SERVE HIM OUT OF LOVE

SERVE HIM OUT OF LOVE

And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not. —Malachi 3:18

            Those who are righteous serve God and those who are not righteous do not serve God.  This truth is seen throughout God’s Word.  Abel was righteous and served God while Cain was unrighteous and served the evil one— “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous” (I John 3:12).  Noah was righteous and served God— “if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others…” (II Peter 2:5).  Abraham was righteous and served God— “And the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called a friend of God. As you can see, a man is justified by his deeds and not by faith alone” (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23-24).  A person who has truly been made righteousness is a person who serves God out of loving gratitude (II Corinthians 5:21; I Peter 3:18).

            Have you been made righteous in Christ by calling on His Name? (Romans 10:13).  Out for loving gratitude— how are you serving Him?  Our gratitude show continue to grow for God as we ponder all He has done for us through Jesus.  It is astounding.  May you and I seek to serve Him because we love Him.  May it be so in the power power of His Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZGzu6oI9b4

HEAVEN!

HEAVEN!

 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”  —Revelation 21:3-8

            The wheat and tares will be separated and no tares will be in glory, only wheat.  The tares “will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death” (Matthew 13:24-30).  This is where “the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars” will end up.

            2018 is coming to a close this day of December 30th.  We are another year closer to seeing the Lord Jesus whether through death or His coming back to earth.  Either way we are that much closer to seeing Him and being with Him!  We are going to be with Him forever!  Rejoice!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fiK9sq7lhE&index=9&list=UUf1NPIFOBwzTLVQiEDnq4Cw

            Death will be no more… no more caskets, urns, funeral homes or graveyards.  There will be no more mourning those who have died or tears of sorrow for them.  There will be no more aching pain.  “The old order of things” will have “passed away” and He will be “making everything new.”  The Apostle John is told to “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”  He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.” 

            This is how it will end on planet earth— the righteous in Christ will be gathered to glory and “the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” 

            Brothers and sisters, let us renew our commitment to proclaim the gospel— “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15)  Yes, may we do so!

Dear Father help me to proclaim the gospel even greater in this new year than any year previously that others may know Jesus.  May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.  So be it!

THE END OF SATAN AND HIS FOLLOWERS

THE END OF SATAN AND HIS FOLLOWERS

He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time. —Revelation 20:2-3

When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. —Revelation 20:7-8

And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever. —Revelation 20:10

Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire. —Revelation 20:15

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. —II Corinthians 4:4

Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. —II Timothy 2:25-26

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. —Matthew 25:41

            Satan is a deceiver of individuals and nations.  Deception is a major scheme of his.  It was what he used with Eve— “And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner” (I Timothy 2:14).  He has used deception ever since.  Deception is making something to appear to be real when it is not.  It is making something to appear true when it is not.  It is making something appear to be right when it is not.

            But Satan’s end is coming!  A time in the future is drawing near where he will experience his doom along with all who follow him.  Then, brother and sister, we will be with Jesus and all who love Him… forever in that perfect place!  May this be soon!  Even so come Lord Jesus! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbFHRNDneMc&list=UUf1NPIFOBwzTLVQiEDnq4Cw&index=16

Dear Father, thank You for Your Word revealing to us what is to take place and how we are to live for You now.  Oh, may I live and love according to Your purposes for the rest of my life in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.  So be it!

HEARTS THAT ARE DIAMOND-HARD

HEARTS THAT ARE DIAMOND-HARD

But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear. They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts. —Zechariah 7:12

“The heat and pressure causes the diamonds molecules to change so that they’re so close together, the molecules can’t move (known as covalent bonding). The closeness of these molecules forms a rigid bond, therefore making the diamond hard.”

            So a person who “refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear” has a heart that is diamond-hard.  Unlike the diamond that has eternal forces creating its hardness, a person “made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the Lord of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the Lord of hosts.”  The result of this self-made hardness is that the Lord is greatly angered.

            This hardness causes a person to: 1- refuse to pay attention 2- turn a stubborn shoulder 3- stopped their ears that they might not hear.  The result is a diamond-hard heart that will not hear what God says.  This is a dangerous place to be!

            Here’s the danger.  When a person will not listen to what the Lord says they will listen to other sources.  They will listen to false prophets.  They will listen to false teachers.  They will listen to their own wrong thinking.  They will listen to deception.  They will listen to anything that suits their own desires— “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (II Timothy 4:3-5). 

              “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”  There are those who would rather follow Satan’s ways rather than God’s clearly revealed Truth.  Demonic “teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron” (I Timothy 4:1).  These are people with diamond-hard hearts who, once again: refuse to pay attention, are stubborn and will not listen.  The Apostle Paul says these diamond-hardened hearted people easily put up with a different Jesus, a different spirit and a different gospel.  These people listen to “super-apostles” or super-Christians who claim to be at a spiritual level above all others. (II Corinthians 11:4).  Beware of these self-proclaimed, diamond-hardened hearted deceivers.

