Enough is Enough

And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” – Luke 12:15

 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5

 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”  – Exodus 20:17

The Bible has plenty to say on the topic of covetousness, the above are a few verses. The biblical concept of covetousness centers in not only on the desire to have things you do not possess, but the desire for things others possess, and especially things possessed by those close to you. It ties up greed and envy in an ugly little package and it is a package sitting on your front doorstep. We want things, and since we see them most often, we especially want those things our friends have, our neighbors have, or others in our family have. What makes covetousness especially harmful is not only the greed for things, but the hurt it would cause if you were to try to satisfy the desire by taking something away from someone close to you. The issue of covetousness is addressed in the tenth commandment. I think the Lord put it there in the event someone (like any of us) were working through the list and feeling pretty good that you got through nine and were doing fine. I think the tenth one is almost like an umbrella statement for when someone thinks they have pretty much lined up with and are behaving as the Lord would want them. If you are honest with yourself (and you know you cannot fool the Lord), you know you are not going to get through the tenth commandment unscathed, most likely you will be pretty banged up before you are done reading it.

 Then He said to His disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds?  And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith? “And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things.  But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. – Luke 12:22-31

The real tragedy of covetousness comes through in the above passage out of Luke. It is the behavior of the world, not of a child of God. The Lord is abundant in His provision of our needs, even if He is ignoring our wants. We get enough to get by in this world as the Lord would have us live in it if we only trust in Him. The Lord’s provision is enough for it is what He would have for us. How could one of His children want more? I am not saying there isn’t hunger or pain or need; a trial of such nature may be in the Lord’s will for us as He molds us and teaches us, or uses us to minister to and reach others. But by faith we need walk as though the Lord has provided enough for us, for in His perfect will He has.

If you are trying to satisfy your wants and desires, you are in for a world of hurt as you enter a world filled with covetousness. It is filled with your covetousness, and that of those around you seeking to slake their own worldly thirsts and satisfy their earthly hungers. A bunch of highly motivated and completely unsatisfied people seeking out that which counters the Lord’s purposes and openly defies His will. A circular life for you are not going to get anywhere but you will spend much time and effort going round and round. The only way out of that rut is to meet the Lord on His terms and follow His path.

Living a life of faith that is satisfied with the provision of the Lord may not necessarily protect you from the covetousness of others. But you have what others cannot take away. Your salvation. Your personal relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior. Your knowledge, steeped in your faith, that the Lord will provide for you allowing you to prevail through the trials of this earthly journey.

Enough is enough when it comes from the Lord.  Seek Him out and pray for the wisdom and discernment to see that in your life. Learn that enough is enough. For those who seek out their wants, and chase futilely after them will one day try the Lord’s patience to the point at which He may well say “Enough is enough!”

Then they may well learn that context is everything.

 

Discipleship: Fully Committed to Christ

In Luke 14:25-33 we find a passage that describes what is required to truly be a disciple of Christ.

“Now great multitudes went with Him. And He turned and said to them, ‘”If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.”’

Many would consider this passage as some of the “hard sayings” of Jesus. At the point in His ministry at which He made these statements, He had been attracting great crowds which followed Him everywhere to hear His teaching. Yet many of them were following Him expecting temporal reward or at the very least, reflected glory for themselves. And so, Jesus delivers to them this message in order for them to understand what truly would be required of anyone who desired to be His disciple. Additionally, He shared with them examples of counting the cost of being His disciple.

When Jesus spoke to them in verse 26; “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” the implication was not that they would truly hate their own family or themselves, but in fact, that as much as they loved their families, they must love Jesus infinitely more. And in verse 27; “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple,” He is saying, in order to be His disciple, not only should one be willing to face unspeakable persecution and suffering, but one willingly commits to following Christ even if it means his death. In verse 33 Jesus said; “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” Again, the inference is that if we are to be disciples of Jesus Christ, we must be willing to put our love and service to Him above all of our material possessions. My friends this is a total commitment that He is requiring. You must follow Him completely or not at all. It is all or nothing. Jesus Christ is either Lord over everything in your life, including your life itself, or He is not Lord at all.

