Redeeming The Time In 2015

Our excerpt today in our Words of Grace for Strength series is from the message “Do You Know What Time It Is?” by Dr. Ray Pritchard

Dr. Pritchard writes:
Paul challenges his readers, “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” (Romans 13:11 NKJV). Do you know what time it is? It’s time to wake up! Why? “Because our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” That’s a reference to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus is coming, and each day brings us closer to that great world-shattering event.

In light of that, Paul tells us to wake up, put off the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. The long night is fading away, the sun is peeking over the eastern horizon, and Jesus is coming soon!
Christian, do you know what time it is? It’s time to wake up and get dressed!

This is something we must know!

“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:11-12).

What “time” is Paul talking about in verse 11 and what “hour” does he mean? He means that this present age is sinful and dark and ultimately passing away (Galatians 1:4). It won’t last forever (1 John 2:17). Colossians 1:12-13 uses the image of darkness and light in many places to explain what happens when someone becomes a Christian. They are transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Do you know what being saved is like? It’s like living in the darkness for twenty or thirty or forty years and suddenly the lights come on.

What time is it right now? Check your watch and see. Now read verse 11 again and answer the question.
What time is it? It’s time to wake up. You sleep at night. You don’t sleep during the day. All of us understand what that means. It’s hard to sleep during the day. It doesn’t feel right. It’s not natural. Day is for waking and working; night is for sleeping and dreaming.

Why does Paul say that the long night is over and the day has come? Because the coming of the Lord is at hand. How near is it? Very near indeed. When Billy Graham preaches on the Second Coming, he often tells the story of a grandfather clock whose chimes rang every hour, once for one o’clock, twice for two o’clock, and so on. One night the clock malfunctioned, causing the chimes to ring thirteen times. A little boy heard it and raced through the house yelling “Get up, everyone get up! It’s later than it’s ever been.” How true that is. It’s later than it’s ever been, and we’re closer to the coming of Christ than ever before.

Words of Grace for Strength

In a few days we will enter into a new year. 2015 is nearly upon us and we will begin anew the process of counting down the 365 days of the year. What will this New Year hold for you? What will transpire in the world which will affect your life? As each year passes we grow closer to the time in which Jesus Christ will return for His Church, when the time of Tribulation will envelop the earth, and ultimately when Christ will return in power and great glory to defeat Satan and establish His Kingdom reign.

Knowing this, we are aware that the day in which we live is still very dark. Satan, as the ruler of this present world is still doing everything he can to exercise control over world events. It is his plan to subvert the cause of Christ, to marginalize the church by watering down its message and commitment, and to cause derision and persecution to fall on the True Church.

Yet even in this dark day we still have the light of the Gospel. When the Gospel light meets the darkness it destroys its hold and power over those who have experienced it. Ephesians 5:15&16 and Colossians 4:5 encourages us to redeem the time. As we enter into 2015 we should take this admonition of the Apostle Paul to heart. God has given us a mandate to serve Him in these Last Days and until His return, we should make every day in 2015 count for the cause of Christ.

I am not one who “makes” New Year’s “resolutions” but I do believe that as a member of the Body of Christ there are some things every believer should do to redeem the time. What are they? Let’s make a list:

1. Set aside daily a time to meet with the Lord in Bible Study and Prayer. Make it a personal habit to talk to the Lord and listen to the Lord.

2. Determine to live daily by biblical principles and sound doctrine.

3. Be involved in your local Church. Don’t just attend, commit to an active role and participate in all of the ministries and Bible Studies of your church. Don’t let “life” interfere with your commitment to your local church family.

4. Commit yourself to being a good steward of your time, resources and finances by giving to the Lord your tithe in every area. As Christians we should understand that absolutely everything we have is from Him and we owe Him everything.

5. Become a disciple. Find a more mature believer to disciple you and become an accountability partner to you. Then commit to becoming a disciple to a less mature believer. (Men to Men, and Women to Women)

6. Learn to trust the Lord in everything. He has promised to take care of you and provide everything you need. When it seems everyone or everything is against you, when your burdens seem to be too big for you to carry, trust in Him!

7. Set personal goals for ministry and service in your church family. Be ready to challenge yourself to stretch beyond your “comfort zone” as you follow His will for your life and the life of your church family. Make a plan to accomplish your goals!

8. Never fear your past whatever it held, let past failures be put under the blood of Christ and allow God to use your future. Determine every day to serve God and let Him establish your future.

9. Support your pastors and follow the leadership of the shepherds God has placed before your church family. These men have uniquely been chosen by God, and understand the gravity of the responsibility they have before God as leader servants in the local church. In his shepherd role your pastor will be held to a higher standard of accountability for the way he follows God and the way the members of the local church family follow his leadership as pastor – teacher.

