A God who keeps his promises is to be esteemed and celebrated. Keeping one's promises engenders trust, and enables others to plan their lives accordingly. When you know that you have heard from God, you can have faith that his Word will manifest. The manifestation may be less than ideal in that it may foretell doom or disaster, but the important thing is that his Word is realized. When his Word foretells doom and disaster, it is his warning to us of what the devil has planned and intends to execute. When it foretells joy and peace, he is giving us a glimpse into his agenda for us, for others, or for the world. The last night, to God, is the last time that the devil will be able to execute his agenda for you, it is a promise that the day has dawned.
Two days ago we had a Blog post titled "Omnipotence" so it may seem odd that today the title is "Omnipotent." The difference is that when we speak of God's omnipotence, we are referring to his power, and when we speak of omnipotent, we are referring to his nature. In God there is no weakness, no errors and no mistakes. He is unerring in his perfection, and his power is infallible. When God truly is in control, nothing ever needs to be redone or revisited or corrected.
When we hear the word "Christian" we assume that they are the only ones who believe in Jesus as the Messiah. In fact, there are many Christians who do not believe in Jesus as the Messiah, have difficulty with the concept of his virgin birth, and definitely do not believe that he is scheduled to return to the earth to commence a millennial reign as King. In contrast, there are many Jews, Muslims and members of other religions who believe emphatically that Jesus is their Messiah, and is scheduled to reign as King over the earth for one thousand years. The Christians who have similar beliefs are often referred to as fundamentalists.
The question then becomes whether members of other religions need to become "Christians" if they claim Jesus as their Messiah. The short answer is "no." Not everyone who considers themself a Christian is a disciple of Jesus, and certainly, not every "Christian" will have a place in God's kingdom. The more appropriate terminology is discipleship. To Jews who had believed in his message, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31-32). Thus, holding to the teachings of Jesus is pivotal not only to our understanding of his message of redemption, but also, to our having a place in his kingdom.
The core of Jesus' message is that we should avoid sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, and drunkenness, and pursue love, joy, peace, patience and self-control. When we understand the consequences for violating spiritual law, being a disciple of Jesus becomes the only viable option. Let the God of Israel, El Shaddai, be praised.
The notion of a God who is all powerful seems incredulous. One need only take a glance at the world to conclude that any God who claims to be in charge of the world would have to be derelict in his duties. The truth is that God is in control only when, and to the extent that, we give him control. We cannot blame God for the consequences of actions that we never entrusted to his care and control. If we want to see what omnipotence looks like, we must first relinquish all control to God. We must acknowledge that complete surrender and submission is a necessary condition precedent to the experience of God's omnipotence. Only then can we presume to blame God for the condition of our world.
There are many methodologies by which one can self destruct spiritually. One of the principal means is the failure to acknowledge and participate in building the coming kingdom of God. The failure can stem from a simple lack of belief (Revelation 21:8), or it can evidence a more systemic problem. If the problem is one of unbelief, one can pray the simple prayer, "Lord, help me overcome my unbelief" (see Matthew 9:17-24). Pray until your heart changes and you begin to respond to God's message. If a deeper problem exists, there are two iron clad solutions that always will work if implemented with a genuine desire for change.
First, one must determine whether the lack of action is deliberate or non-deliberate. If it is non-deliberate, but you feel lethargic or stopped in your desire to acknowledge God's kingdom, the devil probably has you in his grip. You can break free by repeating the words "love, peace, joy, hope and Jesus." Repeating these words and mimicking the related emotion is certain to break his hold on you. Do so each time you feel stopped or blocked.
Second, when the cause is more deliberate action on your part, the devil also has you in his grip but the solution is to repent. Identify the three most predominant emotions you experience when you think of God's kingdom. Pray in depth through each emotion, or write a letter to God describing in detail the nature and source of each emotion and the feelings connected to it. Set a short deadline for reaching a resolution and write or pray until you feel completely resolved.
Becoming aligned with God in regard to the imminent millennial reign of Jesus as Lord and King is critical to our spiritual health and survival. Jesus is the only available sacrifice for the sins and violations of spiritual law that lead to death. The failure to acknowledge him means that we have no forgiveness and therefore no methodology for becoming sufficiently cleansed so as to enter God's kingdom.
