Category Archives: Faith
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.
In honor of the road that starts this evening in Iowa, and ends next January in Washington, DC…
This is a hard word, Christ-Follower… Can we hear it?
Election season is upon America. The question for the Child of God is not who do I vote for… Carson, Cruz, Huckabee, Rubio, Sanders, or even Clinton or Trump? No, the question is: “Heavenly Father – as a stranger, a sojourner, an alien, and an ambassador of the Kingdom of Heaven – wherein the new me – born of Your very Seed – alive by Your very Life – is a citizen of another realm: “Heaven” – am I to even cast a ballot (am I permitted an opinion in such matters)?”
If we hear a “yes” from our King (for He might indeed say “no” – for this is an affair of the very world which we have been called out of), then and only then, shall we ask of Him secondly: “As a new creature, commissioned as an Ambassador of Heaven, granted permission to cast a ballot in this human affair – which candidate would You, my King, have me to vote for?” (Does this sound extreme and even ridiculous?!? I told you it was a hard word.)
Remember, Scripture instructs us that the righteous walk by faith, and live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God. And likewise: a soldier in active service does not entangle himself in the cares of civilian life, in order that he may please his commander. As a regenerated, born-again, child of God, we are to have dashed our life, our opinions, and even our very self, upon the rock that is Christ, thereby living out of His life alone, and expressing the only opinion that is left… His!
This is a hard word, many cannot hear it. But it is time we – the Church – grow up into the Sons and Daughters of God that we have been redeemed to be – revealing His Glory to all of creation!
So, for me, the question begins not with: “which candidate do I want to vote for that I believe will be the best, next, U.S. President?” but rather, “Father, am I to vote; and *if so*, for whom?”
Many will suggest this is unpatriotic; but it’s not about temporal patriotism, it’s about eternal allegiance.
“… And they were saying to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.'” (John 4:42)
Possibly the single greatest Truth of Christianity is found within this one verse in John.
Nearing the end of the telling of Jesus’ encounter with “The woman at the well”, we have the people of Samaria – whom the woman had returned and “witnessed” to – people who by their own confession had “believed in Jesus” – coming to see this Jesus (whom they had already “believed in”) for themselves.
Not content to believe just because of the word of another – the people whom she had talked to (I imagine only some of them) were driven to “see for themselves.” And it was because of that determination to go from “belief based on the words of another”, to “believing based on their own experience”, that they went from a mere intellectual belief in this Jesus (which is unable to save), to a intimate experiential saving knowledge of Jesus!
Look at their “confession”:
“…we have heard for ourselves and KNOW…”
The Greek word used here for “know” is “ginosko” which means “intimate experiential knowing, such as the intimacy of a husband lying with his wife”.
This is saving belief: experiential intimacy with Christ Jesus! Don’t settle for anything less – KNOW for yourself this One whom you profess you believe in.
God became Emmanuel in Jesus, so that we might “know for ourselves” that this Jesus is Christ, the Savior of the world.
Please take time this holiday season to search yourself to see if indeed you KNOW Jesus for yourself, or if you are just believing in Him based on the word of another.
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.”
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.
SAINTS OF GOD: Are you watching the news? Are you reading the headlines? Are you paying attention to what world leaders are saying – and what they “are not” saying? It is all becoming so clear. It is not ISIS we need to fear (as if we should fear man anyway). It is not the American government we need to “watch out for.” No, but the table is being set, and it is becoming clearer every day. As it was for our Lord, so shall it be for the people of God, in the days ahead.
The US government (even most of the free world for that matter) is clearly establishing its opposition (and intolerance, in the name of tolerance) to “radical religious extremism” – whether ISIS, Al Qaeda, Hamas, Boko Haram or the like. Meanwhile, “church leadership”, by and large, in epic proportions, is increasingly establishing itself as firmly embracing compromise and unscriptural positions on non-negotiable positions on what they call “social issues”, such as homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and abortion – as well as condemning as “judgmental”, the antiquated notions of morality, truth and faithfulness – and opposing those who firmly embrace Scriptural positions on such matters.
Can you see the line being draw? Soon, with the full support of governmental laws (right here in the good ole’ USA), the vast majority of church leadership (or maybe I should say “pharisaical religious leaders”) will begin to attack those Saints who hold firmly to traditional scriptural principles. (It is happening already, and is rapidly in the increase.). They will call us “radical religious extremist” and “intolerant haters”, and they will use ever-increasing laws against such extremism to silence, reduce or otherwise “eliminate” the faithful. (Thus resulting in a clear distinction between those who are “faithful sons of the Kingdom”, and “the goats” who are wearing a label, but are casual, marginal, and/or insincere.) There will become two camps: those who are firm in their faith in Christ Jesus (and will be “dealt with”), and the rest who will be “accepted” among the “religious” and among “the world”.