To be a true disciple of Jesus Christ one must count the cost. One must realize that sacrifice is required, suffering and persecution is to be expected, and we very well may be required to forfeit our very lives. In teaching on discipleship I often say it is not for the weak at heart. Again, remember Jesus told us in John 15:20; “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you,” and they crucified Him.

So, we have looked at what Christ says is required to be a disciple, but how does that relate to being a Christian? Let’s look at Acts 11:28; “And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” In this passage, which is telling about Barnabas taking Paul to Antioch, disciple is synonymous with Christian. I’m wondering if that puts a whole new light on your understanding of your relationship to Christ. Let’s look again at the words of Christ, this time in Mark 8:34; ‘“When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”’ There are three imperatives here:

  • First, is self-denial. This again is putting Christ before anything, anyone, and everything in your life;
  • Second, is self-sacrifice. Again, being willing to suffer and lay down your very life for Jesus Christ if so required;
  • Third, Jesus said “follow me” and there have been volumes written about the meaning of those two words, but the short version is this, having embraced self-denial and self-sacrifice,
    • commit to the life of a disciple by studying the Word of God,
    • grow more Christ-like by living by the Word of God,
    • share the Word of God with others,
    • and defend the Word of God without fail.

Here then is the bottom line. Jesus, the very Son of God, was born into this world to become the Christ. At Calvary He took on the sin debt owed by all humanity, paid it with His own life, was buried, and resurrected Himself into life. By His victory over sin and death, He has offered to all mankind the free gift of salvation and eternal life for all who will believe in His finished work at the cross and recognize Him as their Savior, and Lord of their life. In understanding this, we comprehend that discipleship as a Christian is voluntary. In accepting Christ’s gift we willingly are giving over our will to His Will. In that respect, becoming a Christian and a disciple is intentional.

Unfortunately, there are many who call themselves Christian, yet have not counted the cost. They never really surrendered their will to His Will. If you take an honest look at your life, can you truly say that you have surrendered your will to Christ? If not, you must seriously question your commitment. Are you truly following Christ? Are you His disciple? Again, if not, there is no better time than now, no better day than today to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior and surrender your life and your will to Him.

True discipleship begins at the cross of Christ. It requires sacrificial devotion to Christ without compromise, it requires putting the needs of others ahead of one’s self for the sake of the gospel, it is an absolute commitment to God’s Will in the disciple’s life.

Are you a disciple of Jesus?

Why Would He?

Why would a loving God allow suffering in the world? That can be a difficult question to answer when you are in ministry, especially when asked by someone who is suffering in illness and pain, or is watching a loved one do so. If the person is a believer, it may be testing their faith as they struggle to cope with something that is incredibly hard for them to bear. If the person has not trusted Christ as their Savior, it may be asked in great anger. At times like these, hitting someone with a Bible verse is not necessarily going to cut it:

 As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one – Romans 3:10

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God – Romans 3:23

Try one of those on someone who has just lost a parent, a spouse, a child or a sibling and you will probably be called an insensitive fool or much, much worse. Probably with good justification. Let me be clear, I am not saying not to share the Gospel with those suffering or in need. If they do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, if they do not have a personal relationship with Him, they need that more than anything else. But understand the context you are talking to them in. Suffering people need comfort and companionship, not verses thrown at them at a time of weakness or despair. They need the Gospel that is certainly true, but they need the Truth spoken in love, they need a sensitive approach that will open their hearts and not close their ears.

Take a look at the second chapter of Job, when his friends, after hearing of the adversity that had beset Job, came to visit. For seven days they just sat with him, for they recognized the depths of his grief, and as friends, just being there was some comfort to Job. And as you look at the subsequent chapters when all three try to give Job an answer for his suffering, you realize they were all much smarter when they just kept their mouths shut and sat with Job as he struggled with his anguish. They seemed more intent on proving themselves right than with helping Job through his difficult time. In the end, God had nothing good to say about them as He reminded Job who He was, and who was Job to question Him.

The plain truth of it is that there is pain and suffering in the world, at some point we all face a tragedy in our lives. I can tell you from personal experience that facing it without Jesus to lean on and call out to is no easy matter. God loves us more than we can truly comprehend, loves us enough to allow us to make choices. Sin entered the world through the choice of the first members of humanity, and we have dealt with it ever since. But God loved us enough to allow His Son to suffer on this earth as well, and as a result we have a choice to accept Christ as Lord and Savior and so avoid eternal suffering separated from the divine Presence. But that love allows choice, even if choices (our own or those of others) permits incredible amounts of suffering into these short, temporary lives (or so they are when compared to eternity). As children of God we are promised an eternal life in the very presence of God. As children of God we are not promised an easy life while in this world. We live with our choices, and we live with sin and evil, and all the attendant pain, as a result of that first choice made in the Garden.