Even for those who have the indwelling Holy Spirit, there is a necessary and critical deep cleansing which only the Holy Spirit can accomplish, and which cannot occur in the absence of faith and belief in the coming kingdom of God. It is for entrance into the millennial kingdom that one is being cleansed and prepared, and such cleansing becomes meaningless if there is no belief in the kingdom.
The return of our Lord and Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, is wrapped with as much controversy and misinformation as was his birth, death and resurrection. Some believe that he already has returned and lives among us. Others believe that the Scriptures which speak to his return were never meant to be interpreted literally. Still others believe that he will indeed return at some nebulous point in the future, but it is incomprehensible to them that it could occur in their lifetime. Most of the misinformation and controversy regarding the Scriptures takes place among individuals who have never read the entire Bible. Their knowledge is limited to Scriptures removed from context and read haphazardly.
There are three principal Scriptures which speak clearly and succinctly about Jesus' return. In Luke 13:35 Jesus states that the Jews will not see him again until they bless those he has sent in his name. Also, in Mark 13:28-29 he states that when they see the fig tree come alive and begin to grow again they will know that his return is near. The fig tree is representative of Israel which was reborn as a nation in 1948. The country came alive spiritually in the year 2015 when millions of people all received the indwelling Holy Spirit of God and began their journey to repentance.
Finally, in Mark 13:26-27, Jesus indicated that he would return in precisely the manner stated by the prophets. Daniel 7:13-14 states that the Messiah will return on the clouds of heaven. Acts 1:9-11 confirms that just as Jesus physically ascended into heaven until a cloud hid him from sight, so he will descend from the clouds in precisely the same manner. There are many other prophecies related to the return of the Messiah and they all agree that he is now at the door, fervently knocking on the hearts of men and women and seeking to enter. Some have opened the door to his indwelling Holy Spirit, but others have not.
When we know that Jesus is at the door to our hearts, and is seeking to enter, we have only two options. We either can open the door, allow him to enter, and live, or we can remain closed and succumb to the devil and to death. The first option, of course, is preferable. If you wish to adopt a "wait and see" position, Jesus is guaranteed to come as a thief in the night. You will never know that he came and left. You also may not survive to see the kingdom of God established in the earth.
The betrayal bounty on Jesus' head was thirty pieces of silver. In exchange for the payment, Judas, one of Jesus' apostles, betrayed him to the religious and political authorities. They paid him the bounty, but later, used the money to purchase a burial field. It was a very fitting use for the money, because the cost of betrayal is death.
Many believe that they can betray Jesus now, refusing to acknowledge his impending return in order to remain "safe," and when the time of his return draws near, begin to acknowledge him. They assume that their betrayal is akin to the apostle Peter's, and will easily and quickly be forgiven. But the betrayal of a confused, weak and grief-stricken Peter is worlds apart from the plotting betrayal of a Judas who seeks his own self interest. The betrayal that is happening today, among men and women who now know the truth, is of a kind that is unforgivable. It shuts the door to God's kingdom by refusing to blow the trumpet and sound the alarm so that men and women can begin to prepare their hearts and minds. It is blasphemous.
Waiting for the Messiah is an activity in which every genuine disciple of Jesus should be engaged. Waiting involves several different components. One must search and examine the Scriptures diligently, including all related prophecies, in order to determine the approximate time of his return. Knowing the approximate timing would enable one to be as prepared as possible. It is a fallacy to believe that everyone has the stamina to remain in a perpetual state of heightened preparedness. Eventually fatigue will set in, perhaps just at the time that he is about to return. While remaining prepared is critical, it is even more critical that we have an approximation of the timing of his return in order to ensure that the state of heightened preparedness is appropriately timed.
When searching the Scriptures, it also is important that we determine what if any implements of preparedness are essential. In the parable of the ten virgins, one sees that the intensity of their light determined who entered the kingdom and who did not. Light is received from the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. It is not enough to rely on hearsay on the issue of whether or not one has the indwelling Holy Spirit. Now that many people are able to see into the spirit realm, ask to see the proof. If there is no visible spiritual light in your solar plexus, then you do not have the indwelling Holy Spirit. If you have the indwelling Holy Spirit, proceed to fan the gift into flames until the light permeates your entire body. Dogged adherence to spiritual law is the best methodology for doing so. Ultimately, we should thirst for the light of the Holy Spirit of God, instead of adhering to doctrinal principles that may prove to be inaccurate.
