Awaiting the Rapture by Our Blessed Hope - Pastor Mike Taylor - https://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2019/11/awaiting-rapture-by-our-blessed-hope.html
52 “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1st Corinthians 15:52-54)
In this message, I am going to revisit a central theme to the belief and hope of every Christian here on this earth who are preparing themselves for the coming of the Lord Jesus in the clouds of heaven. From time to time we need to remind ourselves of the glorious promise we have in Jesus. And I am here to remind, and not so much as to warn those who have not received our Blessed Hope. Get ready for the soon coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the King of Glory. It could be sooner than any of the people of earth even imagine.
The destiny of the Church is to participate in the Blessed Hope that the Apostle Paul wrote about in the verses above, and what was written in Titus :
12 “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:12-14)
The central purpose of Bible prophecy for the last days is not only to give warning to the true Church of the Living God,(as they should be watching for His appearing) that time is running out, but Bible prophecy is not solely for the Church, but those who will be left behind to face a most horrible time in all the earth.
The coming of our Lord, identified by the name “rapture” by English translations of the word harpazo in scripture, signals the conclusion of this age we live in called the Age of Grace, in the same manner that it began. Let us look what the Bible says abou this time, and what it means to each of us.
The Lord explains it to the Apostles before He was crucified
“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” (John 16:7)
That verse is not too hard to explain...The bible explains it literally, that unless Jesus goes away, then the Holy Spirit (the Comforter) would not come and indwell within them, as what happened on the Day of Pentecost. Course at this very moment when the Lord was talking to them on the Mt. Of Olives, they just didn't get it. Right up the moment Jesus rose from the earth in His ascension, the Apostles were confused and afraid. They were expecting Him to usher in the Millennial Kingdom right away.
6 “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:6-7)
And they still wouldn't understand until the Holy Spirit came and gave them power to do God's will. But here the Lord was still with them, and the Holy Spirit was not.
So there they stood, clueless and afraid, while the Lord explained the Holy Ghost would soon empower them for the Great Commission.
“And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight.” (Acts 1:9)
Can you imagine if you were standing there and the only Person you had to connect you with the reality of what had just happened was suddenly taken away from you? Here they are staring into the clouds, straining to get one last glimpse of their Master as He arose into heaven.
10 “And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:10-11)
Here is the chronological order that Jesus being taken up into the clouds will be in reverse order at His coming.. He is raised up from the earth alive, in His Resurrected and transformed Body, and taken up until He vanishes in the clouds. That is how He is taken away – and the Promise given is that is how He will return.
WHAT TIME IS IT?
Now let us fast forward to the event that will end what Jesus began, which is the beginning of the Church Age, or the Age of Grace and what will signal its conclusion.
The Apostle Paul describes it detail in the opening verses in 1st Corinthians and repeats it in the letter to the Thessalonians “
16 “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:16-18)
He returns in reverse order to His departure. The Lord Himself will descend from Heaven, where He will resurrect the dead in Christ and then those living will be ‘caught up’ into heaven at the Rapture. Why do I say that?...read on for an explanation of why we must be “caught up” before He can come fully down to earth.
PAUL COMFORTS THE THESSALONIANS
But note in the letter to the Thessalonians, the people were a little confused, as Paul left them in doubt. It is shown that somebody entered into the church and proclaimed that Nero was the Anti-Christ and they were beginning the Day of the Lord with God's wrath falling all about them, and they were sore afraid that they had missed the coming of the Lord to remove His church beforehand. ..This is clear evidence that even the early church while Paul was ministering to them, were pre-tribulation believers, and fully expected a return of Christ to remove those who believed in Jesus, as Lord and Savior and they were afraid they would be going through the coming Tribulation. They were afraid they had misunderstood the teachings of Paul. So Paul had to teach them further and extinguishing their fears with further revelations from God.
1 “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?”(2nd Thessalonians 2:1-5)
Remember, the issue under discussion here was a rebuttal of the false doctrine claiming that Nero was the antichrist. Nero can’t be the antichrist, Paul says, and here’s why.
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he [the real antichrist] might be revealed in his time.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:6)
Let’s go back and quickly review what we’ve covered about the beginning of the Church Age.
Here is what the Apostle Paul says will signal the end of the Church Age. It ends in reverse order to the way it began.
First the Holy Spirit must go away from this earth which was delivered on the Day of Pentecost...Make no mistake, God's Holy Spirit will not be removed, just pulled back to Old Testament manifestations of His power, THEN Jesus will come in like manner as we saw Him leave this earth. Remember these verses:
6 “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, (Holy Spirit) until he be taken out of the way.
