Great Tribulation

Who holds the future?

Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

Matthew 24:34 KJV

Who holds the future? Many would believe that they have a stake in their future. Have you ever considered your destiny? Franklin D. Roosevelt said during the Great Depression that “this generation… has a rendezvous with destiny.” What appointment does this generation have with destiny? Most of us just do not have time to think about it, or we are too busy trying to figure out our next move in life that the future is nothing to be concerned about. I do hear some asking if we are living in the last days. I have been wondering this myself. Christianity through the ages has had many so-called prophets stating that the end is near, and that Jesus is coming on a certain date. Do you remember the Y2K bug? The bug in computers regarding the changing of dates correctly. People panicked that the worldwide infrastructures would collapse. This led to people panicking and stocking up on food, water, arms, the purchase backup generators, and withdrawal of large sums of money in anticipation of the collapse. We recently seen the same thing with COVID-19. This is known as a global catastrophic risk or an apocalypse.

What are these things referring to in this scripture verse in Matthew 24:34. One must backup and start at the beginning of this chapter where Jesus is talking about the end time or the great tribulation. These things are the false Christ and prophets who deceive many, wars and rumors of wars, nations against nations, famines and pestilences, earthquakes, lawlessness shall arise, and people’s hearts will grow cold [see Matthew 24:4-13]. Each year there has been events where we have heard about these things taking place somewhere in the world, and some of us have experienced these things firsthand, but” let us not be troubled,” said Jesus, “for these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet,” [see Matthew 24:6]. The key verse is the preaching of the “gospel of the kingdom” in all the world for a witness before the end comes [see Matthew 24:14]. The importance is the Gospel of Jesus Christ to save humanity from eternal punishment in hell. Those who are Christians have a voice to preach the gospel to those around them.

“Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion.”

Isaiah 52:8 KJV

Lift-up your voice and break into joy for your salvation has come. Deliverance is here right now through the Son of God. Let not your heart grow cold, believe in what Jesus did on the cross for you. That He delivered you from the bondage of corruption, the chains of darkness, and now you are waiting for the redemption of your body when He shall return. Oh, what a glorious day that will be. Christians are to watch and lift their voice, for no one knows the hour when our Lord will come. That’s right! No one will know the exact hour [see Matthew 24:42]. It will be as it was in the days of Noah when no one believed in Noah as he continued to build the ark. Noah believed in what God told him and he was busy building the ark until the day of the flood.  Many mocked him and made fun of him.  They knew not until the flood came stated Jesus in Matthew 24:39, so it will be the same when the Lord comes, no one will know the hour until it comes.  Let your testimony of Christ be confirmed in you, for remember in the end you will “overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of your testimony, [see Revelation 12:11].  It is the blood of the Lamb [Christ sacrifice] and the word of your testimony that the preaching of the “gospel of the kingdom” is to go out into the world as a witness.  Every believer is a witness, every believer has a voice, for they have overcome the evil one through the word of their testimony.  This is our victory that we have through Jesus Christ.  Watch, pray, and be a witness for Christ.

“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:57

“O victory in Jesus, my Savior, forever! He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood,” is the chorus sung in this wonderful hymn written by Eugene Bartlett. Listen and sing along with Lynda Randle.

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Ask and Receive, Believe, Faith

The Power of Faith – Believe, Speak, and Receive

Whatever things ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Mark 11:24

Did you know that faith has power? Whatever you believe is what you will speak. What you speak produces the results you are living out every day of your life. Many people do not take stock on what they say every day. In James 3:6, it is stated that the tongue defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature, or our path in life. With such a warning, maybe we should reconsider the words that flow out of our mouth. Jesus spoke to his disciples about the power of faith by believing in prayer that what you speak, you will receive. Just think about the fig tree that Jesus cursed because it had no fruit [see Mark 11:12-14 and 20-24]. Peter the disciple of Jesus, pointed it out to Jesus that the fig tree had withered away, and Jesus said, “Have faith in God.” Jesus explains to his disciples that they too can have this kind of power if they would “believe what they say”.

