“One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus, demanding that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority.  He replied, ‘ You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times!‘” (Matthew 16:1-3)

“Jesus told them, ‘Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’  They will deceive many.  And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic.  Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately.  Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.  Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed.  You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers.  And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other.  And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people.  Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end will be saved.  And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:4-14)

“Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires.  They will say, ‘What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again?  From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.’  They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water.  Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood.  And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire.  They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed.  But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.  The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think.  No, he is being patient for your sake.  He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.  But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief.”  (2 Peter 3:3-10a)

“Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.  Since everything around us is going to be destroyed like this, what holy and godly lives you should live, looking forward to the day of God and hurrying it along.  On that day, he will set the heavens on fire, and the elements will melt away in the flames.  But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness.  And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.  And remember, the Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.  This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him–speaking of these things in all of his letters.  Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture.  And this will result in their destruction.” (2 Peter 3:10b-16)

The whole world is in turmoil and news of world-wide happenings (propaganda or otherwise) is instantly broadcasted everywhere, sowing uncertainty, fear, and discord in the hearts of the world’s inhabitants.

Wars, threats of wars, terrorism, persecution, pestilence, apocalyptic weather, earthquakes, and famine are just some of the signs that give testimony to the times we are living in; signs Jesus told us to look for and pay attention to. These signs, just as a red sky in the morning signals foul weather all day, are signs that the end is near.

Many scoff, “Yeah, yeah, there have been wars, terrorism, pestilence, earthquakes and really bad weather and famines and plagues that have wiped out hundreds of millions of people since the very beginning of time.  How is today any different from the rest of Earth’s history?”

From a spiritual perspective, it is interesting to note that the acceleration of one bad event after another and even simultaneous bad events on the world stage are de-sensitizing mankind’s perspective on atrocities and disasters.  The more we hear of horrendous events happening throughout the world, the less we care.  It is too much to process in our minds and our emotions.  The very things that should be bringing us to our knees in prayer before God are instead eliciting a deep desire to distract ourselves.

It is more desirable to distract ourselves and there is no limit to the distractions at hand in these times.  And so, while the world rumbles, apathy reigns.  And when apathy reigns, evil does, too.

And this may be the most important sign of these times.  Jesus told us that “the love of many will grow cold” and this little gem of truth is the separating factor that answers the scoffers.  In our time, on a world-wide scale, mankind is bombarded with incessant bad news and our hearts are growing cold.

As Christians, we are admonished by our Holy Father in Heaven to guard our hearts above all else (Proverbs 4:23), to turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:14), fix our thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable; to think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).  We are, each of us, commanded to share the Gospel with others according to our own abilities given to us by God and above all, to love others, especially our enemies (1 Corinthians chapter 12 and 13).

While we witness the sporadic and violent gasps of this age coming to an end, Christians are the ones chosen by the Most High God to usher in the Day of the Lord, which will make all things new.

Our very lives should be a testimony that we belong not to this dying world, but to Christ.  Let us check ourselves and ask God to search our hearts and correct us while there is still time.  He is being patient with everyone, the lost and saved alike.

The fruit of our lives should be godly living instead of a life tossed to and fro by the desires and selfishness of the flesh, prayer for everyone and everything instead of cold apathy to what we see and hear, love and grace given to all including our enemy, and the bold willingness to share Christ whenever the opportunity knocks.

The Christian life is not for the faint of heart nor the fickle, as it demands more from us than we are capable of on our own.  But the Spirit who lives in us is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.  And through Jesus Christ, who has overcome the world, we look forward to the day of God and hurry it along.

When we hear of our brothers and sisters in Christ being raped, violated, persecuted, imprisoned, mocked and murdered across the world, let us remember that Jesus told us long ago it would happen and that it would escalate exponentially in the last days.  We must not be dismayed.  We must watch and be alert and live the way He told us to.  We must pray and guard our hearts from apathy, understanding that these things are happening just like He said they would.  He is near.

