Prayer and Fasting

And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hyporcrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you; they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:16-18

There is a lot of information on Fasting and dieting available with a simple internet search. Endless information, really. Most of it will be related to dieting with intermittent fasting and mostly positive regarding its health benefits. You will also find information on Biblical fasting and its health benefits. So i will not bore us with more information regarding this topic along these lines. However, i will focus on what one should expect while fasting.

If the purpose of fasting is to draw near to God, and that indeed is your focus. Whether to get direction or refocus your life and attention on God, you can, without doubt, expect a spiritual attack. As fasting is a fantastic tool to approach God in the way of humility, it also awakens the demons around you, and they will do all they can to distract, disrupt, mislead, and discourage you.

As Jesus is our perfect example, when He was in the wilderness before the start of His ministry, He was fasting and praying and tempted. We need to expect the same. We need to be aware of our weaknesses and prepare ourselves with Scripture to do spiritual warfare.

A real biblical fast should have at least one of three goals, focused worship, gaining wisdom, or as part of a repentant heart. If your reasons for fasting are not based on at least one of these three, there will be no spiritual benefits. If one or more of these is your focus, you should, without doubt, expect temptation and demonic distraction. This spiritual warfare can only be waged in the Spirit with The Word and with prayer.

If i can be transparent here, i always hesitate to go into a season of fasting because not only do i come under spiritual attack but so do those around me. i take the passage above to heart and try to keep my fasting between God and myself. However, this can be a problem if those around you don’t understand why there is an increase in spiritual warfare that if they are sensitive to the spirit, they will sense but without having an understanding as to the “why.” i say this not to discourage you but to encourage you to communicate with those close to you in regards to fasting because those in your home or if in ministry, those with whom you closely associate need to also prepare for increased spiritual influences.

Satan can absolutely use those around you, even Christians, to be a distraction to you. Look at how Peter was used to distract Jesus, “But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:23

Let me wrap this up with this if your motive is on the “things of man,” your fast will most likely go off without a hitch. You might even feel spiritually empty but physically healthier because there are health benefits to fasting. However, the spiritual emptiness will be the result of your focus. If your focus is on the things of God, your fast might leave you feeling hungry but spiritually strong. “And after fasting . . . He was hungry.” “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.’ Then the devil left Him, angels came and were ministering to Him.” Matthew 3:2, 10, 11

You are loved,

cj

You might be the answer . . .

i was in my mid 20’s and married to the mother of my boys. We had hit a rough financial spot, and i had spent the week in prayer. i would go down to the harbor in Dana Point. There was a place where the storm wall met the beach that created fantastic tide pools. The waves would crash upon the rocks at low tide with great force making for a spectacular water show. This was my prayer closet every morning, and i loved it. It was here that i brought all my worries and concerns and financial needs to the Lord and tried my hardest to leave them there in faith.

A week had gone by, and we were growing increasingly desperate for relief when came a knock on the door. It was our neighbor Carlos; he said, “Good morning, i have been restless all week. My wife and I came into some extra money unexpectedly after having a dream to give you money. I ignored the dream and bought a new TV. We got the TV home and plugged it in, but the screen blew, and it didn’t work. That night I had another dream about giving you the money. Again I ignored the dream and that morning went down and exchanged the TV. The same thing happened, and it happened again yesterday. Three times total. Last night I had the dream again, and I can’t ignore the dream anymore. So here is a check, please accept it; I don’t understand why but if I am not obedient, I am afraid I will never sleep without that dream.”

We did accept it, and after he left and I had gone inside, i opened the check, and it was for the exact dollar amount we needed for our financial shortfall. The EXACT amount! To this day, i have a dollar in the Bible i used down at the harbor as a memorial to God’s faithfulness. i had prayed for a week; God set out to answer that prayer as soon as i started to pray. Finally, through the obedience of our neighbor and friend, the answer arrived. i think about when Daniel fasted and prayed, and 21 days had gone by before getting an answer to a pressing vision he had. You can read the account in Daniel 10.

