of salvation “in all the world” when God supernaturally seals 144,000 of them.
Imagine the impact 144,000 Jews from all parts of the globe would have once they are commissioned as devoted “servants of God.” Some scholars liken this to multiplying Paul’s ministry 144,000 times. It is little wonder this group appears to be key in leading “….a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language” to salvation (Rev. 7:9). This supports the core message of Matt. 24:14.
THE TWO WITNESSES – A mysterious duo shows up at the start of the Tribulation. Like the 144,000 Jews, there are things we know about them, and things we can conclude about them.
Among the things we know from Rev. 11:3-12 is they are based in Jerusalem. Their mission will be “to prophesy”; they will declare God’s Word and events to come. They will do this for 1,260 days – right up to the midpoint of the Tribulation. We know their message will be so unwelcome to a depraved world that multiple attempts to harm these two figures will occur. Those efforts will be unsuccessful.
We also know these two witnesses will have miraculous powers, including “striking the earth with plagues, turning water to blood, stopping rain, and consuming their enemies with fire” (Rev. 11:6). “Seeing is believing,” and it will be no different here when these two witnesses validate their message.
When their appointed time of ministry is complete, God will permit the antichrist to kill them. Their deaths will be celebrated as a worldwide spectacle. Just as public will be their supernatural resurrection and their ascent into heaven three and a half days ‘post mortem.’
What we can conclude about these two witnesses is their ministry of prophesying will be blunt. They will be hated by “the inhabitants of the earth” for speaking the truth and for showing evidence of their preternatural commission by God.
We can also sensibly conclude these two witnesses’ primary focus is the Jewish inhabitants of Israel. While the impact of their message will be worldwide, it seems most likely these two witnesses are sent by God to remind the Jews of the Messianic prophecies, to expose the truth about the antichrist and his covenant with Israel (Dan. 9:27), and to challenge the nation’s errant return to a temple worship system.
When all the issues are weighed, I feel we can reasonably conclude that these two witnesses are a miraculous physical return of two Biblical figures: Moses and Elijah. While Enoch warrants consideration too, Moses and Elijah best represent “the law and the prophets” to Jews. The miracles these two witnesses will perform are like those miraculous signs Moses and Elijah had performed.
Furthermore, it was Moses and Elijah that appeared with Jesus at the transfiguration (Matt. 17:3-4). Jesus had dressed this event in end-times language by stating some of His disciples would still be alive when they saw “….the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matt. 16:28). The fact that Jesus gave a show of his future glory in physical accompaniment with Moses and Elijah is not a dynamic to lightly dismiss.
One last thing we can responsibly conclude about these two witnesses – regardless of who they may be – is they will call others into a proper relationship with Jesus Christ. That is not specifically stated, but it’s clear in context. Why would these two witnesses send judgments upon the earth and devour their enemies with fire if such consequences were not proof of Almighty God who had sent them?
THE ANGEL – Of all the unconventional approaches to communicating the message of salvation during the Tribulation, the angel “….flying in midair” in Rev. 14:6-7 is the most dramatic. It underscores God’s determination to communicate the gospel by any means – even those apart from human agency.
In this passage, an angel flies around the earth and delivers an important dispatch. Remember, this is a time when life on earth will see the unnatural and the natural coexist. We cannot assess events during the Tribulation by today’s routines. Supernatural phenomena will mark those years.
I have little doubt this angel will be visible to “….those who live on the earth.” What is most important is He’s audible to them. The Bible says this angel delivers his message in “….a loud voice,” and he’s heard by “….every nation, tribe, language, and people.”
The point is nobody is missed. From the remotest jungles of the Amazon to the icy vistas of Siberia, and from lonely atolls in the Pacific, to dusty villages in the Sahara – the angel’s words are received and understood by all.
The Bible states the angel’s message is “the eternal gospel,” but it’s not what you might hear in church. It is in every sense of the concept the “last hope” for anyone that hears it:
“Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
It’s simple and straightforward. It’s Genesis to Revelation. It’s creation, and it’s judgment. It’s about the need for a right relationship with Jesus Christ. Everyone who hears it will be compelled to make a choice.
This is not the seeker-sensitive salvation message we often toss out with dubious intentions today. There is no goal in the angel’s approach to be attractive to the lost or to “have a conversation.”
The “eternal gospel” declared by the angel is based in urgency and common sense. Conditions in the world at that time will support everything he says. The result is the angel’s words are confrontational, brief – and by every one of today’s lukewarm standards, “politically incorrect.”