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“I will sing of your love and justice, Lord.  I will praise you with songs.  I will be careful to live a blameless life–when will you come to help me?  I will lead a life of integrity in my own homeI will refuse to look at anything vile and vulgar.  I hate all who deal crookedly; I will have nothing to do with them.  I will reject perverse ideas and stay away from every evil.  I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors.  I will not endure conceit and pride.  I will search for faithful people to be my companions.  Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me.  I will not allow deceivers to serve in my house, and liars will not stay in my presence.  My daily task will be to ferret out the wicked and free the city of the Lord from their grip.” (Psalm 101)

Everyone must submit to governing authorities.  For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.  So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished.  For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong.  Would you like to live without fear of the authorities?  Do what is right and they will honor you.  The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good.  But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you.  They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong.  So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.  Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons.  For government workers need to be paid.  They are serving God in what they do.  Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.” (Romans 13:1-7)

Some Pharisees and teachers of religious law now arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus.  They asked him, ‘Why do your disciples disobey our age-old tradition?  For they ignore our tradition of ceremonial hand washing before they eat.’ Jesus replied, ‘And why do you, by your traditions, violate the direct commandments of God?  For instance, God says, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father and mother must be put to death.’ But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you.  For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’ In this way, you say they don’t need to honor their parents.  And so you cancel the word of God for the sake of your own tradition.  You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.  Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’ Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. ‘Listen,’ he said, ‘and try to understand.  It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.’ Then the disciples came to him and asked, ‘Do you realize you offended the Pharisees  by what you just said?’ Jesus replied, ‘Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them.  They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.'” (Matthew 15:1-14)

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people.  Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.  Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.  This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power.  He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings.  He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.  He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light.  I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength.  You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded.” (Daniel 2:20-23)

King David spelled out what the attributes of a godly leader are:

–One who is careful to lead a blameless life.

–One who leads a life of integrity, not just in the public eye, but at home.

–One who refuses to look at anything vile and vulgar.

–One who hates crooked dealings and has nothing to do with them.

–One who rejects perverse ideas and stays away from every evil.

–One who does not tolerate people who slander their neighbors.

–One who will not endure conceit and pride.

–One who searches for faithful people to be his/her companions.

–One who places in their cabinets and entourage only those who are above reproach.

–One who will not allow deceivers to serve in his/her house, and who does not allow liars to stay in his/her presence.

–One whose daily task it is to ferret out the wicked and free the city/country from their grip.

Sound too good to be true?  In today’s world of politics, where the name of the game seems to be achieving power at any cost, finding a leader or candidate for leader with godly attributes often seems as likely as finding a unicorn.

And yet, we are to pray for exactly this so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives, marked by godliness and dignity.  God is in control of who is in authority over us.  And we know that His will is accomplished through our prayers.

So are we bringing the world’s leaders before the Holy Throne of God Almighty as party of our daily prayers, thanking Him for them, interceding on their behalf, asking God to accomplish His will in them and through them, asking God to give them wisdom and discernment in governing?  We must pray for them and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in our prayers for them.

It is not God’s will that corruption, lawlessness, greed, power-lust, deception, slander, oppression of any kind, persecution, crooked dealings such as bribery, embezzlement, fraud and blackmail would run rampant throughout the earth’s high places of authority. 

It is not God’s will that the spiritually blind would lead their people by the masses straight into a spiritual ditch, and yet, everywhere we look this is what is happening. Sound and righteous laws are being over-ridden or re-written to fit the new modern age of iniquitous immorality.  Those who attempt to stand up for righteousness are labeled as intolerant and, in many cases, ‘terrorists’.  We live in an age where good is called ‘evil’ and evil is called ‘good’.

It is the responsibility of the Christian to come before our Father in heaven and intercede for all people everywhere, especially kings and all who are in authority.  We should be praying not just for our presidents/prime ministers and their immediate teams, but also for judges, government officials, police, military authorities, teachers, corporate leaders, ministers/preachers, and those who labor in the Gospel, that they all would carry out God’s will this day.

Only the silence of God’s people, who have been entrusted with the enormous responsibility to pray His will, allows such evil and wickedness to run rampant and unchecked, for God’s will is centered on justice and righteousness in every way, from the greatest to the least among us all.

Let us live our personal lives with integrity and a clear conscience in all things, thereby shining our lives as living testimonies to Christ Jesus.  And let us retreat into our quiet rooms of prayer every day to be alone with God, praising Him, thanking Him, bringing all of our cares and concerns to Him and interceding for all people everywhere, especially our leaders, that they may govern and lead us in righteousness.

“Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, ‘It has come at last–salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ.  For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth–the one who accuses them before our God day and night.  And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony.  And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.  Therefore, rejoice, O heavens!  And you who live in the heavens, rejoice!  But terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.'” (Revelation 12:10-12)

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24)

‘You are the salt of the earth.  But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again?  It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.  You are the light of the world–like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket.  Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.'” (Matthew 5:13-16)

“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy–a place where my name will be honored forever.  I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.” (2 Chronicles 7:14-16)

“Through the power of the Holy Spirit who lives within us, carefully guard the precious truth that has been entrusted to you.” (2 Timothy 1:14)

“I have the same hope in God that these men have, that he will raise both the righteous and the unrighteous.  Because of this, I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people.” (Acts 24:15-16)

The Holy Scriptures tell us that in the last days there will be a “great falling away” and that people’s hearts will “wax cold”.  These are Scriptures about so-called “Christians” who are morally and spiritually indifferent. We are wise to take note and take stock of our own lives if we call ourselves Christians.