8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” (2nd Thessalonains 2:6-10)
The Holy Spirit must be drawn back, to allow evil and the coming Anti-Christ to be revealed. And as the chuch was indwelt with God's Holy Spirit down through the ages, because of belief in Jesus Christ, then when He is removed in His fullness, we, the church will be removed as well.
THE PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH
The modern day Church's purpose has many, but the one purpose that we must be about, not only in witnessing for the Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation by His atonement in His blood, is to be on the lookout for the signs of the coming Anti-Chirst. Much like a weatherman who forecast bad weather coming, we are watchman on the wall to warn those who are subject to the coming wrath of God.
I am reminded of the verses in Ezekiel and quote it often :
3 “If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
4Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
6But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand.” (Ezekiel 33:3-6)
I hear people tell me, we should be looking for the sign of the coming of Jesus Christ for His people, not the coming of the Anti-Christ, but they fail to understand, there is no sign of the coming of our Lord for the Church. It is a signless event.
2”For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (1st Thessalonians 5:2-4)
Here the analogy is speaking of a thief coming to break into your house. Does a thief give warning? No, the thief will come when you least expect it, unless you have taken precautions.
Speaking of our purpose here on earth, we deliver the Gospel, “the Good News” and we are also to deliver the bad news, as signs of bad weather. But to give proper signs of the Lord's coming, we must look at the total picture to get an idea of the soon coming nature of our Lord. We don't just give the signs that make us feel good about ourselves, but we give the good with the bad.
The bad news, is that the Bible predicted all the bad things that will come upon the earth in the last days, the days we are living in right now. We see things God predicted and wrote about in His Word thousand of years ago, coming to pass and unfolding upon this earth. But the Good News is that God has everything under His control. So we are not fear.
As we said, there are no signs for the coming “catching away of the Church” so there is nothing to look out for. There is nothing that we can point to that says Jesus will be coming during this day or that day, (as one knows the day or the hour), because the only clue that to those left behind when Jesus does come, is the vanishing of millions of people from the earth. And the turmoil and chaos that will ensue when the reality hits them like a ton of bricks.
There is only signs of the coming Tribulation that we see all around us...We can't point to the increase in earthquakes, famines, and wars all over the globe. These are not the signs of the soon coming of Jesus, but they are signs of the revealing of Anti-Christ. They are signs of impending doom and gloom that will grip every man and woman to face the next 7 years of sheer, unadulterated horror and misery coming to the nations left. These signs are important to us who scan the news for bible prophecy being fulfilled, the signs in the heavens, the fulfilling of Matthew 24 that Jesus spoke of, because when these signs are all over your news and you wonder what in the world is going on, the Rapture will have happened. The “catching away of the church” the Harpazo found in 1st Thessalonians and 1st Corinthians will have been completed, as the rapture happened FIRST, then the Tribulation in full force of the wrath of God will begin to fall.
So the only tangible thing that we can look to as a signal of the closeness of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds to call up His people and to change them into immortal spirit beings, is the signs of the coming Tribulation.
We can nail our hopes to, weirdly enough, to the signs of the coming antichrist. If we can discern the approach of the antichrist, then it means that the Rapture is just that much closer. We know from the words of Jesus, that this generation shall not pass till all things be fulfilled from the time of the blooming of the fig tree, the restoration of Israel in May 1948.
I have people write me that I am, or we (other ministers like me) are doing the people a disservice to the cause of Christ, by not preparing those who will face the Tribulation and the coming Mark of the Beast and they will be unable to combat the coming horrors found during this time. I know they mean well, but they feel we “pre-tribbers” are wrong...to them I have this answer to their baffling arguments.
If we are wrong, and I believe we are right, but in the outside chance that we are wrong, the answer to the question of the Mark of the Beast, IS “don't do it”....Now that sounds simple, but it's not really, because as they fail to understand, Jesus opens the 1st seal for the redemption of the earth in Revelation chp. 6 and God's Wrath begins to fall. For we cling to scriptures that say, the churuch is NOT the focus of the coming Tribulation, as the focus is the redemption of national Israel, not loosing one, and the destruction of rebellion upon this earth. Meditate on these scriptures and let them become part of your DNA..
“ For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,” (1st Thessalonians 5:9)
10 “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Revelation 3:10-11)
These are only two passages that give us clarity that we are not the focus of the Tribulation, as Revelation 3:10 says Jesus “will keep thee from the hour of temptation”, which in Greek is the word “EK” which literally means to be removed from the time and place of the coming event.