The power of words is amazing, and we just do not think about it when we speak every day to those who we are in contact with. Just think about the words spoken on social networks. The slandering is out of control, and many are hurt at what is being said. Today we have employers dismissing people by email, rather than facing the individual in person. Add to the list cyberbullying which is posting rumors and treats. Words are powerful and we need to check take stock of our speech and behavior to that of a more positive tone rather than a negative tone. What we speak can be in the power of God and not in the power of man. Knowing that Jesus is the author of our faith [Hebrews 12:2] helps us to understand that our minds can be renewed to having the power of faith in what we speak.

The apostle Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 4:13, “having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak” [KJV]. We speak what we believe and this of itself is powerful. Paul has complete confidence in God, whom he believes that what is spoken will reveal the nature of God. We must choose blessing or cursing, life, or death, in the words we speak. Are the words we speak based upon faith? In 2 Corinthians 4:18 it states that we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” When we pray, we look at what is not seen instead of what is right before us.  I remember Smith Wigglesworth commenting how when he prayed for the sick in bed, they look to Jesus rather than the condition of the person in bed.

Can we “Have Faith in God?” Yes, we can, when we put our trust in God through His son Jesus. However, there is a condition listed in Mark chapter 11 that is overlooked.

When you stand praying, forgive, if ye have anything[ought] against any, that your Father also, who is in heaven, may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father, who is in heaven, forgive your trespasses.

Mark 11:25-26 [KJV]

Many forget that to receive anything from God one must have a pure heart and motive. So, if you have anger, or unforgiveness against anyone, you must forgive them. This is one reason why we have unanswered prayers. We only look at what we want, but when it comes to forgiving it can be very painful to let go of the hurt that an individual has done to us. This includes not only actions but the many unkind words that has been spoken. Do not let those behaviors or words pull you down to becoming burdened and angry. Let it go and place it in God’s hand. Remember that you cannot change another person, but you can be the reason why somebody changes. When your heart is in the right place you can ask and it shall come to pass, but forgiveness is the key to the prayer of faith. We can believe, speak, and receive just like Jesus did.  May we grow in having more faith in God and by taking stock in what we speak.

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Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly. . .

Blessed is the man who walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Psalms 1:1

How is our walk today? Who do we get advice, direction, or guidance from? Usually, we think about making a change after New Year by making a new resolution, but sometimes the Lord is steering us to move in a different direction at a given moment in time. Sometimes a move can be a blessing away from ridicule or mocking that one may experience every day. Standing in the way of sinners is to become like them. To sit in the seat of the scornful is to make fun of someone or put them down. This is the opposite of exhortation and encouraging one another. We are living in a world of gossip and sneering without confirmation of truth, and everybody is doing it. What is your moral code of living today? Is society moral code changing from that of the ten commandments? This is what we as Christians should be contemplating and thinking about every day.

Psalms chapter one is talking about two different ways of living. One is living by faith in God while the other has no faith or is wavering in their faith in God. Every day we have a choice to make on how we will walk as Christian’s. We will either choose to learn God ways, or we will choose the way of the world. We are not to be seated with the counsel of the ungodly or be friends with an angry furious man. Why? Because we may go that way instead of the way of the Lord.  Knowing your own weaknesses and how you personally may be tempted are the warning signs one needs to be aware of the possibility of falling into temptations.  It is the same for an alcoholic who is said to “fall off the wagon” and going back to drinking.  It is a snare to your own soul as stated in Proverbs.

Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

Proverbs 22:24

Which way will you choose? Maybe we should read more of Proverbs in the Bible for it is full of human failures and ways in which a person should not go and what one should be aware of in life. Proverbs 29:22 states that “an angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” Strife and rebellion are seen within society when a person cannot get what they want. The reason why we have laws is to have peace within society. However, laws change every year to bring new rules within society and not all rules are for the better when it comes to equality. What kind of justice can we have if we do not have the ten commandments, or the Bible? Is all about what we worship? Maybe we should look at what we worship every day.  In Matthew 6:21, it states that where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  So, reevaluating where we stand is important to our walk.  This brings us to the question if we meditate in the law of the Lord, day, and night? I know I fall short in doing this and ask the Lord to draw me in and give me revelation to see and understand His way.