There must be something in the personally choosing Christ that makes the joy awaiting us in eternity fuller and richer. Something we cannot comprehend now, but one day will, and when we do, it will be forever. Something that in God’s perfect plan allows suffering today as He permits the sin that is in the world and the sin nature within us to continue as He works forward in His purposes. There is divine purpose to the fact we are given choice.

So if dealing with that question, either from a believer or a non-believer, try to show God’s love, try to share God’s love. And when the moment is right, give them the Gospel if they haven’t trusted Christ; remind them of the Gospel if they have. But most of all, be there for them. Seek the Lord and ask that the Spirit give you the right words to say at the right time. We can be wise in Christ, and we can draw upon that as needed. But I believe the most important thing to start with is to remind those suffering that God loves them; a believer can rely on the promises made to all children of God, one who has not accepted Christ can draw comfort from the fact that He wants them to accept Him. A rock solid belief that a loving God loves me is the most powerful thing for anyone to draw upon when working through a trial, when dealing with suffering.

If it asked by someone more interested in debating your beliefs or denying the one true God, the question of why does God allow suffering will most likely be asked in a mocking tone. Something along the lines of how can a loving God allow people to starve, allow children to be harmed, allow bad things happen to “good” people. Starting with Bible verses may not be the best approach either. I find Bible verses work best when the person asking the question is sincerely seeking answers, is craving the wisdom and comfort of Truth. If you are seeking the Lord’s guidance, you will know when to turn to His Word directly. For the mocker or the derisive, dismissive type you may want to start in another place that will eventually lead to Scripture as you engage in conversation and people see your belief is sincere, even if they don’t agree with it. Passion for your belief and sincerity to share what you have may overcome the objections to your quoting from the Bible. An atheist may respect you more if your integrity is obvious, or at least be willing to hear you out. Engage in conversation, question how they arrived at their beliefs (or disbeliefs), explain a bit how you arrived at your current place in the journey that is your life. Scripture will fall into the conversation as and when it should, trust in the Spirit, trust in the Lord’s timing.

As I think about engaging in those type discussions my mind sometimes goes in a different direction from when I am speaking to someone dealing with the immediate effects of pain, with suffering. (But I believe the mockers are dealing with pain, but it may be from the past or at least not so directly obvious at the time). When you look at what has gone on in the world from those first days in the Garden to now, you may want to ask why didn’t the Lord wipe the slate clean and start over again. Love. He loved us too much to do that. But beyond that you would have to ask the following question, which is of paramount importance. Why would a sovereign God allow His perfect plans be defeated? God cannot permit evil to win, it is not in His character to do so. God also has His own timing, which we cannot begin to understand. And given the choice He has allowed us, and how we chose to use it, we will struggle with sin, with pain, with suffering until Jesus returns to restore God’s Kingdom on earth and right the wrongs in the world. God loves us too much to have made us robots. We are made in His image, and one day that will be restored as it should.

Do I wish I had the perfect answer to give someone when they ask why would a loving God…

Yes, but I do not. But I know that He is Lord.

That is good enough for me.

But I pray that when faced with someone’s pain and suffering, I find the words, placed in my heart and mind by the Lord, that enable them get take some comfort and strength from what I say, to see that knowing the Lord is who He says He is good enough for them too. And if it is someone who appears to be mocking my Lord, I try to remind myself that they are blinded by the God of this world, and I pray that their eyes may be opened and they may feel the drawing call of the Spirit upon them.

Why would He do anything in this world? Because of His love for us and His wish that all come to His Son. For once there, no one can pull them from His grasp.

No one, not ever.