They’re also effective! Everyone on the planet will know the truth, and everyone will be accountable to it.
Roughly two thousand years ago, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives and gazed down upon a city and a religious system that had rejected Him. He knew the church age was about to begin. While Jesus would task the church to be His witnesses “….to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8), He also knew it would conclude with work still left to do.
With His disciples around Him, Jesus pulled the curtains back on the future. His words were grim. He explained how things in the world would get much worse. But, by God’s sovereign design, it was all part of the plan. The good news of the gospel would finally be preached in all the world.
And then the end will come.
As Police Brace For A “Summer Of Violence”, Murder Rates Are Absolutely Exploding All Over America - by Michael Snyder - http://endoftheamericandream.com/as-police-brace-for-a-summer-of-violence-murder-rates-are-absolutely-exploding-all-over-america/
It appears that the violence in major U.S. cities is about to escalate even further. Summer is usually the worst season for violent crime in America, and authorities are openly warning us that a “summer of violence” is approaching. But at this point it is difficult to imagine things getting worse because we are already in the midst of a horrific crime wave. According to the New York Times, homicide rates were up by an average of “more than 30 percent” in 2020, and on average they are up “another 24 percent” so far in 2021. Never before in U.S. history have we seen homicide rates rise so quickly on a nationwide basis.
Sadly, it appears that George Floyd’s tragic death was the spark that set off this crime wave. If you doubt this, just check out these numbers from Chicago…
The year before Mr. Floyd’s death — from May 25, 2019, to May 25, 2020 — there were 2,885 shootings in Chicago that resulted in 521 deaths. From May 25, 2020, to May 25, 2021, there were 818 deaths from 4,562 shootings, an increase of almost 60 percent in both categories, according to Christopher Herrmann, a professor of law and police science at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
You would think that things would settle down after a while, but homicide rates all over the nation have surged even higher here in 2021.
For example, the homicide rate in Houston is up 27 percent so far in 2021…
On Friday, the city had a total of 178 homicides for 2021, according to HPD. That number is a 27% increase from 2020.
Now, with 10 more so far this weekend, the number is on the brink of 190.
“It’s not going to get better anytime soon,” said Mike Knox, Houston City Council Member and Vice-Chair of the council committee.
In other large cities, things are even worse.
In Los Angeles County, the homicide rate has risen more than 95 percent up to this point in the year…
LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has bad news about crime.
“So, for crime statistics, we don’t have good news – unfortunately. We’re looking at a 95.24% increase in homicides. That is comparing the same time frame this year to that time frame in 2020.” Villanueva says many other types of violent crimes are also up, including aggravated assault up 13% and grand theft auto up 40%
Sheriff Villanueva accuses the Board of Supervisors of not addressing the issue and called it an ‘existential threat’.
In New York City, subway riders are increasingly becoming targets of violent crime.
In some cases the criminals are after money, but in other cases there doesn’t seem to be any particular motive for the attacks.
Overall, the number of transit-related crimes that were reported in one recent week was more than twice as high as the number reported in the same week last year…
Citywide statistics show that subway crimes are occurring drastically more frequent this year than they were in 2020.
Fifty-five transit-related crimes were reported in the past week alone – compared with just 21 in the same period last year, according to NYPD CompStat.
For the first time in decades, many New Yorkers are afraid to ride the subway, and that isn’t going to change for the foreseeable future.
In other parts of the country, Uber drivers have become prime targets for criminal predators.
Criminals know that Uber drivers are almost certainly not going to be armed, and they are often driving very nice vehicles. So we have seen an epidemic of Uber drivers getting carjacked, and in some instances they are even being murdered…
FOX 32 obtained Ring doorbell video that captures four males with hoods up approaching a blue Ford four-door car. One male gets in the back. Inside, there was a struggle with Uber driver 38-year old Joe Schelstraete from Indiana.
The video shows a suspect open the door, but it stops right as the father of three was shot in the head.
Before all of this craziness started, being a driver for Uber or Lyft was a way to make some decent money on the side, but now I am recommending that all of my readers avoid this kind of work from now on.
A little bit of extra money is not worth the potential risk.
These days, even kids are turning into violent criminals. In fact, two kids just got into a terrifying gun battle with police in Florida…
A 14-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy fled from a Florida juvenile home and broke into a house, where they found a small arsenal — a shotgun, an AK-47 and plenty of ammunition. When confronted by sheriff’s deputies, the pair opened fire, sparking a gunbattle.
