Monthly Archives: December 2015
Is this it? .. Will 2016 be the final year before the Lord’s triumphant return? .. To be sure, I’m not a prophet, so I’m NOT setting any date here .. but .. I can interpret the signs the Bible tells us about, and, as far as I’m concerned, they point directly to the time we have left in this present world as being but a vapor . …
Let me share just one prophecy from Jesus Himself concerning the time of the end ….. ” … what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered, “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:3-8) …
Are these types of things taking place right now? .. Unless someone is in complete denial, there is no question about it. … I will try to sum it all up as briefly as I can with a very brief overview of the year that is closing right now as well as the coming one.
I’ll start with this headline from ‘The Drudge Report’ from December 29th … “Year of Strife Leaves World on Edge” … Why would the most popular news outlet in the world say this? … Let’s take a look …
*Dramatic increase in record-setting weather patterns all over the globe. .. Just take a glimpse at these past few days. … record flooding , rain & snow across much of America .. Australia is burning up, as is California .. rare December tornado outbreak in five southeastern states leaving death & destruction in their paths .. record high temperatures at the North Pole .. twice normal El Nino .. northern Britain seeing major flooding …… the list goes on, and what is really eye-opening is this statement from a reputable group of geologists – “Climate extremes are just one harbinger or omen of greater cataclysms to come.” … and these are secularists saying this stuff! …
*The Pacific Rim is literally on fire – We’ve seen a near quadrupling of both volcanoes & 6+ earthquakes this past year. ..
*Famine & Drought across the globe is increasing exponentially. .. Some 35 million souls are facing starvation in East Africa as we speak. .. Also, India, Germany, Poland, and many parts of South America as well as California are suffering record-setting drought conditions …
*Social Chaos increasing, especially in the southern nations of the EU as well as most of South America. …and just wait, if this current migrant situation isn’t somehow brought under control, we haven’t seen anything yet. …
*World economic conditions worsened most everywhere, especially in China and third world nations… Unemployment, especially in young people, is at record highs across the globe, which will only spur more & more unrest as we go forward. ..
*World Government made major inroads this past year. .. The UN meeting of September 25-27 alone set new precedents for a faster advancement. .. Here we saw the birth of “Agenda 21” which basically laid the foundation for many sweeping changes in how the world will soon be governed. .. It also featured a coming international police force (Blue Helmets) that will have jurisdiction over any and all nations it so chooses. (Don’t believe it? .. Read it for yourself). … and there’s much more …..
*World Church materializing before our very eyes! … Have you noticed how many of the world’s churches are coming together as one, and also bringing new, softer, more inclusive teachings to the masses? … Compromises such as ‘no Hell’ .. ‘Muslims and Christians serve the same God’ .. ‘atheists are going to Heaven’ (Pope said it again yesterday) .. ‘lifestyles of most any kind bare no consequences’ … the list goes on. which includes increasing Christian persecution, and the international isolation of Israel ….
…… And these are just some of the ‘birth pains we see taking place as we move forward ….
So what does this coming year hold for us? … Simply, because Jesus Himself said so in the aforementioned passage in Matthew 24, these things will only increase as we draw ever closer to His triumphant return, which will gloriously put an end to all this craziness! … Hallelujah! …
This is what I believe we will see in this coming year, which is just a few hours away. .. All the things we saw in 2015 will only continue to increase in frequency & intensity (sound like birth pains, ladies?) … I believe we will especially see civil chaos increase dramatically. .. As war, famine & political strife increase, so too will the rebellion of the masses. … Also, the middle East will continue to plunge into war & chaos with Israel seeing increasing isolation and international condemnation. .. (see Psalm 83 & Jeremiah 49) … We will also see worldwide climate extremes continuing to accelerate, causing more social displacement & angst. ..