Now i am no Daniel, but i find it intriguing to think that as we pray that within the heavens, battles are being fought. Also, that the ruler of this world and his many minions are fervently fighting to delay answers to prayers. Have you felt led through a dream or vision a pinch of the heart to help someone and failed to do so? Could it be that the devil would have you distracted from being the very answer to someones prayer? If the devil can get you to focus on yourself, you will miss the need of your neighbor.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about giving to the needy in this way. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you; they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-4

Earlier, He said this: “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” (Matthew 5:42) Now i didn’t make known our need, and my only begging if one would call it that was making my petition to the Lord. God moved Carlos to be the answer to that prayer. His willingness to be obedient in giving was a blessing to us and actually to him! i want to be careful here because i don’t want to give folks the wrong impression of being obedient. Our reward is often in heaven, however for Carlos and his wife, that weekend at a company picnic, they won a drawing for a TV! Coincedence? Maybe, maybe not.

Here is my question for us, what dream or vision is God giving you? Who is he leading you to reach out to, to lend a hand to, or perhaps even help through money or groceries? You might just be the answer to someone’s prayer, don’t delay the response any longer, giving temporary victory to the evil one.

You are loved,

cj

Are you a Pagan?

This year as you prepare to celebrate Easter, ask yourself the question, “Am I a pagan?” Why? Well, i am glad you asked. Let me answer the question of why, with this question, Why would you choose to celebrate Easter over Passover when Jesus is the literal fulfillment of Passover? Although, this year Easter and Passover are close on the calendar the timing misses the mark.

For instance, Palm Sunday, the day we remember Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, is closer to the sacrificial lamb’s time than the actual day of Easter. This year Passover begins at sundown on Saturday, March 27, 2021. Palm Sunday is March 28, 2021. So if Jesus was fulfilling the Passover this year, the day you celebrate His triumphal entry is the day in which His body lay in the tomb. This means this year the celebration of Easter isn’t of His resurrection because He would have risen already . . . Rather, it is more in line with the actual festival and tradition of Ishtar and the resurrection of Tammuz.

One must ask themselves, “why would I celebrate a known pagan holiday, when I can celebrate the fulfillment of Passover marked out on a calendar in which God Himself said, “Thus the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, ‘Now, let the sons of Israel observe the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall observe it at its appointed time; you shall observe it according to all its statutes and according to all its ordinances.’” (Numbers 9:1-5)

Deuteronomy is clear . . .

29 The Lord your God will cut off before you the nations you are about to invade and dispossess. But when you have driven them out and settled in their land, 30 and after they have been destroyed before you, be careful not to be ensnared by inquiring about their gods, saying, “How do these nations serve their gods? We will do the same.” 31 You must not worship the Lord your God in their way, because in worshiping their gods, they do all kinds of detestable things the Lord hates. They even burn their sons and daughters in the fire as sacrifices to their gods. 32 See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.

God did not intend for His people to blend their worship of Him with those who worship other gods. Time and time again, He expressly instructs those of The Way not to partake of pagan or idol worship. Yet, the church for hundreds of years has done exactly that! i have been guilty myself! It has taken a lot to get to where i am now and of all the pagan celebrations, Easter, for me, is the most egregious. For the simple fact that our salvation in Christ, the reason Jesus was born, every prophecy of His coming, His death, and His resurrection are fulfilled in Passover. Yet, the church has chosen to celebrate Easter, steeped in pagan tradition.

All i want from you is to ask yourself, why? With the push for “One” we are called to be seperate. We are called to be salt and light. Let us rise above the traditions of man and seek to honor God. He has given us great Feasts to celebrate . . . why would we settle for less?

You are loved,

cj

this is The Way . . .

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for thiers is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the mercifull, for they shall recieve mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you
.” (Matthew 5:3-12)

These are more than just statements; they are a code, a way of life, a call to action, for those of us who would consider ourselves children of The Way. When you break them down word by word and understand the definitions, they take on a more profound life than they already present. Let us begin by understanding the word blessed.