Transformed and Sanctified by the Word, Jesus Christ

The following excerpt is from “The Hour Has Come” by G. Ray Jordan. Published in 1948, this work of Jordan’s is an examination and commentary on Jesus Christ’s high priestly prayer in John 17. Again, it is as relevant for the believer today as when it was first written. As followers of Christ in these Last Days, we are living in a time of ever-expanding immorality, compromise, tolerance, and wickedness. It is increasingly more perilous for the Christian to live a separated life, however it is the Word of God which transformed us that will sanctify us.

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.” – John 17:6-19

Christ is thinking of a much nobler purpose and a far greater challenge when he insists those who are his devoted disciples cannot follow “the way of the world.” Here is something so spiritually superior it has to do with the divine difference. Jesus makes it quite plain when he declares that “the glory which thou gavest me I have given them.” These friends are to be one with him in spirit and purpose. They are not to be controlled by the social, moral, or ethical standards of society or of any merely human group. The spirit of heaven has touched them. These men are not perfect. But they have seen the stars, and never again can they be satisfied with things of the earth.

When the intimate friends of Jesus began to understand him, to love him and eagerly give themselves to him, something magnificent happened to them. Their faces were turned in a different direction; their hearts thrilled to a higher devotion. Their wills were given to a new objective; their desires were set toward a divine purpose. The customs of society never crushed them after that. They refuse to be slaves to the codes of any earthly kingdom. Their lives were literally transformed. Spiritually they were born again. Any description less vivid fails to tell the full story of what happened to them.

Saul of Tarsus was captivated by the strange Man who went to a cross rather than abandon his hopes and surrender his ideals for life. Saul could do nothing less than give him his heart. His mind, his will, and his emotions were all affected by the spirit of this man who had been crucified because he would not compromise. He saw the devotion Christ manifested as the hope of humanity. A new power came to him. He urged his comrades not to conform to the standards of those about them. They should never succumb to the sordid moral conditions of the cities in which they lived, nor conform to the low ethical ideas of the Mediterranean world.

But mere lack of conformity to popular customs is not sufficient. Christians are to be transformed. There to be changed by the spirit and power of God. This is a radical experience. Only God can bring it to pass. As we yield ourselves to him, we find a power greater than our own which works in and through us. Obviously this is a far cry from simply refusing to abide by certain social customs. Those who decide to become divinely different by offering their wills to the heavenly Father on the highway to real greatness, even to God-likeness.

Here’s a sweeping experience which affects all of life because it has to do with every possible personal and social adjustment. A Christian treats himself differently because he is transformed. He thinks of Christ’s way rather than the world’s for dealing with any situation which arises.

Words of Grace for Strength:

Transformation is change, an event, which for the Christian was accomplished by Christ’s finished work at Calvary. Transforming his life from one of sin and death, to one which has been redeemed and justified into holiness and life. A part of Transformation is the process of Sanctification. Sanctification is also change, initiated by Christ at Calvary, which is then followed through by the faith and actions of the believer in his desire for a growing, continual, obedient relationship with God. This is accomplished through the study and application of His Word to the believer’s life. Transformation is being placed in Christ, while Sanctification is the ongoing process of being separated or set apart in holiness to God so that the believer might become more Christ-like.

True disciples of Jesus Christ today can be identified by their desire for Transformation and Sanctification in much the same way as those who walked and talked with Jesus during His earthly ministry. It is all a function of will. Those who are true disciples of Jesus Christ have heeded the instruction of the Holy Spirit through the Word given to the Apostle Paul, as written in the book of Romans:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:1&2

The true disciple of Jesus Christ no longer operates under his own will, but has placed his will subservient to the Will of God. Because of this the disciple is no longer operating under his own power, but is dependent upon, and operating through, the power of God (Philippians 3:10, Ephesians 6:10 & 11). The power is there for any disciple to tap into by turning to God in wholehearted faith and obedience. If we do not choose to seek out and use that power, it is our fault alone if our lives are more difficult than need be.

We are living in troublesome times, terrible times. This world is full of corruption, deceit, hate, avarice, and lawlessness. Because of compromise, tolerance, and inclusiveness, society in every country is breaking down due to a lack of principles, morals, and rule of law. Wickedness prevails in most of the world as it spirals out of control under the influence of the prince of the power of this world, Satan himself.