For we have assurances many that we are right, and they are most likely tribulation martyrdom wannabees (which I can't imagine), because they don't understand the truth of prophecy. Because there are many signs that precede the coming Anti-Christ. First, the Anti-Christ is a politician...I have explored many possible candidates that we should all be watching. I have explored the coming 12th Imam of Islam, the POTUS in America, the Pope in Rome, and a secular figure that will arise to rule the European Union or the Revised Roman Empire. But I am further convinced even with all the speculation, we will NOT see the man burst upon the scene...why? Because the removal of the church will cause him to come upon the scene to stabilize a world in chaos...Will we, the Christian people, see the rise of a New World Order? I don't believe so according to scripture, as this is what the AC will take hold of. It is not revealed how much time between the removal of the Church and the rise of the NWO and the rise of the AC. It could be within a short period of time..or could be years..We just don't know and the Bible is totally silent...But as we draw closer and closer to that time period, it makes the coming of our Lord, more imminent with each passing day.
THE RISE OF THE ANTI-CHRIST
By all accounts the coming Anti-Christ doesn't seize power in a military coup, but it is given to him by universal acclamation from 10 regional locations of power upon the earth. The world will wonder after this mortal man who will become the “seed of Satan”...
4 “And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
5And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
6And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.” (Revelations 13:4-6)
From reading the above passage, it appears the AC does not reveal himself as a god, until the middle of the 7 year Tribulation. Things have been bad for the last 42 months, but now, it only becomes worse, as man has to endure hell on earth, when he sits in the Temple in Jerusalem proclaiming himself to be God. THEN the Great Tribulation begins in all its fierceness of the indignation of Almighty God.
The man does not arrive in secret, but explodes onto the world stage when the world is looking for answers for what has come upon the earth. These will seek peace and safety, and there will be none.
3 “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1st Thessalonians 5:3)
The world is looking for answers from anyone, but Who they should have been seeking the answers from is Jesus Christ. But at this time, not that there will be few choices...He will be the ONLY choice available, but rebellious mankind will make the wrong choice so that they may continue in their unrighteousness.
He (the Anti-Christ) is a liar whose rise to power is accompanied by many lying signs and wonders – but he is thrust into power by the people – if we are right on the timing, by people that are alive right now.
So it is extremely illuminating of the lateness of the hour when a charismatic politician rides into power on the back of lies and disinformation, shows total disregard for Congress, or any international law, buys off the money trust, starts wars in the name of peace and reverses seventy years of friendship with Israel as part of his commitment to globalism.
Many people thought Obama was the Anti-Christ, but I expect the Anti-Christ to be more competent and diplomatic in his deceit. Before Obama, it was hard to imagine how anyone could accomplish all that the Bible predicted in just 7 short years, but see what our past “POTUS” (sic) (I can say his name now, because he is finally gone, praise God) accomplished in just 8 short years. He nearly ruined this country and it will take a vigilant POTUS Trump to undo his damage.
And as time goes on, we will learn more revelations about this past “idiot in chief” that we really, really don't want to know, because if you're like me, you were tired of the Obamanation and just want him to fade from our memory.
But one thing the man did do, he put into motions the machinations that will bring the Anti-Christ to power and enable him to accomplish his mission.
It is not possible to explain (just yet), how the coming “lawless one” will use the economy to enforce his edicts without understanding how it works. I don’t believe that the Lord provided us with such a clear and unambiguous model if we weren’t to learn from it.
The three main pillars of government during the Tribulation Period are the anti-Christ’s control of a global economy, religion and government.
If we are to be watchmen on the wall prepared to give the warning, we need to know what we are warning of. The anti-Christ isn’t a cartoon character wearing a red union suit and carrying a pitchfork.
Neither is he an amateur buffoon with no concept of how to lead or any clue of the Law of Unintended Consequences. (That's how we knew it wasn't Obama.)
In fact, he won't announce himself at all, or wear a name tag, saying “Anti-Christ”.
The man will look like a “savior” to the unsaved world, and they will accept him with open arms. Israel will accept him, as their political messiah, until they figure out, that in the attempt to promote national security and sovereignty by making a 7 year peace treaty with this man, they have made a contract with the devil...so it will come to pass what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:
15 “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matthew 24:15-21)
Our Lord shall come, when you think not. In an hour you are not looking for Him...those who are watching and getting their lives right with God, are expecting Him eagerly. Our Great God and Savior will break through the clouds and shout “Come up hither” and it will be as the sound of a great Trumpet....are you ready?
7 “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”( Revelation 19:7-9)
So come Lord Jesus. We anxiously await your return. Won't you join Him? How you say?