10. Be excited that you are living in these times. As Christians we live in the most exciting time that this earth has experienced. The Signs of the Times are very clear and we can say with certainty that “our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.” The Rapture is imminent and Jesus is coming soon! Live every day believing that this could be the day.

Redeem the time in 2015! Let this be the year in your life that you walk closer to the Lord than ever before; let this be the year when you serve the Lord with all of your heart, mind, and soul; let this be the year when others can say without reservation that they see Christ in you.

Redeem the Time!

Is God Turning the Bear?

For about 70 years, between 1920 and 1970, the USSR was ever expanding. Soviet leaders gobbled up Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Poland, part of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldavia, East Germany, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Yugoslavia and much more.

In the early 90s, some nations rebelled and demanded their independence. Soviet leaders tried to hold the union together, but the rebellion spread, the Soviets lost their power and the USSR fell apart.

Some political leaders thought the collapse of the Soviet Union meant that the world had entered a new era of peace, but by the end of the decade a former KGB agent named Vladimir Putin had risen to power and become the acting president of Russia.

He went on to become president, then prime minister and then president again. He changed laws, consolidated his power, cracked down on his opposition, rebuilt the military, developed close ties with Iran and quietly nurtured the dream of restoring the old Soviet Union. Some even said he also wanted to take over all of Europe.

Mr. Putin liked to present himself as a strongman and his desire to restore the old USSR troubled some of the former Soviet Union nations. His intervention in Georgia, Kyrgystan, Ukraine, his annexation of Crimea and the fact that he threatened to use Russian power outside Russia’s borders made them nervous.

Several of those former USSR nations joined, or tried to join NATO, primarily for protection. They had broken away from the old power-hungry bear and they didn’t want to be subjugated and forced back in.

About eight months ago when Mr. Putin took over Crimea, western leaders finally decided that he had gone too far and he needed to be turned around. They demanded that he stop supporting the opposition forces in Crimea and threatened to impose sanctions on Russia if he didn’t turn around and leave. Their initial sanctions were virtually meaningless and Mr. Putin scoffed at them, but western leaders continued to ramp up the sanctions and the bear began to hurt.

Almost overnight, there was a global glut of oil triggered by an economic downturn in Asia and Europe, fracking for oil in the U.S. and stepped up production of oil in Saudi Arabia. The price of oil quickly dropped from more than $100 per barrel to less than $60 per barrel. The Russian Ruble collapsed, the Russian economy went into a tailspin, and Russia was suddenly facing the prospects of a recession or possibly a depression.

The looming economic disaster and the likelihood that the Russian people might eventually rebel got Mr. Putin’s attention. He now appears to be looking for a way to save face, turn around and leave Crimea. But he has promised the Russian people that he will retaliate against those who have imposed sanctions on Russia and he has promised that he will solve Russia’s economic problems in the next two years.

The Russian bear’s actions made me think of the battle of Gog and Magog. Gog will try to expand his kingdom in the latter days and latter years. But God said, “I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth” (Ezek. 38:4).

Is Mr. Putin Gog? Is God turning Gog around? How will Gog retaliate? I don’t think anyone knows. We can only say that Russia must turn away from one target before God pulls her toward a second target (Israel).

God also said, “It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought” (Ezek. 38:10).

What is this evil thought? The Bible doesn’t say but it appears to be:

“To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land” (Ezek. 38:12).

And some would add, “To satisfy the ancient Islamic hatred for Israel.”

I don’t know what Mr. Putin was thinking when he told the Russian people he will solve Russia’s economic problems in the next two years, but China and India have offered to help Russia so it will take a little time for Russia’s recession to reach full bloom.

Israel has acquired phenomenal wealth with minerals from the Dead Sea, oil and natural gas, agricultural success, cattle and goods; and Mr. Putin has not been reluctant to steal from other countries. We don’t know when it will happen, but many would not be surprised to see the battle of Gog and Magog in the next two years.

A wounded bear is dangerous and this wounded bear may not be ready to go away. He may turn around and seek a different prey. But regardless of anything I have written, what he has been trying to do to Israel will be done to him. He will become the prey and God will be known in the eyes of many nations (Obad. 1:15; Ezek. 38:23; 39:17-20).