The true disciple of Jesus Christ recognizes this, and in obedience to the Will of God, takes up the “whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:13) to be able to make a stand for Jesus Christ in these Last Days. The promise of victory for the true disciple of Jesus Christ is found in the passage above (John 17:6-19), and that our Savior not only has given us into the hand of His Father, but has asked His Father to protect us from the evil one (Satan) and to sanctify us through His Truth. Jesus identifies the Word as Truth. John 1:1-3 identifies Jesus as the Word. It follows then, that as disciples of Jesus Christ, we are sanctified by God through Jesus Christ. Make sure to note that in the prayer of John 17 Jesus asks that we be kept from the evil one, not necessarily taken out of the world when faced with evil. We are meant to fight for the cause of Christ, and our Lord made sure we are equipped to do battle, if we just take up the armor and tap into the power. As always the provision of the Lord is abundant beyond comprehension.

We are living in the Last Days, and as it is the Lord who appoints the times and seasons,we as disciples should be acutely aware of both the time and season. So, as we live in these Last Days, we must do so in the Will of God, by the power of God, and we should do so remembering the words of the Apostle Paul to Titus.

Titus 2:11-14 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

EvenSoCome

Taking Care of His Business in Your Backyard

And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49).

“My Father’s business.” It is a phrase I have used often in my writing and preaching. In my mind it evokes thoughts of sharing the gospel, sharing my testimony or witnessing. (Witnessing, given the circumstances may not be the same as evangelizing. Another story for another day); showing the love of Christ and the face of Christ to an unbelieving world. As Christians, we should want to help solve the world’s problems, help heal the world’s hurts.

However, we should realize that task can never be done in a complete or permanent manner by our  own efforts, even when we are guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit. Total, complete and permanent healing is going to take the Second Coming of Jesus. Nevertheless, we are to work in the world going about our Father’s business. And let us not forget a very important fact: We can reach out to the world and should but our primary responsibility as members of His Church is to other members of His Church.

 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2  Corinthians 5:10).  

With this particular verse, I actually prefer the rendering in the New American Standard Bible:  

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

This makes it clear that the bema seat judgment—the judgment of rewards—is a judgment of deeds done in the body from the point in time when one joins the Body of Christ. Things done before one comes to Christ are not part of our appointed before the bema (for that would make for a works based salvation).

And while I am not saying we would not hear, Well done, good and faithful servant (Matthew 25:21, 23) for things we may do to minister to those outside of the Church, I believe the clear focus of this passage in 2 Corinthians deals with the Body of Christ; serving and ministering to others within the Body of Christ. Being about our Father’s business should begin at home, within the Body; within the local church we attend, for starters.

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister” (Hebrews 6:10).

In Galatians, the apostle Paul is clear in his instruction that doing “good” is expected and required, especially in the Church. And whether you hold to the Pauline authorship of Hebrews, writing under the influence and guidance of Paul, or even if Paul had nothing to do with Hebrews, the author is stating that ministering to the saints is not something forgotten by God, for He is a just God.

The complaint in the opening verses of Acts 6 is that widows within the local Body were not having their daily needs met. It was a situation serious enough for the twelve apostles to address and resolve. Taking care of His business within the Body of believers is serious, important work demanding immediate attention.

If you are called by the Lord to go serve in some dark corner of the world (it seems dark corners are all we have in the world anymore), by all means be obedient to the call and serve the Lord empowered by His Spirit. But know there is a mighty work of service that probably needs to be tended to right in your backyard.

It may be your next door neighbor who might happen to not be a believer, but it might also be the person sitting next to you on a Sunday morning, someone as faithful and obedient to the Lord as you are. You can seek a mountaintop experience with the Lord, but remember, the gospel accounts had Jesus and His disciples coming off the mountain and getting back into day to day ministry. Jesus wasn’t going to let the three stay on the mountaintop linger and neglect what was next on the agenda. He brought them back down among the multitudes.

If you are focused on the needs of your local church Body, you will most likely come into contact with many neighbors and friends, with people in your local community. It will give you the opportunity to reach others for Christ at the same time you are helping other members of the Body.

It does not have to be an either/or. It can most definitely be a both/and. By seeking to be discerning of needs in the local body of Christ, you will learn to discern the need for Christ locally outside of the Body: because you will be more in tune with those living around and amongst you.

The Lord might give you a mountaintop experience, He might send you far afield from your home. But He has work that needs to be done in your own backyard, and it will please the Lord if you recognize it and step up to do it.