This is not a call to arms. This is not a warning to run and hide. This is not a plea to step up and attempt to bring about change (it’s long since too late for that – the only change we can bring about is in ourselves). No, rather this is a passionate cry to those “true Christian believers” to prepare yourselves for the coming storm(s) of persecution:
- Establish now where your allegiance lies (the Kingdom of God, or the kingdoms of this world);
- Devote yourself to abundant prayer (become increasingly certain and familiar with the Father’s voice);
- Become assured of your personal community of godly support (be clear as to whom you stand with, and who will stand with you);
- Commit yourself to a life of faith (hearing the Father’s voice, agreeing with Him, and taking obedient grace empowered action according to what you have heard Him speak);
- Establish your determination to live by the Life of Christ in you, as one who has been set apart for holiness and righteous, to be the light of the world, no matter the cost.
Remember… Jesus has said it, and so it shall be:
“…a servant is not greater than his master, if they hated me, they will hate you too;”
“…a man’s enemies will be those of his own household;”
“…father will turn against son and mother against daughter; brother will betray brother…”
“…many false teachers will arise and lead many astray;”
“…you will be hated for my name’s sake.”
The time is now! The days are short! Dress yourself in readiness & keep your lamps lit. Carefully examine and insure your “house” is built upon the Rock. For there is… a storm coming!
Let him who has ears to hear, hear.
I’ve known some really good people in my life. In fact, I have known some “non-believers” who were more pleasant to be around than some who profess Christ. Problem is, how good is good enough? The Gospel of Luke tells the story of Jesus encountering a young man who inquired of Christ, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
As Jesus talked with this young man (Luke 18:18-27), we find that this man was far more “good” than anyone I have known in my 53 yrs of life. He confessed that he had never committed adultery, murder, stolen or lied, and has always honored his father and mother! (Who among us can honestly say that we have been that good?!? Personally, sadly, I am 0-5 on that list.) But Jesus said that was NOT good enough. In fact, we see in the opening of this passage that this fella also confessed Jesus was both God & Savior – I surmise this because 1) he asked of Jesus a question about eternal life… This strongly suggests to me that he knew Jesus was the Savior sent from God; 2) he knew He was God, for he called Him “Good”.
But, alas, confessing Jesus was both God & Savior, was not good enough either.
Lastly, Jesus essentially says to the man “You want eternal life? Then allow me to be Lord & King of your life, ruling and reigning over even your most prized possessions.” In this, the man walked away sad, for he was willing to admit Jesus was God; willing to admit Jesus was Savior; willing to live a “good” – even very good – life; but not able to surrender the throne of His life to The Christ.
Isn’t that our problem really? We want a Savior (for heaven); we want a God (in heaven); we want to be pretty “good” so we can feel good about ourselves (a little heaven on earth); but it all comes to a grinding halt when we are faced with the reason the Savior came… To make a way that we might return to know His rule and reign in our hearts and lives; knowing intimacy with our Father; and knowing the indwelling of the Spirit – i.e.: “thy Kingdom come”
So, here is what every person (including the rich your ruler) wants: “a list of rules for inheriting eternal life!”
- Acknowledge Jesus is God
- Acknowledge Jesus is Savior
- Do not commit adultery (or even lust); do not murder (or even hate); do not lie or steal; honor your mother and father.
- Surrender wholey to the Lordship of Christ without reservation into all aspects of your life that He might, by the indwelling of His Holy Spirit, and His sovereign regeneration of your life, bring His Kingdom to rule and reign in you…. (grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone).
Sorry, I realize #4 kinda destroyed “my list” – but after all, isn’t that the point…
Let him who has ears, hear.
Sunday August 28, 2005 4:00pm EST – The national weather service had been saying for nearly 5 days that they were “greatly concerned”. Their concern turned to “alarm”, and went from serious, to grave! The course was fixed and the destination was clear. With an less than 24 hours till landfall, this was no longer a forecast with a percentage of likelihood… It was now a reality, and danger was imminent. A weather statement was issued like never before in modern history: “Catastrophic Hurricane Warning” – a Landfall in New Orleans with a strong likelihood of massive damage and significant casualties. A Mandatory evacuation order was issued. A Federal State of Emergency came from the nations capital: “Take immediate action now. Prepare for historic devastation!”