If you are traveling and your life or livelihood depends on your arriving at a certain destination, you are likely to do everything possible in order to arrive. Irrespective of how many wrong turns you take, or the number of times you become lost along the way, you will seek every means necessary to ensuring that you arrive safely. The argument that some theologians and "experts" have put forth is that there have been many false predictions of the timing of Christ's return so we should stop trying to interpret the prophecies. If that is your position on the issue, I urge you to rethink the logic. Your life, your access into the kingdom of God, and perhaps the life of others who depend on you, is contingent on your knowing, at the very least, the year and month of his return. It is because Noah was listening to God that he spent 120 years building an arc (Genesis 6:3), and it also is because he was listening that he knew seven days prior to the flood that it was time to enter the arc (Genesis 7:1-5). Similarly, those in the light should know the timing of Christ's return (1 Thessalonians 5:1-9).
The biblical prophecies that proclaim Christ's impending return all point to the identical year and time frame. They are an infallible roadmap through the past one hundred years of history leading up to the present. If a roadmap through unknown territory suggests that you should take a "left" turn, few travelers would deliberately continue to drive straight ahead, and fewer still would deliberately take a right turn. The prophecies suggest that it is time to prepare, and time to repent of our many violations of spiritual law, as per the instructions delineated in part in Revelation 2 and 3. Let those who have ears to hear take heed.
Wanting something is very different from needing it. Wants emanate from the brain, whereas needs are revealed by the heart. When we want something, it is because we are being influenced by the world in which we live. We examine the circumstances and arrive at a conclusion as to what we should have and to what we are entitled. Needs, however, are not based on presumed entitlements. They are rooted in the survival instinct, in the simple desire to survive.
Leaders govern based on their wants and on the wants of those they govern. When leadership is based on wants, it ceases to have a connection to spirit. However, a connection to spirit is a necessary component of effective leadership. Leaders must ask, "What need will this proposed action meet for us, as well as for all affected persons." If only some of the needs will be met, the proposed action is not likely to be effective or sustainable. Men of influence are those who have decided that their principal focus will be meeting the needs of the governed.
Women played a major role in Jesus' ministry. They saw in him what most of Jerusalem's leaders had failed to see. They saw a kind and compassionate man who healed their sick and raised their dead; a man who desired only good for everyone he encountered. When his needs went unmet, it was women who extended to him the same care they extended to their sons and brothers. Some of them were wealthy, women of prestige and privilege, as was Joanna and Susanna, but others were of questionable character, as was the woman at the well. He embraced them all, and enabled them to fulfill their Godly mission and purpose through him. They were loyal to the end.
As we contemplate the current condition of our world, the one quality of character that could make the most dramatic difference to the greatest number of people is compassion. The world needs to be nurtured in the same manner in which a newborn infant or young child must be nurtured in order to achieve its fullest potential. In this generation, as we struggle to right the many wrongs being perpetrated by various factions, the only possible methodology for arriving at a sustainable solution for every ill is by looking at the world through eyes of compassion. When we do so, and when we begin to do to others what we would want done to us, we will have discovered the magical healing balm.
When in doubt, there is always another, perhaps better way of doing something. Doubt is God's way of saying, "Be careful." It is his attempt to guide us through the maze of human emotions and human will, without compromizing the things that are important. Doubt always should be communicated to God, regardless of the reasoning behind the doubt. God does not judge our human weaknesses, as long as we are willing to seek his guidance in overcoming them. He shows us how to manoeuver around the areas of concern without undermining his instructions or devaluing our honest perceptions. Satan and God both know how to do disguises.