Psalms chapter one says that one will prosper when they delight in the law of the Lord [see Psalms 1:2-3]. That person shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water and bring forth fruit in due season. When a year of drought comes, they shall still bring forth fruit [see Jeremiah 17:8]. The person who brings forth fruit is grounded and rooted in God’s ways. When we can gain an understanding that the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ and that we are justified by faith [see Galatians 3:24] as the apostle Paul states, we can begin to see that we fall short of living a gracious life in the Love of the Lord. As a believer we are not under the law but under grace. Not to sin, but to love one another. This is how we are perfected by keeping his word on a daily basis. We mature as a Christian by gaining wisdom and revelation to the meaning of His Word.

Whosoever keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; by this know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

1 John2:5-6

God puts it in our heart through the love of His son Jesus Christ. We are to share that love with others. We are to be separate from sinners and not walk in darkness. Walking in darkness means you do not know where you are going. With Christ we know where we are going and that there is a place prepared for us in heaven. We do not conform to the world, for we are being transformed by the renewing of our minds [see Romans 12:2]. Our counsel is from the word of God, our path is the path of Christ, and we are to walk in the love of God. Our confidence is in God knowing that when Christ shall appear we shall be with him.   If there is anything in our heart holding us back from the way of Christ, put it down at the feet of Christ.  Ask him to purify your heart so that you can be blessed and be that tree planted by the rivers of water who will bring forth fruit in due season.  Ask the Lord in prayer to guide you to receive good counsel.  Ask the Lord to give you the desire to meditate and read the Bible daily.  Ask the Lord for you to not “Fall of the wagon” and go back to your old ways.  No matter what state you find yourself in, the Lord is there with you ready to hear your prayer.   

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Cross, Resurrection

That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.

Philippians 3:10

Do we really know him (Christ), and the power of his resurrection? How can we experience the power of Christ resurrection? The apostle Paul is pressing into Christ being made more to be like Christ. Most Christians have just made it past the point of being saved by faith in Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Many have not pressed in further to really know Christ and the power of his resurrection. The Bible speaks of continued growth for those who are saved, and this growth involves the power of his resurrection, the fellowship of his sufferings, and being made conformable unto his death. At least this is what the Apostle Paul is stating in the letter to the Philippians in Rome while he was in prison. “To live is Christ, to die is gain,” stated Paul in Philippians 1:21. The Apostle Paul wants to experience the power of Christ resurrection. The Hebrew meaning for resurrection is standing or rising.

Our standing is in Christ and our rising up from the dead is in Christ also. Jesus said that He is “the resurrection and the life,” [see John 11:25]. Our own life is made possible through the power of Christ resurrection. This resurrection power gave the victory over the power of death. It is the devil that had this power [see Hebrews 2:14] until Christ death and resurrection gave all those who believe a new standing over the power of death. The resurrection is also a part of our inheritance as a Christian for that future date. Now we have the down payment of our inheritance through the promised Holy Spirit to help us in our walk and conformity to Christ. The apostle Paul counted all things at a loss to know Christ more. Paul did not look at his personal possessions, his focus was on Christ and pressing on towards that high calling. Paul was reaching forward to his future as a citizen in heaven [see Philippians 3:14-20].

The Apostle Paul’s journey in life is the desire to know Christ, fellowship in Christ resurrection power, and being made conformable unto His death. Have we as Christians really thought about that fellowship we have with Christ and being made conformable unto His death?  For many, this is not what they had in mind.  Any talk about being made conformable to Christ or his suffering is far from what they think a Christian is.  Some just want the easy life, but this is not reality.  There are all kinds of real human suffering today.  What can we gain in life when it only brings death?  Can we have the mind of Christ? We must press toward the mark with the Apostle Paul for Christ asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit and to know Christ and the power of his resurrection. We need the Holy Spirit’s help in becoming like Christ in love, patience, and holiness. We need to continue to spiritual maturity daily knowing our standing in Christ that we have the forgiveness for our sins, and the Holy Spirit of promise to continue our walk as followers of Christ. Not that we have attained righteousness on our own, for it is through Christ that our position is in righteousness, and this is through faith in Christ only.

