It could not have been a year, could it? How did time pass by so quickly, so unnoticed? Memorial Day? How many other things have taken priority in my life to where I just lost track of time? Have I become so focused on the immediate that I lost track of... of...how many other things? What else am I neglecting? Are they unimportant, insignificant, irrelevant? If they were important surely I would have at least paid attention to them. Wouldn't I? I would have set them as a priority, determined a course of action, evaluated my progress and achieved my goal. Surely that's what I would have done if they were important, right?
There are several days set on our calendars to remind us of special events, days set aside for a specific purpose. Memorial Day is a day when we remember the sacrifice of those who have served to preserve the liberties and freedoms we enjoy daily. It's a time to reflect upon what we often take for granted unless we have experienced, first hand, someone who did not return or returned injured and changed for life. So to those who have served and are serving - Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Take a little time to say thank you to a veteran or a service member you know.
However, there is a day which needs to permeate every moment we are given the grace to draw our next breath. Sadly, we often forget. How many times have we gone through the statements or thoughts or excuses in the first paragraph with Him who gave all that we might have life eternally? If in our busyness or neglect we have failed to remember Jesus Christ as our all in all, may this be the day that we rededicate ourselves to walking in a manner worthy of our calling. May we daily come to Him who endured the cross that we could be reconciled unto God and, in thanksgiving, remember.
In the quiet of the morning,
As I kneel to seek Your face,
There's no greater earthly pleasure,
Than the warmth of Your embrace.
As I look into the sunrise,
Wondering what this day will be,
I will cherish every moment,
No matter what it holds for me.
For I know that You are with me,
And that You love me like a son,
You have straightened all my pathways,
Oh, may Your will in me be done.
As I grow in grace and knowledge,
And I draw closer, Lord, to Thee,
May my life shine through the darkness,
A piercing light that points to Thee.
I am thankful for my pastors. They love the Lord and lift Jesus high each Sunday. A pastor labors hard at his calling, to teach and preach, to reprove, rebuke, and exhort, so that we are growing in grace and being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. My pastors do this faithfully each week. Pray for your leadership, often. Pray for their protection from what Satan will throw at them. Pray for their wisdom as they lead and prioritize. Pray for their strength and endurance. Just as you and I are searching out and tearing down the strongholds and idols in our hearts, they are as well. They not only lead the church of Jesus Christ, but also have responsibilities of leadership in the home. Obey them and be in submission to them. This is our calling, our duty, our obligation. We image Jesus when we do and it is for our protection, blessing, joy, and for their joy as well. When our pastors see us walking in the truth that they are preaching and teaching, how encouraging that must be to them...
Paul had the ability to see everything in the light of how it affected Christ. He saw everything vertically before he saw it horizontally. His motives were Christ's, his standards were Christ's, his objectives were Christ's, his vision was Christ's, his entire orientation was Christ's. Everything he thought, planned, said, and did was in relation to his Lord. He was in the fullest sense a captive of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Most of us will admit that we tend to be so self-oriented that we see many things first of all-and sometimes only-in relation to ourselves. But the person who has the Word of Christ abiding in him richly, the one who saturates his mind with divine wisdom and truth will ask, "How does this affect God? How will it reflect on Him? What does He want me to do with this problem or this blessing? How can I please and honor Him in this?" He tries to see everything through God's divine grid. That attitude is the basis and the mark of spiritual maturity. With David, the mature Christian can say, "I have set the Lord continually before me; Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices." Psalm 16:8,9
Righteous and upright is He." Moses - Deuteronomy 32:1-4
As the rain refreshes and brings benefit to the earth, the instruction of God's Word will bring refreshment and benefit to all who will follow it. This message is for everyone! God is like a rock, stable, and permanent. God is unchanging, unlike us. His work is without flaw. What He says He will do and He always does what is right and good and equitable - His actions flow from His righteous character. Aren't you glad He is working to make us more and more like Him? Our part, to walk according to His instruction, and someday, we will be, completely transformed into His image.
