Category Archives: Dressed In Readiness
In what has been arguably the most bizarre presidential campaign in modern history, tomorrow, Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton will be POTUS Elect #45, and the future of the US, and even the world, is facing a dramatic turn of events. But, thank God, that in His sovereignty, the Elect of the Lord, have no need to fear, or panic – for it is our Lord who appoints His Divine choice as the leader of this country (and all others).
Now, in the midst of this day we are living – with a large amount of “Christiandom” wallowing in the permissiveness of carnality, or blatantly living in a love affair with the world; and, with a substantial amount thoroughly distracted by an unhealthy allegiance to patriotism that is dangerously close to spiritual adultery – we, as Christians, need to pause for a moment, in the midst of this political climate of division and distention, and ask the question: Are we ready for the days ahead?
Regardless the outcome, we face a potential firestorm of assault from both sides when their candidate loses… this will likely bring a tumultuous period from November 9th, til January 20th. But then, once Inauguration Day – and The First 100 days – arrives, something significant will take place. Either way, I am concerned for the American Church. There are urgent – even overdue – questions that each member, individually, and corporately, must come to terms with.
I submit to you the following concerns: if Hillary wins, the Church in America will face a time of tribulation like has never been seen in our young 240 years. I do not believe that most are ready for the judgement, and the persecution that this will bring. Alternately, if Trump should somehow pull out a victory, it is likely, for the most part, that the Church will rejoice, and quickly return to our worldly slumber, embracing our freedoms and liberties.
You see, it is time for the Church to step up. We – as aliens, sojourners, even ambassadors from another realm – are the moral compass for whatever nation we reside in. Martin Luther King Jr said in 1963:
“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.”
We need to reevaluate our roles, obligations, and loyalties to any worldly systems of government or rule. We must come to terms with the very real truth that, as born-again children of the most high God, we are ambassadors sent from the Kingdom of Heaven, wherein is our eternal citizenship, to live as sojourners in this land called America. And, as ambassadors, we must grasp the depth of responsibility that we have to take our direction in all things – including our democratic progress – from our source of Life, that is: “every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” (See my blog on faith, hearing, and *rhema*)
17-20 months ago I was among a contingent of men of God who began to speak out a strong message of conviction that “a storm is coming, and we must be prepared.” Could the days ahead be this storm?? Are we ready for dark days?
I am greatly disturbed by the multiplicity of yard signs I see in my area that state: “America Needs Jesus” – Really? That type of thinking seems to shortcut Our Lord’s method, which was to “The Church”and commands us to “Go and make disciples.” Seems to me that what the signs need to proclaim is a change if thought-process to Christians, stating: “America needs the Church” … (it’s the Church that needs Jesus!)
If you’ve stuck with me this far, you may be asking “but how?” Dr Michael Brown recently said:
“What ultimately decides the state of the country, is the state of the Church. What ultimately decides the direction of the country, is the direction of the Church. [Therefore] are we going to devote ourselves to prayer, Scripture, making disciples, holy living, and reaching the lost?”
What is our “state” (or condition) – what is or direction? What are our priorities; what do we value greatly? These are hard questions we must prayerfully ask! We must address them from our pulpits (while we still can). We must seek Scriptural answers, answers that are “every Word that proceeds from The Mouth of God”, not with logic, rational, or careful human calculation.
If we ever expect to fulfill God’s commission to us as His Church, living by faith, pleasing Him, and impacting the world for His Glory – we must learn to hear His Voice, and His Voice alone, and by Grace, obey.
So Church, if Hillary is God’s choice for POTUS #45, then we will find ourselves neck deep in an anti-Christian environment like we have only read about in books! She will make all-out war on babies in the wound, and make criminals out of anyone who is not in agreement with her demonic and abominable assault on biblical marriage. She will spew her ungodly, liberal ideology from the rooftops, and make it the law of the land. So I ask: are you dressed in readiness? Don’t think for a minutes that our all-powerful and glorious God would not do such a thing – for He has before, and will again – if not now, then one day soon.
And what if “The Donald” should put in a change of address to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue? Will we collectively sigh a breath of relief, whipping our brow and declaring: “that was a close one”? Will we kick back, relax, and return to our safe, comfortable, quite, church-going lifestyle, wherein nothing changes about our allegiance, loyalties, devotions, or priorities towards God, because it doesn’t have to change – cause “we really dodged a bullet this election”? Again I ask: are we ready? Or have we wasted so much time, effort, and energy, being distracted by an agenda towards life, liberty, and the pursue of happiness, that we are actually laboring in our own strength to avoid the very things that Jesus promised His Followers: judgement (for refinement and purification), tribulation, and persecution. Is my lamp lit?