The gunfire ceased only after deputies wounded the girl, who was in critical but stable condition Wednesday, a day after the violence unfolded near Deltona, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) northeast of Orlando. The boy then surrendered.
The thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted on a daily basis is steadily disappearing, and we have entered a time when cities across the nation are descending into chaos.
When I look around, I don’t even recognize the country anymore. Millions of our young people have seemingly gone completely nuts, but of course this is a direct result of how we have raised them.
I wish that I could offer you some hope that things will turn around, but as one of the officials that I quoted above openly admitted, “it’s not going to get better anytime soon”.
Only A Remnant Remain - Just 6% Of Americans Have A 'Biblical Worldview' – Jonathon Van Maren - https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=4764
Back in October, I detailed several data sets indicating that America is about to see her first post-Christian generation--a reality that will likely transform politics and has already transformed culture. But according to new polling released by George Barna, it may be worse than we thought. From The Christian Post:
Only 6% of Americans have a "biblical worldview," according to research from notable evangelical pollster George Barna released as part of a new endeavor with the Christian conservative advocacy organization Family Research Council.
In a statement Wednesday, FRC announced that Barna, who founded the influential evangelical polling organization Barna Group, joined the organization as a senior fellow of their newly launched Center for Biblical Worldview...As part of the center's launch, FRC released research conducted by Barna's Metaformation research group. Some of the new report includes questions and data compiled for the American Worldview Inventory produced by the Barna-led Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University.
The data found, among other things, that while 51% of American adults said they have a "biblical worldview, only 6% of American adults actually hold this worldview.
Barna drew the conclusion of inconsistency among the 51% reporting a biblical worldview by noting that many of the questions to determine worldview found this group technically outside of what the pollster defined as a "biblical worldview."
For example, of the 51%, 49% said that reincarnation was a possibility after they die. Meanwhile, only 33% said they believed that "human beings are born with a sinful nature and can only be saved from the consequences of sin by Jesus Christ."
Data for the research came from a May survey featuring a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults, with a sampling error of about plus or minus 3.2 percentage points...The data comes as similar results have been found by other surveys in recent years.
Last September, the Cultural Research Center revealed survey data compiled in January 2020 that showed that 2% of millennials hold a biblical worldview even though 61% identify as Christian.
In 2017, a survey from the American Culture and Faith Institute found that about 10% of Americans hold a distinctly biblical worldview even though 46% claimed to lead a Christian life.
These numbers explain a lot about what we see going on in the culture right now. Christians who actually believe in the traditional tenets of Christianity are an ever-shrinking minority, and that trend looks to be significantly accelerating.
Don’t Give Up - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
Brothers and sisters, we need to stay strong. The things we see happening today are very trying on the nerves and emotions. The propaganda we’re fed by the news media can make us feel as if all hope is gone. There’s a feeling in the air as if something big is about to happen. All of this puts us on an emotional roller coaster that affects everything we do. The signs of the times are flashing in big neon lights, and we know the Rapture can happen at any moment. This gives us a feeling of expectation and joy, but it also gives a sense of disappointment that it hasn’t happened yet. It’s good to yearn for the Rapture. “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.” 2 Timothy 4:8. Add to this the concern we have for friends and family who haven’t come to know Jesus yet, and if you have a true heart for God, you’re also concerned for strangers who haven’t heard the Gospel. We do live in trying times. This isn’t the time to be discouraged or to give up. Christ will soon call us Home, and that’s encouraging. Arm yourself with the power of God by studying Scripture and applying it to your life. This will give you strength to face each day.