Blessed, by its very definition, sets the stage for each statement. The word means consecrated, sacred, holy, sanctified, and favored. Each of these words deepens the meaning and statement to come. Those that “are the” are blessed. We of The Way, who walk according to these beatitudes, should have a spring in our step, and oomph in our prayers, and a hope rooted in our hearts.

Blessed are the . . .

Poor in spirit, this can be described like this, ‘a steadfast dependence on God’s grace and provision.’ When we understand that without God, we are empty of meaning, we can recognize more clearly that with God, we have a clear purpose. (Hebrews 13:5-6)

Mourn, to feel or express sorrow, even for sin, both personal and that of the world. If we remove sin from the world by worldly morality, there is no sin to mourn. This is a dangerous practice that is more than prevalent in and outside the church. We must remember the WHOLE of Gods word. (Romans 6:1; 6:15; 1 John 3:6,9)

Meek defined is, humbly patient or quiet in nature as under provocation from others. We cannot get into the ‘cancel culture’ that is so big today. We must begin to find ways to speak truth in love. We can be, and should be, angry at many things in this world. However, it must be a righteous anger. (Ephesains 4:15,26)

Hunger and thirst for righteousness. We have to desire God and His righteousness like that of food and water. Without either, our bodies will wither and die . . . the same is true for us spiritually, we need to seek Him above all else. Only then will we be satisfied. (Psalm 34:8; 1 Peter 2:1-3)

Merciful, full of mercy; compassionate, possessing the attribute of mercy; exercising forbearance or pity; not revengeful or cruel; be gracious. First, forbearance is refraining from enforcement, and pity is empathy, sympathetic sorrow for one suffering, distressed, or unhappy. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before you throw your stones at them. (Psalm 41:1)

Pure in heart, like the heartfelt plea of David in Psalm 51, “create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a right spirit within me.” We must desire a life free from anything different, of inferior to the Word of God, or anything that is contaminated by the world. (James 1:27; Hebrews 10:19-25; 2 Timothy 2:22-26)

Peacemakers; a person, group, or nation that tries to make peace, especially by reconciling parties who disagree, quarrel, or fight. It sounds like we need some peacemakers in Washington. We as The Way must begin to breech the conversation even with the knowledge that we will be persecuted! (Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14; Psalm 34:14)

Persecuted, to pursue with harassing, especially because of religious or political beliefs . . . If we truly stand on the Word of God, we can expect to be persecuted and even more so as we see the day of the Lord approaching. This should not deter us but embolden us to continue to seek justice and righteousness. (Matthew 10:16-22; 2 Timothy 3:1-5)

We have a message of hope and redemption that the world desperately needs but is becoming increasingly blind to . . . that does not relieve us of our responsibility to share the Gospel. These beatitudes are a road map to life in Christ; we need to begin to live them out! The world needs Jesus. “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:8-10)

You are loved,

cj

. . . there can be no wrong?

If there is no right, there can be no wrong, and if there is no wrong, then the phrase, “Do what thou wilt, shall be the whole of the law,” becomes completely understandable. The idea of “You do you, or whatever makes you happy!” This first saying, “Do what thou wilt . . .” was that of the person accredited with starting the new age movement we see today. i wrote last week about right becoming wrong and wrong right, and as i have thought about it this week, we are witnessing the transition happen before our very eyes. This should be troublesome for all believers of the Way. Not in a fearful way but in an awakening sort of way. We can no longer sit by . . . our silence, is our consent.

The new age movement uses the terms we use. They will refer to light and that we are all stars and light. But their appetite is selfish. It goes back to the garden, and the tree, and satan. “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it, your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” “Did God actually say, . . .?” Satan was a lying serpent then, and he is a lying serpent today. Yet, he disguises himself as an angel of light. This is how Paul describes it in his second letter to the Corinthians. “And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.” (2 Corinthians 11:14-15)

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.” i have thought about what it would look like to be the light of the world or a lamp on a stand. There are some street preachers here where i live. One guy who has a microphone and speaker stands on a ladder and preaches. Another guy says nothing; he simply walks all over town with a sign that reads very clearly, “Jesus is our only hope.” i don’t feel called to either of those, but there is no doubt that they are being light. One thing is for certain when we are silent to the sins of this world; we are the opposite of light.