It is time to get ready. Time to give my time, energy, effort, and attention to the hearing of our Heavenly Father’s voice, and obedience to what we hear. It is found in abiding, and living by His life, not our own.
A storm is coming, I tell you! A storm like we have never seen in the west. Are we dressed in readiness with our lamps lit? Do we have the oil that we need to keep our lamps burning? Or will we be caught like a thief in the night unprepared, and naked – like a sheep to be slaughtered. The time is now, Saints of God. The time is now to prepare. If we are not wrapped in His Grace, and Abiding in His word, His righteousness, His love, His glory, and His very life, we are doomed. We must take shelter in the Secret Place, that we might thereby abide in the Shadow of the Almighty. It matters not who is POTUS #45 – what matters is our readiness. There is no other way.
May you find rest and peace in the confidence that our Lord and King is fully in control – for our Good, and His Glory.
This “question” has been posted, in various forms, quite a lot lately – and I think that, overall, we are missing the point. It is a very good and understandable question. Yet, as Followers of Jesus – true repentance demands that we change our thinking (perception) – in doing so, we look at this as the “Born-Again Bible-Believing Saints of the Most High God” that we are; not as just common ole “God, Guns & Guts American Christians”:
“You will be hated by all because of My name…” (Matt 10:22a; Mark 13:13; Luke 21:17)
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.” (John 15:18-21)
We “Americanized Christians” resist the very thing (persecution) that authenticates our Faith in our Lord Jesus:
“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.” (Luke 6:22-23)
We curse and condemn that which is our mark of honor:
“…after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name.” (Acts 5:40b-41)
And why? Because:
“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:19-20)
Persecution is the great fire that will separate the sheep from the goats. And persecution is coming – and has begun – here in the “good ole USA.” Are we ready for our Faith to be tested and proven? Are we dressed in readiness with our lamps lit? Is our house built upon the rock? The storm of persecution – a very fire of purification & refinement – from the very Hand of God – is knocking at the door of “western Christianity”… ARE YOU READY?!?
Matthew 13:40-43 teaches:
“So just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”
Indeed, Saint, I beg you… “He who has ears, let him hear.”
The headlines should read: “OIL CRISIS”…. but they don’t.
To the watchful eye, however, the crisis is real, current and critical.
I am not talking about the Middle East, the Ayatollah, or the Saudi’s. No. Rather, I speak of a land and people who have been granted a greater abundance of access and right to oil than any nation, geographical region, or worldly power has ever conceived.
The crisis was brought to the forefront by Christ in Luke 12:35 when He prefaced a parable about preparedness and watchfulness, with these words: “Be dressed in readiness, with your lamps lit.”
More notable, and somewhat cryptic, Christ years later tells the story of 10 virgins at the end of the Age. Of them, He prophecies of the Kingdom of God, that of these “pure, holy and set-apart ones”, who represented all those who had identified themselves with our Lord, Himself – the Bridegroom – would be distinguished as Wise or Foolish. In this example, our Lord makes it crystal clear that among those who identify themselves as belonging to “Him” (the Virgins: “pure, holy and set-apart”), that as much as half, would suffer fatal eternal consequences for their “lack of oil”…
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:1-13)
In light of the frightening prospect revealed herein – that some have lamps, but no oil – the question begs to be asked: What is the oil, and how can I be sure to have some?
But first, I think it is insightful and prudent to know what the lamp is, who it is that has a lamp, and why anyone would think that a lamp alone is good for anything. Initially, upon reading these and other accounts of lamps and oil, I remained baffled at the thought that anyone would have one without the other, particularly if they had any intention of using the lamp. Unless, of course, they were unaware of their actual need for the lamp. Maybe the lamp has just become a relic on the shelf…
So, what is the lamp? Psalm 119:105 says: “Your Word [logos] is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”
And 2 Peter 1:19:
“So we have the prophetic Word [logos] made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.”
In the original text, the Greek word for “Word” in both of these instances is “Logos”, which is speaking of the written Word (Bible, Scripture) or the Word incarnate, Christ Jesus. However, there is a second word for “Word” in the original language that exists, and carries great importance: “Rhema”. Rhema is literally “utterance” – a spoken word heard – such as personally hearing it from the mouth of the speaker.
Consider Matthew 4:4:
“Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every Word (Rhema) that precedes out of the mouth of God.”
This verse, in light of Jesus’ words in John 6:35 – “I am the bread of life”; and, 6:51 “I am the living bread”; we can derive that Jesus Christ, the Logos, says of Himself, that “man shall not live on the Logos alone, but by every Rhema that proceeds from the mouth of God” – what a great mystery this is!