David prayed to God to search his heart, all the nooks and crannies, and hidden places inside him and bring forth anything that offended Him so that David could address his shortcomings with God and walk in righteousness.  David was eager to repent of anything that grieved the Lord and to live in right standing with God.

When God says “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways”, this is directed at His people, not the world-at-large. He is expectantly waiting for us to turn to Him and repent of our sins and live righteous lives.

This may be a terrifying expectation for many of us. There may be frightful consequences awaiting us if we repent of sinful things we are doing and instead choose the path of righteousness.  We may be in over our heads in sin, making one poor judgment decision after another, having followed our hearts and “what seemed right” into messes we cannot fathom being free from without paying such a price in consequences that our knees buckle at the thought.

Yet our conscience convicts us no matter where we run and hide.  We may lie to the people in our lives and we may lie to ourselves in an attempt to justify what we do, but our conscience haunts us.  Yes, we are grieving the Holy Spirit of God who lives within us and He is trying to get our attention so that we can address this thing before it is too late.

Immediately upon being convicted of our sins, we have a decision to make.  The longer we postpone doing the right thing, the harder it becomes to do the right thing.  But living in denial does not make the consequences of our sins go away.  Sooner or later, we will face them.

Below are 5 unfortunate realities of the unrepentant “Christian”:

1) What is done in the dark will be brought to light.  Try as we might to keep our sins hidden, all the heavens see what we are doing.  Even if God and the host of the heavens wanted to avert their eyes and ears to our sins, Scripture tells us the devil accuses us before God day and night. Satan is actively before the throne of God, airing all of our “dirty laundry”.  We are in the spotlight, whether we know it or not.  In the spiritual battles of our lives, when we are unrepentant, we lose; even worse, we dishonor God, for our enemy proudly points out the fact that we choose to continue our life of sin over our Lord who gave His life to buy our freedom.

2) Sin is what separates us from God.  Christ Jesus conquered sin and death once and for all for the very purpose of reconciling us, reuniting us, with God.  Confessing and repenting of our sins is our testimony that Christ Jesus is the Lord of our lives and that we live freely in Christ, not in slavery to sin and death.   If we are “saved” from the power of sin and death, our lives bear the proof of this. Our very lives are the evidence.  Living unrepentant, sinful lives is the evidence that we are separated from God, not united to Him.

3) The prayers of an unrepentant “Christian” are not effective.  Part of our daily prayers must be that we ask God to forgive us of our sins.  We have this amazing privilege through the power of the blood that Christ Jesus shed for us; the power through which God forgives us so that we can approach Him without shame.  Yet, a condition for receiving forgiveness is that we do not continue doing that which we are asking forgiveness for.  And if we do not have forgiveness from God, how do we have His ear when we pray?  We do not.  Deep down we know this and it keeps us from praying anyway because we cannot boldly approach the throne of God while we choose sin over righteousness.

4) The unrepentant “Christian” is the salt that lost its flavor; the lamp put under a basket.  If Christians are called to be “the salt of the earth” (being the preserving presence in the earth) by our righteous lives and our prayers, what does it mean if we are not living righteously or praying?  If the Christian is called to light the darkness of the world, what does it mean if we are instead living in the spiritual shadows?  It means there is no evidence that we are even saved.  For a saved soul is a repentant soul; a saved soul is one that actively seeks right standing with God, that walks toward the light and in the light, not in darkness.  There is no such thing as an unrepentant Christian.

5) There are always consequences for our sins.  For every action, there is a reaction.  If the fear of the consequences of our sins is keeping us from repenting and doing the right thing, we are living in denial; we are hoping that if we can somehow stay hidden, we will not have to pay the consequences for our actions.  However, delaying the inevitable most often just makes the situation worse. David was wise when it was time for him to face major consequences for his sins.  He said, “I am in a desperate situation!  But let me fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is very great.  Do not let me fall into human hands.” (1 Chronicles 21:13)  Yes, no matter what our sins are or the consequences we face, when we repent, God is on our side and He is merciful.  The world is not merciful. Do we want to face the consequences doled out by God or do we want to face the consequences doled out by the world?  Either way, there are always consequences.