8 “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosover believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”(John 3:16-18)
But Jesus warned that men would love darkness rather than light in the next few verses from above:
19 “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” (John 3:19-21)
We look for the coming of our Blessed Hope and to all who read this who have not done so, come to the Light of Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. The Tribulation is coming and the warning goes out that we are at the cusp of the end of this age, the Age of Grace with the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you refuest this call then you will be cast head long into the most destruction, hell on earth of the coming Tribulation. Don't make that mistake of your eternal, immortal soul, but come to Jesus and thou shalt be saved from the wrath of God. Come to Jesus and be found standing in front of God wrapped in the righteousness of our Kinsman Redeemer, the only Begotten Son of God.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, saying Get Ready...the King is coming...if you need counseling, prayer, or just a listening ear, email me at email@example.com, . God bless you all. TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Why did the prophet Haggai warn that God would ‘shake all the nations’? – Joel C. Rosenberg - https://www.allisrael.com/why-did-the-prophet-haggai-warn-that-god-would-shake-all-the-nations
Here is four reasons America, Israel and the Church are getting a wake-up call
The ancient Hebrew prophet Haggai warned us in the pages of scripture that in the last days, God “will shake all the nations” (Haggai 2:7).
Likewise, the God of Israel told the Hebrew prophet Amos that He would specifically shake the nation of Israel: “For behold, I am commanding, and I will shake the house of Israel among all nations.” (Amos 9:9)
Is there any question through wars, rumors of war, terror, the COVID pandemic, economic distress, social and political tensions, religious divisions and, in a host of other ways, every nation in the world – including Israel – is being shaken in our time?
To be clear, this shaking is not to punish people, though the Bible makes clear in both the Old Testament and the New that judgment will occur during the period known as “the Day of the Lord.”
As we pray and hope for revival and healing in our countries, we should thank the Lord for the time we have left, however much that is.
We should also thank the Lord for shaking us in all kinds of ways.
These shakings are sometimes physical, financial, emotional, spiritual and/or relational.
They are rarely easy to endure, but as I carefully study the scriptures, I believe they have four key purposes.
PURPOSE #1: Because He Loves Us and Wants Us to Wake Up and Turn to Christ
In John 3:16, the Lord Jesus was crystal clear about God’s attitude toward the world. He said, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
God sent His Son to offer forgiveness and eternal salvation to anyone who would repent.
In other words, God doesn’t want us as individuals, families, or nations to implode or perish.
Rather, He wants us to put our faith in Jesus Christ and follow Him.
Sometimes, therefore, He shakes people to get their attention and help them realize their need for Him.
In his letter to the Romans, the apostle Paul pleads with the church to wake up.
“This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.” (Romans 13:11-12, NLT)
The proper response to this kind of divine shaking, the Bible indicates, is to repent.
What is repentance?
Lynn and I have tried to teach our four sons what repentance means in a very simple way. Our youngest is Noah. Sometimes, when he was young – maybe four or five, I would bring Noah over to my side during our morning family Bible studies, and say, “Noah, start running away from me, out of the family room, through the kitchen, and to the dining room. Ready? Go!” So, Noah would start running. Then suddenly I’d say, “Stop, Noah!” And he would stop. And I’d say, “Repent, Noah.” And he’d turn around. And I’d say, “Come back to Daddy!” And he’d come running to me and jump into my arms, and I’d hug him and kiss him.
God is telling us to stop because we’re running in the wrong direction, away from Him. He tells us to repent – to turn around – and to come running back to Him so he can forgive us and show us His love and restore us.
That’s why He shakes us.
He is trying to get us to let go of anything and everything we are holding – every form of ideology, philosophy, religious beliefs, political beliefs or material possessions – whatever we’re holding on to that we think will give us hope and peace and security other than Jesus of Nazareth, our God and Messiah.
PURPOSE #2: Because He Wants Us to Realize There Is No One Else Who Can Give Us True Peace and Security
God doesn’t simply want us to stop going in the wrong direction.
He wants us to move in the right direction, toward Him, because He is the only answer to all of our personal and national problems.
In Jeremiah 17:13-14, we read, “Those who turn away on earth will be written down, because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the Lord.”
So, the prophet prays, “Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for You are my praise.”
In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”
Jesus “spoke of the [Holy] Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive” upon salvation. (John 7:37-39)
Nothing else will quench our spiritual and emotional thirst except Christ’s “living water.”
The Lord wants us to discover Him and draw near to Him and drink the water only Jesus Christ gives us.
PURPOSE #3: Because He Has a Mission for His Church and for Each of His Followers
The apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 2 that born-again believers were “created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (verse 10)
In that same chapter, Paul makes it clear that we are not saved by doing good works.
Rather, we are saved by faith, in part so that we will do good works that the Lord long ago planned for us to accomplish for him.