There’s so much more I could go into, and I will as we move forward into the year … but the one we want to watch very closely is the world economic situation. … I believe it will continue to worsen which will only accelerate social & political unrest. .. Also, as America fades from the super-power ranks, all these problems will only enhance the advancement of world government as well as the world church. … (Look to Daniel 2,7,8,9 & 11 plus Revelation 13 & 17 for your own study purposes) … Again,we will address all these issues as they happen in the coming year. …
I know that many folks in the world today don’t believe in any of this. .. In fact the Apostle Peter told us this … “First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own desires. They will say, ‘Where is this Coming He promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.’ ” (2 Peter 3:3-4) … Are there people out there like this? .. You bet there is. .. In fact, I talked with one just last week who fits this description perfectly! .. This denial is sad, and we need to not let it sway us from our mission … to spread the Word as much as we can while there is still time. .. Peter also told us in 2 Peter 1:19 .. “And we have the word of the prophets made more certain, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.” .. Hallelujah! .. What a beautiful and hopeful verse! …
Yes, the world is facing very difficult extremes right now … nuclear proliferation, arms races, international terrorism, mass beheadings, sexual enslavement, anti-semitism, racial division, disease outbreaks, economic implosion, catastrophic storms, earthquakes & social tsunamis …. Is it scary? .. You bet it is, but then look again to Peter’s words in verse 19 … he is saying that once you understand that this IS what is to take place according to the prophets, ‘the morning star will rise in your hearts.’ … Fear will be replaced by understanding, followed by peace in your hearts. … Hallelujah!
So, will 2016 be the final year? .. Again, no date-setting from me, but it certainly will brings us closer, at the least. .. Considering God’s time clock, I believe we are only seconds away .. This is ‘The Final Countdown.’ …….
Until next time,
The following is a story I ran across a while back and thought it would be appropriate to share at this time. .. I believe it contains the true message of what this season is really all about … giving instead of receiving …….. Here it is ……
Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities. But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors. It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.
It was Christmas Eve 1881. I was 15 years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted for Christmas. We did the chores early that night for some reason. I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.
After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched out in front of the fireplace and waited for Pa to get down the old Bible. I was still feeling sorry for myself and, to be honest, I wasn’t in much of a mood to read scriptures. But Pa didn’t get the Bible. Instead, he bundled up again and went outside. I couldn’t figure it out because we had already done all the chores. I didn’t worry about it long though, I was too busy wallowing in self-pity. Soon Pa came back in. It was a cold clear night out and there was ice in his beard.
“Come on, Matt,” he said. “Bundle up good, it’s cold out tonight.” I was really upset then. Not only wasn’t I getting the rifle for Christmas, now Pa was dragging me out in the cold, and for no earthly reason that I could see. We’d already done all the chores, and I couldn’t think of anything else that needed doing, especially not on a night like this. But I knew Pa was not very patient at one dragging one’s feet when he told them something, so I got up and put my boots back on and got my cap, coat, and mittens. Ma gave me a mysterious smile as I opened the door to leave the house. Something was up, but I didn’t know what.
Outside, I became even more dismayed. There in front of the house was the work team, already hitched to the big sled. Whatever it was we were going to do wasn’t going to be a short, quick, little job. I could tell. We never hitched up this sled unless we were going to haul a big load. Pa was already up in the seat, reins in hand. I reluctantly climbed up beside him. The cold was already biting at me. I wasn’t happy. When I was on, Pa pulled the sled around the house and stopped in front of the woodshed. He got off and I followed.
“I think we’ll put on the high sideboards,” he said. “Here, help me.” The high sideboards! It had been a bigger job than I wanted to do with just the low sideboards on, but whatever it was we were going to do would be a lot bigger with the high sideboards on.
After we had exchanged the sideboards, Pa went into the woodshed and came out with an armload of wood – the wood I’d spent all summer hauling down from the mountain, and then all Fall sawing into blocks and splitting. What was he doing? Finally I said something. “Pa, what are you doing?” “You been to widow Jensen’s lately?” he asked. The widow Jensen lived about two miles down the road. Her husband had died a year or so before and left her with three children, the oldest being eight. Sure, I’d been by, but so what? “Yeah, why?” Pa said, “I rode by just today, and little Jakey was out digging around in the woodpile trying to find a few chips. They’re out of wood, Matt.”
That was all he said and then he turned and went back into the woodshed for another armload of wood. I followed him. We loaded the sled so high that I began to wonder if the horses would be able to pull it. Finally, Pa called a halt to our loading, then went to the smoke house and Pa took down a big ham and a side of bacon. He handed them to me and told me to put them in the sled and wait. When he returned he was carrying a sack of flour over his right shoulder and a smaller sack of something in his left hand. “What’s in the little sack,” I asked. Pa said, “shoes, they’re out of shoes. Little Jakey had gunny sacks wrapped around his feet when he was out in the woodpile this morning. I got the children a little candy, too. It just wouldn’t be Christmas without a little candy.”