We are living in a time in history that i believe was foretold of by Paul to Timothy. “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” He goes on later to say this: “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears, they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5; 4:1-4)

This hasn’t only happened outside the Church with the new age mantra, “Do what thou wilt,” but also inside the church, and it is time for the remnant of the Way to “hunger and thirst for righteousness, for (we) shall be satisfied.” Finally, let me close with Jesus, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?” Matthew 16:24-28

Be the light . . .

You are loved,

cj

Betrayal, what the enemy thought for evil, the Lord uses for good . . .

Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray Him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray Him. (Mark 14:10-11)

Imagine hand selecting your inner circle of closest friends. Walking with them for three and a half years and then having one of those friends betray you. Some of you don’t have to imagine because you have lived through it . . . maybe not the death part, but for some of you, it could have felt as threatening. i know that i have had some close to me betray me, and it hurts.

We are in a time in history where many are looking at what is going on in our country and crying, “betrayal!” It could very well be true. Many are disheartened because they prayed and have not seen God move. They have been told of specific outcomes, and those outcomes have not come to pass, and time is growing increasingly short.

Jesus took his closest friends into a garden to pray. The burden so heavy drops of blood fell from His face like sweat. Jesus prayed, “Let this cup pass from me.” His desire was not for what was ahead of Him. Could you blame Him? He was to suffer a tremendously torturous death. If i knew that was the way i was to die, i would be pleading with God also. Yet, Jesus finished His prayer, “not My will, but Your will be done.”

Sometimes we don’t see the whole picture. Sometimes when we pray, we don’t fully understand all that is going on. This is why we are called to be patient. This is why i have such an issue with name it and claim it preaching. God promises this, “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14), But they so easily forget the “not My will, but Your will be done.” part of prayer. In 1 John 5:14-15, it says this: “And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.” These are true sayings; however, there is also this idea of prayer “HIS WILL.”

For Jesus, it was death on a cross. He was tortured in the most horrific way. Yet, as Jesus prayed in the garden, He understood that although the road was difficult, God’s will was being accomplished, and through it, you and i, and countless others have been able to have the hope of eternal life in glory with Jesus.

Jesus said, “In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:2-3) Could it be that although we desire one outcome because we see it as being best, we have blinded ourselves to the idea of “Your will be done.” Because of the weight that it brings, the difficulty we know comes with it?

We know that in the end, perilous times will come. They will be difficult, and many will be betrayed by family and friends. We will be brought into the synagogues, and we will be hated for His name’s sake, even beheaded. These are unpleasant thoughts, and i imagine anything would be better but as we pray for the future of our country, and the world, let us not forget the part, “not my will but Yours be done” because as awful as our potential future, nothing compares to the glory that awaits us in Heaven! Just because God doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want Him to doesn’t mean He isn’t listening!

So, keep the faith. Seek not your will, but “His Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Do not fear, for He says, “When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.” (Matthew 10:19) i believe we are headed into a very difficult season. Do not lose hope, do not lose faith, do not lose sight of our mission, “To make Christ-like disciples.” And always remember, “Not My will, but Yours be done!”

You are loved,

cj

The 9 Commandments

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
3. Thou Shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
4. Honor thy father and thy mother
5. Thou shalt not kill.
6. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
7. Thou shalt not steal.
8. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
9. Thou shalt not covet . . . anything that is thy nieghbors.

It seems fitting to take out the commandment about honoring the Sabbath and keeping it holy since we have thrown it aside anyway. After all, we have made every excuse in the book to remove any need to honor it, even replacing it haphazardly without honor, certainly not holy, and filled it with worldly pleasure.

One, at this point, might label me a legalist. Ok, fair enough. Yet, if i am a legalist, then would i also be labeled a legalist if i said, “you shouldn’t kill someone?” Or that “you shouldn’t commit adultery?” Or any of the other commandments. The answer is obviously NO, so why is one labeled a legalist if they call for the observance of the Sabbath? Maybe someone can enlighten me. Of course, there are the scriptures that talk about how they gathered on the first day of the week, that being Sunday. However, it also says they gathered all the time; we don’t do that! It also says they took communion A LOT! Some are content to take it once a quarter, and still some not at all!