As such, God doesn’t want us to miss the blessing of serving Him and seeing Him bear fruit through our lives of obedience.
One of the most remarkable examples in the Bible of God shaking a man to get him to stop, repent, and get back to the important mission of serving the Lord is found in the Old Testament book of Jonah.
Much of the narrative of that book is focused on a key biblical city in northern Iraq.
I’ve had the opportunity to travel into northern Iraq four times over the years to preach the gospel, teach the Word of God, assist with humanitarian relief efforts, and strengthen the local believers.
In the spring of 2010, I was invited to bring a team of pastors and staff from The Joshua Fund, the nonprofit organization Lynn and I created to bless Israel and her neighbors, to conduct a pastors’ conference in northern Iraq, near the province of Nineveh.
We have a son named Jonah, and he really wanted to go with me so he could see Nineveh.
Initially, I wasn’t sure that was a good idea because Jonah was only 11.
But Lynn and I prayed about it and felt God’s peace, so Jonah came with me.
As we were flying in, a big storm came up and prevented our flight from landing in northern Iraq.
We were diverted back to Amman, Jordan.
There, I texted Lynn and told her what had happened and said Jonah and I were disappointed and weren’t sure what was going to happen next.
She texted back to say, “Don’t worry. This would be the first time in history that a Jonah wanted to go to Nineveh and God prevented him from going. I think God is going to actually let you and Jonah get to Nineveh after all.”
She was right.
In the Bible, the Lord gave the prophet Jonah a mission: to take a warning of judgment and the urgency of repentance to the people of Nineveh (in what was then Assyria and is now northern Iraq), lest they face God’s wrath and implode.
Jonah famously refused to obey.
Instead, he tried to run away from the Lord by boarding a ship that was heading for Tarshish, in modern-day southern Spain.
God began to shake Jonah’s world.
Let’s pick up the story in Jonah 1:4-6:
“The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep. So the captain approached him and said, ‘How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.’”
You probably know the rest of the story.
Jonah was tossed overboard by the ship’s crew, was saved from drowning by being swallowed by a huge fish, and three days later was belched up onshore, shaken to his core but essentially unharmed.
From there he hightailed it to Nineveh and carried out God’s instructions.
He could have avoided a lot of pain and hardship if he had just obeyed God to begin with, but eventually he repented and did as God had told him.
And because of his words, the people of Nineveh – one of the most notoriously evil cities of the day – repented, as well.
The story turns out well, but not without a whole lot of shaking going on.
Jonah – a man of God, a prophet of God, a teacher of God’s Word – was on the run from God.
He was asleep to God’s voice and resistant to God’s will.
How convicting is this: that a pagan ship captain had to shake a teacher of God’s Word and wake him up and beg him to pray for his salvation?
What about you?
What mission has God given you?
Are you obeying, or are you on the run from the Lord and asleep to his voice?
PURPOSE #4: Because Jesus Christ Is Coming Back Soon, and Time Is Running Out
The Old Testament prophet Joel pleaded with the people of God to wake up.
“Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble,” he said. “For the day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near.” (Joel 2:1)
How do we know the Lord is coming back?
Because the Bible says so repeatedly, and Jesus said so himself numerous times.
Here’s one example: in Revelation 22:12, Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.”
We are seeing the signs that the Bible says will precede Christ’s return.
We are experiencing the “birth pangs” that Scripture foretold for the days before the rapture and later Jesus’ second coming.
We are being shaken, as prophecy warned, because Jesus wants to wake us up.
He wants us to be ready.
The Bible doesn’t tell us the day or the hour of the rapture, but Jesus said we would know the season.
Thus, we should be living as though his hand is on the doorknob, so to speak, ready to re-enter human history at any moment.
In Matthew 24:42, Jesus said, “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.”
In the next verses, Jesus said, “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will” (v. 44).
The world is not ready for Christ to return.
People are lost.
They don’t believe in the Resurrection, much less the rapture.
But the Church is supposed to be the last best hope of any nation.
The Church is supposed to be ready and eager for the Lord to come, helping others wake up and get ready too.
Yet how can the Church be ready and be faithful in reaching the world with the gospel if she is asleep?
GOD’S CALL TO A SLEEPING CHURCH
In the book of Revelation, we read these words the Lord Jesus sent to the church in Sardis, a now-deserted city in modern-day Turkey:
“I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore, if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.” (Revelation 3:1-3)
Is it possible that Christ’s words describe you? Or your family? Or the church congregation that you attend or serve at or pastor?
Perhaps you have “a name” – a reputation – that you are spiritually alive.
Yet maybe that’s not how Jesus sees you.