We rode the two miles to Widow Jensen’s pretty much in silence. I tried to think through what Pa was doing. We didn’t have much by worldly standards. Of course, we did have a big woodpile, though most of what was left now was still in the form of logs that I would have to saw into blocks and split before we could use it. We also had meat and flour, so we could spare that, but I knew we didn’t have any money, so why was Pa buying them shoes and candy? Really, why was he doing any of this? Widow Jensen had closer neighbors than us; it shouldn’t have been our concern.
We came in from the blind side of the Jensen house and unloaded the wood as quietly as possible. Then we took the meat and flour and shoes to the door. We knocked. The door opened a crack and a timid voice said, “Who is it?” Pa answered, “Lucas Miles, ma’am, and my son Matt. Could we come in for a bit?”
Widow jensen opened the door and let us in. She had a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The children were wrapped in another and were sitting in front of the fireplace by a very small fire that hardly gave off any heat at all. Widow Jensen fumbled with a match and finally lit the lamp.
“We brought you a few things, ma’am,” Pa said and set down the sack of flour. I put the meat on the table. Then Pa handed her the sack that had the shoes in it. She opened it hesitantly and took the shoes out one pair at a time. There was a pair for her and one for each of the children – sturdy shoes that would last. I watched her carefully. She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling and then tears filled her eyes and started running down her cheeks. She looked up at Pa like she wanted to say something, but it wouldn’t come out.
“We brought you a load of wood too, ma’am,” Pa said. He turned to me and said, “Matt, go bring in enough to last awhile. Let’s get that fire up to size and heat this place up.” I wasn’t the same person when I went back out to bring in the wood. I had a big lump in my throat and as much as I hate to admit it, there were tears in my eyes too. In my mind I kept seeing those three kids huddled around the fireplace and their mother standing there with tears running down her cheeks with so much gratitude in her heart that she couldn’t speak. My heart swelled within me and a joy I’d never known before, filled my soul. I had given at Christmas many times before, but never when it made so much difference. I could see we were literally saving the lives of these people.
I soon had the fire blazing and everyone’s spirits soared. The kids started giggling when Pa handed them each a piece of candy and Widow Jensen looked on with a smile that probably hadn’t crossed her face for a long time. She finally turned to us. “God bless you,:” she said. “I know the Lord sent you. The children and I have been praying that He would send one of His angels to spare us.”
In spite of myself, the lump returned to my throat and the tears welled up in my eyes again. I’d never thought of Pa in those exact terms before, but after Widow Jensen mentioned it I could see that it was probably true. I was sure that a better man than Pa had never walked the earth. I started remembering all the times he had gone out of his way for Ma and me, and many others. The list seemed endless as I thought of it.
Pa insisted that everyone try on the shoes before we left. I was amazed when they all fit and I wondered how he had known what sizes to get. Then I guessed that if he was on an errand for the Lord that the Lord would make sure he got the right sizes.
Tears were running down Widow Jensen’s face again when we stood up to leave. Pa took each of the kids in his big arms and gave them a hug. They clung to him and didn’t want us to go. I could see that they missed their Pa, and I was glad that I still had mine.
At the door Pa turned to Widow Jensen and said, “The Mrs. wanted me to invite you and the children over for Christmas dinner tomorrow. The turkey will be more than the three of us can eat, and a man can get cantankerous if he had to eat turkey for too many meals. We’ll be by to get about eleven. It’d be nice to have some little ones around again. Matt here hasn’t been little for quite a spell.” I was the youngest. My two brothers and two sisters had all married and had moved away.
Widow Jensen nodded and said, “Thank you, brother Miles. I don’t have to say, May the Lord bless you. I know for certain He will.”
Out on the sled I felt a warmth that came from deep within and I didn’t even notice the cold. When we had gone a ways, Pa turned to me and said, “Matt, I want you to know something. Your Ma and me have been tucking a little money away here and there all year so we could buy that rifle for you, but we didn’t have quite enough. Then yesterday a man who owed me a little money from years back came by to make things square. Your Ma and me were real excited, thinking that now we could get you that rifle, and I started into town this morning to do just that, but on the way saw little Jakey out scratching in the woodpile with his feet wrapped in those gunny sacks and I knew what I had to do. Son, I spent the money for shoes and a little candy for those children. I hope you understand.”
I understood, and my eyes became wet with tears again. I understood very well, and I was so glad Pa had done it. Now the rifle seemed very low on my list of priorities. Pa had given me the look on Widow Jensen’s face and the radiant smile of her three children.