May we fear the Lord more than we would ever fear any earthly consequences of our sins.  May we approach Him in humility, confess our sins and REPENT while there is still time. May our lives be the lives of overcomers, servants of the Most High God, representing His Holy Kingdom in every way.  May we be faithful to the end and may it never be said of us that our hearts waxed cold or that we were part of the “great falling away”.  May it never be said that we were lukewarm, following our hearts wherever the wind blew us. May we never hear the words, “I never knew you” from the Lord Jesus Christ.

You must not have any other god but me.” (Exodus 20:3)

In the beginning the Word already existed.  The Word was with God and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with GodGod created everything through him, and nothing was created except through himThe Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” (John 1:1-5)

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.  And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” (John 1:14)

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.  The government will rest on his shoulders.  And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

The Savior–yes, the Messiah, the Lord–has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David.” (Luke 2:11)

“For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43:3)

“I, yes I, am the Lord, and there is no other Savior.” (Isaiah 43:11)

“I am writing to Titus, my true son in the faith that we share.  May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace.” (Titus 1:4)

“Consult together, argue your case.  Get together and decide what to say.  Who made these things known so long ago?  What idol ever told you they would happen?  Was it not I, the Lord?  For there is no other God but me, a righteous God and Savior.  There is none but me.  Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other.  I have sworn by my own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on my word: Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess allegiance to me.” (Isaiah 45:21-23)

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and he was born as a human being.  When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.  Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)

“That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders.  Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! ‘Peace be with you,’ he said.  As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side.  They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, ‘Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.’ Then he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven.  If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’  One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came.  They told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he replied, ‘I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.’ Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them.  The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them.  ‘Peace be with you,’ he said.  Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and look at my hands.  Put your hand into the wound in my side.  Don’t be faithless any longer.  Believe!’ ‘My Lord and my God!’ Thomas exclaimed.  Then Jesus told him, ‘You believe because you have seen me.  Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.’ (John 20:19-29)

I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end,’ says the Lord God.  ‘I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come–the Almighty One.‘”(Revelation 1:8)

“‘Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.’ Blessed are those who wash their robes.  They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.  Outside the city are the dogs–the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshippers, and all who love to live a lie.  ‘I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches.  I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne.  I am the bright morning star.'” (Revelation 22:12-16)

Occasionally, a rare opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ presents itself without any effort on our part.  Most people dread this because they know there is just enough technicality involved that if they are not well versed in Scripture, an argument may happen at their door where what they profess —that Jesus Christ is God and the Salvation that all the Scriptures pointed to— will be countered by the unbelievers who will use Scripture to try to show how Jesus is not God after all, but a “witness” or a “prophet” or an “angel” or some other “creation”.

It is critically important that we not allow ourselves to be trapped into an argument with these people.  They go from door to door equipped with the exact verses they have memorized to make their case, using the verses out of context and ignoring the plethora of verses that testify that Jesus Christ is God.

It is NOT the Christian’s duty to change these people’s minds.  That is the work of the Lord.

It IS our duty to open the door and share the Gospel of Jesus, thereby planting the seed that the Lord will use to call them home.

We have an obligation to open the door when they knock, as these people are lost; they are deceived, and classically deceived in that they study their Bible but have missed the most important element of all the Scriptures; that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and the only worthy sacrifice to redeem us from death is a PERFECT sacrifice, One untouched, unaffected and uninfected by sin.  Only God Himself meets the requirements of this Perfect sacrifice, as every created thing is affected by sin. And we know that Jesus Christ is that perfectly acceptable and worthy sacrifice Who meets this requirement once and for all time (Hebrews 9:14, Hebrews 10:12) and that He willingly gave His life as the atonement for the sins of the whole world, that whosoever believes in Him will have everlasting life.  (John 3:16)

Yes, the wages of sin is death.  The wages of sin is death even if we help the poor and donate all our money and time, fill our lives with good deeds, go out of our way to be kind to all, have a great reputation and lots of people who admire us, love puppies and kittens and never hurt anyone.  None of our good works can save us from death because we are sinners.  Yes, if there is just one instance in our whole life when we lied, stole, used God’s Name in vain, loved something or someone more than we love God, coveted someone else’s belongings, didn’t keep the Sabbath day of rest Holy, didn’t honor our parents or any other Holy command of God, we are guilty of sin.  And the wages of even one sin is death.