Maybe he sees you as dead inside.
Maybe you’re not obeying Him.
Maybe you’re not worshipping Him—not really—with your whole heart.
Maybe you’re not sharing the gospel with your family or friends.
Maybe you’re not making any disciples, here at home or in any other country.
Maybe you’ve never made a single disciple.
Maybe you don’t even know what it means to make a disciple, even though Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.”
Then it’s time to wake up, for the clock is ticking and we are running out of time.
This Winter, Europe Plunges Into “The New Dark Ages” - by Michael Snyder - http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/this-winter-europe-plunges-into-the-new-dark-ages/
Could you imagine being sent to prison for three years if you dared to set your thermostat above 66 degrees Fahrenheit? As you will see below, this is a proposed regulation that is actually being considered in a major European country right now. If you have not been paying much attention to what is happening in Europe, you need to wake up. Natural gas in Europe is seven times more expensive than it was early last year, and that is because of the war in Ukraine. Over the past few decades, the Europeans foolishly allowed themselves to become extremely dependent on gas from Russia. In fact, more than 55 percent of the natural gas that Germany uses normally comes from Russia. But now the war has changed everything, and Europe is facing an extremely harsh winter of severe shortages, mandatory rationing and absolutely insane heating bills.
Things are going to get very cold and very dark all over Europe in the months ahead, and those Europeans that choose to rebel against the new restrictions that are being implemented could literally find themselves in prison…
Switzerland is considering jailing anyone who heats their rooms above 19C for up to three years if the country is forced to ration gas due to the Ukraine war.
The country could also give fines to those who violate the proposed new regulations.
Speaking to Blick, Markus Sporndli, who is a spokesman for the Federal Department of Finance, explained that the rate for fines on a daily basis could start at 30 Swiss Francs (£26).
19 degrees Celsius is just 66 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you live in Europe, prepare to dress very warmly this winter.
Some may be anticipating that they will just use portable radiant heaters to keep things toasty, but apparently using such heaters “would not be allowed” under the new regulations that Switzerland is considering…
Blick also reported that radiant heaters would not be allowed and saunas and swimming pools would have to stay cold.
This is serious.
We have never seen anything like this before, and the longer the war in Ukraine stretches on the worse the energy crisis in Europe will become.
An end to the era of cheap energy also means that a severe economic slowdown is in the cards, and this is already starting to show up in the numbers…
Europe is showing signs of heading into a recession as multiple economic surveys show the region’s services and manufacturing sectors slowing down while a large number of the continent’s citizens are struggling to cope with rising prices.
The S&P Global Eurozone Composite Output Index fell to an 18-month low in August at 48.9, according to a Sept. 5 news release (pdf).
The eurozone private sector “moved further into contractionary territory” in August. Both services and manufacturing output fell for the month.
Of course what we have witnessed so far is just the beginning.
Things are likely to get really bad this winter.
In fact, German Economic Minister Robert Habeck has publicly admitted that some parts of the German economy will “simply stop producing for the time being”.
And the truth is that this is already starting to happen…
In yet another truly astonishing announcement that demonstrates the desperation of this hour, German steelmaker ArcelorMittal, one of the largest steel production facilities in Europe, has shuttered operations due to high energy prices. (See their announcement here, in German.)
“With gas and electricity prices increasing tenfold within just a few months, we are no longer competitive in a market that is 25% supplied by imports,” said CEO Reiner Blaschek.
This comes after announced closures of aluminum smelters, copper smelters and ammonia production plants over the last few weeks. Ammonia — necessary for fertilizer — is now 70% offline in the EU.
Many more factories will be forced to shut down in the coming months.
Deeply alarmed by what is taking place, 40 CEOs from Europe’s metals industry have jointly issued an open letter in which they warn that their companies are facing an “existential threat to our future”…
Ahead of Friday’s emergency summit, the business leaders of Europe’s non-ferrous metals industry are writing together to raise the alarm about Europe’s worsening energy crisis and its existential threat to our future. Our sector has already been forced to make unprecedented curtailments in the last 12 months. We are deeply concerned that the winter ahead could deliver a decisive blow to many of our operations, and we call on EU and Member State leaders to take emergency action to preserve their strategic electricity-intensive industries and prevent permanent job losses.
50% of the EU’s aluminium and zinc capacity has already been forced offline due to the power crisis, as well as significant curtailments in silicon and ferroalloys production and further impacts felt across copper and nickel sectors. In the last month, several companies have had to announce indefinite closures and many more are on the brink ahead of a life-or-death winter for many operations. Producers face electricity and gas costs over ten times higher than last year, far exceeding the sales price for their products. We know from experience that once a plant is closed it very often becomes a permanent situation, as re-opening implies significant uncertainty and cost.