Part of loving God with our whole being as Jesus declared, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” is honoring Him. i am not saying that you cannot honor God on Sunday, or Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday . . . what i am saying is that God clearly cuts out Saturday and says, this is the Sabbath, and you should honor it and keep it holy.” So the next question is, how do we honor it, how do we keep it holy?

The Pharisee’s obviously were missing the boat on this as Jesus clearly rebuked them for how they had turned it into something that it wasn’t. So what is it? “Thus, the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day, God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because, on it, God rested from all His work that He had done in creation.” God took the seventh day, and He rested. We can rest on any day of the week, i get it, but there is something to this seventh-day rest if it weren’t so the devil wouldn’t care to distract us from it!

i have been taking Saturday and resting. i try to do as little as possible. i refrain from shopping because that requires someone to not be at rest so that i can shop. i don’t do this out of legality but in honor of both God and others as i wish for them to honor the Sabbath day. i am still figuring out what it means to keep the Sabbath, but i spend time with the Lord. i read Scripture, listen to sermons, pray continuously, and seek to honor God by honoring the Sabbath. i believe this is what God desires of all of us. i would love to hear your thoughts on the idea.

You are loved,

cj

Why do you marvel? I tell you a mystery . . .

Wow! What a time to be alive. i have to admit that i have been a bit frustrated as of late with writer’s block. The longer it lasted, the more frustrated, maybe even depressed i got. i wanted to write, but nothing came. i have been wrapped up in election stuff, COVID stuff, lockdown stuff, vaccine stuff, and it just all seems so surreal. It is very easy to jump into debates and wonder how so many can just blindly accept everything they are told from one side yet somehow question or doubt the other without listening to anything. They are just simply told what to believe, and they step right in line. Then i come along and only suggest that they question everything . . . Not that one side has a corner on truth, but that both sides are equally at fault here.

That brings me to the point of this post. Both sides, in my opinion, are pushing the same rock in the same direction. They are not pushing against each other but rather with each other. Even if it looks as if they are on opposing sides. Here is where my tin foil hat comes in . . . They have us right where they want us, at a boiling point. For out of chaos, folks will cry for peace, and in steps government because we have been programmed to think that government is the solution. And that my friends couldn’t be further from the truth. Everything the government touches becomes a pile of rubble.

What could they possibly want? Why would they want chaos? Power is the only word that can sum this up. They want power. The power they want is absolute, and it is driven from a lie told thousands of years ago, “. . . For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God . . .” (See Genesis 3:4-5) The serpent hasn’t changed. Man’s desires have only grown more evil, more covetous, more greedy. It is what will drive the final chapter of world history as the return of Jesus unfolds. This time is upon us. i am not a prophet; therefore, i am not claiming to know the day or the hour, only that it draws near.

There is much that still needs to unfold, but things are happening at a rapid pace. When in history has there ever been the technology of cryptocurrency, global surveillance, mass transportation, international counsels, and presently an ecumenical movement never seen before? The answer never, until now. All of these things are written of in Scripture, and all point to the time just before Jesus returns to take His throne as King.

Be in the Word. Question everything. Seek truth. Stay faithful. Be ready. And like i have said before, be prepared to die for your faith. Don’t put your hope in the rapture. If it happens, great! But if it doesn’t and that is what you are waiting for thinking that none of these things will happen while you are here . . . You will be susceptible to receiving the mark of the beast. If you prepare for the worst, you will be ready for anything. i don’t write this to create fear or panic. Our hope is in the victorious One! Be confident in that when you are brought before the rulers, that God will give you the words to say, “When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour.” Matthew 10:19

i am not sure any of this actually makes sense. What i do know is this, persecution, like we have never seen before, is on the horizon and i feel compelled to sound the alarm to a church that is asleep in the culture God has called us out from. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” James 4:4

These are unpopular opinions, i know, this is what the Lord has said concerning these days, “for people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” 2 Timothy 3:2-5

You are loved,

cj

The Return of the King!