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com

Obama’s Bad Harvest

One of the most remarkable verses in the Bible reads: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7).
Do not let people mislead you about this immutable (unchangeable) law of God. Our God cannot be misled, treated with contempt or treated like He doesn’t exist; the things we do in life will produce a harvest.
It is interesting to note that Jacob deceived his father into thinking he was Esau (Gen. 27:6-29) and later, Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Leah instead of Rachel (Gen. 29:9-30).
Pharaoh ordered the death of all of the male Hebrew babies in Egypt (Ex. 1:16) and later, God ordered the death of all of the first-born Egyptian babies in Egypt (Ex. 11:4-6; 12:29-30).
David committed adultery with Bathsheba, got her pregnant and was directly responsible for the death of her husband Uriah (II Sam. 11:2-27), and later, others committed adultery with David’s wives and his child with Bathsheba got sick and died (II Sam. 12:11-19).
Jezebel had Naboth killed so Ahab could get his vineyard (I Kings 21:1-16) and later, Ahab died at the exact same place where Naboth died (I Kings 21:17-22:39). Saul (later called Paul) consented to Stephen being stoned to death (Acts 7:57-8:1). And later, Paul was stoned to death (Acts 14:19).
Repentance and confession can change things, but I want to move on to something else. Another one of God’s immutable laws says:
“For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head” (Obad. 1:18).
When the Tribulation period is about to fall upon the enemies of Israel (not upon the saved because of the Pre-Trib Rapture), those who mistreat Israel will reap what they sow. Every attempt to harm Israel will backfire.
God’s guiding principle will be to do to Israel’s enemies what they try to do to Israel. In essence, they will decide their own judgment and it will fall upon their head like a bolder from heaven.
Look at how the Obama Administration has treated Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel: Pres. Obama snubbed and insulted Prime Minister Netanyahu at the White House. Members of the Obama Administration met with an Israeli politician behind closed doors to discuss an effort to topple the Netanyahu government.
Members of the Obama Administration refused to meet with members of the Netanyahu cabinet. A senior official in the Obama Administration called Prime Minister Netanyahu chicken***t (chicken manure).
Members of the Obama Administration reportedly held meetings to discuss sanctions on Israel because the Netanyahu government continues to issue building permits in Jewish neighborhoods on the West Bank.
Terrorists have attacked women and children in Israel and the Obama Administration blamed it on Israel. Palestinians have been paid to riot on the Temple Mount and the Obama Administration blamed their violence on Israel.
The Islamic State has recruited thousands of killers and the Obama Administration has blamed their recruiting success on Israel. In the eyes of Mr. Obama and his staff—Israel can do no good, and all of the terrorism, violence and war—is Israel’s fault.
Pres. Obama’s disdain for Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu have not gone unnoticed. Mr. Netanyahu’s political rivals should have laid the blame at the feet of America’s pro-Muslim, anti-Semitic president.
But they chose to use the Obama Administration’s snubs, insults, name-calling, lies and false accusations to belittle Mr. Netanyahu for the purpose of furthering their own political careers.
According to them, every rift between the U.S. and Israel has been Mr. Netanyahu’s fault. Every Netanyahu decision that Pres. Obama didn’t like was Mr. Netanyahu’s fault. (It worked the way Pres. Obama wanted it to work.) The internal strife hog-tied the government. Mr. Netanyahu dissolved his coalition and scheduled new elections.
Only God knows the future. But it seems unwise to me for the Obama Administration to be causing political strife in Israel. God’s immutable laws still apply. As we approach a new year, I hope I am wrong and it is just my opinion.
But I must admit that I won’t be surprised if the political division that Pres. Obama has sown in Israel produces a bad harvest of political division in America. It will be just one more sign that the Tribulation period is near.
Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com

Reprobate Mind

In late November 2014, the Atlanta Business Chronicle ran a story about Atlanta’s Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran. Chief Cochran holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Management and a master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He has 27 years of experience in the Shreveport, LA Fire Department; was the city’s first African-American Fire Chief. Later he became the Fire Chief in the Atlanta Fire Department.

He then left his position to serve as Fire Administrator in the Obama Administration, worked with FEMA and the Dept. of Homeland Security; held several positions in community and professional organizations; and more. Chief Cochran has obviously proven himself to be an outstanding individual.
Chief Cochran accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior and became a member of the Galilee Baptist Church in Shreveport, LA at the age of five. He grew up poor, attended church, developed a strong faith, became a committed Christian and turned into an exceptional citizen and role model—especially in the black community. If more people were like Chief Cochran, America wouldn’t be having the violence it is having today.

Chief Cochran’s fame didn’t cause him to turn away from his faith or stop him from taking a strong position on Christian issues. He wrote a book in 2013 titled, Who Told You That You Are Naked (available at amazon.com), that verifies this. Simply put, he condemned homosexuality, marital infidelity and relationships with multiple sex partners.

His Christian teaching caused the gay community to go bonkers (slang for bananas, nuts, irrational, mentally disturbed, etc.). Some of those I grew up with would say it caused them to go buck wild or to be unrealistic. And some of those I worked with would say it caused them to act like they were about three digits short of a five digit zip code.

For example, it was reported that some in the gay community claimed that Chief Cochran wouldn’t put out fires at gay homes. Really! Are we to believe that when a house catches on fire in Atlanta the Fire Chief knows whether it is occupied by gays or not and based on that he decides whether the fire should be put out or not? Is this not irrational, buck wild or unrealistic?