There is ONE Way, One Truth, One Life and that is Jesus Christ, Who is the Word and through Whom everything was created.  Jesus was already there in the beginning; He is NOT a creation.  It is Jesus, who became human, made His home among us, fulfilling the prophecies of the Messiah. It is Jesus Who worked mighty miracles, offered His life as a ransom for many, died, was buried, and 3 days later was raised from the dead, thereby conquering the power of death over us forever.  There is no other god or mortal who has done this and there never will be.

All we need to do is believe and we will have salvation in Christ Jesus. Jesus was raised from the dead and given a new eternal body and we who believe in Him will also be raised from the dead and given new eternal bodies.  This is our hope and what we rest in!

Indeed, if Jesus was a mere man or a creation, then he was flawed and as such was, by default, not a worthy sacrifice for the redemption of sin, for only one who is not under the power of sin and death can conquer the power of sin and death. “Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse.” (Romans 8:22)

Only God qualifies in His Perfection for this magnificent undertaking and that is the beauty and majesty of what Jesus Christ did for you and for me.  No creation qualifies for all of creation is under the curse of God due to sin.

Those who don’t get this part of the puzzle are deceived and blinded by the oldest trick in Satan’s book: deception by confusion whereby the victim has every piece of truth EXCEPT for the truth that saves their eternal life.  Their good deeds and kind hearts won’t get them there.  They need a Savior and they have One in Jesus Christ.

As followers of Christ, this is all we need to proclaim when opportunities come our way.  We don’t have to be Bible scholars.  We don’t have to have an arsenal of various scriptures at the ready.  We just have to stand on our testimony that we are saved through Jesus Christ the Savior and that ONLY God can save.  Anything else is a half-truth and half-truths have deceived countless souls to their doom.  We plant that seed into the ears and hearts of our visitors when they bring their religion to our door and let God Almighty do the rest.

The Lord cares deeply when his loved ones die.” (Psalm 116:15)

The Lord says, ‘I will rescue those who love me.  I will protect those who trust in my name.  When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble.  I will rescue and honor them.  I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”  (Psalm 91:14-16)

“You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead.  And we are witnesses of this fact!” (Acts 4:15)

The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.” (Psalm 37:23)

The following video is a segment from a documentary called “Precious Life”, from 2010.

From YouTube channel Facu S: “This Palestinian mother was shown such kindness by Jews when her young son was treated, free of charge, for his heart problem in an Israeli hospital. She freely acknowledges this, but she still hopes that her child will grow up to be a martyr. This video is a rare look into the mind of someone who worships death and destruction. She describes the difference between her culture and all of Western society perfectly when she explains that for her people, life is meaningless.”

The Palestinian woman in this video says the words she is supposed to say to satisfy the demands of her religion, but her face tells a different story; her face reveals that every fiber of her being rejects the very words coming from her mouth.  Her words defy the Author of Life and instead glorify death.  As a creation of God Almighty, her body itself resists every word she utters, yet she obediently repeats the chant of death and destruction she has heard her whole life.  If only she knew how precious she is to the Lord.

For Muslims who read this blog, your life IS precious and most valued by God Almighty, the Author of Life.  The truth is that God formed you in your mother’s womb, carefully knitting together every detail of your body.  He knows the very number of hairs on your head.  He knows your thoughts.  He knows your dreams, your hopes.  He knows everything about you because He created you.  You are His masterpiece.

Read the Psalm below and ask yourself if this sounds like a God who thinks your life is meaningless.  On the contrary, no one has ever invested themselves so wholly into your life as God.  We know this by instinct!  We have to defy our very instinct knowledge of our Creator to think for one second that we do not matter to Him.

“O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me.  You know when I sit down or stand up.  You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.  You see me when I travel and when I rest at home.  You know everything I do.  You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord.  You go before me and follow me.  You place your hand of blessing on my head.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand!  I can never escape from your Spirit!  I can never get away from your presence!  If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there.  If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me.  I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night — but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.  To you the night shines as bright as day.  Darkness and light are the same to you.  You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous –how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.  How precious are your thoughts about me, O God.  They cannot be numbered!  I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!  And when I wake up, you are still with me! O God, if only you would destroy the wicked!  Get out of my life, you murderers!  They blaspheme you; your enemies misuse your name.  O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you?  Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you?  Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies.  Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139)