Dear Father, may I have a soft pliable heart that is open to Your molding into what You desire.  May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDAITgJXO1I

THIS WORLD’S SYSTEM WILL FALL IN JUDGMENT

THIS WORLD’S SYSTEM WILL FALL IN JUDGMENT

‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’  She has become a dwelling for demons and a haunt for every impure spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal.  For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries.  The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.” —Revelation 18:2-3

            Men are drawn to the center of the world’s power system because of the love of money, the love of power and the love of pleasure.  This system is headed up by the “god of this age” (II Corinthians 4:4) and is a demonic haven.  All the nations of the world are affected and infected with this ungodly life-style.

            God’s people are called out of this system before the central power is judged by God.  God has knows the sinful crimes that have been committed and now He is moving to judge.  This judgment will come in the form of death, mourning, famine and be consumed by fire (4-8). 

            The leaders of the earth that had illicit activity with this worldly power center will mourn over the judgment and be terrified at it.  The judgment will happen quickly.  The merchants of the earth mourn because this power centers vast array of worldly goods that are no longer available.  These merchants had gained their wealth through this worldly power center which was now in ruin (9-17).

 “Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, ‘Was there ever a city like this great city?’ They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: ‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth!  In one hour she has been brought to ruin!’” (17-19).

            “Rejoice over her, you heavens!  Rejoice, you people of God!  Rejoice, apostles and prophets!  For God has judged her with the judgment she imposed on you” (20).  Those who love God are going to rejoice because of this judgment because He is giving this system what it deserves.  It had led people astray, was responsible for killing the prophets, and was responsible for killing all God’s people and for all who have been slaughtered on the earth. 

“It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.  In Revelation 6:9-11 we read “And when the Lamb opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony they had upheld. And they cried out in a loud voice, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge those who live on the earth and avenge our blood?”  Then each of them was given a white robe and told to rest a little while longer, until the full number of their fellow servants, their brothers, were killed, just as they had been killed.”  Well now the time has come.  The time will come.  It is coming.  He will set all things right.

Dear Father I am grateful to know that all things well be set right according to Your purposes and nobody is getting away with anything even though they may think they are.  May I be about Your business and be and do what You desire as I run this race you have laid out for me.  May I run in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NU6vl1fW6WU&list=UUf1NPIFOBwzTLVQiEDnq4Cw&index=10

STIR US!

STIR US!

So the Lord stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua son of Jozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of the whole remnant of the people. They came and began to work on the house of the Lord Almighty, their God —Haggai 1:14

            Oh Lord, that You would stir Your people to do Your great work today in our area, in our region, in our nation!  It is a marvel what You are doing in other parts of the world today and what You have done in the past.  I am grateful for what You are doing and have done.  But, could Your mercy and grace stir us again here in this part of Your world?  Would You please stir us to do Your will for Your glory?

            You stirred individuals and groups of people in the past and in the present to accomplish what You desired.  May You be pleased to do that again in our area, in our region, in our nation.  Oh, that Your people would be faithful to what You have said and do say.  Brother and sister, what is our Lord God Almighty saying to you?  Will you and I obey and do His will?  Oh, that we would yield to His voice!  May it be so!    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uJarS4grWw&index=6&list=UUf1NPIFOBwzTLVQiEDnq4Cw

Dear Father, stir me, stir us to be and do what You desire.  Oh, yes, may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son Jesus.  So be it!

SING!

SING!

They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb: “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty.  Just and true are your ways, King of the nations.  Who will not fear you, Lord, and bring glory to your name?  For you alone are holy.  All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.” —Revelation 15:2-4

            These with harps are those who had been victorious over the beast and its image and over the number of its name” (Revelation 15:2).  These victorious ones “sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb.”  Victory brings singing!  Have you seen that in your own life?  As you ponder the victory we have in Jesus do you break out in song?  Do joyous words flow from your tongue as you sing original songs to the Lord?  Sometimes I will be driving along and I will just start singing with words flowing from my tongue.  These are songs that will never be sung like that again because I do not write down the words.  I just sing unto the Lord what He brings to mind.

            In the context of the verses above the words are given.  The song above speaks to our Lord God Almighty’s marvelous deeds.  Only His ways are perfectly “just and true.”  He alone is the king of the nations.  Brothers and sisters, isn’t it a joy to be serving our King whose ways are right.  There are so many who get into power positions and use those positions to “lord it over the people” for their own benefit.  But our Eternal King always does what it right… always!  This is what the victorious are singing about!

            The song is clear as they sing about our Lord alone being holy.  There is none like Him… none.  He alone is perfectly holy.  He alone is not impacted by the sinfulness of man.  He alone is without sin and it is only through Him that a person can be saved from sin.  It is He as well who will judge sin on that final day (Acts 10:42).  All should fear His Name and bring glory to it.  Yes, “All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”  Indeed, “God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11).  This fact stated by God Himself will come to pass!

            What a wonder and glorious song the victorious are singing.  Oh, may we who are victorious in Jesus “Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth” (Psalm 96:1).  “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy” (Psalm 33:3). “I will sing a new song to you, my God; on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you” (Psalm 144:9).  Yes, let us sing unto the Lord and praise His Name!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUxI-ynsTnM

Dear Father, may I lift my voice in song to Him who is worthy to be praised.  May it be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.