So it is important to clarify that in the case of “lamp” we are speaking only of the Logos Word of God – that is the writings of Scripture, or Christ Himself. So then, if that be the case, we can conclude that possessing Scripture and Christ alone, without this “oil” is somehow inadequate?!? As voices now begin to cry “heresy”, let’s re-look at our passage, spoken by Christ Himself, using our properly defined word, Logos:
“For when the foolish took their [Scriptures and Christ], they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their [Scriptures and Christ].”
Suddenly, knowing what this “oil” is, and possessing it in adequate supply – though mysterious – is of critical importance! Reality is, we don’t have to look far or wide to get insight to this symbolism/meaning. Oil has always been understood to be directly associated with “anointing” – and anointing is always understood in the New Testament to be directly speaking of the Holy Spirit (for there is no other anointing.)
So, consider our scripture now:
“For when the foolish took their [Scriptures and Christ], they took no[t] [The Holy Spirit] with them, but the prudent took [The Holy Spirit] in flasks along with their [Scriptures and Christ].”
What on earth does this mean? There are many I am sure who will internally struggle (even argue) with a suggestion that a Christian could ever be found “without the Holy Spirit” (“they took no oil”) – but these passages have to mean something. We cannot ignore them – and more importantly, what cannot ignore what they are speaking to us. The “warning” they are giving us.
Before we go there, however, let’s briefly take a moment to alleviate the controversy of those who would stop right here – claiming poor doctrine, or heresy. Clearly the Holy Spirit has a critical role – if not the sole role – in regeneration. His power alone – more than mere influence – gives us new life and brings wretched man to a place of repentance. Yet, there is overwhelming testimony and evidence in scripture, that the Holy Spirit has yet another role beyond grace of regeneration, in the life of one who is called “Christian”. It is the grace of sanctification. Great men of God have debated and disagreed for 2000 years what this “second work” of the Holy Spirit looks like (and if such a “second work” even exists) – how it manifests or “plays out” in the lives of those who have been called and chosen of God – and yet no one denies the work (grace) of sanctification is uniquely different from the work (grace) of regeneration – though some do (surprisingly) debate the necessity of sanctification. With that said, let us move forward to explore further the necessity of “oil in our lamps”.
At this point, following much prayer on the matter, I have concluded that “a mere man can not teach another man further, about mysteries as great as these”! Oh, I could attempt to persuade you with many words, eloquent speech (as if I have such), and strong arguments – however, at the end of the day, only the Holy Spirit Himself can teach a man (or woman) the very living Word of the Sovereign Lord. So now, with the previous foundation laid, I will give you numerous scriptures that I am convicted are relevant to this matter of “what it means to have oil for your lamps” and he necessity thereof – and ask that you pray now – before proceeding – asking the Lord to teach you Truth on this matter, as only He can do.
(Continued in Part 2)
Research* suggests 6 out of 10 Americans identify themselves as “Christian”.
Just over 4 out of 10 American’s claim that they are “actively practicing the Christian faith” (APC).
Surveys have shown that just over 1/3 of those 4 (those identifying themselves as “APC”) – that is between 1-2 of them – strongly support things such as murder (aka: abortion), unnatural sexual perversions (aka: gay lifestyle/same-sex marriage), fornication (aka: living together outside marriage in a committed, loving relationship), and the like. That means that 28 of every 100 actively practicing Christians is supportive of behaviors that Scripture teaches – unrepented of – will cause them to “not inherit the Kingdom of God”. So, can we assume that the other 72 out of 100 “actively practicing Christians” are firm in their Scriptural convictions regarding righteousness? Unfortunately, no – at least not entirely.
When this same 40% of American’s who claim to be “actively practicing the Christian faith” is asked these 9 simple questions – shamefully – everything changes.
- Have you made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in your life today?
- Is your faith very important in your life today?
- Do you believe that when you die you will go to Heaven because you have confessed your sins and accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior?
- Do you believe that you have a personal responsibility to share your religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians?
- Do you believe that Satan exists?
- Do you believe that eternal salvation is only possible by grace, through faith, and not by human works?
- Do you believe that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth?
- Do you assert that the Bible is accurate in all the principles it teaches?
- Would you describe God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today?
You, like me, would probably answer 100% YES to all 9 questions, and, for a moment, wonder to yourself: “Isn’t that Christianity 101?”
Yet, would you care to take a guess at what happens to this 40% when these 9 questions become the criteria for a Scriptural definition of “Christian”? The group is reduced from 40%, to just under 7%! That’s right, 7 out of 100! There is not a question among these “9” that is extreme or unreasonable for a person who claims to be a Christian (Little Christ)… And yet, for the overwhelming majority of “APC’s” – these are not beliefs that they adhered to. How can that be?