“The Lord, the Mighty One, is God, and he has spoken; he has summoned all humanity from where the sun rises to where it sets.  From Mount Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines in glorious radiance.  Our God approaches, and he is not silent.  Fire devours everything in his way, and a great storm rages around him.  He calls on the heavens above and earth below to witness the judgment of his people‘Bring my faithful people to me — those who made a covenant with me by giving sacrifices.’  Then let the heavens proclaim his justice, for God himself will be the judge.  ‘O my people, listen as I speak.  Here are my charges against you, O Israel:  I am God, your God!  I have no complaint about your sacrifices or the burnt offerings you constantly offer.  But I do not need the bulls from your barns or the goats from your pens.  For all the animals of the forest are mine, and I own the cattle on a thousand hills.  I know every bird on the mountains, and all the animals of the field are mine.  If I were hungry, I would not tell you, for all the world is mine and everything in it.  Do I eat the meat of bulls?  Do I drink the blood of goats?  Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High.  Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.’  But God says to the wicked:Why bother reciting my decrees and pretending to obey my covenant?  For you refuse my discipline and treat my words like trash.  When you see thieves, you approve of them, and you spend your time with adulterers.  Your mouth is filled with wickedness, and your tongue is full of lies.  You sit around and slander your brother — your own mother’s son.  While you did all this, I remained silent, and you thought I didn’t care.  But now I will rebuke you, listing all my charges against you.  Repent, all of you who forget me, or I will tear you apart and no one will help you.  But giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.  If you keep to my path, I will reveal to you the salvation of God.‘” (Psalm 50)

Even before Jesus Christ our Redeemer came to the earth, the Lord made it clear to his people and to all who would listen that animal sacrifices were void of meaning when it came to matters of the heart.  The Lord Almighty searches people’s hearts, looking for even one who reveres him, loves and obeys his ways, travels his path, and is thankful for him. 

Giving thanks to God and obeying his ways should come as naturally as breathing to us, yet are such rare occurrences that God considers them pleasing sacrifices.  If we desire to make sacrifices to the Most High God, sacrifices that he will accept and that will please him, we need go no further than giving thanks and obeying his Commandments, the most important of all being that we love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, and all our mind, followed by loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Jesus is the Lamb whose blood sacrifice perfectly and completely trumps all blood sacrifices set in the Law of Moses once and for all, thereby fulfilling all the requirements of the Old Covenant.  (Hebrews Chapters 9 and 10)  In Christ Jesus, we have the New Covenant where blood sacrifices are not needed at all.  Yet in the New Covenant, God’s commands remain the same and as his chosen people, we show that we belong to him when we obey his commands and give him thanks.  These actions set us apart from the wicked, from the world.  These actions are the ultimate spiritual warfare.

“But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees with his reply, they met together to question him again.  One of them, an expert in religious law tried to trap him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?’  Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.'” (Matthew 22:34-40)

“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 it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.  As the Scriptures tell us, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.’  Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect.  They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him.  For ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’  But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him?  And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him?  And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?  And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?  That is why the Scriptures say, ‘How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!'” (Romans 10:9-15)

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

For the word of God is alive and powerful.  It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow.  It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God.  Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” (Hebrews 4:12-13)

The Voice of The Martyrs is a ministry dedicated to serving our persecuted Christian family throughout the world.  In all nations, the most common two requests VOM receives is “Please pray for us” and “Please send Bibles!” 

Voice of The Martyrs uses their resources to print Bibles in hostile and restricted nations where persecuted Christians desperately need God’s Living Word, both for the renewing of their own mind and so that they can share His word with others.

VOM offers two opportunities to be part of this work:

1) Bibles To Captive Nations — through this opportunity, you can be involved from time to time as a “One-Time” contributor and VOM will use your contribution to print Bibles and distribute them where they are most needed.   https://secure.persecution.com/p-418-bibles-to-captive-nations.aspx

2) Bibles Unbound — this opportunity is more detail oriented, as you set up your Bibles Unbound homepage, which begins as a blank world map.  You choose which country/operation you wish to contribute to and set up an Ongoing Contribution that VOM can rely upon as a recurring contribution to their Bible Distribution efforts.  Each restricted/hostile country you send Bibles to will be marked on your map.  You have control over which projects you’re funding.  Once you have your homepage set up, you also have the opportunity to make additional One-Time contributions as you want to.  http://www.biblesunbound.com/qry/mc_home.taf

We live in unprecedented times, with resources and opportunities no generation before us has had.  We have the power to literally reach the whole world with the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ.  There are many ways to use our life to fulfill the Great Commission our Lord has entrusted to us and the two opportunities VOM offers are an amazing way to be involved and fruitful in God’s Kingdom, if you have been looking for new ways to help.

And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all people will hear it; and then the end will come.”  (Matthew 24:14)

“He said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is great, but the workers are few.  So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.‘” (Matthew 9:37-38)

Below is a list of some nations that are in desperate need of prayer.  Please consider praying for these nations and ask the Holy Spirit of God to guide you.  Without a doubt, if the workers of the fields are few, then those praying for the workers are even fewer.