Charles Spurgeon expressed it this way, “that the less you value your own righteousness, the more will you seek after true holiness; the less you think of your own beauty, the more ardently will you long to become like the Lord Jesus.” The way to the mind of Christ is to know Him in a more personal way. Christ emptied himself of his status and took on the form of a servant [see Philippians 2:7]. The mind of Christ is to have love for one another, tender mercy, and compassion. As Christians we are not to create strife by arguing, quarreling, or gain self-glorification. We are to esteem others better than ourselves [see Philippians 2:3-5]. Our future is assured through Christ. Jesus said that if you believe on him, you have everlasting life, and He will raise us up at the last day [see John 6:40]. This is the power of his resurrection to gain victory over the evil one and be brought out of darkness and into His wonderful light. We barely know Him and the power of His Resurrection. Let us press in to know Him more like the apostle Paul.   If you want to read more about this subject click on the link below to read Charles Spurgeon take on the power of his resurrection written in 1889.

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Ask and Receive, Joy

Ask and receive that your joy may be full . . .

Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

John 16:24

Ask and receive, that your joy may be full. Do you have joy in your heart? The meaning for joy is gladness and delight. Joy is tied to a person, place, or thing. While happiness is short term, joy is said to be long lasting. Joy is also said to be a natural outcome of your faith. As a Christian, your joy should be tied to Jesus. In this passage of John chapter 16 verse 24, it is the word of Jesus speaking to his disciples, but if you have believed in who Jesus is, He is speaking to you too. This is because we are all one in the body of the Lord. Joy is selfless since it is tied to the person of Jesus. As the disciples had a relationship with Jesus, those who believe should also have a relationship with the Lord. That relationship is based on what we know about Jesus and the Father. That relationship is carried through the Holy Spirit through prayer. Believing opens the door to understanding who we are in Christ. Jesus expresses that we are one with the Father and Jesus [see John 17:21-22]. We have been baptized into one body through the Spirit [see 1 Corinthians 12:13].

When a child comes to a father for something such as asking for a new toy, what will the father say? This depends on the situation and circumstances of the family environment. The child’s role within the family and financial ability to purchase the new toy will depend on the answer. With compassion and understanding of the sensitivity of the child’s feelings, a discussion will take place as to why the child needs this toy. How does this relate to asking our Heavenly Father in Jesus name to receive what we pray for so that our joy may be full? Parents tend to spoil a child by giving them what they want, but in real life we do not always get what we want. As a parent we desire our children to always ask even though we may not always be able to give what is being asked for. There comes a time when we know what to ask for because we know we will receive what we ask. This is knowing the will of the giver. In the case of our Heavenly Father, we ask so the Son of God may be glorified through what is being ask such as healing for the body. We ask the Father for restoration to eternal glory, for safety from the world or the evil one, and that unity in the church may prevail.  We know that it is in the will of God to answer these petitions.

We ask because we cannot change the situation without divine intervention. It is through divine intervention that our prayers are answered to the glory of God. This will bring joy within our heart and this joy becomes a long-lasting joy through a relationship of prayer in asking and receiving. Our prayers will always be answered when we ask with a sincere heart. Even if we do not know God’s will, we should still ask as a child. The answer will come if we are patience. Do not stop asking in prayer what you need including joy. Joy is part of the Fruits of the Spirit [see Galatians 5:22], so ask God for joy to come up within your heart. Ask God for the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness that you may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified [Isaiah 61:3].

Let us rejoice with Joy Unspeakable and full of glory [see 1Peter 1:8] for answered prayer, receiving the end of our faith, and for salvation for our souls. Many times, I have asked God to send someone to help me and give me understanding and my prayer has always been answered. In fact, I have been amazed how my prayer has been answered through unforeseen divine intervention. This has bought me great joy to my soul that I want to sing that song titled, “Joy Unspeakable.” I have sung this song at railway stations in the city of Perth in Australia not knowing the real meaning of what the song meant. I have not heard it sung for quite a while, but I found on YouTube a joyous rendition for you to enjoy. 

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