Engineers know that cause and effect is a very powerful natural phenomenon. They rely on it when they create new designs for products. Cause and effect also applies to non-mechanical creations, although we generally afford it less significance. When we claim to want peace on earth, we also have to claim the progenitors of peace. If we fail to do so, one must necessarily question whether we truly desire peace. Peace is a mandate for ultimate survival, and without it, we are doomed to self-destruct. Our efforts at environmental conservation, attempts to reverse global warming, and every other environment-related agenda will be for naught if we fail to engineer peace. Peace on earth, and goodwill to all.
Jesus was not just an ordinary prophet, he was a God. He was a God not only because he had the spirit of Elohim from birth until death, but also because he attained to the Godhead. One attains to the Godhead by becoming perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect. Sinless perfection is near impossible to accomplish except with the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. Only he knows the appearance of perfection and the path to its achievement. He was the spiritual guide for Jesus who, because he had the uncorrupted spirit of Elohim, instead of the Adamic spirit, had the opportunity to do what Adam could not do--remain sinless. He forged the path to perfection, and gave us the Holy Spirit as a spiritual guide. That he was a Nazarene is significant because those in Nazareth had more spiritual fortitude. They had very little of Adam's genetic corruption and therefore were less likely to betray their heritage. In contrast, Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus, was of the same lineage as King Saul who opposed David. Will you also betray . . . ?
In the Scriptures, Goliath, a giant, was David's nemesis and the nemesis of the Israelites. He teased and taunted them mercilessly and everyone, even the most adept warriors among them, was cowardly in the presence of Goliath. They saw him as bigger than he was because he caused them to look at his physical body instead of his spiritual body. When one looks at the physical body, one sees what is subject to corruption, influence, and caricature. However, the spiritual body reveals only truth.
If they had looked at Goliath's body in the spirit realm, they would have seen a creature that was three feet tall, a sharp contrast to the ten feet tall giant who stood before them. There is not enough space in this Blog to describe how a creature three feet tall in the spirit realm could morphe into an imposing giant that was ten feet tall, but even our science disciplines know it to be a distinct reality. The giant they saw was not just an illusion. He had a body that was as real as any other.
The Israelites made the same mistake when they looked at Jesus. They focused on his physical reality, his short stature, and his profession as a carpenter. They ignored the fact that in the spirit realm, he had an aura that was ten feet wide and ten feet tall, a crown of twelve stars on his head, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, and a white heart. Everything about Jesus' spiritual reality proved that he was sent from God. His white heart, by itself, was proof of the purity of his motivations.
Saints of God know that when all has been said and done, they will have accomplished the most incredible feat of all time. They will have decimated the kingdom of Satan that has existed on the earth for almost as long as time itself. Satan will be in chains, as will his demons, and for the first time since the fall of man into sin, righteousness will reign. Instead of the incessant temptations to sin, everyone will be tempted to do incredible acts of righteousness. Instead of pain and anguish, they will experience exhilarating joy. Instead of the reign of death and destruction, there will be life to the full.
I don't know much about basketball but I do know that a point guard is the person who determines what if any actions must be taken in order to win the game. He is the field operative. In the spiritual realm, both God and Satan need "point guards." The point guards are their eyes and ears in the earth. While it is true that God is everywhere, he relies on us to take the necessary action in order to ensure ultimate victory.
Point guards for Satan are all appointed. Satan tells them the identity of the victim and what they need to accomplish. For some victims, it is death or illness; for others, it is economic ruin; and for others it is a "natural" disaster. His point guards dutifully fulfill his every mandate. In contrast, point guards for God are always self-appointed. They are men and women who know the mission (establishing God's kingdom) and seek to find and fulfill their purpose in relation to that mission. And when they recognize Satan's agenda for a specific person or entity, they take the initiative to block his agenda from manifesting.
When the bells toll at the end of the current age, they will proudly look back at all the ways in which they contributed to the accomplishment of the goal of establishing God's kingdom in the earth. They will have confidence that this was not a stolen goal, but one justly earned as a result of hard work. To them, the Lord will gladly say, "Well done good and faithful servant" because they understood that God's grace is not the beginning and the end. His grace cleanses and equips us to enter the battlefield and fight the good fight.