Whatever the Lord has for us to do, and wherever He has placed the work, we should be about our Father’s business and just go do it as He has asked.

Economic Crisis or World Government?

It is a well-known fact that many of the global elite have long believed that a global economic crisis could be a major step toward the establishment of a New World Order (one-world government).

For example, as far back as 1994, David Rockefeller said, “We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.” He didn’t identify what this needed “major crisis” would be—but others have indicated that they think a major economic crisis would work.

In 2008, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of England said, “The international financial crisis has given world leaders a unique opportunity to create a truly global society.” Think about it! The Prime Minister of England thought the devastating financial crisis that started in 2008 was a unique opportunity to create a world government.

That is similar to Rham’s Rule (named after Rham Emanuel Pres. Obama’s former Chief of Staff). Simply put: Politicians should use crises to push through unpopular legislation or programs that people wouldn’t accept under normal circumstances. They should use a crisis to do their will instead of the will of the people.

In 2012, Nigel Farage, a member of the EU Parliament said:

It is very, very difficult to ignore those voices, who have been telling me for twenty years that behind all of this [the economic crisis] there are a group of people that want to create “a one world government.” I’ve tried to ignore those arguments and say, “Look, let’s not be too conspiratorial about this.” But goodness me its [a one world government ] beginning to stare us in the face.

It really started staring us in the face in November 2014. That is when the world’s so-called, too-big-to-fail banks (J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs Group, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley) got the G-20 to pass legislation that shifts the liability for bank failures from the banks to the bank depositors.
If that kind of legislation at that level is not a clear indication that the world’s largest banks are expecting a global economic crisis, I don’t know what is. The heads of those banks want their depositors and not themselves to be held liable for future bank failures.

About that same time (the fall of 2008), the price of oil was dropping and the economies of Russia, Iran, Venezuela and several African nations were feeling the impact. In many ways, the lower price of gasoline was a good thing for American citizens. But now we are hearing that the economies of Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and North Dakota could be in trouble.

Falling oil prices are cutting into the profits of American companies. Some are losing money because they can’t get oil out of the ground as cheaply as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iraq and others. Some have stopped purchasing oil permits for new wells. Some are considering large layoffs. Some are having trouble paying the interest on borrowed money. Some won’t have profits to pay stockholders.

And this is spilling over into other sectors of the American economy. American companies need less pipe, fewer pumps, fewer motors, etc. The companies that make these things need fewer employees. And on and on the downward cycle goes.

This is the point: There are powerful people who want a world government and believe a crisis—perhaps an economic crisis— is needed to force through public acceptance. The so-called, too-big-to-fail banks have pushed through legislation to shift the liability for major bank failures. The price of oil has dropped sharply, and although not all agree, some think an economic crisis could be looming.

Finally, the U.S. President is one of those Globalists who wants a world government. Some, such as Henry Kissinger, are even hoping that Pres. Obama will head it up. And if something doesn’t happen to change the situation, Pres. Obama will be out of office in the next two years. We are living in interesting times.

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

Sanctification, It Is Work!

In our series of articles entitled “Words of Grace for Strength” it is our practice to take an excerpt from an article, book, or sermon written sometime in the past, which in its message or teaching, is as relevant today as when it was first written or given. While undoubtedly the excerpt stands on its own, our goal is to confirm its relevance for today, and perhaps to embellish its importance and understanding to the reader so that he might be better able to apply the teaching to his life and personal growth in Christ Jesus.

Our excerpt today is from “Things Which Become Sound Doctrine” written by J. Dwight Pentecost in 1965. The excerpt is from his teaching in the section on Sanctification.

God’s purpose for His child is that he should live in Jesus Christ. God desires to reproduce Himself in His children so that He might be glorified through His children. And when we present ourselves, or sanctify ourselves, or yield ourselves to the Spirit’s control, the Spirit will reproduce in us His own fruit, that we might live to the glory of God.