Jesus, You are my Rock - there is none like You! I give You praise, for You are my righteousness, and Your name is sweet, like the fragrance after a rain...
"...that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan,
with all power and signs and false wonders,
and with all the deception of wickedness..."
2 Thessalonians 2:9,10a
"WHO COMMITTED NO SIN,
NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH;"
1 Peter 2:22
"You destroy those who speak falsehood;
the LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit."
"...that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming."
2 Thessalonians 2:8
"How blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit!"
Note the 100% words in the first two passages
All deception and wickedness will be Antichrist's character, deceit will flow from his mouth
Jesus character - pure and spotless, therefore, He only speaks the truth
Abhor means to regard with disgust and hatred
The Lord regards with disgust and hatred liars and murderers
Antichrist's rule is going to be marked by the miraculous of Satan and will be the most powerful, harshest, bloodiest, and cruelest of any world leader but it will be brought to an end effortlessly by Jesus Himself
Jesus is infinitely more powerful than His enemy
Destruction is the end for those who image Antichrist
Abundant, wonderful blessing belongs to those who follow Jesus
That's quite a picture, isn't it? And we know Who wins...
If we think we can revel in our sin and then turn to Jesus for salvation at the last minute, when Antichrist is given authority over the world by God (Rev. 13:7), we need to take a look at what
the Bible says…
2 Thessalonians 2:3,4, 8-12
"...the man of lawlessness…the son of
destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object
of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself
as being God…that lawless onewill be revealed…the one whose coming is
in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false
wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of
the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding
influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may
be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness."
Antichrist will have the ability to perform amazing signs and wonders, to deceive those who have not loved Jesus and embraced Him as the truth. If we have rejected Him and His truth, taking pleasure in sin instead, God will cause us to buy into Antichrist's lies and signs and wonders. We will believe Antichrist is God and will not recognize Antichrist for who he really is, the hater of the one, true God, energized by Satan. 1 John 2:22 defines the antichrist as the one who denies God the Father and Jesus, God the Son.
Antichrist is referred to as the beast in the book of Revelation. Like the 2 Th. 2 passage, Rev. 13:4 also says his power is going to be great. He is also going to speak blasphemies against God - Rev. 13:6. I believe Antichrist is going to say horrible things about Jesus. I believe from what we are told in 2 Thessalonians 2, those who have heard the gospel and rejected it will not be bothered in the least by these blasphemies. Instead, they will become mockers and haters of Jesus and His followers - Mt. 24:9. But the follower of Jesus will be cut to the core and deeply grieved. To blaspheme against God will feel like a knife twisting in the heart of believers because it will be an attack on our beloved Savior.
According to Rev. 13:7 the beast is going to go to war against believers and many will be killed by him. We are told that there is another beast that will arise. He too will perform great deceiving signs and wonders and he is the one who will direct the world to worship the first beast, or Antichrist. He will tell people to make an image of the beast and to worship it. The image of the beast will speak. He will cause those who do not worship the image of Antichrist to be killed. He will cause people to take a mark on their right hand or forehead in order to be able to do business. The mark is either the name of the beast or the number of his name and the number is 666. You can read it in Rev. 13:11-18.
John 14:6 - Jesus is the only way to the Father. Jesus is the truth. There are no lies in Him. No deception. No half truths. Just pure, beautiful, truth. Whatever He says, He means, and it will happen just as He says. Jesus is abundant life. He offers crystal clear, all refreshing, life giving water. To follow Jesus leads to eternal life. To follow Antichrist ultimately will lead to eternal destruction, only it won't be recognized at first. His followers will think they are under the umbrella of peace and safety - 1 Th. 5:3. Jesus offers forgiveness of sins. He offers Himself. The truth is that He went to the cross and bore the wrath of God for our sin, if we will turn away from our sin and accept His death in our place, believing that He is the one and only true God, bending the knee to Him as Lord, and King. He promises to be with those who love Him as The Truth, during the coming reign of Antichrist - Mt. 28:20. Antichrist's reign will last three and a half years - Rev. 13:5. It will begin when He makes His God declaration. Then, He will go after those who refuse to worship him and who hold to the testimony of Jesus, but his ability to slaughter will be cut off by the return of Jesus, sometime before the three and a half years is up - Mt. 24:22. The Father knows the day and the hour (Mt. 24:36) and Jesus has given us the signs that will precede His return - Mt. 24:3-31. Those who put their faith in Jesus Christ will be overcomers of Antichrist, even in death. (See the verse just under my blog title at the top - Revelation 12:11.)