Hindsight is sometimes better than foresight. In hindsight, we have an opportunity to examine the past and determine how the actions we took relate to our current circumstances. We also can determine what, if any, changes we wish to implement. We never have that opportunity when dealing with foresight. Foresight requires that we analyze the circumstances and make fully informed decisions that we hope will yield sustainable solutions. It also requires that we examine our motivations in order to ensure that they do not exert a corrupting influence on the decision-making process. In the context of worship, both hindsight and foresight are operative. We must examine our past methodologies, determine what if any changes must be implemented to achieve the results we seek, and examine our motivation for engaging in worship. If our goal is not to help establish the kingdom of God in the earth, our worship is in vain (2 Peter 2; Matthew 15:1-9).
The enemies of God often believe that they are friends of God until they begin to closely examine their actions. In doing so, they realize that they rarely, if ever, consider God's perspective on the issues they encounter. Their analysis and their solutions begin and end with them. When they do take the time to pray, they do all the talking, and never consider that they should stop and listen to what God says in response to the prayer. For them, prayer involves telling God what they want, and expecting him to rubber stamp their decisions. They are the God of their lives and nothing will cause them to begin to do things God's way. They may claim to be a friend of God, but indeed, they are the worst kind of enemy and have no intention of honoring spiritual law.
There is a popular saying that "whoever is not with me is against me." But what does it mean to truly be "with" someone? It means that you've "got their back." If you see something happening that you know would affect them in a negative manner, you tell them about it. And, if their circumstances are less than ideal, you do to them what you would want done to you. Every negative circumstance that exists in our world is perpetuated by Satan. When we become enemies of Satan, we recognize that we are dutibound to right every wrong being committed, regardless of our personal stake in the outcome.
The Scriptures refer to God's people, those who obey his commands, as being a Royal priesthood and a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). They are the men, women and children who will make up his kingdom here on earth, and will rule with him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:6). They will have been called out from the people of every nation and tribe because of their obedience to the highest and most profound principles of spirituality. They also will have acknowledged Jesus as Lord.
Satan also has priests. They are the people, among whom are religious leaders, who subscribe to a dog-eat-dog agenda. They refuse to acknowledge the supremacy of God or the reign of Christ, and believe that the world will continue as is for another million years. They follow Satan's rule and leadership.
The worst part about life is knowing that you missed an incredible opportunity to experience the love and power of God. Those who come to that realization do so when they are ensconced in hell and no longer have the opportunity to live a different life. The knowledge of what could have been and can be is hidden to all but the genuine seeker.
A genuine seeker is anyone who desires to have a relationship with God on His terms. They know that life as they know it is less than ideal, that they have made mistakes, that they have reneged on promises and been betrayed, and that they yearn for a different day, and a different tomorrow. They also know that when the sun sets at night, they are rarely, if ever, satisfied with how they lived that day. So, for them, choosing a relationship with God is "a no-brainer."
While it is true that they might need to live somewhat differently, the benefits gained from their new life far exceed any supposed "losses." The cost-benefit analysis is heavily weighted on God's side. If for any reason they later decide that they no longer want to have a relationship with God, they can be confident that hell awaits them.
In Advent, Christians throughout the world prepare for the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. His birth has been celebrated and honored each year for more than two thousand years, in part because the Israelites who had been tasked with announcing his birth missed their calling, and compounded the error by crucifying him. The error of having missed his birth is now entirely cleansed and atoned for in the realm of the spirit. The path for his return has been prepared. If those who have been tasked with announcing his return (Christianity) miss their calling, they will have delivered a second blow to the kingdom of God. They also will block themselves from entering the kingdom of God for at least 1,000 years.
If you believe the popular saying, "no one knows the day or the hour" of his return, read yesterday's Blog post titled, Contingent Prophecies. If your church insists that you not discuss or prepare for his imminent return, find a church that honors and respects your First Amendment rights. If you think that believing in God is all that matters, know that the devil and his demons also believe in God (James 2:19). When everything you believe about God is not enough to keep you alive and well, it is time to enlarge your realm of faith and belief. When everything you believe about God does not result in your having the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, it is time to enlarge your realm of faith and belief.
There are six different types of biblical prophecies and each has a specific methodology and process of fulfillment. One of the biggest mistakes being made, particularly by Christian eschatologists, is assuming that all prophecies are created equal and are to be interpreted in an identical manner. In fact, each of the six types of prophecies has a unique methodology for ensuring an accurate and iron-clad interpretation. Some may appear to have more than one characteristic, but they derive their identity from the dominant element.