This is what an economic collapse looks like.
Things are already so bad that scientists are even considering shutting down the Large Hadron Collider…
Europe’s energy crisis is being felt by everyone – including the scientists working deep underground in Switzerland at the Large Hadron Collider.
The European Organization for Nuclear Research, better known as CERN, is even considering taking its particle accelerators offline.
This is due to the accelerators’ high energy demands, and the organisation’s desire to keep the region’s electricity grid stable.
So at least one good thing could potentially come out of this crisis.
But overall, the months ahead are going to be an immensely uncomfortable time for Europe.
As conditions become tougher and tougher, ordinary Europeans are going to become angrier and angrier.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is openly admitting that there will be “civil unrest”, but he insists that Europeans must make sacrifices in order to support the war in Ukraine…
Vladimir Putin’s ‘energy blackmail’ over Europe could lead to ‘civil unrest’ this winter, the NATO Secretary General has warned.
Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged that winter ‘will be hard’ as ‘families and businesses feel the crunch of soaring energy prices and costs of living’ in the coming months.
Writing in the Financial Times, the boss of the Western security alliance said that it is worth paying the price to support Ukraine.
Eventually, there will be tremendous civil unrest in major cities in the United States as well.
We are still only in the very early stages of this new global energy crisis, and it is going to turn all of our lives upside down.
Meanwhile, we are also plunging into a horrific global food crisis. As I detailed a few days ago, even the head of the UN is admitting that there will be “multiple famines” in 2023.
Life as we know it is about to change.
Right now, all eyes are on Europe because things are starting to get really crazy over there.
Europe is going to descend into “the new Dark Ages” this winter, and the entire world will experience extreme pain as a result.
The Devil Has Impacted Every Facet Of American Society From The Schoolhouse To The White House – By David Fiorazo – https://harbingersdaily.com/the-devil-has-impacted-every-facet-of-american-society-from-the-schoolhouse-to-the-white-house/
Growing up in the 60s and 70s, my dad used to turn on the AM radio every morning in the kitchen as we all sat down to eat breakfast, and one of the programs we listened to was Paul Harvey (1918 – 2009).
He was a true professional. He never claimed to be a prophet. He didn’t use scare tactics. But one particular broadcast from 1965 seemed to describe our culture war and this present darkness permeating our land today. It was called “If I Were the Devil.”
The spiritual dynamic in play is undeniable as the satanic assault on God, Truth, the church, and family in America has affected every aspect of our culture. Many people dismiss the idea of demonic agendas and spiritual warfare. True believers in Christ must instead understand the times.
Paul Harvey often used humor as he commented on news of the day, but on this 1965 radio program, he detailed reasons for the decline in biblical values. He seemed to discern what too many busy people today still don’t get. We’re losing our country.
Truer than most of us want to admit, the following is what he broadcast, word for word:
“If I were the devil … if I were the prince of darkness, I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness, and I’d have a third of its real estate and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree—Thee.
So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first—I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: “Do as you please.” To the young, I would whisper, “The Bible is a myth.” I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what is bad is good, and what is good is “square”. And the old, I would teach to pray after me, ‘Our Father, which art in Washington…’
And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors on how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d infiltrate unions and urge more loafing and less work, because idle hands usually work for me. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.
If I were the devil I’d soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war that themselves, and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames.
If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, and neglect to discipline emotions—just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.
Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography—soon I could evict God from the courthouse, and then the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money.
If I were the devil I’d make the symbol of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.
If I were the devil I’d take from those who have, and give to those who wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious. What do you bet I could get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich? I would question against extremes and hard work, and Patriotism, and moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on the TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.
In other words, if I were to devil, I’d keep on doing what he’s doing.
Paul Harvey, good day.”
In other words, the devil is having much success and has impacted every part of American society from the schoolhouse to the White House and sadly, to a lesser degree the church house.
Let’s briefly sum up progress made via demonic agendas that he alluded to: capture the nation of America, deceive and pervert churches, call the Bible a myth, declare there is no creator, man can be whatever he wants to be, infiltrate and pervert entertainment, media, and education; promote drugs, sex, and porn, remove God and His truth from institutions, encourage greed and socialism, downplay God’s Law, the Constitution, and patriotism; redefine truth and marriage, promote the perverse.
His commentary was ahead of its time, and a vivid description of how the father of lies deceives people with worldly pleasures and fleeting things. He plots and plans, seeking to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), and he will use and abuse anyone gullible or wicked enough to do his dirty work.