Christianity is under strong attack. The powers of evil are using weak-minded people to mock God and bring Biblical truth into question. Remember, the persecution and mockery aren’t against you. It’s against Jesus. As we face persecution and are tempted to give up, study the life of Saul and see what can happen when an evil-doer meets Jesus. Saul was a very zealous man…a Pharisee among Pharisees. His goal was to arrest or kill everyone who turned from the Jewish life to Christianity. On his way to Damascus with orders to arrest all who had faith in Christ, Saul met Jesus. Jesus had a question for him. “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” Acts 9:4b. Saul thought he was serving God, but in truth he was persecuting God by persecuting Christians. Although he was used by Satan, Jesus had great plans for this man who was filled with anger and hate. Saul was blinded by the light he saw and his companions led him to Damascus and got him lodging. He was blind and took no food or water for three days. The Christians in Damascus knew of Saul’s reputation and had much to fear from him. Then one of them, Ananias, had a vision from the Lord telling him to go to Straight Street and ask for Saul of Tarsus. Ananias wasn’t sure he understood correctly. “Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.” Acts 9:13-14. Ananias had been persecuted, but hadn’t given up. He was strong in his faith, but when the Lord directed him to go and find the man who had done so much evil, he wasn’t sure he wanted to do that. He was much like us. Instead of witnessing to anyone who mocks us or causes us harm, we want them punished by God. Armed with the strength of the Lord, Ananias found Saul, laid hands on him, and Saul’s eyes were opened. What if Ananias had given up in despair because of the persecution? What if he had refused to visit Saul? God would have used someone else, but it was the privilege of Ananias to be the one to set Saul’s feet on the path of spreading the Gospel. We know Saul better as the Apostle Paul. Every Christian needs to listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. We also need to be equipped to give answers and mentor new Christians without fear. All of Scripture will strengthen our faith and studying Biblical prophecy gives answers about the events of today. “And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” 1 Peter 3:13-16. The word “conversation” isn’t just your manner of speech, but the way you conduct your life. Live your life for Christ, never give in to fear, and never keep silent when God asks you to speak boldly. If we give up, souls will be lost.
After his conversion, Paul did exactly what he should. He began to serve Christ. Paul conformed his life to Christ instead of trying to make Christ conform to his. He began contending for the faith by preaching the Gospel in spite of all personal hardships, as did all of the Apostles. They all faced imprisonment, and torture, and brutal death. In spite of that, they never gave up. Because of their faith and desire to serve Jesus, God’s truth has been passed down through time to us. Let me ask you this question, what are you going to do with the treasure of eternal life you possess? Are you going to hide your faith or are you going to share it? As Paul shared the Gospel, he established congregations of believers and left capable men to lead those congregations. One such man was Timothy, a young man with deep faith. Paul wrote two letters to encourage Timothy to stand strong and lead the Ephesian believers in the ways of God. “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12. Paul didn’t mean for Timothy to start fist fights for the faith, but to contend with all struggles for the Christian faith. So must we. We have many examples in the New Testament of the persecution Peter, John, Paul and the others as faced as they shared their faith. Shortly before his death, Paul wrote a final letter to Timothy. In it, Paul was able to look back on his life as a Christian and know that he had contended for the faith and that he had lived for Christ. There was a crown awaiting him. “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 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.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8. How about you? Can you look back over your life and say you’ve contended for the faith? It’s not too late to start the good fight. All you have to do is surrender your life to Christ and stand firm upon Scripture…and never give up.
Those of us who have been watching prophecy unfold know that that Rapture will happen very soon. From pestilence to threats of wars to false teachers we’re watching signs of the times unfolding just as Scripture says it will. Politicians are following the Satanic lead to a one world government, one world currency, and one world religion. We can see how short time is, and many Christians who look forward to the Rapture are getting discouraged that it hasn’t happened yet. News headlines can strike fear into the hearts non-believer as well as believers. “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8-9. That isn’t talking about evolution, but speaks of the patience of God. If you’ve accepted the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for your salvation, then whether you die or the Rapture takes you Home, your salvation is secure. On the other hand, there are millions of people in the world who haven’t accepted Jesus Christ for salvation. God loves them and doesn’t want them to spend eternity in the lake of fire. Think back to the day you finally realized that you were a sinner in need of salvation. What if Jesus had called Christians Home one minute before you placed your faith in Him. Your eternal destiny would be eternal damnation. God doesn’t condemn people, but we all make our own choice to either accept or reject Him. Time is short and we need to share the Gospel with friends, family, and even strangers. Eternity is at stake. Instead of being discouraged because you think God is slow in bringing this all to an end, rejoice that He is giving us time to witness to the lost and share the Gospel. “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” 1 Peter 4:7. Live your life to honor Christ, but use words to share the Gospel.
Don’t give up. We will be called home very soon and we need to be about the Father’s business and serve Him daily. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 5:8-10. The people of the world are watching. Believers and non-believers alike can see the world is becoming darker. The end of all things is indeed coming quickly, and Christians need to be a beacon of hope to those around us. Live your life without hypocrisy so people will know you serve Christ. “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” 1 Peter 4:14. It’s not easy to be mocked and persecuted, but if it comes because Christ shines in your life, rejoice. Glorify God in all you do and don’t allow the attitude of scoffers discourage you.