The six distinct types of biblical prophecies can be characterized as Waiting, Wanting, Running, Elliptical, Idiopathic, and Contingent. A Waiting prophecy is one in which only time is at play. The individuals are told that in a specific number of days, weeks, months, or years, certain events will take place. They need only wait for the expiration of time. A Wanting prophecy is one in which the person being given the prophecy has a need that will be met by fulfillment of the prophecy. Abraham's desire for an heir and God's promise to him is one example of a Wanting prophecy (Genesis 15).
A Running prophecy is one in which the passage of time depends in part on the recipient or recipients of the prophecy taking certain actions or doing something specific. The faster they take action, the sooner the prophecy will be fulfilled. An Elliptical prophecy relates to the human body. It predicts that certain events will happen to the human body under certain circumstances.
One example of a Running prophecy is Genesis 2:17 in which God said to Adam that if he ate from a certain tree in the Garden of Eden, he would die spiritually. In contrast, an example of an Elliptical prophecy that relates to the human body is given in the account of the exodus. God told Moses that every firstborn male in Egypt would die physically if Pharaoh refused to release the Israelites from their enslavement (Exodus 11:1-7).
In an Idiopathic prophecy, the person being given the prophecy is required to do something before the prophecy will manifest. It differs from a Running prophecy because a Running prophecy always will manifest eventually, whereas an Idiopathic prophecy may or may not manifest, depending on whether the person takes the necessary action. Prophecies that relate to the consequences of violating spiritual law are generally Idiopathic prophecies. Finally, a Contingent prophecy is one that requires certain events to take place before it will manifest. The person or persons to whom the prophecy is given generally have no control over when the contingent event or condition precedent will occur.
A Contingent prophecy is exemplified in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 in which the Scriptures state that Jesus' return to earth would take place after the man of lawlessness, the final antichrist, is revealed. Hence, Jesus stated confidently in Mark 13:32-37 that no one living in the first century, not even he, knew the day or the hour of his return. The prophecy is Contingent because it contains the condition precedent that the antichrist must first be revealed, and those hearing the prophecy had no control over when that event would occur. In fact, only when certain events begin to occur would one be able to identify the antichrist a fortiori, and thereby determine the imminence of Christ's return.
Contingent prophecies are among the most difficult to interpret because they manifest imperceptibly, and their manifestation is revealed only to those who are keeping watch and relying on the Holy Spirit of God. The timing of Jesus' birth, as well as his return to the earth to vanquish the antichrist and establish his kingdom, are both Contingent prophecies. His birth was hidden from the Israelites because of their sin, and his return to earth will be hidden from those who refuse to accept and live in the light of the Holy Spirit of God (1 Thessalonians 5:4-8; John 3:19-21).
Readiness is that state of existence wherein the mind, the soul, and the spirit are perfectly united behind a purpose and endeavor to bring it to fruition. They operate at the same, or a similar, frequency of vibration so that there is no dissonance. When that state of readiness is achieved, there is nothing that can prevent accomplishment of the goal. It manifests almost effortlessly. If you are striving to achieve a goal, take your focus off the goal and instead, focus on bringing your mind, your soul, and your spirit into alignment with each other.
There is a popular song which states that when the saints of God march into heaven, we the singers want to be numbered among them. We want to be part of heaven's marching band. A marching band is an interesting depiction of the kingdom of God. Bands generally are precision trained to move in unison. They never have individuals who move in accordance with their unique choreography.
One of the beauties of marching bands is their picturesque unity. That unity does not manifest automatically, it comes with practice and with the fixing of many mistakes. It also requires a desire to move as one with each step they take. If someone does not wish to apply at least a minimum effort to forge unity, they probably should not be part of the band. They would be better off performing a solo act.
When you think of a band you also imagine that they are dressed in similar clothing. Each member has all the pieces required to complete their uniform. One never sees someone who is missing any aspect of the performance clothing. The same requirement of unity and completeness in their appearance should apply to heaven's marching band. Heaven deserves at least the same rigorous training and precision that is afforded a high school marching band.