If you decide to pray, please establish a length of time for yourself that is acceptable to you and commit to praying for these people (not the duration of the prayer itself, as the Lord taught us not to babble on); commit to a week or a month, etc of praying daily for these unreached people groups.

–Afghanistan, 71 unreached people groups

–Bhutan, 32 unreached people groups

–China, 465 unreached people groups

–India, 2,200 unreached people groups

–Iraq, 21 unreached people groups

–Libya, 140 unreached tribes and clans

–Oman, 25 unreached people groups

–Sudan, 137 unreached people groups

–Vietnam, 63 unreached people groups

Some things to pray for in Jesus’ Name:

–For God to send more workers into his fields, specifically into the fields of the countries listed above, and that God’s Word will reach those who seek Him.  Pray for God’s Kingdom to come soon.

–For God to destroy the works of Satan in the hearts and minds of the people and the land and that God would not let them yield to temptation, but deliver them from the evil one.

–For Judgment on Satan.  Ask God to curse Satan afresh as he did in the Garden of Eden, so that he cannot do as he pleases.  Ask God to place Satan again under the power of the cross so as to immobilize him.

–For God to break the evil spirits of false religions and idols in these lands (Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are all hostile to the truth of Christ) and set up His Kingdom.

–For the precious blood of Jesus to answer whatever comes from Satan in these places.

–For the hearts and minds of the people to be prepared by the Holy Spirit and made able to receive and accept the truth of Christ.

–For God’s will to be done and that the truth of the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ brings light to the dark land.  Declare that Christ disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities and shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15)

–For the protection of the workers the Lord sends and that they will boldly proclaim the truth of Christ and salvation

–For church planting and growth so that believers can fellowship with each other and pray together for their nation.  For a spirit of evangelism among the local Christian population so that they will desire to share their testimony with others

–For Bible distribution and Christian literature, and for trained pastors to shepherd and minister to the new believers.

–Pray also for the protection of yourself (health, mind, time, spiritual life), your loved ones and your household and anything else that God brings to your attention. Pray that God forbid Satan from harassing you in any way.  Pray Daily for this protection, as what you are doing for God’s Kingdom through your prayers directly destroys Satan’s kingdom and you will be targeted by the rulers and authorities of the spiritual realm in retaliation for your work. Be ready. Prayerfully seek God in this matter.

teachinghearts.org

 

 

“Listen to this, all you people!  Pay attention, everyone in the world!  High and low, rich and poor — listen!  For my words are wise, and my thoughts are filled with insight.  I listen carefully to many proverbs and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.  Why should I fear when trouble comes, when enemies surround me?  They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches.  Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God.  Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave.  Those who are wise must finally die, just like the foolish and senseless, leaving all their wealth behind. The grave is their eternal home, where they will stay forever.  They may name their estates after themselves, but their fame will not last.  They will die, just like animals.  This is the fate of fools, though they are remembered as being wise.  Like sheep, they are led to the grave, where death will be their shepherd.  In the morning the godly will rule over them. Their bodies will rot in the grave, far from their grand estates.  But as for me, God will redeem my life.  He will snatch me from the power of the grave.  So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become ever more splendid.  For when they die, they take nothing with them.  Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.  In this life they consider themselves fortunate and are applauded for their success.  But they will die like all before them and never again see the light of day.  People who boast of their wealth don’t understand; they will die, just like animals. (Psalm 49)

“Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.  May your Kingdom come soon.  May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10)

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33)

And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all people will hear it; and then the end will come.”  (Matthew 24:14)

Everything moves into its proper place when our first priority in our day is the Kingdom of God.  The Living Word of God says that where our treasure is, there our heart also is.

And we know by simple observation of human behavior that the things we treasure in our hearts, the things we hold dear and cherish are the things we think about the most, that we cannot help but talk about, that we worry about.

For some, this treasure is our family.  For others, it is our work, dreams, reputation and status, money, power, leaving a legacy behind, fighting for a cause we believe in, and the list can go on.  These things in and of themselves can be great treasures and worthy of pursuit, if pursued with the right attitude.  But we have to be discerning and wise about the place of these things in our lives.

We are to seek the Kingdom of God FIRST.  All other worthy causes should fall neatly under our pursuit of the Kingdom of God in our day-to-day lives.

Christ gave us one job: to get the Good News about the Kingdom of God to the whole world, so that all people will hear it.  Yes, God is Almighty and could do this all by himself and just get it done, but He chose His children to do it.  He gave us this honor and entrusted his Kingdom to us.