Some, even prior to this frightening alert, had heeded the advance warnings. Others had heard this and prior warnings, but failed to take action. Others simple scoffed the warnings. Many were prepared; a great many were not. And for those who were not prepared… or ill prepared… their loss was great, and unmerciful.
As a result of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the city, the landscape, the commerce, the economy, the population and the people of New Orleans were changed forever by the “single most catastrophic natural disaster in U.S. History.”
Consider this: when the 145 mile per hour category 4 hurricane cleared the city of New Orleans – 80% of the city was underwater; damaged exceeded $108 billion; tens of thousands were left homeless; over 1 million people we displaced by the storm; shelters, at peak, were housing some 273,000 citizens; the cities population was cut in half; and 1,833 people were left dead. No one was left unaffected!
Matthew 7:24-27 reads: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
What if I said a storm was coming? Would you heed the warning – both hearing, and taking decisive action? Or, would you hear the warning, but only talk about it, attending meetings about it, but never take any measurable action? Or would you scoff at the warning, and ignore it altogether? What will the result be, if a storm does indeed come? If you heed the warning, what would that look like? How would you prepare? What would you do?
What if I told you that the preparations that need to be made, would be every bit as beneficial during the storm, as they would be if no storm came at all? What if I can promise you that you had nothing to lose in preparing for the storm, even if a/the storm never comes? But it will come. Even if it’s small unexpected rain showers. Or just a spring Thunderstorm that passes quickly. Or a overly blustery fall day. Life sends us storms – almost daily. Yet, there may be a large storm brewing. Not unlike the reoccurring headlines on the U.S. West coast: “The Big One is Coming” – and the wisest of residents that live there, live prepared, all the time, every day – so we too, are called to live prepared.
Even if you doubt “The Big One”, you know that you will face storms tomorrow; next week; next month; and next year. And the preparation that I am proposing, will be that of a wise man who built his house upon the rock. And a house upon the rock, whether there is a storm or no storm, is the place our Lord has said that our house must be.
Our Lord does not propose to tell the building contractors among us – in this parable of the wise and foolish man – that we are to build some physical structure of a home, upon a granite slab; rather it is clear that the message of the parable is to take obedient steps of action, in response to what you are hearing from Him, regarding the spiritual foundation of your life. Matthew 6:33 teaches us that we are to so prioritize the spiritual aspects of His Rule & Reign, that all this “other physical stuff” will be added to us (taken care of) as a result. If our lives are firmly established upon the rock that comes from true Biblical faith, then there will be no preparation necessary when we hear the “storm warnings.” But I submit to you that many – if not most – among Christians in America – are living a religious brand of Christianity that is so shallow, they would sell their souls to the devil for a loaf of bread in time of need.
So what of me? And what of you? Are we living a life of true faith (that is: Hearing the Father’s voice; Believing what He says [in spite of ourselves]; and because of love, by grace, taking action, in obedient response to His words) that will allow us to not only survive the coming storm, but actually thrive spiritually on the midst of it. Being prepared looks like “the fullness of the obedience of faith”, manifesting in a great many ways including: intentionality in discipleship, commitment in relationships and community, self-sacrifice, grace empowerment, repentance, devotion, allegiance, love and much time devoted to intimate prayer with the Father that we might come to know His voice in all things!
Preparation looks like embracing the storms of life, and the prospect of “the storm” (whenever it comes, and whatever it looks like) with joy and thanksgiving, knowing that He who had begun a good work in you, is seeing it through to completion in Christ, in and through the storm. Preparation looks like being consumed with a radical extremist lifestyle of loving God, loving one another, faithfully being devoted to His Word, and establishing now – in advance of the storm(s) – where our allegiance lies!
This is the preparation we need. This is the life we are called to. It should not take the threat of a storm to bring us to this place of preparation that we have been called to since our conversion to Christ – nonetheless, prepared we must be:
“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. “But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” (Luke 12:35-40)
It is past time to prepare. We must trim our lamps, prepare our oil flasks (Matt 25:1-13), and be dressed in readiness. Not just because of storm warning, but because this is how our Lord and Kings has called us to live every day in His Kingdom.
Luke 5:4-6 “Jesus said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ Simon answered and said, ‘Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.’ When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break.”
1) Jesus spoke.
“Jesus said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’”
Rom 10:17 “…faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the [rhema; spoken; alive & active] Word of Christ.”
2) Peter heard.
“…as You say…”
Matt 7:24a “Therefore everyone who hears…”
Matt 13:16 “But blessed … are your ears, because they hear.”