Anyway, Chief Cochran was accused of undermining the public’s trust in him for writing that book, and he was suspended from his job for one month without pay. Some would probably ask, “What happened to his freedom of speech?”

Much could be said about that, but right now I want to recall what Paul said, “The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Tim. 4:2-3). The time will come when unsaved people will not tolerate true Bible teaching. If America hasn’t already reached that point, it is quickly reaching it because Christians are rapidly losing their freedom of speech.

Concerning the last days, Paul said, “men shall be . . . without natural affection” (2 Tim. 3:2-3). The fact that speaking the Word of God is off limits and rejected, that a godly man is persecuted for stating only what the Bible teaches and the fact that an unnatural lifestyle is boldly celebrated and treated as normal are all signs that the world is in the last days of the Church Age.

In one generation, the depraved have become more depraved and many are telling the true church that expressing God’s truth is unacceptable. These are signs that God will soon bring the Church Age to an end. If society doesn’t want Christians to give them the Word of God, He will soon remove the Christians and let them see what happens when His Word is universally rejected.

Paul also said, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Rom. 1:28). Many of those without natural affection don’t want to know God, so He has given them over to what they do want.

That is to say, He has allowed them to be free from Him and to have a reprobate (worthless, corrupt or godless) state of mind. And there are consequences from that: Their lives without God and their faulty thinking have made them slaves to sin. They are free from God, but enslaved to sin.

Just think about it: The leaders of a major American city would rather suppress the truth and be lied to—than to hear the truth. If that isn’t reprobate thinking, what is? Let’s hope it doesn’t last long and that many gays come out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light before it is eternally too late.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com

Lovers of Darkness

My good friend, Dr. David R. Reagan, recently wrote an outstanding article titled, “How Did God Speak Through the Prophets.” He mentioned that the little known prophet, Micaiah, is one of his favorite prophets and he told the story about Micaiah, Ahab and Jehoshaphat (1 Kings 22:1-38).

What Dr. Reagan said is better than anything I can come up with, but his article left me with a thought that I want to try to expand on.

Syria had captured the large city of Ramoth-gilead from the Northern Kingdom called Israel and the wicked Israeli king Ahab wanted it back. He saw the opportunity to get it back when the godly king Jehoshaphat visited him from the Southern Kingdom called Judah.

While they were talking Ahab asked Jehoshaphat if he would join him in a war against Syria to retake it. In essence, Jehoshaphat said he would, but he wanted Ahab to seek the will of the Lord first.

Ahab called about 400 prophets in (false prophets or prophets who thought their job was to tell the king what he wanted to hear) and they said, “Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king.”

This sounded a little suspicious to king Jehoshaphat so he asked king Ahab, “Is there not here a prophet of the Lord besides, that we might inquire of him?” Jehoshaphat wanted God’s opinion not man’s opinion. He wanted the truth whether he liked it or not.

King Ahab replied, “There is one man, Micaiah …but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” King Jehoshaphat told king Ahab he shouldn’t say that and to satisfy the good king Jehoshaphat, Ahab sent for the prophet Micaiah.

While they were waiting for Micaiah to arrive, Ahab’s approximately 400 prophets assured him that the Lord would deliver Ramoth-gilead into his hands.

When Ahab’s servant reached Micaiah he told Micaiah what the other prophets said and urged him to “speak that which is good.” That is to say if you want to get along with the king, prophesy good things instead of bad things.

Micaiah’s response was, “As the Lord liveth, what the Lord saith unto me, that will I speak.” His prophecy would be what the Lord says whether it is positive or negative. Skipping down to the end of the story for the sake of getting to the point, Micaiah said to Ahab:

“I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd.” He also told Ahab, “the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee.”

Four things: 1) Israel would be defeated, 2) Ahab would die, 3) his prophets were lying to him, and 4) God’s judgment was coming instead of God’s blessing.

Micaiah was slapped in the face by one of Ahab’s prophets and he was cast into prison to receive nothing but bread and water until Ahab’s return from the battlefield. Nevertheless, Ahab listened to his lying prophets, Israel was defeated, he was killed and his body was buried in Samaria.

Many people are like Ahab because they don’t want to hear negative prophecy even if it comes from the Lord and even if it is true. And many preachers are like the prophet that slapped Micaiah in the face because they are not preaching the whole counsel of God and they resent those who are.

Paul told Timothy, “The time will come when they (most church members) will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Tim. 4:3).

The time will come when many church members will not listen to everything that is in the Word of God. They will listen to a positive message, but they will not listen to a negative message. They will bring in preachers that say things that make them feel good, but they will not tolerate preachers that say things they don’t want to hear. They will love darkness more than the truth.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com