What is perhaps most concerning is the devil has been going after children at the youngest possible ages – and he uses people to do it. He works to recruit them to side with promoters of immorality and robs the most innocent of childhood joy by confusing them with things they don’t understand.
Enemies of God sows seeds of doubt regarding biological sex and exposes these little ones to sexual ideas and perversions they’re too young to process. Parents, be warned… again.
As they get older, the devil uses corporations, schools, government, media, and entertainment to encourage sexual experimentation, promiscuity, and abortion while destroying any belief in God, moral authority, or biblical values. Often repeated lies and propaganda produce disciples of humanism, globalism, political activism, socialism, and suppression of the truth.
It’s not over yet, but the hour is late and God’s judgment has begun. We must cultivate a sense of urgency!
This 1965 radio program is a reminder of how the enemy has advanced – on our watch, but we know in the end, Truth wins. Evil will be vanquished, sin and death destroyed, saints resurrected, and good will prevail through Christ our King.
There is much work to be done while we’re here, but I long for His return and eternal reign in glory.
Daily Jot: How much more does it take? - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
The Biden Administration refuses to protect national security by allowing hundreds of thousands of illegals to cross the US border; it has overseen the most intrusive lockdown of citizens and businesses in history; it has coerced, collaborated with and conspired to censor dissent with corporate media and big business; it has used the FBI to quell dissent of parents of school children fighting child sexualization in schools; it has caused tremendous inflation; it has raised taxes during a recession; it has lied to the American people about the safety and effectiveness of an experimental vaccine. This is just the short list. And the leader of this socialist undertaking has implied half of American voters are terrorists.
When you look at the pattern, and the previous paragraph was just a small representative of the morass of policies, legislation and actions taken by Joe Biden and his cronies, how can anyone believe that the Democratic Party’s brand of “democracy” is good for America? Then you have the leader of the Democratic Party, Joe Biden, characterizing anyone who did not vote for him as a threat to democracy. This cannot be left to die in the annals of a news media complicit in the leftist cause. Joe Biden, unlike any president in the history of the United States, has come out and actually labeled those who do not support him and his party as threats to this country. There can be no doubt what this administration represents.
At no time in history has a US president stood in front of a red backdrop flanked by military to declare that nearly half of American voters, “promote authoritarian leaders, and they fan the flames of political violence that are a threat to our personal rights, to the pursuit of justice, to the rule of law, to the very soul of this country.” It has been the tactic of dictators since the beginning of time to pit people against people to win an authoritative position. These Biden Democrats have demonized any and all who oppose them. They have accused others of doing exactly what the democrats have done. Who fanned the flames of violence in Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle and Portland? Who used the IRS and FBI to oppress political enemies and dissent? Who locked down our personal rights? It was none other than Biden and his political allies.
As Biden calls out Americans as threats to the nation, even as he threatens the use of F-15s against dissenters, why is there not a cry to remove this man before he does more damage by further dividing and endangering this nation? Where is the accountability? Now Biden’s Ambassador is saying that for Israel to exist, it must be divided into two states. From a prophetic perspective, this Administration and the party minions that support it, accelerate the Beast world order system. No big deal that he seeks to divide both America and Israel? Christ said in Matthew 12:25, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.” The Lord said in Zechariah 12:3, “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces.” Do you have eyes to see? How much more does it take?
Daily Devotion: Stop Worrying and Start Praying - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
So, don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. —Matthew 6:34
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/stop-worrying-and-start-praying/ - Listen
Worry can ruin your day. It can ruin your week. It can ruin your month. Actually, worry can ruin your life.
The root word of “worry” means “to choke” or “to strangle.” When my grandkids were much younger, they liked to come up and choke me from behind. They thought it was cute and fun, and it was okay because they were small. They weren’t hurting me. Worry, however, does hurt us. It chokes us out. That’s why we need to stop worrying and start praying.
I realize that we all have things in life to worry about, but I’m reminded of the words of the apostle Paul: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7 NLT).
When you worry about the future, you cripple yourself in the present. Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength. Even when things are going well, we start worrying that something is going to go wrong, don’t we? Jesus said, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34 NLT).
Turning worry into prayer is a conditioned reflex. It’s something that we learn how to do. In contrast, a natural reflex is something that we automatically do. For example, if you accidentally touch something hot, you immediately pull your hand back. That’s a natural reflex. No one has to teach you to do that.
We need to develop the conditioned reflex of turning worry into prayer. When worry creeps in, when panic hits, stop and pray right away. Remember, God is in control of your life. As Christians, we don’t believe in fate; we believe in faith.
FROM THE HEART
Let Us Make the Short Time We have Left,
Count for ALL of Eternity!
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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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