The days that are coming are going to be extraordinary. Antichrist will perform signs and wonders. He will say deceiving things. He will spout half truths that only the child of God will recognize as deceiving, because we have loved the truth. The revealing of Antichrist is a revealing to Christ followers of his true identity, a man whose power comes from Satan. The second beast will also perform signs and wonders. And God, in His grace, is going to send an angel making this announcement:
"And another angel, a third one, followed them, saying with a loud voice, "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or upon his hand, he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever; and they have no rest day and night, those who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."
"Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life."
"And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost."
Protection for a short time, under a deceiver, and then God's wrath forever, and ever, and ever,
or tribulation for a short time and possible death, but Jesus, The True Life-Giver,
forever, and ever, and ever?
if we are withholding obedience in any area of our life
where we know God has given us instruction.
To be Spirit-filled is to be Word-obedient.
To be Spirit-filled is to have all sin confessed.
To be Spirit-filled is to be completely devoid of self
and yielded completely to God.
To be Spirit-filled is to be, "Not I, but Christ."
It is commanded of every believer,
therefore every believer is capable of being Spirit-filled.
Great things happen for the Kingdom of God
when we are Spirit-filled.
The Spirit-filled wife is joyfully in subjection to her husband.
The Spirit-filled husband is joyfully giving himself up for his wife.
The Spirit-filled child is joyfully obeying his or her parents.
The Spirit-filled father is not provoking his children to anger,
but bringing them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
When we are Spirit-filled,
we are loving Jesus with our obedience.
Our lives magnify Christ,
Jesus gets the glory.
Let's commit to being Spirit-filled!
I thought you'd enjoy this email note I received from Ben yesterday. He, and Mai, and Charlie left for Alaska a week ago. They actually arrived on Sunday. I drove the Alcan with my family back in 1978. Back then it wasn't paved. Because of the frost heaves, which Ben mentions, we had four flat tires and broke the axle on our utility trailer which contained all our camping gear - Ben, Mai, and Charlie made it just fine! Thank you, Lord. The Alaska Highway has some of the most spectacular, breathtaking scenery in all of God's amazing creation. Kluane Lake, which Ben also mentions, has a blue hue that is just incredible! (It's from the glacial silt.) Anyway, enjoy!
Hi Mom and Dad,
We survived our first day in Fairbanks. The weather was partly cloudy in the morning, turning to showers by evening, above 50 all day. We tooled around town today. Went to Wal-Mart which is a Super Wal-Mart I might add and then over to Sam's Club to get info on a membership. Pretty much the same deals as Costco but a bit different. Garrett and Hannah are showing us amazing hospitality as usual. Mai made some awesome baked chicken tonight and we are ready to get caught up on some more sleep as well. We decided to do Whitehorse to Fairbanks overnight because the cost of lodging was getting to be way too expensive and it was way too cold for tenting with our equipment. Mai kept up good conversation with me and we stopped every two hours for a potty and eyeball break. I was surprised at how alert I was. I've had worse tiring commutes just to home from work at night. Unfortunately, we did Kluane at night but the outline of the mountains were breathtaking in the twilight and you could see the moonlight off the still frozen lake surface. We saw four black bears, one grizzly, about a dozen elk and caribou, some ptarmigans, two eagles, some deer in BC and I almost ran over a porcupine in the Yukon. He's fortunate I've got good brakes and I had no oncoming traffic so I spared him his life. The frost heaves were thankfully marked by little red flags on either side of the road which made navigating them very helpful, although a few jumped up and bit us. Sometimes they are much worse than they actually look. My shocks got a bit of a workout on a couple, but nothing to be seriously concerned about. We did the Stewart-Cassiar to the tail-end of the Alcan into Delta Junction in just under five days, with a baby. Gotta be a record or something! It is much warmer here in Fairbanks than anywhere else on our trip. Tomorrow is another tool around day and then we take a trip out to Healy on Wednesday. We'll spend a couple of days there to situate a place to stay and then head back to Fairbanks to haul all of our stuff out to our cabin. The sooner we can get into a cabin the sooner we can take a little vacation before the summer season starts. Thanks for praying for us. We are happy to be back up here and ready to get to work! Love you guys! We'll send some pics of our trip soon.