If we are seeking first our own kingdom, then God’s Kingdom is not our priority.  And there are so many things within our own kingdom that dominate our time and thoughts that days can turn into weeks, which turn into months, which become years that go by without us achieving the one thing that was delegated to us for our life on earth by God.

Paul tells us candidly in 1 Corinthians 3:13 that on Judgment Day, the refining fires of God will reveal what kind of work each person did in their life.  If our life’s work was of and for our own kingdom or the world’s kingdom, we will watch it burn up before our eyes.  We ourselves will escape the fire because of our faith in Christ Jesus, but we will have little or nothing to show for our life on earth.  Paul warns that we will suffer great loss if our work does not withstand the purifying fires.  We do well to think this over on a regular basis and apply it to our lives while there is time.

Many of us have nothing to give except our prayers, but we do not realize that our prayers are the most effective work we can offer the Kingdom of God.  God does not just go ahead and fulfill his will on the earth whenever He wants to.  He fulfills his will through the prayers of the followers of Christ Jesus.  Know this truth and pray.  Each one of us is the vessel by which the Kingdom of God comes to the earth.

Lord Jesus, may we have a clear understanding of the precious treasure you have given us, the trust you have placed in us to fulfill your will on earth.  May we firmly grasp the power we hold in our prayers and understand how we fulfill your will by praying.  Let us not fall into the trap of a life of fruitless pursuit of things that we must leave behind when we die, leaving this world as naked as the day we came into it.  But let us store up for ourselves eternal treasure in heaven by obeying what you have asked us to do.  Give us eyes to see and ears to hear; give us wisdom and discernment and burden us with a deep desire to pray.  May your Kingdom come soon!

He said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is great, but the workers are few.  So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.'” (Matthew 9:37-38)

From the Voice of the Martyrs website:

Category: Hostile Nation, Religion: Muslim 96.6%, Christian 0.2%, Ideology: Islam
Head of State: President Abdullah Gul

“Turkey has experienced an ongoing political struggle between secularists, urban moderates and rural Islamists vying for government control. The country has been officially secular since 1924, but 97 percent of the population is Muslim.

Questions about the role of religion in society dominate public discourse. A parliamentary commission is at work revising the national constitution, which many believe will support enhanced human rights, including religious freedom. Nonetheless, the Turkish government maintains absolute control over all aspects of religion in the public sphere. Turkey is among the countries most affected by the civil war in Syria. By mid-October 2012, the number of Syrian refugees hosted by Turkey numbered around 100,000. Following a cross-border mortar attack from Syria that killed five Turkish citizens, the Turkish parliament authorized the use of military force against Syria.

Despite government claims and a constitutional guarantee of religious freedom, the Turkish government denies full legal recognition to religious minorities, including Christians. Non-Muslims are denied the right to train clergy, offer religious education and own and maintain places of worship. Conversion is not illegal, but converts have been charged with “insulting Turkishness.” Christians frequently experience discrimination, slander, personal attacks and attacks against churches. The Turkish media sometimes portray Christians as foreign intelligence agents intent on undermining the Turkish state. VOM supports the growing persecuted Church and provides Christian radio programs in Turkey.”

What to pray for this week for Turkey (from the “Pray Today” calendar published by Voice Of The Martyrs):

Above all, pray for God’s will to be done in Turkey, that the Lord rebuke Satan and destroy his works in the hearts and minds of the Turkish people.  Pray that God will replace Satan’s lies with the Truth of Salvation through Christ Jesus and prepare the people to be able to receive and accept this amazing truth so they may be saved.  Pray that God will send his laborers throughout the land of Turkey and fulfill his will in the land.  May God’s Kingdom come and his will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Specifically:

Pray for Hussein, a 9 year-old Christian convert from Islam who was beaten for his faith.

That many Muslims will question Islam, seek truth and come to faith in Christ.

That Turkish Christians will disprove the idea that true Turks must be Muslim.

For Pastor Semir Serkek and others who boldly persevere even after being attacked.

Praise God that his work cannot be thwarted, even by new restrictions on missionary visas.

For Turkish Christian television programs, which are broadcast in Turkey, Europe and the Middle East.

For VOM’s assistance to a pastor and church in a difficult area.

For President Abdullah Gul, that God will place the fear of the Lord in his heart and give him a tender conscience to the will of God and to the followers of Jesus in Turkey.  Pray for his salvation and wisdom and discernment in governing his country and people.

Turkey