For the rest of my life, whenever I saw any of the Jensens, or split a block of wood, I remembered, and remembering brought back that same joy I felt riding home beside Pa that night. Pa had given me much more than a rifle that night. He had given me the best Christmas of my life.
Don’t be so busy to not share this inspiring message. …. May God richly bless you in this season of celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ – & – Merry CHRISTmas ……..
Until next time,
“My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. With their mouths they express devotion, but their hearts are greedy for unjust gain. Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.” (Ezekiel 33:32-33)
A few months back, I was asked by a church to do a Sunday teaching on the 7 Churches of Revelation, chapters 2 & 3. .. I’ve taught this subject several times in the past, but this time, the words the Lord spoke to the 7th church of Laodicea has stayed with me like never before. (Revelation 3:14:22) … And with the way the sinful world is going right now, and then the response to it, or lack thereof, from the vast majority of today’s churches, makes it quite clear as to why. …
Allow me to briefly explain. .. When teaching about the 7 churches, the dispensational view believes that each church represents a period of time since Christ’s Resurrection, with the Laodicean Church being the last church on earth just prior to the Lord’s 2nd Coming. .. Cutting to the chase, this is the passage that I can’t shake …
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16) So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17) You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” (3:15-17) …
Sound familiar? … Does this sound like the vast majority of churches today? .. You bet it does! .. I don’t know how many of you who are sharing this has tried to find a church from the many thousands out there, only to end up disappointed because of the lack of ‘spiritual depth.’ … Why is this the case? .. It would seem that as we march further into the 21st century, the stress to produce booming ministries has never been greater. .. As a result, there is a new way of ‘doing’ church emerging upon the scene. .. In this radical paradigm shift, solid Bible teaching is being replaced with performances, doctrine with drama, and theology with theatrics. .. Simply, ‘consumer Christianity’ is now the rage. .. Pastor David Jeremiah said it best when he stated, “Surrounding us in every country are church buildings which are no more than clerical caskets, lined in rich satin, gilded with gold, and buried in complacency.” … Amen! … Simply, The world has slipped into the church, and the church has answered back and joined it. … One can no longer tell the difference between them. …
2 Timothy 4:3-4 says it clearly … “For a time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” …
Once again, scripture nails the truth! … Just look around for a brief moment. .. We are seeing false doctrine abound in the land … *Wealth Teaching of which the sole focus is on getting rich with earthly wealth .. *Dominion Theology, which teaches that the church will conquer sin & then the Lord will come back .. *New Age Movement which believes, among many other things, that sin has no consequence and there is no hell .. *Seeker Friendly which will say & do anything to bring people into their buildings, regardless if it conflicts with the true teachings of God’s Holy Word .. and on and on …. Jesus Himself warned of these spiritual ‘conditions’ when He said in Matthew 24:4, “Watch out that no one deceives you.” …. Are you watching out? …..
Back to the ‘Laodicean Church’ and what our Lord said, He told us clearly to be vigilant as to our walk with Him
.. to not be lukewarm, or passive about our walk with Him. … Simply, He hates it & said quite clearly that He would ‘spit them out of His mouth!’ … I don’t know about you, but this is scary to me! …. What it boils down to is this … provisional faith, or following Him with a half-hearted heart, is not going to bring the results one hopes for. … If people keep going along indulging in sinful lifestyles, the consequences are terrible and eternal! ..
Let me share this passage that really touches my heart, and convicts me to keep shouting out His words and fight against this famine of the truth …
” ‘The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign Lord, ‘when I will send a famine through the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the Word of the Lord, but they will not find it.’ ” (Amos 8:11-12) …
In the final glimpse of the ‘7 Churches’ teaching, I want to sum up with this hope that the Lord gives to all of us, regardless of our ‘self & church’ condition. .. At the close of each individual church review, the Lord said this .. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” … I love this! .. This is the hope! …. No matter our situation, if we just ‘turn our ears’ to the truth of His teachings, will WILL prevail no matter the circumstances. … Hallelujah! …. He is speaking of the remnant that will exist in most all churches in these last days. …
I urge you …. Fear God. .. Ask the Holy Spirit to crush every doubt in you. .. You have the choice to choose your eternal destiny. … Choose to believe in the Lord. .. Trust Him in the face of all your circumstances. .. You have a God who will see you through everything in these increasingly difficult last days. ….
Until next time,