"He who made the Pleiades and Orion and changes deep darkness into morning, Who darkens day into night, Who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD God of hosts is His name."
"And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
The signs that precede Jesus return, at the end of the age...
The Abomination of Desolation
A great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will
False Christs and false prophets showing great signs and wonders
The darkening of the sun
The moon not giving off its light
The stars falling from the sky
"Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a GREAT TRUMPET and THEY WILL GATHER TOGETHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other."
Matthew 24. See also Mark 13, Luke 21, 1 Thess. 4 and 5, 2 Thess. 1 and 2, 1 Cor. 15
Jesus said in Matthew 24:33 that when we see all these things, "recognize that He is near, right at the door." When Jesus was giving this clear instruction, it was for you and me too. It was for the church. - Don't be mislead about this - Matt. 28:20, Mark 13:37.
Until Jesus returns, friends, be in His Word. What is hidden in your mind and heart can't be taken away. Be obedient, be steadfast, be immovable, be always abounding in His work...Jesus is our joy, our life, our Blessed Hope, our everything!
Whether you've been a Christian for many years or just a short time, you are an example to someone. People hear what you say and observe how you live. They look for a glimpse of Christ in your life. What do they see? How would they do spiritually if they followed your example perfectly?
I was beginning to wonder if you were ever going to get off,
but you did - off on a new adventure! My
desire and prayer for the three of you is that you will live Jesus centered
lives in Alaska, or wherever the Lord leads you. It is the best, safest life! There will always be trials to be sure, but strive hard to follow Jesus. You
must be in the Word to do this. This is
His desire and will for you. Love Him
with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, by obeying His commands. Live humbly according
to God’s instruction. It truly is the
Ben, be an example to Charlie of a godly husband and father.
Mai, how thankful I am for you. You are a precious daughter-in-law and the
perfect wife for Ben. Be an example to
Charlie of what he should look for in a wife.
Be in the Word, often.
Charlie, obey Mommy and Daddy. They love you and know what is best for you!
Remember that love is “you before me.” That is how Jesus loved us. He laid aside His privilege and gave up His
life for us and we are called to love like Him.
Keep giving up self for each other.
Be forgiving of each other when you fail. Be quick to own up to your sin. Ben, I will treasure the memory of how you
fixed breakfast for your family this morning and started the fire for them, wanting
them to come into a comfortable, inviting, warm setting. Keep that kind of thing up, even when you
don’t feel like it.
Get plugged into a church that loves the Lord and teaches
the Word. You need the encouragement and
accountability of the family of Christ. It
is easy to get out of the habit of fellowship and get comfortable in that
place. Be on guard against that so find a church that loves Jesus and is all about teaching you that.
Finally, you know that as we get close to the Lord’s
return, severe persecution is coming.
The more you know Jesus, the more steadfast you will be and it takes
being in the Word. (I can’t say that enough!) You know the end of the story,
I love you. I will be
praying for you. May the Lord always be your life, precious Ben, Mai, and Charlie. Have a great adventure, living for Jesus, in Alaska!
“Trust in the Lord
with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will
make your paths straight.” Proverbs