So, if we accept that there is a 40% that are called Christian (let’s call them “The Christian 40”) – how do we distinguish the mere 7% who hold to the historic Christian teachings of “The Law, The Prophets and The Apostles”? I propose we call them “Scripturally Orthodox Christians” or “SOC” for short. (Side note: Jesus called them “Believers” – John 6:60-66.)
And of great concern to me is how prepared these 7% are to face the days we are now find ourselves living in – in which our society has – over as few as 20 years – become not just “Post-Judeo-Christian” – but even hostile towards SOC’s – a society in which the “religious establishment” (“The Christian 40”) will make peace with the ruling government of the day, and will oppose – even make war – against the 7%. As with our Lord – they will call us intolerant radical extremist, who hate & judge – they will claim we are not “Christian” at all.
Consider Acts 14:2, which reads:
“But the Jews (accepted established religion of the day) who disbelieved, stirred up the minds of the Gentiles (governments of men) and embittered them against the brethren (the so-called intolerant radical extremist).
“Are you an “SOC”?
Are you the 7%?
If so, are you prepared to face these defining days in which those whom you have worshiped side-by-side with, will become identified with “The Christian 40” and stir up the minds of the government, and embitter them against you? Are you ready…?
Stay tuned… Much more to come on “Dressed In Readiness With Our Lamps Lit: Living As A Scripturally Orthodox Christian in a Post-Christian Society”
* Some of the survey results that “inspired” this blog can be found at: https://www.barna.org/barna-update/culture/723-christians-react-to-the-legalization-of-same-sex-marriage-9-key-findings#.VaR1ePlViko
You have likely heard the old adage: “If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, how would you live differently today?” I wonder if anyone has every truly experienced a life change as a result of this concept? So, consider this:
If you knew there was a time of intense persecution, which could not be avoided or escaped, coming to your community – what would you do? How would you live differently? Or…
If you knew that forces were on the verge of a full-scale invasion of your land – and the threat was immanent and verified – how would you react? How would you prepare? Or…
If you knew that a time of judgement was on the immediate horizon – clearly positioned to directly and personally affect every aspect of your day-to-day life – what would you do to ready yourself? What would change?
In our world, events like this are very real, everyday occurrences for much of our planet – except here in “the west”, where, for all of our lives (at least those born after about 1940), the vast majority of us have known ease, freedom, liberties, abundance and rest. But *what if* all that was taken away – or at least highly restricted? How would you react? How would things change?
From a spiritual perspective, The Holy Scriptures have taught us to “come out from among the world”, “be not of the world”, “live in readiness”, “be watchful”, “be alert”, and much more, in the way of preparation for that which will come (maybe many times over) throughout our lives, to test us, try us, prove us and refine us.
So, if this is how we are to live anyway, how much more so, if we are hearing from multiple sources, in a variety of venues, that a storm is coming?
I challenge you to wake up! To step up! To rise up and become the unashamed, passionate, radically devoted, extreme lover of God in Christ, that the Holy Spirit will enable you to be! Why? Because of the storm? Sure… But how about because that is who we who have “been given the gift of Life in Christ” are called to be everyday!
We have been called to be a people who live by radical organic Christ-initiated faith!
Wake up Saints and live!
We have been called to be a people who love one another with an extreme illogical sacrificial love!
Arise Church and love!
We have been called to in passionate intimacy with our Heavenly Father that is unmatched and unbridled that will bring to light an unashamed display of His Glory in our lives!
Step up in prayer people of God and shine!
We have been called to a surrendered life of death to self and life by The Spirit of God that empowers us to demonstrated the fulfillment of Christ’s rule and reign in our lives that proves the Grace of God to a watching cosmos that both desires and hates such a thing!
So yield absolutely and bathe in the Grace that works, that His Name will be magnified.
When these unashamed, passion, radically devoted, extreme lovers of God in Christ come forth, Her radiance will offend the multitudes, but will miraculously cause His glory shown to all the earth. She will be hated by all; but deeply loved by God. Her purity will shine like he dawn; Her countenance like the noonday sun!
So I say to you, in the words of God through the Apostle Peter: “…what sort of people ought you be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for, and hastening the coming of the day of God…?”
A storm IS coming – but irregardless, we are to be a people – if we are indeed His people – who dress ourselves in readiness, with our lamps lit, every day! Wearing Christ-initiated faith, sacrificial one-another love, Holy Spirit empowered grace and passionate intimacy with the Father, at every moment, in every way. Amen!
\o/ Surrendering Daily,
More on what it means to wear “Christ-initiated faith”, “sacrificial one-another love”, “Holy Spirit empowered grace” and “passionate intimacy with the Father” – coming soon.