3) Peter believed (Jesus’ words in opposition to logic or reason)
“..but I will do…”
Heb 11:1a – “…faith is confidence…”
Matt 4:17 – “Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent [change your way of thinking & your perception], for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Isa 55:8-9 – ““For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
4) Peter took action in obedience to what he heard spoken.
“…I will … let down the nets.”
James 1:17a “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead…”
Matt 7:24b – “…act[s] on them [words of Christ]…”
5) Jesus produced unmistakable & miraculous fruit.
“…they [the nets] enclosed a great quantity of fish, and began to break.”
James 2:18b – “I will show you my faith, by my works.”
Heb. 11:1b – “faith is the proof of what is not seen”
Matt 14:29 – “Peter … walked on the water”
Remember, the “lawless one” does without hearing…
Matt 7:22-23 “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”
And, the “foolish one” hears without doing
Matt 7:26-27 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”
Don’t be lawless…
Don’t be foolish…
Instead, be a man or woman of faith, who hears Christ speak, believes & takes obedient action!
“Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” (Luke 12:35-40)
Consider firstly, that our Lord comes to His Elect in many ways. This passage certainly is most often – rightly – applied to the second coming/return of our Lord & King. However, I believe we can also rightly derive an important insight from this passage regarding our preparedness for daily “comings of the Lord” and other events, circumstances, and moments of Grace, in which He comes to us in testing, trial, sufferings, difficulties and disciplines.
The opening verse is striking to me: “Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit.” The original language even places an emphasis on the word “keep”. In light of the “unknown” (to us) that is sure to come our way *tomorrow* (or later today), there is a “dressed & ready” that we are to “maintain”.
If I am transparent – I confess that most times that I am “caught off guard” by a situation or circumstance, that I was not “prayed up”, “bathed in the Word”, and/or “living a worship lifestyle.” Rather, I was uncovered and naked – spiritually – and left to my own means, to react to the surprise “coming of the Lord” in my life. And therein – I miss Him; or at the very least am unprepared for His visit. (Am I making sense?)
I shared in my previous blog, In The Year Of Our Lord 2015, that I strongly sense there are days coming our way this year, that will test our faith, and *prove* us. Many who are “unprepared” will be proven to be “not of our Lord”. With this in mind, we need to be prepared for the days ahead – for the uncertain & unknown trials, testing and sufferings that we are promised, as His “Called Out Ones”.
If I was to suggest that circumstances in the coming days might provide the most difficult economic times in many generations – what preparations would you make to be ready? I recall the preparations many made for Y2K – yielding a readiness of a physical stockpile of water and dry beans that proved to be unnecessary. I am not suggesting that our readiness looks like water and beans. However, I am suggesting that there is a parallel to be made between physical “efforts” of readiness that we would make if we knew there was an approaching event (economic collapse or an approaching hurricane), and that of the spiritual readiness that should be made to prepare for life’s promised trials, and spiritual tsunamis. We all know it is critical that we make necessary preparations, so that we will not be “without”, “lacking” or “in need” when tribulations come like a thief in the night.
Looking to the story of the 10 Virgins, we are clearly told that not all who are “aware”, are “prepared”.
“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.” (Matthew 25:1-4 )
We are called to be “prudent” in our “readiness”. Being *aware* alone, is not good enough – we must be “covered with readiness” for the next “coming of our Bridegroom” in situation & circumstance. We need not just have our lamps, but oil to spare!
Only the Holy Spirit can teach you what the rubber-meets-the-road “dressed in readiness” looks like for you. But I promise trials, testings, sufferings & difficulties will come – small and large – tomorrow, next week & months from now. And spiritually speaking… if we are not prepared – “dressed in readiness with our lamps lit and with oil to spare” – I fear, many will sell their soul for a loaf of bread.
“Oh gracious and kind Heavenly Father. Teach me how to be dressed in readiness. Help me to ensure that my lamp is lit, and I have oil to spare. Holy Spirit, teach me what this means! I know that You, Lord Jesus, come to me daily – often like a thief in the night – in testing, trials, sufferings, difficulties, tribulations and disciplines, for Your glory, through my endurance – which leads to spiritual maturity and wholeness in You. It is my desire, Father, that – whether a daily trial of life, or a catastrophic spiritual tsunami – I would not be caught unaware, nor unprepared; that, for Your Glory – by Your Grace – Your Light in me, will shine in the darkness of day, and the faith of the Son of God in me would be proven! As in all things, Lord, I cast myself upon You, for You, and You alone, are my only hope. Amen.”