Brothers and sisters, remember we all serve Christ. He gave His life so we can live with Him for eternity. Keep your mind on eternal matters and don’t allow the problems of today hinder your walk with the Lord. Study Scripture to gain knowledge and understanding of God’s love. Share that love with others. Encourage fellow Christians, but always be ready to give answers to the lost souls around who will perish without faith in Christ. Keep Christ first in your heart and don’t give up.
God bless you all,
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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Daily Jot: The Farm Chronicles: Saddle Up – Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
I was about 14 years old and Dad and I were at our first horse show of the season. I was all excited to get back in the ring and compete. At 13, I had won a lot of trophies and ribbons for showmanship, equitation and horsemanship. I was eager to get back at it. But there was this one small issue. Dad had bought me a new saddle over the winter because I had outgrown my old—and I do mean old—saddle. A friend who owned a tack shop gave Dad a good deal on this beautiful full-sized Simco saddle, dark leather, buck-stitched. I was so excited. Until I rode in it. For some reason, this really handsome saddle made the smoothest of horses feel like you were riding a wood beam on a road of potholes.
Needless to say, I didn’t win a thing that day. After the show, the judge came up to me asked, “What happened to you?” He remarked that last year I had rode so well, but at this show, I looked like a beginner. It was hard to take. When you are on a working cattle and horse farm, saddles are important. How the saddle fits the horse and how it sets the rider can make all the difference in function of both horse and rider. It is especially important when you decide to show horses because every little advantage is the difference between winning and losing. I told Dad that the Simco was the problem. He said that I didn’t practice enough and I needed to buck up and get better. I can still hear him saying, “We paid good money for that saddle and it’s fine.”
It was a tough show season. I learned how to sit that Simco through pure will and I started winning again. But I kept complaining about it. Dad was just as absolute that it wasn’t the saddle. His solution was to work harder, practice more. Then show season came to an end. Now, its spring. I’m 15 and going on 16. Not long before my 16th birthday, Dad asked me to ride up to Cleveland with him. We ended up at Schneider’s Saddlery. Dad knew everybody and he was friends with the founder Milt Schneider and his sons, Stan and Don. This place was like saddle heaven—hundreds of them. Dad told me that he knew how hard I worked to get better with that Simco and that he wanted to buy me a saddle that worked for me. Right in front of Milt and his sons, he told me to pick out any saddle in the store.
I must have spent hours, sitting on saddles, examining them, lifting them. It came down to two Billy Royal saddles—the most expensive in the store. Billy Royals were the Rolls Royce of western saddles. Hand crafted, lifetime guarantee. The one I picked was nearly $800 in 1971. Today, they have financing options. Back then, it was cash. And with a “friend” discount, Dad opened his wallet and counted out the Ben Franklins. On the way home, He told me he loved me and wanted the best for me. He also said, “No more complaining about the saddle.” Proverbs 3:12 says, “For whom the LORD loves He disciplines, Just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.” Dad’s discipline and love made me better. I won a lot with that saddle on many horses. Even today it sits in my office as a reminder of my Dad’s love and his example to me.
Daily Devotion: God among Us - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. —Philippians 2:7
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/god-among-us/ - Listen
Companies that try to market their products overseas sometimes have a language barrier to overcome. For instance, a campaign in Italy for Schweppes Tonic Water translated to Schweppes Toilet Water. Needless to say, not a lot of people wanted to drink that.
And when the Scandinavian company Electrolux hoped to sell vacuum cleaners to American consumers, they chose the slogan “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.” Something got lost in translation.
Jesus seemed to have this issue with His own disciples because they didn’t understand why He had come to this earth in the first place. Jesus came to this earth to die for the sins of the world, but His disciples didn’t get that because it was lost in translation.
Their hope and belief was that He would establish an earthly kingdom then and there, driving out the Romans who were occupying the land. In fact, after Jesus fed the five thousand, His most popular miracle to date, the people wanted to make Jesus king by force.
What was that all about? They wanted to make Him the king so He would drive out Rome. They didn’t understand that isn’t the reason He had primarily come to this world.
However, one day Christ will come back and establish His kingdom. One day, He will rule as King of kings and Lord of lords. But before Christ would wear a crown, He would first have to bear a cross.
Jesus wasn’t a mere man. He wasn’t just one of the prophets. He was God coming to us in human flesh, walking among us. The eternal God confined himself to a single cell and was born of a woman in order to be the Savior of the world.
Who is Jesus to you? Is He the Son of God? Is He the Savior of the world?
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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