This practical holiness will manifest itself, as Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:18, in our growth in grace and knowledge. Peter says: “… grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” We often refer to this as progressive sanctification – where Christ, who formed in us by the Holy Spirit when we were born into God’s family, is being reproduced in us, more and more, by the Spirit’s control. In 2 Corinthians 3:18 Paul says, “… we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed (or, literally, are being changed) into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” Paul emphasizes in that passage that there is a work of the Holy Spirit by which we are progressively being conformed in our daily experience to the Lord Jesus Christ. We are being changed into the same image, going from glory to glory. Our position before God is that we are sanctified, set apart unto God; our experience is that we are being sanctified in daily life, by the Spirit’s power, as we grow in grace and in the knowledge, and as we are controlled by the Spirit of God.

The child of God recognizes that no day is lived in practical righteousness and holiness. We stumble and fall, in thought, word, and deed. There is sin of omission, and sin of commission, and we stand convicted before a holy and righteous God. The Apostle John has given us a solution to this problem in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Jesus Christ can be reproduced in the life of the child of God because the spirit of God can convict the child of God of his unholiness and can bring him to the place of confession so that sin might be forgiven and the believer might be restored, and that the Spirit might continue his work of reproducing Jesus Christ in the life of the child of God.

But is there no termination to the struggle? Must we always be subject to Satan’s snare? We recognize that as long as we’re in the flesh, we are living in an unredeemed body. We are living with an unredeemed sin-nature within us which may manifest its fruit unless we live by the Spirit’s power. But the word of God reveals a third precious truth concerning sanctification, and that is our ultimate sanctification. The apostle John so clearly presents this truth in 1 John 3:2: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” Observe carefully what John wrote. We will be like Christ in that we will be sinless, we will be deathless, and we will be brought to maturity in spiritual things. We will be like him. But when? When we’re old, and gray-haired? No! When He shall appear. It is the coming of Jesus Christ to gather His own to Himself that will bring us, God’s saints, to a realization of the position which is ours. At the coming of Christ – when the body of Christ is been completed, when the last redeemed one has been brought into God’s family – we will be translated out of this sphere of sin and into His glory, and we shall be like Him then our experience will confirm to our position throughout the unending ages of eternity.

Words of Grace for Strength:

When an individual makes the conscious decision, that they  are standing condemned before God because of their sin nature, needing to accept and acknowledge Jesus Christ as redeemer and Lord, they become justified in God’s sight. This is the first position of the redeemed in the eyes of God. Justification. In other words, because Jesus Christ’s finished work at the cross (His death, burial, and resurrection) offers to everyone who accepts the payment of sin debt; the redeemed individual no longer stands in judgment before God. And so, everyone who accepts the free gift of Salvation, offered through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, experiences Redemption, and Justification.

However, even though we are justified through Jesus Christ, we still possess our old sin nature. We may not necessarily want to sin, but it is still our nature to do so. This is the reason we need Sanctification. What is Sanctification? It is Holiness, the act and process of being set apart unto God by obtaining the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Positionally we were Justified and Sanctified in Jesus Christ when we accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior. But because of our sin nature we find ourselves continually falling short of the Holiness we were first placed in. However, by continually communicating with God through prayer, confessing our sin, and diligently studying His Word, we can continue the process of Sanctification.

Sanctification is not an event, it is an act bestowed upon the believer by Jesus Christ, and is a process in which the believer should be constantly involved in order to become more like Jesus Christ. What this means for us is that throughout our lifetime as Christians we continually need to be growing in Jesus Christ, growing both more Christ-like and more Holy. If we are not persistently pursuing Sanctification our Christianity does not simply go dormant, rather we begin to fall farther and farther away from God because we are not in an active relationship with Him. Sanctification is a hard and continuing work, but it is certainly work which we can do in Jesus Christ for our benefit and His good pleasure. When we are properly following Jesus Christ, not only will we be becoming more like Jesus Christ, we will have the proper attitude and desire to serve Him among men.

The last paragraph of Dr. Pentecost’s teaching above tells us that our Sanctification process will come to an end when we see Jesus. 1 John 3:2: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.” It is never a function of our life, the span of our lives or the amount of effort or obedience to the Lord that decides when we see Him. It has nothing to do with our times nor our timing. It is all about Him, and the timing established in our Lord’s will as to when each of us is called home individually, or the Father tells the Son to step out onto the clouds and call to His Church, to His Bride, “Come Up!”

We don’t know about y’all but we’re ready for that day. So let’s work our sanctification till Jesus comes and work it fervently…because Jesus is coming soon!

EvenSoCome