For those of us of the Way, we eagerly await the Return of the King. No, not the third movie in the Lord of the Rings series, but the actual return of our Lord and King Jesus. So much so that i think we often lose sight of what is to transpire prior to His return. We like to sugar coat things. We want to hope in rescue. We also like to overlook or explain away things like beasts, dragons, and death. Although some are allegorical, much of it is literal, and understanding that is vital as we enter what i believe to be very difficult times ahead.

i know i keep repeating myself there, but i want to share something that has been on my heart for some time. i think many Christians are ripe for being fooled by what’s ahead because many rely on the “news media,” and i use that term lightly, more than the Word of God, for their understanding of current events. That is a problem. A very big problem. They have gotten a good portion of the US wrapped up in the election process and are leading like the pied-piper many to false hope and security. Basing it on one man in an office, we call the president. This is a dangerous road for Christians. Here’s why.

As we get accustomed to seeking man for hope and security, it will make it easier to fall for the coming deception of a man seemingly so great that he appears to solve much of the world’s problems. It will seem right and amazing, fooling many, even if possible, the elect. Why? and How? Because rather than study the Word of God we listen to man, or in many instances, the media. It is time to wake up Church because the great deception is upon us and if we are not dilegent in our study and understanding of the Truth, we will fall for the lie.

“The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 ESV

i know what many of you will say, “this occurs after the rapture.” Well, i have a different view of the rapture as i do not believe it occurs until the end of the great tribulation. If i am wrong, and i don’t mind being wrong on this point, then great. However, if you are wrong and you are not prepared to endure till the end as often referenced in Scripture, you will be more susceptible to following a man. That is why i write this. For you see, the first “man” on the scene in Revelation isn’t Jesus, but the beast, and this is where the allegorical story comes in.

“It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming His name and His dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also, it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on the earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. If anyone has an ear, let him hear.” Revelation 13:6-9 ESV

The second one on the scene is the false prophet who deceives many into worshiping the first beast. See Revelation 13:11-18. Here we read about the mark of the beast and the idea of buying and selling being limited to only those who have the mark. Many are not prepared to endure or to suffer or to die . . . and i fear that the church has been lulled to sleep of what is before us. i do not believe it is either of our potential presidents; let me make that clear. However, it is the idea that we are being “programmed” in a way to accept the idea that in man, we have the answers we need.

Here is my main point, be diligent, keep your eyes on Jesus, keep your oil lamp full! As we continue into uncertain waters, do not grow weary, do not lose faith, do not put your hope in man, but do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

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You are loved,

cj

All Creation Longs for Redemption

i have written recently, twice actually, on what i see as troubled waters ahead. As i was doing my reading today in God’s Word, i was reminded of how creation longs for redemption as those in Christ. There is an uptick in global earthquakes, just yesterday a 7.0 quake hit off the coast of Turkey, leaving hundreds dead, buildings in ruin, and lives devastated. Volcanic activity is also increasing with magma on the move under the surface. Not to mention the sporadic wild weather being experienced, along with devastating fires.

After creation, “God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” He created everything to work in concert. Like a synergetic masterpiece, everything working together for good and creating humans to be the caretakers. When man sinned, falling from God’s perfect plan, creation suffered along with us. The plan of redemption that God mapped out isn’t just for us humans, but the whole of creation and creation is longing for it!

Here is the part in Romans that got me thinking about this:

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience. (Romans 8)

As we get closer to the Lord’s return, creation will become more volatile and unpredictable. Even humanity as the war around us in the Heavenly’s begins to manifest itself among us. Like a woman in labor about to give birth so will the pains be for all of creation. However, for us with Christ our hope isn’t in what we see around us but in what we know is coming. This is not a time to cower but to pray and live as saints, the sons and daughters of the Most High! So fear not and look up for our redemption draws near.

“Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:28

You are loved,

cj