WARNING: GOD’S WRATH IS COMING!

WARNING: GOD’S WRATH IS COMING!

A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” —Revelation 14:9-11

            It is not a good ending for all those who do not want to worship the Lord God Almighty, but instead their desire is to worship in the kingdom of darkness.  I cannot fathom that they will have “no rest day or night” or that “They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever.”  Many, the majority, would rather “enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin” in this life and not stand “with the people of God” as they follow the Lord Jesus (Hebrews 11:25).  How sad…

            People who do not know the Lord are already under the wrath of God— “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them” (John 3:36). Praise God that “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” (Romans 5:9-10).  But for those who have not be justified “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31).

            Brother and sister, praise God that we are no longer under the wrath of God because “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).  Jesus saves us “from the wrath to come.”  Now, let us encourage those who do not know Jesus to “to flee from the wrath to come” (Luke 3:7).  Tell them the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) and tell them how Jesus “came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10).  Yes, let us do so! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGLwJNYu7q8

Dear Father, I thank You for saving me from the wrath to come and now may I live a life that is pleasing to You.  May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son Jesus.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pb6bh8QT1IM

SATAN’S SCHEMES

SATAN’S SCHEMES

The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise its authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world. —Revelation 13:5-8

            What or who do the unsaved worship?  They worship the satanically aligned and empowered.  They worship those who “utter proud words.”  They are against God and blaspheme His holy Name.  They do this by their words and deeds.  They are against God and speak against God, against heaven and those who live there.  They love power and to fight against God’s people to subdue them.  They are against the church which is all those who have “called on the Name of the Lord” (Romans 10:13).  This is the desire of the evil one and those snared “of the devil, who has taken them captive to his will” (II Timothy 2:26).

            But Satan’s time is limited and so also for those who follow him.  God is the Sovereign Ruler of all and nothing is out of His control.  Only those whose names have not been written down “in the Lamb’s book of life” worship the satanically aligned and empowered.  On earth they may seem to be winning, but that is not the case.  Jesus has already won the war and Satan was utterly defeated, but God allows him to be active for a little while to carry out God’s purposes.  That time will come to an end.

            We can see Satan’s hatred today for those who follower Jesus.  Brothers and sisters are persecuted and killed all around the world just for following Jesus.  Here in the United States Satan has been working incrementally to push believers out of the public arena.  Even things that are connected with Christmas like trees and other decorations are being forced out of the public. 

A brother and I had briefly discussed this yesterday.  And when I left him there was an e-mail that came in that dealt with this very thing.  Now I had been at a senior’s luncheon that the town puts on and had handed out invitations to a Christmas Eve candlelight.  Here’s what it said—

“Hi Ted,

It was brought to my attention the other day that fliers were being passed out at the senior lunch.  I need to ask you to please stop soliciting the church at our events.  I try to make these lunches about gathering and getting out of the house for this group and I do not want it to be a place where anyone could feel uncomfortable. I refrain from having presenters specifically for that reason as well. You are more than welcome to come on in and join us for conversation, but the Town Hall has strict rules on what is being passed out to program participants of any kind.

Thank you for understanding and happy holidays to you and your family!”

Really?  So now you cannot even hand someone an invitation?  But this is how Satan works— seeking to limit those who follow Jesus.  He uses all kinds of schemes!  Don’t be intimidated! 

Dear Father, help us to be faithful to whatever You call us to and not to be intimidated by the schemes of the adversary.  May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7fiK9sq7lhE

HE HAS SHOWN US WHAT IS GOOD

HE HAS SHOWN US WHAT IS GOOD

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.  —Micah 6:8

            Are you just- right and fair?  “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25).  Of course He will and He desires us to be like Him and do right as well.  Indeed this is what the Lord requires of those who follow Him.  Not only are we “to act justly” but this also includes loving mercy— “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. (Micah 7:18).  “You will be faithful to Jacob, and show love to Abraham, as you pledged on oath to our ancestors in days long ago” (Micah 7:20).  Mercy is forgiving and loving.  Does that describe you and me?  Do we walk humbly before God or are we prideful?  The humble rejoices in how the Lord has lifted him from the muck and mire of sin.  The prideful believe they deserve His mercy and look down on others.  They have a self-righteous attitude toward others and they they alone have something others do not.  None of us deserve anything from the Lord… it is all because of His mercy and grace toward us that He does anything to us or for us.

            A great example of this is the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37.  Jesus told this parable to “an expert in the law” that came “to test Jesus.”  The man was trying to “justify himself.”  After Jesus told the parable He asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”  The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”  Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

            Showing mercy is an action.  Again, Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”  Showing mercy is not just talking about it.  It is not just studying about it.  No, it is doing it.  So the question I have to ask myself is— “How and where am I showing mercy to others?”  Another question I could ask myself is— “Where am I not showing mercy where I should be showing mercy?”  Hmmm… how about you? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osfQg4yKtq8

Dear Father, may I look to how You have shown mercy to me and extend that to others.  May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.  May it be so!